The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 21, May 20, 2012, Article 26


I ran out of time to write my diary last week, so I'm picking up where I left off. My meeting of Nummis Nova was a hoot - we have a great time telling jokes, talking trash, and passing around some really interesting numismatic items.

Wayne Herndon had just been at the Early American Coppers show, and told me that two different people had come up to his table saying they were excited to finally meet him in person - then he found out they thought he was me. I guess there are too many Wayne H's from Virginia in numismatics. He's the one with the cool mustache. NOTE TO READERS: my stock head shot is getting a little dated, but it has no mustache and I haven't grown one.

Speaking of mustaches, our old pal Bill Eckberg attended the meeting for the first time WITHOUT his mustache. I hadn't seen him for a while - he retired and he and his wife Susan sold their house and headed south to Florida, where they've been waiting to close on a new place. He was back in town for a visit, looking tanned and rested. I knew he looked different, but it took me a few minutes to realize the 'stach was gone. It was great to have him back.

Another person we hadn't seen for a while was Dick Doty, Curator of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian. He brought with him a very interesting coin from his personal collection, a junk box purchase from a coin show.

RomanFakeObverse RomanFakeReverse

Dick writes:

About ten, fifteen years ago, at the Vienna show, I was rooting thru one of Don Zauche's junk boxes, the $20 one, when I came across this weird-looking "Roman" coin, an obvious copy. It interested me, but not enough to fork over twenty bucks, so I gave it a pass. But I thought about it off and on, and at the next show, it was still there, and I bought it then and there.

It's a copy of a sestertius of Trajan, likely made around 150 AD, I'd hunch by one of the Germanic tribes outside the Empire. The interesting thing is that whoever was doing the dies was copying direct from an actual coin, so he got everything backwards - right down to the SC. But you can't blame a guy for trying.

It appears to be a copy of RIC Vol.2 (Vespasian to Hadrian), Trajan 488, an undated sestertius minted at Rome between 103 and 111. The original types are emperor's head left, laureate, with aegis/Roma standing left, holding Victory and spear, kneeling Dacian at her feet. The Dacian got left out of the copy. This may have been a deliberate omission.

QUICK QUIZ: Eric Schena brought along two obsolete banknotes, one genuine and one a contemporary counterfeit. He challenged us to pick the fake. I got it right. Is it the one on top or the bottom? Why - what are the telltale signs? To see larger images, click on the photos to go to our Flickr archive.

Farmer's Bank of VA note 1

Farmer's Bank of VA note 2

thompson counterfeit detector listing Eric adds:

I used my copy of an old Thompson's Counterfeit Detector to confirm it was a counterfeit. Great how a 160 year old counterfeit detector still works. Here's the entry for the Farmers Bank of Virginia - see if you can spot the specific listing that I used.

Dave Schenkman's error show-and-tell item was a double denomination coal scrip token - $5.00 on one side, $1.00 on the other. I joked that the company showed the $5.00 side on payday, and the $1.00 side at the company store.

cambria-obv cambria-rev

Dave writes:

Unlike the majority of trade tokens, which have the denomination on either the obverse or reverse, tokens struck by "system scrip" companies have it on both sides. This is because the issuing merchant's name, etc., and the denomination is on the obverse, and the reverse is usually a "stock" die which has the manufacturer's name, etc., and also the denomination. The Ingle Schierloh Company used different size planchets for each denomination, except for the $1.00, $5.00, and $10.00 tokens which were usually all on 35mm planchets.

This double denomination occurred because the employee striking it took the five dollar obverse die cut for the Cambria Coal Company and instead of taking a matching five dollar "stock" reverse die, grabbed a one dollar die. An error such as this could happen with any combination of $1.00, $5.00, and $10.00 tokens. It couldn't happen on tokens under a dollar, since each denomination was a different size.

I am aware of five different double denomination Ingle Schierloh Company tokens, and with one exception, each is unique. I imagine errors of this sort were either detected before the tokens were shipped, and destroyed, or were returned by the company that ordered them.

Dave brought some token dies as well as a rare token struck from one of them. Thanks for the images!

henry bolling-obv henry bolling-rev
Dave writes:

henry bolling die Henry Bolling operated a general store in the tiny town of Pound, Virginia. In June, 1929 he ordered "Master Metal Scrip" tokens in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, $1.00, $5.00, and $10.00 denominations from the Ingle Schierloh Company of Dayton, Ohio. Mintages ranged from 200 to 500 pieces, except for the $10.00, which had a mintage of only 100.

I acquired my $10.00 token in the 1970s, and also the obverse die used to strike it. To the best of my knowledge no other example of the token has surfaced.

18380O Half Dollar book Later this week I received in the mail a copy of a new monograph by David Stone and Mark Van Winkle about the 1838-O half dollar. I hope to have more information about this title next week.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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