The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 31, August 3, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Len Augsberger writes: "We'd better have an issue this week.
  If I can get home from the ANA and send in a contribution,
  there is no excuse for those on the east coast :)

  [Well, here it is.  We should have more convention news
  next week.  My family and I made it home safe and sound
  this afternoon.  My only regret is having so little time this
  year to spend with my numismatic friends.  Baltimore was
  a blur. -Editor]


  Among recent new subscribers are David Sundman of
  Littleton Coin Company.  Welcome aboard!  We now have
  579 subscribers.


  Len Augsberger writes: "There is an adjunct to city
  directories that never occurred to me until I  saw these
  books in the Baltimore Pratt library. The tax assessment
  record  books, at least for Baltimore, are arranged in a
  reverse address fashion,  allowing you to check an
  address, see who owned it, and what the property
  valuation was.  For the cases I looked at, the information
  wasn't always  100% correct (it seems that the authorities
  aren't too concerned about whose name the property is
  listed under for tax purposes, as long as they get  their
  money), but still makes a useful "go with" item if you are
  looking at city directories."


  Christopher Rivituso sent a link to an Associated Press
  story shortly after it appeared on the wires Wednesday.
  Apparently the missing 1913 Liberty Head Nickel showed
  up at the ANA show in Baltimore and has been determined
  to be genuine.

  "Relatives of the late George Walton, a North Carolina
  coin dealer, took the coin to the experts at the American
  Numismatic Association convention that opened Wednesday.
  The relatives did not want to be identified.

  The family had put the coin away after Walton's death
  because they didn't believe it was genuine, said Paul
  Montgomery, president of Bowers and Merena Galleries,
  a Louisiana-based coin dealer and auction house.

  The association brought the six experts together late
  Tuesday. After comparing the coin to four documented
  coins, they declared the coin authentic early Wednesday."

  [Were any E-Sylum readers among the six who examined
  the coins?  Until Wednesday, Eric Newman was the last
  living person to view all five of the coins together. -Editor]


  Hal Dunn couldn't attend the ANA convention, but shipped
  two autographed copies of his book "Tokens and Medals
  Depicting The Carson City Mint."    He writes: "Although
  these are certainly not rare (retail at $7.50 at the State
  Museum), my experience with fund raising auctions is that
  stuff sells for unheard of prices.   I have a reminder that this
  is true hanging on my living room wall  --- a print that retails
  for around $400 framed, that I got run up on the price to
  almost $800!  But it was for a good  cause and it looks
  great on the wall.

  Hope you have a great NBS meeting and a great visit to
  Baltimore.  Wish I could be there."

  [Many thanks to Hal and all of our donors and bidders.
   $845 was raised at the meeting, which goes a long way
   toward covering our expected defecit.  President Pete
   Smith has a list of all auction lots, donors and winning
   bidders, and will acknowledge everyone in an upcoming
   Asylum issue.]


  Ferdinando Bassoli writes: "I am an associate and would like
  to know, among those whom you so punctiliously count, how
  many you have this side of the Atlantic (I am writing from
  Turin, Italy). This only to point out that the vast majority of
  your communications come from USA (as it is only right)
  and very little is dedicated to what may be called ancient
  (classical) and European numismatic books.  Don't you have
  correspondents enough?  Had you any notice about European
  auctions which took place in the last Spring  in Italy (Olivari)
  and France and attracted the attention even of  American

  [We do have a number of overseas subscribers, including
   eight with Italian web addresses.  We have subscribers in
   France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark. England and Wales.
   In the Americas we have subscribers in Mexico, Brazil,
   Argentina, and Uruguay. We also have subscribers in
   Australia and New Zealand.  We undoubtably have subscribers
   in other countries I'm not aware of.

   We do on occasion receive notice of literature sales outside
   the U.S.   We certainly wish to promote ALL numismatic
   literature, but need help from our readers to bring events
   to our attention.  Readers: If you become aware of something
   that might be of interest to other bibliophiles and researchers,
   please send me a submission for The E-Sylum.  -Editor]


  Dick Johnson writes: "I didn't see the notice and there is
  no article in their news items, but their web site states the
  ANS is now closed, effective July 6th. It is closed to
  researchers and the public.

