The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 16, April 14, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have three new subscribers this week: David Peter,
  courtesy of Dan Gosling;  Gar Travis, courtesy of Pete Smith;
  and Ralph Caliendo of New York City.   Welcome aboard!
  Back after an email change is Harold Thomas. Our subscriber
  count is now  464.

  For some reason, a few subscribers are not getting their issues
  because their ISP is rejecting mail from AT&T Broadband.
  Should that ever happen to you, remember that you can also
  view The E-Sylum on our web site,


  E. Tomlinson Fort, the editor of our print journal, The Asylum,
  reports that after a couple of snafus were resolved, the current
  issue is being printed and should be on the way to members
  shortly.  Articles include:

  "My Amazing Story by a 1795 B-10 Dollar,"
   as told to W. David Perkins

  "Development of the Coin Album, Part 6,"
  by David W. Lange

  "Numismatics in the Age of Grolier,"
  by George F. Kolbe

  "A Selection of Desirable 19th Century Auction
  Sales Containing Important Canadian Numismatic
  Material," by Darryl A. Atchison

  "Authoring is the Collecting of Titles,"
  by Michael E. Marotta

  "'You Don't Say' Numismatic Gleanings from the Past,"
  by Myron Xenos


  The following announcement for the upcoming Groves
  Forum in American Numismatics was issued by the
  American Numismatic Society.  "Treasures From the
  Archives" will be presented by Robert W. Julian on May 9th,
  2002 at 6:30 PM at The Harvard Club of New York,
  27 W44th St.

  "R.W. Julian will speak about his research at the National
  Archives and elsewhere. Topics will include archival
  materials relating to the Gobrecht coinages of 1836-1839
  and to the 1933 double eagle. He will also address the past
  destruction of records.  For further information please contact:

   Juliette Pelletier
   (212) 234-3130 x243

  [For a taste of the Mint records still available in the
   archives, see
  If any of our readers are able to attend the forum,
  please give us a report afterwards.  Thanks.  -Editor]


  From an April 12, 2002 article in The Wall Street Journal:
  "Who owns the relics of the Titanic?":

  "An Atlanta salvage company that raised thousands of
  artifacts from the famous shipwreck is battling in federal
  court for the right to sell them -- even though it won its
  initial salvage rights in part by telling a judge they wouldn't
  be sold.  Seeking to block the proposed multimillion-dollar
  auction: a man whose great-grandmother's love letters were
  among the items recovered.

  The legendary ocean liner left the port of Southampton,
  England, on its maiden voyage 90 years ago this week and
  sank on April 15, 1912. An American-French expedition
  found the wreck in 1985. RMS Titanic Inc., a salvage
  company formed two years later, won the rights to excavate
  the area surrounding the shipwreck in 1994, over the
  objections of some survivors of the tragedy and their

  The article pictured a $5 note from the California National
  Bank of Sacramento.  Given that "a moldy cookie from the
  ship brought $5,146 at a Sotheby's auction last year, and
  Christie's auctioned a dinner menu in 1999 for a robust
  $31,280,"  it's anybody's guess what some of the numismatic
  items might one day bring at auction.

  From the salvor's web site (see
  comes this description of a leather bag and its contents:
  "When this travel bag was found, it was filled with jewels,
  watches, coins and currency.  Historians speculate the
  purser may have filled this bag with the contents of one of
  the safes, or perhaps a thief was looting the cabins as the
  ship was sinking.  Leather survives very well at the wreck
  site, as it is indigestible to the deep-sea organisms."


  Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #63,
  which closed on April 9, 2002 is now available for viewing
  on our web site at the following internet address:

  When you open that page, please scroll down to sale #63
  and you will find the link to the PRL."


  Ed Krivoniak writes: "Since nose oil seems to keep on coming
  up, I thought I should tell you of the first use I heard for it.  I
  attended a guitar seminar in the 1970's that was being taught
  by Pittsburgh guitarist Joe Negri.  I asked him what he used to
  stop the noise you get when you run your fingers up the fret
  board on the wire wound strings of a guitar. Nose oil was his

  The numismatic use that I mentioned was published in a PCGS
  publication that is sent out to dealers monthly.  At least I believe
  it was.  The article dealt with coins that had been sent to them
  for attribution and grading that weren't what they seemed."


