The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 18, April 29, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have four new subscribers this week:  Wayne Gordon 
   (courtesy of Bill Murray),  Jack Dempsey of Dempsey & 
   Baxter Coins, Erie,  PA., and two anonymous subscribers. 
   Welcome aboard!   Our subscriber count is now 375. 


   Paul Withers of Galata coins provides this book review: 

   "Tokens of the Industrial Revolution  Foreign Silver Coins 
   Countermarked for use in Great Britain, c.1787-1828." 
   Harrington E Manville.  327 pages + 55 plates.  20 x 27 cm. 
   Fully illustrated throughout.  London. 2001.  ISBN 
   1-902040-41-4  Published jointly by the British Numismatic 
   Society and Spink.  British Numismatic Society Special 
   Publication No. 3.  Price £40. 

   Mr. Manville is known to be a researcher par excellence. 
   His three volumes in the series Encyclopaedia of British 
   Numismatics give ample evidence of his efforts.  If you do 
   not know this series, it is time to get to know it.  We find all 
   three volumes wonderfully useful and they have saved us 
   considerable time and effort. 

   However, this new volume eclipses those and the one 
   criticism one could make is the title which is a little misleading 
   as the countermarks mainly occur on spanish colonial dollars 
   that were countermarked for use in Scotland - though it has 
   to be said that countermarks do appear on other pieces, 
   including bits of dollars, other tokens, and for locations other 
   than those in Scotland - and it is difficult to think of a catchy 
   title for the subject. 

   We have done a little research on a similar field - the copper 
   tokens of this period, which took two of us, working hard, for 
   about three years, following in the footsteps of Davis, so we 
   have an idea of the amount of work that has gone into this, the 
   hours that must have been spent in libraries, museums and other 
   institutions.  The blurb on the jacket says that the book took 
   about 35 years to write.  We can believe such a statement and 
   can only add that the fruit of such long and devoted research is 
   a book that is incredibly detailed and carefully and lovingly 

   The series is a difficult one.  The coins themselves are rare, 
   often extremely rare and there are forgeries - 'genuine' 
   counterfeits struck at the same time as the genuine countermarks 
   were applied, genuine countermarks on fake coins, fake 
   countermarks on fake coins struck at the same time as the 
   'official' issues, and of course, fakes made later for collectors 
   at various times from the early 1900s to much more modern 
   pieces, some of which have by now acquired sufficient 
   patination to look interesting and sufficiently decayed so as 
   to be dangerously deceptive to collectors who have not seen 
   them before.   These are largely identified with certainty, 
   precision and excellent enlarged photographs illustrate them. 

   However, one minor point of criticism - but then a good 
   reviewer must always find a minor point, even in the most 
   excellent of books, to prove that (a) he has read it, and (b) 
   he knows enough of the subject sufficiently well to make a 
   valid point :  in the section on Concoctions and Non-circulating 
   Counterstamps, on page 235, Manville writes 'S. H. Hamer 
   obtained the SUPPOSED (my capitalisation) original punches...' 
   In British Copper Tokens 1811-1820 we illustrate three 
   pairs of punches used to countermark Birmingham pennies, 
   and examination of a token counterstamped in 1906 by 
   Hamer shows that his concoction is in fact made with one of 
   these sets of genuine punches.  So, not supposed after all, 
   but the real thing - and now a respectable item associated 
   with one of the better-known collectors of the period and a 
   collector's item in its own right.  However, this is but a very 
   minor point, and it  does not detract more than an almost 
   imperceptible fraction from this wonderful tome. 

   These coins are so rare that we are unlikely to see any but 
   the most common, and even those in only small numbers, 
   but I would still want this book on my shelves as it is a 
   wonderful example of the researcher's art, and as an 
   inspiration.  This is a work that is monumental, 
   ground-breaking and definitive. 

   It is available from Galata, at 70 US dollars including postage. 


   Fred Lake reports: "Lake Books has entered our numismatic 
   literature mail-bid sale #58 on its web site at the following web 

   The sale is Part I of the numismatic library of Dr. R. J. Hubartt, 
   Jr. and encompasses all facets of this collecting field." 


   John and Nancy Wilson write: "We have always found it 
   difficult to explain to friends how to get on the Usenet group 
   rec.collecting.coin and also sites. 
   We receive information on new sites. After Google purchased 
   the rec.collecting sites we finally have a site you can click on 
   and go to.  If  use the link below you should be able to get 
   to the Google rec.collecting site.  When you are there just hit 
   the rec.collecting link for coins and paper money.  The site is 
   always interesting reading.   It is also great for posting messages 
   regarding our hobby or upcoming events.  Enjoy!" 


