Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 38, September 22, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
This week's new subscribers are Christopher G. Jones and
William Hancock. Welcome aboard! After cleaning up the
mailing list, our subscriber count is 486.
LAKE SALE #65 RESULTS
Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "The prices realized list for
our sale #65 is now available for viewing on our web site at
the following address:
MOULTON FIXED PRICE LIST #3 READY
The September 2002 Fixed Price List #3 from Karl Moulton
has just been published. "United States Numismatic Literature
1960 to Date" features publications from over 150 different
cataloguers. For more information, see his website at
http://www.coincats.com/ or write to Karl at
numiscats at aol.com
KOLBE SALE #89 CATALOG READY
George Kolbe sends the following press release for his latest
sale: "The upcoming November 14, 2002 auction conducted
by George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books will be
the most important offering of rare and out of print American
numismatic literature to come to market since the firm's
1998-2000 sales of the landmark Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library.
The auction features a quarter million dollars of important
works on a wide range of topics, including ancient numismatics,
Renaissance medals, and standard works on medieval and
modern foreign coins and medals, particularly those of the
Latin and Spanish American world. In the American field, over
two dozen Chapman brother and Thomas Elder auction
catalogues featuring original photographic plates are included.
Many of these, from the Denis Loring library, are classic large
cent sales. A number of standard works on large cents are
also included, among them being Judge Joseph Sawicki's copy
of Clapp's 1931 The United States Cents of the Years 1798-
1799, and Chapman's work on 1794 cents.
A few additional highlights follow (estimates are within
parentheses): A newly discovered Large Paper copy of
Hickcox's 1858 An Historical Account of American Coinage
($3,500); An original set of Habich's Deutschen Schaumünzen
($2,000); A fine set of Mazerolle's 1902-1904 Les
Medailleurs Français ($2,000); the rare 1726 edition of
Numismata Ærea Selectiora Maximi Moduli e Museo Pisano
Olim Corrario, considered to be a masterpiece of Venetian
baroque book illustration ($2,500); two sets of Dasi's five
volume Estudio de los Reales de a Ocho ($450 & $500); a
fine set of Rizzo's magnificent 1945-1946 Monete Greche
della Sicilia ($3,500); Deluxe Leatherbound Editions of B.
Max Mehl's famous 1941 Dunham and 1946 Atwater sale
catalogues ($1,250 & $1,000); a very fine example of the
United States Coin Company's 1915 H. O. Granberg (A
Prominent American) sale catalogue with photographic plates
($2,500); a superb plated 1907 Stickney catalogue in a
special binding ($2,000); a long run of The Numismatist,
beginning with Volume Three; an extensive photographic
archive belonging to Ray Byrne on the West Indies, Mexico,
Latin America, the Philippines, etc. ($1,000); a remarkably
fine set of The Elder Monthly ($1,000); a superb
leatherbound set of Mehl's Numismatic Monthly ($2,000);
two sets of Yeoman Red Books, and multiple copies of the
early editions, some in exceptional condition; A complete set
of Corpus Nummorum Italicorum ($3,000); Aloiss Heiss's
inscribed copy of Herrera's classic 1884 work on Spanish
Proclamation Medals ($1,250); Svoronos' 1904-1908 Coins
of the Ptolemies ($1,000); Superior Stamp and Coin Company's
own set of Money Talks ($500); and Deluxe Leatherbound
Editions of five Superior Galleries auction sale catalogues
($750 to $2,500).
Catalogues may be obtained by sending $10.00 to the firm.
The catalogue is also available at the firm's web site:
GENGERKE NUMISMATIC AUCTIONS UPDATE
Martin Gengerke writes: "A new print edition of my "American
Numismatic Auctions" is a bit too time consuming for me at
this point. However, I'll have available within two weeks a
CD with all my current data. It will contain three listings:
Over 15,000 Auction Catalogues (by firm)
Over 7,000 Consignors (alphabetical)
Over 1,800 Auction Firms
Each CD will have all three listings in three IBM-compatible
A database (readable by dBase, FoxPro, Paradox, etc.)