  The Big Move is underway.  Imagine moving 750,000
  numismatic items and 100,000 library objects to their
  new location on the southern tip of Manhattan Island!
  The reality is setting in:  I have made my last trip to
  Audubon Terrace. (Secretly I said my good-bye to Anna
  Hyatt Huntington's statue of Joan of Arc on my last visit.)
  I am ready to visit the new building. Save me a parking

  [Every ending is a new beginning, sad and exciting at the
  same time.  I'll miss the Audubon Terrace home as well,
  but look forward to the new downtown home  -Editor]


  Entertainer Bob Hope died this week at the age of 100.
  An article on Hope in The New Yorker mentioned a
  couple numismatic references to him:

  "I feel very humble," he said to President Kennedy when
  he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 1963,
  "but I think I have the strength of character to fight it."

  "In "Welcome to Britain," a 1943 instructional film for United
  States troops in England, ... he explains English coinage to
  Burgess Meredith only to shortchange him ... Hope enjoyed
  playing the impostor who admitted his larceny but still happily
  practiced it."

  A web search found this reference to the film:

  "A Welcome To Britain (1943) was made to explain funny
  money, warm beer, driving on the wrong side of the road,
  and other British customs to apprehensive young GIs
  arriving in war-time Britain.

  ...   features a hilarious sketch with Bob Hope trying to
  explain pound shillings and pence... "


  Paul Withers writes: "The new collector of British coins, and
  members of the non-collecting public are often confused by
  the many brass imitations of the guinea, especially the so-called
  'spade' guinea that are to be found.  More often than not, they
  are quite wrongly convinced that what they have is a genuine
  gold coin.

  Of course, there are so many of these pieces, some of which
  are very common, that they can be easily collected, and a
  collection of two or three hundred is not difficult to amass for
  very little cost.  However, to put together a really good
  collection - one that has more than say five hundred different
  pieces - takes a considerable amount of time and effort, and
  more than seven hundred is an difficult challenge for all but
  the keenest.  Why collect them ?  There are many reasons,
  not the least of which is that they are there !  Other grounds
  are that they make an interesting study of advertising;  local
  items can be researched, and the manufacturers of these
  items traced - all providing hours of innocent pleasure - for
  example, discovering that M.C.M.D.S.T.M.S.P.ET.C is
  not a meaningless jumble of letters put on the coin to impress,
  or fill space, but may be expanded to read : Machine Chain
  Maker. Die Sinker. Tool Maker. Stamper. Etc.  Machine
  chain maker ?  That's watch chains, or jewelry, not chains
  for restraining prisoners or anchoring boats  !

  Readers who have seen these pieces may be interested to
  learn that a new book is about to be born.

  It is  A THOUSAND GUINEAS. A Checklist of Imitation
  Guineas and their Fractions, by  W Bryce Neilson, with
  assistance from David Magnay, David Young and J Gavin
  Scott.   It provides :

  € A checklist and basic guide to the series, listing imitations
  of five guineas, guineas and their fractions, including thirds,
  double sovereigns, sovereigns, and a half sovereign from
  Queen Anne to Victoria.

  € Lists 1,000 examples of currency imitations and advertising
  types using an expandable numbering system.

  Details are as follows :  Size A4. 70pp with card covers.
  UK price £15 or 35 US dollars including postage to the US.

  This is a book that has been needed for a long time, for
  although there are the R N P Hawkins articles in BNJ, they
  are restricted mainly to the advertising issues, so the majority
  of examples that one turns up are not listed.  There was David
  Magnay¹s 1997 listing, which whilst useful is neither
  comprehensive, nor really widely enough distributed.  Then
  we heard that David, Bryce, and others, were continuing
  working on the subject, but by the time that we heard about it,
  they had pooled their efforts and Bryce was viewing collections
  and preparing a new listing with detailed descriptions of all
  imitations previously recorded or published.

  The book begins with a concise introduction with very short
  notes on the various issues of the original coins, treating them
  with as much regard as the collectors of the real gold coins
  treat imitations, which the real cognoscenti know are much
  more interesting, and cheaper !  There is a page of illustrations
  of the main types and brief notes on how to use the checklist.
  The imitations covered are Anne guineas and half guineas,
  Early George III guineas and half guineas, Commemorative
  guineas and halves (referring to royal visits to Cheltenham, etc.)
  Spade guineas and halves, In Memory guineas and
  halves, Advertising guineas and halves and then a miscellany
  section of related pieces including forgeries.  The book ends
  with brief notes on the makers and issuers and an index.

  Alas, there are illustrations of only a very few pieces, but in
  general, the descriptions are good enough to locate most
  pieces with certainty, if not with speed, and one does need
  to be a real enthusiast to find one's way around the in
  memory series, which is where photos would have helped
  considerably.  However, the author promises a second
  volume which will include an analysis of die links within the
  advertising series, details of original boxes and containers,
  a valuation guide and illustrations covering both volumes.

