The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 19, May 7, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Jorg Lueke, Shirley Dyess and
Scott Travers.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 885 subscribers.

The hour is late and I'll let this issue speak for itself.
Readers will find a number of articles relating to numismatic
literature and research, including some book reviews and a
fantastic web resource.  In the numismatic reminiscences area,
we have a new report from Barry Jablon, this time on the hubbub
over the 1960 Small Date Lincoln Cent.

Just one other item to mention - the May 15 issue of Coin World
has (yet another) great article by Nancy Oliver and Richard Kelly,
this time revealing a newly-discovered newspaper clipping that
identifies San Francisco mint employee Frank C. Berdan as the
source of two specimens of the 1894-S dime.   Referring to this
discovery in her editorial column in that same issue, editor Beth
Deisher remarks on how "The teaming of "old" and "new" technologies
is playing an important role in numismatic research today and is
helping us "discover" what was once known but what subsequently
became lost to the collecting public for many years."


Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books mail-bid sale of numismatic literature
closes on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 5:00 PM. Bidders may contact Fred
Lake by telephone, email, or fax until that time with bids or requests
for information regarding the sale.  Lake Books (727) 343-8055
FAX:(727) 345-3750"


Bill Rosenblum writes: "Nancy Green, the longtime librarian of the
American Numismatic Association and one of the truly good people at
the headquarters, retired last Friday.

Nancy was a lover of books and would go the extra mile for me (and
I'm sure many others) in finding that elusive book or article that
may have been titled in a different way than I had thought.

She advised me that although she was no longer with the ANA, she
had become a coin "nerd" and would make appearances at local clubs
and shows.

I'm not sure how many E-Sylum readers had contact with her but
this reader will certainly miss her."

[Nancy: you will certainly be missed!  Good luck and good wishes
on your retirement!  -Editor]


Stephen Pradier writes: "Since moving to Middle Tennessee last
April, I have found myself with quite a bit of time on my hands.
It recently dawned on me that in my move from my home of 33 years
in Northern Virginia to my new home here in Murfreesboro, Tennessee,
that I brought along with me over 200 book boxes of books, all of
which I placed in there very own secluded room for safe keeping.

At any rate, with the time I have, I have decided to create a web
Site and devote it to Numismatic Literature. At this point it is
Pretty much a work in progress. I would like this site to be just
one more in the field of Numismatic Literature and hope that it
will attract a lot more people to the Numismatic Literature community.
I am in the process of setting up a News & Misc page.  Cal Wilson
gave me permission to post his Repository newsletters as he no
longer maintains his site.  The web address is "

[A new web site on numismatic literature is always welcome.
Stephen's only getting started, but he's already got a nice
collection of links to literature dealers, publishers and
associations (including, of course, the Numismatic Bibliomania
Society. -Editor]


Whitman Publishing forwarded the press release for their newest
title.  Here are some excerpts:

"Whitman Publishing announces the forthcoming release of one of
the most comprehensive, fact-filled, and interesting books on
American paper money ever produced:  Paper Money Issued by Banks
in the United States 1782-1866, with the subtitle, The Engraving,
Printing, and Circulation of Bank Notes with Aspects of Collecting
Obsolete Currency. The author is Q. David Bowers... The book will
include a foreword by Eric P. Newman, patriarch of paper money
research and collecting.

The book will be an estimated 500 to 600 pages in length, large
8 ½ by 11 inches in format, full color throughout, printed on
high quality paper, and hardbound with a decorative cover as well
as a book jacket. It is anticipated that these books will be
available for distribution by autumn. The cover price is $69.95.
In addition, a limited number of leather bound copies will be
produced for those who wish to have a very special volume for
their library, these for $99.95.

The book is arranged in 20 chapters, each of which is extensively
illustrated... The contributors to the new book constitute a
veritable Who’s Who in American Paper Money, providing hundreds
of images of individual notes, vignettes, full sheets, and more.
Never before has so much information and so many illustrations
been combined in a single volume.

Bowers, who has been studying the subject and keeping notes for
several decades, draws primarily upon original bank documents,
contemporary newspapers, state bank commission reports, and other
contemporary information, bringing to light many interesting,
indeed remarkable facts never before presented in a numismatic

"Concluding the book is a color gallery, “Treasures of the American
Bank Note Company Archives,” illustrating and describing many of
the bank note plates, vignettes, and other items that were sold in
2005 by the American Bank Note Company to John Albanese and Steve
Blum, with many of the important items going to American Numismatic
Rarities. The book, the work of years of research by Dave Bowers,
would probably still be in the compilation stage were it not for
the planned offering of American Note Bank Note Company plates and
other items on the market, beginning later this year. This
precipitated a drawing together of information, resulting in the
book here announced."

