The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 6, February 6, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Stephen P. Woodland,
Alan Belkin, John & Donna Jean Jordan and Ralph Winter.
Welcome aboard! We now have 720 subscribers.


As some of you may be aware, each Spring at Western
Michigan University, in Kalamazoo MI, the International
Congress on Medieval Studies is held. This is the largest
meeting of medievalists in the world and some 2,000
scholars will be coming from all over the Americas,
Europe, Australia and Asia. This year, for the first time,
the Numismatic Bibliomania Society will be represented
by E. Tomlinson Fort, the editor of The Asylum, who will
present a paper entitled "The Social Status of Moneyers in
Anglo-Norman England." In addition, E-Sylum subscriber
Frank L. Wiswall will read a paper: "Royal Mints and Royal
Minors in England 1216-1389. Finally, a third paper by
David Sorenson: "Die-Cutting and Mint Organization in
France, 1380-1422" will also be presented. All these
papers will be in the session entitled "Centralization, or
Lack Thereof, in Medieval Mint Practice" which will be
held on Saturday May 7 at 1.30 pm at the conference.
Those interested in attending should go to the conference's
web site : Conference Web Site.
Those living in Pittsburgh will be able to hear a prevue of
Tom's paper at the March meeting of the Pittsburgh
Numismatic Society.


"From the February 2005 American Numismatic
Society E-News: "You can now order "The
Remarkable Huntingtons: Chronicle of a Marriage"
- by Mary Mitchell and Albert S. Goodrich
Budd Drive Press ISBN 0-9749644-0-9
Price: US$23.00 plus shipping. To order this
book contact Joanne Isaac, 212-571-4470 x1306,
isaac at or to print an order form
visit our website at

The Remarkable Huntingtons, is a chronicle of the
marriage of Archer and Anna who wed in 1923 when
he was 57 years old and she was 47. At the time of
their marriage both had achieved individual fame, he
for his riches and philanthropy, and she for her work
as a sculptor. A lifelong collector, Archer had amassed
over of 30,000 coins by the time he retired in 1946.
Using a number of sources, including Anna's voluminous
diaries, the authors illustrate the lives of this extraordinary
couple and their many achievements."


A new book on the 1794 cents was advertised in the
latest issue of Penny-Wise, the offical journal of Early
American Coppers, Inc. Al Boka was kind enough to
forward me the text of the ad for inclusion here in The

"Obtain your copy of the latest book featuring United States
Large Cents. An overview of the formation of the United
States Monetary system and the Philadelphia Mint as well
as the conditions surrounding the production of what many
consider the ultimate numismatic subject: The cents of 1794.

A brief history of large cent collecting and their collectors,
descriptions of collectible obverse & reverse designs as well
as colorful photographic plates of each coin featured in the
2004 EAC Provenance Exhibit at the San Diego convention.
Prologue by John W. Adams. $25.00 postpaid
Al Boka, 9817 Royal Lamb Dr., Las Vegas NV 89145
Tel: 702 809-2620 email: eac406 at"

[According to Al there are 140 pages in hard cover. There
are 63 pages with color plates featuring each 1794 variety
displayed at the EAC convention of 2004. Additionally there
are pictures of an example of each of the other "major" large
cent obverse designs. -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "The U.S. House of Representatives
voted Wednesday January 26, 2005, for tighter rules for
bestowing Congressional Gold Medals. Congress was
concerned the prestige and significance of these medals
were being diminished by too many such awards, particularly
in recent years.

The bill passed 231-173. Most Republican Representatives
favored the restrictions, most Democrats voted against it.
In addition to limiting the number of Congressional Medals
to two a year, the bill restricts this to individuals only, banning
groups from receiving the award, and further, posthumous
medals must be granted within 25 years of a recipient’s death.

It may not be obvious, but it was the 29 medals awarded to
the Navajo Code Talkers in 2000 that is the cause of this
proposed legislation. No one is denying that the Code Talkers
deserve a very special Congressional recognition. The trouble
is that Congress did not go about it in the correct manner.
Congress should have known this maxim in the award and
recognition business:


Congress should have authorized a plaque for this deserving
group – to be bestowed to a museum or monument to this
group – even if such a building is not in existence when the
legislation is passed. Private interests would have built such
a monument to house this plaque so honored by Congress.

Then bestow a miniature of this plaque – in silver – to those
deserving individuals. And don’t forget to utilize those same
dies prepared by the U.S. Mint to strike the silver, to strike
bronze plaquettes for sale to the public. Perhaps the sale of
these bronze plaquettes could help fund the special monument.

