The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V3 2000 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 33, August 13, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have six new subscribers this week:  Michael Billings, 
   Stephen Crain, Gordon Frost, Steve Hayden, Ian Marshall, 
   and John Schroeder.   Welcome aboard!   This brings our 
   subscriber count to 333. 


   The event nearly went unnoticed, but NBS Historian Joel 
   Orosz pointed out at our general meeting that the Numismatic 
   Bibliomania Society is twenty years old this month - we were 
   founded officially on August 18, 1980, at a meeting in the 
   Bamboo Room of Stouffer's Cincinnati Towers during the 
   ANA Convention that year.  Happy birthday! 


   [Editor's note:  it was a pleasure and a delight to see so many 
   E-Sylum subscribers in person at the NBS meetings and 
   throughout the convention this year.   It's always nice to be 
   able to put faces to names, and I was meeting many of you 
   for the first time.  I hope you all enjoyed the NBS events at 
   the show, and the NBS officers and I will look forward to 
   seeing many of you again next year.] 

   About 70 people attended the NBS general meeting on 
   August 11th.  The meeting was called to order by President 
   Wayne Homren.   After the attendees introduced themselves, 
   Vice President Tom Sheehan presented the following awards: 

      BEST ASYLUM ARTICLE OF 1999:  The winner was 
      Joel Orosz, for "Ad Hominem Ad Nauseam: The "Great 
      Debate" Between Michael Hodder & Theodore Buttrey", 
      published in the No. 3 issue.   Balloting was neck-and-neck 
      this year - the runner up by a single vote was  "The 
      Numismatist: The First Six Volumes: Where Are They 
      Now?" by David J. Sklow, also in the No. 3 issue. 
      Congratulations and thanks to our winner and all our 
      Asylum authors. 

      JACK COLLINS AWARD:  The Jack Collins Award for 
      Overall Contribution to Numismatic Literature,  established 
      in 1998, is given on an occasional basis to an individual 
      deemed to have made an important, lasting contribution to 
      the body of numismatic literature.  This year the award was 
      given to William Malkmus, for his long-running efforts to index 
      our journal, The Asylum.  Congratulations, and thanks again 
      for a job well done. 

   An informal auction was held to raise funds for our Society's 
   treasury.  About $1,000 was raised from donations by John 
   W. Adams, George Frederick Kolbe, Tom Sheehan, Bill 
   Swoger, Wayne Homren, Eric Newman, and Myron Xenos. 
   Many thanks to all our donors and bidders, as well as to Brad 
   Karoleff, who volunteered his auctioneering talents to call the 
   sale in professional fashion.  (More details on lots and prices 
   realized next week). 


   Many thanks also to the speakers who made presentations 
   this year: 

   At the general meeting W. David  Perkins spoke on "The 
   Ostheimers of Philadelphia and their Extraordinary Collection 
   of Silver Dollars". 

   At the Numismatic Literature Symposium later that afternoon, 
   NBS Board member Pete Smith spoke on books published 
   about the Philadelphia, and Eric Newman spoke about Beale 
   Bordley, one of the earliest authors on a numismatic topic in 
   the United States. 

   It's not too soon to start planning for next year.  If you'd like 
   to talk at an NBS event in Atlanta next year, or have any 
   suggestions for a topic or speaker, please let me know via 
   email at this address: 


   Also awarded at the ANA convention was The Aaron Feldman 
   Memorial Exhibit Award, established in 1991 by NBS with a 
   $3,000 endowment.  The award is given by the American 
   Numismatic Association to the best exhibit of numismatic 
   literature at their annual convention. The award is named in 
   honor of literature dealer Aaron Feldman, who has been 
   credited with "coining" the phrase, "Buy the book before the 

   This years' winners had not yet been made public when your 
   Editor left the convention - if you know the results,  please 
   let me know for publication in next week's E-Sylum.  One 
   planned exhibit failed to appear.  The remaining exhibits were: 

      "Building a Set of The Numismatist" - this exhibit 
      displayed the rare first six volumes, from the Paul 
      Fouts set. 

      "Auction Catalogs That Led Me to Collect Numismatic 
      Literature" - this exhibit displayed several interesting 
      U.S. auction catalogs, starting with the 1867 Mickley 
      sale by W. Elliot Woodward. 

   There was also a nice exhibit by Pete Smith in the Local 
   Interest category: "An Illustrated History of the Four 
   Mints at Philadelphia" - this exhibit highlighted literature 
   and ephemera about the different mint buildings in 
   Philadelphia over the years. 

   Several other exhibits in various categories included 
   numismatic literature or ephemera.  The overall quality of 
   the exhibits this year was excellent - an inspiration to 
   researchers and collectors alike. 


   Ronald S. Thompson writes: "I really enjoy the E-Sylum.  I look 
   forward to reading it each Monday.  However, I am quite 
   surprised at the continuing quality and interesting items that pop 
   up each week.  It is as if I read it each week expecting the 
   quality to drop off - but it doesn't!!   Now for my minor 

   Between my request to Dave Hirt and the E-Sylum notice 
   there was something lost in the transmission.  I am looking 
   for Volume II (not Volume I) No. 3 & 4 of the Asylum.  I am 
   willing to buy or trade for them.  I have an extra Volume I No. 
   1 as well as some other issues.  I can be reached at P.O. Box 
   1332, Summit,  NJ 07901 or at 

   [Editor's note:  Dave Hirt got it right - on rereading his note 
   I see that I'm the one who transposed the request.  Sorry!] 


