The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 03, January 15, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Amber N. Thompson of the
American Numismatic Association library (courtesy of Jane
Colvard), Scott DeGuilo, Harry Rescigno and Mark Rush.
But wait - there's more!  From the Montgomery County Coin
Club (meeting in Silver Spring, MD) are Bob Eisemann, David
Aaron, Wayne Mitchell, Jerold Roschwalb, Wayne Wilcox,
Stanley Olesh, Steve Lokey, Jack Schadegg, Scott Barman,
Andrew Luck, Donald McKee, Ken Huff, Pat Hollaway.  Welcome
aboard!  We now have 851 subscribers.

I had the pleasure of attending the Montgomery County Coin
Club meeting on Tuesday, where I passed around a signup
sheet for The E-Sylum.  I came at the invitation of Roger
Burdette, who gave a wonderful presentation based on his
research for his books on the Renaissance of American Coinage.
His talk focused on the creation of the Standing Liberty
Quarter and Peace Dollar.

Referring to last week's technical tribulations with my
hotel's wireless network, David Palmer writes: "I want to
thank you for taking the time and trouble you did to get
this issue out to us! Sitting in the car? You will do
whatever you need to, won't you?"

Well, I was able to transfer to another room with a
decent wireless connection, so we're back in business.
In this issue I get caught up with a couple topics that
had to slip from the last issue, including Kevin Flynn's
new book on the 1894-S Dime, and Karl Moulton's new price

The U.S. Mint has been busy - the new 2006 Nickels and
Nevada Quarters are on the way.  Also back in the news are
some subjects we've touched on before: the Jacob Perkins mint
building in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and the nearby trial
of the roofers who discovered a hoard of old U.S. currency.
And if you ever wondered about whether you could ever get a
coin back out of a Lucite toilet seat (and even if you haven't)
... stay tuned.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
held a meeting at the annual Florida United Numismatists (FUN)
show in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, January 7, 2006. There
were 23 people who entered their names on the sign-up sheet
and there were several more who we missed. NBS President Pete
Smith welcomed all and talked about the advantages in becoming
a member of NBS. Fred Lake then introduced the featured
speaker, David Crenshaw. David is Director of Numismatic
Research for Whitman Products and the title of his presentation
was "What is black and white and read all over?" This was an
outstanding review of the history of the "Guide Book of United
States Coins (the Redbook)" and the colorful slides gave a
clear picture of the various stages of its development. The
editor of the "Redbook", Ken Bressett spent quite some time
fielding questions from the audience and had a wealth of
information to share.

A door prize of a 2006 special edition leather-bound
"Redbook" presented by David Crenshaw was won by Wanda Mize.

Those in attendance were: Pete Smith, Fred Lake, David
Crenshaw, Ken Bressett, Howard A. Daniel III, Bill Cowburn,
Jerry Kochndel, John Eshbach, Amanda Rondot, Walter Mize,
Wanda Mize, Tom Sebring, Bob Fritsch, Chuck Heck, Dennis
Schafluetzel, Dennis Tucker, Cliff Mishler, George Fitzgerald,
Martin Gengerke, Robert Kaufmann, Alan Workman, Nick Boccuzzi
and Alan Davisson."

[Great turnout! Fred took provided some photos of the event,
and thanks to our webmaster Bruce Perdue, these have been
posted to the NBS web site: FUN Photo's

I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but I'm glad so many members
and friends of NBS turned out for the meeting.  Thanks again
to David Crenshaw for sharing his presentation with us, and
thanks to Fred for both organizing the event and following
up with a great report.

Fred's already casting about for speakers for next year's
meeting.  If you'd like to make a presentation, or suggest
someone you'd like to hear, let us know.  -Editor]


It wasn't all fun and games at FUN.  Readers are urged to
be aware of coin show security and be on the lookout for
stolen material in the numismatic marketplace.  Ralph Winter
writes: "Saturday night, somewhere between 7pm and 8:30pm
the automobile of Archie Taylor was broken into at the
Chevy's Mexican restaurant in Kissimmee, FL with the entire
collection of HOBO NICKELS taken. Also included in the
heist was the 21/2 years worth of carvings by Keith Pederson
from N. J. and the works of Owen Covert from California.

