The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 52, December 29, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  In response to Granvyl Hulse's query, Martin Purdy sends
  the following translation of the book's title page:

  Coins and Medals
  from the Royal Collection of Coins,
  Medals and Cut Stones
  at The Hague
  The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1910"

  Ron Haller-Williams provided a translation as well:

  Selected Coins and Medals  from
  the Royal Cabinet of Coins,  Medals
  and  Cut  Stones at The Hague
  [published at]   The Hague   [by] Martin Nijhoff  [in] 1910

  Granvyl Hulse might like to visit where we learn that
  "Swets Blackwell announced today (9 August 2001) an
  agreement to acquire Martinus Nijhoff International, the
  Dutch subscription agent and book dealer, with immediate
  effect. ..."   Thus the book was PUBLISHED by, not
  WRITTEN by Martin Nijhoff"


  Dick Johnson writes: "On the day before Christmas I
  delivered a gift poster to my Favorite Bookbinder. The
  poster was for an exhibit of rare bookbinding on exhibit
  at Princeton University (where I had gone recently to
  appraise a collection of medals).  I knew he would love
  the poster and perhaps even want to visit Princeton's
  Firestone Library to view this exceptional exhibit (on
  view until January 15th).

  I learned my FB was declining any more bookbinding
  work. I was crestfallen. He found it was easier to make
  money buying books and selling these on the internet
  than engaging in his once very prominent and lifelong
  profession.  He agreed to leather-bind my upcoming
  book on American artists; "But" he added, "don't send
  me any more bookbinding work."

  "You're getting lazy!" I accused. "I was born lazy!"
  exclaimed the French-born artisan.  But true enough,
  his work tables, once piled high with sensuous and
  colorful leathers, were now covered with books. And
  there was his wife keyboarding away at the computer.

  "Would you call this fine condition?"  She handed me a
  book. "Where's the dust jacket?" asked my FB. "Here"
  she said, holding it up. Wow, this book was far better
  than fine, and from what I saw of the dust jacket it was
  near flawless.

  At that moment I knew he was serious. He was lowballing
  his condition estimates. From experience I know that
  dealers who did this were making certain no one who
  purchased a book sight unseen would return it because
  of condition.

  I am not going to tell you my FB's name or location. I
  don't want him to succeed as a bookdealer.  I want him to
  be forced to go back to bookbinding.  I want to return to
  those days of yesteryear when we talked for hours of
  leathers, and goldtooling, and punches and even the
  diesinkers who made those punches.  I even learned from
  him that the craftsmen who made punches for coin and
  medal engravers were the same men who made them for

  The internet has corrupted my FB. My only hope is that
  no one will buy the books he has listed on the internet."


  Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I found a letter in my mail today
  from Remy Bourne and was happy to see it until I read that he
  was announcing his retirement from the numismatic literature
  business.  There has not been a time that I have been in Remy's
  company and not had a good time and learned something too.
  He has found some references for me with Southeast Asian in
  them that I would have never ever thought of looking in them,
  and I have often thanked him for his support of the ANA
  Library as a governor on the ANA Board.  I am going to miss
  seeing him and his lovely wife at shows and conventions, but I
  hope to visit Minneapolis one of these days and see that city he
  brags about.   I believe we will see him and his wife at future
  shows and conventions because no one can completely give up
  being a numismatic bibliomaniac!  Can they?"


  In response to last week's quiz question about Ken Rendell,
  P. Scott Rubin summed up the answer neatly as follows:
  "Rendell was a coin dealer before he was an autograph
  dealer.  Well known during his time in the numismatic

  Mark Borchardt writes: "Ken was very closely connected to
  numismatics in the late 1950s. He and Dave Bowers were
  very close friends, and remain good friends today.  Ken
  issued a fixed price list of copper coins around 1958 or so.
  A couple years ago, I bid on a lot in a mail order auction,
  the lot being described as a single copy of Ken's price list of
  large cents.  When I got the lot, I actually received two
  copies of this list. After contacting Ken regarding this, and
  learning that he did not have a copy of his own fixed price
  list, I forwarded the second copy to him.  Ken was an early
  member of numismatics' Rittenhouse Society, and recently
  attended one of the annual ANA breakfast meetings (in
  Chicago in 1999)."

