The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 14, April 2, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Kate Cahill of Littleton Coin
Company. Welcome aboard!  We now have 870 subscribers.

It's been another good week for interesting firsthand numismatic
accounts, research updates and breaking news from various
numismatic areas.  A new book has been published on Philippine
Counterstamped coins, The Colonial Newsletter gains a subtitle,
and several readers provide additional information on Thompson's
1783 Essay on Coining.  In ancient coins, a 2,000-year-old
counterfeit has been unmasked.

Research questions this week concern patents for banknote
anti-counterfeiting devices, FCC BOYD counterstamps, and the
recipient of a particular American Institute medal.

You people are sharp when it comes to noticing errors in
The E_Sylum. Ray Flanigan took issue with the Wall Street
Journal's statement that "The Denver Mint opened in 1862."
He writes: "The Denver Mint was not really in existence in
1862.  An Assay Office was.  The 'mint' didn't come about
until 1906 and produced the first coins in 1907."

Regarding the title of one of last week's articles, Ken Berger
writes: "Since you meant INVERTEBRATE (notice the second E),
should we retitle the article TYPO TYPO TIME?"

In the believe-it-or-not department, someone's WWII medals,
including a Purple Heart, were recently saved from the trash
when discovered during the cleanup of decades-old trash from
the basement of a service station.  All this and more, including
previously unpublished stories by Russ Rulau relating to John

And to learn why the Denver Mint employee who runs the furnace
that anneals coin blanks shouted "Wooh, wooh!", read on.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "Our 84th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature
is now available for viewing on the Lake Books web site.

The sale has a full variety of United States auction catalogs
including Chapmans, Frossards, B. Max Mehl sales, Steigerwalts,
hardbound McCawley-Grellman sales, etc. A large selection of "A
Guide Book of United States Coins" (the Redbook) features many
of the special editions and one edition signed by Dick Yeo
(Richard Yeoman's real name.)

Works on Ancient coins and Spanish material are offered and a
new section devoted to Orders, Medals, and Decorations contains
some beautifully photographed books.

Bids may be placed by email, fax, telephone or regular mail.
You may view the twenty-page catalog at:"


Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I just received a copy of "Philippine
Counterstamped Coins, 1828-1839" by Dr. Quint Jose Ma. Oropilla Y
Fortich.  It is a large hardbound book with tons of historical and
economic history behind the issue of the coins.  There are also
several original documents from the Philippine National Archives.
For anyone who collects the Philippines, Spanish Colonial; Southeast
Asia; and economists and historians of the Philippines and Southeast
Asia, this book is a must for their library.

My copy was obtained from Ray Czahor, the creator of the Philippine
Collectors Forums at the ANA Conventions, and there will be one at
the Denver ANA.  You can contact Ray at or at
P.O. Box 597, Columbia, MD 21045-0597, or me at"


David Gladfelter writes: "Jim Spilman relied heavily on the
information in Thompson's essay (and on Diderot and other sources)
for a series of essays titled "An Overview of Early American Coinage
Technology" that ran in The Colonial Newsletter from April 1982
through July 1983. The subject was recently revisited by Dr. Philip
Mossman, "Error Coins of Pre-Federal America," The Colonial
Newsletter, April 2004.

The ANS did recently publish, with annotations, a small edition
of a manuscript in its collection, written in the 1950s by Damon
G. Douglas on New Jersey coppers. Possibly the Thompson manuscript
would lend itself to similar study with a view toward possible

James C. Spilman writes "I can add a bit of information to the
discussion in the The E-Sylum v9#13, March 26, 2006 on THOMPSON's

This holographic manuscript was discovered in the ANS Library
in the late 1970s by the late Edward R. Barnsley.  Ned and I
went to the Library and made a complete set of 35 mm negatives
for use in CNL.  The first use of any of this material appeared
in CNL 62 (April 1982) on pages 765 and 767.  The publication
of this information made such an impression on Eric P. Newman
that I am told he made a special trip to New York, from St.
Louis, for the sole purpose of reviewing the document.  At the
time Frank Campbell was an Assistant Librarian and I remember
his buzzing around like an angry bee while we were doing the

Subsequently, a photoprint version of the document was produced
by CNLF (about 1985) and Xerox copies were placed in the CNL
Library and , later, in the C4 library.   C4 carried the
publication a step further (ca. 1995) by producing a "translation"
of the old English script into a typewritten manuscript that made
for much easier reading for those unfamiliar with early English

These edited copies and a Xerox "original" now reside in the C4
Library where they can be checked out on loan to the membership.
I am told that quite a number of copies were produced and
distributed to all C4 members who wanted one, so there is no
lack of copies available today in both the "original" and the
edited version.

Check with C4 Librarian Leo Shane at
for additional information as to availability."

