The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V9 2006 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 37, September 10, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Mike Cali and Rick Selvin.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 961 subscribers.

This week's issue brings news of an upcoming biography of a
heretofore unknown American numismatic figure, and the announcement
of what I think will be an absolutely fabulous new tool for doing
numismatic research.  The tool may help bring to light numerous
previously-unknown numismatic facts.  And if that's not enough news
for one week, two of the biggest names in American numismatic
auctions are merging!

In follow-up topics, Bob Rhue provides some musing on his great
exhibits at the recent ANA show, and the mystery of the Wolfson
"1913 Liberty Nickel" is solved.  New research questions involve
counterfeit-detector publisher John S. Dye and the very rare
Beaver Club Medal.

In international news, the banknote changeover in Zimbabwe has
spawned a flock of profit-seeking modern-day moneychangers.  And
what is an osphatheleni?  Read on to find out.  Have a great week,

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


An ad appearing in the September 12 issue of Numismatic News (p16)
announces Rusty Goe's upcoming book, "James Crawford - Master of
the Mint at Carson City: A Short Life."

Marie Goe writes: "As you know, Rusty is passionate about the Carson
City Mint and the rich history associated with it.  He felt that so
many of the key people involved at the Mint, during the years while
it was operating, seemed obscured in history.  During the years Rusty
was researching "The Mint on Carson Street" he was struck by the lack
of information available on those men (and women).  He was determined
to learn about these historic figures and to put a human face on them.

Unlike the well-documented history of the Civil War, few records were
kept concerning the Carson City Mint, and there are practically no
journals or diaries from anyone who worked there.  Rusty has dug deep
into old territorial newspaper archives and Carson City Mint records
to weave the threads of history together and bring James Crawford's
story and times back to life.

To the citizens of Carson City in the 1870s and 1880s, James Crawford
was a beloved hero who fought tirelessly to keep the Carson City Mint
open against powerful political enemies who sought to close it from
its inception. Rusty knew Crawford's story needed to be told: it was
important to record this great history for future generations and not
let it be lost in time.

Rusty has been writing furiously, already expanded well beyond his
original goal of 300 pages (probably closer to 500 now).  We are
shooting for the book to be ready for delivery in early 2007.
Following are a few more facts:

. Biography of the fourth Superintendent of the Carson City
 Mint (From 1874-1885).
. Traces Crawford's life from his birth in Kentucky; to his
 formative years in Illinois; to his prospecting years in
 California's Gold Rush Country; to his early years in
 Nevada's Lyon County; culminating in his tenure at the
 Carson City Mint.
. Provides a panoramic view of the sweeping history of
 Nevada's connection to California's Gold Rush era; with an
 in depth look into life in the Silver State's northwestern
 region from 1863 to 1885.
. Filled with never before presented facts about James
 Crawford and the Carson City Mint, linked with stories
 about some of Nevada's most prominent historical figures
 and many contemporary events occurring in the United
. Hundreds of references to coins struck at the Carson City
. More than 400 pages, including images throughout (some
 published for the first time).
. If you are interested in the Carson City Mint and its many
 fascinating coins, you will love this book.
. Also, anyone interested in the history of Nevada, or in the
 history of the United States in general, will greatly enjoy
 this prodigious volume.
. Due out in hardback in early 2007.

[We'll hear more from Rusty and Marie as the book nears production.
I'm already looking forward getting a copy.  The Goes can be
reached at Southgate Coins, 5032 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV
89502, Phone 775-322-4455,

It's wonderful to be able to learn more about these key figures
in our nation's coinage history.  Another book I would recommend
to those interested in early mint personnel is "Sentiments and
Aspirations of a 19th Century Tradesman" by Nancy Y. Oliver and
Richard C. Kelly.  The book goes into great detail on the life of
J. B. Harmstead, the "Mysterious Coiner of the San Francisco Mint."


Len Augsburger writes: "Google has added an historical
newspaper search, at archivesearch .

Silicon Valley's Mercury News reported that "After years of
barricading their digital doors against Google's wide-ranging Web
crawler, some of the country's largest media companies said they
had invited Google to include their online archives in its giant
index for Web searches.

Starting Tuesday at 9 p.m. PDT, articles published by news
organizations, including the New York Times, the Wall Street
Journal, Time and the Washington Post, will be available in the
archive of Google News.

"The goal is to help users explore history as it unfolded," said
Anurag Acharya, an engineer at Google who worked on the archive

The archive, which can be found by typing
or through a link on, will also include snippets of
news articles and other documents from research companies that
require paid subscriptions like LexisNexis, Factiva and HighBeam

To retrieve an entire document from any paid service, a person will
have to pay a fee."

"... Google has not yet made agreements with foreign news providers
to include their digital archives.

Google is also not including blogs, because of the dramatic differences
in quality that characterize work in the blogosphere. "Our goal is to
focus on history, and history has largely been recorded by traditional
news services," Acharya said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Ed Snible writes: "A search for 'huey long washroom' turns up 153
hits, including a free story from the September 11, 1933 Time Magazine
Full Story.

The very first hit is from The Washington Post, September 21 1933,
covering the ANS presentation of the medal discussed so often on
The E-Sylum.  The Post charges $3.95 to read that story.

There are 322 hits for "Brasher Doubloon", the earliest mention known
to Google is from 1894 (!) and discusses Andrew Zabriski showing an
example at the ANS. Seems like a useful tool for historical research."

[I poked around and came across one item from August 25, 1908 referring
to a recent sale of a Higley copper: "From the New York Sun. If that
Connecticut blacksmith of colonial days, John Higley, could have seen
one of his much-berated copper three pence pieces of home manufacture
bring $275 at a coin sale in this city the other day, he would have
noted with great satisfaction, no doubt, that the injunction engraved
upon one of his coins -- "Value me as you please" -- had been
interpreted more liberally than he could have anticipated." -Editor]

Len Augsburger adds: "I typed in "Loubat", following up on Pete
Smith's article in the recent Asylum, and got the citations below,
among others.  Not everything is free - some of the articles are for
sale, but at least you can get an extract and decide before paying.

The Supreme Court article, for example, is $3.95, or there are various
packages with lower per article rates.  Of course if you have access
to a library with the same resources on microfilm, then you can look
for free.  The hard part is finding the citations, which Google is
giving away at no cost.

The Washington Post (1877-1954) - Washington, D.C.
Date: Dec 23, 1882
Start Page: 1
Document Types: front_page
Text Word Count: 240

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 -- Preliminary proceedings were had in the Supreme
court to-day in the suit of F.L. Loubat for reinstatement in the Union
club, whence he was expelled for conduct unbecoming a gentleman. The
treasurer of the Union was examined as to the facts in the case. He
was asked: "What conduct on the part of Mr. Loubat was improper or
prejudicial to the club?"

The Washington Post (1877-1954) - Washington, D.C.
Date: Apr 28, 1887
Start Page: 2
Document Types: article
Text Word Count: 293

Mr. Loubat, of the New York Union Club, is about to publish "The
Yachtman's Scrap book," his third literary venture.

[A very useful tool indeed.  This is a huge boon to numismatic
researchers and writers.  The hard part is learning that the
information exists, and the Google index helps with that chore
immensely.  What researcher worth their salt wouldn't cough up
the extra $3.95 to access a potentially valuable article?

On the down side, what I've found from poking around in the archive
is that a lot of the newspapers indexed have been scanned and OCRed
without human post-editing.  The Optical Character Recognition
quality leaves a LOT to be desired - a LOT, with many sections
reading as mere gibberish.  The terms you may be searching for
could be unfindable because of the OCR mangling.

Still, this tool is a HUGE advance for researchers.  Poke around
with your own favorite queries - let us know what numismatic nuggets
you find.  Who will be the first to report a startling previously-
unknown fact?   Gentlemen (and ladies!), start your search engines!


Speaking of startling news, did you hear that Stack's and American
Numismatic Rarities are hooking up?  Here's what Numismatic News

"Stack's of New York City and American Numismatic Rarities of
Wolfeboro, N.H., will merge."

"Stack's headquarters will remain in New York City where it has
been serving collectors for over 75 years and operations will
also continue in Wolfeboro where the ANR team is located.

Lawrence R. Stack will lead the firm as CEO, director of numismatics,
while Christine Karstedt as president will oversee auction operations
and customer service.

Also included in this team will be Q. David Bowers (chairman emeritus),
Harvey G. Stack (chairman emeritus), Susan Stack and the entire expert
staffs from both companies."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read the merger announcement on the Stack's web site: Full Story


Bob Rhue writes: "I appreciate Alan Weinberg's kind words about
my three exhibits at the Denver ANA show:  Hawaiian Plantation
tokens (pg 376 of current Redbook); Horsecar tokens (1871 - approx
1910); & Colored Seal Notes of Colonial Georgia (1776-1778) all at
the Denver ANA show.

For me it's 'pride of ownership' & a desire to share my collections
& information about them, that motivate me to exhibit. Leaving them
in a bank box just isn't quite as rewarding for me.

I love to introduce/interest people in my esoteric areas of collecting.
And like Alan says - newly interested people are likely candidates for
buying MY collection down the road.

A perfect example of that is my own experience 20 years ago:  Rad
Stearn's exhibited his collection of Colored Seal Georgia Colonial
Currency at an ANA show in the early or mid '80's & I was totally
taken in by their history & by the sheer beauty of the multicolored
vignettes, contrasting to the normal black & white printing on
virtually all other colonial currency.  A year or two later I happened
onto Bob Vlack at a NY show, who was offering his collection of these;
& I couldn't resist the opportunity to start with a bang a collection
of the 50 different pieces comprising this 'set' as I call it.  After
adding to & upgrading over the years I now have a collection I'm most
proud of & which I have exhibited a number of times. Not to mention
the 'fringe benefits' of inevitably developing a high level of
expertise in this area over the years, as well as developing the
comaraderie that comes with discussing & sharing with others an
area of deep interest.

At every show we attend we now devote most or all of one of our show
cases to fun things - just for 'show & tell'. Surprising how much
interest that generates in people who then decide they'd like to
collect some of those items themselves."

[On a related note, exhibitor George Fitzgerald writes: "That was my
Lesher dollar exhibit in Denver. Nelson was from Holdredge, Nebraska,
not Omaha." -Editor]


Ted Buttrey, Ken Bressett and Denis Loring responded to the query
on the Stack's Wolfson II sale.  Ted Buttrey writes: "On Dave Lange's
query, lot 719 of the Stack's sale of 3/4 May 1963 is a US dime, "1913
A lovely iridescent Proof. Very scarce."  Sold for $77.50 (hammer)."

Dave Lange writes: "The mystery is solved. Thanks to all who responded.
For some reason, the previous owner wrote "1913 nickel" on the lot tag,
along with the price.

I doubt that the Wolfson pedigree is still attached to this coin, but
if anyone does know that they own this coin, I would be pleased to send
them the lot tag gratis."


Pete Smith writes: "I have a numismatic puzzle for our panel of

John S. Dye is known as the publisher of counterfeit detectors
from 1847 to 1879. He died shortly before publication of Dye's
Coin Encyclopaedia in 1883.

John Smith Dye is the author of books on the Lincoln assassination
and on U. S. Grant published around 1866 to 1868.

Are these the same person? Speculation is fine but I am looking
for proof."


Darryl Atchison writes: "I wonder if one of our readers could tell
me whose Beaver Club medal was sold in the Edward Cogan sale of
June 29-30, 1876.  My email address is atchisondf@hotmail.  Thanks.

Here is a little bit of background history: The Beaver Club was a
gentlemens' club specifically for fur traders.  It was established
in 1785 (primarily for members of the North West Company) but other
fur traders were allowed to join - assuming that their nomination
was unanimously accepted by the current members.

Prior to the amalgamation of 1821, it is extremely unlikely that
any fur trader from the Hudson's Bay Company would have been accepted
for membership... although it is believed that Lord Selkirk had
attended at least one meeting as a guest in 1803... and George Simpson
was accepted for membership in 1827 after the two rival firms merged.

The Beaver Club jewels are not unlike other fraternal jewels in that
they were primarily used as a means of identification and recognition.
Members were required to have their gold medal manufactured according
to fairly tight but not overly-constrictive specifications.  As such,
each medal (engraved with the name of the member) is slightly different
and the quality of the engraving varies greatly from barely decent to
exquisite in the case of the aforementioned George Simpson jewel.

At present less than 20 of these medals are accounted for... and
given that there were approximately 100 members admitted during the
Society's lifetime (1785 - 1827), many, many medals remain to be
discovered.  The names on the membership roster include some of the
most significant names in Canada's history from the period in question.

Much of this information comes from the publication by Larry Gingras
entitled "The Beaver Club Jewels" which was published by the Canadian
Numismatic Research Society in 1972.

It should be pointed out that these medals are exceedingly rare and
less than a handful are in private collections.  Of the pieces which
are accounted for most are in institutional collections while a few
remain - as per Gingras' text - in the hands of relations.

According to my notes (which are not the gospel) I am aware of only
six auction appearances in the last 135 years. In chronological
sequence these are as follows:

1)  Edward Cogan sale of April 3 - 5, 1871 included the Archibald
McLellan specimen

2)  Edward Cogan sale of June 29 - 30, 1876 included a specimen
whose provinance is to be confirmed with this request for information

3)  Samuel Hudson Chapman sale of Dec. 9 - 11, 1920 included the
William McGillivray specimen

4)  Wayte Raymond sale of Nov. 16 - 18, 1925 included the Henry
MacKenzie specimen (anonymously purchased by Robert W. Reford Jr.
which resurfaced in a Jacobys House of Antiques sale in 1971).  The
big mystery remains as to why this piece was not included in the
Sotheby and Co. (Canada) sale of Reford's collection in Oct. 1968.

5)  Spink sale of March 6 - 7, 1986 included the David David specimen

6)  Jeffery Hoare sale of June 22 - 23, 1990 included the
David David specimen

Finally, Jeffrey Hoare sale of June 25 - 26, 1999 included several
electrotypes of Beaver Club jewels from the Larry Gingras collection."

[I found the following web references to Beaver Club Medals

George Simpson's Beaver Club Medal Full Story

Peter Pond's Beaver Club Medal Full Story

The administration of the North West Company Full Story



Dick Johnson writes: "The Token and Medal Society is one of the
oldest specialized collector organizations within the numismatic
field. (It is preceded by the Orders, Medals Society whose members
collect decorations and military medals.) TAMS members collect a
wide spectrum of coin-like objects. Thus every two to six years
the organization publishes a list of the members' collecting topics.

Their latest directory arrived this week with the latest issue of
the organization's publication, TAMS Journal. The directory is
always an eye-opener for the number of topics which hold members'
interest so much that they seek to form specialized collections.
A topical interest is a very personal thing, only you can determine
what you want to collect.

The old adage, "I collect it because it exists!" sure holds true.
Someone is bound to collect it. The intent of the TAMS directory
is to reveal WHO collects what topic, to encourage communication
between collectors, perhaps of similar interests, and often an
outlet for dealers who have an item they wish to sell, or for
anyone who may wish to inquire about an item of that topic.

This year's directory is somewhat disheartening. TAMS, like
other specialized numismatic organizations, is experiencing a
decline in membership. It has reached a point of about ten
percent fewer members a year. Also those participating in the
directory have fallen off (234 out of a membership of 865 listed
in the2006 directory versus 344 out of a membership of 1035 in
the last directory, published 2002).

Also the number of members without an address is increasing (72
versus 65 percent last directory). The organization's policy is
not to publish this unless the member so agrees. What is surprising,
some TAMS officers addresses are not listed, as are those of a lot
of dealers, yet their addresses are published in the Journal arriving
in the same mail!

To the credit of Paul Cunningham (who edits the directory) plunged
ahead. with its publication despite these shortcomings. The number
of topics listed has increased (294 this time vs 257 last time) while
the number of pages and members are less. Does that mean collectors
who remain are increasing their topical interests? Collecting
additional topics? Looks like it.

I support the directory by listing 10 or 12 collecting specialties
each time. I may not be an active buyer of every one of those topical
objects (I may already have it) but I am very much interested in
more information on those topics. Quote me an associated item -- a
book, an article in an obscure publication, a photograph, or perhaps
a postcard relating to that topic, or something else of interest
about it -- and I can't reach for the checkbook fast enough.

Already I have had my first response to this year's directory listings.
If you are interested in collecting tokens or medals by topic contact
TAMS Secretary, Rachel Irish, 101 W. Prairie Center #323, Hayden, ID
83835. Dues are $25 for the first year. Or inquire at"


Dick Hanscom writes: "I was working on a project years ago that
required that I get permission to reprint articles.  The project
has been on the back burner, but I am thinking of it again.

My question is:  When granted permission to reprint, how long is
that permission good for?"

[Good question.  I would say that unless the author has imposed a
time limit, there is none.   But the right would not be transferable
- if you never get around to completing your project, whoever takes
it on next would have to reacquire the reprint permission. -Editor]


Ed Snible writes: "Kerry Rodgers' is correct that no publisher will
touch a book without copyright clearance for all photographs.  Like
Kerry I strongly advise authors to seek permission, even if the use
doesn't technically require permission.  Permission may be needed
from both the photographer and from the artists who created the
original collectable or artwork.

Bob Knepper plans a first printing of only 100 copies of his book
on "Wildman" collectables, so perhaps he is self-publishing.  Self-
publishing gives authors the freedom to risk printing photos where
the copyright holders cannot be located.

I've learned that copyright holders usually can't be located.  For
example, my web site reprints Admiral Dodson's article on Greek
counterfeits from two 1967 issues of COINage.  The magazine was
copyrighted to COINage rather than Dodson.  COINage gave me clearance
for Dodson's words but couldn't clear the photos.  Some of the coin
photos credited Ken Bresset (who gave me permission), others were
anonymous.  Photos of the forgers' studio were anonymous and probably
taken by an Athens police photographer.  If COINage ever knew the
name of this photographer they have forgotten.  Must I learn what
Greek law says about the intellectual property rights for crime
scene photos?

The risk in using photos by unlocatable photographers, stein-makers,
and notgeld engravers is low.  The creators probably wont notice a
book whose print run is 100 copies.  The creators will probably be
happy to have been included, especially if they or their employer is
credited.  The photographers may have sold or willed their rights to
someone who will not notice the use.  The copyright may have expired.
The photograph may not be copyrightable.  Even if you lose, damages
wouldn't be more than triple the price it would have cost you to
clear the photo -- thus probably about $0.

If the photograph was printed in the US in 1922 or earlier, the
copyright has expired.  If the photograph was printed in the US in
1963 or earlier and not renewed it's expired -- and no one renews
auction catalogs.  If the photograph was printed in the US in 1976
without notice it's public domain -- for example, Stacks didn't
include notice in their old catalogs.

For Wildmen, I'd guess most books and catalogs were never printed in
the US.  They may be "unpublished works" here, even if millions of
copies were printed in Europe.  The collectables themselves were made
in Europe.  The law is very complicated on reprinting such photos,
but a good rule of thumb is to use the foreign law's duration as a
guideline, and that is generally life+70 years.  This presents a
problem for images of collectables in catalogs -- the photographer
is uncredited.  How are you to learn when he or she has died?

The court case "Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp" appears to make
photographs of 2D objects, like coasters and maybe coins,
uncopyrightable.  This court ruling is very controversial.  The
basis is that no creativity is used when photographing flat objects,
like beer coasters, notgeld -- and perhaps coins.

Copyright infringement isn't "theft" (as the Supreme Court ruled in
Dowling v. United States).  Theft is wrong.  It's also wrong to use
someone's work without asking -- if that person can be easily found.

I believe that people who allow their works to be published anonymously
give up expectations of control over that work.  I believe that it is
asking too much to expect authors to trace copyright -- of an ordinary
coin photo -- using genealogy, wills, and through the creditors of
bankrupt corporations.  Great efforts to find creators is justified
when reprinting a novel or reissuing a jazz album, but not for mass-
produced collectibles and their photos."


