The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 5, January 30, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Carlos Amaya and Clyde
McAuley. Welcome aboard! We now have 716 subscribers.


Some sort of problem has kept your editor from receiving
incoming emails today, so any late submissions did not make
it into this issue and should appear next week. Sorry.


Adrián González Salinas of Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
writes: "I'd like to inform The E-Sylum's readers about a new
Mexican numismatic book:

Title: Los Billetes de la Revolución Mexicana (1910-1925)
(The Mexican Revolution Bills)
Author: Antonio García C.
Paper: Glossy
Dimensions: 21.6 (W) x 27.8 (L) x 0.7 cms
Pages: (1),48 (one page per sheet)
Cover: Soft
Year: 2004 (October)
Photos: 107 (in color)
Language: Spanish
Edition: 500 copies
ISBN: 970-93447
Índice (Index):
1) Prólogo
2) El Billete en la Revolución Mexicana
3) "Los Cartones"
4) "Los Infalsificables" de Don Venustiano Carranza
5) La Comisión Monetaria
6) La Paridad Cambiaria Durante la Revolución Mexicana
7) Epílogo de los Principales Personajes Revolucionarios
8) La Revolución Mexicana - Sus Logros
9) Cronología de los Presidentes de México (1911-1928)
10) Dimensión de la Billetística Mexicana
11) Feria de Billetes Revolucionarios (Plates)
12) Bibliografía

This book was printed by Talleres de Supergraphic, S.A.
de C.V. in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. All of photos
of this book are in full color at real size. For any 
information, please send an e-mail to the author at
gaca at"

Also, I'd like to wish to The E-Sylum readers a very
prosperous 2005 year."


John Adams submitted this summary of events at the recent
ANS Gala for numismatic literature dealer George Kolbe:

"On January 14th, George Kolbe was honored by the American
Numismatic Society at its annual Gala. Attendance was 120
(not bad at $500 per ticket). After a reception. lavish 
and some dancing, George was introduced by John Adams.
Singled out was his extraordinary record as a builder -

1) builder of a business, one now having 94 domestic auction
and 14 joint auctions with Spink under its belt,

2) builder of a reputation - amongst numismatic bibliophiles,
George is the "last word",

3) builder of the ANS with his time, talent and treasure and

4) builder of a hobby that is now one of the most energized,
interesting and supportive segment in all numismatics.
Lest this extraordinary record of accomplishment go to
the awardee's head, mention was made of a continuing
FBI investigation into a 1990 scam having to do with a
certain auction in Fort Worth, Texas.

George began his modest acceptance speech by, once again,
proclaiming his innocence. He received a thunderous ovation
both before and after his brief remarks."


Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "Thanks again
to the E-Sylum for having brought to my attention a recently
published book. This time it was David Tripp's work 'Illegal
Tender', the story of the 1933 Double Eagle, which was
discussed some weeks ago. I immediately ordered the book
and have so far managed to read halfway through it (so many
books, so little time!).

This brings me to what I think could be an interesting 
to challenge the E-Sylum readership with: Are there any other
books (that is, not just articles) that tell the story of a 

[The 1933 Double Eagle may or may not be unique. Time
will tell. There are certainly books that deal with a single
coin, although not always unique specimens. What about
the exhibit catalog for the Aitna Tetradrachm that we
discussed a couple issues ago? The coin is unique, and the
48-page softbound catalog qualifies as a book in my mind,
but I suppose it could be termed a monograph. -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "In answer to Granvyl Hulse’s inquiry
last week whether Betts "American Colonial Medals" will
ever be updated, the answer is both No and Yes! If
someone 30 years ago attempted this chore the researcher
probably realized the near impossibility of this foreboding
task and abandoned the project. The scope of Betts’ book
is so broad it would require a global search among both
private and public collections that several lifetimes might be
required. This gives us far more admiration for what the
Betts family accomplished in gathering material for this
original 1894

As you may know, Betts monumental work was the theme
of the American Numismatic Society’s COAC Conference
last May. The fact nine scholars delivered papers all based
on this one book is evidence of its wide scope and permanent
utility. Even with this concentrated, unduplicated study,
each of the speakers could only approach a small portion
of the overall subject.

