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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


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Numismatic Bibliomania Society
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Sale Calendar

Watch here for updates!

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: Pete Kane. Welcome aboard! We now have 6,635 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 six new books, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, a rare Half Dime folder, and more.

Other topics this week include Wealth of the South tokens, Canadian paper money, the Denver Coin Expo, the 1921 Boston ANA, edge lettering, the coins of Jesus, the Farouk 1933 Double Eagle, the 1944 steel cent, auction previews, and metal detecting.

To learn more about international coinage proposals, goloid and metric patterns, modern Chinese paper money, the U.S. Mint's Bolivian coins, the Treasure of Chianti, Izzy Switt, Sheffield tokens, Canadian Confederation Centennial medals, the early coinage of Lebanon, the 1801 silver Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Medal, and the Federal Reserve's digital dollar plans, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


The latest book by Roger W. Burdette covers a fascinating niche of American numismatics including the Barclay Mint Experiments, the Bickford Eagle, International Coinage, Goloid & Metric Patterns, Cometallic Money and more. Here's the press release. -Editor

Seneca Mill Press LLC proudly announces release of the latest numismatic book by Roger W. Burdette:

Fads, Fakes & Foibles.

Fads, Fakes & Foibles book cover Most nineteenth century Americans thought of coins and currency in two practical ways: a concern that their pieces of coin or paper currency would be accepted by merchants for purchases and a desire to have more.

For those few involved in economic policy and politics, other, more esoteric aspects of coinage were of concern. Their three principal subjects were prevention of adulteration or counterfeiting, direct equivalence of international gold coins, and use of metric weights for coins. Underlying each of these were certain economic assumptions and profit opportunities that pushed governments toward decisions.

Adulteration and counterfeiting were of concern to all because bad coins meant that merchants and banks would reject the money a person offered in payment. In this regard, it must be remembered that gold coins were simply convenient tokens containing a certain weight of pure gold. Banks and merchants could, and occasionally did, reject legitimate gold coins because they appeared heavily worn or were lighter than official standards. This was the focus of James T. Barclay and his obsession with preventing degradation of the national coinage.

Read more here


1860 Presidential And Wealth of the South Tokens book cover Another week, another Dave Bowers book... This time it's a monograph on Civil War tokens available from the Civil War Token Society. It's free to members (plus shipping), and a great incentive to join if you haven't already. I've been a member for years and ordered my copy this week. -Editor


Hot off the press, 1860 Presidential And Wealth of the South Tokens by Q. David Bowers. The CWTS has published 1,000 copies and is selling it for $19.95 to non-members. Free to members with a shipping cost of $5 (limited to 1 per member). This is a first-come, first-served offer, so get your request into our book manager or order now. This is the second in a series of three books and will make a wonderful addition to your CWTS numismatic library!

Read more here

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Adrián González-Salinas passed along this new book on tokens of Streator, IL by Richard O'Hara, available on Amazon. Thank you! -Editor

Good for 5¢ Streator's Trade Tokens book cover Good for 5¢: Streator's Trade Tokens
by Richard O'Hara (Author), Cathy Treschak Higgins (Contributor), David Reed (Contributor)

A random collection of trade token images inspired the creation of this coincidental history of Streator, Illinois. Well illustrated in color, each token takes a place of honor amid other memorabilia and delightful short sketches of the people and places who made Streator such a lively place in the days of its highest peak of commercial enterprise.

Product details

Publisher : Independently published (April 13, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 73 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8737037758
Item Weight : 7.7 ounces
Dimensions : 8 x 0.18 x 10 inches

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A new edition of the book Strike It Rich with Pocket Change has been published. Here's the press release. -Editor

Strike It Rich With Pocket Change - 5th Edition Released

Strike It Rich With Pocket Change 5th cover Ken Potter and Dr. Brian Allen have released the 5th edition of their NLG Award Winning book Strike It Rich With Pocket Change – Error Coins Bring Big Money! The authors start out by asking if you ever knowingly spent $100 on a candy bar or $50 on a soft drink? As ludicrous as the concept sounds, the authors suggest that there is no doubt you have unintentionally done this numerous times without even knowing it!

They contend that there are just as many valuable coins in circulation today as there were 50 years ago. As more collectors are drawn to the treasure-hunt appeal of error and variety coins, interest in everyday coins is increasing as people take a closer look at the change in their pocket. This 368-page book is designed to help you find those rarities!

