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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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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


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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: Francisco Gomez, courtesy Allan Julius Behul; and Eric D Nordberg. Welcome aboard! We now have 6,676 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.

The week of the ANA convention is finally upon us. I hope to see many of our members and readers in Rosemont. Because of travel and convention duties next week's issue may be late or shorter than usual, but should be issued by Monday night at the latest.

This week we open with multiple events at this week's ANA convention in Rosemont, one new book, two new periodical issues, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and more.

Other topics this week include a Medal of Honor recipient, Ralph Ross, James McCartney, Ken Bressett, Jeff Garrett, Howard Gibbs, Johnny Unitas, U.S. Mint photos, auction previews, Congressional Gold Medals, Garden State Parkway tokens, and Depression Scrip.

To learn more about Sociedad Numismática de México, the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, the Token and Medal Society, vote-buying beer tokens, Joel Edler, Keith Zaner, Space Age medals, the Three Thomas's, Numismatic Scene Investigation, Riverside Coin Company, R.S. Yeoman, Franklin's Libertas Americana medals, Lewis Feuchtwanger, Encased Postage Stamps, the Chernobyl Fallout Medal, and the oldest-known coin mint, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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Here's a final roundup of events for our sponsor organization, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society at the 2021 American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money. -Editor

NBS at the ANA convention

NBS at the ANA convention stories wanted

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Here's an announcement from Kolbe & Fanning about their table at the ANA. -Editor

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Visit us at the ANA World's Fair of Money in Rosemont

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REMINDER: For those unable to attend this month's American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Rosemont, Lianna Spurrier will be livestreaming some show events, including the NBS General Meeting and Symposium. This is a new development for coin shows - watch ANA history being made! -Editor

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OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 500 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at


Adrián González-Salinas submitted this information about a new book on Mexico's Numismatic Society Medals. Thank you! -Editor

Medals of SoNuMex - Cover Medals of SoNuMex - Example

Catalogue of the Mexico's Numismatic Society Medals 1952-2020 (2nd Edition)
Author: Dr. Luis M. Gómez Wulschner
Width (154 mm) x Length (220 mm) x Thickness (13 mm)
Printing: 500
Pages: 215,(1)
Full Color


  • Presentación por Pablo A. Casas-Rábago
  • Prólogo by Juan José Risoul-Rosán
  • Introducción
  • Presentation by Pablo A. Casas-Rábago (english)
  • Foreword by Juan José Risoul-Rosán (english)
  • Introduction (english)
  • Medallas de Aniversario (Anniversary Medals)
  • Medallas de Convenciones (Numismatic Conventions Medals)
  • Medallas de la 1a. Serie Conmemorativa de la Moneda Mexicana (1st Serie about Commemoratives of Mexican Coinage)
  • Medallas de la 2a. Serie Conmemorativa de la Moneda Mexicana (2nd Serie about Commemoratives of Mexican Coinage
  • Otras Medallas Conmemorativas (Additional Medals)
  • Estampillas Postales de la SoNuMex (Postal stamps related to SoNuMex)
  • Tarjetas Telefónicas de la SONuMex (Phone cards related to SoNuMex)

Note: SoNuMex means Sociedad Numismática de México

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The Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) publishes the C4 Newsletter. At my request, Editor Will Nipper sent me text and images for this article about the issue. Thanks. First, the table of contents. -Editor

C4 Newsletter Summer 2021 cover

  • President's Corner (C. McDonald) and Editor's Notes
  • Statement from the C4 Board
  • Lifetime Award for Phil Mossman (C. McDonald)
  • 30th Anniversary NJ Copper Symposium (R. Williams)
  • Lion Daalders of Zutphen (J. Lipsky)
  • Counterfeit Halfpenny Vlack 24-72C (G. Trudgen)
  • B. Franklin filling Rev. Whitfield's Coffers (P. McBride)
  • Dr. Thomas Hall's Connecticut Copper Ephemera (R. Clark)
  • Cannon to Coin: Pre-Federal Coin Production (J. Rosen)
  • Interview with Anne Bentley, Curator, Mass. Historical Society (J. Burke)
  • Survey and Evaluation of 1787 Connecticut Copper Weights (K. Patton)
  • Announcements and Errata
  • Classified Ads
  • Sponsor Ads
  • Reciprocal Club Ads

