The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V8 2005 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 36, August 21, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We have 775 subscribers, and many of you are very well read.
Two readers referenced a recent book about the theft of maps
from libraries, and one noted an interesting numismatic connection.
Our lead this week item is a report of a theft of numismatic literature.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Andy Lustig writes: "At the San Francisco ANA Convention,
the following were stolen from the trunk of my car:

1. Original program for the 1894 ANA Convention, 8 pages.
2. Superb First Edition Redbook.
3. Manuscript on Latin American gold coins by Harry Williams.

Please ask your readers to keep a lookout for these items.
Thank you."

[We certainly will. Those of you who prowl eBay and the
various book websites, please keep on the lookout for
these items. -Editor]


The press release for the upcoming Kolbe numismatic literature
sale follows: "On September 29, 2005 George Frederick Kolbe
Fine Numismatic Books will conduct their 97th sale of rare and
important works on numismatics. The sale features selections
from the Vladimir and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Library and other
properties. Included are key works on ancient numismatics,
books and sale catalogues on a wide variety of medieval and
modern numismatic topics, important European numismatic
periodicals, and a number of interesting and unusual titles on
various aspects of American numismatics, some of them rarely

Among the more interesting and important items to be sold in
the sale are: twenty-eight of the first thirty-one volumes of
"Zeitschrift für Numismatik"; Mint Director A. L. Snowden's
copy of Johnson's rare work on Bolen medals; Babelon's
"Inventaire Sommaire de la Collection Waddington"; Amon
Carter's Deluxe Dunham sale catalogue featuring correspondence
on Carter's purchase of the Dunham 1822 half eagle; Gielow
on Zankle; a complete set of Mionnet; several lots of important
offprints from the Clain-Stefanelli Library; the Trésor de
Numismatique on French Revolutionary medals; Henry
Chapman's sales room copy of the important 1912 Fenerly Bey
auction sale of ancient coins held in Vienna; Virgil Brand's copy
of Crosby's 1897 work on 1793 cents; a very fine example of
Stack's Galleries' 1952 Sobernheim sale; a number of works
on American and world paper money; and much more.

The catalogue may be viewed at the firm's web site:,
or printed catalogues may be obtained by sending $15.00 to George
Frederick Kolbe, P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325.
Consignments are currently being accepted for Kolbe's November
2005 and March 2006 auction sales. Those interested are invited
to write Kolbe or to call at (909) 338-6527."


Roger Burdette provided the following information release
on his new book: "Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921,
a new book by Roger W. Burdette, has been released by Seneca
Mill Press LLC, PO Box 1423, Great Falls, VA. The book is the
first detailed research study to examine the new American coinage
designs of 1916 and 1921. It is based on contemporary documents
from government, university and private archives. Renaissance of
American Coinage 1916-1921 tells the complete story of how
artistic improvement of American coinage, begun by Theodore
Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907, was completed
by Saint-Gaudens’ former assistants.

The 335 page, hardcover book presents fascinating, new
information on virtually every page. Aficionados of the Buffalo
nickel will be surprised to learn that numismatic nemesis Hobbs
Manufacturing Company (which tried to squelch Fraser’s new
design), was active in suggesting alterations to Weinman’s
“Mercury” dime. Collectors of Standing Liberty quarters will
relish new information on how the coin was designed, including
alternate versions never before presented. The confusion about
why MacNeil covered Liberty’s breast on the revised 1917
design is also cleared up. Discussion of the 1916 pattern coins
includes a comprehensive revision of varieties and issue sequence.
(This information was also provided to the editors of the eighth
edition of the Judd pattern book.)

The Peace dollar story is presented in its entirety for the first
time. This includes original drawings and models by several of
the competing artists as well as de Francisci’s proposed and
final models. Of special interest will be the last-minute
suppression of the original reverse design and mint engraver
George Morgan’s work to save the project from imminent
failure. Lastly, efforts to revise the Peace dollar for large-scale
production of low relief coins is explained along with details of
previously-unidentified pattern and experimental coins. This
section also includes a detailed examination of all varieties of
1921 and 1922 proof Peace dollars.

