The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

Visit our NBS Sponsors

E-Sylum Sponsor Banner CDN banner02 E-Sylum Sponsor Banner NORTH banner02

PREV       NEXT        v24 2021 INDEX         E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

About Us

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit association devoted to the study and enjoyment of numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link


There is a membership application available on the web site Membership Application

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Print/Digital membership is $40 to addresses in the U.S., and $60 elsewhere. A digital-only membership is available for $25. For those without web access, write to:

Charles Heck, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 2058,
Bluffton, SC


For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact Chuck at this email address:


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


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.


Wayne Homren 2017-03-15 full New subscribers this week include: Tom Yoemans. Welcome aboard! We now have 6,617 subscribers.

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 anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

This week we open with a new Bibliotalk podcast, one new book, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notable numismatic thefts, and more.

Other topics this week include the Ira Reed estate sale, costume jewelry medals, Ed Frossard, Helen Wang, coin designers June Steube, Christina Hess and Gary Cooper, the Coin of the Year, online educational presentations, auction previews, Hawaiian tokens and paper scrip, the Brasher Half Doubloon, a colored school medal, counterfeiting and the Mormon murders, Mormon scrip, and Venezuela's new one million bolivar note.

To learn more about Whitman Publishing, German notgeld, the NNP Symposium, 1866 No Motto silver dollars, March of Dimes encased dimes, the Romano Worthy Hoard, Chairman Mao badges, finding numismatic literature online, Hasmonean coins, the Calaisienne medal, To Hanover counters, and one very feisty and determined beaver, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


The latest episode of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society podcast is now available for listening, and features an inside look at the numismatic hobby's largest publisher. Check it out! It's on the NBS web site but also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere. Vice-President/Secretary Len Augsburger provided this report. -Editor

NBS Podcast A Look Inside Whitman, with Diana Plattner Posted

NBS Bibliotalk podcast logo The latest episode of the NBS Bibliotalk podcast, A Look Inside Whitman, with Diana Plattner is now available on the NBS website and other popular podcasting platforms such as Buzzsprout. Lianna Spurrier, Bibliotalk producer, interviews Diana Plattner, Senior Editor at Whitman Publishing.

Plattner speaks to the evolution in publishing over the last generation, with digital platforms revolutionizing the industry and the various job functions within the book business. Diana offers a unique viewpoint, having launched and operated her own publishing firm for a number of years before returning to Whitman later in her career. Tune in for this in-depth look at the hobby's largest publishing house.

Read more here

NumisPlace E-Sylum ad01


The third volume of Anton Geiger's work on WWI-era German emergency money (notgeld) has been published. Here's a Google-translated description from the publisher's website. -Editor

Das deutsche Großnotgeld 1918 – 1921 book cover German emergency money, volume 3
Anton Geiger

Published by Gietl Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-86646-533-6
Edition: 3rd edition 2010
Illustrations: numerous black and white illustrations
Softcover: 608 pages
Format: 14.8 x 21 cm

With the outbreak of the First World War, there was a shortage of small change coins - due to the fact that these were often made of high-quality materials (gold, silver, etc.) that people wanted to hoard for themselves. Countries, municipalities, cities and companies tried to counter this deficiency by circulating emergency money. Since a tremendous amount of such money was in circulation by 1923, Dr. Arnold Keller - the author of the first catalogs on German emergency money - proposed a classification that is still used today as a classification aid. The major emergency money had become necessary especially from 1918 - there were three phases of issuance that were separated from one another in time. The first large banknotes were needed in the period after the end of the First World War, the large emergency money from 1918 to 1921. This catalog lists emergency money issues from almost 600 issuing offices throughout the German Empire at that time. Above all, it makes its face value of 1 to 100 marks into large emergency money - in contrast to small change notes and the emergency money notes of high inflation. The detailed information on the notes and their variants as well as the updated market-driven reviews make this current edition a must for every collector of German banknotes and the interested layperson.

Read more here

WBNA E-Sylum ad Sale 06
Back to top


The second NNP Symposium is nearly upon us. The schedule has been announced, and it's a humdinger. An amazing array of speakers is on tap, with topics all over the numismatic map. Follow the links below to register and review the schedule. Mark your calendars for your favorites! -Editor

NNP Symposium, March 19-21, 2021

NNP Symposium 2021 Logo The NNP Symposium returns March 19-21, with a broad array of presentations. This is a free, three-day online event featuring some of the most compelling personalities in numismatics. Of particular interest to NBS members will be Kellen Hoard's presentation Building Your Numismatic Reference Library in 2021, scheduled for 12PM eastern, Saturday, March 20. Our own Wayne Homren will be leading a panel discussion on The Early Days of Online Numismatics, with Jim Halperin, George Cuhaj, and Craig Whitford.

