The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 01, January 6, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have three new subscribers this week:  Ken Berger of
  San Diego, CA,  Lou Jordan (courtesy of Ray Williams),
  and Leslie Zeller (a returning subscriber).  Welcome!
  We lost four to email bounces, so our subscriber count
  is now 426.


  Don't forget the NBS Regional Membership Meeting
  at the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando, FL
  on Saturday,  January 12, 2002.   The meeting will be
  held from 11:00 am - 12:30pm in Room 231C.

  David Sklow is both host and speaker.  His topic is
  "Using the ANA's NUMISMATIST as a Research Tool"


  Numismatic Literature dealer Orville J. Grady of Omaha,
  NE writes: "My e-mail address has changed; it's now:


  Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books announces that its sale #62
  of numismatic literature is now available for viewing at the
  following web address:

  The 618-lot sale has a closing date of February 11, 2002.
  We hope that you will find some items of interest and please
  let me know if you have any questions regarding this sale or
  numismatic literature in general."  Fred's email address is


  NBS Vice President John Adams writes: "I have begun work
  on a monograph on the John Law medals.  The quality of
  previous efforts in this area has been excellent but, in the past
  ninety years much has changed and hence my interest.  The
  source material is in at least six languages but I have a good
  team lined up to help me on that front.

  Question for our readership: can you suggest source material
  beyond the obvious ones (Alexei, C.W. Betts, B. Betts,
  Medina, etc.), especially auction listings of multiple pieces and
  institutional holdings?  My thanks in advance - I am always
  stunned by the magnitude of the collective wisdom of Wayne's
  427 subscribers.


  Geoff Bell writes: "I am collecting books related to exhibitions
  with an emphasis on medals and their recipients. Often these
  exhibition histories include medal designs, winner lists, etc.
  These help me when researching medals bought for my
  collection. Examples of books would be:

     Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851
        (two vol. catalogue of exhibitors)
     Paris Exhibition of 1900
     Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876

  Perhaps our readers might have some ideas or sources of info."

  [Some web resources on the exhibitions are:


  From the January 3, 2002 Wall Street Journal:

  "On its first day of official business, the euro proved so
  popular on the streets that banks in some countries were
  overwhelmed.  Germans defied predictions of a grudging
  transition in Europe's largest economy by lining up to
  ditch their marks in such numbers that two branches of
  HVB Group had to temporarily close. In the Netherlands,
  there were postholiday bottlenecks at automated teller
  machines that had customers fuming in bitterly cold weather."

  "At Frankfurt's savings bank, the Frankfurter Sparkasse,
  400 employees from the head office were pulled in to help
  work the counters. At a branch across from the Frankfurt
  Stock Exchange, the line stretched through the lobby and
  out into a pedestrian zone. The scene was much the same
  at a Deutsche Bank branch in Frankfurt, where 73-year-old
  Gerda Beisinger was determined to surrender her last marks
  on only the second day of the euro. "We are part of Europe,"
  Ms. Beisinger said. "The U.S. has one currency, and now
  Europe does, too. We want Germany to be part of that."

  Euro-zone residents will be allowed to continue to use their
  national currencies through February. And for shopkeepers
  Wednesday, the challenges were to figure out how to
  calculate change in one currency for purchases made with
  another -- and in simply finding enough change to dispense.
  The Cafe Bonne Journee in the Madelaine subway station
  in Paris didn't have any small-denomination euro coins
  Wednesday morning, and salesperson Alem Baya was
  obliged to hand customers IOUs along with their croissants.
  The cafe lacked one-cent, two-cent and five-cent coins, so
  the IOUs were only for small amounts. "We were told it
  was forbidden to give change in francs," said Ms. Baya.
  "But it's not a problem because these are all regular

  Vicente Caballero, the owner of Felicisimo, a store in
  Madrid, said he went to the bank three times during the
  morning for euro change and still didn't have enough.
  "People are using small stores as if they were banks," he
  said. "A man just tried to pay for a chocolate worth 150
  pesetas with a 5,000-peseta bill and got mad because I
  wouldn't give him euro change."

  [The IOUs mentioned in the article are a true numismatic
  phenomenon, a last resort used in many societies when
  coin of the realm becomes scarce.  Their ephemeral
  nature makes them a very interesting artifact documenting
  the problems faced by individuals during the changeover
  period.  Have any of our European subscribers seen these
  in use?  Did anyone add them to their collections? -Editor]


  Joe Boling writes: "Regarding the featured web site last week:
  I didn't know the site maintained by Steve Feller was still operating.
  The correct International Bank Note Society web site is"

  [Sorry!  I found it with a search engine and didn't know there
   was a more up-to-date site.  -Editor]


  Bob Cochran writes: "Looks like Numismatic Literature
  continues to grow up.  Continued congratulations and
  thanks for all your efforts producing The E-Sylum -- I look
  forward to it every Sunday night.  Sometimes the topics and
  the content are above and beyond me, but I do appreciate
  the enthusiasm, tenacity and curiosity of my fellow NBS

  I also envy their abilities to somehow perform wonderful
  research - how do they find the time?!   Maybe I'll get the
  chance to find out, as I'm retiring at the end of October,
  after 29 years.  I hope to be able to do some research in
  Washington about the national bank notes and the banks
  which issued them.

  Looks like I'll be sharing a table with Tim Kyzivat (currency
  dealer from the Chicago area) at the Memphis International
  Paper Money Show again this year.  Had a great time last
  year buying and selling all kinds of U.S. paper money
  references, auction catalogs, price lists, etc.  I'm expecting
  a HUGE consignment of reference books, catalogs and
  other material from a well-known U.S. currency dealer.
  Should be fun AGAIN!"


  Continuing our discussions from last week, several subscribers
  recommended candidates for catalogs which are definitive
  references for their field.

  Fred Lake writes: "Oh how we suffer by lassitude!  I am late!
  I have to add my assurances to the nomination of the seven
  Grinnell sales by Barney Bluestone of paper money as the
  finest reference for a particular series, denomination or
  whatever. They are magnificent!"

  Nolan Mims writes: "On the subject of definitive auction
  catalogs, I nominate Currency Auctions of America's
  Cincinnati Signature Sale September 21-22, 2001 for
  Alabama obsolete currency.  It contains the Dr. Walter B.
  Jones collection and many of the notes were plate notes
  for the Rosene book on Alabama Obsolete Notes and Scrip
  while others were unlisted anywhere.

  Rich Hartzog writes: "Not coins, but my 1991 Auction catalog
  of Wisconsin Civil War Tokens included a separate catalog,
  with obverse and reverse photographs of every lot, a totally
  revised rarity guide for every variety, and articles."

  Denis Loring writes: "Top specialty catalogs for large cents:
  The first Robbie Brown sale, Superior 9/86, is the watershed.
  It was the first of the great Superior catalogs, leading on not
  only to Robinson 1/89, RSB II 1/96  and others for large
  cents, but also Trompeter and other specialist works. Best
  wishes for a healthy and happy 2002!"


  Darryl Atchison writes: "I was just re-reading The E-Sylum
  and noticed a fairly minor error that should be corrected.  In
  the submission by Carl Honore, of course he meant to say the
  bi-metallic two-dollar coin not a two-cent coin.  Canada has
  never had a two-cent coin.  If only for posterity's sake this
  correction should be noted."


  Granvyl Hulse writes: "I can say with a great deal of pleasure
  that Fred Pridmore and I were friends for many years. Before
  he retired from the Army I visited him at his home while he
  was on leave. I have never in my life have seen such beautiful
  specimens. I would guess that he had practically every coin
  he wrote about.

  I saw patterns sitting in individual cases something like those
  that held the old pocket watches.  The copper in some had
  turned to such a lovely shade of brown that one almost drooled
  when looking at them. What I remember the most about that
  meeting was his explaining to me that when he went overseas
  he locked his collection up in the attic, and then rented out his
  house. Can anyone visualize living under Ft. Knox with only a
  wooden door and a padlock between you and the gold?

  Fred started out in the British Army as an enlisted man and
  worked his way up to the rank of Major. He told me that he
  started collecting coins as a young boy.  When he thought that
  he had a fine collection he took them to an elderly man who
  was also a collector and asked his opinion of his (Fred's)
  collection. The gentleman went over the collection. Picked
  out about five or six coins that were in uncirculated condition,
  and told him to throw the rest out on the street. This made a
  lasting impression on Fred, and he went on to tell me that in
  later years he would go without lunch just to save up enough
  money to buy the one coin he wanted in uncirculated or proof.
  He was a dear man, a true gentleman, and I miss him."


  New subscriber Ken Berger writes: "I learned about the
  E-Sylum from the MPC Gram.   I am interested in anything
  that circulated in the U.S. & its territories/possessions
  (past or present) & had an official status of $1.00.  I am
  hoping that someday I will be able to compile a complete
  list of all these $1.00 coins & notes, so I am constantly
  looking for sources that may give me information.

  I have a fairly large collection of books & journals &
  articles on this topic.  For example, right now I am
  researching certain WWII overprints on certain WWII
  Philippine notes.  I am also trying to determine the
  exchange rate of Barter notes that were used by the
  US occupying forces in post-WWII Germany."


  Chet Dera writes: "Regarding my request for old Redbooks
  and Photo Grades/Brown and Dunns/ANA grading standards
  for a class I am giving to new coin collectors in February, Fred
  Lake graciously came through with twenty-eight Redbooks
  which he sent for the price of postage.  He has been a
  tremendous help with this project and I thank him from the
  bottom of my heart.

  I have had no sources of the above mentioned grading books.
  So I'm putting out the call once more.  I have five of my own,
  but that is not enough to be spread between twenty-five
  students.  So if anyone can give me any number of copies, I
  would be glad to pay the postage.  These books will not be
  sold.  They will be collected after the class and reused in the
  next one.

  I also would like to add to the Kudos expressed in the latest
  E-Sylum.  Good Job, Wayne!"


  Granvyl Hulse writes: "The Numismatics International Library
  catalog is now on the NI web site. I am now considering putting
  our index by author also on the site, but am not sure if such is
  worthwhile. Would E-Sylum readers find any value in having
  access to an index of authors?"   [The web address is  -Editor]


  An article published by the University of Michigan Press
  in their Journal of Electronic Publishing (Vol 7, No. 2)
  details the travails of an author trying to publish his scholarly
  monograph.  With such a small, focused audience it would
  never be a bestseller even by academic press standards.
  No publisher was interested.  But after some thought and
  legwork, the work was finally published electronically.
  But knowing that only a printed version could be counted
  on to survive for the ages, he looked at his options and
  discovered "Print on Demand", or POD.   The model may
  well turn out to be appropriate for specialty numismatic

  "So much for the here and now. I had arranged for anyone
  presently on the earth and in contact with a computer to
  get my book. But, I thought, what about the there and then?
  How were future generations of early Russian historians (if
  there are any future generations of early Russian historians)
  going to get my brilliant book?   The answer was as clear as
  day: I needed to get the book into a library, preferably a
  very big one, one that would outlive me and everybody else.
  Luckily, I work about 100 yards from one of the biggest
  libraries in the world -- Widener Memorial Library at Harvard
  University.  I marched right over to talk to the folks in charge
  about preserving my book for the ages.

  Much to my surprise, they said this would be no problem. If
  the printed book was available via POD, then they would
  simply purchase, catalogue, and put it in the stacks like any
  other book. The electronic version of the book could be
  stored as well. The kind librarians explained that research library
  consortia are investing significant resources in the development
  of standards for the storage, update, and retrieval of e-books.
  In the not too distant future, they said, libraries would have
  huge electronic stacks in which enormous numbers of e-books
  could be searched, viewed, and downloaded from anywhere
  a patron might be. In fact, Harvard's system for storing e-books
  is up and running.  All I needed to do was to send them the
  file and they would produce a universal catalog record for the
  book and store it on their servers. It is comforting to know that
  my book will be available to the reading public as long as
  Harvard University stands. Whether anybody will care to read
  is another, rather less cheerful matter.

  The Future is Now (Almost)

  Historians hate to make predictions, especially about the future.
  But you don't need to be Karnack to see the way the wind is
  blowing in monograph publishing. The old model -- big
  university press, big print run, big publicity campaign, big
  losses -- is deader than Elvis. It just isn't working for anyone.
  A new model is presently emerging, as I discovered (quite
  accidentally, I should add). It will be hybrid in character,
  combining the best of the new electronic and print media.
  Monographs are already born digital (unless you use a
  typewriter), and they will soon be delivered digitally to the
  particular audiences that need them.   The university presses
  may do this, or it may be done by scholarly societies, or even
  by individual scholars. Whatever the case, the e-monograph
  is on its way, so get ready to head to the digital library.

  Print, however, has its enduring charms and will not just go
  away.  POD technology will make it possible for those who
  love "real" books to buy them at reasonable prices.  Again,
  it isn't exactly certain who will sell POD books -- it may be
  (and for reasons of status, probably will be) the university
  presses, it may be scholarly societies, or it may be the lone
  wolf scholar. Whatever the case, in the future you will order
  monographs like hamburgers -- made to order especially
  for you. Have them your way."


  NBS Board member Joel Orosz forwards this article with
  more information on the Library of Congress' efforts to
  deacidify books.  It is from the AP wire, and was published
  in The New York Times January 1, 2002:

  WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (AP) - The Library of Congress,
  home to the world's largest collection of books, is working to
  preserve a million of them by removing the acid from their

  More than 150 years ago, papermakers started using
  chemicals that made their product acidic and thus more
  susceptible to decay. The use of wood pulp instead of rags
  as the basic material in paper made the problem worse, said
  Kenneth Harris, the library's director of preservation

  Thus, Mr. Harris has a plan to de-acidify about 8.5
  million of the library's 18.7 million books, a move that is
  intended to add hundreds of years to the life of the books.

  A five-year contract the library signed with Preservation
  Technologies L.P. of suburban Pittsburgh calls for treating
  150,000 books in the 12 months that began Nov. 1, at a cost
  of $2.3 million. The company has already processed 400,000
  books for the library.

  The company's process uses special cylindrical vats. In
  each vat, four books are held spine-to-spine on each of two
  circular shelves. That way, the books have room to open
  completely and a deacidifying liquid in the vat can reach
  every page. The liquid contains particles of magnesium
  oxide that neutralize the acid and leave a residue to
  continue the job.

  "It's a chalky white, like milk of magnesia," Mr. Harris

  After 25 minutes, the liquid is vacuumed out. In two hours,
  the books are dry.

  Since the 1970's, books from the United States and other
  industrialized countries have been printed in increasing
  numbers on alkaline paper that does not need treatment. But
  in poor countries, much paper is made the old way. About
  half of the 200,000 new books the Library of Congress
  receives each year from around the world will be candidates
  for deacidifying.

  Preservation Technologies will speed production from year
  to year. By the time the contract ends in 2005, the company
  intends to process 250,000 books annually, Mr. Harris said.
  It will also have processed at least five million sheets of

  Preservation Technologies has developed machinery for
  processing larger items than books - newspapers, maps,
  posters - and Mr. Harris said the machinery would be
  installed next year in one of the library's buildings on
  Capitol Hill.

  The library will train the company's staff to select books
  for treatment and ship them to the company's factory in
  Cranberry Township, Pa., outside Pittsburgh. The library's
  staff will maintain quality control over the process and
  make sure a record of the work on each volume is kept, Mr.
  Harris said."


  Several subscribers have expressed interest in a printed
  version of The E-Sylum.  A few of their comments follow.

  Alan Luedeking writes: "Count me in! Thus far, my only
  index is a series of colored tape flags (that fabulous invention),
  that poke out of my huge binder of hardcopy E-Sylums---
  Yes! I religiously print out each and every one as it comes,
  and file them once a month!"

  Nolan Mims writes "I have printouts from the time I started
  my subscription, but not the early issues. There is a lot of
  information found in each issue and I am constantly amazed
  at the comprehensive knowledge of the subscribers."

  Bruce Perdue writes: "Perhaps you could offer the last four
  years of the E-Sylum on a CD?  While I know that precludes
  the joy of holding the book and inhaling the smell which a
  new book has, it would make the archive searchable and
  very useful. Just a thought."


  This week's featured web site is written and maintained by
  new subscriber Lou Jordan at the University of Notre Dame.
  Lou is an associate editor of The Colonial Newsletter, and is
  working on a book, to be published during the first half of 2002
  called "Studies on John Hull and the Massachusetts Mint." It is
  being published by the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C-4).

  The site presently contains sections of U.S. colonial coins,
  currency, and Washington tokens, with upcoming sections
  on Confederate Currency and nineteenth century American

 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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