Visit our NBS Sponsors
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 coinbooks.org
Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link
There is a membership application available on the web site Membership Application
To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Print/Digital membership is $40 to addresses in the U.S., and $60 elsewhere. A digital-only membership is available for $25. For those without web access, write to:
Charles Heck, Treasurer
For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact Chuck at this email address: email@example.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.
This week we open with numismatic library duplicate sales, three new books, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, numismatics in television and movies, and more.
Other topics this week include the Long Beach Expo, the ANA's National Money Show, Central States, Vernon Jepson, Ken Bressett, Frank Higgins, Don Everhart, auction and fixed price previews (numismatic eye candy!), the Swiss Vrneli, the Daniel Morgan Comitia Americana medal in gold, and the forger honored on a banknote.
To learn more about military tokens, coin weights, unmarried women at the Mint, Greenbacks, Abby Zechman, Jerry Buss, the room wallpapered with stamps, Dutch-Israel gold fantasy coins, the Little Tramp, the 1894-S dime, hubs and hobs, the March of Dimes commemorative, electrotypes, and Prince the bank watchdog, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
The American Numismatic Society is continuing its eBay sales of library duplicates. Here's the latest announcement. -Editor
Lots of books, auction catalogs, and fixed price lists will be coming up for sale in March and beyond as we continue to sell duplicates to benefit the ANS Library. These include classic works, like Feuardent on jetons (1904–1915) and Madai on thalers (1765–1774), as well as early catalogs from Ciani, Thieme, Naville, Scott, Ratto, Schlessinger, Ars Classica, and Hamburger. So keep an eye on our eBay store, or, better yet, register and save your searches so you are notified when items you want are listed.
The American Numismatic Association Dwight N. Manley Library will hold a sale of duplicates during the upcoming National Money Show in Colorado Springs. CO. -Editor
Paul (and Bente Withers) of Galata in Wales write:
Last week I almost published a Wall Street Journal review of a new book by Roger Lowenstein on the financing of the U.S. Civil War. I decided not to because the review of Ways and Means had nothing to say about the numismatics of the war. But in a new article this week, an excerpt from the book, Lowenstein discusses the creation of Greenbacks - "How Paper Money Saved the Union." Here's an excerpt. -Editor
Early in the Civil War, a New York congressman named Elbridge Spaulding had a terrible thought. What if the government were to print pieces of paper and call them money? Paper bills existed, of course, issued by scores of private banks. But they were only IOUs; they had no legal standing. As such, merchants and others could refuse them or mark them down.
Spaulding meant for his paper to be
legal tender—valid for all debts and obligations, like gold and silver. It would be paper that none could refuse. This would give the Lincoln government what it desperately needed even more than troops—a currency to pay for the war.
Another new book discusses the finances of America's founding fathers. There may be nothing numismatic here (review, anyone?), but it's nice to see a Virginia halfpence on the cover. -Editor
Historian Randall (Unshackling America) explores in this intriguing yet unsatisfying survey how the founding fathers' personal financial circumstances helped chart the course of the American Revolution. Delving into the business interests and economic considerations of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others, Randall notes that almost all of Connecticut's delegation to the Second Continental Congress in 1775 were land speculators, motivated in no small part by King George III's decree barring them from profiting from the fur trade. He also points out that the resistance movement in Massachusetts was bankrolled by John Hancock, whose merchant empire was threatened by English taxes, and that Benjamin Franklin, contrary to his
Poor Richard persona, became wealthy by investing the profits from his printing and publishing business in Philadelphia real estate.
The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a letter from Mint Superintendent Snowden about a rule barring married women from working there. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor
Married Women Unwelcome at the Mint
While it is well-known that the U.S. Mint employed women as adjusters from its earliest days, it seems that this practice was limited to unmarried women only. An 1880 letter from Mrs. A. C. D. Lewis to the Philadelphia Mint Superintendent A. Louden Snowden notes that Lewis is resigning her adjuster position, as
it is against the rules of the Mint for any woman to be employed there who is living with her husband. Lewis notes that she had been warned accordingly and submits a forwarding address for any wages due
up to the time of my marriage."
Link to July 9, 1880 letter from Lewis to Snowden:
Link to U.S. Mint general correspondence (National Archives record group 104, entry 1) 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 one on the recent Long Beach show. -Editor
The Coin World Podcast recently featured an interview with Abby Zechman. Check it out. -Editor
The Coin World Podcast co-hosts interview Abigail Zechman, a hobo-nickel-carving Young Numismatist recently elected to the board of FUN and discuss, among other things, a 2018 issue of Coin World.
