The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 19, May 8, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Katie Jaeger of Shamokin, PA,
John Nebel of Boulder, CO and Dennis M. Gregg. Welcome
aboard! We now have 749 subscribers. Happy Mother's Day,


Fred Lake reminds everyone that the 79th mail-bid sale of
numismatic literature by Lake Books will close on Tuesday,
May 10, 2005 at 5:00 PM (EDT). Bids may be sent via
email, FAX, or telephone until the closing time. You may
reach Fred at 727-343-8055 or by FAX at 727-345-3750.
His email address is fredlake at . The sale
may be viewed at: Current Sale


Nancy Oliver & Rich Kelly write: "We just wanted to let you
know that our new book is now available. The book is a
biography, written in first person, on the life and times of
Joseph Breck Harmstead. The title is "Sentiments & Aspirations
of a 19th Century Tradesman." As you are probably quite aware,
Mr. Harmstead has often been referred to as the "Mysterious
Coiner of the 2nd San Francisco Mint"; however, we can honestly
say that is no longer the case. The book is an in-depth look at his
life as a boy in New England, his experiences while working at five
Federal Mints, how Yellow Fever ravaged his family and friends,
the risks he faced during his many travels both overseas and by
land, and much more. The retail price is $29.95 for this full-sized,
316 page soft bound book. The ordering information for E-Sylum
subscribers is $25, which includes postage, with check or money
order made out to O.K. Associates. The address is 26746 Contessa
St., Hayward, CA 94545-3150. If anyone has any questions, our
email address is noliver146 at"


The following is from a recent press release: "The Puerto Rico
Numismatic Society just published a 150 page book titled
"Fortalezas y Situados" (in spanish). It is the first in-depth study
of the early period between 1582-1809 in which the island
depended upon currency remittances from New Spain (Mexico)
called the "situado". The book is full of tables, graphs and lots of
color photos of pieces of eight, cob coins, and early paper money
from Puerto Rico. All proceeds will be for the PRNS as a
non-profit entity. If interested please contact us.

Jorge Crespo (author)
Secretary PRNS

[For ordering information, contact Jorge at
ac_jcrespo at mail.SUAGM.EDU -Editor]


A Kurdish Media report from Baghdad May 7 noted that
"Millions of Iraqi dinar coins have been minted by the Central
Bank of Iraq, yet few of them are ever seen.

The bank minted coins worth more than 281,000 US dollars
after the fall of Saddam Hussein. But the two coins, worth 25
and 100 dinars, are rarely used in everyday transactions, and
the smallest denomination in common use is the 50-dinar

There are rumours the coins have been melted down for the
metal or spirited away by smugglers, but a central bank
official says the explanation is a lot simpler. Talib al-Tamimi,
manager of the treasury and monetary emission at the bank,
said the coins are available, but people do not use them as
they are still unfamiliar with them.

“They are uncertain about them after 13 years in which
there have been no denominations of this kind - that’s why
they seem strange to people,” said Tamimi.

“But there are huge amounts of [coins] at the banks, which
can provide them to anyone who wants them.”

"According to economist Salam Sumaysim, “The circulation
of small denominations may reflect the needs of the economy,
but inflation rates are so high that these coins are useless.”

Even the 50-dinar bill, issued before the coins were minted,
is not popular. Notes to a value of more than 8.6 million
dollars were printed, but because demand for them was low,
only about 6.6 million dollars’ worth have been released into

Muhammed Abdul-Qadir, a merchant at Baghdad’s al-Shorja
market, says he doesn’t want to have to carry huge bags of
coins around "like in medieval times".

