The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


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David M. Sundman, Secretary/TreasurerNumismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561


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You won't regret it!

Volume 12, Number 18, May 3, 2009


Wayne Homren Among our recent subscribers is Tom Pilitowski. We now have 1,234 subscribers.

This week we open with updates from numismatic literature dealers Orville Grady and David Fanning, and the announcement of a new book edited by Alan Stahl of Princeton University. Next, we have reviews of recent books on Mexican coinage, Kansas paper money and numismatic photography.

In the news, a numismatist who gained even greater fame in another field has died. Other topics this week include an online version of Breen's Encyclopedia, and an answer to the Andrew and George Zabriskie query.

To learn about Google's patented book scanning technology and where to buy some awfully realistic play money, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Orville J. Grady writes:
From time to time we send out a list of Numismatic Literature for sale. Orders over $200 receive a 15% discount. Postage and shipping quoted on a per order basis. Payment options are check, money order or via “Paypal”. Thanks.

Orville J. Grady
Numismatic Literature Bought and Sold
705 Howard St.
Scribner, NE 68057


David Fanning forwarded this update on the catalogs for his upcoming sale. -Editor
Fanning Numismatic Literature The catalogues for David F. Fanning Numismatic Literature's second mail-bid auction, which closes on June 4, have been received and will be mailed by Monday. Requests for hard-copy catalogues should be sent as soon as possible, as supplies are limited. The catalogue is also available on their Web site at, where it can be downloaded as a PDF.

To request a hard-copy catalogue, contact David Fanning at The online catalogue includes some additional illustrations in the text and can be searched by keywords, which is a very convenient and easy way to find what you're looking for (though the catalogue is also indexed). Additional information is available at


Stahl Rebirth of Antiquity
Alan Stahl, Curator of Numismatics at Princeton University forwarded information about a new book being published by Princeton University Library. Copies can be purchased for $20 (plus $2.50 for postage) from the Friends of Princeton University Library, One Washington Road, Princeton, NJ 08544.

Inquiries can be made to Linda Oliveira at or at (609) 258-3155. The full title and primary chapter headings are shown below. -Editor

THE REBIRTH OF ANTIQUITY Numismatics, Archaeology, and Classical Studies in the Culture of the Renaissance, Edited by Alan M. Stahl with the assistance of Gretchen Oberfranc.

  • Numismatics in the Renaissance by Alan M. Stahl
  • Of Mauss and (Renaissance) Men: Numismatics, Prestation, and the Genesis of Visual Literacy by John Cunnally
  • Antonio Agustín and the Numismatists by William Stenhouse
  • The Local Antiquary in Eighteenth-Century Rome by Tamara Griggs
  • Peiresc and the Study of Islamic Coins in the Early Seventeenth Century by Peter N. Miller
  • Appendix I: Identification of the Islamic Coins in ms. c.10.31, pages 276–83 by John Cunnally
  • Appendix II: Identification of the Other Islamic Coins in ms. c.10.31 by Stefan Heidemann
  • Literature


Dennis Tucker submitted this review of State & Federal Copper and Brass Coinage of Mexico, 1824–1872 by Don Bailey. -Editor
Bailey State Coper Brass Coinage of Mexico A collector of 19th-century United States coinage will find much to contemplate in State & Federal Copper and Brass Coinage of Mexico, 1824–1872. While the book is clearly geared toward the active collector of Mexican coins, the little monedas themselves are reminiscent of—and in many ways connected to—further-north North American monetary fare. The connection starts on the front cover, from which a familiar personality beckons: Is that Thomas Sully’s Seated Liberty? No, it’s her Spanish-American cousin.

Author Don Bailey is well known in Mexican circles not only as a leading coin dealer, but also as a longtime numismatic researcher; his first article was published in 1967. Members of the American Numismatic Association will recognize him as the coauthor (with Joe Flores) of the award-winning ¡Viva la Revolucion! The Money of the Mexican Revolution (2006 Best Specialized Museum and Exhibition Catalog, Numismatic Literary Guild), with illustrations from the ANA Money Museum.

He is a contributor to many trends columns and standard references (including those of Grove, Buttrey, and Hubbard). In 2001 he was awarded Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle, the nation’s highest decoration for non-citizens, for his contributions to Mexican numismatics.

State & Federal Coinage builds on the foundation of Frank Grove’s Coins of Mexico, whose copyright Bailey owns. It expands on the various series covered by Grove, incorporating groundbreaking research into date-by-date studies, overdates, counterstamps, errors, circulating counterfeits, and major varieties. It is with some modesty that the preface describes Bailey’s work as “a stepping stone to the complete analysis” of the coins covered.

The catalog lists the coinages of Mexico’s states in alphabetical order, starting with Chihuahua (1833–1866) and ending with Zacatecas (1825–1864). Coins of the federal Mexico City Mint are cataloged last. The new “DB” numbering system is flexible enough for expansion, anticipating new discoveries as research continues. (A convenient cross-reference to the KM system is included in an appendix.)

Bailey has been diligent in his cataloging, identifying coins that are rumored to exist in other references, but which he and his well-credentialed team of research associates (including Flores, Clyde Hubbard, Kent Ponterio, Holland Wallace, and a dozen other experts) have not verified. “Existence of a listing in sales catalogs, especially in lower grades, does not necessarily satisfy proof of existence,” he notes.

The book’s introduction is an overview of why and how Mexico’s state coinage came into being. When the U.S. Mint was in its 30th year, Spain’s former colony was only in the infancy of its independence. Bailey skillfully covers the politics, legislation, financial situations, copper and silver mining, and other factors that shaped the nation’s “state and federal coppers,” as collectors know them today. His coverage is reminiscent of the front-of-the-book essays in the Guide Book of United States Coins (the “Red Book”)—an excellent introduction to these series.

ach state gets its own background text, followed by a catalog of its coinage, with type descriptions and pricing in up to five grades (Good to Extremely Fine). A “Notes” section for each state further expands on its issues, with helpful information and substantial real-world market advice for the collector. The coins are shown at actual size and enlarged (in clear, black-and-white photographs), with close-up photos of edges, errors, and important characteristics.

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEW BOOK: STATE & FEDERAL COPPER AND BRASS COINAGE OF MEXICO (

To order the book, see: Lois & Don Bailey Numismatic Services (


Ron Benice submitted this review of the new book, Kansas Paper Money: An Illustrated History, 1854-1935 by Steve Whitfield, edited by Fred Reed. -Editor
Whitfield Kansas Paper Money This attractive new book is as much a history book as it is a paper money catalog. Nominally it is a revision of Steve Whitfield’s 1980 Kansas catalog published by the Society of Paper Money Collectors, but in reality it is a completely new book.

