Volume 14, Number 18, May 1, 2011
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM MAY 1, 2011
Among our new subscribers this week are Meghan McKeon of F+W Media, Inc., and Ray Bows, courtesy of Howard A. Daniel III. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,422 email subscribers, plus 136 followers on Facebook, including Franklin Leite Chucre and Kenny Meredith.
This week we open with an update from Fred Lake and a review of a new book on coins of the British Virgin Islands. Next up is a lengthy review from Ray Bows of the military coinage section of Whitman's Guide Book of U.S. Tokens and Medals. Other topics include a new donation to the national Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and numismatic numbering systems.
To learn more about the Chinese coin collections of Daniel K.E. Ching and the Arthur Coole family, "differents" and a Swedish banknote design competition, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
LAKE BOOKS 107TH MAIL BID SALE PRICE REALIZED AVAILABLE
Fred Lake forwarded this note about the results of his last numismatic literature sale. -Editor
The prices realized list for our 107th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature is now available for viewing on our web site at www.lakebooks.com/current.html
We will be bit slower than usual in shipping lots to the winning bidders as both my wife, Joan (the packer-in-charge) and I are hobbled a bit by some pesky back problems. We'll do our best to continue the kind of service that you have come to expect from Lake Books.
Our next sale will be held on July 12, 2011 and will feature selections from the library of Lucien (Lou) Philippon, a noted collector of Early American coinage.
BOOK REVIEW: COINS OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Jon Radel forwarded a link to a review of a new book on the coins of the British Virgin Islands. Thanks! -Editor
A new book narrating the story of the British Virgin Islands coins of the 1800s and 1900s has just been published by Laurel Publication International.
The well-documented, ground-breaking work has a foreword by Michael O'Neal, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Island Resources Foundation.
"Coins of the Virgin Islands" is a significant contribution to the memory bank of Virgin Islands history," Dr. O'Neal said.
The Author of "The Beautiful and Mysterious Coins of the British Virgin Islands" is BVI Philatelic Society president Dr. Giorgio Migliavacca.
The findings of years of research on archive sources and lesser known published works are presented by the Author who has achieved a good balance between the historical background, the slavery issue and the numismatic focus.
Migliavacca's presentation of numismatic aspects is humanistic rather than strictly scientific and provides a much wider picture.
In fact, the Author throws new light on the role of local coinage during the 1800s utilizing newly uncovered and significant archival material. Modern coins and Virgin Islands currencies from the 1800s to date are also examined.
"This book goes beyond the numismatic side of the story and explores the socio-economic facets revealing important aspects that have not emerged before in history books. Virgin Islands coinage dates back to the early 1800s. On 3 February 1801, an Act was passed by the local Legislature to stamp, or counter-mark, silver and copper coins in order to create an insular coinage," Migliavacca said.
"In the Virgin Islands, slaves hoarded the local coins to buy their freedom, and emancipated blacks used "cut money" to buy estates, big and small. Even before emancipation, slaves, free blacks and Liberated Africans used Virgin Islands coins every day of the week. The local coinage was not a simple witness, it became part of unprecedented and unsuspecting changes: from the abolition of slavery, to emancipation, to apprenticeship, to the dark, long and hopeless days of economic stagnation. "Cut money" became the key that opened the gate of true freedom, resulting in a sense of self reliance, autonomy, and security that still typifies the Virgin Islands of the third millennium," said Dr. Migliavacca.
Migliavacca's narrative style makes easy reading and will prove of great interest to both coin collectors and persons interested in Virgin Islands and Caribbean history.
The 52-page book is generously illustrated with well-chosen colour photographs. It is available at booksellers and outlets in the Virgin Islands and at The Island Sun office at 112 Main Street.
Dr. Migliavacca is a member of the British Virgin Islands Stamp Advisory Committee since 1987. He has written articles for the ancient coins magazine Celator, and has contributed entries to the International Dictionary of Numismatics.
