The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V9 2006 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 53, December 31, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Tom Caldwell and Bruce Lorich.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,024 subscribers.

This week's issue is being published on New Year's Eve - Happy New Year,
everyone.   I had a few extra hours this week since my wife and kids
left me (to visit relatives for a couple days!) so I made a dent in my
book review backlog.  Discussed in this issue are Eric Leighton's
"NUmiS WORTHY", "The Denver Mint: 100 Years of Gangsters, Gold, and
Ghosts", the "Tribute Edition" reprint of the 1947 Guide Book of
United States Coins, as well as the leatherbound "Limited Edition"
of the 2007 Guide Book.  Also, Jorg Lueke reviews Alan Stahl's "Zecca -
The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages," and Bob Lyall gives us his first
impressions of the new book by Michael Finlay on Cumbrian mining tokens.

Dick Johnson introduces us to Historical Directories of the British
Empire, a very useful online digital library of local and trade
directories for England and Wales, and Karl Moulton comes through
with the missing Haseltine PRL page sought last week.  In other
follow-ups from previous issues, we reveal the answers to the quiz
questions on F.C.C. Boyd and First Spouses.  Finally, a new question
arises relating to a rousing long-ago Numismatic Literary Guild Bash.

We've covered a great deal of ground in our discussion topics this year,
and I've gotten a lot of great feedback from many of you.  It's a
pleasure to work on this each week knowing what a great group of readers
and contributors is out there on the other end of the wire.

It's time to close out another E-Sylum volume and start the next one
afresh.  This year brought us over the 1,000-subscriber threshold and
we had success in generating some income for the Numismatic Bibliomania
Society via the Google ads on the E-Sylum archive site.  Finally, we
developed a search engine specifically targeting the thousands of
great numismatic web pages we've discussed over the years.

What's next for The E-Sylum?  Who knows?  When we started this little
newsletter the Internet was still brand new to most people.    Now
it's ubiquitous and many wonder how we ever lived without it.  We were
a blog (web log) before there was even a word for what we do. Our plain-
vanilla text-only format has served us well, but with what seems like
every third person in the world now publishing their own blog, quite a
few tools and services are available to make the process easy.  So we'll
investigate some of these tools and see if any will do the trick for us.
Meanwhile, your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Have a great week, everyone, and please keep on promoting The E-Sylum
among your numismatic friends, acquaintances and anyone who has an
interest in learning more about numismatics.  Thanks!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The 87th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature
by Lake Books is now available for viewing at

Selections from the library of Lawrence C. Korchnak are featured
in the 476-lot sale. Reference material is listed in areas of interest
such as United States Auction Catalogs and Books, World Coinage,
Ancient Coins, Paper Money, Tokens and Medals, Guidebooks, and an
interesting selection of miscellaneous items.

The sale has a closing date of Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 5:00 PM(EST)
and bids may be placed via US Mail, telephone, email or FAX.

My duties as a member of the Board of Florida United Numismatists will
require that I be in Orlando, Florida for the annual FUN convention
until January 8, 2007, so I will not be available on the telephone
until then. Of course, your bids will be taken in order of receipt
during that time remembering that tie bids are won by the earliest
bid received.

For those of you who will be able to visit the FUN convention,
the latest information is shown on their website at
Good Luck with your bidding."

[Larry Korchnak's an old pal of mine from the Western Pennsylvania
Numismatic Society.  His specialty is siege coinage and he has been
a contributor to the Standard Catalog of World Coins for many years.
His numismatic interests are wide-ranging, and he speaks to the club
on various topics yearly.

He had a bit of collecting advice that I took to heart early on, and
it paid off well.  I've long forgotten how he phrased it, but he
recommended saving up to collect a smaller number of really nice
pieces rather than assembling a large group of much lesser pieces.
Most of us are guilty of accumulating a lot of stuff that interests
us at the time, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you
realize what you may be missing out on as a result.

I was convinced after looking up prices of a few selected pieces in
older editions of the Red Book.  To use just one example from the
1947 and 2007 editions, for the price of ten fine 1844 dimes at $10
each ($100 total) one could have purchased two uncirculated 1798 dimes
at $50 each.  The 1844 dimes list at $450 in 2007 ($4,500 total) and
the 1798s in MS-60 are $6,500 apiece ($13,000 total).  For a more
dramatic example, consider that the same $100 could have purchased
one uncirculated 1787 Fugio Cent (UNITED above, STATES below),
valued in 2007 at $15,000 in AU (not listed in Unc).

