The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 19, May 5, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have no new subscribers this week.  Our subscriber
  count holds at 469.  Your Editor met a number of E-Sylum
  subscribers at this weekend's coin show sponsored by
  the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists.


  David Cassel has written a follow up article to an interesting
  subject addressed in his ?United States Pattern Postage
  Currency Coins,? published in 2000, a survey of U.S. pattern
  Postage Currency 10 cent coins of 1863 and the related issues
  dated 1868 and 1869.  His research involved searches through
  many documents both numismatic and scientific.

  A German chemist named Koulz was said to be the inspiration
  for both the reverse design, ?SIL.9? over ?NIC.1? pieces. An
  effort to garner some additional information on Koulz, proved
  fruitless.  Despite help of numismatists in Germany and the
  United States using the facilities of libraries, encyclopedias, and
  the Internet, Cassel  could come up with not a single reference
  to Koulz, not even his first name.

  Cassel found the name Koulz may have been a simple
  typographical error that originated in 1869 with the publication
  of  ?Suggestions to Congress of the Finances of the United
  States? submitted to the Chamber of Commerce of New York,
  by H. E. Moring.

  So who was the mystery chemist?  Look for Cassel's complete
  article in an issue of our print journal, The Asylum, later this

  [I hate to be a tease, but The Asylum staff won't let me
   publish EVERYTHING here - we have to save SOME
   goodies for members...  -Editor]


  Eagle-eyed subscriber Andy Lustig sends this link to the
  U.S. Mint's publicity for the soon-to-be-auctioned 1933
  Double Eagle.   Of special interest to researchers is the
  Timeline section, listing major known events in the life
  of the coin from its striking in 1933 to today.


  Dick Johnson writes: "Your item in last week's E-Sylum
  was timely. My publisher and I are agonizing over this very
  subject. What print run for my book, "American Artists of
  Coins and Medals"?

  Attached is page 7 from my proposal that I prepared for
  my publisher, Peter Falk, to take with him to Lyons, France,
  to meet with his parent company,  They will
  make the decision this week when to publish and how many
  copies to print. Since they are savvy with international sales,
  library sales, bookstore sales, I had to furnish only the
  estimate for the numismatic field. Here is what I wrote:

  How Big a Numismatic Market For This Book?

  3,000.000 -- Coin savers. The U.S. Mint uses this number
            of U.S. citizens who save coins out of change.

 500,000 -- Size of U.S. Mint mailing list (estimated); to which
            they sell coin and medal products.

 153,200 -- Unduplicated number of collectors who subscribe
            to the four largest numismatic publications.

  88,100 -- Subscribers to Coin World, largest coin publication
             in America. Author was founding editor of this weekly.

  27,800 -- Membership in American Numismatic Association,
            largest numismatic collector organization.

   5,000 -- Estimated number of serious numismatists in America,
            the core segment of numismatics.

   2,500 -- One numismatic book dealer's estimate of total
            different customers he has sold books on internet; his
            eBay rating is 1,600.

   1,250 -- Unduplicated number of book buyers of four largest
            book auction houses (estimate).

     468 -- Subscribers to Numismatic Bibliomania Society
            electronic newsletter of book buyers.

  The number of American coin and medal collectors -- while
  down from previous high numbers in the 1980s -- is still quite
  large. The new Statehood Quarter program of U.S. Mint has
  begun to increase the number of collectors again.

  As collectors develop more sophistication in the field they
  tend to move into new categories (not in above list). They
  join specialized organizations, recognizing the need to learn
  more in the new specialties, they find this in the literature by
  adding new books to their library.

  Reference books are the most purchased according to one
  numismatic book dealer: "buyers today want a book to use
  and read and refer to again and again in their specific interest."

  Note:  That last quote was from Charlie Davis, whose
  statement summed up the American numismatic book market
  more succinctly than I could.  Thanks Charlie!

  I felt the readers of this Newsletter are so important that I
  included the exact up-to-the-minute number in this proposal.
  You're counted!


  Denis Loring wrote to suggest a directory of NBS
  E-Sylum subscribers, similar to the EAC Region 8
  directory (the Early American Coppers Internet
  Group).  Great guy that he is, he offered to compile
  such a list of any members willing to participate.
  His offer now makes such a directory practical -
  your Editor would not have had the time to do it.

  While we have always published member names, we
  have also guarded email addresses carefully, never
  publishing them without permission.

  Any subscriber who is ALSO AN NBS MEMBER
  and would like to participate, please email the following
  information to Denis at this address:

     Email address
     State of residence
     Collecting interest (if desired)

  He will compile them, and periodically we'll send the list to
  everyone who is on it, after confirming their NBS membership.
  The following rule applies:

  "It is understood and agreed that the information in the NBS
  E-Sylum Email Address Directory is for the personal and
  private use of the participants and is not for public distribution
  or commercial use."


