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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 14, April 3, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Charles Davis writes: "My next mail bid sale is at the printers
and will close on May 7, 2005. It includes the second offering
of surplus books from the American Numismatic Society and
consignments from others as well. Highlights include 150 priced
19th century catalogues including Woodward's Bibliotheca,
Woodward's sale 95 with plates, Marvin's Masonic Medals,
Zabriskie's Lincoln Medals, 2 original Crosby's, 1925 Browning,
1845 Riddell, Eckfelt-Dubois with gold samples, The Numismatic
Chronicle near complete from 1862, first 47 years of the Spink
Circular, and several lengthy runs of the American Journal of
Numismatics. Catalogues will be sent next week to those on
our mailing list. The catalogue is now posted, as in the past, at
Catalogue "


The following item is reprinted with permission from the
Friday, April 1, 2005 issue of the MPC Gram (Series 006 -
Number 1267), an email newsletter covering "the entire
World of Military Numismatics"

In a startling move the United States issued military payment
certificates in Iraq yesterday. The move was a surprise to
military and civilian personnel, but most of all to collectors.
The new issue in denominations $1 through $50 is Series 002.
The notes feature vignettes of space flight on the faces and
military hardware on the backs. Immediate reports from the
field have personnel using the notes saying that they look like
monopoly money. Even though few of the current military
personnel in Iraq ever used MPC anywhere else, that is the
same description often given by military personnel of an
earlier time.

No official reason was given for the introduction of MPC or
why it was issued now rather than at the beginning of
operations in Iraq. It was not stated if the Series 002 (or
another series) was issued in Afghanistan or other areas.
According to reports the notes seem to be lithographed
(actual notes, or even photos have not been seen yet).

Here are the reported major vignette pairs:
denom face/back
$1 rocket on launch pad/none
$5 moon surface/unidentified nuclear submarine
$10 Mars rover/B-52 bomber
$20 solar system/tank firing
$50 two space walkers/large machine gun on
tripod (50 cal?)

[Subsequently, an MPC Gram reader submitted images
of two of the notes, which were then posted on the
publication's web site: Return to TopMPC Gram

In another surprise, a British paper was among first to
report the news of the enlistment of President Bush's
two daughters:

"First daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush will be assigned
to a high-tech unit in Iraq, the Air Force Human Resources
Command has confirmed. Having finished basic training at
the Officer Training School (OTS) at Maxwell Air Force
Base in Alabama, they are scheduled to receive advanced
training in telecommunications at the School of Information
Technology before deployment overseas with the USAF
Information Operations Squadron. For security reasons,
the exact dates have been withheld.

The girls' surprise enlistment was kept secret until they
successfully completed their basic training. During an
invitation-only press conference while on leave between
OTS and their school assignment - conducted, symbolically,
at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where America's
war dead are brought - the twins described their motives
and rationale.

"We'd always planned to do this," Jenna explained. "But
first, we had to graduate from college, and then we had
to help our father win the 2004 election, to ensure that
America would continue to have the kind of strong,
inspiring leadership it needs in these troubled times."

"Under questioning from reporters, Jenna acknowledged
that "yes, it's important for our father's credibility as
Commander-in-Chief as well. People still insist on saying
that he side-stepped the Vietnam war, which of course he
didn't - and it's very hurtful to hear that - but because he's
the President, my sister and I sort of have to go beyond
what would be expected of ordinary people."

The twins readily admitted to having been afraid of their
parents' reactions to the news that they would enlist together
and ask to serve together in a combat zone.

"We're their only children, so, naturally, we worried that
they'd go totally postal," Barbara said. "But we prayed
together as a family, and in time we all came to the same

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "New Zealand stopped issuing one and
two cent pieces in 1990. It now plans to abolish the five-cent
coin. Its lowest denomination coin remaining in circulation will
be the ten-cent dime. What does New Zealand know that
other countries don’t know? That greater efficiencies are
possible by eliminating low-denomination coins of little

A news article published Thursday, March 31, 2005,
announced the country will drop the 5-cent coin and change
the size and weight of the remaining fractional coins, 10-cent,
20-cent and the 50-cent coins. It will strike these in a lower-
cost plated steel. The $1 and $2 coins are unaffected and
will continue to be struck in copper-nickel.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which is charged with
the country’s coin issuing, is taking this step -- unprecedented
among modern coin-issuing nations! – not only eliminating
the three lowest coin denominations but changing the way
the entire country must do business. Low cost items can be
quoted in cents, but a "transaction price" will be required
for a final purchase price, either for that single item or a
multiple-item purchase. By July 2006 all transactions MUST
be a multiple of the dime coin to be able to make change,
the basic purpose of all monetary coins.

In effect New Zealand has made its cent a "money of account."
This becomes fact as well as in practice now that it has
eliminated all means of making de facto transactions in

Obviously rounding down or rounding up to the nearest
10-cent value must occur for the "transaction price." On
balance all prices one to four cents would be rounded
down. All prices six to nine cents would be rounded up.
This should balance out in the long run to no one’s benefit,
to no one’s detriment.

Critics will say this will always be to the detriment of the
consumer, particularly for a price in the center – five cents
– where a perceived disadvantage would occur to the
buyer as the seller would instinctively round up. This is not
always true. We have reported here in The E-Sylum (v8 n8,
February 20, 2005) of the pharmacy chain in Israel where
they established a policy to always round down a final price
ending in 5 cents (5 agorot) to the lower amount ending in
an even 10-cent (10 agorot) multiple (even when a 5-agorot
coin was still in circulation).

Retail businesses in New Zealand will quickly recognize an
advantage over their competitors with a published policy to
always round down to the customer’s advantage. A five-
cent loss is paltry in a multiple dollar purchase, or in keeping
the good will of a customer.