To read the complete article, see: New book on old VI coins publishe (bvinews.com/bvi/new-book-on-old-vi-coins-published/)
For those of us who don't happen to live in the British Virgin islands, Jon also forwarded this eBay link: COINS OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLAND (cgi.ebay.com/COINS-BRITISH-VIRGIN-ISLANDS-new-Book-new-new-/260772148553)
KOLBE & FANNING JUNE 2, 2011 SALE HIGHLIGHTSKey Works on Various Topics Including
Ray Byrne's photographic archive;
An 1760 work depicting an Admiral Vernon medal;
Nearly 200 lots from the Ira Rezak Library, featuring works on
Russian coins and medals;
Medina's Medallas de Proclamaciones and Monedas Hispano-Americanas;
Ira Rezak's notable Russian numismatic research files;
An extensive run of 97 complete volumes of The Numismatic Chronicle,
1881–2004, mostly bound and generally fine
Catalogue Available at Our Web Site: www.numislit.com
Printed Catalogues $10.00
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141 W JOHNSTOWN ROAD, GAHANNA OH 43230-2700
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BOOK REVIEW: MILITARY TOKENS IN 'A GUIDEBOOK OF UNITED STATES TOKENS AND MEDALS'
At the suggestion of Howard Daniel, Ray Bows submitted this detailed review of military token content in Katie Jaeger's book, "A Guidebook of United States Tokens and Medals." Thanks! -Editor
A Critique of Military Token Listings and Passages in Katherine Jaeger's A GUIDEBOOK OF UNITED STATES TOKENS AND MEDALS
by Master Sergeant Ray Bows, US Army (ret.)
Just as Tokens and Medals – A Guide To The Identification and Values of United States Exonumia by Stephen P. Albert and Lawrence E. Elman in 1992 expanded my collecting interests of exonumia well beyond my deep interest in military tokens and unofficial military medals of the United States and foreign countries, so was Katherine Jaeger's A GUIDEBOOK OF UNITED STATES TOKENS AND MEDALS a shot in the arm to my collecting interests. Jaeger's crisp descriptions and understandable commentary, as well as Whitman's outstanding photographs, call out to all collectors to expand into every avenue of exonumia which they have not yet explored.
I have been collecting military tokens since stationed at Camp Mercer, Korea in 1963, and since have received literary awards from TAMS, NTCA and the Numismatic Literary Guild, for "The Buffalo Nickel of the 17th Infantry Regiment", "The Tokens and Exonumia of Fort Sheridan, Illinois", "United States and Allied Military Tokens of Vietnam", "Military Slot Machine Tokens of Okinawa" and a few other books and articles. I mention these awards only to establish my credibility, and because I hope that my comments about the fine work of Ms. Jaeger are taken both seriously and constructively. In devoting the last 48 years to the study of U.S. military tokens and related military monies, long ago I recognized that most of the catalogers of both early and late military tokens have no record of military service, and therefore rely only on a cursory understanding of the subject of their cataloging specialties. In listing known pieces and giving approximate values they consider their jobs complete, after-all, all many collectors and dealers actually want is a price guide to their chosen collecting field.
I am compelled in this review to note disturbing assumptions made in the catalog that truly need clarification. One of my mentors once explained that the NCOI heritage is the underpinning of our military strength, and that senior sergeants are the ones who actually transmit the living army's story from generation to generation, and I take that task seriously. I feel a need to note corrections that should be made before another edition is published, and do this before misnomers and misinformation stick. I remember the first time I heard a coin dealer refer to 90% silver coin as "junk silver" instead of "bulk silver" at which I chuckled, but now with Whitman using "junk silver" as the acceptable term for 90%, I realize that when improper word usage, or incorrect terminology go on being used unchecked they become accepted by the general population.
About Sutler Tokens Commentary on Page 87
Post traders (in the Army) were abolished in 1880, but many had 18 months to dispose of their stock, while post traders in the Marine Corps existed through the end of the Spanish American War. Post Canteens came into being in 1880. The name Post Canteen was changed to Post Exchange during the period 1890 to 1892 depending on the post, because of the association that some people made with British "Wet" Canteens, which were drinking establishments for English soldiers. These oversights in the chronology are indeed bothersome.
