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This week we open with a new issue of our print journal, an upcoming numismatic literature sale, a new book, and update from the Newman Numismatic Portal, a coin design proposal, and more.
Other topics this week include the Spingarn medal, Laura Gardin Fraser's eagle reverse design, M.C. Lilley & Co., coins from the SS Central America, horn silver, Carl Subak, Martin Purdy, Don Everhart, Paul Wittlin, Syd Martin, coins of Syracuse, Fenian Brotherhood bonds, auction previews and fraternal regalia in America.
To learn more about American Silver Eagles, the Double Deuce Proofs, Woodward's "D" sale, coins on television, the rare "Winged Roosevelt" pattern, Masonic pennies, the First American Coin Collector medal, the Reed Hawn Collection, the Rebel Coin Shop, Jacques Wiener architectural medals, Hiawatha and Minnehaha, foreign coins struck by the U.S. Mint, and Julian Leidman's pants, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
The Spring 2022 issue of The Asylum is on the way from our sponsor, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. Maria Fanning edits our print journal, and she submitted this report and President Tom Harrison's message. -Editor
In The Asylum's Spring 2022 issue, we have a contribution from new author Douglas Ward, the next installment of Joel Orosz's series on Charles Ira Bushnell's Flandin's Catalogue of Coins and Medals, an article from our president Tom Harrison, among others, as well as BiblioFiles on NBS members Dr. John Francis Rainey and Austin Goodwin Andrews.
Sign up or renew membership in the NBS to receive future issues of The Asylum. Digital memberships are available for only $25, and print and digital memberships for $40 (within the US) at coinbooks.org. We also offer Youth Memberships for only $10.
Kolbe & Fanning will be offering the numismatic library of former American Numismatic Society President and Numismatic Bibliomania Society Governor Syd Martin. Here's the announcement. -Editor
Sydney F. Martin's Outstanding Numismatic Library Offered for Sale
Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers are announcing the sale of the outstanding numismatic library formed by Sydney F. Martin for sale at auction on Saturday, April 30, 2022. "The Martin Library is among the finest formed on the subject of early American numismatics, and was painstakingly assembled over the course of more than thirty years. We are honored to have been asked to catalogue the library, having worked closely with Syd as he built it," says bookseller and cataloguer David Fanning. While the focus of the library is on the early coinage of the Americas, Syd's interests were such that it by necessity includes many works on British, Irish, French and Spanish numismatics as well.
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this press release about the new edition of John Mercanti's American Silver Eagles. Thanks. -Editor
The fourth edition of John M. Mercanti's American Silver Eagles: A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program releases in March 2022 and will make its coin-show debut at the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, March 31. The updated and expanded 224-page hardcover volume will be available from bookstores and hobby shops and online, and in the meantime is available for preorder (including at Whitman.com). Here, Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, discusses his father and the American Eagle bullion coin programs that started during his presidency.
In her email Newsletter #186 this week, Shanna Schmidt wrote about her late friend and mentor Carl Subak. With permission, we're republishing it here. Thanks. Sorry to hear the news. -Editor
It has been a difficult few weeks for me personally as I lost someone who had a tremendous impact in my life and career. On the morning of February 6th I received a phone call that my beloved friend and coin conspirator Carl Subak had died at the ripe old age of 103.
Carl was nothing short of a miracle. He was born into a well-to-do Viennese family but as a teenager when WWII broke out he endured tremendous adversity as a Jew. He decided to leave his home country of Austria when he went into a park and saw a sign that said
not for Jews on a bench. He was only a young man. His parents perished at the hands of the Nazi's and only through the eventual help of the Unitarian Service Committee was he able to find refuge in the United States.
Carl was interested in geography and was a lifelong lover of mountain climbing. He also made his career early on in stamps selling through the mail order company of Sears Roebuck. This led him to eventually embrace his childhood passion of coins into a business. Carl was lucky enough to attend the famous Franz Trau sale (a collaboration between Gilhofer & Ranschburg Vienna and Adolph Hess A.G. of Luzern) in May of 1935 (Carl was only 16 years old at the time) and purchased his first ancient coin in auction, a Gordian III denarius.
Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following research note on the rare Spingarn medal. -Editor
Maya Angelou and the Spingarn Medal
The American Women Quarter Program, a successor to the 50 State Quarters (1999-2008) and America the Beautiful (2010-2021) coin programs, is a four-year series (2022-2025) celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of important American women. The five honorees for 2022 are Maya Angelou, Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren, and Anna May Wong. Release of the Angelou quarter was forecast for February 7, 2022; however, this product is currently backordered by the U.S. Mint (images courtesy of U.S. Mint).
