The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 45, November 5, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Matt Hanne and Jim Duncan.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 991 subscribers.

This week's issue brings disappointing news from the American
Numismatic Association, news of the first in a planned series
of new books on historical mints, and a reprinting of a classic
U.S. numismatic reference book.  Peter Gaspar provides a report
on the Newman Numismatic Museum opening, and readers chime in
with more stories about the late Hal Dunn.

If you think your money disappears fast, check out what's happening
to Euro notes across Germany - they are disintegrating in peoples'
hands!  In other international news, Alan Weinberg describes his
visits to the numismatic holdings of the Royal Copenhagen Museum
and the East Berlin State Museum. And speaking of disappearing money,
another story describes how older U.S. notes overseas are passing
only at a discount to face value - John Snow's signature is worth
more than Robert Rubin's, for example.  And finally, how can a coin
toss elect a dead woman to office? Read on to find out.  Have a
great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


It became known this weekend that David Sklow, Library and Research
Director of the American Numismatic Association, has been dismissed
by the ANA's Executive Director.   David, a 30-year member of the
ANA has also served as the organizations' Historian.

George Kolbe writes: "I cannot say I am completely surprised but
I am nonetheless disappointed. Some queries for the American Numismatic
Board of Governors:

1) Why is it that the wrong person(s) seem(s) to keep on
being terminated?; and

2)  Do you not have the fortitude to resolve the problem rather
than the effects?"

[This is a disappointing development; just five months ago John and
Nancy Wilson submitted a nice item to The E-Sylum about David's
appointment to the post - see below for the link.  -Editor]



>From a press release published Thursday: "Through the generosity
of the collector who owns the finest set of Colorado private gold
coins in existence, the Gallery Mint Museum Foundation (GMMF)
recently announced the sponsorship of the first in a series of
books on historical mints.

Denver businessman and philanthropist Frederick Mayer announced
his donation of $20,000 to the minting museum for the publication
and promotion of a book on minters and assayers of the Colorado
Territory. Publishing books and articles relating to the history
of minting technologies is one of the primary missions of the GMM
Foundation. Several manuscripts already are in the works, with the
Colorado book the first to find a sponsor.

The book will be authored by Lawrence J. Lee, Ph.D., researcher
and author of numerous articles on Colorado gold coins and patterns.
Dr. Lee served for three years as curator to Mayer’s superb collection
of Colorado gold coins, patterns and ingots, considered to be the
finest known. The collection is now on exhibit at a private gallery
in Denver.

The new minting book will catalog the individual coins in the
Colorado series, beginning with the state’s earliest numismatic
history in 1821 and continuing through 1863 with the end of private
gold coinage in the state. In addition to recently discovered historic
details and photographs of Colorado minters and assayers, the book
also will include information on mintages, rarities, counterfeit
detection and other aspects of collecting the coins in the Colorado

Prior to announcing his donation, Mayer hosted several Mint Foundation
board members and invited guests at his Denver residence—The RedHOUSE.
Among the GMMF board members in attendance were Ron Landis, Tim Grat,
John Nebel, Ed Rochette and Bob Evans, as well as gold experts Lee,
Dwight Manley, Larry Goldberg, Don Kagin, Ken Bressett and Robert Rhue.

For more information about the Gallery Mint Museum Foundation and its
publication program, contact Ron Landis at GMMF, PO Box 101, Eureka
Springs, AR 72632 or call him at 479-981-3111. For additional information
about the Colorado book, contact Dr. Lee at 402-488-2646 or write him at
PO Box 6194, Lincoln, NE 68505."


I'm surprised none of our bibliophile readers picked up on this,
but Whitman Publishing announced in its ad in the October 16 edition
of Coin World that it plans to reprint the classic first edition
"Red Book."  The reprint would be distinguishable from the original
because of the insertion of a new full-color section which "compares
coin collecting of 1947 with the hobby of today." In the ad the "1947
Tribute Edition Red Book" is billed as "Your First-Class Passport
to Hobby History."  The 288-page hardcover is priced at $17.95 (with
a 500-copy autographed, leatherbound version available at $49.95).

