The Numismatic Bibliomania Society Logo



The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 3, January 16, 2000, Article 8


Chuck Shepherd's syndicated "News of the Weird" column describes this eyewitness account from the Oaklahoman newspaper:

"Cowboy Pat Ratliff, age 78, won $1,700 from three marks in Ardmore, Okla., by tearing a quarter in half. To erase skepticism, Ratliff also took two quarters from the reporter and tore those in half, each in less than 30 seconds."

Can any of you manly bibliophiles top that feat? (Tearing books in half doesn't count - besides it's frowned upon in our circles).

Speaking of mutilated coins, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh has an 1878 medal issued by the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society. The medal appears to have been shot through the center with a bullet, leaving only the outer rim intact.

The key to why on earth this piece came to rest in the museum may be found in the following item, taken from the history of the WPNS. Sometimes the oddest things can be explained with a little library research...

The medal was struck in the founding year of the society, and commemorates the 1878 Pittsburg Exposition. An advertisement for the event in the August 24, 1878 Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette notes:

"In addition to a vast display in the provinces of Art, Mechanics, Agriculture, Floriculture, Inventions…   There will be the following SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS, Which have been secured by the management without regard to expense:

Dr. W. F. Carver, will exhibit his prodigious skill as a rifleman daily, illustrating his marvelous powers by breaking glass balls in the air, cutting coins, lead pencils &c., using a Winchester Rifle."

Wayne Homren, Editor

Google NBS ( Web

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

This is a static archive page documenting the originally published content. Links were active at the time of publication but may no longer work. Check subsequent issues for corrections and commentary.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: E-Sylum Editor

Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS Webmaster
Privacy Policy