The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 21, May 21, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Robert Kanterman, David Marsh,
Mike Ringo, Nelson Wolbert, Robert Davis, Horacio Morero, President
for Instituto Uruguayo de Numismatica, courtesy of Jose Luis Rubio,
and William Shamhart, courtesy of John Eshbach.  Welcome aboard!
We now have 908 subscribers, a new record.

We open as always with news and updates on numismatic literature.
This week we begin with a note on Karl Moulton's latest fixed price
list and a peek into the contents of his upcoming book on Henry Voigt.
By popular demand we also have another installment from Barry Jablon
recalling his days as a Gimbel's department store coin dealer.

In the news, we have word that the Senate Banking Committee has
approved the San Francisco Mint commemorative coin bill.  If passed
into law, surcharges from the sale of the coins will help restore
the Mint building and open a new American Money and Gold Rush Museum
to be run by the ANA.   Other news articles published this week
concern topics as varied as the Order of the Bath ceremony and
souvenir coins of the Syttende Mai festival (what are they? Read on!)

In response to earlier queries we have more information on the
numismatic writings of Georges Bataille and the case which once
contained the five 1913 Nickels.  We also have another book review
(this time Daughtrey's "Looking Through Lincoln Cents") and a web
site review (  Reader comments on both are welcome.
Much more awaits in this issue - Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


NBS President Pete Smith writes: "Joel L. Malter will be selling
his extensive numismatic library out of his home in Camarillo,
California, on June 4 & 5, 2006.  Malter said that his impending
75th birthday prompted him to dispose of the library while he is
still living. It includes more than 2,500 volumes related to
ancient numismatics. A catalog can be viewed on his company website  There is an article about the sale in
the May 29, 2006 Coin World, pages 112-113."

To view the catalogs, see: Catalogs


Karl Moulton has issued his May 2006 Numismatic Literature Fixed
Price List.  In his foreword Karl writes: "This fixed price list
is strong in all areas of American numismatic literature.  There
are numerous hardbound catalogues available, including some scarce
early copper sales by Superior.  Also, check out one of the finest
offerings of Max Mehl sales..."

Karl adds: "Recently I was contacted by a television producer and
asked to provide some images and background history about early
U.S. Mint operations.  The show "Modern Marvels" will present
another installment about American money in the near future on the
history channel.  He related that present day employees of the
Treasury Department had very little information to provide -- and
that it was painfully slow in arriving, and incomplete in its
coverage.  I related that the government doesn't have that much
U.S. Mint history available, nor do they have staff to accommodate
background requests.  That's because it's all in numismatic
literature -- which they don't have!"


Also in his May 2006 price list, Karl Moulton publishes the table
of contents for his upcoming book and begins accepting reservations.
He writes: "For those interested in the early Federal issues, a new
225-page book, "Henry Voigt and Others Involved with America's Early
Coinage", will be coming out soon.  The table of contents is included
on the last page of this list.  Estimated price is around $75 and
you can reserve a copy (or two) by sending your name and address to"

The book has seventeen chapters on topics such as Voigt's early
travels, work at the U.S. Mint and his 1793 Daily Ledger.  One
chapter covers engravers of early American coinage, another the 1793
Yellow Fever epidemic and its affect on the Mint.  Specific coins
addressed include the 1792 Half Dismes, the 1793 copper pieces, 1794
No Stars copper pattern dollar and the 1804 silver dollars.  Two
chapters cover the enigmatic "E" and "L" counterstamped quarters of
1815 and 1825.  This should be an eagerly anticipated book for all
U.S. numismatists - get your orders in!


Dennis Tucker writes: "Whitman Publishing will be set up at the
Memphis Paper Money Show in June. Dave Bowers will be on hand
with an optical scanner to capture images of federal currency,
1861 to date, for possible use in upcoming Whitman books.  If
you have any rarities in the regular series or among National
Bank Notes, bring them along and look for Dave Bowers at the
Whitman booth!"


Ken Schultz writes: "Thank you for the great job you continue
to do as editor! I can't tell you how greatly appreciated all
of your hard work is!

This week and announced the latter is
taking a 40% stake in the former. I can't recall seeing anyone
in NBS writing about their experience with I
was not familiar with the site until the announcement today --
I do hit ABE at least weekly.  After a little browse and read
of its FAQ, I thought it was intriguing enough to bounce to you.
Perhaps Tom Fort has an opinion on this site since he has
graciously made his incredible E. Tomlinson Fort "Memorial"
Library available on the NBS web site."

[Actually, Jeff Reichenberger mentioned LibraryThing in the
E-Sylum late last year (v8n48, November 13, 2005), although no
one has given us a review of their experience with it.  Jeff
wrote: “I stumbled onto a web site that might interest some of
our fellow 'philes:

You can catalog your personal library, share it or
keep it private, categorize, tag, and otherwise set it
up just the way you want it.   Up to 200 books is free,
Unlimited entries for $10/year, $25/lifetime. Enjoy!”

To read the original E-Sylum article, see: v08n48a06.html


George Kolbe's four-part 100th sale catalogs feature not only
a fabulous array of numismatic literature lots, but some very
interesting and well-written foreword material about the beginnings
of George's business, the transformation of the U.S. numismatic
literature market, the inception of NBS and thoughts on sale
consignors Alan Meghrig and John W. Adams.  With George's permission,
Here are some excerpts:

By Joel Orosz: "When historians of the future turn their attention
to the rise of the numismatic literature market in the United
States, they will find that the early days of that history are
tied inextricably to the career of one man: George Frederick Kolbe.
Not because Kolbe was the first numismatic literature dealer, nor
even the first major dealer of this ilk. Not because he wrote the
definitive reference book on the topic, nor because he amassed
the greatest personal collection. Not because he has held more
sales than any other numismatic bibliopole, although in fact, that
is a true statement. Rather, Kolbe’s place in U. S. numismatic
literary history—indeed, his status as indistinguishable from that
history—lies in the fact that his catalogues, the 100th of which
you are holding in your hands, comprise in their entirety the most
comprehensive annotated bibliography of the literature of
numismatics of all nations, and all times."

By George Kolbe: "The American numismatic literature market was in
its infancy. Frank and Laurese Katen’s 1971 sales of the marvelous
American numismatic library formed by George J. Fuld were an
awakening. In the same year in Great Britain, David Edmunds,
issued the first of many “John Drury” catalogues featuring
antiquarian numismatic books and setting new bibliographical
standards; ones which remain unsurpassed. In 1969, Douglas Saville
joined the book department of the venerable London numismatic firm
of Spink & Son Ltd. Soon rare and out of print numismatic books
became a focal point and Spink was (and is) at the forefront of
the market.

This flowering of interest became apparent to me when, after a
brief hiatus, I issued a fixed price list in the early 1970s and
received multiple orders for most everything in it. This led to
our first auction sale, held on February 28, 1976. It too, was
a success. In less than a decade, what seemed a pleasant diversion
had become the vehicle for a career."

By George Kolbe: "In the early 1980s, after a stint running the East
Coast headquarters of the family business, Alan moved to Laguna
Hills, California. This was shortly after I moved my offices to
Mission Viejo. We were practically next door neighbors! During this
period I was regularly buying libraries and scarcely would a day
pass without multiple parcels of individual books arriving at 23881
Via Fabricante, Suite 511. AB Bookmans Weekly was the internet of
the day and our advertisements there and elsewhere soon gained us
a loyal cadre of book scouts who were constantly “quoting” desirable
numismatic books of all kinds. A number of important libraries were
also purchased outright in the early 80s, including those of Charles
M. Johnson, Stewart P. Witham, and Dr. Kenneth Sartoris.

Into this maelstrom (at least it seemed so to us, particularly in
retrospect), Alan Meghrig leaped with undisguised glee. Sometimes
he would visit two or three times a week."

By Joel Orosz: "It is hard to overstate the impact of Kolbe’s Ninth
Sale. The publicity it garnered drew new collectors to the literature
hobby as nothing before it had. This influx gave a critically important
and preternaturally timely boost to the infant Numismatic Bibliomania
Society, co-founded just the year before by Jack Collins, the man who
paid the long dollar for the Chapman Catalogue in that sale, and by
George Kolbe. And Kolbe nurtured those new members by serving as
President of the infant society and editor of its whimsically-christened
journal, The Asylum. The success of the Ninth Sale also broadened the
marketplace, providing openings for dealers such as Cal Wilson,
Charles Davis, and John Bergman to hang out their shingles... It is
not an overstatement to say that the modern history of U. S numismatic
literature began on June 12th, 1981, in Los Angeles when the hammers
fell on the Essex Institute’s literary holdings."

By Joel Orosz: "Numismatists love hierarchies, as anyone who has ever
pored over a grading scale or a condition census can attest. It is
not only coins, however, that they rate in rank order; they even
turn such judgments on themselves. Mere “hoarders” are at the bottom
of coindom’s caste system, with “investors” a notch above, and
“collectors” one rank higher. The air becomes more rarified as we
ascend to the level of “numismatist,” for this title combines
learnedness with acquisitiveness.  The apex of the pyramid is
usually reserved for “connoisseurs” who fold a strong aesthetic
sense into their scholarship. John W. Adams, however, rates an
appellation that hovers above the apex, that of “tastemaker.”

A tastemaker is that rare combination of discerning eye, avid heart,
scientific brain, and speculator’s stomach, a person who sees beauty
others ignored, falls in love with the shunned, unlocks the secrets
of the obscured, and boldly leads knowing full well he may not be
followed. Robert Adam was such a tastemaker 250 years ago, when he
taught the English speaking world the glories of Greek and Roman forms
in architecture and interior design. Bernard Berenson was the art
world’s tastemaker a century ago when he transformed the way in which
paintings are collected. John W. Adams has been a numismatic tastemaker
in three fields: numismatic literature, provenance, and medals. And,
like Adam and Berenson, he has freely shared his knowledge with the

[Congratulations to George on his 100th sale, and many, many thanks
as well.  -Editor]


According to a joint press release issued May 18 by the American
Numismatic Association and the San Francisco Museum and Historical
Society, "The Senate Banking Committee today approved a bill that
authorizes the U.S. Mint to strike two commemorative coins to
raise funds to transform the Old Mint building in San Francisco
into a museum that will showcase city history and numismatics.
The full senate is expected to vote on the measure on next week;
it has already been passed in the House of Representatives.

The San Francisco Old Mint Commemorative Act instructs the U.S.
Mint to issue one $5 gold coin and a $1 silver coin with images
emblematic of the Old Mint, also known as “The Granite Lady.” It
is the first time U.S. commemorative coins will be produced to
raise funds to benefit an historic mint building. A total of
600,000 coins will be minted, 100,000 in gold and 500,000 in

The American Money and Gold Rush Museum will occupy approximately
9,000 square feet.  The American Money and Gold Rush Museum will
be developed in partnership with the American Numismatic Association
(ANA), which will help create exhibits, conduct research and
operate the museum."