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The Token and Medal Society (TAMS) recently published the July-August 2021 issue of The TAMS Journal. At my request, Editor Greg Burns sent me text and images for this article about the issue. Thanks. First, the table of contents. There are always interesting articles found here. -Editor

TAMS Journal V61N4 cover Articles

  • C. & P. Mellus Counterstamped Large Cent Ernie Nagy
  • It's Time to Get it Right Larry Baber
  • Bard Mercantile Company Token, Bard, California John Duff
  • Tokens of the Havre, Montana, Co-Operative Association David E. Schenkman
  • Lingering Wisps of Blue Smoke: Santa Cruz, California, Cigar Tokens William D. Hyder
  • When Do These Evolve From Souvenirs to Collectible Medals? Mark Benvenuto
  • 1881 Yorktown, Virginia, Medal David E. Schenkman


  • From the President Jeff Shevlin
  • Fingers on the Keyboard Greg Burns
  • Sixty Years Ago in TAMS Paul Cunningham
  • American Token Manufacturers & Their Agents David E. Schenkman
  • Mavericks John D. Mutch

Society News and Reports

  • Secretary's Report
  • General News/Pleas


  • Advertisers Index
  • TAMS Marketplace
  • Letters
  • Farewells
  • TAMS Membership Application
  • Writing for The TAMS Journal Info for Advertisers

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Guth E-Sylum ad03 Provenance Research

JOEL T. EDLER (1941 - 2021)

Clifford Mishler submitted this remembrance of Krause Publications. George Cuhaj supplied the photo. Thank you! -Editor

Joel Edler of Krause Publications Joel T. Edler, a 22-year member of the Krause Publications numismatic staff, from 1984 to 2006, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2021. Having experienced declining health in recent years, he and his wife Judy had moved into Iola's Living Oaks assisted living center earlier this summer. Born in Freeport, Illinois, on August 19, 1941, Edler was a graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He is survived by his wife, nine children, 17 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Engaged in sales functions throughout his professional career, Edler enjoyed sales stints with the Motorola Corporation and the Fort Howard Paper Company in Green Bay, Wis., prior to becoming engaged with sales pursuits in the numismatic field. His involvement with numismatic sales was inaugurated in 1982 when he joined the Fox Valley Coin & Gun Exchange dealership in Kimberly, Wisconsin.

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Also passing recently was Coin World Trends editor Keith Zaner. Managing Editor Bill Gibbs provided this story for our readers. Follow the link below for the Coin World piece. Thanks! -Editor

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

Orson W. Bennett Symbolism abounds in numismatics, and according to correspondence from the National Archives, it compelled Orson W. Bennett to write to the United States Mint in early 1888. He requested information on the symbolism behind the Congressional Medal of Honor recently bestowed upon him for his bravery during the Civil War. He wished to document this information for his children who would cherish the medal after he had mustered out of life. Bennett described the medal in his letter but was hesitant to send it to the Mint for inspection because of its great sentimental value.

He first enlisted in the Union Army on April 23, 1861, as a private with the 1st Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and subsequently fought in the Battle of Vicksburg during his two years of service with the 12th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Bennett was then promoted to First Lieutenant of Company A of the 102nd United States Colored Infantry, under the command of his older brother, Lieutenant Colonel William True Bennett. At the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina on November 30, 1864, Orson W. Bennett completed the mission for which he earned his Medal of Honor. He was ordered by his brother to retrieve three pieces of Confederate artillery located behind enemy lines. Lieutenant Bennett recruited thirty men and carried out his directive with only one soldier wounded.

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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 with Dr. Ralph Ross. -Editor

Field Trip to a Coin Show with Ralph Ross, 2001
David Lisot Video Library (2001)

Ralph Ross at the Greater Houston Money Show 2001 Ralph Ross, Ph.D. is incoming president of the American Numismatic Association. He is no newcomer to the coin hobby. He has a long path of devotion to education about coins. In this archival video from the David Lisot Video Library posted on the Newman Numismatic Portal Dr. Ross takes you to the Greater Houston Money Show in 2001. Walk around with him as he leads on a journey through all the things you can see at a coin show.

