The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 42, October 20, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  An editorial by Beth Deisher in the October 28, 2002
  issue of Coin World is a plea for collectors to write
  letters in support of efforts to save "The Granite Lady,"
  the old San Francisco Mint building.  Built in 1874, the
  mint was a center of the Gold Rush economy and was
  one of the few major buildings to survive the disastrous
  1906 earthquake.

  "If coin collectors are serious about the Granite Lady
  rising from its current state of emptiness to a full-fledged
  Gold Rush/numismatic museum, we have to stand up
  and be counted now."

  "Letters supporting a Gold Rush/numismatic focus for
  the Old San Francisco Mint will literally be worth Atheir
  weight in gold. Address them to Old Mint Task Force,
  c/o Ms. Hala Hijazi, Project Manager of the Mayor's
  Office of Economic Development, 1 Dr. Carlton B.
  Goodlett Place, Room 448, San Francisco, CA 94102,
  or e-mail hala.hijazi at"

  Do it now!  For more information, see the full text of
  the editorial on the Coin World web site:


  Barbara Gregory, Editor of the ANA's official
  publication, which began in 1888,  writes:
  "Lots of surprises are in store for readers of The
  Numismatist. Below is an item from the October
  issue, with one of the little surprises divulged at
  the end. Last week we reviewed the initial layout,
  and everyone was just blown away."

  "The American Numismatic Association is revamping its
  official publication, THE NUMISMATIST, now in its
  115th year. The new format will debut with the January
  2003 issue, complete with color illustrations and a
  larger profile.

  We think we have a great journal, but we want to better
  serve our members' needs and expectations, says ANA
  Executive Director Edward C. Rochette, who proposed
  the magazine redesign.

  Editor/Publisher Barbara J. Gregory says, "In this fast-paced,
  extra-sensory society, THE NUMISMATIST must
  compete not only with other numismatic publications, but with
  every medium that vies for our readers' attention.  The present
  design of THE NUMISMATIST has served us well for 14
  years; however, it is time for a new, contemporary look.  The
  ANA and its members deserve a magazine that is distinctive
  and appealing."

  Over the course of the year, editorial content will be
  reviewed and revised as well, with greater focus on United
  States coinage and articles for emerging collectors. However,
  readers still will find many of their favorite columnists and the
  reliable, informative stories they have come to expect from
  America's leading hobby publication.

  Says Gregory, "Readers will be very surprised and pleased
  when they see the first issue of NUMISMATIST (without
  the familiar "The" in the title).  The magazine is sure to set new
  standards in the field of hobby publishing."

  [Besides the "The", one more thing is being dropped from
  the magazine - Q. David Bowers' longtime "Coins and
  Collectors" column.  I'm sorry to see it go, but I'll await
  the new format's debut.  -Editor]


  An article by Roger Collum in the October 28, 2002 issue
  of Coin World describes his bookstore find of a book once
  owned and signed by sculptor and coin designer Augustus
  Saint-Gaudens.  With his help the book was purchased by
  the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH.
  The 1881 volume is the first volume in the series on the
  British Museum's collection of "Coins of the Ancients",
  edited by Barclay Head.  Inside is written "purchased from
  C. de Kay /1885 / Augustus St Gaudens (signed)"

  On Collum's advice the owner of the Vermont bookstore
  where he found the volume subsequently sold it to
  superintendent John Dryfout on behalf of the Historic Site.
  Dryfout is the author of several books on the sculptor.


  On Saturday, October 19, 2002, Szilage Gallery of
  St. Petersburg, Florida will hold an outdoor exhibition
  of the work of several artists, including money artist
  jsg boggs and TR Hipschen, portrait engraver at the
  Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  The gallery address
  is 601 9 St S  (at 6 Av S).  Admission is free and the
  hours are 5 pm - Midnight.  The gallery may be
  contacted at SZILAGEgallery at


  Dick Johnson writes: "My appeal in the September 15th
  E-Sylum (v5#35) to borrow a complete set of the Great
  Religions Series of medals for a research project led to a
  spate of telephone calls (is 6 a spate?). This led me to the
  widow of the sculptor, Ralph J. Menconi, Marge Menconi,
  who had the artist's original set I could borrow.

