The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 1, January 2, 2005: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Last week, E-Sylum subscriber Kavan Ratnatunga of Sri Lanka
  suggested that those of us wishing to help in the disaster 
  recovery efforts send donations to LAcNet, a US non-profit 
  organization which is coordinating its efforts via
  LAcNet.  When we published our issue 
  on Monday the web site noted about $3,300 had been collected;
  as of Wednesday afternoon the total was over $20,000, and 
  as of December 31st the total was over $39,000.  Many thanks
  to those of you who were able to contribute.  LAcNet relief
  organizers have posted progress updates at
  LAcNet relief updates
  The group initiated   several projects and has broken down 
  how the money is being  spent.  

  Kavan is well and writes: "Thanks very much for all your help,
  publicity and contributions.  I was away for two days in a 
  badly struck region in the east of lanka and just returned a
  few hours ago."


  Unable to let a sleeping typo lie, Gar Travis and Tom 
  DeLorey commented on the use of the word "lob" instead
  of "lop" in last week's headline about Turkish currency 
  revaluation (Turks Lob Six Zeros Off Currency).  Tom 
  writes: "LOB? Where are they throwing them?"


  Chris Fuccione forwarded the following information
  about a project sponsored by the American Numismatic

  "It has been well over a year since the Iraq Museum 
  was looted in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam 
  Hussein's regime. Thankfully, the museum's collection
  of some 100,000 coins miraculously escaped when 
  looters— who somehow had keys to cabinets where the 
  collection was stored, dropped them in the dark and 
  confusion. Unfortunately, the museum's offices and 
  other parts of the collection were not so lucky.   
  While the initial reports of looting were exaggerated,
  the museum really did suffer some serious losses.   

  Academics with an interest in the Middle East have 
  since pleaded for international assistance to restore
  the Iraq Museum, and a cadre of young Iraqi scholars 
  has been recruited to make help make this dream become
  a reality.   These Iraqi scholars can particularly use
  help in rebuilding the institution's collection of 
  reference materials.   For that reason, the ANS asks 
  its members and other interested parties to donate 
  numismatic books to be sent to Iraq for use at the 
  Museum.   Even before the war, the Museum's reference
  materials on coins were seriously lacking.   Copies 
  of major references for coins found in the area will
  thus be of immense help to the museum staff which 
  now includes at least one young woman training as a

  Book donations can be sent to:

  The American Numismatic Society
  C/O   Joanne Isaac
  96 Fulton Street
  New York, NY 10038

  [The web site contains a list of references of 
  particular interest to the Iraq Museum.


  Heritage cataloger Mark Borckardt writes: "I never 
  thought I would even see these coins, let alone have 
  a chance to catalog them. It is interesting that 
  these items came from two separate consignors. The 
  Lima style doubloon was consigned first, and the 
  two New York style pieces came in later. The printed
  catalog will have a slightly different presentation 
  than that on the web. A history of the Brasher 
  coinage is presented first, followed by the actual 
  coins. In addition, there are four other related 
  items: a Nova Eborac copper and a New Jersey Running 
  Fox copper, both punchlinked to the doubloons, along
  with two foreign gold coins each bearing Brasher's 
  EB counterstamp. I believe the chance to bid on a 
  set of the three different Brasher doubloons may 
  truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is
  a phrase that is often tossed around, but in this 
  case I believe it is true. And, by the way, there's 
  also a 94-S dime in the FUN sale, along with about 
  9,000 other cool lots.

  For extra credit, who originally used a version of
  my first sentence, above, where did he use it, and
  for what item?"


  In response to the item in last week's issue about two
  Xerox researchers who developed software to correct the
  distortion near the spine of a photocopied book, David
  Gladfelter writes: "The New Jersey State Library used to
  have a photocopier for public use designed to allow pages
  in a book to be copied without opening the book flat. 
  The glass copying surface was located right at the edge 
  of the copier so that the copies could be made while the
  book was resting partly against the side of it. 
  Unfortunately for the library volumes, this design didn't
  catch on.

  [Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh had one
  of these machines, too, and I was sorry they never became
  the norm in all libraries.  Last week's article did 
  mention this model, although only in passing.  The new
  software can't come soon enough for my tastes - that
  spinal distortion is frustrating to deal with. -Editor]


  Two Denver newspapers reported this week on 
  developments in the class-action lawsuit filed
  by 32 female employees against the Denver Mint.  
  The Rocky Mountain News reported that "The federal 
  complaint against the Denver Mint alleging 
  pervasive sexual harassment and discrimination 
  against its female employees will go forward as a
  class-action suit, the Equal Employment Opportunity 
  Commission ruled.

  The commission's Office of Federal Operations rejected 
  the mint's appeal of class-action status for the case, 
  saying that there was no basis to overturn administrative 
  law Judge Dickie Montemayor's ruling that the complaint 
  filed by 32 female employees of the mint should be a
  class-action case."