Speaker: Ralph Ross.

The video is available for viewing on NNP at:


Check out this CoinWeek podcast with numismatic researcher James McCartney. -Editor

CoinWeek Podcast #162: James McCartney: From Coins to Catalogs

Today we are joined by James McCartney, senior numismatist and consignment director at Stack's Bowers. In this episode, we talk about a side of the coin collecting market not experienced by most collectors. We talk about cataloging and what goes into that skill set. We talk about great coins that have passed through during his time with the firm. We also talk about what things that collectors can do to cross that gap between collector and professional numismatist. We also talk a little bit about specialization. All this is next on the CoinWeek Podcast.

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Readers and advertisers have been helping to promote our publication. The latest is Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing who penned this article on Coin Update. Thank you! -Editor

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When I meet people for the first time and they ask what I do, many are intrigued by the idea of book publishing. To some, it seems charmingly old-fashioned, like meeting a chimney sweep or a calligrapher. Makes me feel like I've stepped off the pages of a storybook. But I try not to get too deep into the weeds, because that's when eyes start to glaze over.

Coin books? Whoever thinks about coin books?

Turns out a lot of people do. And there's a wonderful resource for keeping up with the field: The E-Sylum, a free weekly email newsletter managed by Wayne Homren and published by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

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Dave Lange writes:

"Included among the featured items from the upcoming Holabird auction was a pamphlet announcing The World's First United States Space Age Coin, and you expressed wonderment at what that might be. Well, a company called Northwest Historical Medals, Inc. commissioned Whitman to produce a Bookshelf album to hold the nine-medal set produced for Seattle's Century 21 Exposition in 1962. "

Dave passed along these images from his book on Whitman folders and medals. Thanks! -Editor

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The Three Thomas's

Last week I asked about the "Three Thomas's" referenced on this 1796 Middlesex Farthing Conder token. -Editor

1796 Middlesex Farthing Conder Token obverse 1796 Middlesex Farthing Conder Token reverse

Dave Schenkman writes:

"More, Paine, and Spence"

Andy Singer writes:

"The Three Thomas's were Thomas Spence, Sir Thomas More, and Thomas Paine. The Farthing token which was illustrated is Dalton and Hamer 1121. Another Farthing struck a year earlier (1795) lists the three Thomas's in the center in four lines, surrounded by ADVOCATES OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN (D&H #s 1112-1119). These were part of Spence's Political and Social Series of tokens."

Michael Wehner writes:

"The three Thomas's are named on some of the Thomas Spence tokens.

Thomas Spence
Sir Thomas More
Thomas Paine

All three had objections to the British monarchy. Two were contemporaries. Spence issued protest tokens and authored a pamphlet series call "Pig's Meat or Lessons for the Swinish Multitudes". Here is one with the Royal symbols being trampled by the pig. Paine wrote "Common Sense", a factor in the American Revolution. Sir Thomas More was executed much earlier for his opposition to Henry VIII's establishment of the Church of England."

Thomas Spence Pig token

Thanks, everyone! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: AUGUST 1, 2021 : 1796 Middlesex Farthing Conder Token (

Other topics this week include numismatic book cover illustrations, and a coin robbery postcard. -Editor

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Dave Lange submitted these thoughts on some old numismatic photographs. Thanks! -Editor

Riverside Coin Company It's interesting how investigating one item often leads to a string of discoveries. Occasionally I buy old photographs that include numismatic content, many of these coming from dispersed newspaper archives as print media dwindles. One such photo is attached and shows a view of Riverside Coin Co., its window declaring that it's also The Wooden Nickel Co. I thought this was just too interesting to pass up, and when the photo arrived I did a search on both names. I actually found several wooden nickels for sale on eBay that were issued by Riverside Coin Company in San Antonio. The seller's photo of one entry is attached.