Full Story


The catalog for the Clash of Empires exhibit at the Senator
John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center has just been
released as a double issue of the Western Pennsylvania
History Magazine and all members will be receiving it very
shortly. My copy should arrive soon. I mentioned this exhibit
last week because it features a rare original silver Kittanning

I had the pleasure of viewing this exhibit last Monday, and I
was pleased to see that it contains quite a number of medals
relating the the British, French & Indian War of 1754-1763.
The following is from the exhibit press release:

"Among the many rare period objects in the exhibit are the
Treaty of Fort Necessity, the original surrender document
signed by 22-year-old British officer George Washington of
the Virginia Regiment in 1754 after a resounding defeat by
French and American Indian forces, along with the fork and
knife from his mess kit; the burned remains of the wagons
Benjamin Franklin secured for use on the Braddock expedition;
one of two remaining Celeron plates that French forces buried
in the ground to claim the territory as their own; ornate British
and French swords, guns and cannons; and American Indian
tomahawks, knives and war clubs. Visitors also will see a
variety of intricately carved powder horns; beautifully detailed
Native American leggings, bags and moccasins; General
Braddock'’s plan for the attack of Fort Duquesne, found on the
battlefield by French soldiers after they defeated the British;
and British and French medals and other commemorative pieces."

The Kittanning medal is from the city of Fredericksburg, VA
collection. I was unable to record information on any of the
medals because pens and pencils were banned from the exhibit
area. The exhibit catalog may not give the full details on the
medals, so I've contacted the society and requested an inventory
of the medals in the exhibit. The exhibit will be on display here
in Pittsburgh through April 15, 2006, then travels to the
Canadian War Museum in Ottowa, Canada for display May 18,
2006 - November 12, 2006. Finally, the exhibit is set to open
at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. during the
Winter 2007 season.

For more information, see More Info


Eric Holcomb writes: "The Pacific Northwest Numismatic
Association again published a special convention edition of
its quarterly newsletter, The Nor’wester, in 16-page magazine
format for its annual convention held last weekend, April
29-30 and May 1. Included are articles about Constantine
The Great (by Joseph Kleinman) and “Our Little Monitor”
Civil War Tokens (by PNNA president Larry Gaye). There
are plenty of copies still available; $1.00 should cover the
cost of mailing and gas to drive to the post office if anyone
is interested. Contact: Eric Holcomb, PMB 342, 12932 SE
Kent-Kangley Rd, Kent, WA 98030. (No need to provide
a return envelope, just a legible address.)"


Roger Burdette writes: "E-Sylum subscribers are known for
their understanding of, and appreciation for numismatic literature.
Thus, they may be the best source of opinions on the following:

A local high school has been given $1,000 to spend only on
numismatic books. What do your subscribers suggest as the
best books to purchase?

Suggestion can be sent directly to me, if readers wish.
accurateye at "


On January 12, 2006, the ANS will hold its annual Dinner Gala
at the Sky Club, 210 Park Avenue (a beautiful venue, with
panoramic views of the city). In conjunction with the dinner &
dancing, a charity auction of numismatic books, manuscripts,
and ephemera will be held to benefit the ANS Frank Campbell
Librarian Chair. The auction will be along the lines of the one
held during the ANA convention in Pittsburgh last August, with
about 50 lots and a special catalogue prepared by George Kolbe.
Herb Kriendler will call the sale.

In order to accommodate bibliophiles who don't want to attend the
dinner and dancing ($250 per seat), the auction will be held
beforehand from 5-7, in a separate room, with its own bar. There
will be no charge to attend the auction, and the lots will be available
for viewing and pick up.

Consignments for the auction are now being solicited. We are
looking for material with a retail value of $400 or more. If you
have something you are willing to donate (or to sign up for the
dinner, which we expect to sell out) please contact Rick Witschonke,
Event Chair, at Witschonke at


Howard A. Daniel III writes that this is the title of a book written
in Latin with Chinese characters. And the title continues with
title. It shows the rubbings of thousands of pieces that are now
inside the Vatican, and it also includes Vietnamese, Japanese
and Korean pieces in it!

Back in the early 1970s, R. B. White wrote to Howard and
asked if he wanted a photocopy of the book. The original was
in VERY fragile condition and he was going to make hardbound
copies of it only for those people ordering it. In 1976, when he
finished making the copies into three volumes, the original fell
apart into pieces, so the book was saved at the last possible
moment. Howard has copy 5 of 11 copies. Yes, only 11
copies of this book exists! Does anyone else own a copy
of this reference?

