The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V9 2006 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 13, March 26, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Sheldon Banoff, courtesy of
Dick Johnson, Richard Faubion and Nguyen Hung Hai.  Welcome
aboard!  We now have 869 subscribers.

Last week's lead item on Paul Franklin's prior counterfeiting
arrest generated a good deal of interest, and this week we lead
off with additional thoughts on the subject by Dave Bowers, Ken
Bressett and John Adams.

Good news for those of us who can't seem to get enough numismatic
literature - a new numismatic publication debuts next month - the
ANA Journal.  There is also a tantalizing tidbit about the possible
creation of a money museum at JP Morgan Chase bank.

Dick Johnson chimes in with comments on George Fuld's Scovill
visit, and word that Bob Heath's New England city medal catalogs
will continue.

In the news this week are the ongoing worker's suit at the U.S.
Mint in Denver and word that charges will be reinstated against
the Massachusetts roofers who concocted a story about their
discovery of a currency hoard.  A writer in California compares
the new $10 bill to "a circus ticket" and a New York paper
editorializes against the recent return of coins to Saudi Arabia.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Regarding John Kleeberg's item last week Dave Bowers writes:
"Interesting stuff on Paul Franklin. According to John J. Ford
a bunch of marvelous new discoveries were found by Franklin in
the "Blake estate," in Boston, descended from the Blake of Gold
Rush fame.

I was suspicious of these and did not rise to the opportunity
to publish Ford-supplied research about certain new coins.
However, another writer on territorial gold coins did so, and
a bunch of this was published in a book intended to be a
standard reference.

The Franklin technique seems to have been to find something
in historical records bearing the name of a person or firm
associated with the Gold Rush. A "new discovery" was then
presented, an item needing research. A writer, dealer, cataloguer,
or someone else was then guided toward contemporary directories,
history, etc., of the Gold Rush and was able to find that John
Doe did indeed go to San Francisco, or that John Smith was listed
as a jeweler or something else in a San Francisco directory or
newspaper or other account. This "proved" that the new item was,
in fact, made in San Francisco, etc. Then, a scenario was
constructed by the writer about John Doe going to San Francisco,
making gold coins or ingots, but "today little is known about
him" etc.

Some efforts were made to have certain pieces listed in the
Guide Book of United States Coins, but editor Ken Bressett
fended most off.

My fine friend John Adams takes the view that Ford had no idea
that these were fake, but swallowed Paul Franklin's stories

I am not aware that Ford ever manufactured anything, or had
"new" dies for old-looking things in his possession, or new
punches, etc. He openly credited Franklin for his amazing finds
and on occasion financed Franklin's forays into the Southwest,
seeking out new types of ingots, coins, etc.

I knew both Ford (well) and Franklin (in passing). Ford and
Franklin collaborated to create "Republic of Texas doubloons,"
with Walter Breen sworn to secrecy. However, Walter told me, I
discussed the project with Ford, he was upset to know that I
was aware (at the time Breen and Ford were in one of their
estranged periods), and promised me a souvenir doubloon.

According to Ford, this was but a caper to fool the know-it-all
experts in numismatics and, in particular, to sell one to John
Murrell, a Texan who bought a lot of gold coins.  After being
duly amazed, etc., etc., Murrell was to be told the real story,
a refund made, and a good laugh was to be enjoyed by all. Or,
that is how the story was told to me. New Netherlands had been
advertising to buy South American doubloons in The Numismatist.
The scenario was to have been that, surprise!, some incoming
doubloons were of a marvelous and hitherto unknown Republic of
Texas style, counterstamped on real doubloons.

I was told that Breen researched the type of lettering, etc.,
that was to be used, and that the die was to be made in Milan.
There is a somewhat related scenario in which Ford had Franklin
arrange to have made close copies of the Libertas Americana medal,
to be sold and described as copies, by First CoinVestors.  These
were made overseas and became a reality.

I never did see a Republic of Texas doubloon in the flesh, but
there is an illustration of one in Dr. Gregory Brunk's counterstamp

Ken Bressett adds: "I quite agree with all that Dave says, and
have independent confirmation of most of his observations. Over
the years a few questionable Territorial Gold pieces have found
their way into the Guide Book, but were quickly removed. Only one
piece now remains to be proven false, and that will someday be taken
out. In the mean time, it is a relatively harmless novelty that is
rare enough to be of little interest to the average collector, and
has been only the plaything of a couple of dealers."

John Adams adds: "Dave states my views on JJF/PGF accurately. As
an avid medal collector, I should add a comment regarding the
reproduction of the Libertas Americana. Ford's discovery of the
original dies in the Musee des Monnaies, where they had lain
uncatalogued for 200 years, was quite a coup.