Reflected in the store's window is the rear end of an early 1960s automobile, so that probably gives us a good idea of when the photo was taken. I'm tempted to conclude that it's a Ford Falcon, my first set of wheels, but others may disagree. I was curious whether this coin store is still in operation, so I googled "coin stores in San Antonio." Sure enough the store is still there at the same address, 431 E. Commerce Street, but now its name is Royalty Coins. I immediately recognized that as a company from which I'd bought coins myself some years ago at a show.

RCC Wooden Nickel

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Whitman authors Ken Bressett and Jeff Garrett will autograph books at this week's ANA. Don't miss the opportunity! Here's the press release. -Editor

Whitman Authors Ken Bressett and Jeff Garrett
Will Autograph Books at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money

ANA-2017_Bressett-Noel_2017-08-03_copyright-Whitman-Publishing Expo-2018-March_autographing_Garrett_copyright-Whitman-Publishing
Bressett and Garrett at earlier shows

Coin collectors have a chance to meet two hobby legends at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money, held August 10–14, 2021. Whitman Publishing authors Kenneth Bressett and Jeff Garrett will visit with collectors and sign copies of the hobby's most famous books at the Whitman booth at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago (Rosemont), Illinois.

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This press release announces a display of two original Libertas Americana medals at the Stack's Bowers table at next week's ANA convention. -Editor

Stacks Bowers Galleries Presents an Homage to Franklin and Dupre
Illustrated by the Cardinal Collection – A Multi-Million Dollar Display

Stack's Bowers Galleries will be hosting an impressive display at the August 2021 World's Fair of Money Convention in Chicago, August 9-13, 2021 at their bourse table 201/300. It will showcase the historical importance of the Libertas Americana medal and will feature two original Libertas Americana medals that Benjamin Franklin received on April 4th , 1783, each bearing the earliest die state. Due to their early state, it is certain that Franklin presented them to the highest VIPs of the day. Accompanying the exhibit are astonishing artifacts not seen for more than 200 years.

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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.


Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. I added images of Feuchtwanger and one of his tokens. -Editor

Lewis Feuchtwanger Feuchtwanger Composition. A three-component alloy employed for several private issue tokens – and proposed for United States coinage by its developer – but never accepted. In 1837 a New York City dentist, Dr Lewis Feuchtwanger, created the composition of 53 copper, 29 zinc and 18 nickel. Its silver gray color resembles copper-nickel. He had several varieties of three-cent tokens in this composition struck by Scovill of Waterbury. His proposal to the U.S. Treasury Department was wisely rejected for striking minor coins however. (At the time it would have been a nightmare of scrap technology in recovering the medals from worn coins.)

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Last week Pete Smith asked, "Returning to an athletic field for next week's E-Sylum Smarty-Pants Award, what American numismatist was the step-father of football's Johnny Unitas?" -Editor

Richard Crosby writes:

"I heard this question a long time ago at a coin club meeting. Guessing it was either Howard Gibbs or Emerson Smith."

Larry Dziubek writes:

"Howard Gibbs of course."

I thought we'd hear from Pittsburgh. Here are a couple photos sent in by Pat McBride followed by Pete's response. The photos were taken at the 1964 Penn-Ohio Convention in Pittsburgh. -Editor

Howard D Gibbs photo Howard D. Gibbs with Harry Zeigschmidt photo

LEFT: Howard D. Gibbs

RIGHT: Howard D. Gibbs with Harry Zeigschmidt, at that time the oldest living collector in Western Pennsylvania

Before we get to the answer, let's review a little about Johnny Unitas.

John Constantine Unitas (1933-2002) was born in Pittsburgh to Francis J. Unitas and Helen Superfisky. His father died when he was five and he was raised by his mother.

Unitas played professional football with the Baltimore Colts and was voted most valuable player in 1959, 1964 and 1967. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. Late in life he suffered from injuries incurred while playing football.

The mother of Johnny Unitas, Helen Superfisky, remarried Howard Gibbs. Thus, Howard Gibbs is the answer to the question of the week.

Howard Dunleath Gibbs was born in Pittsburgh on March 11, 1895. He married Louise H. Fellows in 1913 and they had a son and a daughter. At the time of the 1940 Census, he was married to Dorothy Brownhill with two young daughters. Later in life he married Helen Superfisky Unitas.

In 1917 he listed his employment as a stenographer with the Bureau of Mines. In 1930 he was listed as a salesman with a coal company. He rose through the company to regional manager for the Pittsburgh Coal Company and was a director of the Retail Coal Merchants of Western Pennsylvania Association. He was also director of the American Trucking Association.

He joined the ANA as member 1949 in 1917. Gibbs was a serious collector of Odd and Curious money and assembled a collection estimated at more than 200,000 items. He corresponded with missionaries in Africa and around the world looking for curious money. A major addition to his collection came when he acquired the copper coins collected by Ole Ecklund. Coins from his collection and estate were included in a bakers-dozen sales by Schulman during 1951 to 1972.

Gibbs served as president of the Pittsburgh Coin Club. He was a patron of the American Numismatic Society and a fellow of the Royal Numismatic Societies of England and Belgium.

Among his credits would be the title of Director of the Pittsburgh Numismatic Museum. He used this title to obtain an example of Yap stone money for this museum. However, this institution was a one-person operation located at his residence.

Gibbs died in Pittsburgh on his seventy-fifth birthday, March 11, 1970.

Wayne Homren has scheduled a talk on Gibbs during the 2021 ANA World's Fair of Money.

If you're at the show this week, stop by the meeting of the International Primitive Money Society Friday, August 13, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Room 24 to hear my talk with colorful stories (and tall tales) about collecting primitive money and my own Indiana Jones style tale involving Howard Gibbs, Emerson Smith and collecting numismatic archival material American-Ninja style. -Editor

Pete Smith writes:

"This week we offer the E-Sylum Smarty-Pants Award to the first person to correctly answer this question: What person named Eliasberg is in the Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs?"

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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Yesterday I came across this great gallery of old Associated Press photos related to the U.S. cent. Here are a couple - see the complete collection online. -Editor

Female Philadelphia Mint employees inspect cents in 1941

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Over on the PCGS site, Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez published a nice article about a visit to the New Orleans Mint Museum. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. And see also the article on 1861-O Half Dollars in the Loose Change section of this issue. -Editor

New Orleans Mint building

The New Orleans Mint opened in 1838 and was among the first of three branch facilities established by the United States Mint that year. The New Orleans Mint, with its coins bearing an O mint mark, was by far the longest-lived and most productive of that trio of first branch mints, which also included a facility in Dahlonega, Georgia, and another in Charlotte, North Carolina; those latter two mints, situated near 1820s gold rush territory in the lower Appalachian Mountains, produced solely gold coinage. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Mint struck both gold and silver coins, doing so during a timeframe that spanned some 71 years.

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Here are several lots that caught my eye in the upcoming Stack's Bowers ANA World's Fair of Money sales. -Editor

Lot 4063: 1827/3/2 Capped Bust Quarter
Mickley-Norweb 1827 Bust Quarter obverse Mickley-Norweb 1827 Bust Quarter reverse

The Mickley-Norweb Specimen of the Original 1827/3/2 Quarter

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And speaking of errors, error dealer and longtime E-Sylum supporter Fred Weinberg is retiring. Happy trails! We'll miss you. Heritage submitted this press release on their upcoming sales of highlights from Fred's collection and stock. -Editor

Fred Weinberg Longtime collector and error dealer Fred Weinberg has decided to retire after 50 years of being perhaps the most famous face in Mint errors and earning his own pedigree for his Error Coins certified by PCGS.

His retirement means fellow error coin enthusiasts have a chance to acquire many hundreds of coveted error coins during the next year. Special highlights of his rare U.S. coin and currency errors will be on display in Heritage Auctions' booth during the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money, Aug. 18-22 in Chicago.

I've always considered myself incredibly lucky to be able to turn my hobby into a profession, Weinberg said from his Encino, California, offices. I've been a collector since I was eight years old and even dropped out of college to deal in coins.