  Better yet, her son lives in Connecticut and he was to see
  her that weekend. Result --  I picked up the set 24 miles
  from my house!  (We are going to identify the patinas on
  these and the Society of Medalists from the former foreman
  of Medallic Art's finishing department next week -- useful
  information on patina finishes for a proposed book.)

  Incidentally, the Great Religions Series was originally
  announced to contain 25 different medals for 25 different
  religions. However, the artist died November 1972 and
  only 16 had been issued before his death.  He had
  prepared in advance, however, two more models before
  he died, and these were issued in due course.  But the last
  seven medals were never issued.

  The only other set I learned about was from collector Ira
  Rezak, so a complete set of the 18 is extremely rare. Most
  people ordered only their own religion, I learned.  These
  are offered infrequently on eBay.  There is a challenge for
  some fellow E-Sylum reader to assemble such a rare set!
  And thank you Wayne Homren and E-Sylum, you came
  through again!"

  [It's funny, but not all that uncommon, for a request such
  as Dick's to bounce around the globe a few times in
  cyberspace before landing in one's own back yard.
  With a little luck the net can be a very efficient tool for
  finding people and information.  -Editor]


  Regarding the book by Jesse Watson on the operations of
  the U.S. Mint, George Kolbe writes: "There have been two
  or three copies in my sales over the past several years, at
  least one ex-library, if memory serves (the last sold was
  lot 581 in sale 80)."

  [So there are at least a few other copies out there.  It
  does seem to be a scarce item.  When I asked literature
  dealer John Burns about it, he was stumped, and stumping
  John isn't easy to do.  We both figured George would have
  had sold a copy or two over the years, since nearly every
  item of note seems to show up in his sales.  -Editor]


  George Kolbe continues: "I just finished speaking with Bill
  Castenholz.  There was an earlier query in The E-Sylum
  about his U.S. Coin Chart. It appears that Bill, before he
  sold me his numismatic library, sold all of his current
  publications to a California numismatic group, the
  California State Numismatic Society, I believe. Therein
  was his remaining stock of charts (he recalls printing
  several hundred copies). I do not recall ever having seen
  the chart. John Bergman purchased sets of Castenholz's
  "Numismatic Messenger" from the society but apparently
  none of the charts. Where are they now?"

  [My note about the charts appeared in the September 3,
  2002  E-Sylum (v5#35).   Until now, no one had come
  forward with information on the charts.  Via email to
  Ruth  Phillips at the CSNS, I came in contact with Gary
  Beedon, who say he owned one of the charts back in the
  mid-70s.  But so far, I have no leads on the current
  whereabouts of the unsold remainders.  -Editor]


  In response to Joe Wolfe's comments regarding American
  coin hoards, Larry Lee, the Curator of the American
  Numismatic Association, had the following comments:

  "The ANA Museum is interested in learning of the discovery
  of any historically-important coin hoards located by
  professional archeologists in the United States. This would
  include Peace medals, colonial coins and medals, as well as
  caches of "foreign" coins. We are currently working with the
  National Park Service on a project related to the identification,
  conservation and publication of all archeologically-recovered
  "coin hoards" discovered on National Park property.  We
  are presently waiting to examine the first batch of about 50
  coins and tokens excavated from Block 3, a colonial-era
  neighborhood located across the street from the Philadelphia
  Mint.  It is believed several Mint employees lived in the block
  of houses represented by this archaeological investigation and
  a few of the pieces may be of great numismatic significance. It
  is hoped this archeology project can be expanded to include
  any numismatically related material discovered in site surveys
  and excavation reports from all college and university-
  sponsored excavations in the country.

  I don't mean to jump on anyone, but I personally feel that
  "coin shooters" and pot-hunters usually destroy any
  archeological context that may be associated with a buried
  coin when they go treasure hunting and that in general, they
  do a great disservice to the history of our country by removing
  the artifacts from the  ground. The fact it is illegal to use a
  metal detector in our National Parks indicates the government
  feels the same way about the issue.

  Incidentally, under the Native American Graves Protection and
  Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enacted in 1991, it is now illegal
  to own numismatic artifacts that demonstrably came from
  "Indian" graves.  Though not yet tested in court, this ban
  possibly could include awarded Indian Peace medals and
  the so-called Oregon beaver token."

  Dick Johnson adds: "The answer to a maiden's prayer for Joe
  Wolfe's inquiry about coin hoards is chapter 3 of Lloyd R.
  Laing's book, "Coins and Archaeology" New York: Schocken
  Books (1969) p 53-68.