Dennis Tucker of Whitman forwarded the press release for the book,
which includes some interesting facts about the book.  Here are
some excerpts:

"The 1947 first edition of R.S. Yeoman’s Guide Book of United States
Coins totaled 18,000 copies — a small quantity by today’s standards.
The “Red Book” quickly grew into the world’s most popular numismatic
reference, and one of the best-selling nonfiction books of all time.
Today an original first edition is a rare collector’s item, eagerly
sought, and worth hundreds of dollars.

In December Whitman will release the 1947 Tribute Edition Red Book:
a special commemorative reissue of the first Guide Book of United
States Coins. Every page is exactly as it appeared back then: every
word, every photograph, every coin value. It’s like opening a time
capsule of numismatic history.

At the back of the book you’ll find a full-color section comparing
coin collecting of 1947 with the hobby of today. Which coins have
skyrocketed the most in value? What significant coins have been
discovered since then? Which coin series have seen the most activity?"

The first print run of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the
“Red Book”), which debuted in November 1946, totaled 9,000 copies.
These sold so quickly that another 9,000 were printed in February 1947.

By 1959 more than 100,000 copies were being printed annually. The
1965 (18th) edition reached a peak of 1.2 million copies. That year
the Red Book was ranked fifth on the list of best-selling nonfiction
— ahead of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People
(at no. 6) and John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage (no. 9).

Since then production levels have followed the ups and downs of the
coin market. Perhaps even R.S. Yeoman, the book’s original author,
could not imagine that, by the 60th edition, collectors would have
purchased a total of well over 20 million copies."

[It will be interesting to see the reaction to the reprint.  It's
probably one that I would add to my library for information purposes
since I sold my original first edition a few years ago.  I don't often
sell my last copy of any book, but with the high prices that these
bring, I decided to part with it.

What affect might the reprint have on the resale value of the originals?
Will some scoundrel slice out the modern section and pawn the reprint
off as an original?  Numismatic bibliophiles rarely have to deal with
counterfeit or altered books, but we're not immune.  I'm anxious to
see the reprint to learn what other diagnostics help us to tell it
apart from the originals.

QUIZ QUESTION: How does one tell the difference between the first
and second printing of the first edition Red Book?  -Editor]


A few issues ago, Craig Eberhart wrote: "I missed this summer's
ANA convention and did not have a chance to buy John Dannreuther's
new book on early gold varieties.  I had hoped to buy a leatherbound
copy, but the Whitman website seemed to go directly from listing
it as "available in September" to "no longer available".  Does
anyone know what happened to this edition or, more importantly to
me, where I can purchase a copy?"

Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "Yes, the Dannreuther
Limited Edition is still available from retailers, or directly
from Whitman at Whitman
These are all signed by the author."


[My apologies for not publishing this last week - Peter's
email to me managed to goes astray.  -Editor]

Peter Gaspar (proud E-Sylum subscriber #1) writes: "Due to the
generosity of Eric and Evelyn Newman, 3,000 square feet of the
beautiful new Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum are devoted to the
Newman Money Museum.  The initial exhibits offer a cultural history
extending from barter in ancient times to today's electronic fund

Artifacts have been carefully chosen to illustrate every facet of
the production, use, and even counterfeiting of money, objects
presented in a way that will appeal to the general public as well
as to seasoned numismatists. Eric Newman's unrivaled knowledge and
the depth and breadth of his collections have combined to produce
a unique educational resource that will provide pleasure as well
as understanding to everyone who crosses the threshold of his museum.

A dramatic section of the museum presents Eric Newman's long-term
interest in Benjamin Franklin the man and his spectrum of contributions,
many of which relate to currency.  There is a full-size talking figure
of Franklin that will appeal to younger visitors.  The wall behind
Franklin features sayings about money spanning the centuries, but
quite up to the moment.  Bob Dylan is quoted: "Money doesn't talk,
it swears."