When Professor Li of the China Numismatic Society was
recently staying at Howard's home, Howard showed him this
reference and he was quite surprised with its contents. Howard's
copy may be loaned to the society for them to copy it in many
copies for collectors and researchers in China. And Professor
Li will be contacting the Vatican to see if someone can see the
collection for more intense research of the collection.

Professor Li would also like to know more about Mr. R. B.
White. Howard searched his files and cannot find anything
about him. Is there anyone out there who knows anything at
all about Mr. White so a biography can be written about him
and placed in the China Numismatic Society files by Professor
Li? If so, please contact Howard at
Howard at


Greg Reynolds writes: "Does anyone have information
regarding John H. Clapp in addition to the pedigree
information in the Eliasberg catalogues and the biographical
data in QDB's writings? In particular, did Clapp personally
attend auctions between 1890 and his death in 1906?"


The Philadelphia Inquirer published a story on May 5, 2005
about a local man who received the Legion of Honor medal
from France, in gratitude for his heroics in WWII:

"As a boy in France, Philippe Schaison heard his parents and
grandparents say that if it weren't for the American soldiers
who liberated their country from the Nazis in World War II,
they might not have been alive.

Schaison, now 43 and living in Princeton, recently received
a chance to express his family's gratitude to one former G.I.
who served in France: 96-year-old former Army sergeant
William Mohr of Hatboro.

The Frenchman, who had gotten to know Mohr as the father
of a business colleague, sent an e-mail to the French consulate
in New York recommending Mohr for the French Legion of
Honor (Légion d'Honneur) - the highest award that France
can confer on a civilian.

To Schaison's surprise - and Mohr's - the French government
awarded Mohr the medal. A consular officer went to Mohr's
house and, in the presence of Mohr's wife and children, pinned
the five-pointed gold cross with a red ribbon on his breast."

"Any American who participated in the liberation of France is
eligible to apply for the Legion of Honor medal, which was
inaugurated by the Emperor Napoléon in 1802.

Yet, the award is rare. Last year, only 125 medals were given
to U.S. veterans of World War II - and 100 of them were
given in one shot on the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion
in Normandy last June."

To read the full story at the Philadelphia Inquirer 
(registration required): Full Story


Larry Mitchell writes: "Thanks to Dick Johnson for his
update on the extensive coverage to be afforded by his
forthcoming publication about American diesinkers and
engravers. It will indeed set a new standard of coverage
for this very specific topic.

As I pointed out in my original comment, though
[E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 17, April 24, 2005],
Stauffer, Fielding & Gage (FSG) cover not only
diesinkers, but also illustrators "for a wide range of
early numismatic books and magazines." And, as Dick
himself admits, "Fielding is excellent" and Stauffer
covers "all the early paper money engravers which I do
not cover."

FSG will set you back $78.75 if you are a Barnes &
Noble customer (plus tax & shipping). The best price
I have seen on Falk is $350. Accordingly, for the
reasons adduced in the above paragraph, I still think
FSG offers an excellent price/benefit ratio for
researchers whose needs cover MULTIPLE areas. [Falk is
available at most major libraries if FSG does not meet
your needs.]

In the meantime, I look forward with great
anticipation to Dick's magnum opus."


On May 7th, Reuters reported that "A Nobel Prize medal
belonging to India's only award winner for literature was replaced
on Saturday, more than a year after the original was stolen from
a university in eastern India.

Thieves stole the Nobel, won in 1913 by the revered poet
Rabindranath Tagore, from a museum in a university he founded
in 1921 in Shantiniketan, some 150 km (93 miles) north of Calcutta,
capital of the West Bengal state.

Inga Eriksson Fogh, Sweden's ambassador to India, handed over
a set of gold and bronze medallions set in a box to the university
authorities in the presence of India's foreign and defence ministers."

To read the full story, see Full Story


Benny Bolin writes: "Continued nice job with The E-Sylum!
I have a question: Do you happen to have or know where
I could access a complete listing of the Muscalus books?
I recently bought a large numismatic library and it has 50+
in it and I would like to know how close to complete it is."