Throughout his diverse career, Weinberg has taken pride in being one of the original 31 PCGS dealers David Hall appointed to assist PCGS making markets in coins and descriptions in 1986. Being a numismatist has been an incredibly fulfilling job, he said. There's never been a moment of boredom. I've loved it. I've just loved it.

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Here's a selection of items I came across in the stock of Canadian dealer Jacob Lipson. In a recent blog post he wrote, "On the NEWPS front, I have purchased a couple of really neat collections since we last spoke. One consisted exclusively of Canadian medals and the other was an incredible accumulation of Canadian military and militia buttons, a few dating to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Buttons aren't something I usually buy, despite being round and struck, but this was too cool to pass up. The Partrick sales have also provided an opportunity to pick up some fantastic Canadian tokens." -Editor

1820-Dated Blacksmith Token
1820-Dated Blacksmith Token obverse 1820-Dated Blacksmith Token reverse

Copper. 28mm x 30mm. 5.90 grams. The obverse shows the portrait of a male figure facing right, described alternately in the literature as George II, an Indian, or even the Duke of Wellington, his hair tied in a ribbon behind with three forecurls. The reverse depicts Commerce seated on a bale above a diagonally lined base. A scale is outstretched in her right hand and a cornucopia rests in her left. The date 1820 appears in the exergue.

This is one of only two tokens in the Blacksmith series listed by P.N. Breton (1894), who correctly described the variety as rare but erroneously noted only three or four known. Perhaps he meant known to him. In a 1985 CN Journal article, Warren Baker cited 32 known to him in copper and seven in brass. Baker's own collection, which was auctioned in 1987, included five examples. One of them was struck over an 1825 farthing, proving that these Blacksmiths were antedated. Another was struck over an example of Wood-6. This piece, which also formed part of the collection, was conservatively described as as Very Fine or better and struck over a counterfeit George II or George III half penny

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Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick sent along these highlights from his recent addition of new material to his website. In addition to the items listed here, there is a particular focus upon Swedish commemorative medals and WWI-related dog tags/engraved coin art. For all of his new tokens and medals, please visit -Editor

Cologne Cathedral Medal
Cologne Cathedral Medal

101758 | GERMANY. Köln (Cologne). Bronze Medal. Issued 1880. Commemorating the completion of the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) (51mm, 57.44 g, 12h). By Drentwett. DER DOM ZU KÖLN, façade of the cathedral; banner in exergue reading BEGONNEN 1248 / VOLLENDET 1880 in two lines / "Anbetung der / hl. drei Könige," nativity scene featuring the adoration of the magi; DOMBILD ZU KÖLN in exergue. Edge: Plain. Weiler 155. Gem Mint State. Rich brown surfaces, with tremendous brilliance in the fields and a sparkling iridescence when cradled. $235.

Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996, the Cologne Cathedral stands as the tallest twin-spired church in the world at 515 feet high. This medal commemorates the completion of the towers (which would finally occur in 1880), as work had been stalled since the late 15th century.

Nice architectural medal, with a crowded but detailed reverse scene. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101758 | GERMANY. Köln (Cologne). Kölner Dom bronze Medal. (

Sellafield and Chernobyl Fallout Medal
Sellafield and Chernobyl Fallout Medal

101703 | GREAT BRITAIN & UKRAINE Sellafield and Chernobyl cast silver Medal. Issued 1986. Fallout (30mm, 26.20 g, 9h). By M. Appleby. Representations of flora and fauna (tree, fish, and goat) affected by the impact of nuclear fallout and other airborne environmental disasters; all within vertical 'cat eye' border / FALLOUT / 1986 around horizontal 'cat eye' border. Edge: «4 hallmarks». BAMS 37, M10. Gem Mint State. Highly brilliant and mirrored in the fields, with some captivating toning in the recesses. A powerful and rare piece, 1 of just 39 cast by the artist from hand engraved dies. $345.

Produced in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster—a nuclear accident in the spring of 1986 near the city of Pripyat in Soviet Ukraine—this moving medal alludes to the impact of the radioactive fallout that touches aspects of life, be it flora or fauna. Due to wind patterns, areas in Northern Europe (like the artist's home country of Scotland) began to see an impact, with particles of caesium-137—a radioactive isotope that is a common product following a fission reaction of the primary "fuel," uranium-235—being scattered across the countryside. Likewise, the much closer Sellafield nuclear power plant, located in northern England near the border with Scotland, has had its own problematic history with contamination. This medal serves as a reminder of the shared experiences of everyone on the planet, and that what can affect one can affect everyone and everything.