Plaques are large bas-reliefs. It has long been a custom in
the medallic field to make reductions of important plaques
to personal-size medallic works. These works of art are
created by sculptors – the same artists who create coins
and medals -- who would model exact size for the large
cast plaque and the same pattern can then be pantographically
reduced to cut the dies for the smaller plaquettes The
Philadelphia Mint has this equipment on hand – their Janvier
die-engraving pantographs – they have just never used their
equipment in this manner before.

Was it was really the number and cost of those 29 gold
medals that gave concern to the backers of the proposed
legislation? Granted the U.S. Mint must assume the cost
of modeling, patterns, dies and striking Congressional
Medals -- let alone the cost of three-quarters of a million
dollars worth of gold for those 29 medals -- but it is the
duty of the U.S. Mint to carry out the medallic wishes
of Congress.

Let Congress learn how to honor groups or organizations.
Let the U.S. Mint technicians stretch their capable talents
with their own equipment. Let the public purchase the
bronze miniature plaquettes."


In the January 23, 2005 E-Sylum we reprinted a plea
from the the C.N.A. E-Bulletin for information about
the murder of Utah coin dealer Jordan Allgood.
According to media reports, a suspect in the case is
now in custody.

Full Story
Full Story


Bob Leonard writes: "I'm trying to determine the name of
the collector who formed "A Bostonian Collection," sold
by Bank Leu as Auction 51, 24-26 October 1990. The
cataloger, Dr. Alan S. Walker, could not recall the name
when I asked him recently; others have known the name
also, but couldn't quite bring it to mind. If anyone can
enlighten me, or furnish any details on this collector and
the sources of his coins, I would appreciate it very much.


The Kerrville Daily Times of Texas published an article
February 4th which explains why I've had such a hard time
locating a Wisconsin quarter in circulation for my sons'
collections. It's a natural consequence of the news published
in an earlier Asylum about the newly discovered varieties of
the coin:

"On Thursday afternoon, several local banks reported to be
“completely wiped out of quarters” — new 2004 Wisconsin
quarters, that is.

“We keep having customers coming in looking for these
Wisconsin quarters,” said Donna Spencer, supervising bank
teller at Kerrville’s Broadway Bank. “We are out. We have
no more Wisconsin quarters.”

Spencer said she and the other bank tellers thought the
sudden interest in Wisconsin quarters was unusual, but it
wasn’t until the end of the week, when the bank almost had
sold out, that they realized many of these Wisconsin quarters
could be rare and potentially worth hundreds of dollars.

“When people first started coming in this week, we thought
people were just catching up on their (statehood) collections,”
Spencer said.

“Then someone finally told us about the extra leaves.”

These “extra leaves” appearing on a select few of the
Wisconsin Statehood Quarters are to blame for this
week’s quarter-buying frenzy. The discovery of these
rare quarters happened first in Tucson, Ariz., where coin
collectors discovered two different varieties of the
statehood quarter."

"On Monday, a coin collector who lives just north of
San Antonio informed the Times of an eBay Internet
auction selling a set of three quarters that were discovered
at a Kerrville bank.

“I work at the financial institution where these were
delivered to and was able to find a few of these rare
coins,” the eBay seller noted in his item’s description.
“These (quarters) may even be more rare as they are
some of the first to be reported outside of the city of

As of Thursday afternoon, this eBay auction was
approaching $140. Numerous other auctions selling
Wisconsin quarters currently are listed at eBay."

"Tucson coin dealer and collector Bret Palser said most
of the quarters he found came from banks.

“It was a frenzy at the banks for a while,” Palser said.
“Our bank tellers are sick of hearing about it. It was
pretty exciting for a while, but the excitement here
locally has died down a bit. We’re not expecting to
see any more or in any large number at all.”

Now that the coin hunt in Tucson has died down,
Palser said he has begun to sell his quarters. He and
Tucson coin dealers have purchased an advertisement
in Coin World and are selling sets of these rare
quarters for as much as $1,100, he said. "

Full Story


Stefano Quagliere of Italy writes: "I would like to thank
The E-sylum for all the interesting literature brought to
my attention. In a past number I read a review on a
book by Fauver about the Nuremberg tokens.

I tried many times and many ways (email, ordinary mail...)
to contact the publisher, but I had no luck... Does anybody
have a hint as to how to contact the publisher?"

[Here is the contact information we published in v7n4
(January 18, 2004):

The same issue of Numismatic News (p30) has a review
by Russ Rulau of a new book by L. B. Fauver titled
"Nuremberg and Nuremberg Style Jetons." The 300-
page hardbound catalog "will almost certainly replace
the works of Eklund, Barnard, Berry, Drewing, Gebert,
Levinson, Mitchiner and others insofar as their Nuremberg
coverage overlaps the current volume."