Read more here


The 2022 edition of Charlton's Canadian Government Paper Money book has been published. -Editor

Canadian Government Paper Money English 33rd ed cover Canadian Government Paper Money French 33rd ed cover

NOW AVAILABLE! Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Government Paper Money Catalogue 2022 – 33rd Edition.

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CDN Publishing is offering a new edition of the digital book by Patrick Ian Perez (in collaboration with The Banknote Book) on modern Chinese paper money. -Editor

Modern Chinese Paper Money 2021 Edition book cover Chinese Bank Notes Cataloged & Priced from 1949 to Present

This critical book is the only English-language reference of its kind on this popular collectible.


Your subscription now includes soft-cover or limited edition hardcover edition.

Chinese paper money, in particular the banknotes issued by the People's Bank of China beginning in 1949, have been among the fastest growing and most popular areas of collectible world paper money.

Read more here

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Newman Numismatic Portal intern Garrett Ziss provided the following article based on recently added digital content. Thanks! -Editor

I942 Bolivia 50 Centavos obverse I942 Bolivia 50 Centavos reverse

An 1883 letter from Chief of the Secret Service, James J. Brooks, to Superintendent of the Mint, A. Loudon Snowden, mentions government operatives and inquiries set afoot. Even though it sounds like an excerpt from a Sherlock Holmes novel, this National Archives correspondence, recently transcribed by the Newman Portal, discusses the possibility of the U.S. Mint striking coins for the country of Bolivia. The Mint was authorized to produce coins for foreign countries as specified by an Act of Congress approved on January 29, 1874. However, the correspondence raises questions about the authenticity of Bolivia's petition and Brooks requests of Snowden that no action be taken…as to the preparation of dies for the coining of Bolivian money.

Read more here

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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 from the recent Denver Coin Expo. -Editor

Denver Coin Expo 2021 Continues to Be Major Numismatic Attraction.
VIDEO: 7:18.

DCE21 MAY Denver Coin Expo.00_01_39_21.Still001 May 6-8, 2021. Neal Hatgi, Manager, Denver Expo, David Lisot, Interviewer,, with Mark Alberici, James Curtis, Judith Kagin, Ashley Sandoval, and Christopher & Matthew Wiley.

Denver Expo Show Manager Neal Hatgi shares the challenge of producing the largest coin convention in the Rocky Mountains. Dealers and collectors tell the benefits and desirable aspects of attending the even. Plus you get to see coins, precious metals, paper money and dealer booths.

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


Author and researcher Dave Lange submitted this report about his latest find - a rare 1st edition Whitman Half Dime folder. Congratulations! Nice condition item. -Editor

Whitman Half Dime folder W5cA1 cover s Whitman Half Dime folder W5cA1 detail 2s

I'm very excited about purchasing a First Edition Whitman blue folder that was one of only two titles not yet confirmed to exist when my book was published last year. This is Whitman's folder 9005 for half dimes 1794-1873, Lange Number W5¢A1.

Before my book revealed how rare this folder is I would have been able to pick it off on eBay for no more than $20-25. By putting my cards on the table, however, it ended up costing me more than $200 to secure this from someone who knew of its rarity from my article in the December, 2020 issue of The Numismatist. I suppose that was inevitable, but I may yet be able to cherrypick another example down the road. I've found that the best way to smoke out rare items is to publish a book on the subject, and that's why I have to issue annual updates to all of my titles.

Read more here

Archives International Sale 68 cover back


In 2014 Mike Marotta submitted a piece on coins referenced in the classic handbook for astronomers, Burnham's Celestial Handbook. Website visitor Robert Blake, founder of the Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association (EAAA) passed along this related article he published that year in the organization's publication, The Meteor Gallery . Thanks. -Editor

Robert Burnham Athenian tetradrachm

Enclosed are photographs of a coin used as an in illustration in BURNHAM'S CELESTIAL HANDBOOK. The obverse shows Athena while the reverse shows her wise old owl with the crescent moon shown over the owl's shoulder. This is said to be the phase of the moon when the battle of Salamis resulted in the defeat of the Persians---who fielded such a large force, partially naval and partially an army that it was said to drink rivers dry in passage. This was not only among the greatest upsets in history---but, had the first mention in history of a woman commander, an Ionian island queen, Artemisia, taking part in war---ramming and sinking a Persian naval ship

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Here's the final section from the entry on Edge Lettering and Numbering from from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor

Lettering on Edges

Edge lettering. Wording appearing on the edges – other than names – are the most found edge marking. These include names of the issuer, recipients, sponsors; a wide variety of inscriptions and other data in word form.

Examples of the publisher or sponsor's name include the Albatross Club Medal of 1951 carries the name of the Gruman Aircraft Corporation and its address. The Levi Eshkol Medal of 1967 carried the name of the sponsor, the American Israel Numismatic Association.

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Here's where we typically post entries from the online draft of John Lupia's book of numismatic biographies. The entry for Elmer S. Sears is incomplete but includes a nice photo from the August 21, 1921 issue of the Boston Post picturing a group of spouses from that year's convention of the American Numismatic Association. Lots of big names of the numismatic world, including Sears, Henderson, Bauer, Brenner, Tilden, and Hesslein. Where else could we find photos of their spouses? Check out the hats! -Editor

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Time for a nice Chianti ... hoard. This article describes a new exhibit of Roman coins found in Chianti, Italy. Bibliophiles note: there is a catalogue of the exhibit. -Editor

Mark Antony silver denarius A trove of 194 Roman coins dating from 169 BCE to 27 BCE discovered in 2015 at an archaeological site in Chianti, Italy, are now on public display for the first time in the Santa Maria della Scala Museum in Siena. Friends of Florence funded the restoration and preparation of the silver coins to enable historical, cultural, numismatic, and metallurgic research. This effort yielded Treasure of Chianti: Silver Coinage of the Roman Republic from Cetamura del Chianti, an exhibition that opened May 29 and remains on view through September 2, 2021. The presentation contextualizes the coins within the region's history and the Republican age.

The project was organized and led by Florida State University; the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Siena, Grosseto, e Arezzo; the Comune di Siena; and the Santa Maria della Scala Museum in collaboration with Friends of Florence and the Studio Arts College International (SACI) in Florence.

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The University of Calgary has opened a virtual exhibit on the coins of Jesus from the Numismatic Collection of Nickle Galleries. -Editor

Coins of Jesus: Money and Religion in the Ancient World

Justinian II Gold tremissis Coins of Jesus is a virtual exhibition that highlights Judeo-Christian coinage in the Numismatics Collection of Nickle Galleries, covering a unique geographic area and a historic period of cultural and ideological diversity. Beginning with Persian Imperial coins and Phoenician shekels, the exhibition presents Jewish, Judeo-Roman, Roman Christian and Byzantine coinage, concluding with Islamic and Medieval money – an intellectually and artistically rewarding journey.

Exhibition curated by Marina Fischer from the Numismatic Collection of Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary

Read more here

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The Farouk 1933 Double Eagle set a new record price at auction this week. Here's the press release. -Editor

Three Treasures

NEW YORK, 8 June 2021 – This morning in New York, Sotheby's blockbuster sale Three Treasures – Collected by Stuart Weitzman shattered auction records for the world's most valuable coin and American philatelic item during an unprecedented auction event. The three-lot live sale totaled $32,039,250.

Read more here

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I ran out of time to prep this article for last week's issue, but here's the next part of the story of the Farouk 1933 Double Eagle, courtesy Sotheby's. Thanks! -Editor

Farouk 1933 Double Eagle obverse Farouk 1933 Double Eagle reverse


After two and a half years the great gold melt was nearing an end. By the time the task was finished, a purpose-built home for the newly made ingots had been completed: Fort Knox.

On February 6, 1937, the seal was broken on Vault F, Cage 1, which included 1933 Double Eagles; when its contents were poured into the crucibles and rendered into gold bar, the books on the last gold coins produced by the United States were officially closed . . . but coincidentally(?):

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RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE: Wizard Coin Supply is the official distributor for Roger Burdette's three volume series that won NLG Book of the Year awards for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Contact us for dealer or distributor pricing at

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Dix Noonan Webb is offering an interesting collection of local medals and badges in their July sale. Here's the press release. -Editor

The most important collection of Sheffield tokens and badges to come to market is to be included in a sale of Coins, Tokens and Historical Medals on Tuesday, July 6 & Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at international coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery specialists Dix Noonan Webb. Amassed by 68-year-old Sheffielder Tim Hale, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago, the collection of 61 lots, date from the 19th century and cover the city's social history including transport, sport, politics, industry and entertainment. It is expected to fetch £7,000-9,000 with a percentage of the proceeds going to a Parkinson's charity.

