The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 17, April 24, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


According to Jim Spilman, founder of The Colonial Newsletter
Foundation, who wrote this week in the AMNUMSOC-l Yahoo!
mailing list, some photo archives at the American Numismatic
Society in New York have recently been destroyed. He writes:

"The entire historic set of photofile negatives has been destroyed.
Apparently all that remain are a few 35mm color slides made
within the past ten years, or so.

This loss apparently includes all of the 8"x10" negatives, the
4"x5" negatives including their manila paper envelope sleeves
with unique notations on the reverses -- usually in the handwriting
of the person who submitted the coins for examination -- plus all
of the black and white 35mm strip and roll negatives.

The most historically valuable of these negatives and their sleeves
were those 4"x5" size made in the 1940 to 1970 era of the major
numismatic discoveries of the time. Much of this which was the
work of Eric P. Newman and Sidney Noe and Damon G.
Douglas are now GONE."

[Somebody, say it ain't so! Can any of our readers shed
some more light on the status of the photofiles? -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Spink, the London dealer in coins,
medals and stamps since 1666, has a new owner. There is a
book connection to this story as well. The new owner acquired
Spink in March 2002, he purchased Quaritch, England’s largest
dealer in antiquarian books, in September last year.

A story in the London Financial Times, Friday, April 22, 2005,
reveals a bit about the new owner. A wealthy Asian, John Koh
outbid ten rivals to acquire Spink from Christie’s after forming
Abaca Capital and raising the purchase price of five million
pounds among family and friends.

Koh is popular among London’s many art dealers these days.
They are offering their companies for him to purchase as well.
Apparently difficult times are effecting the most established
British dealers; American art buyers have fallen off as prices
are rising and tastes are changing. Koh welcomes these business
offers but is no "pushover." He was trained in investment
banking at Goldman Sachs (and is a managing director at
Goldman Sachs, Singapore).

Here’s one paragraph from FT writer Tony Thorncroft’s
article: ‘Coins, medals and stamps, usually dismissed as
"collectables," had been seen as declining passions but Koh
believes that a new generation of, admittedly, mature men is
keen to re-discover the collecting hobbies of their youth.
These enthusiasts even include a showbiz element: Bill Wyman,
the former Rolling Stone, has ditched his bass for metal [medal!]
collecting and has been seen in the coin department. The fact
that "collectables" have proved a good investment in recent
years helps.’

Koh has increased the staff at Spink from 35 to 48 employees.
He has also added a photography department, not necessarily
to auction photographs, but to build an over-the-counter market
through private trading rooms. "I am interested in anything that
is based around paper -- and history," says Koh. He expects
Spink to increase sales by 30% this year.

From other sources we learn Koh is 50, was born in Malaysia
and attended schools in Hong Kong and Singapore, before
attending Trinity College Cambridge and Harvard Law School.
Prior to joining the investment banking division of Goldman
Sachs Koh practiced as a lawyer in Singapore and New York.

He likes to read antique travel books on long flights from
London back to Singapore. Book shelvers at Quartrich --
please note the boss’s likes for his next trip!

Read the entire story: Full Story

[So I guess we can now add Bill Wyman to our list of
celebrity collectors. Can anyone tell us just what it is he
collects? -Editor]


Subscriber Pete Morelewicz of the Squished Penny Museum,
in Washington, DC pointed out this April 18th article in the
Washington Post:

"Kenneth Merle Failor, 95, a man who watched over the nation's
nickels and dimes for many years as an official with the U.S. Mint,
died March 26 at the Life Care Center in Scottsdale, Ariz."

"In fall 1941, shortly before receiving his commission in the Navy,
Mr. Failor was dispatched by the Treasury on a confidential
mission to Nome, Alaska, to take delivery of gold from the Russians
as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's lend-lease arrangement.
Earlier, the Russian government had tried to ship the $6 million
worth of gold on a British cruiser from Murmansk, but the Nazis
sunk the cruiser. The Russians asked for an additional 90 days to
get the gold to the United States via Alaska.

When the Russian ship docked at Nome, as Lowell Thomas
reported in 1945, "not a man on board could speak English. But
they had the gold on the ship. It was up in the bow, covered
over with a lot of garbage."

Mr. Failor took possession of the precious cargo and arranged
for three planes to fly it to Washington; only he knew what was
in the unmarked boxes. When the planes had trouble taking off
because of the gold's great weight, the pilots suggested dumping
some of the boxes overboard. Mr. Failor suggested not."

"In 1937, Mr. Failor took a job as an auditor with the Mint,
where his first assignment was to administer the government's
purchase of newly mined domestic silver at premium prices
ranging from 64 cents to 77 cents an ounce.

Mr. Failor received his undergraduate degree from George
Washington University in 1937 and began preparing for
medical school, but World War II intervened."

Returning to the Mint in 1945, his initial postwar assignment
was to head the Treasury's licensing program. The Gold
Reserve Act of 1934 had limited the use of gold to industrial,
professional and artistic use, so his duties involved oversight
of an elaborate system of reporting, as well as investigations
to prevent gold hoarding by the general public."

"In 1964, it was Mr. Failor's task to work out an equitable
system of distributing coins to the Federal Reserve banks
and branches .."

"After the Coin Shortage Hearings, Mr. Failor was deeply
involved in congressional hearings leading to enactment of the
Coinage Act of 1965... From 1965 until his retirement in
1968, he was executive director of the Joint Commission on
the Coinage."

To read the full obituary, see Full Story

[The article also notes a Washington Post article in 1959, where
Mr. Failor noted "that New York always had more 50-cent pieces
in circulation and Baltimore more nickels. Washingtonians, he said,
favored pennies."

Failor is known to numismatic bibliophiles for his 1969 work
(revised in 1972), "Medals of the United States Mint" -Editor]


If Kenneth Failor were working at the Mint today, he'd likely
be involved with its upcoming product. CNN published an
article about the U.S. Mint's newest bullion coin: "On Tuesday,
officials in Washington announced the planned introduction of
the first 24-karat gold coin in the nation's history. The piece,
set to be rolled out sometime in 2006, will boast a 99.99
percent "fineness" rating. In other words, it's almost perfectly
pure gold."

"The purpose of rolling them out, the Mint is making clear, is
to make money -- perhaps a lot of it.

"The United States Mint intends to match and exceed world
class business practices with this new 24-karat gold bullion
coin," said Henrietta Holsman Fore, director of the U.S. Mint,
in a statement.

"There is a demand, both here and abroad, for 24-karat gold
coins," she said. "We want to meet this demand by providing
the highest quality and most beautiful coins in the world."

"Until now, the highest grade U.S. coins have been the 22-karat
American Eagle series, first introduced in the 1980s after Congress
banned the sale of South African Krugerrands to protest apartheid."

"The program will have two phases," the Mint's statement noted,
"starting with an investor-grade uncirculated 24-karat gold bullion
coin, followed by a 24-karat numismatic collector proof coin."

No specific designs or denominations for the new coin have been

To read the full article, see: Full Story

To read the full text of the Mint's press release, see: Full Story


Dave Bowers writes: "Upon returning home from the Eliasberg
Collection of Gold Coins of the World sale in New York City I
read my e-mail. I appreciate the congratulations on the catalogue
so kindly posted in your last issue by a fine gentleman, but the
most I personally can do is accept these nice words on behalf
of the American Numismatic Rarities staff. While I wrote certain
introductory material and added a few things here and there, the
cataloging and research was mainly through the talents of,
alphabetically, John Kraljevich, John Pack, and Frank Van Valen
of the ANR staff, plus consultants (credited in the catalogue).
Photography was by Douglas Plasencia. Everyone at ANR
played one part or another, a grand event for all of us.

The sale drew participants from 37 different countries! The
room was non-stop action for all four sessions, with the final
realization far exceeding pre-sale estimates, and crossing the
$10,000,000 mark. I haven’t checked with Dr. Richard Bagg
(our staff guru on calculating things about the market), but,
certainly, this has to rank very high among the most valuable
offerings of world coins ever held within the boundaries of
the United States of America."

