The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 15, April 6, 2014, Article 17


Yes, that special issue of The E-Sylum published on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 was an April Fools issue. The first to respond was Denis Loring, who correctly picked up on the date and the joke, where I'd told of finding some legendary rare U.S. coins in the collection of the late numismatic literature dealer John Burns. Here are some reader reactions. -Editor

James Higby writes:

Excellent job on the April 1 E-Sylum, you had me for a while!

In other news, I plucked an uncirculated '14-D Lincoln cent for 25c from a dealer's stock at a show over the weekend! As Jack Robinson always said: Think about it. Think about it some more.

Dave Ginsburg writes:

I wouldn't at all be surprised to hear that John was a pack-rat and had a big safe that had a lot of valuable items in it. I was with you all the way up to the 1933 double eagles!

We had a few people going for a while. Mark Fox of Michigan wrote an excited email to me and Pat McBride asking for more information or photos of the coins. I set him straight, and he wins the first E-Sylum Good Sport Award for 2014. Mark writes:

Ugh! You're kidding... Oh well. You really got me worked up for a while!

Paul Schultz also got caught in the trap, and he, too wins the Good Sport Award. He writes:

You got me big time. I should have suspected.

We even hooked John Salyer of Heritage, who wondered if we'd sent the coin find information to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, and wondered how to order a copy of the chocolate coin book for his wife. His "LOL!" response to my reply earns him our third Good Sport Award of the year.

I haven't checked the coin chat forums to see where else this may have spread, but most E-Sylum readers caught the joke. Here are some of the responses.

Heath MacAlpine writes:

What astounding news! If the estate wishes to part with the 1974 aluminum cent, I'll offer $23.72 for it sight unseen. It will look great next to my 1975 Kennedy half.

Steve D'Ippolito writes:

You forgot about the full roll of uncirculated 1894-S dimes. Or was I not supposed to mention that in public?

Oh, right, I forgot. He got those in payment from Eric Newman for a box of books. -Editor

Craig Eberhart writes:

I was hoping for an original roll of 1964-D Peace dollars!

Kerry Wetterstrom writes:

One of the better April Fool's jokes that I'm sure John Henry Burns is enjoying immensely somewhere!

David Gladfelter writes:

Thanks for the picture of John and his two coins. I can see from here that both are genuine and grade MS65. The guy holding them is also a MS65 or better.

John Burns holding the 1804 dollar and the 1913 nickel

Rich Hartzog writes:

Now I know John had a gold Nobel Peace Prize medal, as I traded it to him for old Redbooks, some years ago...

Brad Karoleff writes:

I saw where the stone was rolled back from the front of the grave and it was EMPTY!

  • Dave Lange: "You just couldn't resist, Wayne, could you?"
  • Tom DeLorey: "Have you catalogued John's incredible collection of pristine dust jackets yet?"
  • Ken Bressett: "BRAVO !!! A nice way to start our day. Your humor did not go unnoticed."
  • David Sundman: This is in good numismatic April 1st tradition! Thanks for the chuckles.
  • Greg Burns: " You’re a funny guy, Wayne"

M.N. Daycius writes:

Ha! This is genius. Thanks for the laugh my friend.

ANOTHER M.N. Daycius writes:

In the words of my heroes — Bill and Ted: "Excellent!"

(On April 1) George Huber wrote:

Today is my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary. My Dad passed away in 1983, but Mom is still kicking, in good mental and passable physical health, and will be 96 in June. I always wondered if they were leaving their future children some sort of message by marrying on that date.

Speaking of early Canadian coins, I got out one of my most recent finds on eBay this morning, an 1858 Victoria twenty cent piece graded XF40 PCGS-CAC, and was excited to discover traces of a 7 beneath the 8 on the reverse — quite clearly an overdate 1858/7.

Not only that, I was quite astonished to find on the obverse clear traces of the old right-facing portrait of William IV beneath, his proboscis jutting out from the rear of young Victoria’s hair curl and outlines of the IIII beneath D: G: BR. Unless I am very much mistaken, this would be the first known discovery of an overmonarch among the coinage of Great Britain and her colonies.

And Happy April Fool’s Day to you!

Other E-Sylum readers to respond included Greg Adams, Jim Bulmer, Jim Duncan, Tom Fort (a.k.a. Mendacious 2) John Kraljevich (a.k.a. Mendacious 1), Bob Leuver, Alan Luedeking, Donn Pearlman, Bruce Perdue, Kavan Ratnatunga, Leon Saryan, Pete Smith, Byron Weston and Ray Williams.

Thanks for having a little fun with us. Dave Bowers added the following, which arrived too late for the April 1 issue. Get your copy now! -Editor

Atlanta, GA, April 1, 2014

Guide Book of Manhole Covers to be released. “Whitman covers the entire numismatic spectrum from the tiny half dimes and gold dollars to Swedish plate money and the stone money of Yap,” stated publisher Dennis Tucker. ” Now, upper-size manhole covers add to what we do. Everyone is familiar with manhole covers, but until now there has been no comprehensive guide to grading and pricing them. We expect that this book will be well received worldwide.”

The book will also include a listing of known manhole cover manufacturers, mostly iron foundries. “Collecting manhole covers has many advantages,” Tucker continued. “First of all, many are available in circulation. With a pickup truck, a crowbar, and a helper, a beginning collection can be formed by prospecting on city streets. To avoid the constabulary and onlookers, the hours of 2 to 4 a.m. are recommended. Another advantage is that they are reasonably secure from theft and can be easily stored in a garage.”

Kenneth Bressett, editor of the new guide, commented: “That is not all. This will be the first Whitman book with pricing in all 70 grades, plus for each grade a – sign, + sign (except for MS-70 as one cannot be better than perfect), and a star.” Whitman continued by saying that it will also offer kits containing small steel plates that can be engraved with the grade and welded onto the manhole cover itself, for ease in buying and selling. The book has 288 pages, is hardbound, is in a limited edition of 250,000 copies, and is available for $19.95 from your favorite bookseller or directly from Whitman. Plans are also being made for municipal sewer departments to offer them as well.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: SURPRISING FINDS FROM THE JOHN BURNS VAULT (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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