Arthur Shippee forwarded some links from The Explorator Newsletter.
Several news outlets picked up a story about the possible discovery
of the wreckage of The Endeavor, the 18th century vessel explorer
Captain James Cook sailed on his epic voyage to Australia.  No word
yet of any coin finds.

"Researchers with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project said
they believe the four ships, and two others previously discovered,
are part of a 13-vessel transport fleet intentionally sunk by the
British in Newport Harbor in 1778 to keep French ships from landing
to aid the Americans' drive for independence.

Using historical materials and sonar, the archaeologists discovered
the ships in Narragansett Bay, within a mile of Newport, Rhode
Island's shoreline."

"It may take years to fully investigate the shipwrecks found so far,
Abbass said.

Historically, the finding is significant because it helps tell the
story of the siege of Newport, marking France's first attempt to
aid the American insurrection against the British."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Regarding my query last week about George Bataille (who worked
at the Cabinet des Médailles in the Bibliothèque Nationale in
Paris), George Selgin writes: "Bataille (1897-1962) was certainly
a Marxist, but as far as I know no one has ever accused him of
being a numismatist! His interests, apart from eroticism, were
philosophy, ethnology and psychoanalysis.  Like many French writer-
intellectuals (and French people generally, come to think of it)
he probably didn't take his day job all that seriously.  French
literature happens to be a hobby of mine, hence this reply."

Hadrien Rambach writes: "I sold three copies of Bataille's main
numismatic article some time ago. Here is how I then described it:

An exceedingly rare and important offprint: Georges BATAILLE
(1897-1962), “Les Monnaies des grands Mogols au cabinet des
médailles”, Aréthuse, October 1926 and January 1927. Quarto, 32
pages and 3 plates. Original green wrappers.

This is a very rare offprint of the periodical Aréthuse (29
published issues, 1924-1930). It consists, in one single volume,
of an article published in the issues 13-14 of October 1926 and
January 1927.

This is only the second or third work to have been published by
Bataille, who was then a curator of the French Coin Cabinet. It
is then only that his celebrity expanded, for example with Histoire
de l'oeil in 1928. According to Denis Hollier (Against Architecture:
The Writings of Georges Bataille, 1989), some of Bataille’s comments
in this text about the Mogols rulers show already Bataille’s interest
for erotic excesses and sacrificial violence. Bataille is really
one of the “écrivains maudits” of France at that time.

The web-site Pegasos, from Finland, gives very good information on
Georges Bataille, with a biography by Petri Liukkonen

The Boston book dealer Lame Duck Books used to have a copy of this
offprint for sale at $ 2,500 and the librarie Walden (Caen) now
offers one at $ 2,800."


Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart writes: "On the discussion on rising
prices of metals, I have come across the following:  There is a
rather "unique" proposal to battle with rising metal prices in
coins. An organization in Mexico is lobbying for the government
to re-introduce a circulating silver coin by monetizing the silver
"Libertad" one-ounce bullion coins, that is, make them legal
tender at an established value in Mexican pesos.

Obviously, if silver prices rise, there will come the famous moment
in which the Libertads will be melted for their bullion content.
The clever countermeasure: the Banco de México should raise the
official peso value of the coin every time the silver price comes
close to the denominated value.

This may be a solution to save the penny: the U.S. Government
could simply declare that the official value of the cent be two
cents from now on. I leave it to the readers to decide for themselves
on the economic, political and social consequences of such a monetary

Information on this can be found at Many documents
on this site are in English, a brief overview of the whole idea can
be seen under Full Story "

[Such a proposal is not unheard of.  Until 1857 foreign coins were
legal tender in the United States, and passed at the value of the
bullion.  At the height of the Civil War specie panic, as coinage
disappeared following a rise in the price of silver, one of the New
York newspapers proposed a similar scheme.  I found this editorial
while researching microfilmed newspapers of the era.  I don't have
my file handy, but do recall that the proposal stated that

the 10 cent coin shall pass for 12 cents
the 25 cent coin shall pass for 30 cents
the 50 cent coin shall pass for 60 cents



Dave Ginsburg writes: "Through the good offices of fellow
Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC) member, Len Augsburger,
I've received copies of 11 pages from the Secret Service gold
investigation files concerning the 1947 discovery of $1,775 in
gold coins on a farm in Kerens, TX (which is about 70 miles
southeast of Dallas).  While I'm pleased to say that the Curator
of History at the Smithsonian informed the Mint Director that
the coins were "of recognized special value to collectors of
rare and unusual coin" and the Secret Service, when informed of
this, allowed the finders to keep the coins, I'd like to find
out more about the hoard.

I'm reliably informed that the hoard isn't mentioned in Dave
Bowers' American Coin Treasures and Hoards (1988), nor is it
mentioned in John Kleeberg's article on the 1936 Hull, TX hoard
(American Journal of Numismatics #11, 1999).  A quick search in
the Bass Numismatic Periodicals Index didn't reveal any articles
that obviously concerned a hoard found in Kerens.

The hoard was discovered in the spring of 1947 on a farm owned
by A.L Bain.  It consisted of 166 coins (57 double eagles, 19
eagles, 88 half eagles and two quarter eagles) dated between
1834 and 1866.  Somewhat to my surprise, the hoard contained 25
Civil War-era (1861-1865) double eagles (almost evenly divided
between Philadelphia [13] and San Francisco [12]) - plus one
1866-S double eagle; while none of the eagles were dated later
than 1856 (or 1857) and none of the half eagles were dated later
than 1861.  One of the quarter eagles was an 1861 and the other
was an 1866.  Only one eagle and one half eagle were from San
Francisco - 1854-S and 1855-S, respectively, while 12 of the
half eagles were Classic Head (1834-1838).

