The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 45, November 10, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Recent subscribers include Tom Whittle, courtesy of Brad
  Karoleff, Cr. Gustavo Gil, courtesy of Jose-Luis Rubio, and
  Rick Kay, courtesy of Andy Lustig.  Welcome aboard!  One
  person unsubscribed, leaving us with exactly 500 subscribers.
  Thanks for being with us at this milestone!

  Tom Whittle writes: "I collect early half dollars, Canadian
  tokens and souvenir cards.  Jose-Luis Rubio notes that
  Cr. Gustavo Gil is Treasurer of the Instututo Numismatico
  del Uruguay.


  Howard A. Daniel III reports that he has received a letter
  from Pete Smith, NBS President, approving him adding
  NBS to the joint club table with Numismatics International
  (NI) and the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) for
  ANA Money Shows and Conventions.  He writes: "The
  joint table at  the ANA Money Show in Charlotte for
  March 21-23,  2003 has been confirmed by the ANA
  Convention Department, so NBS will be there and you
  can meet fellow members at it, rest between trips to the
  bourse, etc.  No one has yet applied for an NBS meeting
  at Charlotte, so NBS members can meet at the joint
  NI/IBNS meeting until and if one is arranged.  If you want
  any further information, please contact me at
  Howard at"


  Gregg Silvis writes: "The May 7-8, 1929 Henry Chapman sale
  of the Commodore William Colgate Eaton collection also
  included the Bardeen Collection of half cents.  Would anyone
  happen to know the first name of Bardeen?   Thanks!"


  Hadrien Rambach of Paris, France writes: "About the
  different & interesting words used for numismatics, I can
  also suggest the French equivalents of "numismatist" (the
  collector or scholar, interested in numismatics).

  Nowadays, we French all use the word "numismate".
  But another word did exist (still used, at least, in 1902):

  In a letter, T.M. Dumersan explained that "numismatiste"
  should be preferred to "numismate", because of the
  differences between "diplomate" (the ambassadors, etc.)
  and "diplomatiste" (the scholar in diplomatics).  But this
  argument is not good (I think), as diplomatics was created
  after numismatics, and after the word "numismate".
  Does someone know of an article or other research on
  this subject (numismate vs numismatiste)?"


  David Fanning writes: "My last word (promise) on the
  question of curators and collectors: Larry Lee wrote in
  his response to my comments in the previous E-Sylum that
  "In regard to Mr. Fanning's statement that 'the odds are
  good that the coins will end up unlabeled, unattributed
  and stuck in storage somewhere,' I would opine that most
  objects in museums, including coins, are in fact very well
  organized, even if they may not be numismatically

  This, I think, cuts to the heart of the matter: if these coins
  are not numismatically attributed, how then are they well
  organized?  According to what diagnostics or properties
  are they organized?  There are many knowledgeable
  curators out there: I'm simply stating that most museums
  do not have the resources to retain experts on staff and
  that many collectors are at least as knowledgeable about
  their field of specialty as are curators."

  George Kolbe writes: "I, too, see merit in both Larry Lee
  and David Fanning's arguments but it seems clear that in
  practice, whether applicable or not, "archeological context"
  often becomes an excuse for government confiscation.
  And isn't the person who puts out his hard-earned cash
  to buy a coin - or most anything else for that matter - likely
  to be the better conservator?  Or would you be likely to
  pay the same for a car from Hertz or for one from the
  proverbial old lady from Pasadena (I grew up in Pasadena
  and I know MY preference)."

  [When it comes to my own books, I hate to admit that I'm
  not as good a conservator as I'd like to be.  Several items
  could use deacidification, some of the books sorely need
  repairs or rebinding, and much of my ephemera collection
  is a fun but unorganized mess.  "Someday" I'll get around
  to all of these things, but I hope "someday" rolls around
  before I die.

  Few of these items were purchased from collectors or
  dealers; most were discovered in out of the way
  locations, and in one case, I retrieved the items from
  a home, working just steps ahead of a cleaning crew that
  was instructed to toss all of the late owner's remaining
  possessions into a dumpster.  [a couple complete years
  of B. Max Mehl's Numismatic Monthly were salvaged
  from a tool box under a workbench in the basement.]
  So in this case, the scavenging collector saved some rare
  and unique items from certain destruction.  Of course,
  in this case, there was no accompanying archaeological
  evidence to be saved.

