The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 18, April 30, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Mitch Sanders and Thomas Van
Zeyl. Welcome aboard!  We now have 882 subscribers.

We've got our usual mixed bag of material this week.  No
earth-shaking developments, but interesting stuff nonetheless.
We start off with an announcement of a new book for Conder token

Several readers have offered tidbits about J.V. McDermott's 1913
Library Nickel displays, but the central question of who exhibited
one of the nickels at the 1957 Philadelphia ANA convention remains
unanswered, although J.V. McDermott seems the likely candidate.

Although it's unrelated to numismatics, there are some parallels,
and our readers may find something of interest in a story about
an investigation into the recent sale of the United Nations' stamp

We have some new discussion of royal portraits on coinage, and
another report indicating that the rising interest in sports medals
continues unabated.  For fans of Roman debauchery, a new museum
exhibit examines Caligula's reign through coinage.

In the "numismatic tourism" department, Dick Hanscom provides
photos of the Jacob Perkins mint building in Newburyport, MA, and
Dick Johnson provides some more background on Brookgreen Gardens.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Allan Davisson provided the following information on a new
book for Conder token collectors.  He adds: "It’s a great
work, a major production on John Whitmore’s part."

Whitmore.  A 390 page A4 format volume, hardbound (or
leather if you prefer) with

* THE TOKEN TRACER 1700-1860; a guide to all the legends,
dates only or design only tokens issued in this entire period.
Dalton and Hamer, Australasian, the Bell volumes including
Unofficial Farthings, Withers—Coin-Weights & 19th Century
Copper, Breton, Cobwright, Davis & Waters, Dalton (silver)
and more.

* An extensive listing of major auction prices of Dalton and
Hamer tokens going back to the Jan sales in 1983 and including
the Noble sale of 1998 and the major DNW sales.

* A supplement, with four plates, to Unofficial Farthings.
And a price guide.

* A definitive listing of Inn tokens.
* A comprehensive index to Hawkins.
* Bibliography and general index.

This is a tremendous volume, the result of painstaking work
and an extensive depth of knowledge and experience on the
part of John Whitmore. I began with only a proof copy in
sheets that I used extensively. I now have an early copy of
the work itself. he binding and dustjacket are notably high

I happily agreed to distribute this outstanding work in the
United States.  The cost is modest for all this offers, $125
hardbound or $190 half leather. (Prices are postpaid to U.S.
addresses. Delivery will be in early June.)

Allan and Marnie Davisson
Cold Spring, MN 56320
320-685-3835 € 24 hr FAX 320-685-8636


David Gladfelter writes: "About 60 of William S. Dewey's
family and friends attended his memorial service at the
First Congregational Church in River Edge, Bergen County,
New Jersey, on April 23, 2006. Bill, noted collector and
writer about the historical medals, tokens and paper money
of New Jersey and the medals and mementos of his distant
relative, Admiral George Dewey, died at age 100 earlier
this month at the nursing home where he had lived the past
4 years.

In attendance were both of Bill's children, William E. Dewey
and Autumn Owens, all six of his grandchildren and all 10 of
his great-grandchildren. The service, like Bill himself, was
very upbeat as speakers recalled his warm family relationships,
engineering career, volunteer activities, numismatic pursuits,
love of music and family history. Afterward, there was time to
visit, eat and browse Bill's photo albums, publications, awards
and news items.

Among the last named was a December 1937 article about Bill
taking charge of some 600 books belonging to the American
Numismatic Association and working up the collection into a
lending library operated out of his home. The family allowed
interested persons to take away some of Bill's award plaques
as remembrances of him.

His children said that although confined to a wheel chair while
in the nursing home because of a fractured hip, his mind remained
clear. Most days he dressed like the professional he was, in a
jacket and tie and occasional jaunty cap.

I had the pleasure of working with this remarkable man on the
last article he wrote, 9 years ago, about the rare paper money
of the Bergen Iron Works in Lakewood, Ocean County, New Jersey.
In that article we described and illustrated all of the five
known specimens, in all denominations. Since that time, only one
additional specimen has turned up. He took great pleasure in
being thorough."


Mark Borckardt writes: "I would suggest that the "well-dressed"
gentleman was, in fact, George Walton.  Walton and Wolfson are
similar enough names that this could be an easy mixup.  My
understanding is that George Walton was always extremely well
dressed at shows, and also, he did indeed have his nickel in a
Lucite (capital plastics style) holder."

