The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 32, August 5, 2002: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We have some new subscribers, but we'll introduce them next week. For now, our subscriber count holds at 477. Your Editor is back in the E-Sylum War Room after returning from the ANA Convention. It was great to see so many of you there. Advance notice: vacation travel will force an E-Sylum hiatus for two consecutive Sundays: August 25, and September 1. I'll attempt to get the next issue out as soon as possible thereafter.


Ben Keele writes: "Some young collectors, including myself, are trying to get the Young Numismatists of America started up again. The organization is just over ten years old, but most of the time it has been dormant. Our official publication is the third generation of YNA publishing. First was the "YN Digest," then "YNA News," and finally "The Young Numismatist." Perhaps some readers know of other publications that have undergone frequent changes. Speaking of serial numbering, should we start "The Young Numismatist" at number one or count the previous publications that preceded it? Also included is an essay I wrote for "The Young Numismatist" on numismatic publishing. Feel free to reprint any excerpts you think the readers might find interesting. Keep up the great work!" A section of Ben's article is devoted to electronic publications like ours: "Numismatic publishing has become even easier as the Internet has opened up new avenues of communication. Electronic publications, like the Numismatic Bibliomania Society's "E-Sylum" and the American Numismatic Association's "Your Newsletter", have thrived in this age of online numismatics. Electronic periodicals are just as effective as their print counterparts and are extremely economical since they require no paper. Email transmission is instantaneous, allowing information to be spread out as soon as it is ready. The only major disadvantages of e-publications are the fact that not as many numismatists are computer-literate as those that can read magazines and that files on computers can be destroyed more easily than paper documents. While many copies of a journal would have to be incinerated to completely annihilate the information, a click of a mouse can trash a file and give the collective knowledge of mankind an instant case of amnesia."


John Merz writes: "I'm back from the ANA convention in New York, where I saw the Numismatic Literature competitive exhibit. Two Levick photo plates of 1793 cents were part of the exhibit. These photo plates are contained in the whole number 36 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics. I also have two copies of whole number 36. The first photo plate in the ANA exhibit has ?JNT Levick 1868? in a box in the lower right corner of the photo. My first photo plate is the same. The second photo plate in the ANA exhibit has (if my scribbled notes are correct) ?Compiled by JT Levick? in the lower right corner, along with an embossed logo in the lower middle of the photo for ?Rockwood? printing. My second photo has no embossed logo for Rockwood printing, and in the lower right corner has ?Compiled by Joseph N T Levick?. (Note that the name ?Joseph? is spelled out). Are my scribbled notes correct? Are there at least three variations of the Levick photo plate? Does anyone care?"


Dick Johnson writes: "Not only did the Monnaie de Paris (Americans call this the Paris Mint) announce their new mintmark at the ANA convention (August 1), show it on the screen during the slide portion of their press briefing, but they also gave out nickel-silver coin-relief medals displaying the new mark to all those in attendance. The Paris Mint always has the best press briefings at the ANA conventions as evidenced by the perpetual shortage of seats. (You've got to get there early - Cliff Mishler from Krause got the last seat this year!) The mark is a lowercase alpha superimposed on the year 2002; "20" falls within the open loop of the letter, "02" following. Their intent, according to the Paris Mint officials, is to progress through the Greek alphabet for each new year. This is a dramatic departure for the Paris Mint, whose heritage of mintmarking goes back to ordinance of March 24, 1832 promulgated by Louis Philippe. The new mark came about because of the new coinage, the new monetary unit, and new coin designs. It was only natural to create a new mintmark. Well done! However, the effect of the euro continues its influence on coins of European countries. Previously the cornucopia had been in use since January 1, 1880. Somewhere in the 1960s the mint added the year of manufacture to the cornucopia edgemark for medals. [Note to future numismatists: do you really want to catalog EVERY year of issue for every time they restocked their shelf supply for all medals with a new date in all these edgemarkings?] The full list of Paris Mint marks are described and illustrated in Emile Beuque, Dictionnaire des Poincons officils français & étrangers, anciens & modernes. For an abbreviated list in English, see Sara Elizabeth Freeman, Medals Relating to Medicine and Allied Sciences in the Numismatic Collection of The Johns Hopkins University, page xii. Next week I'll report on some new coin and medal technology I observed at the New York ANA show."


Ralf W. Boepple of Stuttgart, Germany, writes: "Sometimes it seems to be more difficult to get recently published numismatic works than rare older items! I am currently looking for a book that was mentioned by Stewart Westdal in the introduction of the Ponterio catalog No. 120 (June 8, 2002). I was wondering if one of the E-Sylum readers would be able to tell me where I could acquire a copy of Melvin Hoyos - La Moneda Ecuatoriana a Traves de Los Tiempos (1998, 173 pp) Thanks in advance for any help!"


Regarding the discussion of U.S. impressions of Seaby and Spink, Henry Bergos writes: "Sorry to be late, but it seems to be my middle name. Spink was the "patrician" company. They didn't welcome walk in traffic and were "less than hospitable". Seaby had a retail area and were always cordial. Mr. Seaby, Sr. came here for the ANA convention in 1976. He was honored at the banquet. It was HORRIBLE. He "wasn't young" and couldn't find his way to the front. All were embarrassed by this and didn't know what to do. Finally someone got up and lead him by the elbow to the front to get his award from Abe Kosoff. If I remember it right it was his 50 year membership award."


Ed Krivoniak writes: "I like the term exographics so much that I am going to use it at coin shows from now on. On another topic, I'd like to ask the readership if they know of any references on monastery tokens. We recently acquired three square cardboard tokens that were in an envelope marked 'monastery tokens?'. I had never heard of these I don't know where to look them up." [Well, they're probably not for use in a jukebox or cigarette machine. Can anyone help? -Editor]


Bob Cochran writes: "I enjoyed the latest "E-Sylum," as usual, especially the comments by the folks who keep trying to nail down the "proper" name for us poor unfortunates who collect "paper." I've been collecting currency and related items for about 30 years now, and I've come to the conclusion that the "fancy" (and probably CORRECT) terms are RARELY IF EVER used in the "real world." I still think Gene Hessler's "Syngraphist" is probably the most etymologically correct word to describe someone who "collects paper money," but it's not heard that often. Neil Shafer's impressive "Exographica" certainly SOUNDS correct, but I'm afraid if I described myself using that word in THIS part of the country, I might wind up in a couple of photos (attractive front AND side views) with numbers under my chin. So I just tell folks that "I collect paper money and stuff like that." It usually gets the point across, and the dealers pull out their stack of "stuff" and away we go."


Harold Fears writes: "I too have been using the Intel Microscope for various coin images. Here are a couple of examples: A complete list of coins that I have placed under the scope is at: This low price item has probably been the best numismatic investment I ever made. It will certainly give anyone hours of fun." Ed Krivoniak adds "I just finished an internet search for the QX3+ microscope and found that it can be purchased for $35 to $45. You should advise the readers to add the "+" sign to their search because the microscope comes in two models. The QX3 does not support Windows 2000 or Windows XP. The QX3+ version supports these newer versions of Windows. Both models of the microscope support Windows 98, 98 SE , and ME. If the QX3 was purchased by mistake an update is available from Intel free on the internet."


Alan Luedeking writes: "I noted with interest Andy Lustig's tongue-in-cheek suggestion of using tantalum for coins. A few years ago I did a laser alignment training for Cabot Corp in Pennsylvania where tantalum is 'manufactured' and was gifted with a small piece as a keepsake. It was then 50 times the price of silver. Tantalum, which sounds like something out of Star Trek, is a very interesting metal. It was first isolated in 1802. It is much harder than the hardest steel while still malleable, more stainless by several orders of magnitude than the most stainless of stainless steels, is non-magnetic, and superconductive when supercooled. It is more conductive than silver (but less than gold) and is very heavy, just a few places left of gold on the periodic table. It also has an incredibly high melting point, just about 3000 degrees Celsius. It is scarce-- mined only in the United States, South Africa, Germany and Russia as far as I know, and is used to make the jacket on the head of anti-tank missiles. The cone-shaped head of the missile has a tiny inverted cone in the tantalum tip which "implodes" outward upon hitting the tank, concentrating a massive force on a tiny area, thereby opening a small hole in the tank's armor plating. The rest of the missile body then squeezes on through and explodes inside the tank -- simple! Now this would make some cool coins, but I'm afraid the dies to strike tantalum planchets would have to be ultra hard and be exceedingly expensive! But, I believe I heard once that somebody did make a medal in tantalum, I think in Britain, but I may be wrong."


Last week we published a coin quiz taken from Bowers and Merena's Coin Collector Issue 98, November 21, 2000: "Francis Leroy Henning of New Jersey chose what denomination to counterfeit in large quantities during the mid-1950s?" Ray Williams and Michael Schmidt came through with correct replies. Michael writes: "Why, Jefferson Nickels, of course. He was most famous for his 1944 dated pieces that lacked a mintmark above the dome of Monticello on the reverse, but he also produced several other dates as well. When the first of the non-mintmarked 1944's were examined by the US Mint they were declared genuine!" One web page discussing Henning's nickels is on the PNG web site:


Dave Bowers writes: "About 20 years ago a lady, Mary M., joined the Bowers and Merena staff. I dictated a letter mentioning a "numismatic bibliophile," and, uncertain about meaning or spelling, she asked: "Is this some kind of dinosaur?"


This week's featured web site belongs to subscriber Harold Fears, who writes: "If you have the time, visit take a numismatic cruise to Jersey by visiting my site at 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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