Pederson and Covert are modern carvers that came to the
Orlando area and the FUN show to meet the members of OHNS
and see the area with their families.

The culprits followed the car from the Orange County
Convention Center and took only the coin cases and left
all personal belonging in the trunk."

"The Orange County Sheriff's office is conducting the
search for the coins that include, over 800 original
carvings by Pederson, Covert, and up to 50 or more
modern and original carvers of HOBO NICKELS.

Many Coins taken were purchased at the OHNS auction
that Saturday AM and will be easy to identify thru
pictures and Carvers initials ..KP ... OC ... CdA ....
AA ... GW .... WE .... JA .... also taken was the 83-coin
collection of Wabon Eddings. The majority of the newer
coins are signed, the older coins are in a DANSCO Book.
Gallery Mint museum tokens were included in the heist.

For more information contact. Orange County Sheriff's
Office, D/S Joe Warren at 407-737-2400 or Archie Taylor
863-603-7514 or

Photos of some of the stolen hobo nickels can be viewed at:
Stolen Hobo Nickels


Bill Malkmus writes: "In the recent Winter 2005 ANS Magazine,
Frank Campbell, in his "Library News" (pp. 36-37) discusses
(with illustrations) the six glass negatives for Gilbert's
half-cent book which were recently donated to the ANS.

He concludes: "A detailed account of the various printings
of Gilbert's work is presented by P. Scott Rubin in an article
entitled "The Printing History of the Gilbert Half Cent Book."
The article appeared in the Spring 1992 issue of The Asylum,
and is the source of some of the information presented here."

[The Asylum is the quarterly print journal of The
Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  While The E-Sylum is free,
The Asylum is mailed only to members of NBS.  Instructions
for joining are included at the end of each E-Sylum.
Membership is only $15 to addresses in the U.S., $20
elsewhere.  So what are you waiting for?  -Editor]


Karl Moulton has published his January 2006 fixed
price list of United States Numismatic Literature
1855 to Date.  The 54-page list offers hundreds of
items.  For more information, see his web site at


Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books' sale #83 of numismatic
literature is now ready for viewing on our web site at: Lake Books Curent Sale

Part III of the Clarence Rareshide library contains 500
lots covering all facets of the numismatic experience.
The closing date is February 7, 2006 at 5:00 PM (EST).
Bids will be accepted via email, fax, telephone or US Mail.
Good Luck with your bidding!"


This week the U.S. Mint began shipping the new 2006
"Return to Monticello" to the banking system, according
to a Press Release published January 12th:

"Pouring hundreds of shiny, new 2006 nickels from a silver
goblet designed by President Thomas Jefferson, officials
at the United States Mint launched into circulation today
the Nation’s first circulating coin that features the image
of a United States President facing forward. The Nation’s
coinage has depicted profiles of presidents for nearly a
century. This new image of President Thomas Jefferson is
based on a Rembrandt Peale portrait of Jefferson, painted
in 1800."

"The new coin completes the United States Mint’s popular
Westward Journey Nickel Seriesâ„¢ that commemorates the
bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and
Clark expedition."

The forward-looking 2006 nickel obverse (heads side) was
designed by Concord, North Carolina, artist Jamie Franki,
who was inspired by the Rembrandt Peale painting of 1800.
United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donna Weaver sculpted
the new nickel obverse. As on the 2005 nickels, the word
“Liberty” in Thomas Jefferson’s own handwriting has been
inscribed on the nickel obverse. Jamie Franki’s forward-
looking image of Thomas Jefferson was selected from 147
design candidates submitted by the United States Mint
sculptor-engravers and artists from throughout the country
in the United States Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program.
Franki also designed the reverse image on the 2005
American Bison nickel."

To read the complete press release, see: Press Release

Here are a couple stories from the mainstream press:
Full Story
Full Story


The Nevada State Bank put out a press release this
week on the upcoming launch ceremony for the Nevada

"As the bank of the Nevada Quarter Launch, Nevada State
Bank will be the first bank to offer the new quarter to
the general public at a kick-off event scheduled for
January 31, 2006, at the Capitol Grounds in Carson City,
NV at 10:00 a.m.  At the launch, Nevada State Bank will
provide a quarter exchange where the public will be able
to purchase a $10 roll of newly minted Nevada State

"Beginning February 1, 2006, the Nevada Quarter will be
available to the general public in most Nevada State
Bank branches throughout Nevada."

"The Nevada Quarter will be the first state quarter to
be released by the United States Mint in 2006 and the
36th quarter to be released as a part of the 50 State
Quarters(R) Program."

To read the complete press release, see: Press Release


We can add to our list of one-coin books.  Last week Coin
World ran a front-page article on an upcoming book by Kevin
Flynn: "The 1894-S Dime, A Mystery Unraveled".  Based on
research in the National Archives, the book addresses the
myths and mysteries surrounding this rare product of the
San Francisco Mint.  According to the article, the
book will be available beginning January 22.  Five hundred
softcover and a limited number of hardcover editions are
being printed.

"The softcover edition is priced at $32.95 and hardcover
is priced at $90 plus $5 postage for all orders.  Copies
may be reserved by sending a check or money order to Kevin
Flynn, P.O. Box 538, Rancocas, NJ 08073, or e-mail him at"

Elements of the story include published accounts by
Farran Zerbe in The Numismatist in April 1928, and a
February 1951 Numismatic Scrapbook article.  "The Usual
Suspect" in the traditional speculation on the dimes'
creation was San Francisco Mint Superintendent John Daggett,
but Flynn discovered that Daggett "wasn't even on the job
due to an attack of sciatica."

"The National Archives absolutely show that the 24 1894-S
Barber Dimes were struck on June 9, 1894.  National archive
records also show that several collectors wrote to the San
Francisco Mint directly and learned of the 24 1894-S Barber
Dimes in early 1895."

Kevin Flynn adds: "The book is 130 pages, 8-1/2 by 11.
There is much previously unpublished information on the
1894-S in this book, such as when and how many 1894-S dime
dies were sent from Philadelphia to San Francisco, what
drove coin production at the San Francisco Mint, what
collectors were told in 1894 and 1895 about the 1894-S dimes,
why the 1894-S dimes were struck, how many dies were sent
back to Philadelphia, and how many were melted.......

There were five 1894-S dimes submitted for assay; two were
sent on June 9th, 1894, the day they were struck.  The assay
is an important part of the story.  Each of the silver coins
submitted for assay for 1894 was recorded to get a better
picture.  These five coins were sent to the Philadelphia and
Washington D.C. for assay, San Francisco had their own assay
department which assayed thousands of coins per year.  The
assay of these coins show that the Mint was not trying to
hide them, that the Philadelphia and Director of the Mint
in Washington D.C. knew they were struck.  Of course this
is not true for many of the other great rarities such as
the 1913 Liberty nickel or the 1884 and 1885 Trade Dollars.

For many of the more important documents, the archive letters
are scanned in so that you can see the original.

These are just some of the issues researched, there were
many pieces to the puzzle to solve the mystery, such as
discovering who was the source of Farran Zerbe's 1928
article on the 1894-S dimes, which he learned from the
Mint in 1905.  Learn why this had to be Charles Gorham,
the coiner at the San Francisco Mint in 1894."

[Three cheers for Coin World Editor Beth Deisher's editorial
in the January 16th issue.  Referring specifically about the
writings of Flynn and Roger Burdette, she writes: "Thanks to
a small cadre of researchers and writers, today's collectors
and those in the future will have the opportunity to know much
more about U.S. coins than the collectors of yesteryear.
That's because these researchers are not content to just repeat
the coin lore that has been handed down for generations.  They
are taking the time and making the effort to locate original
sources and documents that detail the whos, whys, whens, wheres
and hows involving the coins we collect.  Often their findings
confirm and expand previously published information.  But
sometimes their research relegates previously held theories
and accounts to myth and legend status."  Amen.  -Editor]


On Saturday, January 14, The Guardian published a review
of a new book on one of the most famous coins in the world:

"A Silver Legend: The Story of the Maria Theresa Thaler
by Clara Semple 178pp, Barzan Publishing, £19.95

"At Talh market in northern Yemen, I once watched an old
man pay for a fresh clip of Kalashnikov ammunition with
some weighty silver coins. Neither Yemeni or Saudi riyals,
these reassuringly hefty discs were date-stamped 1780 and
bore the image of a large busty woman on one side, an
impressively feathery eagle on the other. They were silver
dollars of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the woman was
Maria Theresa, empress from 1740 to 1780.