  Not only does it give the guidance he is seeking it also identifies
  six kinds of coin hoards:

  (1) collected coins
  (2) accumulations
  (3) coins lost in a catastrophe
  (4) mercantile hoards
  (5) bullion hoards
  (6) savings hoards

  Most often, coins were buried in uncertain times, as an
  impending invasion.

  This book is often lacking in most numismatic libraries, but it
  shouldn't be -- it is tremendously useful. (My notes on reading
  this book reveal 68 "numismatic concepts" covered, from
  blanching to votive deposits, eight on dies alone.)

  The first effort when encountering a fresh hoard, the author
  notes, is to date it.  Numismatic research is most useful here.
  Determine the date of issue of the most modern piece, ergo,
  the hoard was buried after that date.

  Incidentally we use the term "hoard" too loosely in numismatic
  conversation. It should be reserved only for recovered buried
  objects.  "I just bought a hard of tokens," really means

  [Coincidentally, there are two related items of note in the
  current Coin World issue (October 28, 2002)

  "Cleaning Up" by Paul Gilkes (p16) discusses techniques
  for removing dirt from dug coins.

  "Georgia Forest Yields 1798/7 Draped Bust cent"
  by Eric von Klinger:   "The sandy soil in a pine forest
  clear cut in McIntosh County, southeast Georgia,
  appears to have been a kind conservator of a rare large
  cent from the late 18th century...   The coin is a 1798/7
  Draped Bust cent."  Text and illustrations are on the web


  Bill Malkmus writes:  "Did Dick Johnson really think he could
  get away with a reference to finding an "outstanding" series
  of articles (on a visit to the Mint) in the "Philadelphia Dispatch"
  of 1853, tell us he has transcribed the 12,000+ word text,
  and then without further comment wander off onto another

  I can only surmise that he has gotten up a secret pool on
  how many torch-carrying peasants will be trying to storm
  the castle gates!

  Well, maybe I'm the only one to notice."


  Adrián González Salinas writes: "I know that several E-Sylum
  readers have an interest in Mexican numismatics, so I'd like to
  inform you about the latest Sociedad Numismática de México's
  journal called "El Boletín".  It is a commemorative issue and
  contains articles which appeared since its foundation (1952).

  In words of José Antonio Bátiz Vázquez (Delegate of
  Publications):  "The Numismatic Society of Mexico, A.C.
   publishes this anthology of articles taken from its 'Boletín
  Numismático' as a testimony and in memory of its first fifty
  years of existence and as an acknowledgment to its numerous
  membership who during this period participated with their
  knowledge, having put it in writing and thus, contributed to
  the study and dissemination of numismatics.  It is a select
  group of nineteen articles by different authors covering the
  history of  'Boletín' with diverse subjects, historical stages
  and criteria of interest and interpretation."

  These are the characteristics and contents of "El Boletín" -
  50th Anniversary:

  Sociedad Numismática de México, A.C
  El Boletín Numismático - 50th Anniversary
  Spanish & English Publication
  Number 194-196; January-September 2002
  Dimensions:  184 x 230 x 12 mms  (7½ x 9¼ x ½ inches)
  Soft Cover; Pages:  226
  Issues: 990

  - 50 Years of Arduous Endeavor.
     By Alberto Hidalgo Hernández - President
  - Preface. By José Antonio Bátiz Vázquez
  - Mexican Patriots and Their Part in Numismatics.
     By Dr. Alberto F. Pradeau
  - Bilimbiques. By J. Jesús Ávalos Ortega
  - Notes on The Edge Design of Mexican Coins.
     By José Luis Franco
  - The Paper Money of Iturbide.  By Eduardo Rosovsky
  - Zapatista Engravers. By T.V. Buttrey
  - The Pillar Dollar in Continental America.
     By Antonio Deana Salmerón
  - Coins and Medals of Charles IV.
     By Francisco Javier López de Lerena
  - Zacatecas and its Emergency Coinage (Obsidional Coins).
     By Enrique Torres de Alba
  - Interpretation of Vigentes of the Mexican Bank Notes.
    By Alberto Hidalgo Hernández
  - Hacienda Tokens of Mexico. Gabriel Gómez Saborío
  - The Mexican Coinage as Legal Currency on the Five
     Continents. By Ana María Cross de Torres
  - The Establishment of Mexican Mint, First in America.
     By Miguel L. Muñóz
  - The Gold Coins of Guadalupe y Calvo 1844-1852.
     By Clyde Hubbard
  - The Paper Money of Bank of Mexico.
     By Duane D. Douglas
  - The Mexican Revolution and its Coins.
     By Alejandro Cortina y Cortina
  - The Bank Notes of Banamex.
     By José Antonio Bátiz Vázquez
  - The Medallic Arto of Mexico.
     By Luis M. Gómez Wulschner
  - 135th Anniversary of the Founding of the Bank of
     London, Mexico and South America.
     By Eduardo Malagón Kamel