[As Barry clarified last week, he is certain that it was Wolfson
in the shop that day, but it was Wolfson's well-dressed companion
who had the 1913 Nickel.  The companion could have been George
Walton, J.V. McDermott, Lou Eliasberg or any of the other nickel
owners. -Editor]

Dave Bowers writes: "Concerning the 1913 Liberty Head nickel
owned by J.V. McDermott, he at first kept it mingled with pocket
change and keys. He would pass it around the bar (where he could
usually be found) in the hotel where a convention was being held,
or nearby. Later, he put it in a small green rectangular plastic

George Fuld writes: "I remember McDermott throwing a 1913 nickel
to me at an ANA convention (possibly 1957).  The coin was in a
small Lucite holder--possibly a Capitol one. He carried it with
him most of the time!!"

Ken Hallenbeck writes: "In the late 1950s, probably about 1959,
I borrowed J.V.McDermott's 1913 liberty nickel for our local coin
show when I still lived in Fort Wayne, IN.  I don't recall many
of the details, but do recall it was in a Lucite plastic holder.
The holder was quite large and quite thick.  It was quite a thrill."

Rich Hartzog writes: "McDermott lived near Rockford, IL (my source
says Beloit, WI, about 15 miles north), and kept his 1913 nickel
in a Lucite holder.  He would pass it around at coin clubs, in bars,
at shows, and generally everywhere, not keeping any particular track
of it.  When he was ready to go, he would inquire of the room who
had his nickel, and always get it back.  My friend Joe Michalek
remembers this clearly, and he got to hold it on several occasions.
This was before I moved to Rockford, but McDermott was famous for
passing his nickel around."


Bill Coe of Rochester, NY forwarded the text of an item he wrote
for the August 5, 2003, Vol. 52, No. 31 issue of Numismatic News:

"I found the following information from an article in the program
of the 1965 Empire State Numismatic Association 30th Semi-Annual
Convention held in Rochester, NY, and hosted by the RNA, on May
14 – 16, 1965.

“The J. V. McDermott specimen was on display throughout this
convention. But the more incredulous fact is that, in 1920, Samuel
W. Brown of North Tonawanda, NY, attended a regular meeting of the
Rochester Numismatic Association held in the old Rochester Museum
in Edgerton Park and there laid out five (yes, all five) of these
rare coins to the amazement of the RNA members! Subsequently, he
showed the specimens to the 1920 ANA conventioneers.”

The article indicates that all five coins were struck in proof,
although, at least some, have been mishandled since. The article
goes on to reveal some of the facts leading up to the existence
of these famous nickels. Unfortunately, I was not among those
who enjoyed seeing these fabulous legends in American numismatics."

"Unless additional references surface, I will claim for the
Rochester Numismatic Association that it has the distinction of
being one of the, perhaps only, local coin clubs to have had all
five of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels displayed at one of its
regular meetings."


Continuing with his reminiscences of life in the coin business,
Barry Jablon writes: "I was asked to run the newly opened Hutzler's
coin department for the Friedbergs in 1960. I stayed in Baltimore
until 1961. After I had been in Baltimore for a few months, two
women showed up at the department early one Saturday morning. They
were from Cambridge, Maryland and had seen the ad in the paper
advertising our new department and the fact that we would buy coins.

They told me that they belonged to a church in Cambridge and,
when the church was being razed to build a new one, a box of
coins was found in the old cornerstone. The tin box contained
about twenty old copper coins. Most of them were early 1800's
and were in excellent condition. However, there in front of me
was a beautiful 1793 Liberty Cap cent. It was a dark chocolate
brown color, hardly any wear, no nicks or bruises. I purchased
the coins for $200.00 and called New York immediately.

As department manager, aside from my salary, I received 2%
commission on total sales. I wanted permission to keep the coin
in Baltimore and try to sell it. The first potential buyer was
Louis Eliasberg. I knew he had a complete collection, however,
I thought this coin was so special, maybe he would want another
one. So, I wrote Mr. Eliasberg a letter describing the coin.
Four days later, I got a call from New York. Send the coin back
to New York! Mr. Eliasberg did want the coin. However, he was
going to trade Jack Friedberg for some duplicate coins he had.
I wound up with no coin to sell and no commission.

Looking at coin prices today, I would see this coin being at
least $100,000. Oh well, like the 1895 dollar and the 1913
nickel, it was nice to be able to hold such rare coins. Most
people never get the chance. Oh, by the way, when the coin did
get back to New York, Jack showed it to Walter Breen, and Breen
thought it was truly beautiful."

On a related note, George Fuld writes: "Regarding the Gimbel's
coin shops, they had one in Boston and I bought a proof New York
Theater penny from them for $90 in 1958 or so -- I sold it for
a small  profit to Dick Picker."


On April 28 Fox News posted a very lengthy article about an
investigation into the 2003 sale of the United Nations' stamp

"Amid the many scandals at the United Nations, a new mystery
now looms. What happened to the world organization’s unique
and valuable postal archive — in effect, the U.N.’s own stamp
collection, one of the crown jewels of its past and a popular
point of contact with the global public?

