Volume 23, Number 46, November 15, 2020
Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Thank you for reading The E-Sylum. If you enjoy it, please send me the email addresses of friends you think may enjoy it as well and I'll send them a subscription. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.
This week we open with a new Asylum issue, an optional new format for The E-Sylum, one new book, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and more.
Other topics this week include The Coin Collector, creating the MS-64 grade, a new numismatics-only web search, the National Numismatic Collection, Clyde Hubbard, Edward Dean Adams, the January 2021 FUN show, auction previews, and coin finds in Israel, Egypt, England and Poland.
To learn more about Rita Rosenblum, Frank Katen, James Ferrier, Jr., Martin Weiss, the Confederate treasure train, the special edition of the Adams-Woodin book "United States Pattern, Trial and Experimental Pieces", the Paul A Straub Collection, plaquettes, the Adelaide Pound, Civilian Conservation Corps tokens, and the Curse of the Buried Treasure, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Maria Fanning edits our print journal The Asylum, and she submitted this report on the latest issue. Thanks! Looking forward to it. -Editor
The Asylum, Winter 2020 Issue (v38n4)
The Asylum's Winter 2020 issue is on its way to NBS members. It's been a strange year but one that has allowed NBS members to make full use of their home libraries and share them with other bibliophiles through The Asylum. Thanks to everyone who contributed this year, and especially to our two-part special issue on the evolution of a numismatic library.
Let's keep those stories coming in 2021! What is the oldest/largest/smallest book in your library? What book or catalogue has interesting associations or special significance? Pick something out of your library and share it with other NBS members. Our next issue deadline is February 1, which should leave ample time explore that fascinating item.
Last week readers were exposed to a work-in-progress - a potentially new format for the emailed E-Sylum, a slimmed-down "thin" version with less content in the email itself and full articles available via a link to our website. While those links were not working Sunday night, they have been available since early Monday morning. I asked some readers for their thoughts and compiled some below.
Becky Rush "Talisman" and Rick Lank "The Coiner" of Hagerstown Maryland have published the first book in their planned series on the numismatics of the U.S. Civil War. Here's the announcement. Thanks! -Editor
"The Furious Flight of the Confederate Treasure Train
(or Where Did All the Southern Dough Go?)"
Originally there was going to be just one book – "Money, Mayhem & Might" – but we wanted to tell a compelling set of stories that would attract folks who may have only a mild interest in coins and maybe a blush of curiosity about the Civil War... so we also added deeper dives into alluring tales of treasure, introduced a few metal detectorists' stories and sought to become more familiar with some of the people who financed the "sinews of war." And, of course, we constantly wanted to allude to the fact that the Civil War and its era fundamentally changed U.S. coins, currency and banking.
With the pandemic tamping down other activities (and many coin shows), we spent more time fleshing out certain tales – and the "Confederate Treasure" story (which originally was going to be one chapter in the original book) was so intriguing that we spun it out of the constraints of the single chapter we planned – and, lo-and-behold, it became a 200-page book in-and-of itself.
I'm sorry to report the passing of Rita Rosenblum. Below is a photo of Bill and Rita Rosenblum in much happier times. -Editor
She was born to the late Esther and Bernard Berkowitz on February 15, 1948, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The youngest of three children, Rita graduated from Bridgeport Central High School in 1964, and attended Fones School of Dental Hygiene as well as the University of Connecticut when she met a young curly-haired beatnik named Billy from New Jersey.
Rita married Bill Rosenblum in 1967 and soon left the east coast for Northern California, spending time near San Francisco and the Russian River Valley. During a road trip back east, Bill and Rita's van broke down in Denver. It was then the two decided to make the Mile High City home. She lived in Colorado until her death.