[I'm looking forward to seeing Dave's latest work.  The book will
be available through numismatic literature dealers later this year.
For more information, see the Whitman web site: -Editor]


Steve Pellegrini writes: "Last week in Coin World there was an
article about the currently very hot 'So-Called-Dollar' series of
U.S. commemorative medals. In the article the writer mentions that
a new book about the series is in the works. Has there ever been
a numismatic book which more needed to be written? The standard
reference by Hibler and Kappen, as great as it is, came out in
1963 and is oh so woefully incomplete and out of date. I only hope
this work won't be years making its debut.

Speaking of delayed book debuts, has anybody heard any news that's
new regarding Volume 2 of Fivaz and Stanton's 'Cherrypickers Guide
To Rare Die Varities'? The last I heard the briars and brambles of
tangled red tape that was holding up the book had recently been
unwound and the book could be expected any day now. That update,
also reported in Coin World, appeared many months ago. Still no book.

My little vested interest in this book concerns one of the longest
held group of coins in my collection. This is a run of Washington
Quarter die varities. Some of these varieties were unlisted in the
old 'Cherrypickers Guide' and will hopefully have made the grade
in the new edition. I wait anxiously."


John and Nancy Wilson write: "We were informed of the passing of
Past ANA President Florence Schook at the age of 88.  Florence
also served as President of the Central States Numismatic Society
and Michigan State Numismatic Society.  She served for many years
on all three of these boards and advanced many educational programs,
especially YN (Young Numismatists).  Florence also had a great
impact on the numismatic direction of these important organizations.

We will always remember Florence for her tireless work while serving
on the boards of the above three organizations.  Nancy served with
Florence on the ANA Board, and I served with her on the CSNS Board.
This dynamic and hard working numismatist was the recipient of all
the major awards of the aforementioned organizations.  Florence will
be greatly missed by her thousands of friends from all over the U. S.,
and World.  She will be forever in our thoughts and memories.

MSNS Exhibit Chairman Frank Passic provided information that at you can view a photo of Florence Schook, which
was provided by Coin World and Beth Deisher."

[Here's a shortcut to the Schook page: Schook page

David Ganz writes: "I knew Florence for many years and served
with her for 10 years on the ANA Board. Although I was long out of
the YN program when she became active (in the mid-1970's), we worked
well together for the YN cause particularly in raising funds for YN
projects. The Young Numismatist publication that I edited from about
1970 to 1976 pre-dates her but she was very supportive when others
were not in moving it to the mainstream Numismatist publication. She
influenced a number of today's hobby leaders including Scott Travers
and Dwight Manley. She was a good friend with whom I enjoyed talking
and exchanging holiday cards since our mutual retirement from the
ANA Board."

Scott Travers writes: "Florence Schook was one of the earliest and
perhaps most important influences on my development as a collector,
dealer and author. I first met Florence at a YN meeting and competition
when I was 13. She immediately took me under her wing. Over the next
few years she helped me to achieve my potential, culminating in 1978
when I was named “Outstanding Young Numismatist” by ANA. Florence
created a platform that allowed me to develop skills as a numismatist,
writer, speaker and exhibitor. She was an out-of-the-box thinker who
encouraged independent expression. All of this training served as the
foundation for success in later years in all of these areas. Even
after completing my period as a YN, I continued to depend on Florence
for excellent advice and guidance—and regarded her as a good friend.
Florence Schook will be sorely missed."


A few months ago I ordered a copy of "Million Dollar Nickels:
Mysteries of the Illicit Liberty Head Nickels Revealed", by Paul
Montgomery, Mark Borckardt, and Ray Knight.  I've been reading it
off and on as time allows, and thought I'd write a short review.
Published in 2005, the book chronicles the story of the famed
nickels, culminating in the 2003 re-discovery of the long-lost
fifth nickel owned by the family of George O. Walton.

The book is a wonderful one-volume compendium of information on
the coins, but it's not a mere reference book - it reads like a
novel.  I would recommend it to numismatists and interested
non-collectors alike.  Not unlike the tale of the famed 1933
Double Eagle, the story is replete with mysteries, shady
characters, questionable stories, big money and big surprises.