Auditors from the U.N.’s investigative arm, the Office of
Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), are currently putting the
last touches on an investigative report that has taken months
to complete, and that aims to determine exactly what happened
— and why — to the U.N.’s rare and much-admired collection of
materials that belong to the United Nations Postal Administration."

"One thing that investigators know for certain about the archive:
In a discreet but historic auction carried out in a quiet suburb
of Geneva, Switzerland, all of it — more than a metric ton of
prized material, dating from as early as 1951 — was sold off to
a single bidder on May 12, 2003.

The collection included original artwork for U.N. stamps, unique
so-called die proofs to test the faithfulness of design reproduction,
printing proofs and other rarities, along with hundreds of thousands
of other stamps, reflecting many of the most colorful aspects of U.N.

"But for the U.N., it was no coup, even though, according to
officials familiar with UNPA finances, the UNPA netted “some $2.5
million” from the Swiss auction deal. The reason: according to U.N.
sources, the archive sale may well have taken place without the
permissions required by the regulations of the U.N. Secretariat
for the disposal of such important U.N. property."

"The sole winner of the Geneva auction bid was Arthur Morowitz,
CEO of a Manhattan-based firm called Champion Stamp Collection.
Morowitz is also secretary of the American Stamp Dealers Association,
an industry group. When contacted by FOX News, Morowitz declined to
comment on the sale, or the subsequent resale of the postal archive.

Even before leaving Geneva, however, Morowitz had been contacted
by another U.S. auctioneer, Greg Manning, head of a New Jersey
auction firm named Greg Manning Auctions, Inc (GMAI)..."

"Six months later, at his auction galleries in West Caldwell, N.J.,
Manning put the rarest and most unique items in the U.N. archive up
for auction once again — more than 2,000 items in all. They ranged
from artists’ drawings for the earliest U.N. stamps in 1951 to
approved models for special anniversary issues to unique rarities
celebrating peacekeeping operations and national member states."

"This auction, however, was only the tip of the UNPA’s archival
iceberg. After the sale, Manning still retained "hundreds of
thousands” of individual items from the archive, less unique than
the top-line items but still in highly limited quantity. These,
he says, he disposed of throughout 2004 to other private customers."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "For an upcoming
Whitman book, I'm looking for full-color photos or scans of
Civil War memorabilia. Do your readers know anyone who collects,
and would share some pictures?  There must be an NBS member or
two in the field. I'm seeking portraits, maps, enlistment posters,
newspapers, uniforms, awards and decorations, citations and other
ephemera, battlefield photos (either contemporary to the war, or
modern-day), maybe even scenes from re-enactments. If anyone would
like to participate, I'd be happy to give them credit in the book.
I can be reached at, or 404-235-5348."


In the March 26, 2006 E-Sylum (v9n13) Dave Bowers noted his
earlier suspicion of research about certain new coins supplied
by John J. Ford. Bowers wrote: "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.

Ted Buttrey writes: "Not to rehearse this business but to
correct a point made by Bowers.  He quite rightly points to
the use of early records, such as western American city
directories, as a source for the “new discoveries”.  This is
well said, but Bowers calls this operation “The Franklin technique”.
No, it was Ford who collected the directories and drew on them for
the bogus histories which he wove about the fake bars --  “the writer”
above was Ford.  You can check the directories for yourself: there
was a wonderful collection of well over a hundred of them in his
library, so many that Kolbe called attention to them with a
subheading in his auction of the Ford Library pt. I, 1 June 2004,
most of lots 1-115."

[Possession of the directories is not proof of how they were used,
but it is important for collectors and researchers to understand
how an assortment of small facts can be used to mask a larger lie.
A similar technique was employed by master forger Mark Hofmann.
Hofmann would dive into libraries and archives in search of tidbits
of information.  Using the information, he would then concoct a
forged document and offer it to a collector or dealer.  Later,
anyone researching the document would find "evidence" supporting
its authenticity.

Interestingly, I learned of the "Hofmann technique" at an ANA
Numismatic Theater presentation by none other than Eric Newman,
a longtime opponent of Ford's in disputes relating to purported
forgeries.  -Editor]


Regarding the Queen's portrait on various nations' coins and
banknotes, Martin Purdy writes: "I guess they must have some
freedom - NZ had a "unique" (and not very successful) portrait
of the Queen by James Berry on its NCLT dollar coins from 1979
to 1981, before reverting to the Machin portrait.

The dates of changeover from one portrait to another are not
standardised, either.  The Machin portrait was introduced on
some "colonial" coinage before the UK itself made the switch
away from the Gillick portrait.  The UK adopted the Machin
version in 1968/71, while Machin was adopted in Rhodesia as
early as 1964 (I'm quoting from memory, I think it was the
first), Canada in 1965, Australia in 1966 and New Zealand in
1967.  Likewise, changes to later portraits have been staggered
from country to country."