On April 20th, Newsday published an article about the sale.
"Rare gold coins that had sat undisturbed for nearly a half-
century in a Baltimore bank vault fetched more than $10
million in an international auction."

"The highest price paid for a single coin was $379,500, for
a five-ounce gold coin made in Venice around 1770 showing
Jesus and St. Mark. The amount was a record for a non-
ancient Italian coin, the auctioneers said.

The earliest known round coin from Colombia, pressed in
1755 and depicting King Ferdinand VI of Spain, sold for
$103,500. The oldest coin in the collection, a gold piece
hammered by hand in Sicily in 413 B.C., sold for $5,060."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


Australian scientists have invented a new technique for finding
fingerprints on banknotes:

"Forensic scientists are hoping to finger criminals who leave
their prints on plastic banknotes using a novel imaging technique
and superglue.

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
and the Australian Federal Police have joined forces to develop
the technique, which combines chemical imaging under infrared
light and fuming superglue, or ethyl cyanoacrylate."

"The new method allows forensic scientists to detect chemicals
on the surface of a banknote that would not usually be visible
to the human eye.

All fingerprint detection relies on the contrast between a finger's
ridge marks and the background surface.

But the coloured or patterned surface of some items, like
polymer banknotes, reduces contrast and makes fingerprints
difficult to detect."

"The first stage of the technique involves placing a banknote
in a tank filled with heated superglue fumes.

"The superglue sticks to the ridges in the fingerprint but not
the gaps in-between... The note is then put under an infrared
microscope and chemical imaging detector and scanned at the
mid-infrared range of the spectrum to highlight the superglue.

This allows the print's outline to be seen on a computer screen.

"Once we get an image on a computer screen we can print it
and compare it with other prints."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

A related story on police use of fingerprints on paper
money to track drug users: Full Story


Ron Abler writes: "Dick Johnson made some excellent points
in his plea for a Goetz medal catalog. It reminded me how
helpful your E-sylum readers can be. I am writing a book on
the Centennial Medals of 1876. I could definitely use some
advice on a rational and flexible numbering system for the medals.

There have been two primary works on the subject of which
I am aware: Holland's articles in 1875-1876 and the anonymous
articles published in the Coin Collector's Journal in 1876. I
respect the work of these authors, but each source used Roman
numerals for each design in what appears to be random
as-discovered order with no distinction (in the numbering) made
for the multiple alloys in which many of the medals were issued.

I would like to develop a new numbering system that offers
some logic (perhaps by medal category -- mint-issued, Philadelphia
expo, etc.). I would also like to be able to insert the inevitable
medals brought to my attention after publishing without upsetting
the numbering logic. I am also considering a unique number for
each design or mule pair with a subscript or superscript designating
the alloy. The end result might be a letter prefix for the category,
a sequential number within the category for each medal design/mule
pair, and a subscript or superscript for the alloy. Adding a newly
discovered alloy would be simple, and it would not upset the
numbering scheme. Discovery of a previously unlisted design or
mule pair would require adding it as the next sequential number in
its category, not perfect but better than having to put it all the way
at the end of an uncategorized list.

As you can plainly see, I need help, and I would sincerely
appreciate ideas, suggestions, and advice which your readers might
have. Thank you very much."

[The problem of numbering schemes is a common one, but we
have several authors among our readership, and perhaps one or
more can offer their insights. Also, can anyone identify the author
of the 1876 Coin Collector's Journal article? Since it is unattributed,
can we assume the author is that year's editor, Ed Frossard?


Roger deWardt Lane writes: "Last week, at one of our local
club meetings, the Ft Lauderdale Coin Club, a friend dealer
was selling a few odd and ends from recent collections he had
purchased. The better items he sells on e-Bay and puts the less
popular items in the club auction. In the back at a table he
sometimes has bullion grade foreign silver and today he had a
box of odd medals. I picked out 8. I like to spend hours
researching the medals and if the American Numismatic Society
collection does not have the item and they would like it, I
donate them.

The first one I looked at was a Medallic Art Co - Happy Birthday
U.S.A. July 4, 1976. the ANS database quickly identified the
medal which they have in their collection.

