Volume 14, Number 13, March 27, 2011
Among our new subscribers this week are Bernard Olij and John Huffman. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,408 email subscribers, plus 125 followers on Facebook, including Aleksey Chernov and Galecio Tan Merian Septo.
Thanks to all of this week's contributors for their patience while I worked through the blogger's nightmare, a computer crash. On Monday evening I found myself staring at the fateful Microsoft Blue Screen of Death - my old laptop was no more. Luckily, most of my E-Sylum tools are web-based, and I have web acccess to my email accounts. I also use a service that automatically backs up my data files. It took some time to collect the needed pieces, but it all came together in plenty of time, thanks to my wife's handy computer.
Thank goodness the crash came just AFTER publishing an issue, not just before a deadline. I've got a spiffy new laptop now, and although my environment isn't back to 100% yet, all the essentials are there. My apologies if any submissions slipped through the cracks - please resend them and we'll catch up next week.
This week we open with information on four new numismatic books and an interview with Mark Borckardt of Heritage Auctions. Other topics include the "Lucky Coin" submarine, stickered silver dollars, and the Paris Mint.
To learn more about war savings stamps, the private Franklin Mint Collectors Society Club Room, and a "Gold Delivery Book" containing original handwritten records from the San Francisco Mint , read on. Have a great week, everyone!
George Kolbe forwarded this information about two new versions of the Orosz/Augsburger book on the U.S. Mint. Unfortunately, one is already sold out. -Editor
Kolbe & Fanning LLC, Numismatic Booksellers, are pleased to announce that they have been commissioned by the authors to produce specially bound editions of Joel Orosz and Leonard Augsburger's exciting new book The Secret History of the First U.S. Mint, just published by Whitman.
Two special editions were produced. The first, limited to 25 copies, is bound in green quarter morocco with a red leather spine label and decorative Japanese cloth sides. It is nearly ready for distribution and copies are priced at $245 plus $10 shipping in the U.S. Fewer than 20 are currently available. The second special edition, bound in green full morocco and limited to 10 copies, is sold out.
Orders for the quarter morocco edition may be placed by contacting KOLBE & FANNING LLC, NUMISMATIC BOOKSELLERS, 141 W JOHNSTOWN ROAD, GAHANNA OH 43230-2700. Tel: (614) 414-0855; Fax: (614) 414-0860; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A sample of the quarter leather edition will be available for viewing on April 1st and 2nd at the upcoming Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Joel and Len will have a table at the show on both days and will be pleased to accept orders.
Len Augsburger provided these images. Thanks! -Editor
Len adds this announcement:
Authors Len Augsburger and Joel Orosz will be set up at the Whitman Baltimore Expo this Friday and Saturday (April 1-2), adjacent to the Whitman Publishing booth (#1463). In addition to signing copies of their book, Secret History Of the United States Mint, recently published by Whitman, the authors will have on display a variety of artwork, tokens, medals, and ephemera related to Frank H. Stewart and his commemoration of the first United States Mint. Len and Joel will give a presentation on their book at 2 P.M. Saturday, in room 301 of the Baltimore Convention Center.
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this press release on a new title about precious metals. -Editor
Whitman Publishing has released a new book on collecting and investing in silver, gold, and platinum bullion and rare coins. The full-color 144-page book, Precious Metal, has a foreword by award-winning author and coin dealer Q. David Bowers. It retails for $9.95 and is available online (including at WhitmanBooks.com) and from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide.
Precious Metal was written to answer questions that collectors and investors have about gold and silver, whose values have increased dramatically in recent months. "We receive many letters and emails about buying, selling, investing in, and collecting precious metals," said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. "The book covers silver and gold, and also platinum and palladium, two relative newcomers to the bullion field."
Precious Metal teaches the reader how to make smart decisions when buying these commodities; how to sell without being taken advantage of; the best formats of precious metal to invest in; collecting rare coins; traps and pitfalls to avoid; and where to find further guidance.
Sections include: A foreword by award-winning researcher Q. David Bowers • What Is Gold, And Why Is It Valuable? • Silver: Gold's Little Sister, Valuable In Its Own Right • Platinum and Other Precious Metals • The Recent Precious Metals Boom • Selling Your Precious Metals • Buying Precious Metals • Dealing With the Experts • Avoiding Counterfeit and Altered Coins • and an appendix of resources.
Precious Metal gives guidance on bullion coins vs. rare coins; where to go for expert advice; worldwide resources (including contact information for world banks, central mints, and agencies); bullion value charts, coinage specifications, weight conversion tables, and other technical data. The book is illustrated with more than 400 beautiful full-color photographs.
Precious Metal: Investing and Collecting in Today's Silver, Gold, and Platinum Markets
THE BOOK BAZARRE
The March 26th, 2011 issue of the MPCGram (a newsletter for collectors of Military Payment Certificates and other military and war related numismatic items) announed the publication of a new book. Here's a copy of the announcement. The book is being released at the group's MPC Fest, a gathering hosted by Fred Schwan in Port Clinton, OH. See below for contact information to inquired about later availability. -Editor
The new book World War II Savings Bonds and Stamps will be of interest to Gramsters and many in the numismatic and philatelic collecting fields. The large-format, full-color book covers the subject area in detail not found in any other reference book.
In the area of World War II bonds, the book covers in detail Series E, Series F and Series G bonds that were issued first as defense bonds, then after Pearl Harbor as war bonds. Later in the war all three series were reduced in size. That seems like a simple enough, three different series in two size of course in several denominations, but the field is actually more complex--beautifully so. For the first time the book describes and illustrates new varieties that have been previously unknown to collectors.
For example, the bonds formerly known as large size are now known to exist in two sizes! Furthermore, the change is size was accompanied by a shift in the location of the perforations of the bonds from left to top. This is only the most important new variety discovered and listed--there are others as well. The system as it was introduced in 1940 was supplemented with two additional denominations as the war progressed. The first was a Series E low $10 denomination known as the soldiers' bond because it was introduced to make it easier for the common solider to participate in the savings system. Later, after the death of President Roosevelt, a $200 denomination was added to the program with the portrait of the late president. The $10 bonds are scarce and the $200 rare.
Defense and war savings stamps were part of the overall savings system. They were issued in denominations from as low as ten cents to $5. Their use is described and the stamps listed in detail in the catalog.
The stamps were saved in small albums that were provided free to the public. Allow the albums are fairly well-well known to the collecting communities, no listing of them has ever been attempted--until now. These listings are based on the efforts of Fester and Gramster Bruce Potter.
The listings and the book itself are based on the 1995 one-page listings and descriptions by Fred Schwan and Joe Boling in World War II Remembered. From that humble beginning the field has grown to the point where this complete book is both necessary and desirable if not necessary. This new book also has the fingerprints of these two collectors--Schwan as coauthor and Boling as general editor.
The balance of the editorial platoon consists of collectors Larry Smulczenski, Jim Downey, and Mark Watson as authors. Bond collector and promoter Warner Talso provides a thoughtful foreword.
The book is being released at MPCFest XII where the entire editorial team was scheduled to to be present. Unfortunately, authors Downey and Watson were sidelined by medical problems.
Nonetheless, Schwan, Smulczenski, Talso and Boling are available at the Fest to sign the new book which they saw for the very first time as the other assembled Festers.
The full-color, large-format, soft cover, 48 page, limited-production book is available for $20 (plus $2) postage to Gramsters now. Furthermore, If you reserve your book by 2300 hrs Saturday, you will receive your book autographed per your request. All books reserved this way will be autographed by the editorial team present in Port Clinton either personally to you or generically at your request. It will include other unannounced features (and some not thought of yet). Send your reservations to MPCGram@yahoo.com.
An addition special collector's edition is being prepared. This edition includes all of the autographs mentioned, extra pages for note taking, spiral binding, special numbering, and a variety of stamps (rubber and postage). This special version which will be mailed later includes a standard edition which will be mailed promptly so that you do not have to wait to receive and use your book. The special edition is $85 (postpaid). Again, make your reservations at MPCGram@yahoo.com.
Coins Weekly published an article about a new book relating to numismatics of Ancient Macedonia. -Editor
Yannis Touratsoglou, well-known Greek numismatist, has published a study, which is dedicated to one of the most important kingdoms of Antiquity. It is titled A Contribution to the Economic History of the Kingdom of Ancient Macedonia (6th-3rd cent. BC).
Our knowledge regarding the character and the specific features of the economy of the Macedonian kingdom from the second half of the 6th century BC to the early 3rd century BC comes limited in quantity, spread over several ancient literary sources, and furthermore is of variable importance. It is rather impressive that while there is a considerable number of economic studies for other areas of the ancient Greek world, such as that of Athens, or those of the Seleucid and the Ptolemaic kingdoms, the economy of Macedonia until recently remained in the shadow, quite neglected by research.
The new monograph by Yannis Touratsoglou attempts to fill in this gap, tracking down the economic data of the Macedonian kingdom alongside with the historical events and the geographical parameters. Applying his erudition on history and culture, acquired through his scientific involvement with this northern Greek territory for many years, Yannis Touratsoglou thoroughly reconstructs the financial management of the state by the Macedonian kings. With ample bibliographic documentation he sheds light on many of the particular socio-economic circumstances, both during the mutation of Macedonia from a peripheral entity into the regulator of the Hellenic affairs, as well as during the time when it emerged as an international power due to the bold campaign of Alexander the Great.
To read the original article, see: Important Book on the Economic History of the Kingdom of Ancient Macedonia (http://www.coinsweekly.com/en/News/4?&id=505)
THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE FIRST U.S. MINTBy Joel Orosz & Len Augsburger
Kolbe & Fanning are pleased
to announce the availability of a
SPECIAL EDITIONHANDSOMELY BOUND IN
GREEN QUARTER MOROCCO
AND LIMITED TO 25 COPIES
$245.00 PLUS $10 SHIPPING IN THE U.S.
FEWER THAN TWENTY COPIES ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
Sample available for viewing at the authors' table on April 1 & 2
at the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo
ADVANCE ORDERS TAKEN THERE
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND ORDERS CONTACT
KOLBE & FANNING NUMISMATIC BOOKSELLERS
141 W JOHNSTOWN ROAD, GAHANNA OH 43230-2700
(614) 414-0855 • email@example.com • GFK@numislit.com
Coin Update News published a nice interview with Mark Borckardt, Senior Cataloger at Heritage Auctions. Here are some excerpts. -Editor
Most people are surprised to learn that I have no coin collection. Since I work with great coins on a regular basis, I believe that my own collection, if I had one, would fall far short of my expectations.
However, I have an extensive numismatic library, so I will say my favorite book(s) is copy number one of the two volume Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia, by Q. David Bowers. Dave autographed the first set out of the first box received from the printer in 1993, and presented that set to me in thanks for my contributions to the work.
How did you get started in numismatics?
My earliest recollection is 1963, when I was given a copy of the 1964 Guide Book by a member of the church where my dad was the minister. I don't recall the name of the church but it was in the vicinity of Monroe, Michigan, the home of ANA founder Dr. George Heath.
What drew you to the research aspect of numismatics?
I have always had a love of history, and numismatics provides a medium to study many aspects of history, including finance, politics, and especially, people. I thoroughly enjoy the historical personalities involved in our hobby, from Mint employees such as David Rittenhouse to collectors like Louis Eliasberg, and dealers such as B. Max Mehl.
In June 1989 I accepted a position with Bowers and Merena Galleries, and for more than a decade I worked on a daily basis with Q. David Bowers. His partner, Ray Merena, once described it as an "immersion course" in numismatics, and I agree. I wouldn't be where I am today without that experience. Thank you, Dave.
You are a very accomplished author; would you say that you were an author first, or a numismatist?
It is important to distinguish between collectors, numismatists, and numismatic authors. A collector is someone who sets about accumulating items in a given series with little or no interest in the background of those coins. For example, there are many people who collect the state quarter series, or Lincoln cents, or some other series, having no knowledge of the background of coins in each series. Eventually, they will seek the knowledge that makes a numismatist, or they will lose interest and find a different hobby. I began as a collector and as a dealer.
Numismatists take the next step and seek knowledge to better appreciate the coins that they own or handle, primarily through formation and use of a numismatic library.
Despite your kind words, I consider myself a numismatist but not a numismatic author. I consider people such as Dave Bowers, Ken Bressett, Roger Burdette, R.W. Julian, David Lange, Eric Newman, and others to be numismatic authors. My work is mostly background research that has appeared in various books by others.
Do you have any advice for young numismatists who aspire to be authors?
Study and learn all aspects of numismatics, from minting technology to finance and history. A complete understanding of how coins were made is imperative, from the earliest days to the present. Knowledge of national and world finances and financial history is also important. For example, knowledge of the California Gold Rush goes a long way toward understanding the opening of the San Francisco Mint, as well as authorization of the double eagle. Knowledge of world history and politics is also extremely important. Further study might include art and art history.
Being a numismatic author is extremely rewarding, but it doesn't pay the bills. Everyone that I know who writes numismatic references has a "real job." In many cases, that job also involves numismatics, such as being a dealer, cataloger, curator, or reporter. In other cases, the job is entirely unrelated to numismatics. A second career choice is extremely important.
To read the complete article, see:
Interview with Mark Borckardt, Senior Cataloger at Heritage Auctions
Len Augsburger writes:
I wouldn't normally repost something from the PCGS US coin forum, but I thought it was a really interesting question, perhaps Esylum readers can answer. The author of the original post is John Baumgart.
So I'm looking at this Franklin Mint Collectors Society folio and it enumerates the rights and privileges bestowed upon Society members. Two items intrigued me. The first is that members are ex-officio advisors to The Franklin Mint. Has anyone here (that would be willing to admit to having been a member of such an elite society) acted in that capacity?
The other item of interest was "use of the private Collectors Society Club Room, which will soon be established at The Franklin Mint." As yours truly has never gotten any closer to a private club room than the Red Carpet Club at O'Hare or the Lufthansa lounges in Frankfurt and Munich, what must have lain beyond the velvet ropes and heavy doors of the exclusive private Collectors Society Club Room at the Franklin Mint remains but a fantastic mystery.
I can only imagine it being decorated with the finest orange and purple velours, vinyls, and shag carpets, with rare photographs, documents, and perhaps even galvanos not only of their modern, mid-'70s offerings, but also historic material dating back to the early '70s. Vast arrays of plates would wrap around the upper part of the wall in the bar area for your amazement while sipping sherry, listening to soothing music with a lot of "ba-ba-ba-ba" in the lyrics, and rubbing elbows with other collectibles elite, exchanging droll stories. In the vast landscape of 1970s collectibles, surely this club room was Xanadu. Or maybe it was more like a dentist's waiting room.
Are there any here who were so privileged so see this club room and are no longer sworn to secrecy as to it trappings? Was Longacre taken here in the days of his youth to entice him with visions of the high life afforded those in the circles of international tax code?
Hmmm. I've never heard of this either. Anyone? -Editor
To read the complete article, see: Collector's Universe message Boards (forums.collectors.com/messageview.cfm?catid=26&threadid=810997)
Longtime E-Sylum readers have read about the Confederate submarine Hunley, where the "lucky coin" of Lt. Dixon was found. This article describes the latest news in the ongoing work to restore and display the lost Confederate submarine. -Editor
After sitting in the same spot for 10 years, the H.L. Hunley is finally ready to move. Well, a few feet anyway. This summer, the team at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center will take the 19th century submarine out of the lift cradle that's held it since 2000 and set it upright for the first time since 1864. It sounds pretty simple, but it's a significant step in the project — and an ordeal that has taken nearly as long as it took to recover the sub from the ocean floor.
The rotation, as the scientists call it, will set into motion the final phase of the sub's rehabilitation — and may answer lingering questions about its disappearance in the dark days of the Civil War. People have waited a long time for those answers, but the crew at the Lasch lab has moved cautiously because, well, they don't want to drop it.
The Hunley became the first successful combat submarine on Feb. 17, 1864, when it sank the USS Housatonic, a Union blockade ship. Shortly after the attack, the Hunley disappeared. No one knows why. This project is in part meant to prepare the sub for display in a museum, and in part to fill in the blanks in history.
Paul Mardikian, the senior conservator on the project, said it will take a year to completely remove all the concretion from the 40-foot sub. "No one has ever seen the sub like that," Mardikian said. In the meantime, the crew continues to restore the hundreds of artifacts found inside the Hunley. Mardikian just finished work on binoculars that belonged to the sub's captain, George E. Dixon. They look more like theater glasses than modern binoculars. "They are Hunley-sized," Mardikian notes. "Small submarine, small binoculars."
To read the complete article, see: Scientists finally ready to right the Hunley (www.thestate.com/2011/03/21/1744818/scientists-finally-ready-to-right.html)
To read an earlier E-SYlum article, see: UPDATE ON THE HUNLEY, THE LUCKY COIN SUBMARINE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n32a16.html)
FREE SHIPPING ON YOUR WHITMAN ORDER!
William A. ("Bill") Shirley writes:
I thought your group might be interested to know that I just posted eBay item # 290548470584 which is a "Gold Delivery Book - Coiner" containing original handwritten records from the San Francisco Mint during the July 1906 to June 1911 time period. Obviously, I'm trying to get a free plug in The E-Sylum. My auction is running to March 29, 2011.
Sure - this item is right up our alley. Thanks! -Editor
This is an original record book from the United States Mint in San Francisco ( the San Francisco Mint ). This book was thrown out or sold after the Mint closed years ago, along with the minting equipment and other items. The book is bound in leather and cloth. It is marked, in gold lettering, on the spine " Gold Delivery Book - Coiner - Form No. 865 - U.S. Mint San Francisco - U.S. Government Bindery ."
The pages are designed to be able to be filled in with the number of the delivery, the number of drafts, the amount in dollars, the actual weight, the legal weight, the variation, and denomination of all coin deliveries made to the superintendent.
The records in this book begin with July 26, 1906, and continue until June 22, 1911, on 45 pages (22 two-sided pages plus 1 one-sided page). Some pages appear to have been torn from the book, i.e., the records between October 18, 1906, and August 13, 1907, are missing and page remnants remain. In addition, a two-sided page with data for September 17. 1910, to October 19, 1910, appears to be missing. Records for the Coiner's Delivery of Gold on September 20, 1907, and October 6, 1907, are contained on two facing pages, well bound, but separated from the main 45 pages by approximately 41 (double-sided) pages after the bulk of the records. The information seems to be presented by date of the month and details the number of half eagles, eagles, and double eagles delivered. The type of coin delivered (e.g., double eagle) is stamped with a rubber stamp.
To visit the eBay auction, see: U.S. MINT SAN FRANCISCO GOLD DELIVERY BOOK - COINER
Joel Orosz submitted this report on a scary recent experience with numismatic literature shipped via the U.S. Post Office. -Editor
I need to begin this truly turgid tale by telling you that, for the past 25 years, I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Kalamazoo office of the United States Postal Service. My "mailbox" consists of a slot in my garage wall, and anything too large to fit into that slot has invariably been left under a small covered entryway that is literally one step to the left of the mail slot. For a quarter of a century, my numismatic literature purchases have arrived under that entryway, safely sheltered from Kalamazoo's sometimes tempestuous weather.
In the early days of March, I received a slip from my mail carrier, informing me that a much-anticipated package from Colorado Springs—my lots from David Sklow's recently-closed 12th Mail Bid Sale—was being held pending my signature to accept delivery. As I have dozens of times before, I signed the slip and left it for my carrier to pick up the next day, secure in the knowledge that in two days' time, the package would be waiting for me when I came home.
The day appointed for delivery dawned rainy, but what did I care? Twenty-five years of experience told me that when I pulled into my driveway that evening, the package would be snug under the covered entryway. Imagine my surprise when I arrived that evening to find the entryway package-less, and a sodden cardboard box sitting instead on the completely uncovered front stoop, some 20 feet away from the entryway.
With a celerity surprising for a middle-aged acolyte of Robert Maynard Hutchins ("Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes"), I reached the box, and when I lifted it, discovered several dismaying facts. First, water ran off the top in rivulets. Second, the sides of the box sagged with the weight of the contents. Third, the bottom was so saturated that it left a wet trail across the house. Grim visions of the contents filled my mind, including a particular 18th century volume that would surely be fit for nothing but a decent burial, most likely at sea.
My sense of foreboding intensified as the soggy cardboard gave way into puddles of pulp. The packing peanuts inside were literally awash in rainwater. Then, a sliver of hope: I discovered that all four of the lots I won were encased in a cocoon of bubble wrap, with seams well-taped. The outside of the bubble wrapped bundle was drenched, just as were the packing peanuts, but when I carefully prized apart the seams, I discovered that very little moisture had penetrated within. Then, extracting each of the four individually-wrapped lots in turn, I found, to my immense relief, that the tight plastic sleeves around them, again, well-sealed, had repelled what water had made it through the bubble wrapped barrier. Incredibly, David Sklow's thorough packing had completely protected all four of the lots from what otherwise would have been diluvian disaster.
All kudos to David Sklow, who proved to me that his rueful jest "Tape is my Life!" was not just idle blather. Old-time bibliomaniacs will recall that the late John Bergman literally wrote the book on how to properly pack numismatic books for shipment. David has proven to be a worthy successor to John as the Panjandrum of Packaging, for which he has earned my eternal gratitude.
But how did it come to pass that David's heroics became necessary? At first, I was absolutely gobsmacked as to how the postman on that fateful day—a substitute for my normal professional carrier, obviously—had come to leave David's shipment out in the rain. Instead of taking one small step to the left, and leaving the package under cover, he had turned completely around, walked ten paces down my driveway, then turned right and walked another twenty paces to leave the box on the unprotected front stoop. How could such a thing have happened?
Finally, however, I deduced the identity of the postal substitute on that rainy Kalamazoo afternoon: it must have been none other than the long-time proprietor of The Money Tree, Myron Xenos. It all made perfect sense. Myron is always found around numismatic literature, and anyone who knows his political persuasion understands that he would do absolutely anything to avoid taking even one tiny step to the left. Case closed! But I forgive Myron this small indiscretion, for David Sklow's nonpareil packing saved the day. And never again will I grumble at the difficulty of opening another package from David, for when it comes to numismatic books, tight and dry beats wet and wild any day!
Whew! That was a close one! -Editor
Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on silver and the auction market. -Editor
Silver hit a high of $37 at mid-week as auction houses are flooded with antique silver consignments. I subscribe to Artifact.Live Auction Alerts and Friday set a first time example of all seven auctions featured this day contained silver objects, often shoehorned in with books or paintings.
Grandma's silver teapot is brought out of storage to be rendered into cash. It seems every silver item is sure to sell as investors are buying at the inflated price. Most think silver will rise to $50 an ounce.
Unlike the Hunt Brothers silver boom of the 1980s in which they attempted to corner the world market for the metal, this is broad based demand caused by uncertain economic times.
Obviously this is affecting the price of silver coins. I have witnessed common date silver dollars rise from $9 to $29 at my local coin club over the last few years. You pays your money and you takes your chance.
This article features an unusual collectible sometimes encountered in numismatic circles - silver dollars to which an advertising sticker has been applied. -Editor
Before the era of Internet marketing and electronic billboards, tourist attractions relied on ingenuity and orchestrated promotions to attract business. Silver Springs, in the 1940s-'60s pre-Disney days, was no exception and was in its heyday as a movie set Mecca and famed Florida attraction.
Past owners Carl Ray and W.M. "Shorty" Davidson were constantly seeking publicity to keep the springs in the footlights. Chief publicity generator William Ray, owner Carl Ray's son, was involved in constant promotional projects.
While the majority of Ray's promotions were highly successful, one campaign in the late 1950s almost landed him in federal prison.
"We wanted to show the townsfolk the impact of the springs on our local economy. We bought $20,000 in silver dollars (at face value) and paid our employees and vendors in them. We always had a cash payroll, but for a few weeks, we paid in coin. We put stickers promoting the springs on the reverse of the uncirculated dollars," he said. "I clearly recall a phone call from The Associated Press asking for comment on the Secret Service investigation of Silver Springs."
Dumbfounded, he denied any knowledge or basis for inquiry.
"I was adamant, and then the next call was from a very serious federal agent. I was informed I was facing possible charges and big fines for every coin we defaced by putting on the decals. He said the stickers were gumming up the counting machines in the Federal Reserve regional bank in Atlanta."
To avoid legal sanctions, Ray had eight women stationed in the conference room at the springs, tasked with cleaning the coins.
"We received all the silver dollars going through the four banks of Ocala and tried to recover as many as possible. I am glad we avoided legal problems and as it worked out, we enjoyed better relationships with local businesses," Ray said.
Tom Fulford of Dunnellon was a teen working his first job with the Bartlett Deer Ranch, a popular springs venue, and recalls the silver salary paydays as being in 1958 or '59.
"I was really excited, but a lot of the workers were upset. They wanted to save the dollars, but they needed the money. I am lucky that my dad bought mine from me and held them," he said.
Fulford recently sold his late father's collection to Will Moore, a professional numismatist.
"In my forty years doing this, I've only handled two groups similar to this (size). On several occasions, I've handled a lot of singles," Moore said. "The biggest mistake I've seen is people removing the tourist dollar sticker, thinking they'll put the coin back to original state. The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars are worth about $30, but with the sticker, I'd say they're worth double that."
To read the complete article, see:
Silver dollars nearly landed park co-owner in federal prison
Pete Smith's query on what to do with unpublished manuscripts prompted these responses fom readers. -Editor
Dick Johnson writes:
I expect librarians from each of the major numismatic libraries will reply to Pete Smith's plea in last week's E-Sylum. One would expect them to gush: Send those unpublished manuscripts to my library, we will gladly accept these at our institution!
But there is a bigger problem here. Manuscripts are the tip of the exposed iceberg. What isn't seen and supports those manuscripts - and wasn't mentioned by Pete last week - is a much larger volume: the research papers, photographs, photocopies, news clippings, and tons of notes. Add to that now computer files and discs.
So the key to all this in one word is SPACE. Does the institution have the space to acquire more material? Also does the institution have the PERSONNEL to catalog, archive and conserve such material? Otherwise if it sits in dead storage it is not of much use to anyone.
Here are some tips to numismatic researcher-writers:
1. Organize your material. Use any physical format you are comfortable with, but organize. Use plenty of cover sheets and summaries or abstracts.
2. Keep related material together. Put it in notebooks or in file folders and folders in expandable files or boxes.
3. It is somewhat useful to put dates on these. If you have written several drafts, this will help identify the latest version, for example.
4. Contact a library of your choice before you die, ask first if they will accept it, give a general description, how much space it occupies. Ask how they plan to catalog, conserve and make available your material to other scholars.
5. Put explicit instructions in your will and let family members know of this explicit disposition desire on your part.
6. If you feel your "papers" are of such volume, scholarly value and importance that they have a monetary value, spell out explicit instructions. These can include such plan as to hold a closed auction of say, three or four institutions of your choice, and let them bid on your "papers." Highest bidder wins with the money to go to your estate.
7. Or you may decide to start deaccessioning your papers by gift to a chosen institution at any time, before you die. Downsizing has some decided advantage, gives you more room to create more documents, papers, manuscripts!
I have a handful of horror stories of the entire life work of both authors - and artists who I have worked with - where their entire estates were destroyed. Perhaps I will relate these next week in The E-Sylum.
But allow me to give a pitch for a new museum. Name and location still a top secret. But it will be concerned with numismatic technology - how coins and medals are made and have been made for all time. I am involved since this is my strong interest in the field.
We would welcome any papers, manuscripts - published or unpublished - research material and such to be housed in this museum. Contact me. I will gush over how this will be the best such institution in the world to house your material forever and make the best use of it. Also I am interested in such material on medals and medallic art. firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Eckberg writes:
By all means, don't let good information disappear!!! The issue is only one of money. If you have information and you don't need/care to make money off it (for that matter, how many numismatic specialty books actually make any money?), just self-publish in electronic form and make it available on the Internet.
Sending it to a library will just get it lost in storage and probably never even cataloged. Remember the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark?" But any document can easily be converted to PDF and distributed electronically. Club websites (larger clubs like NBS or ANA) could serve as repositories for such information that could be freely made available to members. Isn't this already done on a general basis?
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: CAN UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS BE SAVED? (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n12a16.html)
Other Chinese Fakes
When all of a sudden I started seeing multiple offerings on eBay of Norwegian speciedaler types that I had not seen in three decades, I was forced to tentatively conclude that they were all fakes. To that category I would have to add coins of Italy and her colonies, Gold Coast, Zanzibar, and Swiss cantons, especially the shooting thalers. I am sure that by now the list has grown quite lengthy, and that more such books will be needed.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEW BOOK ON CHINESE FAKES OF NORWEGIAN COINS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n12a04.html)
Local Coin Show Publicity
Dick Johnson forwarded this article about the promoters of a monthly Michigan coin show. -Editor
Kids are the future of coin collecting. Don Reid thinks if they learn about currency like the wheat penny, they'll develop an interest just as he did as a boy.
Reid is always promoting the hobby. He and Mark Storey began encouraging collectors four years ago by holding the first Redford Coin Show.
"We found it difficult to get into small shows on a monthly basis and knew other people in the same boat so we founded this," said Reid. "The show's been growing and growing. Coin collecting can be expensive. We give coin collectors an opportunity to come buy, sell and trade coins they picked up during the month."
Hannah Reid loves coin shows. Don introduced her to the events in 2007 when they were dating. Born in Warsaw, Hannah believes her collection of Polish coins is the largest in the tri-state area.
"The coins bring back memories," said Hannah Reid who left Poland in 1972 at age 19.
Hannah compares Polish commemorative coins to U.S. quarters minted for each state.
"It's interesting because Poland commemorated for each city, a quarter size coin from 1999 to 2008 and are now doing the same with park animals. They copy what the American mint does."
To read the complete article, see: Show organizers to offer children free Wheat pennies to encourage coin collecting (www.hometownlife.com/article/20110324/NEWS16/103240655)
Quiz: Seven Questions on Britain's Five Pound Note
Dick Hanscom forwarded this BBC News quiz on the five pound banknote. Who can get a perfect score? (Don't ask what I got) -Editor
To take the quiz, see: 7 questions on fivers (www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12823993)
THE BOOK BAZARRE
The Atlantic published a short article this week highlighting the 1804 silver dollar and other notorious U.S. coins. Check it out. -Editor
No collection in America has more storied coins than the National Museum of American History. In the gallery below, we've collected five of their most famous pieces, with descriptions inspired from my conversation with curator Dr. Richard Doty.
1804 SILVER DOLLAR
What makes a coin expensive, anyway? "The biggest thing is demand," says Dr. Richard Doty, a curator at National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History. "You can have a roman coin that is 2,000 years old and unique, but if there is no demand or legend around it, it's nothing, "he said.
In 1909, for Lincoln's 100th birthday, the U.S. Mint made half a million Lincoln pennies designed and by Victor David Brenner, who engraved his initials on the reverse. The government wasn't pleased, and so Brenner was told to leave off the initials on subsequent issues. Still, about half a million pennies with Brenner's initials were released. Coin collectors suddenly realized that the coin would be scarce enough to be valuable and interesting enough to generate high demand. Today it's probably the most popular American one-cent piece ever made.
"A coin has to have notoriety," Doty says. "If you have three collectors and two coins you have a market. If you have three coins and two collectors you don't."
To read the complete article, see:
The Amazing History of the Most Notorious U.S. Coin
Dick Hanscom forward this articles on new Chilean banknotes. Thanks! -Editor
The president of Chile's Central Bank showed pictures and described the virtues of the country's new 1,000-peso (currently worth about US$2.04) banknote this week. This was the fifth and final addition Chile's new family of banknotes, which have gradually replaced bills in circulation for 30 years
Like the new 2,000 and 5,000 peso banknotes, introduced in September 2009 and November 2010, respectively, the new 1,000 peso banknotes will be made of a durable polymeric material, and will have more security features to prevent counterfeit.
Such features include a transparent window showing the portrait of the portrayed hero on the right side of the banknote, as well as a 3D watermark bank located in the note's left-hand side.
The drawings on the bill follow the pattern of other the recently introduced banknotes, showing a Chilean hero on the front and the landscape of a famous Chilean landmark on the back.
The front of the new banknote shows a portrait of Ignacio Carrera Pinto, a captain of the Chilean army during of the 19th century War of the Pacific against Bolivia and Peru.
The National Park of Torres de Paine—a world-renowned national park in Chile's southernmost Magallanes Region—is showcased on the back.
The new bills will begin circulating on May 11, 2011, first to commercial banks and then, gradually, to ATM's located throughout the country.
P.K. Saha forwarded this article from a French publication which profiles the current director of the Paris Mint. Thanks! -Editor
At the helm of the Paris Mint since 2007, Christophe Beaux has given the venerable institution a jolt of new energy. This March he launches a renovation project that will transform the Mint and its Left Bank neighborhood.
If La Monnaie is fast becoming one of the trendiest spots in the city, it's always been one of the most beautiful. The masterpiece of architect Jacques-Denis Antoine, the neoclassical building constructed between 1771 and 1777 to house the workshops of the French national mint has miraculously remained unchanged. Now, elegant as ever, it's shedding its out-of-date image.
Behind this transformation is the ambitious, discreet and poised, 44-year-old Christophe Beaux, a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) and a former assistant director at the Ministry of Finance. When Beaux was named head of La Monnaie in 2007, he inherited an enterprise which had kept its monopoly as a mint but came with a host of problems.
Recently designated as an EPIC, a state-owned industrial and commercial company, the mint is now required to show a profit—a goal it reached in 2009, with annual sales totaling €126 million. The Paris mint does not produce French euros—those are minted in Pessac, in the Gironde region around Bordeaux, along with Greek euros and foreign coins including the Saudi riyal and the taka for Bangladesh. In the workshops of La Monnaie de Paris, which cover nearly two and a half acres, some 130 workers produce collectors' items—coins, medals and art objects, using precious metals and age-old techniques. La Monnaie's boutique has long been a source of unusual, if conservative, gifts.
The biggest change orchestrated by Beaux is yet to come. The Monnaie's major renovation will kick off in March. Architect Philippe Prost won the design competition for the project, which will take two years to complete. "The idea we have in mind is to create a veritable Murano for metal, open to the public," says Beaux, referring to Venice's glassmaking island. "Far from being a handicap, our factory will become an attraction. We want to make visible this living heritage, our savoir-faire, our remarkable tradition of artisanat and art. All within a carefully preserved historical environment.
"We're going to reopen six portes cochères (carriageway doors) on the rue Guénégaud and three entrances on the other side," he explains. "With the central courtyard and the two side courtyards, La Monnaie will have the look of a village. A vast garden and several boutiques will be open to strollers. And we haven't forgotten restaurants—to taste Guy Savoy's artichoke soup with black truffles, you'll have to come here in the future." In fact, three-star chef Savoy will be leaving his long-time flagship restaurant in the 17th arrondissement to install himself in the Monnaie's superb salons with views on the Seine, and he will also open the Métal Café for more affordable fare.
To read the complete article, see: CHRISTOPHE BEAUX (francetoday.com/articles/2011/03/19/christophe_beaux.html)
Sales tax tokens (and other exonumismatic and philatelic pieces used in the process of collecting sales taxes) were used in several states, primarily in the Midwest, South, and Southwest, in the 1930s and 1940s. Although in some cases they were legal until the early 1960s, for the most part they were discontinued shortly after World War II.
Except for occasional political pieces opposing a proposed sales tax in one of the few states still lacking one, the collecting field is closed in the sense that no more tokens are being issued and none are in public circulation. However, there continue to be new discoveries of unknown pieces, major die varieties, a wide variety of historical materials, and other items.