Charlie Hosch writes: "As for Maundy money, traditionally the
monarch's portrait on the obverse is never changed throughout the
reign.  They are not  "circulating currency," so who really cares?
Maundy money is quite rare, but not collected by a significant number
of numismatists, and therefore the retail prices are quite low
compared to the mintage.

As for different images used by various British Commonwealth 
countries that do not "conform" to the UK image -- well, they 
(the Commonwealth countries) can do anything they want to do.  
It's not like the Queen can have their heads cut off if she doesn't 
approve.  Of course she will approve whatever a mint puts in 
front of her.  Is she going to cause a "stink" because she has a 
minor problem with the design?  Not hardly.  I'm sure Her 
Majesty has other fish to fry."

Kerry Rodgers writes: "Gary Dunaier queries the use on coins
of different EFFIGIES (NOT portraits) of Elizabeth the Second,
by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland and Her other Realms and Territories Queen,
Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

The Queen may be Head of the Commonwealth, Supreme Governor
of the Church of England, Lord of Mann and the Duke of Lancaster,
but is also Queen of at least sixteen independent nations known
as the Commonwealth Realms, consisting of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon
Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,
Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. The key
word is "independent". By the Statute of Westminster 1931 she holds
these positions equally; no one nation takes precedence over any
other. As such there is and never has been a "home office" since
1931, except where and when any of these countries were colonies.
All are now independent.

As such, each of these realms can do what it wishes with their
own queen's effigy, although the approval of HRH is sought as to
how she is depicted.  New Zealand did it own thing back in 1979-82
with a distinctive effigy of the Queen of New Zealand.  Canada has
its own effigy of the Queen of Canada.

I spoke to one mint about their use of the Maklouf effigy vs the
Rank-Broadley version and they said it depended on cost, convenience
and usage of the particular realm. Consequently, while the IRB
version may be "current" in one of Her Majesty's realms it may well
not be in another.  The situation is no different than it is with
bank notes or stamps.

I may be doing Gary an injustice but I presume he is from one
republic or another - or is an Australian! I used to struggle to
explain to such folk that Elizabeth is Queen of New Zealand quite
independently of being Queen of England.  These days I usually
don't bother - particularly with confused Australians.  Intriguingly,
I have found the California numismatists I know have no problem
with the concept. Many of them had it sorted out long before I hove
into view.

They point out that a number of countries use the currency of
another with which they are not politically connected.  For example,
Tuvalu uses Australian dollars. Consequently, having a Head of State
who doesn't live in your neck of the woods is no big deal. I had
always understood it was Bostonians who were the politically savvy
folk in the U.S. I now know it is the Californians - which may
explain a lot!"


The Huddersfield Daily Examiner published an article about a
reverend executed in 1690 for the offense of coin-clipping:

"Thurstonland had its own coin clipper, one Reverend Robinson,
and even though the reverend acted strangely and seemed to
have more money than one would expect, no-one suspected he
was taking part in this popular crime.

Robinson, ably assisted by his 18-year-old son, carried out
his underhand activities in his cellar. When he was eventually
caught it was discovered that there was a tunnel running from
his house to a nearby field, indicating the involvement of others.

He was put on trial, found guilty and executed in 1690. His
son, however, got off lightly and went on to work at the Mint
in London!"

To read the article, see: Full Story

[Would any of our readers have more information on Reverend
Robinson or his son?  What was his position at the Mint?


The fever for historic sports medals continues. The Evening
Times reports that "A rare medal from Celtic's first Scottish
Cup defeat has sold at auction for more than £800.

The gold medal sparked a bidding war in Glasgow as football
collectors clamoured to get their hands on the controversial

Bought by a Scottish private collector for £850, it was presented
to player William Love of Third Lanark after his team swept to
victory with a 2-1 win in a replay in 1889."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Brookgreen Gardens was a favorite haunt
of super collector, world traveler and American Numismatic
Association official John Jay Pittman. Mine too. In addition
to the statues by numismatic artists mentioned by Rich Jewell
in last week's E-Sylum, are the animals (it’s also a zoo), the
birds (it’s also an aviary) and the flora and fauna. Plan to
visit four times, once each season. The color and beauty change
with each season. I have been there three times (but I forgot
what season I am missing so I am going to have to start the
cycle all over again).

The sculpture (and medals in their collections!) are the domain
of Senior Curator Robin R. Salmon. Buy her 1993 book on the
Brookgreen collections. It includes some of the best biographies
of all those numismatic artists Rich mentioned last week. Also
get the book by her predecessor, Beatrice Gilman Proske. Both
are great books, they don’t duplicate each other, and both have
excellent artists bios.