It may be of interest that Renaissance of American Coinage
1916-1921 (and its companion volumes covering the
1905-1915 period) are extensively footnoted and cross
referenced to one another. The current volume has more
than five hundred document citations and references, ensuring
that future numismatists will be able to locate source documents
for further research.

Copies are available from major numismatic book sellers or
from the publisher at a special pre-publication price of $44.95
through August 25. The cover price is $64.95."


Dave Lange writes: "I've become aware of some minor
omissions and errors in the new second edition of The
Compete Guide to Mercury Dimes, and the publisher will
be including an errata sheet in books shipped from this point
forward. Those who have already received their copies may
obtain this errata sheet by seeing me at most major coin
shows (the NGC booth), by writing to me at POB 4776,
Sarasota, FL 34230 or by emailing me at
DLange at

I gave out an errata sheet during the San Francisco and
Baltimore shows, but that version is incomplete. If you have
a sheet measuring only half a leaf, you will want to have the
revised one, which is a full leaf."


The following excerpts are from a recent article published
on the web by The Star of Malaysia:

"Polymer banknotes have been around for almost a quarter
of a century, with more than three billion bills circulating in
26 countries today. Malaysia first joined the plastic money
club with a RM50 denomination.

Now, three Malaysians have put the country ahead of the
polymer pack. After eight months of research, three Malaysian
banknote collectors wrote, compiled and designed a collector’s
tome, World Polymer Banknotes – A Standard Reference.

The trio – Peter Eu, Ben Chiew and Julian Chee – claim the
book is the first reference in its category which documents
and records the history, development and listing of world
polymer banknotes."

"Collecting polymer currencies can be an educational journey,
if not an appreciation of the artwork. "

“Compared to paper banknotes, the polymer banknotes are
twice as expensive to produce, but last four to five times longer.
As a result, they are replaced less often which leads to lower
production costs. They can more durable and won’t fade with
handling. Hence, they can be washed and won’t get damaged
in the washing machine,” he says.

Polymer banknotes are clean throughout their life. Impermeable
to water, sweat or liquid, they don’t absorb moisture, odour
or get stained. The final overcoating (with a protective varnish)
also protects the banknote from excessive ink wear."

"In the late 1970s and early 1980s, du Pont pioneered this
evolution of technology in currency with its Tyvek polymer, a
material that was jointly developed by du Pont and American
Banknote Company. It was later discovered that the printing
ink does not bond to the Tyvek material and after handling a
few times, the ink on the notes smudges and wears off."

"In the late 1980s, the Reserve Bank of Australia developed
and perfected the technique with Guardian polymer, and
introduced plastic banknotes in 1988. Today, all countries
that issue polymer currency use this version."

World Polymer Banknotes – A Standard Reference (1st
edition 2005/2006) is available from MPH, Kinokuniya and
other major bookstores at RM39.90. It can also be purchased
from the website,

The 208-page reference book lists more than 500 banknotes
with 60 banknotes illustrated in high-resolution images. It is
educational for both collectors and non-collectors as it includes
the currency history, data of each country, description of the
artwork of each banknote and information of the currency."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Lot 194 in the September 7-8, 2005 Stack's sale is a set
of Naramore cards in an original box, something rarely seen
in numismatic literature sales. it is the "pocket edition" of
"Naramore's United States Treasury and National Bank Note
Detector." It includes 17 banknote photos.
Full Story

The following is taken from an article by Michael J. Sullivan
on the NBS web site:

"Naramore's United States Treasury and National Bank Note
Detector [Bridgeport, CT, 1866] is the single photographic
counterfeit detector. The work consists of 18 individual
photographs: U.S. Notes ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100,
$500, and $1000) and National Bank Notes ($1 Pittsburgh
National Bank of Commerce, $2 Washington National Bank
of Boston, $5 National Union Bank of Swanton, Vermont,
$10 Second National Bank of Sandusky, Ohio, $20 New
York National Exchange Bank, $50 New York National
Exchange Bank, $100 New York National Exchange Bank,
$500 Manufacturers National Bank of Philadelphia, and
$1000 Fourth National Bank of City of New York). The 18
photographic images of unsigned proof sheets were issued in
four formats: Individual 10 x 6.3 cm. cards issued in a printed
cardboard box; individual cards mounted on heavy stock
issued in a morocco pouch; a single sheet with the photographs
arranged 3 x 6; and a single sheet with a brass eyelet for hanging.
According to Charles Davis, this represents the earliest use of
photographic technology in numismatic literature. The Naramore
work was issued sans text, greatly limiting its usefulness. The
morocco pouch and full sheet Naramore versions are prohibitively
rare. The version of 18 cards can be secured occasionally, but
almost always lacks the cardboard box. Most cardboard boxes
seen are in a poor state of preservation often lacking the top and
bottom flaps. For an extensive illustrated history of the Naramore
work, see Raphael Ellenbogen's article "The Celebrated Naramore
Bank Note Detector Cards" (Paper Money, Jan./Feb. 1997)."
Full Story