  Note: The article "El Generalísimo Don José María Morelos,
  Comandante del Ejército del Sur y su Contribución a la
  Numismática Mexicana" (The General Jose Maria Morelos,
  South Army Commander and his Contribution to the
  Mexican Numismatics), page 12, by José Tamborrel
  Zepeda Jr. wasn't translated to English.  I don't know the


  Bill Rosenblum writes: "About the stars on Moroccan coins.
  Actually the six pointed star is the Seal of Solomon, not the
  five pointed one.  And on Moroccan coins it represents the
  Seal of the House of Sulayman (spelling?) the royal family
  of Morocco since the late 18th century. As a specialist in
  Jewish related coins I receive queries once a week (or so it
  seems) from someone who has a strange looking medieval
  coin with a Jewish star on one side and a date of 1250 or
  so on the other. These have nothing to do with Jews or
  Jewish mintmasters and the date is the Arabic one (add 622,
  subtract 3% to get the approximate western date).  I believe
  the five pointed star was added under Yusef beginning in
  approximately 1912, but I do not know the history of
  that.  Hope that helps a bit."

  Alan Luedeking writes: "The plea for assistance from Granvyl
  Hulse concerning the Moroccan coin with the five-pointed star
  within the six-pointed star came as a surprise to me, since this
  very same topic was explored in great depth over no less
  than four separate issues of, you guessed it, the N.I. Bulletin!
  I would suggest that Mr. Hulse ask his most prolific contributor,
  Mr. Bob Forrest,  for help, since he was the author of this
  interesting series titled "Of Hexagrams and Pentagrams", in the
  April, May, August and October 2001 issues of the N.I. Bulletin."

  I forwarded this to Granvyl Hulse for comment and he writes:
  "Robert Forrest on page 102 (April 2001) of his article
  admitted that he did not know of any reason other than
  decorative for the five pointed star within a six pointed star.
  I checked with him again when I received the query and he
  still doesn't know, but like his earlier comment - is still curious.
  My problem at this end is that I do not have access to
  Moroccan mint records. There must have been some
  justification to the design, but what it was I do not know."

 [Those who recall the Woody Allen movie "Annie Hall"
  may remember the scene where, while waiting to enter a
  theatre, Allen's character is annoyed by a nearby
  know-it-all spouting off about the theories of Marshall
  McLuhan.  He confronts the man, telling him he's all
  wrong.  "And I have Marshall McLuhan here to prove it,"
  at which point McLuhan himself steps out of the line and
  tells the amazed crowd that the gentleman indeed knows
  nothing of his theories and has everything wrong.

  Well, in cyberspace it is possible to have McLuhan
  moments for real, although the analogy only goes so
  far in this case, since E-Sylum readers are all so darned
  polite.  Anyway, here goes.  We just so happen to have
  the aforementioned author on line.  -Editor]

  Bob Forrest writes: "It is certainly true that "the pentagram"
  appears on the Moroccan flag, and that it is sometimes
  interpreted as a Seal of Solomon, but it hardly makes
  sense to interpret the coin with the pentagram inside the
  hexagram as a Seal of Solomon inside a Seal of Solomon.
  An idea that occurs to me - assuming that this geometrical
  device is not just decorative - would be that the coin
  represents Morocco (the pentagram) under the protection
  of (within) the Seal of Solomon (the hexagram).

  One final note as regards my interpretation of the
  pentagram within the hexagram on the Moroccan coin -
  I would regard this as no more than a suggestion.
  Plausible as the interpretation sounds, that is no guarantee
  of its truth, and I would keep one eye firmly on another
  coin of Morocco - the 10 dirhems piece of AH 1313
  (Y#13 in Krause-Mishler)- which bears on its obverse
  a hexagram within a hexagram within an octogram.  Such
  a device is surely a visually impressive display of geometrical
  design rather than a piece of elaborate symbolism, and if
  that is the case in this instance, it may also be the case in
  the simpler instance of the pentagram within the hexagram.
  The problem is, of course, that it is often all too easy to see
  symbolism where none was ever intended."

  [Now my head's so full of pentagrams, hexagrams and
  octograms I'm going to go eat some of my kids' Teddy
  Grahams. -Editor]


  From the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO comes this
  story, published October 16, 2002:

  "First United Bank President Stephen P. Baltz loves history.

  And he says he's saddened that most of Colorado's banks have
  lost their local history through mergers and acquisitions and are
  now headquartered in places such as California, Minnesota,
  Ohio, Utah, North Dakota and Alabama.

  But Baltz is rolling back the clock in his latest banking branch,
  which he expects to open by mid-November in the historic
  Equitable Building in the heart of downtown Denver.

  "You'll be stepping back into time" when you enter his bank at
  740 17th St., Baltz said, while walking around the space that
  will look as much as possible like the First National Bank of
  Denver looked from 1896 to 1911, when Colorado business
  pioneer David Moffat was president and the bank was located
  in the Equitable Building.

  ...  he's re-creating the space based on old photos of Moffat
  and his nephew, Fred Moffat.  The photos show the Moffats
  sitting in their offices in the old First National Bank of Denver,
  which in 1897 was the largest west of the Mississippi River.

  Baltz also owns the adjacent Molly's of Denver space. He
  hopes to carve out a small portion of that to replicate David
  Moffat's former office...

  Baltz is spending about a million dollars on the renovation.

  The new bank will have replicas of the old mahogany desks
  and chairs seen in the photos. The walls will be covered
  with antique maps.

  Teller cages - which had bars as a defense against bank
  robbers - also will be be replicated, but Baltz won't require
  his employees to dress in historic garb.

  "We might have special days when we get dressed up," he

  Former First National Bank executive - and de facto historian
  - Bob Pulcipher, takes his hat off to Baltz.

  While there are other historic banks in Denver, such as the
  Colorado National Bank that is relatively unchanged over
  the past 80 years, no one has done what Baltz is undertaking,
  said Pulcipher, one of the authors of a coffee-table book on
  First National Bank called the Pioneer Western Bank - First
  of Denver: 1860-1980.

  "To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever given a
  contractor an old photo of a bank and said, 'Build this for
  me,' " Pulcipher said."

  [So on "dress up days," will they hand out large size
  national bank notes in change?

  See the full story on the newspaper's web site, along with
  a photo of an antique 7.5 ton bank vault door being lowered
  into the building.   And if you have any interest in early
  Denver numismatic history, you should locate a copy of the
  "Pioneer Western Bank" book, published in 1984.  I have a
  copy in my library and it's a great source of information on
  Clark, Gruber & Co and the first Denver branch mint, along
  with color illustrations of of Denver numismatic items including
  pioneer gold, paper money and checks.  -Editor]


  Joel Shafer writes: "I wanted to provide follow-up to Jess
  Gaylor's comments on the paper money of Panama.  We
  offered a beautiful complete set in our initial world bank
  note sale (Lyn Knight Currency Auctions, February 2002)
  that eventually sold for approximately $20,000.  The 10
  and 20 Balboas each were about AU.  Earlier this year,
  I wrote a short article about this set that appeared in Bank
  Note Reporter.  The following is an excerpt from that article.

  Vasco Nunez de Balboa, who appears on the 1 Balboa
  and is the namesake of this monetary unit, lived from 1475
  until 1519.  On September 13, 1513, he became the first
  European to see the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean.
  He accomplished this feat after an arduous trek through the
  jungles of what is now Panama.   He claimed the Pacific
  Ocean and all of its shores for Spain. At 26, Balboa joined
  a Spanish expedition to South America that explored the
  northern coast of what is now Colombia.  Balboa set out
  on the Panama expedition to strengthen his hold as governor
  and found gold and riches.  Eventually, he became involved
  in a political struggle with a rival and was beheaded.

  The entire issue notes were recalled very shortly after
  release; practically all were destroyed by the end of 1941.
  According to one researcher, the United States government
  was strongly behind this action.  Historically, Panama has
  had several strong connections with the United States.
  US paper money was used prior to and subsequent to this
  abortive attempt at a national currency.

