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You won't regret it!

  • ROSS W. IRWIN, 1921-2013
    Click here to read this issue on the web
    To comment or submit articles, reply to


    Wayne Homren

    New subscribers this week include Jason Feldman, courtesy of Len Augsburger, Gerry Fortin, and returning subscriber Peter Mosiondz, Jr. Welcome aboard! We have 1,631 email subscribers, plus 218 followers on Facebook.

    This week we open with an online survey for E-Sylum readers, word of four new numismatic books and a new numismatic blog. Other topics this week include the late Ross Irwin, dealers Henry Chapman and Norman Shultz, collector Lamont DuPont, and post-1892 U.S. Mint medals.

    To learn more about "enhanced uncirculated" Silver Eagles, Corinthian Bronze, Franklinium, a new Liberty Dollar, and Heidi Wastweet's Freedom Girl, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

    Wayne Homren
    Editor, The E-Sylum


    E-Sylum survey logo

    People always ask me where our E-Sylum readers live, but it’s a tough question to answer. When anyone in the world can get a free Gmail or Yahoo mail account, it's hard to tell. So I put together a little survey. Please click on the link below (or logo above) and respond to a few short questions. We're curious to learn where all of you are from.

    To complete the survey, see: E-Sylum Reader Survey


    Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this release about the new book by Dick Doty. -Editor

    Pictures From a Distant Country Whitman Publishing announces the release of a new book by Dr. Richard Doty, senior curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection. Pictures From a Distant Country: Seeing America Through Old Paper Money, a 296-page hardcover with dustjacket, retails for $24.95 and will be available from bookstores and hobby shops nationwide in April 2013. It can also be ordered from online book sellers, including at

    “For much of our nation’s history there was no federal currency in circulation,” Doty observes. “Instead, currency was issued by private banks and other businesses.” These pieces of private money, called obsolete bank notes, form the basis of his narrative. Doty interprets what their designs and images tell us about the United States of the 1800s—the “distant country” of the book’s title. Hundreds of detailed close-ups illustrate his engaging text, exploring how Americans viewed women, children, family, the workplace, the frontier, slavery, racial minorities, new technology, entertainment, and our national identity. “A finer view of life in America in the early 19th century could not be imagined,” says Q. David Bowers in the book’s foreword.

    Doty’s ten main chapters are illustrated mostly with individual vignettes and enlarged bank-note engravings. In the back of the book, a 147-page appendix shows at full size the notes discussed in the text, cross-referenced to the narrative. A five-page index, organized by state, city, and bank, also links researchers to individual notes.

    “My great love of this type of currency and my deep respect for its (largely) nameless engravers made this book possible,” said Doty. “If ever there were a case of standing on the shoulders of giants, this is it.”

    Dennis adds:

    It’s a beautiful book; Dick’s narrative is supported by enlargements of the vignettes he discusses, and in addition to those close-up images we’ve pictured every note in its entirety in an appendix. Paper-money collectors will be delighted, of course, but I believe the book will interest mainstream history lovers as well.

    For more information, or to order, see:


    Roger Burdette forwarded this following announcement of his latest book, From Mine to Mint. Congratulations! -Editor

    From Mine to Mint Seneca Mill Press LLC proudly announces the publication of the much anticipated book From Mine to Mint, by Roger W. Burdette. The book is 560 pages including and extensive bibliography, and is accompanied by a free CD-ROM containing the complete searchable text AND a version suitable for eReaders and other portable text devices. The CD also includes copies of US Mint laws and annotated summaries up to the twentieth century. (The CD is bundled with the book and not sold separately.) Available from Wizard Coin Supply. The cover price for the 6x9-inch, B&W book with CD is $39.95.

    Pre-publication praise:

    “…a stunning accomplishment!”

    “If you have any interest at all in the Mint's history and operations in the 19th century, this book will knock your socks off.”

    From Mine to Mint is an essential compendium of operational and mechanical knowledge that should be a part of every collector’s library.

    From Mine to Mint examines the technology, equipment and operations of the United States Mints from opening of the second Philadelphia Mint in 1833 to the institution of operational reforms in 1937. In depth text and illustrations explain press operation, refining, ingot preparation, striking, counting, shipping and a host of other mint operations and the equipment used to perform them. From Mine to Mint also includes previously unknown accounts of gold adjustment as well as the gradual evolution of key pieces of machinery. The first uses of steam powered presses are explained, and the evolution from steam and coal to electricity and natural gas is described along with the impact on coinage.

    Also included are descriptions, photos and floor plans of U.S. Mints and assay offices and descriptions of their operations.

    From Mine to Mint is intended to bring to coin collectors, numismatists, scholars and historians a view of how the United States Mints operated from the early steam-powered press era to that of mature electric power. The goal is to present, as faithfully as possible, how the mints really worked. In essence, From Mine to Mint is, in effect, a mini-encyclopedia of U.S. Mint technology and operations of the nineteenth century.

    Author Roger W. Burdette has compiled descriptions and images to explain operations and equipment in routine use in refining precious metal and the manufacture of coins. This approach is necessarily incomplete. Few contemporary engineers, machinists and others at the U.S. Mints bothered to write about their work. Fewer still left any detailed record of daily operations or of experiments undertaken at mint facilities. Occasional references to new equipment or processes occur in the Director’s Annual Reports, but these are commonly superficial and subject to editorial modification by mint staff to best present the Director’s accomplishments, even if not strictly accurate.

    The beginning date, 1833, is the year a new mint opened in Philadelphia. It is simply a convenient starting point that permits a little backward look, but largely points the way forward. As an end date, 1937 would seem an unusual choice; however, it is the year director Ross showed she understood how the mints were operating and the year she exerted her authority for fundamental change in accounting and protection of America’s treasure.

    This period delineated the gradual technological transition of our mints from steam power to electricity; from self-contained mechanical factories to commercially dependent producers; from individual-based organization to standards-based operations. Thus, it was in this time that the mints came to maturity in parallel with American expansion, manufacturing and nationalism.

    The first three chapters present an orientation to the basics of refining gold and silver and the coinage process. Responsibilities of Mint Bureau officers are described from official sources and from internal documents that address practical duties in addition to statutory duties. The third chapter describes mint and assay office buildings including floor plans and room uses. All the mints used similar equipment and processes, but there were many local variations required by seemingly small differences in equipment or local conditions. The goal of all the mints was to strike coins that were indistinguishable from one mint to another so that all would be accepted in commerce. While focused on gold bullion and gold coinage, the handling of silver and base metal for minor coinage is also treated in detail. Together, they give collectors a comprehensive view of how American coins and bullion bars were made at the mints and assay offices.

    The emphasis is on actual practices of the mints rather than on regulations. This was done because the mint laws and regulations are statements of what was expected, and not necessarily how these expectations were to be accomplished. Interactions between various departments are only a superficial part of the official regulations, and the relationships between the mints and the public – both general and commercial – are largely ignored.

    The next chapters describe minting operations in greater detail including variations in use at different mints and at different dates. Once branch mints were opened in the late 1830s, uniformity began to decline. It was not until nearly seventy years later, with opening of new mints in Philadelphia and Denver, that equipment and business processes began to re-converge. Final chapters describe equipment operation, inventions and technological changes made at the mints. These are the few opportunities given for historical recognition of the contributions made to minting technology by employees. While their inventions and innovations have long since been superseded, in their time they were the products of creative engineers and machinists endeavoring to solve real world problems.

    The Mints operated in a more or less one-way knowledge environment. As a new country, European nations viewed America as a rude cousin not ready for international leadership. The Royal Mint and its continental counterparts seldom visited American mints, and when they did so their conclusions were likely commonly: “We’ve been doing that for many years. There’s nothing to learn from them.” There was much truth to such sentiments, but there was also much the continentals overlooked.

    The United States Mint was a mere infant compared to the Royal Mint with its lengthy archive of processes, data and materials. The Philadelphia Mint was also a late adopter of steam engines as the power source for metal forming and minting equipment. But what American engineers did was to use their late start as a means for separating out technology that was unstable, overly complex or proprietary. In mid-1835 we find Philadelphia engineer/machinist Benjamin Franklin Peale discarding most of the complexity and tradition attendant to press design work of Thonnelier in Paris, Uhlhorn in Karlsruhe, and Boulton in London. Peale went to basic principles of equipment used at these great mints, and adapted it to the American model of efficiency. Equipment had to be robust and easy to repair. The vast distances of North America made it impossible to have mechanical experts at each mint, sitting, waiting for something to break.

    Coinage processes were, in like manner, influenced by both national psyche and expanse of territorial estate. Mint employees Peale and DuBois used the transition to steam power to rework basic processes of metal handling. With the goal of a uniform national currency before Congress, and four national mints in service, the Mint Bureau of 1839 had to insist on similar ways of processing gold and silver, even if these processes were not the most efficient or inexpensive. As with equipment, we can again see Franklin Peale borrowing from the Royal Mint and Paris Mint such production methods that worked well, and discarding those of questionable utility in the American mints.

    The United States Mint and later the Mint Bureau under the Treasury Department were (and are) highly insular government organizations. The mint viewed details of its work as secret, scientific and immune to external inquiry. Following its official movement to the Treasury Department, mint directors repeatedly reminded Congress and the Secretary of Treasury that the mint’s accounting and operations were unique. Thus, the mint claimed it must retain people trained in its work, and could not permit employees to transfer in or out of the mint service without unusual reasons. This particularly applied to bookkeepers and clerks, but also to certain skilled workmen. Ordinary workmen were not considered important and their services could be dispensed with at will.

    The advent of Civil Service examinations did little to alter the mint’s attitude, and extant files record the difficulties faced by any clerk who dared apply for a mint job. Naturally, those already employed at Philadelphia, Washington or some other mint location, and who were well liked by supervisors, found exceptions to qualifying exam scores, and re-tests easily obtainable. Letters to the director or to the Civil Service Commission attest to the indispensable nature of certain low-scoring clerks.

    A critical factor in examining mint operations, and one which is the origin of great confusion, is the lack of any official, semi-official or casual history of the mint as experienced by insiders. Key employees spent their entire lives at the mint, yet left no written record of their jobs or how the operations were devised, modified and replaced with others. We find this on the official level also, where large expanses of administrative instructions, orders and rules are completely missing for the archives. Expediency seems to have often led to a failure to record the content of vaults, reconcile assays and weights, or follow modifications to known laws or regulations. We are missing so much information, that we cannot say if an action was authorized or unauthorized, and whether it was ordered in writing or verbally. Official regulations, such as they were, spoke of what was to be done, and not how it was to be accomplished or who had to approve an action.