New Zealand’s rising economy is driving the elimination of
its low denomination coins. Such low value coins are just
not necessary for small-amount daily transactions any more.
And the reason for this is pure economics. Case in point is
the cost of a loaf of bread over several hundred years. It is
different when its cost is one cent, from ten cents, from one
dollar, from ten dollars. World economies have advanced
where we no longer have one cent bread or ten cent bread,
thus we no longer need cent coins (or 5-cent coins) as this
holds true for other commodities as well.

Officers of New Zealand’s Reserve Bank understand this
reality. They have taken a cutting-edge step to earn tremendous
cost savings for their country, for their retail businesses, for
their citizens. Savings accrue from not having to strike,
transport, store, and use coins of insignificant value. Their
only shortcoming, perhaps, is the abruptness of this statement
after its first announcement in November last year. (Don’t
they need a massive PR campaign to sell the idea before
implementing it?)

The vending machine industry in New Zealand will complain
the loudest. They must reconfigure every machine in the
country (they say at a cost of $200 a machine). This must
also be done for coin changers. But the action advances
the country’s economy with minimum savings of $2 million
a year.

My future predictions:

(1) New Zealand will become a textbook case for Treasury
departments of all modern world nations to watch and study.
These nations will ultimately follow suit in eliminating coin
denominations below the fractional value of ten. The only
question is when? More progressive nations will take this
action quicker than backward nations.

(2) New Zealand will soon recognize it will have too few
coin denominations for efficient coin transactions. It will
issue $5 and $10 coins in the not too distant future. There
is an optimum number of coin denominations to have in
circulation for efficient commerce.

(3) Coin collectors and numismatists will experience a
renewed interest in New Zealand coins, buying up obsolete
denominations and certainly welcoming new denominations.
Its future proof coin sales will soar.

(4) New Zealand’s vending industry will recover.

The news report the above analysis is based upon is far
too brief, but it should be read anyway: Full Story

The Bank’s news release: Bank Release "


With the death this week of Pope John Paul II, there has
been a tremendous amount of television coverage about
the man, the position, and how the upcoming transition
will be handled. Tonight I noticed a very brief news item
about the Vatican coinage, saying coins with the pope's
image have been discontinued, and that a new issue without
a portrait is already underway to signify the void between
popes. I was unable to locate more information on the
web. Can anyone point us to images of the new coins,
or a site that explains the history of these transitional pieces?


Harold Levi writes: "As the result of a very recent research
trip I am now ready to complete my book on the Confederate
cent. I am in need of two photographs (digital images would
be better), J. Colvin Randall and Robert Bashlow. Also, I
have been unable to locate Randall's birth year. His obits
have not listed his birth year, in fact they have had little
information on him. Assistance with these three items would
be deeply appreciated.

I sincerely thank Katie Jaeger, a direct descendant of George
H. Lovett, for her invaluable assistance. She was my "discovery"
last year. The actual fact is, she discovered me through the
Internet. I presented her at the Pittsburgh ANA Convention
last August as a part of my Confederate cent presentation.
Katie and Russell Rulau are working on a book about the Lovett
family of engravers and diesinkers.

I thank the many people who have provided advice, encouragement,
assistance, and image publication permissions. My objective has
been to pull together into one place as much information about the
Confederate cent as I can find. I feel I have achieved this objective,
but it will be up to the readers to decide this point.
I can be contacted at: haroldlevi at

Your Obedient Servant,
Harold Levi "


Harold Levi adds: By-The-Way, the National Bank Note
Company engraved and printed the Montgomery issue of
Confederate notes, not the American Bank Note Company.
I see the Montgomery issue attributed to the American Bank
Note Company on a regular basis. I do not know who started
this error, but it is in the Claud E. Fuller book, "Confederate
Currency and Stamps." I have the diagnostics to prove this
point should anyone wish to see it.


Arthur Shippee forwarded a link from the Explorator
newsletter to an article about the recently-found coin
of the Roman Emperor Domitianus:

"The 1,700-year-old find, part of a hoard discovered by
a metal detecting enthusiast near Oxford in April, 2003,
proved the existence of Domitianus, dubbed the forgotten

The discovery, which stunned archaeologists when it was
made public last year, is returning to the Ashmolean Museum
in Oxford where it will eventually form a centrepiece to a new
gallery to be devoted to money."

"The base silver piece offers solid evidence for a long-dismissed
claim that Domitianus had indeed declared himself an emperor
at a time of upheaval in the Roman Empire.

A high-ranking army officer, he is now believed to have staged
a short lived military coup, declaring himself emperor of a
western tranche of the Roman Empire which included Britain
in the second half of the Third Century AD."

"The claim is not new. Around 100 years ago an identical coin
portraying the bearded face of Domitianus was found in central
France, but was dismissed as a hoax.

However the appearance of a second coin, fused inside a
hoard lost for centuries is seen as proof of the long-forgotten
chapter in Roman history.

The fact that he was able to have coins struck in his image
provides evidence that Domitianus’s bid for power succeeded
at least as far as giving him control over a mint, thought to
have been at Trier in Germany.

Nevertheless, the fact that only two coins bearing his image
are known to exist suggests to historians that his rule was
extremely short – perhaps just a few days."

"The museum plans to exhibit the pieces permanently in its
new Money Gallery as part of a major lottery-funded
development plan."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Another article has great images of the coin, the exhibit,
and the original hoard: Full Story


Another colorfully-named U.S. coin variety is being
promoted. KLTV, a Texas television station, interviewed
Pamela Ryman-Moir, who discovered and named the
"speared bison" variety of the new 2005 buffalo nickel.
The web page has an image of the slabbed discovery coin
and a link to a video interview.

"An East Texas discovery is bringing in a nice piece of change.
A Van Zandt county woman found a flaw in some U.S. coins
that could be worth more than a hundred dollars.

Pam Ryman-Moir said she was just like most interested coin
collectors, waiting on the release of the 2005 American Bison
nickel. When she got them, she found more than a few were
flawed. A line from the "E" in the writing appears to spear
through the bison.