The next one they do not have from my checking with their
database. But sometimes I am wrong and they still locate the item
in their vast collection. The search I did was based on the
engraver - Constante Rossi.

Interesting enough the only medal that came up was one I gave
them a couple of years ago from Argentina designed by Rossi.

Next I did a Google search on Constante Rossi and found a
most interesting non-commercial site on European and
South American Medals -

I see no name of the author, but who ever it is, the site is
worth visiting.

Anyone who would like to see the items I have donated
to the ANS, just go to: ANS Donation "


Today's Los Angeles Times has an article about an archivist's
search which led her to the U.S Mint in Denver - she learned
that her quarry became an official of the Denver Mint in 1874;
"For a time, he was also managing editor of the Denver Tribune
and a lay rabbi."

"Behind Hynda Rudd's desk in her Glendale home hangs a
picture of a frontier rabbi she calls her "patron saint." Although
he died more than two decades before she was born, this man's
passion for politics and religion not only piqued her interest but
also led her on a treasure hunt for documents to learn more
about him.

His paper trail led her from Salt Lake City, where she was born
and raised, to Los Angeles and propelled her into a career as
the first official custodian of Los Angeles' historical records.

Rudd, 69, retired nearly four years ago as the city's first archivist
and records management officer after more than 20 years on the
job. The city has always been populated by fascinating characters,
as she learned, but she never stopped researching the man who
captured her scholar's interest: Herman Silver, for whom the
Silver Lake community and reservoir are named.

"Educated men turn me on," Rudd said. "But Silver was more
than educated: He was handsome, charismatic — a man for
all seasons."

"He was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1831, one of six
children. A sickly boy, he often had to miss school, so he
passed the time reading books from the family library and
becoming proficient in Hebrew.

In 1844, on the advice of the family doctor, Silver was sent
alone to the United States. He was just 13 but, at 6 feet tall,
he stood out among the passengers. He caught the eye of a
Spanish-born Catholic priest, Father Gerard, from Montreal,

Silver taught the priest Hebrew and the priest taught him
English. When the ship docked, Silver accompanied Gerard
to Canada and studied under him for several years. They
became lifelong friends.

In the 1850s, after working and traveling throughout the East
Coast, Silver settled in Ottawa, Ill., where he met his future
wife, Eliza Post, when he retrieved a letter that had blown
out of her gloved hand.

Silver joined John C. Fremont's grass-roots party, the Free
Soilers, whose slogan called for "free soil, free speech, free
labor and free men." The party was absorbed into the newly
formed Republican Party around 1854.

Silver campaigned for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and won
appointment as a government land assessor during the Civil
War. He also recruited volunteer regiments for the Union,
receiving a commendation for valor and services "off the field."
After the war, he studied law and opened a law practice in

Rudd lost Silver's trail in the early 1870s but picked it up
again in 1874, when he was appointed director of the U.S.
Mint in Denver. For a time, he was also managing editor
of the Denver Tribune and a lay rabbi."

"Silver had moved to Los Angeles in the 1880s, both for
his health and for a job with the Santa Fe Railroad. Soon,
he and a partner had built a double-track railway from
downtown to Boyle Heights."

"Before Silver died in 1913, at 82, he watched his namesake
community become a movie center and birthplace of the
Keystone Kops. Producer William Selig opened a studio at
the eastern side of the lake in 1910. Half a dozen or so other
studios, including those of Mack Sennett, D.W. Griffith and
Tom Mix, also clustered around the reservoir."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

[A web search found that the journal Western States
Jewish History published an article on Silver in their
volume 20: "Herman Silver of Silver Lake, Civic Leader
and Lay Rabbi, Parts 1&2" by William M. Kramer.

