The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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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.


  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:


  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 or write to Karl at
  numiscats at


  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:"


  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:

  Martin Gengerke
  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"


  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
  lot 566.

  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 so that we can arrange to have your
  coin scientifically tested at my expense."


  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."


  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
  White House.

  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:

  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 worth? 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 directory research. 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 microfiche). 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 KRAUSE DESIGNATIONS 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 over CD's: "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 workout. 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 exist. See 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 (v4n37) -Editor] 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." NUMMARY 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. 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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