Collector magazines are crediting her with the finding the flaw.
Pam said she never thought she'd be the one to ever make a

"A market value has not been placed on the nickel but she
has sold some for more than $100. The coin is being called
"Speared Bison" at her request."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

More information, including a nice image of the variety, is
posted on the VarietyNickels web site:

"Pamela Ryman-Moir of Texas was recently searching some
bank wrapped rolls of 2005-D Buffalo Reverse Jefferson
nickels, the third new design of the Westward Journey Nickel
Series released by the U.S. Mint late last month, when she
came across what she is terming the "Speared Bison" Jefferson
nickel. The term comes from what is easily seen as a large
vertical die gouge on the reverse directly thru the mid section
of the bison. Pam was fortunate enough to find 31 of these
nickels and has sent a few in for third party grading. In a
recent report, coin collector John Combs of Texas has located
87 examples of this anomaly."


Dick Johnson writes: "I read a thread this week where a
Memphis professor had asked a question of a jewelers’ group:
"Could ancient celators have done the engraving on tiny dies
given their technology and without magnification?"

The replies led to more questions than answers. Why, I wonder,
did he think modern day jewelers had a knowledge of ancient
coin technology? Jewelers appeared to have little knowledge
of early technology, even a similar technology used within their
own field from ancient time to the present. The replies appeared
amateurish. Some were based on hearsay moreso than any
basis in fact.

While Internet chats fill a lot of Google’s eight billion pages,
I am more convinced NOT to get truth off the world wide web.
How much better to get it from ... books! An author works on
a book often for years with diligent research and writing. Unless
it is self-published his publishing house will edit his writing.
There is an active fact checking before it reaches the frozen
form on the printed page.

Chat room comments appear too ephemeral. A quick reply
off the top of a half-empty head. It is not vetted nor edited.

To the professor’s credit, the thread ends with a reference
to an article in the American Numismatic Society’s Museum
Notes, and reference to volume 1 in Wayne G. Sayles’
fantastic series on Ancient Coin Collecting which describes
the very coin die engraving technology data he was seeking.
He should have asked numismatists in the first place (and
spelled Sayles name correctly!).

Contrast the effort numismatists engage in the study of their
collected specimens – we seek history’s truth because our
collections come from historical periods – versus jewelers,
whose apparent interest is merely selling the next item at

View the thread for yourself: Full Thread "


On the Internet, some rumors never die, they just recirculate
again and again. The web site Snopes, devoted to debunking
Internet hoaxes and false rumors, updated its page devoted to
the security thread on U.S. paper money on March 29, 2005.

"According to scuttlebutt, the purpose of the thread isn't really
to make it more difficult for the ill-intentioned to introduce
Hidden money worthless currency into circulation by fooling
its recipients into thinking it genuine, but instead to allow the
government to know exactly how much money anyone is
carrying at any particular moment. With the use of special
scanners, or possibly a beam from a distant satellite, the Feds
can quickly count the value of all bank notes being carried on
or about one's person and thus track how much money is
entering or leaving the country, and with whom. This
knowledge, says the behind-the-hand whisperings, is used to
finger drug dealers and smugglers.

The rumor is bunk. The strip's sole purpose is the foiling of
counterfeiters. It, along with a number of other security
features worked into the nation's bank notes, make it far
harder on the criminal element to produce phony bills that
will be mistaken for the real thing."

Full Story


Nancy W. Green, Librarian of the American Numismatic
Association writes: "George Kolbe is absolutely right when
it comes to "virgin" books. A dull knife is the way to go. I
use a letter opener and steady even pressure. There is
something so sad about an "unopened" book. Doesn't
anybody care what it says?"


Web site visitor Joe Spiegel writes: "I was fascinated by the
following passage on your site. I have been studying the
Lincoln penny for years and always wanted to know what
the original penny design would have looked like. Can you
direct me to any photos of the original copper galvano dieshell
for the Victor David Brenner penny, both sides?"

The passage he refers to is in Dick Johnson's submission
on 2009 cent ideas in the July 11, 2004 issue of The E-Sylum
(v7n28). I'll reprint the passage here:

Dick Johnson writes: "Gary Dunaier had the greatest idea for
the 2009 Lincoln Cent! Return to those days of yesteryear
with the original Wheat Reverse by VDB. Use Victor Brenner's
original galvano pattern dieshell! The one in which his full name
is signed on the lower reverse, not just the VDB initials.

This dieshell still exists in the Philadelphia Mint die vaults. I
held it in my hand in 1972 (centennial year Brenner's birth)
when a group of Brenner fans held a centennial exhibit of
Brenner's coins and medals at the Chase Bank Money Museum
then in New York City's Rockefeller Center. We asked Mint
Director Eva Adams if she could send something for this
exhibit. She did! She sent Frank Gasparro, the original
Brenner cent plaster models and the original copper galvano
dieshells for both obverse and reverse made from those
plaster models!

Frank was most gracious. Before he let us put the items
behind the wall of glass in the exhibit room he allowed each
of us to have our photos taken with him, the original models
and dieshells. Then he signed autographs all day long for the
public. Certainly a highpoint of my life.

Unfortunately Frank had to return them to the Mint vaults after
this one-day Saturday showing. (The exhibit continued for
several more weeks however.) But Frank told us this was the
first time the models and dieshells had been outside of Mint
vaults since the 1910 Exhibition of the Contemporary Medal,
also in New York City, at the American Numismatic Society."

[The dieshells are not pictured in David Lange's "The Complete
Guide for Lincoln Cents" (1996), nor did I find anything in
Andrew Pollack's "United States Patterns and Related Issues"
(1994). If they remained locked in mint vaults since the 1972
exhibit, then photos are unlikely to exist. Is anyone aware
of any? A query to Dick Johnson brought the following leads.

Dick Johnson writes: "We sent out a press packet after the
Chase Bank Exhibit in June 1972 which included photos of all
these. I believe some of the photos were printed in Coin World.
I don't remember if it was in The Numismatist, which would be
the easiest to check perhaps. The photos also went to Krause
Publications and Coinage.

I have not unpacked my boxes of photos yet so I cannot say
if I still have the original photos our web site visitor wants to
view. As I recall the original galvano was about seven inches
in diameter, quite thin, and did contain Brenner's full signature
on the reverse at the bottom. Incidentally, it was Henri Weil
who, in 1909, made that galvano at Medallic Art Company for
the artist, Victor Brenner (both in New York City). It had to
meet the artist's approval before he sent it to the Philadelphia
Mint. Obviously he sent both plaster model and galvano shell.

The original plaster models accompanied Frank Gasparro to
that exhibit as well. From my memory: the plasters showed
their age. They were discolored and were the customary
thickness of a plaster model of that period. However, as I
recall, they were remarkably free of chips. The Mint had taken
excellent care of the two models for all the 63 years since their
creation by Brenner.

Perhaps the U.S. Mint could be persuaded to bring these
original plaster models and galvanos out of the vault again
for a Brenner exhibit for the double centennial / bicentennial
celebration in 2009 -- centennial of the Lincoln Cent and
bicentennial of Lincoln's birth.

I could not think of a higher honor for sculptor Victor David
Brenner. His glyptic coin relief of our sixteenth president has
transcended time, changes in artistic style of coin design and
shifts in political management in the U.S. Treasury & Mint

Brenner will have accomplished something by 2009 no other
artist in the world can match -- he created a coin design that
will have been struck every year for a full century! You must
tip your hat to that monumental feat!"

[A search of NIP yielded an entry for an article on Brenner.
in the Numismatic Scrapbook magazine (Vol.39\1973 AUG\
Pg.692). I don't have that issue handy to verify, but since it
appeared late in the following year it may be unrelated to the
Chase exhibit. NIP does not index Coin World or Numismatic
News, unfortunately.

I suspect we'll hear from our readers with counterexamples
of designs that have laster longer than a century (such as the
Maria Theresa coins), but it's a marvelous achievement
nevertheless. -Editor]


An article in the April 11, 2005 issue of COIN World
(p79) discusses an article on the January-February issue
of The Knight, the official newsletter of the Lithuanian
Numismatic Association. The article was written by
The Knight's editor, Frank Passic, and details his search
for the burial place of Lithuanian-born sculptor and coin
designer Victor David Brenner. His research revealed
that Brenner died of lung cancer on April 5, 1924 and
was buried in what is today known as Mount Judah
Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens County, NY. The
article notes that Passic posted the results of his search
on the web site. I've created direct
links to the pages below. The third link is a page of photos,
including one of Brenner's grave marker. Don't miss
this one!

Brenner Info
More Brenner Info
Brenner Photo's

[Hoping to find more information on the society, a web
search failed to locate a home page for the group, but did
find the following article by Passic on Lithuanian coin designs:
Lithuanian coin designs

Membership in the LNA is $15. For more information,
contact the group by email at lithnumis at


Last week Ron Ambler submitted an item about a Southern
Maryland restaurant called The Roost where the walls are
decorated with "buck snorts". While searching for the
restaurant's web site, I came across a couple items from a
local paper called St. Mary's Today which reported on a
health scare related to the restaurant.

This week Ron adds: "Cheap shot! St. Mary's Today used
to be a weekly rag that went out of business years ago for
inability to pay its bills. It is now a one-man Internet operation
that no one down here in Southern Maryland takes seriously.
The hepatitis scare was over five years ago, and as far as I
know nothing much ever came of it -- certainly no judgments.
There was a server with hepatitis who did work at all three
of the restaurants (not a very good worker one might judge
from three places of employment in such a short time). I still
routinely enjoy the food and the atmosphere of the Roost,
particularly the huge array of Naval aviation memorabilia,
including the Bucksnort wallpaper."

[Old news lives on forever on the Internet. My apologies
to Ron and the restaurant. Keep The Roost on your radar
for a numismatic vacation side-trip someday. -Editor]


Darryl Atchison writes: "In answer to your query concerning
Sudbury's Centennial Numismatic Park, I checked my records
and here are several articles which our readers can go to if
they wish to learn some more about this interesting architectural
landmark and related numismatica.

All of this information is from the Canadian Numismatic
Bibliography which is now being formatted for printing.
It is our sincerest hope that the text will be distributed
before the upcoming C.N.A. convention in Calgary.
However, I don't want t to commit to anything since I'm
in Ireland and our production team is in Toronto. They
are working very hard but unfortunately (since they are
volunteers) they can't spend all of their time working for us.

Anyhow, I just wanted to demonstrate just how useful this
bibliography will be to researchers. I was able to find all
of this information in less than ten minutes. It may take
slightly longer in printed form but not much.

Fournier, Jeff. – <>. – Transactions
of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society : Vol. 28
(Sep. 1992). – p. 6 - 22, ill. – a very fine history of Sudbury’s
Centennial Numismatic Park with an extensive listing of
commemorative medals and trade tokens issued to promote
this Ontario landmark. Some of the medals issued depict the
various ‘big coin’ monuments in this theme park. Other
medals commemorate individuals or groups which it was felt
deserved particular recognition

Fournier, Jeff. – <>.
– Canadian Numismatic Journal : Vol. 39, no. 7 (Sep. 1994).
– p. 346 - 349, ill. – a very fine history of the ‘Big Nickel’
erected at Sudbury’s Numismatic Park as part of the city’s
1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations. Includes details of
several numismatic items depicting this world-famous Ontario
landmark. Part II Canadian Numismatic Journal : Vol. 39, no.
8, p. 394 - 398. Also published in CeeTee : Vol. 24, p. 36 - 52

Miles, Ernest. – <>. – Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine : Vol. 39,
no. 9 (Sep. 1973). – p. 810 - 812, ill. – an illustrated account
concerning the thirty-foot nickel monument in Sudbury’s
Centennial Numismatic Park

Palmer, Kenneth A. – <>. –
CeeTee : Vol. 15 (1986). – p. 265 - 270, ill. – a series of
notes and clippings concerning various aspects of Sudbury’s
Centennial Numismatic Park. Reprinted in CeeTee : Vol. 16,
p. 26 - 30, 64 - 68

Rochette, Edward C. – Medallic portraits of John F. Kennedy
(a study of Kennediana) with historical and critical notes and
a descriptive catalogue of coins, medals, tokens and store
cards struck in his name. – Iola, Wisconsin : Krause Publications,
1966. – 188, 4 p., ill. – over 600 U.S. and foreign medals are
illustrated including several Canadian tribute medals - one of
which depicts Kennedy’s portrait on the obverse and Canada’s
Parliament Buildings (in Ottawa, Ontario) on the reverse. Other
Canadian issues include the Wellings Memorial Medal and
pieces depicting the ‘Nickel Monument Memorial’ at Sudbury’s
Centennial Numismatic Park. Davis no. 884"

[Thank you for forwarding the references. We'll patiently
await the release of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography.
In this lightning-fast Internet age, good things are still worth
waiting for. -Editor]


The New York Times published an article titled
"Follow the Vanishing Check" on March 26, 2005.
Here are some excerpts:

"Larry Lyons, who is 23, vividly remembers the Saturday
mornings when his mother would write checks to pay the
family's bills, dispatching him to the landlord with one for
the rent. When he was in sixth grade, she taught him to
balance a checkbook.

What he has more trouble remembering is the last time
he wrote a check himself."

"Mr. Lyons and other young adults may belong to the
first check-free generation as they choose to handle
transactions almost entirely by debit card, credit card
and computer. The number of checks written in the
United States peaked sometime in the mid-1990's; it has
been falling precipitously for the last four years, according
to the Federal Reserve. At the same time, the number of
electronic payments has risen swiftly."

"Checks accounted for 45 percent of all payments that were
not made with cash in 2003, down from 57 percent in 2000.
Signs of the decline are everywhere. Card-swipe terminals
have become common at cash registers. Thirty-two percent
of the households in the United States used the Internet to
pay bills in some fashion in 2004, according to TowerGroup,
a research company owned by MasterCard."

"It is about time, said Richard Schmalensee, the dean of the
Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology and the author of a book about the payments

"This is an American phenomenon," Mr. Schmalensee said.
"Everybody else pays by wire, electronic transfer.

In Belgium, for instance, bank-initiated money transfers and
credit and debit cards are far more popular than personal
checks; the situation is similar in countries like Japan and

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Allan Davisson writes: "In a small group of items I purchased
at a coin show recently is a small oval ivory piece, 20 mm x 25
mm with a raised figure enameled in red. An old handwritten
note with it calls it a "nude figure cameo" and notes it is from
the Dr. Baird Collection, 1944. I assume this is the Harry
Baird collection sold in Bolender sale 157, held on 2/28/44, a
catalog I do not have. I would appreciate information on the
lot from someone who has this catalog. Thank you."


Some comments from Dave Bowers to all NBS members
and E-Sylum readers:

"Thanks to many of you for sending biographical and other
information for use in my new dictionary/encyclopedia of
American numismatics now being prepared for Whitman
Publishing Co. This has been moved into the fast lane,
production wise, and all input will be finessed this month
(April). Here are some questions and answers, based upon
some inquiries received:

Scope of book: It will be a dictionary of American (not foreign
or ancient) numismatic people, terms, objects, and events.
Accordingly, Sylvester S. Crosby will have his due, but Barclay
Head (of ancient coin fame and of foreign residence) will not.
Terms will include basics such as those used to describe coins,
minting, etc., over a long period of time; ranging from the obvious
“mint” and “wire rim,” as examples, to the more obscure
“annular” and “French bronze.” I am attempting to be very
comprehensive—with thousands of entries, but also concise.

Biographies: Famous numismatists (writers, scholars, collectors,
dealers) of the past will be covered, the detail depending upon
the importance, past or present, of the individual covered.
Accordingly, Joseph W. Mickley will get more ink than Thomas
Cleneay or Theodore Venn. I will not include ALL consignors
to past sales (Martin Gengerke’s superb study can be used for
that), but I will delineate many of them.

As to present-day people, I invite YOU to submit your bio if
elevant. I am not going to send out pleading letters to the many
deserving recipients. In the absence of hearing from some people,
if they are listed in the PNG or PCDA directories, or if I have
info on hand concerning them, or if I happen to have much
about them in my data base, they will be listed. However, if
John/Jane Doe, president of the XYZ Numismatic Society,
does not contact me, he/she may not be listed.

Certain subjects appearing on coins and related items, but
otherwise not of numismatic focus, will have SHORT bios.
If you want long bios, such as for people pictured on the gold
medallion series of the 1980s, Pete Smith’s excellent work
beckons. If you want to read about the Korean War (subject
of a “38th anniversary of” commemorative, this will not be a
key source. Accordingly, W. Elliot Woodward will get
extensive coverage, and Abraham Lincoln (topic of coins,
currency, etc.) will be treated briefly, as his bio is easily
available elsewhere. William Strickland will get coverage,
but only for his numismatic connections (designer of various
mint buildings), not for his even better known civic architectural
accomplishments. I may mention Stanford White; I haven’t
decided (close “sporting pal” of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and
the designer of several notable banks). Anyway, lots to think
about, lots of fun!

