The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 39, September 11, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


[The publication of this issue was held up until September 13
by a problem with our email list configuration. Sorry for the
delay. Glad to be back in business. - Editor]

We now have 783 subscribers on this sad anniversary of the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Our subsequent issue
included accounts of the event from numismatists in the city,
and reports of numismatic auctions and other activities affected.
The issue is archived on our web site at this address: esylum_v04n38.html

On that day we had just 416 subscribers, so we've grown
to nearly double that number. Eric Cheung's online diary of
the day's events as seen from his home in lower Manhattan
has disappeared from the web, so the quoted passages in
the E-Sylum are our only record outside of what may exist
deep in the bowels of the Wayback machine. This disappearing
web page phenomenon is why I'm typically so liberal in quoting
passages from web pages. In all these years no copyright
holder has ever complained, and often these snippets are the
only remaining record we numismatists have of an item's existence.

Coincidentally, I recently discovered an old local newspaper
in my files. The headline? "Blast rocks NYC Towers." The
date? February 27, 1993. "An explosion apparently caused
by a car bomb in an underground garage shook the World
Trade Center in lower Manhattan with the force of a small
earthquake shortly after noon yesterday, collapsing walls and
floors, igniting small fires and plunging the city's largest building
complex into a maelstrom of smoke, darkness and fearful

Our attention today is on a disaster involving Mother Nature,
Hurricane Katrina and its horrible aftermath. Coin World ran
a story in the recent issue about some of the numismatic
personalities from the area who fled and were safe, but at press
time a number were still unaccounted for. Many are likely to
be alive and well at locations outside of the area, but little is
known because of the magnitude of the disruption. Our thoughts
are with our fellow numismatists and all affected by the tragedy.

While clearing out the E-Sylum "I'll get around to this sometime
soon" pile, I discovered a letter from ANA Treasurer Adna Wilde.
Dated July 29, 2004, it referenced a query in the July 26, 2004
issue of The E-Sylum. My apologies to Mr. Wilde, but I guess
we keyboard junkies don't know what to do with snail mail.
If I can cut and paste it into The E-Sylum, in it goes in a lightning
flash. If it has to be retyped, it often ends up on the ever-growing
pile next to my computer. Mr. Wilde's query is published below,
but the "pile' phenomena is related to another subject near and
dear to my Editor heart. Often I'll get a note from a reader
wondering if I saw this or that item in the numismatic press.
Since I subscribe to and read an awful lot of publications relating
to U.S. numismatics, often the answer is yes, I've seen it. But
that doesn't mean I've had the time to comment on it. So please -
if you see something that you feel would be of interest to your
fellow readers, fire me a quick email quoting the relevant passage,
and badda-bing, badda-boom! - it'll show up in the E-Sylum.

Our interesting word of the day is "Natatorium," and personalities
mentioned in this issue include Farran Zerbe, Howard Gibbs, James
Earle Fraser, Joseph Lesher, Nadia Comaneci, Mark Spitz and
Bob Denver. What do they all have to do with numismatics?
Read on and find out!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


NBS President Pete Smith writes: "I did not have a single
thought about the New Orleans Mint until I read last week's
E-Sylum. I believe damage to the Mint is trivial when
compared to destruction of the city.

We play with our hobbies as a break from our jobs and
the responsibilities of real life. This week I am thinking more
about the million Americans who are displaced from their
homes, jobs and families.

How much do you spend each week or each month on
your hobby? Perhaps this would be a good time to defer
that next purchase and give the money to a reputable relief


Mike Ellis, VP, Gallery Mint Museum Foundation writes:
"I had been trying to get in touch with Greg Lambousy, Curator
of Numismatics at the Louisiana State University Museum (New
Orleans Mint) as we had great concern for one of our own, a
Board Member of the newly formed Gallery Mint Museum
Foundation. I finally succeeded in contacting Greg at about
10:30 a.m. CST, Monday, September 5th. I am happy to
report that Greg and his family were among the wise and did
evacuate when advised to. They are all safe and sound with family
in Jennings, Louisiana. When inquiring as to his home he informed
me he lived up on the west bank which was the main area that was
largely unaffected by the flood. Therefore, he expects his home to
be fine.

As for the mint, all he knows at present is that there was very
little if any water damage from the flood but there was roof damage
that undoubtedly caused some water damage. I did not ask him but
I tend to believe that was one of the most heavily police guarded
buildings in and near the French Quarter. I am certain that it is being
protected by the National Guard now. Also, to any of you who
know Lynn Ourso of New Orleans Rare Coins, he and his family
are also safe and sound and vacationing in Canada!"

[There has been no further update on the American Association
of Museums web site mentioned last week. -Editor]


"For those of you interested in the historic records in New
Orleans, there was an article from the Associated Press on that explained how the efforts to save city
documents were stymied. Specialists working for the New
Orleans Notorial Archives were trying to get downtown to
rescue some of the most historic documents in the city's
history, from original land grants to slave sale records and
title records. Federal troops have refused to let them through
the checkpoints set up in the city.

The Notorial Archives hired Munters Corporation, a Swedish
document salvage firm, to rescue the documents, but their
refrigerated trucks were not allowed in. These trucks were
headed to the Civil District Courthouse on Poydras Street,
where many of the city's real estate documents are housed,
and to the former Amoco building, which houses such historical
documents as a letter from Jean Lafitte to Washington demanding
payment for his expenditures during the Battle of New Orleans."

Full Story


Fred Lake writes: "A marvelous escape from the floodwaters
of Hurricane Katrina----Clarence Rareshide, a prominent
paper money dealer and attorney from New Orleans, passed
away this year and his widow had been in discussions with our
company (Lake Books) for some time regarding the disposition
of his very fine numismatic library. Liz Rareshide watched the
reports of the developing storm and decided to do a rush job
of packing over 1,000 pounds of books so that they would
not be subjected to the ravages of the flood she knew would
be coming.

The books were shipped on the Friday just prior to the landfall
of the storm and all fifteen cartons arrived at our location on
Wednesday of that week. We have catalogued much of the
collection and quite a bit of it will appear in our sale #81 which
has a closing date of October 18, 2005.

Mrs. Rareshide has since heard that her home in downtown
New Orleans has been heavily damaged by the floodwaters.
We are appreciative of her efforts that saved many fine reference
books that will be enjoyed by others in the years to come."


The St. Petersburg Times published a story on September 5th
about one numismatic casualty of the New Orleans flooding: a
storefront tourist attraction showing how underwater robots collect
coins from ocean-floor shipwreck sites:

"The sign in the French Quarter storefront beckons passers-by
to peek in a tiny window of the steel tank. Inside is an underwater
robot that should be picking up gold coins, and an invitation to
come in and drive the remote-controlled rig.

That's the hook that by now was supposed to be reeling in the
curious to a new shipwreck attraction that represents a Tampa
company's first step into the storefront tourist attraction business.

Instead, Hurricane Katrina abruptly shut the place down two
days after the grand opening hoopla. Nobody's guessing when
the barricaded attraction might reopen.

Winds and floodwaters did minimal damage in the French Quarter,
leaving the new Odyssey Shipwreck & Treasure Adventure with
nothing worse than wet carpet from a roof leak. But looters,
some of them armed, plagued the streets all week. A tense mass
evacuation of tourists and residents is depopulating the city for an
untold number of weeks, leaving indelible images in many travelers'

"Odyssey, which finds and salvages historic, treasure-laden
ships, envisioned its 90-minute adventure attraction as a vehicle
to turn artifacts, effects and rare coins it exhumes from the
ocean bottom into cash.

Inside are hands-on museum-style exhibits of the high-tech
equipment that shipwreck salvage companies use to meticulously
pluck treasures from the bottom. One-of-a-kind computer games
outline the science behind archeology and how artifacts are used
to reassemble history. The story is set against the backdrop of
real treasures from the deep told in incredibly sharp high-definition
video of the recovery of the SS Republic, which sank 140 years
ago destined for New Orleans."

"As a Confederate and later a Union ship, the Republic claimed
New Orleans as its home port. It went down in a hurricane off
the coast of Georgia, loaded with cash and other goods intended
to resupply the Louisiana city at the start of post-Civil War

The French Quarter provided the historical atmosphere while
the city, which drew about 10-million tourists in 2004, was
supposed to provide the traffic. Some of the gold coins on
display were hammered just down the street in a building that
once housed a U.S. Mint and lost some of its roof to Katrina."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


Darryl Atchison writes: "I am desperately trying to contact
anyone who has (or knows the whereabouts of) a copy of the
Soho Mint sale dated April 29th, 1850. A copy of this historically
significant catalogue was sold as lot no. 391 in the Kolbe/Spink
joint sale conducted on Dec. 2nd, 1990.

The sale was conducted by the firm of Fuller and Horsey. The
catalogue was 46 p. in length and contained 707 lots consisting
primarily of coinage machinery and coin dies. These were
subsequently purchased by Ralph Heaton & Sons - thereby
establishing the Heaton Mint as a major private mint.

If any of our readers can help me locate a copy of this publication
they can contact me at atchisondf at"


John Kraljevich forwarded the following link to an article on
the Sports Illustrated web site about today's death of
sportscaster Chris Schenkel. Schenkel was also a numismatist.
Dave Bowers' firm had auctioned his collection in 1990.
Did anyone meet Schenkel during his collecting days, or at the
auction of his collection?

"Sportscaster Chris Schenkel, whose easygoing baritone won
over fans during a more than six-decade broadcasting career
in which he covered everything from bowling to the Olympics,
died Sunday following a long battle with emphysema. He
was 82."

"Schenkel's radio and television career included virtually every
major sports competition and several pioneering broadcasts.