[Many thanks to all who provided information on Thompson's Essay.
This is great information, and the kind to thing that makes editing
The E-Sylum both fun and rewarding.  -Editor]


Actually, the 46-year-old publication "Colonial Newsletter" has a
new subtitle: "A Research Journal in Early American Numismatics."
In his Message from the Editor Gary Trudgen writes: "After several
discussions, the CNL staff unanimously agreed that a subtitle
should be added in order to allow new readers and institutions
to easily identify the purpose of our periodical.  CNL has published
some of the most scholarly and seminal studies in early American
numismatics over the years.  Thus, it was felt that a title change
was desirable since today, Newsletter infers a publication with
less academic content than we attempt to provide.  Therefore, the
subtitle, "A Research Journal in Early American Numismatics" is
now part of our publication name."


Bob Vail published an article about remnants of the Henry Chapman
Library in the holdings of the Free Library of Philadelphia in the
March 2006 issue of Penny-Wise, the official publication of Early
American Coppers, Inc.

After Del Bland tipped him off in 1995 to a Numismatist article
by Pete Smith mentioning the remnants, Bob made arrangements for
the two of them to visit the library during the May 1996 EAC
Convention in Philadelphia.

"When I called back later, a lady assistant who was listening to
my request asked me to hold while she went to check a pile of stuff.
Several minutes later she came back on the line and asked me if
the name "Matthew Stickney" meant anything to me.  DID IT EVER!"

"In our wildest imagination we didn't come close to imagining the
"goodies" that awaited our perusal."  The pair reviewed three
carts of books over a two-day period.  Bob's article contains a
partial list of the material.


George Fuld writes: "I appreciate Dick Johnson's updates on the
Scovill story.  Some ten years ago I spent two full days at the
Baker library looking over the Scovill archives.  I was most
disappointed in what I found - there was very little if any
information on early tokens or medals.  I did find the mintage
on a rare New Orleans token, some several thousand (about 5 or
6 now known)  I did this for the ANS Coinage of the Americas
Conference on Civil War cents in the late nineties.  There was
little to help the story."

[Many thanks to George as well for sharing his recollections
with us.  Stay tuned for future notes about the Hopkins and
Picker per last week's request. -Editor]


Scott Fybush, editor, RNA News writes: "Just a quick note to
let you - and your readers - know that the Rochester (NY)
Numismatic Association's "RNA News" has made the leap into
electronic distribution. Our monthly newsletter is now available
as a PDF at our club website,, and we're
delighted to be able to share it with the rest of the numismatic

This month's issue celebrates National Coin Week, with the
(remarkable, if I do say so) results of our junior club's
poster competition, as well as a cautionary tale about what
happens when you complain to the local newspaper about those
ads they run for overpriced junk coins.

We have archives available back to the beginning of 2006, and
will soon be supplementing those with issues going back to the
relaunch of our newsletter in its current form in 2002.

Thanks again for all your hard work on The E-Sylum. I look
forward to it every Sunday!"


Dave Bowers writes: "In connection with a book I am writing I
desire to correspond with anyone who has information regarding
some of the more obscure patents and processes regarding anti-
counterfeiting. I do not need the Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson
?green tint? of 1857, or the National patent of 1860, or any of
Perkins? patents, or Lyman?s or Seropyan?s patent.

I would like to learn more about the Congreve Patent Check Plate
(used in the USA by New England Bank Note Co., perhaps related to
Sir Wm. Congreve of English bank note renown), Star?s patent,
Desopyn?s patent, Atwater?s patent, and any related patents.
Many of these arose in the 1850s when there was a scare about
photographic counterfeits of bank notes.

Also, if anyone has some paper scrip notes of New York City,
fractional amounts, with dates from May through August 1837, I
would be desirous of obtaining some images.

Thanks to anyone who can help! Will be in Atlanta at Whitman
this coming week, and Thursday and Friday at the ANA Money Show."


Lynn Tumulty writes: "I read Katherine Jaeger's article on
medals and minting. It was sent to me by a librarian at the
New-York Historical Society because I had inquired about
the origin of a medal from the American Institute in my

Ms Jaeger's update was interesting as well. I'm trying to find
out more about this medal. It was awarded to an ancestor of mine
in 1867 and it is signed by G.H.L.  - George Lovett, her ancestor.
It was awarded to F. Gleantzer who I think was a silver or
goldsmith for Cartier's in New York working on the molds used
to make large sterling silver platters, etc. but I'm not certain.

How could I find out more about him and this piece? Can I tap
into the records on line?  Maybe Ms. Jaeger has run across his
name in her research."

I forwarded Lynn's query to Katie Jaeger. She writes: "I looked
it up in the 1989 Harkness Token and Medal Society article and
she has a Harkness 110, the "Large Gold Medal" struck between
1856 and 1867.  I asked her to measure it, to confirm the I.D.
Harkness says these 35mm medals were intentionally made the same
size as the U.S. $20 gold piece, because the institute wanted to
use $20 gold pieces as planchets. He states "none have been
located in gold," which apparently holds true for her piece,
which has pits.  It does look to be gilded, however, so was
probably intended as a gold medal.

