The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 3, January 20, 2013, Article 12


Dave Hirt on Fonrobert and Collecting CSA Paper Money
From Budapest Dave Hirt writes:

I am still away from home, but still enjoying The E-Sylum. The posts on Jules Fonrobert the last two weeks were quite interesting to me. He was an amazing collector, almost a Virgil Brand predecessor. I have a nicely bound catalog of his North American collection, which I bought back in 1979 in a Kolbe sale. The coins are meticulously cataloged, even the commonest coin or token is described. However, the catalog is printed on very high acid paper, and the pages tear very easily, so it has to be handled very carefully.

One of the books I brought with me to read is History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money. Although I never have collected Confederate Paper Money, I really have been enjoying it! I echo the words of A. Hudson McDonald who wrote the foreword: "Never had I realized there was such a history of collecting Confederate States of America paper currency". All the evidence was out there. It just took the great job of authors Pierre Fricke and Fred Reed to put it together. A bonus for me is that most of the catalogs mentioned are already in my library. I will have a lot of fun when I return home, pulling my catalogs off the shelf, and comparing them to the ones in the text.

Glad to read that the Kolbe-Fanning NYC sale was such a success. Numismatic literature seems to be off to a great start in this new year!

A John L Riddell Signature
Steve Feller writes:

Attached is my cover image of the signature of John L Riddell. Note the presence of his provisional stamps as well. Click on the image to view a larger version in our Flickr archive.

John L Riddell cover with signature

By "cover" Steve means "postal cover" - a mailing envelope to us non-philatelists. As noted in earlier E-Sylum articles, Riddel was an officer at the New Orleans Mint as well as Postmaster of New Orleans during the Civil War. These provisional stamps were his creation of necessity. -Editor

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see: FROM TEXAS TO THE MOON WITH JOHN LEONARD RIDDELL (

Is the eBay 'Coin Die" a Mold for Plastic?
Greg Adams writes:

eBay Pheonix 'coin die' The shape of the "Coin Die" pictured last week doesn’t lend itself to striking anything that requires much pressure. It looks more like half of a mold for plastics (looks to be about the right size to make a marker for a standard size checkers set doesn’t it?)

Hey, anything's possible, and that's a reasonable option. Interesting item, but likely not a coin die. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: WHAT IS THIS EBAY 'MINT DIE'? (

On Passing a Counterfeit
Regarding my commentary on the man caught trying to eat fake money, Greg Burns writes:

“Passing a counterfeit”… you’re too funny

Half the time I never know if anyone gets my jokes, but I have fun putting them in regardless. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: SUSPECT TRIES TO EAT COUNTERFEIT MONEY (

On German Hyperinflation
Ron Guth writes:

Regarding David Klinger's display of the Stuttgart inflationary note in the January 13, 2013 E-Sylum, your readers might be interested to know that the German "Billion" means "trillion" in English. Thus, David's "Fuenf Billionen Mark" banknote is actually a 5 Trillion Mark note. As an aside, the German word for billion is milliarde.

The Westphalian coins were issued from 1921 to 1923 in denominations ranging from 50 Pfennig to 1 Billion Mark (remember, that's 1 Trillion). They are all fairly common with the exception of the 1 Billion (1 Trillion) coin and they make a great-looking collection.

Here's a great article about the hyperinflation in Weimar Germany that led to the production of these coins and notes: WEIMAR: Here's What We Know About The Hyperinflation Horror Story That Haunts Europe Today (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: INFLATION MONEY AND PROPOSED PLATINUM COIN DESIGNS (

George Calvert, the First Lord Baltimore
Tony Hine writes:

Since Sunday's missive showed A Maryland Map medal, I thought your readers might enjoy a reference to Cecil's father George, the first Lord Baltimore.

George Calvert George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, 8th Proprietary Governor of Newfoundland (1579–15 April 1632) was an English politician and colonizer. He achieved domestic political success as a Member of Parliament and later Secretary of State under King James I. He lost much of his political power after his support for a failed marriage alliance between Prince Charles and the Spanish royal family. Rather than continue in politics, he resigned all of his political offices in 1625 except for his position on the Privy Council and declared his Catholicism publicly. He was granted the title of 1st Baron Baltimore in the Irish peerage upon his resignation.

Calvert took an interest in the colonisation of the New World, at first for commercial reasons and later to create a refuge for English Catholics. He became the proprietor of Avalon, the first sustained English settlement on the island of Newfoundland. Discouraged by its climate and the sufferings of the settlers, Calvert looked for a more suitable spot further south and sought a new royal charter to settle the region, which would become the state of Maryland. Calvert died five weeks before the new charter was sealed, leaving the settlement of the Maryland colony to his son Cecilius. His second son Leonard Calvert was the first colonial governor of the Province of Maryland. Historians have long recognized George Calvert as the founder of Maryland, in spirit if not in fact.

To read the complete article, see: George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (,_1st_Baron_Baltimore)


Hobo Nickel Brings Record Price

Larry Dziubek noted this article from Numismatic News about the stunning price realized for a Hobo Nickel. -Editor

Record-setting Hobo Nickel With a winning bid of $22,000 plus a 10 percent buyer’s fee, a Bearded Man/Boxcar hobo nickel done by George Washington “Bo” Hughes dominated the 21st mail and floor bid auction conducted Jan. 12 during a meeting of the Original Hobo Nickel Society, Inc., at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.

The classically carved hobo nickel likely dating to 1939, according to the catalog, was purchased by Chris Dempsey of Dempsey and Baxter Rare Coins in Erie, Pa.

Ralph Winter, editor of Bo Tales, the official journal of the group, said, “This was by far the largest price ever paid for a single hobo nickel.”

To read the complete article, see: Hobo Nickel Stuns With $24,200 Price (

Aaron Swartz's Favorite US Mint Directors
John Kraljevich writes:

The late, lamented hacker/internet genius Aaron Swartz's last tweet identified his five favorite US Mint Directors. This tidbit comes from Slate.

I realized that this had to be the smartest, most talented person I'd ever met. A few days ago I read what I didn't know at the time would be his last twitter exchange:

Aaron Swartz Mint Directors

To read the complete article, see: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Aaron Swartz (/

Interesting. Now who are YOUR favorite Mint Directors, and why? -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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