As a bibliophile I was delighted to see how well the authors
documented their research.  The book includes a six-page index
and eight-page bibliography. In addition, there is a list of
references following each chapter.  Throughout the book appear
illustrations of original source materials such as letters,
telegrams, receipts, checks and handwritten notes by the likes
of Eric Newman.  Portraits of Newman and Burdette Johnson (who
once owned all five of the nickels) are included, along with
other owners including King Farouk, George Walton, Aubrey Bebee,
J. V. McDermott, Dr. Conway Bolt, Louis Eliasberg, Dwight Manley,
Reed Hawn, Abe Kosoff, Edwin Hydeman, Fred Olsen, James Kelly
and others.  The book even includes a photo of the elusive Samuel
W. Brown, who introduced the coins to the hobby.

It's hard to pick favorite chapters since I found something of
interest in every one, but here are a few that stand out.  Chapter
5, "The Mysterious Mr. Brown" sheds light on the man at the center
of the coins' origin.  Chapter Six, "The Set Period" covers the
early days when the five known coins traded together as a set.
The chapter includes a photo of the original black leather case
that housed the nickels when Newman and Johnson acquired them
from the Col. Green estate.  Chapter 9, "The Clockwork Miracle"
is a great behind-the-scenes account of the famous million-dollar
offer for the missing fifth nickel and the pandemonium that broke
out once the story hit the wires and the phones began ringing.

In short, this one's a real keeper - one of the few numismatic
books that make easy cover-to-cover reading.  Many thanks to the
authors for pulling together the threads of the tale into a great
reference.  As a kid, "The Fantastic 1804 Dollar" was the book
that really fired my imagination about numismatic history and
research.  "Million Dollar Nickels" is a book that could do the
same for a new generation of numismatists - every school library
should have a copy.

Published by Zyrus Press under license from Bowers and Merena
Galleries, Inc., the book is 6" x 9" hardbound with a pictorial
dust jacket, 369 pages, including over 100 black & white photos
and color plates of the five specimens.  For more information,
see the publisher's web site:

[I should add that one thing I haven't been able to learn from
the book is the answer to our recent question of who exhibited
a 1913 Liberty Nickel at the 1957 American Numismatic Association
convention.  But that's a minor point, and perhaps something which
could be addressed in a future edition.

QUIZ QUESTION: The famous black leather case contained not just
the five 1913 Liberty Nickels, but three other coins. What were
they, and where are they now?  -Editor]


W. David Perkins writes: "I would like to learn the buyer's name
for a 1794 Silver Dollar, Lot 608 in New Netherlands Coin Company,
Inc. Forty-Eighth Catalog of Rare Coins sale, November 21, 1956,
page 30.  This coin is plated in the sale catalog.

This specimen, per the sale catalog, was pedigreed to the Chapman
Earle sale in 1912, where it is also plated both obverse and reverse.
The cataloger also notes that it was obtained by Mr. Clarke from
Ira Reed.

According to the unpublished Jack Collins 1794 Dollar manuscript,
this specimen is ex. A. Bridgman (Chapman Bros., November 27-289,
1891:689 at $110.00).  The manuscript states the coin went to
"Kagins," thus one of the Kagin brothers (Art and / or Paul) may
have acquired it in this sale.

I would also like to learn if anyone has this specimen today, or
knows where it is.  Or if anyone has seen or heard of it since it
was sold in this sale in 1956.

At one time it had a "planchet defect (or damage) through the R
in LIBERTY, extending from the border almost to the hair, where
it curves left; adjustment marks between the third and fourth stars.
 Reverse with a serious edge dent above TE STATES; nick or scratch
below the dentils above ME."  It is possible this planchet defect
was repaired after the 1956 auction sale."

[Dave has offered to provide photos of this specimen to help
identify it.  Contact me at and I'll
forward your request. -Editor]


The last two issues of E-Sylum have contained fascinating articles
on the Silver Melt of 1980. It inspired me to reach for the book
in my library on this Great Silver Melt. But it wasn’t there. I
could see it in my mind. I know what it contained. It was a maroon
paperback with silver lettering on the cover. (Must be in those
three skids of books in the basement, as yet unpacked.)

So I went on to learn about it. I didn’t remember
the author, but the name was "The Great Silver Melt." Zero hits.
I finally found it. The title was incorrect. It was "The BIG Silver
Melt"! The author was Henry A. Merton. Published 1983 by Macmillan.

This book chronicled the events of the silver price run up and the
unsuccessful attempt by the Hunt Brothers to corner silver. Of
course there were some dramatic events after the book was published,
like the auction sale of the Hunt’s notable ancient coin collection
(and the ultimate sale of so much of their assets).