  Attention bibliophiles!  If you plan to attend this summer's
  American Numismatic Association convention on New York
  City, please consider setting up an exhibit in Class 22,
  Numismatic literature, which is for "Printed and manuscript
  (published or unpublished) literature dealing with any numismatic
  subject."   The Aaron Feldman Memorial award for class 22
  was funded by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society in 1991.

  Only one month to go!  The deadline for the receipt of exhibit
  applications is June 3, 2002.  For more information, see the
  ANA web site:


  Speaking of the ANA Convention, Dick Johnson adds:
  "I just learned my Numismatic Theatre application has been
  approved. I will deliver a one-hour speech on American
  Artists of Coins & Medals -- needless to say, my book will
  be prominently mentioned.

  This is scheduled for Thursday, August 1st, 1 PM at the
  New York Marriott Marquis during the convention of the
  American Numismatic Association.   Title of the speech:
  "What I Have Learned From 3,000 Coin & Medal Artists."


  From an April 30, 2002 article in the Salt Lake Tribune
  comes the news that another forgery may be attributed to
  Mark Hofmann, the expert forger who counterfeited
  Mormon-related artifacts including letters and paper money.
  Several of the Mormen notes illustrated in the Alvin Rust
  book on Mormon paper money later turned out to be
  Hofmann forgeries.

  "A document blaming Brigham Young for the Mountain
  Meadows Massacre is a fake, according to a forensic expert.
  The authenticity of an inscribed lead sheet dated 1872 has
  been questioned ever since it was found by a Park Service
  volunteer inside Lee's Fort on the Colorado River in January.

  The inscription is allegedly signed by John D. Lee, who was
  executed for the 1857 massacre of 120 Arkansas emigrants
  in a mountain valley near Cedar City. Young disavowed prior
  knowledge of the incident, but Lee went to his grave saying
  he was a scapegoat. Historians have debated the issue ever

  "Clearly, and I mean positively, in my opinion the handwriting
  is not that of J.D. Lee," forensics expert William Flynn of
  Phoenix told KSL  television in a story that aired Monday night.
  Flynn went on to say that the lead inscription could be the work
  of murderer and con man Mark Hofmann.

  Flynn and George Throckmorton, manager of the Salt Lake
  Police Department's Crime Lab, were hired by the National
  Park Service earlier this month to determine the authenticity
  of the lead sheet.  Throckmorton, contacted Monday night,
  said he is still examining the document and was surprised
  Flynn had proclaimed it a fake.  The two experts attended a
  conference of forensic investigators in San Diego over the
  weekend where they discussed the lead sheet with colleagues.

  "I'm not through with it," Throckmorton said. "And I don't
  think [Flynn] is through with it. I am not going to say anything
  until I am done."   Throckmorton said he expects to be
  finished with his examination in a  matter of days.

  Throckmorton and Flynn are credited with cracking the
  Hofmann murder-forgery case in 1986. Throckmorton was
  a special agent for the Utah Attorney General's Office when
  he enlisted Flynn's help to investigate Hofmann, who eventually
  admitted murdering two people with bombs to divert attention
  from his lucrative business of forging documents he claimed
  were part of LDS Church history.   The experts exposed
  Hofmann as a forger by proving the ink on his documents
  didn't match legitimate papers from the same period.

  Flynn now says it is possible Hofmann is responsible for the
  lead scroll.

 "It is rather Hofmannesque," Flynn told the television station.
  "I found out just recently that among the items seized from
  Mark Hofmann's home were several sheets of lead."
  Hofmann is serving a life sentence at Utah State Prison"


  Bob Fritsch writes: "I sent last week's E-Sylum to my good
  friend Bob Heath since he was mentioned in it, and got this
  response.  Bob probably knows more about New England
  medals as a whole than any other person alive.  His catalogs
  are currently being updated with many new and corrected

  Bob Heath writes: "Thanks for sending me the E-Sylum
  article. I would like to make a few comments which you can
  pass along if you want:

  -Storer 1559, listed as 60mm, also exists in 28mm

  -Storer 1563, listed as 17mm but actually 19mm, was made
    by Schwaab Stamp and Seal Co. It was hung from an eagle
     stick pin common to many of these Schwaab Lord's Prayer
     pieces. (The piece in the MHS collection does not have the
     stick pin.)

  -The "one more" that I added to my catalog is Storer 201,
    the BNS sixtieth anniversary piece issued in 1920.

  -Finally, I think the piece that John Merz asked about is
    Storer 1561 which Dick Johnson has identified as by Julio
    Kileny, (See MA239-9)

  Hope this helps complete the picture.  Note:
  MHS=Massachusetts Historical Society
  BNS=Boston Numismatic Society."


  Steve Pellegrini writes: "As a collector interested in Historic,
  Commemorative & Art medals I have necessarily accumulated
  almost as many books about medals as I have actual medals.
  Most of the texts for these series' are European - and much
  of the most interesting and useful material is written in German
   - a language I can't read.

  My question to my brother and sister Numismaniacs is this:
  is anyone aware of a 'Mechanical  Translation' software
  program which is OCR capable?  My thought being to scan
  pages from German books into an OCR capable 'MT'
  program. The OCR technology will turn the plain German
  text into coded text which can then be 'read' by the MT
  software. The MT will then translate the German into
  'gisted' English. -- Any enlightenment on this subject you
  can provide me will be sincerely appreciated. Subscribers
  can email me at


  In response to the question about minimum bids in European
  auction sales, Bob Knepper writes: "Having a minimum bid is
  common in auctions.  Sometimes the minimum is 80% of the
  estimate and sometimes it is the estimate.  A European coin
  auction in my hand says "No bids will be considered below
  the printed estimates stated in the catalog.  The estimates will
  be the opening bids."  Thus the "auction" is, in part, just a
  sales catalog.  A significant number of offerings do not sell.

  eBay on the Internet is even more confusing.  The seller can
  (many do not) specify a non-disclosed "reserve" which is
  above the specified minimum bid.  Thus you can make a bid
  which goes into the system with you and your bid listed as
  "high bidder" but the system also responds with "Reserve not
  yet met".  One seller had the nerve to say "No minimum bid"
  - but he/she had a high reserve.


  A friend forwarded the following item from Microsoft's
  Encarta encyclopedia.

  Isaac Asimov, the scientist and science fiction writer, was
  also a great collector of facts. He gathered some very
  interesting ones about money.  You might think, for example,
  that coins were the first kind of money humans used.  But
  you'd be wrong. We actually wrote checks first. According
  to Asimov, ancient Babylonians inscribed checks on clay
  tablets and used them as their currency.

  And that's not all:

      · The first United States silver coins came from Martha
         Washington's silver service.

      · No banks existed in the colonies before the American
        Revolution. You had to borrow from an individual.

      · In 1895, J. P. Morgan and the Rothschilds saved the
        gold reserve of the U.S. Treasury with a $65-million loan
        -- in gold, no less.

      · The town of Tenino, Washington, issued wooden
        money in 1932. Made of Sitka spruce, the wooden coins
        were worth 25 cents, 50 cents and $1.  They didn't make
        any wooden nickels, though."

  [Most E-Sylum readers will be familiar with some of these,
   and undoubtably some of you will some of dispute them.
   But it's always interesting to see what the outsides pick up
   on in our hobby.  -Editor]


  Bob Knepper writes: "A recent E-Sylum mentioned a 1969
  Leipzig reprint of van Loon's "Histoire metallique des XVII
  provinces des Pays-Bas".  Has anyone ever seen this reprint
  for sale?   I have not.  A nice original of Van Loon is about
  $1000.  Although I'm an NBS member, I'm interested in
  information, not rare books for themselves.  I would buy the
  reprint if available at some "reasonable" price and if the
  quality is OK."


  Bruce Perdue writes: "In response to the query you placed
  in v05n18 (April 28th issue) regarding the readers of the
  E-Sylum who were not members of the NBS, "So what are
  you guys waiting for?"  I'd liked to furnish this reply:

  I for one am not an active collector of numismatic literature,
  and given the sad state of my finances I probably am not
  destined to be one anytime soon; but I enjoy reading the
  E-Sylum and a lot of that is due to your writing style.  By
  reading the E-Sylum weekly and several other numismatic
  publications I am able to remain a part of the numismatic
  world.  Further by assisting with the website for NBS and
  acting as the webmaster for the CSNS I am able to
  contribute to the hobby."

  [NBS certainly understands the situation Bruce and many
  other non-members subscribers are in.  It's one reason we
  decided early on that subscriptions would be open to all.
  The E-Sylum is our service to the hobby at large and it
  does serve to help promote numismatic literature and the
  NBS to a broader audience.  We've added a number of
  new members who first came on board as E-Sylum
  subscribers.  We're glad to have you all on board with us,
  with or without a membership!  -Editor]


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Tom
  Sheehan: "Here is a web page you may want to include in
  an upcoming issue of the E-Sylum.  AMSA  is the
  American Medallic Sculupture Society.  It has had a
  presence at the ANA in the recent past as well as hosting
  FIDEM in Colorado Springs about 15 years ago."

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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