The French had disavowed all knowledge of this American treasure
and only someone with JJF's knowledge and intensity would have
tracked down the prize. The dies were too rusty to be used but
transfer dies were made, with the resulting product aesthetically
pleasing on the one hand and in no danger of being confused with
an original on the other."


Dick Johnson writes: "Mary Mansfield, Robert Raymond Heath's
daughter, has informed me of the plans to continue the New England
city medal catalogs first created by Bob in 1977 and continued over
the last twenty-five years. Bob died December 11, 2005 (E-Sylum,
vol 8, no 54, article 2, December 25, 2005).

Sam Allen has agreed to take over both the New Hampshire and
Maine series. Bob Hewey will continue the Connecticut book. Peter
Irion was offered the Vermont cataloging chore. Bob's instructions
were to have Anne Bentley at the Massachusetts Historical Society
chose who will spearhead the Massachusetts series. For Rhode Island,
Bob's instructions were to have Richard Lavimodiere work that state,
he has replied he will "do what he can."

She further added "Bob started selling off his medal and coin
collection a few years ago.  However, we did find several coins
and medals in his file cabinet.  We are planning on contacting
the Centennial Auction company in NH to see what they think of
the collections."

May I offer a suggestion?  How wonderful it would be if these
catalogers would work together and perhaps cooperate with Illinois
numismatist Sheldon Banoff -- who collects city medals of ALL
American cities -- and compile one major catalog of the entire
nation. I know, collectors may only collect those of one state,
but how far more useful to the entire field to have all this
numismatic data in ONE reference volume.

I have mentioned in E-Sylum before the superior numbering system
created by Bob and used throughout his catalogs -- he numbered
every city in the state listed alphabetically -- then numbered
the medals in chronological order. How marvelous! And every medal,
old or new, could be added by this numbering system forever! It
is surprisingly easy to locate any specific medal by this system.

Perhaps E-Sylum readers -- who would be the ultimate consumers
of any United States city medal catalog -- would care to chime
in. What is your preference? One master volume or separate state


The following information is taken from a draft press release
forwarded by Barbara Gregory of the ANA:

"April will mark the debut of ANA JOURNAL (ANAJ), the American
Numismatic Association¹s new quarterly publication devoted to
advanced studies in numismatics. The inaugural Spring 2006 issue
highlights the proceedings of the Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin
Company Lecture Series presented at the ANA World's Fair of Money
in San Francisco in July 2005."

"The 64-page, first edition of the softbound journal is available
at the special, introductory price of $16.95 postpaid; an annual
subscription to the series is $65.95, with individual copies
regularly priced at $21.95.  Order from the ANA MoneyMarket,
phone toll-free 800-467-5725"

Featured articles include:
Q. David Bowers: Great Collectors & Their Collections
Peter Huntoon, Ph.D.: 73 Years of National Bank Currency
Douglas Mudd: Image and Republican Sovereignty
Christopher Pilliod: History of Die-Making in the United States
Wendell Wolka: The Dark Side of Antebellum Banking

".. the American Numismatic Association's new quarterly
publication [is] devoted to novel and emerging numismatics
and its relation to culture, art, science and history. ANAJ
is a peer-reviewed publication that reflects the research
efforts of numismatists and other scholars who use coins,
tokens, paper notes and other forms of money to study the
world around us. It examines money as a cultural icon, how
the necessity of distant trade led to the need for portable,
identifiable wealth, and what the future of money holds for us."

Gail Baker adds: "There is also information on the ANA website
at  Click on "ANA Journal" from the "communications"
drop-down menu or click on the link from the homepage under
"News and Upcoming Events."


Dick Johnson writes: "The American Numismatic Association needs
money or space, or perhaps both. Their Winter 2006 "Money Market"
flyer arrived this week featuring a warehouse clearance sale.
Lots of books with other products as well.

Here is a chance for E-Sylum readers to fill in some gaps in
their library at a savings. Clearance books are listed on page
3 and 4. I smiled at their tag line on the cover "Almost-Free
Reprints from Numismatist."  But it hooked me.  I sent off an
order.  Try to keep your total order under $250 for an economical
$9 shipping fee.  Bargain!"


Steve Woodland writes: "I am embarking on a small research
effort to look into the history and production of the ubiquitous
Whitman Coin Folders and Albums produced by the Whitman Publishing
Company. Specifically, I am looking for information about those
folders and albums that were produced to hold Canadian, Newfoundland,
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island coins.

