The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 49, December 6, 2015, Article 6


On Thursday afternoon an email arrived stating, "I am a reporter with ABC News on deadline. I’m working on a story about comments that presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson made today in which he told the story about Haym Solomon and said that he may be the reason there’s a Jewish star on the dollar bill. I see you quoted in another story on the web and am wondering if you’d be willing to chat with me for a story I’m writing for the web. "

I remembered that story and quickly looked it up in our E-Sylum archive. There were actually two articles, published in 2012. See the links below to read them. Soon I was on the phone with reporter Jordyn Phelps. Below is an excerpt from the story published later that day. For reference, first is an image from the first E-Sylum article, originally published on -Editor

Dollar Star of David

Addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition today, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told a story about how the Star of David came to be on the U.S. dollar bill.

Only one problem: There’s no Star of David on the dollar bill.

Carson was telling the story of wealthy Jewish merchant Haym Salomon, who is said to have been a major financier of George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War.

"Salomon gave all his funds to save the U.S. Army and, some say, no one knows for sure, that’s the reason there’s a Star of David on the back of the one dollar bill," Carson said in Washington, D.C.

There is a conspiracy theory that a design of stars arranged above the eagle on the U.S. seal printed on the bill forms a Jewish star and that this was done as a way to thank Salomon for his generosity.

But the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s Wayne Homren says there’s no evidence to suggest any truth to support the theory that the stars were intentionally arranged to represent the Jewish star, let alone that it was done in Salomon’s name.

“If you squint, you can say there’s some resemblance but that certainly was not the intention of the designers, that we’re aware,” Homren told ABC News.

The Carson campaign has responded to the ABC News story, to say that Dr. Carson was re-telling a story of a common myth and not asserting it as fact.

"What should be noted is that American history is chock-full of legends and lore, many true, and many more apocryphal. Dr. Carson repeated one of these common myths about the six-point star on the reverse of the dollar bill," Deputy Communications Director Ying Ma said in an email. "He was careful to note, however, that the story was unconfirmed, saying only that some believe this, though 'no one knows for sure.' We may never know why the origin of the six-point star on the bill, but it should not distract from Dr. Carson’s greater message, which is that we should always remember and honor the important role the American Jewish community has played in forging this great nation."

Working as a communications director for a Presidential candidate must be like being the guy who follows the circus parade with a broom and shovel... I hope it pays well.

The quotes are pretty accurate as far as they go, but none of my qualifying statements were included, so it comes off sounding like I led a team of researchers who scoured the archives in search of evidence. I did do a quick check after returning home. I have two great books on the Great Seal of the U.S. Solomon is not listed in the index to Patterson and Dougall's The Eagle and the Shield. I also have Harry Bass' copy of Cigrand's Story of the Great Seal of the United States. but it doesn't have an index. If digitized versions exist we could search the text for references to be sure.

I told the reporter about U.S. Mint engraver Robert Scot and Bill Nyberg's new book about him. I sent her his contact information afterwards, but these people want something fast, and won’t wait around to get the full story. I later heard back from Bill.

Bill Nyberg writes:

Robert Scot cover As I am sure you read in my biography of Robert Scot, I am in agreement with the research of Patterson and Dougall in The Eagle and the Shield. My book provided additional Robert Scot engravings to strengthen Patterson and Dougall's attribution of Scot as the engraver of the original Great Seal die, including the hexagram star patterns of the 1798 Six Mills Per Dollar stamp and the 1800 Commissioner of Revenue counterstamp, both of which are exactly the same star pattern as on the original Great Seal.

There is absolutely no archival evidence that Haym Salomon was involved with the Great Seal design, or that the star constellation on the Great Seal represents the Star of David. The Great Seal star constellation is described in Continental Congress records as "The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place & rank among other Sovereign powers."

My wife seemed mildly impressed. At least she read the article when I handed her my cell phone. My son Tyler searched online for the video and gave up when he didn't find one. For his generation, if it ain't on YouTube, it might as well not exist. Ken Berger was the first E-Sylum reader to report seeing it online. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Ben Carson Thinks There’s a Star of David on the Dollar Bill. There’s Not. (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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