The definition of "America" in the book title – and thus
the topic of Betts’ interest – was all of the Western
Hemisphere. In the United States we are so provincial
that we think our citizens are the only Americans. To
Betts’s global concept "America" included Canada right
down to the tip of South America. Thus the Medals of
the Western Hemisphere is a daunting subject, even if
your cutoff point is the beginning of American
Independence, as was Betts "Colonial" criteria.

That’s why Betts will not be updated in the near future.
However all is not lost. Numismatic scholars are portioning
the subject with plans to publish significant works on topics
within his total scope. First, be on the lookout for the ANS
printed edition of the COAC papers due out next summer.

There is lots of good Betts material coming up. For example,
John Adams is doing work on the Comitia Americana group
– those medals authorized by the United States Congress
and struck at the Paris Mint -- later restruck at the 
Mint. He is well along on this work

Be on the watch for these publications. But don't hold your
breath for a revision of Betts' book."

John Adams writes: "Regarding a revision of the 1894
classic by C.W. Betts, it is a great book but it is so broad
- six languages, 12 counties, over 200 years -- that it tends
to overwhelm collectors who might get interested. My
own intention is to update (and intensify) in much smaller
chunks: my book on George III Indian peace medals is
done, my work on John Law medals is at the printer,
Comitia Americana medals next year, Vernon medals the
year after.

David Menchell will publish a three-part series in the
MCA Advisory (published by the Medal Collectors of
America) beginning with the January issue that will cover
the medals of the French & Indian War. And so, there
will be created a body of knowledge that goes far beyond
Betts and that, hopefully, will stimulate a renaissance of
interest in what is undoubtedly a neglected part of our

[The MCA web site is MCA

Membership is only $20/year. David Menchell's exhibit
of medals at last year's American Numismatic Association
convention blew me away; I'm looking forward to reading
his articles. -Editor]


>From the American Numismatic Association's MoneyMail
e-mail newsletter:

"If you would like to be considered as a presenter for the
Maynard Sundman Littleton Coin Co. Lecture Series on
July 25 in San Francisco prior to the 2005 ANA World's
Fair of Money, submit an abstract of under 500 words
on a topic that illustrates the history of American 
to ANA Director of Numismatic Curriculum Lane Brunner
at brunner at Deadline for submission is March
31, 2005. Selected speakers will receive up to $500
travel reimbursement, a $250 honorarium, and more. See
the February Numismatist for more details."

[To subscribe to this free e-newsletter, send email to:
moneymail at -Editor]


A news item we missed last month was brought to our
attention by an article in the Fall/Winter 2004 issue of The
Brasher Bulletin, the newsletter of the Society for Private 
Pioneer Numismatics (SPPN). A December 15, 2004
article in the San Francisco Chronicle described efforts to
rename the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge after
Emperor Norton, the colorful 19th-century character known
to numismatists for the scrip notes his issued to fund his

"More than a century after a quirky San Francisco character
who called himself Emperor Norton I ordered a bridge be
built spanning the bay, a move is under way to name the
later-day Bay Bridge in his honor.

The drive was publicized by Chronicle cartoonist Phil Frank
in his strip "Farley" -- perhaps a fitting forum for a man who
walked the streets of San Francisco in the late 1800s with
a plume in his hat and a sword in his hand, issued his own
currency and declared that calling the city "Frisco" was a
High Misdemeanor."

"The resolution, if approved by Mayor Gavin Newsom,
next will travel to the Oakland City Council and on to
the California Legislature.

Frank, who also is a historian, said he came up with the
bridge-naming idea while working on cartoons illustrating
how students these days know little about California

"Joshua Abraham Norton -- who, according to his Chronicle
obituary, hailed from Scotland -- was a businessman who
came to San Francisco by way of South Africa in 1849 to
try his luck in the Gold Rush. It is said that he lost his 
-- and his mental stability -- after making a bum investment
in the rice market a few years later.

In 1859, he proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States
and, shortly thereafter, the Protector of Mexico. For the next
20 years, he issued proclamations defending minorities and
championing civil rights, which were reproduced in local
newspapers. He roamed the city accompanied by his dogs,
Bummer and Lazarus, and some eateries honored Norton's
own specially printed paper money.