  The question about the book, "A Journey Through the
  Monkalokian Rain Forests in Search of the Spiney
  Fubbaduck" by Cobwright drew several responses.

  Thomas P. Wolf  writes: "it is indeed real... It was limited to
  125 copies, & I have 2 of them...  The one I have at hand
  is #9 of 125...  I have no idea what the title means, if anything...
  It's actually referred to as Evasives 1993..."

  Allan Davisson writes: "Cobwright?  Of course the reference
  exists. I have copy 90 of 125.   It is a xerox copy, an 11 size,
  bound with the kind of black plastic gripper spine students
  use to hold term papers together.  It is an extensive (and
  essential, if you like this series) list of evasions.  The author is
  the proprietor of Coins of Beeston and can be seen in various
  guises in the photos of token folks at the front of the Withers
  reference, BRITISH COPPER TOKENS, 1811-1820.

  There will always be an England (and Wales) -- where would
  we be without them in this otherwise overly serious world?
  (I have been reading one of Bill Bryson's accounts of British
  travel--this reference is obviously an expected and perfectly
  natural product of this island.)

  Bob Lyall writes: "I have forwarded a copy of this email to
  Mr Cobwright (regarding evasions) who I can assure you is a
  real person.  He has an abiding passion (and knowledge) for
  "evasions" and I leave it to him to contact you.  I expect he has
  emerged from his Rain Forest now that Spring is here, in search
  of the Spiney Fubbaduck Monkalokian.  He sometimes lectures
  on the topic of evasions to an attentive and discerning audience
  of British Paranumismatic collectors at our annual Token

  Mullhulland Ignatious Cobwright writes: "Mr. Lyall has sent me
  a copy of your newsletter in which my existence is doubted.
  My book is indeed available as mentioned by Mr.Grogan.  I
  am astonished that the lucid title should be misconstrued as an
  April Fool.   Mr.Bill McKivor distributes my work in the
  United States or you can contact  me via my quill pen at

  For your readers' information:  I began work on Evasions in
  1984 and have prepared several pamphlets on the subject.
  If anyone would like more details just let me know.  I am
  promising a fully illustrated work, but then I've been promising
  that for a long time. Any reader with questions may email me
  with pleasure at"


  Carl Honore' writes: "Among  the many numismatic treasures
  in my Numismatic library is an original copy of the Fred C.
  Olsen auction catalog bought by me!  For those
  who don't remember, the highlight of the Olsen sale was the
 1913 Liberty Head Nickel which I believe was the last time
  the coin was sold at auction before Reed Hawn bought it.

  What made the Catalog special however were two things.
  First, it had the bidder's notes inside the catalog,  but then I
  noticed  taped in a purchase receipt on a lot that the bidder
  had won!!.   Such ephemera adds quite a lot to an auction
  catalog and I have begun to collect catalogs that are so


  Jeffrey Gresser writes: "I realize I am a new member in NBS
  but I felt compelled to write on the Early American Coppers
   (EAC) sale catalog article.   First of all, I would like to state
  that literature dealers, at least the ones that I know would
  never object to the sales of corresponding literature as part
  of a coin auction sale.  This feature would only enhance items
  in their future sales. We at EAC are dedicated to the
  dissemination of knowledge.  That is why I joined NBS.
  History and the knowledge associated with it; and most of all
  the dissemination of that knowledge to those who would accept
  it, should be our goal. The young people are our future."


  Several folks responded with correct answers to last week's
  quiz question.

  Brad Karoleff  writes: "One Fatt Calfe -- New Rochelle
  Commemorative Half Dollar, not the featured dish at the
  ANA hospitality suite!