Of special note is a four-hour Young Numismatist (YN) block of presentations on Saturday morning, featuring speakers Jonas Denenberg, Garrett Ziss, Kellen Hoard, and Delmar Mineard, Jr. NNP Symposium speakers include Ken Bressett, John Kraljevich, Sarah Miller, John Brush, Shanna Schmidt, and a host of other prominent numismatists. Zoom links for the individual presentations will be forwarded to registrants shortly before the event.

Read more here

Back to top


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 interesting coins at the recent Houston Money Show. -Editor

Cool Coins & Currency! Houston Money Show 2021.
VIDEO: 8:47.

2021  Houston Money Show Coins David Lisot, Interviewer, with Lucas Baldridge, Matthew Burek, Pierre Fricke, Trent Schwartz, and Wade Spencer. January 23, 2021.

David Lisot goes around at the Houston Money Show to talk to the dealers and collectors who have bought or purchased some ‘cool coins and paper money. Each participant offered specific advice how to buy coins. Some of the items shown include a 1901 Barber Half Dollar XF45, Connecticut Large Cent African Head EF 40, 1787 Connecticut Muttonhead, 1787 Connecticut Breen Plate Coin EF40, 1861 $10 Demand Note PMG VF20, and an 1834 Classic Head $2.5 PCGS MS64.

An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:

DWN E-Sylum ad04
Back to top


1831 Bibliothèque Nationale Theft Inventory

Register of missing coins and gold medals in theft of 1831 Last week Bruce Bartelt asked if there was "a full written account and inventory of the lost items" from the 1831 theft from the Cabinet of Medals of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Hadrien Rambach provided a link to just such a document. Thank you! It is Henry Cohen's manuscript Liste des médaillons et des médailles d'or qui ont été volées en 1831 au Cabinet des médailles et qui n'ont pas encore été remplacées jusqu'à ce jour, written in 1863. Here's the Google-translated description. -Editor

Registers produced for the management of collections kept at the Department of Coins, Medals and Antiquities (formerly Cabinet des Médailles). Collections. Movements of collections. Theft of 1831: list of missing coins and gold medals (1863).

Read more here

Charles Davis ad01
Back to top


Pennypacker Reed estate sale Encased Postage lots Dave Hirt writes:

"I recently came into my possession of an almost unknown coin auction catalog. It is the estate of coin dealer Ira Reed. Reed was a major dealer in the Philadelphia area. He conducted 29 auction sales, including the 1941 ANA convention sale. I have all except two in my library.

This estate sale was held May 16, 1955 at the Pennypacker Auction Center in Reading, Pa. 16 pages. It is a mystery to me why the widow Reed would not have sold this collection in Philadelphia instead of sending it to Reading. I am sure it was a financial sacrifice to her. But, in times of death, people do strange things.

The items (lots) in this sale are not numbered, so I'm not sure whether the items were grouped or sold individually - it could have been at the whim of the auctioneer. About 3/4 of the items were graded. Some were listed and not graded with a sentence at the top, "VG to Uncirculated and proof ". Under the heading of Silver Dollars are listed dates of 1805-1826. Perhaps these were Half Dollars? More than 100 gold pieces including Commemorative Gold Dollars, and 3 Three Dollar pieces Unc & Proof.

This sale had to be a buyer's dream to be at!! I COULD have been there but I did not know about it. I was 18 at the time, and had been collecting coins for about 5 years. I was at a meeting of the Reading Coin Club on May 9, a week before the sale, but have no memory of this important sale being announced. The next day, May 17, I attended a country coin auction in Ephrata, PA.

Also at that time each month I read the Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine cover to cover, and saw nothing of that sale. So, I find out about it 65+ years later!"

Read more here

Pomexport E-Sylum ad 2021-03-07 ColombiaIsrael


The Newman Portal As An Index
Bob Van Ryzin writes:

Newman Numismatic Portal eye logo "I found an interesting and unexpected use for the Newman Numismatic Portal. I'm a past editor of Coins magazine and am currently writing a column for Numismatic News called "Past Times With Coins." It features items from the first issue of the magazine from 1962, when it became Coins, onward.