"Fauver said he spent some eight years preparing this
work. The book may be ordered from Oak Grove
Publications, P.O. Box 521, Menlo Park, CA 94026.
It retails at U.S. $31.95 postpaid domestically, or
$33.95 overseas postpaid by surface delivery. For
overseas airmail, add $16."

So - did anyone else order the book? Is this address
obsolete? Does anyone have a current address for
Fauver? -Editor]


Last week we discussed plans for honoring California
scrip-issuer Emperor Norton. On Sunday, January 30,
2005 the San Francisco Chronicle published the obituary
of a longtime Emperor Norton fan:

"Jerry A. Barndt, a retired teacher who was best known
for taking on the persona of Emperor Norton, the 19th
century San Francisco character who proclaimed himself
emperor of the United States and protector of Mexico,
has died.

Mr. Barndt was 71 when he died of a heart attack outside
his Petaluma home on Jan. 12.

Mr. Barndt admired Norton so much that he often dressed
as the emperor, complete with a faded military frock coat,
golden epaulettes and a top hat crowned with feathers. He
also had a salt-and-pepper beard trimmed in the style
favored by Emperor Norton, and he carried a large
wooden walking stick. He regularly wore his Norton
costume to events staged by E Clampus Vitus, a group of
whimsical historians. "

"According to Richard Saber, former Noble Grand Humbug
of the Yerba Buena chapter of E Clampus Vitus, Mr. Barndt
had also acquired some of Norton's personal traits, including
a regal manner. He also had a bank account in the name of
Emperor Norton and issued checks in his name."

"Mr. Barndt's last appearance was Jan. 8, at the annual
commemoration of Norton's death held by E Clampus
Vitus at the emperor's grave at the Woodlawn Cemetery
in Colma. Mr. Barndt's arrival was greeted by a fanfare
from the band in attendance, and he gave a few remarks
on behalf of the emperor.

After leaving the ceremony, Mr. Barndt, who was driving
a pickup truck, was stopped by Colma police for carrying
people in the back of the pickup. According to Saber,
who was there, the police let him off with a warning. "They
said it wouldn't be right to give a ticket to the emperor of
the United States,'' Saber said."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


The Marin Independent Journal of California published an
article Tuesday about dealer Don Kagin and his purchase of
the three Brasher doubloons in the recent Heritage auction:

"Tiburon's Don Kagin attended a ceremony in Sacramento
on Monday to mark the arrival of the newest American coin,
the California quarter, along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
and first lady Maria Shriver.

It rounded off rather nicely a stellar month in the world of
coins for the Marin coin dealer.

Just three weeks earlier, Kagin, a member of the committee
to select the California quarter, celebrated three of the oldest
American coins in existence in a different fashion - by paying
$6 million for them at a Florida auction, including nearly $3
million for one of the coins.

"They are considered the most historical and memorable
coins in American history," Kagin said of the three early
colonial American gold coins bearing the stamp of New
York goldsmith Ephraim Brasher, a neighbor of George
Washington. The trio are believed to be among the first
gold coins made in the United States, and one of them
was the subject of a 1940s Raymond Chandler novel
and a subsequent movie, "The Brasher Doubloon."

More Informatrion


David F. Fanning, Editor-in-Chief of our quarterly print
journal, The Asylum, writes: "I need to find an illustration
(etching, photo, etc.) of William Sumner Appleton,
19th-century numismatist and historian. If anyone knows
of where I can find one, I would greatly appreciate hearing
from them at . Thanks."


Dave Wnuck writes: "I'm beginning to wonder if you
have my office bugged! A few days before I received
this week's E-sylum, my father had given me some
information about the German Pour le Merite (Order
of Merit) medal that you wrote about in the 1/30/2005

My father told me he found two recipients of that award
that shared our last name. Since there are very few
people worldwide that share our last name even today,
we can be pretty certain that these men were our
ancestors. How timely!

This same phenomenon (the E-sylum paralleling my
personal life) has happened so frequently that I
wonder if perhaps someone on the enormous E-sylum
staff has been assigned to follow me around! In any
case, keep up the great work."

The E-Sylum sees all, knows all...

Last week I asked, "who was the most famous
awardee of The Blue Max medal? No fair snooping

Alan Meghrig writes: "The Red Baron" "Rickthoven"
from an old movie... for better spelling or more of the
name... I would have to 'snoop around'."

[Bingo! Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy, in the old Peanuts
cartoon series, often donned goggles and a scarf to
become WWI Flying Ace "The Red Baron.,"
Manfred von Richthofen. -Editor]


The Chicago Tribune published a great story on February 3rd
about a local couple who collect elongated coins and have
turned part of their home in Washington, D.C. into a museum.
Here are some excerpts from the article:

"Christine Henry and Pete Morelewicz's museum isn't so
much a museum as it is their hallway.

What started in 1996 as a mantel display of souvenir pennies
gathered on a cross-country trip has mutated into the Louvre
for collectors of elongated, souvenir pennies. Though the
married couple display a permanent exhibit of 250 coins just
off their living room in the capital's historic LeDroit Park
neighborhood, they're currently cataloging a collection of 5,000
to 6,000 oval-shaped cents sporting designs from Disney and
to Stonehenge.

"Originally, we joked that it was our museum," says Henry,
34. "But the joke happened, people really did start coming
over and looking at it. With the Internet, we traded and
bought more, and it just grew and grew."

Now, Henry and Morelewicz curate one of the largest, most
respected obscure collections. They operate a Web site,, and have welcomed guests from 30
states and at least three foreign countries."

"Though elongate historian Angelo A. Rosato, 84, owns
examples of squished Austrian and Russian coins dated
1818, he credits an unnamed Chicago jeweler with the
invention of the modern pressed coin. At the fair, a nickel
run through a modified jeweler's mill was stamped with
the words "Columbian Exposition 1893."

Though the Chicago jeweler's name has been lost to history,
an entrepreneur based in Buffalo named Charles F. Damm
took up the practice of engraving dies to press coins at special
events during the early 1900s. The hobby fluctuated in
popularity until 1976, when bicentennial fever sparked a flurry
of merchandising mementos and a resurgence of squished coins.

"Now, it's unbelievable; it's crazy," says Rosato, a former
jeweler who spent 22 years writing the 1,760-page tome
"Encyclopedia of the Modern Elongates."

Rosato's work serves as a continuation of Dottie Dow's
1965 and 1981 books on elongates. Since 1990, Rosato
says, he can't keep track of the explosion of new designs.

"It just went into a commercial aspect. Prior to 1976, it
was strictly a hobby and there was a couple hundred
collectors in the country," he says.

Today, Rosato says, thousands collect stretched pennies
from worldwide locations. Fourteen separate Yahoo!
newsgroups are devoted to various aspects of elongates,
and eBay hosts a steady stream of pressed penny auctions.
An eBay search at press time found upward of 500 listings
for stretched coins and related ephemera. Online coin club
The Elongated Collectors ( has a roster
of 628 dues-paying members."

The reporter even contacted two elongated coin die
engravers: "Until you asked my name, no one knew it,"
says Jimmy Vargas, Eurolink's chief engraver.

Since 1994, Vargas has engraved all of Disney's elongate
mintage, from the gun-toting Mickey Mouse on Frontier
Land coins to the new Disney Tokyo designs. Years ago,
Vargas says, computers used to engrave the coin dies, but
"over the years, the challenge has been that everyone wants
something more intricate."

So, Vargas spends six to eight hours on each die with a
high-speed rotary drill, like a dentist's drill, carving out a
three-dimensional image in mirror reverse. Most Eurolink-
engraved patterns carry a nearly imperceptible "e" in the
dotted design border.

Legendary Florida engraver Jim Dundon usually hides his
"J" and "D" separately in his dies. You can also sometimes
spot his work in coins sporting "JJ" or a capital "P" and "E"
for Paradise Engraving, his former company name. Since
1979, Dundon has engraved dies full time, turning out
"thousands and thousands" of designs, he says."

"Squished Penny Museum's Henry and Morelewicz are
penny people. Morelewicz, 31, a graphic designer for
Washington City Paper, even designed a squished cent
to propose to Henry, a decorous oval reading, "Will You
Marry Me?"

"Most girls get a diamond ring, but I got a squished
penny," Henry says. "It was very cool."

[It's a really well done article; you can read the whole thing at
this address. It even includes links to a number of web sites
relating to elongated coins. -Editor]

Full Story


The Chicago Tribune article on elongated cents includes a
term I hadn't heard before: "stinky zincies":

"Ever press a penny and it corrodes, turning black? That's
because modern pennies since 1983 are 97.5 percent zinc,
which darkens when exposed to the elements. Elongate
collectors call these cents "stinky zincies" and prefer to
press pre-1983 pennies to produce sparkly, bright
specimens. Copper can also oxidize, however; look at
the Statue of Liberty."

[Actually, it's since 1982, and even some of the 1982s
are made of zinc -- you have to weigh the coins to tell the

Full Story


Dick Johnson also noticed the story, and he writes: "Elongated
cents, and other denomination rolled-out coins -- the step-
children of numismatics -- hit it big time this week with a highly
favorable and accurate article in the prestigious Chicago
Tribune. Not only does the article tell of a Washington couple
who collect these oval objects and even formed their own
museum of ‘em, but also of the collectors, clubs, terminology,
their history, the die engravers, and somewhat of the lore of
these easily fabricated numismatic items.