I assume her ancestor's fair entry merited some special recognition,
to have won the larger medal.  I don't have any records for 1867
here, but in 1857, there were only 20 large gold medals awarded
(as opposed to 12 small gold, 100 small silver, 114 large silver,
and 250 bronze.)  It may seem like they awarded medals up the wazoo,
but in fact each fair had 2000+ entries so winning a large gold
was a real accomplishment.  It may well be she will find her
ancestor in the newspaper recaps of the fair."

Katie in turn forwarded a request to Kay Freeman, who specializes
in silver and goldsmith research. Katie adds: "My friend K.O.
Freeman with newspaper access found exactly what her ancestor,
Gleantzer, won in the 1867 fair recap: "a third premium for a
banjo."   So her medal is plain ole bronze!

Lynn Tumulty writes: "Now I know he didn't invent the banjo, but
I can't imagine what he did to one to make it so special."

[Can any of our readers suggest additional places to look for
information that haven't already been discussed in The E-Sylum?
For example, were there printed programs with information on
exhibitors? Awards banquet programs?  -Editor]


It is said that counterfeiting is the world's second-oldest
profession.  A report in the journal Nature pointed out to us
by the Explorator Newsletter (via Arthur Shippee) concerns ancient
coins recently discovered to be contemporary counterfeits.

"An ingenious counterfeit-coin scam has been rumbled by scientists
in Italy. But no one is going to jail, because the forgers lived
more than 2,000 years ago.

Giuseppe Giovannelli of the University of Rome 'La Sapienza' and
his colleagues took a close look at what seemed to be a silver coin
minted in southern Italy in the third century BC. It turned out to
be a lump of lead with a thin silver coating.

This is not the first example of counterfeiting in the ancient world,
but the researchers say that in this case the silver coating seems
to have been created by a sophisticated chemical process.

"We are not yet aware of any other counterfeit coins like this one,"
says Giovannelli. "

"A couple of simple counterfeiting methods have been spotted before.
Old forgers could cover a metal lump with thin silver foil and heat
it to fuse the foil on to the surface. They could also fake the look
of a coin by chemically treating the surface of an alloy (which may
or may not have contained precious metals) to give it a silvery or
golden sheen.

But the microscopic structure of the silver layer in this case
differs from that produced by either of these methods. Instead it
looks like something generated by a much more modern electroplating
process, say researchers. Metallurgists of the time are not thought
to have known about this technique.

To solve the mystery, the Italian researchers devised a treatment
that produces an effect similar to electroplating, using only
materials known to be available in the third century BC."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to a March 31 article in The Economic Times of India,
"India may soon be the popular choice of several nations as a
printer of currency. It produces the largest volume of bank
notes in the world, at a third of the cost of production of
established leaders."

"The multi-billion dollar market is now dominated by companies
like De la Rue and Royal Mint, both from the UK, Canadian Banknote
Company and Orell Fussli Security Printing of Switzerland, among

"The government has already held discussions with some big
banners who have shown keen interest in sourcing some key
operations from here. Apart from working on lower costs, the
new public sector company also has a highly-trained work force
that can churn out notes and coins with advanced security

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Guess what? According to a March 31 report in The Toledo Blade,
"The state of Ohio announced today it rejected a series of closed
bids from dealers and instead sold a batch of rare coins and
currency connected to a state scandal to Spectrum Numismatics
International for $7.5 million.

The stock of collectibles was part of a $50 million Ohio Bureau
of Workers? Compensation investment with former Toledo-area coin
dealer Tom Noe and is now part of the evidence in a criminal case
against him.

The $7.5 million bid was the pre-set minimum that Spectrum agreed
to pay if a so-called auction ? one held over several days in a
secret location and open only to select dealers who provided
$10,000 deposits ? did not raise more.

Six other bidders placed bids totaling nearly $2.03 million on 37
of the 100 lots for sale, said Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro?s
office. Bidding was from March 21 to Wednesday."

To read the complete article, see Full Story


According to a report in the Saturday Rocky Mountain News,
"Scores of women who say they suffered ... harassment, ...
discrimination and retaliation at the Denver Mint will share
a settlement of nearly $9 million, it was announced Friday.

"Yes!" about 20 of the women shouted Friday afternoon in front
of the mint, thrusting their fists in the air, when they were
asked what they think of the settlement ending their three-year
class-action complaint.

Mint officials acknowledged no wrongdoing, but agreed to the
settlement to avoid a long, expensive legal battle, said U.S.
Mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey in Washington, D.C."

"In addition, five tiers of payment have been established,
meaning women with the strongest cases will receive the most
money, she said."

"Violet Lamorie, 41, of Englewood, continues to work at the mint
running the furnace that anneals the blanks of the coins. A mother
of four, ages 8 to 22, she has been with the mint for 11 years
and was elated when she learned of the settlement Thursday.

"Wooh, wooh!" she recalled shouting when she heard of the
Proposed settlement. Lamorie said she hopes the work environment
will continue to improve for her and all employees, female and

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


A subscriber writes: "Referring to the article which appeared
in this week's E-sylum about the $10,000 bill, I read the original
article in the Krause Newsletter.  I was a frequent visitor to the
Chase Manhattan Money Museum as a kid back in the 1950's.  I think
these visits whetted my numismatic appetite and accelerated my
desire to be a more advanced collector.