  Useful ?  We wouldn't be publishing it if we didn't think so!
  We shall be using it, as will most dealers and collectors."


  Fred Schwan writes: "Just a brief note to chid you a bit.
  Thanks for the credit on the Meyer museum opening
  story. We are always happy to share info.  However, I
  want to point out that you underestimate us (the Gram)
  when you say that we are for collectors of Military
  Payment Certificates (MPC). We are far more than that
  even if I say so myself. Our masthead (such as it is)
  claims that we cover the entire world of military
  numismatics. I must further suggest that that is far more
  broad than anyone not involved in the hobby would
  suspect. Finally, there is even a specialty literature
  subgroup and the collectors edition of the current MPC
  book includes an essay and check list on military
  numismatics literature!"

  [Thanks, Fred.  In my haste to edit items for publication
  important details sometimes get left out.  Sorry to sell
  you short.    I again encourage any E-Sylum readers
  who have even the slightest interest in military numismatics
  to subscribe to the 'Gram.  See last week's E-Sylum for
  details.  -Editor]


  Dick Johnson writes: "Perhaps the most exquisite work of
  Renaissance goldsmithing, Cellini?s Salt Cellar was stolen
  back on May 11th. It was taken from its heavy glass case in
  a Viennese museum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum.  It may
  cost the director his job since the treasure, valued at $57
  million and one of a kind, has not been returned in nearly
  three months and the theft was undoubtedly due to lax security.

  Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1574) was an Italian medallist,
  sculptor, in addition to being the world's most outstanding
  goldsmith. He engraved and struck coins and seals and cast
  medals. Despite his colorful career (he killed his brother's
  murderer), he wrote two books, his ?Autobiography? and
  ?Treatise on Goldsmithing,? both of which discuss his
  technology of engraving and minting.  He was an early
  proponent of the screw press over the hammer method to
  create his excellent productions from dies he engraved

  Book Notes:  I have studied both of Cellini?s books, and
  have several editions of his Autobiography in my library.
  The most modern work on Cellini is a coffee-table edition
  by John Pope-Hennessy (former director of the British
  Museum) with scrumptious photographs by David Finn
  (of New York City). The Salt Cellar occupies the entire
  Chapter five (pages 101-132) with dozens of detailed
  views of the Renaissance goldwork. A detail of the female
  figure is the frontispiece.  Cellini?s coins, medals and seals
  occupy chapters three and four."


  Dan Gosling writes: "I am not sure if you have covered these
  topics before but just in case, here goes:"

  [Dan included several sets of interesting questions for our
  readers.  I'll publish them gradually over the next several
  issues.  Here's the first set.  -Editor]

  How should a library be sorted?
       * by author?
       * by topic, then author?
       * by size or color or date of purchase?
       * sort? who has the time to sort the darn things?
       * piled on the floor is more like it - don't others stack
          them on the floor - biggest on the bottom?

  [On this question, my preferred ordering method is first
  by topic, then by author, although in practice within each
  section the books are in a jumble with no particular order.


  Last week Dick Johnson wrote that  Merriam-Webster
  added "dead presidents" to their dictionary.  The phrase
  "was tracked to 1944 but required a half century of slang
  use before reaching a permanent status in book form.
  It had gained popularity in hip-hop and rap."

  Doug Andrews writes: "At this rate, it should take at least
  390 years before "slabbing,"  in the numismatic context,
  first makes an appearance in Merriam-Webster. We can
  only hope!"


  Bill Rosenblum writes: "I was surfing my TV the other night
  and came across a 5-10 minute blurb on some cable TV
  station about Bruce McNall.  I flipped right through at first
  and then said to myself, I know that guy and went back to
  the program.  While I missed the first part it was mostly
  about McNall saying how sorry he was and what he was
  doing to pay back all he had 'harmed.'"

  [Actually, the last word of Bill's submission begins with an
  "s" and ends with "crude"   I'm no prewd, but the word
  might trigger some readers' spam filters and send the issue
  into their dustbin.  I'd rather not reply to a dozen "where's
  my E-Sylum" messages.  Addicts get testy when they miss
  their weekly fix.  -Editor]


  Getting the final word in, David Lange writes:  "I understand
  that now, not only is the governor available for sale, but the
  entire state, too:


  This week's featured web page discusses "Imitation Spade
  Guineas."  The page has a link to a copy of an article about
  some Spade Guineas that were used by merchant
  Sainsbury's from 1882 until 1913.

  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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