Despite generous offers from the market-trader to sell me
various machine guns, bazookas and even a tank ("only two
days to deliver!"), I bought the money from him instead,
paying a small premium to avoid some obvious forgeries.
Little did I know that in some senses all the coins were
forgeries, and a bright copy made in the sands of Talh the
day before was at least as interesting as my supposed
originals. Those, as Clara Semple points out in her
intriguing book, could easily have been minted in Birmingham
in the 1950s, or Brussels, London, Paris, Bombay, Rome or
Vienna at some time in the previous two centuries - almost
all had that 1780 date. As for rarity, around 400 million
are known to have been issued in that period.

The tale of how this particular coin came to be such a
cornerstone of trade for so long - a true international
currency - starts with the first voyages of discovery,
when merchants found that many remote peoples wanted silver
bullion in exchange for their goods, certainly not English
woollens. And yet verifying silver content is neither simple
or practical: a coin that could be trusted was the answer."

"Once traders began using the coin down the Red Sea,
particularly in the burgeoning coffee trade, they found
demand was insatiable. Not only did the silver content make
them reliably valuable, the handsome currency made excellent
jewellery with the added appeal of being something of a
fertility fetish. On that score, I would have liked a few
words from the various people, mainly women, who are depicted
in the book - the photographs are wonderful - all wearing the
Maria Theresa dollar.

What we do get, however, is some sterling anecdote. When
Barclays Bank opened a branch in Addis Ababa in 1941, the
cashiers were inundated with deposits of the coins, often
retrieved from where the owners had buried them. The process
of counting was so arduous that one teller devised a gas mask
to survive the dust. Travellers found the Maria Theresa both
a curse and a blessing. Wilfred Thesiger, setting out to cross
the Empty Quarter, was forced to take 2,000 coins, a
substantial weight, but the only currency anyone would accept
in the desert."

To read the full review, see: Full Story


Paul Landsberg writes: "I always enjoy reading E-Sylum.
I saw "book binding" mentioned.   Do you have a reliable
person who can repair books?  The leather at the spine
of an 1800s book I have has completely detached so I
would like to have this book re-bound or repaired.  I
don't know the terminology.  Any recommendations?  Maybe
the readers have one.  Book repair appears to be an
arcane art and I haven't found any in all of my numismatic
travels.   Obviously I am curious about people's

[It's been a while since we touched on this subject, and
it's ripe for revisiting.  Some of the craftsman
recommended by our readers in the past include:

Longs-Roullet Bookbinders, Norfolk, Virginia

Alan Grace, Jacksonville, Florida

Any other recommendations?  -Editor]


Who says you can't take it with you?  Arthur Shippee
forwarded this article, which was noted this week in
The Explorator Newsletter.  He writes: "Chinese
archaeologists have excavated what appears to be a
Yuan dynasty tomb of a coin collector:

"Archaeologists in northwest China's Shaanxi Province
have discovered an ancient tomb, possibly of a coin
collector, dating back more than 600 years.

During a recent excavation at a Yuan Dynasty
(1271-1368) tomb in the suburb of Xi'an, capital of
Shaanxi, archaeologists found over 150 coins of
different dynasties, together with 60 ceramic utensils.

Twenty kinds of coins were in circulation in the dynasties
of Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279) and Jin (1115-1234),
spanning about 600 years. They might have been collected
by the owner of the tomb who was interested in ancient coins,
archaeologists reckoned."

"Archaeologists have also unearthed 259 Wuzhu coins, the
common currency in wide circulation during the Han Dynasty
(206 BC-220 AD), in a recent excavation in Pingli County
of the history-laden Shaanxi Province."