The fact it was a Chicago reporter, Robert K. Elder, reporting
this story in a Chicago newspaper, under the headline "Penny
Pinchers," does not surprise me. Chicago was not only the
locale for the invention of elongated coins, but it has always
been a hub of this low-cost promotional item. They first
appeared at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1892-93, and have
been a staple of fairs and festivals ever since.

As a teenager, I collected elongated cents (along with sales
tax tokens). Lee Hewitt, the Chicago publisher of "Numismatic
Scrapbook Magazine" knew of my interest in elongateds and
occasionally sent me clippings from "Variety" the
entertainment weekly (an avid reader, he was a onetime
showman). He found ads in Variety’s classifieds for elongated
rolling machines for sale. It seems at this time (post Vietnam
war) it was the carnival crowd who bought these machines
and rolled the coins at fairs and tourist locations.

I must relate one brief story. The first month at Coin World
where I was editor, I was starved for articles. I wanted to
do one on elongateds. A fellow worker had just purchased
a set of Encyclopedia Britannicas. With the books he received
a dozen coupons where you could ask any question about
any subject you wish. They would research and send you
a report. I pleaded with him to send in one coupon and
ask about the history of elongated coins.

The Britannica’s editorial office was in Chicago. They
could not find any published information on the subject,
so they contacted a Chicago coin dealer, Leonard Stark.
Back came the letter to my coworker. He said you will
laugh when he handed me the letter. "We recommend
you contact the following person who knows more
about elongated coins than any other person in America."
The next line was MY name! (I had bought some
elongateds from Leonard and he had given my name to
the researcher.)

Forty-five years later I still buy elongateds. But now
I dole ‘em out to one of my grandsons."

Full Story


Dan Gosling forwarded a set of inquiries on several
topics. I'll save some for next week but get the ball
rolling with these two. Comments, anyone?

"(Item 1): I would like some help with the
best approach to use after acquiring old original books
or journals.

If the binding is in poor shape is it better to have it rebound
or retain the original binding? What if only one edition out
of a set is damaged? Rebinding will change the appearance
of the whole set. The original binding is part of the 'heritage'
of the item and will be lost in the process.

"(Item 2): When visiting libraries for extended research, are
there any suggestions for reducing the cost of local
accommodations? Are there dormitories at area universities?
How can someone find local numismatists that would be willing
and able to provide room and board? Are there businesses
that list opportunities for "house sitting" the homes of local
people on holiday? Are there list available of senior hostels?
Any other thoughts and ideas for extended stays?"


Now we move from squishing coins to hammering them.
For numismatists, we're a pretty cruel bunch.

Granvyl Hulse writes: "Of late I have noticed a number
of men's rings made from silver dollars, but my favorite
was something I picked up in Africa years ago. I sent
one to each of my female cousins with the comment that
the small scoop at the end of the object was for spreading
salt, and that they were made from Maria Theresa Talers.
When I got home so that I could see their expression
I informed them that they were Ethiopean ear wax pickers."

Alan V. Weinberg of Woodland Hills, CA writes:
"Regarding Carl Honore's observation and comments on
the "common practice" of making "Old West" Sheriff's and
Marshal's badges out of silver dollars and his accountant's
presumably large collection of them:

I'm 61 years old and have seriously attended many hundreds
of major "Gun" and Western ephemera shows across the
U.S. over the past 4+ decades, including last week's major
Beinfeld show at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. In addition,
I received many related auction catalogues over this multi-
decade period.

I can tell you that the vast preponderance of such handmade
and hammered -out / cut-out law enforcement badges (be
they Western or any other part of the country) made from
coins are modern fantasies, made since the 1960's. I can
count on the fingers of one hand the number of legitimately
old law enforcement badges made out of silver dollars or
Mexican 8 reales (the latter much more likely). And most
of those 5 or less were "mavericks" with no location on
them...just "City Sheriff" or "U.S. Marshal".

With T-bar pins on the reverse and more often than not,
pin broken off. Inscriptions were almost always hand-
engraved on the effaced obverse with coin details still
visible on the pin side.

The existence of genuine old coin-made law enforcement
badges came up in a very recent (FUN) conversation
with specialized and advanced collector Richard Burdick,
well -known as a connoisseur of such "made from coins"
collectibles. Richard asked me if there were any such
genuine badges from which I inferred he'd not seen any.
They are just that rare.

Carl Honore's accountant has been fooled."