The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is Bowers & Merena's The Coin Collector. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor
Bowers & Merena's The Coin Collector on Newman Portal
The 1990s represented heady times for the numismatic firm of Bowers & Merena, with the Eliasberg and Bass sales leading the way. Bibiliophiles were richly treated as well, with a steady stream of books from Q. David Bowers in addition to the house organs Rare Coin Review and The Coin Collector. Newman Portal has recently digitized The Coin Collector, a 144-issue run published from 1994 to 2003. This tabloid-sized emission was primarily a vehicle for fixed price sales but also included research articles and other features. Few runs seem to have survived, as most collectors discarded copies after checking for items of interest.
Newman Portal acknowledges Joel Orosz for loaning his run for scanning, as well as Jennifer Meers at Stack's Bowers who provided several missing issues. We are also grateful to Collector's Universe, the copyright holder, for making this content available for full-view.
Link to The Coin Collector on Newman Portal:
These are selections from the David Lisot Video Library that feature news and personalities from the world of coin collecting. David has been attending coin conventions since 1972 and began videotaping in 1985. The Newman Numismatic Portal now lists all David's videos on their website at:
Here's one on the creation of the MS-64 grade level. -Editor
Why the Coin Grade MS-64 Was Created
John Highfill, Founder, National Silver Dollar Roundtable,
Coin grading was originally a series of adjectives from "fair for the lowest grade to "brilliant uncirculated" for the highest. Later this adjectival grading was replaced with numerical grading based on a 70 scale, from one to seventy. Uncirculated grades are from MS60 to MS70. In the 1980's there was no MS64 grade. Hear the story of how this came about.
An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:
As mentioned in some earlier issues, I've been gradually compiling a list of numismatic web sites for the Newman Numismatic Portal. Eventually these sites will be incorporated into NNP somehow, and they are already being actively archived using the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
As an interim step I recently created a Google Custom Search Engine using this list of over 625 websites. Think of it as Google laser-focused on just websites about numismatics. All the nonrelevant results go away, leaving just the content created by fellow numismatists.
E-Sylum readers know Dan Hamelberg as an NBS Board Member, donor, U.S. coin collector and numismatic bibliophile - he's built what is likely the largest and best private library on American numismatics. Rich Jewell edits The Clarion for the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists and is quite a collector himself, including three dollar gold pieces, U.S. commemoratives, patterns, tokens, medals and medallic artwork such as plasters and galvanos. Rich is also a buyer of numismatic literature and shares this story of how he first encountered Dan in the marketplace. -Editor
November 8th's E-Sylum article on Edgar Holmes Adams by John Lupia brought to mind my own experience with the Adams-Woodin book "United States Pattern, Trial and Experimental Pieces." Back in 2005 Heritage Auctions had the book in one of its auctions, I believe it was their Palm Beach Signature Sale, Session #7. I bid on the book and won it.
Shortly thereafter I was called by Greg Rohan, President of Heritage and asked if I'd give up the book. I asked why, and he stated there had been "a computer glitch" and another regular customer of theirs had bid higher but the computer had overlooked his bid. Being relatively new to auction bidding at the time I simply said I won the bid and I wanted the book (I had just started collecting patterns and thought this would be a great find for my growing library). Greg then asked if it was alright if he gave my name and phone number to the other bidder. I said fine but I wasn't going to change my mind.
Max Hensley submitted these observations on the digitization projects at the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Thanks. -Editor
I was really excited to explore the Smithsonian coin holdings digitally. It is evidently too expensive for them to display this material, and ever since the Lilly Collection got shuffled off in favor of some evidently more sexy artifacts, we numismatists have been at the far end of the line.
I wanted to look at the French coins in the Paul A Straub Collection. A filtered search under "France" returned 356 items. While I suppose we ought to be grateful for whatever we get, all in all I have to give the part I reviewed a D. However I did not look at any other collections, where the cataloging may be better (or worse).
NGC published an article on November 5, 2020 about the late Marty Weiss. -Editor
The numismatic innovator changed the world of coins by popularizing Pandas.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) notes with sorrow the passing of Martin Weiss, a groundbreaking coin dealer who popularized China's fledgling Panda coins in the 1980s and later inspired the creation of other popular series.