The book opens with a history of banking in Kansas in the context of the financial history of the United States. The next chapter is devoted to the 1854-1861 territorial period. Every known issue – real or fraudulent -- is illustrated.

Accompanying the notes are well researched histories of the issuers illustrated with photos of the signers and towns plus advertisements and broadsides. A brief chapter follows covering the two territorial banks that issued notes as state banks in early 1861.

The history and paper money of the Civil War period is covered in even greater depth. Several rarely seen unique scrip notes are illustrated. The history and currency of Clark Gruber & Co., better known for their pioneer gold issues, are covered in detail. The illustrations of people and businesses are supplemented by ephemera such as checks.

The Post Civil War chapter includes municipal scrip and Union military scrip, including essays and reprints. A catch-all chapter follows with miscellaneous scrip: currency look-alikes, advertising notes, college currency, depression scrip, postal notes and cardboard tokens. A bonus in one of the appendices gives the serial numbers of the known scarce notes in the author’s census.

The historical arrangement of the book works well in explaining the paper money but precludes a single alphabetical arrangement by town and issuer.

The wealth of historical and numismatic information makes this book a must for anyone interested in paper money, even if they don’t collect Kansas notes, and a must for anyone interested in Kansas, even if they don’t collect paper money.

The book, with 268 pages and 393 illustrations, is priced at $49.95 and can be ordered from McFarland, the publisher, at or 1-800-253-2187.


Zyrus Press has published a second edition of Numismatic Photography by Mark Goodman. I've never dabbled in numismatic photography, so I'm in no position to review the book thoroughly. However, Jessica Mullenfeld of Zyrus provided me with an electronic copy and I'll excerpt some sample passages below.

I was impressed with Goodman's writing style; this book takes what could be a very arcane and technical subject and breaks it down into easy to understand steps and instructions. I suspect even a dunderhead like me could learn enough from this book to do a very respectable job of numismatic photography -Editor
Goodman Numismatic Photography 2nd ed I am a radiologist by trade, which means I spend most of my day in a dark room looking at images. Radiology teaches you to be very critical of your images and also to understand what makes an image look the way that it does. Attention to detail has, in part, fueled my obsession with image quality in coin photography.

Moreover, given the near complete lack of information available in print on how to photograph coins, nearly all of my techniques are self-taught. Coin photography is very different from other macrophotography disciplines and requires the development of a completely different set of skills and techniques.

Indian Cent rev The idea for Numismatic Photography grew out of the myriad coin photography questions I answered in the online forum. After writing the same advice over and over to people, I began the process of consolidating all that information into one place.

This resulted in two published articles on coin photography. Both appeared in Longacre’s Ledger, a journal for Indian cent collectors, and online at my website. Then, about three years ago, I decided to expand upon those articles and write this photography book.

Clearly, the camera is fundamental to coin photography. However, it is not as important as you might think. An expensive camera alone is no guarantee of great pictures. Given the right lighting and setup, quality pictures can be obtained from almost any camera. Practice combined with the right technique of camera setup and lighting is the real key to numismatic photography.

Point-and-shoot digital cameras are relatively compact and fully self-contained. This style is made to be convenient and many of its features are streamlined for that purpose. You can carry a point-and-shoot camera in your shirt pocket and take a wide variety of photos with little difficulty. They are also relatively inexpensive. It is this convenience and reasonable price that make point and- shoot cameras a popular first choice for most photographers.

What you really need for coin photography is a camera that allows you to shoot macro photographs from a reasonable distance. This can be accomplished with either a longer focal length lens or zoom capacity. With point-and-shoot cameras, add-on macro lenses can provide extra magnification. Most photography stores sell reasonably priced macro lenses. You just have to make sure that you purchase a lens that fits your particular camera.

The book is relatively short at 159 pages, but this seems adequate for the material presented. Each chapter is neatly divided into "Essentials" and "Advanced" sections. Chapters include: 1795 Dundee Conder token
  • The Camera
  • Camera Features
  • Useful Gadgets
  • Lighting Types
  • Imaging Concepts
  • Determinants of Sharpness
  • Contrast Management
  • Color and Luster
  • High Contrast Coins
  • Medium Contrast Coins
  • Low Contrast Coins
  • Raw Coins
  • Toned Coins
  • Special Imaging Techniques
  • Imaging Slabs
  • Image Interpretation
  • Image Presentation

Also included are a Glossary and Index, plus appendices on General Coin Photography Rules and Troubleshooting. All in all, Goodman's book seems like a very useful one to have on hand, both when buying a new camera and attempting to take some usable coin images.

I'd be interested in hearing opinions of the book from some of our readers, many of whom photograph coins on a daily basis. -Editor
For more information or to order a copy, see:


Our 98th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature features
selections from the library of Valerie Renee Nickles
(and other consignors)
Highlights include:
  • Lot A22 - McCawley & Grellman - Scott Barnes Sale - hardbound in leather and numbered.
  • Lot C10 - Q. David Bowers' American Coin Treasures and Hoards - signed by QDB and inscribed by John J. Ford, Jr.
  • Lot C31 - Ivy Press - 1990 - the two-part interview with John J. Ford, Jr. - Ford has written a rather caustic inscription relating to his situation vis-a-vis Territorial Gold, etc. Both issues are signed.
  • C34 - Alan Kessler - 1976 - The Fugio Cents
  • E15 - D. R. Cooper - 1988 - The Art and Craft of Coinmaking.....
  • E42 - G. Michailovitch - 1973 (reprint) - Monnaies de L'Empire de Russie:1725-1894
  • F55 - W. Wolka - 2004 - Nineteenth Century Ohio Obsolete Bank Notes and Scrip
  • H89 - J. R. Snowden - 1861- ......Medals of Washington........
  • J18 - C. S. Brigham - 1969 - Engravings of Paul Revere
The closing date of the sale is May 26, 2009 at 5:00 PM (EDT) and the catalog may be viewed at:


Arthur Shippee forwarded the following New York Times obituary for numismatic author (and famed Ghost Hunter) Hans Holzer. Holzer co-authored the 1946 book The Coin Collectors' Almanac with Hans M. F. Schulman.

Quick quiz - who can name Holzer's other numismatic works? -Editor
Schulman-Holzer Coin Collectors Almanac Hans Holzer, whose investigations into the paranormal took him to haunted houses all over the world, most notably the Long Island house that inspired “The Amityville Horror,” died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 89.

Mr. Holzer — who wrote more than 140 books on ghosts, the afterlife, witchcraft, extraterrestrial beings and other phenomena associated with the realm he called “the other side” — carried out his most famous investigation with the medium Ethel Johnson-Meyers in 1977. Together they roamed the house in Amityville, in which a young man, Ronald DeFeo Jr., had murdered his parents and four siblings in 1974.