"I'm currently up to the 1963 volume and am working on a column with info on Francis Henning and his fake nickels.

"I have a nicely bound set of the magazines through 1982 but what I don't have is a complete index of its contents.

"Trying to get the story of Henning right, I searched newspaper archives and the Internet. The Internet search led me to NNP, where I found a good reference to the Henning story in the September 1964 issue of Coins.

"NNP is worth checking out -- at least it was for me."

Having a great numismatic library only gets you so far if you can't find what you're looking for. A number of in-copyright publications such as Coins, Coin World and soon Numismatic News are digitized on NNP but on a restricted basis - while you can't read the publication on the site you can still search the content to find where to look. Search engines are electronically compiled indexes, enabling users to start with the key words or phrases of interest and quickly locate instances of that text in millions of pages of content. -Editor

To visit the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:

Other topics this week include a Confederate Half Dollar No-Tip coin, a 1897 Dollar Mint Bag Tag, and Dennis the Numismatic Menace. -Editor

Read more here

Steinbergs E-Sylum ad01 Buying 300


Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor

Costume Jewelry Medal. An imitation decoration or medallic item made to wear on costumes and fake uniforms. Such medals are usually gaudy, with bright colors and light weight. Most are thin shells made by embossing and have colorful ribbons. Primarily made for theatrical use, the designs may be innocuous or in direct imitation of existing decorations. As copies they are best described as facsimiles. While most costume jewelry medals are intended for theatrical use (stage, TV, film), a fashion fad arose in the early 1980s, climaxing in 1984, in which decorations and medals were a fashion accessory. Many such fantasy medals were created closely resembling genuine decorations. (This infuriated legitimate recipients of original award medals, but, thankfully, the fad was short lived.) Most costume jewelry medals have very little collector value. See copies and replicas.

ÉDOUARD FROSSARD (1837/8-1899)

Here's another entry from the online draft of John Lupia's book of numismatic biographies. Thanks! This is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is dealer Ed Frossard. NOTE: Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies gives a birth year of 1837. -Editor

FROSSARD, ED-March 1892 Frossard, Édouard (1837/8-1899), 53 Prospect Place, NY. 787-789 Broadway, NYC, NY. Irivington-on-the-Hudson.

ANA member no. 14. He was born near Lake Leman, better known as Lake Geneva, Switzerland. He probably came from the southeast shore around Canton Vaud since records of a family of the name Frossard are found there. He and his brothers Adolph and Eugene came to America in 1857/8 and moved to Brooklyn, New York. In 1861, he taught languages at the French and classical school of A. Boursand, Brooklyn, New York.

During the Civil War he and his brothers joined the volunteer services. Adolph died during the Battle of Shenandoah Valley. Eugene became an officer in the regular army. Edourad joined as a Sergeant Major and became Colonel of Co. I. 31 Regt. U.S.V. He was several times named for distinction for bravery on the battlefield. He also served for six months at Fort McHenry, Baltimore as a Judge Advocate of a General Court Martial. He was crippled at the Battle of Mary's Heights. Having been badly crippled in the field, he was obliged to relinquish military life, for which he had decided taste and returned to New York State, where he has since resided.--The Numismatist, March, 1892, page 32.

Read more here

Kenny E-Sylum ad02 Books Literature


This profile of Helen Wang is excerpted with permission from the December 2020 issue of The Chopmark News. Thanks. -Editor

In this issue I interview Dr. Helen Wang. Dr. Wang is Curator of East Asian Money at the British Museum. She has extensive knowledge of East Asian numismatics and has written several books on the subject. She also runs the website Chinese Money Matters. I interviewed her by email.

CG - Colin Gullberg HW - Dr. Helen Wang

Read more here


I always look for these artist interviews in local publications - they can provide a great deal of good background information on both the artists and their designs. We have three of them this week, starting with this one from Canada. I added the coin image. -Editor

2020 O Canada! Beaver Coin A Canadian icon is helping June Steube realize a long-held dream.

The former Sault Ste. Marie resident's artwork of a beaver is featured on a new Royal Canadian Mint coin.

The Sault Collegiate Institute graduate's illustration of a beaver appears on a silver coin with a face value of $10. It's part of the mint's O Canada! series.

It was very exciting for me, Steube told The Star of her accomplishment. Having the mint share her artwork on a coin was like a bucket-list item.

Read more here


DON'T BE FOOLED! Outsmart the coin counterfeiters and protect your investment. Bill Fivaz's United States Gold Counterfeit Detection Guide shows specific diagnostics for nearly 200 frequently encountered fake gold coins, expert advice from professional graders and authenticators, and more. Order your copy for $19.95 online at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


Lancaster Online has a great interview with Christina Hess, designer of the Woman's Suffrage dollar coin. -Editor

Women's Suffrage dollar obverse Women's Suffrage dollar reverse

Some artists struggle to figure out ways to make money from their art. Not Christina Hess, a Philadelphia-based artist and chair of the illustration department at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. Hess literally used her art to make money.

The year 2020 marked the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment — the law that granted women the right to vote. The United States Mint celebrated the anniversary with the release of a silver dollar commemorative coin. Hess' illustrations are featured on the coin.

Read more here

Back in 2000 the Naples Bank Note Company (NBNC) intended to offer the European Central Bank the opportunity to have a US company print the Euro. In order to get samples to submit to the ECB, Naples Bank Note designed this One Million Euro Commemorative, complete with over 20 security features, including some never used before and only original to NBNC. These are the last sheets remaining. For collectors only.

Banknotables E-Sylum ad 2021-02-14 Million Euro Sheet


Here's an interview from the Bangor Daily News with artist Gary Cooper of Belfast, ME, designer of the Apollo 11 lunar landing coin. -Editor

Mint Artist Gary Cooper designing Apollo 11 coin

The coin designed by a Belfast sculptor to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing has just won the international 2021 Coin of the Year award.

Gary Cooper, whose lifelong dream was to design a coin for the U.S. Mint, said that it was a big surprise to learn that the coin had won the competition. Three years ago, his sculpted design of astronaut Neil Armstrong's footprint in the lunar dust was selected by Mint officials to be on the obverse side of the special coin, which was released in 2019.

Read more here


The U.S. Mint's Apollo 11 coin has won top honors for coins dated 2019. Here's an excerpt from Numismatic News. See the complete article online for all the year's winners. -Editor

2019 Apollo 11 coin of the year

"The Eagle has landed." The now-famous phrase spoken by United States astronaut Neil Armstrong was a victory cry heard across the globe when he and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to land on the moon on July 20, 1969.

The monumental feat was celebrated worldwide, and now the international coin community is celebrating the United States as its 2019-dated silver coin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is named the winner of the 2021 Coin of the Year awards.

Read more here

Lipson ad 2020-04-05


Sylvia Nankivell of Used Book Search submitted this article on finding rare numismatic literature online. Thanks. -Editor

Tips for finding rare numismatic literature online

Bookstore 1 A numismatic history is the history of the world. For centuries people have relied on all that glitters for financial transactions. Coins fuelled global economies for a long time. Meanwhile, the highest honours in the land are bestowed in the shape of shiny medals.

Spanning the globe and encompassing numerous cultures and situations, this is not a subject for the casual reader. Though everyone's got to start somewhere!

There's no shortage of information or resources for numismatists to use when building their collections. Whether you're beginning the journey or looking to take in some new sights, guidance is always welcome.

Read more here

Heritage E-Sylum ad 2021-03-07


The American Israel Numismatic Association is offering an online seminar on Jewish numismatics. It's free to all and you don't have to be a member. Here's the announcement. -Editor

American Israel Numismatic Association AINA logo The American Israel Numismatic Association (AINA) presents our first remote seminar on Jewish numismatics.

Since we can't be together for our annual meeting, AINA has decided to bring the experts into your home. This is not a Purim spiel! A reminder will be sent the week of and the day of. The scheduled speakers and topics are:

  • Simcha Kuritzky introductory remarks
  • David Hendin "Hasmonean Coins"
  • Ira Rezak "The Medals of Moses Murro, Bezalel Artist"
  • Simcha Kuritzky "The Significance of 314"

Read more here


Don Kagin submitted this announcement of a group of educational programs to be presented prior to his firm's upcoming auction. Sounds great - mark your calendars. -Editor


Kagins 2021-03 sale cover Unfortunately the ANA National Money Show had to be cancelled, but Kagin's Auctions will be offering free educational presentations prior to three of their auction sessions. To ensure that the auction is not delayed, all presentations have been prerecorded.

On Thursday, March 11 at 3:45 PM (Pacific): Hobo Nickels with Candace DeMarco Kagin.

On Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 PM (Pacific): California Fractional Gold Coins with Robert D. Leonard and Matt O'Connor, son of collector William C. O'Connor.

On Friday, March 12 at 9:30 AM (Pacific): Primitive/Odd & Curious Money with Robert D. Leonard and Charles J. Opitz.

Read more here

Archives International Sale 65 cover front


Dr. Jonas Emmanuel Flueck of Lugdunum GmbH produced a nice 10-minute video about one of the highlights of the firm's late Spring 2021 auction in Solothurn, Switzerland. Check it out! -Editor

An exceptional medal from the end of the Hundred Year's war

1455 Calaisienne Medal of Charles VII The Calaisienne is an exceptional large silver medal minted in 1455 by the French King Charles VII. It commemorates the French Victory of the Hundred Years' War and the following expulsion of the English from the French territory.

It can be seen as a medal of honour given by the King Charles VII to its most loyal knights for their bravery during the last and most epic battles of the Hundred Years War

This video presents the characteristics of this medal, like its iconography, its rarity, its historical and numismatic importance, its artistic merit and symbolic power as well as its prestigious provenance.

Read more here

Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2021-02-14 Las Vegas


Jeremy Bostwick at Numismagram passed along these highlights from his most recent addition of new tokens and art medals to his website. One will notice a particular focus upon aviation-themed types—most of which feature a zeppelin—as well as medals drawing inspiration from older coin designs. There are also some rather interestingly engraved pieces, ranging from love to satire and military. To view all of these new items, please visit -Editor

101467 | ANCIENT INSPIRED Roman Empire (Germany). Domitian silver Medal.

1696 Domitian silver Medal

Issued 1696 (32mm, 14.76 g, 12h). By C. Wermuth. IMP • CÆS • DOMIT • AVG • GERM • P • M • TR • P • CENS • PERP • COS • XVII • P • P •, laureate head right / Biographical inscription in 19 lines. Edge: REGNVM FALLAX BONVM. Bürchner 13; Forrer VI, 444. Choice Mint State. Deep gunmetal gray surfaces, with a good deal of iridescence and underlying luster. Very rare and highly attractive. Compare to a similar example that realized a hammer of €750 in Numismatica Ars Classica 53 (7 November 2009, lot 684) and then realized a hammer of €950 in Gorny & Mosch 221 (12 March 2014, lot 3371). $695.

Read more here

Kagins E-Sylum ad 2021-02-28


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

1822 Quarter
1822 Quarter obverse 1822 Quarter reverse

B-2 ,R.5 *** Blundered die with Denomination error is one of the most important and rare coins in this popularly collected set. While most are well-worn AG to VG only a handful of truly collectible examples exist. Remarkably, all population entries above XF40 are 1. This amazing coin is fully proof-like and faces up like a proof. At one point it was carried as proof in the condition census. There is one 61 and one 63 that it can be compared to but both coins have harsh digs and scratches that would lead to disqualification by advanced collectors. A rare opportunity.

From Harry Laibstain Rare Coins. Wow - great coin! -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
1822 25C 25/50C B-2 ,R.5 *** PCGS AU58+ (

Other topics this week include an 1861 Confederate $10 note, a Sistersville, WV National Bank Note, and the 1941 Philippines $10 Naval Aviators' note issue. -Editor

Read more here

HLRC E-Sylum ad Generic Centerpieces


Here's a press release about the Hawaiian paper money offered in the upcoming Kagin's sale. Rare and interesting pieces. -Editor


Offered in Kagin's March 12th 2021 auction is The Aloha Hawaiian Collection including high-grade examples of the earliest and rarest Hawaiian scrip currency. Each note is graded by Numismatic Grading Corporation and listed in Hawaiian Money by Donald Medcalf and Ronald Russell.

Hawaii - Ladd and Company - 2PE-1 - Hapawalu - PMG 63 - FRONT - PMG1819586-001 Hawaii - Ladd and Company - 2PE-1 - Hapawalu - PMG 63 - BACK - PMG1819586-001

Read more here

Kahn E-Sylum ad02 banner


Anne Bentley passed along this article about the recent seizure of ancient coins at the US-Canada border. -Editor

Dozens of ancient coins seized in 2017 at the U.S.-Canada border in Blaine have been transferred to the University of Washington to be studied, authorities said.

These 51 Greek Hellenistic and early Islamic coins had no legal providence associated with them to validate if they were lawfully acquired and imported to the United States, said a statement by Homeland Security Investigations Pacific Northwest, which has the authority under federal law to lead investigations involving illegal importation and distribution of cultural property and art.