[Dr. John A Muscalus was a prolific author of mostly small
pamphlets on various obsolete U.S. currency topics, from
the mid 1930s through the 1970s. Here's where our print
journal, The Asylum comes in. "The Works of John Muscalus"
by R.L. Bisordi was published in the Winter, 1989 issue.
Numismatic booksellers Frank and Laurese Katen published
a "Bibliography of Dr. John A. Muscalus Books on Paper
Money and Scrip" in March 1991. Eighty items were listed,
and the Katens assigned them numbers from K-1 through
K-80. The subjects of Muscalus' works were varied and
often obscure, but always interesting. K-28 is "The Dismal
Swamp Canal and Lake Drummond Hotel on Paper Money
1838-1865," for example. -Editor]


The following item was published in the May 2005 issue of
the American Numismatic Society's E-News:

"Local historian William Asadorian recently donated to the
cabinet an unusual collection of Early American lead bale seals
recovered from excavation sites during large-scale late 20th-
century construction projects. Almost all the seals are from
sites in New York City. These interesting token-like pieces,
which were once affixed to bales of fabric or containers of
other commodities, represent the burgeoning trade of the
Colonial and Early Federal eras. The find-spots of most of
the pieces are known, and the collection includes many examples
of Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and even Russian origin."

[I located a web page with a little more information on bale seals:
"Lead seals such as cloth seals and bale seals were widely used
in Europe between the 13th and 19th centuries as a means of
identification and as a component of regulation and quality control."

Bale seals such were single disc seals, rather than two disc seals,
and were also used to identify textiles, as well as parcels and
bales of trade goods. The obverse would typically display a city's
arms, and the reverse would record data such as the length or
width of fabric or the weight of a parcel."
More Information

Sort of like collecting bar-code labels, only much more
interesting. Here are some pages illustrating some seals:
Seal Illustration
Seal Illustration


Also published in the May 2005 issue of the ANS E-News
is this wanted item for the society Library:
"Glendining & Company - Any sales for the period 1995 - and after."
Please contact Librarian Frank Campbell if you can help supply
this item. His email address is campbell at


Susie Nulty writes: "I always enjoy The E-Sylum. It is amazing
how much interesting material you include each week. And it
is definitely a small world. Your Featured Web Site listing
Matt Carpenter's medals was a nice surprise. After 10 years
working on the Triple Crown of Running Race Committee,
I have had the pleasure of speaking with and watching this
astonishing fellow run and win many races. The Pikes Peak
Ascent (I did it once) and Marathon are his specialties - he
has run these races 16 times and holds the records -
The Ascent is 13.32 miles with a 7,815 foot elevation gain to
the 14,110' summit of Pikes Peak. Last year there was 6-8"
of new snow on the Peak race morning and temperatures can
vary 50 degrees along the route. The Marathon is the same
trail up and then one runs back down to a finish totaling 26.21

The 50th Anniversary of these races will be August 20 (Ascent)
and 21 (Marathon). Some enter as "doublers" - they run *both*
races. Carpenter has run as a doubler 3 times and in 2001 won
both races on the same weekend - the only runner to ever
accomplish such a feat. As I understand it, this race started
with a bet among smokers."


Nancy Oliver & Rich Kelly writes: "Concerning the recent
question concerning the status of Herman Silver at the Denver
Mint, we came up with the following information. In 1877,
Herman Silver was the United States Registar at the United
States Land Office in Denver, Colorado and Jacob F. L.
Schirmer is listed as Mint Superintendent. At the end of 1877,
he was appointed Assayer of what was loosely called the
"Denver Mint". They made no coinage there at that time,
just did assaying of precious metals, so the Assayer was
basically the man in charge. Herman was sometimes referred
to as Director, Superintendent, Chief Assayer, etc. of the
Denver Mint during his tenure. In the 1880 U.S. census for
Denver, Colorado, he is listed as "Director U.S. Mint".
However, in the 1878-1881 Colorado Weekly Gazetter
newspaper he is listed as "Assayer, Colorado Mint". In the
1880 Denver City Directory, Herman is listed as "Assayer in
Charge, United States Mint". We hope this helps."