Dick Johnson forwarded a link to the following article about
an obscure old-time collection to be auctioned next year:

"For more than 80 years, a coin collection amassed by
banker and landowner Samuel Mills Damon has been locked
in the vaults of First Hawaiian Bank. Now, the multimillion-
dollar collection has been shipped to New York, where it will
be auctioned off early next year.

Described by a local expert as among the world's top 10,
the collection has more than 6,000 coins from Hawai'i,
Europe and Asia.

"This will probably be one of the greatest collections that will
ever be auctioned off," said Honolulu coin merchant Craig
Watanabe, president of Captain Cook Coin Co. "This Damon
estate collection is probably going to go down on record as
among the top 10 sales in the history of the world."

The collection includes Hawaiian bank notes, highlighted by
an 1880 Kingdom of Hawai'i $10 bill, Serial No. 1, one of
only three uncanceled examples known to exist.

However, it is primarily a collection of American coins, and
features an 1876 proof set of 14 coins from a copper penny
to a $20 gold piece. The proof set is expected to bring in at
least $250,000."

"Damon, a minister of finance under Queen Lili'uokalani who
followed Charles Reed Bishop as head of First Hawaiian Bank's
predecessor, Bishop & Co., collected coins from the late
19th century until his death in 1924. The selling of the collection
was prompted by the dissolution of the land baron's estate.

Watanabe said there are legends about how Damon gathered
his coin collection.

"Supposedly, Mr. Damon, every year from about 1895 to 1924,
got one roll of each denomination of coins from the shipments
that came in from the San Francisco mint."

"Damon also collected 200 medals dating from the 17th
through the 19th centuries representing various Western
European countries, the United States and Hawai'i, including
two 1850 Hawaiian agricultural medals."

"Damon's will stated that the assets of the estate would be
held in trust until the death of his last grandchild. Last
November, the last surviving grandchild, 84-year-old Joan
Damon Haig, died in New Jersey. In December, the trust
began distributing assets to beneficiaries."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


A redesign is planned for coins of the United Kingdom.
Here are excerpts from recent articles in The Telegraph
and The Guardian:

"The Royal Mint has announced plans to redesign six coins
in an attempt to better reflect modern Britain.

An open competition has been launched to find new designs
for the tails side of the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins,
with a prize of £30,000 up for grabs."

"It is the first time the designs on five of the coins have been
altered since they were prepared for decimalisation in 1971."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

"The existing profile of the Queen's head is being retained,
but the Mint believes that the Prince of Wales' feathers on the
2p piece and the thistle on the 5p piece no longer reflect modern
Britain. It is launching a competition to find new designs for six
of the eight coins in circulation.

Anti-euro campaigners believe that the decision to launch a new
series of coins shows that the Treasury has no plans for Britain
to sign up to the European single currency.

Neil O'Brien, of the Vote No campaign, said: "I don't think
anybody believes there is any prospect of us joining the euro
in the foreseeable future. Today's announcement shows
institutions are planning on that basis."

But the Treasury said the redesign was independent of any
decision to join the euro."