While Larry had settled on Siege coins as his specialty, I sought out
U.S. encased postage stamps and other rare Civil War era items.  To
acquire the better pieces in my collection I saved up, and to get the
most expensive ones I made arrangements with the dealers to make a
downpayment and send checks monthly.  I've never regretted these
investments, which have paid off well.  Thanks, Larry!]


Eric Leighton's new book "NUmiS WORTHY: Old Numismatic News 1752 to
1800', a compilation of contemporary newspaper reports published in
Nova Scotia, is a browser's delight.  Thumbing through my copy I read
a number of interesting accounts of news, laws, debates and other
anecdotes relating to numismatics of the era.

For example, on December 4, 1787 the Nova Scotia Gazette & Weekly
Chronicle reported "On Thursday last His Excellency the Lieutenant-
Governor... was pleased to give his assent to the following...  An
ACT to prevent the Circulation of base and counterfeit Half Pence,
and other Copper Coin, and to establish the Current value of English
Crowns and Shillings in this Province."  The full text of the Act
is included.

As noted previously, since newspapers of the era frequently republished
accounts from papers in other regions, there is much to be found here
of interest to researchers on British and U.S. topics as well. A sampling
of reports from other regions:

London, November 9, 1773:  "There was a time, says a facetious
Correspondent, when it might have been deemed a libel to call in
question the abilities of the King; but since the late Coin Act was
passed, all ranks and degrees of men daily experience and complain
of the lightness of his Majesty's head.."

London, February 14, 1789: "The Empress of Russia has set the example
to her subjects by sending her own plate to coin, for the purpose of
carrying on the war."

London, April 7, 1791: "Mr. Alexander Bruce, late merchant in
Edinburgh, has received from the Empress of Russia a gold medal which
weighs about twenty guineas in gold.  On the one side there is an
elegant bust of the Empress, which is pronounced, by those who have
seen her majesty, to be a very striking resemblance.  The other side
bears a representation of the equestrian statue of the Czar Peter the
Great at Petersburgh."

London, January 28, 1794: "The French are breaking up the graves in
all the churches, in order to make even the dead contribute to the
expences of the war.  The lead coffins are converted into bullets and
the copper ones sent to the mint."

Springfield, MA, January 7, 1795: "The people grumble because they are
in great want of small coin, and cannot get cents from the mint.  The
officers of the mint complain that they cannot get their cents into
circulation, there is nobody to take them!"

The book has a 16-page index and a 10-page glossary of numismatic
terms.  There are few illustrations, but the author's transcriptions
of the often blurry, smudged or faded originals make for easy reading.
Making such important original source material available to present-day
researchers and collectors is a difficult, commendable but often
thankless task.  Any numismatist with the slightest interest in the
Colonial period should order a copy for their library.  For more
information, see the previous E-Sylum items about the book.




Jorg Lueke submitted this review of the book by Alan Stahl, "Zecca -
The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages" (2000, John Hopkins University

"Zecca is an impressively researched historical work focusing adeptly
on its subject: the Venetian mint in the middle ages. The narrative is
very readable and the presentation uses footnotes to annotate the
voluminous amount of source material that went into the creation of
this work. The book focuses first on the coinage itself, the medieval
penny, the grosso, the ducat, and finally the soldino. Each era goes
into great detail on the weights, the fineness, and the people making
the decisions to have the coins made.

"The book then goes back and examines each of the roles of the mint
employees in additional detail. From the mintmasters and engravers to
the smiths and weighers the duties of each position are laid out. In
addition, salaries and legal documents help flesh out some of the
actual persons and the work done at the mint.

"The book left me with a thirst for more knowledge about Venice's
history. There is little background in the book on some of the
external reasons that caused some of the decisions presented in this
work. I think this is definitely a must-read for those people who have
a strong interest in both history and numismatics.

"It is not so well suited for the casual reader who will undoubtedly
get bored by the finer details of how many pennies are in a mark, and
which minor noble filled the role of mintmaster. But if the reader is
interested in medieval coinage, even if it is not Italian, than this
work will provide a ton of insightful information on mint practices
and medieval monetary policy."