  To clear up another matter, all of these notes are priced in the
  Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (whether the 20
  Balboas should be priced in Uncirculated is another matter).

  This has long been a popular series enjoyed by collectors of
  Latin America, those who pursue world bank notes that have
  a strong relationship with the United States, or by those who
  simply like well-made bank notes."

  In a separate note, Joel's father Neil Shafer adds: "Just a
  reminder that Paper Money, the journal of the Society of
  Paper Money Collectors, remains a good source for data.
  The statistics for bank notes from Panama that you included
  last week were published in Paper Money in 1985."


  Martin Purdy writes: "Here are a few thoughts to start the ball
  rolling.  Touraine pounds sounds like an English translation of
  "livres tournois", i.e. pounds on the weight/fineness standard
  of Tours.

  According to,
  the British pound sterling was worth 8.5 times as much as the
  livre tournois in the period 1464-1526 or thereabouts. That
  gives 117.7 pounds (£117.14.0) in British currency at the time.

  Now, looking at£s=117&shillings=14&pence=&year=1600,

  which only goes back as far as 1600, £117.14.0 in 1600
  had a purchasing power equivalent to £15,645 pounds today.
  It's a fairly safe assumption that inflation in Britain wasn't huge
  between 1450 and 1600, so that figure will at least be in the
  right order of magnitude.

  For the record, this was all done using Google, and key
  words such as "livre tournois" linked with "pound sterling" to
  start with, followed by "pound sterling" linked with "current
  value" and "middle ages".  A little more playing with search
  engines along this line may produce something more
  accurate, you never know!"

  Bruce Burton of Round Rock, Texas, writes: "Paraphrased
  from the book "All the Monies of the World, A Chronicle
  of Currency Values" by Franz Pick and Rene Sedillot (publ.

  The French system of accounting was first used in Tours,
  then extended to the entire royal domain.  In the 12th
  century, a Livre of Tours (Livre Rournois) of 455.2 grams
  was a unit of weight in Touraine. [This is rather close to what
  we (in America) now call a pound.

  In the 13th century under Saint Louis, adoption of Tournois
  system for accounts of the kingdom was enacted, to the
  detriment of Paris is accounting system wherein 1 Livre
  Tournois = 20 Sous Tournois = 240 Deniers Tournois.
  In 1336, the Livre Parisis was demonitized, however, the
  two systems coexisted until Louis XIV.

  On page 307 a chart shows that during the reign of Charles
  VI (1422) the weight of a Livre Tournois had dropped
  drastically to 1.30 grams of fine gold but that under Charles
  VII (1461) the value was listed as 26.05 grams of fine gold
  or 2.420 grams of fine silver.  This makes me think that the
  authors have switched their column headings unless gold at
  that time in France actually was worth more than silver."

  Ron Haller-Williams wrote a very lengthy piece which we
  can't use in its entirety, but here are a couple excerpts.
  It's great to see such a level of interest and expertise among
  our readers.

  ".. was this pound/livre the UNIT OF CURRENCY?
   In England, 240 pence, then 15 grains each  = 3600
  grains (or 233.3 grams) of 92.5% purity, compared with
  the tower pound of 5400 grains (349.9 grams), or the troy
  pound of 5760 grains (373.24 grams).  By the way, the
  avoirdupois ("common") pound weighs in at 7000 grains =
  453.59237 grams.

   But what was the standard for the French currency?
   I'm not sure how useful Edward Leigh's "A Diatribe of Mony or Coyn"
   (1671) is, as this is neqarly 230 years later, but it tells us that
   "in France a Liver is about 1s. 6d. English"
   In fact, in 1656 the 20 sols was 8.007 grams of 95.8% silver,
   compared with the English Charles II shilling of some 5.8 grams of
   92.5%, so he wasn't too far off  -  I make it just over 1s. 5d.!"

  "... what would the purchasing power have been?
   Because the idea of however-many shillings does not
   directly help in the compare, when the daily wage
   was just a few pence.

   According to "Chronicon Preciosum", in that year:
   Wheat was 5 shillings and 4 pence per quarter (i.e. 28 lb)
   Ale was a penny plus a farthing per gallon
   A "Cade" of red (i.e. dried & smoked) herrings 7 shillings
   and 4 pence
   80 white herrings would have cost one shilling
   At this time an English penny was 15 grains (about 0.95
   grams) of 92.5% silver, and the shilling was of course 12
   pence.  The farthing was a quarter of a penny."