Rare and interesting art medal. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101703 | GREAT BRITAIN & UKRAINE. Sellafield and Chernobyl cast silver Medal. (

Knut Agathon Wallenberg Banking Medal
Knut Agathon Wallenberg Banking Medal

101689 | SWEDEN. Knut Agathon Wallenberg silver Medal. Issued 1911. Commemorating his 25th anniversary as CEO of Stockholms Enskilda Bank (63mm, 127.00 g, 12h). By E. Lindberg. K • A • WALLENBERG, bust right in frock coat / STOCKHOLMS / ENSKILDA BANKS / TACKSAMHETSGÄRD FÖR / INSIGTSFULL LEDNING, female personification of the banking industry seated facing on triple throne, holding victoriola and money chest; to left and right, respectively, seated male personifications of Commerce, holding scroll and caduceus, and Industry, holding hammer; two cornucopias full of fruits behind. Edge: Plain. Ehrensvärd 102. Choice About Uncirculated. Lightly toned on the obverse, with some minor rub and a few scuffs on the reverse. $295.

Part of the extremely wealthy and prominent Wallenburg family, responsible for numerous bankers, industrialists, and diplomats, Knut Agathon succeeded his father, André Oscar, as the head of Stockholms Enskilda Bank in 1886 upon the death of the latter. By the time of the bank's merger in 1972 with Skandinaviska Banken (to become Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB), the Wallenberg's family businesses employed some 40% of Sweden's industrial workforce and also represented an astounding 40% of the total worth of the Stockholm stock market.

I'm not sure what to make of the pointy beard, but I really like the reverse. A nice arrangement of three figures is hard to pull off. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101689 | Knut Agathon Wallenberg/Banking silver Medal. (

Thomas A. Edison Medal
Thomas A. Edison Medal

101722 | UNITED STATES & ARGENTINA. Thomas A. Edison silvered bronze Medal. Issued 1929. Commemorating the famous inventor and the 50th anniversary of the invention of the incandescent light bulb (71mm, 85.89 g, 12h). By J. C. Oliva Navarro. COMITE DE HOMENAJE / TOMAS ALVA EDISON, bust facing slightly left in frock coat; light bulb and wreath to outer left and right / ASOCIACION–ARGENTINA DE ELECTROTECNICOS / INVENCION DE LA LAMPARA–INCANDESCENTE, nude male advancing right, dropping torch and reaching up toward nude female holding lightbulb; ornately geometric radiant sun pattern in background. Edge: Plain. About Uncirculated. Light gray surfaces, a few minor spots. A fairly rare and very interesting type issued by the Electrical Association of Argentina. $195.

Oft-described as one of America's best and most prolific inventors, Thomas Alva Edison is likely best remembered for his inventing of the light bulb—a feat that seemingly shines the brightest when compared to his many others. This rather interesting medal was issued some 50 years following the release of the light bulb, and done so in South America by the Electrical Association of Argentina. Here, man is seen casting aside the torch in favor of light harnessed through science.

Nice medal with a strong portrait. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101722 | UNITED STATES & ARGENTINA. Thomas A. Edison silvered bronze Medal. (

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Ed Hohertz was the first to pass along the story of the early mint discovered in China. Thanks also to Kavan Ratnatunga, Arthur Shippee, and Len Augsburger. -Editor

Chinese spade coins

Archaeologists excavating the remains of Guanzhuang—an ancient city in China's eastern Henan Province—have discovered what they believe is the oldest-known coin mint, where miniature, shovel-shaped bronze coins were mass produced some 2,600 years ago.

Their research, published today in the journal Antiquity, gives weight to the idea that the first coins were minted not in Turkey or Greece, as long thought, but in China.