I hope this book is the source of the story I have repeated often.
The Hunts took possession of tons and tons of silver and wanted to
get it to Europe. How? They flew their ranch hands (read gun-toting
cowboys) to New York. Picked up the silver at a refinery in New
Jersey. Drove it to Kennedy International with the ranch hands riding
shotgun over all that silver. They oversaw it loaded onto a plane,
climbed aboard and flew it off to Belgium, I believe. The shotgun
delivery protected the other end, as well.

Merton’s book is excellent; recommend for E-Sylum readers. There
are five copies available on Abebooks. I’m looking forward to when
Hollywood makes this book into a film. Can I play the part of Bunker
Hunt? I promise I’ll put on some weight and practice my Texas drawl!"

[I told Dick that I, too had a copy of Merton's book, but I lied.
When I checked my library, what I thought was the Merton book was
another small paperback titled "The Great Change Robbery: The
Numismatic Nightmare" by Charles Diggins (1965).  It doesn't begin
"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times" -- that's
another Charles Diggins.  This one does include the phrase "Coin
collectors are not stupid, greedy little people who try to bankrupt
the economy."   Turns out my book isn't about the 1980 silver runnup,
but the one in the early 1960s that led to the removal of silver
from circulating U.S. coinage.  -Editor]


Tom DeLorey writes: "I asked my colleague, Dennis Forgue, who
was working at this location when it was still Rarcoa back in 1980,
what he thinks happened to the huge amounts of silver bought in here
back then. He says that it was almost impossible to resell "junk
silver" at the inflated levels, as the vast majority of people were
selling silver and buying gold. At most they resold 5% of what was
brought in, to speculators who thought it would run up some more.
The rest was shipped to refiners in Europe, as the refiners in
America were way backed up melting silver coins.

Another consideration, raised by my colleague Bob Greenstein, is
that dealers were throwing everything into bags to be melted back
then, including common Proofs and Barber halves, and we never see
bags like that being resold today, just common stuff that people
sat on back then waiting for the top to come again. The spiked
bags got melted."


Dave Ginsburg writes: "I may be the last person on the planet
to have discovered this, but while doing some research on the
Internet, I stumbled across the "Making of America" collection,
which is a joint project of Cornell University and the University
of Michigan to host a digitized collection of 19th century books
and journals.  You can reach it by going to
for Cornell's digital collection and then scrolling down the page to
the link.  (The homepage for the Making of America collection has a
link to the University of Michigan's collection).  I found the
collection when I was searching for an article in the January 1852
issue of The Democratic Review concerning the Mint (and why foreign
gold coins were being exported instead of being recoined into
American coins).  From there I discovered that the collection was
searchable.  A simple boolean search (in Advanced Search) combining
"United", "States" and "Mint" and limiting the time frame to 1815
to 1870 gave me over 500 hits!

The first two were for articles in Harper's Monthly Magazine,
which led me to a 13-page article on the New York Assay Office
in the November 1861 issue.  This article was the first part of
a three-part series.  The second was a 13-page article on the
Philadelphia Mint in the December 1861 issue, while the third was
a 20-page article on the American Bank Note Company in the February
1862 issue.  Each article is profusely illustrated and minutely
examines the working methods of each subject.  I've only taken a
brief look at the University of Michigan's collection, but I saw
that they have DeBow's Review.

The articles (at least the ones I've read) are in .gif format,
so it's easy to copy each page and paste them into a Word document,
which allows easy printing and electronic storage.  What a great

[We first discussed this web site in The E-Sylum back on April 30,
2000, but I'm sure Dave isn't the only researcher unaware of this
resource. It's high time we revisited this site.  Here's a link to
the original article. -Editor]


Board member Larry Mitchell writes: "Among the best resources
for ancillary coverage of 19th century American numismatic
topics are the monographs and journals currently being digitized
as part of Cornell University's MAKING OF AMERICA project.
The almost 1,000,000 pages digitized to date are a treasure trove
of information for numismatists.


Regarding Dick Johnson's suggestions for the 2009 Lincoln cents,
Howard Spindel writes: "I agree with Dick's comments that having
versions of the 2009 cent in precious metals would be something

When U.S. Mint personnel were in Portland for release of the Oregon
quarter, I asked Gloria Eskridge (Associate Director, Sales and
Marketing) why the annual silver proof sets couldn't include silver
versions of the nickel and the cent, as it has always seemed strange
to me that those coins remain in base metals in a *silver* proof set.
Her answer was that the US Mint can not decide on its own the
metallic content of any coin - it requires Congressional legislation.
So, if anyone wants silver or gold 2009 cents, write your Congressman!"