While reading the Krause article, I was struck by the fact that
JP Morgan Chase didn't own a $10,000 bill.  This would have been
a wonderful item for the museum, a real drawing card for the public,
and with the portrait of the bank's namesake.  I couldn't believe
they didn't have one of these.  I e-mailed Gene Hessler, the last
curator of the museum.  He said the Chase Manhattan Money Museum
had owned a $10,000 and also had a $100,000 bill on loan from the
Treasury.  As you probably know, the $10,000's are legal for
anyone to own, whereas the $100,000's were only for Treasury and
Federal Reserve use.

According to Gene, when the museum folded, the only material he
could convince the bank to retain in their archives were the items
pertaining to the bank's history (such as National Bank notes of
banks absorbed by Chase Manhattan).  Commenting on the Krause
article's statement that the bank is considering a new museum,
Gene said they would never be able to approach what they once had.
As I recall, the museum was founded during the 1920's by acquiring
the collection of Farran Zerbe, who then became the museum's first


Washington, D.C. is a tourist's paradise because of the 160 year
old free-admission policy at the Smithsonian museums.  But visiting
the National Numismatic Collection display and other exhibits could
someday require an admission fee if a Congressman has his way.

"The suggestion, by Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), came during
congressional hearings at which a Smithsonian official said the
complex is crumbling because there is not enough money for critical

"Personally, I don't understand why we don't charge a fee," said
Moran, a member of the appropriations panel that approves
Smithsonian funding."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story

[It would be sad to see the tradition end, but I think it's only
fair that visitors help pay part of the burden.  Similarly, as a
longstanding practice, most coin shows charge no admission fee.
But a number of larger shows do charge a fee and it's the accepted
practice for virtually every other type of trade fair from gun shows
to bridal shows to home shows.  Over time the market dictates the
appropriate amount for an admission fee - shows that try to charge
too much will see their attendance drop.  But an appropriately
modest admission fee would not scare away many interested attendees
and would help offset the costs of running the show.  -Editor]


Web site visitor Alon Dagan writes: "I am a sculptor-engraver
located in Israel. I run my own private die shop. I read your
article about the reducing machines in The E-Sylum and I wish
to know, if you can recommend a magazine/website that I can
subscribe to, that talks about information and development in
the coin production industry? If there isn't one, how can I
stay updated?"

I forwarded Alon's query to Dick Johnson, our resident minting
technology expect.  Dick writes: "There is an American monthly
publication, The Engravers Journal, which, unfortunately is
more for businesses that have equipment which does flat engraving
for the award industry, not the modulated engraving required
for dies.

There is a bright spot on the horizon, however. A new museum of
coin and medal engraving and all related technology has been
created here in America, Gallery Mint Museum. A major portion
is concerned with die preparation. One of their proposed projects
is just such a publication you are seeking. It should be first
published in a year or two.  Here are some contacts:

The Engravers Journal
P.O. Box 318
Brighton, Michigan 48116-0318
Subscription is expensive, $125 US for international air mail.
Further subscription information on the website.

Ron Landis, President
Gallery Mint Museum
P.O. Box 101
Eureka Springs, Arkansas  72632


Regarding Dave Bowers' mention of the "Republic of Texas" doubloons
in last week's issue, Rich Hartzog writes: "On behalf of Greg Brunk,
I'd like to note that the Brunk "Merchant and Privately Countermarked
Coins" book lists four "Republic of Texas" pieces in the Fantasies
section, along with the Union Mine fantasies, both made from the
same punches.  The Brunk collection of countermarked coins, and many
other rare US and World medals and tokens are coming up at auction
in our Fall 2006 sale 2006 - watch our web site for more details:  Happy Collecting!"


Regarding John Kleeberg's discovery of a reference to Paul Franklin's
counterfeiting arrest, Fred Holabird writes: "This article contains
a very important discovery, which must be addressed. It does not,
however, make all western assay ingots fake. We must continue to
let science do the talking, and make the discoveries regarding
authenticity through applied science. We are on an important road
to discovery, but we aren't there yet.

There are a number of spurious ingots, both silver and gold, that
have gone through the marketplace, that have caused all of us
serious concern. As technology develops, we hope to find ways to
uncover the secrets of antiquarian metallurgy. Our current metals
fingerprinting work, which involves colleagues from major
gold-producing regions around the globe, involves looking at gold
and silver on an isotopic level allowing us to "source" the metal.
We are currently building that database, which is costly, but
very necessary. Already we have made significant discoveries
regarding some spurious ingots, but much more work is required.

Another important goal is a communal effort of experimentation
trying to "date" the metal "pours" by looking at various isotope
ratios, etc. that may lead to the proximal date an ingot was poured
(simply put, visualize Carbon-14 dating, of which you all are
familiar).  If we are successful, we can then test the questionable
pieces, as well as known legitimate ingots. Some of this methodology
has already been used in geology to date the formation of specific
minerals in rocks.

