The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 12, March 24, 2013, Article 11


18K Jai A Lai Medal
We've had no new information about the Jai A Lai medal Ralph Langham asked about last week, but Joe Boling writes:

The "monogram" on the jai a lai medal is the "18K" stamp that Langham mentioned.

Saving Family Memorabilia
Joe Boling writes:

Regarding Groucho's grandson saving "You Bet Your Life," after my mother died we found two reels of 16mm film under her bed that had been shot by my grandfather in India in 1930-32. After converting it to DVD, we watched it in fascination and sorely regretted that my mother had never mentioned these reels - it sure would have been useful to have her commentary on what we were watching. Moral: get your parents to walk you through the family memorabilia while they can; if you don't, you will later wish you had.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: HOW GROUCHO'S GRANDSON SAVED ‘YOU BET YOUR LIFE’ (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: JAI A LAI MEDAL INFORMATION SOUGHT (

Frank Lapa's Obituary
Paul Schultz writes:

In the last E-Sylum, Jeffrey Zarit writes: "There was mention of Frank Lapa passing away. Does anyone have any details?"

I have a note in my copy of Lapa's Russian Wire Money pamphlet which reads "Lapa Murder Story in The Numismatist, 11/96, p 1346 "The Other Side of the Coin". Postscript in Letters, 2/97, p 127. " My recollection from back then is that it is a pretty detailed and complete article, and probably tells when he died.

Addendum to Wayne's Numismatic Diary: March 17, 2013
Tom Kays writes:

Aaron Packard had some counterstamped coins from the 1850s and specializes in Colonial through Civil War tokens.

My case had a set of pillar coins of Mexico, matched with a copy of “The Milled Columnarios of Central and South America – Spanish American Pillar Coinage, 1732 to 1772” by Frank F. Gilboy, Prairie Wind Publishing Inc. 1999. I also brought an early Masonic button made from two seated dimes and a bunch of postal covers sponsored by the George Washington Chapter of the Masons for the bicentennial of George’s birth.

Gene did put a “chicken” counterstamped token in my case as it went by, that was discussed in The E-Sylum a couple weeks ago. I missed the last two E-Sylum issues and only caught up after the next day after dinner, about where it was suggested that one who collects goat tags should be a good customer for other types of barnyard animals. He was right.

It was a fairly centrally located and cozy restaurant. Everyone filled up pretty well especially on the chips and salsa as we waited for grande entrees. I’ll go back there again.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 17, 2013 (

Norman Stack
In last week's E-Sylum item on Harvey Stack's travels with John Ford, I guessed that the gentleman in the lower right of this montage was Charles Wormser.

Travels with John Ford

Ed Reiter writes:

I would bet a pretty penny that the photo at the lower right is that of Norman Stack, not Charles Wormser. I never knew Wormser and don't believe I'd recognize him from photos I might have seen over the years. But I interviewed Norman Stack frequently at numerous Stack's auctions, and this certainly seems to be his likeness -- though at a somewhat earlier stage of his career.

David T. Alexander writes:

The man on the lower right in Harvey Stack's memoir of traveling with the late John J. Ford Jr. is Norman Stack. Ford's devotion to self-medication should be a warning to all. For years he preached with characteristic forcefulness the efficacy of zinc as a specific against prostate cancer. Then came extract of Saw Palmetto. Ford died of the very disease zinc was supposed to prevent.

Julian Leidman also identified Norman Stack. Thanks, everyone. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: HARVEY STACK ON TRAVELING WITH JOHN FORD, JR. (

Croxley Watermark On Mafeking Siege Notes
Joe Boling writes:

What with having MPCFest immediately follow CPMX, I did not get to read my 10 March E-Sylum until this week. I was all set to chime in on tête-bêche, being a former philatelist, but your other readers covered that well.