Hal V. Dunn adds:
"In response to the hammering dollars into badges
question posed by Carl Honore’, the practice has existed
for over 150 years and continues to this day, although
they are not actually “hammered.” I believe it originated
in Texas, perhaps during the republic, or shortly after
statehood. Originally they were a matter of necessity,
conventional badges not being readily available on the
western frontier, and orders to the east coast taking
months to fulfill. Popular in Texas and New Mexico,
some are known from other western states. If memory
serves me correctly there are at least three early badges
known from Nevada. Most of these badges are made
from U.S. silver dollars, although some are on Mexican
silver pesos. Three basic styles are known: round dollar
size, circle star dollar size (five pieces being cutout to
create a suspended five point star the center), and a five
pointed star cut from the coin. Circle stars are the most
common. Host coins are ground off on one surface and
a jeweler hand engraves the inscription. I have probably
seen two or three dozen in museums throughout the west.

Back in the early 1980s I met a Texas sheriff on an
extradition to Nevada. He had a silver dollar circle star
badge. I was surprised that such badges were still being
made. Later the sheriff graciously sent me a four page
catalog from a firm in Texas still creating handmade silver
dollar badges. Unfortunately I do not remember the firm
name and probably no longer have the catalog (at least I
am unable to locate it now). George Virgines in “Police
Relics” (1982), illustrates a relatively modern silver dollar
circle star for a deputy sheriff of Lincoln County, New
Mexico (page 14)."


Nancy W. Green, American Numismatic Association
Librarian writes: "This week I got my first phone call asking
if the library loans slide projectors with the slide sets. It seems
that a member in Michigan is unable to locate a projector for
the club’s meeting. In case readers aren't aware, Kodak has
stopped producing the Carousel projector, so I expect to get
more calls like this one. Power Point here we come!

[Some of the Numismatic Theatre presentations at last summer's
ANA convention here in Pittsburgh used computer projectors,
but not all. One even used a transparency projector. Someday
I'm sure all numismatic talks will be illustrated with images
projected from a laptop computer, but prices still need to
come down before the projectors are ubiquitous. -Editor]


In the past, we've discussed famous numismatists.
Arthur Shippee pointed out a brief (ok, VERY brief)
mention in a recent New Yorker article that Old Master
artist Peter Paul Reubens was a numismatist. Can
anyone confirm this? What did Reubens study or collect?
Is there any more information available on his numismatic

"As an adroit diplomat for the Spanish Netherlands,
fluent in five languages, Rubens worked to reconcile
kingdoms riven by religious wars; he also found time to
be, among other things, a courtier, a scholar, an architect,
a pageant master, a family man, an art collector, and a

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Alan Luedeking writes: "I was very interested to learn about
John Adams' upcoming work on Admiral Vernon medals,
in connection with the discussion on Betts' magnificent
work; Admiral Vernon medals have a rich tradition in
numismatic literature: there are the great studies undertaken
since Betts, including Bartolomé Mitre's "Medallas de Vernon"
in 1904, José Toribio Medina's "Las Medallas del Almirante
Vernon" in 1919, both of which greatly expanded on Betts'
work, as well as Leander McCormick-Goodhart's article
published in "Numismatic Review" in 1945. Then there is
Jorge Ferrari's superb article on Vernon medals to which an
entire issue of the "Cuadernos de Numismática" was dedicated
(Vol. XVIII, No. 77, Buenos Aires, June, 1991). This issue
also contains an article by Betts (translated to Spanish by
A. J. Cunietti-Ferrando) and the first study of Vernon medals
undertaken by Edward Hawkins in London in the 1860's
but published posthumously in 1885, then translated to
Spanish by Alejandro Rosa and printed by Martín Biedma
of Buenos Aires in 1893. I am exceedingly curious to see
what new contributions Mr. Adams will make to this
exciting specialty."


We can't get enough of new vocabulary words and
quizzes here at The E-Sylum, so here's a brain-twister
for you: what is the longest word found on a coin
(or any numismatic item)? I have my entry, which
I'll publish next week. In the meantime, who else wants
to hazard a guess?


An article I saw recently mistakenly credited
Sylvester Sage Crosby as the youthful founder of the
American Numismatic Society. So who was the founder,
and how old was he at the time?


To help our subscribers complete sets or locate information
needed for research, we publish occasional requests for
individual journal issues. Joe Geranio writes: "I am looking
for the Journal called 'Society for Ancient Numismatics',
VOL. XX, no. 1 from 1997. Can anyone help me find it
online or hard copy? Thanks." Joe's email address is
Geranioj at


John Regitko writes: "Regarding Ralf W. Böpple's request
for one-coin books (Are there any other books that tell the
story of a unique coin?), one of the most interesting books
I have ever read is "The Fantastic 1804 Silver Dollar."

The detective work by Walter Breen is better than anything
I have ever seen on Law and Order or CSI!"

[The 1804 dollar is not unique, but the book is a great
example of a one-coin book. -Editor]

David Gladfelter writes: "What about Raymond Chandler's
book about the 1791 half disme? This was written up in
the Asylum a few years ago."

