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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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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 No new subscribers this week. We now have 6,718 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 Alain Poinsignon numismatic library sale results, one new book, Q. David Bowers, print-on-demand, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notes from readers and more.

Other topics this week include Philadelphia Mint Melter and Refiner James C. Booth, former Coin World editor Beth Deisher, dealers Ray Burns and Ian Laing, American artist Benjamin West, Numismatic Centurians, the Cartagena Convention, auction previews, First Coinvestors, banknotes of Afghanistan and Columbia, and Christmas in numismatics.

To learn more about Leo Hamburger, Adolph Hess, George Hearst, Henry Cogswell, Karl Moulton, Jorge Proctor, photo certificates, dictators on coins, money in movies, the burin graver, Gadsby's Tavern, the Husum taler, the Fairy Tale King, Pepin the Short, and the ancient Celtic coinage of Britain, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


Künker's auction 357 featured the final part of the research library of French coin dealer Alain Poinsignon. Here are some results of the sale. -Editor

Our three-day eLive Premium Auction 357 ended with the final part of the numismatic library of Alain Poinsignon.

We would like to thank all participants for their great interest and active participation. For some of them the hammer fell only after very long bidding battles. Of particular interest were the auction catalogs of the Parisian auction house Etienne Bourgey as well as the Frankfurt/Main based auction houses Adolph E. Cahn and Adolph Hess. Furthermore, the fixed price and auction catalogs of Dr. Jacob Hirsch, Munich and the Italian coin dealer Rodolfo Ratto received great interest.

We would especially like to thank Alain Poinsignon for his confidence in us. With the auction catalogs 342/344 and 357, we hope that we have been able to create a lasting memorial for his numismatic library. Even though the publications will pass into new hands through the auction, the auction catalogs are not only intended to commemorate Alain Poinsignon, but to encourage all coin enthusiasts to build up a numismatic library of their own.

Read more here

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A new book on mining baron George Hearst has an interesting vignette about evaluating ore from the Comstock Lode at the San Francisco Mint. -Editor

George Hearst book cover Hearst was born in 1820 into modest yet comfortable circumstances in Missouri, where his father owned three small farms. Farming interested young George not at all, but when he was 15, lead was discovered near his home. The subsequent diggings fascinated him. I think I was naturally a mineralogist, he would write years later. The knowledge seems to me instinctive.

When gold was discovered in California, Hearst headed west with plenty of competition: There were perhaps 800 San Franciscans before the metal revealed itself at Sutter's Mill. By the time Hearst arrived, in the fall of 1850, the city's population had swelled to 25,000, with more than 100,000 hopefuls scouring the riverbeds.

Read more here

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As noted earlier, Dave Bowers is retiring from publishing his regular columns in the numismatic press. Here's an excerpt from a CoinWeek article by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker. See the complete article online for more. -Editor

  Dave Bowers columns

Quentin David Bowers, better known in numismatic circles as Q. David Bowers and known to his family and friends as simply Dave, has announced his retirement as a columnist from both The Numismatist and Coin World.

He has accomplished much writing for both publications, earning the respect of generations of coin collectors and numerous awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. As readers and consumers of both publications, his regular presence will be missed.

Read more here

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A CoinUpdate article by Brandon Christopher Hall announces Dave Bowers' retirement from another of his regular columns. -Editor

Q. David Bowers The retirement of the ubiquitous and prolific numismatist, author, and columnist Q. David Bowers from his American Numismatic Association and Coin World columns was announced earlier this week. We at Coin Update and Mint News Blog have a similar announcement to make regarding his weekly Bowers on Collecting column. As keen readers may have already noticed, we have been publishing some more of his archived work in previous weeks as his active workload was gradually trimmed down toward retirement.

Bowers' earliest piece on Coin Update was Tribute to Saint-Gaudens by de Francisci, and he has since been a frequent contributor. In January 2018, his Bowers on Collecting column commenced, and ever since he has provided his unique insight to Coin Update readers on a weekly basis.

One can hardly think of numismatics without the name Bowers coming to mind. His work has inspired, enlightened, and contributed to the hobby in an incalculable number of ways. From his writing and consulting with Whitman Publishing (made formal in 2003 when he joined the firm as Numismatic Director), to his active roles in the retail and auction markets (since the 1950s), to fostering and collaborating in historical research (also since the 1950s, including as a founder of the Rittenhouse Society), Bowers has made his mark in every way a person can in the hobby. He is known for his encyclopedic memory about coins and the history behind them, recalling every detail in a manner so similar to his published content that the two are irrevocably married.