Agency documents on the coin transfer said a suspect returned to the U.S. in 2017 through the Blaine border crossing after he was refused entry into Canada, The Bellingham Herald reported Thursday. Customs and Border Protection searched the suspect's vehicle and discovered the coins, which were similar to ones found on the Red List of Afghanistan Antiquities at Risk, documents said.

Read more here

Saville E-Sylum ad02


Bob Leonard submitted this piece on the Brasher Half Doubloon in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Thanks! -Editor

Brasher Half Doubloon reverse Brasher Half Doubloon obverse

The Unique Brasher Half Doubloon

I got my copy of Michael Carabini and Adam Crum's The Brasher Doubloon: America's First Gold Coin recently, and see that Kenneth Bressett was offered the unique half doubloon in the early 1950s but had to pass on account of price. Curiously, this seems to be the only mention of the half doubloon in the entire book, perhaps because it is noncollectible. There is an interesting story related to this coin—documented in the Newman Numismatic Portal—that deserves to be resolved.

But first, let's look at its apparent pedigree, based on Douglas A. Winter's article in Coin World, Aug. 17, 1983, ads for it, material in the NNP, Harvey Stack's published recollections, and what I could find out about E. Arthur Ball and Col. Green:

Read more here

DWN E-Sylum ad06 New Orleans Book 2020


Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga writes:

"I wrote this article which appeared today. I like the neat packaging of the coins which avoids bag marks and also useful for collectors."

Thanks. See the complete article from The Sunday Times online - here's an excerpt. -Editor

Sri Lanka 2021 20Rs 100_coin_pack On March 3, the Central Bank (CB) issued into circulation a new Rs.20 commemorative coin to mark the 70th Anniversary of the CB. Five million coins have been minted by China Mint in Nickel-plated steel similar in all other respects to the limited edition of 3000 commemorative coin minted in Aluminum bronze that was issued on January 1 in a presentation box and sold for Rs.1300 each from the CB Museum. These circulation coins will be only available through commercial banks since the CB cash counter has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

This is the first time a Rs. 20 coin was minted and is expected to replace the Rs.20 currency note shortly. The Rs.10 note last printed with a 2006 date was replaced with a coin in 2009. Only time will tell if these Rs.20 coins will circulate, for the higher denomination coin to become familiar to the general public. Many of the CB commemorative coins are unfortunately not seen much in circulation. I suspect that the CB vault issues the regular issue in preference to the commemorative issue. This also makes it difficult for coin collectors to find these coins in circulation, and often only seen, sold by dealers, a few times the face value.

Read more here


Further to the earlier E-Sylum article on Imitation Guineas and Half-Guineas, author Martin Warburton has submitted this note on the companion publication listing. Thank you! -Editor

TO HANOVER counters satirize the Duke of Cumberland's ‘departure' to Hanover. Although British monarchs from George I were also rulers of Hanover, Queen Victoria was barred under Salic law from succeeding to the Kingdom of Hanover, so the succession went to the nearest male heir, the unpopular Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

The counters depict the Duke riding past a dragon (parodying St. George and the dragon) with the legend To Hanover.

Read more here

E-Sylum Northeast ad01


I flat ran out of time last week, but wanted to wrap up John Kraljevich's Black History Month articles from Facebook. This one features a medal for a student of the Orell Colored School in Louisville, Kentucky. -Editor

This morning, I woke up to an excited press release from Colonial Williamsburg. Researchers there have identified Virginia's oldest extant school for African-American children. Opened in 1760 at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, the Bray School was one a series of schools opened in the American colonies at the behest of a group called The Associates of Dr. Bray. Thomas Bray, an English cleric, founded two literacy organizations, one called the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the other the Society for Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Bray's followers attempted to open schools for enslaved children in Georgia and South Carolina but, entirely unsurprisingly, their plans were not welcomed.

Franklin became a supporter of Bray's ideas and helped to open a school in Philadelphia in 1757. Encouraged by its success, he prodded authorities to open similar schools in New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Virginia opened two Bray Schools, one in Williamsburg in 1760 and one in Fredericksburg in 1765. While the Fredericksburg school lasted just five years (and was unpopular with local enslavers), the one in Williamsburg remained open until 1774.

And today, Colonial Williamsburg announced that the structure still exists (on the campus of the College of William and Mary) and would be moved to Williamsburg's historical area, closer to where it was initially, for renovation and historical interpretation.