Every facet of the Money Museum reflects the unerring good taste
of Evelyn and Eric Newman and their willingness to work very hard
and very long to bring their dream to life.  There is a wonderfully
warm and comfortable room in the museum whose tall shelves house but
a small fraction of Eric's numismatic library.  I can't wait to come
and spend hours, and more probably days in this idyllic setting,
happily furthering my own pet research projects.

Numismatists will be enthusiastic about the displays - let me mention
just one, featuring the unique gold striking, Breen 1233, of the 1792
private patterns from dies engraved by John Gregory Hancock and
submitted by Obediah Westwood of Birmingham.  Eric Newman regards
this piece as the most significant single American numismatic object,
because its long pedigree takes it back to the Washington family, and
it is believed to have been George Washington's own pocket piece.
How appropriate that its first public display is at Washington University
in St. Louis, in a museum established by the city's and the country's
foremost numismatic scholar.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum housing the money museum is always
free and will be open Monday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 11 to 6,
Fridays, 11 to 8, and Saturdays and Sundays 11 to 6.  Closed Tuesdays
and University holidays."

[I'm glad to hear all went well with the opening, and I'm sure all
involved are as exhausted as they are happy with the outcome.  Our
readers are encouraged to make plans to visit the new museum and
library, a wonderful resource for the "numismatic bibliophiles,
researchers, and just plain numismatists" who make up our E-Sylum
readership. -Editor]


The American Numismatic Society's Stack Family Coinage of the Americas
Conference takes place Saturday, November 11, 2006 at the society's
headquarters at 140 William St. in New York.  This year's subject is Newby's
St. Patrick Coinage.   A live webcast of the event will be available on the
ANS web site.  Here's the lineup of speakers and topics:

Part I: The Mother Country

10-11 am - Overview of Circulating Coinage and Tokens
in 17th Century Ireland
Robert Heslip

11am - 12 pm  - Denominations
Philip Mossman

12 - 1 pm Iconography
Oliver D. Hoover

2 - 3 pm - Dating the St. Patrick Coinage: Early Dating
and the Ford Connection
William Nipper

3 - 4 pm - Dating the St. Patrick Coinage:
Later Dating and the Ormonde/Blondeau Connection
Brian Danforth

Part II: The New World

4 pm - 5 pm - Overview of Circulating Coinage of the
American Colonies in the 17th Century
Louis Jordan

5 pm - 6 pm Mark Newby and West Jersey
Roger Siboni and Vicken Yegparian

For more information on the 2006 COAC, see:
Full Story


According to a November 2nd Reuters report, "German banknotes
have been falling to pieces due to a mysterious acid attack in
recent months, a central bank spokesman said Thursday.

Police are investigating why more than 1,000, banknotes worth
between five and 100 euros ($6.38-$128) have crumbled shortly
after being withdrawn from cash machines, said Bundesbank spokesman
Wolf-Ruediger Bengs.

"German mass-market newspaper Bild-Zeitung said contaminated notes
had now surfaced in 17 German towns. It quoted a chemicals expert
who said the notes had probably been dusted with a salt which
turned into acid on contact with sweat.

The bank did not say whether the acid could burn the skin."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Ralf W. Böpple forwarded this report from the international edition
of Der Speigel: "Since its introduction, the euro has served as a
remarkably solid common currency for much of Western Europe. But
lately, euro notes have proven to be less reliable -- indeed, they
are disintegrating right in the hands of their holders."

"Maybe a racketeer is behind all of this, someone who wants to
prove to us that he can destroy the euro," an unnamed European
Central Bank source told Bild. "But so far, no one has announced
anything in this regard."

"In the meantime, the euro bills continue to disintegrate and
officials are baffled."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Another article: Full Story

Philip Mernick forwarded this BBC News video: BBC News video


Steve Pellegrini writes: "I'd like E-Sylum readers to know the
power of their newsletter.  A while back I mentioned in The E-sylum
that I was looking for a particular rare book about WW.I Belgian
medals. That was all I knew about the book - no author, title, or date
- nothing. Within 24 hours after my question was published I received
an email from one of our readers, a well-known and busy professional
numismatist. In his message to me he listed the title, author, date,
number of volumes, etc. of the work I was looking for. With this
information in hand I was able to track down and purchase one of the
only complete sets of this two-volume work available for sale anywhere.
Now that is what I call the power of the press - and the power of the
resource created by our organization and membership."

[Here are links to Steve's original query and our reader responses:




Tony Tumonis writes: "I was stunned to hear of the unexpected
passing of my friend Hal Dunn.  Hal was not only an ANA District
Delegate for Nevada, but also received the ANA Outstanding District
Delegate Award in 2002.  Hal will be sorely missed by everyone that
knew him."

Pete Smith writes: "My parents taught me that I should not talk to
strangers. I think of myself as an introvert who is unlikely to
strike up a conversation with a stranger. However, I suspect that
extroverts meet more interesting people so I will occasionally
make an exception.

During the 1996 ANA convention in Denver, I stood outside my hotel
waiting for a shuttle bus to take me to the convention center.
Standing nearby was a somewhat stern looking gentleman. Perhaps
he looked like a county sheriff. Anyway, I asked him if he was going
to the ANA convention and we talked until the bus came. He was Hal
Dunn. I recognized his name as an author so our conversation became
an interview.

I think it was later that same day that I was giving a talk at
the Numismatic Theatre and he came to listen. He told me later that
he came only because he had met me earlier. We had a number of
common interests.

I met him again at other conventions. We were both ANA District
Delegates so we attended some of the same meetings. We corresponded
by letter about some memorabilia from the Carson City Mint. We also
corresponded by e-mail, most recently comparing our experiences
with the state quarter design process and ceremonies.

Despite his appearance, I found him to be quite warm and willing
to share his information and experiences. I was sorry to learn of
his passing."

Duane Feisel forwarded a link to Hal's obituary in the Elko Free
Daily Press: Full Story


Bob Julian writes: "There is some confusion in the latest E-Sylum.
William Barber died in 1879 and was replaced by his son, Charles E.
Barber, in 1880. The latter died in 1917."  Bob Leonard also noticed
the problem.


Regarding the 1848 "CAL" Quarter Eagles, Ron Guth writes: "Mint
Director Robert Maskell Patterson's January 5, 1849 letter appears
to contradict the earlier instructions of Secretary of War William L.
Marcy, who transmitted 228 ounces of newly mined California gold to
the U.S. Mint to be used to strike Congressional medals for Zachary
Taylor and Winfield Scott, with the leftover gold to be turned into
specially marked Quarter Eagles.  Who is right: Patterson or Marcy?
The answer may rest in the medals and coins themselves.  Assuming
one each of the Taylor and Scott medals, and that the medals were
of the same size, we have the following tabulation:

Taylor Medal (known weight) = 621 grams
Scott Medal (assumed weight) = 621 grams
1,389 "CAL" Quarter Eagles (4.18 grams each) = 5,806 grams
Total weight = 7,048 grams

7,048 grams equals 226.6 troy ounces -- tantalizingly close to
the amount of gold sent by Marcy!"


Regarding last week's mention of the Washington skull & crossbones
funeral medal, Saul Teichman writes: "Does anyone have a plated
Montayne catalog (Sampson, 4/1881)? I have been trying to figure
out if the Norweb gold skull & crossbones medal really is the
Bushnell piece or not.

It is relatively easy to plate match the Garrett Gold Urn medal to
the Bushnell sale even with reprint plates, thus it is likely he
also bought his skull & crossbones there as well.

The Montayne piece was not graded but did sell for $25, $5 more
than the Bushnell piece. Grade wise, the Bushnell description seems
to match the Norweb piece but I would like to verify the sources
of these two."


Leon Worden writes: "I hope someone can help me. I have found, in
a private party's possession, some original materials that V.D.
Brenner used when he created his bust of Lincoln. Forgive me for
being somewhat vague at the moment, but I'm writing a story about
it and would like to include information on the whereabouts of
"other stuff" Brenner used in his sculpting -- models, drawings,
tools, etc.

I'm aware of what the American Numismatic Society has, but I'm
thinking there must be more, perhaps in a university or library
collection somewhere. If any E-Sylum reader can point me in the
right direction, would you please e-mail me at


In response to his earlier query, David Levy writes: "Although I
could not locate the article in the original Numismatic Chronicle
edition of 1966, I was very surprised to find this very article plus
another fourteen articles of the same author in the book "Coinage
and History of the Islamic World", Nicholas Lowick, edited by Joe
Cribb, British Museum London, UK, 1990, 278 pg, Hardback, ISBN 0
86078 259 X, $135 (online purchases have 15% discount at

It can be purchased in several book dealers found through or directly with the publisher (Ashgate). Below is
a small description (from plus the articles it has.
It is a remarkable book of a remarkable scholar.

This is the first of two selections of articles by Nicholas Lowick
to be published by Variorum. Though he died in 1976 at the age of
only 45, he had already established himself as the world's leading
expert on Islamic coins, a position based on his prodigious ability
to decipher inscriptions and to identify and classify coins, and on
his concern with the historical contexts in which the coins were
issued and used. The full range of his published work can be seen
from the bibliography included with this volume.

The second selection of articles will focus on the importance of
coin hoards and finds as evidence for the international trade of
the Middle Ages; the present one concentrates on the use of coins
as primary sources for Islamic political history. The articles deal
not only with questions of attribution and chronology, but with the
circumstances in which the coins were minted and with their value
in supplementing or correcting the written record. The areas covered
are the medieval and early modern periods in the Yemen, Syria, Iraq
and Iran from the Seljuqs to the Ayyubids, and Central Asia and
Northern India under the Shaybanids and their early Mughul sucessors."


Regarding Howard Berlin's planned tour of numismatic museums,
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "In my view, the second most impressive
European numismatic display (and holdings)- after the British Museum
- is the Royal Copenhagen Museum in downtown Copenhagen. Now, I'm
going back to my visit in the mid-1960's, but I doubt it's changed

Not only was the public display almost the equivalent of the then
British Museum but the holdings in the private room off the display
room were incredible. Without any forewarning or invitation, I asked
to view some of the American coins and was shown a gem 1795 dollar,
a gem Noe-1 Oak Tree shilling, proof bust quarters, etc. I held them
raw in my fingers. From the collection I saw and the acquisition tags
I viewed (and my memory may be fuzzy now), I believe at least one of
the Danish monarchs was a serious numismatist who assembled much of
this world-class collection.

During this same period, I visited the East Berlin State Museum and
viewed significant numismatic holdings in display cases, one of
which appeared to be a gold Baker-61 George Washington Manly medal."


John Merz writes: "The "Kicking Wife's Protest" appeared in Volume
10, Number 3-4, March-April 1919 of Mehl's Numismatic Monthly."

Alan V. Weinberg adds: "I enjoyed the Mehl segment about the "Kicking
Wife". The husband was clearly at fault.

I spend a fair amount of money on rare coins, tokens and medals.
For decades, I have been laying my latest acquisition - when significant
and aesthetically pleasing, like a gold medal or a mint Massachusetts
silver piece - on a velvet tray and showing it to my wife, allowing
her to lift and handle the item. And I tell her what I paid.

When I receive an auction catalogue with something special in it
that interests me, I show her the catalogue and point out and discuss
the item and its significance and value.