While I have quite a collection of the various folders and albums
to examine, I am also interested in finding information on what
years they were published, how many, where they were made, who
designed them, etc, etc.  I contacted Whitman Books, but they
were of no help, having acquired the rights from St Martin's
Publishing via Western Publishing.  I would appreciate it greatly
if any of the E-Sylum readers could provide me with a lead on
where to obtain the information I seek.  I can be reached at"


I noticed that the April 19, 2006 Coin Galleries sale is termed
a "Mail and Internet Bid Sale" on the catalog cover.  I haven't
been paying close attention and wonder if this is the first time
this term has appeared in print.  In numismatic literature, MBS
is the long-standing abbreviation for Mail Bid Sale.  Is the
Coin Gallery sale a MIBS?

Perhaps another term (such as "Absentee Sale" or "Catalogue Sale"
would be more appropriate and long-lasting.  After all, when the
telephone appeared, we didn't have "Mail and Telephone Bid Sales",
did we?  Dealers have always accepted bids via all manner of
technologies, including telephone, cable, fax, email and Internet
as well as the old-fashioned bid sheet.  "Mail Bid Sale" has never
been a completely accurate term, but "Mail and Internet Sale" isn't
entirely accurate, either.  Thoughts, anyone?

To view the online Coin Galleries catalog, see:


We've been following the story of the Denver Mint employee suit
for some time now.  On March 22 The Wall Street Journal covered
the story in a page-one article.  Here are a few short excerpts.
Certain words which might trigger spam filters have been replaced
with alternate terms in brackets [].

"Neither the EEOC nor officials of the mint will discuss particulars
of the allegations. The proceedings are "closed to protect the
integrity of the process and those involved," said David Lebryk,
acting director of the U.S. Mint..."

"The Denver Mint opened in 1862. It employs 414, including 93
women. Most who complained to the EEOC -- women with jobs such as
running coin-counting machines and coin presses -- earn about
$31,000 to $43,000 a year."

"Linda Kemp, while inspecting a men's room for cleanliness,
noticed a loose ceiling tile, moved it, and found 40 to 50
[naughty] magazines. Ms. Kemp, who described her experiences
in a statement given to the U.S. Mint, also told of making
another discovery months later.

She said she was checking for rats in an attic above the plant
engineering division. What she found there, she said, were
"countless stacks of [naughty] magazines," a jury-rigged bare
light bulb above and a chair with a desk-arm. It was, she wrote,
"what appeared to be [a place for doing something boys are
told will affect their eyesight]."

[So THAT's where those "carbon" spots came from ... -Editor]

To read the complete article (subscription required): WSJ

Another copy of the article (no subscription needed) is available at:


Werner G. Mayer writes: "I believe I am one of the original
members of our organization.  I'm a member of the Token and
Medal Society (TAMS) and Civil War Token Society (CWTS), and
have had numerous articles published by them in the past.
My book collecting interests are now in the Germanic area.

The reason for this note is to alert everyone to the fine
article in the April 2006 issue of Smithsonian magazine about
the San Francisco earthquake and the effort it took to save
the San Francisco Mint."

Dave Kellogg writes: "Next month is the 100th anniversary of
the great San Francisco earthquake and resulting conflagration.
The Smithsonian article describes the successful efforts, mainly
by mint employees, to save the mint.  Some interesting edited

"Led by a political appointee with no experience in fighting
fires, they fought back against an inferno that melted the glass
in the windows, burned the clothes off their backs and exploded
the granite stone in the walls, which sounded like the thunderous
detonations of 13 inch shells."

Another: "The 'Granite Lady' was producing 60% of U.S. gold and
silver coins and held fully a third [$300 million] of the country's
gold reserves."  Moreover, "It was the most beautiful building west
of Denver."

And: "With the glass melted out of so many windows, great tongues
of flame darted into the building, setting the interior woodwork
aflame.  The men dashed into the rooms to play water on the flames
for as long as they could hold their breaths and  then came out to
be relieved by another crew of willing fighters."

The author, Michael Castleman, makes the point that had the mint
been lost, the U.S. economy would have been thrown into turmoil."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


Following up on the comments by Dick Johnson and others about
the shortcomings of the loose-leaf format for numismatic books,
Bob Fritsch writes: "Like Dick, I had a problem with Bob Heath's
New England Medal catalogs.  Those binders were just too hard
to find.  So I asked Bob to deliver a complete set without any
holes punched in them.  I then took them to work and used a GBC
binder to put them together (using my binding spines of course).
The spines have several tongues that fit into the many holes
punched into the paper.  It makes a nice little package in a
handy portable format.  I know some of the copy houses also do
GBC style binding.  Get those stored catalogs out of the boxes
and bind them so you can use them!"


According to an article in the Pioneer Press of Minneapolis, "It's
almost official: The largest permanent mural made of coins is in

On Saturday, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer measured a mural
inside a taco shop at Seventh Street and Marquette Avenue in
downtown Minneapolis and, at 209.5 square feet, pronounced it
larger than the previous record holder in Ranchero, Calif.