Full Story


Larry Gaye writes: "Regarding landmark numismatic works -
while not pertaining to U.S. numismatics, one in my
opinion is "Monnaies Byzantines" by Rodolfo Ratto on
December 9, 1930, the first sale of a private collection
of Byzantine coinage that served as an information source
for collectors.  Not until David Sear published "Byzantine
Coins and Their Values" in 1974 was there a comprehensive
"guide" to this important series."

David Palmer writes: "With regard to Landmark Numismatic
Literature, I would nominate the EAC '75 Sale catalog.
Due to the fact that so many varieties of Connecticut
Coppers were illustrated and described, I believe it
revolutionized collecting in that area of Confederation
era coinage. Before this catalog, all the collector had
was Dr. Hall's manuscript, when you could find it, with
no pictures whatever. Collecting Connecticuts up to this
time was difficult, at best. Interestingly enough, to me
at least, is that I started collecting Large Cents and
Connecticuts in 1980, joined EAC, and never heard of
that catalog, until about 1986, when I was able to pick
up the catalog at a local coin show, along with the
Kessler-Spangenberger Sale for about $5 for the pair.
One of my better non coin purchases."

Michael E. Marotta writes; "Walter Breen's Complete
Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins created the
current standard for academic scholarship in numismatics.
The footnotes, references, documentation, and citations
made it necessary for any subsequent work to deliver the
same craftsmanship.  For a generation now, numismatic
histories cite sources: the newspapers and journals of
the time; and previous articles and books.  Beyond "U.S.
and Colonial" issues, all knowledgeable collectors expect
more from auction listings than "Coin. Date. Ruler's
Head/Legend. Eagle/Legend. Price."  Minimalist listings
define common material, while truly desirable objects
earn solid attributions.

Breen also "cracked the code" of the U.S. Mint.  He made
estimates of actual coin production by year, despite the
tallying methods for which all coins struck in a fiscal
year were counted alike, regardless of the numerals in
the exergues.  That dedicated investigation set the
standard for the best writing in our hobby."

Bill Bremmer writes: "I would nominate B. Max Mehl's
The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia and Premium Catalogue.
Supposedly it got millions of people looking through
their change."


In response to the query about Photograde which kicked
off the discussion of landmark numismatic books, Kenneth
Bressett writes: "I do not know much about the early
editions of Photograde, but can add the following:
First printing was August 1970. The fourth printing was
January 1971. The fifth printing, with revisions, was
August 1972. The latest printing (I believe) is the 19th,
with a 2005 copyright date.  The three printings in 1970
were in August, September, and October. Other copyright
dates are: 1983, 1988, 1990 and 1995.


Dick Hanscom writes: "Here is an article about Perkins of
Newburyport from the Newburyport Daily News:

"One of the city's most historic buildings is eyed for
residential use once again by the property owner.

The nearly 200-year-old brick building at the rear of a
Fruit Street lot was the state's earliest mint. It served
as the workshop for Newburyport's greatest inventor,
Jacob Perkins, who created an engraving process for steel
plates to print bank notes. Perkins' pioneering technique
was eventually used to print all U.S. currency.

"It's important because of not only what went on there,
but by whom," said Jay Williamson, curator of the Historical
Society of Old Newbury. Perkins "was an inventive genius."

Owner James Lagoulis, a Newburyport lawyer and former Newbury
town counsel, wants to turn the vacant and deteriorating
building into an apartment. His proposal will be reviewed
by the Zoning Board of Appeals at 7 tonight at City Hall."

"In 2004, citing a need for immediate repairs or demolition,
Lagoulis went to the Historical Commission. At that time,
he spoke of going before the Zoning Board of Appeals to win
approval for some other use for the building.

The commission issued a six-month delay for demolition,
the maximum allowed at the time. It has since expired.
Lagoulis can legally tear down the structure.

But Lagoulis said demolition is not his intent.

"I have a civic obligation to save this building of
historical significance, and I'm doing my best to do that,"
Lagoulis said. "Residential use is the most viable use and
probably the best use for the neighborhood."

"In order to save the building, you (have) to make them
usable," Lagoulis said. "It's a matter of cost to repair
and revenues."

The building needs work. In 2004, the chimney collapsed
and fell through to the first floor.