He was the first to cover the Masters Tournament on television,
in 1956; the first to call a college football game coast to coast
on ABC; and the first to serve as live sports anchor from the
Olympics, in Mexico City in 1968.

His career highlights included calling gymnast Nadia Comaneci's
perfect 10 at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and calling the
1958 NFL championship game between the Baltimore Colts
and New York Giants.

He was also the longtime voice of the Professional Bowlers
Association, entertaining a generation of viewers with his
Saturday afternoon broadcasts.

George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN Inc. and ABC
Sports, called Schenkel a pioneering sportscaster and a
"true gentleman."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


With all the news about the 1933 Double Eagle, a book in my
library reminded me of a similar U.S. rarity of legend, the 1964-D
Peace Dollar. "Glint," a 1995 novel by Joseph Valentinetti revolves
around the coin. According to the Redbook, "316,076 dollars of
the Peace design were struck at the Denver mint in 1965. Plans for
completing this coinage were subsequently abandoned and all of these
coins were melted. None were preserved or released for circulation."

The same edition of the Redbook (58th, 2005) says of the 1933
Double Eagle, that 445,500 were struck and lists just one specimen:
"2002 Auction $7,590,020 ... (Unique)". That wasn't quite correct
even at press time (two examples of the coin were sent to the National
Numismatic Collection on October 2, 1934). With the surfacing
of ten more from the Israel Switt holdings, the coin is even farther
from unique, so expect an update in the next edition.

But back to the 1964-D Peace Dollar: The CoinFacts web site
notes: "A few may have been purchased or "taken" by Mint employees
and rumors persist of this coin's existence. However, for fear of
confiscation by Treasury officials, none have yet appeared on the
market. Were it legal to own, the 1964-D Peace Dollar would
become one of the most valuable of all United States coins."
Full Story

An article by E-Sylum subscriber Michael Marotta notes:
"Writing in his Encyclopedia, Walter Breen said:

"Fern Miller, of the Denver Mint, told the local coin dealer Dan
Brown that as usual various employees had purchased two new
dollars apiece, but that when the recall came in, nobody kept any
record either of the numbers sold to employees or the numbers
turned in."

The quantity melted was determined by weight. Anyone could
have substituted other cartwheels for their 1964-D samples.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Barry Krause and other writers
continue to theorize that 1964-D Peace Dollars do exist."
Full Story

An article by Ed Reiter notes: "Harry J. Forman, a well known
coin dealer from the Philadelphia area and author of several books
on coin investment, has no doubt that '64 silver dollars may exist,
but doubts whether any will surface -- at least in this country. "
Full Story

I recommend all of the above online articles and would
welcome any thoughts on the 1964-D dollar. What were some
of the rumors people heard about their existence? Is there any
written record anywhere of one being in existence outside of the
U.S. Mint? Why were none saved for the National Collection,
as with the 1933 Double Eagles?


And speaking of novels with coin-related themes, an article
in today's Cleveland Plain-Dealer reviews a new novel whose
plot revolves around the 1933 Double Eagles. (Are we
going in circles here?)

"Meet Tom Kirk, hero of the nimble global romp "The Double
Eagle" and heir to the throne of the twisty international thriller,
a seat that has belonged to Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan for more
than two decades.

Newly minted author James Twining (himself a scion of the
Twining tea dynasty) is already hard at work on the second
Tom Kirk novel."

"Five gold coins known as double eagles have disappeared from
the impenetrable Fort Knox - one turning up in the belly of a
murdered Italian priest. At first, the feds think Kirk pulled off the
improbable heist and enlist FBI agent Jennifer Browne to retrieve
Kirk and the currency."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

The book went on sale August 30th. The following quote from
the author is on the publisher's web page for the book:

"Ever since I first got interested in art, I have been collecting
articles about art related heists or scams. One article in particular,
though, had stuck in my mind since the first moment I’d read about
it. It was this that now immediately suggested itself to me as the
perfect back-story against which I could to introduce Tom to the

The story in question concerns the 1933 Double Eagle. This is a
legendary $20 gold coin that was part of a batch never issued to
the public, having been minted a few weeks after FDR banned
people from owning gold. This was a last ditch measure by him
to help shore up federal gold reserves during The Great Depression.
Consequently, the entire 1933 minting run was melted down.

However, this particular coin enjoyed a charmed and extraordinary
life, having been stolen from the Philadelphia Mint (and thereby
surviving the melting), finding its way into the private coin collection
of King Farouk of Egypt, and then vanishing for over forty years,
until its eventual seizure by Federal Agents in the Waldorf Astoria
in New York. When it sold for $8 million at auction, it became the
most expensive coin in the world."

To read the full interview, see: Full Story

[Which article inspired the book - the one in Playboy?


Carl Honore writes: "I recently discovered what may be a die
trial piece for the World War I Victory medal designed by James
Earle Fraser. I found this piece in an antique store in Clayton, MO
where I am attending the Concordia Seminary.