A sucker for new books, I ordered a copy of 'The Denver Mint: 100 Years
of Gangsters, Gold, and Ghosts' by Lisa Ray Turner and Kimberly Field.
It's a bit of a disappointment given that the publisher touted it as
"the most comprehensive book ever published about the Denver Mint."
If by "comprehensive" they meant covering the entire timespan of its
existence, the book does that, covering the Mint's history through its
2006 centennial.  But while its span is broad, its coverage feels shallow.

Not that there isn't some good stuff here - the authors have fleshed
out a lot of interesting details behind some of the high-profile
incidents at the Mint, particularly the thefts and robberies.  With
background from contemporary newspaper articles and other sources
the authors do bring these fascinating incidents to life.  Photos of
the thieves, their guns and getaway cars, stories of their friends and
family, all make for interesting reading.  There aren't many numismatic
books featuring an abandoned garage containing a shot-up Buick and
the bloody frozen corpse of a robber.

But other parts of the book seem thin, despite the number of sources
and people consulted.  However, I'm viewing the book through the lens
of a numismatic bibliophile who's seen a lot of what's been published
on all the U.S. Mints.  The highlights are there, but not a lot of meat
- at least not a lot of fresh meat.  While it's a fine book for general
readers looking to learn more about a slice of Denver history, it
will augment, not replace anything already in print.

Where it augments the current body of work on the Denver Mint is in
the details of the crime stories described above and in its telling
of the modern era of the Mint building's disrepair, near abandonment
and replacement with a suburban facility, and finally its refurbishment
and expansion.

A number of the book's features were real head-scratchers though,
starting with the few coin illustrations - these are of circulated
coins, sometimes heavily circulated coins.  There's nothing wrong with
circulated coins, but why not show better examples of the Mint's
product?  The coins were lent for the project by one of the authors'
parents.  And why waste space in the chapter notes to point the reader
to some homegrown web page to view an illustration of Frank Gasparro's
proposed dollar coin design instead of just including a picture of it?

And just what is the purpose of including recipes?  Yes - recipes.
While I'm sure Copper Penny Glazed Carrots, Denver Mint Brownies, Gold
Lemon Bars and Prohibition Punch would make for an interesting lunch,
they're a distraction here.  The book is a breezy read and that may be
all it was ever intended to be.  And I'm a crotchety old bibliophile.
But I'll still make room for it on my mint history shelf.  After all,
any book that includes NBS ( in a list of reference
web sites is OK by me.

Besides, there really isn't anything much out there that directly
addresses the Denver Mint.  There are books on the Mint's forerunner,
Clark, Gruber and Company, but unless I've missed something, there's
nothing as substantial on the U.S. Mint in Denver. I have a copy of
David Eitemiller's 'Historic Tours: The Denver Mint' (1983), but it's
more of a pamphlet.  The Turner/Field book references a 1996 publication
I haven't seen, but it doesn't sound very substantive, either: Ohanian,
Susan, 'Denver Mint: Fun Facts and Figures about Making Coins in
Colorado'.  Has anyone seen this?

The book also references Larry Lee's 'Secrets of the Denver Mint
Archives' video.  This was a recording of his Numismatic Theatre
presentation at the 2003 Baltimore ANA convention.  I missed that
day of the show and asked him about the presentation.  He writes:
"The upshot is that some of the archives for the Denver Mint are
stored at the Denver Federal Center a few miles west of the mint.
These archives are rarely accessed by numismatic researchers -
according to the register, I was the first to look at much of the

The holdings include the original die books for every coin series
struck at the Mint from 1906 the 1930s. So, for instance, you could
look up the 1914-D "penny" and note that it was actually a combination
of say, 8 obverse and 7 reverse dies (or whatever the exact figures
are) with a given mintage for each die; dates the dies were switched
out, and other numismatic jewels. The 1922 cent records are also a
treat. The archives are a real treasure trove of information for the
hard-core numismatic researcher and one that has yet to be fully

In the talk I covered the Denver Mint from 1906 to date. I am still
researching the Denver Mint as a non-minting assay office from
1863-1905, a time period upon which nothing has been published."