  John Merz writes: "I attended high school in New Rochelle,
  New York.  The book ?One Fatt Calfe? by Amy Skipton
  is an historical account of the 250th anniversary celebrations
  in 1938 surrounding the founding of New Rochelle, N.Y.,
  named after the city of La Rochelle, France.  The Huguenots
  who settled New Rochelle paid 1625 pounds for the land,
  plus ?one fatt calfe?  each year thereafter.

  I obtained my copy of the book from Remy Bourne auction
  #10 in October 1999.  The 250th anniversary celebration
  also included the minting of the New Rochelle commemorative
  half dollar.  In addition to the coin,  I have a bronze ?guest ?
  badge (from Anthony Swiatek) used for display at the
  celebration functions.  I also have a commemorative medal
  (also from Anthony) presented to the Westchester County
  Coin Club by the 250th Anniversary Committee in recognition
  of club sponsorship of the New Rochelle half dollar.

  I returned to New Rochelle in May 2001 for the 50th reunion
  of the high school class of 1951, and was horrified to discover
  that all of my former classmates were old men!"

  Dick Johnson writes: "One Fatt Calfe was, of course, on the
  New Rochelle New York Commemorative Half Dollar (Breen
  7562).  The author was Amy Skipton, whose husband was the
  chairman of the commemorative coin project.

   I bought the remainders of this book. Don't remember the
  date or the number but it was less than twelve, which I sold
  one by one over a period of years. But there is an interesting
  update to this story of the coin's sculptor, Gertrude Lathrop.

  [See below for Dick's note on sculptor Lathrop.  Here is
   a web page with some more information on the half dollar:
  - Editor]


  Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "I remember
  that in one of the last E-Sylums there was the question of
  whether an English language reference catalog exists for the
  new Euro issues of the Eurozone member countries.

  I am aware of quite a number of references in German, but
  not a  single one in English.  At last weekend's coin show in
  Stuttgart,  I asked a number of British dealers, and none of
  them were aware of one, either.  The general consensus
  seems to be that as long as the British continue being
  disinterested in the Euro, there won't be  a reference...

  I don't know for how much regular, uncirculated Statehood
  Quarters sell at US coin shows, but in Stuttgart people
  were offering - and  getting - up to 4 euro for a one euro
  coin from smaller countries  like Greece or Finland. We're
  talking about plain, circulating euro coins issued by the millions...


  Böpple continues: "I do not think that there exists a
  published numbering or ordering system for Mexican Sud
  coins. In reply to Mr. Dunfield's  observations, I have always
  assumed the following:

  When cataloging the Guttag Collection, Mr. Adams
  encountered the difficult task of describing to the potential
  buyer Mexican Sud coins that were in small details, but
  noticeably, different from each other.  What better way to
  solve this problem than simply putting them down as 'first die,
  second die, etc.', where 'first' and 'second' are not to be
  read as some sort of a chronological or  typological order,
  but just as a listing of different dies.

  Mr. Schulman might have had the same problem. He had
  Gibbs' Mexican Sud coins, so he simply used Gibbs'
  personal system to show that coin A and coin B were of
  the same type, but actually struck from different dies.

  Therefore, I strongly assume that the description 'eighteenth
  die' does not refer to any reference known to collectors.
  It simply states that this coin is different from the seventeen
  lots before. Nevertheless, I would be more than happy to
  find out that I have erred with my assumption and that there
  indeed exist reference works for Mexican Suds..."

  Bob Lyall adds: "I do have a photocopy of the book of
  rubbings that Howard Gibbs made of his collection (for my
  own West Indian cut/countermarked collecting and researching
  purposes).  This includes some 15 pages of rubbings of all his
  SUD coins (copper and silver) but there are no reference
  numbers against the rubbings."


  Carl Honore writes: "They're still out there!  Keep searching
  the local book sales, folks ... I found the two-volume set by
  Dave Bowers on the History of the ANA for fifty cents at our
  local library sale.  The books had been originally donated to
  the library by a local citizen and placed on the shelves where
  I think I am the only one ever to have checked them out.
  (This is nothing against the quality of Dave's writing, but
  rather the lack of collectors up here in my neck of the woods.)

