The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 40, October 6, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  This week's new subscribers are Stan Stephens, Pauline
  van der Dussen, new NBS member Paul Harris and
  Robert Lusch, courtesy of Jose Luis Rubio.  Welcome
  aboard!  This brings our subscriber count to 495.


  Barbara Gregory, Editor of the American Numismatic
  Association publication THE NUMISMATIST writes:
  "Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy the E-Sylum.
  You do a wonderful job distilling and presenting all the
  worthwhile information it contains.

  In response to the "Plain Brown Wrapper" controversy,
  I wanted to note that readers of THE NUMISMATIST
  can request delivery of their magazines in a clear wrapper
  with a plain card placed over its cover to hide the title.
  About 1,000 members currently take advantage of this
  service. We also are looking into the possibility of using a
  disposable cover on all issues that would carry convenient
  information about ANA programs and services."

  [Yours truly has taken advantage of this service for
  several years.  As a bibliophile, the advantage is in receiving
  an issue sans an address label slapped indiscriminately over
  the cover photo.  -Editor]


  The September/October 2002 issue of Paper Money
  (published by the Society of Paper Money Collectors, Inc.)
  focuses on International currency. The article on "Panama's
  Arias or Seven Day Notes" by Joaquin Gil del Real holds
  some good, basic advice for numismatic researchers.  After
  laying out the history of these rare notes, the author writes:

  "For those interested in the emission of these bills, there are
  two major questions:
  1. How much circulated? and
  2. How many bills survived?

  To answer the above we contacted Charlie Chan, Hercule
  Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, all of whom suggested: check
  the records and look at the numbers.  So, we went to the
  Banco Nacional and there found records of the serial
  numbers of those bills that were incinerated...."


  The same issue of Paper Money includes an article on
  currency with an interesting connection to the U.S. Jim L.
  Watson's article, "Scrip Recalls 'Maryland in Liberia'
  Movement"  pictures five unissued, reprinted notes
  originally issued in November 1837 for circulation in an
  African colony.

  Since we've been discussing microfilms as useful troves of
  information, it was an interesting coincidence that a web
  search turned up the following reference to the Papers of
  the Maryland State Colonization Society (1817-1902),
  available for purchase on microfilm.  (See

  "The Maryland State Colonization Society (MSCS) was
  formed in 1817 as an auxiliary of the American Colonization
  Society. The goal of these groups was to eradicate slavery in
  America by inducing free blacks to return to Africa.  The
  MSCS found the black colony "Maryland in Liberia" on the
  West African coast in 1834, which was incorporated into
  the Republic of Liberia in 1857. Active colonization efforts
  ended after the Civil War, and the MSCS finally disbanded
  in 1902.

  The Papers of the Maryland State Colonization Society
  includes minutes, correspondence, financial records, records
  of manumission and emigration, reports of colonial agents,
  pamphlets and books on the colonization movement, copies
  of the Maryland Colonization Journal (Baltimore, 1835?
  1861),  the Liberia Herald (Monrovia, 1842?1857), and
  census records of Maryland in Liberia."

  Some other interesting web sites:


  An article by R.W. Julian in the October 1, 2002 issue of
  Numismatic News asserts that the recently auctioned 1933
  $20 gold piece is not unique, as many have suspected.  In
  fact, he states, "in the early 1980s, for example, a friend --
  now deceased -- had one of these coins in his possession
  for a short time and, if the pedigree of the Farouk coin is
  correct (the coin remaining in Egypt until only a few years
  ago) then there is at least one specimen in some presently
  unknown collection." (p26, col 3).

  The article features (among much other documentation) a
  copy of a U.S. Secret Service report of an interview with
  Philadelphia coin dealer Stephen K. Nagy.  The agents also
  interviewed B. Max Mehl and James Macallister, among
  others -- an interesting Freedom of Information Act
  discovery.  What other finds await?


  [What once was the exception is now becoming the rule...
  This week brings announcements from Stack's and Spink
  that their latest catalogues are now available online. -Editor]

  From the Stack's Press Release: "Our 67th Anniversary Sale
  October 2002 Auction catalogues are now online for your

  The first catalogue, contains the sale of The Queller Family
  Collection of United States Half Dollars 1794-1963, formed
  by David Queller. The second catalogue features the T.
  Roosevelt Family Satin Proof 1907 High Relief St. Gaudens
  Double Eagle.

