The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 35, September 3, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


No, there have been no E-Sylum delivery problems. For the last two Sundays, The E-Sylum has been on vacation hiatus as noted in the August 18th issue. Due to popular demand, we're returning early. We'll get back on the regular publishing schedule Sunday, September 8th. We have two new subscribers this week, both from Littleton Coin Company: Mary Knapp and Marianne Adams, Librarian/ Research Assistant. Welcome aboard! Our subscriber count is now 485.


Did you miss us while we were gone? This newsletter is a service of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. While free to all, we do hope it helps to attract some new members to our organization. If you like The E-Sylum you should also like our quarterly print journal, The Asylum, which is mailed only to paid members. Please check our web site for more information on NBS and how to join, or contact our Secretary-Treasurer David Sklow at Our web address is:


Thanks are due a sharp-eyed reader for pointing out the typo in the URL for Karl Moulton's web site. The correct address is


Fred Lake writes: "This is a reminder that our sale #65 closes on September 10, 2002. The catalog can be viewed at: Please note the following changes: Lots A37, A112 and B49 have been removed due to incorrect cataloguing. The estimate on lot C124 should read $100.00 rather than the $25.00 estimate that appears in the catalog."


John Cadorini writes: "I try to make a point of purchasing back issues of ancients sales catalogs only if they have the PRL included--whenever possible. The Numismatic Fine Arts catalogs seem the most likely to frequently appear with the PRL included. Most of this series also have the estimated sales price list included as well, which is an essential when comparing pricing and demand. The extremes between estimated and actual sales price is an interesting area of study. I am glad that no restrictions apply for copying these (as suggested by Karl Moulton). Perhaps the Newsletter or an adjunct to the website could be a request venue for wanted copies of PRL's. Not to risk flooding them with requests, but Sotheby's NY was extremely helpful in sending me all of the PRL's for the Hunt Brothers Ancient Coin collection sales catalogs (all 7-8 volumes). I had only to provide them with the catalog numbers. As an E-Sylum subscriber and collector in general I would willing share any Estimated and/or PRL's with anyone who wishes them. My collection is new enough to be of less help than some others, however." Continuing on the subject of pricing research, Morten Eske Mortensen writes: "On my website at this link I have published such pricing researches for 8 specific coins, the 2nd last research including 101 years of auction prices [2 ducat coin] and the last one no less than 197 years of pricing research! Of course one will need a rather well assorted private library to do such vast research tasks, so: Buy books (& catalogs etc.). Certainly, there were far more catalogs printed than PRLs for most sales, because collectors when offered the pre-opportunity from the auction houses to pay for receiving such PRLs after the auction was held, did not respond to the offer." Bob Korver, Heritage Numismatic Auctions Director writes: "Regarding your 18 August discussion on protocol for duplicating printed prices realized: Heritage Numismatic Auctions hereby gives permission for your members to duplicate our printed prices realized from any sale, provided free distribution is intended. I also invite everyone to visit our Permanent Auction Archives, which contains descriptions, images, and prices realized for 375,000+ lots." [See and click on "Permanent Auction Archives" (free registration required). -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "For most of its 19th century existence, John Pinches Medallists (founded 1840), was under the shadow of the Wyon family of English engravers. While Wyons were engravers (and chief engravers) at the Royal Mint, family members ran a medal business outside the Mint. Pinches was founded by John Pinches (1825-1905), who had learned steel engraving from his mother's cousin, medallist William Joseph Taylor (beginning when John was 15 years old in 1840, and that's the year the firm determined as its founding). Four Pinches were associated with the firm after the first John Pinches: John Harvey Pinches (1852-1941), his son; then John Robert Pinches (1884-1968), a grandson. A second John Harvey Pinches and a cousin, Leslie Pinches, headed the firm after World War II, and it is this John Harvey Pinches who wrote the book: Medals by John Pinches; A Catalog of Works Struck by the Company from 1840 to 1969. Published 1987. Infrequently Pinches struck medals engraved by a Wyon, but in 1932 Pinches acquired the J.S. & A.B. Wyon firm and all its dies. But its most historical moment came in 1969, when it sold out to the Franklin Mint, of Media, Pennsylvania, as part of a European expansion. Franklin Mint had Pinches reduce the famed Waterloo Medal -- still in its archives -- which had only been issued before in galvano form, and prepare dies to strike this in 1972. Franklin Mint sold 5,000 of these medals worldwide. The book records the notable productions of Pinches for the 129-year history of the firm. Interestingly, the author records the height of the relief of most items -- as coin, shallow, bold, high or very high -- in addition to usual data as size, composition and such. Of greatest interest to collectors, however, are the Commemorative Medals in the next to last chapter. (These are not detailed, and we yearn for more data about these.) The last chapter recounts a handful of coins struck by Pinches, including the famed Puffin coins of Lundy Island. I have observed PINCHES name on medals of their manufacture, but have never observed a Pinches mint mark. Perhaps an E-Sylum reader can enlighten me if such exists."