   Alan Luedeking writes: "In E-Sylum Vol. IV, Nos. 13 & 14, 
   Aaron Feldman's famous "Buy the Book  Before the Coin" 
   statement is traced to a first documented appearance in 
   1966. On the back cover of Al Almanzar's 1972 "Latin 
   American Numismatic Bibliography (Including the Caribbean)", 
   appears the following quote: 

   "C. Wilson Peck, who is often referred to as 'The Father of 
   British Numismatics', is quoted as having said: 'How do you 
   become a numismatist?  The first thing is to buy a book. I 
   would sooner spend five pounds on a good book than I 
   would on a coin.  Many people will not buy books. I cannot 
   understand them.'" 

   Does anyone know when he said this?" 


   After a year's hiatus, the ANA's World Series of Numismatics 
   quiz game will return at the the annual convention in Atlanta, 
   GA, on August 10, 2001, according to ANA Education 
   Director Gail Baker.  In a change of pace, the game will move 
   away from the traditional Jeopardy -style format.  In a letter to 
   WSN fans, she writes: "Five contestants will compete 
   answering a general  numismatic question to qualify for a 
   question in their chosen area of expertise.  Each contestant 
   may choose a partner who may be called upon to help, much 
   like the life-line on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.   ... The 
   changes are designed to bring more fun, audience participation, 
   and chance into the game and the contestants no longer have 
   to be walking numismatic encyclopedias to compete."   For 
   more  information, contact Gail at 


   Julie Larocque of  Banque du Canada writes: "I work in 
   terminology at the Bank of Canada and was wondering if 
   you could tell whether "Bank Note Reporters" and "Counterfeit 
   Detectors" have been translated into French.  Are both of them 
   publications or is the counterfeit detector a machine?" 

   Here's my initial reply; perhaps one of our readers has 
   something to add: 

   Both of the items you list are publications.  A "Counterfeit 
   Detector" is a book or periodical which assists the reader in 
   determining whether a bank note is genuine.  There were 
   big sellers in the 19th century when so many different types of 
   notes (both real and counterfeit) circulated. 

   A "Bank Note Reporter" is a book or periodical which lists 
   information about whether a bank which issued notes is still 
   in business.   These were also big sellers in the 19th century, 
   when so many banks were formed and dissolved before 
   their currency was redeemed.   Anyone stuck with a note 
   from a defunct bank is out of luck, and the Bank Note 
   Reporters could help individuals and merchants from making 
   a costly mistake. 

   I am not aware of any such publication which has been 
   translated to French or any other language.  These were 
   very useful, but short-lived items, usually only of use in the 
   country or region of publication.  However, there may well 
   exist Counterfeit Detectors and Bank Note Reporters 
   initially published in French in Canada. containing information 
   about Canadian banks. 


   An article by Dave Norris in the May 2001 issue of Bank 
   Note Reporter pictures an advertisement by "W. L. Ormsby, 
   Bank Note Engraver" in the November 1852 issue of 
   Banker's Magazine, announcing the publication of his book 
   on engraving (see The E-Sylum Volume 3, Number 49, 
   November 26, 2000 for more on Ormsby). 


   Saul Teichman writes: "Here is some neat stuff recently added 
   to the website that you don't see everyday: 

   I am working on getting additional images from the 
   Smithsonian,  Western Heritage Museum and Library 
   Company of Philadelphia.  We can also use images of 
   coins in the P5000 and P6000 series and any splasher 
   information available as this area is woefully inadequate 
   in all the reference works and also research articles for 
   the website. 

   Any help you can provide would be appreciated." 


   Dave Bowers writes: "Nice 'edition' this week. Concerning 
   deaccessioning, are you aware that the Library of Congress 
   "junked" many if not most of its 19th century newspapers and 
   a huge amount of filed copyright material relating to books, 
   prints, etc.? 

   About 20 to 25 years ago I noticed that quite a few bird's-eye 
   view lithographs of towns and cities, mostly printed circa the 
   1870s and 1880s when such things were immensely popular, 
   were coming on the market.  All bore the stamp of the Library 
   of Congress. I went to Washington and met with the person in 
   charge of deaccessioning such things and learned that anything 
   that he or his staff thought significant (e.g., Norman Rockwell 
   prints filed for copyright) were moved to a new facility in 
   Crystal City, VA. 

   He realized that much of the trashed stuff was very valuable, 
   but he said that to auction or dispose of it otherwise would 
   have involved inventorying it and placing it out for bids, which 
   he had neither the time nor the staff to do. It was easier to 
   throw it away.  However, local dealers in ephemera, etc., 
   were aware of the dispositions (how, was not stated) and 
   were on hand when things were thrown out. 

   In this way, second-hand, I acquired most of my 19th century 
   Mint Reports, a huge number of newspapers that interested 
   me (California Gold Rush era, certain eastern cities during the 
   Civil War, etc.), and so on. 