The house had become notorious after its next owners claimed to have been tormented by a series of spine-chilling noises and eerie visitations, set forth in the best-selling 1977 book “The Amityville Horror: A True Story,” written by Jay Anson.

Hans Holzer was born in Vienna and developed an interest in the supernatural when his uncle Henry told him stories about ghosts and fairies. He studied archaeology, ancient history and numismatics at the University of Vienna but left Austria for New York with his family in 1938, just before the Nazi takeover.

He did believe in reincarnation and past lives (he vividly recalled the Battle of Glencoe in 1692 in one of his Scottish lifetimes) and was a Wiccan high priest, as well as a vegan.

Mr. Holzer saw life on the other side in sharp detail. As he described it to the Web site in 2005, it is strangely like this side, and bureaucratic to boot. The dead who become restless and wish to return to Earth for another go-round must fall in line and register with a clerk.

To read the complete article, see: Hans Holzer, Ghost Hunter, Dies at 89 (

So, will he get past the clerk and come back to haunt us?

Schulman-Holzer Coin Collectors Almanac red I passed a draft of this article to Hans Schulman's grandson Mark, who didn't know about his grandfather’s association with Holzer. He writes: "This information gave me goose bumps, to say the least."

Pictured above is my copy of the Schulman/Holzer book. Mark adds: "I have the 1946 hardback of the book, although the cover is red, not green like your photo."

My copy has the name of David J. Sullivan imprinted on the cover, and an inscription from "Hans Xmas 1946". Is the green version a deluxe or presentation copy? Is anyone familiar with the different binding variants of this book?

Mark provided the image of his copy shown here. He writes: "It also came with a letter from my Grandfather to the subscriber. It was typed on a typewriter!!!" -Editor


Fred Reed submitted this report on his book signing last weekend in Chicago. Sponsored by ABE Books, the event was carried live on the internet. I learned of the event too late to include the announcement in The E-Sylum, but I'm glad to report all went well. -Editor
Reed, Abe Lincoln Images An unusual thing happened in Chicago last weekend. An E-Sylum reader approached an author at a Windy City bookstore last weekend and asked him to autograph a book he co-wrote 32 years ago. The requester, also a co-author of the book, asked his colleague to also date the signature, and remarked that somebody might be quite puzzled why the book was signed by one of its author’s three decades after publication. “It will,” the requester, Chicago coin dealer Tom DeLorey, suggested “be a puzzle to some subsequent owner of the book in years to come.”

It’s rare that a numismatic book crosses over into the main stream of the reading public or that a numismatic author has a book signing in a main stream venue, but ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE IMAGE OF HIS GREATNESS (Whitman, 2009) and numismatic author Fred Reed enjoyed both opportunities April 25th in Chicago.

He also had the opportunity to append his signature to DeLorey’s copy of COIN WORLD’S PRICE GUIDE FOR THE COLLECTION [of] PAPER MONEY ERRORS, a book he co-authored with Tom DeLorey in 1977. Their book was first marketed at the very first Memphis International Paper Money Show. Paper money errors were so popular in the late 1970s that a second edition appeared the following year, once again in time for the Memphis show.

Abraham Lincoln Book Shop hosted the Chicago signing event. In addition to a live audience, the signing was broadcast live on the internet at hosted by bookshop owner Daniel Weinberg. Weinberg interviewed Reed and fellow author, acclaimed historian Dr. Marc Egnal, author of CLASH OF EXTREMES: THE ECONOMIC ORIGINS OF THE CIVIL WAR, for about an hour.

During the show, which will be archived on the web site by mid-May and can be replayed free of charge, the authors also fielded questions from audience members and from about 60 persons watching live on the internet. Weinberg also displayed some of the fabulous Lincoln memorabilia available at the book and curio shop and asked author Reed to comment on it. Both books sold well during the event. Of course, both authors also signed their new books for purchasers including copies to one another at the end of the filming.

“This was a great thrill to represent the book and my publisher Whitman in the ‘Land of Lincoln,’” Reed said. “Although I appreciate the excellent reviews the book has received, from my standpoint it was even better to meet ones readers and get live feedback on the book in this way. Lincoln people are fine students and exposing them to numismatics is a wonderful opportunity,” he added.

The large format, hard-bound 288-page book contains nearly a thousand full color images of Lincoln paper money, coins, medals and other memorabilia and a nearly 90,000 word text. It is modestly priced at $29.95 from the publisher at

If any E-Sylum reader wants an autographed copy he can obtain it from the author for $37 postpaid. This price includes a 19th Century Lincoln National Bank check too, while supplies last. Contact the author at for instructions.


Breen Encyclopedia In a blog post this week on Stella Coin News, Mike Ellis writes:
My work has me searching the internet quite frequently. While I am at it, I keep my eyes out for websites I believe will be of particular use to collectors nation wide. Tuesday I found a value packed one and can hardly wait to get this posting done so you can rush right to it.

I remember when this book, Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, came out it was to me and many other variety specialists the greatest book ever written on U. S. Coins. Of course we no longer feel that way about it but it is still a great reference, especially if a collector wants a lot of varieties all inclusive in one book.

With all the specialized collectors and references that have been published since this book was published, collectors tend to use the more focused references. Though I am not quite sure who posted the book, I sure do thank them! It is listed in our online references and you may always find the link there.

To read the complete blog post, see: Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U. S. and Colonial Coins Available Online (

To view Breen's Encyclopedia online, see:

Susan Headley, editor of the Guide to Coins wrote an extensive post about the book, with a follow-up answering the obvious question of copyrights to this relatively recent book. Excerpts follow:
The only real problem with the Breen book is that is has long been out of print. Even if you could find a copy, it would cost you upwards of $250 to own it. But now, thanks to Tom Pilitowski of U.S. Rare Coin Investments, everyone can have access to this incredible book free of charge on the Web!

Update (Thursday, April 30, 2009): Ever since posting this Web site, I have received a flurry of emails, some of them from important Webmasters, asking why I had published the URL of this Breen book online site. There seems to be a common misapprehension among most of the numismatic community that the owner of the Web site, Tom Pilitowski, has posted this beloved reference without the permission of the copyright owners.

I looked into this matter, because of all the things I have covered over the years, this has turned out to be one of the biggest "can of worms" types of stories I have ever seen in numismatics. It's little wonder I didn't know the site was there; it turns out that more than is one leading coin collecting discussion forum has prevented its members from posting the URL, due to the widespread belief that the Breen book had been "stolen." When people posted in other forums, they were either warned by the Moderators or the members jumped all over them for sharing the link. This reaction is understandable, given the high esteem in which this seminal book is held, despite having the occasional error or unconfirmed anecdote within its pages.

