The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 36, September 3, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  (Summer doldrums, 
   perhaps?)   Our subscriber count holds at 335.  If you know 
   of someone who would enjoy our publication, please encourage 
   them to subscribe. 


   The present issue is the 100th  E-Sylum issued since 
   we started on September 4th, 1998.  That issue 
   began as follows: 

   "This message is being sent to members and friends of the 
   Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS).  ... 

   In a Press Release going out soon to the numismatic press, 
   we describe the purpose of the mailing list as follows: 

       Numismatic Bibliomania Society Vice President Wayne 
       Homren is collecting email addresses for NBS 
       members,  a process which began at the national 
       meeting at the Portland  ANA convention.  The 
       resulting mailing list will be used to keep members and 
       interested parties updated on NBS events and  changes 
       to the NBS web site. ... 

      A number of folks signed up at the meeting in Portland. 
      To that initial group we've added the addresses of other 
      current and former members that the Board is aware of, 
      plus a few numismatic pen pals we thought might be 

      This is intended to be a moderated, low-volume mailing 
      list, with no more than one message every week or so. 
      Its purpose and use will evolve over time - please send 
      us your comments and suggestions." 

   Well, we've come a long way since then.  The newsletter 
   didn't even have a name until the February 8, 1999 issue, 
   when we announced: 

      "These email missives are in their sixth month now, but 
      they've never had a formal name.  To remedy that 
      situation, we've decided on "The E-sylum", an obvious 
      play on our print journal "The Asylum". " 

   The NBS Board had lengthy email deliberations about the 
   name before deciding on The E-Sylum.  We voted on a 
   list of about a dozen suggestions.  I believe E-Sylum was 
   my idea, but it was my second choice - I lobbied for 
   "The Babbler", that being what members of an Asylum 
   are wont to do.  But saner heads prevailed, and The 
   E-Sylum was born. 

   That first email message went to 49 people.  Less verbose 
   announcements were also sent to the COINS and 
   BIBLIONUMIS mailing lists, as well the the Early American 
   Coppers "Region 8" mailing list. 

   By noon subscription requests began arriving from around the 
   world.   Peter Gaspar of St. Louis, MO was the first.  Jere 
   Bacharach of the University of Washington in Seattle, was 
   second, with Dr. Hubert Emmerig of Austria a close third. 
   Over the course of the Labor Day weekend another twenty 
   people subscribed, mostly from the U.S., but from as far afield 
   as Italy, Poland, and the Russian Federation.  Today we 
   have grown to 335 subscribers. 

   We've far exceeded our original expectations.  The E-Sylum 
   serves not only as a vehicle to promote NBS and serve its 
   members, but has also become a clearinghouse of sorts for 
   numismatic research.  We're a community of kindred souls 
   who work together to further our numismatic knowledge. 
   It's always gratifying to see articles, monographs, and books 
   which credit The E-Sylum and its readers with inspiration and 
   research assistance.  It is the internet serving its highest 
   purpose -  bringing together people across geographic 
   boundaries, 24 hours a day.  We're in a place that didn't exist 
   for most people just a few years ago, and now most of us don't 
   know how we ever muddled along without it. 

   I'll have to admit, I was wary of being able to come  up with 
   enough material to fill a weekly publication, although that was 
   always my goal.   It's never easy, but some issues almost 
   write themselves with the help of our readers.   So keep those 
   emails coming, folks -  you're the backbone of The E-Sylum, 
   and your editor couldn't do it without you. 


   Fred Lake reports: "Lake Books has made its latest sale of 
   numismatic literature available for viewing on the web. The 
   640-lot catalog features books on a variety of United States 
   coinage and also is replete with works pertaining to coinage 
   of the Ancient World to more modern world coins. The section 
   dealing with Tokens and Medals has nearly 100 entries and 
   contains some hard-to-find books. 

   Other areas covered are Paper Money, U.S. auction catalogs, 
   World auction catalogs, Numismatic Literature Dealer catalogs 
   and a variety of miscellaneous items. 

   The catalog can be viewed at this address: or you can email 
   me at for more information. 

   A new Fixed Price List of over 200 items is also posted on 
   the web site." 


   Our print journal, The Asylum, got some publicity with 
   a nice article in the September 11, 2000 issue of COIN 
   WORLD (p68).  It summarized the two articles from the 
   Spring 2000 issue on Burns' Coinage of Scotland and 
   Samuel Breck.  Editor Tom Fort is preparing the next 
   number of The Asylum.  The issue will feature several 
   interesting shorter articles from a variety of contributors. 


   Dave Lange writes: "Until I moved to New Jersey in 1994, I 
   lived in San Bruno within a mile of the Pacific Region Archives. 
   One would think that I'd have taken the time to visit there 
   looking for records of the SF Mint, but of course I didn't.  I 
   suppose that's the same mentality that precluded my seeing 
   Yosemite while I lived in California.  I'm now doing my very 
   best to avoid taking advantage of New York's many museums 
   and tourist attractions. I suppose that's the price we pay for 
   spending so much time reading! 

   A web search turned up this entry at the Oakland Museum 
   of California: 

   Anyone contemplating a visit to San Francisco should absolutely 
   include a day at the Oakland Museum, just across the bay. In 
   addition to its fine art collection, this is the real repository of 
   California's history, far more so than any museum in SF. One 
   is able to go from room to room with dioramas and artifacts 
   illustrating the social and economic history of the state from 
   native times to the present. The Oakland Museum also has a 
   pretty good bookstore." 