   Similarly, circa 1980 I acquired a large number of periodicals 
   from the New York Public Library, in the latter instance by 
   paying to have them microfilmed -- which ran into quite a few 
   tens of thousands of dollars." 

   Remy Bourne confirms the story about the Library of 
   Congress.  He writes: "Not all newspapers were purchased 
   from the libraries by newspaper dealers. Twenty years ago 
   when I was avidly collecting all numismatic related stories in 
   United States newspapers from the 1700's foreword, most 
   of the newspapers were literally "acquired" from the dumpsters 
   of The Library of Congress where they were thrown away 
   after being microfilmed.  This was related to me at the time 
   from the newspaper dealers I was doing business with." 


   Granvyl G. Hulse, Jr., Librarian, Numismatics International 
   writes:  "I am going to have to come to the defense of 
   microfilming, but I do so with some reluctance, and not for 
   obvious reasons. I have had to do newspaper research a 
   number of times in my life. The first that made the greatest 
   impression on me was when I started my series on medals 
   awarded to British soldiers during the American Revolution 
   for ANA's The Numismatist. 

   My first research was on the Battle of Germantown.  I was 
   in London at the time and received permission to enter the 
   North Reading Room of the British Museum to look through 
   their newspaper collection. I was thrilled, yet somewhat 
   appalled.  They placed in my hands bound originals almost 
   two hundred years old.  I turned the pages with great care. 
   Found what I wanted and departed. 

   In looking back over that adventure my though was - what 
   if others did not turn the pages with the same care and 
   reverence that I did and they were damaged; and, secondly, 
   how could anyone not living in London ever see the march 
   of history that I was able to?   Not being on microfilm they 
   would be un-available to anyone else outside of England. 

   The second research effort occurred just recently, and I only 
   had to go back to the early 20's.  Our weekly newspaper 
   suffered a fire about 40 years ago and all of their bound 
   copies were destroyed. Happily for my research, copies of 
   the paper had been sent to Concord.  If it were not for their 
   being microfilmed, the copies in Concord would never have 
   been seen by me, or anyone else, as the paper used was such 
   a poor grade that the library had to handle the pages like the 
   Dead Sea Scrolls to get them filmed.  If they had not been 
   microfilmed I would never have been able to see them, and 
   thus would not have found the information I was looking for. 

   I hate reading microfilm with a passion, and am living for the 
   day when the material will be transferred to CD disk for sale 
   to the public. But the advantage of microfilm, as any genealogist 
   who uses the Mormon libraries will tell you, is that writings and 
   records are readily available to anyone. 

   We can criticize the method used to microfilm, but we cannot 
   discount its advantage.  I would have to buy another fifteen 
   room house for storage space alone if I were to maintain hard 
   bound copies of the references I have needed for my research, 
   and supposing I had the only copy.   Like the Mona Lisa locked 
   away in some private vault to be viewed by only the owner, it 
   would do the rest of the world no good at all." 

   Hulse adds: "After I had sent my earlier commentary on 
   microfilming I looked over the sale of Ran Zander's library. 
   The third paragraph stood out, and supports my earlier view 
   of the importance of microfilming: 

   JAMES F. ELMEN Presents 
   Closing Date: 17 May 2001 

   For reading purposes, Ran found high quality bound xerox 
   copies to be most useful, as their use eliminates the fear of 
   damaging a rare and frequently fragile original text.  This 
   offering contains many of his "self-published" perfect bound 
   reprints, most of which are virtually unobtainable as originals. 
   Many of the volumes in the library contain Ran's book stamp, 
   marginal notations and written dedications from the authors. 
   Lots should be presumed to be used but in solid serviceable 
   condition unless otherwise indicated in the description.  Many 
   of the items are in the Russian language and are indicated as 
   such by have the title written first in Russian followed by an 
   English translation" 


   Dave Bowers notes correctly that "Sometimes materials suffer 
   when being held by institutions.  I recall visiting the NY Public 
   Library to review their periodicals in the 1970s, and ALL of the 
   Norman Rockwell covers on their Saturday Evening Posts had 
   been razored out.  Probably if they had been in private hands, 
   this would not have happened. 

   Often, a private person is a better custodian than is an institution. 

   I could tell many stories about such things, as I have been buying 
   deaccessioned periodicals for many years." 


   In response to Michael Marotta's query about aviator 
   numismatists, Steve Pellegrini writes:  "I have a feeling Michael 
   already knows about the Dec. '99 sale of the Dr. Otto Kallir 
   Collection in New York.  But if not, the Catalogue is probably 
   available from the auctioneer Paul Bosco and is available from 
   Scott  Loos.  This catalogue is so useful that it has never made 
   it to the bookshelf.  It stays out within reach. " 


   This week's featured web page is the photo gallery from 
   the web site of the Russian Numismatic Literature Club. 

   Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the 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.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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