In 1872, Norton ordered "a bridge be built from Oakland
Point to Goat (Yerba Buena) Island and thence to Telegraph
Hill." Though his proclamation received little notice at the
time, such a bridge would open in 1936, described by
President Herbert Hoover as "the greatest bridge ever
erected by the human race."

Full Story

The Brasher Bulletin reprinted the article as well as the
cartoon series and an article by Dr. Robert J. Chandler
titled "What Do We Want? The Emperor Norton Bridge!
When Do We Want It? Now!" Chandler, an E-Sylum
subscriber referred by Dave Bowers, is the Chairman of
His Majesty's Bridge Committee.

Good luck to the committee in their quest! Huzzah!


Jorg Lueke writes: "I wanted to comment on the L.A.Times
story on Copyright law. In working on the Electronic
Numismatist and some other related ideas for digitizing older
works I've run into copyright issues time and again. Sure,
anything before 1923 is clear sailing, but anything between
then and 1963 you really need to research to make sure the
copyright was not renewed. As these records are not all
available online that can involve some cost or a trip to D.C.
Works from 1964 are protected at least 70 years after the
death of the author. Excessive or not, it is very difficult to
track down the owners of the copyright even if you wanted
to. Say a collector published a interesting treatise in 1964.
Having passed away the copyright passed to his heirs, but
how depends on what country and what state he/they reside
in. Tracking the path can become horribly cumbersome.
The end result is that this persons one published contribution
becomes lost for fear of some lost claimant suing for a
violation. While I am all for protecting author's rights I 
after an initial term any extensions should at least be filed 
a place that can be easily searched. Let the public have
access to all those interesting but forgotten words as we
enter the digital age of words. If anyone has any ideas on
how such proposals might reach the ears of Congress, I'd
be delighted to hear them."

Ed Snible writes: "As a web-publisher of numismatic
works that have lost copyright protection, I would like
to respond to Mr. Mortensen. In E-Sylum v8#4,
Morten Eske Mortensen writes:

"Any copyright laws ought to include a paragraph
'No title can lose the copyrighted status before the author
has been paid the equivalent in royalties of a full salary
for his work.'"

The problem Mr. Mortensen writes about is real.
Numismatic book buyers are apparently unwilling to
purchase books at prices and in quantities sufficient
to provide authors decent wages. Extending copyright
will not help.

Copyright law guarantees copyright for 70 years after the
death of the author (or, in the case of older works, 95 years
after publication). During this period the government provides
free enforcement of a monopoly on printing the book. This
protection is a pretty good deal for the author. Most small
businesses fail; I know of no other industry that receives
governmental protection even seven years after failure --
let alone 70!

For the past two years I've been scanning 19th and early
20th century works on Greek coins for free use on the web.
The long-dead authors receive no payment for the works
I've web-published. Perhaps my contribution helps living
authors? I hope the Digital Historia Numorum makes it
easier for authors to research Greek coins. I also hope
that the free availability of older works pushes book buyers
to target their limited book-buying budget on new authors,
rather than towards the reprint publishing houses.

I would be curious to know the market value of publication
rights to older numismatic works (1900-1950s, say). How
much do Ares, Forni, Durst, University Microfilms, etc.
pay to copyright holders for publication rights?"


Last week I asked about the Sunken Treasure Literature
Club that had a meeting at the recent F.U.N. show. No
one had an answer for us, but the February 7, 2005 issue
of Coin World has a nice article about the club by Paul
Gilkes on p92.

"F. Gordon Frost and David Crooks organized the club
for the purpose of sharing information about books,
pamphlets, and auction catalogs on the topic of shipwreck
coins, other artifacts and treasure salvage.

The club plans to hold its second annual meeting Jan. 6
2006, when the FUN show returns to Orlando."

Crooks prepared an annotated bibliography of his
collection of literature and posted it online at

Gordon's a longtime NBS member. Good luck with the
new organization!


A January 28, 2005 article tells more about the transition
to new bank notes in South Africa:

"The face of the currency is changing, and to make sure
you know what's going on, a far-reaching campaign has
kicked off to take the message to millions.