The L.A. Times article calls Silver the "director of the U.S.
Mint in Denver." The facility opened in 1863 as an Assay
office, and I don't believe it was yet an official mint in 1874.
Silver's title as head of the Assay office would have been
"Superintendent," correct? My Coin World Almanac
is the 1990 edition, and it does not list Denver officials from
that period. I'd not encountered Silver's name until now.
Can anyone verify the dates of Silver's time at the Denver
facility? Great name for a mint official, of course - was
there ever a Mr. Gold as well? -Editor]


Len Augsberger writes: "The Maryland Historical Magazine,
Winter 2004, has a short discussion of newspaper prices
c. 1830-1850. Papers were priced at one "fip" (6 1/4 cents,
half a Spanish bit) at the beginning of the period, some offering
subscriptions at two fips/week. No doubt many other
commodities of the same era were similarly priced in Spanish
bits. The "penny press" was introduced later, with advances
in printing technology reducing the cost of daily papers to as
little as one cent."


Larry Mitchell writes: "I've had a number of inquiries lately
regarding sources of biographical information for engravers,
diesinkers, etc., for early American coinage, medals, etc.
The standard reference for this sort of info has long been
Stauffer, Fielding & Gage's "American Engravers Upon
Copper & Steel".

Accordingly, it might be worthwhile to add the
bibliographic info for this title to our NBS
Bibliography, Section 1, _General Information for
Bibliophiles_ (the same folks also having done the
illustrations for a wide range of early numismatic
books and magazines):

Stauffer, David McNeely, Mantle Fielding and Thomas
(Four volumes in three.) New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll
Books, 1994.

Quoting from the publisher's description of the above
consolidated reprint:

"In 1907 David McNeely Stauffer's two-volume set of
was published in a limited edition of 350 copies. This pioneer
work provided biographical sketches and a checklist of the
works of over seven hundred American engravers. Little
had previously been written about this subject, as the great
majority of early American engravers were relatively obscure
men and often the only record of their existence as engravers
was the few impressions of a plate accidentally preserved.
Stauffer's work was based on the prints themselves - their
signatures, dates and publishers - and he realized there were
omissions. In 1917 Mantle Fielding, who had corresponded
with Stauffer and seen many of his notes, published a
supplement in a numbered, limited edition of 220 copies.
Stauffer's and Fielding's works on American Engravers are
well indexed for engravers and partly indexed for subjects.
However, engravers are for the most part only copyists; they
reproduce on copper, steel or stone the work of another. Much
valuable information as to the identity of the painters of early
portraits can be obtained from examining engraved copies.
Thus in 1920 Thomas Hovey Gage added an Artist Index to
these important volumes. This reprint is the first time these
four scarce volumes have appeared together as a set...."

[We've updated the NBS web site bibliography to include
the Stauffer-Fielding work.

Dick Johnson's work will become the new standard
once published, but in the meantime the Stauffer-Fielding
work is probably the best single source for this information.
A more compact work is the 1983 book by Francis
Pessolano-Filos, "The Venus Numismatics Dictionary of
Designers, Artists, Modellers, Engravers, and Die Sinkers
whose works were commissioned by or struck by the
United States Mint 1792-1977." -Editor]


"The United States Mint has resumed tours at its Philadelphia
and Denver facilities. The same-day tours were suspended
following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, although tours
scheduled in advance through Congressional representatives
had been available on a limited basis.

The tours, offered first come, first served, resumed April 6 in
Philadelphia and April 7 in Denver."

"Both tours are free; the Philadelphia tour is self-guided.
For details, go to and click on "Tours."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


One of the more interesting (and long-running) mailing
lists on the Internet is A Word A Day, edited by Anu Garg.
To subscribe, go to: A Word A Day

This week the focus was words about books; I've excerpted
a couple that may be of interest to numismatic bibliophiles.

(From A.Word.A.Day for Monday, April 18, 2005)
"festschrift (FEST-shrift) noun, plural festschriften or festschrifts

A volume of writing by many authors as a tribute to a scholar,
for example, on the occasion of retirement of a colleague.

[From German Festschrift, from Fest (celebration) + Schrift (writing).
Ultimately from Indo-European root skribh (to cut, separate, or sift)
that has resulted in other terms, such as manuscript, subscribe,
scripture, scribble, and describe.]"