The 1947 first edition of R.S. Yeoman's Guide Book of United States
Coins has been reprinted by Whitman Publishing.  We've discussed it
quite a bit in earlier E-Sylum issues (see links below).  I was pleased
to receive a copy from my wife for Christmas this week.  As described
for us by publisher Dennis Tucker, the book's dust jacket is an image
of a lightly (but obviously) used copy of an original 1947 edition.
A "1st edition commemorative reissue RED BOOK!" label cleverly covers
the 1947 date on the spine of the dust jacket, but the book cover itself
is indeed a fairly faithful 100% reproduction of the original.  There
are subtle differences that a trained die-variety collector would pick
up on as key diagnostics to differentiate the reissue from the original.
On my copy, one telltale sign are several filled letters in the gilt
printing of author R. S. Yeoman's name.

The main difference, of course, is the 32-page full-color section of
new material at the back of the book.  Six of those pages are ads,
another feature not found in the original.  The 1947 edition listed
valuations for about 3,400 different coins, tokens, sets and other
items.  The 2007 edition covers more than 6,000 items.

The introduction section reviews the history of the book, and notes
that mintage figures were originally in a section at the end, rather
than beside each individual listing.  There are pros and cons to this
arrangement.  Concise, tabular mintage tables can be more convenient
depending on the question the reader is trying to answer.  Perhaps
these could be reinstituted as a special feature of the deluxe version
of future editions.

The remaining sections are organized as the Red Book is - Pre-Federal
coins and tokens, Copper and Nickel coins, Silver, Gold and others.
Each section discusses the differences between 1947 and today: in the
book itself, in the hobby, and in valuations.  Tables at the front of
each section list the total number of pieces cataloged in the 1947 and
2007 editions, and show price differences for selected coins.  For
example, a Fine 1722 Rosa Americana halfpenny listed for $5.00 in 1947
but is $2,500 today.  The final section, 'The Red Book: Yesterday and
Today' walks the reader through the changes in the hobby decade by decade
up to the issuance of the 2006 Benjamin Franklin silver dollars.

One other nice feature I'd like to mention are the drawings by Chuck
Daughtrey of editors R.S. Yeoman and Ken Bressett on the back dust
jacket flap.  All in all, a nice addition for the libraries of
bibliophiles and ordinary collectors alike.  I've actually bought and
sold several copies of the 1st edition Red Book over the years, but
didn't save a copy for myself.  I do have two nice high-condition
examples of the 3rd and 5th editions that I just couldn't part with -
these are not as valuable as the 1st edition, but more rare.  There
can only ever be one "first", and the new Tribute Edition is a fine
way to honor the inaugural 1947 edition of Dick Yeo's gift to numismatics.





While we're on the topic of the Red Book, I thought I'd take a look
at the latest deluxe leatherbound version, the 2007 "Limited Edition".
I missed out on picking up the 2006 version, but I have the 2005 and
2007 versions in front of me for comparison.  Both are of the same
rich-looking red leather with glit lettering, full gilt edges and
four raised spine bands.  Both are signed by editor Ken Bressett and
limited to 3,000 copies.  For the record, my copies are numbered 1,686
and 2,209, respectively.

There are a number of differences to be found in the two volumes,
however. The 2005 copy number is hand-written, while the 2007 number
is printed or stamped.  Another difference is that the 2007 edition
is understandably a big thicker. The title page is also different -
the 2005 edition credits Ken Bressett as editor; in 2007 the title
page adds Q. David Bowers as Research Editor and Jeff Garrett as
Valuations Editor.  Another difference affects every single page -
where the 2005 edition has a decorative gold border on each page,
the 2007 edition substitutes a color-coded section banner, a much
handier use of spare ink.  Finally, the 2007 edition contains a
four-page "Tribute to Kenneth Bressett," honoring his long service
to the Red Book.  The tribute opens with a full-page version of
Chuck Daughtrey's drawing of editors R. S. Yeoman and Ken Bressett.

The remaining introductory text has also been updated in ways large
and small.  While many paragraphs in the 2007 edition are unchanged
from 2005, others have been completely updated or rewritten.  Most of
us I'm sure are guilty of skipping over this material year after year,
assuming (quite incorrectly) that nothing has changed.  But it DOES
change, as more information becomes known, errors are detected, and
each person associated with the project has their opportunity to
interject their personal knowledge, taste and style.