Regarding the Jacob Perkins building in Newburyport, MA, Dick Hanscom
writes: "Just a minor correction. It is not the Newburyport Historical
Society -  it is the Historical Society of Old Newbury (in Newburyport,
which used to be part of Newbury). Its building is the Cushing House

And here's a question someone might be able to answer.  We know the
building was used as a workshop to print bank notes, but the local
press refers to it as a "Mint".  Is there anything to indicate that
this building ever served as a mint - that is, to strike coins or
medals.  I know Perkins engraved some of the dies for the Mass. coinage,
the Washington funeral medal and the "Born Virginia," but were they
actually struck there?"

[I was wondering that myself, but should know better than to assume
any local historical society can get numismatic details straight.
Can anyone help?  -Editor]


Len Augsberger writes: "While looking through the Secret Service
gold investigation files in the National Archives, I came across a
letter from 1941 regarding the activities of O.P. Eklund and Joseph
Barnet, both American Numismatic Association officials at the time.
It seems that Eklund managed to purchase, through an intermediary,
one thousand dollars in gold coins at face value from a mentally ill
elderly woman who was afraid she might get into trouble with the
government for having them.  The coins were then flipped to Barnet
for a six hundred dollar profit, about the same value represented
by the bullion in the coins.

The U.S. attorney declined to prosecute, feeling that it was a
legitimate numismatic transaction.  The conclusion is curious given
the facts of the case, especially since the coins were not sold at
a premium to melt values.  If anyone would like to pursue this further
I would be happy to furnish a copy of the letter (written to Frank
Wilson, chief of the Secret Service) in return for a self-addressed
stamped envelope, just contact me at"

[I think this investigation was mentioned in one of the books on
the 1933 Double Eagle, but I'm not sure and haven't checked
the indexes.  -Editor]


Regarding the "double-edged sword of library research" one reader
writes: " I recall a similar debacle in the field of fine arts.
Please understand this is all from memory.  I may not have all
the facts straight.  Here's how I remember it:

At some point during the 1990's, the art world became aware of a
scam that had taken place primarily in Europe.  A forger or a
confederate of a forger would pretend to be a researcher and
would obtain access to archives used by art historians and
authenticators.  These archives contain, among other things,
detailed descriptions of very valuable paintings whose current
location is unknown.  As you might expect, with the dislocation
of art treasures that resulted from the looting and destruction
that occurred during the Second World War, there are many art
works which were formerly in European collections that are now
considered lost.

The forger and his researcher accomplice would focus on a
particular piece of art that might be forged.  All pertinent
details for this painting would be retrieved from the archive.
The forger would then spend many months creating a painting that
might fool the art establishment.  The forger would attempt to
mimic the style of the original artist, all the while being
consistent with the information obtained from the archive.

When the painting was consigned to a gallery or an auction,
someone was hired to research it's provenance.  As you might
expect, the same archive that was referenced by the forger and
his partner was now accessed by the authenticator.  Since the
forgery was tailored to match these records, the authenticator's
report typically confirmed that the painting was genuine.

As I recall, by the time this scam was discovered, several very
expensive works that were later revealed to be forgeries had been
sold at major galleries and/or auction houses.  This was one of
the biggest scandals in the art world during the 1990's."

Fred Holabird writes: "Comments made recently regarding library
research, particularly those made by the Editor on Hoffman (the
famous Utah documents forger), are extremely important. Just like
everything else, one has to know how to use their tools, and many
researchers don't know how to use these tools properly. Library
research is a critically important tool in understanding and
unraveling certain parts of history. But it isn't the answer all
the time. Just because there is a directory listing for a specific
business does not mean an article in question is real or fake. It
simply means that there is evidence to support that such a thing
could be real. Too often a direct bridge is made in the association
of certain aspects of historical research and authenticity.

For example, we recently examined an old (circa 1625) oil painting
in a private collection. The "original" was reported in a European
museum. Upon further detailed research in original archival material,
it was found undeniably that the artist had painted this portrait at
least 4 times for other "sponsors." Did this mean that the painting
in question was real, but was a copy by the same artist? No. It meant
that it could be. In this case, we let science be our guide, and dated
the canvas using the latest C14 methodology at an outside lab, and
found the canvas to date to the early 1800's. The original, and the
original copies, were painted in about 1625. This example is a
nineteenth century copy.

In ingots, we have had the same thing happen. A clever (or humorously
artistic) person picked a mine name and made an ingot for it. I used
several examples in one of my articles, particularly a group from
Colorado, such as "the so-and-so Mining Co," Typically, as pointed
out by many, including Kleeberg and Buttrey, some of these bad mining
company dore bars have silly things punched in them such as "999 fine".
Few mining companies that I am aware of have refined bullion historically,
until modern times (generally 1970's onward, with exceptions). The
research here showed the maker had quite an imagination, using the
wrong metal produced (silver rather than gold), placing a high fineness
on the ingot (.999), etc. The worst of these, by far, are the silver
Wells Fargo bars that show up on ebay regularly, and seem to sell for
hundreds of dollars each.