A web site visitor asked, "Can you please tell me what the Shields on coins represent?" My reply (assuming he was referring to U.S. coins) was: "As I understand it, the shield represents the Union. Typically there are thirteen horizontal and vertical bands, representing the 13 original colonies. The shield also represents military strength." How'd I do? Did I get it right? Is there more to it than that? -Editor.


Howard A. Daniel III writes that he is searching for references that describe the telephones that used slotted telephone tokens. These telephones were the old black telephones and sat upon (or it was molded together) a box with a slot in it for the token. They were generally on the counter of a business and used as an extra source of revenue. The telephones he is searching for were likely made in France in the 1920's and/or 1930's, but he will gladly read other references from other European countries. Howard can be contacted at while is now in Viet Nam searching for the telephones and other items for his collection."


Ed Krivoniak writes: "Since many people seem interested in these and are trying to help, I thought I would make scans of the pieces. The inscriptions are written in Cyrillic lettering and three of them have a denomination of 5 para on them. Since they came from an accumulation of coins from the Bulgaria/Yugoslavia area, I thought they might be from either Yugoslavia, Serbia or Montenegro. The lettering appears to be "Ecclesia Monasterion (Agiov Apov Dgiov Dpov?) Dimitriov" on the printed token. The same lettering with the addition of "Chalon 5 para" appears on the incuse tokens." [Interested readers can request copies of the image files from Ed at -Editor]


In the category of "things found while looking up other things", your Editor came across an advertisement in the March, 1972 issue of "The Numismatic Messenger", issued by Castenholz and Sons of Pacific Palisades, California (Vol. 2, No. 3, p61). It was for a "Table of the Coinage of the United States of America - a wall chart listing the entire regular coinage of the U.S.A. The complete regular coinage can be seen at a glance. Each mint is arranged separately, and the arrangement is by date and denomination. Every coin type is included, in abbreviated form which avoids a cluttered format. Even the youngest collector will have no difficulty in using this table. The chart is 22" x 28" and printed on fine book paper. $3.00 each plus 25c postage." Do any of our readers have a copy of this chart? I've never seen one, but it sounds very useful - something I might have tried my hand at myself someday if it hadn't already been done. Does anyone know what might have become of the Castenholz stock? Is there a cache of these charts out there somewhere?


On Monday, August 19, 2002, Staff Writer Tom Gibb of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an interview with the 91-year-old minister whose sermon inspired the legislation which put the motto "In God We Trust" on U.S. paper money and in the Pledge of Allegiance.. "Huntingdon, Pa. -- Nobody would have faulted the Rev. George Docherty had he begged out of donning his black cassock and delivering a 25-minute sermon yesterday in a sweltering, packed sanctuary. His best excuse: He's 91. But he was born and raised a Scotsman. That's probably what helped make him a stubborn 91-year-old. "George is the proverbial race horse," friend Robert Stewart said. "He always has a race left in him." So, yesterday morning, before the 400-some people who filled Huntingdon Presbyterian Church -- a multitude the church doesn't see but for Easter and Christmas Eve -- this regal, broad-shouldered Scotsman reprised his 1954 sermon that helped to plug the phrase "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. Back then, it was a sermon he delivered as pastor of the landmark New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. -- the powerful in attendance, President Dwight Eisenhower in a front pew. "To omit the words 'under God' is to omit the definitive character of the American way of life," Docherty, a hale voice with a hearty brogue, read. "What the Declaration [of Independence] says, in effect, is that no state church shall exist in this land. This is separation of church and state. It is not and never was meant to be a separation of religion and life." Wire services carried accounts of what Eisenhower heard in church that day, the sermon was copied into the Congressional Record, and portions of the service turned up on movie theater newsreels. Sometimes, an intent congregation had to fish out words hidden in Docherty's brogue or caught under the whoosh of fans running at full bore just to keep room temperature near 80. "But it was a wonderful sermon," said retired physician John Hewlett, who drove from Hershey to hear friend Docherty. In the aftermath, Docherty pronounced himself "a little tired," said he expects "under God" to remain in the pledge, but allowed that, either way, he's probably made his last stand in the pulpit. For the full text of the article, see:


Darryl Atchison writes: "I am looking for copies of two Bowers & Merena sales as follows: 1989 A.N.A. sale and LaRiviere Collection part III (May 2001). I contacted Dave Bowers directly about these but his firm does not have copies of either one. If anyone has a duplicate or unwanted copy I would be pleased to hear from them. Both these sales contained significant Canadian material and I want to review them for our bibliography before time runs out on us. We are planning to release the text at next year's CNA convention in Windsor, Ontario and this only leaves us a few months to finish compiling data. Thank you for your help." [Darryl lives in Ireland and can be reached at


John and Nancy Wilson write: "We found some excellent web sites. We are passing them on to the readers of the E-Sylum. All of them are free and will be quite useful. Universal Currency Converter: Cheat Sheet for Travelers: World Currency Exchange: Earth Calendar: Encyclopedia of Days (The Bibliography is good): World Public Holidays Database: Time Zone Converter:


Howard A. Daniel III writes that the idea came to him when discussing a reference with an advanced collector while he was manning the Numismatics International/ International Bank Note Society club table at the ANA Convention in New York recently. Howard has found that most numismatists joining NI and IBNS already have a library and are looking for more to add that will better inform them about their collecting area(s). Why not also have NBS literature at the table so these numismatists can have an excellent source of information about numismatic and related references? Howard will be provided with the NBS literature and will use it at the next ANA Spring Show in Charlotte, North Carolina. The club table can also be a place where NBS members can join NI and IBNS members to rest, meet and/or to leave messages.


A story titled "The Money Launderers in India Really Know How to Clean Up" was published in The Wall Street Journal Monday, August 19. Here are a few excerpts: "NEW DELHI -- Bimal Jain stood in the cavernous lobby of India's central bank, a garbage bag of ragged rupees on a table in front of him. One of his assistants appeared, took a bundle of torn 10-rupee notes and shuffled away on rubber sandals to wait in one of a series of chaotic lines to turn the bills in to the bank. Minutes later, another assistant returned with a pile of crisp five-rupee bills, which Mr. Jain stuffed into his bag. "Some days we'll exchange more than 10,000 bills," brags the portly Mr. Jain. "Business is good." Mr. Jain is part of India's vast network of legal money launderers. They use soap, water, tape and ingenuity to get India's stressed-out bills into good enough shape to be cashed in at the central bank. Mr. Jain roams the crooked back streets of Delhi every day, buying at a discount the dirty and decaying two, five, 10 and 20-rupee notes -- worth between four and 50 cents -- that no one but beggars will accept. He then carefully washes, dries and mends the bills before hauling them to the Reserve Bank of India where he exchanges them for full face value. The central bank has more than 5,000 employees checking to see if bills are usable. In the Delhi branch, central bankers in rows of dirty desks check envelopes full of questionable notes, first to make sure they are real, then to confirm there is enough of the bill left to make it exchangeable. The amount of cash in the public's hands has almost doubled in the last five years while the size of the central bank's staff to process old bills has barely budged. "The soiled notes are piling up and our capacity to handle them is limited," says M.P. Kothari, head of the Department of Currency Management at the central bank's headquarters in Bombay. "It's like a traffic jam." Dirty-money troubles aren't unusual in developing countries that can't afford to print or mint more cash. India's neighbors Pakistan and Nepal have similar problems. In developed countries such as the U.S., for example, notes are taken out of circulation by private banks and sent to the Treasury. In India, bad bills are big business. On the cramped Kaccha Bagh alley in Delhi's ancient center, a row of moneychangers take in damaged notes. Each shop has cash cobblers, sitting on the floor in front of wooden work tables, repairing bill after bill, flattening them out, taping rips and pasting over holes with pieces of brown paper. "People come from all over because they know we accept damaged money here," says Ashok Kumar, who owns a shop on the alley. The toughest part of Mr. Jain's job, though, is mastering the Byzantine system of rules around returning the bills. He spends most of his day in the lobby of the central bank's New Delhi branch, the vortex of a network of runners going back and forth between him and dozens of bank windows. The knot of lines, some of them hundreds of people long, is close to impossible to untangle for the average person. Runners and their bagmen arrive at the central bank two hours before it opens to assure a good place in the right line. Mr. Jain employs women because they are allowed to go to the front of the line. Just knowing which line to pick is a challenge. Only a few of the windows are for exchanging bad notes and each window is specific to denomination, number of notes being exchanged and how badly the notes are damaged. Lines usually deteriorate into a mass of people around the windows, with runners yelling and screaming that they were first. Fights break out. The daily battles were so bad in April that the central bank banned professional moneychangers from entering for four days. Nonprofessional moneychangers can be stuck all day trying to change a few ripped rupees. That's where Mr. Jain's experience comes in handy, and why others are willing to pay him as much as a 20% cut to change their notes. "People don't have the connections to do what I do," he says. "I've been doing this for 25 years."


This week's featured web site is on Byzantine Coins -- "A private collection of Late Roman, Byzantine and western contemporary imitative gold coins from 330 to 1204." 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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