A spreadsheet (readable by Excel, 1-2-3, etc.)
A text file (readable by most any word processor)
These will be DATA ONLY - no program or search engine,
The price will be U.S. $49 postpaid within the U.S. (postage
additional to foreign addresses)
Since I'm missing many catalogues from the past few years,
as a special offer, any buyer who contributes information on
any missing catalogues dated prior to 9/1/02 will receive a
FREE update in six months. Orders should go to:
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 1410
New York, NY 10274-1410
I can be contacted at (718) 458-2016 (eves.) or at
gengerke at aol.com."
POSTAGE CURRENCY PATTERN SOUGHT
David Cassel, researcher and author of "United States Pattern
Postage Currency Coins", is seeking the owner of Stack's
Bareford1863 Postage Currency 10 cent pattern that was
recently auctioned by Stack's on September 10, 2002 as
He writes: "A coin that I had long believed to be a
mis-attribution is from Stack's Harold Bareford Collection,
October 1981, lot 286. This was the cataloging by Stack's:
"1863 Postage Currency. J.325a. Silver. Plain edge. Thin
Planchet. 24 1/2 grains." If the coin was silver, J-325, and
the weight indeed was 24.5 grains, then this coin was a
previously unknown weight for this silver coin.
The attribution that was in conflict with my research work
was that Postage Currency 10 cent coins of 24.5 grains do
exist, but, the coins are not silver. They are either tin alloy
or they are billon.
The coin finally emerged from obscurity after twenty-one years
as Lot 566 in Stack's September 2002 catalog. What I needed
to confirm my belief was a weight computation and a SEM-EDX
test. A Specific Gravity test would have also been valuable. I
contacted Stack's asking to borrow the raw coin for 24 hours
so that I could perform a SEM-EDX analysis (at my expense)
and have the coin's weight verified and either confirm or
disaffirm the prior attribution. I was unsuccessful in reaching an
accommodation with Stack's prior to the auction.
If per chance the buyer of this coin reads this, please contact me
at DavCassel at aol.com so that we can arrange to have your
coin scientifically tested at my expense."
EURO ALLERGIES - HOGWASH?
In response to the item about health effects of the new Euro
coinage, Martin Purdy writes: "This isn't the first time I've
heard this story, but I still can't help being skeptical - were
similar symptoms noted (or similar studies carried out) with
coins of pure nickel such as the Swiss 20 centimes (1881-
1938) and most types of Canadian 5-cent coin from the
1920s to the 1980s? It has all the hallmarks of a scare
tactic intended to aggravate public uncertainty about the
new coinage in Europe."
ROOSEVELT MEDAL COMPLETES ROUND TRIP
Dick Johnson writes: "A medal made news last Monday,
September 16th, for completing a trip that landed it back
in the White House.
In January 2001, then President Clinton presented the
Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration,
to Theodore Roosevelt's family. Last Monday they
presented it to President Bush for deposit back in the
It will be placed for display next to Theodore Roosevelt's
Nobel Peace Prize Medal on the mantel in the Roosevelt
Room, a shrine to both presidents named Roosevelt.
Theodore "Rough Rider" Roosevelt received it for his
military action at the battle of San Juan Hill, July 1, 1898.
This was not the first such posthumous awarding of the
Medal of Honor. Nor is it the longest such delay.
Previously, the nation's most prestigious decoration has
been awarded to Civil War recipients long dead. Such
delays give the word "posthumous" a bad reputation. Such
awards are understandable when the awardee dies in the
military action, but how long must it take when the awardee
In Theodore Roosevelt's case it took 101 years and 6
months. The Associated Press story is at
It's been a long while since I've had a chance to surf the
web for bibliographical sources. One good example is
Kavan Ratnatunga's bibliography of selected books and
publications on the coins of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Here's
the link: http://lakdiva.net/coins/biblio.html
The NBS web site has links to the ANA and ANS
numismatic libraries, a copy of Tom Fort's library
catalog, and Larry Mitchell's selected bibliography of
world numismatics. Has anyone compiled a list of
other web resources for numismatic bibliography?