Now all Bill Himmelwright has to do is send in the paperwork to
Guinness World Records, culminating 2½ months of plastering pennies
to the wall of his restaurant to make a giant beef burrito.

The mural measures 10½ feet tall by almost 20 feet wide and is
made up of 100,000 pennies, give or take. That's about $1,000."

"Himmelwright crafted the burrito's shell and other features
using natural color variation in pennies. He estimates he and
friends combed through 365,000 pennies to come up with 55,000
coins that were brown."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Fellow Rittenhouse Society member George
Fuld will be pleased to know that much of his correspondence
with Edward H. Davis (1879-1976), longtime Scovill historian,
is in the Baker Business Library at Harvard University among
the Scovill papers. Davis’ papers are here as well as those of
Scovill Manufacturing Company itself.

We are thankful for George’s report in last week’s E-Sylum,
which contains vital and useful data on his experience with
Edward Davis and Scovill’s token and medal productions. But
his last paragraph included a few misstatements and I'd like
to offer some corrections.

Although George stated that "Davis lived for a few years
into the early sixties", Davis died June 1976.

And though George believed that Scovill's "medal and token
production ceased in the 1920's", the business actually
continued to at least 1939.  We have photocopies of Davis'
typed inventory of the Scovill company archive collection.
There are token and medal issues all through the 1920s and
1930s. The last dated item in their archive collection was
the Golden Gate Expo Medal of 1939. It was World War II that
halted their token and medal manufacture.

Most importantly, although it was George's understanding that
Scovill dies were sold as scrap metal.  In fact, the dies were
very much in existence and transferred to the Waterbury Companies
in 1961 when it took over the assets of Scovill. This firm hired
museum consultant Bruce S. Babelon, who examined between 15,000
and 16,000 dies, determining that 2,044 had historical significance
and he distributed these to 18 museums in America. Not all the
remaining dies were scrapped.  I reported on the Scovill dies in
the March 5, 2006 E-Sylum. See esylum_v09n10a08

Mint history expert Craig Scholly joined me in meeting with
museum authority Bruce Bazelon 23 October 1998 who gave us each
a half dozen or so Scovill dies. Thus some Scovill dies are in
private hands. The bulk of these were button dies, since,
obviously, the bulk of Scovill’s work (since 1829) was the
manufacture of buttons."

Andrew W. Pollock III also noted that the archives of Scovill
still exist, providing the following record from the National
Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC):

Author: Scovill Manufacturing Company.
Title:  Records, ca. 1790-1956 (inclusive).
Description: 321 linear ft. (942 v., 174 boxes, 81 cases)

There is much additional detail available on the web site:

BANK OF ISRAEL RETURNS FAULTY SHEKELS TO DUTCH MINT published a report on March 22 that "The Bank of
Israel suspended an order of shekel coins from the Royal Dutch
Mint until it becomes clear how millions of faulty 1 shekel coins
arrived in Israel.

About a year ago it was discovered that 40 percent of a delivery
of 9.5 million 1 shekel coins manufactured in Holland are faulty.
At the coins department they were amazed, refused to accept the
delivery and returned it to Holland where faulty and fine coins
were separated."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[Are any of our readers aware of the nature of the errors?  Have
any of the errors found their way into collector hands? -Editor]


An article by Todd Haefer in the March 23 Numismatic eNewsletter
from Numismatic News describes how a rare $10,000 note came
into the possession of JP Morgan Chase bank.  An interesting
tidbit at the end of the article hints that the company may be
considering forming a numismatic museum.

"The large bill, issued from Chicago, was discovered in a bank
customer's safety deposit box after the owner died 20 years ago.
The woman's family exchanged the note at face value at that time
and the bank stored the bill in a plastic sleeve for protection.
Now, 20 years later, the bill is worth between $50,000-$85,000."

"Marc Michaelsen, a paper money dealer based in Boca Raton, Fla.,
said government figures he has seen show that there are 334
unredeemed $10,000s. Of those, dealers have recorded about 200.

Coleman said while the Chase archives are currently available
only to employees, there is discussion about starting a money

To subscribe to the Numismatic News eNewsletter, go to:

[It would be a curious turn of events to see a new numismatic
museum coming about under the auspices of the new JPMorgan
ownership so many years after the dispersal of the wonderful
Chase Manhattan Money Museum.  I wonder if the current management
is event aware that there was such a thing at one time. -Editor]


Regarding last week's story about the billion dollar bills,
Tom DeLorey writes: "The (insert Extremely Large Denomination
here) notes / bonds / whatevers are a Philippine version of
the old Nigerian oil money scam. Some fellow over there has
these "whatevers" that were hidden from the Japanese during
World War II and recently found, and he needs help from
somebody in the United States to cash them in. The helper
will receive a 20% commission for doing so, but there are
some trivial expenses that need to be met first, if you can
only send us $5,000????

