The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V3 2000 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 46, November 5, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week: Mike Baxter and 
   Vince Lacariere.  Welcome aboard!   This brings our 
   subscriber count to 350, a new milestone. 


   The October 2000 Price List #3 is available from literature 
   dealer Karl Moulton.  The 22-page list features catalogs 
   and periodicals at least 55 years old.  Karl may be reached 
   at this email address: 


   The Lake Books sale #55 of numismatic literature, closing 
   December 5, 2000, is available for viewing at the firm's 
   web site: 

   Fred Lake writes: "The sale contains 640 lots covering the 
   broad expanse of numismatics.  Many hard-to-find volumes 
   are contained in the catalog's 24 pages, including the 
   Breen/Gillio book on California gold, an autographed Breen 
   "Encyclopedia", a signed Ted Naftzger sale by New 
   Netherlands, a signed Buddy Ebsen sale by Superior with 
   extra photographic plates, Dr. George French's personal 
   copy of Frossard and Hays on the "Cents of 1794", Sutherland 
   on "Roman Coins", special editions of "The Redbook", and 
   many other unique items." 


   After reading a note about the new Breen Large Cent book 
   in the EAC Region 8 newsletter, your editor quickly dashed 
   off a note to Mark Borchardt for confirmation.  His response: 

   "New travels fast. I'll bet a report from Saturday would not 
   have reached another desk by Sunday evening back in 
   Thomas Cleneay's day. 

   Yes, the large cent book is finished and on the way to the 
   printer.  The book has come in at 895 pages with the retail 
   price just over 10 cents per page. 

   Regular Hardbound edition is $89.95. Pre-publication price 
   is $65.00  Deluxe Hardbound edition is $149.95. Pre- 
   publication is $105.00  Add $5.00 shipping for each. 

   There will also be a leather bound presentation copy priced 
   at $325.00 with a pre-publication price of $235.00. This 
   edition will be numbered and available on a subscription 
   basis limited to orders received prior to 12/31/2000." 

   [According to an ad on p7 of the November 13th issue 
   of COIN WORLD, "Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of 
   Early United States Large Cents 1793-1814" can be 
   ordered calling 1-800-222-5993 or by email to this 
   address: -Editor] 


   The long-awaited book by Dan Owens on "California 
   Coiners and Assayers", also published by Bowers and 
   Merena ("A Collector's Universe Company") in 
   conjunction with Stack's, began shipping last week. 
   The importance of the 448-page book is noted in the 
   Introduction by Q. David Bowers: 

   "Every so often in numismatics a work is published 
   that breaks new ground.  After much unceasing, 
   unstinting effort involving travel, correspondence, 
   and other communications, and delving into 
   long-forgotten directories and archives, Dan Owens 
   has created a master work which will be used in the 
   future as a source and standard reference.  Now, 
   for the first time in numismatic and western history, 
   in one encyclopedic dictionary is told the story of 
   coiners, assayers, and others who created gold in the 
   form of coins and ingots, for use in commerce during 
   one of the most pivotal eras of American history." 


   Carl Honore writes: "the piece on lead weights this week was 
   quite interesting.  It is also interesting to note that the one and 
   two penny cartwheel copper pieces of 1797 were also used 
   as weights in England, so precisely were they made. 

   Boulton heretofore had boasted on his Cornish halfpenny token 
   of 1794 that each piece contained "one half ounce of Cornish 
   Copper", and so they did ... each and every one.  Well the 
   standard was set ... the cartwheels were too bulky to be used 
   in everyday business transactions so were put to use as 


   David Lange writes: "In reference to the CSA half dollar and 
   the ANS' ownership of one, I recently went to the society's 
   headquarters with the expectation of viewing this piece.  I 
   suppose I should have specified in advance what I wanted to 
   see, as this coin and the other major rarities in its collection 
   are stored offsite in a bank vault.  I can understand why this 
   is the case, but it really took the wind out of my sails. 

   I did go through all the trays of colonial and early federal 
   coins, but in most instances the more desirable pieces were 
   represented by replicas or photographs.  What is available for 
   viewing would make for a nice amateur collection, but I didn't 
   really see anything that I don't get to see in a typical year 
   working at NGC. 

   Let's hope that when its new building is ready for occupation 
   the ANS will be able to mount its rarities for public viewing. 
   I believe that's one of its goals in relocating." 