Wayne Pearson submitted these thoughts on the Laura Gardin Fraser eagle design for the reverse of the Washington quarter. -Editor
In 1932, there was a contest to pick a design for a George Washington commemorative quarter.
Despite the design by Laura Gardin Fraser winning the contest, twice, her work was never used.
However, in 1999, her design was finally used-but not on a circulating quarter, rather on a non circulating $5 gold coin.
Douglas Ward submitted this article based on a presentation he gave to the Pacific Coast Numismatic Society on January 26th, 2022. Thanks! -Editor
The recent E-Sylum discussion regarding provenance hit home. I recently gave a presentation to the PCNS on this subject that I think should be more widely acknowledged. My story pertains to the 1922 Matte Proof Peace dollars that I refer to as The Double Deuce Proofs. In January of 2004 I viewed what is known as the Wayte Raymond Specimen prior to the Goldberg auction. Its ties to the late master numismatist from Connecticut are dubious. In fact, how any of these Peace dollar rarities were liberated from the US Mint is still a mystery. Six weeks later a dealer offered me the same coin – it was unrecognizable:
This batch includes some notes I was unable to include last week. -Editor
Middletown, RI Dollar Prize Medal Attribution
Thanks! Great sleuthing! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: FEBRUARY 13, 2022 : Morgan Dollar Prize Medal (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n07a26.html)
Other topics this week include an engraved Draped Bust Dollar, Daniel W. Valentine, and TV Episodes with Coins in the Plot. -Editor
Carol Bastable writes:
Thanks. Here's one sample lot Carol pointed out. -Editor
Those coins commemorating the 1921 Morgan and Peace dollars under the 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act present a quandary for cataloguers - where exactly do they fit in the American numismatic body of knowledge? Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publications tackled the topic in a recent Coin Update article. With permission, we're republishing it here. -Editor
If you've read Kenneth Bressett's history of the Guide Book of United States Coins—the recently published A Penny Saved: R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book—you know that the Red Book's editors have always taken its content very seriously. The goal is to catalog hundreds of different coin types, spanning centuries of American history, in a logical, easy-to-digest way. The results have to be accessible for the complete newcomer to the hobby, and also valuable for the more advanced collector.
This press release from NGC describes the careful conservation and cataloging of the last group of coins disbursed from the salvage expeditions to the legendary wreck of the SS Central America. Great coins! -Editor
On September 3, 1857, the SS Central America began a voyage from Panama to New York carrying very important cargo: thousands of freshly minted gold coins from California, desperately needed by New York banks that were facing an economic crisis. Six days later, the ship found itself in the grips of a Category 2 hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas. After three days of struggling with high winds and waves, the ship's crew lost its battle with the storm and the Central America sank, resulting in the loss of more than 400 lives and more than 9 tons of gold.
Here's a short but interesting entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Horn Silver. A type of tarnish, silver chloride, formed on the surface of silver exposed to hydrogen chloride. Characteristically horn silver is a white to pale-yellow or gray color and in natural state is cerargyrite (AgCl). Removing a tough tarnish like horn silver is difficult, as no chemicals can dissolve it. Extensive horn silver needs to be removed physically, the best is by reverse electroplating. Such reverse plating, however, removes not only the tarnish but also the top layer of silver. Physical removal can also be accomplished by sandblast or abrasive blast, or by light pickling with sulfuric acid. Needless to say, it should only be done by a professional.
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on an interesting medal, the first of a proposed series. Thanks! -Editor
The topic last week was the first coin collectors. This week the topic shifts to the first American coin collector. Who was the first American coin collector? I don't know, but I am familiar with The First American Coin Collector medal.
An item was posted in The Elder Magazine for October 1910, Vol. 1, No. 10. It announced the formation of The American National Token Club.
Stack's Bowers has a backlog of Harvey Stack's numismatic memoir articles and will continue publishing them. In this one he continues his discussion of auction sales of 1993. -Editor
In September 1993 we held a public auction in conjunction with The Greater New York Fall Numismatic Convention, which was added to the schedule because the annual May convention of this group was so popular. Our sale featured 1,300 lots that included United States gold, silver and copper coins, as well as the extensive Harold M. Korin Collection of Fractional Currency, the John J. Ford Collection of Charleston, SC Slave Hire Badges, and the Rhode Island Collection of Colonial Coins. Besides offering items of interest to both beginning and advanced collectors, the specialized collections offered many things that were almost never seen.