On William Webb's Currencies of Rajputana
Thanks. We hadn't mentioned it in The E-Sylum before, and it was presented as a new book. Sorry! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
Other topics this week include The Good Old Days. -Editor
Vic Mason of Mamaroneck, NY submitted these thoughts on last week's item about discoveries in Maryland. -Editor
Thanks for reporting the 3 November 2020 Daily Mail [from England] article about the important archeological discovery of the remnants of the 300-year-old underground slave quarters in Maryland, dating from a time when "the Catholic Church did not view slave holdings as immoral." Like most coin collectors, I was initially attracted to the story by my curiosity as to the "coins" referred to in the headline of the article: "Slave quarters dating to the 18th century are unearthed at Jesuit plantation in Maryland revealing remains of cabins, tobacco pipes, coins and other personal belongings."
There was actually only one coin mentioned in the Daily Mail article, and the photo of it makes identification of its origins impossible for the average reader. Perhaps an expert reading this article or taking part in the dig can inform us what the coin is. All the artifacts recovered are described as belongings of the 272 slaves who lived there before being sold down the river in 1838 to a buyer in Louisiana.
Carl Wolf of the Chicago Coin Club penned this remembrance of Clyde Hubbard. Thanks. -Editor
Clyde was not a member of the Chicago Coin Club, but delivered the featured program at the CCC meeting held at the 2005 Chicago International Coin Fair. He was cited as "the maximum authority" on Mexican coinage and spoke on "The First Coinage of the Americas, Mexico City 1536." A number of club members brought Spanish-American coins from their personal collections and sought his opinion on identification and authenticity. Some even asked for his autograph.
I came across this entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Although we've published it before (April, 2017), it's worth revisiting. -Editor
Plaquette. An art relief smaller than eight inches (or more precisely, 20 centimeters), which bears a bas-relief design. While plaquettes are usually considered square, rectangular, or nearly so, they appear in a variety of shapes, and can be somewhat more creative with silhouetted, open work, sunken relief, or other sculptural techniques. Plaquettes do not share the restrictions of a round medallic item. In effect, plaquettes are the most artistic – and because they can be easily mounted – the most utilitarian form of medallic art.
John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book of numismatic biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is another Adams - Edward Dean Adams, a New York banker active in the American Numismatic Society. I added a photo found on Wikipedia. -Editor
He was born at Boston, Massachusetts, on April 9, 1846, son of Adoniram Judson and Harriet Lincoln (Norton) Adams.
He was educated at the Chauncy Hall School, Boston, and Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont.
In 1872 he married Fannie Amelia Gutterson at Boston. They had a daughter Ruth.
After two years of foreign travel he began his career in banking and became a partner in the firm of Richardson, Hill & Co., Boston from 1870 to 1878; the Winslow, Lanier & Co., bankers in New York City from 1878 to 1893; then as the American representative for Deutsche Bank.
The Florida United Numismatists are proceeding with plans for the January 2021 FUN show. Here are the planned educational programs, announced November 6, 2020. -Editor
Thursday, January 7, 2021
11:30AM-12:30PM "Lincoln Cents 1909-1949," by Mark Trout. Why is the Lincoln Cent series so incredibly popular? Mr. Trout, a FUN Board member and an experienced collector, will delve into exactly WHAT makes this series so special with both collectors and dealers. His presentation, which focuses on the 1909-1949 period, is a bonanza for the Lincoln cent enthusiast!
As noted earlier, the catalog for the Numismatic Auctions LLC sale 65 is online and available for viewing or download. The sale will be held November 23-24, 2020. Here are some additional lots that caught my eye - see the catalog and the earlier articles for more highlights. Thanks to Steve Davis for providing the photos. -Editor
Stu Levine, Bruce Hagen, and Maureen Levine submitted this additional preview of North Carolina currency lots in the upcoming Heritage sale of the Mike Coltrane Collection, Part 1. Thanks! -Editor
The Mike Coltrane Collection
Enjoy a tour of North Carolina via Mike Coltrane's currency collection. The 385 lots of Colonial, Obsolete, and National Banknotes you will view each have their own unique character reflective of their geography and financial history. Together, they span 200 years of currency issuance and form a tremendous regional offering not often encountered from any state. All will be offered unreserved at auction on November 29, 2020, by Heritage Auctions.
