The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 37, August 28, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Dave Millington of the
U.K., and Nancy White Kelly Young Harris of Georgia.
Welcome aboard! We now have a lucky 777 subscribers.

The E-Sylum got some publicity in Q. David Bowers'
column in the latest Coin World (September 5, 2005 issue,
p58). Dave raises a number of interesting points about the
Internet and its effect on our hobby, including, "Remarkably,
there are fewer members of the Numismatic Bibliomania
Society now than there were 10 years ago. Is e-Sylum,
which is emailed to subscribers for free, stealing from the
paid membership?"

The E-Sylum has always been intended to supplement, not
supplant, The Asylum, our print journal. I would argue that
any E-Sylum subscriber who doesn't also belong to NBS
either doesn't understand what they're missing,or would
not likely become a member regardless. The E-Sylum has
been a recruiting tool for NBS, attracting new members
who didn't know that NBS existed, or might not have
considered membership before. I'd be happy to hear our
readers' thoughts on this topic.

This issue brings another interesting assortment of numismatic
news and information, including a new cache of letters relating
to James Longacre, some more background on Israel Switt,
and some web sites covering Mexican Revolutionary coinage,
lead tokens and Chinese currency. Our lead item is about
The E-Sylum itself - thanks to Fred Reed and Rich Jewell,
an important anniversary will not go unnoticed.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Rich Jewell writes: "I just finished reading the Coin World
issue for week of August 29. Fred Reed's column, The Week
That Was, The week Aug 29 to Sept. 4, in banner headlines
notes, "E-Sylum weekly electronic newsletter debuts". The
last entry in column states "1998, first issue of electronic
newsletter, E-Sylum". Kudos all around!!! And Happy
Anniversary on seven great years!"

[Seven years - time sure flies. My eldest son Christopher
was born in December 1998, and soon he'll be seven, too.
It's been a great run, and I'm still having fun putting the issues
together. Having such a great group of subscribers is
another reason for slogging through each week. We've
all created something of value here, and I'm glad to play my
part. Keep those submissions coming, folks: questions and
queries, news items, and just about any old item that seems
interesting. And keep up the promotional work - we get
most of our new subscribers by referral, so tell your numismatic
friends and encourage them to sign up at this web address:


Pat Parkinson writes: "I am a banking history collector, NBS
member, and faithful reader of the E-Sylum. I saw this item
offered at auction and thought it might be of considerable
interest to you or some other NBS members."

 >From the lot description: "Archive of letters pertaining to
James Barton Longacre (1794-1869), an Engraver from

"From 1844 till his death he was engraver to the United States
Mint, and designed many of the new coins that were struck
during this time, including the Indian head cent, the two cent,
and 3 cent pieces, the first five cent piece, as well as the
double-eagle, the three dollar piece, and the gold dollar.
He was afterward employed by the Chilean government to
remodel the entire coinage of that country, and had completed
the work shortly before his death

The following letters were written by Orleans and Andrew
Longacre, his sons, regarding the auctions of their fathers
modes, coins and medals, prints and books, discussing items
which they wish to purchase and which should be kept in the
family, all 1870s most multipaged."

Here's one excerpt from the letters:
"The coin catalogues have come to hand....There are some
things which I should have preferred to have had reserved
and sold among ourselves, but as that is too late now. They
seem to be fathers studies, and some are of great interest to
us...Of 577 & 591 I want to know if either is fathers own
head. He had, I think a wax model of himself. If it is in the
collection it ought to be withdrawn of course...The plaster
casts are generally too frail to be valuable. But those of the
Jackson Medal - ought to be retained...None of the Jackson
heads it being an unfinished work of fathers ought to be sold
out of the family... "

To view the auction lot and description: Auction

[The auction closes September 15th. We typically do not
publish individual wanted or for-sale items, but this seems
appropriate because of the research value of the material.
Gentlemen, start your bidding paddles!

Can anyone tell us more about the Longacre connection
to the Chilean coinage? -Editor]


An article in the Reno, NV Gazette-Journal August 26th
notes that a coin show will be held in the former Carson
City Mint building:

"The annual Carson City Mint Coin Show has a rare quality.
It’s the only show in a former U.S. Mint, which organizers
and dealers say adds a special touch.

“We’ll have 40 dealers this year, and we anticipate another
good crowd,” said Deborah Stevenson, curator of education
at the Nevada State Museum and coin show coordinator for
the two-day event beginning Saturday. “Dealers tell us this
is one of their favorite shows because of the historic setting.”

The Carson City Mint produced coins for 23 years in the late
19th century and now is the state museum."