  Needless to say I snapped up this treasure posthaste.  I made
  a dollar fifty donation to the Friends of the Library so I actually
  got the books for $2.00.  Additionally, there were quite a few
  other books on numismatics inside the building (the ANA set
  was outside).   In fact, the topics within the numismatic field were
  varied enough that a beginning hobbyist could get started for as
  little as $4.00 at this particular sale.  There were two Redbooks,
  one on coin investing, another volume on ancient coins, and a
  Bluebook.   The earliest redbook I found at a booksale of this
  nature was a 1960, so keep, looking folks!!"


  Q. David Bowers has penned "Some Notes on Archives"
  that will be tucked in an upcoming Kingswood Sale catalogue.
  The piece touches on many of the topics we've discussed in
  The E-Sylum recently (microfilming, destruction of originals,
  etc).  The article make a case for specialized organizations
  and private individuals as the safest homes for items they
  value (and which other repositories apparently do not).
  He's given us permission to reprint the article in our print
  journal, The Asylum.  Here's one short excerpt to whet your

  "Today, a private library gathered by a careful, loving collector
  is often a great repository for old newspapers and books.
  Without a doubt, such gentlemen as Harry W. Bass, Jr., Dan
  Hamelberg, John W. Adams, Armand Champa, and others,
  have aided in the longevity of such treasures by carefully storing
  them and, in some instances, incorporating them into high quality
  protective bindings.  When I was a student at the Pennsylvania
  State University, I sought to take out a particular historical
  volume, but was told that it was an "overnight" book only.  As
  it had hundreds of pages, there was no way that I could digest
  it in one evening.  I looked at the slip pasted in the book, and
  found that it had last been checked out in 1879!  So much for
  it being so popular that it could not be loaned out for at least a
  few days! I thought this was hilarious."


  Dick Johnson writes: "Gertrude Katherine Lathrop was the
  sculptor of the New Rochelle Commemorative Half Dollar
  (One Fatt Calfe, above). Her entry occupies 111 lines in my
  upcoming book on American Artists of Coins and Medals.
  She did 12 medals and two commemorative coins -- the
  1936 Albany Charter, Breen 7554, was the other coin.

  I remember her from my days at Medallic Art Company in
  New York City.  She was a member of the sculptor peer
  group that judged sculptors' models for both the Society of
  Medalists and Hall of Fame medal series.   These took place
  in the company's Oval Gallery about 20 feet from my office
  door.  She was small and frail (I doubt if she weighed over
  80 to 90 pounds) but very strong on opinion, the mark of a
  good judge.  She relished criticizing the work [of men] twice
  her weight and two heads taller than she was.

  She was unmarried and lived in Falls Village, New York,
  with her sister Dorothy, a book illustrator.  Dorothy died in
  1980, Gertrude in March 1986. The executor of their estate
  ordered their house emptied.  Paintings and sculpture

  But a couple of cub reporters for a nearby newspaper had
  a call that a lot of books and sculpture stuff had ended up at
  the local dump!  Armed with boots and pitchforks they
  moved the overburden until they found the remnants of the
  Lathrop possessions.  In the words of one of the reporters,
  Brigitte Ruthman, they found "old books, letters, art material
  and stuffed animals." The stuffed animals had served as models
  for both sisters' art work.

  They took what they could. "We found enough books over
  two days to fill the back of my 1986 Sabaru Brat twice,"
  Ruthman wrote, "and pile upon fetid pile of letters,
  published works, photographs and personal papers
  documenting more than a century of family history."

  They published two articles at the time.  Then received a call
  from the attorney for the executor.  They wanted back all the
  stuff they had originally ordered dumped!  If not they would
  sue.  Their own paper's lawyers suggested they return the
  material, which they did. Portions of this later sold at a
  Maryland auction.

  How useful this material would have been to another writer
  a decade later.  Anne F. Roberts of Albany is writing the
  history of the two Lathrop sisters."


  Dick Johnson continues:  "This does bring up the question
  of our own files.  If you have done any original research in
  numismatics where would your papers, files, photos (and
  now computer discs) go?  Do you have this in writing and
  informed your spouse and relatives?

  There is a committee of the Rittenhouse Society of which
  I am the chairman to advise in the disposition of numismatic
  authors' papers.  Perhaps this is a project the Numismatic
  Bibliomania Society should endorse as well.

  A case in point with the recent death of Carl Carlson. We
  just missed out eight yeas ago retrieving his papers and
  computer files -- his wife disposed of these before our
  contact.  This was unfortunate as he had done extensive
  study of quantities struck of U.S. Mint medals, ancient
  coins (and who knows what else since he was a onetime
  ANA historian).

  We all have work-in-progress files. Not everything we
  have researched and written about has been published.
  How great a loss it would be if these would be destroyed.
  Just this week E-Sylum subscriber Nicholas M. Graver
  has motioned the Rochester Numismatic Association to
  photocopy their early records and deposit copies in some
  numismatic archive at my suggestion. Yes! Even local
  coin club minutes can be valuable for some numismatic
  research! (We had been researching recently the engravers
  of the RNA Presidential Medal series.  Nick, with the
  help of Robert Doty, found them all in the club minutes!)

  If you died tomorrow, where would your files go?

  Place a statement in your Will or Important Papers that
  someone should advise in the disposition of your numismatic
  papers and computer files. Use the name Rittenhouse Society
  if you wish.  This person should advise what items can be
  sold, and suggest appropriate auction houses to do this,
  and what should be donated to what numismatic archive
  and perhaps assist in such a transfer."


  New subscriber Chris Connell writes: "I am an Episcopal
  priest who collects Byzantine coins.  I have recently become
  a professional numismatist at the ANA Museum in Colorado
  Springs, where I am the Collection Manager.  This means
  that the ANA Library is now a daily resource for my
  Biblionumismania. I am a Life Member of the ANA, ANS,
  GSNA and OCCC, and a Member of the NLG, NJNS,
  WHCC, CSCC, CSNS, CPNG. I guess that all means
  that I am a member of
  whatever that means.

  I teach the course on Byzantine numismatics at the ANA
  Summer Seminar, have authored numerous articles for
  various publications, and am the guy who wrote the ever
  popular ballad "Coin Show Junkie," which I also am.  I
  have, with a variety of brilliant partners, placed second in the
  ANA's World Series of Numismatics for several years.
  Someday I'll place first, and someday the US will have
  beautiful coins. No bets on which happens first."


  George Kolbe writes: "Regarding the Abe Kosoff bid books,
  over twenty were sold in our June 4-5, 1985 sale and I
  believe I've handled some others.  Williams was not in the
  1985 sale and I do not recall if it appeared in another sale."


  Henry Bergos writes: "Pistrucci's medal is on a table in the
  engraving room in Llantrasant in a hinged box.  It is there for
  easy access to show visitors.  The ANS also has an example.
  I remember hearing about a few being made from the original
  die. I think this is one of them.  It is now on display in the
  Federal Reserve Bank exhibit.  Does any one know if this is
  an original?"


  An Associated Press report Monday, April 8, tells the
  tale of two missing $100 bills belonging to Sue Gadaleta
  of Hatfield, PA, which found their way back to the
  government via the intestinal tract of Mia, her
  Doberman pinscher.

  "Gadaleta searched the house, but found nothing - until
  she went to clean up a mess her usually well-behaved
  dog had left in the basement...  I saw this little piece of
  paper, with a one-zero-zero on it."

  Gadaleta called her veterinarian, who said everything
  would be out in 24 hours.  So she spent the next day
  watching Mia like a hawk, and then inspecting, collecting,
  washing, and rewashing, and assembling the pieces.

  Then she called the bank.

  "We all thought it was hysterical," said Helena Baron,
  branch manager.... "It was the first time we ever had
  anything like that happen."


  This week's featured web site is actually a set of links
  to pages relating to the subject of  Communion Tokens.

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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