Tim Hale, who has lived in Sheffield for most of his life, commented: …like most Sheffielders (I) am fairly passionate about the place. For most of my adult life…I have collected Sheffield memorabilia, starting when I was in my teens and continuing to this day.

He continued: I still have a fairly substantial collection of Sheffield medals, tokens, badges and other small items of ephemera to part with! In the main, these items have been bought from collectors' fairs, bric-à-brac shops and through the post from specialist dealers such as Bryan Hennem, Timothy Millett, Sheffield Railwayana Auctions and others along the way. On one occasion I had the opportunity to purchase most of the collection from an old collecting friend and acquiring that group sparked a renewed interest in the genre.

Read more here

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Craig Whitford writes:

"Max Brail assembled one of the finest collections of U.S. Assay medals outside the U.S. Mint He served on the 1960 Assay Commission), Carnegie Life-saving medals etc. Max was a dear friend of mine and now portions of his collection are being offered at public sale and I thought that your readers might find the sale of his Canadian material interesting.

Marc & Eric from The Canadian Numismatic Company have done a superb job with featuring his collection. A biography of Max is included prior to the offering of his medals."

Thanks. Here are a few medals from the sale. -Editor

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Bruce Hagen and Maureen Levine cataloged the Mike Coltrane Collection Part 2 for Heritage, with assistance from Bob Moon and Frank Clark. They submitted this additional selection of highlights. Thanks! -Editor

Diverse Offering of Large Size Federal Reserve Bank Notes in
The Mike Coltrane Collection Part 2 Sale

Heritage Coltrane Part 2 catalog cover Mike Coltrane enjoyed the interesting challenges presented by large size Federal Reserve Bank Notes. Just as when he began pursuing them decades ago, there are discoveries to be made and rarities to be found. Of the 138 examples cataloged in The Mike Coltrane Collection Part 2 sale, many are from rare districts, are finest known notes, or unpublished variants. They will be sold unreserved by Heritage Auctions on June 24-25, 2021.

Federal Reserve Bank Notes (abbreviated FRBN) and Federal Reserve Notes (FRN) were authorized under the same 1913 enactments. The FRBNs were intended as temporary currency to supersede National Bank Notes during the transition to nationwide usage of FRNs, but there was little demand for the first 1915 series. However, notes from the 1918 series filled in for the Silver Certificates during World War I (the backing silver had been sold to Great Britain). Since the vast majority of Silver Certificates printed (such as the Black Eagles and other 1899 series notes) were $1, $2, and $5 denominations, so were the FRBNs. Presidential portraits were featured on the faces, and the green backs were printed with intricate designs. The $1 and $2 Series of 1918 notes were issued for each of the 12 Federal Reserve Bank districts. All notes have four signatures: a pair of U.S. Federal signatures and a pair of local Federal Reserve Bank officials, generally creating signature combinations within the banks. As a rule, Federal Reserve Bank Notes are much scarcer than Federal Reserve Notes.

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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

1794 Suffolk Bury Penny Conder Token
1794 Suffolk Bury Penny Conder Token obverse 1794 Suffolk Bury Penny Conder Token reverse

1794 Suffolk Bury Penny Conder Token MS-65+ PCGS (BN)

A nice Conder token from Golden Gate Auctions in California. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1794 Suffolk Bury Penny Conder Token MS-65+ PCGS (BN) (

Other topics this week include the Roxbury Coaches New Line Token and 1931 French Carnegie Hero Medal. -Editor

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Stack's Bowers Senior Numismatist and Cataloger Jeremy Bostwick published a blog article on the early coinage of Lebanon. -Editor

The Early Coinage of Lebanon

Following World War I and the demise of the once vast and powerful Ottoman Empire, various parts of the realm were partitioned off, including the land that makes up present-day Lebanon. In this case, France held a mandate officially meant to foster future states, although such mandates often entered the sphere of pseudo-colonialism. Not surprisingly, the early coinage of Lebanon—beginning in 1924—featured a strong French flair owing mostly to their manufacture at the mint in Paris. One of the more indigenous aspects of the coinage is the Lebanese cedar, an iconic arboreal image often rather prominently displayed. Our June Collectors Choice Online (CCO) World auction presents a diverse selection of these early issues. Also offered are some interesting, cruder, locally produced denominations from during World War II, with each standing as one of the finer—or even finest—seen for its type

