The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 10, March 3, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have one new subscriber this week:  Ray Flanigan,
  courtesy of John & Nancy Wilson.  Welcome aboard!
  After removing a few bad email addresses, our subscriber
  count is now  442.


  Charlie Davis writes:  "Just a reminder that our Mail Bid
  Sale of Numismatic Literature closes next Saturday at 6:00.
  Those who can not find their catalogues may see a version


  Davis continues: "Also, I am pleased to announce that Neil
  Musante's "The Medallic Work of John Adams Bolen," is
  in the blueline stage and we anticipate its receipt in April.
  This is a major work, 326 pages, hardbound with dust jacket,
  very well illustrated with halftones throughout the text, and has
  eight color plates.  It will list at $65.00 plus $4.00 shipping
  with a pre-publication discount of $10.00 through April 15.
  A special leatherbound edition will be limited to 25 copies
  at a price to be determined."


  A report last week indicates that another undersea coin
  treasure may have been discovered.  From a February
  24,  2002 article in the New York Times states:

  "In 1694, as England and its allies battled French
  expansionism for a fifth year, H.M.S. Sussex led
  a large fleet into the Mediterranean to prosecute
  the war. It also had a secret mission, documents
  show. The flagship, a new British warship of 80
  guns and 500 men, appears to have carried a small
  fortune in treasure to buy the loyalty of the Duke of
  Savoy, a shaky ally.

  But a violent storm hit the flotilla near the Strait of
  Gibraltar and the Sussex went down. All but two
  men died. The treasure ? apparently gold and
  silver coins in theory worth up to $4 billion today ?
  was never recovered.

  Now, three centuries later, a team of entrepreneurs and
  archaeologists working with the British government says
  it has probably discovered the Sussex in the depths of
  the Mediterranean.  A half mile down, the team's robot
  has examined a large mound rich in cannons, anchors
  and solidified masses of artifacts, and its mechanical arm
  has gingerly lifted a few to the surface.

  The identification of the tantalizing heap is not final, but
  the circumstantial evidence is strong.  When asked
  about the wreck, the British Defense Ministry said in a
  statement that the recovered artifacts "lead us to
  believe that those items came from a British sovereign
  vessel, most probably the wreck of H.M.S. Sussex."

  Here are links to the original article, and web pages of


  Neil Shafer writes: "The comments by George Fuld relative to
  the Perkins Bank Bill Test booklet need to be addressed.  I
  was the source of that item, and it came to me through rather
  unusual circumstances that I would like to share with the

  As some of my friends know, I am just a musician "out of work"
  as I used to teach and play before I went to Western Publishing
  Company in 1962.   In 1951 I had the privilege of attending
  the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival at Lenox, MA, run by
  the Boston Symphony.  I had auditioned for Boston Symphony
  conductor Serge Koussevitzky in Phoenix earlier that year, in
  fact exactly one month before he died.   He approved a
  scholarship for me to attend, and I went (by bus!) - Leonard
  Bernstein had taken over the job of leading the student
  orchestra of which I was a member (playing viola).

  The boys stayed at a dormitory house called Wheatleigh,
  and the caretaker (like a house father) was a fine elderly
  gentleman named Frank Reynolds.  He and I had some
  conversations about hobbies, and as it happened, I had
  taken a copy of the newest Red Book of US Coins (1949
  edition) with me.  (After all, who would go anywhere
  without his Red Book?)  He asked if he could read it while
  I was away at rehearsals, and of course I  gladly obliged.

  Well, upon my return late one day Frank is all apologies -
  he had spilled a lot of water on the book and the whole
  lower half was puffed up and wrinkled from having
  soaked up the water.  He said he would make it up to me -
  I didn't make any fuss, just figuring he might/might not send
  me anything- besides, it was certainly nothing of any real
  importance, being just a Red Book.

  Well, a couple of months later I received a rather large
  envelope postmarked Andover, MA, from him - he had
  sent me a list of a few coins he had plus a thin pamphlet -
  and yes, it was the original Perkins 1809 publication out
  of Newburyport.  I put it in my growing library, but as a
  young person of 18, I had no experience with anything
  like this and had no real idea of its potential.  In any case
  it accompanied me when I went to my 4-year military
  assignment of playing in the Air Force Symphony in
  Washington, D.C.

  I subsequently stayed in the area after the service and
  taught music in the Montgomery County schools just north
  of D.C. until I left for my numismatic position in 1962.
  I had gotten acquainted with many of the leading
  numismatists of the area during my stay there;  George
  and his father (from Baltimore at the time) were both
  among those I had come to know.  I suppose somehow
  we got to talking about things like this and I must have
  mentioned that I had this booklet of Perkins.  The rest is
  history - I have no idea how much George paid me or
  what we agreed to. I did get a copy of his reprint (with
  indication of having been made in 1962, not 1960) which
  I have to this day.  Just thought I would set the record
  straight and add a bit of human interest along with it."


