The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 22, May 28, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Gary Sparks and Don Carlucci.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 912 subscribers.

This week we open with some news from the U.S. Mint, a very
interesting discovery by Roger Burdette about coinage the Mint
contemplated in 1942, and a question about the members of the
Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

Alan Weinberg offers commentary on the recently-concluded
Stack's Ford Sale, and Dick Johnson reviews Larry Lee's
dissertation on Numismatic Education.

A question to ponder this week is whether the introduction of
polymer notes makes the term "paper money" no longer quite correct.
Finally, a Japanese firm makes some really big money, and learn
what Colorado's governor said when seeing the new Colorado state
quarter for the first time.  Have a great week, everyone!

On an off-topic note, here's a handy guide of the top ten things
people can take to guarantee failure.  All of us are guilty of
some of these things, in both our numismatic lives and real lives.
Full Story

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


According to Don Carlucci of the Pennsylvania Association of
Numismatists, Sculptor-Engraver John Mercanti has been named
head of the engraving department of the U.S. Mint.  Mercanti
received word of the appointment last Friday, May 19.

Elizabeth Jones was the last Chief Engraver, but the position
was abolished after she left the Mint.   Until that point the
line of Chief Engravers had been unbroken back to George Washington's
appointment of David Rittenhouse in 1792.  As a traditionally
lifetime appointment, I believe there have been fewer Chief Engravers
than Presidents of the United States or Justices of the Supreme Court.
Mercanti has been with the Mint since the 1970s, serving longer than
any engraver currently on the staff.

According to Don, Mercanti has produced more coin and medal designs
than any employee in U.S. Mint history (over 100).  Among his current
efforts is a  design for the upcoming $5 commemorative coin honoring
the Jamestown settlement (1607-2007).

Dick Johnson isn't sure about who holds the title of most prolific
U.S coin designer, but with all his modern commemoratives, bullion
pieces and medals, Mercanti's certainly in the running.  Do patterns
count?  Where would Barber, Morgan and Longacre land on the list of
most prolific designers?  This is why I'd love to see an online coin
almanac where you could enter queries like that to do research (and
settle bar bets).

John has been the defacto Chief Engraver for some time, but the
department he will now officially lead is vastly different than it
was even a few years ago.  The Treasury has spent millions of dollars
on the latest technology, using computers and 3D laser modeling
machines to automate much of the coin design process.  Reduction
machines have become obsolete - dies are now cut directly from
computer models.  Time to update the minting technology literature!

In typical bureaucratic fashion, the government has assigned a mouthful
of a title to Mercanti's new position: "Supervisor of Design and Master
Tooling Development Specialist."  Doesn't exactly have the poetic
ring of "Chief Engraver" but informally, Mercanti could be called
"the first Chief Engraver of the 21st Century."

No official press release has been published yet, but Paul Gilkes of
Coin World interviewed Mercanti this week, so look for a detailed
article soon.


The August 2006 issue of Coin World's "Coin Prices" magazine is
bundled with the current issue of Coin World (June 5th). The
issue's theme is copper-nickel five cent coins and includes a
"what-might-have-been" article by Roger Burdette (p50) on the
proposed 1942 half dime. Before everyone runs off to check their
trusty "Red Book" or U.S. pattern literature, don't bother - the
coins were never struck.  But it's a great untold story of WWII
numismatics.  The article is illustrated with six original sketches
and is a must-read for anyone with the slightest interest in
twentieth century U.S. coinage.

The genesis of the half dime concept was the wartime need to
conserve the use of strategic metals including copper and nickel,
which ultimately led to the use of steel in U.S. cents and silver
in the "nickel".  I asked Roger to provide us with a synopsis of
his article.  He writes:

"The idea seems to have been proposed by Phillip C. Meyer, a druggist
from Richmond, VA, and by the middle of 1942 Philadelphia Mint engraver
John Sinnock had prepared design drawings. His obverse featured a bust
of Ben Franklin much like that later used on the half dollar. The
reverse choices include a Liberty Bell (sound familiar?), eagle head,
ear of corn, and a "V" with oak leaves next to it (a nice pun on the
"V for Victory sign" and the denomination "5" in Roman numerals.

The half dime was to have been similar in size and composition to
the old Seated Liberty half-dime. It was intended to be a mercantile
replacement for the five-cent copper-nickel coin, although vending
machines were expected to continue using the "nickel."

By the end of the year, the decision had been made to change the
nickel alloy, and to use zinc coated steel for the cent. The 1942
silver half-dime, and a companion three-cent piece, vanished into
the archives never to be coined. Ben Franklin and the Liberty Bell
found a home on the new half dollar of 1948, much to the pleasure
of mint director Ross."

[This article illustrates two important points.  One, that God
knows how many important numismatic facts remain buried in government
archives awaiting researchers like Roger to come along, and Two,
that one should never overlook ANY numismatic publication, for great
information can appear anywhere.  I'm sure there are many Coin World
readers who may simply put aside Coin Prices, but there are some
great articles in there!  -Editor]


According to a recent press release, "The United States Mint is
seeking applicants for an appointment to the Citizens Coinage
Advisory Committee (CCAC). There is an open position for a member
representing the interests of the general public. The application
deadline is June 12, 2006. The United States Mint will review all
applications and will forward recommendations to the Secretary
of the Treasury for appointment consideration."

The CCAC is composed of 11 members - one specially qualified in
numismatic collection curation; one specially qualified in the
medallic arts or sculpture; one specially qualified in American
history; one specially qualified in numismatics; three individuals
representing the interests of the general public; and four individuals
recommended by the Leadership of both the United States House of
Representatives and United States Senate. CCAC members are Special
Government Employees and are therefore subject to various applicable
conflict of interest laws and ethics regulations."

To read the complete press release, see:
Full Story

[Is this the position vacated by Tom Noe?  He was a member of the
committee from May, 2003, to May, 2005.  Can anyone tell us who
the current members of the committee are?  Any E-Sylum subscribers
among them? Who is designated as the committee's numismatic expert?
I poked around the Mint website and did a web search, but couldn't
locate a page listing the members. -Editor]


Alan V. Weinberg offers the following commentary on the Betts II
Stack's Ford Sale: "The XIVth John J. Ford Jr auction by Stack's
occurred in NYC May 23. I have attended every Stack's Ford sale
since their inception, save the Chicago Hard Times sale and the
Atlanta paper money sales. The sales' contents literally offer a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  The sale attendance and prices
realized have reflected that from the start.

John Ford's tastes were often esoteric, areas that investors,
speculators and Redbook collectors ignored. Those areas are now
becoming fashionable, perhaps because most other series are
outrageously priced, beyond the comprehension or capability of
most collectors.

But the prices realized Tuesday night can only be described as
outrageous, jaw-dropping. When the hotel's auction room opened,
intelligent speculation was attendance would be sparse and many
seats would be empty. After all, Betts medals? A heretofore very
thin market. Who could predict that almost every seat would be
taken, with bidders standing in the rear? A number of Ford Family
members attended, knowing this series was one of John's favorites.

The serious oldtime collectors turned out, along with a number
of very wealthy coin collectors and coin dealers who had not
previously exhibited any interest in historical medals. The
result was unbelievable with the 676 lot auction lasting from
6:30 PM to 11:30 PM - 5 hours!

A choice silver Libertas Americana medal hammered for $110,000,
a silver Washington/Franklin/Eagle Betts 617 medal (Ford had
several) at $42,500 hammer, a silver Franklin/Beaver B546 at
$35,000 (Ford had two) and many others to Brent Pogue of Dallas,
the owner of the Childs 1804 "original" dollar at $4.1 million
and the Bullowa Unc 1795 flowing hair dollar at $1.3 million.

Dick Margolis captured the two extremely rare Lagemann German-
struck Franklin death medals which he'd sought worldwide for
so many decades and paid a combined $44K hammer. I do not think
either has appeared at auction since 1930 in Europe. The incredible
and unique silver Franklin 1777 Privy Council medal B547 hammered
for $80K to John Adams...I'm certain this medal was the  most eagerly
sought  after of John Adam's pursuits. JJF paid around $100 for it
in 1967. Other active bidders included Chris Eimer all the way from
England, Tony Terranova, Dave McCarthy for Kagin's, Stu Levine,
Bill Anton Jr, Isaac Rudman of the Dominican Republic, Roger Siboni,
Syd Martin, John Kraljevich of ANR for multiple clients and, it is
rumored, the Anderson Bros of Whitman Publishing through a very
skilled floor agent.

The only book in the sale was Ford's personally annotated and
repaired/rebound Betts medal book at $13K hammer to John Adams
who is forming the finest Betts medal collection now that Ford
is deceased.

The biggest surprise of the sale, for many, were the outrageously
high prices realized for early Massachusetts silver copies and
mid 1800's Bolen copies. The circa 1858 Good Samaritan shilling at
$40K hammer to Anton, a large number of Mass silver 1800's forgeries
from $2500 - $5,000 hammer,  a silver Bolen Carolina elephant token
setup-struck over an 1807 bust half at a relatively reasonable
$11K to Terranova etc.

Much of the sale interest and the high prices are absolutely
attributable to a mouth-watering and fascinating auction catalogue
of the highest quality authored by Mike Hodder and overseen and
published by Larry Stack. These two guys are aware, as was John
Ford in the 1950-70 era, that a well-researched, authoritative,
interesting-to-read auction catalogue with top notch photography
will generate strong buyer enthusiasm even where there was no
previous interest. Invest the time and money into creating a
lifetime reference and the effort will return untold rewards.

I can't wait 'til the October sale. There are, I believe, seven
scheduled Ford auctions left, all with untold numismatic treasures."


Nicholas M. Graver writes: "Please permit the mention of a wrong-word
in the latest fine issue of E-Sylum.   In the Book Review on Daughtrey's
"Looking at Lincoln Cents," there is mention that the book has many
fine 'microphotographs.'   It should have been "Photomicrographs."

Photomicrographs are highly-enlarged images (big pictures) made
through a microscope, where microphotographs are greatly-reduced
images (small pictures) such as micro-film, microfiche, or such.

This is a frequently encountered confusion.   Eastman Kodak's late
authority on scientific imaging, H. Lou Gibson, often pointed this
out to various individuals.  His favorite line: "Well if you don't
take my word for it, check in Webster's Dictionary!"   Of course,
Lou had contributed that entry in the dictionary, it was his
little private joke."


George Fuld writes: "Since we discussed Scovill at some length
in The E-sylum, I thought I should mention that my father wrote
up the story in 1968, which is being reprinted in the current
Civil War Token Society Journal, Volume 40, Nos.  1, 2 and 3.
My dad's memory was more up to date than my 50 year old


Steve Pellegrini writes: "Regarding the enormous offering of
Karl Goetz medals auctioned in Germany last week, I believe
that the catalogue of this event will become an instant, if
not rarity, at least a scarcity. It is near definitive of the
large Goetz opus. Can you believe, over 6,700 lots devoted to
one medallist?"


Steve Pellegrini writes: "When preparing to write up a small
handful of Papal medals for eBay I rediscovered a copy of 'Coins
of the Popes' by Richard Coffin. On the flyleaf there is a
handwritten, Nathan S. Eglit with #5 written beneath.

Does anyone have a similar notation in their copy? What does it
mean? My thought is that it is a notation written by Coffin that
this particular book is copy #5 and was destined for Mr. Eglit's
library. I wonder how many copies of this wartime 1st edition
(1943) were printed. I'd appreciate any info that's out there
in the membership."


Dick Johnson writes: "I first met Larry Lee at the week-long
board meeting of the Gallery Mint Museum last September. I had
the pleasure, along with other board members, of selecting him
as the top candidate for the position of director of the new
museum of engraving and minting to be built in Eureka Springs,

I knew of Larry's previous positions as director of ANA's money
museum in Colorado Springs and curator of the Byron Reed Collection
in Omaha, but I was unaware of his activities as an educator. He
wants numismatics to be taught in colleges and universities on a
level unlike before. He is looking for a sponsor for just such a
textbook he wants to write to accomplish this. In fact, he wrote
his PhD dissertation on a comprehensive analysis of numismatic
education in America over the last 150 years, "Measuring Numismatic
Education at the Post-Secondary Level."

As part of his dissertation he compiled lists of:  146 American
museums with numismatic holdings -- irrespective of whether or not
they were affiliated with an educational institution --141 colleges
and universities with numismatic holdings, 114 institutions that
have sold a portion of their numismatic holdings, and 178 numismatic
events in conjunction with colleges and universities (like exhibits
or publications).

Some of his findings are astounding. Bottom line:  American
numismatics as an academic discipline has declined in the last
century and a half as a historical discipline comparable to
archaeology or geology. He calls this a "fall from grace" among
American colleges and universities.

Lee was restricted in writing this dissertation. It had to meet
Both academic standards for the PhD fulfillment plus professional
Museum standards in what constitutes a museum collection. In addition
he had to have an extensive numismatic knowledge. Yet, I found this
wasn't a dry dissertation. His research was extensive, well organized
and written, it was, indeed, easy to read.

He is making the dissertation available in either digital (at $20),
hard-copy format (at $29), or microfilm (at $50) all postpaid.
Additional ordering information is at; click on

You can address him now as "Dr. Lawrence J. Lee," he got his PhD
this last semester at the University of Nebraska. Contact him at
Numismatic Museum Services, P.O. Box 6194, Lincoln, NE  68506;
telephone 402-488-2626, or via e-mail at"

[Congratulations to Dr. Lee, a longtime E-Sylum subscriber!


Granvyl Hulse writes: "The article on writing interested me as
I have done a fair amount of it.  If I were to give any advice
at all, it is that before the article (or book) is considered
finished, read it out loud, even if just to yourself. If it
doesn't sound good it won't read good."


Harry Cabluck writes: "Regarding Dave Ginsberg's request for
information about the Kerens, Texas, gold hoard that was uncovered
in 1947, Kerens is located near Corsicana, TX. By now, Dave has
discovered on his own that Philpot, Jr's father a veteran of the
War Between the States, can be read about by Googling him.

Philpot, Jr. was very active in the Dallas Coin Club.  Archives
in Dallas and member Hal Cherry might be helpful.

Breen's Encyclopedia, pp 666 and 689 will give information about
Philpot's Confederate coin connection. The Dallas Coin Club medal
reverse is that of the Confederate half dollar reverse.

Googling the outlaw, Sam Bass, might give rise to speculation on
who buried the gold. Bass pulled most of his jobs north of Dallas,
and found refuge south of Dallas. Seems he worked all the way south
toward San Antonio. The story of Bass and his tangle with Texas
Rangers near Round Rock, Texas, is an interesting read.

Fort Worth lore indicates that Bass had buried other loot in a
milk can in the area now overflooded by Lake Benbrook, This is
south Fort Worth. Both locations are near the banks of different
forks of the Trinity River.  Oh! To have a time-travel machine!"


Don Cleveland writes: "A recent topic of conversation at the
monthly meeting of the Melbourne (Australia) Chapter of the
International Bank Note Society was the proliferation of
banknotes printed on polymer.  We did not add them up, but
several countries now use polymer for all their currency, and
about 20 have circulated single issues on polymer.  All together
there are probably well over a hundred different polymer banknotes,
most printed in Australia, but a few, like Taiwan, printed in
the home country on polymer made in Australia.

The conversation then turned to the inaccuracy inherent in the
title of the basic catalog on world banknotes, Krause Publication's
Standard Catalog of World Paper Money.  Started before there were
polymer banknotes, it is now out of step with the times.  Perhaps
it would be better retitled the Standard Catalog of World Printed
Money.  Any other opinions or suggestions?"


According to the ANA's press release, "There are still openings
and plenty of time to register to attend the American Numismatic
Association's 38th Annual Summer Seminar July 1-14 at ANA
Headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO. Both sessions include
specialty collector classes conducted by the recognized experts
in each field.

Session I (July 1-7) features America's Colonial Coinage and Paper
Money with John Kraljevich and Erik Goldstein, Shipwrecks and their
Cargo of Coins taught by Robert Evans and Thomas H. Sebring, and
Early U.S. Gold Varieties: A Study of Harry W. Bass, Jr. and his
Collection with John Dannreuther.

Session II (July 8-14) offers The Art of Money led by Laura Stocklin,
Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents with Rick Snow and Ancient Coins
taught by Harlan Berk.

For more information, see: Summer Seminar


On May 25 the Denver Post published an article about the
Colorado Quarter striking ceremony:

"Gov. Bill Owens pushed a button on the hulking machine before
him and moments later, there it was: Colorado's new state quarter.

With television camera lights shining on his face, Owens
looked at the crowd of dignitaries and media with concern.

"We misspelled Colorado," he joked.

The governor's remark (the quarter was later pronounced perfect)
was one of many moments of levity and reflections of a legacy
Wednesday at the U.S. Mint as the new state quarter made its
public debut."

"After the first few ceremonial pressings Wednesday at the mint,
hundreds of newly minted quarters dropped into hoppers, filling
the press room with a jingling noise.

"The sound of money," said U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral,
who had flown in for the occasion."

"The designer settled months of debate Wednesday by acknowledging
the image is not a composite but is based on Longs Peak, one of
the state's better-known 14,000- foot summits.

Owens said he was told the image was a symbolic mountain rather
than a specific place. But artist Len Buckley told The Associated
Press he based the design on a photo he took of Longs Peak, the
highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park, during a family
vacation in the 1980s."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to the China Post of Taiwan, coin melting in that
country could be imminent.

"Whether the melting has started in Taiwan on a scale large
enough to cash in on the surge of metal prices is not known,
but non-numismatist entrepreneurs certainly are looking into
the possibilities of amassing a trove of small change to make
the quick buck.

With the gold price hitting US$700 an ounce, one kilogram of
lowly nickel can fetch close to ten pounds sterling -- 9 pounds
45.7 pence to be exact -- in London, where the same weight of
once cheap copper is sold at three pounds 89.6 pence.

Ubiquitous aluminum? One pound 35 pence a kilo.

That makes it lucrative to get hold of at least one million NT$1
coins, melt them and sell them as ingots, according to an
enterprising newly converted numismatist.

"You spend only NT$1 million," says the entrepreneur. "And
you get NT$1.26 million."

"That is not quite right, the Central Bank of China points out.

For one thing, it's against the law.

Anyone found to have purposely destroyed the legal tender shall
be sentenced to not over one year but not less than seven years
in prison, the law says.

Moreover, a Central Bank expert says, it's not profitable at
all to melt and sell."

"He may be right," the enterprising numismatist adds, "but
you will do much, much better, if you collect the old NT$1 coins."

The old coin, known as the plum change for the flower on the
back side, is no longer in use as the legal tender. "You don't
have to worry about the long arm of the law," he adds."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dennis M. Gregg writes: "I'm seeking one or more good in-depth
sites for FOREIGN coins, particularly from 1600-1850.  I wonder
if you or a reader knows of any?"

[Last week we discussed, a database of both
ancient and world coin auction lots (more on this in the next
article).  Let's hear our readers' recommendations for other
useful sites.  -Editor]


Regarding, Regarding Coin, Larry
Gaye writes: "I have used this site extensively and it truly is
valuable for the online coin business.  Most dealers specialize,
so this site gives answers to questions outside of the specialty
area of a dealer.  I love it and appreciate the work invested in it."

Morten Eske Mortensen writes:  The databank of the Roman Coin Price
Yearbook  is overwhelmingly more comprehensive than the databank (see statistical weblink
ROMANcatlist.htm ).

Further, the data entries in the databank of the RCPY are indexed
and organized.  The data entries in the are NOT
indexed, but are 'only' amassed raw un-organized data.

1.175 public auction catalogs worldwide containing Roman coins
have been included in the RCPY databank.

Total for all 5 editions covering the full 10 calendar years 1995-2004
will be some 167.000 entries of hammer prices.

These 167.000 data-entries in the RCPY databank from 1.175 public
auction catalogues is for auction results solely of Roman republican
and Imperial coins from the period BC 280 - AD 254, while as Coin
Archives 'only' from 170 auctions includes 'only' 139.009 data-entries
which data however is for ALL types of ancient coins (Greek, roman
provincial, byzantine, and Roman Republican and Imperial BC 280 AD 254
and further AD 254-AD 475).

The RCPY 2005 edition includes 35.000 auction entries.
The RCPY 2001 edition includes 33.000 auction entries.
The RCPY 2003 edition includes 34.000 auction entries.
The RCPY 1997 edition includes 32.000 auction entries.
The RCPY 1999 edition includes xx.000 auction entries,
and will be published in 2006.

In the 4 editions published up to now are included
weight information for more than 107.000 coins.

[The RCPY databank has not been put online - it is only
distributed in paper form.  -Editor]


Philip Mernick writes: "Having just read v9n20 a bit late it
seems to me that the "for ever" stamps are very similar in
concept to the UK first and second class stamps we have had for
many years. They have no stated value and can be used without
augmentation even when the rate goes up. For this reason when
a price hike is announced it is done with very little advance
notice to prevent people stocking up at the old rate! The UK
stamps can also be used to make up any value either by multiples,
combinations of first and second class or with normal stamps
 showing a value."


The 2006 Canadian Numismatic Association Convention is scheduled
for July 20-23 at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel & Convention Centre
in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Of special interest to bibliophiles
may be the following exhibits (descriptions quoted from the May 25
C.N.A. E-Bulletin (v2n16):

"The Historian of the Canadian Numismatic Association, Dan Gosling,
will be exhibiting material from the C.N.A. Archives. This will be
augmented with additional material from the private collection of
Norm Williams, a Past President of the Canadian Numismatic Association.

The numismatist who is credited with putting Canadian numismatics
on the map of the world, Jim Charlton, will display some of his
awards, including the Ferguson Gold Medal (the highest Canadian
numismatic award) and the Royal Canadian Mint Medal (presented only
to a few people)."


Dick Johnson writes: "One of the benefits of The E-Sylum is
not only its freshness - you read the news less than a week
old for the most part - but also its virtual instant feedback.
Our savvy readers are often willing to respond, for which we
thank them.

Last week Martin Purdy responded to my article of the previous
week on New Zealand's abolishing its 5-cent and issuing new
coins for their 10, 20 and 50-cent denominations. I appreciate
his comments and clarifications.

The news item which triggered my story was published on a Friday
- in Wikipedia New Zealand newspaper. I discovered the story on
the Internet Saturday and wrote my report for Wayne Homren's
Sunday deadline. If we had had more time, perhaps we should
have been in touch with Martin, on location in New Zealand.

Previously I had been in touch with the Reserve Bank of New
Zealand, which issues the coins in that country. My source
was Anthea Black, Communications Officer of the bank, RBNZ.
My subsequent inquiry was answered by her boss, Brian Lang,
Head of Currency, RBNZ. So I was confident in my facts.

Martin was right, however in that I should not have used the
term "dime." I took this from the headline of an earlier story.
Martin was also right in the $1 and $2 coins are made in
aluminum bronze. I was correct in everything else. Martin
misunderstood "transaction price."

He states "Final bills will be made out to the last cent,
as above[before], 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." THAT is the definition of "transaction price" -
after rounding up or down.

Other news is that the bank expects it will take six months
to "retire" all the old coins. Note it is not a "recall" of
the coins. There is a subtle difference."


Investment newsletter Motley Fool published an article this
week about Escala, owner of a number of U.S.-based coin trading

"Can stamp-and-coin-trading firm Escala survive the fallout of
its majority shareholder AfinsaBiene Tangibles being charged as
a criminal enterprise by Spanish authorities?