The problems with new research are many. First and foremost is
funding. We need independent funding for this research that can be
applied in both the US and Australia, which appears to eliminate,
at least in part, the NSF.  Private funding is desirable, because
it is quite simply a faster means to achieve a goal.

Our team currently is composed of gold experts from around the
world. Myself, David Fitch, John Watling (University of Western
Australia) and an incredible group from Lawrence Livermore Labs
involving Gerald English and his colleagues, who have been
working in a parallel direction on similar problems. While we
are still in the planning stages regarding the dating issue, we
all are of the opinion that it must be investigated. Meanwhile,
we might find other solutions to the problem after we all get
together for a think-tank session later this spring."


Ray Flanigan writes: "I'm looking for some help on F.C.C. Boyd.
I recently came across a Bust Half with FCC BOYD counterstamped
across the face.  Boyd was a prominent numismatist in the early
1900s, joined the ANA and served 3 terms as President of the
New York Numismatic Club.  That's where my meager library left
me.  Does anyone know of sources of information on FCC Boyd or
how the coins came to be counterstamped?  My email address is"

[We've published some information on Boyd in previous E-Sylum
issues; here are a few of interest:




This last article, referring to the Ford I sale by Stack's
(October 14, 2003) notes that "Many of Ford's key coins came
from the estate of F.C.C. Boyd, and the catalog includes a
3-page essay on Boyd."

Perhaps one of the Bust Half collectors among our readership
can tell us more about Boyd's counterstamped halves.


Paul MacAuley writes: "I was pleasantly surprised to read your
comments about Mardi Gras doubloons, since this gives me cover
to admit that I actually collect some of these cheap ?throws?.
I?m only a tangential doubloon collector -- my specialty is
Confederate-themed coins, and so far I?ve found about 35 doubloons
that meet my criteria.  I estimate that there are 3,000 to 10,000
different doubloons out there.

This topic could really use a good book or two.  It would make
some of the most colorful reading in the entire numismatic
literature. The doubloons themselves are gaudy fun, but the stories
of the hundreds of krewes and characters who produced these doubloons
could fill a dozen books.  The only books I?ve found are basically
checklists developed by doubloon collectors and traders, and even
these are hard to get. Probably the best of these books is privately-
produced by Chuck Cox, Mardi Gras Doubloon Checklist and Swappers
Guide (2004), and I was told that the inventory was lost in Katrina.

You are partly justified in your concern that Mardi Gras doubloons
are being edged out by bead necklaces, panties, stuffed toys, poker
chips, plastics cups, etc.  In part this is because Asian-made
trinkets are cheaper than doubloons which are still American-made.
But more importantly necklaces are easier to catch, especially by
women who are often the intended recipients.  When an uncaught
doubloon hits the ground a scramble ensues, increasingly with
Darwinian results.

The heyday of the aluminum Mardi Gras doubloons was probably
from the mid-Sixties to the mid-Nineties, but they are unlikely
to disappear.  Despite Katrina, I have already seen more than 50
different 2006 doubloons on Ebay, and I?m sure there are more.
The krewes are proud of their doubloons, and the crowds will
always grab for them.  If only they would write more about it..."


The following item is from the Eagle Tribune of Andover, MA:
"An unusual find while cleaning out the basement of a gas
station prompted a call to the city's Veterans Affairs office.

Bill McDaniel and Emile Levasseur, owners of Larry's Service
at 665 Haverhill St., came across three war medals ? a Purple
Heart, a Bronze Star Medal and a Good Conduct Medal from World
War II ? hidden in a 5-gallon bucket and sealed in a plastic
bag. The only clue they had to the owner was the name embossed
on the medals ? Walter F. Lanen."

"Neither McDaniel nor Levasseur know how the medals got there
or how long they had been in the cellar. McDaniel said the
building is about 80 years old, and they have owned the service
station since 1971."

"McDaniel is just as anxious to return the medals to the
rightful owner.

"Obviously he worked for it," McDaniel said. "I'd rather see
it go to someone in the family than on eBay."

If you have any information regarding Walter F. Lanen, contact
Dan Lannan, director of the Lawrence Veterans Affairs office
at (978) 794-5846."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


I came across an interesting 2003 article noting that nearly
half a million Purple Heart medals had been struck but remained
unissued at the end of World War II.  The stockpile had been
created in anticipation of massive losses in a ground invasion
of Japan.  The U.S. government still had 120,000 unissued Purple
Hearts as of 2003, and the remainders of that massive hoard are
likely still being awarded today.

"In all, approximately 1,506,000 Purple Hearts were produced
for the war effort with production reaching its peak as the
Armed Services geared up for the invasion of Japan. Despite
wastage, pilfering and items that were simply lost, the number
of decorations was approximately 495,000 after the war."

"The organization ordered a small number of medals in 1976 to
bolster the "shelf worn" portions of the earlier production
still retained by the Armed Services at scattered locations
around the globe. It wasn?t long, however, before an untouched
warehouse load of the medal was rediscovered after falling off
the books. The DSCP suddenly found themselves in possession of
nearly 125,000 more Purple Hearts.