[This has been an interesting topic. Some "facts" are very
hard to pin down when there was never a consistent definition
in the first place. But the accounts we've read are starting
to make some sense now. Thanks! -Editor]


Roger deWardt Lane writes: "Steve Schor and Roger deWardt
Lane, aka Mutt and Jeff in Florida, generally spend Thursday
mornings visiting the largest flea market in South Florida –
Sunrise Swap Shop – 88 acres of new and used merchandise,
looking for numismatic items. Most of the time it’s exercise,
sunshine and good conversation. Today Steve purchased a
deal of circulation silver. Some young person had purchased
Whitman blue folders in mid 60’s at thirty-two cents each (the
price tag was still on some of them) and started putting aside
silver they found in change. Only two buffalo nickels had
dates. But of special interest was a newspaper clipping dated
1967 pasted in the nickel folder. I quote:

Below two pictures - a profile head of Chief John Big Tree
and a picture of the “Indian Nickel”, today known as the
classic buffalo nickel. The news clipping continues –

Nickel Model Dies Upstate Syracuse, N.Y. (AP) –
Chief John Big Tree, whose stern, sharp profile was the
model for the now rare Indian head nickels, died yesterday
at his home on the Onondaga Indian Reservation. Big Tree
was an Iroquois and claimed to be 102 years old. Records
kept by the Onondaga County Historical Assn., show him
to be 92. He posed for the nickel etching in 1912. That
particular nickel no longer is minted. Big Tree, whose
Christian name was Isaac Johnny John, also played more
than 100 minor parts in old-time cowboy and Indian movies.
He often described himself as the “best bareback rider in

Rogers adds, “I guess you should not completely believe
everything you read in an old newspaper.” A little Internet
search quotes the ANA - “American sculptor James Earle
Fraser began designing the Indian Buffalo nickel in 1911.
Fraser said the portrait on the "head's" side was a composite
of three American Indians - Iron Tail, Big Tree and Two
Moons. He had the opportunity to study and photograph
them when they stopped in New York on their way to
Washington to visit President Theodore Roosevelt. By
borrowing features from each individual, Fraser was able
to sketch the "ideal" portrait for the nickel.”

[Coincidently, on Friday evening I read the Taylor Morrison
book "The Buffalo Nickel" to my sons Christopher and
Tyler at bedtime. They listened attentively. Although it's
a children's book, the history and numismatics is far from
watered-down. In fact, it is a great capsule history of the
life of James Earle Fraser, and I learned a few things myself
from the book. Copies are available on the web for $10
or less, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest
in Fraser or his famous nickel. It's not inappropriate for a
high school library despite being aimed at a younger audience,
so I would nominate it for Roger's $1,000 library.

Here's a web page with more information about the book:
More Information


Regarding Myron Xenos' note on Krugerrands, Tom
DeLorey writes: "Beginning in 1985 it became illegal to
import Krugerrands of any date, though any coin already
in the United States remained completely unrestricted. You
could buy them, sell them or ship them out of the country.
You simply could not import them.

I have never heard that the South African government
struck any back-dated Krugerrands.

The Krugerrand had been created in 1967 as a vehicle to
promote the sale of gold to individuals. By making them
exactly one troy ounce net weight, they became much more
popular than the odd weight Mexican 50 Pesos (1.2057 tr.
oz.) restrikes and the Austrian/Hungarian 100 Corona/Korona
(0.9802 tr. oz.) restrikes that had dominated for decades.
Simply put, they eliminated the need to do math. Take 7 or 13
each of the three coins mentioned, and how much gold do you
have? With Krugerrands, you knew.

By 1985 gold investing by private individuals was well
established. Rather than fight the U.S., South Africa simply
sold its production in bar form to Australia, which sold it along
with its own production in coin form as Nuggets, Kangaroos
and Chinese Lunar coins. I would not be surprised it a lot of
it also ended up in the Austrian Philharmonics, the Isle of Man
Cats, the Gibraltar Dogs and Angels, etc., etc.

I have seen it said that since the South Africans were now spared
the heavy promotion costs it had put into selling the Krugerrands as
a way of promoting its mining industry, the net loss to the S.A.
government was less than US$1 per ounce. Gold is gold. They can
sell it anywhere."