Read more here

Fred Weinberg ad01.png


Here's a group of Heritage press releases about three interesting upcoming offerings. First up - a 1921 Zerbe dollar. -Editor

1921-S Morgan Dollar, SP64_Heritage_Autions_1 1921-S Morgan Dollar, SP64_Heritage_Autions_2

Mysterious Zerbe Proof Morgan Dollar Celebrates 100-Year Anniversary

100 years ago, the 1921-S Zerbe proof Morgan Dollars were struck at the request of prominent numismatist Farran Zerbe. The coins are great rarities in the Morgan dollar series, much more elusive than their Philadelphia counterparts. The official mintage total is unknown, but the most-often quoted figure is just 24 pieces struck. At least five examples of these mysterious coins survive today. PCGS has graded a total of five coins, possibly including some resubmissions, while NGC has not certified any examples of this issue.

Read more here

Garrett Mid-American E-Sylum ad04b Buying


Here's a Heritage press release about the Hawaiian starfish plantation tokens -Editor

1871 12.5C Wailuku Plantation, 12 1_2 Cents, Narrow Starfish, XF40 PCGS. M. 2TE-2_Heritage_Auctions_1 1871 12.5C Wailuku Plantation, 12 1_2 Cents, Narrow Starfish, XF40 PCGS. M. 2TE-2_Heritage_Auctions_2

The Story of the Starfish Tokens

At many points in history, tokens have been struck to help fill the void in commerce due to a lack of circulating coinage. Civil War tokens are a famous example and helped everyday people to make the purchases that they needed to, including making change without having to resort to the barter system. Besides Civil War Tokens, another favorite area of American token collecting is the Hawaii issues of the sugar plantations, such as the Wailuku and Haiku plantations. This brings us to the story of the starfish.

Heritage Auctions will be offering an 1871 Wailuku Plantation Token in the April US Coin Auction #1329, graded PCGS XF40. During the 1800s, the Kingdom of Hawaii did not have its own mint or easy access to the metals needed to mint coinage, so they relied upon a ragtag supply of other coins from the Spanish American colonies and the mainland United States to get by. Because this was often not entirely sufficient, some of the sugar plantations started to strike their own charming tokens. These tokens were made in Maui by blacksmiths to be paid out to plantation workers in lieu of Spanish-American coinage. While these tokens have a somewhat homegrown appearance due to not being made in an official mint with fancy machinery, their somewhat crude nature only adds to their appeal to collectors today.

Read more here

Kolbe-Fanning E-Sylum ad 2020-05-17


And here's an interesting error piece I'd never seen before. -Editor

No_Date_5C_With_Cents_Liberty_Nickel - Full Brockage Obverse - MS62 PCGS_Heritage_Auctions_1 No_Date_5C_With_Cents_Liberty_Nickel - Full Brockage Obverse - MS62 PCGS_Heritage_Auctions_2

Head or Tails? This is a Two-Tailed Coin Instead

Most times that someone says they have a two-headed coin or a coin with two reverses, it is actually just a "magician's coin," or a replica made by combining two different coins to create the false appearance of something with two obverses or two reverses. Heritage Auctions will be offering a coin that truly does have two tails sides in Sale 1329: a fascinating brockage error!

Read more here

Fricke E-Sylum ad01 Civil War Coins


Some strange coins (and banknotes) are out-and-out fakes. Readers may be interested in a new three-part Netflix series on Mark Hofmann and the 1985 Utah pipe bombings called "Murder Among The Mormons". Here's an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article. -Editor

1959 D 1c Hoffman Mule

On Oct. 15, 1985, the pipe bombs started going off around Salt Lake City. The first victim was Steven Christensen, a financial consultant and collector of antiquities, who died at the door of his downtown office. The second was Kathy Sheets, who was killed at her suburban home by a device intended for her husband, J. Gary Sheets, a business associate of Christensen. The presumption, by both police and Sheets, was that disgruntled investors were behind the gruesome murders.

But that theory exploded the next day, as did a car driven by a well-known documents dealer named Mark Hofmann. Inside his bombed-out blue Toyota was a badly damaged Hofmann and a trove of purportedly rare Mormon papers and books, now charred and scattering in the breeze. They were intended for sale to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints itself. Suddenly, the case wasn't about finance and revenge. The church was involved. And the motives were unknown.

Murder Among the Mormons, a tautly constructed, three-part Netflix Original produced by BBC Studios, is about a fairly well-known case. But the series' creators take such pains to make their story a mystery that this reviewer's inclination is not to spoil a thing.