"Gary Hoebecke is one of the soldiers who received Purple Hearts
during service in Vietnam for wounds suffered in 1965, 1968 and
1969. The retired lieutenant colonel was amazed that the
decades-old medals are still being used.

"With all the waste and screw-ups," said Hoebecke, "it?s quite
remarkable that they have kept track of that stock and are still
using them."

When told that 125,000 had effectively been lost until after
the Vietnam War, Hoebecke laughed. "Now that?s the Army I know!"
he said, adding, "I?m glad we didn?t have to use them."

But perhaps the most poignant appreciation came from a fellow
Vietnam vet who learned for the first time that he had received
a medal minted for the grandfathers of he and his buddies. "I
will never look at my Purple Heart the same way again," he said."


According to a report in yesterday's MPCGram (v7n1448),
a new grading service for military currency has been created:
"Professional Official Grading Service, a new numismatic
grading service has been created and began operating today.

Steve Swoish, founder and CEO, announced today that the service
has been created to fulfill a demand that he has seen developing
for properly graded and encapsulated material.

Unlike other grading services that have evolved into including
military notes among types services, Swoish states that military
notes will be the backbone of the service."

"The grading service holders are going to include the best
features of existing holders and introduce new features. The
holders will be completely inert to protect the notes. They will
also be perfectly transparent and very rigid to further protect
the notes. They will also be extremely thin allowing the special
sensation of touch."


Coin World published a great article in the March 27, 2006 issue
about an unusual event at the Philadelphia Mint.  Written by Nancy
Oliver and Richard Kelly, the article concerns an avalanche of
silver dollars that shook the building like an earthquake and had
workers running for their lives.  Based on accounts of the incident
in contemporary newspapers, the article recounts events that
unfolded once officials decided to inventory 50 million silver
dollars that had been moldering in a vault for over 60 years.

"On Tuesday, May 1, at about 5 o'clock, Clerk Wellington Morris
was up on top of one of the huge mounds raking in some loose
silver coins when suddenly a bag beneath him burst and spewed
its contents.

Like a snowball on a mountainside, the mass of sliding silver
dollars grew in size.  There was a massive rumble as bags began
to break by the dozens, and looking up, the workmen could see a
flood of silver rushing toward them.

Seeing the impending danger, the workmen rushed for the door,
just barely in time to keep from being crushed by 112,000 pounds
of falling coins."

The workers feared the worst for Morris, but he managed to exit
the vault unharmed.


Dick Johnson writes: "In 1967 twelve medals were issued by
Paramount International in a series termed "Calvacade of Sports."
The twelve medals were created by four sculptors, Abram Belskie,
Albino Manca, Bruno Mankowski, and Robert Weinman.

A 16-page brochures was issued with the set.  I am looking to
identify what sculptor created what medal and I am hopeful
this is detailed in the brochure.  I would like to borrow,
purchase, or obtain a photocopy of this brochure. Anyone?
My email address is"


Regarding Bob Neale's question in last week's E-Sylum, Mark
Tomasko writes: "I was puzzled at the inquiry about whether
James Smillie or Charles Burt engraved the portrait of Jefferson
for stamps and currency. James Smillie was an etcher, and did
not do portraits, which in the bank note tradition are all
"cutting", i.e., with a graver, as opposed to etching. I would
e interested to know where James Smillie is credited with
engraving a Jefferson portrait ( I suspect it was Fred Smillie
- see below).

Charles Burt did the portrait of Jefferson used on the $2 United
States Note, series 1869 and 1874-1917. There is a portrait of
Jefferson done by George Frederick Cumming ("Fred") Smillie for
U. S. stamps, used, for example, on the 50 cent stamp of the
1902 & 1903 series. I recommend my friend Gene Hessler's book
The Engravers Line for further information about James Smillie,
G.F.C. Smillie and Charles Burt.

The Smillies had a remarkable bank note industry family tradition,
and I sorted the various Smillies out (particularly how Fred
Smillie was related to James Smillie and James D. Smillie) in an
article I did for the Bank Note Reporter on the estate sale of
Fred Smillie's son's collection several years ago."

Bob Neale writes: "Many thanks for your reply to my inquiry
regarding Jefferson portrait on notes starting in 1869. I
recall (perhaps incorrectly...) that James Smillie is credited
in a couple of books but, most definitely, in the 15th edition
of Friedberg, page 17.  My upcoming exhibit "Jefferson - On
Paper" at our local coin show here in Wilmington, NC, will
now contain the correct information."


Regarding last week's quote from a newspaper article about the
auction of the heaviest hammered British gold coin, Martin Purdy
writes: "That should be ?20 - it certainly doesn't weigh 20 lbs!
And even at ?20 Scots, it was only worth about ?1 13s 4d in
English currency at the time. Still a lovely coin, though."