As just one example, the 1947 edition refers to "The Articles of
Confederation, adopted July 9, 1778..." but by 2007 this had been
corrected to read "adopted March 1, 1781."   The first date is when
the prepared copy was ready for signing; the second date is the
actual final ratification date.

My own tiny contribution was to correct the home of Frank Vittor,
designer of the Gettysburg Half Dollar - the 1st edition said he was
a Philadelphia sculptor and this was carried forth year after year
until I wrote to Ken Bressett documenting my research proving he was
a Pittsburgher.

It would be an interesting exercise to review the book year by year
and chronicle the evolution of its text.  If any of our readers would
like to make a parlor game of it, send me a list of any significant
year-to-year differences you know of and I'll compile them in a future
E-Sylum issue.

In summary, the leatherbound editions are quite handsome, with all
the useful features of the regular edition with some very nice
additional touches.  I wish all my numismatic books had gilt edges
(at least on the top) for easy cleaning.  The leather cover and spine
bands look beautiful on the shelf.  As always, it's a fine one-volume
reference on the topic.  Buy the spiral versions for heavy-duty
down-and-dirty coin show or desk work, but keep the leatherbound
ones clean for quiet review and study.


Bob Lyall writes: "I bought a copy of the book by Michael Finlay on
Cumbrian mining tokens (that is the far north-west of England) and
it is a superbly printed and illustrated and researched book, quite

[We published a notice of the new book in last week's issue of The
E-Sylum.  I haven't seen a copy yet, but I'm glad to hear Bob's
feedback.  We are living in a golden age of numismatic book publishing
- it's hard to keep up with all the great new titles.  How are
bibliophiles coping?  More importantly, how are our institutional
numismatic libraries coping?  With budgets tight, how does a librarian
keep up?  It's hard enough to catalog and find shelf space for so many
new titles, let alone find room in the budget for new purchases.



Dick Johnson writes: "Thanks to RootsWeb Review and their weekly
e-zine I learned this week of a quite useful research tool for
numismatists digging into British coin, token and medal history.
They introduced me to a website on Historical Directories of the
British Empire, sponsored by the University of Leicester.

Here is what they say about the website:  "Historical Directories is
a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales,
from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of
comparatively rare books, essential tools for research into local
and genealogical history."

You may search by location, by decade, by keyword. I tried out keywords
for various professions and quickly learned the people I was searching
for were usually located in either London or Birmingham (among 40 areas).
Makes sense! The coin and medal industry was centered in these two
areas. But I had to learn Birmingham is in Warwickshire. You cannot
enter Birmingham alone.

So by entering "All" in the three selectors and various keywords,
here are the results I found from some random word choices:

638 "coin," 501 "coins"
447 "medal," 425 "medals," 9 "medal makers"
202 "token," 105 "tokens"
449 "mint"
576 "engraver," 537 "engravers" (I assume all kinds)
209 "die sinkers" as two words, but 23 as one word.
130 "medallists"
11 "die engraver," 11 "die engravers"
9 "die forger" [These are not counterfeiters, these are primarily
blacksmiths, who, in the 18th & 19th centuries, hardened dies by
forging for striking in a press.]
41 "coin dealer," 23 "coin dealers"
9 "coin collector"
1 "coin engraver."

For the last entry I clicked to receive the exact page and found the
listing highlighted in yellow (thanks--that really saves time!). It
was listed--I thought as "com engraver" which I assumed as "commercial
But you can zoom in and out. By zooming in I did find it really said
"coin engraver" after the name "Sugden, H." who worked at Globe Chambers
in Piccadilly, obviously in London.

It is easy to move around in this website. It also has a useful "fact
sheet" at the end of the line telling about the "directory" you click
on to find an entry. Numismatic researchers will undoubtedly find this
site useful:"

[Many thanks to Dick for bringing this great site to our attention.


Regarding David Davis's inquiry, Karl Moulton writes: "I will be happy
to send him a copy of the last page of the prices realized list for the
1873 Chubbuck (not Chubbock) sale by Haseltine that he is missing.

I have the following Haseltine PR's in my library (all are quite scarce)
and can supply copies at $5. each.

