The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 50, November 27, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Bill Hunter of Pittsburgh.
Welcome aboard!   We now have 822 subscribers.

A few readers have reported problems with AOL again.
AOL was rejecting last week's E-Sylum email message.
All it gives me is a vague message about there being a
URL in it that generates complaints, but it doesn't tell
me which one. Anyone who missed the last issue can read
it on the web site at this address:
Esylum V8N49

Another reader wrote to describe a problem with the formatting of the issue,
but unfortunately I've lost the note - please resend!  I've been using a
different mail system for the last few weeks, and that is why some of you
have noticed some changes.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  Speaking of
formatting, the previous paragraph (beginning with "A few readers...") was
formatted to have line breaks keeping each line to about 70 characters or
less.  This paragraph (beginning "Another reader...") has no line breaks.
Let me know if you have a format preference.  For years we've maintained the
70-character limit because it's the lowest common denominator that seems to
work on every email device around.  But if it's unnecessary for the majority
of our readers I won't bother doing it anymore.

In his issue, George Kolbe reports highlights of his
recent numismatic literature sale #98, and the market
continues to be strong for quality material.  Sale 99
and the magic 100 are on the way.

Fred Schwan reports that a new edition of Gene Hessler's
Comprehensive Catalog of U. S. Paper Money is in the works,
with a new co-author.  Fred also describes the extensive
set of hoops a publisher must jump through to obtain
publication-quality images of currency from the Bureau
of Engraving and Printing.

In the "interesting numismatic-related trivia" department,
we learn about a fight over the subsequent sale of Krause
Publications' parent company's new owner, and some interesting
facts about a Los Angeles home owned by former coin dealer
and jailbird Bruce McNall.

In the international banknote area, we learn of an
embarrassing "typo" found on an about-to-be-released
note and the planned recall of high-denomination Swedish
notes.  In Columbia, counterfeiting is a family affair
- a network producing millions of dollars a month in
fake cash has been broken up.

In the numismatic personalities department, remembrances
of Bill Spengler continue to arrive, and we have some
further discussion on gold coins and medals owned by
the Saint-Gaudens family.

Lastly, we examine a new Act passed by the U.S.
Senate calling for Presidential $1 coins, changes to
the Lincoln Cent, and the creation of several new
commemorative and bullion pieces.

Off-topic: an interesting article on modern covered bridges: Covered Bridges Story

This week's quiz: What numismatic personality likely
witnessed an historic event aboard the Lusitania?
Read on to find out.  Enjoy!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "This is a reminder that our sale #82
closes on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 at 5:00 PM (EST).

There are four changes/additions to our printed catalog
and these are now incorporated into our catalog as presented
on our web site at Lake Current Catalog

They are:

C 3 has the addition of a condition description (M)
   and an estimate ($50.00)
C 20 has a change in the estimate to $18.00
C 50 has been eliminated.
C 85 has been eliminated."


Auction Sale 98 Results: George Frederick Kolbe/Fine
Numismatic Books reports that Auction Sale 98, closing
on November 17th, 2005, was very successful, with 84%
of the lots in the sale sold, bringing 110% of the total
of all of the estimates. Some sale highlights include:
a special leather-bound edition of Harold P. Newlin’s
rare 1883 work on United States half dimes, perhaps the
author’s own copy, selling @ $3,565 on a $3,000 estimate
[all results cited include the 15% buyer premium]; the
original Bowers and Ruddy contract establishing their
first auction firm sold for $747 on a $250 estimate;
Edward T. Newell’s superb original set of Ernest
Babelon’s monumental Traité des Monnaies Grecques et
Romaines saw spirited bidding, bringing $12,363 on a
$10,000 estimate; Gunter Kienast’s personal annotated
copies of his two standard works on the medals of Karl
Goetz realized $1,150, having received two identical
high bids; an extensive series of notebooks, apparently
compiled by Bernard Hoidale from the 1950s to the 1980s,
recording half dime prices at auction and fixed price
was estimated at $250 and sold for $575; a remarkable
manuscript record of data on United States pattern coins
written in a copy of the Adams-Woodin work on the topic,
compiled by Walter Breen’s early mentor, William Guild
sold for $2,070 on an estimate of $1,000; Gerson da
Cunha’s rare 1884 work on Indo-Portuguese Numismatics,
annotated and extra-illustrated, saw spirited bidding
and ended up selling for $1,380 on a $300 estimate;
an extensive collection of Lyman Low auction sale
catalogues, estimated at $2,500, brought $3,450; plated
Chapman brother catalogues mostly sold substantially
over the estimates; Raphael’s Thian’s 1876 Confederate
Note Album ended up bringing $1,610 on a $350 estimate;
a fine selection of 19th century German coin dealer
Adolph Weyl’s catalogues featuring American coins brought
strong prices; a fine example of Alföldi’s extremely
rare work on Roman coins “A Festival of Isis,” sold for
$1,610 on a $750 estimate; and standard works on ancient
coins generally brought strong prices."