Last week, Dick Johnson discussed the failure of the
Sacagawea to circulate. Granvyl Hulse, Numismatics
International Librarian writes: "I think that it is time
someone pointed out the obvious. As long as the
Federal government continues to print paper one dollar
bills any dollar coin will not be used. The U.S.Mint
spending $67 million to promote something that would
have immediately gone into circulation when no paper
dollars were available sounds like a pork barrel project
combined with stupidity. Maybe it is time we hire some
Canadian mint officials, and put our own out to grass."


Bryce Brown writes: "I have a few questions for the
E-Sylum readers:

1) I am trying to confirm an auction catalog listing: the
Kagin's 9/11/1972 auction sale apparently contained a
1805/4 "wide date" half dollar (the variety would likely
have been described as B-2C, O-8, or O-103a). What
is the lot number and description of this coin? Price realized?

2) I'm trying to identify an Aubrey Bebee price list: one
of his price lists of 1965 apparently contained a significant
early half dollar collection. Can someone identify the date
and title of this publication? Does this price list contain a
1805/4 "wide date" half dollar (H3, B-2C)?

3) The Bowers & Merena auction of the Walter Childs
collection (August 30, 1999) included a 1805/4 O.103
half dollar, lot #337. Unfortunately, this coin was not plated
in the standard catalog. Does a deluxe edition of the catalog
exist with additional plates that show this coin? Is anyone
aware if a photographic record of this coin exists elsewhere?

My email address is numismatics at "


Fred Reed writes: "Woodward is a darling among numismatic
bibliophiles, and a great deal of information is already in print
about him and his numerous and splendid auction sales and
catalogs. His life has been voluptuously treated by several

Woodward was a collector first and foremost, who became
a premier numismatic auctioneer of the 19th Century, and yet
-- so far as I know -- no genuine, verifiable image of him exists.
(Now, I hope I am wrong on that and an E-Sylum reader will
set me straight and come up with one.)

If I'm way off base and Woodward pictures abound, mea culpa,
but please throw me a lifeline here. I'm sinking for the third time,
and I'd like to include such an illustration in my ongoing Bank
Note Reporter series on Confederate currency collecting before
I drown and too pass into oblivion.

You can contact me at freed3 at Thanks."

[Does a photo of Woodward exist? I checked with two
experts, and here's what they had to say. -Editor]

NBS Historian Joel Orosz writes: "To the best of my knowledge,
Fred is unfortunately correct. When John Adams wrote U.S.
Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1 in 1982, he illustrated the chapters
with line drawings of the numismatists he discussed--for everyone
except Woodward. I have searched for a verifiable image of
Woodward for years, but haven't found one. Heck, I haven't
even found a spurious image of him.

This is not to say that such an image doesn't exist. I remember
that a dozen or so years ago, a genuine image of Dr. Edward
Maris was unearthed for the first time (at least in numismatic
circles). However, it is to say that as far as I know, no one has
discovered such an image of Woodward yet."

Charlie Davis writes: "When I was doing Woodward research
a decade ago, I never found a photograph. I located his great
granddaughter and she did not have one My hope was always
that as WEW was on the Boston City Council for several years,
they might have lined them all up on the State House steps and
taken a group picture. But no go. He had either a lazy eye or
a bad eye, and might not have wanted to stare down the blast
of flash powder that would have exploded in his face during a
portrait. So it is possible he never had one done."

[Well, there's the challenge. Can any of the genealogical and
numismatic sleuths among our readership track down a photo
of W. Elliot Woodward? -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Connecticut had a public library as early
as 1771. It was formed by Richard Smith, owner of a local
blast furnace, who used community contributions to buy 200
books in London. The library was "open" only one day a month,
the third Monday. Fees were collected if the book was damaged.
The most frequent damage was wax dripping on the pages from
the candles by which the books were read. Surviving records
called this "greasing."


Saul Teichman writes: "This piece might interest the eSylumites."
The following text is taken from the web page:

"The illustrated piece is the example of J84/P93 which is mentioned
in Breen's Encyclopedia #5418 as being struck over an 1859 dollar.
It was struck in die alignment III.

It is described, by Breen, as being ex Louis Werner, circa 1958,
A.M. Kagin and was just sent to Heritage under consignment."