Peter Gasper sends this submission: "South Africa's First
Gold Coin - Research on the Burgers Dies and the
Burgerspond 1874" by Natthy Esterhuysen, 1976, 119
pp., hb, 1976, published by the National Cultural History
and Open-Air Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.

Len Augsberger writes: "On one-coin books - I recently
saw mention of a book being written on the 1913 Liberty
nickel, and am also aware of a 2nd book being written on
the 1933 $20 - a "two book coin" as it were! "

[So who are the authors working on these new books?
Can anyone tell us? -Editor]

Pete Smith writes: "As an example of a book on a single
coin, I would suggest "The Secret of the Good Samaritan
Shilling" by Eric Newman. Although copies are discussed,
I believe there was only one original, although I am still
not sure of the purpose for the original coin.

Another small category is books written about a single
die variety. I seem to recall someone wrote an obscure
reference on the Sheldon 48, Starred Reverse Cent a
while back."

[It shouldn't take a Quiz Question to guess who the
author of that reference is. And speaking of Pete Smith
(our NBS President), he was honored in the January issue
of the American Numismatic Association's "Numismatist"
magazine for being the only respondent who correctly
answered all ten of ANA Historian David Sklow's
questions about ANA history in his "Historian's
Challenge in the November 2004 issue. Congratulations!
Yours truly scored a 2. Can anyone answer this one?

What ANA members were both editor of The
Numismatist and ANA President? -Editor]

Alan Luedeking writes: "I can think of two right off the
bat-- the first is Carlos Jara's magnificent study of the
cast 1 Peso coin of Chiloé, the last Spanish royalist
crown in the New World, published in 2003 under the
title "The Chiloé Peso - An Important Obsidional Coin
of Chile". This excellent book, printed in a limited edition,
is now sold out. The second book is also by Carlos Jara,
titled "Chile's Coquimbo Mint: A Documented History,"
published in two editions, the first in 2001, and the greatly
expanded hardcover second edition in 2003. Also, the
last word on its subject, both are long since sold out.
Although this work is about an entire mint, it is basically
about just one coin: the rare 1828 Coquimbo Peso (of
which two varieties are known.) We might split hairs
here a bit, since a unique 1/2 Real of Coquimbo is also
known to exist and is discussed in the book, so if it
doesn't qualify under "one-coin books" it qualifies under
those that discuss truly "unique" coins!"

John F. McCullagh writes: "Technically "Illegal Tender" is
not a true one-coin book because there are at least two
known specimens of the 1933 Gold double Eagle - and
the book insinuates that there may be others. The giant
Philharmonic might qualify as a unique coin, but I don't
know if it has yet been immortalized in print. Too big for
my pockets, anyway :>)"


John F. McCullagh mentioned the Philharmonic, which I
hadn't heard of and asked him to explain. He writes:
"The Philharmonic is a 1oz gold Bullion Coin issued by
Austria. The giant Philharmonic is a 31KG version which
was recently exhibited in NYC. I believe only 15 were
minted -- they're about the size of a wheel of Jarlsberg

[Off-topic, but John's description reminds me of the
legendary story from late-night talk show host David
Letterman's days as a weatherman at a small local
TV station. While describing a storm, he described
hailstones "the size of canned hams." -Editor]

This BBC News report has a picture of the hefty beast:
"Austria has unveiled what it says is the world's largest
gold coin - a 31kg (68 pound) disc worth about 330,000
euros ($500,000). The coin, with a face value of 100,000
euros, bears a replica of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's
famous hall on one side and instruments on the other.

Only 15 of the 24-carat discs - dubbed Big Phil and
measuring 37cm (14.5in) -were created by the Austrian

Full Story


Saul Teichman writes: "With regard to the completeness
of the Eliasberg collection, it was missing some more
relatively common items such as an 1839 type 2 eagle
and, if I remember correctly, one of the 1866-S twenty
dollars was actually added for the sale. There is no
question, however, that the Eliasberg collection was the
finest both in grade and in completeness for a U.S.
collection ever formed.

The question is should he or the Clapp family get more
of the credit !!" Dick Johnson writes: "C’on Mark
Borckardt, you set up an Excel spreadsheet and listed
all the U.S. coins including die varieties and patterns.
You say this totals "about 10,000 entries." That’s not
very specific to answer the question of total number.
Please give us a more specific number. I wonder if you
have over 8,000 entries [650 above Breen’s total].
If you do, this should be published, perhaps in
checklist form."


An anonymous subscriber writes: "In this week's E-sylum,
the subject of being digitally photographed coming out of
Stack's on 57th Street in New York was mentioned. I
thought you might like to know that some of Stacks' more
seasoned customers and most of their employees religiously
refrain from using the 57th Street entrance to Stacks in
order to avoid being tagged as good prospects for a mugger
or pickpocket. They access and egress by using the front
door to the Salisbury Hotel next door. A short walk through
the lobby and a right turn will take you to an interior side
door to Stack's that is open during business hours.