About Company Store and Commissary Tokens on Page 88
About the heading 20th Century Military Commissary Tokens Page 92
I have often mentioned and written about the fact French mint officials had no more knowledge of General Doyre striking 1, 2, and 5 Sol siege coins in Mainz, Germany in 1793 than the US Mint had knowledge of private companies striking tokens for Post Canteens, Post Exchanges, Regimental Exchanges and NCO clubs during the last 150 years. The siege coinage of Mainz is now an integral part of the French numismatic catalog, while somehow U.S. military tokens are still not understood as having the authority of the US government behind them. Military tokens are as much a part of "Government Sponsored Tokens" (and actually more so) than some pieces listed in Jaeger's Chapter 8 (beginning on page 113), that were issued by states verses the Federal government. I can understand the oversight – be it intentional or not – for if collectors considered military pontoon checks as being part and parcel of our US government's monetary heritage, the profound understanding would create cataloging problems within the numismatic community that would be insurmountable unless it was ordered by Royal edict that numismatic catalogers start all over again. Numismatists would literally have to reinvent the wheel.
About 20th Century Military "Commissary" Tokens on page92
When mentioning "1) permanent military bases in the United States territories and on foreign soil". It needs understanding that we have NEVER had permanent military ‘bases" on foreign soil. Permanent installations are ONLY located in the US. Until recently a "base" has always been an Air Force term. US Air Force bases overseas are "Air Bases" never "Air Force Bases" – a "post" was an Army term. Permanent US Army installations (until a recent decision) were termed Forts (i.e. Fort Benning, Fort Bragg Fort Lewis etc). Semi-permanent and temporary US Army installations overseas are termed "Camps". A camp, even in the US did not become a "fort" until so declared by Congress – The only exception to this was in Panama and the Philippines when we considered them "our" territories (i.e. Fort Mills and Fort McKinley in the Philippines and Fort Kobbe and Fort Amador in the Canal Zone). Hastily prepared emplacements (during combat) overseas are termed base camps, compounds, fire bases, fire support bases, patrol bases, landing zones, and airfields. Only the largest of these installations have issued tokens during the Vietnam, Korean or post-WWII conflicts. There were a handful of locations in Vietnam given a "fort" name. Fort Page and Fort Dent come to mind. These were not forts, but so-named by uninformed unit commanders to promote esprit-de-corps.
The bottom two reverse photographs on page 92 are inverted. The reverse of the HACOM piece is a stylized sword on a shield – not a paint brush on a bloated arrowhead. On the reverse of the DAC token (Da Nang Area Command – not Da Nang Air Base nor Da Nang Air Command) the arrow inside the circle (actually a 1st Logistical Command insignia) points to 10:30 hours not to high-noon – This may seem trivial, but it is a very important point to all former 1st Log soldiers and those that received their supplies from them – Truckers in Vietnam, of which I was associated, who were expected to fight right along with the infantry. The significance of the 10:30 time frame indicated by the patch is that mission requirement dictates that it must be accomplished before the eleventh hour – the hour of finality.
About Military and Other Challenge Coins on Page 259
"There is no evidence for challenge-coin use in World War II or the Korean conflict." is a totally erroneous statement on the part of Ms. Jaeger, although it does not negate her conclusion. The penny in a poke story is indeed invented, while there are numerous examples of military style challenge coins extending as far back as World War I. Unit medallions were made during, and at the end of the Great War, but so far my research shows they were only issued by US Army Infantry units. I have several different pieces in my collection, and without a doubt the 1st Infantry Division was the pioneer in this field. In that same vein, I can't stress enough that all stories of how "the challenge coin" came into being in US Army Air Corps units are unfounded rubbish, and should be ignored!"
The first actual Challenge Coins (with a Challenge theme) were issued by the military districts of Germany at the end of World War II – Criminal investigators used them in lieu of badges – There was an investigator's challenge and a verbal response of recognition by the suspect in question. Nothing happens overnight everything, even challenge coins evolve. I own a rare example of one such piece from the District of Mannheim. The first "enameled unit challenge style medallion" was again pioneered by the 1st Infantry Division in Nurnberg, Germany in October 1945. It was silver dollar size, made of aluminum and bronze in a sandwich style process. It was the first of the ubiquitous series, which are just as never ending and constantly issued, as are the stories about their origins.
The first unit coin made mandatory to be in a soldier's possession was the Buffalo Nickel of the 17th Infantry Regiment. It was issued during the Korean War – and subsequent issues were dated all through the fifties, while the 2d Infantry Division penny and the Pathfinder nickel followed. The first true challenge coins as we know them today were issued in the late 1950's through the very early 1960's. Unit coins of approximately half dollar size (32mm) were issued by Airborne Infantry Units including the 327th Airborne Infantry Combat Group, and the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry. Some of these pieces were holed by unit members and strung on their dog tag chains, as were pieces of the 171st Infantry Brigade, Fort Wainwright, Alaska beginning in July 1963. The later aluminum pieces were slightly larger at 35mm.
Special Forces challenges (without a challenge coin being involved) existed in Korea as early as 1963, while to my knowledge the first bar room slap-down of coins involved actual silver dollars which occurred with military members of the US Army's Rail Transportation Office while at Gare St. Lazare, in Paris, France in 1965, between soldiers handling US Army duty trains. The 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Tölz, Germany may have picked up the slap down practice from SFC Mickey Norton, now deceased, who was a veteran of the Korean War. The Challenge Coin custom went to Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group, but it was General Melvin Zais commanding general of the 101st Airborne who perfected the Unit Coin, the Award Coin and the Special Presentation Coin. Many others claim to have developed these institutions, but I have indisputable proof that General Melvin Zais was the father of such things.
Katherine Jaeger's 289 page book was without a doubt a monumental task, a crowning accomplishment, and a labor of love. I have learned many things through her research that I did not know about in the "civilian realm" of token collecting, and have therefore not even attempted to address them here. I sincerely hope that this review will in some small way return the debt I owe her with my newly gained knowledge, and that hopefully she has received a few points from me about military from me through this review.
Katie's book was published in 2008, Our June 8, 2008 issue had an article about it. -Editor
To read the earlier E=Sylum article, see: BOOK REVIEW: A GUIDE BOOK OF U.S. TOKENS AND MEDALS BY KATHERINE JAEGER (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v11n23a06.html)
SMITHSONIAN RECEIVES GLENNA GOODACRE'S SACAGAWEA DOLLAR MATERIALS
Art Daily published a piece about the recent donation of Glenna Goodacre's Sacagawea material to the Smithsonian. -Editor
The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has recently acquired 17 items from sculptor Glenna Goodacre from her successful commission to design the Sacagawea dollar coin released in 2000. This donation preserves the creative and technical challenges of such a design and represents an important part of American history. The materials include fired-clay coins, bronze sculptures, plaster studies and pencil-drawing proofs up to the first release of the coin in a presentation box, which will be housed in the museum's National Numismatic Collection.
Goodacre, of Santa Fe, N.M., is a nationally acclaimed artist and sculptor with a career spanning 40 years. She has created hundreds of pieces, including the bronze Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a portrait of former President Ronald Reagan, which is held at the Reagan Library in California.
"The items Goodacre donated show her love and dedication of the coin from concept to completion," said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. "She artfully portrayed a young American Indian guide and mother whose amazing adventure still lives in the hearts, minds and imagination of the American people today."
The artist faced many challenges surrounding the design of the coin, such as no known images of Sacagawea exist. Sacagawea (c. 1788 – 1812) was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Western United States acting as their interpreter and guide. Goodacre used Shoshone college student Randy'L Teton as a model and dressed her in an authentic period beaded leather dress. Logistical issues included the project specifications that stated that the image was not supposed to touch the coin's border inscription yet the central image had to be large enough to be clearly visible.
"It was a great honor for me to sculpt my own design for the Sacagawea Dollar, to work with the wonderful U.S. Mint engravers and staff who took my drawings and studies all the way through to an actual minted coin," said Goodacre. "It was a unique experience for a sculptor like me and the high point of my long career as an artist. The Smithsonian is the perfect home for my preliminary coin material, and I'm proud to have my work in the National Numismatic Collection."
Goodacre experimented with many designs for the coin—head studies, standard profile, a standing figure of Sacagawea pointing the way. She also wanted to feature images of Sacagawea with her infant son, who accompanied her on the expedition, and express Sacagawea's ability to communicate with the tribes the group met as it made its way through unknown territories.
After a general call for designs, the six top candidates were put on the U.S. Mint website for a public vote and three of Goodacre's submissions proved to be the most popular. The design process continued until 1999 when all parties were satisfied, and it was unveiled at a White House event hosted by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The final design shows a head/shoulder view of Sacagawea with her infant son sleeping peacefully on her back. The U.S. Mint also asked Goodacre to sculpt the bas-relief for the coin herself, which makes her one of only a handful of private-sector artists in history who have created an American coin.
To read the complete article, see: Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection Receives Sacagawea Dollar (www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=46868)
DICK JOHNSON ON THE VITAL IMPORTANCE OF NUMISMATIC NUMBERING SYSTEMS
Fred Schwan writes:
Regarding the Agricultural Medals book, I read Dick Johnson's earlier detailed review. Dick made a comment that really caught my eye. Here is what he said:
"I was also impressed with your numbering system -- technically called a geographic-numeric open number system -- for the ease in which to add more specimens in the future while retaining the existing numbers."
So here is my question. What is the source that designates the names of numbering systems? I like the name and its purpose, but I want to read more about the technical source!
I forwarded Fred's question to dick Johnson - his response follows. Thanks! -Editor
Every cataloger of numismatic items has a duty to choose a numbering system convenient to the items he is describing. Fred Schwan asked about a term I used in describing the numbering system Andy Harkness' chose for his listing of Agricultural Society medals in his recent book.
I complimented Andy for his choice of the numbering system he used. I called it "geographic-numeric open number system." It fit the items he was describing like a glove.
Fred asked if this is from some published source or is this just something I made up. It is closer to the latter, but I had intended to publish something about numismatic numbering systems -- perhaps an entire chapter in a book I would someday like to write, "How to Catalog Coins, Medals and Tokens." (Unfortunately it ranks 5 in current priority list of numismatic books to write).
I will extract some text on numbering systems I had prepared from my Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology (even before this is published). Creating a number system is the equivalent of creating numismatic shorthand. A number or letter-number combination is shorthand for a long name., plus it aids in arranging the items in order at any later time It is applied to only one variety and once it is published for all to use it becomes embedded in numismatic literature. We have seen auction catalogs with only three elements -- lot number, catalog number, condition. That is enough information for a potential buyer to intelligently bid on.
As a cataloger gathers a large number of specimens in his chosen topic, he must arrange these in some order. This is the key to his numbering system. This can be chronological, geographical or some other sequential method. Numismatic items with a lot of varieties require a different system, for example, from that with a run of one-of-a-kind items.
Here is a list I mention in my entry on numbering system in my Encyclopedia: Straight numerical, Open numerical, Numerical, Outline, Straight decimal, Consecutive decimal, Letter-number combination, Numerical coding for data processing (often with zeros in front of integral numbers) or a variety of alpha-numeric combinations of these.
Problems arise after the catalog is published and newly discovered varieties need to be added to the arrangement. How easy to add these is a factor of the number system.
Here are some examples:
Straight numerical -- Hibler & Kappan's So-Called Dollars. Pro: Their arrangement was chronological so their number system retained this. Con: They numbered every variety in that same sequence, so new varieties have no place to be added. This was a problem for the editors of the second edition of this work.
Open numerical -- Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of Colonial and U.S. Coins. Pro: he left open numbers to be added for denominations currently being struck. Excellent. Con: He could not have anticipated bullion coins being issued by the U.S. Mint, thus there are no open numbers for these -- they must be relegated to the end of his numerical system.
Outline -- If anyone remembers NASCA auction catalogs, it was their policy not to renumber the lots but to add late lots in proper sequence but to number the lots with an outline number. Pro: they got in. Con: it was very confusing.
Letter-Number combination -- Best example is Bob Julian's Medals of the United States Mint of the first Century.
Coding for data processing -- Some of George Fuld's early writings on Lafayette and other series were chosen for compatability with data processing, then newly in use.
We could list dozens more, each with their good points and bad.
Muling , for example, creates problems, where it may be ideal to number both obverses and reverses. But this is a no-no for most everything else. [for his list of medals sculptor Joseph Colletti gave separate numbers to both an obverse and reverse even that had only one reverse. This is ONE item for cataloging, not two.
Tip for catalogers when using multiple element catalog numbers: make it one word. Connect the elements with a period, dash, slash or such. And the reason for that is everyone has unrestricted use to that number. You cannot copyright one word, thus it is in public domain once it is published. You can, if you wish, mention, say, on the copyright page how you would prefer these items to be cited, with the cataloger's initials or full last name or however. But no need to put your initials on every item (as the authors did in the recent publication The Secret History of the First United States Mint.
Fred, this reply may not satisfy your inquiry - the best advice at this time: arrange items before deciding a number system. Then use common sense in choosing a number system.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BOOK REVIEW: AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL SOCIETY MEDALS OF THE U.S. (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n51a07.html)
HOW MANY OF THE 100 GREATEST MODERN COINS