"The current coin designs are the longest-lasting since Queen
Victoria's era. The designs for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 50p
are by Christopher Ironside and were introduced in 1971."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


Ron Haller-Williams writes: "Money For All" by Ivor Wynn Jones
describes the "banknotes" or more correctly in my opinion, bearer
cheques, issued in Wales in the late 1960s. I have handled two
copies, both have a note glued in on the second title page. I
should like to know more about the notes used for this purpose.
Please would you kind people help me? e.g. "4 copies, 2 without
notes and 2 with DEG SWLLT (10 shillings) showing a castle,
serials 72345 and 98765." Thanks a lot. By e-mail direct to
Maria at heraldstar dot co dot uk Please use symbols for "at"
and "dot", I don't want the address harvested for spammers.
I'll send a resume of the results. Regards & thanks"


Ken Barr writes: "As General Chairman of the recent ANA
Convention in San Francisco, I'd like to respond to some
of the comments made by my friend Charlie Davis in last
week's E-Sylum.

First, the ANA has reported the registration figure for this
convention as "nearly 15,000". This is approximately the same
as the registration at Pittsburgh 2004, and several thousand
more than any other ANA convention in the past ten years with
the exception of Philadelphia 2000 at which Bill Horton and
his crew registered an amazing 21,000 visitors. I don't know
where the "3,600 by Friday" rumor came from, but it was
obviously "left field", as we had well over that number
registered by Thursday afternoon, and in fact registered
almost 3,000 on Friday itself ...

Second, the exhibit hall was not "small", but in fact quite
large compared to most ANA conventions. The Moscone
West level one Exhibit Hall is 96,660 square feet, by itself
almost 20% larger than the 82,450 square feet used by the
ANA in Hall B of the David Lawrence Convention Center
in Pittsburgh the previous year. When the 20,000 additional
square feet used on Moscone West level two (for the Mint
Mile, the collectors exhibits and the ANA area, all of which
were included within the 82,450 square feet area in
Pittsburgh) are added to the level one space, the San Francisco
convention was approximately 50% LARGER than Pittsburgh.
While it is true that the San Francisco layout only had nine
rows (as compared to fifteen rows in Pittsburgh), each row
was about twice as long as in Pittsburgh, as Moscone West
has a vertical orientation versus the horizontal orientation in
Pittsburgh. The actual 10' x 10' booth count (including bourse,
publications and club booths) in Pittsburgh was about 465 --
in San Francisco it was about 430 on level one and the
equivalent of about 80 more on level two.

Several factors unfortunately contributed to "ghost town"
atmosphere in the bourse area. First, the "two level" layout
selected by the ANA meant that the dealers could not see
(or hear) the activity on level two, which was always well-
populated and vibrant due to the popularity of the world
mint booths and the special exhibits of some fantastic
American numismatic rarities. Second, the aisles on the
bourse floor seemed to be inordinately wide, something
like 15' versus the normal 10' to 12' feet at most convention
centers, most likely a Fire Marshall requirement. And finally,
this was the "first coin show ever" for many of the registrants
at this convention, not surprising considering the dearth of
coin shows that have been held in San Francisco over the
past few decades. Many of them were quite content to
visit the Mint Mile and the collectors exhibits area, but were
hesitant to enter or spend much time in the bourse area,
probably due to the overwhelming nature of the material
being offered. During my infrequent jaunts through the
bourse area, it appeared that the crowd density in the front
third of the show was about twice that of the middle third,
and about four times that of the back third, indicating to me
that many visitors probably suffered from Coin Overload
and exited the bourse without seeing most of it.

Personally, I hope that the ANA summer convention returns
to Northern California sooner than the 56 years it took this
time. I do hope, though, that the venue selected is the San
Jose Convention Center, as was originally planned for this
convention, a 143,000 square foot single-level column-free
facility in a city that does not suffer from the perceived
expensiveness, traffic, parking and homeless problems of
San Francisco. In that event, I suspect that we might give
Philly's 21,000 registration count a strong run for its money ..."


Len Augsberger writes: "Regarding the Mint historian, I picked
up a business card at the Mint's ANA display:

Betty Birdsong / Operation Manager, Office of the Historian, /
Department of the Treasury, US Mint / 801 9th St. NW. /
Washington, D.C. 20220

I didn't get a chance to talk to her at the ANA, but surely
someone on the E-sylum readership did? The question I had
was, what's in their collection and it is unsearched material that
has never been part of the archives?"