I'd be pleased to publish links to any and all useful
pages of a non-commercial nature, and if there are
enough of them we can add them to the NBS web
site for reference.
There are a lot of bibliography pages out there! A
quick web search turned up the following (and many
others). So here's a starter list (in no particular order).
Is anyone willing to tackle the job of compiling and
organizing a more definitive list? Thanks! -Editor.
ITALIAN TELEPHONE TOKENS
Christopher Rivituso writes: "I recently read that phone box
tokens in Italy freely circulated as money and that it was not
at all uncommon to receive them in change. Can anybody
confirm this and tell me how much the gettone were worth?
What is the situation now in Italy, with the euro in circulation?
Are the gettone still circulating? If so, what is their current
Actually, I would imagine that there are less and less gettone,
even before the euro came into circulation, seeing that
card-only phoneboxes have proliferated in Europe. I'm sure
that Italy is no exception."
[Until I read Christopher's note, I was unfamiliar with the
term "Gettone", which I assume is Italian for "Token".
A quick web search turned up some information and
illustrations of the tokens and telephones which accepted
them (in both English and Italian):
Telephone tokens came up earlier this year in an item about
Howard Daniel III's research (see The E-Sylum v5#35,
September 3, 2002) Since we have subscribers in Italy,
perhaps someone can give us an update on the use and
collecting of these tokens. -Editor]
PLAIN BROWN WRAPPERS
Richard Crosby writes: "For many years I have been
receiving Coin World in the mail. This publication comes
without a cover or enclosed page and anyone who sees
this would know that the person receiving it is a coin
collector and would be a good candidate for a robbery.
I called Coin World today and asked if they would or
could enclose the paper in a cover page for some security
and was told this was not possible - If I was that concerned
"get a Post Office box". They felt it was unnecessary.
I think that all subscribers of hobby publications should
have some type of a protective unmarked cover protecting
the subscriber from unscrupulous individuals. Persons who
subscribe to National Geographic, scientific magazines,
Playboy, Penthouse etc. all have an outside cover; I think
some type of action should be taken to protect ourselves."
[Good point, but the P.O. Box is really the only route
most of us have. Some of our hobby publications
already wrap their issues, but then they sell ads on the
wrapping. To me, this is little different than selling the
front page to the highest bidder. Some might call the
practice sneaky, but business is business, and there's
little the individual subscriber can do short of canceling
their subscription. -Editor]
CITY DIRECTORY RESEARCH
In response to Dick Johnson's notes about using city directories
for numismatic research, Jørgen Sømod writes: "I have collected
directories, phone catalogs and other books with many names
year by year for more than 30 years. They are for me a very
important tool in numismatic research, not only for medallists,
but also for medals, tokens and private emergency money.
Of course is it Danish material I am collecting, but I have also
a few directories from US Virgin Islands. Beside the official
archives, of which some of them now can be found online, is
there also the Mormon archives in Utah. They have in many
years photographed the original material in church books etc.
in many countries and they have done a fantastic work by
typing that material into a digital use. I am informed, that big
parts of it shall be online now, but haven't yet been using it yet.
However I have a couple of times visited the Mormons here in
Copenhagen and I must say they are more than helpful."
MORE ON CITY DIRECTORIES -- PART III.
Dick Johnson writes: "For two weeks I have written about
the numismatic use of City Directories for researchers in our
field. These are widely used by collectors, writers, curators
-- and catalogers! -- of American tokens and medals.
