The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 27, July 4, 2010, Article 20


In my review of Astronomical Symbols on Ancient and Medieval Coins by Marshall Faintich, I wrote:

A solar eclipse in 585AD was reported to have "stopped the war between the Lydians and the Medes.

Leon Saryan writes:

I don't think Lydians and Medes had anything to do with each other in AD times!! If I have to I can dig out information to support the supposition that this must have been BC.

Arthur Shippee caught this, too. He writes:

It's BCE, of course. Look at who are involved.

Sorry! Don't blame Faintich - the typo is my fault - this should indeed be 585 B.C. -Editor

Regarding those strange "good luck" symbols on tokens, Martin Purdy writes:

Runic characters I'm skeptical that these have anything to do with runes. I have some familiarity with the runic alphabet, and its letters don't look anything like the elements featuring on these tokens.

We might go further with the "hieroglyphs" theory. I've had a quick look through some sources here and found the attached (from "Reading the Past, Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet", British Museum 1990, p. 109).

ra hieroglyph

Allowing for a bit of straightening out of curves for whatever reason (style, or simply a copy of a copy of a copy, perhaps), I think this may be what the symbol on the "good luck" token is meant to represent. Some may not see any similarity, but if Chinese characters can "morph" into the simplified phonetic syllables used in Japan (hiragana and katakana) over a period of thousands of years, then the little bit of adjustment needed to make this theory fit isn't excessive!

As always, I'm happy to be proved wrong if anything more plausible turns up.

To read the previous E-Sylum article, see: SO WHAT IS THIS STRANGE 'GOOD LUCK' SYMBOL? (

Regarding policy changes for exhibitors at the upcoming Boston ANA convention, Alan V. Weinberg writes:

Sadly, I will not be exhibiting this year at the Boston ANA or any future years even though I've exhibited significantly (ie 1792-93 rarities) at the summer ANA for the past 5-6 years.

The new ill-conceived policy of no early bird badges for exhibitors is the deciding factor. Once you set up your exhibit, you're out - you must leave the bourse floor and wait 'til the public enters the next day.

I know a number of other prospective exhibitors feel the same way and were astonished to hear this. I was going to exhibit my superb Massachusetts silver coinage in Boston . Now, I'll reserve my exhibiting for the January FUN shows where they know how to appreciate exhibitors.

There sure is a major chasm between the FUN and Whitman Expos' early bird policy and the ANA's new absolutely NO early birds policy.

This was a nice perk for exhibitors, but I understand the ANA does have reasons for the policy change. I hope we'll still have a good selection of numismatic literature exhibits in Boston. -Editor

Dick Johnson writes:

Dick Hanscom replied in last week's E-Sylum to my comment in the previous week's issue. I chided Dick for the troubles he had encountered trying to strike medals from a die he had engraved himself. I called his activities a "home minting kit."

He responded in great good humor, although he stated he was not laughing out loud. No LoL.

Further he asks if I would be at the Boston ANA convention, he would like to chat with me. The answer is YES. I will be at the Signature Art Medals bourse, booth # 1230 on the center isle across from the escalators. I will be there all five days.

We have only four medals for sale. So we have invited Medallic Art Company to join our location and make it more educational than commercial. We plan an exceptional display of how these four medals are made. This includes (1) die-struck, (2) foundry cast, (3) electrogalvanic cast, and (4) hand engraved. Each of these four techniques are shown with a distinctive Abraham Lincoln medal made by each technique.

Even if you have been in numismatics for over seventy years, like I have, you can learn something from this display. You can actually handle the dies and each one of the medals to observe how they differ. How a cast medal differs from a die struck medal or from a galvano. You can learn the benefits and diagnostics of each. And, perhaps, if one of our Lincoln medals turns you on, you can purchase it on the spot.

But please plan to stop by one day of the show. I would love to chat with anyone on numismatic technology -- how coins and medals are made -- even if one of our Lincoln medals doesn't "talk" to you.

Come see me at booth # 1 - 2 - 3 - 0. Let's chat.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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