  The tug-of-war between curators and collectors has
  gone on for many years.  The following is taken from the
  Vol 1, No. 1 (March 1905) issue of The Collector, a
  Pittsburgh-based periodical on philately, numismatics
  and archaeology:

  "It occurs to me that so far as it could be accomplished
  without infringing upon the rights of individuals, Museum
  Curators should combine against dealers in archaeological
  specimens.  There seem to be two classes of these men
  and the one should not be confused with the other.  Of
  recent years the the dealers of archaeological specimens
  have increased to an alarming extent.  If these men
  confined their wares to surface-found objects or to
  things procured from Tom, Dick and Harry, scientists
  could have no just grounds for complaint."

  The rant goes on for two pages and was to be continued
  in the next issue.  Alas, this is the only example of the
  periodical I have.  Has anyone ever seen this periodical?
  The issue also has an article on large cents under the byline
  "A. Cent"  -Editor]


  R. W. Julian and others reported the source of the
  "Mint Processes" booklet described last week.  As you'll
  see, there is more than one "source".

  Mark Borckardt writes: "Regarding Mint Processes of the
  United States":  On my desk is a copy of the 1896 Mint
  Director's Report.   Included, beginning at the bottom of
  page 112 is an article titled "Mint Processes of the United
  States" which includes exactly 15 black and white photos
  along with articles by some of the same people mentioned
  in the E-Sylum."

  George Kolbe agrees: " I think the "booklet" you allude
  to is derived from the 1896 Mint Report (see Kolbe sale
  89, lot 914)."

  Pulling the '96 Mint Report off my library shelf enabled me
  to confirm the origin of my pamphlet.  It must have been
  some sort of offprint or reprint of that section of the Mint
  Report.  Paul Schultz suggested that since the pamphlet has
  no identifying information, it may have been produced
  as an in-house teaching tool as the U.S. Mint.  Interesting

  The pamphlet, whose pages are numbered 3-39, seems to
  exactly match the content beginning at the end of page 112
  of the 1896 Mint report, and ending in the middle of page

  Dick Johnson takes the origin of the pamphlet back another
  couple of years, and adds some color on why it was
  produced.  He writes:

  "The 39-page pamphlet titled "Mint Processes of the United
  States" is an offprint from the 1894 Annual Report of the
  Director of the Mint.  My notes on the Charles E. Barber
  essay state these were pages 150-152 from that Mint Report.
  The essays of other mint officials undoubtedly followed that.

  This Mint Report covered the year 1893 since it was
  published following the fiscal year which ended June 30,
  1894. It is a nice thick volume in comparison with the other
  Mint Reports which preceded and followed.

  You have to understand what was going on in the Mint at
  that time. In 1891 they had signed construction contracts
  to build the most modern coinage mint in the world at 16th
  & Spring Garden Streets (the so-called third mint in

  What they wanted from each department head was an
  analysis of what each department did in preparation for
  planning the layout of the new mint building. I did research
  on this era of the Philadelphia Mint's history in preparation
  for a film (which was to be produced for this mint's
  centennial by Mike Craven, but that project was abruptly
  halted by the Mike's death in a senseless roadrage
  killing on an L.A. expressway.)

  I had found the blueprints for the Mint building, and
  physically examined the building on every floor even to
  the two-foot thick walls in the basement where bullion
  and coin were once stored. (The building is now a
  community college, but the name "United States Mint"
  is still above the entrance of the original building.)  The
  old pressroom is now the library.  The old walkway
  where visitors could watch coins being struck now
  houses study carrels.

  The building embraced the first use of electricity for
  running coining presses and other equipment.  It had
  elevators. It had telephones. It had water storage tanks
  in the basement. It was the most modern coinage mint
  in the world at the time (and they copied most of this
  building for the Denver Mint build a few years later)."