However, I have checked into the matter regarding ownership of the Breen copyright and Pilitowski's authority to publish the content to the Web. The book was originally published by Doubleday, who subsequently sold the rights to Escala Group, Inc., the parent company of Bowers and Merena. Steve Deeds, the president of Bowers and Merena, has confirmed to me that he has given Tom Pilitowski permission to make the book available to the coin collecting community via the Web. Walter Breen died in 1993, and the book has never been reprinted. By publishing the book to the Web, free to all, Pilitowski and Bowers and Merena hope to make this valuable and beloved reference freely available to all, not just the folks who can afford $250 for a copy - assuming they can find one!

Many thanks to Susan for publicizing the online book and investigating the copyright issue. I'm glad to know everything is copacetic. -Editor

To read Susan's complete post, see: The Breen Book - Online and Free! (

I contacted Tom Pilitowski to ask why he created the site. He writes:
Why? Because it's one of the greatest, if not THE greatest all-in-one books on U.S. numismatics ever written. I'd say that the vast majority of collectors do not have access to the Breen Encyclopedia and that as I get on in years I'd like to look back and think that I did something extra for so many coin collectors and others who need access to this book. I have lots of plans on where to go from here and I'm definitely open to suggestions from the numismatic community, both from coin collectors, coin investors (who really really really need more information on coins) and others, as to what they would like to see in addition to it - perhaps add to it in such a way to make a Wiki type information base on the web.

A number of people have called and emailed me already and have offered words of thanks and some have made suggestions.

Tom's a longtime coin dealer from Florida. He also deals in coin books and supplies. His web sites include:

Kolbe 2009 May 03


This week in his Private Library blog, Larry Mitchell published a series titled Collecting Numismatic Books. Below are a few excerpts. Larry authored the Numismatic Bibliomania Society's online numismatic bibliography, which he notes in his blog is now in Wiki format on our new web site. -Editor
Mitchell Larry Our second case study looks at building a private library around an avocation, a hobby that used to be quite popular, though anecdotal evidence suggests that its popularity, like that of many other hobbies of an older generation, is on the decline. That hobby is numismatics:

We suggested in a previous post that most folks probably would find collecting numismatic books to be a bit more "obscure" than collecting something like romance fiction. That is because most people do not realize just how extensive the literature of numismatics is, nor do they realize just how far back such literature began.

In fact, the first known numismatic book, De Asse et Partibus Eius, "a scientific study of Roman metrology and coinage written by Guillaume Budé in 1514," was published only 60 years after Gutenberg first introduced printing from movable metal type to western Europe. And a recent publication, Christian Dekesel's A Bibliography of 16th Century Numismatic Books, finds that some 1148 individual numismatic titles were published during the 86 years after Budé.

Numismatic books perform a variety of functions: they authenticate; they differentiate; they historicize. Which is to say, they help determine whether or not a particular numismatic item is genuine or fake (counterfeit); they help determine in what way(s) a particular numismatic item is different from a similar numismatic item; and they place the production of particular numismatic items within a specific historical context. When such books are well illustrated and attractively printed and bound, they also stimulate one's aesthetic sensibilities.

Just as numismatic books perform a variety of functions, so do people collect numismatic books for a variety of reasons, At the risk of painting with an overly broad brush, numismatic books usually are collected for personal, professional or academic reasons (and sometimes for all three).

In 1999, your blogger began to create for the NBS a checklist of important titles in various numismatic specialties that would update Clain-Stefanelli. Time and other constraints made it impossible to finish the task, though the few components that were published now form the basis of the NBS Numismatic Bibliography. Thankfully, this bibliography is now being published as a wiki so anyone can update it.

Hopefully, this eventually will lead to a checklist that is both comprehensive and current (it presently does not cover U.S. numismatic literature at all; nor does it cover articles in periodicals or journals, which is where original numismatic research often first appears; nor does it cover anything not in the English language; and the last time your blogger updated it was in 2005).

The really comprehensive bibliographies for numismatic book collectors have taken a turn in recent years toward specific specialties. In addition to the two Dekesel bibliographies mentioned in our post of April 29, two especially notable such bibliographies are the recently published Canadian Numismatic Bibliography and W. E. Daehn's Ancient Greek Numismatics, A Guide to Reading and Research: A Bibliography of Works Written in English with Summaries of Their Contents.

With titles like the above at hand, the individual building a private library of numismatic books should be well on his or her way to putting together an enviable collection....

To read the complete blog posts, see:
The Private Library: Collecting Numismatic Books (Part I)
The Private Library: Collecting Numismatic Books (Part II)
The Private Library: Collecting Numismatic Books (Part III)
The Private Library: Collecting Numismatic Books (Part IV)


Tom Michael of Krause Publications writes:
In the last week I’ve made postings to my blog which may be of interest to your readers. The first has to do with our new web sales site,, which combines all KP numismatic products, catalogs, books, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs and digital downloads onto a single sales venue. It’s a nice, easy to navigate site and right now everything is on sale for the grand opening.

The second post of interest explains our new digital download offerings from the Standard Catalog of World Coins. This is a new product line, which has been developed to satisfy demand from our online customers.

Tom Micheal Big Ideas Little World

We mentioned the new Krause e-books in an earlier issue, but it's always a good time to remind readers of the site (and who doesn't love a good sale on numismatic literature? -Editor

Standard Catalog of World Coins Downloads From KP:
A great new product is now available from Krause Publications and NumisMaster - digital downloads of country listings from the NumisMaster and the Standard Catalog of World Coins database. The first offerings are preset, country, region or collecting area specific and covering the 20th Century.

At present there are 10 packages covering 20th Century listings for: Germany, North Africa, Southern Africa, Central America, Mexico, China, North Eastern Europe, Russia, Great Britain and Canada, with plans in the works for several others down the road if these prove popular. Prices are very low and range from $7.99 to $12.99 per download. Check out your favorite area today and let me know what you think.

Joe Boling adds:
The problem with the micro-catalogs that Krause is offering on a country or regional basis is that they continue to adhere to the artificial division of emissions by century. Were I still collecting Japan, I would welcome a micro-catalog of Japan compiled from all of the KP catalogs that contain Japanese coins. It is not offered.

Tom Michael responds:
Of course, country specific books, downloads or subscriptions to NumisMaster encompassing all issues from all periods would be a marvelous offering for specialists. The problem with publishing hard copy for specialists comes in the numbers. However, as we move forward with electronic products, these lower numbers become less of a hindrance, so I think you might be seeing broader downloads and narrower NumisMaster subscriptions with full time-frame country listings in the future.

ShopNumisMaster Opens for Business
We are very happy to announce that all Krause Numismatic products are now available for purchase from a single easy to navigate website called

This is big news, because now you can find all the Standard Catalog of World Coins editions, all our magazine and newspaper subscriptions, all KP CD and DVD products, all our specialized books, plus our new digital download offerings all in the same site. You can see them all, compare prices, features and coverage, make your choice and purchase the information you want in the packge that best suites your needs.

And the best news of all is that right now, during the grand opening of you can get some really great discounts on most all KP products. Some of the prices that struck me as super bargains include:

The Early Paper Money of America for only $57.00 The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money for only $17.81 The Standard Catalog of World Coins 1601-1700 for only $49.71 With everything on sale at, it's a good time to expand your numismatic library and explore new digital products including downloads of the Standard Catalog of World Coins series.

To read Tom's complete blog, see: Big Ideas, Little World (


Hudson-Fulton Medal
Last week Dick Johnson lamented the lack of plans for a medal to commemorate Henry Hudson and Robert Fulton's Hudson river voyages (400 and 200 years ago, respectively). -Editor
Pete Smith writes:
Most medals for the Hudson Fulton Celebration show both men. I am attaching an image of a typical one from my collection.
The May 11, 2009 issue of COIN World has an article by David Alexander on a Hudson-Fulton medal by Emil Fuchs. -Editor


Joe Boling writes:
Regarding the Black Sheep company of Wales, I once had the same 10 shilling note illustrated in last week's E-Sylum. I acquired it about 1971 from the then-auctioneer of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS). I was more interested in the fact that it had to have the 2 pence imprinted tax stamp than that it was circulating local currency. Looking in my disposition records, I see that I sold it to a MPCFester in 2004 (I just returned from Fest X, the tenth annual MPCFest, on Monday this week).

Black Sheep Bank BS-1-10f Black Sheep Bank BS-1-10b

The MPC Fest is a marvelous annual event where collectors of Military Payment Certificates and other military items get together to buy, sell, trade, and just have fun. I've never attended one, but hear nothing but praise for it. This year attendees were bowled over by the surprise visit of Hans Walter, one of the members of Operation Bernhard!

MPCFest organizer Fred Schwan has suggested starting a BiblioFest for numismatic literature collectors. Great idea, but would someone be willing to organize one? -Editor



In response to Len Augsberger's query about the relationship between Andrew and George Zabriskie, Kay O. Freeman writes:
Andrew Christian Zabriskie (born May 30, 1853, NYC - died Sept. 15, 1916, Barrytown, NY) was President of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society for 10 years, resigning in 1905. His New York Times obituary says "all his life ... was a collector of coins and medals, and owned one of the best collections in this country, in which there are many rare Lincoln medals and many rare Polish coins and medals. He was also a collector of books and prints related to the early history of New York." His business was real estate.

George Albert Zabriskie (born Dec. 7, 1868, NYC/NJ - died Jan. 3, 1954, Ormond Beach, Florida) was President of the New-York Historical Society May 1939 to Jan. 1947, when he was made an honorary President. Pillsbury Flour Mills was his business affiliation.

There is no familial relation except sharing a Polish ancestor who emigrated to America in the 17th century - and/or intermarriages with other old, historic, New Jersey and NY families. There are several men with similar names; but these are the pertinent ones. Also, in both cases, the generations reverse the first and middle names.

Many thanks to Kay for following up on this query, which was spurred by a note on the American Numismatic Society web site stating that Andrew Zabriskie once tried to merge the ANS and the N-YHS. -Editor

Joe Ciccone of the ANS writes:
In this summer's issue of the ANS Magazine I have an article which provides details of Andrew Zabriskie's effort to merge the ANS with the New-York Historical Society.

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see: ANDREW ZABRISKIE BIOGRAPHY (


Dick Hanscom writes:
Would anyone have a library containing 1959-1965 issues of Coin World, Numismatic News, Numismatic Scrapbook or other like periodicals, and be willing to take a look to see if there is any advertising for Metal Arts Company, Rochester, NY, and if they are advertising their "Silver Coin Series?"


Last week in his announcement of his upcoming book on John Ford, Karl Moulton wrote:
John J. Ford, Jr., was the most controversial figure ever to appear in American numismatics. His collection, when sold by Stack’s, realized over $55 million.

Glendining Ford West Indian sale Bob Lyall writes:
Just to set the record straight, John J Ford Jr's West Indian coin collection was not sold by Stack's, but sold in London by Glendining's on the 16th October 1989.

The collection included over 30 countermarked/plugged gold coins in addition to a superb range of cut/countermarked silver and billon coins, expertly catalogued by Peter Mitchell (then Managing Director of Baldwin's) with a little help from myself.

Whilst there was a scattering of modern forgeries (made to fool collectors in contrast to contemporary ones intended to pass alongside officially issued pieces), the collection was fairly comprehensive and a very important one for West Indian specialist numismatists bringing high prices.

I recall bidders at the sale were invited to supper at the restaurant that "Bertie" Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, used to dine with Lillie Langtrey, where we enjoyed a most memorable evening.

As an aside, the catalogue's foreword mentioned that John Ford "was stationed in Paris in 1944 after the liberation of that city where he was able to obtain a number of fine specimens for his collection. He recalled that some of the transactions involved cigarettes and Nescafe, soap and candy bars, items in short supply with the French coin dealers following four years of occupation."

There were other sales of Ford material as well, such as duplicates consigned to auction at various times. And as mentioned here in The E-Sylum, the Stack's sales did not include several important Ford items, such as his political collection or the landmark Nova Constellatio silver pattern set. As if $55 million weren't enough, the grand total of all Ford holdings is an even higher number.

My copy of the Ford's West Indian sale is pictured above. -Editor


Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts in response to Anthony Kim's query in last week's issue. -Editor
I would like to encourage Anthony Kim to continue on his projected work on Oregon State Centennial Medals. He had asked in last week's E-Sylum for someone to furnish him information on other state centennial medals for a larger version of what he had in mind, not just limited to one state alone. Sorry - such a book is already in the works.

I have review copies of a manuscript by Jan Monroe of Overland Park, Kansas who has been working on State Anniversary Medals for more than 12 years. In fact I have two copies at different stages of development as his manuscript is nearing completion. He covers all states, and all anniversaries -- not just centennials -- but his scope is limited only to medals. He does not get into other exonumia or ephemera which may have been issued at the same events.

My best advice for Anthony Kim: Complete your manuscript on what you know best, if it is just the Oregon Centennial and all its numismatic issues, stick to just that. You can make a great contribution to numismatic literature with a thorough work on this subject alone. Don't try to add other areas with a superficial coverage. It is better to have a comprehensive coverage of a narrow subject than a narrow coverage of a wider subject.

Then, before you publish, have someone knowledgeable edit your manuscript. I am not volunteering, but this is the kind of work I do on American medallic subjects. I would, however, give it a quick read and point out suggestions. A comprehensive editing could be expensive (depending on time required) and may not be appropriate for the project you have in mind.

Also, unless you are a graphic artist, hire an artist to put some graphic style in your book. Use sharp photographs. Photograph all specimens on a light box to eliminate distracting backgrounds. Re-read what you have written. Is all the text accurate and easily understandable?

Self-publishing is not easy. But it is satisfying if you can create a good product. I want to encourage you to push ahead to publish the book you want to see in print. Good Luck - I will buy a copy of your book.


DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS Sale #7, closing June 13th 2009, Catalog is now available on line at our web site. Bidding is accepted via email. Telephone: (719) 302-5686, FAX: (719) 302-4933. U.S. Mail: P.O. Box 6321, Colorado Springs, CO. 80934.


From time to time we highlight an interesting numismatic vocabulary word. An article by Tom DeLorey in the May 2009 issue of COINage magazine discussed a term in use at the Philadephia Mint, which Tom visited in February of this year. Be sure to check out the full article: Inside the Mint. -Editor
Behind it was a hopper with a sign reading, SPALECKED BLANK DOLLARS READY FOR PRESS. This totally stumped me. I had never, ever in all my days at Coin World, where I wrote "Collector's Clearinghouse," or at ANACS, or as a coin dealer, heard the term "spalecked" in regard to a U.S. coin. What could it possibly mean?

Well, the answer was right behind it, where a machine fed previously annealed (heat-softened) planchets via a conveyor belt into a stainless steel tank. Our guides, joined by the chief coiner, explained that that the brass planchets were tumbled in the tank along with steel pellets and a special solution that greatly slows down the discoloration of the brass once the coins enter circulation (a major problem on the year-2000 Sacagawea dollars, which the Mint quickly fixed).

The manufacturer's name on the machine: SPALAECK. You or I might say that the machine "burnishes" the planchets, but since the Mint uses other burnishing processes for other for other planchets for other reasons, it logically avoids confusion by calling these planchets "spalecked." The sign made perfect sense.


Last week James Higby wrote:
The E-sylum article on the Guide Book to the Redbook jostled my memory enough to go back through my favorites to find this article by Ed Reiter about R. S. Yeoman.

David Lange submitted the following on the evolution and marketing of coin boards, based on research for his recent book, 'Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s & 1940s: A Complete History, Catalog and Value Guide. David also supplied image of J. K. Post and one of his coin boards. -Editor
Joseph K. Post c1935 I could not let this fantastic account go unchallenged. Ed Reiter's article telling of Richard Yeo's mastery of the coin board was based almost entirely on the old (Racine) Whitman's self-serving rewrite of the history behind the development and marketing of coin boards. Of course, this was the only source of information available to Ed at the time. Coin board inventor and promoter Joseph K. Post died prematurely in 1943, and the true story of coin boards was by then already being suppressed by Whitman's marketing people.

The research I performed for my book on coin boards revealed that not only did Post invent this product, but that he also devised its marketing plan and the key selling points that made the collecting of coins from circulation the powerhouse hobby that it was in the years 1935-65.

Coin Board Post K5cA2 face Richard Yeo (later to adopt the pen name R. S. Yeoman) was given the task of expanding and marketing the line of coin boards only after Post sold his rights (on a provisional basis) to Whitman, effective October 1, 1935. Post had already developed an extensive mailing list which, though largely limited to the Midwest, was remarkably broad in its variety of wholesale and retail businesses. Least often seen on this list (which survives and was partly reproduced in my book) were coin dealerships, as most established dealers sniffed at the notion of collecting coins from circulation and considered such activity entirely unrelated to the numismatic trade.

Post saw the real appeal of coin boards as something for the novice, the would-be treasure hunter. That's why he focused his sales on non-numismatic retail establishments such as stationery stores, 5-and-10 cent stores, newsstands and the like. These are the same sort of places that were still selling coin folders during my early collecting years in the mid 1960s.

Yeo expanded this same marketing, though with Whitman's already established distribution outlets for its other novelties, games and children's books he was destined to have far greater success than Post could achieve while holding down his unrelated, full-time job with Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

The other issue which was long accepted as gospel (because the old Whitman was the only source of information) was that Yeo and Whitman invented the coin folder. They most certainly did not, and Whitman was not even the first company to react to this unwelcome development.

The coin folder seems to have been devised and first sold by the Daniel Stamp Company (DANSCO) of Los Angeles in 1939 or early 1940. By the middle of 1940, Whitman's closest rival in the board business, Joseph Oberwise & Company of Los Angeles, introduced its own line of folders. It did this after first attempting to compete by modifying its coin boards with scoring lines for users to fold them in half themselves, a concept which was not successful.

Though copyright dated 1940, the first Whitman coin folders did not appear until early the following year, and they were introduced in order to compete with similar products by Dansco and Oberwise that had already begun to steal market share.

What really put Whitman over the top in this competition was its superior contacts and marketing reach, combined with a genuinely superior product. Its line of folders was not only more attractive (with their familiar silver on blue covers) but also was expanded over the next few years to include titles not offered by other publishers.

Only the Shore Line brand, introduced in 1963, had a greater range of titles for American coins, though Whitman still held an edge in world titles. The fact that most of these exotic titles were poor sellers and still survive today as unsold remainders did not diminish the company's prestige among coin collectors and dealers, the latter finally accepting that boards and folders were indeed good for expanding the number of collectors.

Richard Yeo was still a very successful and prominent figure in the hobby, but simply not as the inventor or promoter of coin boards. His real achievement was in devising and marketing (with help from others) the Blue Book, the Red Book and various other publications which became hobby staples for many years.

He also took a sincere, hands-on role within numismatics that gave him great credibility with hobby figures, and he put together an excellent team of writers, researchers and marketing people who collectively made Whitman hum for decades.

He didn't live to see Western Publishing Company (parent of the Whitman Coin Products division) run this finely-tuned machine into the ground in the 1990s, and I imagine it would have hurt him as much as it did others who loved the company and what it meant to the hobby. Fortunately, the Whitman name and much of its product line survives today under good management in Atlanta.


E-Sylum subscriber Leslie Rosenbaum writes:
In April of last year you mentioned an article in the Virginia Numismatist about the 1859 Marshall House Token. Can you help me get a copy of the article?

I bought the coin (token) before I read the book (article). I had a chance to purchase an 1859 Marshall House token, so I did. I don't collect tokens but since I live in Alexandria, Virginia, and am interested in the Civil War, I definitely had a bingo! Ellsworth, Jackson, the Marshall House and a token, wow! The possibility of owning a tangible piece of history was overwhelming.

Now, I would like the information to go with the token to make it an even more meaningful historical experience. Although I collect coins, they are really pieces of history to me, more than anything else.

Marshall House token

The article, The Marshall House Token and the Civil War was written by Bill Eckberg, who kindly forwarded a .pdf copy to Leslie at my request. Thanks! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY APRIL 8, 2008 (


And here I thought Google did it all with dirt cheap overseas labor. I should have known better. A recent patent awarded to Google reveals some of the technology behind the curtain - a cool algorithm to scan the pages of a bound book without having to flatten them, saving both labor and certain damage to the spines of books. -Editor
The other day my colleague Kee Malesky turned me on to an incredibly interesting article from the New Scientist website about the granting of patent 7508978. What's so important about Patent 7508978 you ask? It's the patent that explains how Google's proprietary book scanning technology works.

Before Google came on the scene, book scanning was a tedious process that sometimes resulted in the death of a book. The software used to scan books, called Optical Character Recognition software or OCR for short, required each page of the book to be flat. Now anyone who's ever opened a book knows it's next to impossible for a book to lie flat without some sort of device.

One solution to the problem was to use glass plates that individually flattened each page, but this method wasn't very efficient. The other solution was to chop off the book's binding, but that method destroyed the book. How was one to go about scanning a book quickly and efficiently without destroying it? It was a problem that vexed book scanners for years until Google came up with this solution

Turns out, Google created some seriously nifty infrared camera technology that detects the three-dimensional shape and angle of book pages when the book is placed in the scanner. This information is transmitted to the OCR software, which adjusts for the distortions and allows the OCR software to read text more accurately. No more broken bindings, no more inefficient glass plates. Google has finally figured out a way to digitize books en masse.

Google Book Scan Patent,jpg

To read the complete article, see: The Secret Of Google's Book Scanning Machine Revealed (


Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on an article discussing the potential demise of the Canadian cent coin and (by implication) souvenir Canadian elongated cents. -Editor
Elongated Canadian Cents Despite the headline in the Canadian publication, the Torontoist, Canada will have plenty of cents available for those machines at tourist locations to roll out a penny for the souvenir of your visit there. The article on elongated cents was headlined: "Ruin Your Pennies While You Still Can!" Canada, like Australia and a half dozen other countries, is considering abolishing the lowly cent.

The article illustrates the rolling machines. Are these really called "pennysmashers" in Canada? The model shown vends four varieties. Four artists were asked to create a design for each of their contribution. Not very pictorial nor imaginative.

Cost is $2 plus the penny you want "smashed." Canada has dollar coins and it illustrates where you must insert two dollar coins and one cent in appropriate slots to activate the machine. Elongated coins have come a long way since the Chicago World's Fair of 1892. They are just getting a lot more expensive and a lot less attractive.

In the future, perhaps, after Canada abolishes the cent, venders will have to load the machines with pennies, instead of buyers providing their own. Maybe then it will only cost $2.

The pictures alone are worth clicking on this article: Ruin Your Pennies While You Still Can (


Dave Kellogg submitted these thoughts about a numismatic passage he found in an obscure place - a book about the logging industry. -Editor
Vaillant Golden Spruce Readers of Yeoman's Red Book will be familiar with the origins of coinage in America, and they might enjoy reading the following passage from John Vaillant's excellent book, The Golden Spruce.

As the book's cover states, The Golden Spruce is a "story of myth, madness and greed" in the Pacific Northwest, covering the feverish cutting of trees for use in 18th/19th century ships. Eastern trees and later the giants of the northwest were so valuable that sailors would travel sometimes half-way around the world to bring back as much of the "tall, straight and knot-free timber" as the ships could carry.

1652 Willow Tree Shilling Here's the passage:
In 1652, after decades of using a motley assortment of currencies, ranging from Indian wampum to tobacco and Spanish silver, the Massachusetts Bay Colony began minting its own money.

These crude coins were not decorated with crosses, kings, or familiar symbols of liberty, they were embossed with trees, specifically, pine, oak, and willow. "What better way to portray the wealth of our country?" wrote the coins' die maker, Joseph Jenks.

I wonder where this Joseph Jenks quote comes from - has anyone seen this before? Dave tells me "The author cites Sloane, 75. and Sloane, Eric. A Reverence for Wood. New York, 1965."

Not much is known about Jenks, and apparently the only reference to his connection to the Massachusetts coinage is a mention in a history of the Saugus Iron works. -Editor

From the University of Notre Dame web site:
We do not know who made the punches and dies used in the minting of these coins but they are frequently attributed to master ironsmith, Joseph Jenks, Sr. of Hammersmith, the first iron foundry in the colonies, in what is now Saugus, Massachusetts.

For more information on Joseph Jenks, see: Joseph Jenks (


An E-Sylum reader forwarded this nice article on teacher Zee Ann Poerio and her use of ancient coins in the classroom. Ancient Coins for Education is a great program. -Editor
Zee Ann Poerio The classroom at St. Louise de Marillac School in Upper St. Clair was quiet except for the sound of "ah."

Each third-grader was holding an authentic, small bronze Roman coin from the fourth century.

And it was theirs to keep.

"It's so cool to be holding a piece of the past and to know what they had for money back then," said 9-year-old Jake Cortes.

Teacher Zee Ann Poerio said her students usually have a sense of reverence when they open the small manila envelopes and see their own coin.

Coins are big in Mrs. Poerio's classroom.

She uses coins to spark interest in everything from Latin (many of the coins are Roman) to science (bronze includes the elements copper and tin).

While she had never taken Latin, Mrs. Poerio became interested because of her Italian heritage. After reading that Latin helps SAT scores, she began using Latin as a way to teach root words, culture, art, mythology, creative writing and problem solving.

On the Internet, she found Ancient Coins for Education, which was started in 2001 by a small group of classical numismatists looking for a way to bring ancient history to life in the classroom. The organization provided the first group of coins for her students to try to identify.

She placed the coins on her desk, with magnifiers and microscopes, and the children loved the activity so much they told their siblings, who came over because they wanted a look, too.

That led to her starting an Ancient Coin Museum, which has grown to more than 300 identified coins and other small artifacts, most donated by numismatists and coin enthusiasts across the country.

To read the complete article, see: Ancient coins enthrall, educate pupils (


DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE will be conducting its second mail-bid auction, closing June 4. Highlights include a set of Nagy plates of New Jersey coppers. For more information, go to .


Congratulations to Fernando Razo and the Alamo Coin Club for promoting numismatics through an exhibit at a local bank. -Editor
Though once a major commodity, many of the silver coins used by Spanish, Mexican and Texan governments have been lost over the decades.

A few of those historic coins have been recovered, however, and will be on display throughout the week at The First National Bank in Seguin.

The First National Bank administrative assistant Michelle Martin said that the bank wanted to bring something that would interest hopefully everybody.

For the exhibit, Fernando Razo, Alamo Coin Club vice president, brought four display cases tracking the timelines of the coins from Spanish Colonial Period, The Insurgent Period — War of Independence from Spain, The Republic of Mexico and the State of Coahuila y Tejas, and The Republic and State of Texas.

With an collection based around Texas and Mexican origins, Razo said his interest was pretty broad when he started almost 34 years ago.

“Some coins (Mexican) that are seen with a mintage of only 1,000 can be bought for $25, compare that to U.S. coins it will cost you about $50,000,” he said. “I collect them because there is a lot more history and they are much harder to find.”

The bank will display the exhibit starting Monday until Friday during lobby hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

To read the complete article, see: Historic coins on display at bank (


Groups in Canada are lobbying to make it illegal to sell war medals such as the Victoria Cross. -Editor
The country's largest veterans organization came out Thursday in support of a federal NDP bid to outlaw the sale of war medals.

The Royal Canadian Legion said the heroics of Canadian soldiers and police officers don't belong on the auction block.

"We would like to see a law that stops the sale of Canadian war medals in Canada," said Bob Butt, the legion's communication director.

Nova Scotia New Democrat Peter Stoffer, the party's veterans affairs critic, is upset about the pending sale of a Victoria Cross awarded to a First World War soldier.

Robert Shankland was one of three soldiers who all lived on the same street in Winnipeg and who all won Commonwealth's highest decoration for military valour.

The city renamed the street Valour Road.

His medals are expected to be auctioned off privately very soon and Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has already said that the federal government will not allow them to leave the country.

Stoffer, who has lobbied for 10 years to ban the sale of medals, said the federal government must go further and simply halt such sales.

"The Governor General gave these men and women medals in honour and recognition for service to their country," he told a Parliament Hill news conference. "She did not give them $100 bills to be hanging from their chest."

Selling the Order of Canada is banned under federal legislation and the honours bestowed on soldiers and police officers should be no different, Stoffer added.

To read the complete article, see: Legion and NDP want sale of war medals outlawed (


Toy makers strive to make many of their products as realistic as possible. But it's one thing to sell a baby doll that oozes bodily fluids from every orifice, and quite another to sell play money that could pass for the real McCoy, as this article from Viet Nam notes. -Editor
Vietnamese Realistic Play Money The bundles of realistic play money flooding Ho Chi Minh City are as illegal as counterfeit currency, said a treasury official Tuesday.

The play notes, denominated from VND500 to VND500,000, hit local toy shops in a big way early this month.

The notes, along with play US dollars, euros and pounds, became instantly popular with the city’s youth.

But local authorities are not happy as the play notes look so realistic.

“It is illegal” to produce and sell bills so similar to real currency, Ho Huu Hanh, director of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, told online news service Vnexpress on Tuesday.

“People could be cheated,” Hanh said. His office has asked police to investigate the origin of the notes.

A local mother who wished to be identified only as Hong said she felt strange when her third-grade daughter first brought the notes home. “They look just like real money.”

A local father named Thuc said he didn’t object to the fake money when he first saw it being sold at his child’s school’s canteen.

“But it has inspired the kids to play cards and gamble,” he said.

Thuc’s son said his classmates now play cards every chance they get. Thuc says the trend is dangerous.

“They bring the cards and the ‘money’ everywhere. They look like they’re operating their own illegal casinos... The play money will spoil the children.”

But most sellers said they would continue selling the toys so long as demand was high.

To read the complete article, see: Realistic play money worries state bank, parents (


The Daily Record published this article about a former executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland who had a flunky to verify that banknotes dispensed near the bank's headquarters were ones with his signature. -Editor
Scotland RBS Goodwin signature2 Fred Goodwin employed someone to make sure his signature was on every note issued by cash machines at the Royal Bank of Scotland's HQ.

Details of the bizarre ego-boosting job were revealed by Treasury minister Lord Myners as he was quizzed by peers yesterday.

Goodwin, who was axed as RBS chief executive last year after bringing the bank to their knees, has become a hate figure over his pension arrangements.

Myners said investigations into the way Goodwin ran the RBS - who needed a multi-billion-pound Government bailout to stop them going bust - had revealed the extent of his huge ego.

Scotland RBS Goodwin signature He said: "I've been advised that in the headquarters in Gogarburn, Sir Fred Goodwin employed somebody whose sole job was to ensure bank notes dispensed from automatic telling machines there bore his signature and his signature alone."

It emerged last week that Goodwin could lose his knighthood, which he got for "services to banking".

To read the complete article, see: Revealed: Fred Goodwin insisted every banknote issued at Royal of Scotland HQ bore his signature (

Here's another story from the BBC news: RBS HQ notes 'signed by Sir Fred' (


Technology changes everything ... or does it? Here's a novel article about a would-be treasure ship salvor who went to court to claim ownership of a wreck based on his research on the Internet. -Editor
So much for the romantic notion that a Los Angeles treasure hunter using Google Earth could get rights to dig up abandoned gold and silver from a 19th century ship buried in South Texas muck.

On Monday a federal judge ruled that Nathan Smith didn’t present any credible evidence that the vessel is where he thinks it is or that he’s done anything to help recover it.

“Smith has received no artifacts, and presents no evidence, other than his own testimony regarding metal detector readings, that anything of value or historical significance actually exists where he claims it exists,” wrote U.S. District Judge David Hittner in a 44-page opinion.

Smith did show the judge a fuzzy picture of a piece of wood he found and then lost. Smith testified his metal detector showed gold and silver under the spot where he thinks the treasure sits, 160 miles southwest of Houston, near the Mission River in Refugio County.

The judge found Smith didn’t sue to be vexatious but because “Smith genuinely believes in his own mind that he actually has discovered the resting place of an ancient shipwreck.”

Others may have thought so, too. The Texas Historical Commission wanted in on the case and when Hittner refused, the state vowed to appeal.

In a December hearing on Smith’s claims, the Californian said he was looking for a way to finance his music and film ventures and was inspired by the National Treasure movies. He read up on all sorts of missing loot and used the Internet to look for a barkentine that got lost in South Texas in an 1822 hurricane that killed half the crew, leaving the other half to a local cannibal tribe.

Smith thought he’d found the ship under a shoe print-shaped spot using Google Earth. He visited the spot several times and then monitored it using Google Earth.

Applying laws of “finds” and of “salvage,” the judge basically found Smith’s evidence and efforts to be short of what’s required to get legal rights to try to dig it up.

To read the complete article, see: Treasure hunter who tried to Google gold loses court bid (


This week's Featured Web Video is Angola's Colonial Currency - 1909 to 1975

Photo animation of Angola's Portuguese Colonial Currency -- it displays paper-bills dated from 1909 to 1975.

Explored by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão in 1482, Angola became a link in trade with India and Southeast Asia. Later it also became a major source of slaves for Portugal's New World colony of Brazil.

Angola was under the Portuguese rule from 1482 to 1975 (493 years).

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