Here are more reader notes on numismatics in film, television and on the stage. -Editor
Brad Karoleff writes:
Julia Casey writes:
David Derrick writes:
You're welcome! It's always fun to put together. Something new every day. -Editor
Other topics this week include Bookseller David Edmunds. -Editor
As noted last week, hobby legend Ken Bressett, author and Red Book Editor Emeritus will be at the ANA National Money Show in Colorado Springs, March 10–12, 2022. Here's a note from Whitman Publications on his latest book. -Editor
Kenneth Bressett will autograph his new book Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame at the American Numismatic Association's National Money Show in Colorado Springs, March 10, 2022. After that debut the 224-page hardcover volume will be available from bookstores and hobby shops and online (including at Whitman.com). Here, Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker discusses how the book came to be, its context among other numismatic publications, and how it was developed.
There are a number of eductional opportunities awaiting visitors to the ANA National Money Show in Colorado Springs, CO March 10-12, 2022. -Editor
A conference organized by Princeton's FLAME project is coming up later this month. NOTE - it is both in-person and virtual, so interested parties can attend via Zoom. -Editor
Networks in Transition: Monetary Exchange from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
March 18th, 12:30pm–5:45pm (East Pyne 010)
March 19th, 8:30am–5:00pm (East Pyne 010)
March 20th, 9:00am–1:00pm(Firestone C10H)
GreatCollections is sponsoring a display of U.S. rarities at the upcoming Central States show. Here's the announcement. -Editor
Four of the most famous United States rare coins with a combined face value of only $1.16 but insured now for $19 million will be displayed together for the first time at the Central States Numismatic Society convention in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois, April 28-30, 2022.
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Hub, Hob. A die of positive relief used for making a working die or dies. Hubs are always the opposite relief of the striking die. They are a method of reproducing or trans- ferring a three-dimensional image from one hard surface into another. As such, hubs and hubbing are a method of producing working dies in quantity for long production runs, or an insurance that a new die can be easily made should any working die break. Hubs can be the entire design of one side of a coin or medal, or it can also be a portion of the design – as a portrait or device – and as such is similar to a puncheon.
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on American Numismatic Association personality Frank C. Higgins. Thanks! -Editor
Francis Carlos Higgins, more commonly known as Frank C. Higgins, was born in Philadelphia on January 7, 1867. His parents were Paul Lajus Higgins (1842-1926) and Clarissa Enos (1840-1921). They were divorced and both remarried.
At the time of the 1880 Census, Frank was living in Germantown, Pennsylvania, with his mother and employed as an office clerk at age 13. He attended Shattuck Military Academy at Faribault in Minnesota.
Stack's Bowers has a backlog of Harvey Stack's numismatic memoir articles and will continue publishing them. In this one Harvey discusses the year 1994 and the noncirculating issues of the U.S. Mint. -Editor
The year 1994 continued the upward trend in numismatics that had begun with the recovery from the Black Monday stock market "crash" of November 1987. This recovery was helped by the fact that the precious metals markets held their value, so coins that contained gold and silver may have lost a little value, but in general were considered a "good hold." During times when the stock market was way down, coins made of precious metals were considered by many to be a store of value and a better source for investment.
In addition, collectors who had the means used this time as an opportunity to add to their collections while prices were down slightly, and so continued to be good clients both through our auctions and in our retail sales. Many important collections were created and developed during this period. Buying and selling of coins among dealers also became a good business.
With permission, we're republishing excerpts of former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart series published by CoinWeek beginning in April 2018. -Editor
In 2015 I began working on designs for the March of Dimes Commemorative Silver Dollar program. In this case, as in most commemoratives the mint produces, a percentage of the profits the mint makes on the coin would be given back to the recipient, the March of Dimes.
The obverse design that was ultimately chosen featured a well-executed double portrait of Franklin Roosevelt and Jonas Salk, who developed a vaccine to fight polio. Designed by Artistic Infusion Program artist Paul Balan and beautifully sculpted by staff engraver Mike Gaudioso.
Atlas Numismatics has updated their website with 542 new coins, medals, and tokens at fixed prices. Here's the press release. Some gorgeous pieces here. -Editor
Choice Mint State Bohemia 10 Ducats
Sovereign Rarities in London is offering a collection of early Anglo-Saxon coins are fixed prices. Here's the press release, passed along by Steve Hill. Thanks. -Editor
We at Sovereign Rarities have been very excited and privileged to receive the first part of
The Collection of an English Doctor to offer for sale through our website
www.sovr.co.uk at fixed prices.
Formed by a very discerning collector of many years standing, this English collection formed
diligently over the last few years, aims to illustrate the history of the English silver Penny, with the
criteria being to collect as many mints and moneyers as possible in the time that was allowed.