However, nobody commented on the Mafeking siege notes article (other than the comment by Dr. Korchnak accompanying your notice). I also saw the absence of Ineson's book in the reference list that the Moneta authors provided. But even Ineson fell short in one significant respect - he did not discuss the watermarks in the shilling-denominated notes. He mentioned only that the paper was made by Croxley.

The watermark says CROXLEY MANIFEST BANK / LONDON, all under a lion rampant waving a banner. The significance in this is that the same watermark appears in the Green Point Track POW cage notes prepared by the British for Boer POWs. Issued pieces are very scarce, but remainders - and replicas - have been in the market for decades. It's the watermark that separates the remainders from the reprints.

Other than in the MPCGram, this watermark has never been published. Its discovery in the Mafeking notes tied the Green Point Track paper to the time and place, and allows us to say with confidence that the watermarked Green Point Track notes are what they purport to be.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE FEBRUARY 2013 MONETA ISSUE HAS BEEN PUBLISHED (/

Anti-Obama Message on Paper Money
Rich Bottles, Jr. writes:

This is probably not appropriate for The E-Sylum, but it's numismatic related none-the-less.

Obama dollar

Yeah, that's mature. Not entirely appropriate I agree, but we've pushed the envelope before. This is part of a long tradition of using banknotes as billboards, legality be damned. I've long since given up collecting all the different marked-up bills that have come my way, but it could make an interesting collection.

A Groucho Marx Medal
Bill Rosenblum writes:

Another great issue of The E-Sylum which put me behind schedule in filling out my March Madness Bracket. I enjoyed the Groucho Marx story and it reminded me that a few years ago I had a Groucho Marx medal which I described on a fixed price list as follows:

GROUCHO MARX. ND. Silver 38mm, His bust partially left wearing graduation cap and smoking his famous cigar, name above/Wreath around blank center, “.999 Fine Silver 1 Troy oz” below. Hairline scratches in center of reverse.

Tête-Bêche, Book Style
Alan Roy writes:

In reference to books, tête-bêche is a way of describing a particular style of bilingual book commonly issued by Canadian government Agencies. If the English cover is facing you, you can flip the book over vertically (so that the spine stays in the left) and you see the French cover. For both languages, the text starts just after its respective cover and only goes halfway through the book. Anyone who has seen a modern Royal Canadian Mint Annual Report would be familiar with this.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: VOCABULARY WORD: TÊTE-BÊCHE (

Charles Davis' Holy Grail
In my Numismatic Diary last week, I mentioned some discussions at the Baltimore coin show about people's "Holy Grail" of numismatic literature. Charlie Davis writes:

crosbyrobinson As for the holy grail, I thought I had mine, then sold it and bought another. Twenty years ago I bought Robert Coulton Davis's copy of the Crosby Early Coins of America. It had most of the wrappers, and with the surname provenance, I thought that would be the ultimate.

I happened to visit Armand Champa later that year and stopped to see Alan Grace who lived nearby in Louisville and drop the book off for binding. Then to Champa's where we yakked well past midnight. About 12:30 AM, I mentioned that I had left the book with Grace for a half leather binding. Armand jumped up, "half leather - bull s**t, it needs full calf with a dropped in front panel." He then called Grace, got him out of bed at 1AM to change the work order. Years later I showed the book to a colonial specialist who had just bought several RCD pedigreed coins and who offered me too much money for the book, and I succumbed.

Two years ago, I bought the John Robinson copy of Crosby from Kolbe & Fanning. Replete with every possible toy - all the wrappers, subscription forms, receipts, etc, Robinson had deposited the book in the venerable Essex Institute from where it was acquired in 1980 by Harry Bass. Now the book has returned to Essex County, 7 miles from its first home where it had sat for over a century.

Having the grail in hand, I am working on developing a list of several grailettes.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 17, 2013 (

Correction: John Adams Bolen
Charlie Davis also noted an error in my numismatic diary. I referred to " Joseph Bolen" when I should have written "John Adams Bolen". Sorry! We'll fix this in our newsletter archive.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 17, 2013 (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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