I'm presuming the hoard was buried in 1866, since there was only
one 1866 double eagle, but four 1865 double eagles and four 1864
double eagles.

In his letter to the Secret Service, Mr. Bain says that the coins
were examined by Mr. W.A. Philpot, Jr. (described by the Secret
Service as the Secretary of the Texas Bankers Association and a
collector of rare coins), but that he did not sell the coins to
him at that time.  Mr. Bain also states that he has secured a bid
from an unidentified coin dealer and hopes to obtain a bid from
"Mr. Hoffecker of El Paso soon and probably other coin dealers
and collectors."

I'll begin my research by contacting the Kerens historical society
and/or public library, of course, but in the meantime, I'd be
overjoyed (and grateful) to receive any information that any of
my fellow E-Sylum subscribers have regarding this hoard, including
information about Mr. Philpot, Mr. Hoffecker, etc.  I'd really be
interested to know if the coins appeared at auction at the time,
too.  Any speculation about how the coins got to Texas in 1866
would be welcome.  (Since the transcontinental railroad wasn't
completed until May 1869, I'd really like to know how the San
Francisco double eagles got there!)

I'd be happy to provide an inventory of the hoard or a copy of
the correspondence, if anyone's interested."


Continuing his series of reminiscences about his days working
at the Gimbel's department store coin shop, Barry Jablon writes:
"One of the purchases I made which was not as amazing as the
1793 Liberty Cap cent or the 1895 proof silver dollar in terms
of value, but was huge in terms of quantity took place in the
same time period as the others, that being between 1957 and 1962.

We had a policy at Gimbel's Coin Dept. that we wouldn't go out
of the store to make purchases or even quote prices. I imagine
it had something to do with insurance. One day, I took a call
in the department from an elderly gentleman who told me he was
a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant. He said that he lived
alone in an apartment in a not-so-nice section of Philadelphia,
and he had read that we purchased coins. He needed money and had
some coins to sell. I checked it out with Mr. Kraus and he was
not in favor of me going to the man's apartment. However, after
Mr. Kraus spoke to him on the phone he said he was leaving it up
to me. I was either sixteen or seventeen at the time and, from
what I can remember, pretty fearless.

Anyway, the gentleman lived in a three room apartment, decorated
with all of the souvenirs he had collected in his travels around
the world with the Marines. He wanted to know if I would buy any
of these from him but, since I knew nothing of their value, I
declined. He then took out several paper bags of foreign coins.

My smile quickly faded when I saw hundreds of common German,
Italian, Japanese and other foreign coins fall on to the card
table we were sitting at. These were the foreign coins that Dick
Johnson referred to which he saw Ernie Kraus working with on his
visit to Coins and Currency, Inc. We sold them for .25 each from
a large box in the case at Gimbels.

The old Marine read my face well. "Not too much there of value
is there son?" he asked. I told him there was not and was about
to push myself away from the table and drive home with nothing
to show for my time when the old guy told me to wait a minute
and went in to the other room. He came back with two large cloth
bags bulging with coins. "How about these?" he asked. "They're
not as nice as the foreign coins I've collected but they are
older. Maybe they're worth something."

He then dumped onto the table over two hundred flying eagle cents.
They were in anywhere from V.F. to A.U. condition and even in the
old days of the 1950's, would command a nice premium. The old man
told me that his father and grandfather had collected these coins
and he didn't think they were worth too much because, unlike his
foreign coins, aside from two different dates, they were all the
same. I was thrilled that I would be able to bring the old man
some decent money when I came back to pick up the coins.

It was as were pushing the coins back into their bags that I
decided to ask the magic question. "All of these coins are 1857
and 1858. You wouldn't happen to have any with an 1856 on it?
He came back about five minutes later carrying a small yellow pay
envelope. He then rolled onto the card table one 1856 flying eagle
cent in what we used to call "mishandled proof" condition. When I
told the old Marine that I would bring him a check for $1,200.00
the next day, he started to cry. "Are you sure you won't get into
any trouble paying out that much money son?" the old man inquired.

When I assured the old guy they everything would be fine, he
hugged me and then hugged me again when I returned the next day
to pick up the coins and give him his money. Of course, Ernie Kraus
and the Friedberg's were very happy, but I really felt good about
what I had been able to do for the old marine."


Dick Johnson writes: "I read a review this morning about a book
recently published by Knopf -- "A Writer's Life" by Gay Talese.
Some quotations by the famed writer impressed me.

It's not a biography, apparently, it tells instead why the author
is driven to write. Talese was asked to explain one of his comments.
"You wrote that, for you, producing prose is like a patient passing
a kidney stone. Why is writing so painful?"

He answered, in effect, that he is dissatisfied with what he does,
that he does it over and over again and again. He attempts to attain
a higher level of workmanship by doing it a second, or third time,
or more times, that made him one of the great rewriters, if not
writer, of the time.

That's sure true. I have rewritten some of my things as many as
forty times. Even these brief paragraphs for E-Sylum I reread six
or eight times. Often changing something to improve the flow of
words, to correct a fact or to catch some damn misspelling.

Why so driven? I think it's a respect for the reader. In numismatics
it's a respect for the collector. Numismatic authors want to provide
the information they have learned to other collectors. But for
goodness sake, make it easy to read, to understand. Too much
numismatic writing is pretty dry.

I think the greatest sin in numismatics, however, is rushing into
print too fast. One of my favorite books is "The Art and Craft of
Coinmaking" by Denis Cooper. In corresponding with the author I
learned he was dissatisfied with the published book because it was
rushed into print in time for a coin convention. It's full of
errors and even part of the manuscript was omitted he tells me.

Numismatic books, like the objects themselves, are long-lasting,
often still in use decades later. Authors, take your time. Do a
workmanlike job. Like Talese does, REWRITE."


The Capital Times of Madison, WI published an article this
week on the "coins", buttons and other souvenirs  of Syttende
Mai, the local annual Norwegian Constitution Day festival. The
article discusses the collector value of coins from past years,
and a demonstration of Viking coin making at this year's event.

"Krumkake is best eaten on the spot, not kept as a Syttende
Mai remembrance.  For collectors, a button or coin is a better
souvenir of Stoughton's annual homage to all things Norwegian.

For more than 40 years, festival organizers have commissioned
artists to produce commemorative Syttende Mai coins and buttons.

Some past coins and buttons are now of significant value. This
year's versions cost $10 and $5, respectively. The buttons are
admission to many weekend events.

But they aren't the only metal being shaped this Syttende Mai.

During the festival, local metal artist Bill Howard, his staff
and students from Howard Academy for the Metal Arts will be
demonstrating 12th century Viking coinmaking.

Visitors are promised a pewter coin to take home with a Viking
ship on the front and a dragon on the back."

Gary Brenz, a local bookstore owner and Syttende Mai coin
and button collector, says the most valuable coin is from
1966, worth about $150. Brenz says a full set of 42 coins
could cost up to $400. John Plunkett, another local collector,
prices a full set higher, at up to $650.

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Perhaps I should call the E-Sylum book review section "Looking
Through Numismatic Literature."  This week I spent some time
looking through Charles D. Daughtrey's book, "Looking Through
Lincoln Cents: Chronology of a Series (Second Edition).
Published in 2005 by Zyrus Press, the 333-page paperback covers
the wide realm of die varieties of the longest-lived of American
coin designs, the Lincoln Cent.

It's obvious that the author indeed spends a lot of time "looking
through Lincoln Cents"  Chapter 5, "Efficient Sorting" is devoted
to enabling readers to separate large numbers of mixed coins by
date and mintmark with the least amount of effort.  "The most
efficient method I have found ... involves a slight paradigm shift
from the conventional method of sorting by decade first, then year,
then by mint."  Having sorted coins in exactly that "conventional"
way for years, I was curious to learn the author's solution.
Because the cent has been produced for so many decades, it turns
out that some time and effort can be saved by first sorting by the
last digit of the date, then the next-to-the-last digit, etc.  A
short chapter, but one offering a very practical bit of advice.

The author notes in his preface that "this book is not an
exhaustive attribution guide for all Lincoln cent die varieties.
It is, rather, an attempt to provide a general overview of the
series, year by year." For a more complete reference, the author
suggests his web site,

The book and web site are a great example of online/offline synergy,
with each medium providing what is does best - the book is indeed a
handy, uncluttered guide to the basic die varieties, and the web site
is an ever-expanding archive of greatly detailed information and
images which would be impossibly unwieldy in book form (although as
noted in earlier E-Sylum issues, the author has embarked on a process
of publishing his complete work in loose-leaf format).

The book opens with a brief description of the die-making process.
Chapter 1, at three pages, is far too brief to adequately cover the
topic, but does serve as an appropriate introduction to beginning
variety collectors.  The book does not, however, indicate where to
look for more information on die making, and the bibliography lists
a scant seven books.  However, most of the information in the book
originated with the author, so the dearth of references is not a
major shortcoming.

Other early chapters explain the basics of doubled dies, grading
and the author's Lincoln Cent die variety attribution system. The
major chapters divide the series into three eras: The Early Years,
1909-1933, Modern Wheat Cents 1934-1958, and the Memorial Cents

At the heart of the book are the countless microphotographs of
coins with closeups of the key features for each listed variety.
One can only imagine how differently the classic works of numismatics
would have been written had such photographs been so inexpensive to
create and publish in decades past.  What would Clapp have published?
Or Newcomb?

I'm not a variety collector myself, so I cannot make an authoritative
evaluation of the book's accuracy, but it is obvious that the author
has a deep familiarity and affection for the topic.  There is no
better reason to write a numismatic book, or to read one.  I'm glad
to have it in my library, and hope to refer to it with my sons someday
if they pick up the urge to "look through Lincoln cents".

One point the author makes I can agree with wholeheartedly.  He states
"It is my opinion that all 1922 "no D" Lincoln Cents are common, grease
filled or worn out dies, and that none of them should have ever gained
the attention or the value they currently demand." (p93)

In the concluding chapter, "Advice To Collectors", the author notes
"I have but scratched the surface into what I believe to be one of
the most fascinating, yet tedious hobbies I have ever encountered....
I have spent 25 years looking for the elusive doubled dies and
repunched mintmarks.  In that time, I have found countless valuable
varieties.  But there are still a number of them I have been searching
for throughout that 25 years and still have not found."

This is an honest and fitting summary of the numismatic niche that
is die variety collecting: tedious indeed, but a fascinating and
never-ending byway of our hobby.  I'll look forward to an updated
edition if and when the Lincoln cent takes its final bow from the

See the publisher's web site for more information: Full Story


Dick Hanscom forwarded the latest article about the Jacob Perkins
building in Newburyport, MA:

"A bank founded 152 years ago will donate $200,000 to help historians
save a landmark city building where some of the nation's first currency
was printed.

The donation from the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank will allow
the Historical Society of Old Newbury to purchase the 200-year-old
Fruit Street building that was home to the state's first mint.

Inside this historic workshop, 19th century inventor Jacob Perkins
created a steel-engraving process used to make currency that was
adopted across the East Coast."

"The society has long eyed the mint building, not only for its
historic value, but also for its location. The mint building is
situated behind the society's headquarters, the Custom House

"When we're done, the building will look the way it did 200 years
ago," Mack said.

The society is also seeking money from national foundations and
other sources to help turn the building into a museum."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

In a note posted to the Yahoo Colonial Coins mailing list this
Week (responding to an item in last week's E-Sylum), Jim Spilman
writes: "Dave Bowers is quite correct.  The building facing Fruit
street was Perkins' residence.  The three story building at the
rear of the house was an engraving and printing plant built
specifically for that purpose and operated by his brother Abraham.
The engraving & printing plant backed up to Otis Place just off
Garden Street and State Street.  They did a tremendous business
in bank note and check printing.  There was never any consideration
that it would be a mint site.

The premier study on Jacob Perkins is "Jacob Perkins. His Inventions,
His Times, and His Contemporaries" by Grenville & Dorothy Bathe. 1943,
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. A limited edition of 200
copies.  See pages 30-35 plus illustrations of the house, a map of
locations, and discussions of the financing of the plant.   See
also CNL pages 499 and 1001."

Dick Hanscom adds: "Perhaps Mr. Moulton or Mr. Bowers would like to
write a letter to the editor of the Newburyport Daily News concerning
the building."  Dick himself contacted the Historical Society of Old
Newbury, forwarding a copy of our recent E-Sylum discussion.  The
society is aware that the "Mint Building" appellation is a misnomer.

Curator Jay S. Williamson responded: "The Jacob Perkins engraving
plant on Fruit Street has always been referred to as "The Mint Building"
by locals although there is no evidence of coinage being struck there.
It was built in 1808 by Jacob and his brother Abraham for the purpose
of engraving and printing Massachusetts bank notes."


Saul Teichman writes: "With regard to the eight-coin case which
contained the five 1913 Nickels, Howard Spindel's reply is not
correct.  The description below is from correspondence between
Eric P. Newman and myself:

The copper composition pattern five cent was in the leather case
when I first saw it about 1942 on a trip to New York City. The
case has and had 8 punched holes in two lines of 4 each and plastic
(celluloid acetate probably) slide-in protectors on both faces.
That coin holder was attached to the back of the case and was closed
over on each of the 4 sides by flaps of leather. The top flap has
a snap to close it over the other flaps. It was specially made for
the coins it held. I know nothing of its prior history other than
a report that it was shown in Chicago in 1920 at a numismatic

Whether Sam Brown or someone else had it made or not would be
speculation on my part but Colonel Green would not have had it
made as he had so many numismatic and other collectibles of real
importance and did no special mounting other than having acetate
holders for paper money in standard loose leaf binders and standard
Wayte Raymond coin holders.

The original contents of the case consisted of the five Liberty
head 1913 nickels, a 1913 Type I Indian head nickel without the F
initial of the designer, a regular 1913 Type I Indian head nickel,
and the copper composition Type II 1913. The three pieces in the
holder are apparently legitimate and added to make the 1913 Liberty
Heads appear legitimate."

George Fuld examined Newman's 1913 coin holder in 1960 at his
vault.  He remembered it as having only six spaces, so I asked
Eric for confirmation and to learn if there was a second case.

Eric writes: "The case is in our possession and has been for 65
years. It was exhibited with the five 1913 Liberty Head Nickels
when they were assembled a couple of years ago. It now contains
the original normal uncirculated 1913 Indian Head Type II nickel
and the unique uncirculated copper composition 1913 Indian Head
Type II nickel.

The copper piece has darkened somewhat over the 65 years it has
been on hand and has been in an acid free manilla envelope during
that period.  The case remains in nice condition. It has four
openings in the top row and four openings in the bottom row, each
row having the original cellulose acetate sliders to cover the
coin openings on the top and bottom of each row. The sliders have
not noticeably deteriorated.  I do not recall seeing another coin
case constructed in that form. If there are other questions your
readers may have I will try to answer them. Keep your E-Sylum as
a great stimulant to numismatic inquiry, reports, responses and


According to an article in the Korea Times "The central bank
Thursday unveiled the final design of a new 10,000-won banknote
with some 20 features designed to prevent forgery. The bank plans
to issue the new 10,000-won notes early next year, along with new
1,000-won notes."

"Like the new 5,000-won and 1,000-won notes, the new 10,000-won
notes will come in a smaller size than the current ones. The new
10,000-won bill is 0.8 centimeter smaller in width and 1.3
centimeter smaller in length. The bill is 0.6 centimeters wider
than the new 5,000-won note, but exactly the same in length."

"Among new anti-forgery features introduced on the new notes is
a hologram that is seen in different colors and shapes depending
on the angle it is seen from. The bank also used special inks,
which make letters and pictures on the notes appear in different
colors from different angles."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Martin Purdy offers the following corrections to Dick Johnson's
submission regarding recent changes to New Zealand's coinage
reforms: "The 5c coins are still in circulation, and will be until
31 October 2006.  1 and 2-cent coins were last struck in 1988 and
were demonetised in 1990 (or 91? - I can't remember).  The 10, 20
and 50-cent coins are indeed being struck, but won't be introduced
into circulation until the end of July.  I believe the new coins
have a steel core, but the 10c will be bronze coated, while the 20
and 50c coins will be Cu-Ni coated.  The $1 and $2 coins have never
been copper-nickel.  They're aluminium-bronze.

Dick wrote that "The dime is now the lowest coin in circulation,"
but that won't be the case until after October. Martin adds "And
we never call ten-cent coins "dimes".  That's a US/Canadian thing."

Dick wrote that "All prices are now quoted in multiples of 10 cents
while the cent remains a "money of account." Martin writes: "No,
prices can be quoted however you choose to write them.  $15.98 is
still perfectly legitimate, and that is what you would pay if you
used a credit or debit card."  As for "transaction price," Martin
writes: "I've never heard of a fraction of a cent being used as a
transaction charge since we stopped using 2½-cent stamps sometime
around 1970.  Final bills will be made out to the last cent, as
above, but if you pay in cash, the final total will be rounded up
or down to the nearest ten cents, as appropriate, just as they
are to the nearest 5 cents at the moment."


We don't often repeat a Featured Web Site, but
has been mentioned a few times.  It is "a repository of coins
featured in major numismatic auctions.  It brings together the
text, images, and prices realized from catalogs issued by some
of the world's most prestigious coin firms. With this site, you
can search and view coin lots from a growing database of auctions."

To view previous E-Sylum mentions, see:

The site currently has two sections: Ancient and World coins.
The Ancient coin archive includes 139,009 items from 170 auctions.
The World coin archive includes 273,680 items from 202 auctions.
Auction houses covered include:

   - Argenor Numismatique S.A.
   - Auctiones AG
   - Auktionshaus H. D. Rauch GmbH
   - Auktionshaus Meister & Sonntag
   - Baldwin's Auctions Ltd
   - Classical Numismatic Group
   - Dmitry Markov Coins & Medals
   - Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger
   - Frank Sternberg AG
   - Fritz Rudolf Künker Münzenhandlung
   - Gemini, LLC
   - Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung
   - Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün e.K.
   - Hess-Divo AG
   - Leu Numismatik AG
   - LHS Numismatik AG
   - M&M Numismatics Ltd
   - Münzen & Medaillen AG Basel
   - Münzen & Medaillen Deutschland GmbH
   - Numismatica Ars Classica
   - Numismatik Lanz München
   - Spink
   - St. James Auctions Ltd
   - Tkalec AG
   - UBS Gold & Numismatics

A query for "Anton Scharf" matched 42 lots in the
World database.  A search for "Hitler" yielded 153 items,
"Mozart", 141 and "Platinum", 106. The search results page
includes a photo of each item (when available).  The photos
are beautiful, and each search result page makes for a nice

The database is still being updated - the most recent catalog
included is Auktionshaus H.D. Rauch GmbH Auction 77 on
2006-04-10, 1028 lots.

Have any of our readers made extensive use of this site?
Please share with us your experiences.

Try it yourself:


According to a May 15 report in the LA Daily News, the counterfeit
cash capital of the United States is Los Angeles, and a stripper is
a "savvy business person."  The writer has done a nice job - the
article is very thorough in covering the subject, and includes
interviews with both Secret Service and Bureau of Engraving and
Printing personnel.  Here are some excerpts:

"In her first 25 minutes at a Studio City nightclub, the customer
ordered two glasses of wine, making each purchase with a $100 bill.

The club owner noticed right away that something wasn't quite right
with the bill his employee brought him. It had the magnetic strip,
and Ben Franklin's face looked good at first glance, but it lacked
the normal grainy feel of real money.

"When I looked closer, the face wasn't as clear as it should be,"
he recalled. "The harder I looked at it, the magnetic strip didn't
look embedded but printed. I had to stare at the thing a good 30
seconds before I knew it was fake."

Although most people don't know it, Los Angeles is the counterfeit
capital of the U.S. In 2005, more than $6 million in counterfeit
money was successfully passed in the Los Angeles area, and the
Secret Service seized an additional $2 million before it was ever

"The owner called 911, and police arrived just as the customer
was getting ready to leave. In her car, police found $14,000 in
fake hundreds, seven stolen Colombian passports and an unloaded

"Just six months ago, a counterfeiting investigation that began
in Los Angeles resulted in the dismantling of an operating in
Guadalajara, Mexico, that produced millions of dollars of
high-quality counterfeit money on an offset press."

"... the big break came when a savvy business person - a stripper
who received $400 for a lap dance - recognized the bills as
forgeries and alerted the police."

"A good counterfeiter is as much an artist as a criminal, and
they are rarely violent. When Chapa sits down to interview printers,
the villains are usually excited to talk about their craft with
someone who appreciates their work."

"The government plans to introduce new $20s, $50s and $100s every
seven to 10 years. A team of chemists and scientists is always
looking for new ways to thwart counterfeiters.

"Let me tell you, it's a whole lot of fun," said Judith Diaz Myers,
associate director of technology at the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing. "We wash notes, we crumple notes, we do all sorts of tests."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Roger Siboni writes: "I think Dave Bowers' article on "What's
In A Word" in the May 29, 2006 Coin World issue is worth noting,
if not reprinting, in The E-Sylum.  It kind of had an Andy Rooney
"60 Minutes" feel to it. I really enjoyed it!"

Well, reprinting is a no-no, but a quote of a quote is fair game.
Dave's column has fun with the plethora of misspellings of the word
"numismatics", and it includes a list of misspellings published
in the May 1938 issue of The Numismatists by ANA Librarian William
S. Dewey: numatic, numismatic, nunisatic, munismatic, numismatic,
pneumatic, numismaitic, numisitic, numismatic, numismatic and more.