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Duane Feisel of Shingletown, CA will hold his next exonumia sale December 26-27, 2020. Here are some tokens that caught my eye. For a copy of the catalog, contact Duane at email@example.com . -Editor
Lot 9: Valona Saloon Token
Here's a selection of interesting or unusual items I came across in the marketplace this week. Tell us what you think of some of these. -Editor
Indian Counterstamp on 1790-D French Sol
1790-D French Sol, Bee privy mark.
This is the Julius Guttag collection coin, lot 4880, and is PLATED on page 512 in Edgar Adams 1929 book that documented this famous collection.
This is a very interesting piece. The Indian is standing holding a bow, in relief, within a rectangular depression that has slanted corners. There is a second countermark found beneath the primary one and on the reverse. It appears to be another Standing Indian mark, but of a different style. These are very unusual countermarks. Their purpose is a mystery.
The Standing Indian icons that are found on the colonial currency notes of Massachusetts are very similar to the countermarks on this coin. Even the shape of the outline around them is similar (oval). See Newman, "The Early Paper Money of America".
KM 73.8 (Host Coin).
Fascinating piece. Offered on eBay by Bob Merchant. -Editor
To read the complete lot description, see:
Other topics this week include an Edward VII Specimen "Coronation" medal, a Dolphin Medal by Rizzello, and a Bicentennial Quarter Struck on Dime Planchet. -Editor
Howard Berlin forwarded this Jerusalem Post article about a find of gold coins in the Old City. Thanks. -Editor
Putting in an elevator can be a lot of work, but there was a silver lining – or in this case, a gold one – when the Jewish Quarter Development Corporation started building an elevator to make the Western Wall Plaza more accessible to visitors.
While the Antiquities Authority (IAA) was conducting archaeological excavations as part of the plan to build the elevator last month, IAA inspector Yevgenia Kapil discovered a juglet (small pottery jar). Some weeks later, as excavation director David Gellman was examining the finds, he emptied the contents of the juglet and found four pure gold coins dating to the Early Islamic period, more than a thousand years ago.
A small hoard of medieval gold dinars has been found in Egypt. -Editor
The mission succeeded in unearthing the gold dinars while working at the archaeological site of Deir Al-Banat in Fayoum.
16 gold dinars are dating back to the era of the Caliph Al-Muqtadir Billah (295-317 AH / 908-932 AD) in addition to five parts of gold dinars also from the era of Caliph Al-Muqtadir, while 10 dinars dating back to the era of Caliph Al-Radi Billah (322-329 AH / 934-940 CE) and two dinars belong to the era of Caliph Al-Mu'tasim Billah (218-227 AH / 833-842 AD).
This November 9, 2020 New Yorker article examines the fate of two metal-detector enthusiasts discovered a Viking hoard. -Editor
Coins of Ceolwulf II, of Mercia, and Alfred, of Wessex
For much of the early Middle Ages, Mercia was the most powerful of the four main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the others being Wessex, East Anglia, and Northumberland. In the tenth century, these realms were unified to become the Kingdom of England. Although the region surrounding Leominster (pronounced "Lemster") is no longer officially known as Mercia, this legacy is preserved in the name of the local constabulary: the West Mercia Police.
On June 2, 2015, two metal-detector hobbyists aware of the area's heritage, George Powell and Layton Davies, drove ninety minutes north of their homes, in South Wales, to the hamlet of Eye, about four miles outside Leominster. The farmland there is picturesque: narrow, hedgerow-lined lanes wend among pastures dotted with spreading trees and undulating crop fields.
THE BOOK BAZARRE
From Poland comes this story of the mushroom hunter who ended up discovering an old hoard of coins. -Editor
Boguslaw Ruminski had been looking for mushrooms in woods near his home in the tiny hamlet of Jezuicka Struga when he slipped and went sprawling into the undergrowth.