E-Sylum contributor Martin Purdy of New Zealand was interviewed by a reporter visiting a local club event. Here's an excerpt. -Editor
A lifelong journey of explorations is how many stamp and coin collectors describe their passion. It often began early in life with a small bag of coins collected or inherited from relatives combined with a healthy dose of curiosity and speculation about the origin and journey of these simple treasures.
Many find they are able to combine coin collecting with other interests such as history or languages. A number of lower North Island collectors of coins, medals, banknotes and tokens gathered in Levin recently to natter about their finds.
With permission, we're republishing excerpts of former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart series published by CoinWeek beginning in April 2018. -Editor
On January 4, 2004, after a 5 am wake up call, a hurried breakfast, a 20-minute drive to the train station, an hour on the R5 from Exton, and a 10-minute walk through the darkness and rain in Philadelphia, I rounded the corner of Arch St. and 5th and saw the United States Mint for the first time. It was well-illuminated and looked to be a welcome respite from the winter gloom around it.
But I can't say I was thrilled to be starting this new phase of my career. I am a freelance artist at heart, and the thought of an everyday nine-to-five job really didn't sit too well with me. How was I going to maintain my daily regimen of cycling? Was I going to be permitted to be creative?
This past Tuesday was the night of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova. Our host was Steve Bishop. He'd made a dinner reservation for us at the Public House Kitchen & Brewery on Battle Street in downtown Manassas. It was a cold night and I found street parking a couple blocks away. Most of our group of eight were already seated including Steve, Mike Packard, Jon Radel, Chris Neuzil. I took an open seat at one end next to Daryl Haynor and across from Tom Kays. A few minutes later Julian Leidman completed our number.
The place was small but packed with diners. Julian and I were the last to place orders. As usual some coins started circulating around the table. I didn't have much to show this time, just an item I'd just added to my ephemera collection - a catalog of items (including numismatic lots) sold to raise funds at the 1864 Great Western Sanitary Fair in Cincinnati. This will go in my Civil War numismatica binder.
From a recent Kolbe & Fanning fixed price offering, the catalog is
Sorry for the delay in publishing this note from reader Dave Fegley regarding a medal briefly discussed earlier. I ran out of time to handle it last week. -Editor
Some thoughts on the 1792 dated oval GW medal sold by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries....
At first glance the medal does not necessarily match the script layout of known authentic medals. Nor does the suspension device. It may be possible to identify the punchmark on the attached suspension ring to the maker. The general subject matter is consistent with other GW medals.
From a technical standpoint the medal itself seems to be constructed in the proper four piece manner, being two thin silver/copper alloy sheets that has been silver plated and held together with a separate rim. I will consider at this point the attachment for the chain has been added at a later date over an existing ring or a repair/replacement of a broken suspension ring. The size of the medal is within the realm of known authentic medals.
The article from the Künker auction house discusses three of the last coins issued by independent Syracuse. -Editor
The Last Coins of Independent Syracuse
The second part of Künker's Spring Auction Sales is dedicated to antiquity: we present three specimens that are among the last coins that were issued by independent Syracuse while the Romans besieged the city and Archimedes built his defense machines.
Here is the announcement for the February 23, 2022 sale by Archives International Auctions. Bibliophiles - check out lot 466. -Editor
ARCHIVES INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONS OFFERS HISTORIC U.S., CHINESE & WORLD BANKNOTE COLLECTION ON FEBRUARY 23, 2022.
The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions at their offices in River Edge, N.J.
The February 23, 2022, Auction by Archives International Auctions consists of 732 lots of rare and desirable U.S., Chinese & World Banknotes, Scripophily, Coins, Historic Financial Ephemera, and Security Printing Ephemera. The auction is highlighted by 138 lots of rare and desirable Chinese banknotes. Also included are over 300 Worldwide banknotes; Over 30 lot of historic U.S. Colonial banknotes and Colonial Connecticut fiscal documents; and over 210 lot of U.S. and World scripophily.
We are privileged to offer numerous rare and desirable banknotes, historic ephemera and bonds and shares that are rarely seen at auction and include many examples we have never had the pleasure to offer previously, as well as many of the highest graded notes for those varieties, stated Dr. Robert Schwartz, President of Archives International Auctions.
Included in our 74th auction are hundreds of items that will appeal to every level of collector and dealer.
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
Johann Friedrich, 1665-1679.
10 Dukaten 1670, Clausthal. 33.68 g. IOHAN FRIEDRICH Ü D Ù G Ù DUX BRUNS Ù ET LU Ù Geharnischtes Brustbild l. mit umgelegtem Mantel//Ü EX DVRIS GLORIA Ü ANNO Ü 1670 Ü Gekröntes, zwölffeldiges Wappen mit Verzierungen. Welter -, zu Nachtrag 1701 A; Fb. 565 ("Very rare").
