The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 15, April 14, 2013, Article 14


Paul Bosco writes:

As the last living Shammy Award winner, few are as well-appointed to chip in to the discussion as I am. Medals of Dishonor was a 2009 exhibit at the British Museum, happily memorialized in a catalog. Ben Weiss has lately lectured on subjects related to Man's baser instincts. The cream of numismatic Judaica is the satirical output of anti-Semites like highly-collectible medalist Christian Wermuth, and Karl Goetz’s famous anti-black medal is illustrated in this week’s edition. Odium Numismatica is always worth our notice, and the sooner the better. So much of the best research consists of finding elusive contemporary notices of phenomena whose significance was slow to gain recognition. It’s so much better for The E-Sylum to be comprehensive than for it to be polite.

I am reminded of earlier discussions of John Ford’s legacy; which some did not appreciate, and others thought was fair game, salacious or not.

Oh. What’s the “Shammy Award”? It’s a creation of Joel Orosz. I guess it connotates both shame and sham. A couple decades ago I ran a 1/2-page ad in The Numismatist: “Numismatic Fact and Fiction: You Think You Can Tell Them Apart?” Offered for sale were various items, half of them products of my overheated imagination, half of them real. A phony Karl Goetz medal was based on a Woody Allen short story, the reverse depicting the hapless Kugelmass being chased through time by a large, hairy irregular verb. I won my prize for the description of a 1655 satirical Oliver Cromwell medal whose reverse showed Louis XIV, the Sun King, performing oral sex on the seated figure of Britannia. This medal is quite real, but if Joel was wrong, numismatically, he was right, morally: I truly am a dirtbag. Only a dirtbag would have in stock a medal showing contemporary (in 1655) attitudes about the place of the Commonwealth in Divine-Right Europe.

So today, circulating paper money records contemporary attitudes about the first black President of the United States. Since when is the standard for the preservation of historical records the preservation of GOOD TASTE??!!

Dusty Royer writes:

There are a number of Missouri paper mills (sales tax tokens) from the 1930s and 40s with many, many anti-FDR messages on them. These certainly came out during FDR's lifetime and during the time he was a sitting president. They are highly collectible and apparently collected at the time or they wouldn't have survived.

Jeff Kelley writes:

I think we need to reinforce not only the desirability but the urgency of documenting things as we find them. I sort of feel that it is our responsibility as people who have an interest in numismatics to document and preserve items that are (or will be) of numismatic interest. For me, one of the most fulfilling parts of collecting is preserving things today that will be interesting or historically important in the future.

I think about the countless hours modern-day researchers spend trying to identify and document the origin of older items, sometimes without any luck. We have the power to make things immeasurably easier for future collectors and researchers and we should not be afraid to use it.

I hope that Rich Bottles and others won’t be deterred from future submissions about coins/currency of a political nature. I could send images of many modern political messages on coins and currency - enough to offend everyone - but I do not think The E-Sylum would ever recover. Perhaps someday I will send along images of an anti-Woodrow Wilson buffalo nickel I have - it is almost 100 years old and hopefully well beyond the memory or interest of any modern day political partisans; the imagery it carries is quite a bit more severe than the “Obama Sucks” message!

Ron Guth writes:

In the numismatic world, it is quite an honor to be told that you suck. The "You Suck" award is a prominent feature on the PCGS Message Boards. According to one member, the You Suck award is given for "finding or buying something for next to nothing that's worth quite a bit more." This can include cherrypicking a rare variety, receiving a high grade on a submission, discovering a new variety, or any number of possibilities.

The award for the biggest You Suck award is nebulous, but the leading candidate appears to be the " Sumorada Hoard" of over 11,000 Washington Presidential Dollars, all missing the edge lettering.

To read the Collector's Universe thread, see: I am curious.... Who has been awarded the biggest "You Suck" around here? The Ultimate... The Current Record Holder??? (

Thanks for your comments on this issue, everyone. This has been a rewarding topic despite its lowly inception. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster