The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 33, August 11, 2002: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We have six new subscribers this week: John Cali of the Rochester Numismatic Association, Doug Casey, courtesy of Peter Mosiondz's column in Canadian Coin News, Larry Gaye, Gene Hynds, Bob Pedolsky and Joel Shafer. Welcome aboard! After cleaning our mailing list of bad email addresses, our subscriber count is now 480.


E. Tomlinson Fort, editor of our print journal, The Asylum, writes: "The Summer 2002 issue of The Asylum is at the printer and should be on its way to all paid-up NBS members in a week or so. The contents are as follows: "The Fascinating Challenge of Numismatic Research," by Q. David Bowers "Response to Fanning," by Pete Smith "More on Identical Premium-Paid Lists," by David F. Fanning "Collecting Numismatic Literature in the 1960s" by David Hirt "Storer's Numismatic Roots," by Frederick N. Dyer "Book Review: The Coins of Pontius Pilate," by David F. Fanning Speaking of The Asylum, your editor has nothing for the Fall 2002 issue. I strongly encourage anyone interested to send material. We accept a wide range of articles from the scholarly to the satirical and everything in-between. We also love book reviews, not just new volumes but discussions of old classics (and not so classics) are welcome. Remember that in the Spring 2002 issue we printed a review of three works, the most recent of which was published in 1995 while the oldest was originally appeared in 1849! How does Crosby stand up after more than 100 years? Is Morisson and Grunthal's "Carolingian Coinage" still the worst book ever published by the ANS? If anyone wants to discuss possible topics or idea with me please feel free to reach me at"


Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books announces that its mail-bid sale of numismatic literature #65 is now available for viewing on their web site at The catalog contains selections from the library of E. Tomlinson ("Tom") Fort along with other consignors and has a closing date of September 10, 2002. In addition to listings of United States and World auction catalogs, there are bound copies of "The Numismatist" from 1913 through 1920; a complete run of the "Colonial Newsletter" through April, 2002; an original 1878 Sylvester Crosby "Early Coins of America", hardbound in leather; Andrew McFarland Davis works on Colonial Currency; "Ancient Jewish Coinage" by Meshorer; early "Redbooks"; reference material relating to tokens, medals, paper money and much more."


The latest publication from Money Tree Press is Edgar E. Souders' pocket-sized guide to "The Top 100 R4 and R5 Capped Bust Half Dollar Varieties & Sub-Varieties 2002, 118pp, $19.95. The book "was designed to be used as a field guide by those wishing to rapidly attribute a half dollar to its Overton number, rarity, price range and collector interest."


Howard A. Daniel III writes that he will be in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, starting on August 13 and will depart on September 11. If you need any books from there or anything else, you can contact Howard at "" now and while he is there. He plans to visit EVERY bookstore in the city and look for anything connnected to numismatics, but also history, art and several other subjects. He will also be visiting several antique and numismatic stores and three or four collectors. Howard is also in contact with many college students, and if any of you want to be corresponding with one of them so they can practice their English, but also as a friendly gestur to the Vietnamese people, he can put you in contact with one of them.


Jim McGarigle writes: "I just acquired the first four volumes of Seaby's Roman Silver Coins for only $40 !!! It was a great "Buy it now" moment -- many dealers are asking $45 - $95 per book and I got the 1st four of the five for the low asking price of one. As a matter of fact, my book buying habits all around have improved a great deal since I joined this list. It has given me a great deal of valuable knowledge in both the fields of books and coins. [Jim is the founder of the Ancient & Medieval Coins Club. See -Editor]


The First Central American Numismatic Congress will be held in Costa Rica September 18-21, 2002. From the press release: "Please note that the First Central American Numismatic Congress will begin on September 18 at 8:00 a.m. Participants will register and receive supporting materials from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Immediately following this the inaugural session will begin, followed by the presentations scheduled for that day." For more information: Email: Web page:


In response to Bill Hancock's query, David J. Davis writes: "I own a photocopy of the John Clapp inventory of early U.S. dimes. It was given to me by Louis Eliasberg many years ago. I don't have the whole notebook. As I recall I just received the dime pages and there might have been some other information included." David and Bill are now in touch via email.


David Gladfelter writes: "Was an index ever published for "Literatur-Blatt, Beilage zum [supplement to] Numismatischen- sphragistischen Anzeiger" (Clain-Stefanelli 649b)? This is the earliest periodical to my knowledge that was devoted entirely to reviews of numismatic books and bibliographic references. Twelve issues totaling 98 consecutive pages were published from 1875 to 1879. The editor, Max Bahrfeldt, went on to publish, and later edit, "Numismatisches Literatur-Blatt" which was a forerunner to "Numismatic Review." If an index exists, I would like to obtain a copy of it. Would also appreciate copies of the indexes to the last 3 volumes [banden] of "Numismatisches Literatur-Blatt," vols. 24, 25 & 26. Another periodical that often seems to come without its index is "Numismatic Review" published by Joseph and Morton Stack, 1943-47. I have the index to vol. 3 only and will copy it for anyone who wants it. I do not have those for vols. 1, 2 or 4."


Dick Johnson writes: "The Paris Mint continues to be the leader in cutting edge technology for coin and medal production. I attended their briefing for the numismatic press at the ANA convention in New York City (Aug 1-4). Paris Mint officials showed slides of their new products, some of which were on display at their booth, others so new they did not have samples to show yet. Four items captured my attention the most -- three coins, one medal. One coin was part of a five-coin series on the Bicentennial of the Birth of Victor Hugo. It showed a woman in a dress on the reverse. It was covered in blue translucent enamel. The details of the dress were struck in the surface of the coins, which had a slightly sunken form. You could see through the translucent enamel and the slight depression formed the barrier to retain the enamel. Stunning! Another coin is "in the shape of a wave" to quote their literature. Called the Ultimate Franc it was the last one franc denomination coin issued by the French Republic. Designed by Phillippe Starck, this has to be seen live -- no photograph can show the wave. I am going to guess a preformed blank with the wave shape was used for striking, but I don't see how it could have been fed and struck in a coining press. These creative French! But do not even think about putting this in a vending machine or fare box. The third coin was silver with a gold insert on a 2-franc piece. While this is not new, the insert was an unusual shape. The technology here was the critical tolerances of the exact depression in the surface of the coin, with the insert struck in gold and trimmed to match that depression. They had no sample to show, but the best of my memory was the insert was roughly in the shape of the state of Minnesota. Believe me, friends, this is no easy task. I asked about their production problems at the press conference and the best they could say was it required exception quality control. I can believe that! But the resulting piece is exceptional! They also had a calendar medal separate from their yearly series of calendar medals. This was a perpetual calendar. It contained 12 bushings (small holes) in an arc across the top of the medal with numbers 1 through 12 (for months); and 31 bushings in an arc adjacent to the bottom rim (with numbers 1 to 31 for the date). A thin curved rod stretched from top to bottom with pins on each end which fit snugly in one of the holes at top and one at the bottom. Plug in the top pin for the month and the bottom pin for the date. This was a highly creative concept. A for creativity. C for execution. The obverse bore no further design other than lines in similitude to longitude and latitude. The reverse was so mediocre that I don't recall the design. Further, the Paris Mint displayed five, repeat five!, calendar medals for the year 2002: Four-Leaf Clover, Euro 2002, Tree, Zodiac and Le Petit Prince. All suitable to add to a calendar medal topic collection; any or all would nicely grace any cabinet. However, this is the most I have seen from any mint for a single year. This does indicate the popularity of calendar year medals and I presume the Paris Mint feels there is a market for this number. Will we see that many next year? We searched the other booths, both mints, distributors and dealers for new technology without much success. We did observe some excellent hologram inserts at the Panda America booth manned by Mel Wacks. While not new we did observe elsewhere some creative medallic boxes. These are slightly larger than a lady's compact. Several inspired by the new Euro in Europe; I can see Euro coins being kept in these boxes. Another had a clock inside as the lid swings open. When struck solid the same design for the boxes result in a paperweight."


In response to Alan Luedeking's note about the properties of Tantalum, Michael Schmidt writes: "Tantalum can't be more conductive than silver but less than gold. Gold is less conductive than silver. Silver is the most conductive element. Gold is used on electronic contact points not because it is more conductive, but because it doesn't corrode. Tantalum does have a major use in electronics though. It is used to make capacitors. It provides a high capacitance value in a very small package."


David Gladfelter writes: "A question for our e-readers: Does anyone recognize the name G. D. Lopez, presumably a collector active in the 1930s? His/her name is not among Pete Smith's 1400 nor Martin Gengerke's 5600. It does not appear in any of the ANA membership lists from 1944-1964 nor in the New York City and State sections of those from 1930-40 (I didn't check the other geographical areas). It does not appear in the ANS membership list included within the 1930 ANA membership list. I have Stack's "housebound" set of catalogs for the year 1940. On the spine someone has written: "This book contains the G. D. Lopez collection -- see June 4-5, 1940 sale." The main content of that sale was a set of gold coins of the world. The consignor is not identified by initials, although other consignors are, none with initials G.D.L."


In response to Ed Krivoniak's question about Monastery Tokens, Gar Travis writes: "I would guess they are Communion Tokens. A web search can locate a number of references. I would also recommend the text 'Communion Tokens of the United States of America by Autence A. Bason 1989 (privately produced - may be found through numismatic book sellers)." [Most communion tokens are made of metal such as lead, not cardboard. A web search on "monastery tokens" turned up nothing of relevance. Any other suggestions for Ed? -Editor]


David Lange writes the following in response to Ben Keele's query about publications that have undergone frequent changes: "One title that comes to mind is the monthly magazine Coins, published by Krause. It began in the late 1950s as The Flying Eaglet, a house organ put out by error coin specialist Frank Spadone in Orange, New Jersey. This became Coin Press a couple of years later. When Krause Publications bought the magazine from Spadone, they renamed it Coins beginning with the January 1962 issue, and it remains in print today under the editorship of Robert Van Ryzin. Following the recent ANA Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs, I spent an entire day on the lower level of the ANA's library reading through back issues of this publication. While I didn't encounter any groundbreaking articles, it was enjoyable seeing full-page ads for the many coin folders and albums that I now collect. It was also evident that both the editorial staff and the readers understood little about how coins were made and how error coins occurred. Of course, the U. S. Mint was very secretive and even openly hostile to inquiries from collectors and researchers until years later, so this is understandable. One thing that is obvious from reading through publications from the 1950s and '60s is that collectors seemed to be enjoying their hobby more than they do today. While there were a few letters reporting the sale of overgraded coins, for the most part the published correspondence was upbeat. Most of it concerned oddities found in circulation. From the descriptions provided, these seem mostly to have been damaged or altered pieces, yet in most instances they left both the letter writers and the magazine's editor baffled. Today, we know so much more, and yet some of the magic is missing."


Responding to Dave Bowers' note about the lady who asked if a "numismatic bibliophile" was "some kind of dinosaur", Andy Lustig and Martin Purdy of New Zealand agree on the answer. Martin (who pegs himself as "late of the Lower Cretaceous") writes: "I hope he was honest and said "Yes". This could possibly give "antiquarian" a whole new meaning."


Dick Johnson writes: "When I was in the medal business I often spelled out the words "medal" and "metal" since both words sound so similar in speech. Particularly so on meeting a new acquaintance or they would think I brokered fabricated metal or such. "I was M-E-D-A-L dealer." What makes matters worse there are two other words, called homonyms, that also sound like medal: "meddle" meaning to interfere, and "mettle" -- like temper of a sword blade -- the quality of temperament of a person's disposition or spirit. I clipped an editorial from The New York Times, May 14, 1992, and added this to my clip file. The article endorsed the action of composer Stephen Sondheim, who rejected the Medal of Art from the National Endowment for the Arts. It stated the new chairwoman meddled with the grants for several university art centers, an action which many in the art community objected. Hooray for Stephen Sondheim! He upholds the spirit of his art commitment, attesting to his mettle. Too bad he didn't get his medal (which of course, is made of metal, but the Times didn't mention that!) Moral for medal administrators: don't meddle; it will diminish your mettle. You paper money enthusiasts can call yourselves anything you wish, just spell it every time you meet a new acquaintance! I'll bet you go back to P-A-P-E-R M-O-N-E-Y."


This week's featured web page is from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission site. It features Pennsylvania Governor James Pollack, who served as Director of the U.S. Mint following his appointment by President Lincoln in 1861. "When the Panic of 1857 struck the economy, there were mounting bank and business failures, unemployment, and concerns about possible winter riots and martial law. Pollock called a special legislative session that convened on election day and pushed through a temporary suspension of the requirement that banks pay their depositors and those who held their bank notes in gold or silver, thus preventing more bank failures as well as protecting the credit rating of Pennsylvania. In 1861, Pollock was chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation to the Washington Peace Convention, which failed to prevent the Civil War. That same year President Lincoln appointed him director of the United States Mint in Philadelphia. He served from 1861 to 1866 and then was reappointed by President Grant in 1869. From 1873 to 1879, he was elevated to superintendent of the Mint when the U.S. Mint became part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Pollock's leadership at the Mint led to adopting his suggestion for the "In God We Trust" motto on U. S. coins." 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.

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