Auction Sale 99 Announcement: "On March 9, 2006, George
Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books will conduct their
99th sale of rare and out of print numismatic literature.
Consignments are currently being accepted. Catalogues may
be ordered by sending $15.00 to Kolbe at P. O. Drawer 3100,
Crestline, CA 92325 or the catalogue is accessible free
of charge at the firm’s web site ("

Auction Sale 100 Announcement: "In June 2006, the firm
will conduct their one hundredth auction sale and plans
are being formulated to make it a memorable event.
Consignments of exceptional quality are currently being
accepted for the sale. The firm may be contacted at P. O.
Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325; by telephone at
909-338-6527; or by email at Those
interested are also invited to visit Kolbe’s web site


With all the great U.S. literature sales recently, I asked
George Kolbe, "In the bygone days of yore when Armand Champa,
Harry Bass, Dan Hamelberg and others were building their
libraries, the major buyers of top-end U.S. literature were
pretty well known to all.  With the first two libraries
dispersed, and Dan already owning most everything one might
want, who are the big buyers in today’s market?   No need
to name names of course, but I’m curious and was hoping you’d
share your thoughts on this for The E-Sylum.  What kinds of
people are assembling the big libraries today?  Or is the
material being more widely dispersed to a lot of specialists
who aren’t intent on building a “one of everything” U.S.

George replied: "The easy, and most accurate, general response
to your various queries is: I don't know, at least with any
certainty. But that will not satisfy, so I'll ramble on a bit.

Harry Bass, Armand Champa, then (and now) Dan Hamelberg,
overlapped each others' acquisitional timeframes. Other
names could be added to this unparalleled period in the
field of American numismatic literature. John Adams, for
one, jumps to mind, as does the original host of the
disease, John Ford; George Fuld and Eric Newman were also
pioneers. Craig Smith, though largely unknown until his
library was dispersed earlier this year, promised to carry
on the tradition. Right now, I cannot provide the name of
a new carrier of the flame, though there are candidates.

Libraries are a reflection of their owners. This is trite
but true. Harry Bass formed his library on a scale commensurate
with the size of his state, though with keen discernment.
He viewed his holdings as a source of information on the
coins he loved to collect, though he was no less enamoured
of his library and treated it as such. The raison d'être
of Armand Champa's library is more complicated, or perhaps
not. Books seemed to be the end, not the means. He loved
to be the big buyer at auctions, traveled the country to
buy libraries or single rare books, and he was a great
popularizer. With the help of Armand and his peers, the
numismatic book market made great forward leaps. Dan
Hamelberg came to the endeavor as a seeker of information
and has become a keen preserver of our heritage. Library
buckram rules no more. Harry Bass limited himself to works
written in English; Armand Champa had nearly all of the
rarities but sometimes lacked more common though essential
reference books; Dan Hamelberg's main emphasis has been on
works concerning American coins, though titles on paper
currency and tokens and medals have in recent years come
under his purview. Bass left his books and catalogues as
is. Champa often "messed" with them via "sophistication"
(combining elements of two or more different copies of a
work to "perfect" one) or by binding or rebinding, frequently
to their detriment, at least in the early years. Hamelberg
has combined the best of both approaches, often housing
delicate items in protective book boxes, thus preserving
them in their original state.