The piece is made of copper, and appears to have been made
from mis-aligned dies (not medal vs. coin positioning, but rather
slightly offset). There is a much larger rim at 12:00 than 6:00 with
metal apparently squeezing between two dies slightly offset,
creating a cavity for metal flow.

There was no loop for suspension nor was there evidence that
one had broken off. I have an original medal in my collection
which I believe was made of brass at that time. I also have a
dress medal which is much smaller that I used for comparison,
as the regular medal is in my collection back home. Can anyone
tell me if these were made without ribbons as well as for use as

I have contacted Dick Doty at the Smithsonian institution but
he isn't sure about this. Yes, I know it helps to see it and when
I get it I will create a scan for whoever would like to see it."


The "In God We Trust" issue is a perennial topic which reappears
in the news regularly. We've addressed the numismatic facets of
the topic, and also some opinions on the fundamentals of the issue
from proponents of both sides of the debate. Beyond that, there is
little more to discuss unless there is some additional numismatic
research information discovered, or the topic appears again in the
news. I've greatly edited some of the earlier submissions on the
subject and have had to reject others. What's great about The
E-Sylum readership is that they seldom delve into topics clearly
beyond our scope (such as religion or politics), and as a result I
rarely have to make such edits. As one subscriber wrote, without
having an editor to put the brakes on these discussions, "The only
thing that will result is an exchange of nasty, nuclear-powered
attacks on holders of opposing views. I don't want to see this fine
publication descend to the depths that I regularly witness in online
forums." Such discussions, as last week's writer suggested, fall
outside the editorial bounds of E-Sylum. So let's get back to
numismatics. -Editor


Bulgaria's Sofia news agency announced on September
8th that "Bulgaria will launch this month a banknote with a
unique see-through security feature, Varifeye. The BGN 20
special edition bill will mark 120 years since the first Bulgarian
BGN 20 and BGN 50 banknotes were launched, the Central
Bank announced Thursday. Its press release explained that
would be the first time Varifeye is used internationally. The
premiere of the bill will take place next Wednesday."
Full Story

The feature is a product of a German company, Papierfabrik
Louisenthal. The following is from a press release on their
web site:

"Munich, May 10, 2005 – Based in Gmund, South Germany,
Papierfabrik Louisenthal, a wholly-owned subsidiary of technology
group Giesecke & Devrient GmbH (G&D), has for the first time
presented a new generation of paper-based banknotes with a
see-through window. The deckle-edged window incorporates
a clear film that permits immediate, conclusive authentication
of the banknote.

Louisenthal has developed this novel security feature, known
as varifeye®, as a see-through window with a genuine deckle
edge combined with state-of-the-art security film elements.
The general public can visually verify a note that incorporates
this feature simply by holding it alternately against a light or dark
background. When users hold the element against a light-colored
background or look through it, a "V" can be seen in the window.
In front of a dark background, the "V" disappears and a green-
black hatched area becomes visible. Imitating this effect with
the use of commercially available technology is virtually
impossible. This means that it presents a particularly high barrier
to counterfeiting

The deckle-edge window is created during the process of
cylinder-mold web formation as the stock fibers collect against
the deckle, leading to the characteristic feather look. The
exclusiveness of this method provides especially high counterfeit
protection, as it is almost impossible to reproduce by alternative
techniques such as punching or cutting."

To read the full press release, see: Full Story

[Is this use of the see-through feature truly unique to
the new Bulgarian note? Undoubtedly, the company
will attempt to sell other governments on buying its
product, so if it works well, it won't be unique for long.


Arthur Shippee forwarded the following article from MSNBC:

"The remains of a massive Gold Rush-era sailing ship dating to
the early 1800s have been discovered at the site of a large
construction project in downtown San Francisco, archaeologists
at the scene confirmed Tuesday.

The ship's decaying bow peeked through mounds of earth as
workers under the direction of an archaeologist brushed away
generations of dirt from its aging timbers. A dig crew unearthed
the first portions of the ship last week as they carved away dirt
to lay the foundation for a 650-unit condominium development."

"It's not the first such find; the city's financial district rests atop a
nautical morgue, of sorts, with hundreds of ships forming a portion
of the landfill that used to be prime waterfront.

Allan said the ship remains do not have anything of value in it,
other than history.

The ship was likely abandoned as Gold Rush fever overtook
the region in the mid-1800s. In the 1850s, as many as 600 ships
were abandoned in San Francisco's harbor, burned or simply
junked by owners who switched their focus to mining the rich
gold veins in the state's interior, according to Wolfgang Schubert,
who gives historical walking tours of the San Francisco's waterfront
for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area."

To read the full story, see:  Full Story


The Kansas quarter was launched with typical fanfare on
September 9th:

"The state quarter was released into circulation this morning
at the Kansas State Fair.

The celebration included Gov. Kathleen Sebelius arriving
by stage coach, a Native American dancing and cowboys singing."