[In numismatics, festschrifts are seen largely in the field of
ancient coinage, but there are others. -Editor]


(From A.Word.A.Day for Thursday, April 21, 2005)
variorum (var-ee-OR-um) adjective

1. Containing various versions (from manuscripts,
earlier editions, etc.) of a text.

2. Containing notes and commentaries by various
editors and commentators.

noun Such a book.

[From Latin editio cum notis variorum (edition with
notes of various).]

"A variorum edition would also show us how these elegiac
poems, purportedly written on the anniversaries of the
birthday of [Ted] Hughes's first wife, Sylvia Plath, were
constructed." John Kinsella; Beguiled by the Wild; The
Observer (London, UK); Nov 2, 2003.

[The recent Orosz-Herkowitz article on the origins of
the 1792 half dismes includes a virtual variorium of a
numismatic document; a set of an author's draft manuscripts
would also constitute a variorium, but these seem to be
rare in numismatic literature. -Editor]


This last one's not from A Word A Day, nor is it about
books, but it's one I learned this evening playing a word
game with my family. My mother-in-law played "Merk"
and I didn't think it was a word. She wasn't exactly sure
either, but when we looked it up in the dictionary, it
turned out to be a word for a Scottish coin. Some
numismatist I am! Here's a web page depicting a
Scottish Merk of 1677: Scottish Merk


Carl Honore writes: "I liked the Clive Cussler Sahara reference.
This book is not Mr. Cussler's first foray into numismatics. In
his book "Night Probe!" Dirk Pitt ventures into a deserted
tunnel with an old Iron Horse locomotive and a "box with gold
pieces called St. Gaudens". These of course could only be the
double eagles. In his book "Treasure," Lily Sharp, the female
archaeologist finds a Roman or Byzantine gold coin in Greenland
during a dig. Nothing to whet the appetite for adventure
like some kind of lost treasure... "


Another recently-released film has a numismatic connection:
"Millions". Apart from the piles and piles of stage money shown
on film (time for an update to Fred Reed's new book already!),
the film's plot turns on a rare numismatic event - an official
currency changeover:

"Ensconced in his cardboard shed by the railway tracks, 7-year-old
Damian (Alex Etel) is mulling over the changes in his life... His
contemplations are disrupted when an enormous bag of cash
crashes through the roof of his retreat.

As you might expect, this monetary miracle sets in motion the
delightful British parable Millions, as the two brothers tackle their
newfound fortune."

"Upon study, the bag contains nearly a quarter of a million pounds
-- too much, really, for the lads to understand exactly how much
that is. Basically, they know it’s a lot because, unpacked and
stacked, the cash towers above them. It would take a lifetime
for two boys to spend it on their desires -- a double-scoop of
ice cream here, a video game there. The rub is that it’s only a
few days to E-Day, when Britain changes over to the Euro.
The booty has to be spent or converted pronto, or it’s

To read the full review, see: Full Review


About last week's item regarding "9,000 year-old manuscripts",
chief nit-picker Tom DeLorey asks, "Sorry to nit pick again,
but shouldn't this be 3,000 years?"

[Well, that line was taken from the headline of the referenced
article in The Scotsman. Where they got it from, who knows.
It's not in the body of the article, which says the manuscripts
were believed to be "from the 3rd to the 7th centuries BC."
That's more like 3,000 years by my count as well.

Sorry for the slip-up. I wish I could say it was a typo, but
it's more like a brain-o on the part of the headline writers
and myself for letting it slip through. -Editor]


I've received a couple sample issues of Planet Collector
magazine, a glossy publication showcasing many different
collectible fields. The Spring 2005 issue (Vol 2, No. 1)
has two nice articles on numismatics. David T. Alexander
of Stack's has an article titled "Panama-Pacific Exposition:
After-Glow of the Gilded Age," featuring illustrations of
two complete original sets of Pan-Pac commemorative
coins. Stephen L. Goldsmith of R.M. Smythe has one
titled "Collecting America's 'Obsolete' Paper Money,"
also nicely illustrated. For more information, see
More Info


Mike Marotta writes: "Pawing through the bargain bins on the
Michigan State Numismatic Society show bourse floor this past
weekend, I found a Central Bank of China 20 cents from 1931
printed by the Chung Hwa Book Company. According to the
"Standard Catalog of World Paper Money," several notes were
printed by this firm. I thought that this might be the "Soong
Dynasty" Bible publishers, but apparently it is not. However, it
still makes an interesting addition to my "authors" collection.