Read more here

HLRC E-Sylum Generic ad03 Newsletter


The Bank of England Museum blog this week discusses the earliest Bank of England note in their collection. -Editor

This is the earliest Bank of England note in our collection. It's dated 18 June 1697.

1697Bank of England note

Read more here


Doug Nyholm edits The Mint Master for the Utah Numismatic Society. In the March 2021 issue he authored an article on the Brigham City Co-op scrip notes. With permission, we're republishing it here. Thanks! -Editor

Brigham City Coop Note $5.00


In the Oct 1865 conference Brigham Young announced that the saints should help one another. ‘Let every one of the Latter-day Saints, male and female, decree in their hearts that they will buy of nobody else but their own faithful brethren, who will do good with the money they shall obtain. I know it is the will of God that we should sustain ourselves, for, if we do not, we must perish, so far as receiving aid from any quarter, except God and ourselves....We have to preserve ourselves, for our enemies are determined to destroy us.

Read more here


AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS: Are your books carried by Wizard Coin Supply? If not, contact us via with details.


Howard Berlin passed along this Reuters article about the new nearly worthless Venezuela inflation banknotes. Thanks. -Editor

New Venezuela Large-Denomination Banknotes The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) announced Friday the introduction of three new banknotes: 200,000, 500,000 and one million bolivars.

But with inflation skyrocketing, the highest denominated bill has a value of just $0.52 cents (€0.44 cents), according to the official rate.

These new notes will circulate alongside the 10,000-, 20,000-, and 50,000-bolivar bills currently in use.

Read more here

E-Sylum Leidman ad03 coin


Moving from almost-worthless to truly worthless banknotes, here's the story of an Instagram stunt in Dubai. -Editor

Fake Euros The Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday sentenced a Dubai-based businessman to two years in jail after a video went viral showing him throwing 50,000 fake euro notes at a group of workers while driving a luxury car.

The 32-year-old Ukrainian businessman claimed that he posted the video on his Instagram page to gain more followers. Dubai Police searched the businessman's house and found $740,000 (Dh2.7 million) and 467,000 euros (Dh2 million) in fake banknotes.

Read more here


Bibiliophiles and researchers should appreciate the sleuthing technology described in this story from the Netherlands passed along by Len Augsburger. Thanks. -Editor

Locked letter hree hundred years ago, before envelopes, passwords and security codes, writers often struggled to keep thoughts, cares and dreams expressed in their letters private.

One popular way was to use a technique called letter locking -- intricately folding a flat sheet of paper to become its own envelope. This security strategy presented a challenge when 577 locked letters delivered to The Hague in the Netherlands between 1689 and 1706 were found in a trunk of undelivered mail.

The letters had never reached their final recipients, and conservators didn't want to open and damage them. Instead, a team has found a way to read one of the letters without breaking its seal or unfolding it in any way. Using a highly sensitive X-ray scanner and computer algorithms, researchers virtually unfolded the unopened letter.

Read more here

NBS Do You Love Coin Book card ad


Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor

Dassier 10 Ruble Brings €210,000

We don't usually discuss grading and pricing, but it's good to see rare finds reported in the media, bringing attention to interesting coins and the hobby in general. Antiques Trading Gazette published an article about the sale of the 1757 Jacques-Antoine Dassier 10 ruble piece (discussed here on January 10th). It's also an example of a coin with a collector's mark (discussed in February). -Editor

04_00591a00 04_00591r00

The coin with the most newsworthy story was a gold 10 ruble piece, struck in 1757 from a die by the Swiss medallist Jacques-Antoine Dassier during the reign of Empress Elizabeth of Russia.

The coin was found by a Berlin pensioner among the effects of his deceased father, who had been born in St Petersburg.

Having been turned away by one dealer, who thought it was a fake, and being offered €900 by another, the owner eventually brought it to Künker, where it was priced at €150,000.

04_00591a10 An added attraction was its provenance: a hallmark impressed in the coin showed it to have belonged to the 19th century Russian collector Count Emeryk Hutten-Czapski, who owned more than 11,000 coins and other works of art.

The rarity was not lost on the handful of international bidders who joined in, with the hammer falling at €210,000 (£185,840).

To read the complete article, see:
‘Fake' coin proves to be the €210,000 real deal (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Other topics this week include an 1836 British Sovereign and a Roman coin found in Vancouver. -Editor

Read more here

PREV       NEXT        v24 2021 INDEX         E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Back to top

Numismatic Bibliomania Societh Masthead logo