  Eric P. Newman writes: "George Fuld in the Feb. 24, 2002
  E-Sylum described his experiences with the very rare 1809
  Perkins Bank Bill Test publication and mentioned that he
  later learned that I had one.  Mine was acquired in a very
  odd transaction indicating one should never give up hope.

  A beautiful example came up in the auctioning of the Streeter
  Collection of American books.   I had an agent handle my bid
  and to my great sadness I was outbid.  I did not know that
  Streeter had given several million dollars to two libraries which
  money they could only obtain if they used it at the auctions of
  his material.  Streeter thus ran up the auction prices with
  bidders using his money against the competition. After about
  six months my agent telephoned me and asked if I was still
  willing to buy the item at my bid and that he could get a
  commission from the seller if I would.  After picking up
  myself off the floor I said "Yes, thank you" and asked what
  had happened. He told me that one of the libraries was afraid
  that it would not be able to use all of its allotment and used
  some of their money to buy rarities they did not really want
  but might resell later to obtain the proceeds.  Whether I should
  have been grateful to Mr. Streeter or not is still an open

  [Mr. Newman's copy of Perkins was discussed in the
  December 3, 2000 E-Sylum (Volume 3, Number 50).
  In the December 17, 2000 issue (Volume 3, Number 52),
  Charles Davis estimated the population as five or six,
  including the Shafer/Fuld, Streeter/Newman, Goodspeeds/
  Boston collector, Massachusetts Historical Society,  and
  Pennell/ANA Library copies.  -Editor ]


  From an ANA Press Release: "American Numismatic
  Association President John W. Wilson says, "The Postal
  Service is using irradiation to guard against the spread of
  anthrax through the mail system. While the ANA is fully
  supportive of this procedure, we recognize that this high-
  temperature process can damage some numismatic items.
  To prevent such harm, we recommend that collectors and
  others mailing collectable material, especially paper
  money, follow the advice from the Postal Service."

  In a January 22, 2002, news release posted on the USPS
  web site
  postal officials say that currently only mail ?with stamps for
  postage? addressed to government agencies in the ZIP
  code ranges 202-205?  (Washington, D.C., area) will
  continue to undergo irradiation.   Express and Priority Mail
  with meter strips, corporate accounts or permit indicia and
  registered mail is not irradiated, according to the Postal
  Service. "


  Bob Cochran writes: "Don Fisher, of Currency Unlimited in
  Decatur, Illinois, has "asked" me to dispose of duplicate and
  extra material from his personal U.S. Currency reference library.

  Among the items he's delivered to me are copies of Nolie
  Mumey's "Colorado Territorial Scrip," a Heath's pocket edition
  Counterfeit Detector, Harold Bowen's books covering Michigan
  Obsolete Notes and Scrip, and two of the scarcest SPMC
  Wismer Obsolete Notes Project books, Bob Medlar's and
  Harley Freeman's books about Texas and Florida Obsolete
  Notes and Scrip.

  I'll be offering these and MANY more items during this year's
  International Paper Money Show in Memphis.  The show
  dates are June 14-16, 2002.  If any E-Sylum subscribers
  would like to see a listing of the items,  they can reach me at"


  NBS President Pete Smith writes: "Can any reader of the
  E-Sylum provide me with former ANA President Farran
  Zerbe's birthdate?  Please also provide me with a source.
  I have looked in the easy places."  [Send your response
  to me and I'll see that Pete gets the information.  The
  address is -Editor]


  Larry Dziubek forwarded a copy of a February 24, 2002
  Chicago Tribune article by Bob Greene titled "The Suspicious
  Thing in the Old Man's Pocket", about the airport incident
  in which General Joe Foss' Congressional Medal of Honor
  was nearly taken from him after being discovered and
  considered a potential weapon.  See The E-Sylum, January
  20, 2002 (Volume 5, Number 03).   Here are some excerpts:

  'They just kept passing it around - there were eight or nine
  or 10 of them who handled it before it was over," he said.

  "They had found it in my pocket at the airport, and they
  thought it was suspicious.  It's shaped like a star, and they
  were looking at the metal edges of it, like it was a weapon.
  I asked for it back, but they kept handing it to each other
  and inspecting it.  I was told to move to a separate area.

  "I told them - just turn it over.  The engraving on the back
  explains everything.  But they thought they must have
  something potentially dangerous here.