This is a topic we've addressed before in The E-Sylum, and
coincidentally, this week brings news from Chattanooga, TN of
yet another spelling bee contestant tripped up by the word:
"Anne Thompson dazzled listeners Friday afternoon with her
correct spelling of duplicate. She and Angela Lee made it to
Round 20, when they got stumped on the word numismatics..."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Recently we discussed Scott Travers' "Penny drop" Coin Week
publicity stunt.  The popular press continues to pick up on the
story.  The latest article comes from The Record of Hackensack,
New Jersey:

"I just wanted to put a little magic into everyday life," said
Mr. Travers, a rare-coin expert based in New York.

Last month, in Times Square, he gave a practical demonstration
of the idea by deliberately putting three of his valuable rare
pennies worth a total of $1,500 into circulation."

"This was in mid-April, on two days, amid a media circus atmosphere
of photographers clicking and reporters pontificating. The hapless
vendors, meanwhile, apparently had no idea what was going on.

"We told them I was a visiting celebrity from Canada," Mr. Travers

"... he hopes he sparked far more coin mania through his
much-publicized spending spree in Times Square. He says he's
gotten more than 3,000 telephone calls from people all around
the world who want to know whether they've found one of the
lucky pennies.

"People get on the Internet," he said. "They call directory
assistance. I had someone call me from Russia who saw it on
CNN in Russia."

"If Mr. Travers has not precisely become the Willy Wonka of
the numismatic world, setting multitudes scrambling for his
three little golden tickets, he has at least caused countless
people to be a little more alert to the wonders hidden in
everyday life."

"Mr. Travers can't help but feel some sympathy for the Times
Square food vendor who unknowingly accepted the $1,000 coin
last month – grumbling all the while about the photographers
who were unaccountably snapping pictures of the exchange."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Ken Hallenbeck adds: "I saw Scott Travers on television
recently being interviewed about TV sales of common coins,
gold plated ones. etc.  He did a great job in calling a spade
a spade.  Congratulations to Scott on a job well done.  Too
bad we can't do much to stop those kinds of rip-offs."


Regarding last week's item about Samuel Ernst winning the
Central States Numismatic Society's Daniel Parker Junior
Literary Award, Bruce Perdue writes: "Hayden Rose (who I
believe is also a subscriber to The E-Sylum) was the co-winner
of the award, for his article "The Striking of Religion with
'In God We Trust' in V53N2 issue of "The Centinel"

To read his full article, see ingodwetrust.html

Both YN's wrote excellent articles and the committee could
not decide between them, so both were named co-winners. My
congratulations to both of these fine young numismatists
and authors."


Neil Shafer writes: "Further to the saga of Almond Delight, I
also have a box- in fact, I have three boxes, one each for the
promotions and a minor variety of the world notes issue. (Joe,
you stole my thunder with the revelation that there were two
promotions!)  I expect that while eventually locating these boxes
I also have a tube with two uncut sheets of the ABNC reprints sent
to me, certainly by request somehow, from some town in Illinois.
I don't have any idea now just how I came to receive these sheets
or why someplace in Illinois was the source.  I think the whole
promotion is interesting enough for a well illustrated article
that I will try to whip up for my Paper View column in Numismatic
News which I've neglected for a couple of months."


This week Reuters reported on the quadrennial awarding of
the famous Maltese cross medals for the Order of the Bath:

"Anyone who thinks pomp, pageantry and arcane rituals have
disappeared from modern British life should have been at
Westminster Abbey Wednesday, where Queen Elizabeth oversaw a
ceremony of the Order of the Bath.

In a rite dating back to at least the 12th century, the Queen
"installed" eight new knights."

"The knights, all senior figures from the British military and
intelligence services, had the order's distinctive badge -- a
silver eight-pointed Maltese cross -- pinned to their robes.

The ceremony happens every four years, and the Queen attends it
every eight years. It goes largely unnoticed, but this year's
ceremony came amid growing discontent over the way honours like
knighthoods are awarded."

"The Order of the Bath gets its peculiar name from its origins
in the Middle Ages, when knights bathed on the eve of their
investiture as a symbol of spiritual purification.

A document from 1128 describes how one knight "immersed his body
in a bath and was afterwards habited by the attendants in crimson
robes, while a sword was girded about his body and golden spurs
placed upon his heels."

The order all but disappeared in the 17th century but was revived
in 1725 by King George I and has been investing new knights ever
since. It opened its doors to women in 1971."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to an Associated Press story this week, A Flint, Michigan
woman learned the hard way that a single cent can make a big difference,
at least when it comes to dealing with her local power company.

"It was just a penny, but to Consumers Energy it was enough to cut
off power in a local home.  Jacqueline Williams, 41, had an electricity
bill of $1,662.08 and paid all of it, except for one cent. That wasn't
enough for the power company, which blacked her out for seven hours

The CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary told Williams the power would not be
turned on until the penny was received.

"I went down there, paid my penny and got a receipt," Williams said.
Shortly after, the electricity was turned back on."

[The woman was behind in her payments and had gotten checks from two
agencies to augment the money she'd been able to pull together toward
the bill, but came up one cent short.  The woman and the "penny" she
used to complete the payment are pictured in the article.  -Editor]

To read the complete article in USA Today, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site is suggested by John and Nancy Wilson
of Ocala, FL, who write: "Although the Smithsonian National Museum
of American History downsized its numismatic collection to the dismay
of almost every collector, they still have an excellent web site to
learn quite a bit about all types of coins and paper money."

  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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