"To Reno coin dealer Rusty Goe, a show in a former mint
is a special occasion.

“There’s no better feeling for a collector than to look at coins
that were minted in the same room they’re in. It’s exhilarating,”
Goe said.

Goe, author of “The Mint on Carson Street,” will sign copies
of his book at the show. The official signing is 1 to 2 p.m.

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


Steve Pellegrini writes: "In reading of Andy Lustig's loss
through another collector's theft, it hits like a punch in the gut.
It immediately brought to mind the 'written in stone' advice
I got as a young teen from one of the oldtimers at the
construction company where I worked during summer
break, 'A workman never steals another workman's
tools.' It was just about unheard of for this to happen.
As a matter of fact you didn't go near, or ever touch,
another guy's tools. Taking things from another person's
collection seems to me to be about the same level of sin
and heartlessness. I surf the 'Publications' listings in eBay's
coin section. If the thief tries to sell these rare numislit
items online, they will stick out like a sore thumb. I hope
we can see to it that this crumb gets his."

I asked Andy, "Do you think it could have been a fellow
numismatist or bibliophile who targeted these items, or
just a random thief who may not know what they have?"

Andy writes: "It was definitely a random theft. The 1894
ANA Program was in a fancy leather clamshell box so,
I'm hoping the thief may figure out it has value."

[So, gang, let's keep out eyes peeled for these items -
they could turn up anywhere. For reference, I'll repeat
the list here:
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.


I'd been surprised that the popular press hadn't picked up
more on the story of the ten "recovered" 1933 double eagles.
Aside from the one New York Times story, I'de seen nothing
outside of the hobby publications. But this week (August 25)
the Philadelphia Inquirer picked up on the story, attempting
to interview Joan Langbord, who now runs her father Izzy
Switt's antique and jewelry shop on South Eighth Street.

"Standing behind a counter in her shop, 75-year-old Joan
Langbord yesterday agreed that there was a fascinating story
in the disputed double eagles that her father had, but she
declined to tell it.

"I have nothing to say, sir," she said. "Until this is resolved,
there is nothing I can say."

Berke also declined to provide any details about when and
where the coins were found, except to say that the discovery
was "recent."

Berke said Langbord and her son, Roy, voluntarily notified
the Mint in September of the discovery of the coins."

"Switt was a cantankerous man who ran a cluttered shop
filled with antique jewelry and silver table pieces.

He was described in his 1990 obituary as the "dean of Jewelers'
Row," a short, roly-poly man who wore cheap suits, kept a
messy shop, and disliked bothersome customers so much that
he kept a "closed" sign on the shop door during business hours.

But he was considered a master at his trade. Other jewelers,
describing Switt after his death, said that amid the clutter in his
store were the finest diamonds, sapphires and other jewels in
the city.

Switt started in business in 1920 and kept working until shortly
before his death at age 95.

He traded heavily in gold. He cultivated relationships with people
who worked at the Mint. And that is how, according to the Mint,
he obtained a cache of double eagles in February and March
1937, shortly before the coins were reduced to bullion."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

The same day the Associated Press came out with their
own article:

"The Mint contends Switt obtained a cache of the gold coins
from his connections at the Mint just before they were to be
reduced to bullion in 1937.

Switt admitted in 1944 that he had sold nine Double Eagle
coins, but he was not charged in connection with those
transactions, according to the Mint.

The family attorney said the coins were found recently, and
Langbord and her son, Roy, notified the Mint of the discovery
in September. Mint officials asked to authenticate the coins,
then confiscated them after doing so, Berke said.

He contended Langbord and her son never relinquished
their right to the coins."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

David Tripp was interviewed on National Public Radio
Go to the following web page and click on "Listen" to
hear the interview: Interview

[Let's see now: they're among the most rare and valuable
U.S. coins in existence, but they're illegal to hold. The
Secret Service had come calling for them in 1944, and these
ten have been hidden ever since. The Sotheby's auction
catalog and David Tripp's book came out and reminded
the world that Switt once had these coins. And the family
just accidentally "found" them? Barring evidence to the
contrary, the story just might hold water in court, but this
will get interesting, folks. Who here thinks it's just a
coincidence that these coins were "found"? -Editor]


At a local coin club meeting this week, Chick Ambrass
noted that there was also a good article on the 1933
Double Eagle in Playboy magazine, giving all of us a
legitimate reason to keep some cheesecake in our numismatic
libraries. Coincidentally, a page-one article about the coins
in the current Coin World (September 5th issue) mentions
the Playboy article:

"Freelance writer Bryan Christy, who wrote an article in
the April 2004 issue of Playboy, filed several Freedom of
Information Act requests in 2004 and 2005 seeking any
information the Mint may have had concerning their
knowledge of other 1933 double eagles, including the 10
whose existence was announced by the Mint Aug. 11."

Christy has a web site, where he writes: "Because it is recently
back in the news I have added a number of pages concerning
the 1933 double eagle. "

Here is Christy's home page:

Here is Christy's complete 2004 Playboy article: Playboy Story


Joe Fitzgerald, designer of the new Jefferson nickel obverse
and "Ocean in View" reverse writes: "The ceremony in
Washington State was a whole lot of fun. I signed stuff for
8 1/2 hours on Friday at Cape Disappointment and 5 1/2
hours the next day in Portland. Everyone was really sweet.
Even after lining up for 2 or 3 hours, they were worried about
my hand. It's the first time we'd ever been out to the Northwest
and it was really beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer."

[I saw the new coin for the first time Thursday evening at
a local coin club meeting. Chick Ambrass distributed some
to the members (thanks!). He had ordered rolls from a dealer.
No one at the meeting, myself included, had seen them in
circulation yet. -Editor]


Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "I read
with great interest your story about the IMI gift of the Birmingham
Mint (H) Collection to their local museum. I did not check
out the links you posted as I went first to Google and look
up their URL. I noted a link to their collection which displays
170 or so images of their current collection. Some of them
quite interesting.
Full Story

There was a reference to a 50 Lempta coin, which I assumed
has the H mintmark. I only have the Paris mint copies in my

I sent them some e-mail suggesting that the add the new
collection to their data base first, so we can all look at them.
"I note with great interest the gift the Birmingham Museum
just received from IMI of the Famous Birmingham Mint (H)
coin collection. As a numismatist, I purchased a few rarities
when the duplicates were sold in the late 1960's.

The press release stated that the Museum is planning a
catalog of the collection, which would be great, but reach
a very limited number of people, due cost of purchasing the
book and storage of numismatic books.

I would like to suggest that you strongly consider adding
the collection as JPG images on your web site, so that the
world of researchers and collector, numismatist and all the
people of the UK could see them at any time. You have
a small but very interesting collection viewable by the
Internet now."..."

Anyway, whether you know it or not, your Museum
has a world class collection, which the world is waiting
to see."

As usual, you get some great items. I wish I had
purchased a "Dollar Brick for my collection!" .

[I was short of time for pulling together last week's issue,
and although I suspected the IMI collection was somehow
connected with the Birmingham Mint, I was unsure and
didn't say anything.

I, for one, would never discourage the publishing of a
numismatic book, but would of course welcome the
addition of more coin images to the Internet.

Meanwhile, can anyone fill us in on how the Birmingham
Mint came to be owned by IMI? -Editor]


Tribune India published an article on August 23rd about a
new museum exhibit of Indian coinage:

"Coins have been crucial in deciphering history. In an endeavour
to introduce to the public the significance of coins to the writing
of history, the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh,
has opened a special section on Numismatics.

According to the director of the museum, Mr V.N. Singh, the
350 coins on display are the best of the 4,000 odd coins the
museum has in its collection. “They are representative of the
evolution of Indian coinage from the earliest times”."

"The display begins with an explanation of how coinage originated
from the barter system of ancient times. There are coins from
the earliest silver punch-marked and copper cast coins going
back to 500 BC to 250 BC to those minted during the British
Raj, including the coins minted by the native Indian states from
1715 to 1947.

On display also are Larins, thin bars of fixed weight bent
double and stamped on at one end on both sides. These
were issued by two rulers only — Mohammad Adil Shah
(1627-1657) and Ali Adil Shah (1657-1672) and were
used for mercantile trade."

"Art historian Dr B.N. Goswamy feels that it is important
to constitute a section like this because it is only when you
are exposed to such objects that you feel for them. “If you
can excite a mind, then it serves a purpose and one never
knows what may spark that interest off”."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


With help from American Numismatic Association Chief Judge
Joe Boling and our webmaster Bruce Perdue, we've updated
the listing of past exhibitors in the numismatic literature classification
at the annual ANA convention. Here's a direct link to the page: Full Story

The Aaron Feldman Memorial award for Class 22, Numismatic
Literature, was funded by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society
in 1991. The class is for "Printed and manuscript (published or
unpublished) literature dealing with any numismatic subject."

We've had as many as five different exhibits is some years;
in other years we've had only one. It's never too soon to start
thinking about an exhibit for next year. The 2006 convention
will be held in Denver, CO August 16-19, with ANA Member
Appreciation Day following August 20 at ANA headquarters in
Colorado Springs, CO. The day is a fine opportunity to visit
the ANA Museum and Library, so keep this in mind when
planning your travel. I attended the ANA day after the last
Denver convention, and it was pure numismatic heaven -
elbow to elbow with top collectors from around the country,
all having a field day running about the headquarters. A
nightmare for the staff I'm sure, but a dream come true for
those who, like most of us, rarely get a chance to visit in person.


Richard Jewell writes: "I had a special interest in reading about
the newly-discovered example of the 1854-S quarter eagle.
I have in my collection the discovery coin, first reported by
dealer B. Max Mehl in 1911. The coin found its way into the
Eliasberg collection, was sold to to a Nevada collector, then
to me via Doug Winter.


Dennis M. Gregg writes: "Thanks for your weekly
newsletter - I look forward to starting my Monday
mornings by reading it, and always find it informative
and entertaining.

Perhaps I can offer something for Scott's question on
"hiding" in today's world. I used to work for the
phone company (C&P Telephone of MD, now Verizon)
years ago, but learned many things they did and still do.
One of them is sell the heck out of your name, address,
and of course, phone number. I vowed to be the first
to leave them (for these and other personal reasons)
when an alternative came along. Ta-daaaaa. As of last
year, I left Verizon with no plans to return. The
alternative? Voice over IP (VoIP), from Vonage

Now, how does all this help Scott? First, Vonage does
NOT sell your information in any way. Secondly, you
won't be in the phone book, as Verizon only publishes
their customers, unless you pay them to publish yours.
And thirdly, you can set your telephone number
ANYWHERE in the US that Vonage can offer it. For
example, I have a Maryland/DC suburban phone number,
so my friends and family in the area can call me toll free,
even though I'm physically located 50 miles from the "area".


Dick Johnson writes: "Remember each time you visit Canada
and are confronted by different coins and currency?

Here is a story of a writer from Carlisle Pennsylvania who took
his family to Montreal and his recent problems with their coins.

No earth-shattering numismatic news here.
This is just a fun read. Enjoy: Full Story


Tom Fort forwarded an article from Slate magazine on
high-quality counterfeit U.S. notes. Here are some

"Undercover agents lured members of a smuggling ring to a
bogus wedding in New Jersey last weekend; many of the
alleged conspirators were arrested en route. The FBI claims
the international ring has trafficked weapons, drugs, fake
cigarettes, and more than $5 million in "Supernotes" to North
America. What are Supernotes?

Counterfeit $100 bills of very high quality. Government agents
say that most funny money falls into three categories. The first
two are relatively easy to spot. Traditional fakes come from a
process called offset lithography that produces phony dollars
without the "raised ink" feel of genuine bills. Digital forgeries,
made with high-tech scanners and printers, also lack the texture
of the real thing. Supernotes are more deceptive. They're printed
on cotton-fiber paper using the same expensive "intaglio" printing
presses used by the U.S. government. An intaglio press creates
tiny ridges on a piece of paper by forcing it into the ink-filled
grooves of an engraved plate at very high pressure. That's
what gives dollars "and Supernotes" their characteristic feel.

Government agents first discovered Supernotes in 1990. A very
experienced overseas cash handler identified one as a forgery
by the feel of the paper, even thought it was printed on an intaglio
press. The fake was as good as any the Secret Service had ever
seen— it even contained the right proportion of embedded red
and blue fibers that the Treasury Department uses as a security

"The Secret Service says the high-quality notes have detectable
flaws and that information about those flaws has been shared
with international banks. (They won't discuss the details in public.)"

To read the full article (registration required): Full Story


An August 22nd Associated Press story profiles the
Deep South Chip Collectors organization, a club for
collectors of casino-related items. Casino chips have
their own exhibit category at American Numismatic
Association conventions.

"Members of the Deep South Chip Collectors acquire
poker chips, tokens and other gambling items for the
memories and the thrill of owning something rare.

Thumbing through their collections is like spinning back
the years to when casinos operated like speak-easies, or
fast-forwarding to the age of corporate gaming."

"Bob Reed of Gretna, La., the club's president, said he
became interested in the hobby when a chip collector spoke
to his coin club.

"Everybody got the fever after that," he said.

His collection spans from a late-1800s chip made from ivory
to one from 1996 bearing the image of George Burns, when
Caesars Palace celebrated his 100th birthday.

Some of the most collectible chips come from illegal clubs that
once operated up and down the Coast: the 406, Broadwater
Beach, Carter's, Crescent Club, D.J's Club, Eastside Club,
Edgewater Club, Fiesta Club, Fisherman's Hangout, Grove
Club, Key Club, and Magnolia Club, just to name a few."

