The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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  Wayne Homren   Numismatic Bibliomania Society
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 40, September 18, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Greg Wenchell, Steve Shupe,
Leslie Rosenbaum and Richard Jozefiak. Welcome aboard!
We now have 789 subscribers.

Pat Turner writes: "At age 83 I am not a very sophisticated user
of the computer but still manage to get a lot of fun and enjoyment
out of it. I love your Esylum and you are due a lot of thanks for
all the effort you put into it. "

Putting The E-Sylum together each week is always a pleasure.
There always seems to be something new of interest, and our
subscribers are a great bunch of folks. Topics this week include
magpies, the origin of money, and a numismatic visit to Ceylon.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


David F. Fanning has announced the publication of a new fixed
price list of numismatic literature. He writes: "Material of note
includes an impressive group of Frossard catalogues, early
documents relating to Ohio banking history and obsolete currency,
a number of important nineteenth-century periodicals, a fine first-
edition Newcomb on middle-date cents which was owned by
Robinson S. Brown, and a variety of auction catalogues, books
and printed ephemera. The list is available in PDF format and
can be downloaded at Download PDF."


Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "The catalog of our sale #81
is now available for viewing on our web site at:
Lake Catalog

The sale features "Selections from the library of Clarence
Rareshide, Part I" and has a closing date of Tuesday,
October 18, 2005.

Clarence Rareshide was, for 50 years, an avid collector of
coins and currency. He was an expert on obsolete U. S.
currency and renowned for his knowledge of Confederate
and Louisiana bank note. He was a contributing author to
"U. S. Obsolete Bank Note, Volume I, 1782 to 1866 by
James Haxby. He and his wife of 48 years, the former Elisabeth
Ainsworth, were lifelong residents of New Orleans and "Liz"
made a herculean effort to make sure that their numismatic
library would survive hurricane Katrina. She packed and
shipped over 1,000 pounds of books just three days prior to
the arrival of the storm. We are grateful that this fine library
will be passed down to other collectors. Sale #82 will feature
Part II and is scheduled for late November, 2005."


The following is from the September 2005 American Numismatic
Society E-News: "The benefit auction to raise funds for the
Francis D. Campbell Library Chair will be held on January 12th,
2006, in conjunction with the annual ANS Gala dinner. It will take
place at the Sky Club on the 56th floor of the Met Life Building,
200 Park Avenue, and the lots offered will consist of numismatic
books, manuscripts, and memorabilia. We encourage all friends
of the Library to donate items (approx. $400 or more in value
individually or as a small group of 3-4 items). Items for inclusion
should be brought to the attention of event Chair Rick Witschonke
(Witschonke at Parcels can be mailed to the
attention of the ANS Librarian at the Society's address and
reservation details can be obtained from Juliette Pelletier,
Membership and Development Manager (Pelletier at"


Coin World Editor Beth Deisher writes in her editorial in the September
26th issue: "... another story in the news in this issue proved difficult
to ferret out. Announcement in late August in daily newspapers,
wire service reports and Internet snippets that coins, medals and bank
notes from the estate of Samuel Mills Damon of Honolulu, Hawaii, would
cross the block in New York City sometime in early 2006 brought a
flood of calls and messages from collectors demanding to be immediately
informed of all of the details of the items in the collection. In our
initial inquiry we learned that much of what had been reported in the non-
numismatic press was in error. That's when we turned to Andrew Perala,
a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist based in Hawaii, who also happens to
be a coin collector. In an exclusive account, Perala provides accurate
highlights of the more than 6,000 items in the Damon Collection that
for many decades reposed hidden away in a safe deposit vault."

We first noted this story in the August 21, 2005 issue of The E-Sylum
(v8n36), quoting a story in The Honolulu Advertiser pointed out to
us by Dick Johnson. Many thanks to Coin World for investing the
time and money to get the story right. Perala turned in a great
page-one story, and I recommend it to all. -Editor


An organization in Greece published the following release:
"A school in Numismatics is being organized under the auspices
of the Mediterranean Archaeological Society, publisher of
EULIMENE: Studies in Classical Archaeology, Numismatics,
Epigraphy and Papyrology (\eulimene). The 1st
School in Numismatics will take place in the traditional village of
Vamos, near Chania, from 12 to 18 of April 2006, on Crete.

For all inquiries and information regarding the School please
contact: Dr. Manolis I. Stefanakis at stefanakis at


A trial is underway in the discrimination claim filed against the
U.S. Mint in Denver. This suit has been discussed in earlier
E-Sylum issues. The Rocky Mountain News in Denver has
been covering the story. A short note about the trial appeared
in the paper this week:

"The U.S. Mint in Denver is on trial in federal court for alleged
discrimination against a female Hispanic employee, April Garcia.

Garcia left her job at the mint in 2000 after an altercation with a
supervisor, Louis "Bud" Woodard."

Other female mint employees testified Monday and Tuesday that
Woodard bullied workers, told smutty jokes and made derogatory
remarks about Hispanics."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

At article in the Denver post noted: ""When James Neal took
over running the U.S. Mint in Denver in 1999, he said it was
like stepping back decades in time.

Not only was the equipment outdated, but supervisors used
intimidation and sexual harassment to keep employees in line,
he said.

"They put fear in their employees through either loud, boisterous
yelling or threats of intimidation or retaliation," said Neal, a former
plant manager who testified Thursday in a federal sexual harassment
suit against the Mint."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Regarding the Peace Dollar coins struck at the Denver Mint in
1964, Tom DeLorey writes: "Years ago, while I was working at
the ANA, an elderly gentleman came in one day to ask about a
coin. He noticed the old large scale that used to sit in the rotunda,
and mentioned that he used to use one of those when he worked
at the Denver Mint. I asked him if he was working there in the
mid-1960s, and he said yes. I asked him if he remembered when
they struck the Peace dollars then, and he said yes. I then told him
that I had heard that on the days the coins were struck, employees
were allowed to buy one or two of them on the way out that night.
He said that was true, and that he had not bought any but one of
his work buddies did. The buddy then went out and spent them at
a bar on Colfax Ave. The next day management was in an uproar
and told everybody that if they did not return the coins they bought
they would be fired. The buddy said he had spent the coins, and
kept his job."


Nick Graver writes: "Please invite members to bring New Orleans
and 'Katrina storm region' material for the Show & Tell portion of
local group meetings. Anything from Mardi Gras, merchant tokens,
medals, to paper money and ephemera, might enrich the program
and help us remember the storm victims."


Dennis M. Gregg writes: "I belong to a Civil War list
serve where a member suggested this week that we
donate CW items to a collective holder, who'll then
auction the entire lot on eBay. 100% of the proceeds
are going to help the Confederate Museum in New

I'd like to suggest that you propose the same to all
the readers of The E-Sylum. I made a donation to
the Civil War grouping, and will do so for E-Sylum
as well. Someone would have to volunteer to be the
"collection/distribution hub", and the lister on eBay
as well. Each donator understands that they'll incur
shipping costs to the hub, and that it is strictly a
donation to help those who desperately need it. I'm
not an accountant, but I believe it's tax deductable.
More importantly, we as a community will be helping
our neighbors...."


Regarding the story on the use of a see-through feature on
new Bulgarian notes, David Gladfelter writes: "The notes
of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand that were current in
2000 when we visited there have a see-through fern design
at the left and a see-through oval at the right. They don't have
an imprint, but the issue they replaced, with similar designs
(Sir Edmund Hillary $5, Kate Sheppard $10, Queen Elizabeth
$20) have the imprint of Thomas De La Rue and Company


In last week's issue I mentioned the February 27, 1993
bomb attack at the World Trade Center in New York
A reader writes: " This event had a numismatic connection.
The bomb was placed in a rented truck, which had been
positioned in the underground parking lot of the Vista Hotel,
part of the World Trade Center complex. The explosion
created a large hole in the floor of one of the hotel's meeting
rooms. The Metropolitan Coin Show was scheduled to
be in that room one week later. If the bomb had exploded
during the show, much of the room's contents would have
disappeared into the abyss. As you might expect, the
show was canceled.

The Metropolitan Coin Show had been an annual event in
New York for many years. The Vista Hotel had been its
location for several years prior to the bombing. The show
was a joint effort of many New York area coin clubs. These
clubs were located in Long Island, Westchester and Putnam
Counties, and northern New Jersey. Thus the name 'Metropolitan'.
Volunteers from these clubs got together to run the show each
year. I was very friendly with one of the show's officials during
the eighties and nineties. He gave me a couple of programs for
the show that was canceled.

Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Show was never resurrected
after the bombing. Efforts to revive it in subsequent years
proved futile. In recent decades, New York has not been a
good place for shows. The only annual show that has been
staged without interruption during that time is the New York
International show, which now runs in January. This show used
the mezzanine level of one of the World Trade Center towers
for the two winter events prior to September, 2001. The reason
this show didn't meet with the same fate as the Metropolitan
Show is probably because the bourse chairman, Kevin Foley,
has an uncanny ability to get high priced hotels to quote bargain
rates. Some people think he hypnotizes them. The International
Show has been held in the Waldorf Astoria since January, 2002."


Greg Heim writes: "Chris Schenkel was one of the most
underrated sportscasters of his time. As far as I am concerned,
his greatest moment was calling the 1971 Thanksgiving Day
Nebraska-Oklahoma "Game of the Century" with former OU
coach Bud Wilkinson doing the color. Chris's call of that game
was one of the best I have ever heard."


Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "Regarding the
story about a coin find in Turkey (as forwarded and commented
by Arthur Shippee and Dick Johnson in last week's E-Sylum),
I suppose unusual and unexplainable finds are not so out of the
way as they may seem. One fine day a few years ago, I found a
coin lying in the grass under a tree in the backyard of my
grandparents' home. It was a late 19th century gold sovereign
with the bust of Queen Victoria, clean and in extremely fine to
about uncirculated condition. Nobody could come up with a
reasonable explanation of how it may have gotten there. We
asked all the neighbors, but nobody was missing a gold coin.

It was finally concluded by my grandmother that a European
magpie, a bird which is commonly known to steal shiny things
and hide them in its nest, might have found the coin somewhere,
maybe on a window sill or a balcony. The bird may have taken
it and lost it later on while sitting in the tree in our backyard. The
coin was not of historical value, so no museum or state archaeologist
needed to be contacted. The coin ended up in the family vaults.
For years, I looked at the magpies flying around my grandparents'
place with a certain feeling of gratitude.

However, a while ago an ornithologist told me that while the
story about larcenous magpies is very old, it nevertheless appears
to be a popular myth. During a field study, hundreds of nests of
magpies in urban areas were searched, and no shiny things were
found in there.

Since there is definitely nobody interested in increasing the number
of tourist visitors to our backyard, and since any scheme to raise
the value of the property by igniting a gold rush would involve gold
in the form of nuggets instead of sovereigns, this coin find remains
a complete mystery until today. "


Larry Mitchell forwarded a link to a paper by Nick Szabo
titled "Shelling Out -- The Origins of Money: New theories
on the origins and nature of money"

"The precursors of money, along with language, enabled early
modern humans to solve problems of cooperation that other
animals cannot -- including problems of reciprocal altruism,
kin altruism, and the mitigation of aggression. These precursors
shared with non-fiat currencies very specific characteristics --
they were not merely symbolic or decorative objects."

Full Story


NBS Past President Michael Sullivan has some more thoughts
on VOIP, a subject brought up by Dennis M. Gregg in the
v8n37 issue of The E-Sylum, in the context of how collectors
and dealers can maintain some anonymity for security purposes.
Michael writes: "I was reluctant to move to VOIP since the
packages offered by most US firms are really not that cost
attractive unless you are "super heavy phone user." I found a
website that compared cost structures of the various VOIP
providers including Skype. The Skype cost structure is
extremely low vs. all other packages. We paid about $45 for
a one-year phone number listing fee after which there are no
other charges if the party you contact is also a Skype user.
Since we have many relatives across Asia and friends in Europe,
this has proven a superb choice. The next best thing to VOIP
is a MCI calling card from your local Costco store with about
the lowest rates available for both domestic and international
calls. We use the card solely for international calls to non-Skype
users and our mobile phone during unlimited hours. Save a
few bucks on your phone bill and buy another book !"


E-Sylum subscriber Karan Ratnatunga is on a trip across the
United States, and he is making stops at several towns sharing
the name of his native Ceylon. The Fairmont Sentinel of Fairmont,
MN published an article about his recent visit to Ceylon, MN.
According to the Wikipedia, "As of the census of 2000, there
are 413 people, 175 households, and 121 families residing in the
city." Wiki - Ceylon, MN.

"Kavan Ratnatunga is a Sri Lanka native, and remembers when
Sri Lanka was originally called Ceylon. Living in the U.S for
several years and preparing to go back to his homeland, he
decided to visit the towns in the U.S. that have his country's
namesake, including his weekend visit to Martin County.

"They changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka in 1972," Ratnatunga
said. "But many people still refer to it as Ceylon."

Along with Ceylon, Minnesota, Ratnatunga visited Ceylon towns
in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania earlier this week.

"This is the biggest Ceylon town I've been to," he said.

His curiosity of the U.S. Ceylon towns started around 1997, as
he was looking up some information on the Internet.

"I came across an entry that said Walter Mondale was born in
Ceylon, and I thought, 'That can't be right,'" Ratnatunga said
with a laugh. "But it turns out it was Ceylon, Minnesota."

Intrigued by the town that had the same name as his homeland,
Ratnatunga looked up some listed e-mail addresses for Ceylon
residents. One e-mail address he contacted was that of Jerry
Rosenberg, who sent Ratnatunga a reply.

"He started giving me some of the history of Ceylon, how it
was named after the tea," Ratnatunga said.

Ratnatunga kept in touch with Orsenburg, and began collecting
items from Ceylon, including old tokens that were good at
Ceylon businesses.

"He has a bigger collection than I have," marveled Marlon Bents,
president of State Bank of Ceylon."

"During Ratnatunga's time overseas, he's also spent time in
Australia and Canada, and was a professor in astronomy at the
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. But he is now planning
to go into semi-retirement in Sri Lanka.

"Before I went, I wanted to see the towns of Ceylon," he said.
"The Ceylon in Pennsylvania is only 50 miles away from D.C.,
where I was last week, so I went through there. On Monday,
I went through Ohio's Ceylon, Tuesday, it was Indiana, and
now I am here."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


The Star-Tribune of Jackson Hole, WY reported today on
the opening of a new museum in Laramie, WY that includes
an exhibit on Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross:

"...the Wyoming House for Historic Women was dedicated
Saturday to pioneer voter Louisa Swain and the women who
followed her.

The windswept dedication ceremony at the downtown Laramie
site followed the kickoff Friday of a lecture series examining
the progress and setbacks women have encountered since
Swain's historic vote in a territorial primary election on Sept. 6,

Weldon Tuck, director of the sponsoring Foundation for Laramie,
Wyo., described Swain at the dedication as "the first woman in
the world to vote in full equality with men."

"Another contains memorabilia of Wyoming's Nellie Tayloe Ross,
the nation's first female governor and the first woman to head the
United States Mint. They range from a personally inscribed
photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to cards she
received from Wyoming grade school children on her 100th
birthday. One of them says, "100, Wow!"

Ross's grandson, Bradford Ross III of Newburg, Md., reminisced
about his grandmother and saluted Swain as a woman who "started
a movement which has gone across the nation and throughout the

Full Story


Steve Pellegrini writes: "I was happy to read that Mike Marotta
has started a forum for serious numismatic postings. I truly
hope that the site lives up to its' name and does not degenerate
into a 'chatroom'. When I began using a PC in my collecting
activities in 1998 there were already some coin collector
chatrooms. But oh, where they ever tiresome and for the most
part useless. For every informative posting by the Job-like
'Answer Man' (Allen Herbert) there were a thousand
teenybopper postings about....what would you call it? Gripes
and personal snipes at fellow collectors, dealers, eBay auctions
& endless discussions about how much they knew and how little
everybody else knew. One day I checked in at one of them and
the discussion being carried on was all about this poor young
girl, a novice collector who had asked a few beginner questions.
Her questions were not stupid or dumb as they were telling her
but were simply the FAQ's of every beginner. I literally got
almost teary-eyed at the treatment she was getting. I first
posted a message to her answering her questions and apologizing
for the other jerks. This was not an isolated instance - I found
this sort of thing at every coin collector discussion site. In the
intervening years I have, on the urging of friends, visited some
more recent groups. I have to tell you that very little has changed.

The reason I mention any of this is that I have admired
Michael Marotta's numismatic writing for years. I especially
like him when he is on his own dime and can write openly
about his personal conclusions about conjecture born of
newly observed facets of a coin, a medal or an entire series.
His writing about whatever subject that happens to be
under his glass is always entertaining and is often an eye-
opener. I know that his conjecture and unorthodox conclusions
sometimes give some old-timers fits. They consider him
controversial. No matter, he has never been afraid to draw his
own conclusions from his own research. His writing is lively,
well researched and refreshingly original. In my opinion his
writing is as enjoyable, original and sometimes startling as
many of Walter Breen’s writings a generation ago.. So I really
hope that Michael's much needed forum is a success. I hope
it attracts collectors who love their coins, tokens and medals
for the stories they can tell rather than for the holes they can
fill or their current status in CoinWorld’s Price Trends. There
are enough sites that attract and cater to the type of collector
mentioned above. Let us keep just this one numismatic writing
site to ourselves. As for me, I went and registered immediately
after reading about it in my E-Sylum."

[The evils of the free-form, anything-goes format of a chat list
are why The E-Sylum exists. That is exactly why we have an
Editor and a regular publishing schedule, which I felt combine
the best features of the print and electronic worlds. -Editor]


Michael Marotta writes: "In E-Sylum, Volume 8, Number 39,
September 11, 2005, Wayne Homren edited what he thought
was a typo. I purposely put it in there because I am old printer's
devil from the days of movable type, California job cases, and
composition sticks. The word I used was "lede." It was in this:
"...the reply does not need to run 2000 words, opening with a
lede paragraph to draw the reader's attention ..." Wayne
changed "lede" to "lead."

Back in 1964, I was in the 9th grade, taking both journalism
and printing in high school. I learned to spell the first paragraph
of a story "lede" lest the typesetter see the word "lead" (rhymes
with "dead") and insert one-third of a slug, a thin space between
two lines of type.

Type is held in the chase with furniture. The furniture is tightened
with quoins -- not coins. See, for instance: Full Story

It is interesting that both "quoin" and "coin" have the same root,
closer in meaning even than "weak" and "week" in English or
"schon" and "schoen" in German.

I recently attended a book fair in Ann Arbor at which two
different movable type printers were set up. Also in booths
to meet the public were companies that teach bookbinding,
as well as the University of Michigan Libraries, demonstrating
their own skills at bindery. If you love old books, you owe
it to yourself to find out how they were made. We have a
company here in Ann Arbor what will teach you make your
own book by binding signatures. These crafters can be found
all over. Seek them out. Imagine publishing your own 19th
century book about 19th coins.

I will have more to say about the virtues of letterpress soon,
when Traverse City's community currency, "Bay Bucks" is
officially announced. "

[Sorry for the "correction". I should have checked with
Mike, but at least we got another interesting story out of
it. -Editor]


Len Augsburger alerted us to a September 14th Associated
Press story about a truckload of spilled coins in Alabama:

"A truck carrying tons of quarters caught fire Tuesday and
spilled most of them on a highway, where workers used heavy
equipment, shovels and buckets to scoop up the singed coins.

The driver said the truck carried 39,000 pounds of new Kansas
quarters, part of the U.S. Mint's state coin series, that were
worth some $800,000, said Police Chief Michael Putnam.

The rear of the armored truck bound for Birmingham from the
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mint caught fire in the pre-dawn
hours on Interstate 59 in northeast Alabama, Putnam said.

"It's kind of a surprise when you pull up on a fire call at 2:30
in the morning on the interstate, and there are armed guards
around the fire," he said."

Jim Starr Jr., a truck rider armed with a handgun for protection,
said a grease fire ignited a rear tire, sparking a larger blaze that
destroyed the trailer. Putnam said the coins were on metal
pallets in bags that burned, spilling the quarters on the road."

To read the full story on CNN, see: 
Full Story


Chick Ambrass writes: "I don't know if this has ever been
discussed before, but I've heard many expressions about how
fast one can spend money, such as, "easy come, easy go."
My Dad always used to say: "If you were supposed to hang
on to it...they would put handles on it" and of course: "you
can't take it with you". Well, today I heard a new one: "That
went so didn't even have a chance to get a wrinkle in
it," referring to the paper money in his wallet.

Have you or your readers ever heard of that saying before?
What other sayings are floating around pertaining to spending

[We're always quick to get sidetracked here at The E-Sylum,
and this could be an interesting topic. Let's hear some of the
colorful expressions our readers have come across. One that
I've been fond of describes a tightwad thusly: "He tosses
nickels around like they were manhole covers." -Editor]


This week's featured web site is on Columbian Cob
coinage and related subjects.

"Cobs, called macuquinas in Spanish, are a crude style of
hand hammered coins, struck in Spain and Spanish America.
This site is for those cobs that were made in the Spanish
territory of what is now Colombia. These coins are typically
crudely made irregular shaped pieces, it is this style that
makes them intriguing, along with the fact that they are lore
from the Spanish conquest of America."

"This site is devoted to presenting a reference collection for
educational purposes. The focus is on Colombian cobs but
not exclusively, I do touch on other related subjects."

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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