Dave Lange writes: "I don't know the name of the historian,
but the person manning the Mint's history display at the convention
was Betty Birdsong, Operations Manager, Office of the Historian.
She was quite helpful in permitting me to examine the ledger
containing complete die records for 1917-35. This is amazing
information which I had assumed was lost to history (and which
I wish I had while preparing the new edition of my Mercury Dime
book). I asked whether these books could be studied at some
location for research purposes, but she told me that they must
remain within the Historian's office, which is not open to non-
employees. She did believe that these ledgers would be scanned
at some point and put online, but the exact timing of this had not
yet been determined."

Douglas Mudd, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the
American Numismatic Association writes: "The Mint Historian is
Maria Goodwin."

[I've written to both Ms. Birdsong and Ms. Goodwin inviting
the to join The E-Sylum mailing list. -Editor]


John and Nancy Wilson write: "It was with great sadness
that we heard of the passing of two grand ladies of the
numismatic hobby. Longtime Treasurer of Florida United
Numismatists Polly Abbott passed away, along with Dolly
Criswell, who was the wife of Grover Criswell, who served
both the ANA and FUN as their President. Both of these
great ladies of our hobby will be greatly missed. We pass
on our prayers and thoughts to their families."


Saul Teichman writes: "With regard to the 1933 Double Eagles,
supposedly there was one in the Browning collection which
was not sold when the rest of the collection was offered.
There are also rumors that Naftzger owned a couple of these
at least in the 1950s.

Perhaps one of these rumors accounts for the unidentified
Tripp image.

I wonder if Dave Tripp has heard of these rumors before. "

[Thanks for your note. I looked at Dave's book and he does
discuss a number of these rumors. Although he didn't name
names in every case, one could speculate based on the profiles
of the unnamed collectors. -Editor]


Regarding last week's item about the theft of maps from libraries,
Bob Leonard writes: "You might be shocked to learn that there
is a numismatic connection to the following item, one of those
"Whatever became of So-and-so?" stories. An entire book
has been written on the subject of map theft, The Island of
Lost Maps, A True Story of Cartographic Crime, by Miles
Harvey (Random House, 2000). On p. 159 we discover
"Charles Lynn Glaser, one of the most notorious Jekyll-and-Hyde
figures in cartographic crime....he was...a compulsive map thief
with a criminal career that spanned three decades. Even before
his legal troubles began, Glaser exhibited a curious fascination
with fraud. In his 1968 book, Counterfeiting in America: The
History of an American Way to Wealth, he took lengths to
praise the 'few great of unusual skill or
cunning' who 'ennobled the crime by demonstrating vision and
industry.' It's not clear why Glaser himself turned to crime.
He did sell the maps he stole...

"In July 1974 Glaser was arrested for stealing eight sixteenth-,
seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century atlases...from Dartmouth
College. Sentenced to a three-to-seven year prison term, he
spent seven months behind bars before being paroled....Upon
his guilty plea [for stealing two maps from the University of
Minnesota] in 1982, Glaser, who also admitted stealing two
maps from the Newberry Library in Chicago, was given six
months in prison....he pleaded guilty in March 1992 to stealing
a map...housed at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Less than
one month later, while on probation, he was discovered again--
reportedly while wearing surgical gloves and carrying a hammer
--in the stacks of Leheigh University...."

These brief excerpts give the barest summary of his frightening
career as a map thief, which may not be over yet. Perhaps it
is just as well for numismatics that he turned his attention from
coins to maps, though the articles he wrote as a teenager
showed great insight and promise."

Katie Jaeger writes: "Your notice about someone being convicted
of stealing maps from priceless atlases reminded me of an excellent
book called Island of the Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic
Crime by Miles Harvey, Random House (hardback) and Broadway
Books (paperback). It details the story of map thief Gilbert Bland,
who destroyed hundreds of immensely valuable atlases in great
libraries in the U.S. and Canada, by slitting out their map plates
with an exacto knife.

This average looking, mousy little man never attracted the attention
of librarians. He would spend a few hours studying books and
taking notes, as though on a tightly focused research project, then
he'd request the book he intended to rob, take it to his table,
remove and roll its map plates into his sleeves. He sold them
from his map dealership in a strip mall near Atlanta. He infuriated
competing, legitimate map dealers with his "incredible luck" at
securing great rarities, and his reasonable prices. He got away
with it for years, and when he was finally caught leaving Johns
Hopkins' Peabody Library with two maps up his sleeves, an alert
was placed to all the other U.S. and Canadian libraries with
famous map collections. Nearly all of them determined they
had missing maps.