What does the future hold? The market has matured in some
respects yet much remains unknown or little understood.
Opportunity abounds and interest in the field continues
to expand to a new generation of bibliophiles and researchers,
facilitated to some degree by the ubiquity of the internet.
Will material be dispersed to specialists or will general
libraries continue to be formed? My guess is that the day
of the great comprehensive numismatic library is not over."


Gerry Anaszewicz writes: "I love all books, and especially
coin related books! Both The E-Sylum and the print version
(The Asylum) are top shelf in my book! Thanks for making them.

I've been collecting coins for over 30 years, and books,
more or less seriously, for about 20. I bought from The
Money Tree, visited Michael & Marlene Bourne before Remy,
et al. I mainly collect Russian coins and books, but
always dabble in interesting coins (and books!) from

For Thanksgiving I visited my family in Chicago (I'm in
Connecticut now) and hit as many used book stores as I
could find. At one, after picking up several rock music
and movie related books, I asked the owner if he had
anything on coins. He told me no, but then remembered one
volume he's had for a long while. I bought it of course!
Though I don't really collect coins of England, the handsome
volume was too good, and too cheap, to pass up. It was
"The Silver Coins of England, with Remarks on British
Money, Previous to the Saxon Dynasties, by Edward Hawkins,
2nd edition, from 1876! Beautiful gilt covers with an
engraved coin of Victoria. No idea if rare or not - or
even useful! But a classy addition to the library. Any
ideas on rarity or usefulness? It even included a few
loose engravings (distinct from plates) of coins and


In the November 24, 2005 (Vol 7, No. 1378) issue of
MPC Gram, the military numismatics newsletter, editor
Fred Schwan discussed a new book his company (BNR Press)
is working on.

He writes: "I have mentioned several times that I have been
working with Carlson Chambliss on a new book... The book
is the seventh edition of the Comprehensive Catalog of U. S.
Paper Money. The first six editions have been by Gene Hessler.
The seventh edition adds Carlson Chambliss as a co-author
and general editor.

If I may say so, this is a perfect match. Gene has done
outstanding research on many aspects of US paper money.
This research shows in the first six editions and continues
in this edition. I would categorize Gene's research as being
of a more or less non-commercial nature. Of course, all
editions have included values and Gene did a good job of
soliciting help from collectors and dealers for this aspect
of his catalogs. However, that part was hardly a passion.
It was a duty.

On the other hand, Carlson is a market maven. He studies
the heck out of just about every public transaction. He
can read an auction prices realized list and get excited
where most of us would go to sleep. Furthermore, he is
an active and advanced collector of most areas covered
by the catalog. This is an ideal marriage of talents and
I believe that the product will reflect that."


In the same issue of MPC Gram (No. 1378) Fred Schwan
discusses the lengthy process publishers must go through
to get approved images of new U.S. currency for publication.

He writes: "One of the last pieces missing from the book
has been images of the $10 Series 2004A notes. The design
was released about two months ago. You have seen pictures
in the numismatic press and possibly even in the general

Of course we wanted to include images of the new design
in the book even if they have not yet been released because,
among other things, the notes might be out by the time that
the book is and certainly will be circulating during most
of the functional life of the catalog.

I went to the BEP web site. You can do the same. Anyway,
I found that some low resolution images are readily
available. These are certainly suitable for reproduction
in newspapers, but not suitable for use in the book. The
site includes information about requesting high resolution
images.  The intended use must be provided. That was no
surprise although it would not do any good if there was no
checking on the requestor. Much to my surprise the process
then required submitting a written request requiring
substantial personal and business information. I jumped
those hoops then was told that it would take a few weeks
for approval.

I must point out that the staff was helpful and stayed
in contact via email. Yesterday I received an email that
the images had been shipped and would arrive via Fedex
today. The sender also explained that after I received
the CD, I would have to call the BEP to obtain the
required password to open the images.

The package arrived today. The CD has nice BEP markings,
a serial number and bar code. It would make a nice addition
to my collection except that the provided documents
demand the return of the CD. Darn.

Everything went OK with the computer, but as promised
a password was required before I could open the thing.
I called the BEP. The person was pleased to hear from me
and had expected the call. The first few tries were
unsuccessful because of the syntax of the password,
but ultimately they extracted two recognizable files
(one each face and back).