The SA Reserve Bank will begin distributing its new
banknotes on Tuesday, and before you get a nasty surprise
at the ATM, you should have heard about the Makoya
Moola, "the real money".

"Makoya Moola - rands you can trust" is the theme of the
Reserve Bank's nationwide campaign to inform people.
Makoya is derived from "the real McCoy" and moola is
old slang for money.

On Wednesday at the Ottery Hypermarket, people
clustered at the "Makoya Moola" stage trailer to hear
about the new notes."

"The campaign includes television and radio ads, 40
information gazebos at taxi ranks, roving stage trailers
and an edu-drama on the new notes, which will be
broadcast on national and local radio stations. A
special song will be sung in all 11 official languages.
A million posters will be distributed. The campaign's
estimated audience is 25 million people."

"To celebrate South Africa's democracy, the upgraded
banknotes will include the South African Coat of Arms
and use all 11 languages across the denominations."

To read the full story, see:
Full Story


Carl Honore' writes: "Does anyone have any resources
to research on the topic of hammering out silver dollars to
make sheriff and marshall badges? I was in my tax preparer's
office and he turned it into a museum of sorts featuring old
west memorabilia. I noticed that some of his collection of
Sheriff's badges had ridges on the edges . I asked him about
it and he said it was common practice to make them out of
silver dollars. Does anyone have any info on this at all?"

["Other uses for coins" would be an interesting side topic.
Those that come most easily to mind use the practice of
cutting down U.S. cents for washers or gears. But until
now I hadn't heard of the practice of turning dollars into
badges. Anyone? -Editor]


Regarding the question about a bar with a silver dollar
floor, Karl S. Kabelac writes: "A key word search of the
Proquest Historical Newspapers database did not turn up
anything relating to the Jacob Riis reference, but did turn
up a 1929 New York Times article, "Veterans to Protest
Dollars in Bar Floor."

The bar room of the new Hotel Telegrafo in Havana was
leased to a British citizen who had "caused American dollars
to be imbedded in the tile on the floor of the saloon for
decorative effect." American World War veterans in
Havana were protesting it to the American Ambassador,
and it was said that several other veterans' groups would
protest also. The Cuban police had visited the bar and
requested the proprietor to appear before a judge, but
it was felt that "Cuban officials will take no action."

[A web search turned up a link to web page for a
Hotel Telegrafo in Havana. Could this be the same place?
Are the dollars still there?
Full Story

"The Hotel Telégrafo once located on Amistad street
worked since the year 1860. Located hemming the Campo
de Marte, one of the then campuses for military practices.
Around the year 1888 it moved to one of the most
crowded corners of all times in the city, formed by the
streets of Prado and Neptuno where this traditional hotel
stands to its present day. "



Jeff Reichenberger writes: "There was an interesting article
in today's (1/24) Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about
counterfeiting entitled, 'The new creators of counterfeit
currency'. Mainly talking about digital technology, scanning,
photography, etc. The secret service in Milwaukee has been
busy tracking down mostly teenagers with nice computers
who duplicate $5 and $10 bills and use them at retail stores
and McDonalds.

I just finished reading the book, 'Money of their Own' -the
stories of the worlds greatest counterfeiters- by Murray Teigh
Bloom. 1957. Therein describes the most elaborate,
sophisticated, drawn-out, and carefully planned counterfeit
schemes the world has known, from 'Operation Bernhard'
(the nazi plan of WWII), to William M. Jacobs, the successful
Pennsylvania cigar maker who decided he wasn't making
enough money selling nickel cigars.

It struck me funny that it used to be big criminals trying to
get filthy rich making phoney money, or wartime strategists
trying to bring down the enemy by flooding it with bogus 
Now the secret service has to chase teenagers who just
needed a burger and fries! The times they are a'changin'."

To read the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal article, go to
Full Story


Regarding last week's discussion of the age-old problem
of the popular vs. correct name for the lowest U.S. coin
denomination, Tom DeLorey writes: "At least three times
in 15 years at the coin shop, I have had people tell me
excitedly that they "had a penny that says ONE CENT
on it!!!!!" In each case it was a "wheatback" cent, on
which the denomination must be more painfully obvious
than it is on the Memorial cent."