We have had two potential victims come into the coin shop
asking if it could be true. One of them had a photocopy of
a $50,000,000 bond dated 1934 that was photoshopped together
including a portrait of President Grant from the $50 bill that
came out around 2001. Him we convinced. The other guy left
the shop still wanting to believe that he was going to make
all that commission....."

[The ones who came to the coin shop were the smart ones.
How many dummies actually fall for this scam?  -Editor]


Every new coin or banknote design draws attracts critics.
A March 20 article in the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek,
CA was among the first to publish an article criticizing the
new U.S. $10 note.

"I fired up the Andy Jackson and slid it across the counter
to the clerk.  She didn't seem impressed by my rare flash of
wealth, but, as she gave me my change, she inadvertently
installed a molehill on my learning curve.

"What's this?" I asked. "A circus ticket?"

"It's the new 10," she said, "Strange, huh?"

"Growing up, I became accustomed to having money that was
plain and dull, with pictures of uncomfortable-looking
patriots and 16th century heroes. It was monochromatic, and
the only interesting stuff was in things like the eye on top
of the pyramid, or the two kids selling Kool-Aid in front of
the White House on the back of the 20 (OK, I made that one up).

Generally, though, all I've known throughout my life is dull
money.  And then this 10 comes along, loud as a calliope in
a Laundromat, and looking every bit as garish as the francs
my uncle brought home after World War II."

"What's the deal with the colors? The 10 is now printed in
about a million different colors that will certainly tell
those around the world, who look to us for leadership, that
the United States of America is facing a severe ink shortage."

"There's also that numeral 10 on the lower right of the bill.
It's printed in color-shifting ink, that looks like a 10 when
you see it head on, but like Ruth Bader Ginsburg driving a
Pontiac when you turn it to the left..."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


The Great Falls Tribune of Montana reported on a delay in the
selection process for the new Montana state quarter design:

"Although Gov. Brian Schweitzer originally had planned to announce
the new design by the end of the month, the U.S. Treasury Department
has yet to approve the four finalists, according to Schweitzer
spokesman Adam Pimley.

So, the Web site where Montanans could cast their vote isn't up
and running.

Alert numismatist (most of us would call her a coin collector)
Debbe Harris of Great Falls noticed that the voting page wasn't
working when she went to the site to record her preference."

The four designs may be viewed at Quarter Designs

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


Jeff Hawk writes: "I am reading (and enjoying) "Money of the
World", by Richard G. Doty. Some of the illustrations in the
book are taken from "An Essay on Coining", described as a
one-of-a-kind hand-drawn book by Samuel Thompson, written in
1783.  I believe I have seen drawings from this book in other
books I have read.

Has anyone ever commercially or privately published a facsimile
edition of this interesting book, so that those of us who have
seen selected drawings from it could buy or at least borrow a

[Great question.  I checked with Dick Doty and learned the
book is in the library of the American Numismatic Society.
A query to ANS Librarian Frank Campbell brought the following
Response. -Editor]

Frank Campbell writes: "An Essay on Coining," by Samuel Thompson
(Die - Sinker) was produced in 1783. The verso of the fly-leaf
includes the following hand-written information: "Mathew Bredon,
13 [unclear letter, perhaps S.] Camden St., Dublin and "original
illustrative drawings in india ink."  There is no accession
information present.

In Library Committee discussions concerning possible candidates
for facsimile reproduction, I have mentioned it as a candidate.
However, it consists of some 56 pages (some blank) and would be
a departure from the single page broadside of the 1828 sale of
the Benjamin Watkins estate, by George Nichols, that is presently
in preparation.  Consequently, any consideration of producing a
facsimile would have to be guided by the expense of the

Before I became Librarian of the Society, some of the plates in
the volume were reproduced for an article that appeared in "The
Colonial Newsletter." The same negatives used for that article
were used again for subsequent publications, among which were
ones used by Taxay and Doty."

[There you have it - the original resides safely in the ANS
Library, but is not known to have been reprinted in its entirety.
Many thanks to Dick and Frank for their prompt responses to
Jeff's query.  Subscriber participation is what makes editing
The E-Sylum a delight.  -Editor]


Berwick Today of Scotland published an article on the upcoming
Spink sale of coins minted in their town:

"Four rare coins made in Berwick more than five hundred years
ago are expected to fetch a total of £3150 when they are
auctioned at Spink in London on March 29.

The most valuable of these coins, tipped to sell for up to £1200,
is a silver groat made in Berwick during the reign of King James
III of Scotland in or around 1467  just 36 years after the burning
of Joan of Arc and 25 years before Christopher Columbus discovered
the West Indies."