Many people have sent in nice bios of other people (thanks,
Scott Travers, for example!). I welcome this. Need date of
birth, numismatic accomplishments, city and state of activity,

The new work will be completely original and will not be
based on the superb works of Frey, Doty, Smith, Gengerke,
or anyone else. However, I am reviewing key listings for
thoughts and inspiration.

The book will be in “almanac format,” sort of like the World
Almanac, or similar, probably on inexpensive paper, a very
large number of pages and thousands of entries, and will be
priced to be very affordable. Scattered illustrations may be
used for accent, perhaps one every 5, 10, or so pages.

It is expected that the volume will be useful for anyone
interested in the detailed study and enjoyment of coins,
tokens, medals, paper money, and numismatic literature,
as well as in Mint history, and, to a limited extent, American
economic and financial history with numismatic connections.
Relating to the latter, you can read about the Panic of 1837,
Panic of 1857, the Embargo Act, the “Silver Question,” etc.,
to the extent that you are interested in such matters.

The book will be distributed nationwide by Whitman.
A publication date has not been set, but is expected to
be later this year.

My personal thanks to all of you who have sent me
useful information."


John and Nancy Wilson, Ocala, FL write: "On Tuesday,
March 22, 2005, the numismatic hobby lost one of its
greatest ambassadors, Robert L. “Bob” Hendershott. Bob
was loved by everyone who knew him. He would have
been 107 on August 7th. We were fortunate to be good
friends with Bob and his wife Marjorie. They were a
dedicated and very hard working “numismatic team.” We
send our prayers and thoughts to his family over this great
loss. Rest in Peace Bob, your memory will live on in
everyone who knew you..

We did the following tribute to Bob Hendershott for the
Eighth Sale conducted by M. Remy Bourne, held on
September 25 - 26, 1998. Bob’s numismatic library was
among the offerings in this sale.

What an honor it is for us to write about the “Great One,”
Robert L. Hendershott. We hope that our tribute to this
dedicated and hard working numismatic ambassador gives
you insight into his life and times.

Bob was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 7, 1898 and
was the proud son of Charlie D. and Cordelia Bartlett
Hendershott. His father was a street car conductor and later
owned a printing company. When the company went defunct,
he went to work for another printer. He was the oldest of
seven brothers. As a small child, he visited the 1904 St. Louis
World's Fair with his father. In his magnum opus 365 page,
1994 book on the “1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Mementos
and Memorabilia,” Bob reminisced about this early visit to the

“Now imagine if you will, a small boy tightly clutching his
father’s hand as he gazes in awe at the astonishing sights
before him. There..see that Ferris high that it
seems to touch the clouds..and over there..Look! a cow
made out of butter! Huge steam engines, huge boats,
thousands of lights, people of every size, shape and description
--speaking strange and unusual languages--and even people
wearing hardly any clothes!!” To remember with such detail,
this early Fair visit is nothing new to Bob. If you have the
time to listen, he will reminisce about his life and collecting
interests. A year or so ago we were lucky enough to get
some insights from him on his life, times and collecting

As a young man Bob grew up and attended schools in Missouri.
He became interested in collecting at about 12 years of age.
At the age of 13, he told his father that he wanted to support
himself and paid for everything except room and board.
Bob’s grandfather Robert Morrison Hendershott was a
drummer boy in the Civil War and also the Postmaster of
Middleton, Missouri. He was a small time collector who
saved some of the odd denomination and different types
of coins that came in across the counter. He kept them in
a small cigar box under the counter. During a visit from his
grandson, he let him look at some of the coins he had saved.
Bob was very intrigued by the many different varieties of coins.
His grandfather said he could take them home, but he had to
study them. After he studied the coins his grandfather said he
could keep them. Bob told us that all the coins he received
from his grandfather fascinated him but he was most interested
in the old cents that he received. Like many youngsters, Bob
also had a paper route which helped to supplement his collecting
interests. From this first start, he became a lifelong collector
of many different numismatic and odd and curious collectibles.

Later on he attended Washington University and the Gem
City Business College in Quincy, Illinois where he studied
banking. Bob wasn’t eligible for service in World War One
because of height and weight requirements so he enrolled
in the Officer Training Corps. As the War ended, he still
was there. In 1922, Bob married his first wife Marguerite
Hamilton who was from the McComb, Illinois area. Her
folks had a home in Florida so they went down there on
occasion. In 1925, the Hendershott’s moved to Florida.
He became involved as a real estate salesman and was
able to make a nice steady income. Land in Florida was
cheap back then, and Bob did very well as a salesman.
It wasn’t long though before he left real estate and got a
job at the Exchange National Bank of Tampa. Bob said
that in 1933 and 1935 he was making $300 a month.
A great salary during these late depression years. He also
said that coins were cheap after the Banking Holidays in
the 1930’s. He was buying commemorative sets 25 at a
time in 1936 and 37 at a very cheap price. Besides Florida,
he also worked at banks in Vandalia and McComb, Illinois.
Around this time, he helped organize the Tampa Coin Club
of which he served as President. Bob said that he first
exhibited coins at a Tampa State Fair in the late 20’s or
early 30’s. He placed a heavy glass on top of them, and
they stayed there for 10 days. Bob also was instrumental
in forming the Florida-Georgia Numismatic Society. After
a good start though, the organization relocated to Georgia
but eventually folded because of a lack of leadership.