Read more here


A few weeks ago the American Numismatic Society announced its new print-on-demand program. At the same time, it announced the publication of a book on 20th century Washington medals by the late Syd Martin, who'd also authored multiple award-winning books on U.S. colonial numismatics. Here are a couple comments I saw that week on the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) Google Group. -Editor

David Menchell wrote:

1932 Numismatic Commemorations of Washington book cover "While missing other issues of the 20th century, the birth bicentennial celebration was responsible for creating enough material to rival the late 18th and 19th century items catalogued by Baker and more recently, Neil Musante's opus on Washingtoniana. Between Neil's book and now Syd's, a large portion of this material has been systematically organized. We are lucky to have had Syd's meticulous analytic skills applied to so many areas of collecting interest. I'm sure this will stand as the major reference for this material for many generations to come. Thanks for the heads up. I already ordered my copy."

Jeff Rock wrote:

"I was so glad to see ANS went through with this - likely knowing they won't make money on it, but just to honor Syd. A few years ago Syd showed me a draft and I thought it publication ready then, but always the perfectionist he was chasing a few more pieces he had heard about but had no photos of. At the time he said the book wouldn't be publishable - outside the realm of C4, and TAMS didn't have the ability to do a quality project. Thankfully this was one of the few times Syd was wrong, and the hobby as a whole will be better off for having this reference in print. It's outside of my area of interest (though I did collect Washingtonia early on), but I will still be ordering a copy. Hopefully many C4 members do so as well."

Read more here


The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a collection of papers of Philadelphia Mint Melter and Refiner James C. Booth. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

Newman Portal Adds James C. Booth Papers

The Science History Institute in Philadelphia holds the papers of James C. Booth, U.S. Mint Melter and Refiner in Philadelphia from 1849 to 1887. Newman Portal subsidized the scanning of this material earlier this year and this content is now available on NNP. Included are over 300 pieces of correspondence related to Booth's activities at the Mint.


Read more here


Another addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is an interview with former Coin World editor Beth Deisher. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

Beth Deisher, In Her Own Words

Beth Deisher Newman Portal has released the latest installment of its interview series, Numismatic Notables. This episode features a wide ranging discussion with Beth Deisher, Coin World editor from 1985-2012. From her time in Iran as a member of the International Farm Youth Exchange to working against counterfeiters in her retirement, Deisher offers opinions on the evolution of coin collecting and the related media coverage over the last generation.

Deisher played an important role as an advocate for coin collectors in Washington, D.C., and was instrumental in the formation of the States Quarters program and the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee. Deisher has had an insider's view of the legislative activity related to the U.S. Mint and reveals tidbits such as Donna Pope's crash course in numismatics upon her appointment as Mint Director in 1981. This episode was produced by Lianna Spurrier, Numismatic Marketing, and features Len Augsburger as interviewer.

Link to Beth Deisher interview on Newman Portal:


These are selections from the David Lisot Video Library that feature news and personalities from the world of coin collecting. David has been attending coin conventions since 1972 and began videotaping in 1985. The Newman Numismatic Portal now lists all David's videos on their website at:

Here's an interview with Cleveland coin dealer Ray Burns. -Editor

Ray Burns Shows Overprint $20 Bill at PAN 2021
VIDEO: 2:53.

PAN21 Ray  Burns.Still001 Ray Burns, Cleveland Coin Dealer, David Lisot, Interviewer, October 29, 2021.

Ray Burns has been in numismatics more than fifty years. At 80 years old he has seen a lot of coin shows. Hear Ray talk about the numismatic market and the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatics Coin Convention. Best of all he shows an example of a $20 bill overprinted that someone received from an ATM!

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

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More on Karl Moulton
Dave Steine writes:

Karl Moulton "I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Karl Moulton. We talked regularly about all things numismatic, he was a good person and loved our hobby. Although not commonly known, Karl was one of the great numismatists of our time. His encyclopedic knowledge of 19 th century US auction catalogues, the US mint and US coinage always amazed me. I would often contact Karl before major numismatic literature auctions to make sure I didn't overlook some special item. When the Newman library came up for auction, I called Karl. His immediate response was: make sure you try and buy the 1809 Perkins Bank Bill Test with plates from the Streeter collection. Karl had probably been to Newman's bank vault and seen the Perkins in person.

  "Most recently, in the spring of 2020, I purchased hundreds of items from Karl's personal library. This transaction went on for months, Karl would send me packages and lists almost weekly. One of my favorite purchases was a priced and named copy of Woodward's 1864 McCoy sale in a beautiful contemporary binding, lot 967. Upon receipt of the catalogue, I saw the familiar JF sticker in the inside cover. I immediately looked in the Ford PRL and saw that it had sold reasonably, things like this didn't get past Karl.

   "I knew Karl for 20 years and we had a close connection beyond numismatics, Karl loved hot rods and old Chevy's. He was in the process of finishing a long-term project, a 1957 Chevrolet Belair. Once about 10 years ago I picked Karl up in Congress, AZ and we made a trip together to Las Vegas to buy some rare Pontiac engine parts. I was attending the annual January Barrett Jackson auto auction and had just finished paying Karl for his Deluxe Browning; he of course loved early bust quarters and Deluxe Browning's were a favorite of his. I told him of my plan to drive up to Las Vegas and of my intention to pick up the Browning, Karl being the car guy that he was wanted to ride along. I will always remember that trip together.

  "RIP Karl."

Karl's passing was a surprise and shock to all of us in the numismatic literature community. He will be missed. I added an old photo of Karl from his former website, -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
KARL V. MOULTON (1953-2021) (

Other topics this week include George Orr's Clay Tokens, Steve Martin and Sam Buttrey, Photo Certificates, and Walking Dead Numismatists. -Editor

Read more here

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Mitch Fraas writes:

"I saw this in the latest catalog from the venerable Reese rare booksellers in New Haven - a letter from Benjamin West mentioning designs he has done for new British coinage ca. 1798. (no. 30 in their catalog)."

Thank you! Can anyone provide more background on American artist West's work on British coinage? -Editor

Read more here

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

Graver. A cutting or shaving tool used by an engraver to handcut metal, as a die or flat engraving. (Also a graver is the person who engraves by hand, but such a person is more apt to be called an engraver). The graver tool is held in one hand and each stroke is necessary for one bite at a time (the metal removed is called dead metal). Gravers remove metal to form the relief design or lettering and engravers can cut an image in either positive or negative. Gravers were used by the first coin engravers (600 bc) and still in use today, making them the oldest continuously used coin making tool in existence.

Gravers are made in a multitude of cutting faces and sizes, each engraving tool serving a different cutting function. These include:

Read more here

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American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on 100-Year-Old Numismatists. Thanks! -Editor

There have been previous attempts in The-Esylum to identify numismatists who have lived to the age of one hundred. I am updating the list from my notes. Perhaps some don't qualify as a numismatist, but if they have been mentioned, they are included.

Carl G. Boehmer (5/8/1906 – 6/8/2011) lived 105 years, joined the ANA in 1936 as member 5422, and just qualified as a 75-Year Member.

Read more here

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NORA W. HUSSEY (1915-2020)

Pete Smith submitted this additional article on Denver Mint Superintendent Nora Hussey. Thank you! -Editor

Denver Mint Superintendent Nora Hussey Nora Hussey was not a collector but worked in industry as Superintendent of the Denver Mint. As such she qualifies for the list of 100-year-old numismatists.

She was born as Honora Lillian Walsh in New York City on March 26, 1915. Her parents were Michael and Lillian Rosenberg Walsh. She attended New York University and America College.

She was married to Shirley Beaumont Hussey (1913-2000) in Texas in 1946. They had no children. They made their home in Sturgis, South Dakota, in 1952. Shirley established Hussey Trucking Company to move livestock.

Read more here

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The latest article in Harvey Stack's blog series discusses the passing of Norman Stack in 1992, and the labor-intensive production of auction catalogs in those pre-Internet days. -Editor

  Harvey Stack Numismatic Family 2021-10

In 1992 the growth of the numismatic market continued. More collectors started visiting our shop, ordering from us, and responding to our auction sale catalogs. In addition, more people were attending coin club meetings, and joining with other collectors at the various conventions all across the country. Our staff had increased, and some started joining Larry and me at many of the shows we attended. They had the opportunity to meet and chat with our clients. Business seemed to be gathering steam as each month passed.