Despite the vast research already done in this field by
Russ Rulau, George Fuld, Dave Schenkman, Arlie
Slabaugh, and many, many others, a great deal remains to
be done. As a collector I could find no greater pleasure
than to track down an American token or medal of the
19th or 20th century in my collection and learn more
about its background. City directories are often the first
step in this delightful chore. Maverick tokens (those with
no obvious location) can also be identified with city
This week I would like to talk about those microforms of
city directories (microfiche and microfilm). It appears a
group of Connecticut businessmen began filming, one page
at a time, all the city directories in the collection of the
American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Missing directories were located in other libraries.
This chore was so daunting they divided the project into
four phases: all the American city directories from 1786 to
1861 were in the first phase. This was completed in 1967
and they begin marketing these, in total, by city, state, or
individual microfiche (this phase was issued only in
For the second phase they chose only the directories from
the fifty largest cities in America. Even so, they had to cut
off Phase Two at 1881. These were issued in microfilm (one
or two directories per roll). Phase Three covered 1881 to
1901 and, they say, these works were printed on such poor
paper, the original books were literally falling apart.
Phase Four covered the 20th century, 1902 to 1935. Since
then hundreds of other cities have been microfilmed. (And a
later, Fifth phase, covers 1936-1960.)
Their company was located, I discovered, in Woodbridge,
Connecticut. Great, I thought! Since this was nearby to my
Litchfield location, I could travel to their offices and research
everything, from everywhere right in their offices. I called to
learn, sorry Charlie, that would be in competition to their
customers, the libraries around the world who buy their
microforms. You have to do your research in those libraries,
that's their "business!"
The firm, originally called Research Publications, was sold to
Gale Research of Detroit -- they merged another company,
Information Access Company with this firm, now called
Primary Source Media and called this "The Gale Group" --
and that firm, in turn, was acquired by Primary Source Media
of Berkshire, England. If you didn't follow all those global
business mergers, don't fret.
Current prices for the microfiche is $4.28 each (making all
Phase One microfiche cost over $26,000). Microfilm rolls
are $80.25 each (the list of cities runs 20 pages with about
40 per page and often dozens of rolls per city; I can't even
calculate THAT total cost!). These can still be obtained in
Woodbridge and you can go to their website:
But to do your token or medal research, start with your local
library. Give them the "business" first. Then you may have to
travel to the largest city or state library nearest where your
item was issued. Good luck, and let me hear of your success
(or problems): dick.johnson at snet.net
Jan Lingen of the Netherlands responded to Kavan
Ratnatunga's questions about essais and Krause not having
definitions for words used in their catalogs:
"Essai" is French for pattern or trial
"Prova" is Italian and has the same meaning
To complete it further in German it is "Probe"; in
Spanish "prueba" In French sometimes also "preuve"
is used. Alternative expressions in Italian are also
"saggio" or "disegno"
To me, "off-metal strikes" are coins in a different metal
than the official circulation coin. Patterns and trials could
be in different metals, mostly they are so that they can't
be mistaken from the circulation coins.
Krause has to depend on many people from different
countries. For the Dutch Encyclopedia of coins and paper
money, we made a list of Numismatic terms in Dutch,
English, German, French, Italian & Spanish. I asked
acquaintances from these countries to go through this list
and you may be surprised that different people give
different expressions for the same term. Even in certain
numismatic terms in different languages it is not
"black/white" either. So I am not surprised that such
things do appear in Krause."
Howard A. Daniel III adds: "Krause cannot put everything
in its catalogs that are requested and/or needed by numismatists
and others because the volumes would be twice their current
sizes and priced too high for most collectors to purchase and/
or handle. So they have produced some specialty books, to
include a numismatic dictionary.
I am on the road again as I write this, but my memory of the
French Southeast Asian pieces has essai as an equivalent to
proof in the U.S. And the French used to make 1004 of a
coin in Essai (normal coin thickness in the original metal) and
104 Essai Piefort (double thickness in the original metal).
I do not know if those numbers are continued today in the
modern issues, and I do not know if essai has been
expanded into including many modern strikes."