At a convention a few years ago, we noticed that Bob had
an auction sale catalog dated Saturday, May 9, 1936. It was
cataloged and to be sold by R. L. Hendershot (only one “T”),
Tampa, Florida. We said Bob, that is great, you actually had
an auction back in the days when the hobby didn’t have a lot
off collectors. We asked him if he brought the catalog to the
show with him or bought it here. He said that Remy Bourne
had a few and he purchased one. Needless to say, we went
immediately to Remy’s table and bought one of the catalogs.
We think Remy had three. Later on, we asked Bob about
the sale. He said that he sent the catalog to the ANA mailing
list and also to persons he thought would buy coins. He also
said that the bank management didn’t like him taking the time
off for coin cataloging. He finished by saying that everything in
the auction sold, and he made $3,000. The sale catalog has
32 pages and contained 763 lots. The sale had a very
diversified selection of numismatic items but mainly centered
on rare U. S. coins. It is interesting to note that the terms
governing the sale said that, “a charge of 5% will be made to
cover packing and mailing of lots actually purchased.” This
tells you that indeed coins were very reasonable and the 5%
didn’t add that much to a purchaser’s bill. Consider today
what a 5% postage addition would be to your bill from any
auction. Bob’s prices realized is fun to look through, and
his catalog is probably very scarce. Bob also had one more
auction sale, but we don’t have any information on that one.

Bob once again become involved in real estate and even
purchased three hotels. One of his hotel purchases was in
Tampa, Florida around 1940. He purchased it for about
20% of what it was worth. At the time, only one room
was occupied. Bob was able to purchase it because he
had good credit and references. Being close to an Air Force
Base, Bob turned it into a Military Hotel. Needless to say,
it filled up quickly. Bob spent eight years as President of
the Tampa Hotel Association and was involved with both
the Florida and national hotel association. He also formed
a private convention bureau and it wasn’t long afterward
that he was running it. Later on during World War Two,
he served in the Coast Guard Reserve and was honorably
discharged as a Lieutenant.

Some of his fondest and present memories though center
around the Florida United Numismatists organization.
Belonging to some clubs in the Tampa Bay area, a gun
and coin collector remarked to him that this was a good
place to have a coin convention. Bob thought it was time
to organize a state coin group. After a first organizational
meeting in late November and early December 1955 in
Clearwater, Florida, the Florida United Numismatists
came to fruition. The coin show would be held the first
weekend after January, 1st. Bob was named the first
President of the organization. He has also served on the
Board and in many other capacities since its formation.
He is FUN Life Member #2. It wouldn’t be a FUN
Convention if Bob, who is always in his orange jacket,
wasn’t there to greet and talk to you. Bob wears his
jacket proudly not only there, but at virtually all the
conventions that he attends. FUN holds one of the
largest annual coin convention in the world every January.
At the 1998 FUN Convention, Bob was honored early
for his upcoming 100th Birthday Party. FUN went all
out for this birthday party and had light food, refreshments
and a large birthday cake. Many of his friends went to
the podium and heaped tons of praise on Bob and best
wishes for many, many more years of health and happiness.
A photo of Bob at the 100th birthday cake can be found
in this section.

Bob joined the ANA in 1931 and attended his first
national convention in 1945. From then to now, Bob is
pretty much a regular at the annual ANA event. Bob
says he looks forward to receiving his 75 year pin in 2006.
We cannot remember anyone ever receiving a 75 year
ANA membership pin. When he attends the 2004 St.
Louis Worlds Fair Centennial, it won’t be long until Bob
receives his 75 Year ANA member pin. The American
Numismatic Association will be celebrating Bob Hendershott’s
100th birthday at the American Numismatic Association
Convention in Portland, Oregon this August 5 - 9, 1998.
Bob has been named by the ANA Board of Governors as
the ANA Numismatist of the Year and will be honored at
the ANA Membership Reception Celebrating Bob
Hendershott’s 100th Birthday. All members, their spouses,
children, and friends of Bob Hendershott are invited to this
Friday, August 7, 1998, 2:00 P.M. event being held in
conjunction with the show.

His being named Numismatist of the Year is very well deserved.
His dedication and hard work for many numismatic organizations
would fill a book. At the August 8 - 12, 1967 ANA convention
at the Americana Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, Bob was
named Assistant General Chairman. Incidentally, the official
auction by Paramount International Coin Corporation contained
the J. V. McDermott, 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. The nickel
was purchased by the Bebee’s who donated it to the ANA
museum later on in life. He served as Exhibit Chairman for the
August 15 - 19, 1972 New Orleans, Louisiana ANA convention,
which was held at the Jung Hotel. At the Bal Harbour, Florida
ANA convention in 1974, Bob Hendershott served as the
General Chairman for the show. For his service as General
Chairman Bob received the Goodfellow Medal and Plaque.
This ANA award is only given to ANA General Chairman.
The 1974 convention was said to be the best ANA convention
in many years. ANA President, Virginia Culver said that the
convention was responsible for bringing in about 600
applications for membership. She also commented about
the great local and national advertising, that included Newsweek.
Later on Bob joined the ANA Representatives program as a
District Representative. He received the ANA Medal of
Merit in 1986 for service to the ANA and the hobby. In 1993
the ANA bestowed on him their highest honor, the Farran
Zerbe Memorial Award He received the coveted Krause
Publications Numismatic Ambassador Award in 1978.
This high award is giving to individuals who selflessly give of
their time and talents to the numismatic hobby expecting
nothing in return.

After a long illness, Bob’s wife Marguerite passed away.
They had one child Jeanne who resides in Clearwater,
Florida. Bob has three grandchildren and two great
grandchildren. Bob met Marjorie Owen Hendershott who
was Secretary-Treasurer of the Central States Numismatic
Society, and they were married in 1984. They presently
reside in Jefferson City, Missouri. They are considered
by many to be the dynamic duo of numismatics. We consider
them the numismatic family of the century. Both of these
numismatic ambassadors have contributed greatly to our
hobby. In 1989 Bob ran for the ANA Board. As we sit
here looking at his flyer that he passed out at conventions,
it is very unfortunate that he didn’t make the Board.
Quoting the flyer, “ANA’s best candidate in the 90’s.
A numismatic gentleman. The ageless experience of more
than 50 years of membership. Mr. FUN. A tireless champion
for numismatics, dedicated to best serve the individual ANA
member through common sense and negotiation. Honored,
respected & appreciated by those who know him. Put Bob
Hendershott to work for all of our sakes!” Anyone who
reads this would agree with all these comments. At age 91,
Bob would have made a great Governor. Bob is tireless at
conventions. As you enter the bourse early, he is there talking
and when you leave at night he is still there talking or
looking at coins. He can be seen in the lobby of the hotel
still talking when many half his age are going to bed. At the
age of 99 Bob has a terrific memory. Sometimes we think
that intertwined in Bob’s brain is a sponge that soaks up and
remembers everything it hears, reads or see’s. He is soft
spoken and is as good a communicator as anyone who has
lived in this or any country. We have never heard him say
anything bad about anyone or anything. He is a truly a
remarkable person that is as charismatic and personable
as anyone we know.