Those of us who research tokens or paper money
spend a lot of time looking through old city directories
searching for addresses and other information relating
to their issuers. Sometimes we come across a real
treat - an illustration of the issuer's place of business
within an advertisement. Wouldn't it be great if we
could find illustrations of every business we looked up?
Well, researchers of the future may have that ability.

Amazon this week announced a new feature, a local
yellow-pages listing that displays photos of
neighborhood businesses.

>From the New York Times:
"With the service, Amazon joins Yahoo, Google and many
other companies in offering the electronic equivalent of the
yellow pages. But the Amazon service, developed by its
search-focused subsidiary A9, adds a novel twist: 20 million
photos of buildings in 10 major United States cities, with
more on the way.

To achieve this, A9 sent out a sport utility vehicle equipped
with a digital video camera. In Manhattan, for example, a
driver spent more than a week cruising down streets,
capturing images and cataloging the location of each
business using a global positioning system receiver. "

"The printed yellow pages have been around for 100 years,
and they haven't changed much," Mr. Dorfman said. "This
is a way of taking it to the next level."

"Initially, the local search service will offer photos from
Manhattan, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco,
Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland and Denver. The search
results will have related advertisements provided by Google."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

Wouldn't it be great to look up photos of the storefronts
of the great numismatic dealers of the past? For fun, I looked
up coin dealers in Manhattan. It didn't take long to realize 
that the accuracy of the GPS system, as impressive as it is, 
delivers far from pinpoint accuracy. More often than not I ended up
looking at a boarded-up storefront or the convenience store
down the street instead of what I was hoping to find. But the
saving grace of the system is the ability to pan left and 
right for alternate views of the screetscape. The entry for Stack's
shows a building a few doors down to the right. But using the
"Walk left" button I was able to find Stack's a few doors
away. Here's a link to the initial page - use "Walk left" or
the left arrow button to find Stack's about six images away:
More Info

Those arrow buttons are very useful - you can take a walking
tour of the city from the comfort of your desk. I found the
entry for the Lord & Taylor department store, which I
remembered being on Fifth Avenue. Then using the right arrow
key, I "walked" up Fifth Avenue, past the New York Public
Library and continued for several blocks. Before my next
trip to New York I'll locate my hotel and take a "walk" around
the area to show my kids where I'll be staying.

As an exercise for the readers, who can find us some
images of other coin dealerships? I poked around, but
without much luck. And is anyone else a little disturbed to
know that a passing truck could secretly photograph you
and post your image on the internet for all to see? A public
street is in the public domain, and no one should have any
expectations of privacy, but I'm sure glad the truck didn't
drive by on my last visit to Stack's and catch me scratching
my posterior while deciding where to go for lunch afterwards.
I wouldn't be surprised if these yellow pages images end
up being featured in a Law & Order episode, allowing the
cops to confirm (or demolish) someone's alibi. Welcome
to the 21st century, like it or not....


Last week I asked "... at what point do older coins
become so unusual that the general public starts actively
putting them aside? When they are about 25% of the
mix? 10%? My theory is that there must be some sort
of tipping point where hoarding starts. Thoughts, anyone?

Tom DeLorey writes: "Obviously the tipping point is 15%
....... But seriously, it may just be that the nickels before
1960 have naturally worn out from continued circulation,
as all coins used to do before the Treasury took the
radical step of changing the cent reverse in 1959 or
removing silver from the dime and quarter in 1965. I
find the thought depressing since I started collecting
coins around 1960, but that's the way life goes. There
sure were a lot of dateless Buffaloes around back in

Steve D'Ippolito writes: "Regarding Jefferson nickels from
1938-1961: I've been playing that game for about a decade.
I think I've filled about a third of the holes in my Whitman
folder from circulation. It now seems that every time I *do*
get a pre-1962 piece in circulation, it's a duplicate.
Sometimes in slightly better condition. I'll see one of
these coins about once every couple of months on average.
So they are definitely out there."

Jeff Starck writes: "I want to reply to the query about the
hoarding of pre-1960 Jefferson nickels.

