The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 30, July 23, 2000, Article 9


   COIN WORLD Editor Beth Deisher writes;  "The introduction 
   to the "Numismatic Terms and Abbreviations" chapter in the 1976 
   Coin World Almanac (first edition copyright 1975) notes: 

   "To standardize the definitions of the most important, and most 
   controversial, numismatic terms, the American Numismatic 
   Association in 1966 appointed a 21-member blue-ribbon panel 
   of experts to serve on the Numismatic Terms Standardization 
   Committee. The committee was reappointed in late 1967 with 
   several personnel changes and is still in existence. A second 
   revised edition of the terms is due shortly. 

   "Those definitions which follow here are given exactly as described 
   in ' The Dictionary of Numismatic Terms' published by the ANA 
   terms committee, and published here by special permission from 
   the ANA. Several definitions have been expanded for reader 
   benefit into the working definitions used by Coin World, World 
   Coins and Numismatic Scrapbook." 

   Editors responsible for each successive edition of the Coin World 
   Almanac have reviewed the terms and added or refined as 
   necessary to reflect the working definitions used by Coin World. 
   I have been working at Coin World 19 years and covering the 
   ANA Board of Governors for the last 16 years. I do not recall that 
   a "terms committee" has met or been active in the last 19 years. It's 

   an interesting area and I'll check with Ed Rochette at ANA. 
   Perhaps it's time for another committee of experts to review 
   and/or discuss adding new definitions." 

   COIN WORLD News Editor William T. Gibbs adds:   "The 
   Almanac chapter has been updated with each new edition, 
   including the seventh edition, which is now at the printer. It should 

   soon be available.  The latest edition will include several terms that 
   did not exist when the original edition was published in 1975. 

   Many Coin World staff members have contributed to the 
   "Numismatic Terms" chapter since the first edition was published. 
   The new Almanac also will contain an updated chapter on 
   numismatic literature, including the addition of a number of works 
   published since the sixth edition was published in 1990." 

   Finally, Beth Deisher reports that the new Almanac edition "is at 
   the printers and we hope to have copies at the ANA in 

   [Editor's note:  a trip to my library unearthed a pamphlet titled 
   "The Dictionary of Numismatic Terms", published by the ANA. 
   It is marked as the "Third Edition - 1975"   No mention of the 
   committee is given, but foreword by John Jay Pittman notes: 
   "The association welcomes and solicits suggestions, additions, 
   and criticisms to this edition of the American Numismatic 
   Association's "The Numismatic Terms Dictionary."  There is 
   a definite and pressing need for a term which will adequately 
   describe a "coin dealer."  We would appreciate your ideas." 

   I'm sure some rather colorful terms for "coin dealer" were 
   submitted, which brings me to a final, non-numismatic question: 
   What ever became of Walter Breen's manuscript for "The 
   Cynic's Dictionary?"  Something he'd been compiling for years, 
   the Cynic's Dictionary was comprised of satirical definitions 
   for various words.] 


   Bob Leonard writes: "I would not be too quick to accept Hodder's 
   suggestion that "the question of the Western bars should now be 
   settled in their favor"--especially in view of Hodder's finding that a 
   "Blake & Agnell" $23.30 bar, declared to be "22 Carat," is only 
   .857 fine.  While Hodder calls 22 Carat ".916" fine, of course it is 
   really 916-2/3, and the bar is undervalued by more than 6.5% 

   When Augustus Humbert performed the assays of private 
   California gold coins for James King of William in March 1851, 
   the very worst of them were deficient by only 3%, but that was 
   enough to drive them out of circulation.  A shortfall more than 
   twice this large is not to be expected. 

   This bar was doubted long before Buttrey gave his paper; when 
   sold as part of the Clifford collection in March 1982, it realized 
   less than half its low estimate.  The "Agnell" name seems 
   anachronistic and derived from a typographical error in Adams, 
   as the assayer's name was actually Agrell. 

   The discovery of authentic Blake and Co. bars from the Central 
   America, which are of a completely different appearance though 
   issued at nearly the same time as this bar purports to be, increases 
   suspicions.  Though Hodder contents himself by remarking  "Its 
   difference is the largest measured," it is difficult to see how this bar, 
   at least, can possibly be authentic." 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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