Putting his hand out to break his fall, he discovered he had grabbed a handful of coins.
Closer inspection revealed the six silver coins dated back to the reign of King Jan II Casimir.
Allan Davisson published this article in a November 13, 2020 email message in advance of the Davisson's E-Auction 37 closing Wednesday, November 18th. With permission, we're republishing it here. Thanks. -Editor
Revalued Mary Stuart testoon
The British section of E-Auction 37 has many notable lots–some nice hammered including an exceptional William II profile penny, further offerings from the Frank Robinson collection of British Milled, and more! Rather than take you though all the highlights, however, we are focusing on just one unassuming piece. Read on to see what makes the hole in lot 104 so special.
Morton & Eden are offering an impressive collection of Siamese and Thai Orders and Decoration in their upcoming sale. -Editor
The collection, which was assembled over a period of many years by a private collector from Scandinavia comprises 48 lots and is estimated to fetch in excess of £125,000 (lots 1455-1503).
Morton & Eden said: ‘We are delighted to be offering this specialist collection of Siamese and Thai Orders in our forthcoming sale. Many of the awards in this collection are exquisitely made, rare to the market, and in some cases unique. Furthermore some boast a royal provenance or attribution.'
There are no numismatic details in this article from Utah's Deseret news, but interested buyers may still have a chance to bid on coins being liquidated in the Rust Rare Coin Ponzi scheme case. -Editor
Rob Olson, owner of Erkelens & Olson Auctioneers
A Utah auction house is expecting big business for a rare coin collection.
Thousands of gold, silver and unique coins are currently being auctioned by Erkelens & Olson Auctioneers in Salt Lake City.
"You typically don't have this kind of product in one area at one time," said Rob Olson, who owns Erkelens & Olson. The auction is being held online instead of in person because of coronavirus concerns and the limited number of people allowed inside the building at one time.
The cache of stolen rare books found in Romania have largely been returned to their grateful owners. -Editor
Rare books stolen in a ‘Mission: Impossible-style' raid on a warehouse in west London in 2017 have been returned after a joint operation with Met police officers and Romanian authorities.
Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor
CoinWeek Profiles Hobo Nickels
On November 13, 2020 CoinWeek published a nice profile on Hobo Nickels. -Editor
The hobo nickel is a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small-denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The nickel, because of its size, thickness, and relative softness, was a favored coin for this purpose. However, the term "hobo nickel" is generic, as carvings have been made from many different denominations.
Classic old hobo nickels (1913-1940)
To read the complete article, see:
Other topics this week include the purse made from a book. -Editor
In earlier issues we discussed the great British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, honored on the medal shown below. There's another numismatic connection it turns out - the November 11, 2020 issue of the Delancey Place blog tells of Brunel's predicament in 1843 when he managed to accidentally get a gold half-sovereign lodged in his throat. -Editor
1859 Isambard Kingdom Brunel Great Eastern Steamship medal
"In the spring of 1843, the great British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel took a rare break from his labors -- at the time he was building the SS Great Britain, the largest and most challenging ship ever to come off a drawing board to that time -- to amuse his children with a magic trick. Things didn't go quite to plan, however. Midway through the entertainment Brunel accidentally swallowed a gold half-sovereign coin that he had secreted under his tongue. We may reasonably imagine Brunel's look of surprise followed by consternation and perhaps slight panic as he felt the coin slide down his throat and lodge at the base of his trachea. It caused him no great pain, but it was uncomfortable and unnerving because he knew that if it shifted even slightly it could choke him.
It is the intent of this site to introduce those visiting it to the background and history related to the many fascinating types of mining memorabilia commonly collected and researched in the United Kingdom.
The site covers multiple forms of tokens: Carriers, Copperas, Commercial & Truck Tokens, Pit Checks, Tallies, Motties, Tickets, Passes or Tokens, plus Medals, Awards and Badges. -Editor