I then ran Photoshop and attempted to open the files.
The file for the face opened, easily and quickly. It
also printed without problem. The back however would not
open in Photoshop. I got the same message that was
discussed in the past about the software not allowing
images of paper money! Double darn. I then tried
importing the images into the software being used to
lay out the book (In Design CS).  They BOTH imported
just fine and also print fine.  Fortunately for me the
images were nicely cropped etc so that I only needed
to drop them in."


Larry Gaye writes: "I was very interested in seeing the
news of Jules Reivers' large cent collection coming to
the market.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jules at the
ANA Convention in Portland, Oregon in 1998.  John Haugh
his friend and contributor to Jules' book The United
States Early Silver Dollars 1794 to 1803 had a reception
at his home to fete Jules and others from the convention.
It was here that Rob Retz and I met Jules and were
invited into his warm and generous fraternity.  He
shared some of the coins he brought for sale and gave
all present "first shot" before presenting them to the
rest of the copper weenies on the floor.  What a great

Sadly, John passed away several years ago, and this is
where the biblio connection comes in.  I was browsing
Powell's' Book store and found several books that came
from John's library.  I immediately bought them as
most were inscribed to John by their respective authors.
Among them was one inscribed to John from Jules, it said:
"To my friend John Haugh with Best Wishes, Jules Reiver."
I was truly amazed that these books found their way to
Powell's and was sure they would be marketed to numismatists.
Well, my library is very thankful they are there."


On November 25 the New York Post reported that "A
fight between two of the big media money power players
in New England — Boston-based Abry Partners and
Providence, R.I.-based Providence Equity Partners —
looks like it will get nastier before anyone comes
to their senses and settles.

The quarrel is over the pricetag for F+W Publications,
a mid-sized publisher for magazine titles including
Writer's Digest, Turkey & Turkey Hunting, Old Cars
Weekly, Numismatic News and several book clubs directed
at hobbyists, including WoodWorker's Book Club.

In August, Abry paid $500 million for F+W Publications,
which was headed by Primedia co-founder William Reilly
with financial backing from Providence Equity.

Three months later, Abry appears to be suffering
from a severe case of buyer's remorse.

On Nov. 3, Abry filed suit against Providence trying
to rescind the purchase or obtain a major damage

Abry claims that Providence "had employed a variety
of devices and schemes to artificially inflate the
company's reported revenues for the first half of
the year, according to a suit in Delaware Chancery court."

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

Here's another story in a publication for dealmakers: Full Story


An historic home once owned by coin dealer Bruce McNall
Will be moved to save it from demolition in Los Angeles.

According to a November 26 article in The New York Times,
"Paul Revere Williams, who designed the Morris Landau House,
could not have lived in the tony Holmby Hills section of
Los Angeles when the home was built there.

Williams was black, and in 1936, the year he completed
the red brick English-country-style residence, African-
Americans were barred by restrictive covenants and
prevailing biases from owning property in the best parts
of the city."

"By the time he died in 1980, black celebrities were
moving into Beverly Hills and Bel Air. The Landau House,
meanwhile, named for the South African merchant who
commissioned it, would continue passing from owner to
owner, among them Bruce McNall, who built a vast fortune
as a coin collector before going to prison for fraud,
and Ronald O. Perelman, Revlon's chairman."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


A November 22 Associated Press story reported that
"The Central Bank of the Phillipines [sic] quickly
halted circulation of a batch of new banknotes after
noticing an embarrassing typo on the bills."

Full Story

[After Ken Berger's reprimand in the October 16, 2005
E-Sylum, I want to quickly note that the misspelling
of "Philippines" isn't mine - it came from the web
site (hence the [sic] notation I added).

The page links to a video which I was unfortunately
unable to view on my computer.  If any of you can
run it, please let us know what it says.  I've also been
unable to locate another copy of the Associated Press
story.  -Editor]

Neil Shafer writes: "For some reason I could not read
the article either, but the note is a 100-Piso with the
president's name spelled as ARROVO instead of ARROYO,
probably as part of the signature title, as the president
of the country is one of the signatories on Philippine
paper issues.  I have not yet seen an example but hope
to before long.