In another case (three, actually), the original ingot punch for Harris,
now in a museum collection, was used to create at least three different
silver ingots in modern times. The modern ingot "artist" failed to
follow the industry protocols, and marked the ingots incorrectly. To me
at least, they are bad fakes. But to the market, they might appear
genuine. Others of similar "construction" certainly exist.

One very important part of our current work is developing a detailed
database using ICP 50-60 element, with multi-metal isotopes from
original high grade (native metal) ore specimens from specific site
localities. In this manner, we have directly compared specific gold
and silver specimens from specific mines to assayer bars from nearby
districts. This important work has already produced excellent results,
but is far from complete.  Inherent problems exist, such as the certainty
of a specific native gold or silver specimen actually coming from the
mine on the specimen label. To safeguard against this, specimens have
been acquired from mine owners, working geologists who collected on
site, and a few select museums who have older collections with verified

The initial findings from this database are that significant differences
exist on an atomic level between major mining districts that are separated
on the earth's crust by significant distances. In example, most Colorado
placer gold from the 1860's districts differs significantly from most Mother

Lode California placer gold. The same holds true for Georgia. We have yet
to test southern California gold regions, or Oregon, Washington, and Montana

regions. There is a long way to go, and the testing is relatively
inexpensive, but we lack a funding mechanism for the thousands of
samples that need to be run to build the quality of data base needed."


Regarding last week's mention of the New Zealand Mint, Martin Purdy
writes: "I occasionally get enquiries from overseas about this entity -
it might pay to note that it is a private company that is doing well for
itself, having scored a few overseas contracts, but is not an "official"
NZ government entity.  The name makes me a little uneasy for that reason!"


Barry Jablon writes: "My five year career of working for the Friedbergs
in Philly and Baltimore was not limited to sales and making purchases.
We spent a lot of time talking to people about coins and trying to get
them into the hobby. I loved the interaction with the customers. However,
there was a period of time, I think it was about two or three weeks,
which really tried all of our patience.

After forty-eight years, I do not recall exactly what month it was. But,
shortly after the 1960 pennies were issued by the mint, television news
shows and newspaper articles were filled with news about "Small Date"
cents being worth from .50 to $1.00 each. The problem was that to most
people, all of their 1960 cents had small dates. They either didn't want
to understand what a Small Date cent was or they already had all of the
money spent which Gimbel's was going to pay them for their bags of

>From the first thing in the morning until the store closed at night, the
counter was lined  with people wanting to sell their pennies. When Mr.
Kraus and I would go for dinner at the store cafeteria, they would come
to our table with their pennies. Merchants in the neighborhood knew we
were the coin guys and they would bring their pennies to us for our
examination. I'm not making any of this up, I was even questioned about
small date values while I was at the urinal in the Gimbel's Men's Room.

Mr. Kraus, who had little patience for what he called the "hole filling
American collectors" used to stay in the stock room when he saw people
coming to the counter with bags of pennies. I usually got the job of
telling people we were not interested in their pennies and watching them
get angry and tell me off. Mr. Kraus blamed local coin dealer Harry
Forman for the "Small Date" insanity. I don't know if this is true or
not. I do know that this period was about the only time I ever wanted out of
the coin business."


Arthur Shippee noted the following Associated Press story from
Monday's New York Times regarding stepped-up efforts to protect
the integrity of the Medal of Honor and other U.S. military medals.

"A proliferation of people who falsely claim to have won military
medals is prompting calls for tougher laws to punish the impostors.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation reports that there are
113 living recipients of the award, the nation's highest military
honor, but an F.B.I. agent who tracks the fakes says impostors
outnumber the real winners."

"Anyone convicted of fraudulently wearing the Medal of Honor could
face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. But there is no
similar penalty for wearing other medals.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and other veterans
groups are looking to change that, enlisting the help of Representative
John Salazar, Democrat of Colorado. Mr. Salazar is sponsoring legislation
that would penalize distributors of phony medals and those who pretend
to be decorated veterans."

"Mr. Cottone said he recovered two fake Medals of Honor at a New Jersey
gun show. Both were made by HLI Lordship Industries, a former government
contractor for the medal.

