The E-Sylum:  Volume 5, Number 15, April 7, 2002, Article 6


  About the last item in the previous E-Sylum,    Ray
  Williams writes: "I get it!!!  That whole blurb about
  Mickley was an April Fools joke - I fell for it!  I got all
  excited.  I actually emailed "Mr Esterman" about having
  the diaries published and asked if there was anything in
  them regarding communications with Maris.  Did anyone
  else fall for the joke?"

  April Fools!   Several subscribers reported being unable
  to access the email address listed last week for the
  gentleman (A. J.ester Man) who found some of the lost
  Mickley diaries.  A couple sharpies caught the prank,
  although they didn't let on if they too tried to send an
  email first.  For the benefit of our new subscribers,
  I'll reprint the item here:

  "A visitor to our web site asks, "A web search turned up
  several references to a Joseph Mickley on your site, which
  I read with interest.   I'm an amateur historian and collector
  of original 19th century American source material such as
  old photographs, letters, ledgers, and diaries.  I was on the
  web researching three volumes I picked up a few weeks
  ago. The seller said they came from an estate in Texas.

  They appear to be handwritten diaries of a gentleman named
  J. Mickley.   Some of the entries relate to coin collecting and
  visits to the Philadelphia Mint, which led me to your web site.
  I'd like to learn if this "Joseph Mickley" is the same person
  who kept these diaries.  Where can I  locate a copy of the
  "26-page biography of Joseph Mickley written by his close
  friend, J. Bunting.",  which was mentioned in the vol. 4,
  number 21 issue of your newsletter?  Anthony. J. Esterman,
  Cleveland, OH    ("

  NBS Board member Joel Orosz writes: "The note from
  Mr. Anthony J. Esterman in the current issue of the
  E-Sylum set my heart a-racing, and, being possessed of
  the J. Bunting article in question, I hastened to write him,
  when suddenly I noted the e-mail address: ajesterman.
  Then I remembered the old announcement from Mr.
  Daycius about the Mehl library, also "found" in Texas.
  Then I remembered today's date, April 1.

  You stinker.  My only consolation is that I didn't go to the
  expense of sending a representative to Cleveland to poke
  around, as Armand reputedly did to check out Mr. Daycius!"

  [Joel is referring to an April Fool's joke perpetrated on a
  number of numismatic bibliophiles ten years ago, in the
  spring of 1992.   Although some claim to be certain who
  the culprit was, no one has owned up to the deed and the
  jokester remains anonymous to this day.

  A number of U.S. bibliophiles received a flyer postmarked
  Ft. Worth, TX, advertising an upcoming event run by an
  auctioneer named Martin Nathaniel Daycius.  The auction
  consisted of an extensive numismatic literature library
  with items printed as early as 1820.  The address of the
  auction turned out to be that of the B. Max Mehl building
  in Ft. Worth.  Mehl's coin business was shut down
  decades ago, but to an expectant bibliophile, his library,
  if kept intact, could be a bonanza.  Could it have been
  in storage all these years?

  In every great con, the mark has to WANT to believe.
  And the flyer found a number of believers, some of
  whom went as far as booking flights to Texas prior to
  the sale date, Wednesday, April 1st.

  I checked my schedule and prices for flights too, but
  putting money down was too much of a leap of faith.
  Setting out to confirm the auction, I was frustrated by
  the lack of a contact phone number on the flyer (which
  you would think would be a big clue...)   There was no
  auctioneer named Daycious in the phone book.  Ever
  resourceful, and knowing that auctioneers are generally
  licensed by the state, I called the licensing office and
  was told they had no record of the gentleman.  "But
  if he's holding an auction, we want to know about it.
  He'll be hearing from us."   Hmmm, clue number two.

  Still undeterred, a few more phone calls and lots of
  southern hospitality later, I found myself talking to
  a clerk in a shoe store across the street from the
  Mehl Building.  No luck.   "Oh, no," she said, "that
  place has been boarded up for years."  Clue the third?

  I knew something was fishy, but it didn't dawn on me
  until later that evening.  Sitting in night class I mentally
  pronounced the signature at the bottom of the flyer:
  M. N. Daycious.  Men Daycious.  Mendacious!

  I recalled a story about George Clapp telling
  Max Mehl that he thought he was "mendacious".
  Mehl thanked him, thinking it was a compliment.
  It wasn't  (look it up!).    I laughed out loud and
  my fellow MBA students must have wondered what
  substance I was abusing to find managerial accounting
  so amusing.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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