Mrs. Proske worked at the Hispanic Society, next door to the
American Numismatic Society in New York City when it was at
Audubon Terrace. I often ran into her at a function of one or
the other, or at some sculpture function. She wrote the first
edition in 1936, the second in 1968, and she was still active
years later.

The Huntingtons – Archer Milton and Anna Hyatt – bought
Brookgreen Plantation in 1929 and added adjacent land until
they had 9,000 acres. Brookgreen plantation was once the home
of John Trumbull (who designed the four Washington Seasons
Medals of 1796 and was the subject of the third medal, for 1849,
in the American Art-Union Medal Series with portrait by Charles
Cushing Wright).

While the Huntingtons were building Brookgreen Gardens they
lived in a bunker-like building across the highway right on
the seashore. Visit that also on your trip to Brookgreen Gardens.

Archer Huntington is the same person who was the benefactor to
the American Numismatic Society. He not only gave the Society
the building they recently abandoned, but also five other buildings
to organizations which located at Audubon Terrace (he had earlier
bought John James Audubon’s farm located from Broadway to the
Hudson River, and from 152th to 156th Street.

He was also a benefactor to several other museums. They say
"Everywhere he put his foot down, a museum sprung up." Anna
Hyatt was six years younger, but well known as a sculptor even
before they married. In fact, she was listed in Who’s Who as a
sculptor before he was listed as a philanthropist. She was earning
$50,000 a year before the income tax was enacted (while Archer was
spending more than ten times that in a year’s time!).

Question for E-Sylum readers. Archer was spending inherited money,
where did it come from?"

[Dick Johnson has answered last week's Quiz Question for us:
Huntington's numismatic connection is his support for the
American Numismatic Society.  But now Dick has saddled us with
a fresh Quiz Question - who can tell us where Huntington's
millions sprang from? -Editor]


The Daily Record of Morris County, New Jersey reports that the
home of an early U.S. Mint Director will be the center of a
charitable event expected to draw some 20,000 people in upcoming

"The Federal-era Ross farmhouse, set on 61 acres of pastures
and woods, was built in 1771 by Elias Boudinot, who frequently
invited Gen. George Washington to dinner during the two winters
he was encamped in nearby Jockey Hollow -- 1777 and 1779-80.

Boudinot, a lawyer, held various leadership positions in the
fledgling American government and was a signatory to the document
that preceded the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American
Revolution. After the war, he served three terms in the House
of Representatives. In 1795 Washington appointed him director
of The United States Mint, a position he held until he retired
10 years later."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


Last week I asked about numismatic gems that turned up in
the buckets of coin and bullion dealers in the silver frenzy of
1980. Dave Lange writes: "I saw quite a few uncirculated pieces
of modest scarcity get processed through counting machines as
just so much bullion, but I never found anything truly rare at
my local coin shop. The best piece retrieved was an 1877-CC half
dollar in choice XF condition (probably AU by today's standards).
I bought this for its melt value which, unfortunately, was not
much less than its numismatic value at the time.

I've always contended that very few of the silver coins cashed
in for their bullion value in 1979-80 were actually melted at
refineries. When one does the math, it simply doesn't make sense
to go to the added expense of having the coins rendered into bars.
They were worth as much in the marketplace in coin form as they
were in bar form, since the extraordinary demand for silver was
not from industrial need but rather from pure speculation. Such
speculators would not have added to their overhead without a clear
financial incentive to do so, and this simply didn't exist.

I believe that these accounts of millions of silver coins being
melted is just a myth perpetuated by those trying to create a sense
of rarity that simply doesn't exist. It seems to be one of those
stories that, told often enough, becomes numismatic fact. It's
revealing that all of these reports are not from end users, but
rather from coin dealers. I'd like to read an account from someone
who actually worked at a refinery and witnessed the coins being
melted before I would accept it as fact."

[Dealers shipped the silver out as fast as they got their hands
on it, for two main reasons:  One, they needed to get the cash so
they could buy more the next day, and Two, because they were afraid
of the price dropping before they could turn a profit.  So who was
left holding the bag(s) when the bubble burst?  Investors who took
delivery of silver bags?  Smelters who sat on the bags?  Middlemen?
Have most of those bags been returned to the marketplace, or are
there still piles of silver coins sitting around in vaults?  Several
years ago investor Warren Buffett bought over 100 million ounces of
silver, and I understand he took delivery of the metal.  Was it in
bar form, or did the purchase include bags of coins? -Editor]


Last week I wrote: "I may be in possession of the only remaining
empty box of Almond Delight cereal, which pictures and describes
the set of banknote reproductions given away in the boxes as a
promotion several years ago."