Read more here

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Here's a Heritage press release on a popular transitional error coin - the 1944 steel cent. The planchets were in use at the Philadelphia Mint during 1944 to strike two franc pieces for Belgium. -Editor

1944 1C Struck on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet MS64 PCGS_Heritage_Auctions_1 1944 1C Struck on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet MS64 PCGS_Heritage_Auctions_2

Whenever a 1943 Bronze Cent or a 1944 Steel Cent are sold, headlines are made! Heritage Auctions is honored to offer a rare 1944 Steel Cent error in the June US Coin Auction 1331. The 1943 and 1944 error Cents are so engrained in the public consciousness as being rare that Heritage receives inquiries literally every day from hopefuls who are wishing that they found one of the rare versions, but very, very few people actually have the "right" coin.

These transitional error coins occurred when the US Mint was supposed to resume the use of the normal bronze planchets in 1944. The Mint had temporarily used zinc/steel planchets in 1943 to save copper for the war effort and was switching back to the regular pre-War composition the following year as things began to normalize. However, a few accidents secretly escaped the Mint that were unintentionally struck on the wrong planchets--the previous year's steel version!

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Other mints are capitalizing on the centennial anniversaries of the last Morgan dollar and first Peace Dollar. Here's an article by Michael Alexander on the World Mint News Blog about the Pobjoy Mint's piece for the British Virgin Islands. I recall seeing a report that these were already sold out. -Editor

Pobjoy Morgan Peace anniversary design The government of the British Virgin Islands has issued (20th May) new bullion-quality silver one-ounce coins, cupro-nickel Brilliant Uncirculated, and gold half-gram Proof coins which feature two of the coin collecting world's most popular and historic designs ever to be included on American coinage — namely the Morgan and Peace dollar designs. On the occasion of the centenary anniversary, which saw the U.S. Mint transition from the Morgan motif to that of the Peace design in 1921, it was the year that saw both designs dated the same year.

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Here's a Heritage press release about a great medal - a 1801 Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Medal in silver. -Editor

1801 Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Medal, Silver, MS62 NGC. Eidlitz-1, Julian-PR-2, DeWitt-TJ-1800-1_Heritage_Auctions_1 1801 Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Medal, Silver, MS62 NGC. Eidlitz-1, Julian-PR-2, DeWitt-TJ-1800-1_Heritage_Auctions_2

Heritage Auctions' June US Coin Sale 1331 brings us a rare opportunity to own a piece of history that combines scarcity, beauty, and a close connection to early American independence.

From the same collection as the two fabulous Libertas Americana medals comes an 1801 Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Medal in silver, one of only about a dozen pieces known to exist in any grade! The 1801 Jefferson Inaugural medal was struck in both silver and white metal to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson's ascent to the office of the presidency. Jefferson was, of course, the leading author of that document on July 4, 1776, and he passed away 50 years to the day it was signed.

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1946–2021: CELEBRATING 75 YEARS of the RED BOOK. The 75th edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins will release next week, April 7, 2021. Preorder now to reserve your copy—online at , or call 1-800-546-2995.

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It's a very specialized topic, but this Numismatic News article by Peter Huntoon is an interesting look into the manufacturing of National Bank Notes. Here's an excerpt, but see the complete article online. -Editor

The purpose of this article is to provide a procedure that will allow you to identify the manufacturer of the overprinting plate used to print the bank information on any Series of 1929 national bank note. This procedure is far easier to use and more fool proof than previous versions circulated by James Simek or published in Huntoon and Simek (2014).

First National Bank Mwesa Arizona $10

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Historian Peter Y.W. Lee published an article in Smithsonian magazine connecting paper money designs to social movements throughout U.S. history. Thanks to David Gladfelter for passing this along. -Editor

1896 silver certificates

Momentum for the Tubman Twenty comes at a time when Americans are reexamining foundational values of equality and democracy. President Joe Biden's inaugural address urged national unity to heal political and social rifts, and his push to get the project—in the works since 2015 to replace Andrew Jackson's portrait with Harriet Tubman's on the $20 bill—back on track supposedly helps do just that.