  The Star of Toronto, Ontaria, Canada published an article
  by Philip Marchand on October 12, 2002, titled "Cultural
  Terrorism Destroys Morale." As bibliophiles, we all realize
  at some level that while we individual humans come and go,
  printed works and the knowledge they contain usually live
  on, sometimes in perpetuity.  The article's discussion of the
  destruction of literature and art is haunting.  In one terrible
  moment, the loss of an important library or museum could
  be a catastrophic blow to mankind's collective culture.
  In the grand scheme of things, numismatics is just a footnote,
  yet the loss of a major numismatic library is unthinkable.

  Luckily books are usually not unique, and even the largest
  library could largely be reassembled one day.   Private
  collectors are guardians of the knowledge contained in their
  books.  So take good care of your libraries.  Those scarce
  or rare volumes on the shelf may, in a twist of fate, one day
  become the only remaining copies on the planet.  Here
  are some excerpts from the article.   The full article may
  be seen on their web site:

  "A DOZEN OR SO poets and writers were at the downstairs
  bar and art gallery of the Gypsy X restaurant on Carlton St.
  the other night, including the owner, Goran Simic. I first met
  him six years ago when he had just arrived in Toronto as a
  refugee from Sarejevo.  Not only was he a noted poet in his
  homeland, but he had also been the head of an association of
  Bosnian writers and proprietor of a now-vanished bookstore
  in Sarajevo.

  At one point in the evening Simic showed a video of a
  documentary by Norwegian filmmaker Knut Gorfald, titled
  Burned Books, a deeply disturbing account of the shelling of
  the Bosnian National Library in Sarejevo in August 1992, by
  Serbian nationalists dug in the hills surrounding the city. The
  shelling, and the fire it caused, destroyed thousands of priceless
  manuscripts and books, as well as gutting a historic and
  beautiful building.

  It was an act of cultural terrorism, which New York City was
  at least spared.  As bad as Sept. 11 was, it left New Yorkers
  with their morale intact. They mourned the 3,000 dead - but
  no one mourned the World Trade Center.  It was missed, of
  course. People who had gotten used to seeing those
  monumental buildings in the city skyline took a long time before
  they adjusted to the shock of their absence.  But this was
  nothing compared to the emotional and spiritual loss the people
  of Sarajevo felt for the assault on their National Library, which
  was a cultural symbol as well as an important landmark and

  New Yorkers only began to fear a similar loss when rumours
  circulated about a possible terrorist attack on the Statue of
  Liberty.  Such an attack would result in minimal loss of life
  compared to the assault on the Trade Center, but the emotional
  blow would be as heavy, or perhaps even heavier.  A society
  can absorb severe loss of life and economic destruction, but it
  can hardly tolerate the loss of its sacred symbols.

  Great art on a monumental scale has this kind of symbolic
  value to a society, quite apart from its excellence as art or
  architecture. To the Allies in World War I, nothing symbolized
  the barbarism of the Germans more than their deliberate
  shelling and destruction of the great Cathedral of Notre Dame
  in Reims, France. Nothing frightened Italy more than the Mafia
  car bomb that went off near the Uffizi Gallery in Florence in
  1993 - putting notice that a huge legacy of Western civilization,
  the best of Renaissance painting, was under threat.  Nothing
  served notice more starkly that the Taliban were beyond the
  pale than their blowing to bits those 1,500-year-old statues
  of the Buddha in Afghanistan two years ago."

  [Here are a few links to more information on the library's
   destruction, and efforts to reconstruct it.  "Scholars who are
   now working to replenish the collection say the attack was
   the worst single book burning in history, comparable to the
   burning of the great classical library at Alexandria and the
   Chinese communist Cultural Revolution of the 1960s."


  This week's featured web page is from the Online Journal of
  The Islamic Coins Group: "Seal Of Solomon On Coins Of
  Morocco" by Marc Pelletier.  The Islamic Coins Group "is
  a place for the collectors and students of Islamic Numismatics
  to share knowledge and information about Medieval Islamic
  coins. The group is for the novice and the experienced alike.
  A place to meet, exchange the latest news, and address the
  latest concerns."

  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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