As to other instances where a paper money issue has been
suppressed because of some error, the 20-Boliviano note
of 1911 from the Banco de la Nacion Boliviana comes to
mind.  Notes were prepared in values from one to 100
Bolivianos by American bank Note Company, and all were
duly issued- until it was discovered that the back plate
for the 20B with repeated denomination wording around
the inner periphery said 20 PESOS, an amazing error and
only on this one denomination.  As I understand it, the
small number of  issued pieces were recalled as much as
possible, and a new plate with the correct 20 BOLIVIANOS
inscription was prepared.  I have seen one issued example
of the error note in very low grade, and a single back
proof with this error was part of the American Bank Note
Company Archive Sale held by Christie's in 1990-91.
I'm sure there are other significant instances of recall
but they will have to come later if anyone (including me)
can think of them!"

[So - can anyone tell us about other banknotes that
have been recalled (either before or after entering
circulation) because of a mistake? -Editor]


Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "One of
the recurring topics in the E-Sylum has been the process
of electronic money replacing cash. According to recent
newspaper reports, the Swedish monetary authority has
published a proposal to take the county’s largest bill,
1,000 kroner (about $120), out of circulation. At a
later stage, even the 500 and 100 kroner bills should
follow. The reason behind this is the officials’ view
that large amounts of cash and high denomination bills
are predominantly used in illegal transactions. Cash
is not electronically traceable, tax evasion or money
laundering can thus not be documented. Simply put, no
honest individual or reputable company should have a
significant demand for high denomination bills. There
is also another point to this. A number of spectacular
assaults on cash transports have occurred in Sweden in
the recent past, and the authorities simply think that
it is much more difficult to carry away an amount of,
say, ten million kroner, if it consisted of 50 kroner
bills only.

According to the report, credit cards and electronic
payment systems are widely used in the population,
and many Swedes don’t even know how what a 1,000
kroner bill looks like."

[So what DOES it look like?  Can anyone point us to
a web page with an image and information on the Swedish
1,000 kroner note?  -Editor]


On Monday, November 21, 2005 The Daily Journal of Bogota,
Columbia reported that "Police assisted by U.S. Secret
Service agents on Sunday broke up a network capable of
printing millions of dollars a month of excellent quality
counterfeit money and arrested five suspects during a
raid on a remote village in northwest Colombia, officials

Nearly U.S.$3 million in fake 100 dollar bills was seized
during the raid in Dagua, a village nestled in Andean
foothills some 300 kilometers (190 miles) southwest of
the capital, Bogotá, said Eduardo Fernández, head of
the DAS police agency in Valle del Cauca state.

"The printing plates they were using were very good,
so that the quality of the counterfeit money was
excellent,” he said in a telephone interview with
The Associated Press.

Fernández said Valle del Cauca, of which Cali is the
state capital, has turned into a center of global
counterfeiting. "Entire families are dedicated to
falsifying and trafficking money.”


Russ Rulau writes: "I learned of Bill Spengler's passing
through The E-Sylum.  It troubles me greatly. I've known
Bill as one of the finest gentlemen in our hobby for many
years, and he and I were together on several numismatic
study tours in Europe.

In 1969 Bill was a member of our small (20 people) tour
group that visited Bern for the International Numismatic
Congress, along with such luminaries as Miguel Munoz,
Ken Bressett, Grover Criswell and others. After Bern we
toured Paris, London and Oxford, meeting numismatists all
the way.

My wife Darlene and I lunched with Bill in a small cafe
on the Champs Elysee  -- Chinese food. Bill pulled a very
memorable joke that has stuck with me these 36 years. He
said he opened a fortune cookie once, and the message
inside said, "Help! Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese
fortune cookie factory."

Later, at the Ashmolean Museum coin cabinet in Oxford,
he displayed his knowledge of south Asian coins better
than the curators.

