The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 43, October 16, 2011, Article 10


Tuesday evening was the October meeting of Nummis Nova, my Northern Virginia numismatic social group. This time we met at The Max Fox, a brew pub in Falls Church. Present were Tom Kays, Mike Packard, Ron Abler, Gene Brandenburg, Joe Levine, Jon Radel, Eric Schena, Dave Schenkman, Bill Eckberg, Chris Neuzil and S. Stewart.

Related to our earlier discussion of the origin of the U.S. dollar sign, Dave Schenkman asked the question, which was he first coin to bear the word "Dollar"? America's first dollar coin was minted in 1794. Dave proposed as the earliest a coin he'd brought to the meeting: a 1791 dollar of Sierra Leone. What do readers think? Is there an earlier coin with the word "dollar"?

Sierra Leone dollar obverse Sierra Leone dollar reverse

Among the points of discussion at my end of the table was a recent National Public radio story about moon rocks distributed to states and congressional districts in the 1970s. Many are now missing, having been lost or stolen over the years. To ease the problem of identification I suggested that the rocks should have been originally encased in something like a Lucite block with identification information and a serial number. Apparently that wasn't done and now we have a bunch of loose rocks that few understand the significance of. Someday someone will write a science fiction story where these missing rocks turn out to store a secret to save the Universe. Your ex-senator may be using one for a paperweight. Or his kid painted it like a ladybug for a gradeschool project.

Anyway, the topic of unearthly rocks led to another numismatic question for E-Sylum readers - has there ever been a coin, token or medal made from ore from a meteorite? None of us had an answer, but if anyone can help, it's probably one of our readers.

Wednesday evening I noticed an ad in the Tuesday Washington Post for a product of (see - I'm always behind the times in my reading). It was a replica of the Lovett "Confederate Cent". It got my attention since I never would have expected to see an image of this obscure item in a newspaper (obscure for the public anyway, not E-Sylum readers). It turns out this is another in the series of replicas authorized by the Smithsonian Institution - a portion of the proceeds supports the National Numismatic Collection.

Confederate Cent replica

Later in the week I noticed Scott Barman's Coin Collectors Blog article about numismatic items featured on recent television shows. I don't see much TV, but I probably would have enjoyed these. Did anyone see them?

Those watching television in the evening had the opportunity to watch two shows were numismatics played a role in the story. On Monday night, CBS's Hawaii Five-0 had a story that included Spanish gold escudos and the Hawaii over-print dollars.... The note was used to help identify the body and the gold escudos were used to trace who was responsible for the murder. To see the full episode of "Mea Makamae," you can watch it on CBS's website...

One of my favorite shows is History Detectives on PBS. For those who have not seen the show, History Detectives explores the history behind artifacts that people find or are handed down by family members to discover its history and the history behind the objects. Anyone who loves history may want to add History Detectives to your must see list.

This past week, Gwen Wright, who is also a professor of architecture at Columbia University, investigate a stock certificate issued by the Harlem Associated Heirs Title Company.

The person who initiated the investigation was a collector of stock and bond certificates, a part of numismatics called scripophily. Those who collect these certificates have interests in financial history, the signatures, or artwork on the certificates.

To read the complete blog post, see: Numismatics On Television (

On a related note, David Ganz sent a link to this History Channel episode which ran on October 5th. It also discusses Ft. Knox. From the web site:

Brad Meltzer's Decoded: Declaration of Independence (45:00)

Does the Declaration of Independence contain secret messages from the founders of the United States?

To view the complete show, see: Brad Meltzer's Decoded: Season 2 Full Episodes ()

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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