Bill Gibbs writes: "At least two empty boxes of Almond Delight
with the information about the note replica promotion survive.
I kept one as well, and have (somewhere) the note replicas
included in the boxes and the uncut sheet ordered through the

Joe Boling writes: "I have one of those boxes, too, but mine
contained genuine notes of various countries (including the USA,
up to a $500 note)."

[I think I ate my $500 bill my mistake.  Good source of fiber ...


According to an article in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, "An
historic tale of incest, murder and cannibalism is being revealed
at a Warwickshire museum this summer."

"Dating from as early as the 1st Century BC, the cash includes
Greek and Roman coins brought back by Sir Roger Newdigate of
Arbury Hall, Nuneaton from his grand tour of Europe in the 18th

Dr Stanley Ireland, of the University of Warwick and the museum's
former honorary numismatist, then late Wilfred Seaby catalogued
the coins.

One tells the story of the insane Roman Emperor Caligula who,
believing he was the son of a god, had incestuous relations with
his sisters, murdered and then ate the offspring."

Other money on view between now and September includes Celtic
coins featuring cartoon horses, an 'angel' of Henry VII and heavy
Roman coins."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The Baltimore Jewish Times published an article about the trash
bin rescue of a hoard of historic medals and molds which could
become the nucleus of a future museum collection.

"The workers were emptying the factory, moving a lot of heavy
objects," he says. "I asked my father about them and he said,
'Forget it, this is just old stuff.' "

Kretschmer began taking boxes out of the garbage at the factory
and going through them. He was amazed, and took everything that
was left.

"The early copper etchings from the early 20th century are pure
works of art," he says. "They are priceless works by a professor
from the Bezalel School, my grandfather, and I found them in a
garbage bin."

"There are round etchings of Zionist founding father Theodore
Herzl with his trademark beard. There are medallions of writer
Sholem Aleichem cast from clay for the Zionist Congress of 1921,
and of Chaim Weizmann, the first president of the State of Israel.

"You can stare at the faces of Herzl and Weizmann and Prime
Minister Ben-Gurion and they step right out of the copper and
bronze into real life," says kibbutz member Boaz Kretschmer, the
medallions' owner.

Kretschmer rescued the medallions, produced by his grandfather,
from an industrial garbage bin. He hopes one day to be able to
show them to the public in a museum he wants to build on the

"There is David Ben-Gurion declaring the State of Israel's
establishment in Tel Aviv. The 1948 scene was etched in clay,
then cast in bronze and copper. All three round tablets are
on display."

"Kretschmer wants to build a museum on the kibbutz to attract
people to this part of the western Negev Desert."

"Meanwhile, people come from the region alone or in small
groups to see the medals, coins, insignia and etchings."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Last week I predicted there would be no
Lincoln cents struck in 2010. Strong economic forces are driving
this decision. The costs of the metal composition alone --
irrespective of the striking costs -- of a cent coin will be so
overwhelming by then that it would be foolish for the U.S.
government to underwrite continued striking, and losing, even
a fraction of a cent for each coin. Unless the government wants
to make cents in nonmetallic form -- "How to you want those Ma'am,
paper or plastic?" -- Americans must face the fact the cent is
destined to be abolished.

The bright spot is already passed into law. There will be four
different commemorative reverses of the Lincoln cent in 2009
honoring the four locations in Abraham Lincoln's life -- Kentucky,
Indiana, Illinois and the District of Columbia. This is to honor
the bicentennial of the birth of Lincoln -- and the centennial of
the Lincoln cent itself. These special reverse cents should be
coins for circulation, much like the recent Lewis & Clark reverses
of the Jefferson nickel.

To make a spectacular departure from America's family of denominations,
the 2009 Lincoln cents with four reverses should be struck in something
special -- perhaps precious metals -- silver and gold! Imagine the
charm of a silver cent and the uniqueness of a gold penny! Each with
four different reverses. THESE coins should be the commemorative cents.
These could be coins with a surcharge. These could be sold to
collectors for the spectacular final issuance of Lincoln cents.

It will be like the finale of a musical program or the fireworks
display at the end of July 4th! A grand finale!

When the public was asked for commemorative Lincoln cent design
plans back in 2004 E-Sylum had a string of readers' comments.
E-Sylum reader Gary Dunaier suggested the Lincoln cent be issued
with the original Victor Brenner models of 1909. The original obverse
and reverse, from galvanos of Brenner’s original design. (The galvanos
still exist!) Here’s what I wrote (vol 7, no 28, article 10):

"I also would like to see Brenner's reverse with his name signed in
full in script like on the original 1909 model for the 2009 Cent.
Great Idea, Gary! Can we carry your idea one step further? Can only
484,000 cents be struck at San Francisco -- with "S" mintmark obviously
-- this was, of course, the original 1909 mintage. And 27,995,000
struck at Philadelphia. And unlimited striking at the Denver Mint
(since it didn't strike any cents until 1911)."