In the summer of 1993, 22 Americans including Bill,
myself, Bob Julian, David Bloch, Hal Blackburn, Emil
Ilko, Bob Barrett, Irving Berlin (of Texas) and others
put together a 3-week tour of the Soviet Union. Landing
in Leningrad we visited the Hermitage collection; in
Odessa we met with local collectors just forming a
coin club; then Mineralnye Vodyi in the Caucasus; off
to Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand, finishing up in
Moscow. Bill spoke Russian as did our Intourist (no
doubt KGB) guide/translators.

Bill at that time had a summer home in Rural, Wis.,
Just 20 miles or so south of Iola, so he visited Krause
Publications frequently. He was a great guy -- almost
everyone who knew him say that."

Bill Rosenblum writes: "More than a few of you have
asked me if their is a something we can do in Bill
Spengler's name. I spoke with his widow, Phid, earlier
this week. First of all she is doing quite well as she
has a very good support system with two sons in the
area plus a number of organizations she belongs to.

She suggested a few of Bill's causes: South Asian
Earthquake Relief which can be contacted at
or Also she mentioned Pikes Peak Hospice
at Of course a donation to the
ANA in Bill's name would also be appropriate. I think
that Rita and I personally will make a donation to the
Pikes Peak Hospice as they not only helped Bill and
his family but three years ago we lost a very close
friend to cancer and they were amazingly supportive
to his widow, his family and friends.  Obviously you must
do what you feel is correct."


Regarding our earlier discussions of George Kunz of
Tiffany's, Roger Burdette adds: "Please extend my
thanks to Kay O. Freeman for providing corrected
information on Louis Hannweber (not Karl Hanwebber)
of Tiffany's."

Greg Burns ( writes: "One of
the items in the 11/20/05 issue of The E-Sylum caught
my attention: the name of George F. Kunz (A/K/A Kuntz),
of Tiffany jewelry and mineralogy fame.

One of my passions is the Lusitania medal designed
by Karl Goetz, the Munich medallist. During one of
my forays into the on-line world I found a resource
that had a letter (which I later purchased), signed
by Robert Lansing (at that time Counselor under
Secretary of State William J. Bryan), written to Mr.
Kuntz at his New York City address on Fifth Avenue,
stating that the State Department had received Mr.
Kuntz' letter "...of February 18th, and in reply
informs you that your remarks relative to the use
of the American flag by foreign powers, has received
the attention of the Department."

The significance of the letter to me was the inference
that Mr. Kuntz had been aboard the Lusitania during
its trip from New York to Liverpool early in 1915,
and he had evidently personally witnessed the incident
referred to: the use of the American flag by the captain
of the Lusitania to confuse any enemy submarines that
may have been observing her at the time. This
well-documented incident aroused American protests
and German, too.

The facts of the incident were that the German submarine
U-21 had, on January 30, 1915, sunk three unarmed merchant
vessels in the Irish Sea, close to the port of Liverpool
(Lusitania's home port). The heightened tension caused
Captain Dow of the Lusitania great distress, and
according to President Wilson's emissary, Colonel Edward
House, on board at the time and recording in his journal
the entry for February 6, "This afternoon, as we approached
the Irish coast, the American flag was raised. It created
much excitement and comment and speculation ranged in
every direction."

Mr. Kuntz had apparently indignantly written to the
State Department to complain of this illegal ruse,
perhaps surprising since he had been the recipient of
the safety it would have prompted.

Less than three months after the State Department letter,
the German submarine U-20 loosed a single torpedo which
sunk the Lusitania in 18 minutes killing 1,201 on board.
Only a month after the sinking, Secretary Bryan resigned
his post in protest of Wilson's stance during dialog
with the German government over the incident. So many
titans of politics and government - so much drama!

I don't know why I'm writing this to you, except perhaps
to note that as Frigyes Karinthy proposed in his 1929
short story, "Chains", we are all connected by six degrees
of separation. Other writers to E-Sylum mention George F.
Kuntz, and when I see his name what sparks in my mind
is his relation to the Lusitania and his role as a minor
player in the unfolding of that momentous event. And
this is what I love about numismatics. Go figure..."