Read more here

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Dr. Jesse Kraft published this American Numismatic Society Pocket Change blog about his recent attendance at the Third International Convention of Historians and Numismatists (Cartagena MMXXI). Here's an excerpt, but see the complete article online. -Editor

This past week, between December 1 and 5, the Third International Convention of Historians and Numismatists (Cartagena MMXXI) gathered in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (Fig. 1).

  Cartagena medal

Figure 1. The official medal of Cartagena MMXXI, designed by Carlos Huatuco Nanzer. Bronze, 33 mm.

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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


Although one nice early U.S. gold coin was passed around the table, there was little numismatics and a whole lot of fellowship at this month's meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova. We met with our spouses for our annual holiday event, held this year at Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, VA. It was our first such event in two years due to the pandemic, and the first since the passing of longtime member Joe Levine.

Read more here

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Here's the press release for Künker's January auctions. Great selection of interesting and historical coins and medals, including popular rarities. -Editor

The Köhlmoos Collection at Künker

Time to make a note in your calendar: Künker's January Auction Sales 2022 will take place on Wednesday instead of Thursday, and in Osnabrück instead of Berlin. Several collections will be on offer, including the second Köhlmoos Collection of the usual legendary quality.

Read more here

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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

Caria, Halikarnassos Didrachm
Caria, Halikarnassos Didrachm

Lot 085. Caria, Halikarnassos. Ca. 340-334 B.C. AR didrachm. Ex Ponterio 2011; Ex NAC.

Caria, Halikarnassos. Ca. 340-334 B.C. AR didrachm (19 mm, 7.00 g, 12 h). Head of Apollo facing slightly right / ?I?O?AP, Zeus Labraundos standing right, holding labrys and scepter. SNG Copenhagen 597. SNG von Aulock 2376. SNG Kayhan 891. EF, lustrous wirh golden highlights.

Ex Ponterio 2011; Ex NAC.

A masterful engraving of Apollo, expressive and stoic in his appearance. Final series of coins struck before Alexander the Great arrives a short time after Pixadorus, him knowing the end was near. Careful and slight additional cleaning done to uncover luster

Great coin in the Agora Auctions Sale #103 closing December 28, 2021. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
Lot 085. Caria, Halikarnassos. Ca. 340-334 B.C. AR didrachm. Ex Ponterio 2011; Ex NAC. (

Other topics this week include the Whitman & Son Chocolate Token, and a Notre-Dame Cathedral medal. -Editor

Read more here

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Mike Markowitz has published the latest article in his CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series - this one focuses on the ancient Celtic coinage of Britain. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online for much more. Some great coins here. -Editor

FOR ANCIENT GREEKS and Romans, Britain was a mysterious land at the northern edge of the world.

As early as 2000 BCE, the Phoenicians traded with the Celtic tribes of Cornwall (the southwestern tip of England) for the valuable tin essential to making bronze.

By the third century BCE, coins from the Mediterranean world began to arrive in Britain, perhaps with mercenaries returning home from service on the Continent. Gold staters issued by the Belgae, imitating the widely circulated issues of the Macedonian king Philip II (reigned 359 – 336 BCE, father of Alexander the Great) entered Britain in large quantities in the second century BCE. Gold quarter staters of about 1.5 grams were the main fractional denomination.

Ancient British coinage was produced in gold, silver, and copper alloys over a period of about 150 years. It ended with the Roman conquest of Britannia by the legions of Emperor Claudius beginning in 43 CE.

Read more here

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Great coins with great stories aren't always found in high grades. In their December 17, 2021 E-Newsletter Stacks Bowers highlighted this transitional Seated Liberty Quarter with a great discovery story. -Editor

  1853 No Arrows or Rays Quarter obverse 1853 No Arrows or Rays Quarter reverse

1853 Liberty Seated Quarter. No Arrows or Rays. Briggs 1-A, FS-301. Repunched Date. VF-35 (PCGS).

While 44,200 coins were struck and delivered in two batches on February 7 and 19, 1853, it is likely that many were quickly melted after the new weight standard was enacted on February 21. All were struck from a single die pair, the obverse bearing strongly repunched date digits, 53. Years ago this was referred to as another 1853/2 variety, a tradition that remains in use for the gold denominations with similar die cutting anomalies.