If you listened to company management on its 15-minute public
relations conference call this morning, you'd think so. The company
took no questions, using the time to essentially reiterate what
everyone already knew from the news reports. One tidbit management
did reveal: Without the Afinsa relationship, Escala would have
reported a loss of $1.7 million rather than a $10.4 million profit.
Even with the company's insistence that it still hasn't been charged,
and that it can operate even without Afinsa, where will the money
come from in the future?"

"Executives and directors have been fleeing Escala like cockroaches
scattering when the kitchen light turns on. The CFO resigned. One
vice chairman has been arrested and jailed, an Afinsa-linked director
resigned, and one of three independent audit committee directors
resigned, even though he was asked to stay on to help deal with
the mess.

Vice Chairman Greg Manning, who founded Escala back when it was
called Greg Manning Auctions, has not been heard from since the
scandal broke, and he did not participate in today's conference
call. Perhaps there's a reason he was sent packing off to Asia."

"Escala's assets -- including the 18 disparate operations like
precious-metals trader A-Mark; stamp-trading houses Aucentia, H.R.
Harmer, and Heinrich-Koehler; and coin wholesaler Spectrum Numismatics
-- could very well be appropriated to make whole the Spanish investors
swindled by Afinsa."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Many E-Sylum readers are familiar with artist J.S.G. Boggs,
who is known far and wide for his money art, "Boggs bills"
and encounters with the U.S. Secret Service and similar agencies
abroad.  I thought of him recently when I saw a news article about
a British artist who used to copy works of famous artists (and got
in trouble for collaborating with an art dealer who marketed them
as originals).

"Amateur painter John Myatt bamboozled the art world with a string
of counterfeit Monets and Picassos that were sold to collectors
around the world. He got caught and went to jail.

On release, he built a new life selling "genuine fake" canvasses
of great artists."

Myatt has found that selling "genuine fakes" makes more money...
But he is highly amused by one final twist in his surreal career
-- he discovered a London forger has been selling fake Myatts.
"Isn't it marvellous? Let him get on with it."

To read the complete article, see:Full Story

Boggs' work may occupy a grey area in the eyes of governments, but
he never represents his work as anything but his own original
compositions.  I found the "counterfeit of a counterfeit" idea both
amusing and familiar - because of Boggs' fame, for many years now
there have been people who make and sell fakes of his work.  The man
accused by the government of counterfeiting had to incorporate a
large number of anti-counterfeiting measures into his own artwork.
Boggs writes: "Yes, counterfeiting is still a VERY BIG PROBLEM!"

According to the Washington Post article, "Hollywood producers Jay
Weston and Fred Levinson have acquired the rights from Myatt for a
biopic about the scam that London police once called "the biggest
art fraud of the 20th century."

Don't get Boggs started on his own dealings with the film industry.
Regarding the rights to his own life story, he writes: "I have
consistently refused to sell, from first offer of $50,000, to last
firm offer of $500,000 and hints of $750,000 and a "phone number"
(which is Hollywood Code for One Million Dollars - same number of
digits, i.e., TEN)."


John and Nancy Wilson write: "While doing some research for our
talk on obsolete $3 notes at The Atlanta Show hosted by Whitman
Publishing on October 5 - 7, 2006, we found this very good site on
the Kirtland Safety Society and their bank failures. We think it
is interesting information and of interest to some readers of The
E-sylum: Full Story

Mormon money is extremely popular right now and we think the
readers of E-sylum will enjoy reading the story on the "Kirtland
Bank Failures" which will be found at this link:


In a new twist on counterfeit detection, a firm in Tokyo is making
immense replicas of currency:

"In a new bid to detect counterfeit dollars from North Korea, a
Tokyo company is enlarging bills 400 times and spreading them on
the ground, where experts get down on their knees and examine the
notes through magnifying glasses.

"The only clues we can get are by finding marks made by the
counterfeiters so that they can distinguish between the real and
the fake notes for themselves," said Yoshihide Matsumura, the
president of the company.

"Everything is the same as the real ones, including the ink,
quality of paper and a printing machine used to make it," he

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site is the Numismondo World Paper
Money Picture Catalog.

  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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