[The article referred to the coin as "The 20lb gold piece".
Martin wrote to The Scotsman, and they replied: "You are dead
right. We have carried an apology." -Editor]


Cary Hardy, Enterprise Manager, ANA - MoneyMarket writes: "I
appreciate the comment Dick Johnson wrote in E-Sylum to buy
from our clearance sale, however, "The American Numismatic
Association needs money..." at the beginning of his sentence
was a bit unnecessary.

I organized this sale catalog to reduce inventory of once popular
books that do not sell anymore or outdated editions still in
inventory, to clear the warehouse of cases of old books and
reprints from the 80s or earlier and leftover convention medals,
all items sitting around collecting dust, which benefits no one.

His comment projects a negative feeling for the catalog and the
association.  Nothing in this catalog or its intentions should
give anyone the impression of his comment. The MoneyMarket catalog
is published at least twice a year."

[Dick's comment was meant to be innocuous - what organization
doesn't need money?  I don't think either of us believed his
comment would be taken seriously as an indication that the
organization is in dire straits.  But I agree with Cary that
it was unnecessary and could have been edited out.

I've made some orders myself recently from the MoneyMarket
catalog, and Cary runs a very professional operation.  I
encourage all of our readers to take another look at the
catalog - there are a number of good bargains in the current
sale. See -Editor]


Roger Burdette writes: "Regarding the topic of presidents posing
for medallists, during the Wilson administration, Philadelphia Mint
engraver Charles Barber made repeated requests to visit the White
House to capture President Wilson's likeness. Wilson consistently
refused and Barber finally gave up and worked from photographs.
One letter I recall reading in the archives indicated that Barber
would not be responsible for the quality of the likeness if he had
to work from photos.

President Theodore Roosevelt seemed to enjoy having artists about
the White House and Oyster Bay, and may have been the most
sketched-painted-sculpted President - at least from life."


Our resident joker Dick Johnson writes: "A term for all forms of
bidding, as requested in last week's E-Sylum:  How about "poly
channel bidding"?

The icon can be a parrot perched on a pastiche of a telephone,
letter, computer."


Leon Worden writes: "Last week you asked about a Dutch-made
Israeli coin error. You cite a report about a year-ago delivery
of 9.5 million 1 shekel coins, of which 40 percent were faulty.
There must have been two error coins made at roughly the same
time, because a story by Pinchas Bar-Zeev of Tel Aviv in the
July-August 2005 issue of The Shekel (the journal of the American
Israel Numismatic Association) chronicles a commemorative
"error shekel" with a reported mintage limit of only 1,500
pieces.  The coin is inscribed in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
The error was in Arabic script.

The coin in Bar-Zeev's story was a "miniaturized version" of a
previously issued "Jacob and Rachel" 1 New Shekel gold coin,
released in late 2004 and/or early 2005. An excerpt: "(A)
collector with a good knowledge of written Arabic and very
keen eyes noticed that the miniscule Arabic word ISRA'IL was
... written incorrectly, and that the middle letter A was
completely missing. Not just some freak die flaw" (note: the
letter is formed by a small, relatively straight line), "but
a real spelling error by either designers or engravers had
quietly slipped through all quality control checkpoints of all
parties involved: the Royal Netherlands Mint, the Bank of Israel
and the Israel Government Coins & Medals Corporation. The same
collector informed the IGCMC of the blunder, who [sic] in turn
interrupted the coin's sales at its stores and franchise outlets
all over Israel and recalled all outstanding stocks."

According to Bar-Zeev's story, the Dutch mint was instructed to
manufacture new coins from new, corrected dies. "The first
'corrected' coins reached the Israeli collectors market (in)
early April 2005, and a few Israeli numismatists ... are now
lucky and proud owners of a set of 'Jacob and Rachel' miniature
gold coins: one error variety plus one 'corrected'


Dick Johnson writes: "I was introduced to the trade publication
"Advertising Age" in a college class at Washington University
business school. I liked it so well I subscribed for a half dozen
years or so early in my career after college. Among the
illustrations of notable ads were often ones where ad agencies
made small sculptures of the clients' products, like a bird made
of colored rheostats or something. Agencies must have thought
this was great art that would help sell the product.

I had similar disdain for buildings made of coins -- like the
Capitol built of silver dollars -- or the guy who pasted coins
all over his auto.  A waste of time and unintended use of good
money -- PLAYING with coins!

However, I must be getting mellow in my old age. I like the idea
of the mural in Minneapolis made of 100,000 cents. There must have
been some artistic talent required to form a design, even of a
taco!, based on the color variations of the toning of the cents.
I would like to see a color photo of that mural.

Incidently, speaking of "Advertising Age," in an issue, must
have been in the late fifties, was a photo of a special class
in advertising. Seated in the front row was a numismatic personality,
none other than Q. David Bowers. Maybe that's how he learned to
write all those full page ads over the next fifty years!"

[April Fool!  Like all cons, the best April Fool stories have an
element of truth, and in this case there really is a 100,000 cent
coin mural in Minneapolis.  I changed the subject to a taco in
my excerpts to see if anyone would question it.  The item is
repeated below sans my ham-handed changes.