Read more here


CoinWeek has a great article by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker on First Coinvestors, Stanley Apfelbaum, and Anthony Swiatek. Here's a short excerpt - see ther complete article online. -Editor

  Booker T. Washington Half Dollars

Anthony Swiatek and Walter Breen's The Encyclopedia of United States Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins: 1892-1954 has always been one of my favorite books. Sure, the topic's been done better, most recently by Swiatek himself. And yes, the book is hopelessly optimistic about what was then the future value of the series. But it felt like it was written by authors who really knew the series, and understood what collectors want to know.

Taking a different approach than Don Taxay and his earlier work, the Encyclopedia made you feel like you had privileged access to the always fascinating, sometimes sketchy, inside scoop on some of America's most interesting novelty coins.

Read more here

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Dennis Hengeveld of World Banknote Auctions published this blog post on Afghanistan paper money. See the firm's Kabul Collection of Afghanistan sale, ending December 22, 2021. -Editor

Introduction of Paper Money in Afghanistan

In August of 1919, at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Afghan war, the country of Afghanistan severed its ties with Great Britain, which had previously had effective control over Afghanistan's foreign policy. Amanullah Khan became Emir (later King) and ended the country's isolation from the rest of the world. As part of his reforms he would introduce the first paper money in the country. The notes, which were uniface, were issued by the Afghani Treasury in four denominations: 1 Rupee (Pick-1), 5 Rupees (Pick-2), 50 Rupees (Pick-4) and 100 Rupees (Pick-5). The 1 and 5 Rupees were dated either SH1298 or SH1299 (1919 or 1920 AD respectively), while the 50 Rupees was only dated SH1298 and the 100 Rupees was only dated SH1299. The notes had a perforated left edge to which was attached a stub, which was to be removed upon issuance and kept at the Treasury. The notes were printed locally (as were all from the first two series) and carried no watermark.

Read more here

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A blog article by Stack's Bowers Paper Money Researcher & Cataloger Chris Dahncke highlights an offering of banknotes from Colombia in the firm's upcoming January 2022 NYINC World Currency auction. Here are some that caught my eye. -Editor

  COLOMBIA. Estado Soberano de Panama. 3 Pesos
Lot 20152 Estado Soberano de Panama. 3 Pesos, 1866-73. P-S188. PMG About Uncirculated 55.

Read more here


A PENNY SAVED, Kenneth Bressett's history of R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book, also tells his own unique life story, in and out of numismatics. 352 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, hardcover, delightfully illustrated. Order your copy online at at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


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

Canadian Numismatist Ian Laing

Canadian Coin News published an article about dealer Ian Laing of Winnipeg's Gatewest Coin. -Editor

  Ian Laing Gatewest Coin
Ian Laing, Center

Long-time dealer Ian Laing, the 43-year owner of Winnipeg's Gatewest Coin, has earned a spot in Coin World's Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020.

The only Canadian on the Top 60 list of numismatics' key players over the past six decades, Laing was chosen by the U.S.-based hobby publication for his lifelong interest and success as a coin dealer and collector. Since acquiring Gatewest in 1978, Laing has grown the business into the world's largest dealer of Canadian coins while handling most, if not all, of Canadian numismatics' major pieces.

To read the complete article, see:
Ian Laing sole Canadian among 'top 60' influential numismatists (

Other topics this week include the Pig Rupee. -Editor

Read more here


This Bank of England Museum blog article discusses a 1927 Christmas advertising flyer that got its issuer in trouble for imitating the style of banknotes. -Editor

  Bank of England Christmas scene

Even though this year has felt longer to me than any other year in living memory, somehow Christmas is only one week away. Yet again, all of my best efforts of getting organised have failed and I am panic buying anything that can be delivered the next day.

You can only imagine the sheer relief I felt when I discovered this advertisement in our collection: 'Presents that can be purchased with one or more £5 notes.' Exactly what I am looking for, consider my friends and family sorted!

Read more here


Finally, this Christmas week submission from David Pickup discusses Nativity scenes on coins and a fun way to assemble one's own Nativity scene using individual coins. Thank you! Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, everyone. -Editor

  Clement VII, Quarter-Ducato Nativity Scene

Lot 239 Auction: 13th - 15th September 2017 Coins and Historical Medals from the Collection formed by the late Revd. Charles Campbell. Sold for £6,000 Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000. Papal States, Clement VII, Quarter-Ducato, Holy Year issue [1525], nativity scene, rev. Pope opening the Holy Door, 9.70g/12h Illustration kind permission of © Dix Noonan Webb.

Read more here

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