2/1873 Chubbuck
6/1880 Haseltine
8/1880 Burton
9/1880 Litchfield
12/1880 Besson
11/1881 Haseltine Type Table
1/1882 Staeblein
2/1882 Gregory
1/1883 64th sale
4/1883 67th sale (Newlin)
8/1883 71st sale
11/1883 73rd sale
12/1883 74th sale

Information about the 1873 Chubbuck sale found on the PR suggests that
this was Haseltine's 8th sale.  This however is not actually the case.
The 8th listing on the PR is to signify that this was the 8th different
PR that was printed by the New England Numismatic Society.  They printed
prices for other sales, not just Haseltine's, who later printed his own
as long as there was a demand for them.

The earliest separate printed prices realized list for an American
coin auction was done as a "three dimes" supplement by J.N.T. Levick
for the October 18, 1860 coin sale by Ed Cogan.  A copy of this very
scarce PR has sold for $400 at auction (Bass pt. II by Kolbe, Lot 407).
The Levick, December 19, 1859 auction sale by Ed Cogan was also
printed subsequently with printed prices next to each lot, in both
regular and large paper formats.  The covers for the scarce priced
editions used a completely different font type layout and border
design, while listing Wm. C. Cook as the auctioneer at the end of
the sale on p. 32.

Although not an auction catalogue, the earliest use of printed prices
for each lot can be found in the February 1859 Augustus Sage fixed price
list, which is titled by Sage as a catalogue.  The first American coin
auction catalogue to contain printed prices realized, subsequently
printed with the catalogue after the sale, was done March 7,1859 for
the rare, thick paper, post sale edition Addenda of Augustus Sage's
sale of the Henry Bogert collection."

[Karl also corrected our misspelling of Haseltine (it's not Hazeltine
with a 'z', as so many of us lapse into).  Additional prices realized
lists, old coin auction catalogues, and periodicals can be found at
Karl's web site:  His upcoming book on Henry Voigt
and the early U.S. Mint is at the printers, so clear some shelf space
and get ready to write your checks.  -Editor]


Rich Hartzog ( writes: "I am attempting to
discover the title of a book or manuscript from Luis A Monzon, on
Guatemala tokens, and further, any contact information for him,
such as email, or an address.  Happy Collecting!"


Len Augsberger writes: "Can any E-sylum reader put me in a touch
with a relative of one Joseph L. Massetti?  Massetti possibly lived
in Ardmore, PA and died c.2000 at an advanced age.  Massetti is
thought to have purchased items out of the Frank H. Stewart estate,
Stewart of course being the individual who purchased, archived, and
demolished the first U.S. mint building in downtown Philadelphia."


Jeff Reichenberger writes: "Does anyone have knowledge of a publication
called  'A Complete Course in Numismatics' -presented by- American
Institute of Professional Numismatists -written by- Walter Breen?

It is mostly a grading guide of 70 typewritten pages, broken into 23
lessons including a final examination.  It is side staple bound with
gray card covers. There is no date or copyright information."

[I believe I have a copy of this, but was unable to put my fingers
on it.  Can anyone provide more background on the work?  -Editor]


The recent dismissal of David Sklow, the American Numismatic Association
librarian, kicked off a lot of discussion among ANA members and E-Sylum
readers - anything that affects the library and numismatic research in
general tends to perk up our readers' ears.

We've only scratched the surface here in The E-Sylum, but COIN World readers
have been treated to a knock-down, drag-out battle between opposing camps.
Sklow fired a big salvo in a COIN World Guest Commentary that was then
rebutted by the ANA Executive Director and some employees.

In the January 1, 2007 issue NBS Board member Joel Orosz counters with
a scathing point-by-point response in a Guest Commentary headlined "It's
time for the whole truth to be told."  Orosz writes that the most serious
accusations have been unanswered with "any data, evidence or facts to
prove that Mr. Sklow's charges are misleading or incorrect."  These
accusations include:

* "Retired ANA employees are not receiving their rightful retirement
benefits; some have been waiting for more than a year."

* "More money is budgeted for library employee salaries than is
actually being paid to library employees, and there is no accounting
for the missing funds."

* A proposed policy change that would allow the Executive Director to
withdraw funds from the ANA's permanent endowment without the
permission of a majority of the board of governors.

Orosz cites an August 16, 2006 story published in The Colorado Springs
Gazette.  Using public IRS filings the reporter documented financial
losses of over $1 million, and projected total losses nearing
$2 million.  Orosz calls on the organization to conduct a full and
publicly accessible audit of the ANA's finances in order to reassure
the organization's membership.

With so much time, energy and money being expended on these issues,
perhaps it is time for an outside review.  It would mean a further
drain of resources on both sides, but when the results come out
perhaps the ruckus can somehow be resolved.  Orosz suggests the U.S.
Internal Revenue Service (which regulates nonprofits at the Federal
level) or the Colorado Attorney General's office (the state regulator).

Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Attorney General Email: Colorado Attorney General Email
Colorado Attorney General Web: Colorado Attorney General Web
IRS Web: IRS Web

Perhaps none of this would rise to a level of visibility that would
prompt regulators to investigate - only time will tell.  It would be
sad if it would come to that.  But resolving the issue once and for
all would be a fine New Year's resolution for all parties, and might
clear the air for the new Board of Governors to be elected in 2007.

[Since the subject of proposed ANA policy changes came up, I'd like
to throw in an opinion on one which relates to my second home, the
Internet.  As much as I enjoy the immediacy of electronic communication,
I must recommend strongly AGAINST the ANA or any organization
relinquishing paper election ballots in any way, shape or form.
Membership votes are the bedrock of any organization.  Opinion polls?
Fine for e-voting.  Elections?  Heck, no.  Local governments nationwide
and their army of consultants have yet to be convinced that any of the
proposed purely electronic solutions is completely tamper-proof; a
paper trail is a MUST.

ANA Board candidate Joe Boling shared this comment: "Many members do
not have access (let alone CONVENIENT access) to the Internet. They
must not be penalized for wanting to vote the old-fashioned way. There
must also be iron-clad anti-fraud software on this process - which may
mean that we do not get to implement it until 2011 or 2013. This CANNOT
be rushed."

Amen - Great idea.  Plan for it.  Investigate it.  But do NOT implement
it, at least not yet.  It's just plain dangerous.  Listen to Joe -
don't rush it.  -Editor]


The Sandusky Register reported this week that funding from the U.S.
Mint commemorative coin sales has arrived at the Edison Birthplace
Museum in Milan, OH.

"In 2004 the United States Mint issued a commemorative Edison coin.
Through the sale of the coin, a certain percentage of the proceeds
was made available to Edison sites around the country.

The catch: the Edison sites would have to raise $375,000 and the Mint
would match it.

"We found out two years ago that in order to receive the money from
the U.S. Mint we had to raise the money to match the $375,000. It
was all or nothing," said George Mayer, honorary campaign chairman.

The campaign concluded in October, raising a little more than the
goal, which was matched by the Mint this month."

"The money was placed in an endowment fund and the museum will
receive $30,000 each year, which will cover a little more than a
third of the operating budget.

"It will certainly help a great deal," said Larry Russell, curator.
"There isn't much of anything today that Edison didn't touch. He
really did things that were very essential to modern living. It's
just proper to have museums around the country that celebrate his

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To visit the Edison Birthplace Museum web site, see: Edison Birthplace Museum


Ralf W. B?pple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "All the best for a
successful 2007 and continuing good work on the E-Sylum!

Here is a quote I found in "The Know-It-All" by A. J. Jacobs, a
journalist from New York who read the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica
and wrote a book about his reflections on it, mixed with trivia.
It's interesting to see what stayed in an "outsider's" mind after
reading this entry!

'Numismatics: Back when coins were made of metals like gold and silver,
petty thieves would shave off the edges and melt down the valuable
slivers.  To stop this, mints began putting serrated edges on coins.
So that's the real story behind the cool ridges on quarters. Good to
know that security measures can also be aesthetically pleasing.'"


Regarding the entry that led him astray on our recent
quiz about du Simitiere's museum, Gar Travis writes: "Well, we can't
always be correct, but I was as correct as the most current Internet
reference allowed me to be. Perhaps The E-Sylum will be one of the
Internet guides for future generations researching this topic."

I had a chance to review the entry and it is technically
correct, although Gar's misreading of it is understandable ... the
parts about Du Simitiere and Peale run together in the same lengthy

"In 1784, Swiss expatriate Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere opened his
cabinet for admission to the public in his Arch Street, Philadelphia,
home, which he advertised in newspapers and broadsides as "The
American Musaeum." For half of a dollar at an appointed time, he
offered audiences tours of books, prints, archival collections,
and the artifacts and antiquities of indigenous peoples. Everything
was auctioned off after his death in 1785. Artist and saddle maker
Charles Willson Peale was familiar with Du Simitiere's failed effort.
He began his museum by building extensions onto his home, first building
a portrait gallery to display his work to prospective clients, and then
adding rooms to accommodate his collections of natural history. He
maintained his practice of portraiture, thereby ensuring an income
to support his large family, and he developed a style for the portraits
of national heroes he displayed above cases of specimens. Peale continued
to expand his home to house a growing collection. In 1794 he was able
to rent rooms in the AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY building and later,
in 1802, the museum was moved to the Pennsylvania State House
(INDEPENDENCE HALL), where it remained until 1829."

To read the complete Museum entry, see: Museum

Gar's wish for our E-Sylum discussions to guide future Internet
searchers has already come true.  Searching for "du Simitiere " on returns a number of web page hits, and two of the top
results are our E-Sylum quiz question and answer!  So our little
forum is working its way into the wider Internet.  Future du Simitiere
researchers will have the benefit of reading the exchange between Gar
and Joel Orosz.

To see the search results for "du Simitiere", see: search results for "du Simitiere"


Dan Demeo writes: "As to the discussion of formulating aqua regia, I
disagree, and checked my Handbook of Chemistry and Physics for
confirmation.  Aqua regia consists of one part concentrated nitric
acid and 3 parts concentrated hydrochloric acid, not sulfuric.  If
such a solution is to be stored, rather than immediately used, the
handbook recommends 1 part water be included, as the concentrated
mixture spontaneously evolves chlorine and other noxious gases."

Last week's correspondent agrees: "According to the dictionary, aqua
regia is one part nitric acid to three or four parts hydrochloric acid.
I shouldn't have relied on my memory.  Sorry about that.  I'm reasonably
certain that the other details I supplied about testing for 14K and
18K are correct, but I have no way to check them."


Last week, W. David Perkins asked: "Let's see how many sharp E-Sylum
readers can get this question right ? when was this advertisement

'F. C. C. Boyd, 45 West 18th street, New York City, begs leave to
inform the readers of The Numismatist that he has only disposed of
his collection of fractional currency and partial collection of broken
bank bills, and is still an enthusiastic collector of Coins of the
World, Store Cards and Numismatic Books.'"

Answer:  The Numismatist, September 1926, page 499.


Last week I asked two quiz questions relating to the U.S. Mint's
new First Spouse Coin series:

1: when was the last time a President's spouse appeared on U.S.

Answer: It's been over a century since the last time an image of
a first lady has appeared on U.S money.  Martha Washington appeared
on a $1 silver certificate note in 1886.

2: which presidential spouse was never a First Lady?

Answer: Thomas Jefferson's wife, Martha.  She died in 1782, long
before Jefferson become president in 1801.

John Dannreuther adds another: "Jane Wyman was Ronald Reagan's
first wife.  She was never a first lady, of course, unless you
consider her a "first leading lady" of the movies!"


Many thanks for David Gladfelter for sending me a couple copies of
Financial History Magazine.  David included some interesting ephemera
in his package, including a copy of the September-October 1974
Numismatic Literary Guild newsletter featuring stories and photos
from the group's annual meeting at the American Numismatic Association
in August that year.

The early gang sure knew how to party.  The "Bill Louth Mucho Gusto
Musical Group" stole the show. Curly Mitchell donned a wig to
impersonate Ben Franklin, and the "What is an Executive Director"
skit featured Mint Director Mary Brooks as an anesthetist, Lee Martin
as a surgeon, and funeral director Ray Byrne as a patient.  My favorite
photo was captioned "Lee's frown became a broad grin when the surprise
visitor planted a kiss."  The picture featured a nameless, bikini-clad
young lady next to Lee at the podium.  You just don't get good cheesecake
in numismatic publications anymore.

The 1974 convention was held in Miami, FL - nearly 33 years ago.  Many
of the participants are now gone.  Were any of our readers at the event
(and sober enough to recall it for us now)?  Who was the hottie in the
polka-dot bikini?  She'd be her 50s now.


This week's featured web page is on the history of Scottish Banknotes,
from the web site of the Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers. "The
Committee is the representative body of the four Scottish clearing
banks. It represents Scottish clearing banking in the financial
structure of Britain..."

  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