  "I told them exactly what it was - I said, 'That's my
  Congressional Medal of Honor.'"

  I spoke with Foss because I wanted to hear it from him
 directly.   He told me that he holds no animosity about the
  incident - "I'm just as interested in defeating the terrorists
  as anyone is, I promise you that" - and that he is mostly
  sad that no one knew what the Medal of Honor was.

  Foss was awarded the medal by President Franklin D.
  Roosevelt during World War II after shooting down 26
  enemy planes as a Marine fighter pilot in solo combat in
  the Pacific.  He grew up in South Dakota - after the war
  he would become governor of that state - and took flying
  lessons as a young man, then went to war.

  I asked him what he remembered about being presented the
  Congressional Medal of Honor. "I was right fresh out of
  combat when I was called to the White House," he said.
  "FDR was behind his desk, and he pinned the medal on my
  uniform.  He said it was for actions above and beyond the
  call of duty.

  "I was nervous, being in the presence of the president.  I
  think I may have been more nervous there than I was in
  combat.  My wife and mother were with me - it was quite
  a day.  I think President Roosevelt called me 'young feller.'"

  After the White House ceremony, Foss had his photograph
  taken with the medal - the nation's highest military honor for
  valor in action - on his uniform.  That photo was the full front
  cover of Life magazine, the issue of June 7, 1943; the cover
  caption was: "Captain Foss, U.S.M.C. America's No. 1

  And now, almost 60 years later, the Medal of Honor was
  being handed from one skeptical security screener to
  another in the Phoenix airport, while Foss, at 86, took his
  boots and belt off as ordered.

  "I wasn't upset for me," he said.  "I was upset for the Medal
  of Honor, that they just didn't know what it even was.  It
  represents all of the guys who lost their lives - the guys who
  never came back.  Everyone who put their lives on the line
  for their country.  You're supposed to know what the
  Medal of Honor is."


  In previous E-Sylum issues we have discussed important
  historical coins such as Lt. George Dixon's lucky gold coin,
  recovered from the wreck of the Hunley, the Confederate
  submarine which sank in Charleston harbor on February 17,
  1864  (see Volume 4, Number 22, May 27, 2001).

  The catalogue of the March 15, 2002 sale of R. M.
  Smythe & Company features another remarkable piece,
  a Portuguese 10 Reis copper coin with the hand-engraved
  inscription, "Caleb / Cope / 1745".

  The coin had been given to Cope by his father at the
  age of nine - 1745 was his birth year.   In 1775 the
  thirty year old Cope "risked his neighbor's wrath and
  offered his home to a 24-year-old British Officer and
  prisoner of war, John Andre."   Before Andre departed,
  Cope reportedly gave him the curious coin.

  "Andre was eventually exchanged and returned to the
  British side.  He was made Adjutant-General of the
  British Army in North America in 1779.  In September
  of 1780, he conducted the negotiations between the
  British and American General Benedict Arnold, who
  was in charge of West Point."   Andre was later
  captured by the Americans and hung near Tarrytown,
  NY [on October 2, 1780 - Editor].

  The information above is from Smythe's lot description,
  which was in turn adapted from a talk given by historian
  William Hensel on June 23, 1904 in Ephrata, PA, near
  Cope's hometown of Lancaster.

  "As Caleb Cope's great-grandson Porter F. Cope
  listened to the Ephrata lecture, he found it amusing.
  Only a few months before ... he learned "that the
  noted numismatist Henry Chapman had purchased
  a strange coin from a collection in Brighton, England,
  the previous summer.  The coin had a most unusual
  inscription "Caleb Cope 1745".  Porter knew the
  coin's significance, contacted Henry Chapman, and
  obtained the coin.   At the end of Hensel's lecture,
  Porter Cope "stood up and slowly removed the
  legendary coin from his pocket in front of the
  astonished audience.  After a lapse of 128 years,
  the coin had come home."

  For more information, see the Smythe catalog,
  lot 1005B.  The  catalogue is available online at

  For a biography of Andre, see

  A painting by American artist Thomas Sully titled,
  "The Capture of Major Andre", 1812 is discussed here:
"The Capture of Major Andre"


  This week's featured web page is the Pine Tree Shillings chapter
  from "The Whole History of Grandfather's Chair: True Stories
  From New England History, 1620-1808"  by American writer
  Nathaniel Hawthorne.   Hawthorne wrote a series of sketches
  of New England history, published in 1841 as "Grandfather's
  Chair: A History for Youth."   His account helped popularize the
  legend of Captain John Hull, the mintmaster of Massachusetts,
  and his daughter's dowry of her weight in "bright pine-tree
  shillings, fresh from the mint."

Pine Tree Shillings

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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