"May Sinclair, Scottish coins expert at Spink, said: "In 1467,
a groat would certainly have been enough to keep an entire Berwick
family for a week or more."

"The coins are among 289 Scottish coins  described by Spink
as one of the finest privately-owned Scottish collections 
which are expected to fetch between £332,000 and £407,000 at
the auction.

The collection belongs to and has been put up for sale by an
American collector named Lucien LaRiviere."

Full Story


The Scotsman reports on an upcoming auction of another Scottish
coin, but fails to tell us who the auctioneer is.  Tom Fort tells
me it refers to the same Spink sale of the Lucien LaRiviere

"The 20lb gold piece, dating from 1575 and featuring the "Boy
King", is the heaviest hand-hammered gold coin ever struck in
the British Isles and is only one of seven believed to be in
the hands of private collectors. The auction will be in London
on 29 March."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Last week we mentioned the cache of ancient coins seized from
a Florida man and returned to Saudi Arabia.

A March 21, 2006 editorial in the New York Sun asks "Why is
the American government using money it extracts from American
taxpayers to enforce other countries' misguided cultural
patrimony laws?"

"Now that the Italians have managed to raid the Metropolitan
Museum of Art under Mussolini's patrimony laws, who's going
to be next? How about Saudi Arabia? If you think that's
far-fetched, feature what happened earlier this month, when
federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers leaned
on a Florida man and forced him to surrender to the Saudis a
trove of medieval Islamic coins he'd found in the Red Sea and
saved and was preparing to preserve."

The private collector was trying to dig up information on how
best to conserve his finds in preparation for finding a willing
buyer. In other words, the activities of this individual
illuminate that a private market for antiquities provides
incentives to care for those antiquities. The big fear now
shouldn't be whether other private individuals will join in
the trade of antiquities such as these coins, but rather whether
the government has provided a disincentive to preserve valuable
objects out of fear that doing so might draw the unwanted gaze
of cultural enforcers."

To read the complete editorial, see Full Story

To view images of the coins, see: Coin Images


Dick Johnson writes: "Of all the peripheral numismatic material,
elongated coins, it seems, gets the greatest amount of mainstream
press. Forty years ago articles on elongated items were no where
to be found. Today it seems there is one a week.

This week's article is a charmer. It comes from Yakima Washington
Herald entitled "Guilty Pleasures - Penny Smashing."  The article
is unsigned, undoubtedly "Guilty Pleasures" author is a man (for
the language he uses). But it's great writing!

Do click on this. You'll enjoy it. Full Story "


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "Perhaps George Fuld, who catalogued
the Garrett/JHU collection of medals and tokens, can write an
E-Sylum story on acquiring the collection for auction,
transporting it, cataloguing it and his impressions as he
unwrapped and examined some of the most extraordinary collectibles
ever seen, many of which sold to John J. Ford and other notable

I'm certain George examined at length the medals and tokens
under the auspices of Dr. Sarah Freeman, Evergreen House curator,
many times before JHU decided to auction the collection as both
George and the Garrett collection were in Baltimore. He probably
also knows some details behind later JHU numismatic curator, the
late Carl Carlson's private transactions with early American
coin dealer Richard Picker.

I recall distinctly going up to the Bowers & Ruddy Galleries
office in Hollywood right after the Garrett/JHU collection came
in and was being unwrapped. I asked George what particular medal
in the collection most impressed him. He showed me a paper-wrapped
package which revealed an astonishing piece: a large, heavy,
prooflike, toned  completely hand-engraved silver medal with a
detailed hand-engraved portrait of Abraham Lincoln on obverse
and on the reverse a detailed engraved award inscription from
Secret Service head General LaFayette C. Baker to  Capt. George
Cottingham  for tracking and shooting down John Wilkes Booth,
the President's assassin.

The inscription indicated the Captain also rec'd $1,000, an
enormous amount at that time. The medal was pedigreed all the
way back to an 1884 H G Sampson auction of the J C Hills collection
where T.Harrison Garrett obtained it for $42. The medal and dollar
award were mentioned specifically in General Baker's published 1867
Secret Service memoirs.

I asked George what he expected it to bring at auction - he replied
"perhaps $5,000." I acquired it in 1981 at Garrett IV for $26,000
and still have it."


Dick Hanscom forwarded a link to the latest news in the tale
of the Massachusetts roofers who found a valuable cache of paper
money while working on a barn.

"Police say they are ready to take another attempt at charging
four men they say stole thousands of dollars in antique bills
from a Newbury barn and later fabricated a story about finding
buried treasure in a Methuen backyard.

Charges were dropped against the men a month ago when their
lawyers argued the police did not have enough evidence when
they arrested them.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said the main problem was
clerical: The judge did not like the way the police report was
filed with the court, he said.