The best parts of this book to me were the in-depth look at
the culture of map collecting, its characters and personalities,
the fascinating chapter on the psychology of collecting, the
discussion of how rare books are repaired and restored, and
its excellent history of cartography. Bland's own story is never
satisfactorily told. Harvey was thwarted in his every attempt
to interview the guy while he was in prison, and he (Bland)
has since died."


The following excerpts are from a recent article published by
the Economic Times of India:

"Can you imagine a currency exchange rate that has remained
fixed for 170 years? Before central bankers die of jealousy,
it should be made clear that the currency involved is used by
only a very small and specialised group of people and, in fact,
doesn’t really exist.

The Bombay High Court is, probably, the only place where
senior counsel, particularly experienced lawyers whose ability
has been formally recognised by the judiciary, are still technically
paid in gold mohurs, a currency introduced by the Mughals
and then taken on by the British Raj.

Of course, no actual exchange of gold coins take place, but
as a mark of respect for their status, solicitors record the fees
of senior counsel not in rupees but ‘GMS’ or gold mohurs
(though the old British term ‘guineas’ is also used), which the
solicitors convert into rupees at the rate of 1 GMS = Rs15.

This is the rate that has remained fixed since 1835 when the
British imposed a common currency across the country,
removing the discrepancy between mohurs struck in their
own Bengal Presidency, which were at Rs16 to the mohur,
and those struck in the Bombay and Madras Presidencies,
which were at Rs15."

"Mohurs were struck in mints across the country and, in
fact, this is what their name means. “Literally, it is Farsi for
‘Struck’ or ‘Stamped’. Can also mean ‘strike’ or ‘stamp’
as a noun,” says Mr Bhandare."

"Apparently some English lawyers still quote by the guinea,
though this is an eccentricity, and the figure is taken as equivalent
to a pound sterling."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


A recent article published on the web discusses the career
of numismatist Sir Walter Elliot:

"He came to Madras in 1821 and worked till 1860. At the
time of his retirement, he had risen to the position of a Member
of the Council of the Governor of Madras. He was a life long
and devoted student of Oriental Studies. He had wide-ranging
interests, which included Botany, Zoology, Indian languages,
Numismatics and Archeology. He rescued the Amaravathi
Marbles, which are now housed in the British Museum along
with his coin collection and collection of other artifacts. The
credit for compiling a valuable history of coins in South India
goes to Sir Walter Elliot who was a great numismatist.

His work, 'Coins of Southern India', formed part of the famous
series 'Numismata Orientalia', published in 1884."

"He was an authority on Sanskrit legal literature and his
elucidation of the Dharma Shastra Texts were so clear that
not a single intricate point of Hindu Law was decided without
his opinion being taken. Sir Walter Elliot and Ranganatha
Sastri were great friends and they helped each other in their
oriental studies. Sir Walter Elliot lived in Randals Road,
Vepery and his house was the beehive of several national
and international oriental scholars for one generation."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Scott Semens writes: "This is off topic, but how do other
collectors keep their addresses secret? I always used a
different name for local utilities, a P.O. Box, and didn't link
my real name with my street address except for friends and
neighbors, whom I cautioned to keep the information mum.
Today, however, anyone can look up a street address on
the internet from a phone number, and your phone number
is liable to to out to brokers whenever you order something
by phone. You can't open a checking account or buy a
house (even one you don't live in) without giving a street
address, thanks to the Patriot Act. I just don't see how
anyone can keep an address secret nowadays."


An August 15th article in a Birmingham, England newspaper
describes a collection of coins recently donated to a museum
by a company called IMI:

"A collection of coins, minted at the time when Birmingham
was the world's money-making machine, has been given to the
city as a gift.

For almost a century coins made by IMI jangled in pockets
of people in scores of countries around the world, from Algeria
and Angola to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Now the Birmingham-based global engineering business has
donated its collection, worth a "considerable five figure sum",
to the city's Museum & Art Gallery.

IMI spokesman Graham Truscott said: "It is an incredible
collection, from the time when Birmingham supplied the
currency for almost half of the world."