"I can't allow it to fall into disrepair," Lagoulis said.
"It's vacant because of the lack of stability. It's a
historic building of significant meaning. It's a landmark."

The historical society thinks the building could serve as
an addition to the Cushing House museum.

"We would love to be in the position to buy (the building)
for a fair market value," Williamson said. "We're not in
the position to do that because of lack of funds. We
certainly favor seeing that building preserved any way it
could, so long as work is done to preserve the historic
integrity of the building."

In the early 1800s, Perkins, who lived from 1766 to 1849,
created a process to soften steel to engrave and reharden
bank notes, making them much harder to counterfeit.
Earlier printing processes used copper plates.

"It was a revolutionary process that allowed banks to be
more secure," Williamson said.

By 1809, Perkins' steel engraving plates were used for
printing all currency in Massachusetts. In 1815, his
equipment was selected for national use.

"It was important on a national level," Williamson said.
"That's what went on here in that mint building."

[The story has already been pulled from the paper's web
site, so we don't have a link to publish. -Editor]

Dave Perkins writes:  "This is the building that I saw
and "touched" when I visited Newburyport a couple of years
ago (as reported in The E-Sylum).  I went through the
back yard / gardens of the Newburyport Historical Society
to the building guided by the then curator.  I also saw
Jacob Perkins' House from the front.  So I am familiar
with all the logistics from this article.

It would be a shame to tear that building down. I think
my 1818 "Perkins Pattern Cent" might have been created
in that building.  I doubt I will tell the Cent what is
going on - it's lonely enough as it is in the bank.
But it is loved!"

[David's report was published in The E-Sylum June 8, 2003.
He is a distant relative of Jacob Perkins.


The Newburyport Daily News is the source of another
numismatic story, also forwarded to us by Dick Hanscom.
The New England roofers who gained national publicity
over their concocted story of finding a paper money
hoard buried in a back yard are now on trial.  The hoard
was actually found on a barn they were repairing, and
now they're in court on theft charges.

"Finders keepers. That's the latest defense of four men
whose story of buried backyard treasure brought them
national fame, then felony charges.

Police say the men, Barry Billcliff, 27, of Manchester,
N.H.; Kevin Kozak, 28, of Methuen; Matthew Ingham, 24,
of Newton, N.H.; and Timothy A. Crebase, 25, of Methuen,
concocted the buried-treasure story to cover the theft
of more than $1 million worth of antique currency from
a Newbury barn last spring.

But in a motion filed this week at Lawrence District
Court, lawyers for the foursome are asking the state to
dismiss all charges because police have no evidence the
money was stolen.

According to the argument, the bills are abandoned
property because nobody knew they were stashed in the
barn rafters."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read an earlier E-Sylum article on the
paper money hoard, see: esylum_v08n18a09.html


Or "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..........I'm Hunting Books (ala
Elmer Fudd)"  Paul Landsberg writes: "Readers of The
E-Sylum are well versed in the quirks of good reference
books for various fields of numismatics.  My specialty,
ancient coins, tends to have very low printing runs and
quite often times the value of a particular reference
book doesn't become clear until years later.   OK, maybe
that is an excuse, maybe this poor writer just doesn't
realize the value of a book in time.

Case in point would be a relatively recent book (1990)
by Raffaele Paolucci, "The coinage of the Doges of Venice."
Around 1991 or so I discovered Venetian grossos (thin
medieval silver coins of Venice) and when I called the ANA
library they lent me Paolucci's book.  It is a coffee table
style book with one page in Italian, the opposing page in
English.   While of limited value to a numismatist, it
was the absolute best work encapsulating Venetian grossos.
Unfortunately I was in the death throes of a Ph.D. and I
never bought the book.   Seven years later I dredged up
memories and starting hunting this book.   Over hill and
over dale goeth the passionate book hound sniffing under
rocks and trees, with nary a whiff to be found.

This story had a happy ending around 2001.  By chance I
located two European firms that had the book;  Jean Elsen
and Paolucci (an Italian firm, no relation).   I actually
ordered five copies to pass along to fellow collectors
who had similarly been stymied.   As any of you who have
played the intrepid huntsman and located "THE BOOK" you
can empathize with my glee.

More recently I had picked up a large grouping of Persian
sigloi and to my dismay the best reference article on
these coin types were in a British Musuem publication
that had also contained the seminal work on some stunning
and near unique silver decadrachms found in Turkey.
Colleagues shook their heads and quietly whispered "good
luck."  To arms, to arms, let the hunt begin!!

This time I decided to be somewhat more systematic in my
hunt and also to use the fullest power of the Internet
to my advantage.   My phone calls and inquiries went out
to CNG, Jean Elsen, John Burns, John Lavender, and Svetolik
Kovacevic, all highly respected numismatists or book
dealers (if I forgot any, please forgive me).   All
indicated the extreme scarcity of this reference but
promised to keep a look out.  At the same time I employed
Google and many of the book search sites.  As a final
tactic I put in a standing "want" onto at a
certain price and condition.  This means that if the book
is located, it is shipped.  Drumroll please................
while I had to renew my standing want with Amazon 3-4 times,
I received a note from their automated system about 18
months after starting the hunt, "your book has shipped."
Once again another hunt successfully concluded.  Amazon
truthfully wasn't how I expected to acquire this book.

My latest hunt that I just embarked on is a search to
purchase a copy of:  Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of
the Third Century, EM Besley, Roger Bland, British Museum
Publication, 1983.  My first volley of contacts have all
been unsuccessful but this hunter has patience ..........
when I am forced to.  Do contact me if you know of a
copy for sale.

As readers of The E-Sylum, I'm sure you each have a
method for hunting "that book you just gotta have."
How about you share some of your steps in locating those
types of books?"

[I'm sure all of us have our favorite fishing holes,
and equally sure that no one source is ever the be-all
and end-all of book hunting. Congratulations to Paul on
his perseverance via Amazon to locate a scarce title.

My own "shotgun" approach, as I've mentioned before,
is expensive but effective - I basically buy a copy of
any new book remotely related to my interests as soon
as it comes out.  Then I don't have to worry about
playing catch up later.  Plenty of titles become
available more cheaply later, but a number do end up
being hard to find.   Financing this binge-buying is
difficult, and with all the great new U.S. titles
released recently I'm having to be much more
selective.  -Editor]


Dr K.A. Rodgers of Thynges Wrytten Down, New Zealand,
writes: “I spotted your item on the Victoria Cross in
the last newsletter.  The timing of the donation is
highly appropriate. I presume you are aware that 29
January 2006 is the 150th anniversary of the inauguration
of the Cross by Queen Victoria.

Part of the Cross's mystique is that it each is made
from cannon metal at the cost of a few cents each; no
precious metal is ever associated with them.

Trivia question for the military numismatists: How does
the present Canadian VC differ from all others?  I’m
unaware of any other mints getting in on the anniversary
act so far, but watch this space.”

Steve Woodland writes: "As a military man and a coin
collector, I was very pleased to see the article in the
latest E-Sylum (v9#02) about the Merrifield family's
donation of William Merrifield's Victoria Cross medal to
the Canadian War Museum.  It is an even more intriguing
story when you realize that 2006 marks the sesquicentennial
of the Victoria Cross, which was initiated by Queen
Victoria in 1856.  To commemorate this anniversary, the
Royal Canadian Mint has struck three new dollar coins,
each figuring a reproduction of the Victoria Cross on the
reverse: one in proof silver with selective gold plating
(available only in the proof set); one in proof silver;
and one in brilliant uncirculated silver.  Here is a
small history of the Victoria Cross, taken from the RCM's

"From the cascabels of Russian cannons that were captured
during the Crimean War (1854-1855), a great military honour
is forged. It is the Victoria Cross, the highest military
decoration that is awarded “…for most conspicuous bravery,
or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice,
or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.”

Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, a total 1,351
Victoria Crosses have been awarded to British and
Commonwealth military forces. Ninety-four of them have
been awarded to Canadians - 8 for acts of bravery carried
out prior to and during the South African War (1899-1902);
70 during the First World War (1914-1918); and 16 during
the Second World War (1939-1945).