Last week I noted that Saint-Gaudens' son Homer was
associated with the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and
recalled a story that Homer had arranged to donate an
extremely high relief double eagle to the Museum's

Roger Burdette writes: "This is very interesting. In
1908 Augusta Saint-Gaudens was sold one of the two EHR
$20 from the Philadelphia Mint collection at the
direction of President Roosevelt. Augusta later gave
the coin to Homer. According to Dr. Duffy at the SGNHS
the coin was not part of the material transferred to the
National Park Service and no one seemed to know what
happened to Homer's EHR $20. If Homer donated his coin
to the Carnegie Museum and the holdings were later sold,
it may be possible to trace the coin's present owner.
This would be the only EHR example with any direct
connection to the Saint-Gaudens family."

[It would indeed be interesting to verify this tale.
Glenn was a fountain of knowledge about the Carnegie's
collection, but unfortunately he's gone now and I have
no documentation of the story other than my own poor
memory.  I definitely recall Glenn telling me a coin
donated by Homer was misplaced, and I'm very sure it
was a high relief $20 Saint.  Was it an extremely high
relief?  That's the way I recall the story, but I could
be wrong or perhaps Glenn was.  He told the story a
number of times; some of our E-Sylum readers are members
of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society, and may
have their own recollections of the tale.  Even if it
wasn't an EHR, it still makes for an interesting story
- even a plain -ol' high relief is a scarce and valuable
coin to misplace, even temporarily.

I believe there were four sales of the Carnegie numismatic
holdings in New York, London, and Zurich.  A review of
the catalogs would at least confirm whether or not a high
relief $20 was sold by the museum, and if so, the catalog
description might note the provenance.  The only sale I
have handy is the March 24-26 New York sale by Spink &
Son USA, held at the Vista International Hotel at the
World Trade Center.  This was the third sale in the series.
Lot 871 is described as "Double-eagle, 1907, Saint-Gaudens
type, high relief, wire edge. Two edge bruises on reverse
at 4:00; very slight cabinet friction, otherwise as struck
and choice."   It does NOT say the piece is an EHR example,
only "high relief".  -Editor]

Roger adds: "The situation actually extends to the $10
plain edge pattern and several HR $20s once at the Aspet
studio. These and all the gold medals went missing from the
S-G property. I suspect that a careful investigation would
show some interesting gold specimens "appearing" out of
thin air at some auction or other in the 1970s or later.
I doubt that the Carnegie had an EHR $20 - even 50 yr ago
it was too well known to be casually overlooked.

It seems that museum and public collections like to have
a specimen owned by someone famous, but then forget to
properly identify the pieces. The Mitchelson collection
in CT has one HR $20 from Henry Hering but there's no way
to tell which coin it is, or if it was one of those sold
some years ago. A bunch of the ANS coins came from George
Kunz, although Huntington or others may have reimbursed
him for the cost.

Maybe my book on the S-G & Pratt gold designs will pop
some items out of the woodwork."


Dave Perkins writes: "I recently learned that the
Massachusetts Historical Society has an online catalog,
with quite a few historical and numismatic references.
I entered a number of searches, both numismatic and
genealogical (both my Perkins and my Strong families
date back to the 1630s in Massachusetts).  One search
turned up an interesting and different type of pedigree
on a Spanish Milled Dollar dated 1773, as follows:

“1773 Spanish Milled silver dollar (modified pillar
series), stained with blood [my apologies…] from the
Battle of Bunker Hill, enclosed in a frame with a note
signed by Nathaniel Greenough.  The note explains that
the dollar was taken from a “British soldier’s woman”
by Greenough’s sister Hannah a few days after the
battle in 1775.  Also includes a tax bill to Greenough.”

It’s not often we learn where an old silver dollar
was in 1773-5.

A second item was more of a personal interest to me,
and references a shipment of gold dollars:

“Documents regarding the shipment of $40,000 Spanish-milled
gold dollars to Batavia (Jakarta) aboard ship Rebecca, by
James and T. H. Perkins.  Includes justice of the peace
certificate for William Stevenson signed by Mass. Gov.
Caleb Strong, declaration, invoice, and bill of lading.”

This had double interest for me.  The first interest was
of course numismatic.  The second, I’m distantly related
to Gov. Caleb Strong (1745-1819) on my mother’s side of
the family (she was a Strong).  I’m also distantly related
to these two Perkins.