Dick's wish for a color photo has been granted - see Michael
Orzano's article on p52 of the March 27 issue of COIN World.


[This item ran in last week's E-Sylum, but with a few changes.
As an April Fool's joke I changed the subject of the mural from
a U.S. Flag to a taco, and the setting from a coin shop to a
taco shop.  Here's the original, unedited version. -Editor]

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

On Saturday, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer measured a
mural inside a coin 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 2? months of plastering
pennies to the wall of his store to make a giant U.S. flag.

The mural measures 10? feet tall by almost 20 feet wide and
is made up of 100,000 pennies, give or take. That's about

"Himmelwright crafted the flag's stripes 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


Russ Rulau published a lengthy article on John J. Ford, Jr. in
the March 21 edition of Numismatic News (p34,36).  Russ has
given us permission to publish additional parts of the article
which did not make the final cut, and a few selections are
shown below.

Donald Miller of Indiana, Pa., an insatiable U.S. token
enthusiast, an attorney of solid bodily structure, and John J.
Ford Jr. were bidding at a penthouse auction sale of rare Hard
Times tokens in the mid-1950?s.  Each was bidding on a pristine
HT 1 (Low 1) variety, a pro-Andrew Jackson ?Bank Must Perish?
piece. Ford approached Miller to whisper something and a
vicious verbal exchange erupted.

The argument was carried out of the auction room and onto the
terrace, which had a rather low wall.  A great struggle ensued;
Miller grabbed Ford and pushed him against the barrier and it
seemed Ford might be thrown to eternity many floors below.

Four men rushed to restrain the now-violent Miller, two of
whom are still alive.  One of these, the very young (then)
Dave Bowers confirmed this report to me July 15, after it
had been published in The E-Sylum by the other living
participant. [See esylum_v08n29a07.html

Bowers said Miller ?had a bit too much to drink.? The Don Miller
I knew was a very self-controlled person who updated Edgar Adams?
1920 U.S. token catalog in 1962, and whose numbering system I
still use in the Merchant Token segment of my ?Standard Catalog
of U.S. Tokens 1700-1900,? now in its fourth edition. John Ford
could enrage almost anyone, it seems.

Collector James H. Adams of Wisconsin wrote that he was honored
to be among 40 guests visiting Armand Champa?s numismatic library
during the 1988 Cincinnati ANA gathering. John Ford used Champa?s
Louisville, Ky. bedroom to hold forth in his booming basso voice
on subject after subject in numismatics. John loved an admiring
audience. This episode appeared in Bank Note Reporter for June,
2005, pgs. 62-64.

Two of the greatest "lobby sitters" in numismatics were Ray Byrne
and J. William Ross. I sat in on several of their post-bourse
all-nighters talking coins, paper money, tokens, crooked coin
dealers and of course girls.  The Sixties held the "lobby sitters"
conclaves and anyone was welcome. They differed from the Ford
pontifications in that everyone got their say. A Ford conversation
was actually  more a  listening session. JJF never joined any
"lobby sit-in" of which I'm aware, but regulars were John Pittman
Gordon Dodrill, Amon Carter, Grover Criswell and similar folks --
all now sadly gathered to their Maker.

(quoting from the internet Kleeberg article)
"Trained as an engineer, Paul Franklin was an expert tool and
die maker. From 1933 until 1975 it was illegal for Americans
to hold gold unless it had a numismatic premium .... but bullion
traded  in the black market. Colonial coin dealer Richard Picker
dubbed the activities of Ford and Franklin 'the Massapequa Mint.'
Ford lived in Rockville Centre and Franklin in nearby Massapequa.

John Ford's charisma won him clients -- Frederick C. C. Boyd,
Mrs. Emery Norweb, John Murrell.  Ford sold the $140 pioneer
bar ostensibly from Dawson City, Yukon to Mrs. Norweb for $5,250.
He sold a fantasy Republic of Texas countermark to Murrell."

A fitting epitaph for this article was penned by Ed Reiter,
ex-coin columnist for the New York Times in a 1999 Numismati
Literary Guild bash, sung to the strains of the Battle Hymn
of the Republic:

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of John Ford.
They have gazed on Doctor Sheldon?s coins when they were being stored.
They have glimpsed the brouhaha about the Western assay hoard.
Old feuds go marching on."

[Many thanks to Russ for sharing these writeups with us.  I
knew Don Miller and he told me the story of that famous rooftop
struggle with Ford.  I was also lucky to be among the Fortunate
Forty bibliophiles at Armand Champa's that day, and I vividly
remember Ford holding forth from his perch on the bed in Armand's
stepdaughter's room.  Whatever happened to the videotapes of
that day?  Armand hired a videographer and parts of Ford's
exposition were caught on tape.  Do any of our readers have a
copy? -Editor]


This week's featured web page is "Observations on a Tiffin Token",
an article by Greg Burns originally published in The Journal, a
publication of The Canadian Numismatic Association, Vol. 39, No. 2
[3/94].  The tokens were produced around 1832 by a Montreal grocer
named Tiffin, but dated 1812.

Featured WebSite

  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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