Among the many authors, poets and other literati who have been
featured on paper money are Petofi Sandor (Alexander Petofi)
on the Hungary 1969 10 forint and Robert Burns on the the
Clydesdale Bank 1981 1 pound. Benjamin Franklin would be
the keystone to my collection of authors, but he is only a visitor

I am really not a poetry kind of guy. I write non-fiction. I got
through literature in school on Classics Illustrated comics.
However, I actually earned my C+ in printing shop, so, my
favorites are: Iceland 1961 50 kronur two printers on back;
Bulgaria 1992 50 leva Hristo G. Danov (face) printing press
(back). My deficiencies in fiction aside, I do claim to read
real books, so I like: Iceland 1961 10 kronur Household scene
of reading; Greece 1995 200 Drachmes "To krypso scholeio"
(Secret School).

"Virtually all Icelanders are literate; they read more books per
capita than any other people in the world."
(Full Story)

Also according to Answers.Com, literacy in Estonia is 99.8%.
Therefore, it is appropriate that that nation honored writers
on several issues since 1990.

While commemorative paper money is known, transient honors
appear more often on coins, though less frequently on coins
than on postage stamps. Therefore, banknotes are serious


While looking up other things I came across an interesting
article from the Journal of Northwest Anthropology about
an Indian Peace Medal discovered in 1964. Found at the
Palus Burial site in eastern Washington State, the medal is
known as the Palus medal.

"There is written evidence of a medal being observed in this
location in 1854. Approximately 50 years after it was given
out by Lewis and Clark, a Jefferson Peace Medal was
described by George Gibbs while he was visiting Palus Village.
Stevens (1855:432) quoted Gibbs thus:

At the crossing of the Snake river, at the mouth of the Peluse,
the several parties of exploration met with an interesting relic.
The chief of that band, Wattai-wattai-how-lis, [in coming to
visit Captain McClellan,] exhibited, with great pride, the medal
presented to his father, Ke-powh-kan, by Captains Lewis and
Clark. It is of silver, double, and hollow, having on the obverse
a medallion bust, with the legend, “Thomas Jefferson, President
U. S. A., 1801;” and on the reverse the clasped hands, pipe,
and battle-axe, crossed, with the legend, “Peace and Friendship.”

There can be little doubt that this is the same medal found in
Burial 21 and was one of those carried by Lewis and Clark."

The page links to several tables and figures, including a sketch
showing the medal's unusual method of construction (see

"It is obvious that the Jefferson Peace medals, including those
carried by Lewis and Clark, were unique among peace medals
in their construction. The tradition is that the United States
Mint at the time they were manufactured did not have presses
large enough to stamp such large medals (Prucha 1962:281),
or alternatively it would have taken too much time to run them
repeatedly, so rather they stamped two thin shells in silver.
These were placed back to back with a German silver band
or collar around the circumference thus holding together both
halves (Fig. 6). This is the first publication of this figure and
the information it provides of the method of construction and
attachment of the pillar and ring. All medals since then have
been made of solid metal. "

The Palus medal was transferred to the Nez Perce Tribe in
1971 and is housed at the Nez Perce National Historical Park
Research Center.

To read the full article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site "was created in 1999 by Jérôme
Mairat and Stéphan Sombart with the idea of sharing ‘through
Internet, numerous old numismatic books free of copyrights
and most of the time which can’t be found these days.

In 2004, many books like the famous Cohen or Hoffmann
as well as unpublished articles or studies about for example the
tokens and medals of the coronation, are now available on line."

The site includes works by John Yonge Akerman, Ernest Babelon,
Henri Cohen, Roger Vallentin and others from 1627 to 1913.
Michael Marotta mentioned the site in his "Internet Connections"
article in the April 2005 issue of Numismatist.

  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.

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