If interested, here is the web address for the Massachusetts
Historical Society online catalog: Online Catalog
Click on the ABAGAIL Online Catalog, and enjoy!"


Dick Johnson writes: "The Senate passed legislation last
week that authorized the U.S. Mint to strike presidential
dollar coins, much like the successful statehood quarter
dollar program. It's similar to House bill passed earlier
this year; backers say President Bush is sure to sign this
bill into law.

In addition to the presidential dollar coins, it authorizes
changing the reverse of the Lincoln Cent in 2009, the
bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The cent design
change had been proposed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial
Commission. Perhaps you read it first here in The E-Sylum back
in June 2004 (vol 7, no 26) when first notice was published
of their desire for cent design ideas.

The Senate bill (S. 1047) retains the concept of the four
reverse designs proposed by the Lincoln Commission, each
for a different period in Lincoln’s life and honoring three
states in which Lincoln lived and worked plus Washington DC
where he was president. The states are: Kentucky for his
birth and early childhood; Indiana for his formative years;
and Illinois for his professional life where he practiced law.

The bill further authorizes a $10 bullion coin series bearing
images of the First Ladies.

The issuance of U.S. coins honoring states and now
presidents follow closely the concept of private medal
series in half-dollar size issued forty years ago. Popularity
of president medal series and state series by Presidential
Art of Vandalia Ohio, led to a third series – Signers of the
Declaration of Independence Series. Could this foretell the
prospect for a future series for the U.S. Mint? The medal
series was popular for the patriots in America’s formative
years, particularly those founders who were not presidents,
like Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. All three series
were created by one artist, Ralph Joseph Menconi (1915-1972)
in contrast to the artistic hegemony which has created the

These medals are more than "associated items" to the coins
-- they are the same subjects! I see exhibits of both coin
and medal series side-by-side in the future.

If you wish to read about the law passed last week, click on: Full Story

David M. Sundman forwarded the following update from the
Office of Senator John Sununu on the Presidential
$1 coin Act.  It's a lengthy law with many provisions.

"The United States Senate today (11/18) approved bipartisan
legislation introduced by Senator John Sununu (R-NH) that
would place images of U.S. presidents on a new $1 coin.
The "Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005" (S. 1047) - which
71 senators co-sponsored - aims to bolster circulation of
the $1 coin, generating millions of dollars for consumers,
businesses, and the federal government."

"S. 1047 is based on the successful 50-State Quarter
Program established by Congress in 1997. That program
has helped renew interest in coins, coin collecting and
the history of our nation's states in addition to
quadrupling the number of quarters in circulation and
earning the federal government millions of dollars.
According to the Government Accountability Office, a
fully circulating dollar coin would earn as much as
$500 million a year for the government. The revenues
reflect the difference between the costs of making the
coin and the amount of worth it carries in commerce,
equaling about $0.80 for each $1 coin.

Specifically, Sununu's legislation:

* Places the images of four U.S. presidents on the
dollar coin each year, in the order of their service,
until all are so honored, starting in 2007;

* Features the Statue of Liberty on the reverse side
of the coin;

* Locates significant information, such as the date
and the so-called mintmark, on the edge of the coin;

* Provides for the Sacagawea coin to continue to be
issued during the Presidential Coin Program; upon
termination of the program, all $1 coins will revert
to the Sacagawea design;"

* Requires the federal government to use the dollar
coin in all of its retail operations;

* Requires that dollar coins be available in convenient
forms, including rolls and small bags, enabling businesses
to use the coins easily;

* Takes steps to address problems created by the
co-circulation of the Susan B. Anthony coin with new
dollar coins;

* Creates a new pure-gold bullion coin to honor
presidential spouses, generating excitement about
the series, and appealing to collectors and investors;

* Creates a new, pure-gold bullion, one-ounce coin with
the image of the so-called "Indian Head" or "Buffalo"
nickel - a popular design for investment; and

* Calls for the issuing of newly designed pennies to
celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of
Abraham Lincoln."


This week's featured web page is suggested by Roger
deWardt Lane.  He writes: "While searching for pictures
of British coins I came across this short but very well
done page.

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.

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