"David Lebryk, acting director of the United States Mint, told
an audience in the fair's grandstand that up to 650 million Kansas
quarters will go into circulation during the next 10 weeks.

Sebelius , wearing a bright red western cowboy shirt, accepted
the official Kansas commemorative quarter sets from Lebryk
and told fairgoers a portion of all commemorative items sold
today would go toward helping children who were victims of
Hurricane Katrina."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

The Morning Sun of Pittsburg, Kansas published an article
about a local man who helped with the coin's design:

"Kansas' newly minted Kansas quarter will be unveiled by
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today at the state fair in Hutchinson.
And Pittsburg resident Dave Sorrick will be there to see it.

Sorrick has served on the Kansas Quarter Launch Committee f
or the past several months and is a representative of the Kansas
Coin Commission. He said he feels fortunate to be a part of the
34th 25-cent piece issued through the U.S. Mint's 50 State
Quarters program.

"It's been the chance of a lifetime," Sorrick said. "I love coin
collecting. It's been a good advocation for me."

To read the full story, see (registration required): Full Story


Jack Wadlington writes: "To your correspondent who wanted
an opinion about how many books were necessary to make a
library: Quantity is not the same as Quality."


Bob Merchant, moderator of the Colonial Coins group on
Yahoo noted this week that "This e-group recently passed the
40,000 message mark. The Internet has truly changed the world.

I remember reading old issues of the CNL (pre-1985), which
essentially acted as the forum for colonial numismatic discussion
at that time. It would have taken 1000 years of publication to
duplicate what has taken place in only a few years time on the


Michael Marotta writes: "Coin People (
has created a new forum for writers. Numismatic Online Writers
(NOW) acknowledges the enthusiasts in our hobby who post
significantly on the Internet.

Electronic forums differ from print, physically and metaphysically.
Internet discussions are immediate, time-independent, self-validating,
and interrupt driven.

Typically, an event starts with a non-collector who has a question.
They post it along with a scan of the object. Several replies will
result. Usually, those replies agree in the main, while bringing
forward different details. Sometimes, disagreements will arise
about authentication, attribution, grading or pricing. Sometimes,
errors of fact will appear -- and then be corrected by the original
poster or by someone else. Posts and replies can be of almost
any length, as required.

That is different from print where one expert passes judgment,
in a reply often limited by space. If a numismatic magazine
publishes an error of fact, the correction appears later in a small
space. Thus, tracking corrections is inherently difficult in print,
whereas online corrections appear in the same thread as the
original article. Print publications are procedural and sequential.
Editors and writers decide what topics to pursue, granted that
they keep an ear to the ground for advance warning of collector
interests. However, being interrupt-driven means that online
forums respond immediately to any individual interest, whether
or not it is numerically "important."

Online, "the non-collector with a question" could be an expert
in their own right in some other area, but not know much about
the material in question: "Does anyone collect Carpathian Bank
Tokens?" If that question appeared in a print publication's reader's
input column, it would be seen once and then be lost to the
archives. However, online, anyone with an interest in Carpathian
Bank Tokens can search the Internet and find otherwise arcane
discussion about them. Thus, all information is always available
online regardless of when it was created.

This allows online writers to be validated by interaction with their
peers. Anyone who has a deep and abiding passion for a numismatic
series, and who shares that knowledge, is an expert, regardless of
whether or not they have won any awards. Usually, they have not.
There exists a gulf between print and the Internet. Few of the well-
known names from print periodicals participate in online discussions.

Online writers must be self-validating because they often post by
usernames, which are aliases. You can find Q. David Bowers,
Alan Herbert, and Beth Deisher at an ANA convention. Finding
Old Collector, U-505, and Snaggletooth is a little harder.
However, for those who read and post frequently, those usernames
do identify collectors with expert knowledge in one or more areas.

Online writing is immediate in a special way. When someone asks,
"What is this coin?" the good reply will include some historical
context. However, not being an article in print, the reply does not
need to run 2000 words, opening with a lead paragraph to draw
the reader's attention, and explaining all the relevant facts in order
to build understanding. Online, if someone wants to know more,
they will ask. That is another aspect of online media being

Being privately owned, some online forums do attempt a level of
decorum. Others do not. The Usenet newsgroups are infamous
for their flamewars. Both of those parameters can be "good" or
"bad" depending on the context. The recent spate of lawsuits
between Accugrade and the ANA and others began with posts
on rec.collecting.coins, within the first month that the group
received its Usenet charter. No print publication could afford
to discuss a subject so aggressively. On the other hand, many
forums are purposely low-key to avoid the negativity of unbridled
comment. The decisions come from the owners of the websites.
Unlike print, websites have very low start-up costs. Anyone
can have one.

NOW: Numismatic Online Writers, is open on Coin People.
Registration to the website is required to post, but not to read.
That is another difference between computers and print."


Adna Wilde writes: "In the Sunday, July 26, 2004 E-Sylum,
there was a question on the Chase Manhattan Money Museum's
collection dispersal. I am sure that Gene Hessler will be the
person who has the best information on the subject.