   While the various remarks on the western gold bars 
   controversy have made for very interesting reading, 
   readers of The E-Sylum are encouraged to review the 
   literature for themselves.  Take the remarks of both sides 
   in context, and decide for yourselves.  Mr. Adams' 
   reading suggestions in The E-Sylum Vol 3, No 31 are 
   a good starting point.   To that your editor would add 
   the forthcoming book by Dan Owens and other references 
   cited in both Michael Hodder's and Prof. Buttrey's 
   articles (some of which are mentioned in The E-Sylum 
   Vol 3, No. 29). 


   New subscriber Mike Billings provided us with the following 
   background information:  "In the way of numismatics I consider 
   myself a generalist.  I like and deal in everything.  I do however 
   have a fondness for U.S. quarter dollars.  I am also very 
   interested in the area of Mexican Numismatics.  I am now 
   focusing on the rare keys of the 20th century.  But I am in no 
   way limited to any specific field.  I know a lot of folks 
   concentrate on a specific area.  Well, I do this for a while and 
   move on to other series, as I believe this gives me a broader 
   numismatic base. 

   As far as literature is concerned, I am currently assembling an 
   Eliasberg catalogue set although I like to collect any catalogues 
   of important numismatists or dealers of the past.  I like Mehl 
   although I don't own any of his catalogues yet. 

   I also frequent old book stores looking for out of print references. 
   I found some nice books just this past week as well as a large 
   series of Numismatists (incomplete) from as early as 1901-1948. 
   I bought approximately 100 issues.  I like any reference of 
   significance in the area of U.S. or Mexican numismatics and 
   related history.  I also like to read Dave Bowers. 

   I'm glad to be on board and look forward to an exciting future 
   in our hobby." 


   Dave Hirt brought with him to the convention a very rare 
   pamphlet titled "Something About Coins" by E. I. Barra, 
   San Francisco, 1863.  (See The E-Sylum: Volume 2, 
   Number 19:  May 9, 1999).   The pamphlet includes this 
   account of operations at the United States Branch Mint, 
   San Francisco (p16-17), and coincidentally, it discusses 
   the making of gold bars from bullion: 

   "Persons desirous of visiting the Mint can do so any day it is 
   in operation, between the hours of 9 and 12 o'clock in the 
   forenoon.  On making application at the door the visitor is 
   referred to the conductor, whose sole office it is to receive 
   and conduct those who wish to examine the Mint.  The visitor 
   is requested to sign his name in a register kept for that purpose, 
   and then is shown - first, into the weighing-room; here all the 
   gold and silver is received, weighed, and a receipt given to the 
   depositor.   Melting-room - In this room the gold is melted and 
   run into bars,  when it is taken into the chipping-room, where a 
   chip is taken from each bar for the purpose of assaying and 
   estimating its fineness; it is again melted, and two parts of silver 
   to one part of gold added; after it is thus mixed the liquid metal 
   is poured into water, which causes it to granulate.  The 
   granulation is put into porcelain pots, and the refining is done 
   by the use of nitric acid, which has no effect upon gold, while it 
   holds base metals and silver in solution, and the gold settles to 
   the bottom.  It is then thoroughly washed with water to free it 
   from acid, and placed in a hydraulic-press, where it is pressed 
   into cakes resembling cheese - it is again melted, and again 
   assayed, and sufficient copper mixed with it to bring it to the 
   American standard of 900 fine. It is then cast into ingots, and 
   rolled from ingots into bars, which are drawn into flat uniform 
   strips; from these strips are cut the planchets, which, although 
   cut as near uniform as possible, are not sufficiently so to obviate 
   the necessity of their being sent into the adjusting-room - here 
   each piece is weighed, and, if too heavy, it is filed down to the 
   standard, and, if too light, it is sent into the melting-room. The 
   adjusting is done by women.  After the planchets are adjusted 
   they are again sent into the annealing-room, and there prepared 
   for coining by being placed in copper boxes and put into the 
   furnace and brought to a red heat; they are then sent into the 
   coining-room and passed through the coining press, where 
   each piece receives the impressions on both sides at the same 
   time, and thereby becomes the coin of the United States of 
   America, which we all so much admire, and are so anxious 
   to be possessed of. 

   Money is proverbially called the root of all evil; with how 
   much correctness the writer will not attempt to question; 
   but will ask if it is the root of all evil, is it not the medium of 
   great amount of good? Money is the medium of exchange, 
   and without it the baker will not part with his bread, nor 
   the farmer with his wheat, and so on through all the 
   ramifications of trade, without its equivalent in some form no 
   man will part with his property, and the most compact, 
   convenient, and convertible form is money; consequently as 
   society is organized money is necessary to our existence. The 
   writer was shown through the Mint by the gentlemanly 
   conductor, who imparted all the information the nature of his 
   business would permit him to do, as there were other visitors 
   constantly arriving who had a claim upon his attention. - The 
   writer met a gentleman in the Mint who was once attached to 
   the Mint at New Orleans, at which time the writer had the 
   pleasure of forming his acquaintance.  From him much of the 
   information of the practical operations of the Mint was obtained, 
   and the obligation is herein gratefully acknowledged." 


   This week's featured web page is the ANA's "Circle of 
   Friends" project.  The page allows visitors to hear audio 
   recordings of interviews with numismatic personalities. 

   The currently available interviews are: 

      Chet Krause (1 hour, recorded November 19, 1998) 
      Ed Rochette (40 minutes, recorded November 30, 1998) 
      Marcella Sheldon (25 minutes, August 14, 1999) 

  Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a 
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic 
  literature.   For more information please see 
  our web site at 
  There is a membership application available on 
  the web site.  To join, print the application and 
  return it with your check to the address printed 
  on the application.   For those without web access, 
  contact Dave Hirt, NBS Secretary-Treasurer, 
  5911 Quinn Orchard Road, Frederick, MD 21704 

  (To be removed from this mailing list 
   write to me at   

PREV        NEXT        V3 2000 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web