The company, based in Hauppauge, N.Y., was fined $80,000 in 1996 and
placed on probation after admitting that 300 fakes were sold in the
early 1990's for $75 each."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


Bob Leonard writes: "I'm sure I won't be the only one to comment
on this item from some journalist at FOX News: "Manning put the
rarest and most unique items in the U.N. archive up for auction
once again..."

Some people have criticized numismatic catalogers for using the
term "semi-unique," for pieces of which only two are known.  But
now it seems we have several degrees of "uniqueness," most unique,
slightly unique, only a little bit unique, rarest, merely rare, etc.
Where will it stop?"

[So far, Bob's comment is unique.  And this issue of The E-Sylum
is too, being the only one issued this week.  -Editor]


One reader writes: "In response to the question posed in last
week's E-Sylum, I don't actually know the source of the Huntington's
wealth, but I would guess that Huntington may have been a descendant
or other relation of C.P. Huntington.  As I recall, C.P. was the
founder of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and a pillar of 19th
century California society.  I believe there is a magnificent
library in Pasadena which was founded and funded by this family.
It contains numerous treasures, such as a Gutenberg Bible."

Rich Jewell writes: "Archer M. Huntington's wealth came from
railroads, steamship lines and shipbuilding.

David T. Alexander has an excellent article the June issue of
Coinage magazine regarding Archer Huntington's life, his
interest in numismatics, things Hispanic and much, much more."

[Jeff Reichenberger pointed out this article as well. Archer
Huntington (1870-1955), was the adopted child of Collis
Huntington, a founder of Southern Pacific.  As C.P.'s only
heir, Archer inherited a massive fortune.

Here's a link to Huntington's biography on the ANS website:

The ANS biography refers to C.P. as Archer's stepfather -
Archer's mother was C.P.'s second wife.  But was there a
biological connection?  One researcher writes:  "The identity
of Archer's father is controversial.  Based on what evidence
I've found, so far, he appears to be the love child of Arabella
and C.P. HUNTINGTON, a product of his 15-year affair with
Arabella while he was still married to his first wife (and she
to her first husband).  After the death of C.P.'s first wife,
C.P. married Arabella and adopted her (now teenage) son.
Before C.P. and Arabella were married, she maintained that
Archer's father was her first husband, John WORSHAM.  But was
Archer really John's son?"
Full Story

Regardless, we numismatists can be very thankful for Archer's
inheritance, generosity and good taste.  -Editor]


The Associated Press published an article on Wednesday about
the U.S. Postal Service's proposed "forever stamp".

"How about this for a hedge against inflation — a postage
stamp that stays valid for mailing a letter no matter how much
rates may go up.

The Postal Service's governing board is considering issuing
the "forever" stamp — and seeking an increase of 3 cents in
the first-class rate — probably to take effect in the spring
of 2007."

"The forever stamp would help soften the blow of a rate
increase by allowing customers to stock up. As originally
proposed it would sell for the first class rate and, once
purchased, the special stamp would remain valid for whatever
the first-class rate is when it is used, regardless of future

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[Sure, the U.S. Postal Service will never go out of business.
It'll always be there, like Social Security.  And what happens
when counterfeiters learn how to make cost-effective perfect
copies of the old "forever" stamps when new technology arrives
on the scene?  -Editor]


"Gov. Chris Gregoire stuck with the people's choice for the
flip side of Washington state's commemorative quarter on
Thursday, but the selection left the state's famed apple
growers feeling a bit bruised.

Gregoire unveiled an oversized version of the design - a
lively looking salmon leaping in front of a conifer-trimmed
Mount Rainier - to a chorus of "Ohhhhhh" and applause from
students at Olympia's Centennial Elementary School.

The first-term Democrat said she felt the image, also the
favorite in an online opinion poll, was the best showcase
for two of the state's most notable symbols. It also
incorporates "The Evergreen State" as a slogan.

"I think it's important that we have something natural.
We are really a state that thinks much of our natural heritage,"
Gregoire said."

"Symbolic issues aside, the winning choice also avoided being
too "busy," a fate that has befallen some other state quarters
that tried to cram too many symbols onto a small surface,
Gregoire said."

"The leaping salmon design won the second round of voting with
45 percent of the tally, while about 40 percent favored the
images of apples, Mount Rainier and a salmon within an outline
of the state. The third choice was an Indian-style drawing of
a killer whale."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


"The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will issue VND20,000 polymer
notes into circulation from May 17, 2006. The existing cotton
VND20,000 notes will continue to circulate concurrently.

The polymer VND20,000 note is 136mm x 65mm, and the dominant
colour remains dark blue. The words Cong hoa xa hoi chu nghia
Viet nam (Socialist Republic of Vietnam) appear on one side
of the note, alongside the national coat of arms, a portrait
of President Ho Chi Minh, and the nominal value of the note
(VND20,000 in both numerals and in words)."

"Nguyen Chi Thanh, Head of the Vault and Treasury Department
under the SBV said that the central bank submitted to the
Government the plan to issue polymer notes with the face value
of VND10,000 and VND20,000 in April. The plan was approved by
the Government in decision No 647 dated April 24."

"Mr Thanh revealed that the central bank will introduce the set
of Vietnamese currencies (including polymer and coins) in the
near future. SBV will no longer issue notes of value less than
VND10,000, as these denominations will be replaced by coins."

To read the complete article (and view images of the notes) see:
Full Story
[I checked with our Vietnam expert, Howard Daniel, and he writes:
"You might add that the back design has the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An,
and that the 10,000 Dong polymer note was not issued because too
many were printed for the lunar new year (Tet) and not enough were
withdrawn from the banks as gifts to children.  So it will be issued
later in the year.  There are also 200,000 and 1,000,000 Dong polymer
notes to be issued in the next year or so."


"The Vietnamese government will present a book on the country’s
ancient coins as a souvenir to leaders attending the APEC Summit
in Hanoi next November.

Kho Bau Tien Co Dai Viet (The Ancient Coins of Great Viet) is about
a collection of old coins dating back 1,000 years. Described as the
most precious in Vietnam, it includes coins made during the time of
King Dinh (968-980), later by the Tien Le, Ly, Tran, Le, Ho, Le So,
and Mac kings, and up to the last dynasty, the Nguyen, which reigned
from 1802 to 1945.

The collection includes priceless coins found nowhere else, like the
Dai Tri Nguyen Bao and Dai Tri Thong Bao cast during the reign of
King Tran Du Tong (1358-1369), and Chieu Dao Nguyen Bao and Chieu
Bao Vuong Nha cast by Tran Ich Tac who was a puppet ruler under the
Chinese Nguyen invaders in the 8th century.

The coin collection was catalogued by the Museum of Vietnamese
History with assistance from experts from the Guangxi Ancient
Coins Museum in China."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Howard Daniel adds: "This must be the reference I bought during my
last trip that was done by the National Museum in Hanoi and a Museum
in South China.  It is oversized and would be an impressive book to
give to a non-numismatist -- only 700 were printed."


A Sunday April 30 article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin features
winners of the paper's design competition for Hawaii's new state

"The public has spoken in this latest round of Star-Bulletin State
Quarter contests, and the clear favorite was -- drumroll, or maybe
the sound of a slot machine making ka-ching -- Kaneohe artist Wayne
Takazono's rendition of the King Kamehameha statue, gesturing across
a splash of islands. Simple, clean, appropriate, elegant, recognizable."

"I worked up sketches for lots of designs and actually drew up a
dozen or so before settling on King Kamehameha," said Takazono.
"All sorts of Hawaii icons, like Diamond Head, hula girls, nene,
surfing. I read up and asked opinions. Iolani Palace, for example,
sounds good, but as a design, it's boring."

In the end he went with gut instinct.

"The representation of Kamehameha in the statue is an icon of
Hawaii. It's not only a natural, it has real power, a reference
that people can accept on the obverse side of a coin from Washington."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Gene Hessler writes: "I, too, have an empty Almond Delight cereal
box. I was the coordinator of that program and selected the notes
that were included. In addition to my fee, I was given at least 12
sets of unfolded notes, and some sheets which I gave to friends
and relatives."

[I didn't know Gene was involved with the program, but the company
made a superb choice.  It was a great selection of reprinted notes.


This week's featured web page is an article by James C. Johnston Jr.
from the October 2004 issue of the Journal of Antiques and Collectibles
on "Hawaii and It’s Coinage"   It's not so much about the coinage
but the author's quest to build a type collection of Hawaiian coinage
as a youth.

"Hawaii has always been an exciting place in my imagination. When I
was a pre-teen, I was collecting coins, stamps, and old books. In
those days, there seemed to be rare stuff all over the place. I would
dig through piles of old books and came up with treasure after
treasure for 10¢.

By the time I was 12, I often could spend as much as $5 or $10 for
a coin, stamps, or a book. For me, the trio was a natural to collect.
I found A New Voyage, Round the World In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770,
and 1771 Undertaken by Order of His Present Majesty, Performed by
James Cook, In the Ship Endeavour. The title goes on, but the really
rare thing about this book is not only the subject matter, but the
fact that it was printed in New York by James Rivington in 1774.
Books printed in America before the Revolution are rare, and this
subject was very popular."

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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