"The Zimbabwe-bound bus has not quite completely stopped at South
Africa's Musina town but this is little deterrence to the young man,
who calmly hops on board with gravity-defying agility that could only
have been acquired through many years of experience.

On board the young man - who later only identifies himself as
Mgomeni - wastes little time, waving a bundle of Zimbabwe's freshly
minted new currency in one hand and an equally tempting bundle of
South Africa's rand currency, he begins chanting.

"The rate is so good. For R100 you get Z$8 000. Change your foreign
currency here good people, because we offer a better rate than
osphatheleni back home," shouts Mgomeni, in a beseeching tone as
he worms his way down the bus aisle.

Osphatheleni are illegal foreign currency dealers operating from
Bulawayo's World Bank, an area in the city centre so named because
it is the hub of the illegal but thriving foreign currency parallel

"They (osphateleni) are cheats they lure you with higher returns
for foreign currency but will pay you in fake Zimbabwe dollars,"
he says in a bid to convince passengers why it makes sense to do
business with him.

Soon, five more illegal foreign currency traders are on the bus,
each after having paid 50-rand bribe to the driver to be allowed to
"trade" on the bus. In the same energetic way as Mgomeni before
them, the new traders are also soliciting for business from the

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Phil Carrigan writes: "My wife, Mary Clare, saw this first on
the tube and had me watch it, undistracted!

The US Mint advertises on network TV!  They show persons involved
with coins who are called numismatists.  Their subjects show many
characteristics associated with diagnosable mental illnesses.
I first wish to disassociate myself with the term numismatist and
then with the US Mint.  Once I recover from these, I hope to compose
myself sufficiently to ask my Congressman why my tax dollars are
used for such ads."


Katie Jaeger writes: "Here are some interesting web resources from
the U.K.:  First, a website that gives geographical surname
distribution maps.  You key a surname into the search engine, and
choose either 1881 or 1998, and get a map of England separated into
counties, where concentrations of that surname appear in that year:
Full Story

Second is the book search on the British Google... It operates just like the U.S. Google book
search: From the home page, click "more" then choose "book search."
When the new search bar pops up, key in your search term - I keyed in
"medal" - and then under the search bar, I had a choice of "all books"
or "full view books" (meaning full text books).  I chose "full view
books" and a wonderful array of titles popped up, all 100% searchable.
Not only British books are included: I found the catalog of the ANS
international medal exhibition of 1910, for example."


Bill Rosenblum writes: "A couple of thoughts about the age of a
coin not having anything to do with the value.

1) I always have a huge supply of low grade Roman bronzes from
the 3rd and 4th Century which can be purchased for as low as $2 if
one buys enough of them at my bourse tables. This usually helps
convince people that the "old coin" they have is not valuable just
because it's old.

2) What constitutes an old coin may depend on the age of the person
who has the coin. Back around 1980 I received a phone call from
someone who sounded no older than 10. He told me he had "a real
old coin" and wanted to know how much it was worth.

I always tell people I have to see the coin first and when they
become insistent I would tell them to "hold it closer to the phone".
(Of course now people can do that, although I would not have any idea
how to see it). But since this was a kid I thought I would try to
help him. What he had, was an early 1960's Lincoln cent. But to an
8 to 10 year old, that was "real old"."


Speaking of "real old", here's a note about an "ancient" coin
published August 4, 1881 in the Amherst Bee (of Massachusetts):

"As Mrs. Joseph Deazley was pulling some weeds in her garden
Tuesday, she found an ancient silver coin dated 1782."

[The item says nothing more about the coin, unfortunately.

To read the complete article, see:


This week's featured web site is on the tokens of Carbon County,
Utah.  The lengthy page pictures a number of merchant and coal
company tokens, including explosive control tokens, pool hall
tokens, milk tokens and fuel tokens.

"In the early days of Carbon County many of the merchants, bar
owners and coal camp stores used tokens for their customers to
make their purchases."

  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.

PREV        NEXT        V9 2006 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web