The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 53, December 23, 2012, Article 8


Mark Hillary 1796 Half Cent Variety Identified
Bill Eckberg writes:

Mark Hillary 1796 half cent obv The variety is easy. Pole-to-cap identifies it as Cohen 2, the "more common" of two varieties, but still scarce, highly prized and, if genuine and really UNC, should bring far more than their estimate. The mintage, however, is a guess. It is almost impossible that the mintage can be 1,390 as the hype suggests. There are two varieties, one of which is badly cracked from the beginning, and the other is fine throughout the run. It would have taken only a couple of hours at the time to strike 1,390 coins, so the notion that they were struck on the same day or nearly so makes no sense, so that can't be the whole mintage for the year. It is far more likely that the actual mintage of 1796 half cents totaled 6,480, delivered in April, June and October.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE MARK HILLARY 1796 HALF CENT (

On eBay's Counterfeit Banknote Policy
Joe Boling writes:

You asked, about the paper NORFED notes, "So what's the status of the paper issues?" What indeed is the status of counterfeit paper on eBay? If their policy is to ban "the listing of counterfeits and replicas on," they have a long way to go in the paper field. For starters, their originally-published position was ambiguous about paper offerings - it was specific only about metallic lots.

I regularly see offerings of banknotes with spurious overprints/overstamps, where the additional marking makes a $5 note a $500 note - except that so many are showing up that the prices are falling through the floor. Bad news for the very few people selling genuine examples of these issues - their offerings draw 15% of their true value. When you leave feedback that a lot was a fake (if you give two stars or fewer for "description," they come back and ask you why), eBay does nothing. One seller in England has used three eBay names - all the payments go to the same PayPal account. Since eBay owns PayPal, they should certainly be able to figure this out.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: LIBERTY DOLLAR SALES BANNED ON EBAY (

Mystery Numismatists Identified
In an earlier issue I published a quiz, asking if readers could identify the two mystery numismatists pictured here.

Numismatic Mystery person2 Numismatic Mystery person1

When no one came forth I gave the following hint: The first one was NOT a U.S. citizen, and lived in a palace. The second one was a controversial academic.

Ron Guth writes:

OMG, I can't believe no one identified either of the two numismatists. The one on the right is Dr. William H. Sheldon. No clue on the other guy.

Greg Adams writes:

With respect to your pictures I don’t know who the gentleman on the left is but the one on the right is Dr. Sheldon.

Chuck Heck writes:

I have no idea who is in the first of the two photos but I definitely know the second is Dr. William Sheldon.

Correct. That was the easier of the two. The only reader to correctly identify both was Pete Smith. -Editor

Pete Smith writes:

I didn't answer last week because I thought it was too easy. King Farouk and Dr. William "MS-70" Sheldon.

Showoff! Thanks everyone, for playing. These quizzes are fun. I don't think I'd ever seen a picture of Farouk before I came across this one. It's a great one because it shows him examining his coin collection. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE NUMISMATIC GREATS (

Harvey Stack Inducts Abe Kosoff
Speaking of famous numismatists, Pete Smith adds:

Harvey Stack inducting Abe Kosoff I was interested in the photo of Abe Kosoff taken at the 2012 ANA Convention.

The caption reads: "Abe Kosoff is inducted into the PCGS CoinFact Coin Dealer Hall of Fame by Harvey Stack. Photo by Donn Pearlman." But the photo is also labeled "Abe Kosoff". Of course, it's an image of Harvey stack announcing Kosoff's induction. -Editor

To read the compete article, see: Set Registry Scrapbook ANA Philadelphia, August, 2012 (

On the MAGnite System for Counterfeit Detection
Joe Boling writes:

Evidently the Giesecke and Devrient MAGnite system for checking authenticity of banknotes has not been used by anyone yet for a circulating note, as their website shows no examples of the system in use - not even on a test note. I'd love to see before-and-after images showing the effect of the magnetic field on the printing ink.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: A SMARTPHONE APP FOR COUNTERFEIT DETECTION (

Joe Boling on the Translation of "Nummis Nova"
Joe Boling writes:

Nummis Nova in Mandarin The calligrapher who wrote out Nummis Nova in Chinese is using the phonetic values of the characters, and even then they don't really make what you want. My dictionary reads it as niu-mi-shih lo-wa. Literally it's [cord-uncooked rice-family/clan] [silk-beautiful woman].

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: DECEMBER 16, 2012 (

More on Yap Stone Money
Ralf Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes:

With regard to your paragraph on stone money in last week's E-Sylum, there's even a Stacks-Bowers auction appearance of such a "coin", giving some more background.

Yap stone auction lot

The "Holy Grail" of Primitive Money, Yap Island Stone Money, "The World's Largest Coinage"

18 inches x 3.5 inches; 54 pounds. Opitz-pg.316/21; Quiggin-pg.144, pl#12; Sigler-pg,19; Gillilland-Smithsonian Institute "The Stone Money of Yap a Numismatic Survey"-pg.58-type-d.. Yap Island produced the worlds largest and heaviest coinage, most commonly referred to as "Fei" or "Rai", considered sacred amongst the local people. The largest examples are in excess of 12 feet in diameter, weighing about 2 tons. Due to their excessive size the larger stones often traded ownership without physically being moved. The larger stones would remain in place as it became common knowledge among the inhabitants that it now belonged to a new owner. As there is no large source of stone on Yap, the stones were quarried and shaped on the island of Malakal in Palau, then shipped back to Yap on native boats. The stones are made of calcite, which is abundant on Malakal. Some of the larger stones took as long as two years to quarry and shape using axes made from giant clams. The trip from Malakal to Yap via boat was a hazardous voyage that claimed many lives. Often the value placed on a stone directly related to the amount of human lives lost in order to quarry it and deliver to Yap.

Although there are many sizes and shapes of Yap stones, they can be classified into two basic types pre and post O'Keefe. The earliest stones were produced by the locals using axe heads made from segments of the giant clam. Later stones or "O'Keefe stones" were produced in the 1800's using metal tools. David O'Keefe was American of Irish heritage who came to Yap with tools and a junk boat acquired in Hong Kong which he used to quarry and transport "Fei" from Malakal to Yap and through this process set himself up as the King of Yap Island. The 1954 motion picture "His Majesty O'Keefe" starring Burt Lancaster, although somewhat dramatized and engrossed, fairly accurately portrays this series of events.

The stone offered here is of the pre O'Keefe type, quarried and shaped by the native Yapese using the traditional axes made from giant clam shells. In terms of size, this is one of the larger pre O'Keefe stones we have seen offered for sale, weighing 54 pounds. Seldom are larger stones available for sale, as removing them from the island was extremely hard due to their size and weight. In terms of condition this stone is complete, unbroken and attractive. Often referred to as the key or "Holy Grail" to assembling a collection of primitive money.

To read the complete lot description, see:


OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 300 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at .

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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