   On p18 of his current literature price list,  Karl Moulton 
   describes an article from the January, 1907 issue of The 
   Numismatist: "One of the more interesting passages in this 
   particular issue is titled, "Oldest Coin Collection Recorded 
   in the U.S."  It outlines extracts from the diary of Reverend 
   William Bentley who, it would appear, was the very first 
   coin dealer in this country.  His main customer was Judge 
   James Winthrop.  He sold Judge Winthrop Swedish Plate 
   Money on August 26th, 1787.  Later, on October 23, 
   1795, he created the earliest catalogue of coins of Mr. 
   Samuel Curwin's collection for Mr. Winthrop.  This 
   catalogue far outdistances the 1828 Watkin's broadside 
   listed by Attinelli.  As numismatic bibliophiles, we should 
   endeavor to obtain a copy of this significant milestone 

   [Editor's note:  Bentley's diary is quoted in Bowers' 
   "American Numismatics before the Civil War".  A web 
   search turned up one reference to Curwin - his unabridged 
   journals.  If this is the same Curwin, perhaps a reading of his 
   journals will yield further clues about his coin collection. 

     Oliver, Andrew (ed.). The Journal of Samuel Curwin, 
     Loyalist. Cambridge; published by the Harvard 
     University Press for the Essex Institute:1972. The 
     unabridged journals of the Salem merchant who fled 
     America after being harassed for his Loyalist activities. 
     2 volumes. 6.5"x9.5", 1083 pages, b&w illustrations] 


   In response to the question about Anne Bingham, Andrew 
   Pollack referred Mr. Goldsborough to the papers of 
   William Bingham (1752-1804) in the collections of the 
   Broome County Historical Society, Roberson Center, 
   Binghamton, NY. 


   Dick Johnson writes: "Collecting coin albums, cloth mint bags, 
   bank deposit slips and other such peripheral money items is a 
   tacit expression that we are moving away from our "core" 
   interests. (I am never one to criticize what another collector 
   assembles as I have gathered some esoteric items myself in the 
   past, so I am not casting any stones from my glass house!). 
   But aren't we numismatists moving in the wrong direction? 

   Question:  What one denominator is common to all coins, 
   medals, tokens and paper money?  What is the one basic 
   CORE subject common to all numismatics?  What should we 
   know more about than any other in the field of numismatics 
   (and perhaps don't)?  Answer: Engraving. Yet how many 
   books, articles, numismatic writing have you seen (ever!) on 
   engraving? Shouldn't we be learning more about engraving 
   as a precept for all numismatic understanding? 

   Yet it is not easy researching engraving.  I have talked with 
   and interviewed both hand and machine engravers, those that 
   worked for Medallic Art when I worked there also, and 
   outside engravers.  I learned a little about their tools and 
   techniques but nothing about the history of engraving. 
   Engravers are craftsmen that can carve a little metal but 
   have little feeling for their heritage. One told me in his entire 
   lifetime he found only one book on engraving; "But it was in 
   German and I couldn't read it!" 

   Most books on engraving discuss the flat engraving for 
   printing. To distinguish this from die engraving for coins and 
   medals some call this "die sinking."  So I checked a number 
   of websites recently for both terms:   On eBay: no books, 
   3 pieces of equipment for die sinking, 3,625 entries on 
   engraving.  On Barns & Noble: 1 new book, 1 old on die 
   sinking, 337 and 7,747 for engraving.   On Yahoo: 9 entries 
   on die sinking, 382 on engraving.  On Abebooks: 1 on die 
   sinking, 14,661 on engraving.  On Google: 102,000 entries 
   on die sinking, 239,000 on engraving.  Not one book of 
   numismatic interest! 

   At ANS's Library Catalog I found 5 entries on die sinking: 
   two on die sinking errors, one on Anglo-Saxon, one on 
   Lauer -- a catalog from the German die sinking firm -- and 
   one on artistic die sinking in 1898.  I must admit I had read 
   none of the articles (but do own two copies of the Lauer 
   catalog listed, but do not consider this a source of information 
   on numismatic die sinking). 

   Point of all this:  I am concerned where we are headed. 
   Aren't we chasing a wider spreading ripple of peripheral 
   artifacts of questionable value when we should become more 
   knowledgeable about an important core interest, such as 
   engraving?  Is this the direction we want numismatics to go?" 


   From the AP newswire, as published in a local newspaper 
   November 4, 2000:  "Federal authorities yesterday 
   charged a Utah auto mechanic with trying to cash a bogus 
   $100 million Federal Reserve bearer bond allegedly issued 
   in 1934.  Prosecutors said the Federal Reserve never 
   issued any note in a denomination greater than $1 million..." 


   This week's featured web page is a new addition to the NBS 
   web site - John Bergman's instructions on how to pack books, 
   taken from his web site. 

   Jim Bergman writes: "I did get to read some of the messages 
   that were in the E-Sylum and it did my heart good to see how 
   much people liked my father. He was truly a good guy. 
   Anyway, there would be nothing my father would have liked 
   more than to have as many people as possible read and 
   follow his instructions on the proper techniques for packing 
   books. Feel free to reprint that article in any form either 
   printed or electronic." 

  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