Can anyone at the U.S. Mint say "collector friendly"?"


Dick Johnson writes: "Rising metal prices are making copper and
zinc coins worldwide vulnerable. Will numismatics forever lose minor
coins to the melting pot? Could be. But not for the moment.

A decade or two in the past it was the precious-metal coins that
were melted in vast numbers for their metal content. Shortly we could
face a similar mass destruction for coins of lesser value even with
base metal compositions. But we could still have enough coins around
for collectors.

A Canadian writer, Robert Sheppard, reporting on the CBC, responded
to the New York Times article (see last week’s E-Sylum) that the U.S.
cent is costing 1.4 cent to make at current metal costs. He analyzed
Canadian cents since their composition differs from the U.S. cent
(which converted to a copper coated zinc in 1982). It wasn’t until
1996 that Canadians solved the problem with a cent composition of 94
percent steel, 1.5 percent nickel and 4.5 percent copper.

He pointed out, however, that all Canadian cents prior to 1996 were
98 percent copper. They are vulnerable to melting for their copper
content. If his figures are correct he said a ton of pre-1996 Canadian
cents would be $4,081.63 face. A ton of copper is selling around $7,000
(and the Chinese are buying). But don’t start smelting coins in your

For a transcription of his interesting broadcast, see: Transcription


"Artist Sally Logue, from Kirkoswald, near Penrith, has been
asked to produce portraits of photogenic pigs for the New
Zealand Mint.

She has already had a selection of canine portraits used to
mark the current lunar Year of the Dog."

Ms Logue said: "The New Zealand Mint contacted me last year
to see if I could provide them with a series of drawings of dogs.

"I thought it was a bit of a wind up at first because they
said the coins would be issued in Cambodia, sold in Russia
and minted in New Zealand.

"But now we have three Cumbrian dogs with the king of Cambodia
on the other side."

"Now they are looking for pigs, but it's not certain exactly
what kind of pig they want. So I thought it would be good to
have a portfolio to show them.

"So I am looking for people who might want to have a portrait
done of their pig."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Last week Kerry Rodgers discussed the estimated outstanding
dollar amount of Cook Islands noncirculating legal tender
issues.  He came up with over $10 million face, justifying
the term "millions" that had popped up the previous week.
He asked me to check his math, and I quickly agreed that
millions was correct, but I didn't get the details right
in my comments.

Mike Marotta writes: "I worked the arithmetic three times --
twice on calculator and once by hand using a different commutation
-- and got 108 000 000 for 36 issues of 60,000 coins worth 50
dollars each."   He's right - the correct total is $108 million
New Zealand dollars.

On the coinage of the term NCNLT (non-circulating non-legal
non-tender) Mike also correctly points out that that he had used
the term in his previous week's submission.  He writes: "On the
coining of NCNLT -- the term, not the coins -- in the April 16
issue, I had published this:  "They thought that they could scam
tourists with their non-circulating non-legal non-tender."  I
agree that NCNLT is more correct and that my phrase was overkill."


Dan Freidus writes: "Again, an item in The E-Sylum led me to do
some searching.  I was suspicious about the statement that Marburg's
dissertation had "never been published."  So I checked the company
formerly known as UMI, and before that as "University Microfilm
International" (and now calling themselves Proquest).  I found that
they do indeed have Marburg's dissertation (1942, not 1946):
Marburg's dissertation

I also found a few more possibly relevant tidbits:

Marburg, Theodore 1952.  Commission Agents in the Button and Brass
Trade a Century Ago. Bulletin of the Business Historical Society
16:8-18 (Feb 1952)

Marburg, Theodore F. 1954. A Study of Small Business Failure:
Smith & Griggs of Waterbury.  Business History Review. 28:366-384
(Dec 1954)

MARBURG, THEODORE F. 1956.  Small Business in Brass Fabricating:
The Smith & Griggs Manufacturing Co. of Waterbury. New York: NYU

The University of Connecticut library has records of Scovill
(about 6 shelf feet of paper) and American Brass (the company
that acquired Scovill; about 160 shelf feet of paper):
Full Story

Full Story

I suspect that these records would prove useful, though they are
likely to require a substantial investment of time.  I hope these
links help out Dick and/or the Wilsons."


Dick Hanscom of Fairbanks, AK writes: "From the August 1997
issue of World Coin News:

"As the Marshall Islands Journal reported on June 13, 1997,
an individual must:

-Appear in person at the Treasury
-Redeem no more than 10 coins per day.
-Present an original invoice showing the purchase of the
  coins; and
-Pay a 10 percent fee."

Thus, if exchanging 10 - $50 coins, the maximum one could
realize is $450 per day.

An earlier letter to the editor (March 1, 1993 World Coin News)
from the "Secretary of Finance" indicates that for coins over
$10 denomination, only one coin per day could be redeemed, and
for coins of less than $10, a maximum of $10 per day will be
exchanged.  All other terms from the above 1997 statement hold."

[They really make holders stand on their head and bark in order
to collect, don't they?  Shades of the days of wildcat banks,
which would force noteholders to appear in person at certain
hours on certain days at their home office in some remote hamlet
with some impossibly large amount of notes in order to redeem
them for coin. -Editor]


Dick Hanscom visited family in Newburyport, MA last week, and he
took some photos of the old Jacob Perkins mint building that's been
in the news recently.  He writes: "They're not good photos, but good
enough to show what all the fuss is about."  He uploaded them to his
web site for all to view:

Jacob Perkins mint building
Jacob Perkins mint building

Dave Perkins writes: "The photos are exactly as I remember the
building to look.  One appears to have been taken from the "backyard"
of the Newburyport Historical Society.  It's fun to imagine the activity
200 years ago in Perkins' workshop."

Here are links to some recent E-Sylum articles about the building:




According to an article in the Manilla Standard, "De La Rue PLC and
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) GmBH, the world’s top two private banknote
printers, are vying for a contract with the Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas, including the printing of Philippine peso notes..."

"The Arrovo notes—P100 notes that misspelled the name of President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo—were printed by Oberthur, the third-largest
private printer of banknotes. It caused great embarrassment to the
central bank. It is not clear whether Oberthur was also the printer
of the defective P1,000 notes.

The BSP shredded some 78 million pieces of the Arrovo notes but the
fate of the P10 billion worth of defective P1,000 notes remains
unknown. Oberthur shouldered 75 percent of the losses arising from
the Arrovo notes but the BSP had to shoulder the remaining 25 percent
of the cost as it had approved the printing of the notes."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read an earlier E-Sylum article about the Arrovo error, see:


Regarding the National Coin Week "penny drop" stunt, Gary Dunaier
writes: "Unless the actual purchase is done with no media present,
what's there to prevent the merchant with whom the coin is spent
from putting it aside and subsequently turning it in himself?"

[Well, when I saw the photos of all the press surrounding Scott
Travers in New York, I wondered just how the coin drop COULD work
without the merchant suspecting something and immediately pocketing
the coins.  There's never a guarantee that the merchant or clerk
won't spot the coin and immediately set it aside.

When I did my coin drop in Pittsburgh I picked a busy bakery at
lunchtime (with no media in tow), when I figured no one would have
time to examine coins.  I went back to the bakery following the coin
show and told the staff what I'd done.  They'd seen the publicity
about the coins and had searched their tills, but no one found the

As far as we knew, it had been handed back out in change shortly
after I'd spent it.  Most likely, it went straight into someone's
dresser drawer or coin jar.

The Lincoln cent is the longest-lived of current coin designs, and
provides the best cover for a scarce coin.  Pre-1965 silver coins
are out because the color and sound of silver would draw immediate
attention.  I'm waiting for someone to use a scarce state quarter,
like the extra corn leaf variety. But varieties are much harder to
describe in a press release than a simple date/mintmark combination.
We never repeated the coin drop in Pittsburgh out of courtesy to the
local coin dealers - the publicity set their phones ringing with
callers who seemed to think they could cash in their 1994 cents for
$100 apiece.  -Editor]


Pete Morelewicz of the Squished Penny Museum in Washington, DC
writes: "It was right under our noses the whole time! The Washington
Post helpfully pointed out perhaps the best solution to the
Smithsonian's funding woes: exonumia."

Pete included a link to a Washington Post editorial cartoon
lampooning the Smithsonian's funding predicament, and proposing
that sales of souvenir elongated cents could fill the funding gap
and eliminate the need for an admission fee, as proposed by a
congressman recently.

The cartoon states that "Squished penny machines are the major
source of income for many tourist destinations, like the Louvre
and West Virginia.  Thirty of forty of them in each museum ought
to do the trick."

To view the cartoon, see: Cartoon

Pete adds: "Since their site requires registration, I posted a
version here, too: Full Story "

[Given the discussions over the fate of the cent, perhaps there
should be some concern as well over the fate of elongated cents.
Could they be on the way out as well?  Nearly any coin can and
has been rolled into an elongated souvenir, but without the cent
the nickel would be the next lowest value coin.  Is there a
Squished Nickel Museum in our future?  -Editor]


This week's featured web page is from a commercial site,
featuring portraits of British Kings & Queens on coins.

"We present a royal portrait gallery of kings and queens on
British coins. Because of their very nature, these are all
contemporary images of monarchs engraved in metal by some of
the finest artists or sculptors of their day. We have shown
the best example we could find of each ruler taken from coins
in our recent stock."

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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