ELECTRONIC VS. PRINT CATALOGS
Darryl Atchison writes this response to David Davis'
comments regarding the desirability of printed matter
"Firstly, I would definitely be in the same camp as Mr. Davis
in that I too prefer the printed form to a CD. However, a
few practical realities must also be considered. These are
namely space, expense and functionality. These should all
be self-explanatory but I will review them none-the-less,
using our own bibliography of Canadian Numismatics as
a reference point.
We anticipate that our bibliography when finished will be
approximately 1000 printed pages long. This means about
five-six inches of shelf space. A disc takes up only a few
millimeters of space to store - even in a case.
A decent-quality printed version of our text will cost
somewhere between $100-$150 approximately and a CD
version will cost considerably less (perhaps as little as $20),
thereby making the information available to a wider target
audience - who may not be able to afford the print version.
While I prefer print versions of a book as I enjoy being able
to sit down comfortably and flip pages at my leisure, I have
found that for pure research an electronic version of a
document is actually preferable. This enables me to do
searches for common words or "strings" that may reveal the
specific or related information that I am looking for. Even
working with a brilliant index is not as easy as performing an
electronic search. Plus you have the added advantage of
not having to flip back and forth between a book's content
and its index thereby saving the book's spine from this
Given that there are always going to be people who will
prefer a printed form of any book, we have made a
decision to publish our text once it is finished in both a
limited-edition print version and in a CD version. Perhaps
this is the first time a numismatic book will have been
released in such a manner but we are confident that both
camps will be reconciled with the results. Our intention
is to publish in the summer of 2003."
[Comments by Dick Johnson and others have convinced
me that a human-compiled index can be superior in many
ways to a text search, but having a text search is extremely
useful even where a decent table of contents and index
for more information on the Canadian project.
It would not be the first numismatic publication offered
in both print and electronic form, since a number of
catalogs have been produced that way. Some "books"
have been issued in electronic-only form. But I'm not
sure if this would be the first BOOK issued in BOTH
forms. If we covered this in earlier E-Sylums, I haven't
been able to find it (with a text search....) One related
item was published in the September 9, 2001 issue
ON GOING CASHLESS
Hal Dunn writes: "Here are my thoughts on a cashless system:
I use debit and credit cards in the majority of my transactions
exceeding $10. They are great! But I doubt, and hope, that
they will never fully replace cash. If one is relying on electronic
money exclusively, one day they may be in for a rude awaking.
Failures of power systems, telephone systems, computer
systems and merchant's card readers can render a card useless
and put you into a real bind if you do not have some ready cash.
This is especially true when traveling out-of-town, or state, and
no one will accept your check. When traveling I always keep a
minimum of $100 in reserve cash to be prepared for such
incidents. Incidentally, these are not theoretical failures, these
are real world scenarios. As a merchant taking credit cards, I
have had the system go down, and have had several power
failures, one lasting in excess of four hours, all of which shut
down my card reader. Several years ago, in California, I
attempted to use an ATM, only to discover the system was
down; fortunately I still had some cash on hand.
Just last month at the ANA, I wanted to make a purchase for
just over $150. The dealer couldn't take a credit card there
because he did not have a telephone connection on the show
floor. Result: I wrote a check, accepted because the dealer
knew me. More than once I have seen a sign posted in a
store proclaiming that minimum credit card purchase was a
certain amount (such as $3). And finally, without cash, how
does one pay the newspaper hawker 50 cents, plus tip; or tip
that nice bellman that helps you from the curb into a hotel
lobby; or deal with a host of other small transactions with
people that don't take credit/debit cards?
At the end of the day, perhaps you should have some cash.
I certainly will."
We've had references to Shakespeare in numismatics
before, but here's a new twist. In response to last week's
definition of "nummary", Dave Bowers writes:
"Get thee to a nummary!"
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is a collector fact sheet
on U.S. fractional currency, from the Bureau of Engraving
and printing web site.
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
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