    This situation creates much confusion and misunderstanding for modern investigators. Some, especially those with preconceived biases, assume that anything not written in a regulation or rule was not done. They ignore the reality that the mints operated as much by practicality and “common sense” as by high-level rules. Nothing official explained how to cast bars of metal, or count coins, or attend to customers at the cashier’s office. On rare occasions we find a knowledgeable mint officer opening the black-out curtains to explain why something occurred. Thus, in 1910 we find engraver Charles Barber disclosing that many of the experimental and pattern pieces made in the 1870s and 1880s were prepared on verbal orders: no records were kept and the persons giving the orders were never mentioned.

    For more information, or to order, see:


    Bagchee is offering a new book on Indian numismatics. -Editor

    Overview for Coins of Jahangir: Creations of a Numismatist

    Coins of Jahangir This book is a follow-up to the author's Coinage of Akbar: The Connoisseur's Choice published in 2005, and is the result of extensive research over a period of nearly eight years. On the basis of feedback received from the fellow coin collectors and scholars, whereas the classification of less common coins has been retained (that is S for scarce, R for rare, RR for still rarer; and RRR for extremely rare), the illustrations have been placed side by side with the description for easier reference.

    Jahangirs coins have always been most sought-after of the Mughal coins on account of their exquisite beauty and craftsmanship. As the demand has always out-stripped supply they have continued to be the forgers favourite. Keeping this in mind a chapter has been added on Forgeries. It should be of particular help to new collectors.

    The catalogue section of the book which covers 205 pages (57 for gold coins with 125 types,108 for silver with 226 types; and 40 pages for copper coins with 60 types) is profusely illustrated with over 600 coins. These represent not only all the famous museums and numismatic societies, but also the rarest of rare specimens from private collections all over the world. Many of these are being published for the first time; specially Jahangirs copper coins which represent as many as 47 mints.

    The authors investigative approach will be of interest to numismatic scholars and academicians in finding answers to some of their most baffling questions. For example, why did Jahangir issue a large proportion of his coins with the name of his father, but Akbar was conspicuously missing from his kalima type coins?; or, Why did he issue some coins with the exhortation Allah-Uh-Akbar with his own name missing ?, etc., etc. A foreword by Shailendra Bhandare, one of the most knowledgeable Mughal numismatic scholars of our times, adds considerably to the value of the monograph.

    Authors (s): Andrew V. Liddle (Author)
    Format: Hardcover
    ISBN-13: 9788173049941
    Pages: 260p., Colour; Illustrations; 25cm.
    Pub. date: 02.02.2013, 1st. ed.
    Publisher: Manohar Publishers & Distributors vLanguage (s): English
    Bagchee ID: BB77150
    List price: US $ 175,00
    Bagchee price: US $ 157,50
    You save: (10.00%)
    Member price: US $ 141,75

    Usually ships in 1-2 days
    Free shipping worldwide on orders over 30$

    For more information, or to order, see: Coins of Jahangir: Creations of a Numismatist (


    Here's another recent offering from Bagchee, a highly technical work on ancient Indian coins. -Editor

    Ancient Indian coin technology The historical prospects of the numismatics lie with the universal scientific and Technological interpretation. The metals which form the backbone of civilization are the products of science of extraction from their ores for the various uses of mankind e.g. forming the metals into various shapes, preparation of alloys, thermal treatment of metals and alloys in order to bring out certain desired physical and mechanical properties, the authors of this book uses semi-derivative (Metallographic and Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer) Metallurgical analysis to show the gravity of archaec materials.

    It deals with the study of their internal structure and its correlation with the physical and mechanical properties. The silver coins, produced in ancient India by the purely indigenous process of impressing symbols by individual punches, determined weight, shape and size have been termed "Punch marked coin" they are found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ceylon, Nepal, Afganistan and are conveniently divided into various series, classes, groups and varieties.

    Its scientific and technological aspects Viz. mode of manufactures, metal content and alloys, metrology etc have been made clear with the most important study of coins through metallography (Microscopic examination) which yields valuable metallurgical information i.e. grain, size, segregation, distribution and non-metallic inclusions- such as slag, sulphides etc. It also deals with the mechanical and thermal treatment. the micro-examination through naked eye or low magnification by zoom-microscope and micro-examination at high magnification by metallurgical microscope deals with the segregation of impurities, methods of fabrication- rolling, forging, welding, brazing, size of grains and presence of acny heterogenity, presence of inclusions-slag, sulphides etc. defects of manufactures; over- straining etc.

    Banaras Hindu university one of the global universities has contributed immensely to the growth and development of numismatic study in India at every stage. This is a seminal academic contribution interpreting the historical thoughts in relation to scientific as well as technological aspects. Directive thoughts of this book with a study of urgent course as a dissertation for the master degree holders related to the archaeology with semi-destructive application of the archaeoc materials, (Atomic Absorption sepectrophotometer, metallographic (micro-structure) and harden test) have been demonstrated to work in the light of 11th - 12th century alchemy-text of the "Rasratna Samuchchaya" containing skillful metallurgical knowledge to reconstruct the systematic history of ancient metallurgy in India.

    This work "Ancient Indian Coin and their Technology" by Dr. Bhagirathi Prasad, Dr. Devendra bahadur singh & Dr. Shailendra Kumar Singh will be a useful textbook for the students and Research Scholars in a modern scientific and Technological era of the numismatic.

    For more information, or to order, see: Ancient Indian Coin and Their Technology (


    RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE: Wizard Coin Supply is the official distributor for Roger Burdette's three volume series that won NLG Book of the Year awards for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Contact us for dealer or distributor pricing at .


    SNG Greece 6 Demetrius Siatras of the Siatras International Bookshop in Athens, Greece writes:

    We have just begun a blog with the current bibliography on Numismatics (mostly books on Greek and Byzantine coins printed in Greece or Cyprus). It's addressed to librarians, collectors and numismatists. For the time being the access is free for everybody.

    To read the Books on Numismatic blog, see: BOOKS ON NUMISMATICS (


    Horacio Morero, President of the Instituto Uruguayo de Numismática, submitted this summary of the contents of the latest issue of the club's publication El Sitio. Thanks! -Editor

    El Sitio No6 “El Sitio” Nº 6 contains six interesting numismatic articles:

    1) A story related to the famous “El Peso del Sitio” 1844 coin, the first Uruguayan silver coin. The investigation, by Hugo Mancebo Decaux, presents the reclamation of the Cofradía del Santísimo Sacramento for the money and silver donated in 1843 for the struck of the “El Peso del Sitio”.

    Uraguay 20 cent note

    2) An essay of catalogation of Uruguayan private money paper issuers, written by Rodolfo Franci.

    3) The swindle made by an ex banker, by Javier Avilleira.

    tokens of Sasiain

    4) The tokens of Sasiain, by Daniel Fernandez Calvo.

    5) Identifying shearing tokens (first part), by Horacio Morero and Mario Sánchez.

    6) One Sunday, the Marketplace and a Nice Story, by Daniel Padula.

    There are two pages as well -with several pictures- dedicated to the annual New Year’s Eve party developed at December 12th, 2012, in the Noa-Noa Club.

    To read the complete issue, see:

    ROSS W. IRWIN, 1921-2013

    Daniel Gosling forwarded news of the passing of Canadian numismatist Ross W. Irwin. -Editor

    Reprinted from The CN Journal Vol. 58 No. 3 (April, 2013); the Official Publication of The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association ( Used with permission.

    In Memoriam: Ross W. Irwin
    submitted by Barrie Renwick

    Ross Irwin IRWIN, Ross Weston passed away peacefully, in Guelph, on Sunday, March 17, 2013, in his 92nd year. This brief announcement marks the end of his long and passionate association with our hobby; it ends his sharing of knowledge with us and closes a friendship many of us enjoyed. We’re left with the memory of a great contributor to Canadian numismatics. Tributes are arriving as we prepare this Journal issue; all of them with messages similar to this expression from one correspondent:.

    “In sadness, I report the passing of member Ross Irwin. He was a character unto himself; one I’ll miss at our monthly Society meetings. Over the years, he wrote a great number of articles. He was long-time editor for the CNRS and a great friend to us who shared his love of numismatics.”

    Professor Ross Weston Irwin was born in the Village of Cambray, in 1921. During WW II he served with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Italy and Northwest Europe. After the War, Ross worked in Peterborough, and in 1947, enrolled at Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph. Following graduation, he joined its faculty. Later Ross became a professor in the School of Engineering, University of Guelph.

    Ross had collected before WW II and began again after returning to civilian life. His numismatic interests were chiefly Canadian, but unlimited in that category. He was a well-accomplished journalist and author. He was given the Ontario Numismatic Association Award of Merit in 1986. In 1988 he received the J. Douglas Ferguson Award for service to Canadian Numismatics. For over twenty-five years, he contributed vast numbers of well-researched articles to The CN Journal and other publications, articles on nearly every numismatic subject of interest to Canadian collectors: tokens, coins, medals, paper-money, military badges and medals, and histories of numismatic clubs.

    Always an active supporter of our hobby, Ross served in several executive positions. He was Past President of CNRS, former editor of the Transactions of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society, a one-time Deputy Chairman of the J. Douglas Ferguson Foundation, and Chairman of its Publications Committee. He had been editor of the Canadian Military and Insignia Journal; co-authored the book War Medals and Decorations of Canada, and wrote “The Medal Roll of the Red River Campaign of 1870.” The extent of his early contributions to Canadian numismatic education was formally recognized by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1984 with its presentation of their RCM Award.



    Several readers responded on the topic of post-1892 U.S. Mint medals. Thanks! -Editor

    Jonathan Brecher writes:

    There is an appendix in the back of R. W. Julian's book that continues the mintage reports to the 1903/04 fiscal year. He continued those reports in several issues of the TAMS journal in the mid-1980s, writing in his preface to the series:

    "In 1977 The Token and Medal Society published Medals of the United States Mint, the First Century. This book contains mintage figures, where obtainable, from 1855 through June 30, 1904. In order to provide a trial listing of pieces made after that date, we are continuing in this issue a series of mintage reports on an annual basis.

    Only those medals not sold publicly by the mint (i.e. not a 'list' medal) will be published in the present series. It is intended to publish the list medals at some future date, but only in summary form. Information is presently at hand for the bronze issues through 1916, and the gold and silver until 1923."

    Unfortunately, even with those restrictions the listings are "terse" at best. For example one entry reports that a silver "Alumni" medal was produced on May 11, 1915, with a weight of .58 (unnamed units). That's just not a whole lot to go on to identify what medals were actually struck.

    The standard reference for list meals was published by Failor -- Medals of the United States Mint Issued For Public Sale, but it is really more of a sales catalog than a historical record.

    Recent books by Dean and Swoger were discussed in earlier E-Sylum articles. Those books catalog National Commemorative Medals. Many of those medals were produced at the US Mint after 1892, although they represent only a tiny part of the total US Mint medal production in that period.