He said the police have been working with the District Attorney's
Office to compile a new report, which they will use to refile
the charges in the next two to three weeks."

"The four men were arrested last April after appearing on a
series of national television shows describing how they found
the money buried in Kevin Kozak's Methuen backyard.

Police said Billcliff, 28, of Manchester, N.H., and Tim Crebase,
24, of Methuen actually found the money stashed in the eaves of
a Newbury barn when Sylvia Littlefield, 75, hired them to repair
her roof. Billcliff and Crebase then convinced their friends
Kozak, 28, and Matthew Ingham, 23, of Newton, N.H., to
corroborate their story, the police said.

The trove of 1,800 antique bills dating from 1899 to 1928 had
a face value of about $7,000, but a coin dealer who had been
contacted by the roofers to appraise the money said he received
an offer of $400 per bill  a total of $720,000  from a collector."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Bob Neale writes: "Was the engraver of Jefferson's portrait for
stamps and currency (as per the painting by Gilbert Stuart selected
as the official rendition in 1867): James Smillie, or Charles Burt?
Both have been credited, and both repeatedly. I have not yet found
a definitive source. I wonder whether Burt worked for Smillie? I
would appreciate reference to such a definitive source
( should a reader have it handy."


Katie Jaeger writes: "In response to Mr. DeLorey's question,
The Jefferson Coin & Bullion website has this on Gilroy Roberts
White house visit to do Kennedy's inaugural medal:

Roberts had met the young president at the White House in 1961,
while working on his portrait for the presidential medal, and
that session provided invaluable insights when the time came to
prepare the new coin. “I was favorably impressed by President
Kennedy during our brief meeting,” Roberts recalled years later.
“He was very personable, very dynamic, and he had a very outgoing

“He didn't give me a critique of my work,” the artist added.
“Rather, he asked for my opinion. And he also wanted to know what
political significance this medal had  which, of course, is a
politician's view of anything that's being done. I was kind of
amused by that, and I told him: ‘Mister President, this has no
political overtones at all.’ In any case, I found the experience
very worthwhile  and very helpful, too, when it came time to do
the half dollar.”

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Artist Emil Fuchs in his autobiography
relates how British royalty sat for this artist in his preparation
of both official British postal stamps and medals. Theodore Roosevelt
sat for Victor D. Brenner at the president’s home on Oyster Bay Long
Island, for a medal for the Panama Canal. For most American presidents,
however, it is more often photographs that medal sculptors work with.
This is in reply to Tom DeLorey’s inquiry in last week’s E-Sylum on
presidential visits to mint engravers (more likely engravers visit
the president!) for their inaugural medal portraits.

Sitting for a mint engraver was such a rarity that John R. Sinnock
added "Ad Vivum" (from life, that is, posed in person) to two medals
in 1929 (first use of this term I know of in America). One was a
Thomas Edison Plaquette, the other was J. Ramsay MacDonald Medal
(British prime minister who visited America that year); both medals
were struck by Medallic Art Company.

Flush with this success Sinnock requested and received permission
for Franklin D. Roosevelt to pose for him in 1933 for his U.S. Mint
President medal. He did this also for Harry S Truman in 1945, and
for four Secretaries of the Treasury - William H. Woodin (1932),
Henry Morganthau Jr (1935), Fred M. Vinson (1946) and John W. Snyder
(1946). Nellie Tayloe Ross also sat for him in 1933 for her Mint
Director Medal.

For the official inaugural medals, Jo Davison watched films of
Franklin Roosevelt for his inspiration for the Roosevelt Inaugural
Medal of 1941. Ideally when preparing a bas-relief portrait for a
medal, a sculptor would like to see detailed photographs from a
number of views. Since most portraits are side views, a sculptor
would like to choose which side but examine photos of both sides,
front and three-quarter views.

Harry Truman sat for Carl Paul Jennewein for his official inaugural
medal of 1949. He added "Ad Vivum." The term always appears with a

Decisions for the sculptor and the private medal firm to strike
the official inaugural medals are made quickly after a presidential
election. I was involved with the Ronald Reagan medal of 1981 as a
consultant to Medallic Art Company which had won the contract to
strike the Reagan Inaugural Medal. In Reagan’s case he had a
favorite sculptor he wanted to do his portrait, Edward Fraughton
of Utah.

Reagan would be at his ranch in California for only a short time
before going to Washington. So we had to get the sculptor to his
ranch, and since the sculptor had never done a medal before he had
to get a crash course in medal modeling (no undercuts!). We hired
a public relations firm, Ruder & Finn for this project, one of
their responsibilities was hiring a photographer in California to
record Reagan sitting for the artist. Those of you who have Joe
Levine’s book "A Collectors Guide to Presidential Inaugural Medals
and Memorabilia" (which my partner and I published) can view the
photographs of this event. Seven photos pages 104-106.

In most instances a sculptor’s time with a subject is limited.
Most often they will prepare a clay model as far as they can
beforehand. Using photographs (far beyond the drawing stage), thus
employing their time with the subject to refine their three-dimensional
 design, make certain the profile is accurate, the lines around the
eyes are proper and "the warts are all in the right place." A
professional medallic sculptor can create a portrait from life
or from photos  it’s all in a day’s work for this artist."


Today.Az reports that new 10 and 20 AZN banknotes have been put
into circulation in Azerbaijan.

"10 AZN banknote depicts the history of the statehood of Azerbaijan.
It reflects the ancient Baku, the Palace of Shirvanshahs, description
of typical Azerbaijani carpet, and the country's integration into

20 AZN worth banknote is dedicated to Karabakh symbolizing the
territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. It reflects a sword, helmet,
shield and the Khari Bulbul which is the symbol of peace and
national patterns behind."

To read the full story and view images of the new notes, see: 
Full Story


Earlier this year, in our February 19 issue, David Hatfield alerted
us to a 20-page novelette featuring a large cent collector in the
upcoming April issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

The issue has now hit the stands and Ed Krivoniak writes: "The
story is entitled Numismatist by Richard A. Lovett and is really
quite good."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: esylum_v09n08a24


Jim Downey authored a nice article in the March 20, 2006 MPC GRAM
(v7n1441) about currency control coupons used by U.S. troops in

"Most MPC collectors are familiar with the currency control
coupons that were used by Thai and South Korean troops in Viet
Nam.  In addition to MPC, each soldier was also given coupons in
an amount equivalent to the amount of pay.  The coupons were
necessary for purchases at official establishments or exchange
into their own currency.  The purpose of the coupons was to limit
the amount of money that these people could spend or exchange.
Even if they participated in black market activities or other
unsanctioned activities, they would never be able to spend or
exchange more than their pay amounts because of the limitation
on the amount of coupons they possessed."

Downey's article notes a discovery of documentation stating
that the United States used currency control coupons in the US
Sector of Berlin in July 1946.

"At this time US personnel in Germany were paid in Allied Military
marks. The coupons were issued in books of 5, 10 and 20 dollars
by the finance office of each unit.  When an individual made a
purchase at an official establishment (PX, mess, snack bar, etc.),
the coupon book was presented along with the marks for the purchase.
The dollar equivalent of coupons was removed by the merchant from
the books to validate the marks used for the purchase."

Downey notes that collectors are unaware of the existence of any
US dollar currency control coupons for Germany.

"Where were they printed?  What did they look like?  Did they have
serial numbers?  What were the denominations?  Too many questions,
not enough information.

The answers to these questions might be found in the records at
the National Archives or other repository of information.  Hopefully,
some of the answers can be found in a scrapbook or dealer's junk box!"


Martin Purdy writes: "Thanks for the link to the Britannia article.
I'm sure there's a typo in this part, though:

"Providentially, she met another Charles Stuart, a distant relative
and 4th cousin of the King. This Charles was the 4th Duke of Richmond
and 6th Duke of Lennox. He was extravagant, an invertebrate gambler
and a drinker, but Frances saw him as a convenient way out of her
fraught relationship with the King."

That has to be *inveterate* gambler, surely!"


John Kraljevich forwarded this article from the Washington
Post about the plight of bibliophiles running out of room to
store their libraries:

"But when he moved to a one-bedroom Dupont Circle apartment
with a partner who collects large art and architecture books,
Ramponi had to exile those cherished culinary texts to a pair
of rented storage units several blocks away.

Since 2002, he has spent more than $5,000 to keep them there,
which "may be more than they are all worth," he concedes. "But
there is a sentimental attachment and I associate them with
places I've been, people I know."

"Then there is the Georgetown widow who requests anonymity to
keep her literary "addiction" secret. She admits she once
seriously considered buying and moving into the house next door,
leaving her mushrooming book collection at the old address.
Ultimately she could not justify carrying two mortgages, even
though her own living space has been reduced to narrow paths
winding past groaning shelves and grocery sacks filled with
secondhand books.

"You think if you keep buying books you will never die until
you've read them all," she says. "Of course, that's absurd."

"Washington, with its affluent and educated populace, is a
natural habitat for bibliomaniacs, defined by the late British
author Sir Hugh Walpole as those "to whom books are like bottles
of whiskey to the inebriate, to whom anything that is between
covers has a sort of intoxicating savour."

To read the entire article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web page is an introduction to the Barbados
Coppers of 1788 and 1792, on the web site of the Coin and Currency
Collections at the University of Notre Dame.

Featured Web Page

  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.

PREV        NEXT        V9 2006 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web