The Victoria Cross is one of the most recognized military
medals in the world. It features a cross pattee with the
Royal Crown surmounted by a lion guardant and a scroll
inscribed with For Valour. The date of the act is engraved
within a raised circle on the reverse. The cross is suspended
from a straight bar which has the rank, unit and name of the
recipient engraved on the back. In 1993, a special Canadian
version was instituted. It is identical to the original with
the exception that [see next week's issue for the Quiz answer!

The coins can be ordered from the Royal Canadian Mint


In a recent post to the colonial coins mailing list, Ray
Williams writes: "I am not an author, but I know a number
of authors in colonial numismatics.  Some haven't published
yet but have put hundreds or thousands of hours of work
into their research in preparation to publish.  If I put
that time into research, I don't think I would want to
necessarily want to give away info before I published -
that might take away the importance of my book to the
numismatic world.  I'm speculating here, as I am not an
author.  But as a collector, I find it frustrating that
these researchers are so close to completion but there is
no book!  I'd like to know what's going to be in the
book, but I have to wait like everyone else.  I'm aware
of three important books in this state.  I "encourage"
these authors when I see them, and I hope they don't take
my encouragement as nagging...  but I'm not getting any
younger!  I do think these researchers have a moral
obligation and responsibility to the hobby to publish,
but that's my personal feeling.  Sometimes the first 90%
of the book is written easily without problems, but the
last 10% can take forever.  Getting that last picture,
making that last confirmation, visiting that last museum...

I enjoy a thorough reference book, but sometimes in the
quest for perfection it doesn't get completed or the author
loses interest in the process.  How many unpublished
manuscripts are there?  Second editions exist for the
purpose of updating the first edition."

[So how many other "unfinished symphonies" are out there
in the numismatic literature world?  How many would-be
authors died before getting around to actually publishing
their work?  -Editor]


Chick Ambrass writes: "On the TV show "Commander-in-Chief"
Tuesday one scene, on the wall in the Oval
Office,  next to a door were a couple of wall hangings...
"pictures" of them appeared to be a type of shadow
box that had 12 circular objects displayed. Seen only for
a few seconds, there were 3 horizontal rows with 4 discs
per row. My guess would be that they were Morgan Dollar
size discs...a dozen of them. Is anyone aware of any coins
on display and hanging in the oval office?"


Dick Johnson writes: "To comment on Stephen Pradier and
Ralf W. Böpple’s item in last week’s E-Sylum: The toilet
seat embedded with coins has been around for 40 years.
while there are hundreds of American firms that do Lucite
embedments, not all of them have the mold †called "forms"
by these firms †of the toilet seat. The most common forms,
of course, are cubes and disks and such.

You CAN retrieve a coin or medal once it is embedded in
Lucite. At Medallic Art, where I once worked, we had medals
embedded in Lucite if that is what the customer wanted.
I got an inquiry once "How do I get the medal out of the

I called the best authority possible: the DuPont Company,
which makes Lucite. Some nice man in their public relations
department told me how:

Use a band saw to cut the Lucite as close to the coin or
medal as possible (without, of course, cutting into it).
Chip away with hammer and chisel even closer. Then dissolve
the remaining Lucite in warm galactic acetic acid. I Googled
"galactic acetic acid" only to learn it is found in space.
(Now I wonder if he was pulling my earth-bound leg.)

Does any E-Sylum reader / chemist know what dissolves
Lucite? Aren’t you amazed at what you learn reading
The E-Sylum?"


Dick Johnson writes: "Would you kindly repeat the use
of "site" with a keyword to find all the items in E-Sylum
archives in which that keyword is used?    Perhaps this
should appear at the end of every E-Sylum for those who
wish to dig a little deeper about a subject of interest."

[Dick is referring to the use of Google to search a specific
web site, particularly the NBS site containing the archive of
back E-Sylum issues.  Simply add "" to your
Google search string and your search will be restricted to
only pages on the NBS web site.  -Editor]


This week's featured web page is the Rootsweb page on
Jacob Perkins.  The page provides a summary biography of
this legendary numismatic figure, along with a large number
of links to web sites with images and information about his
life and work, including George Washington funeral medals
and starting the American Bank Note Company.

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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