>From October 1995 to Jan. 2004, I worked in retail as
a cashier, etc., while I was going through high school and
college. I always found pre-1960 nickels in circulation,
and probably found 40 or more war nickels (35% silver, etc.)
just in the last three years. In that time, I probably found
three dozen silver Washington quarter dollars, 30 or 40 silver
Roosevelt dimes, about that many "Buffalo" nickels (mostly
worn dates) and even some "Mercury" dimes and Liberty
nickels. Silver Kennedy halves popped up often enough;
I'd say I got two dozen. I even found two Indian Head cents,
1899 and 1904, in Good and Very Good condition,
respectively. I even found two Proof coins, just one day

As for paper money, not much was out there other than
worn silver certificates (though I did find a blue seal and
red seal note once).

As for hoarding of pre-1960s nickels, I set aside all that I
could find, unless they were spectacularly junky, and
amassed thousands of them in that time. I also pulled aside
all the "Wheat" cents I could find, and there were always
at least a hundred or more a year, sometimes 200+ in a year.

Anyway, it is out there, and most people I worked with
knew nothing about the coins I didn't tell them (and even
then, they didn't pay attention!). So, that would mean
there's still hope to find some old stuff!"


Jørgen Sømod writes: "Max Von Bahrfeldt is mentioned
several times in Danish and Norwegian numismatic literature
because of his 80th birthday in 1936 and shortly thereafter
in necrologies. Nothing bad is here told about him."


Regarding the exhibit of Gold in Houston that Dick
Johnson informed us about, Brad Karoleff writes: "Wow!
A gold exhibit where you can actually touch a 25 pound
gold bar! I am sure almost everyone will want to caress
it during their visit to the exhibit. I just wonder how much
less it will weigh at the end of the show. I wonder if the
museum will be willing to take a very accurate weight of
the pre and post show bar to determine the loss. Or,
maybe we shouldn't tell them to keep them from changing
their minds on allowing the "hands on" learning experience."

[One would think the museum would at least take the step
of laquering the bar to prevent loss. Perhaps they already
have. I wonder what the guards would think if someone
walked up and sandpapered their fingertips before touching
it... -Editor]


The Shelby Star of North Carolina published this story
about a local man who found a double-headed quarter:

"Cherryville resident Carl Young opened a pack of
quarters he got from the bank this week and found an
unusual item — a two-headed quarter. After consulting
with a U.S. Mint spokesman and a Shelby coin collector,
however, it appears that the quarter is most likely a
novelty item.

“These are coins that are altered outside of the Mint,”
said Michael White, U.S. Mint spokesman.

Double-headed quarters are novelty items created by
private companies, he said. Companies that sell them
have to advertise plainly that they are altered novelty
items or else they can be charged with a crime if “
fraudulent intent” is identified, White said.

Young’s coin has the head of a 1989 quarter on one side
and the head of a 1995 quarter on the other.

Coins like this that are used for novelty purposes are
called “magicians’ coins,” said Steve Costner, who
works at First Charter Bank"

Full Story


An article in the Kansas City Star reports that "The
Liberty Memorial Museum has received a rare German
Pour le Merite medal, also known as the Blue Max.

The medal was the highest honor awarded by the imperial
German government until the end of World War I in 1918.
It was part of a collection of war artifacts donated by a
Kansas City man.

“It's a German medal with a French name,” said Eli Paul,
the museum's director."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

The web has a number of sources of information about
the medal:

"Although it may sound incongruous Germany's highest
military medal awarded during World War One was the
decidedly French sounding Pour le Merite (also known
the as 'The Blue Max').

The award dates back to 1667 when, in the German
state of Brandenburg, the Ordre de la Generosite - the
Order of Generosity - was created by Frederick
William I. Given that French was the language of the
royal court the naming of the merit award would have
appeared a natural choice.

The award's name was subsequently modified in
June 1740 to Pour le Merite by Frederick the Great."
Full Story

See also:

So, dear readers: who was the most famous awardee
of The Blue Max medal? No fair snooping around!


Mark Borckardt writes: "Further to this interesting question:

When Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. set about to complete a
collection of US coins, he used the old Green Checklist
(I believe, and Dave Bowers could verify this). Based on
that guide, his collection was in fact a complete collection.
It is certainly not fair to suggest he did not have a complete
collection because he did not own the 1870-S half dime.
That coin was not discovered until after he passed away.
He did own the unique 1870-S three dollar piece, for
example, as it was known to exist years earlier.