I do have information on where the "Joseph Lesher Referendum
Medals" were transferred. I have been keeping track of these
medals since 1969. I did examine all of those Leshers, while
they were still in the Chase museum.

After the Chase museum was closed, I asked Gene where the
Leshers were going. They considered the ANS; however, the
ANS already had a collection of 6 types and 9 varieties;
therefore, it was decided that the Leshers in the Chase Museum
should be offered to the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian accepted the offer.

I believe that the Smithsonian received:
Zerbe #1, First type, #18, V. Fine, and #40, Very Fine
Zerbe #2, Bumstead T I, #582, Extra Fine
Zerbe #3, Bumstead T II, #780, Unc and #874, Unc.
Zerbe #4, Bank Type, #1631, Ex Fine.
Zerbe #5, Imprint Type, #1, Unc
Zerbe #6, Slusher variety, #162, Ex Fine.
Zerbe #7, Cohen, #406, Ex Fine.
Zerbe #8, Klein, #1071, Ex Fine.
Zerbe #9, Mullen, #1504, V. Fine.
Zerbe #10, Boyd Park, No Number, V. Fine.

I had not examined the Leshers in the Smithsonian.

There has been one problem, the Zerbe #5, Imprint Type is
no longer in the Smithsonian. It appeared in a Bowers &
Merena Auction in August 9-12, 2000 and was sold. I
do not know who bought the medal: But the important
question is, how did the Zerbe #5 Imprint Type Lesher
leave the Smithsonian?

If you learn the answer to the question that I have just
posed, let me know."

[So - can any of our readers help Mr. Wilde? Does
anyone know the current whereabouts of the piece?


Dick Johnson writes: "An article in the Daily Times of Maryville,
Tennessee calling a new Sam Houston Schoolhouse item a "coin"
sounds like it could be a medal. Any reader know of this?"
The following are excerpts from the article:

"... the 10th annual Country Fair will be held at this historic site,
the location of the oldest standing one-room schoolhouse in the
nation. The schoolhouse was built in 1794, before Tennessee
became a state and is on the National Register of Historic Sites."

"There will be demonstrations on making kraut, hoe-cakes and
churning butter, as guests will step back in time when life was
peaceful and simple. Many things will be as they were in 1812,
when Sam Houston taught school here as an 18-year-old young

"A new item this year is the Sam Houston coin, which will be sold
for $6 each. The coin features a portrait of Houston on one side
and the schoolhouse on the other."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


In earlier E-Sylum issues we reported on the theft of a number
of medals from a museum in Florida. On September 9th The Miami
Herald reported that "Dozens of medals and other memorabilia
stolen from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort
Lauderdale were returned Thursday in a ceremony.

Forty years ago, at the opening of the International Swimming
Hall of Fame, Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller proudly
turned over his prized medals for display, hoping they would
become symbols that would inspire generations of young athletes
to strive.

''It is here where I will keep my swimming memorabilia, tell
stories of my days in swimming and the movies and offer my
services towards the pursuit of helping each youngster pursue
their dreams,'' said the five-time Olympic champion and Tarzan
actor, who worked at the museum in the 1960s and 70s.

But last year, with the waterfront shrine in Fort Lauderdale in
disrepair and its showcases crumbling, those medals and countless
other pieces of our nation's swimming history were lost, stolen
along with other treasures that dated back to the 1896 Olympic
Games in Athens, the first Olympiad of modern times.

On Thursday, seven-time Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz,
one of the hall's newest board members, was on hand for the
return of several dozen medals swiped in an elaborate caper
police say was pulled off by a janitor."

"Spitz, a Los Angeles stockbroker, hopes to use his clout to
attract more supporters as well as corporate sponsors to
share the museum's name.

The still-solidly built swimmer said he didn't mind that several
reporters didn't know who he was.

''New generation, I guess. The important thing is that we're
getting the museum back on its feet,'' said Spitz.

Full Story


Although coins and tokens are still used in most parking
meters, a recent Associated Press article from Pacific Grove,
CA describes a number of ways that electronics is being
integrated into these once-simple devices:

"In this seaside town, parking meters don't grant those
magical few minutes on someone else's dime. Each time a
car pulls away from a space, the meter automatically
resets to zero.

Little is left to chance in the brave new world of parking
technology: Meters are triggered by remote sensors,
customers pay for street time by cell phone and solar-
powered vending machines create customized parking
plans for the motorist.

Oh, and forget about rubbing the traffic officer's chalk
mark off your tires on the streets of cities where short-term
parking is free but overstays are punished by fines."

"Pacific Grove, a coastal resort town where visitors to the
nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pebble Beach golf
course compete with locals for the few oceanside spaces,
went for the gold when it went digital last year.

It installed meters that increase parking fees over time,
so that quick errands remain relatively inexpensive but
long stays become more costly.