  "The complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity 
  Commission said female employees had been subjected to 
  repeated sexual insults and jokes, comments about their 
  looks and inferences about the men's sexual desires.

  The women also said they were denied promotions, training
  and raises."

  To read the fully story, see: Full Story

  Another article appeared in The Denver Post: Full Story

  Regarding last week's question, Arthur Shippee 
  writes: "I have or had somewhere a 60 million 
  mark note, I believe it was.  But you'll want 
  to check China post WWII, too."

  Dave Hirt writes: 
  "you asked about the the highest inflation note. 
  I am sure it was the Hungarian Pengõ. The õ is 
  pronounced as "er". It is interesting because I am 
  writing you from Budapest. In the summer of 1946 the
  highest note was 1 billion trillion pengõ.  This is
  one followed by 21 or 22 zeros. Later that year the
  Forint currency was introduced.  One Forint was 
  given for each one, followed by 29 zeros.  I have 
  no idea how to say that number. There is a famous 
  picture of a street sweeper sweeping up paper money 
  that had been thrown into the street."

  Ronald S. Thompson writes: "I am not sure of the answer
  but I have two "funfzig Milliarden Mk" notes from 
  between the world wars (October 1923).  Funfzig 
  Milliarden for those not familiar with the term is a 5
  followed by ten zeros or 50,000,000,000, which is 
  printed on the note.  I am also curious about what 
  larger ones were issued.  The ones I have were 
  circulated and only cost a couple of dollars each or
  less so they are fun things to collect."

  Steve D'Ippolito writes: "To the best of my knowledge
  the recordholder is still the 1 Milliard B Pengo note
  from Hungary, (P137 from the Seventh Edition).  The
  B stands for "Billion."  Hungary follows the same 
  system as England when denoting large numbers, where 
  1,000,000,000 is a "milliard" or thousand million, 
  not a billion, and 1,000,000,000,000, a million 
  million, is a "billion," not a trillion.  (I suppose
  that 1,000,000,000,000,000--a "thousand billion" or 
  a quadrillion to us in the States--might be called 
  a "billiard" but I am only speculating!)

  The milliard B-pengo note is therefore 1,000,000,000 
  x 1,000,000,000,000 pengos.  Or to save my poor 0 
  key from further abuse, 1 x 10^21 in scientific 
  notation.  To us in the states that's 1 sextillion 

  I own a Yugoslav 500,000,000,000 (500 billion or 
  milliard) dinar note from 1993.  That was on the heels
  of several droppings of multiple zeros (they dropped 
  6 zeros earlier that year, 1 in 1992, 4 in 1990, and 
  2 in 1965) --if you roll those back in (which might 
  be cheating), that note ends up being 13 more zeroes
  on top of the 11 zeroes already on the note--you end
  up with 5x10^24 1964 dinars, which is 5 quadrillion 
  (5 million million million million) by the British 
  system and 5 septillion by ours.   But that's not 
  all--immediately after this, they lopped NINE more 
  zeros off their currency and shortly thereafter issued
  a 10 million dinar note--so that's seven zeros on the
  note, plus a total of 22 zeros dropped since 1965, 
  for 1 x 10^29 pre-1965 dinars.  I think that's 100 
  octillion by the US system or 100,000 quadrillion by
  the English system.  I don't know what happened after
  that--my edition of Pick is woefully out of date.  
  I don't doubt inflation has continued there, though 
  they seem to have been trying to tie their money to 
  the deutschemark.

  Now I have to chase down one of those 10 million 
  (or 100 octillion) dinar notes!"

  David Gladfelter writes: "On the new Turkish lira: 
  The old Bir Milyon Turk Lirasi note is a feel-good 
  note to have in your collection. Own one and be an 
  international millionaire. Mine cost ~$23 in the 1990s.


  Regarding the item about the copper coin discovered while
  renovating a 200-year-old tavern in Maryland, John
  Kraljevich writes: "You don't miss much, even numismatic 
  news out of humble Hagerstown!

  For those who click on the link you provided, you'll 
  actually see that the coin found was a reasonably decent 
  1775 Machin's Mills halfpenny -- worth a lot more than 
  the $5-10 I suggested when contacted by the reporter. 
  There was no photo available at the time, but as it 
  turned out the coin was an American-made counterfeit, 
  which on a 1775 is something of a long shot."


  Michael Marotta writes: "Thanks to John and Nancy Wilson's 
  article (E-Sylum, V7 N50, Dec. 12,'04), forwarding a 
  message from the Prusmack family, I checked "Dark Matter" 
  by Philip Kerr from my local library. 

  Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642. (Dec. 25, 
  1642 Old Style is now Jan. 4, 1643 New Style.) In years 
  past, though not this one, I have mailed out "Newtonmas" 
  cards. Next time around, they will have to include coin 

  E-Sylum readers interested in the career of perhaps the 
  greatest mind in western civilization might remember 
  E-Sylum, Volume 6, Number 8, February 23, 2003 which 
  cited The Newton Project,an online compilation of Isaac 
  Newton's manuscripts. (Homepage Homepage)

  I have a brief article about Newton online at Coin Newbies
  Full Story) 
  and I wrote a longer work about his tenure as Warden and 
  Master of the Royal Mint for The Numismatist, Vol. 114, 
  no. 11, November 2001, which unfortunately is not online.

  It is true that the standard authoritative biographies 
  of Sir Isaac Newton say little about the last 30 years
  of his life. David Berlinski ("Newton's gift: how Sir 
  Isaac Newton unlocked the system of the world") says 
  flat out that Newton's time in London is uninteresting. 
  The best book that I have found about the devilish 
  details that fascinate E-Sylum readers is "Newton at 
  the Mint" by John Craig (Cambridge, 1946)."


  Howard A. Daniel III writes: "The Numismatist article, 
  "The Coin Roller Experiment" by John Roberts in the 
  December 2004 issue grabbed my interest because of paper 
  money and not coins.  There were several pieces of paper 
  money printed on mulberry bark paper in Viet Nam during 
  the very late 14th century.  All of my research shows 
  the Vietnamese copied the Chinese method of wood and/or 
  metal block printing but the Vietnamese have a roller 
  printing press set up in a museum to show how their 14th
  century paper money was printed.  I'm VERY sure it is a
  concoction, but would like to hear from anyone who knows
  of roller printing presses for thick mulberry bark-like 
  paper, and I can be reached at HADaniel3 at"


  David Gladfelter writes: "Can anyone comment on the report
  in the May 1936 Numismatist of Max von Bahrfeldt's death,
  that he had been "sentenced to death in absentia by a Belgian
  court-martial for alleged atrocities in the Charleroi region" 
  while commanding troops in Belgium during World War I?  He 
  was the publisher of Numismatisches Literatur-Blatt, the 
  first numismatic bibliographic journal and the forerunner 
  of ANS's Numismatic Literature, and the author of numerous 
  numismatic books. The report goes on to state that Bahrfeldt 
  was acquitted of similar charges by a court in Leipzig but 
  does not give any details. Needless to say, the image of 
  Bahrfeldt as a war criminal does not jibe with his image as
  a numismatic scholar."


  David Gladfelter also writes: "Can anyone provide information 
  about Hugo Semmler of Magdeburg, Max Heimbrecht of Berlin and 
  Walter Erhard of Waiblingen-Stuttgart, later Altensteig-
  Württemberg? They were successor publishers of popular embossed
  coin postcards during the 1904-1937 period that were sold and 
  collected primarily in Europe but circulated worldwide. I know 
  nothing about them except their names, and would like to obtain 
  information for a forthcoming article about them."


  In a column in the December 7, 2004 Numismatic News (p6),
  Dave Harper notes the arrival of a deluxe edition of the
  familiar "Red Book."  An edition of 3,000 leatherbound,
  gilt-edged copies have been produced for sale at $69.95.
  I hadn't noticed any ads offering it for sale - has anyone
  else gotten a copy?


  Turning a favorite phrase around, Fred G. van den Haak 
  of of Palo Alto, in an interview by Stan Turrini published
  in the January 4, 2005 Numismatic News, says: "Take a chance 
  and buy something you might want to learn about.  ... I have
  often bought the coin first, then the book." 

  "Holding a coin in your hand should provide inspiration.
  It shouldn't come to you from reading a book."


  As we start the new year I thought I'd dig back into
  The E-Sylum archives for a short quiz based on topics
  covered in our first couple of years.   Question #2
  will require experimentation; can anyone answer the
  others without peeking at the E-Sylum archive on
  the NBS web site?

   1. The initial mailing list was comprised of the addresses
     of NBS officers and Board members, other current and 
     former members, and other interested parties, for a 
     total of 49 names.   Who was the first person to 
     actually subscribe, becoming #50 on the list?

  2. Our first Featured Web Site was on Chinese Coins 
     (v1n4). Is it still an active web site?

  3. Who was John Leonard Riddell?  (v2n4, v2n5)

  4. What did Baron Lodovico Soltieri collect? (v2n10)?

  5. Which NBS officer purchased a rare rare 1863
     pamphlet published in San Francisco by E. J. Barra,
     titled "Something About Coins" (listed in Attinelli, 
     p.103)? (v2n19)

  6. Which frequent E-Sylum contributor wrote  "I collect 
     first and foremost Nicaragua, which is where I grew
     up, son of American expatriates in the machinery 
     business there.  I also collect papal medals of 
     Civitavecchia (the port of Rome) and Byzantine bronze 
     (anybody have a spare 3 nummi? (oh, sure!) I also take
     pride in my numismatic library of Latin America..." ?


  This week's featured web site is  Georgia Obsolete 
  Currency by Carl A. Anderson & David Marsh:

  Featured Web Site

  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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