Every numismatist could answer this question a little bit
differently. Do we include individual die varieties of early
US coins? These were not mistakes or errors within the
Mint, thus perhaps they should be included. Do we include
every coin listed in the Guide Book? Many doubled dies
and other varieties are listed. Do we include overdates
and repunched mintmarks? Some will say yes and others
will say no. What about the US Assay Office gold coins
of California? Are these US coins to be included in the
collection? What about Fugio Cents? The list of coins to be
included or excluded could go on and on. The suggestion
that the number of entries in the Breen Encyclopedia be
tallied is not useful in my mind. A number of different
pattern coins are included in his listings, for example, but
not every pattern coin is listed.

Of course, to answer the question, we are also faced with a
moving target. Shall we include every VAM dollar variety,
and who keeps track of the list as new varieties are 
What about the recent discovery of a new variety in the state
quarter series?

To me, a complete collection of coins would include every
date and mintmark issue currently known, including coins
from transitional years. Both 1807 half eagles, Draped Bust
and Capped Bust, must be included in a complete collection.
Overdates are not separate issues unless there was no normal
date variety for the year, such as the 1815/2 half dollar.

A few years ago, I set up an Excel spreadsheet with listings
for all US coins, including die varieties of early coins, 
coins, and other items. My spreadsheet contains about
10,000 entries, and even this is far from complete.

Before we can answer the question, we must all agree on
the specific parameters. I don't believe that it would be
possible for all of us to agree on the parameters, but it 
be interesting to try."


Last week Dave Kellogg patted George Kolbe on the
back for his great "Profiles in Numismatics" column in
The Celator. George Kolbe writes: "Poor Wayne Sayles
and Kerry Wetterstrom. As proprietors of The Celator,
both have labored long and hard to produce each month
a biography of a notable numismatist and, often with even
greater difficulty, to locate a likeness to accompany it.
And I get all the credit! It's been a great series and those
who enjoy it can provide a real service by providing
likenesses to The Celator of talented numismatists of the
past who have contributed to the study of ancient coins
and who have not previously been chronicled in its pages."


A January 28th press release describes "An unidentified
flying object on a 17th century French coin continues to
mystify rare coin experts.

After decades of seeking possible answers about a mysterious
UFO-like design on a 17th century French copper coin, a
prominent numismatic expert says it remains just that: an
unidentified flying object. After a half-century of research,
the design has defied positive identification by the 

"It was made in the 1680s in France and the design on one
side certainly looks like it could be a flying saucer in the
clouds over the countryside," said Kenneth E. Bressett of
Colorado Springs, Colorado, a former President of the
32,000-member American Numismatic Association and
owner of the curious coin.

"Is it supposed to be a UFO of some sort, or a symbolic
representation of the Biblical Ezekiel's wheel? After 50
years of searching, I've heard of only one other example
of it, and nothing to explain the unusual design."

Bressett said the mysterious piece is not really a coin, but
a "jeton," a coin-like educational tool that was commonly
used to help people count money, or sometimes used as
a money substitute for playing games. It is about the size
of a U.S. quarter-dollar and similar to thousands of other
jetons with different religious and educational designs that
were produced and used in Europe during the 16th and
17th centuries.

"The design on this particular piece could be interpreted
as showing either a UFO or Ezekiel's wheel, but little else.
Some people think the Old Testament reference to Ezekiel's
wheel may actually be a description of a long-ago UFO,"
he explained.

"The legend written in Latin around the rim is also 
'OPPORTUNUS ADEST' translates as 'It is here at an
opportune time.' Is the object in the sky symbolic of needed
rainfall, or a Biblical reference or visitors from beyond? We
probably will never know for certain," said Bressett.

"It is part of the lure of numismatics that makes coin
collecting so intriguing."

Full Story

[Be sure to click on the images of the token to see
enlarged views. Sure looks like a classic UFO to me!

Nostradamus lived from 1503 to1566, over 100 years
before this jeton was minted. But he predicted everything
else, so why not UFOs and this token? -Editor]


This week's featured web site is the Digital Historia

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren

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