   To add to his earlier comments on the pamphlet by E. I. Barra, 
   Dave Bowers writes: "Here is the citation on Barra's book. 
   There is hardly anything in it about the Gold Rush (I read it), 
   but a lot of stuff about life at sea and in ports. Well written. 

   Barra, E.I. Tale of Two Oceans; New Story by an Old 
   Californian. San Francisco, CA: Press of Eastman & Co., 1893. 

   I would be desirous of communicating with anyone who has any 
   contemporary information 1849-1857 concerning the actual use, 
   and described as such, of $50 slugs, bars, gold coins, etc., in 
   gambling halls, stores, etc., in California.  I have gathered quite a 

   few, some of which are quite fascinating, but I would like to get 
   more. The "payment" will be a credit line in a new book I and a 
   bunch of researchers are working on re: the S.S. Central America, 
   with emphasis on the numismatic aspects." 

   The Library of Congress web site provides this information: 
   "Barra, E. I. (Ezekiel I.)  A tale of two oceans : a new story by 
   an old Californian : an account of a voyage from Philadelphia to 
   San Francisco, around Cape Horn, years 1849-50, calling at Rio 
   de Janeiro, Brazil, and at Juan Fernandez, in the South Pacific / 
    by E.I. Barra. San Francisco : Press of Eastman & Co., 1893. 
   198 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.  (See 

   Another web search turned up a reference to this book: 
   Weinpahl, ed. A Gold Rush Voyage on the Bark Orion from 
   Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco, 1849-1850. A 
   unique record based upon the journals of Foster H. Jenkins, 
   Henry S. Bradley, Seth Draper and Ezekial I. Barra. 1978. 

   So we have a few more clues about the no-longer-so- 
   mysterious E. I. Barra.   His first name was Ezekiel, he was 
   an adult by 1849, probably living in Philadelphia.  He sailed to 
   California to seek his fortune.  He visited the San Francisco 
   Mint and published "Something About Coins" in 1863, and 
   sold coins in the Keller sale that year, also in San Francisco. 
   It seems very likely that he was living that city, perhaps having 
   stayed from his arrival in the Gold Rush.  He lived in California 
   at least to 1893, when he published his memoir. 

   NBS Secretary-Treasurer Dave Hirt notes that the Keller 
   sale of Barra's collection is probably the earliest numismatic 
   auction held on the West Coast. 


   In the "be careful what you ask for" department, we have this 
   note from Pete Smith on Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus Elmer: 

   "The book that immediately comes to mind is,  "History of the 
   Early Settlement of Cumberland County, New Jersey, and of 
   the Currency of this and Adjoining Colonies."  He wrote other 
   works on the law and New Jersey including, "Elmer's Digest 
   of the Laws of New Jersey,"  Elmer's Book of Law Forms," 
   "Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar of New Jersey," "History 
   of the Constitutional Government of New Jersey with 
   Biographical Sketches of the Governors from 1776 until 1845" 
   and "Genealogy and Biographical Account of the Elmer Family" 

   Elmer was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on February 3, 1793, 
   the son of Revolutionary War officer Ebenezer Elmer and 
   Hannah Seely. He served as an officer during the War of 1812. 
   He was a lawyer practicing in Bridgeton until he got involved in 
   politics. As a democrat he served in the state assembly, State 
   Attorney General, Congressman, and Justice of the New Jersey 
   Supreme Court. He died at Bridgeton on March 11, 1883." 

   The first book Pete mentioned,  "History of the Early Settlement 
   of Cumberland County, New Jersey, and of the Currency of this 
   and Adjoining Colonies," is the one we had in mind.  The scarce 
   1869 work has one chapter on Continental and Colonial 
   Currency as it circulated in New Jersey.  It was reprinted in 
   1976 by the Cumberland County Historical Society. 

   Interestingly, Pete added: "First, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus 
   Elmer is more than just a funny name. The original Lucius 
   Quintius Cincinnatus was the Roman personification of 
   citizen-soldier who left the farm to serve his country in time 
   of crisis and, when the crisis was over, resigned to return to 
   the farm. 

   He was chosen as the symbol for the Society of Cincinnati, a 
   veteran's organization for American Revolutionary War officers. 
   In naming his son, General Ebenezer Elmer paid tribute to the 
   noble Roman and to his former comrades-in-arms. 

   And second, for several years I have been writing a genealogy 
   of the Eckfeldt family showing their connection by marriage to 
   the DuBois, Patterson, Ewing and Gallatin families. My 
   manuscript of more than 150 pages includes about 2500 names. 
   Lucius Elmer's grandparents had the last names of Elmer, 
   Lawrence, Seeley and Fithian. All those names appear in my 
   genealogy and represent intermarriages with the Ewing family. 
   I have found one connection: Lucius' cousin Harriet Seeley 
   married William Belford Ewing, a second cousin of Thomas 
   Ewing, who was Secretary of the Treasury.  There are many 
   intermarriages of the same families so the relationships can get 
   to be complex.  This has no numismatic importance but 
   represents the type of obsessive search I sometimes do while 
   following a research thread." 


   This week's featured web site is from The United States 
   Civil War Center at Louisiana State University.  It's an 
   online exhibit titled "Beyond Face Value: Depictions of 
   Slavery in Confederate Currency" (Thanks to John Wilson 
   for pointing this one out). 

  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   

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