    I am not aware of any other catalogs of post-1892 US Mint medals. I would be interested if anyone else had other information.

    Greg Adams has more information on the books. He writes:

    I know of three books that have tackled this question:

    “National Commemorative Medals of the United States of America since 1873” by William Swoger (Very Nice book, but expensive)


    “National Commemorative Medals of the United States Mint” 2nd ed Copyright 1972 by John T. Dean

    And finally, the Treasury Department issued: “Medals of the United States Mint Issued for Public Sale” 1st printing 1969, Revised 1972

    I have copies of the last two listed, and have borrowed a copy of the first from the ANA Library. All three are very useful books for anyone interested in mint medals.

    Harry Waterson writes:

    There are a few books that have some post-1892 medallic information:

    Failor, Kenneth M. and Eleonora Hayden - Medals Of The United States Mint, Issued For Public Sale; Revised 1972, US Government Printing Office, Wash., DC 1972

    Pessolano-Filos, Francis- Venus Numismatics Dictionary of Artists, Designers, Modellers, Engravers, and Die Sinkers whose works were commissioned by or struck by the United States Mint 1792-1977, 1983

    -Assay Medals and Assay Commissions, 1841-1977, 1984

    -Medals of the Presidents, Secretaries of the Treasuries, and Directors of the US Mint, 1789-1981, 1987

    I think Dick Johnson has already compiled a list of Mint medals that is probably the most extensive yet done.

    Excellent sources. - good starting points for a future author. Thanks. -Editor

    Rich Hartzog writes:

    The book is "Medals of the United States Mint, The First Century 1792-1892", which was issued by the Token and Medal Society. They paid too much to have it printed, priced it incorrectly and quickly gave up on selling it. I bought some 2300 of the 3000 copies issued, and I now believe I will live long enough to see it out of print, having sold virtually the entire supply. Julian has stated he quit at 1892 as most Mint records thereafter had been destroyed. Over the past several decades I've had a couple of people state they were working on subsequent years, but I've never seen anything (and one researcher has passed on). I did issue two supplemental Price Guides under my name, and I have plans for an updated one "sometime".

    The only real "modern" Mint medal book is the recent "National Commemorative Medals of the United States" book by Bill Swoger. It covers post-1873 Congress and US Mint authorized medals struck at the Mint, with the original legislation wording, history, mintages, color photos, etc. Obviously not as comprehensive as Julian, but an excellent work. Both are available from me at

    Dave Schenkman adds:

    Neil Harris, who was the TAMS book editor at the time (1977), was responsible for the project and he had the printing done by R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. It was a very expensive project, but it certainly was a quality book!

    Heath MacAlpine writes:

    I have to agree with Bruce Smith; a work on the post 1892 medallic issues of the United States Mint is long overdue. I've been working on and off on putting together a collection of modern issues and the reference material is thin.

    There's Medals of the United States Mint Issued for Public Sale, published by the Treasury Department in 1969 and revised in 1972. It overlaps with Julian's book and runs through the Nixon administration. It's essentially a sales catalog detailing those issues then available from the Mint, consisting of photos of the medals then being sold with a brief description of the obverse and reverse and fairly lengthy biographies or accounts of the individuals or events portrayed. Not really very much at all about the medals, this serves as an out of date check list of mint issues.

    I also use a copy of John Dean's National Commemorative Medals of the United States Mint. This is a narrower, but more detailed, work focusing on these substitutes for the commemorative half dollar series and covers issues from 1940 through 2003. This is the first edition; I believe the now available second edition brings things up to date. This is more like a modern coin reference, with somewhat better information on each issue and details regarding sub-types, mintages, and rarities.

    My final reference is Congressional Gold Medals 1779-2012 by Matthew Eric Glassman for the Congressional Research Service. This was apparently conceived as a combination history/how to for Congressmen who wanted to know more about the process of sponsoring a medal for the worthies of their choice. This has the advantage of being on line, free, and current, and the disadvantage of not being aimed at collectors as well as lacking such basics as photos.

    None of these works are comprehensive, all-encompassing references of the medallic output of the Mint. While we all regret the apparent destruction of mint records during the 1970's that might have made it easier to put together the needed material, it's amazing on how little information is available on even recent works (anyone know the final production figures on the Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson medal or have a photo of the Laurence Spelman Rockefeller medal?).

    As a starting point, I think an online photo inventory of the medals would be beneficial. I wonder if there are any other collectors of these issues who would care to collaborate. Perhaps we could ask that the Medal Collectors of America host it on their website at .

    The Glassman reference was our Featured Web Page on July 3, 2011. To read it, see: Congressional Gold Medals, 1776-2012 ('0E%2C*PL%5B%3C%230%20%20%0A)

    Pete Smith writes:

    Some time back I started to write a book on "Medals of the United States Mint: The Second Century 1892-1992." Many medals struck in the first century, 1792-1892, continued to be struck into the next century. The book by Failor, "Medals of the United States Mint" revised in 1972, is a good reference but is now 40 years out of date. A couple of books have been written on the National Commemorative Medals. There are a number of additional medals that are not included in any published reference.

    I had a manuscript of more than 100 pages that is now abandoned. I don't expect to do any more on that project. I would be happy to see someone else take on the project and actually publish.

    I did publish "Laws of the U. S. Congress Authorizing Medals" which is now out of date and superseded by the books on National Commemorative Medals.

    Maybe this E-Sylum topic will encourage someone to pick up the baton! -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: CATALOG OF POST-1892 MEDALS OF THE U.S MINT? (


    18K Jai A Lai Medal
    We've had no new information about the Jai A Lai medal Ralph Langham asked about last week, but Joe Boling writes:

    The "monogram" on the jai a lai medal is the "18K" stamp that Langham mentioned.

    Saving Family Memorabilia
    Joe Boling writes:

    Regarding Groucho's grandson saving "You Bet Your Life," after my mother died we found two reels of 16mm film under her bed that had been shot by my grandfather in India in 1930-32. After converting it to DVD, we watched it in fascination and sorely regretted that my mother had never mentioned these reels - it sure would have been useful to have her commentary on what we were watching. Moral: get your parents to walk you through the family memorabilia while they can; if you don't, you will later wish you had.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: HOW GROUCHO'S GRANDSON SAVED ‘YOU BET YOUR LIFE’ (

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: JAI A LAI MEDAL INFORMATION SOUGHT (

    Frank Lapa's Obituary
    Paul Schultz writes:

    In the last E-Sylum, Jeffrey Zarit writes: "There was mention of Frank Lapa passing away. Does anyone have any details?"

    I have a note in my copy of Lapa's Russian Wire Money pamphlet which reads "Lapa Murder Story in The Numismatist, 11/96, p 1346 "The Other Side of the Coin". Postscript in Letters, 2/97, p 127. " My recollection from back then is that it is a pretty detailed and complete article, and probably tells when he died.

    Addendum to Wayne's Numismatic Diary: March 17, 2013
    Tom Kays writes:

    Aaron Packard had some counterstamped coins from the 1850s and specializes in Colonial through Civil War tokens.

    My case had a set of pillar coins of Mexico, matched with a copy of “The Milled Columnarios of Central and South America – Spanish American Pillar Coinage, 1732 to 1772” by Frank F. Gilboy, Prairie Wind Publishing Inc. 1999. I also brought an early Masonic button made from two seated dimes and a bunch of postal covers sponsored by the George Washington Chapter of the Masons for the bicentennial of George’s birth.

    Gene did put a “chicken” counterstamped token in my case as it went by, that was discussed in The E-Sylum a couple weeks ago. I missed the last two E-Sylum issues and only caught up after the next day after dinner, about where it was suggested that one who collects goat tags should be a good customer for other types of barnyard animals. He was right.

    It was a fairly centrally located and cozy restaurant. Everyone filled up pretty well especially on the chips and salsa as we waited for grande entrees. I’ll go back there again.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 17, 2013 (

    Norman Stack
    In last week's E-Sylum item on Harvey Stack's travels with John Ford, I guessed that the gentleman in the lower right of this montage was Charles Wormser.

    Travels with John Ford

    Ed Reiter writes:

    I would bet a pretty penny that the photo at the lower right is that of Norman Stack, not Charles Wormser. I never knew Wormser and don't believe I'd recognize him from photos I might have seen over the years. But I interviewed Norman Stack frequently at numerous Stack's auctions, and this certainly seems to be his likeness -- though at a somewhat earlier stage of his career.

    David T. Alexander writes:

    The man on the lower right in Harvey Stack's memoir of traveling with the late John J. Ford Jr. is Norman Stack. Ford's devotion to self-medication should be a warning to all. For years he preached with characteristic forcefulness the efficacy of zinc as a specific against prostate cancer. Then came extract of Saw Palmetto. Ford died of the very disease zinc was supposed to prevent.

    Julian Leidman also identified Norman Stack. Thanks, everyone. -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: HARVEY STACK ON TRAVELING WITH JOHN FORD, JR. (

    Croxley Watermark On Mafeking Siege Notes
    Joe Boling writes:

    What with having MPCFest immediately follow CPMX, I did not get to read my 10 March E-Sylum until this week. I was all set to chime in on tête-bêche, being a former philatelist, but your other readers covered that well.

    However, nobody commented on the Mafeking siege notes article (other than the comment by Dr. Korchnak accompanying your notice). I also saw the absence of Ineson's book in the reference list that the Moneta authors provided. But even Ineson fell short in one significant respect - he did not discuss the watermarks in the shilling-denominated notes. He mentioned only that the paper was made by Croxley.

    The watermark says CROXLEY MANIFEST BANK / LONDON, all under a lion rampant waving a banner. The significance in this is that the same watermark appears in the Green Point Track POW cage notes prepared by the British for Boer POWs. Issued pieces are very scarce, but remainders - and replicas - have been in the market for decades. It's the watermark that separates the remainders from the reprints.

    Other than in the MPCGram, this watermark has never been published. Its discovery in the Mafeking notes tied the Green Point Track paper to the time and place, and allows us to say with confidence that the watermarked Green Point Track notes are what they purport to be.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE FEBRUARY 2013 MONETA ISSUE HAS BEEN PUBLISHED (/

    Anti-Obama Message on Paper Money
    Rich Bottles, Jr. writes:

    This is probably not appropriate for The E-Sylum, but it's numismatic related none-the-less.

    Obama dollar

    Yeah, that's mature. Not entirely appropriate I agree, but we've pushed the envelope before. This is part of a long tradition of using banknotes as billboards, legality be damned. I've long since given up collecting all the different marked-up bills that have come my way, but it could make an interesting collection.

    A Groucho Marx Medal
    Bill Rosenblum writes:

    Another great issue of The E-Sylum which put me behind schedule in filling out my March Madness Bracket. I enjoyed the Groucho Marx story and it reminded me that a few years ago I had a Groucho Marx medal which I described on a fixed price list as follows:

    GROUCHO MARX. ND. Silver 38mm, His bust partially left wearing graduation cap and smoking his famous cigar, name above/Wreath around blank center, “.999 Fine Silver 1 Troy oz” below. Hairline scratches in center of reverse.

    Tête-Bêche, Book Style
    Alan Roy writes:

    In reference to books, tête-bêche is a way of describing a particular style of bilingual book commonly issued by Canadian government Agencies. If the English cover is facing you, you can flip the book over vertically (so that the spine stays in the left) and you see the French cover. For both languages, the text starts just after its respective cover and only goes halfway through the book. Anyone who has seen a modern Royal Canadian Mint Annual Report would be familiar with this.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: VOCABULARY WORD: TÊTE-BÊCHE (

    Charles Davis' Holy Grail
    In my Numismatic Diary last week, I mentioned some discussions at the Baltimore coin show about people's "Holy Grail" of numismatic literature. Charlie Davis writes:

    crosbyrobinson As for the holy grail, I thought I had mine, then sold it and bought another. Twenty years ago I bought Robert Coulton Davis's copy of the Crosby Early Coins of America. It had most of the wrappers, and with the surname provenance, I thought that would be the ultimate.

    I happened to visit Armand Champa later that year and stopped to see Alan Grace who lived nearby in Louisville and drop the book off for binding. Then to Champa's where we yakked well past midnight. About 12:30 AM, I mentioned that I had left the book with Grace for a half leather binding. Armand jumped up, "half leather - bull s**t, it needs full calf with a dropped in front panel." He then called Grace, got him out of bed at 1AM to change the work order. Years later I showed the book to a colonial specialist who had just bought several RCD pedigreed coins and who offered me too much money for the book, and I succumbed.

    Two years ago, I bought the John Robinson copy of Crosby from Kolbe & Fanning. Replete with every possible toy - all the wrappers, subscription forms, receipts, etc, Robinson had deposited the book in the venerable Essex Institute from where it was acquired in 1980 by Harry Bass. Now the book has returned to Essex County, 7 miles from its first home where it had sat for over a century.

    Having the grail in hand, I am working on developing a list of several grailettes.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 17, 2013 (

    Correction: John Adams Bolen
    Charlie Davis also noted an error in my numismatic diary. I referred to " Joseph Bolen" when I should have written "John Adams Bolen". Sorry! We'll fix this in our newsletter archive.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 17, 2013 (


    Dick Johnson submitted these notes on two useful numismatic vocabulary words. Thanks! -Editor

    One year ago in April Tiffany & Co announced it had a new metal in which it could make its precious metal items. It wanted something new and dramatic for its 175th anniversary. It revealed it would make jewelry in RUBEDO.

    The word "rubedo" is Latin for redness. It conjures up a heritage associated with alchemists and is one of the four stages of alchemy (the other three are blackness, whiteness, and yellowness). With that kind of heritage an advertising copywriter could expound at length.

    That's exactly what happened and it drew fire from some critics, particular the text of its advertisements. Rubedo is not a metal and it is not new said the critics. An article "Testing One's Metal" by Patricia Cohen in the April 4, 2012 New York Times discussed these comments. She quoted Anthony J. DeArdo, a professor at University of Pittsburgh, who said:

    "It may be one of the 14 million alloys that people have cooked up over the decades. Certain combinations of gold, silver and copper are not new."

    Unless an item is marked with a Karat amount consumers do not know what the gold content is. Author Cohen had a rubedo specimen tested to find it was 31% gold, 55% copper, the remainder silver with a trace amount of zinc. That made the karat amount 7.5.

    In numismatics it is not new to name a new alloy. In 1913 coin dealer Tom Elder created a line of portrait plaques. He had these cast in bronze but called it "Corinthian Bronze." In ancient times this was an alloy with a little gold included. We suspect Elder tossed a worn gold coin in the melting pot to qualify for this newly named composition.

    More recently Joe Segel called a bronze alloy of his creation "Franklinium" to strike medals at the Franklin Mint.

    Just this week I learned the outcome of "rubedo." An article on Tiffany silver in the Wall Street Journal (Thursday March 21, 2013, p B6) revealed late in the article that the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau had ruled on rubedo.

    It found Tiffany free of any wrongdoing. The wording in their advertising was not misleading.

    Had Tiffany used a different word there would have been no controversy. I suggest the word VERMEIL That is French for goldplated silver or silver gilt (and pronounced vair-MAY). Medallic Art Company often struck medals in vermeil, notably U.S. Presidential Inaugural medals.

    In their advertising Tiffany described rubedo as "the richness of gold and the brilliance of silver." I had instructed our copywriters to describe vermeil as "the color of gold, and the sheen of silver." I like Tiffany's words better, now on reflection. But that's why I am a poor wordsmith and not a highly paid copywriter.

    All precious metal items must be marked somehow with their purity. Ironically in the metal industry this is called the "Tiffany Law" since Tiffany forced its adoption in this country in 1906. This was based on a similar 1904 law in England (which was somewhat unnecessary since they had the custom of hallmarking precious metal objects since 1300).

    Vermeil items thus must be marked with the precious metal content. This hallmarking can be any lettering -- words or figures -- so long as the silver is identified: ARGENT, PLATA, FINE SILVER, COIN SILVER, .900 or .999 SILVER (with or without the period) or such. The gold does not need to be noted as it contains so little gold. However such plated objects are customarily marked: GOLDPLATED, H.G.P. (for hard gold plate), or by a figure and K (for the karat content).

    More recently copywriters are getting sexy by saying; LAYERED IN PURE GOLD. This can even be found edge lettered on a medal.

    Tiffany was no stranger to vermeil. In the mid 1950s Tiffany had developed a process of using multiple plating tanks (or multiple metal anodes) to reduce the gold content. Because gold plating changes to the gold color with a minimum of gold it still provides its distinctive yellow color. Such plated objects (including medals) may be found marked 22 1/2-K GOLDPLATE or even 18 1/2 K.

    It all means the object was goldplated.


    Stuart Levine provided the following additional information on the U.S. pattern coins from the Eric Newman collection being sold in an upcoming Heritage sale. Thanks! -Editor

    EPNNES logo I believe that Eric acquired the bulk of the patterns from 1941 to 1948 with most, if not all, items acquired in this time period coming from B.G. Johnson, doing business as St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co., as part of the "Colonel" Green estate partnership arrangement between B.G. Johnson and Eric.

    Newman Humbert $10 obverse Newman Humbert $10 reverse

    Regarding the 1852 Humbert $10: This remarkable coin, graded MS-68 by NGC and approved by CAC was Humbert's personal example. I was able to plate match it to plate VII of Henry Chapman's June, 1909 Zabriskie sale. Captain Andrew Zabriskie purchased Augustus Humbert's pioneer gold from the executors of Humbert's estate. Henry Chapman's description of lot 358 confirms Humbert's ownership, citing this coin as "Humbert's own specimen"

    To view the 1852 Humbert $10 lot description, see: 1852 $10 Humbert Ten Dollar MS68 NGC. CAC. Kagin-10, R.5. (

    The upcoming April 25th, Heritage auction catalog of Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection to be held in Schaumberg, IL in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society convention includes the following:

    Importance of the Newman Specimen
    All of the U.S. Assay Office gold coins were official issues of the U.S. government and should be collected alongside regular issue U.S. gold coins struck at Philadelphia and the branch mints. Carrying the Superb Gem grade of MS68, this Augustus Humbert ten dollar piece, Humbert's own specimen, is the finest existing U.S. Assay Office gold piece by three points and the finest business strike California gold coin of any maker.

    Ex: Augustus Humbert; Humbert Estate; Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie (Henry Chapman, 6/1909), lot 358, which realized $101; unknown intermediaries; Waldo Newcomer; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G.Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

    To view selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection on the heritage uaction site, see: from the extensive collection of Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: ERIC P. NEWMAN U.S. PATTERN SALE INFORMATION (


    The Almanac of United States Coins, 1st edition: an entertaining, richly illustrated guide to coin collecting, from Whitman Publishing. 192 pages, softcover, perfectbound, full color. Order your copy for $9.95 at or call 800-546-2995.


    We recently discussed a 1940s dealer buying guide. Mark Johnson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa submitted this item from his blog The Coin Roll (March 17, 2013), about a 1940s fixed price list from dealer Norman Shultz of Salt Lake City, UT. Thanks! -Editor

    NormanShultz17Front NormanShultz17Back

    While browsing the collectibles section of our local Half Price Books I came across a small 84 page pamphlet titled the "Illustrated Catalog and Price List No. 17 of Coins, Paper Money and Medals of The United States and Foreign Countries." It is undated but the cover states "Price 25c - For Sale by Norman Shultz Numismatist P. O. Box 746, Salt Lake City, Utah." with the disclaimer: "This Cancels All Previous Lists."

    The cover is grey card stock with purple text and features what appear to be watermark illustrations of the obverse and reverse of a 1794 US Dollar, an 1851 Humbert Fifty Dollar Gold Octagonal, and a 1776 Continental Dollar. The back cover reads:

    "Wanted U.S. and FOREIGN Gold Coins. I will pay 30 percent over face for any of these in nice condition, $20.00 Gold Pieces, $26.00 each, and others accordingly. I also want other U.S. Coins in nice condition. Pioneer Gold Coins, Colonial Coins, Unc. Lincoln and Indian Head Cents, etc."

    There is nothing to indicate who printed the pamphlet so it may have been self-published. There is no date on the pamphlet which makes for a nice, if not too difficult challenge. Norman Shultz offered "Liberty Standing Type Half Dollars" dated 1940 to 1943 for 85 cents each. Under the heading "Washington Centennial Quarters" he offered "1936 P, D or S mint, to 1943, Unc. 60c each." 1943 is also the latest year listed for uncirculated Mercury Dimes which he sold for 25 cents each.

    Interestingly, the "Jefferson head" is listed under "Indian Head and Buffalo Type" nickels. The 1939-D cost 35 cents while the "1943, S or P, Part Silver. Unc." were 15 cents each.

    The Lincoln Cents section includes a "1909, S mint, with V. D. B., Unc., $3.50; Fine, $2.50; V.G., $2.25. Rare." Again, 1943 is the latest date listed but unlike the part silver Jefferson nickel, no mention is made of the change to steel for the 1943 cents. For that reason, I'll guess that Mr. Shultz published this price list in 1942. It's possibly the catalog a collector would receive by answering this ad in the February, 1942 issue of Popular Mechanics.

    The last page in the pamphlet is a full page ad: "Kodachrome Transparencies 35mm - Scenic Views of the West in Full Natural Color - Scenes taken with 35mm Contax Camera....each 50c or 6 for $2.50." Was Norman Shultz a photographer and numismatist or were these sold on consignment for somebody else?

    After some quick research on the internet, I found Norman Shultz was not only a well known numismatist but was inducted into the ANA's Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1984. Ed Reiter interviewed Norman Shultz for the New York Times in 1981. He includes portions of that interview in his PCGS article from 1999: "Norman Shultz Longtime Dean of Numismatics".

    I contacted Ed Reiter for more information on Norman Shultz, and his response is below. Thanks! -Editor

    Ed Reiter writes:

    I did, in fact, write a piece on Norman Shultz in my "Numismatics" column in the Sunday New York Times in 1981. I can't be more specific about the date, since that column -- like most of my Times columns from 1979 to 1989 -- got literally lost in transit during a somewhat hectic move from the Jersey Shore to North Jersey in 1990.

    As I remember, Norman was soft-spoken, self-effacing and still sharp as a tack despite his advanced age, with an excellent memory for detail and a wealth of knowledge. Without question, he was one of the most fascinating people I've profiled in more than four decades as a numismatic journalist.

    I never owned or even came across a price guide published by Norman, of the type Mark Johnson found. I congratulate him on his good fortune in locating it in a half-price bookstore, and look forward to future articles by Mark examining its contents.

    As an aside, this seems to be a big week for Normans in my correspondence with you about The E-Sylum. First Norman Stack, now Norman Shultz. I think I'd wash my hands, though (if not my hair), of Norman Bates.

    Ed forwarded a copy of his complete article on Norman Shultz. The next E-Sylum article is an excerpt. Thanks!

    We have some old-timers among our readers. Did anyone else know Norman Schultz? -Editor

    To read the complete article, see: A Time Traveler's Guide to Coin Collecting in the early 1940's (


    The following is excerpted with permission from Ed Reiter's article Norman Shultz: Longtime Dean of American Coin Dealers. Thanks! -Editor

    Shultz was in his mid-90s when he passed away in 1988, and spent nearly three-quarters of a century in the coin business, amply justifying his unofficial title as “the dean of American dealers.” He began his career a year before the U.S. Mint started making the Standing Liberty quarter, and remained active right up to the dawn of third-party certified coin grading.

    He was still going strong when I interviewed him for a New York Times column in 1981.

    Things were far different in the business – and the hobby – in 1915, when Shultz ran his first advertisement in a publication called Philatelic West.

    Shultz shook his head when he contemplated how different the coin business was in the early 1980s.

    “You can’t imagine how much things have changed,” he declared. “There’s been such a change in the last 10 years or so that I hardly can believe it.

    “Fifty years ago, I used to go to California and they’d charge me 10 cents apiece for 1909-S VDB Lincoln cents – and I’d tell them they saw me coming and raised the price. Now, of course, those same coins sell for hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

    “I can remember buying 1879-CC silver dollars by the sack in the 1940s for a dollar-and-a-half apiece. Now I see them priced in the thousands. One time, a fellow from Reno brought me a sack of them, and after buying the best ones for $1.50 each, I told him the rest were too scratched to be worth anything. I wouldn’t even buy them for $1.25.”

    There were, of course, far fewer collectors in the “good old days” – so in terms of the demand, the supply of most coins was ample. And during the Depression, money was so tight that even at rock-bottom prices, few people could afford to buy coins.

    That helps explain how Shultz got such a deal on those 1931-S Lincoln cents – and why he found it difficult to sell them.

    “It was 1935,” he recalled, “and a fellow from the Federal Reserve branch bank in Salt Lake City called and said a ton of 1931-S cents had just come in and I could have all I wanted for face value. He had 500,000 of them, so I could have bought the whole lot for $5,000. And keep in mind that the entire mintage of the coin was only 866,000.

    “Well, money was pretty scarce in 1935, so I only took one sack – $50 worth. My bank wouldn’t lend me money to buy them all – and the funny thing is, they wouldn’t even take the coins at face value for security; they said they didn’t want the stuff cluttering up the bank.

    “I ended up selling the sack to an attorney in California for 40 cents a coin; he had ideas of cornering the market. But things didn’t work out, and he sold them back to me a year later for 30 cents each. After that, I simply peddled them out a few at a time.”

    Nowadays, it would take the $50 face value of that bag to buy a single ’31-S cent in mint condition, and several hundred dollars to buy one graded Mint State-65 Red. At $50 per coin, the sack Shultz bought for $50 would now be worth roughly $250,000. And the half-million pieces he could have bought for $5,000 would be worth a cool $25 million.

    Although he bought coins through the years at prices that now seem cheap, Shultz sold them cheaply, too. And he wasn’t exactly besieged by buyers, either. Take those proof Morgan dollars, for example.

    “I’d buy them for $1.15 in auction sales,” he said, “and I’d have an awful time getting $1.25 for them.”

    Those Liberty Seated proofs proved to be slow movers, too.

    “Max Mehl, one of the biggest dealers in the country, used to send me cigar boxes full of dimes, quarters and halves -- all brilliant proofs – from the 1860s, ’70s and ’80s,” Shultz related, “and I bought them for just slightly over face. But they didn’t sell fast at all.”


    Here's another old-time coin dealer who's still around to tell us his stories. Harvey Stack of Stack's-Bowers recorded a three-minute video at last week's Baltimore coin show where he discusses collector Lamont DuPont. -Editor

    Harvey Stack Remembers Lamont Dupont

    Harvey writes:

    It tells the story the first time I saw and met Lamont Dupont and the attention both my father and uncle gave him, and how he preferred a coin with a touch of circulation rather than a perfect one. It shows how collectors, regardless of how much money they have can think. I feel it is a great story for those who might feel as he did.

    To read the complete article, see: Harvey Stack Remembers Lamont Dupont. VIDEO: 3:04 (


    John Dannreuther submitted this follow-up to latest week's comments on his thoughts on the first 1794 dollar. Thanks. This topic really has legs! -Editor

    1794 dollar

    I guess I should give up my lifelong desire to become a standup comedian. My attempt at humor in using the horse racing metaphor in describing the debate about the 1794 dollar fell flat. At least one reader took me seriously, when I said there was only one “stallion” entered in the race. Whoa, Nelly! I guess I should have used “mare” or, nay, perhaps “old nag” and my attempt at humor would have been more obvious. I guess I should quit horsing around.

    On a serious note, I did have two points that I wanted to place before the readers. These need a little clarification, too. The first point was to refute what had been written in a previous E-Sylum post that the Mint would never use a planchet with adjustment lines for a specially struck coin. They would and they did. Also, last week it was suggested that this coin possibly was plucked from a group of the earliest struck coins. This is a misunderstanding of how this coin was made. It was not picked from a group of coins.

    When the Mint made master-coins (and later, Proofs), the coining press was not set up like it would be for regular production. When master-coins were made, the feeding fingers and ejection fingers mechanisms were disengaged. The planchet was placed on the lower die by hand, the coin was struck, and then it was removed by hand. This 1794 silver dollar was never in contact with other coins, as its superb condition attests. It was not plucked from a bucket of struck dollars.

    Through 1893, the specially struck large silver and gold coins were produced on hand-operated presses. The Mint ‘s “Ordering Circular” from the 1890s defined these specially struck coins in this way:

    A “proof coin” is one struck by hand on a screw press from a specially polished die, using a polished blank.

    This 1794 dollar certainly qualifies by this definition, although the term at the time was master-coin, not “proof.” Yes, I know, this definition was not written for those coins struck in 1794, but the way the Mint made special coins was basically unchanged from 1792 to 1893. From 1894 onward, all Proofs were struck on presses powered by engines. The hand-operated screw press was retired and an era ended.

    Could they have made more than one silver dollar master-coin in 1794? Yes. This is the only silver dollar known made by this method. Thus, to suggest that this was selected from a group of such specially prepared coins is speculation, just as my belief that this is the first coin struck. I believe it is. Others do not share that belief. This is their (and my) First Amendment right. I have no idea whether Director David Rittenhouse was at the “ceremony” striking this coin. However, there was one Mint official that almost certainly was present when this coin and the copper die trial piece were struck – Chief Coiner Henry Voigt.

    Those of us who believe this silver dollar was the first one struck do not believe this because of this coin’s extraordinary condition. We believe it because of its method of manufacture. It was made the same way that the copper die trial was, very carefully by a press set up for striking master-coins. These “ceremonies” took place several times in the early Mint, as evidenced by the 1793 Chain cents, 1793 Wreath cents, and other specially struck coins that exist in pristine condition to this day. These specially struck coins were preserved by their owners (we do not know who their owners were, but we do know that these superb coins were treasured by them, as they exist today in nearly perfect condition). This dollar is SP66, the Wreath cent is SP68RD, one of the Chain cents is SP67BN, and so on.

    The second point I wanted to make was that this planchet was not selected. If they had selected a planchet, they would not have picked one with a silver plug and adjustment lines. If they had a group of planchets, they would have carefully selected a perfect one to polish. The other master-coins from this era are on superb planchets – the previously noted 1793 Chain cents, the 1793 Wreath cent, and all the others.

    They polished this planchet, struck it with polished dies with extra care. My idea that it was a regulated silver coin is new, I believe, and I wanted to “throw it out there” to see if the early dollar experts agreed with my theory. I got mixed results. Henry Hilgard came by my table in Baltimore and just gave me a look. I could tell by his smile that he liked the idea. Others, not so much. I am sure some will disagree with this theory and they have that right, just as those readers who do not believe this silver dollar was the first one struck. We are all entitled to our beliefs.

    As with all advances in numismatics, we take a couple of steps forward and sometimes one or two backward. There is no way to prove my theory that this is a regulated silver coin. The Mint, however, did use this planchet, so unless one believes that it was randomly picked, they probably had some logic behind the choice. Maybe, someone can come up with a better explanation for the reason this planchet was used.

    It is still my “belief” that this is the first silver dollar struck. As noted, I believe this because of this coin’s method of manufacture, not its pristine condition. This is my opinion, just as others believe it is fantasy to “believe” it is such royalty. We all have things we believe that cannot be proved. Certainly, I am glad I did not use my “Donald Rumsfeld” idea of known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns! I certainly would not want to be responsible for some reader’s head exploding!

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE DISCUSSION ON THE FIRST 1794 DOLLAR (

    For more information on exploding heads, see: Robot Chicken: Imaginary Number I (


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    U.S. MINT BEGINS STRIKING ENHANCED UNCIRCULATED SILVER EAGLES coins editor James Bucki visited the U.S. Mint at West Point, New York, where he witnessed the striking of the new 2013-W American Silver Eagle "Enhanced Uncirculated" coin. -Editor

    West-Point-2013-McCullom-Bucki-Enh-Unc-Eagle-200x132 This past Monday I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Mint at West Point, New York. While I was there, I witnessed the striking of the first U.S. coin with three distinct finishes on a single coin, the 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated bullion coin. This coin will be part of The 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Commemorative Set that will be issued later this year.

    The coin is absolutely stunning and it really highlights an already classic American coin design. The production of this coin is truly a labor-of-love from all aspects of the U.S. Mint's employees who work on it. From hand finishing the dies, to hand feeding the coins into the press, to visually inspecting each and every coin that is struck, every Mint employee takes pride in what they do to produce our coins. I was impressed with the dedication and knowledge that the employees so eagerly shared with me.

    What strikes me odd is that the Mint is labeling this coin as "Enhanced Uncirculated." The production process that I witnessed used specially prepared blanks, on a press that used specially prepared dies and each coin received three strikes in the coining press. To the best of my knowledge, this is a proof coin.

    To read the complete article, see: Mint Begins Striking Enhanced Uncirculated Silver Eagles (

    So what the heck is "enhanced uncirculated"? A companion article published a description. -Editor

    2013W-American-Eagle-Silver-Enhanced-Uncirculated-obv-sm 2013W-American-Eagle-Silver-Enhanced-Uncirculated-rev-sm

    The 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated bullion coin will be the first coin produced by the United States Mint that uses three different contrasting finishes: mirrored brilliant, light frosted and heavy frosted. The new light frosted finish is a soft satin finish used on the field of the coin to gently disperse light that is reflected off of it.

    On the obverse, the mountains in front of the sun, the lines on Lady Liberty's dress and the red and blue parts of the United States flag have a brilliant mirrored finish. The remaining devices and lettering on the obverse have the standard heavy frosted finish. On the reverse, the ribbon in the eagle's beak, the arrows and oak branch all have a brilliant mirrored finish. The lettering and other devices on the reverse have the heavy frosted finish. The fields on both sides of the coin have the new light frosted finish.

    Each coin is struck with specially prepared dies at the West Point Mint facility. In order to bring out the three contrasting finishes, each coin is struck three times on burnished 99.9% silver planchets. Each planchet is hand fed into the coining press and inspected by the operator before it is sent on to be encapsulated and packaged.

    According to the press release from the United States Mint on January 24, 2013:

    Later this year, the United States Mint will also offer a special two-coin set of American Eagle Silver Coins, both of which will be struck at its facility at West Point, N.Y. The 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set (final product name subject to change) will include one American Eagle Silver Reverse Proof Coin and one American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coin with an "enhanced" finish. (A "reverse proof" coin reverses the mirror-like background finish of a traditional proof coin and applies it to the design elements, creating a magnificent contrast.) These two coins will only be available in this special set. The bureau expects to begin accepting orders for the set in the spring. Pricing and other information will be available prior to its release.

    To read the complete article, see: 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated (


    Another great Stack's-Bowers blog article of interest to bibliophiles and researchers was published March 14, 2013 about coin dealer Henry Chapman. Check out that beard! -Editor

    Henry Chapman

    Henry Chapman, born in Philadelphia in 1859, became interested in numismatics at an early age, and in 1876, along with his brother Samuel Hudson Chapman (born in 1857) became an employee at the Philadelphia coin shop of Captain John W. Haseltine. While there, the young Chapman brothers learned much about coins and had a chance to meet firsthand a number of Mint officials, apparently including some with whom Haseltine was conducting business on the sly.

    In June 1878 the Chapman brothers hung out their own shingle, trading as numismatists and antiquaries. In those days it was unusual for a coin firm to deal in numismatic specimens alone. Coin prices were low, and to help meet expenses most dealers had many disciplines, including stamps, fossils, autographs and manuscripts, and even birds’ eggs. The Chapmans were no exception. Aggressive businessmen from the start, the Chapmans pioneered the production of auction catalogs, which were a step above those of the competition, with the first number, for a sale held on October 9, 1879, illustrated with photographic plates -- a highly unusual situation for the era.

    Jealousies were rampant in the coin trade, and as the Chapmans went from one accomplishment to another, professional animosity against them increased, reaching a peak in 1882 when the Chapmans snagged the Charles I. Bushnell Collection for auction, using it as a platform for detailed descriptions (replete with many editorial comments, many of which were accurate, but some of which were notoriously not so), and a special deluxe edition with photographic plates offered for $50 -- which in 1993 terms would probably be like offering one for $250.

    The more that the competition railed against them -- one dealer actually printed on a monograph pointing out all the flaws in the Chapman’s cataloging -- the more successful the Chapmans became. While dealers may have disliked them, collectors felt just the opposite -- and collectors were the bread and butter of their business. The brothers’ success increased, and by 1906 they were both grand masters of the coin trade, having been in it for over 30 years and having seen many of their competitors pass away or retire. Apparently, the world was not ideal, for in this year the partnership broke up, after which Henry and S. Hudson went their separate ways, each to conduct their own illustrious sales. In his book, United States Numismatic Literature, Volume I, John Adams tells us that the older brother continued in the trade until retiring in 1929, while Henry kept at coins until his death in 1935.

    Henry Chapman ... was the better known of the two in the retail trade, and maintained an in-depth stock of United States coins in particular, but with many world coins as well. S. Hudson preferred to stick mainly to auctions. In 1907, when the MCMVII High Relief double eagle came on the scene, Henry Chapman stocked them and provided them to his customers. Ditto for the new 1916 Standing Liberty quarter in its day. In 1921 he went to the nearby Mint and bought 10 mirrorlike Proof Morgan dollars of the date, possibly constituting all that were ever struck with mirror finish.

    Several years after the death of Virgil M. Brand in 1926, Henry Chapman and St. Louis dealer B.G. Johnson were commissioned to inventory the Brand Estate, which largely occupied Chapman until his death. In the 1980s when we handled many coins from the Brand Estate for the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company and the heirs of Jane Brand Allen (daughter of Armin Brand, brother of Horace, one of two beneficiaries of the Brand Estate), the coins came in paper envelopes bearing many notations by Henry Chapman.

    To read the complete article, see: Answers For The Avid Collector: About Henry Chapman (

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    Here's another one of those fishing-for-publicity stories about a (supposedly) very valuable coin being brought in for an appraisal. The headline says it "could be" worth $400,000. Well, I "could be" worth $300M+ if I hit the Powerball lottery. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

    coin-may-be-worth-400000 A man who brought an old coin to an appraisal fair at Juniper Village last month walked away with an appraisal of $400,000, if the coin can be authenticated.

    The appraisal fair was held on Feb. 28 at Juniper Village at Chatham Assisted Living. It was one of the facility’s frequent free community outreach programs, said Executive Director Joann Malanga. The appraiser was Doug Reeder, an expert art and antique dealer from Warren Township.

    “The coin, called the New England Shilling, was actually the first coin struck in North America” in 1652, in the General Court of Massachusetts, Reeder said. There were three denominations struck, three pence, six pence and one shilling coins. “If it were would be worth around $400,000.”

    Reeder said he sent the coin’s owner to Peter Doelger in Warren, who runs Doelger’s Gallery of Coins in Warren Township. Doelger, who was president of the Garden State Numismatic Association, is “one coin dealer all the antique dealers trust … Peter worked with a couple of certification houses to determine if it was authentic,” said Reeder.

    The investigation into its authenticity is ongoing, he said, adding “We all want it to be real. It’s great that a coin like that would even show up at a local appraisal session.”

    I'm no professional appraiser, but this looks like a cheap copy to me. -Editor

    To read the complete article, see: Coin brought to appraisal fair in Chatham Township could be worth $400,000 (

    Here's one garage-sale find that did indeed turn out to be a goodie. -Editor

    US-AUCTION-ART-CHINA A $3 tag sale buy has turned into a massive windfall for the lucky bargain hunter: the Chinese bowl sold for $2.23 million at an auction at Sotheby's on Tuesday. The small pottery bowl, finely crafted with an ivory glaze, turned out to be a thousand year old "Ding" bowl, dating from the Song dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1279.

    The only other similar bowl from the period known to exist has been on display at the British Museum for more than 60 years.

    After picking it up for a few dollars down the road in 2007, the buyer displayed it the living room. More recently, they became curious about its value and brought it to experts for an appraisal. Sotheby's had estimated the bowl would sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. But four bidders battled over the rare find, and it ultimately sold to renowned London art dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi for $2.225 million.

    To read the complete article, see: $3 tag sale find sells at Sotheby's for $2.23 million to renowned London art dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi (


    This was published in the April 1 issue of Coin World, but it's no joke. Someone is producing a new version of the "Liberty Dollar". Here's an excerpt from an article by Paul Gilkes. Be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

    2013 NLD obv sm-w 2013 NLD rev sm-w

    New Liberty Dollar images, top, courtesy of Joseph VaughnPerling; Liberty Dollar images from Coin World files. While California collector Joseph VaughnPerling is sympathetic to the concept of Bernard von NotHaus’ original Liberty Dollar as a private voluntary barter currency, he wanted to make sure his New Liberty Dollar wouldn’t replicate some of the issues that resulted in von NotHaus’ 2011 federal conviction on counterfeiting and related charges involving the original Liberty Dollars.

    The Liberty Dollar medals were introduced in 1998 by von NotHaus under the umbrella of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act, also called NORFED. The medals were promoted as an alternative to Federal Reserve notes. They also attracted the unfavorable attention of the government.

    VaughnPerling — who said he has been buying silver for years as a store of wealth rather than a source for bartering — got the idea to produce and issue his New Liberty Dollar after reading the details of the federal government’s 2011 trial of von NotHaus over the Liberty Dollar. VaughnPerling’s silver purchases included a quantity of the silver Liberty Dollars.

    “I have no desire to compete with the Federal Reserve or any government institution,” VaughnPerling said March 11. “This is an entirely private minting of a silver product and not current money. We make that as clear as possible on the website and exchange them only through clearly contracted terms to qualified buyers who affirm that they understand what they are getting is not a government coin and so does not rely on the Legal Tender laws for its value, but rather its own innate silver composition, beauty, numismatic, sentimental or other value.”

    VaughnPerling said in consultation with legal experts he extensively reviewed the transcript from the federal government’s case against von NotHaus before moving ahead near the end of 2011 with his New Liberty Dollar plans.

    “I studied the elements of what was alleged to be wrong with the Liberty Dollars — what parts of the Liberty Dollars were legally questionable enough to have led the jury to believe that the Liberty Dollars were so similar to a U.S. coin that someone not only could mistake them but had been mistaken,” VaughnPerling said March 11. “For that mistake to be criminal, it also had to have been intentionally created.”

    VaughnPerling said he was careful to ensure that the imagery and inscriptions for the New Liberty Dollar were not legally problematic.

    Hmm. Is vonPerling infringing on a von NotHaus copyright? -Editor

    To read the complete article, see: Collector introduces New Liberty Dollars (

    For more information, see:


    A commenter on the web page for the above Coin World article on the "New Liberty Dollar" mentioned "Chris Duanes' AOCS Freedom Girl" Issue. I did a web search and found this:

    Freedom Girl obverse Freedom Girl reverse

    This is a much higher quality portrait. In fact, after one peek I thought, whoa ... the obverse looks like a design by Heidi Wastweet. Well, it turns out it WAS done by Heidi Wastweet. Here's an excerpt from the site.

    Freedom Girl is the first medallion in the Silver Bullet Silver Shield series done with full creative control given to Heidi Wastweet. Heidi is known for her images of strong and beautiful women, most notably, Pandora Defiant. Now she has created a new beauty for a new generation.

    Men have been known to fight to the death for women, treasure and freedom.

    Freedom Girl is a stunning combination of all three. Every aspect of Heidi's design brings out a gorgeous update of the classic Peace Dollar. The original Peace Dollar had her hair tied in a bun with an uncomfortable tiara perched on her head. Freedom Girl's hair is wild and free. Freedom Girl's parted lips and gaze of almost ecstasy looking forward to the future is so seductive, as Freedom should be. Even her shoulder arching forward brings out more emotion from this modern beauty. She is finished off with modern cues of a hoop earring and a tattoo of the Trivium. The Trivium is the foundation for individual freedom from outside manipulation. What better way to make Freedom sexy than Freedom Girl?

    Here's a plaquette pictured on the site. It also looks like Heidi's work.

    Pandora medalette

    To read the complete article, see: Silver Bullet Silver Shield (

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    Martin Purdy writes:

    This story has been on WorldofCoins recently, too - it looks like the story is two years old and is being repackaged. The coin isn't rare, either - the Yongle coins were very popular throughout South-East Asia and were widely copied.

    I thought that story sounded familiar. Here's Peter Kraneveld's conclusion. -Editor

    Rare Coin Found What bothers me is that it looks like the discovery was done two years ago by a Chinese/Kenyan team and is now claimed by "scientists from Illinois". Even when another coin was found by another team two years later, it is not right to treat it as a new discovery, treated in isolation from what has already happened.

    To read the complete thread, see: Topic: Rare 600 year old Chinese Coin found in Kenya (,20729.msg140454.html#msg140454)

    Joe Boling writes:

    The "Yongle" (read as Yung Lo by the Japanese) coin was also extensively replicated by the Japanese as a trade coin for a long time, so the visitors to Kenya were not necessarily Chinese. They could have been Dutchmen returning from Dejima. For that matter, they could have been Portuguese as well, returning from China or anywhere in southeast Asia.

    Howard A. Daniel III writes:

    There are several references published decades ago about finding cash-style coins in East Africa. There was a huge Chinese fleet that sailed from China and went around the Indian Ocean. They even carried some Vietnamese cash-style coins (one of my specialties) and they have been found mixed in with large quantities of the Chinese coins. I seem to remember it was a one-time trading and exploration trip for the Chinese and not a regular "trading" visit. But it would not be unreasonable for other traders from Africa, Middle East and South Asia to be carrying cash-style coins on later journeys and use the cash-style coins to trade for other goods.

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: CHINESE COIN FOUND ON KENYAN ISLAND (


    The April 2013 newsletter of the Cuban Numismatic Association (edited by Frank Putrow) included a short piece about the 1869 Peso Currency issued by the military junta of Cuba and Puerto Rico. -Editor

    Cuba Military Junta 5 pesos

    Cuba Military Junta 20 Pesos

    The Puerto Rican independence movement started in 1860. Shortly after the commencement of the Cuban Ten Year War (1868-1878), notes were issued on August 17, 1869 by the Junta Central Republicana de Cuba y Puerto Rico, a military revolutionist group based in New York to raise funds for the liberation of Cuba and Puerto Rico from Spain.

    The President of the Junta was a Cuban, José Morales Lemus, and his Secretary was a Puerto Rican, Dr. José Francisco Basora. They were arrested in June 1869 for violating the neutrality laws of the United States. These notes were convertible to bonds in minimum quantities of 100 Pesos. These notes are very collectable, and command high prices. Recently, one of the very rare 20 peso sold for $26,000. The 10 peso note is worth approximately $5,000.

    For more information on the Cuban Numismatic Association, see:


    Ursula Kampmann submitted this review of the recent Gorny & Mosch sales. It's lengthy, but I included all of it because I can't resist the gorgeous coin photos. Some real beauties here! -Editor

    March 4-7, 2013
    Gorny & Mosch
    Auction sales 211-213

    Between March 4 and 7, 2013, auction sales 211 to 213 of Gorny & Mosch, Giessener Münzhandlung were conducted in Munich. The results proved the market to be healthy. Be it rarities of highest quality or selected objects ranging in the lower three-figure regions, collectors and investors alike are willing to pay decent prices for decent coins. At present, Roman gold is flying high and that sprang a surprise more than once…

    Auction 211 – High-quality ancient coins

    There were only 18 Celtic coins on offer, estimated at 20,000 euros. The selling price rose to almost 32,000 euros – nothing exorbitant but quite satisfying, which proves that Celtic coins of superb quality find their admirers. That was characteristic for the auction and goes for the “Greek” section, too. Let’s look at one example: a simple tetradrachm from Athens, of fine albeit not rare style, well centered and on an unusually large planchet, sharply minted. This showpiece rose to an end result of 12,650 euros on its pre-sale estimate of 5,000 euros.

    Even more expensive, proportionally, was a diobol from Kebren, which seemed rather normal until it was looked at with a magnifier. Its estimate read 500 euros. Its new owner was willing to pay 5,750 euros for it. And here is a third example testifying to what makes the heart of the coin collector beat faster at the moment. Two coins from Lycia experienced a high flight: a stater of dynast Kuprilli with its impressive head of Zeus in the best state of preservation left its (admittedly rather modest) estimate of 2,500 euros far behind and reached 19,550 euros; a stater of Teththiveibi, starting with the estimate of 2,000 euros, obtained the same result.

    But it was Rome where the real surprises came up. All aurei, given they were extremely fine, were sold at prices much higher than the quite realistic estimates. That could be seen with the Republican coins already. The first aureus of Caesar showing a Victoria on its obverse and a wreath with COS QVINC on its reverse was a bit weakly struck but extremely fine and very rare. It had been estimated at 6,500 euros but yielded 14,950 euros in the end. Even higher was the result of an aureus featuring the portraits of Marc Antony and Octavian (estimate: 20,000 euros / end result: 32,200 euros).

    The aureus of Octavian from Brindisi, likewise estimated at 20,000 euros, even fetched an end result of 57,500 euros – it is hard to tell whether it was thanks to its enchanting reverse or its provenance from a Kricheldorf auction from 1969. Naturally, denarii and bronze coins of outstanding quality obtained magnificent prices. To give but one example: We presented an as of Galba in our auction preview, regardless of its quite low estimate of 1,500 euros, because of its untouched beauty.

    The coveted piece cost more than 12,000 euros in the end – and this was more than justified. Let’s conclude the first sale’s review with some more testimonies to the current gold rush – except for the last piece, they are all aurei: Otho (50,000 / 80.500 euros), Lucilla (7,500 / 21,850 euros), Septimius Severus (15,000 / 80,500 euros), Probus (10,000 / 29,900 euros), Diocletian (15,000 / 52,900 euros) and a solidus of Crispus (15,000 / 29,900 euros).

    Auction 212 – Ancient coins and multiple lots

    Ancient coins and multiple lots are next – and this is a clear indication of how healthy the market is at times present. The remarkable number of 1,826 out of 2,487 pieces was sold, at a total price of 630,000 euros. Actually, on a lower level, there were extraordinary results here, too. A connoisseur recognized the outstanding rarity of an obol from Koressos with its seemingly primitive die cutting. The very fine object was estimated at 200 euros. 1,500 euros was the price its proud new owner was inclined to pay. The unchallenged high-flyer became a tetradrachm from Syracuse, whose die had been cut by the ‘Master of the Large Arethusa Heads’. The attractive lot in good very fine was called out with an estimate of 800 euros. The end result was more than ten times that sum, i.e. 12,650 euros.

    And, as a matter of fact, the multiple lots again attracted many keen bidders. The total estimate read 62,000 euros; at the end of the day, the 116 lots obtained 72,000 euros.

    Auction 213 – Medieval and modern times

    And this takes us right to the coins of medieval and modern times. The first part of the auction sale consisted of an impressive collection of medals. The most outstanding piece, a Trinity medallion from 1544 by Hans Reinhard the Elder, yielded just the humble sum of 27,600 euros, regardless of its perfect provenance and condition. We can only congratulate the bidder on this lucky acquisition.

    Other medals surpassed all expectations, like a medal 1631 of J. von Loof on the victory of the United Provinces over the Royal Spanish fleet (1,000 / 4,140 euros), the medal of the same die cutter on the capture of the city of Hulst in 1645 (6,000 / 11,500 euros), the medal of Dadler on the wedding of Prince Wilhelm (3,500 / 8,050 euros) or the medal 1731 on the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Danzig (750 / 3,450 euros). Almost 15,000 euros – that was the price the Prussian reichsthaler of 1705 with SVVM CVIQVE, the motto of Frederick I, was sold for, a price far higher than the pre-sale estimate of 10,000 euros.

    The German section witnessed pleasing results as well, like a surprise from Bavaria: an inconspicuous Madonnenthaler of Maximilian I from 1624 brought seven times its estimate of 250 euros, hence 1,725 euros. The next lot, a 5 ducat piece 1640 on the refortification of the city of Munich rose on its estimate of 3,000 euros to 12,650 euros.

    Likewise remarkable were the hammer prices for gold coins dating to the German Empire. Rarities continue to be highly coveted and enthusiastically bid for. 20 mark 1905 A from Mecklenburg-Strelitz in extremely fine to mint state with a mintage of only 1,000 pieces had been estimated at 7,000 euros. To its new owner it was worth 11,500 euros. A very fine 20 mark 1874 B from Schaumburg-Lippe, likewise rare with a number of 3,000 specimens minted, obtained 6,325 euros on a pre-sale estimate of 3,000 euros.

    The sale’s greatest surprise was a ducat of the Venetian doge Marino Faliero. The piece is of high historical importance. Marino Faliero was the one doge who dared to stage a coup. We cannot say what his motives were for all records had been burnt after the secret proceeding. Anyway, the man was decapitated on April 17, 1355, on the very same staircase he had been granted the Cornu Ducale just half a year before. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that during such short a reign only a small number of ducats were minted. 23,000 euros were achieved by the piece that had carried a pre-sale price tag of 3,000 euros.

    05052w00 05052y00

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    Finally, let’s have a look at Russia. Here, some impressive results were to be witnessed, too, like the one for a School Prize Medal of Paul I, awarded in 1887 (15,000 / 40,250 euros). The most expensive coin of the entire auction became an imperial, a 10 roubel gold coin from 1897 of utmost rarity, minted most probably in a tiny mintage as a donative. The almost mint state specimen had been estimated at 100,000 euros and was sold for 172,500 euros in the end.

    Actually, chances had been very high for another piece to become the top-seller. A hitherto unedited rouble of Paul I from 1798, unique in all probability and of high numismatic importance, had been estimated at 200,000 euros. There was much interest in this rarity. Many collectors and dealers alike had come to inspect it firsthand. In the end, however, too many questions (exact reason for its minting, the coin’s way until the auction etc.) remained open. They couldn’t be answered with the data currently available. Consequently, many potential buyers abstained from bidding until new information will shed light on the background of the coin.

    All results can be viewed on the internet at Post-auction sales with Gorny & Mosch, Giessener Münzhandlung, Maximiliansplatz 20, D-80333 Munich, phone +49 / (0)89 / 24 22 643-0, fax +49 / (0)89 / 22 85 513. Consignments for the upcoming October auction 2013 are accepted as of now until August 2, 2013.

    * All prices include 15 % buyer’s premium.

    00009w00 00009y00

    Lot 9. Celts / Hesse and Rhineland. REGENBOGENSCHÜSSELCHEN. Mint Dürnsberg Oppidum near Giessen(?). Kellner Type IX B. Extremely fine. Estimate 2,500 euros. End result: 5,290 euros.

    00065.1w00 00065.1y00

    Lot 65A. Greeks / Sicily. NAXOS. Tetradrachm, c. 460 B. C. Cahn 54 (same die). Marvelous toning. Very fine. From Hunt Collection, Sotheby’s New York 1991, 79. Estimate: 50,000 euros. End result: 57,500 euros.

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    Lot 224. Greeks / Attica. ATHENS. Tetradrachm, after 449 B. C. Starr pl. 22f. Extremely fine. Estimate: 5,000 euros. End result: 12,650 euros.

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    Lot 310. Greeks / Troas. KEBREN. Diobol, 5th cent. B. C. Rosen Coll. – (cf. 533). Extremely fine. Estimate: 500 euros. End result: 5,750 euros.

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    Lot 408. Greeks / Lykia. KUPRILLI. Stater, 470-440. Vismara II, 129 (same die). From MMAG 72 (1987), 671. Extremely fine. Estimate: 2,500 euros. End result: 19,550 euros.

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    Nr. 547. Roman Imperial Times. AUGUSTUS, 27 B. C. – A. D. 14. Aureus, 29-17, Brindisi(?). RIC 268. From Kricheldorf 8 (1969), 198. Extremely fine to mint state. Estimate: 20,000 euros. End result: 57,500 euros.

    00579w00 00579y00

    Lot 579. Roman Imperial Times. GALBA, 68-69. As, 69. RIC – (cf. 491f). Extremely rare variant. Dark-green, untouched patina. Extremely fine. Estimate: 1,500 euros. End result: 12,075 euros.

    00579.1w00 00579.1y00

    Lot 579A. Roman Imperial Times. OTHO, 69. Aureus. RIC 7. Rare. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000 euros. End result: 80,500 euros.

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    Lot 635. Roman Imperial Times. SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, 193-211. Aureus, 204. RIC 211. From auction sale Hess 7 (1957), 391. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 25,000 euros. End result: 80,500 euros.

    00666w00 00666y00

    Lot 666. Roman Imperial Times. DIOCLETIAN, 284-305. Aureus, Siscia, 286. RIC -. Kent-Overbeck pl. 129, 579 (this specimen). From Hess 24 (1964), 347. FDC. Estimate: 15,000 euros. End result: 52,900 euros.

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    Lot 1172. Greeks / Sicily. SYRACUSE. Tetradrachm, 510-485. Boehringer 46. By Master of the Large Arethusa Heads. Good very fine. Estimate: 1,000 euros. End result: 12,650 euros.

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    Lot 4051. Historical Medals / Netherlands. FREDERICK HENRY OF ORANGE-NASSAU, 1625-1647. Medal 1645 by J. von Loof on the capture of the city of Hulst. Extremely fine to mint state. Estimate: 6,000 euros. End result: 11,500 euros.

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    Lot 4142. Historical Medals / Prussia. FREDERICK I, 1688-1701-1713. Reichsthaler 1705 CS, Berlin Mint. Dav. 2563. Peus 282/3 (2005), 2919. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 10,000 euros. End result: 14,375 euros.

    04284y00 04284w00

    Lot 4284. Historical Medals / Russia. CATHERINE II, 1762-1796. School Prize Medal by G. C. Waechter, donated in 1774, awarded in 1802. Müseler 54.1. Extremely fine to mint state. Estimate: 5,000 euros. End result: 9,200 euros.

    04295w00 04295y00

    Lot 4295. Historical Medals / Brandenburg-Prussia. Gold medal of 15 ducats 1814 of Ascher Wappenstein on the triumphal march of the allied forces against Napoleon and the Treaty of Paris. Montenuovo Coll. cf. 2391 (silver). From auction sale UBS 53, lot 831. Extremely fine. Estimate: 22,000 euros. End result: 24,150 euros.

    Lot 4405. Germany / Bavaria. MAXIMILIAN I, 1598-1651. 5 ducats 1640, Munich. KM 62. Very fine to extremely fine. Estimate: 3,000 euros. End result: 12,650 euros.

    Lot 4528. German Empire / Mecklenburg-Strelitz. ADOLF FREDERICK V, 1904-1914. 20 mark 1905 A. J. 240. Mintage: 1,000 pieces. Extremely fine to mint state. Estimate: 7,000 euros. End result: 11,500 euros.

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    Lot 4592. Italy / Venice. MARINO FALIERO, 1354-1355. Ducat n. y. Paol. 30-1. Slightly bent. Extremely fine. Estimate: 3,000 euros. End result: 23,000 euros.

    Lot 5052. Russia. PAUL I, 1796-1801. Gold School Prize Medal n. y. (1887). Diakov 258.3. From KPM 8 (1975), 814. Extremely fine. Estimate: 15,000 euros. End result: 40,250 euros.

    Lot 5132. Russia. NICHOLAS II, 1894-1917. Imperial - 10 rouble gold 1897, St. Petersburg Mint. Bitkin 319. Ex WCN A 46 (6/2011), 1100. Of utmost scarcity. About mint state. Estimate: 100,000 euros. End result: 172,500 euros.

    To view the complete catalogs, see:

    A version of the article was also published in her March 21, 2013CoinsWeekly, here: Fantastic prices for Roman gold (

    A version of her article was also published by CoinUpdate, here: Fantastic Prices for Roman Gold (

    Archives International Auctions, Part XIV

    Auction Update - Archives International Live
    Save the Date
    Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

    in Fort Lee, New Jersey

    Reserve Bank of India 2 Pupees

    Rare U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily and Security Printing Ephemera Including Additional Selections from the Hamtramck Collection, another offering from the American Bank Note Commemoratives Inventory as well as Properties of Banknotes, Coins and Scripophily from various consignors.

    Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 in Fort Lee, New Jersey

    Included will be over 1000 lots of Rare Worldwide Banknotes, Coins and Scripophily. Please view our website for auction updates

    1580 Lemoine Avenue, Suite #7
    Fort Lee, NJ 07024
    Phone: 201-944-4800


    Nick Graver sent in some recent cartoons having a numismatic theme. Here are a couple. -Editor

    Jump Start coin cartoon

    Jump Start coin cartoon


    An article in the March 21, 2013 CoinsWeekly discusses Easter-themed coins. -Editor

    Easter is one of the most important celebrations in Christianity. For centuries, eggs and rabbits have been a part of Easter, appearing in forms that range from the traditional to the exclusive. Coin Invest Trust has brought both together with an Easter bunny coin and three magnificent coins inspired by the style of the famed Fabergé eggs.

    It’s the Easter rabbit coin’s unusual shape that really impresses at first glance – that of a crouching Easter rabbit. The front of the coin features the coat of arms of the island nation of Palau, with the nominal value of $1. The back of the coin is smooth, with graphical indentations to accentuate the detail.

    Palau Easter Bunny coin
    Palau / 1 US-Dollar / Gold .9999 / 0.5 g / 11 mm / Mintage: 15,000.

    As early as the last 17th century, a physician stated just how unhealthy it was to eat too many coloured eggs, painted and hidden for children by the Easter rabbit, according to what the little ones in Alsace were told. Where exactly this idea comes from is not clear. In Christian theology, the rabbit was considered a symbol of the Resurrection – not least because of its intense drive to reproduce.

    The egg was also a sign of eternal life in antiquity. Both elements therefore correspond to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, while the custom itself also fits in wonderfully with the joy of spring. The Easter rabbit later made its way from the German-speaking countries of Central Europe towards North America, where it’s more commonly known today as the ‘Easter bunny’.

    Cook Islands Egg coins
    Cook Islands / 5 Ci$ / Silver .999 / 20 g / 38.61 mm / Mintage: 2,500 (each coin).

    While the common people were hiding Easter eggs, Czar Alexander III delighted his wife in 1885 with a very special egg he had commissioned. His court blacksmith, Carl Peter Fabergé, created a white enamelled egg with a golden yolk, which in turn had a miniature hen nested within it. The Czarina was so taken with it that from then on, her husband had a new egg commissioned every year for Easter.

    Coin Invest Trust has taken up this tradition again and issued what is now the third series of Fabergé egg style coins. The smooth front of the egg-shaped silver coins feature Queen Elizabeth II as head of state of the issuing country, the Cook Islands, as well as the face value of 5 dollars and the year of minting, 2013. The backs of the coins are mini masterpieces of Cloisonné work: coloured enamel and gold metal inlays, some of which are complemented by inserted jewels, capture the floral and decorative elements of the eggs created by Fabergé.

    Both the rabbit shaped gold coin and the Imperial eggs are minted by B.H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH and are available for purchase through specialty dealers.

    I hadn't seen these before. Are there other Easter-themed coins out there? -Editor

    To read the complete article, see: Easter In All Shapes (


    This week's Featured Web Page is on the coins of Pontius Pilate.

    They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity.

    Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

    For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ­ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

    Nobody prays Jupiter any more, but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

    Pontius Pilate coins

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