"It seemed wrong to keep such an interesting collection,
which shows just how big a role Birmingham played in the
world's financial system, hidden away. We decided the best
home for it was the museum, where future generations will
be able to see it."

The collection covers the period from before the Great War
to the 1990s and includes pieces minted at Witton and King's

A few copies of each coin were kept as records, and locked
in a strong room at IMI. However the company sold its interests
in the currency business a few years ago to concentrate on more
advanced technologies and sectors.

Some of the coins are very rare: for example the collection has
a Greek 50 lepta piece, of which there are fewer than ten left
anywhere in the world."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story

Assuming I've located the right "IMI", the following links are
to company's web site and capsule history:
IMI Web Site
IMI History


Recently we discussed the new !Viva la Revolucion! book
based on an American Numismatic Association exhibit.
Gar Travis writes: "The book was on sale at the ANA booth
in San Francisco. Don Bailey was also at the show and
someone may have been able to get a signed copy. "

One reader questioned whether the coins illustrated were the
actual pieces in the exhibit. Ralf W. Böpple adds: "All the
coin photos are the same size. I do not know the reason
behind this decision, but I suppose this was done because
the main purpose of the exhibit, and thus of the catalog, is to
show the different types and designs of the necessity money
that was used during this period. For the smaller coins, this
certainly is a plus, but I consider it very unfortunate that the
larger coins have been reduced in size. This is a point for

I find the images of the coins of quite good quality. One
should always remember that many of the coins were made
in base metals, with crude designs and poor quality of the
strike. I am no expert in coin photography, but I assume a
color picture of a dark, crudely made copper coin is a
considerable challenge! Many standard references in the
field, such as Leslie & Stevens' study of the coinage of
Emiliano Zapata or Woodward / Flores on Oaxaca, use
line drawings instead of photographs to depict the die
varieties and facilitate their identification.

More than anything, one should not expect this catalog to
be the much-needed standard reference for the series, an
updated Guthrie/Bothamley, so to say. It was not the
purpose of the exhibit to present each and every known
type and variety, and so the catalog doesn't do it either.
This can most clearly be seen in the fact that it does not
include the 60 pesos gold coin of Oaxaca, which could be
considered the 'king' of the series, at least by looking at
recent auction results. As I said, this book is a primer on
RevMex coinage, but the specialized collector will have to
continue waiting for an updated standard reference. Let's
hope Joe Flores is making good progress there!"


On August 17 the Associated Press ran an article about the
theft of medals from the National Museum of Naval Aviation
in Pensacola, Florida:

"A former employee was convicted Monday of stealing medals,
citations and a Mercury astronaut's boot from the National
Museum of Naval Aviation and selling them on the Internet."

"The former Navy corpsman denied the two medals belonged
to the museum, claiming they were part of a personal collection
she began as a child. One is a Purple Heart and the other a
rare Navy Cross issued only during the early 1940s and known
as the ''Black Widow'' because a manufacturing error gave it
a dark finish."

"The two medals, citations and boot were sold at auction in
2002 and 2003 on eBay. Authorities said they also found
other museum items, including books, manuals, photographs
and posters, at her home in nearby Pace.

Shaw, who cleaned and preserved artifacts at the museum
from 1991 until she resigned in March 2003, said she had
borrowed, not stolen, the cache."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "I seldom bring to the attention of
E-Sylum readers an item on CoinToday. I figure if you are
smart enough to find E-Sylum on your own you can do the
same with CoinToday. But you might wonder why the editors
of CT included such an item as this last Wednesday.

Call it humor if you wish (it might be funny in your cave). I
didn’t laugh (okay, I smiled). It is such a stretch. It is a rerun
this week from an item written by Dirk McQuickly in September
2003. [I have run that name through the Social Security Death
Index and found that he is still alive!]

Maybe I’m getting old, but I hold the U.S. Mint in pretty high
regard. Would they really stoop to making gold bricks? Or
dollar bricks?

This is blogging gone wild. Read at your own peril!
Dollar Brick Blog


This week's featured web page is a biography of
American Numismatic Society curator Agnes Baldwin
Brett, on the ANS' web site:
Biography Agnes Baldwin

  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.

PREV        NEXT        V8 2005 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web