The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 08, February 17, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have one new subscriber this week: D. Heffner of
  Scotch Plains, NJ.   Welcome aboard!   Our subscriber
  count is now 430.


  Regarding the special issue about ANS Librarian Geoff
  North, Dick Johnson writes: "What a nice guy!  I well
  remember him.  Often, when I lived in White Plains and
  he lived nearby, he would pick me and I would ride into
  New York with him to spend a Saturday at the ANS.
  The numismatic book conversations were exceptional!
  He was gentleman and always willing to share his
  knowledge and wisdom."


  Tom DeLorey writes: "A recent Coin World carried a
  dreadful story about a shipment of collectible bank notes
  being damaged by the irradiation discussed in last week's
  Library of Congress item.   Have any NBS members
  experienced similar damage to books being sent through
  the mail?  All things considered, this is probably not a
  good time to be mailing books.


  Bob Lyall writes that he has received a response from his
  email to the Library of Congress:

  "Dear Sir: This is in response to your query regarding the
  Directorio Nacional de Honduras.  First, though, I would
  like to tell you that we indeed are not receiving mail from
  the outside.  Your November letter never got to us.

 We have searched for your title and could not find it, even
  though it appears in the record.  We have consulted with
  other colleagues and they too, were unable to find it.
  There is one old record which indicates that we had
  received the year 1899, but it is not found in the place
  indicated in it.  It also seems that 1899 was the only
  year we ever received.

  Hispanic Division"

  [This confirms the suspicion that anthrax fears have derailed
  mail communications with the LOC.  Even worse, the
  trail runs cold in Bob's search for a copy of the directory.
  Any further help or suggestions would be appreciated.
  -Editor ]


  ANA Museum Curator Lawrence Lee (formerly curator of
  the Byron Reed Collection) writes: "Carl Honore raised the
  question of the Parmelee plated coins and how they may or
  may not have shown up in subsequent auctions.  It may interest
  Mr. Honore to know that Omaha realtor Byron Reed was one
  of the heaviest buyers at the Parmelee sale of 1890, purchasing
  at least 105 lots from the Boston bean merchant's collection.
  These included seven plated coins (Lot 38, Plate 3, 1839 half
  dollar pattern; Lot 305, Plate 3, Mass. oak tree shilling; Lot
  344, Plate 4, Mass. pine tree shilling; Lot 724, Plate 7, 1796
  half dollar w/ 16 stars; Lot 733, Plate 9, 1796 half cent, Lot
  817, Plate 8, 1804 dollar and Lot 951, Plate 12, 1824 half

  The interesting thing is that three of the plated Parmelee coins
  (the 1796 half dollar, the 1796 half cent and the 1824 half
  eagle) in the Reed Collection were among those subsequently
  sold in the 1996 sale of portions of the Reed collection without
  being attributed to Parmelee. Other unplated Parmelee coins
  (such as the 1795 heraldic reverse half eagle and the 1797 half
  eagle with 16 stars) were also sold in 1996 without a pedigreed
  reference to the Parmelee Collection.  So several lucky bidders
  out there have Parmelee coins without even being aware of it!"


  Dick Johnson writes: "Ed Krivoniak is 100% right! When you
  remove lacquer from a coin or medal you then have a metal
  surface called ACTIVATED SURFACE.  It is extremely
  susceptible to toning. You must do something to the surface
  (relacquer or artificially tone) or it will tone on its own starting
  in about two weeks.  This subsequent toning is more artificial
 looking (and usually unattractive) than before.

  Also I learned something new from Ed Krivoniak: use of
  nose oil to remove hairlines on a coin's surface.  The use of
  nose oil is also one of the most important techniques of wax
  modeling. When artists do modeling in wax they use a tool
  called a BOASTER. The world's best lubricant for this
  boaster is nose oil.  I have watched wax modelers (there are
  more in the jewelry manufacturing field than in the medallic
  field, however) to see them constantly rub the boaster
  alongside their nose (the truncation between nose and cheek
  is the best place). The oil makes the boaster's use a smoother

  One such wax modeler revealed to me he had been doing
  this for 20 years and he found that the more he does it
  every day the more oil is released by the human body. The
  rubbing of the boaster against the skin triggers the oil glands
  in the nose to release the oil -- in just the right amount!  Also,
  he told me, when he stops (weekends, vacations) the glands
  revert to normal."


  Eric Newman writes: "In response to the inquiry of Paul
  Schultz in The E-Sylum of Feb.10, 2002 concerning the place
  of minting of Vermont coinage, you probably have many
  subscribers answering.  I believe that the date of the contract
  between the Vermont coiners and the Machins Mills group,
  the full contract being set forth in full in Crosby (original is at
  ANS), eliminates the earlier Vermont sun and mountain
  coinage as being struck at Machins Mills.  There is also "A
  Recently Discovered Coin Solves a Vermont Numismatic
  Enigma" published in the ANS Centennial Volume in 1958
  which originally comments on certain particulars of this

  Ray Williams writes: "The Vermont coins were not the only
  State Coinage with a plow in the design.  The NJ Coppers
  also had one prominently positioned under the horses head
  on the obverse.  There is much debate among NJ Copper
  collectors as to where certain varieties were minted.  The
  popular belief of most is that the "Camel Head" NJ Coppers
  (Maris 56-n, 57-n & 58-n) were minted in Newburgh NY.
  There are others that feel all NJ varieties were minted within
  New Jersey.

  I don't think that the Machin's connection to minting NJ
  Coppers has been settled one way or the other, BUT why
  would Machin not mint NJ's which would circulate at a
  much higher value than all other coppers at the time?  There
  have been connections to the different mints by die punch
  connections, but again the relevance of this has been debated
  also.  What is for certain though, is that there is much research
  still to be done in pre-Federal coinage.  If you'd like more
  information about Vermonts, I could put you in touch with
  Tony Carlotto, who has written the most recent work on VT

  The Colonial Coin Collectors Club now has a web site up at and we hope to be adding to it
  in the future.  C4 is a group of enthusiasts that collect and
  study pre-Federal coinage.  If there are subscribers to The
  E-Sylum who have questions about "colonial" coins or
  publications about them, I'd be more than happy to assist
  anyone who wants to email me. My email address is:"


  Our newest subscriber writes about how he learned about The
  E-Sylum: "A member of the Summit/Chatam  coin club brought
  a flyer in with him and passed it out to the membership.  I
  collect all U.S. coins.  I prefer Morgan Dollars in higher grades
  .....  I live in Scotch Plains.  I been a member of the above stated
  coin club for 20 years...."

  [Many thanks to our mystery recruiter!   E-Sylum subscribers
  our our best source of new subscribers, so please consider
  following our friend's example and help promote NBS and
  The E-Sylum.  -Editor]


  Bill Murray writes: "Numismatic literature sources often
  surprise.  A case in point occurred recently when I was
  offered the January issue of Military Medicine, the scholarly
  journal of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United
  States, by a neighbor who said he thought it had an article
  of interest to me.  Military Medicine?  But he was right.
  Military Medicine is a journal dedicated to scientific medical
  papers and case reports.  The lead article in this issue, by
  Major General John Pearn, former Surgeon General of the
  Australian Defence Force, carried the title, ?Militares Medici
  in Nummis Repraesentati:  The Heritage of Military Medicine
  in Coins and Medals.?

  Not only did MG Pearn?s article interest me, but his 46
  references, a number not unusual in a scholarly publication,
  included some I consider worthy of  attempting to locate
  (another project!).  Not surprisingly Australian and English
  documentation comprised most of his list, though he quoted
  some United States? sources.  It did surprise that Horatio
  Storer?s Medicina in Nummis did not appear.

  Pearn begins with a discussion of numismatics in general
  to introduce his non-numismatic readers to the value of
  numismatics as an historical source.  Then, relating numismatics
  to the history of medicine, he documents numismatic sources in
 ancient sources, Hygeia the Greek goddess of health and her
  ?Roman successor, Salus? as well other ancient and later
  coin types.

  He tells us, ?One classification of medical numismatics has
  grouped such medals and coins into several classes.  In the
  context of medical numismatics, these can be characterized
  as four groups:

  (1) medals portraying medical doctors;
  (2) medals highlighting the discipline of military health;
  (3) military medical coins; and
  (4) miscellaneous themes in military medicine.?

  The bulk of the article presents examples of the four classes
  with a selection of illustrative photographs.  As indicated at
  the outset, numismatic information appears in strange places,
  but it is good to have friends who know about your interests."


  E. Tomlinson Fort writes: "Recently I acquired the DVD
  set of the first season my favourite TV show  -- Buffy the
  Vampire Slayer [Those snobs among you may laugh, but
  the show is regularly rated on TV critics' top 10 lists, and
  once you try it for a couple of episodes you will find yourself
  quickly hooked. New episodes are on Tuesday nights on
  UPN, the repeats are on FX weeknights].

  At any rate, the episode "I Robot ... You Jane" involves a
  demon known as Moloch the Corrupter who seduces
  innocent young teenagers to become his followers and do
  his bidding with promises of power and/or love. Naturally,
  after the followers have served their purpose he destroys
  them.   Moloch is a soulless demon, after all.

  At the beginning of the show Moloch is imprisoned in a
  book in the early fourteenth century.  He cannot be freed
  unless the book is read.

  In the late 20th century the book is scanned into a computer
  (the person doing the scanning does not know what the book
  is) and finds himself on the internet where through email he
  "seduces" some of the lonely computer Geeks at Sunnydale
  High School and a failed computer start-up to become his

  Naturally, Buffy and the rest of Scoobies rid the beast from
  the machine and end his brief reign of terror. By using a spell
  from another book, they are able to get him out of the
  internet to the physical world where Buffy can pulverize
  him.  But, the episode points to one of the show's constant
  themes, that books can contain powerful ideas (though in this
  case ones that are not always good) and that by reading them
  one gains knowledge that can often be of great help."


  Tom Fort adds: "While taking a break from the next issue
  of The Asylum (it should be in our proof readers' hands by
  the time you read this), I came across the following article
  by a young scholar who is editing an unpublished book on
  Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien.

  I thought that I had problems dealing with some living
  authors but Michael Drout must know how Buffy the
  Vampire-Slayer feels when it comes to handling the dead
  (or at least their fans and/or estates).  The very amusing
  essay can be found here:

  Go to, then hit the
  Features link followed by Medieval Academy News Articles
  link;  the articles are listed alphabetically by author."

  [Editor:  The direct link is:]


  In the Question and Answer Forum section of the latest
  Rare Coin Review from Bowers and Merena Galleries
  (RCR #145, p8),  a letter from H.J.M. asks  "I notice
  that two terms have crept into your book titles, sylloge
  and catalogue raisonne.  What do these mean?   I have
  consulted two dictionaries and neither lists sylloge,
  although catalogue raisonne refers to a description or
  catalogue of art work, with technical notes."

  The reply:
  "The word sylloge has been used here and there in numismatics
  and generally describes a listing of coins, tokens, or medals
  annotated with information.  Such notes can include weight,
  diameter, rarity, cross references to other citations, etc. When
  I thought of this term in connection with the book I did (with
  much help from others) on the Bass Collection, I was inspired
  by Cory Gillilland's excellent text,  "Sylloge of the United States
  Holdings in the National Numismatic Collection of the
  Smithsonian Institution. Volume 1: Gold Coins, 1785-1834",
  published in 1992.   Our staff and the Harry W. Bass, Jr.
  Foundation called it the sylloge (pronounced: "sillogee" with
  the "gee" as "gea" in "gear").

  The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Museum Sylloge, as it was eventually
  titled, is thus in good etymological company, right along with
  the Gillilland title and, to mention just one of many other
  possibilities, "Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles" (multiple
  volumes, sold by Spink in London).

  My interpretation of catalogue raisonne in numismatics is a
  catalogue that would be definitive for a given series, life
  work, or specialty.   I suppose this would be appropriate
  for the Breen Encyclopedia volumes on 1793-1857 half
  cents and 1793-1814 cents, or Tony Carlotto's text on
  1785-1788 Vermont coppers, to mention just three of
  many examples. A catalogue raisonne would give just
  about all the historical and technical information available
  concerning a specialty, except that market prices,
  anecdotes, and casual commentaries might not be included."


  From Time magazine's Asia edition comes this article from
  Yufuin, China:

  "Recession-ravaged residents of this tiny hot-springs town
  found a way to improve their standard of living. Stuck with
  low-paying and seasonal tourism-related jobs, Yufuin's
  citizens solved a chronic yen-flow problem by boosting the
  local monetary supply:  they print their own currency.

  In Yufuin you can get a taxi ride, buy a bottle of sake, eat
  lunch, book a train ticket and supplement your wardrobe
  using a self-generated scrip the townspeople call yufu.
  "The yen isn't very stable anyway, is it?" says Ryuji Urata,
  a 38-year-old liquor-store owner who came up with the
  scheme two years ago. "So instead of being subject to what
  the national government does, we have our own strong

  "Strong" isn't the adjective that leaps to mind when one
  fingers the flimsy funny money. Roughly the size of a
  business card,  the yufu doesn't have pictures of Presidents;
  it doesn't come in denominations (although by local
  convention one yufu is equal to 100 yen, or 75 cents.)
  The only embellishment distinguishing a yufu from a Post-it
  note is a rendering of the mountains that surround the town
  of 12,000 people in Oita prefecture on Kyushu Island.

  Still, the scrip has value because villagers agree that it
  does. The system is a form of barter. Residents belong to
  a club with more than 100 members. Each offers a service
  provided in exchange for yufu. One woman teaches people
  how to wear kimonos.  An unemployed man gives haircuts.
  Several townsfolk sell rides in their cars. "In Japan, if you
  do this kind of favor for someone, people won't accept
  money," says Urata. "But they'll accept yufu."

  Barter allows villagers with little cash to trade labor for life's
  small necessities. When resident Tetsuro Yamamoto came
  down with a serious illness and had to be hospitalized last
  year, the group lavished yufu on him, which he used to pay
  part-timeworkers to assist his wife at their restaurant. "The
  government doesn't give me that kind of help," he says.
  "Yufu saved my life."

  The community's adventure in economics has inspired dozens
  of other towns across Japan to dabble in their own currencies.
  In other countries, barter clubs are frowned upon because
  they can be used as a glorified tax dodge?people don't have
  to report yufu revenue, for example, or pay Japan's national
  5% sales tax. (Yufuin itself doesn't have a local sales tax.)
  So far, tax authorities in Japan are looking the other way.
  "This kind of activity is not large enough to attract our
  attention," says Masaki Omura, a spokesman for the
  Ministry of Finance. Says Eisuke Sakakibara, the former
  Vice Finance Minister known as "Mr. Yen":  "There's no
  deep implication to this. If it helps strengthen solidarity in a
  local community, that's probably good.  In the end I think
  people want real money." Sometimes, though, the pretend
  money will do just fine."
  [Editor's note:  This item is somewhat similar to a story
  reported in the December 17, 2000 E-Sylum (v3n52):

  "Wealthy retired Italian law professor Giacinto Auriti began
  in July to circulate a private currency, called the "simec,"
  among citizens (and about 40 shopkeepers) in the town of
  Guardiagrele (about 125 miles from Rome), to "prove" his
  longstanding theory that any currency, if put in the hands of
  consumers instead of banks, yields more purchasing power."]


  In a Letter to the Editor of Coin World, published in the
  February 25, 2002 issue, Phil Nesbitt of San Antonio,
  TX writes: "Recently I wrote to your fine paper and
  vented about the many dishonest and under-educated
  coin dealers out there.

  I have since turned my interests to collecting numismatic
  books and past auction catalogs....   Printed literature
  on this hobby is about the only thing dealers haven't
  thought to overgrade, overprice and reveal their "lack"
  of knowledge when commenting on your holdings."

  [Caveat emptor is as applicable in literature is it is
  anywhere else in numismatics.  But it does seem to
  be true that numismatic bibliophiles and dealers are
  generally more pleasant to deal with than the typical
  coin dealer on the bourse floor.  Good luck, and
  welcome to the realm of bibliophiles!   If anyone knows
  Mr. Nesbitt, please invite him to subscribe.  -Editor ]


  This week's featured web pages have the common theme
  of Yap Stone Money.   For a good laugh, be sure to
  check out the Stanford page:

 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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