From the Künker spring sale 361. -Editor
To read the complete lot description, see:
Johann Friedrich, 1665-1679. 10 Dukaten 1670, Clausthal. 33.68 g. We (https://www.kuenker.de/en/auktionen/stueck/313675)
Other topics this week include the Washington ‘North Wales' Evasion Halfpenny, the Phillips Cheap Store New Orleans Counterstamp, Wiener Architectural Medals and Nevada and California Bank Histories. -Editor
In his latest CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series article, Mike Markowitz discusses coins of the short-lived emperors. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor
ROMAN EMPERORS RARELY wore an actual crown. They are more commonly shown wearing a laurel wreath or a diadem, the jeweled headband that was an ancient emblem of royalty. But the mortality statistics were enough to make any imperial head uneasy. Over 70 percent died by assassination, suicide, or in combat. Between 27 BCE and 395 CE, the average length of an emperor's reign was just 5.6 years. But many lasted for a much shorter span of time (Saleh, 1-7).
Yet Roman mints were so efficient that even in a reign of a few weeks, it was possible to produce an extensive coinage, often with lifelike portraits of the ruler and his family. Every new ruler knew it was important to show the people his face on their money. Some of these coins are quite rare, but many are surprisingly common and affordable today.
This week I came across this 2016 Irish America Magazine article about the Irish Republic bonds issued by the Fenian Brotherhood and printed by the Continental Bank Note Company in New York. -Editor
With the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising upon us, a curious piece of memorabilia printed 150 years ago reminds us that the Rising was not the only bid for Irish independence. In the possession of Patrick Doherty, a director in the state comptroller's office for New York, is a Fenian bond dating from 1866. Doherty is an avid collector of Irish artifacts and a well informed interpreter of their meaning and past. This bond, which he recently showed to Irish America, is only one of several such bonds in Doherty's collection. It tells the story of the Fenian progenitors of 1916.
The New England Numismatic Association's official publication is NENA News. John Ferreri offered to share some articles with E-Sylum readers. This one written by John himself shows how he was able to use a numismatic book illustration to identify characters in a vignette on an obsolete banknote. Great work! -Editor
While looking for others things this week I came across a Collectors Universe forum thread from last year about coin art. Here are some that caught my eye. -Editor
Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor
A CoinWeek article by Tyler Rossi discusses foreign coins struck by the U.S. Mint. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. Some interesting numismatic tidbits here. -Editor
The first-ever foreign coin struck by the U.S. was a Liberia One Cent coin in 1833. This series was intended to help fund the Back to Africa movement, which many prominent white Americans supported because they believed that emancipated slaves could never live alongside their freeborn counterparts. This coin was not included in the U.S. Mint's annual reports, probably because many people considered did not consider it a true coin but instead more of a hard times token or colonial script.
n all, the Mint produced 11,193,348,346 foreign coins at six facilities–Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, West Point, and Manila–for 43 different nations: Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belgian Congo, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, French Indo-China, Greenland, Guatemala, Kingdom of Hawaii, Honduras, Israel, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands East Indies, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Surinam, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, and Venezuela.
While all designs, specifications, and compositions were dictated by the contracting government, the United States would usually engrave the dies. However, there are some cases where the customer would give the dies to the Mint or contract with a third-party company to manufacture the dies. For example, in 1897 the Dominican Republic contracted the Paris Mint to engrave its 1 Peso dies, which were subsequently sent to the Philadelphia Mint for use. These coins actually bear the Paris Mint Mark
Like the Costa Rican Colones, the design of all the denominations struck at the Philadelphia Mint for the Dominican Republic are the same. The obverse designs depict a left-facing bust of Lady Liberty wearing a stylized native headdress; the headband is engraved with the legend LIBERTAD. The denomination is placed against the denticled border to the left and the date to the right of the bust. The reverse is the Dominican Republic's shielded Coat of Arms. The country's name REPUBLICA DOMINICANA encircles the rim at the top of the coin, and the weight 5 GRAMOS at the bottom. The A mintmark for the Paris Mint is above the
A in GRAMOS
To read the complete article, see:
Foreign Coins Struck by the United States Mint in the 19th Century (https://coinweek.com/world-coins/foreign-coins-struck-by-the-united-states-mint-in-the-19th-century/)
Other topics this week include an Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, detecting counterfeit banknotes, and the Stamp Act. -Editor
This week's Featured Web Site is rNumis.