This is not the first attempt to use currency to forge a national identity by commemorating a shared heritage. An earlier experiment 125 years ago attempted to do the same. But—spoiler alert—it failed in every sense.

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A commemorative banknote has been produced for the Philippine Centennial. -Editor

100,000-piso Philippine Centennial Commemorative Banknote The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is featuring a numismatic and art collection to celebrate the country's 123rd Independence Day on June 12.

On its Facebook page, BSP features the 100,000-piso Philippine Centennial Commemorative Banknote, the first Philippine Republic cinco-pesos note, and dos-centimos coin.

The commemorative banknote, paper money, and coins are showcased in the agency's latest publication, Yaman: History and Heritage in Philippine Money.

Read more here

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A recent New York Times article highlights a new generation of metal detectorists. -Editor

Metal detectorist Nikoline Bohr

Nikoline Bohr, 32, who is a member of the Ring Finders network, with her metal detector at a construction site on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts.Credit...

People have been metal detecting since 1881, when Alexander Graham Bell invented a device to find the bullet lodged in President James Garfield.

But it took several more decades for recreational metal detectors — devices that resemble sort of a skillet on the end of a pole, as one newspaper put it in 1967 — to develop a serious cult following.

Now, that cult following is growing. Detector makers are reporting record sales. According to an annual report from one brand, Minelab, in 2020 the company sold 30 percent more detectors than the previous year, which had climbed 18 percent the year before that.

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Recently, we've discussed the white-hot market for grading sports cards. An article in the Tampa Bay Times interviews Max Spiegel of Certified Collectibles Group. -Editor

Since February, we've received hundreds of thousands of sports cards, said Certified Collectibles Group president Max Spiegel. That's shocking, considering it normally takes time to build a grading service. That just shows how hot that market is.

Hot doesn't begin to describe it. The sports card boom of 2021 bears little resemblance to the early '90s, when Boomers shelled out big bucks for the Mantle and Mays rookies their moms threw out in the ‘60s; and a glut of new products flooded (and ultimately devalued) the market.

Today's sports card industry has more in common with the art market, as ultra-rare, ultra-high-end cards command small fortunes at auction. In August, a 1-of-1 Mike Trout autographed rookie card sold for a record $3.9 million. Last week, an autographed Tom Brady rookie sold for $3.1 million, a record for a football card. The market's gotten so heated that Target recently stopped selling trading cards to discourage shoppers from fighting for packs.

grading room at Certified Collectibles Group

Pam Mitchell looks closely at a German Thaler coin while working in the grading room at Certified Collectibles Group's headquarters in Sarasota on June 8. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

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

Private Currencies in 19th-Century America

This article is an overview of obsolete banknotes. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VI, Number 51 June 8, 2021). -Editor

Bank of Rahway One Dollar

The rise and fall in the price of Bitcoin based on Elon Musk's tweets is a reminder that most people view the private digital currency more as an investment than usable money. But there was a time in the United States when private money was a very viable option. Before the Civil War and the printing of the first greenbacks, historian Stephen Mihm writes, hundreds of local banks issued thousands of different kinds of currency in a bewildering variety of denominations and designs, which became the de facto currency of the country.

Before the American Revolution, economic historian Howard Bodenhorn explains, Britain didn't send enough small-denomination copper and silver coins to the colonies to meet local needs. So colonial loan offices and land banks issued bills of credit for under 20 shillings. Minting of coins remained limited well into the nineteenth century, and local commercial banks picked up the slack. They took in gold and gave out bank notes in return, including some in very small denominations.

Bodenhorn writes that people used this paper currency in everyday transactions. But it couldn't circulate too far from the issuing bank, where the notes could be redeemed. Merchants located at a distance often only accepted them at a discount or wouldn't take them at all. To make the notes more useful, some country banks made deals to get their counterparts in nearby cities to redeem them.

Buyers and sellers had to be careful about the bills they used, Bodenhorn writes. If a bank went belly-up, its currency would become unredeemable and worthless. So merchants and consumers often used brokers, who monitored the quality of banknotes.

To read the complete article, see:
Banks' Own Private Currencies in 19th-Century America (

Other topics this week include the Federal Reserves digital dollars. -Editor

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