She's never complained and only brings up "How much did you just pay
for ...?"  when I express "concern" over  what she just paid for another
pair of shoes, a purse or a designer outfit. That shuts me up right
away.  We've just passed our 30th Anniversary so I guess I'm doing
something right."


A front-page article in the November 1st Wall Street Journal discusses
a situation little known in the U.S. and Europe.  In many other parts
of the world, older U.S. notes can be passed only at a discount, with
only the newest notes worth face value and issues printed just a few
years earlier worth much less.

"Americans are accustomed to the idea that the dollar -- the world's
No. 1 reserve currency -- is good anywhere. After all, it's a point
of principle that the U.S. never invalidates its notes. The government
may add watermarks, insert security threads or enlarge Ben Franklin's
face on the $100 dollar bill, but old bills are still legal tender.

Overseas, however, that guarantee carries less weight. In many
countries, from Russia to Singapore, the dollar's value depends ...
also on the age, condition and denomination of the bills themselves.
Some money changers and banks worry that big U.S. notes are counterfeit.
Some can't be bothered to deal with small bills. Some don't want to
take the risk that they won't be able to pass old or damaged bills
onto the next person."

"The good bills are new ones that bear Treasury Secretary John W.
Snow's signature. The bad ones are signed by Treasury Secretary
Robert E. Rubin."

"Robert Rubin, now chairman of the executive committee at Citigroup
Inc., doesn't take it personally that his bills sell at a discount.
"If people are paying 85 cents on the dollar, I'll pay them a lot
more than that -- and I'll make the difference," the former Wall
Street trader said."

[Current Treasury Secretary Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson's
signature will appear on the new Series 2006 notes, pushing Snow
and Rubin further down the value chain, and making more opportunities
for arbitrage.  So here's a new way to pay for an overseas vacation -
take a pile of new bills and buy up old ones at a discount.  If you're
lucky enough to not get stuck with a counterfeit, there's money to
be made. Of course, you might also have to deal with currency
reporting requirements.  -Editor]

To read the complete article (subscription required), see: Full Story


According to an October 30th news report from Sweden, "Two young
men on Gotland have found Viking treasure dating to the 10th century.

The treasure cache consists of silver coins, weighing a total of
around 3 kilos. They were discovered by 20-year-old Edvin Svanborg
and his 17-year-old brother Arvid, who were working in the grounds
of their neighbour, artist Lars Jonsson."

"I just stumbled by chance across an Arab silver coin that was around
1,100 years old," Edvin Svanborg told news agency TT.

"Majvor Östergren at Gotland county administrative board praised
the brothers for handing in the treasure.

"They acted in an examplary fashion."

Gotland is an archaeologist's paradise, where there have been
discoveries of a large number of Viking treasures. Farmer Björn
Engström found the world's largest ever haul of Viking treasure
on the north-eastern part of the island a few years ago.

The loot included coins, necklaces and other jewelry, which
altogether contained 65 kilos of silver and 20 kilos of bronze.
He was given 2.1 million kronor as a reward"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to a BBC news article, "A new £20 note featuring a
portrait of economist Adam Smith is to be issued, the Bank of
England has said. The new note will signal the start of a new
series of notes which will come into circulation next spring.

When Adam Smith replaces composer Edward Elgar on £20 notes, he
will also make history as the first Scotsman to appear on a Bank
of England note."

"However, while it may be his first appearance on English currency,
it his not his first on a bank note. He is already featured on a
Scottish £50 note."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To view an image of the new banknote, see: image of the new banknote

To read the Bank of England's press release about the new note, see:
Bank of England's press release


The answer to last week's quiz question is M. L. Beistle, author
of "The Register of Half Dollar Die Varieties and Sub-Varieties"

Pete Smith writes: "Martin Luther Beistle owned the Beistle Company.
They made paper novelties including ones for Halloween. I picture
these as flat until they expand like an accordion into a three
dimensional form. The Beistle Company also made an early coin board."