A wire grid under the pavement triggers a sensor whenever
a car pulls in. The information can be sent wirelessly via
radio signals to traffic enforcers so they'd know when time
runs out on any parking spot in town. The meter resets itself
as soon as the car pulls away, so the next car has to pay
the full fee.

"Today's meters are little computers," said Ross Hubbard,
a former Pacific Grove city councilman who advocated
for the switch. "

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


A book title I recently came across is "The Booklover's Repair
Kit" by Estelle Ellis. Published at $125 in 2000, the book has
been remaindered and is now available at $29.95. From an
online description: "Unique kit provides step-by-step instructions
and everything you need to clean, patch, preserve, repair, and
restore the books you love, in your own home and with no previous
experience. Includes guide book, document-cleaning pad,
transparent mending tape, red cotton library tape, binder's board,
archival mat board, brushes, clamps, etc." The book has 117
pages and 65 photos. Does anyone have it? It can be
purchased from bookseller Edward R. Hamilton:
Full Story


The Hurricane Katrina catastrophe created legions of victims and
also enabled untold numbers of ordinary citizens to become heroes,
putting their own lives in peril to save the lives of others. In time, a
number of these heroes will be given recognition for their deeds. The
Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has been recognizing heroic deeds
for over a century. The distributors of a special version of the
Carnegie Hero Medal have announced that profits from the sale of
the medal will be donated to Katrina relief funds. From the firm's
press release:

" will donate 100% of all profits from the sale of
Carnegie Hero Fund Medals during the months of September
and October to the Salvation Army.

Originally, this stunning, historic medal was made available
exclusively to a select group of Carnegie Hero Fund (CHF)
Commission dignitaries. However the CHF Commission
decided to make a total of 450 of these spectacular proof
specimens available to the public. Each bronze medal has a
brilliant proof silver finish, is individually numbered on the
rim, and comes with a certificate of authenticity hand-signed
by the president of the CHF Commission."

For images of the medal, specifications and ordering information, see: Images


Every collector has a story about how they came to be a collector.
Collectors may be born, but they also have to be inspired. The
following is an excerpt from an undated two-page document
written by Howard D. Gibbs, the Pittsburgh-area numismatist
known for his collection of odd and curious money of the world.
The original spelling and punctuation are kept intact.

"In 1902 while convelescing from scarlet fever I found a small
box containing a few old coins which belonged to my Mother.
As soon as I was allowed out of the house the neighborhood
was scoured to find kids who had any old coins which could be
swapped for arrow heads, a piece of gold ore or whatever they
would take. Soon I had just about all the coins in the area and
was looking for other worlds to conquer. Accidentally I learned
that a jeweler way out on Frankstown Avenue had a tray of old
coins in his window and since we kids got a free swim at the
East Liberty Natatorium every Saturday morning I stopped in
with my wet bathing suit over my shoulder and wonders to behold
found you could actually buy a coin from somewhere faraway
country for a nickle or a dime."

"I heard that a Bank downtown on Fourth Avenue had a display
of unusual money. It was only fifty blocks to town and what was
that when there was something of interest. It turned out that a
man by the name of Faren Zerbe was exhibiting case after case of
the strangest money. Some were made of iron. One iron piece
was real long and had a tail on one and and a wing on the other.
Mr. Zerbe explained that this was called 'the coin with a soul'
because if the ends got broken the soul would escape and the coin
was no longer spendable until the medicine man of the tribe had
re-incarnated the soul (for a fee of course)."

The purpose of Gibbs' document was to describe the history
of his collection and offer it for sale to any institution willing to
place it on display. He adds: "Under no circumstance nor at
any price will I permit this collection to be given or sold to a
museum who will not appreciate it and where it will end up
gathering dust in their 'morgue'"


Myron Xenos writes: "Reading about the New Orleans Mint
brought back memories of mediocrity. The three times I visited,
there was virtually nothing of any numismatic value there - history
was left to the imagination.

My trip to the San Francisco ANA convention allowed me to
stop at the Carson City Mint in Nevada. Their firearms collection,
which included a brass gatling gun, was unparalleled, a sight to
behold. So I asked where the Carson City coins were. I was
told that the museum had all but two in their collection, and that
the collection was locked up because of its value.

When I arrived back home in Rocky River, I called the curator.
He assured me that they were working on the situation. More
than one friend has said they were told the same thing in prior
years. Thank goodness for the ANA and other coin shows
where rare coins can actually be seen. Perhaps museums
might consider this when receiving donations. Indiana Jones
knows where the Ark of the Covenant is -- buried deep in
the bowels of the Smithsonian."


Arthur Shippee and Dick Johnson forwarded a story about a coin
recently found in Turkey. Dick writes: "Sorry, I'm a skeptic!
But an Indiana art professor's claim she "found" a Byzantine coin
on a trip to Turkey leads me to question "Who's salting the site?"

She found a low-value fifteenth-century coin near the base of a
column (after 400 years?). Her excitement is reason enough for
some Turkish tourist official to see this happens on a regular basis.