Bob is truly a gifted individual who shares his enthusiasm for
the hobby and life with anyone who will listen. He is an
author, collector, researcher, speaker, exhibitor, convention
worker and dedicated club officer. Bob has probably given
more numismatic talks to clubs then anyone in existence.
Bob attended the 1997 and most recently 1998 American
Association of Retired People (AARP) which was held in
Minneapolis, Minnesota. He represented the ANA along
with past Presidents Ken Bressett and Ken Hallenbeck
Recently Bob told us about the recent Minneapolis, AARP
Convention. He said it was a terrific convention that was
well attended. Bob talked with hundreds of people and
passed out literature. He also said that Willard Scott (NBC
morning Today Show) stopped by the table. Bob said that
he so intrigued Willard that he was invited to a private party
in his suite later. As we previously said, when you meet Bob
you just want to become his friend.

Bob also belongs to several coin clubs including the International
Primitive Money Society and or Odd and Curious Money Club.
That club honored Bob by naming the Odd & Curious Money
Exhibit Award in his name several years ago. Loved by everyone
who knows him, he doesn’t have an enemy in the world. As a
matter of fact Bob said that he traveled to all the states in the
union and has been in many different countries. He is the
numismatic Will Rogers, who never met a man he didn’t like.
In 1992, we put together a slide show on the 101st ANA in
Orlando, Florida, which was hosted by FUN. Bob was
Honorary General Chairman for the event. We called that show
a FUNtastic convention. Bob may your 100th birthday on
August 7, 1998 be a FUNtastic event. We are fortunate
to know him and Marjorie, who incidentally received the
KP Ambassador Award in 1981. We wish them both many,
many years of FUNtastic health, happiness and prosperity.
Yours in Numismatics, John Wilson, ANA Governor Nancy
Wilson, Past ANA Governor."


Henry Bergos writes: "I was in line for a photo ID at a Grand
Central Convention and someone up the stairs and around the
corner called out; "Kam! Kam Ahwash! Has any one seen
Kam Ahwash?" He was standing right behind me. I am 6' tall
and he was about 5'3" maybe 5'4". I turned around and took
a quarter step forward, and with Kam's nose about embedded
in my chest called back: "Kam? NOPE, I don't see him."
About 20 of us laughed aloud. Kam was the BEST!!! No one
was nicer or more fun to be around. He had a SHARP sense
of humor and loved to share OUR hobby. He is missed by all
who knew him no matter how much time passes. Another who
will be spoken of highly - MANY MANY year from now."


The rumor-debunking web site,, compiled a
list of well-known April Fools pranks from years past. My
favorites include Burger King's "Left-Handed Whopper".
Another amusing one:

"Arguably the best media-generated April Fool's joke dates
from a Richard Dimbleby "news report" aired on 1 April 1957
on BBC's Panorama. It opened with a line about Spring coming
early that year, prompting the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland
to be early, too. Against a video backdrop of happy peasant
women harvesting spaghetti from trees, whimsical claims about
the foodstuff's cultivation were made in a straightfaced manner.
Spaghetti's oddly uniform length was explained as the result of
years of dedicated cultivation. The ravenous spaghetti weevil
which had wreaked havoc with harvests of years past had been
conquered, said the report. More than 250 viewers jammed the
BBC switchboard after the hoax aired, most of them calling in
with serious inquiries about the piece — where could they go
to watch the harvesting operation? Could they buy spaghetti
plants themselves?"

A couple have numismatic connections:
"In 1989 two police officers in Utah were suspended without
pay for a couple of days for their April Fools' Day prank of
placing invisible dye (used by police to catch criminals and
normally put on money) in restrooms in the city-county
building and the mayor's office. The colorless powder dye
turns a dark purple when it comes into contact with skin —
it's harmless but takes a while to wear off, as the mayor found
out when it turned him into a "marked man."

"In 1977 a British newspaper published a seven-page
supplement extolling the 10th anniversary of San Seriffe,
a small republic in the Indian Ocean consisting of several
semi-colon-shaped islands. Its two main islands were
Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, its capital Bodoni, and
its leader General Pica. Readers intrigued by the purported
charm of this little-known holiday spot were disappointed
to learn the islands did not exist and the references to them
were drawn from printer's terminology."

[QUIZ: So what's the numismatic connection to the
Republic of San Seriffe?]

To read the full collection, see: Full Collection


This week's featured web site is the Hellenic Numismatic
Society of Athens, Greece. This was our Featured web
site in the v6n2 issue (January 12, 2003). Webmaster
Constantinos Laitsas notified us of the new address.

"The Hellenic Numismatic Society was founded in 1970
to serve the interest of Greek and foreign numismatists
and collectors concerned with every aspect of Greek
numismatics from earliest times to present day."

"The journal of the society, Nomismatika Khronika
(NomKhron), has been appearing since 1972. It contains
articles by Greek and foreign numismatists, covering the
whole range of the history of coins in the Greek world,
as well as related subjects (paper money, medals and
decorations, tokens etc.). It is now completely bilingual:
all articles are printed in the original language (usually
Greek or English) with a full translation or detailed
summary in Greek or English as required."

  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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