Dave Lange writes: "Martin Luther Beistle was awarded U.S. patent
number 1,719,962 for the Unique brand coin album. This patent was
later sold to Wayte Raymond, who marketed these albums through Scott
Stamp and Coin Company as the National brand.  That brand was marketed
into the early 1970s. I believe that this was existing stock from the
1960s, as I've never seen a mintage figure for dates later than 1964
or so. A few years after Raymond's death in 1956, the Raymond pages
were amended to include the words "A. Faxon, Distributor," and the
address was changed from New York City to Mineola, NY.  Amos Press
later bought the Scott supply business, but sells only albums made
by and for other companies."

We learned more about Beistle's business is earlier E-Sylum issues.
Here are some excerpts:

Dick Johnson wrote that "Early in the 20th century Beistle purchased
a paper product company he worked for, whose major product was fake
trees.   In 1910 he purchased the technology to manufacture a party
goods specialty, honeycombed tissue.  The firm prospered in World War
I when such party goods could not be imported from Germany.  And over
the years the firm manufactured millions of tissue pumpkins and ghosts
and goblins and bells and hundreds of other items."

Larry Lee added that "Aficionados of Beistle minutia may be interested
to learn that the ANA Museum has in its collection the original metal
plates used in printing both the 1929 and 1964 editions of Beistle's
book.  The plates were a gift from Aubrey Bebee.  Dick Johnson's
history of Beistle's paper company helped explain one of the questions
about this donation: the plates are separated by pieces of cardboard
with various Halloween cut-outs imprinted on them."

For more on Beistle's Halloween connection, see: beistle.htm


>From a recent news release: "“Clash of Empires: The British, French
and Indian War, 1754-1763” opens at the Smithsonian’s International
Gallery Friday, Dec. 15. The exhibition explores the three-sided
struggle for the possession of North America by the British, French
and American Indians and its worldwide effects. The Senator John
Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center organized this exhibition
in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution and the Canadian
War Museum/Museum of Civilization. “Clash of Empires” is on view
through March 15, 2007.

“Clash of Empires” opened at the Heinz History Center in May 2005
before traveling to the Canadian War Museum/Museum of Civilization
in Ottawa, where it closes in mid-November. The exhibit has won a
number of national awards, including an award of merit from the
American Association for State and Local History."

To read the complete news release, see: news release

[This exhibit includes a phenomenal group of early medals, detailed
in a previous E-Sylum item (see below).  This exhibit is a once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity to see such a rare and historically important
group of artifacts.  Oh yeah, there are also things like the original
Fort Necessity surrender document signed by George Washington on July



Ed Krivoniak writes: "I have to take exception to Dick Johnson's
comment that lead does not conduct electricity. It DOES! If it did
not, your car would not have a lead acid storage battery in it whose
terminals are always lead. All metals conduct electricity! That is
the definition of a metal."

Dan Demeo writes: "Dick Johnson's comments regarding electrotypes
raised some hairs on the back of my neck.  As a retired chemist, I
recognize electrical conductivity (or low resistivity) as a necessary
characteristic of a metal.  Lead, as listed in my 25 year-old Handbook
of Chemistry and Physics, has a resistivity of 20.648 microhm-cm,
compared to copper, 1.6730 in the same units.  This makes lead some
12-13 times more resistive (less conductive) than copper, but
conductive nevertheless.

Non-metallic elements have resistivities several orders of magnitude
higher than this.  Some of the problems in using lead as a conductor
could relate to the oxides which form on its surface, making contact

As a collector of both early U.S. and ancient coins, I have always
heard of lead in conjunction with electrotypes, but generally as the
meat in the sandwich, copper surfaces or shells for example, with a
lead core.

I have never heard whether the British Museum and others actually
used lead to join and fill their two thin copper or silver "faces",
but, given the relatively high melting point and low wettability by
lead, I would think they would have used lower melting alloys, perhaps
with lead as an ingredient, but also with tin, antimony, etc.
Differences in the "meat" layer might be useful in telling a BM
electrotype from others, for example.