Here's her gushing report: Full Story

"It turns out the 500-year-old Ottoman Empire coin that Earlham
College art history professor Julia May found during her May term
course in Turkey this year isn't worth very much. Even when it was
minted during the reign of Emperor Beyazid II (1481-1512), the
small copper disk was roughly the equivalent of its modern day
U.S. counterpart: a penny. But to May, the experience of finding
the coin was priceless.

"It's definitely one of the highlights of my career as an art historian,"
says May, who discovered the coin during a visit to the ancient
Roman ruins of Pergamum (or Pergamon), near the current Turkish
city of Bergama. Perched on a hillside, the site is best known for its
dramatically pitched outdoor theater constructed in the 3rd century
B.C.E. with seating for up to 10,000 people.

"I had climbed up to the top, to the acropolis, and was just walking
around by myself among these huge, solid pieces of marble," recounts
May. "I just happened to look down and see this teeny black disk,
which looked a little too perfect, too circular, and not rock. So, I
picked it up and thought pretty much right away that maybe I'd found
a coin. It was very exciting."

Arthur writes: "Part of the interest in this story may be the "what
do I do with a find?" aspect, and the greater question of who
owns antiquities.

Also, this coin was minted about the time Columbus discovered
America and just before Martin Luther, when the Ottomans were
a superpower, and still growing, still with Suleiman the Magnificent,
1520-1566, and his advances to look forward to." The following
are additional quotes from the article:

"I'm a museum curator," May says. "I understand these things are
part of the archaeological record of a place, and I understand the
interest of the people of Turkey in preserving their culture and
history. You just can't walk off with something."

"May was able to make contact with Dr. Adnan Tarioglu, director
of the local Bergama Museum, who rushed to the scene to examine
the discovery.

At first glance, says May, Tarioglu indicated the coin might be a
Roman "numi" (professional lingo for numismatic, or relating to
coins) dating as far back as the 4th century C.E. The disk was
badly encrusted, however, and the museum director said it would
have to be cleaned before a final determination could be made.
He also expressed his gratitude to May for turning in the artifact."

I asked Arthur Shippee his thoughts on Dick's theory, and he
writes: "I see what you mean. In this case, the evidence, such
as it is, mitigates against it.

While obviously they wouldn't use valuable coins (too many would
walk away), still they wouldn't use a coin so encrusted as to be not
readily identifiable. The described reactions of the guide & director
sound too natural. And I don't think they'd want to tempt folks to
steal from the site. Also, wouldn't they use a Roman coin? -- there
must be enough cheap ones--rather than an Ottoman one?

But the evidence is all from one unsuspicious source, so the issue
is hardly settled. I would lean against it, but I wouldn't bet a penny
either way."


This week brought news of the death of actor Bob Denver,
of "Gilligan's Island" fame. The Hollywood Reporter published
an obituary summarizing his career. One of his films has a
numismatic connection: "Who's Minding the Mint?", made in
1967. Has anyone seen the film? According to plot
summaries found on the Internet, Denver appeared as one of a
group of bungling plotters, which included Jack Gilford, Milton
Berle, Jamie Farr, Walter Brennan, Joey Bishop and Victor Buono.

The movie's title represents a common public misperception -
the plot actually revolves around a worker at the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing, which makes paper money, not coins.
But I guess "Who's Minding the B.E.P.?" doesn't have the same
ring to it. A worker, whose job is inspecting $100 bills,
accidentally destroys a number of notes, but afraid to tell his
imperious boss, so he concocts a scheme to print replacement
notes. Of course, the scheme goes increasingly awry.

Lest one think that a reference to this obscure film would
never turn up in a numismatic library, the following is from
Fred Reed's "Show Me The Money!: The Standard Catalog
of Motion Picture, Television, Stage and Advertising Prop
Money" (p160):

"During the credits to the inappropriately named, but
nevertheless funny comedy "Who's Minding the Mint?"
(Columbia Pictures, 1967), real U.S. currency from the dollar
up to and including the $100,000 Gold Certificate form a
backdrop. ... Use of this currency on screen had to have
government approval and assistance, since the largest
denominations shown were specimens of non-circulating
notes only used within the Federal Reserve System."

Still images from the film are shown on pages 58 and 60.
Milton Berle, Joey Bishop and others are seen, but not
Bob Denver. To read Denver's Hollywood Reporter
obituary, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site is the American Vecturist
Association. "Thousands of different bus and streetcar tokens
have been used or are being used in North America and the
World. There is an association devoted to the hobby of
transportation token collecting: the American Vecturist
Association. (Vecturist is derived from the latin word "vectura"
which meant "passage money" in the Roman vernacular.)

"The American Vecturist Association is an international
non-profit society of collectors of transportation tokens. It
publishes a monthly newsletter, THE FARE BOX, which
is the world's only publication devoted exclusively to
transportation tokens."

Featured Web 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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