Read more here

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As a onetime New Jersey resident, I was quite familiar with the Garden State Parkway and its tokens. -Editor

Garden State Parkway token The Garden State Parkway fare token was introduced back in the early 1980's. Much like EZ-Pass today, it was designed to make travel on the GSP more convenient.

Instead of looking around for nickels, dimes, and quarters (and yes, sometimes pennies), all you needed was a single token to get you through the toll plaza.

You would purchase tokens by the roll, much like bankers rolls for coins. They're practically the same size as quarters, so it was often a good idea to keep them separated from the rest of your change.

Read more here

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The Washington Post reported on legislation for Congressional Gold Medals for the U.S. Capitol Police and others who defended the Capitol on January 6th. -Editor

Capitol Police The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal — the legislative branch's highest honor — to the U.S. Capitol Police and others who defended the Capitol against a violent mob of Trump supporters on Jan. 6.

Tuesday's action closes out more than six months of quiet debate over how to best honor the officers who battled the rioters who were determined to disrupt the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6.

Read more here


This story missed the cut for last week's issue, but I just had to include it. My old friend the money artist J.S.G. Boggs would have loved this, and if he were alive he'd probably be kicking himself if he hadn't thought of this first. He loved the performance aspect of making his audience think about the nature of money and art, and would be right at home with NFTs. -Editor

Damien Hirst The Currency

English artist Damien Hirst's latest project, The Currency, is an artwork in two forms. Its physical form is 10,000 unique hand-painted A4 sheets covered in colorful dots. In the same way as paper money, each sheet includes a holographic image of Hirst, a signature, a microdot, and—in place of a serial number—a small individual message.

The second part of the artwork is that each of these hand-painted sheets has a corresponding NFT (nonfungible token). NFTs are digital certificates of ownership that exist on the secure online ledgers that are known as blockchains.

The way The Currency works is that collectors will not be buying the physical artwork immediately. Instead, they will pay $2,000 for the NFT and then have a year to decide whether they want the digital or the physical version. Once the collector selects one, the other will be destroyed.

So what is going on here, and what does it tell us about art and money?

Read more here


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

The 1861-O Seated Liberty Half

This week I came across a blog article by Houston dealer Carl Hahn on the 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollar minted at New Orleans under three separate governments - the United States, Louisiana, and the Confederate States of America. -Editor


Through an exhaustive evaluation of 1861-O half dollars, Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert have identified fifteen die marriages for 1861-O coins and assigned a coining authority and estimated population to each. By their estimations, there are approximately 55,000 half dollars minted under the authority of the US Mint in January of 1861. The Republic of Louisiana minted approximately 1,240,000 half dollars between January 26 and March 21 and the Confederate States of America coined an additional 962,633 half dollars thereafter. Likely the coinage of the half dollar continued at the New Orleans mint until the reserve of bullion was exhausted.

To read the complete article, see:
Secession & Seizure: The Story of the 1861-O Seated Liberty Half Dollar (

Other topics this week include the 1933 double eagles. -Editor

Read more here


Len Augsburger and Dave Lange forwarded this Associated Press story about a long-overdue numismatic library book. Thanks. -Editor

overdue numismatic library book A book checked out a half-century ago has been anonymously returned to a library in northeastern Pennsylvania, officials said.

The Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice reports that the 1967 copy of Coins You Can Collect by Burton Hobson arrived last month at the Plymouth Public Library in Luzerne County along with a $20 bill.

An accompanying unsigned letter, written as if by the book itself, said Fifty years ago (yes 50!), a little girl checked me out of this library in 1971. At this time, she didn't know they were going to move from Plymouth. Back then, kids weren't told things like that.

As you can see, she took very good care of me, the letter continued, explaining that it was packed away often for frequent moves but was always with many other books.

Read more here


This week's Featured Web Site is James A. Downey's Wisconsin Depression Scrip site. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VII, Number 7, August 3, 2021).

I started researching Wisconsin Depression Scrip around 2006 with the intention of writing a book. I completed a significant amount of research by 2008 when my oldest son was born. The project was put on hold as other priorities got in the way.

Rather than complete the manuscript I have decided to put up this website.

Wisconsin Bank Scrip One Dollar

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