  Please visit our website at WWW.STACKS.COM and
  view these two exciting catalogues."

  And from Spink and Son Ltd of London:  "The BANKNOTE
  sale of October 4th  (#1314) and the COINEX sale of
  October 9th/10th (#1315) can now be viewed online in pdf
  format. Please click the relevant links.


  In response to Robert Christie's request for memories of the
  Kolbe sale of the John Adams library, George Kolbe writes:
  "The June 1990 Adams sale was remarkably successful. I
  believe it brought something like 175% of the estimates, due
  in good part to the very high prices brought by the large cent
  correspondence.  A couple of hundred mail bidders, 25 floor
  bidders, and 2 telephone bidders participated in the sale. The
  phone bidders added much excitement to the sale.  Harry
  Bass's bids were handled by Linda Kolbe, and Armand
  Champa's were handled by John Bergman, who was extremely
  busy executing bids for a number of other clients as well. This
  was, I believe, one of the first sales that I personally called; in
  past public sales, an auctioneer had generally been engaged
  (usually the celebrated auctioneer, George Bennett in California,
  and Harmer Johnson in New York).

  Anyway, I was more than a little nervous, and the extremely
  heavy floor bidding did nothing to calm me. John Adams'
  wonderful set of The Numismatist brought the highest price
  ($33,000) but the sale of lot 206 (unique manuscripts of
  Edward Cogan sales 1, 2 & 4) was probably the most exciting
  to those present. Estimated at $1,000, it opened at $700,
  though we had a $2,000 commission bid.  A strong floor
  bidder and the two telephone bidders engaged in rapid-fire
  bidding but the lot ended up opening three times before it was
  finally hammered down at $8,000.  I was going pell-mell
  between the floor bidder and the telephone bidders, and one
  of the latter, Armand Champa, withdrew his second-high bid
  twice and asked that the lot be re-opened.  I don't think he
  believed that there was anyone out there who would pay more
  than he would for the lot, and I kept calling the bids so
  rapidly that I'm sure it was confusing to him from 2,500 miles
  away. The last time around, I do not believe that he was even
  the underbidder. So, the Cogan sales, along with the set of
  Numismatists, went to Dallas. Harry Bass believed in anonymity
  and Del Bland long "bugged" me about the identity of the
  mysterious bidder No. 15. It was amusing to note his guess
  that it was "R. E. Naftzger, Jr. bidding for ANS" in Richard
  Christie's commentary. The set of Numismatists turned up in
  the third sale of Harry's library but the Cogan manuscript sales
  never did. Perhaps Del is right and they are now in the ANS
  library. The most disappointing aspect of the sale to me was
  that the catalogue covers turned out so poorly.  The stock was
  too porous and the bronze ink employed "bled," with the result
  that the images have the appearance of a photographic negative."


  Bill Murray writes: "Paul Targonsky published A Catalog
  of Telephone Tokens of the World (First Edition)
  Publication date is 1968.  Of later editions, I know not.
  This is available from the ANA Library, NB20  T3.
  Targonsky listed eleven telephone tokens from Italy.

  I have a second telephone catalog, but only the U. S. pages.
  It is "A Catalog of Telephone and Telegraph Tokens of the
  World" by:  H. A. Groenendijk, The Netherlands.   It is
  dated 1989.  The ANA library call letters are:  NB80 G7.
  It is a 6"x9" book.  My photocopy of the U. S. pages was
  furnished by the ANA library.  The Table of Contents
  indicates there are 5 pages devoted to listings for Italy."


  Jose Luis Rubio of Montevideo, Uruguay writes: "As I conduct
  as Executive President, I suggested Sig. Marco Fiumani to join
  in E-Sylum and send you an appropriate report on ITALIAN

  I.T.T.A. works informally only via Electronic Mail. It is
  dedicated to helping Telephone Token Students on all
  related subjects of tokens, medals, pay-phone and pay-over-the
  counter tokens. Some thing as The E-Sylum, but much more
  modest as we do not have weekly reports, just when the
  subject is available.

  The point is to update a world-wide Telephone Token Catalogue,
  as the last version of one is Henk Groenendijk's, published in the
  English language in The Netherlands, January 1989.  There are
  some good other partial catalogues, like the Brazilian in CD-ROM,
  by Helion de Mello e Olivera, which is mostly Portuguese and
  English.   Bob Gilbert and myself did the translation into English,
  which has some copying mistakes, but is readable and a must for
  the about 900 different Brazilian Phone tokens.

  Sig. Marco Fiumany is looking for a better reading copy than
  the ones I have, of  Targonsky's 1968 and Earl's Telephone
  token catalogues. With today's computers much better copies
  can be obtained.

  Just as well I am building a related Bibliography, covering
  Telephone Token books and magazine articles. At these last I
  sincerely need much help, as them cover all language written
  articles with when and where published information.  It also
  covers auction catalogues with interesting pieces.

  I will be happy to E-Mail interested parties an application
  form, which also points the general structure of I.T.T.A.,
  which is requested to be snail mailed back.  Contributions are
  voluntary. Any question will be answered with pleasure.


  In response to last week's note about Christian Gobrecht's
  inspiration for his Liberty design , David Lange of NGC
  writes:  "This text was taken from NGC's Photo Proof series.
  These histories accompany photographs that NGC takes of
  coins submitted for that purpose.  A customized analysis of
  the particular specimen submitted is also included, though
  the generic history is the same for all coins of that
  denomination and type.

  The information regarding the source of Gobrecht's Liberty
  profile was taken from Walter Breen's 1988 encyclopedia,
  page 548. It's not known to me whether Breen was
  referencing someone else's conclusion or making his own
  interpretation upon having viewed the painting.  I'm certain
  that a web search on Benjamin West would turn up one or
  more sites at which the painting Omnia Vincit Amor may be
  viewed. Cornelius Vermeule, in his book Numismatic Art in
  America, does not reference this particular artwork.  Instead,
  he furnishes samples of other vintage pieces as being typical
  of the classical art upon which engravers of the time based
  their portraits.

  In recent years NGC has made its Photo Proof series of
  histories and photographs available to various businesses
  and institutions for use in developing their websites and for
  advertising purposes. The articles are published without
  bylines, sometimes acknowledging NGC and other times
  not. Now that they've gotten into cyberspace, I never know
  where they'll turn up."

  [As the former search engine product manager, I'm pretty
  good at finding things with focused search terms.   One
  good technique is to imagine the web page you're looking
  for, and think about what words might be on it -- in particular,
  words or phrases that would appear there and no where else.
  "Omnia Vincit Amor" together with "Benjamin West" appear
  only on a couple dozen of the millions of pages on the web.
  Many of these are versions of the Christian Gobrecht story,
  and others do not apply to this Benjamin West.   A page
  referencing this particular West painting does not seem to exist,
  but if anyone can find one I'd love to hear about it.  The next
  step would have to be offline - a check of a catalog rasisonne
  of West's work should locate the painting, if indeed it exists.
  One never really knows where Walter got some of this stuff.


  Jørgen Sømod writes: "Formerly a token in Danish was called
  TEGN, in medieval language Thegen and in German  Zeichen.
  It seems to be the same word as token.  On older Flemish
  tokens are used Teeken, Teeckn and Teecken.  In Denmark
  the word disappeared 100 years ago.  After then were used
  many words including Wærdi-Mærke, translated from German
  Werth-Marke.  The word pollett is known in Sweden since
  1623, where it was spelled bollet and it is told the word comes
  from French poulet, which means little letter.  The word polet
  with different spelling for each country is now accepted in
  Norwegian, Icelandic and Finnish.   It is not known, why in
  Costa Rica they are using the word  boleto.  In Estonia they
  use the word koduraha, which can be translated as home money.

  Jeton is in Denmark only used for small medals, casino chips
  and counters for card play in private homes.  Jeton as token is
  known in Turkey.  In Italy under the name gettone, further in
  Russia, Serbia and Poland.  The French word méreau, used
  since 12th century seems not used in other languages and it
  means from church Latin merallus.  In Latin is normal used
  tessera, which may be taken from Greek.  The German Marke
  (Wert-Marke etc.) is seen in Russian Marka and in Polish
  Marka Kredytowa. In Norway  betalingsmærke or
  betalingsmerke, of which betaling means payment.

  In The Netherlands are seen betaalpenning and waardegeld;
  and in Iceland vörupening. Further in Poland, Monety Zastêpcze,
  which means emergency money.  In Czechs is used známka and
  in Hungarian  barcza, which in a Hungarian-English dictionary
  is translated into  brass-ticket In Spain, Portugal and
  Southamerica is used Fichas.  In Venezuela or Columbia is
  seen SEÑA, which may be the same word as English sign.
  It sounds nearly as the German Zeichen, why the English words
  token and sign may have the same origin.  In Greenland is not a
  special word for token.  They are using the word for coin,
  aningâq.  When coins first time arrived the Eskimos, they did
  not know what to call them. But the coin looked like the moon
  and therefore moon and coin is the same word in Greenlandic."


  In response to last week's word that a searchable archive of
  Coin World is in the works (which I called "a nirvana for
  researchers," Steve Pellegrini writes:

  "I second that emotion. What a great idea. Just wish it had
  been sooner. From where I'm sitting I can see out to the
  back patio table where piles and piles of past issues of Coin
  World sit neatly stacked with scissors and file folder beside
  them. They have been there staring silently at me since July
  waiting patiently for the lazy guy inside to pay them some

  Perhaps once the new system is up and running at Coin World
  Mr. Gibbs could find some techno-savvy interns to index and
  archive past articles as well. -- After thirty years as an
  Exec. Chef  I'm never at a loss to think of new tasks for other
  people - while I go out front and mingle with the diners."


  Regarding last week's mention of the word "monetiform,"
  Bill Murray writes:

  "Monetiform, from the context I suspect, as I presume you
  and others have suspected as well, that it means in a money
  like form.

  I find no definitions for it in any of my five English language
  dictionaries, including the Oxford, nor in any of my six
  numismatic encyclopedias/dictonaries or in several numismatic
  glossaries.  However, Stack's used the term in their February
  2001 Coin Galleries sale catalog in Lot 983 in the description
  of a medal, thusly, "Monetiform, reeded edge..."

  I suspect also it must derive from moneta.  I quote from Albert
  Frey's Dictionary of Numismatic Names: "The surname was
  bestowed upon Juno... In B. C. 268 the Roman mint was
  established in ... the temple of Juno Moneta."

  Following the above entry are 12 entries initiated with the word
  moneta, for example:  "Moneta Abatuda is money clipped or
  diminished... Moneta Falsa. The Italian equivalent of counterfeit...
  Moneta Nova.  A common expression on European continental
  coins, to denote new coinage."

  Jess Gaylor writes:  "The two sources below do not define
  monetiform per se, you can see the word has been used
  previously and is slightly defined in the first source.  These
  tokens would be altered like the infamous Clinton Quarter
  of last year.    Hope this helps as I like trying to solve this type
  of numismatic research.  The research was accomplished in
  English, French, Italian, and Latin with all languages not
  having a definition.

  From the Ancient History Bulletin 1987:
  "In general, we should note that the whole spintriae nexus is
  highly suspect.  It probably arose from prurient imaginings
  about Tiberius' seclusion on Capri in combination with an
  extraordinary series of monetiform tokens, struck
  (anonymously) between about A.D. 22-37, depicting on the
  obverse scenes of copulation or fellation and bearing on the
  reverse a Roman numeral from I to XVI; through these
  numerals the obscene tokens, known to numismatics as
  spintriae, are die-linked to another series of tokens, bearing
  obverse portraits of various members of the imperial family,
  including Augustus, Livia and Tiberius.  In a recent study of
  these tokens T.V. Buttrey concludes that they are the very
  source of Suetonius' libels.  That may go too far, but they
  could well have given rise to some of the nastier Flavian
  propaganda of A.D. 69."

  [And here is a more complete version of the Stack's lot
   983 listing. -Editor]

  "Lot# 983 OSNABRUCK. Sede Vacante Medal, 1761.
  Silver, 45mm, 31.6 grams. Amsterdam Mint. Zepernick
  236. Choice Extremely Fine. Obv. Bust of St. Peter in circle
  of former Bishops' Arms. Rev. Charlemagne bust in similar
  circle. Monetiform, reeded edge with a few minor rim nicks."


  This week's featured web site is, "an archive
  of ancient coins featured in major numismatic auctions."

  "This site brings together the text, images, and prices realized
  from many auction catalogs into a searchable database.

  The goal of is to help the researcher
  and collector in the valuation, identification, and grading of
  ancient 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.

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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