  Dick Johnson elaborates: "Ken Rendell was a teenage coin
  collector who attended the 1952 ANA convention in New
  York City.  At that convention a small group of similarly-aged
  enthusiasts met for the first time.  We all became life-long
  friends. That group consisted of Ken Bressett, Dave Bowers,
  Walter Breen, George Fuld, Grover Criswell, Ken Rendell
  and myself.  Each of us have made our own contributions to
  numismatics in our own way.  Later we formalized that close-
  knit association by forming the Rittenhouse Society (named
  after the first Director of the U.S. Mint).

  This organization still exists today with only one new member
  added a year. We are not as snooty as this exclusivity sounds,
  however.  Our original intent was -- and that tenet continues
  to the present -- to encourage young enthusiasts to really
  become interested in numismatics enough to make a significant
  contribution to the field.  I would be hard pressed to
  enumerate the total number of books and articles Rittenhouse
  Society members have published.

  One of my proudest moments was to vote with my peers into
  Rittenhouse Society membership two years ago your E-Sylum
  editor, Wayne Homren. This is exactly the caliber of person
  it takes to become a candidate for membership.  And in no
  small part have you, the subscribers to E-Sylum, thrust on
  Wayne the responsibility he so adequately fulfills.  Wayne
  helped bring us old-timers and numismatics into the 21st
  century with his electronic medium!

  I don't believe Ken Rendell's feet touch the ground -- he is still
  in constant motion.  My last phone call with him had to be
  scheduled in advance with his secretary and it came from a
  cell phone in a taxicab in New York City between trips with
  clients, auction houses and his retail establishment on 57th
  Street in NYC.  He has long since reached the pinnacle in his
  second chosen field, that of autographs and documents.  His
  first love was coins, as it was with that small group of
  youngsters over fifty years ago!"

  [You never know what E-Sylum readers will come up with.
  That was very interesting.  All I had in mind to mention was
  Rendell's Fixed Price List on Hard Times Tokens.  I wonder
  if Ken has one of those in his files?   I know I do, but I'm
  having trouble locating it.  It's in one of my ephemera binders,
  I just don't know which one...   I don't think I've seen
  Rendell's large cent FPL.  Heck, I may already have one of
  those somewhere, too.  -Editor]


  Alan Luedeking writes: "Mr. Daniel III wrote "I am searching
  for references and/or articles about any pre-Spanish "money"
  or barter pieces." I assume he means of the New World and
  not of mainland Spain prior to the unification.  If so, I can
  recommend the following three works:

  Medina, José Toribio; "Monedas Usadas por los Indios de
  América al Tiempo del Descubrimiento Según los Antiguos
  Documentos y los Cronistas Españoles"; Buenos Aires, 1912.
  This is an offprint from "Actas del XVIIo Congreso
  Internacional de Americanistas," (Gresham's MNR-16), and,

  Pradeau, Alberto Francisco; "Numismatic History of México
  from the Pre-Columbian Epoch to 1823"; Los Angeles, 1938,
  pages 9-22, and,

  Cuadra Cea, Prof. Luis [ed.]; "Aspectos Históricos de la
  Moneda en Nicaragua," Volume I, Banco Central de
  Nicaragua, Managua, June, 1963, pages 1-11.

  The first work is very scarce, the second is not hard to get
  and is very worthwhile (in fact, I see George Kolbe has three
  examples for sale on his list), and the third is downright rare.
  If Mr. Daniel III would like further info he is welcome to
  contact me at alan at"


  Bill Rosenblum writes: "To add to the story of Mark Hoffman
  one should also note that he claims to have made the
  controversial 1959 Wheat Ears Lincoln cent. This is the coin
  that many of the leading authentication and grading services
  claim as a fake, but the Secret Service has authenticated as
  genuine. It was subject to a dispute between a number of
  people and a PNG arbitration panel decided it should be
  auctioned off by Ira and Larry Goldberg.  The coin was to
  be sold in the pre Long Beach sale last fall (as-is!). Just
  before the auction Hoffman claimed that he had made the
  coin and the coin was withdrawn. I'm not sure of all the
  details, someone who is more familiar with US coins can
  probably tell us more.


  Bill Rosenblum adds: "However, murderers and
  counterfeiters as one are not new.  The late Frank Lapa
  was one. Frank was perhaps one of the most knowledgeable
  US dealers in foreign coins in the 1960's and early 70's but
  had many flaws.  He was a counterfeiter and maker of
  fantasies of many different coins, among them rare Russian
  wire money.