"It is one of several overstrikes produced circa 1859-60 which
an example of an J67/P70 overstruck over an 1859 gold dollar
and the famous 1851 restrike dollar overstruck on what is
believed to be an 1859-O dollar to name just a few."



Fifty three plates from volume 25 of the British Museum
Catalog of Greek Coins (Phrygia, by B. V. Head, 1906)
have been posted on Ed Snible's web site:


Roger deWardt Lane, Hollywood, Florida writes: "I like
to find unidentified medals, tokens, etc. and using the Internet
spend hours identifying them. Sometimes the results are
discussed at our local coin meetings, others are put up as
pages on my web site.

Well, today I found a small bag of miscellaneous medals
and token one of our members had given to me recently to
research. Most of them were just plain junk, but I picked
out a couple to look up. One of them was a Commemorative
Dollar from Halifax Nova Scotia. So far I have not found
this item, but I put "Joseph Howe Festival" into the Google
search engine and it took me to a different web page on
petroleum-related medals, tokens, coins and banknotes.
I found this specialty collection very interesting."

More Information


Dick Johnson writes: "To answer Len Augsberger's inquiry
about a mint in Kentucky may have been the Van Brook Mint,
which wasn't a mint at all but a sales agent. They advertised in
Coin World and perhaps other publications, but I believe their
products were struck elsewhere.

I faced a similar problem in my local coin club. A recent medal
was made in a nearby town according to the club president who
ordered the medal from them. I called them and began chatting
with the lady in the sales department of this advertising specialty
firm. "Oh, we made them," she insisted. "Great." I said, "what
tonnage press did you use to strike these?" She finally admitted
they had subcontracted the actual striking to Robbins Company.
In the last 30 years most advertising specialty firms have offered
medals and "coins" among their line of specialty items but have
them made by only a handful of plants in the country with the
equipment to do this special work.

Unfortunately they list themselves in business directories as
"Medals--Manufacturers." Also there is no law that says you
cannot use "Mint" in your name -- and not be an actual

Pete Smith, our NBS president, is compiling a list of mints
which actually have striking facilities. Culling out these sales
agents is a major problem he is working on."

Pete Smith adds: "I have compiled a list of more than 600
private mints in North America dating from the colonial era
up to the present. I show only two in Kentucky. The McHenry
Miller Company was a nineteenth century mint at Louisville.
Holland House is a twenty-first century mint at Bowling
Green. I do not have any information on a mint at Knoxville
circa 1970.

This does not answer Len Augsberger's question. I can't
prove there was no mint in Knoxville. I can only say that I
have no listing for it."


Dick Hanscom of Fairbanks, Alaska writes: "Can anyone help?
I would like a translation from English to Latin for the phrase
"Age of Global Warming." This is for use on a proposed
medallic project. Thanks. My email address is
akcoins at "


A bashful reader writes: "The Associated Press released a story
Thursday, May 5, 2005, that condoms are being distributed in
areas of high HIV occurrence, notably New York City, in
exchange for one cent or one token. The story did not say where
they hand out the tokens but 100,000 Lifestyle brand condoms
are being exchanged for the cent or token in Manhattan bars and

Ansell Healthcare Products donated the products for this
campaign, called "I Know." The condoms have stickers on the
wrappers which show the location of a nearby free HIV testing
center. The release states: ‘The condoms can be bought with a
penny or with a special copper coin [read: condom token]
circulated during the past few weeks by volunteers with the
"I Know" campaign.’

To read the full story, see: Full Story "

[We have a Conder Token collecting club. Is a Condom
Token club on the way?

The campaign includes a web site promoting the token. See The token's primary design element is
what numismatists would recognize as very similar to the
"All Seeing Eye" within a triangle, much like the Great Seal of
the United States seen on the back of the U.S. $1 bill. Apart
from the triangle, the eye motif is also recognizable as a key
design element in the Nova Constellatio colonial series. The
token's obverse legend is "This coin is the key." OK, so does
anyone have an example of this token yet? -Editor]


This week's featured web site is recommended by NBS
Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman. It is part of the U.S.
Treasury web site, and features the nation's branch mint buildings.

Mint Buildings

  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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