The side door is used by Stack's personnel in order to
access a nearby staircase that leads to Coin Galleries
upstairs and perhaps more importantly, the 2nd floor
bathrooms. I've never thought about this until now,
but I believe there are no bathrooms on the first floor.
Stacks also conducts its auction viewing in a spare room
on the second floor across the hall from Coin Galleries."


Steve Woodland is a collector of Canadian,
Newfoundland and Maritime Decimal Coinage and Paper
Currency. He is a member of the Canadian Numismatic
Association and is the Program Director for the City of
Ottawa Coin Club.

He writes: "I just read the 2nd issue of the CNA E-Bulletin
and am drafting a note telling them how your archive of
newsletters resulted in my reading them for two hours one
night and submitting my NBS membership application the
next day (yes, the cheque - "check" for US of A folks - is
in the mail!). I am also recommending that CNA archive
their E-Bulletins to their website as you do.

My first exposure to collecting coins came from my grandfather
in the early 1960s, when he encouraged me to collect 10-cent
pieces in a long, tube-shaped bank that held $20 in dimes.
These coins were then deposited into my bank account for
later use. (Sigh, if only I had known then what I know now
about coins, I would have kept a few aside.) As he lived in
Milltown, New Brunswick right on the border with Calais,
Maine I also got to see lots of US coinage. My collecting
never went beyond this until my daughter, Christine, was
born in 1995; I then started buying RC Mint proof sets for
her. Then, a couple of years ago, she and I began to collect
the Millennium series of quarters, then the US State Quarters
series, and then whatever Canadian coinage we could find
in our pocket change. By involving family and friends, we
had a lot of fun, we learned a lot about Canadian coins,
and we were actually quite successful at amassing a collection
of circulated coins. Finally, last summer, I decided to move
on to Newfoundland and Maritime decimal coinage, and
have been working on this since then.

What I have learned about coin collecting so far: Find a
Mentor to help you learn; get involved with a local club;
read the books BEFORE you buy; and caveat emptor
(buyer beware)!

I am currently a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian Armed
Forces in the field of Telecommunications and Information
Technology. I live 30 minutes south of Ottawa with my
wife, daughter, horses, dogs, cats, fish and other assorted


Steve Woodland would like to know about numismatic
web sites for kids. He writes: "The only one I know of is a French-language, Quebec-based
"...non-profit organization that works in collaboration with
schools, clubs and numismatists themselves to promote
numismatics to young people." [translation of the French
to English is mine]. It is the only one of its kind I know of
in Canada. Do you know of any in the US?"

[The U.S. Mint has a really good section of their web
site devoted to material for kids and teachers:
Full Story
Can anyone point us to others? -Editor]


Myron Xenos writes: "I just got around to reading the
January 9th E-Sylum. I was stunned to read about Blumel's
booklet of numismatic postcards. I can't imagine there are
only 10 of these. I have had one of these in my library for
at least 10 years. It seems to have 45 cards in it, back to
back. I also have some loose cards, and I remember a
dealer who had some slightly different coin cards for sale
loose for $25 each several years ago, which I thought to
be too much at the time."


As a longtime collector of numismatic ephemera I was glad
to see John Kraljevich's article in the January issue of
Numismatist (p61) about a one-page letter from July 1804
discussing the delivery of four kegs of new cents from the
U.S. mint. Great stuff! The article is titled "One Letter,
Four Kegs and 52,000 Bright-Red Cents."


Bob Johnson forwarded the following coin-related joke
from the Good Clean Funnies List (Good Clean Funnies List ):

There was a little boy named Johnny who used to hang
out at the local corner market. The owner didn't know
what Johnny's problem was, but the boys would constantly
tease him.

They would always comment that he was two bricks shy
of a load or two pickles short of a barrel. To prove it,
sometimes they would offer Johnny his choice between
a nickel (5 cents) and a dime (10 cents) and Johnny
would always take the nickel (they said) because it was

One day after Johnny grabbed the nickel, the store
owner took him aside and said "Johnny, those boys
are making fun of you. They think you don't know the
dime is worth more than the nickel. Are you grabbing
the nickel because it's bigger, or what?"

With a big grin on his face, Johnny slowly turned
toward the store owner. "Well," he answered, "If I
took the dime, they'd stop doing it, and so far I've
saved $20!"

Full Story


This week's featured web site is "Frank Gasparro:
Masterpieces in Your Pocket," an article by Joseph
Scafetta Jr., originally published in the February 2002
issue of The Numismatist about the late United States
Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro.

Full Story

  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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