  [My library has a hole - I have the '93, '95 and '96
  mint reports, but no '94.   I'll put it on my Christmas
  wish list.  -Editor]


  Jørgen Sømod writes: "The prison employee's coin club in
  Denmark has just published a booklet written by me,
  "Fængselsmønter" (prison tokens). It includes 18th century
  tokens from Norway and a 19th century token from Glückstadt
  in present Germany.  All types are illustrated and there are
  also pictures of the different prisons.  The book is of course
  printed in a prison.  All text is in Danish only. 32 pages. The
  price is $ or € 7,- sent worldwide."   [For more information,
  contact Jørgen at numis at -Editor]


  Clement V. Schettino writes: "Even though I am not announcing
  a hard copy book (yet) I thought it might be appropriate to
  make this announcement here anyway.  I am sure that I
  correctly assume that many, if not all, of you are interested in
  all publications dedicated to numismatic research and information.

  I have recently created a few web pages
  (, and there are a few
  pages dedicated to Contemporary Counterfeit British & Irish
  1/2d & 1/4d
  On the last page you will see that I am offering for sale a CD of
  my reference collection.  If  you have any comments or
  information on this subject please email me privately at
  copperclem at"


  In the Colonial Coins mailing list, Mike Hodder reported
  that "Stack's 2003 Americana sale (next January) will include
  some nice stuff in coins, medals, and tokens."  One highlight
  he mentioned is the "Western Reserve Historical Society's
  collection of Washingtonia, with two gold funeral urn badges
  (round and oval), two badges in silver (one a skull &
  crossbones type), the fifth known WM piece with GW on
  the pedestal, a Getz Masonic medal in sound VF, lots of
  other neat stuff, much ex Norweb...   The catalogue is being
  written now. Look for it sometime around Xmas."

  [The George Washington papers web site at the University
  of Virginia has a great section on the death and mourning
  of Washington.  -Editor


  Dick Johnson pointed out the following article, published in
  Vatican City on October 29, 2002.  It mentions the
  Vatican Numismatic Library and a catalog of 300,000
  coins in the Vatican collection.

  "The Vatican Apostolic Library is in the process of posting
  hundreds of thousands of historical manuscripts, previously
  accessible to a privileged few, on its Web page."

  "Manuscripts of Emperor Justinian, love letters of King Henry
  VIII to Anne Boleyn, and missives of Lucrezia Borgia to her
  father, who had become Pope Alexander VI -- all may be
  consulted at"

  "Father Raffaele Farina, prefect of the library, talked about
  the new features of the library's computer system.  He
  explained that since 2000, projects have been under way to
  digitize and catalogue descriptions of the graphic material
  (prints, illustrations and drawings) of the Print Library and
  the numismatic material (coins and medals) of the Numismatic

  In addition, he said, the database offers a public catalogue
  which contains descriptions of books and magazines, prints,
  illustrations, drawings, copper engravings, photographs, coins
  and medals and even musical scores, recordings and CDs,
  for a total of 700,000 bibliographic entries."

  "The Vatican Apostolic Library, founded by Pope Nicholas V
  (1447-1455), is specialized in humanistic areas (paleography,
  history, art history, classics, philology) and has 1.6 million
  ancient and modern printed volumes;  83,000 incunabula
  (editions printed from the invention of the press to the start of
  the 16th century), 150,000 manuscripts and archive volumes;
  300,000 coins and medals, and more than 100,000 prints.

  To give an idea of the quantity of the bibliographic material
  in the Apostolic Library, Cardinal Mejía said the shelves to
  store it would stretch about 90 kilometers (55 miles)."


  Jose Luis Rubio, Telephone Token student and President
  of the International Telephone Token Association writes:
  "I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows why
  there is no period after the last abbreviation-letter of some
  Telephone Tokens, like the Italian "S.E.T",  the South
  African "H.P.K" or most of the French products coined at
  the Paris Mint House, that bear the classic abbreviation
  "P.T.T"  as at the classic 1937 token made in huge quantities,
  and several phone-tokens made there for the French Colonies,
  which also lack of the period after the last letter.

  I strongly suspect that this period was not "forgotten" by
  coincidence, but omitted for some special telephone cue...
  My email address is:   rubiojl at  Thank you."


  Ed Krivoniak reports: "When I toured the Corning Glass
  Museum in the late sixties I saw 2 or 3 examples of the type
  of glassware mentioned by Mark Borchardt in last week's


  Subscriber Nick Graver is the newest member of one of
  my local clubs, the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic
  Society.  He and his wife were in town for our annual
  Social Meeting on Tuesday.   He sent the following note
  the next day:

  "I enjoyed E-Sylum, which was waiting for me upon return
  to Rochester.  It makes me wonder where all my numismatic
  books went after Frank Katen sold them.   I should have
  had my name in each, just to give some collector an idea
  where they originated.  Of course, that would mark them,
  and we were "drilled" in school to not deface books.

  There is a topic for a future issue: "Books in "Mint" condition,
  versus books having bookplates, autographs, inscriptions,
  date received, and all the various entries that make them
  interesting, but no longer "Mint" condition."

  [This is an interesting topic.  I've never put a bookplate in
  any of my books, yet I do appreciate it when books come
  to me with a bookplate or inscription noting where they've
  been.   When I've added books from notable collectors
  (such as when I purchased the libraries of James O. Sloss
  and Donald Miller) I made up slips of paper with the
  previous owner's name and date of acquisition, and slipped
  them into each book.  I guess I'm of the same school as
  Nick - I can't bear to place a mark on any of my books.
  But a label of some sort, if it's small and unobtrusive,
  would be a good way to indicate ownership.  One exception
  would be ephemera - when I see a one-page pamphlet
  with someone's stamp or label on it I see red - what
  buffoon would deface the item's only page with such
  nonsense?  What do our readers think?  -Editor]


  An article on U.S. Army "Coins" appeared in the August 6,
  2002 issue of The Wall Street Journal.  With the latest U.N.
  resolution on Iraq, the subject may become more topical.
  Here are a few excerpts:

  "Army Maj. Dave Daigle will never forget the first time he
  was "coined." He had spent several weeks running a war
  game in Germany 13 years ago when his colonel, Eric K.
  Shinseki, now the Army's top general, gave him a small
  bronze disk bearing the unit's insignia.

  "That one was really special," says Maj. Daigle, who still
  carries it in his wallet.

  Maj. Daigle, who today is stationed at Fort Knox, Ky.,
  still has that one, too, and 50 more. He got many of them,
  he says, for just doing his job.

  Napoleon observed in 1802 when he initiated the French
  Legion of Honor that "it is by such baubles men are led."
  These days, the U.S. doesn't have a lot of opportunities to
  dole out combat ribbons and medals. So commanders are
  minting commemorative coins, paid for with unit morale
  funds, to reward the rank and file for everything from
  putting in overtime to blasting "enemy" tanks in a training

  In the process they have triggered a full-fledged coin craze.
  Today, just about every Army and Air Force command has
  a coin."

  "No one knows just when this practice began. The 10th
  Special Forces Group, a cadre of Green Berets, first began
  minting its own coin in the 1960s. It was one of only a handful
  of units with a coin until the mid-1980s. With every passing
  year, the coins have grown larger, flashier, and more plentiful.
  Today's coins, which are typically about twice the size of a
  silver dollar and weigh nearly 10 times as much as a quarter,
  frequently have beveled edges and enameled reliefs of
  exploding missiles, satellites and tanks. Some come in the
  shape of dog tags or tank tracks."

  "Last year, the Army, concerned that the coins were losing
  their meaning, tried to rein in the craze...    The proposal,
  which needed congressional approval, caused an explosive
  reaction. Soldiers flooded the Army Times, an independent
  newspaper, with angry letters, saying their coins meant
  more to them than service medals and ribbons."

  On August 10, 2002, this letter appeared, correcting the
  paper's incorrect use of the word "coin":

  "In regard to your Aug. 6 page one story "Army Calling Cards":
  It is the authorization of a government that makes a coin a coin.
  Under Article I of the Constitution, the power to coin money is
  expressly granted to Congress. The Oxford English Dictionary,
  Second Edition defines "coin" as "a piece of metal (gold, silver,
  copper, etc.) of definite weight and value, usually a circular
  disc, made into money by being stamped with an officially
  authorized device." The variously shaped pieces of metal
  described in your article may be medals or medallions. They
  may even be metal calling cards. They are not, however, coins.

  Franklin L. Noel
  Chief Magistrate Judge
  United States District Court
  District of Minnesota"


  This week's featured web site is a history of military
  "coining" on a commercial site for collectors:

  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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