"Other casinos, like the Beverly Club in Metairie, La., were
less low-key. Its owners included mobsters Meyer Lansky and
Carlos Marcello, who reportedly paid off politicians."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Katie Jaeger writes: "I subscribe to the monthly newsletter
of the U.K. Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies.
Today's issue announces they are offering a September
course on palaeography, using samples of records from the
16th Century onward. Ah, to have the money and time!
The definition of palaeography is: "the study of reading,
interpreting and understanding old handwriting." Out of
curiosity, I Googled the term and found an online tutorial
at the U.K National Archives: Full Story

I think this website would be of interest to E-Sylum readers."

It's a remarkable coincidence, but the word appeared the
same day on the Colonial Coins mailing list, in a posting by
Bill, a semi-retired lawyer who has recently renewed his
interest in numismatics. He wrote: "I am astounded by the
plethora of numismatic websites today that simply did not
exist ten years ago -- I still have my old fashioned library
of books (some long out of print). My current online project
is brushing up on my Latin and Latin palaeography and
epigraphy, and I have discovered some fantastic websites
in that area."


Dennis M. Gregg writes: "I'd love to see an article on
Hobo nickels. I have a couple, and have read the book
on them, but I'd like to see opinions on the "traditional"
versus "newer" types. Why aren't the older, true hobo
nickels more valuable then the newer "knock offs"?

I collect Civil War, coins, exonumia, and philatelic
material. It'd be great to know what your other readers
collect/specialize in.... Keep up the fantastic work."


Wendell Wolka writes: "I would like to reinforce some of
Ken Barr's comments. I worked several days as a volunteer
in public registration (and not just in "guest appearances"
but hours at a time) and came away with the following

The vast majority of the people I registered were from
the local area, say a fifty mile radius, and many had never
been to a national show. I think that Ken is on the money
when he said that many suffered "coin show overload."

Every person I registered was informed that there were
two levels; mints and exhibits upstairs and dealers downstairs.

At times we had to quickly call in reinforcements as lines
could rapidly extend down the hallway in a heartbeat.

If there was a "failure" that I could identify, it was that
the "out of town" collectors seemed to "pass" on this
year's show. Local publicity was apparently pretty
good as many attendees mentioned that they had seen
TV spots and the like.

And Charlie (Davis), I would prefer to think of the
tuxedo size as "spacious"!"


Regarding the American Numismatic Association's Viva la
Revolution exhibit catalog, Nancy W. Green, ANA Librarian
writes: "Both Don Bailey and Joe Flores were at the Author
Table in San Francisco. In fact they were there for two
separate hours, once on Thursday and once on Saturday."

Regarding our discussion on the image quality in the catalog,
Howard Spindel writes: "I started collecting RevMex coins a
couple years ago. I noted at the time that the reference books
I was able to acquire were long on information content but
short on photographic quality. I am sure this necessarily due
to the cost of printing books with many high quality photographs.

But now we live in the Internet age and photos are easy to
publish. I have a project ongoing to provide large, high quality
photos of RevMex coins. You can visit my RevMex website at: RevMex

It's free for all, no registration required. The website is
photographic only, and intended to be used as a photographic
adjunct to the excellent existing references. In its present state
it is far from comprehensive, but nevertheless I think it's a good

Other people can contribute photos if they want. There is a link
to a page that describes the requirements for doing so.

Thank you for another good read in the current E-Sylum! "


Rich Hartzog writes: "I'm always surprised at the amount of
interest in narrow specialty areas. However, this one is
really amazing, to have some 1,250 people interested in lead
tokens! See a sample issue at: Sample Issue


This week's featured web site is suggested by Roger
deWardt Lane. He writes: "I found a great site from
Shanghai with pictures of Chinese money & bonds:

I think you could spend hours looking at this site and reading
the stories about old Shanghai. They quote the value of the
dollar as follows:

"The unit of Chinese currency is the yuan, a silver dollar
loosely called Mexican. Since it fluctuates less in terms of
Chinese commodities than in terms of gold, it is the only fair
measure of Chinese values. Hence the dollars throughout
this article are Mexican. The 1935 value of the Mexican
dollar is about thirty-four cents."

Watch out for the typos as the English was copied by

When I first found this site my Goggle link took me to one
of their pages, which is linked from the home page as
"Reading" and then "Fortune magazine January 1935".
I found the tales fascinating as it was published at the
time from here in the U.S.A."

Featured Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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