  At the 1973 Boston ANA I had a beautiful gold wire coin
  that a client had given me on consignment. I showed it to a
  potential customer and his first words to me were, "Ah, a
  Lapa."  A year or so later he wrote me a letter (these were
  the days way before the fax and email) asking me how much
  I would pay for a 1947 Palestine coin, (A very rare date,
  most of which were melted due to the impending
  independence of Israel). While the letter did not specifically
  say it, it sounded like if I offered Frank enough money he
  would make it for me.

  Sadly, not too long after that Frank was arrested for the
  murder of his ex-partner in California."

  [I feel compelled to add that opinions expressed are
  those of the writers and not the Numismatic Bibliomania
  Society.   Interesting, though.  Can anyone provide us with
  references to the Lapa counterfeits or his arrest?   Was he
  convicted?  -Editor]


  John Dembinski writes: "Regarding the Dec. 8, 2002 article,
  "Why Do Books Cost So Much?", I would just like to say that,
  personally, I rarely buy books at retail prices, just as I rarely
  buy coins at retail prices.  As with coins, so with books -- the
  "sticker shock" is unbelievable!

  I have turned to auctions at the local clubs that I belong to for
  buying coins for my collection.  For books, I have subscribed
  to Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller, Falls Village, CT  06031.
  Web address   Their mail
  order catalog is free, sent out about once a month or so, and
  is jam-packed with thousands of titles, covering every subject
  under the sun, including a collectibles section (with some
  numismatic reference books) at discounted prices!  And the
  shipping costs only $3.50 regardless of how many books you

  This is the way I buy most of my books anymore.  The only
  time I buy books at a retail outlet is when I see a "bargain
  books" sign.  I recently purchased a book this way titled
  "Mythology - The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and
  Story Telling", edited by C. Scott Littleton, a huge volume
  that measures 11"x 9"x 2" with 688 pages (profusely illustrated!)
  For 20 bucks!  You just can't beat a deal like that.  No more
  "sticker shock" for this fella!   Kiss those outrageous sticker
  prices goodbye!  Try the Hamilton catalog.  You'll like what
  you see!"

  [Everyone loves a bargain, and if you don't mind waiting for
  a title to go out of print and wind up in the remainder bin,
  waiting is a reasonable strategy.  I comb the Hamilton catalog
  too, and have picked up a few numismatic titles I needed
  on the cheap.  But few numismatic books are printed in runs
  so large that many copies would be remaindered.  While I've
  purchased many nice new hardbound copies of outdated
  editions of books such as some of the Krause catalogs, I've
  yet to see something like Dave Bowers' Gold Rush History
  remaindered.  That's a book that like his Silver Dollar
  Encyclopedia will likely bring multiples of the issue price
  once it goes out of print.  -Editor]


  From Italy, Ferdinando Bassoli adds: "Please remind your
  gentle correspondent and associate Howard A.Daniel III that
  (as the old Horace said) "carmina non dant panem" (poetry
  doesn't bring bread) ...

  Ron Haller-Williams writes:  "There's an old Welsh folk song
  that may be relevant to the quote from Horace.  It translates

       In the Vale of Llangollen the tale is told still
       Of a hapless old harper who lived on the hill
       Till his harp "bread and sup" could so seldom provide
       That in cold cruel want and starvation he died.
       Yet his funeral feast was so plenteous a store,
       'Twould have kept him alive for a twelvemonth or more!"


  John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, Florida write: "We want
  to wish all of you and your families a healthy, happy, safe
  and prosperous New Year."

  Thanks, folks, and let me add my wishes for a great new
  year as well.  Volume 5 of The E-Sylum is now history,
  and it was another fun and interesting year.  Thanks also
  to our contributors, whose emailed submissions are what
  make this publication possible.  Keep those missives,
  coming, everyone!  -Editor.


  This week's featured web site is the E-Sylum Archive.
  Thanks to the diligent efforts of volunteer Bruce Purdue,
  our archive is kept up-to-date year round.  All past issues
  of The E-Sylum may be found here, and there is a search
  engine to help locate previously published items.  If you
  have some time, peruse the back issues, particularly issues
  published before you subscribed -- you just might find
  something of interest you missed before.   Just go to the
  NBS web site and click on the "E-Sylum Archive" link.

  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.

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