The first part covers the early Anglo-Saxon period from when the Sceattas series ends with the first
transitional piece of Beonna of East Anglia, and continues through the various Kings of the
Heptarchy, with such famous names as Offa and Alfred the Great, as well as some Archbishop issues
and more unusual reverse types and mints. The collection continues into Kings of all England with
Aethelstan, Eadmund, Eadred, Eadwig and Edward the Martyr, with part one signing off with
Aethelred II the
unready with the whole part consisting of 83 good quality coins.
It can be difficult to pick highlight pieces especially when there are so many in such a large grouping, but the rarest and some unique pieces are clearly the most interesting, a top twenty as follows in Kingdom order:
Sovereign Rarities has also teed up an auction sale featuring an ‘Eid Mar' Denarius. -Editor
Sovereign Rarities are pleased to present to the numismatic community their fifth auction - taking place on the ‘Ides of March', 15th March 2022 - consisting of 223 lots of Ancient, Historic and Modern British and World Coins and Commemorative Medals. The sale features many choice Ancient, British and world coins, and pre-bidding is open now at www.sovr.co.uk until the live auction on the day.
The sale begins with lots 1-20, Ancient coins, with a superb run of graded gold and silver Greek and Roman material. Lot 1 is perhaps the highlight of this section, a gold stater of Carthage dating from 350-320 BC, graded by NGC as 5/5, 4/5. However, the prize for the most intriguing coin goes to lot 14, a necklace of 13 Roman Denarii including the infamous ‘Eid Mar' Denarius struck by Brutus on the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Ironically, Brutus's coin has been stabbed three times!
Here are some highlights of the Künker special auction 362: "The Salton Collection - European Gold Coins and Medals". Some amazing coins here. -Editor
Lot number 1125
Republic of Genua.
(Dogi Biennali), 1528-1797.
5 Doppie 1651.
Very rare. Almost extremely fine.
Estimate: 20.000,00 euros
This Dix Noonan Webb press release recounts the discovery of a rare gold shilling. -Editor
In an email to clients this week, Allan Davisson discussed some interesting electrotypes in the upcoming Davissons Auction 41. -Editor
High quality replicas of historic coins occupy an interesting niche in the hobby. There's something egalitarian about anyone being able to buy a convincing approximation of a dekadrachm, for instance, but as replicas become more convincing their potential for deception (whether originally intended for such or not) begins to tarnish the experience. That is, unless, the examples were simultaneously made to the highest specifications and in a manner that leaves them impossible to confuse with the real thing.
Dr. Jonas Emmanuel Flueck of Lugdunum GmbH in Switzerland has published a great web article on the famous Swiss national gold coin, the Vreneli. It is the product of months of work inclusing research at the Swiss Federal Archives to find detailed information about the history and background of the coin. -Editor
Switzerland's best-known and at the same time least-known coin
It is hardly an exaggeration to say that every Swiss person, young or old, knows what a Vreneli is and that almost every Swiss household has at least one copy of this gold coin. There are many unexpected stories and special features in this coin that are unknown to the layman and make this coin particularly exciting.
Worldwide, the Vreneli is one of the few old coins that has remained popular in a modern society. Its endearing nickname ‘Vreneli', which is still used today as it was 100 years ago, further underlines this unique relationship. Perhaps this special relationship in the unconscious can also be explained by the fact that the Vreneli was presented to good children in Switzerland for generations with benevolence as a godfathers' gift for baptism and as a Christmas or birthday present. For the relationship is quite different in countries where gold coins had to serve as ‘nest eggs' in times of war and crisis. In other words, in times that we would rather leave behind and forget today.
Last week we got a hint of an amazing discovery being offered by Stack's Bowers in their Spring 2022 sales - the only gold Comitia Americana medal in private hands. Cataloguer John Kralvevich Jr. kindly provided a copy of his lengthy lot description. With permission, here is an excerpt. -Editor
When a national treasure from the American Revolution was stolen in a brazen bank heist in 1818, a dutiful heir involved former President Thomas Jefferson and lobbied for an Act of Congress to replace it. This is the medal his decades of persistence achieved, the only example struck, the only gold Comitia Americana medal in private hands, and the only Congressional Gold Medal ever authorized by two separate Acts of Congress. Struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1839 from dies fashioned in Paris, it is utterly unique. It is offered, here, at auction for the very first time, a majestic testament in gold to the debt owed this nation's first military heroes and the efforts to honor their legacy.
Perhaps Daniel Morgan's medal would never have been stolen had Pittsburgh's Farmers and Mechanics Bank had a top-notch watchdog on duty. This blog article by Loren Gatch explores the legacy of Prince, the watchdog mascot of the Farmers Deposit National Bank of Pittsburgh. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VII, