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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 1, January 2, 2000, Article 3


It drives collectors nuts when periodical publishers delay or misnumber issues, and perhaps there's a quiz question in there somewhere. But mishaps aren't limited to numismatic publications. An Associated Press article published today reports, "Normally punctilious about correcting its own errors, The New York Times used the new millennium to fess up to a mistake that had appeared on its front page every day for more than a century.

Saturday's Times is actually issue No. 51,254 - not 51,754.

You hadn't noticed? - Neither had anyone else, according to the paper, until 24-year-old news assistant Aaron Donovan recently "became curious about the numbering" … and "wondered about the potential for self-perpetuating error."

Using a spreadsheet program, Donovan ran the numbers back to issue No. 1 on Sept. 18, 1851, and discovered they added up to 500 fewer than had been thought. Then, doing further research, he homed in on Feb. 6, 1898, as the date of infamy.

On that day, he found, a now-anonymous predecessor … added 1 to 14,499 and came up with 15,000 rather than 14,500."

Wayne Homren, Editor

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