I do know the British Museum and others developed excellent casting
and electrotyping techniques, but I have never seen this totally

I do know that many of the early museum and auction catalogs had
illustrations of casts of coins, rather than the coins themselves;
reflections and shadows are more easily controlled when photographing
an object with a matte surface, rather than a shiny metal object.
This must have taken a large amount of resources, especially for an
auction catalog."

Dick Johnson writes: "I received several comments to the item in
last week's E-Sylum on the fact electrotypes cannot be made of lead.
One of the best replies came from Daniel Demeo, a retired chemist.
Dan was correct in several of his statements including this one.
You can find lead INSIDE an electrotype, or as Dan said, the meat,
the internal composition between copper shells.

But collectors are incorrect when they often think the item was
cast or otherwise formed in lead first with the copper coated
afterwards. (Such a technique would be very indistinct and would
not have sharp detail of a struck piece or an electrotype.)  It
is just the opposite -- the copper shell electrotypes are made
first. Then the lead is filled in to make the item solid.

Lead is used for several reasons. It makes the item solid, or for
larger electrogalvanic casts, as galvano plaques, the lead is applied
to the back to add strength to the thin shells (that are often only
1/16th of an inch thick). The lead is always applied on galvanos to
the low points on the reverse because these would be the highpoints
on the obverse and most susceptible to damage (as a nose on a relief
portrait). Another reason is that lead is less costly than any metal
in which electroforms are made, copper, silver, gold.

To make a coin electrotype you must make two shells, one of each side.
The side with the greatest cavity is placed face down on a level surface
and molten lead is poured in minute amounts until it reaches the surface
of the rim of this shell. A tad bid more is added but not to run over.
It will "dome" up because of the meniscus characteristic of lead. The
other shell is "floated" on top of the lead. No air pockets must be
allowed between the lead and the shell. Placement of second side must
be in correct orientation to the other side or you will have a
"rotated reverse" mint error. Once the lead solidifies it becomes
a solid item.

When such items are cataloged in numismatics the correct term to use
is "lead fill-in." A diagnostic may (or may not) exist of a gray lead
color line around the center perimeter of the edge where the two shells
are joined. The edge is buffed and polished to eliminate the seam
(not always successful).

Interestingly, I have come across similar items made by embossing in
cheap imitation of electroforming. The two embossed shells were used
with an added "fill-in," not of lead, but of sand! How cheap can you
get?  I called this "ballast" in my catalog description."


According to an October 31st Reuters report, "A dead woman won
re-election to a school board in rural Alaska after her opponent
lost a coin flip meant to break an electoral tie.

Katherine Dunton, who died of cancer on October 3, the day of the
local election, was re-elected to the Aleutian Region School District
board after her opponent, Dona Highstone, called "heads" on a coin
toss that landed "tails," state and local officials said."

The coin toss was held on Friday, in accordance with state law, to
break the tie since both candidates had 19 votes.

The school district, which covers an island region stretching 600
miles and has jurisdiction over about 50 students, has not yet decided
how to fill Dunton's seat."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Roger deWardt Lane writes: "At the flea market this past Tuesday, I
purchased a medal from a German dealer.  How it got from the U.S. Virgin
Islands to Germany and back to Florida is a mystery.  The producer was
Medallic Art Co.  My cost was $3.00 and at our local Hollywood coin
club I will use it for 'show & tell'.  More Internet research found
the Lawrence Rockefeller story of how he donated land for the Virgin
Isle National Park. It's a government commercial site, but most

[There are some very interesting medals shown here, but I've never
viewed any of these in person.  Are any of our readers familiar with
this series?  After reviewing the web site, I don't believe it's
actually affiliated with the government - the site is owned and run
by Medallic Art Company itself. -Editor]

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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

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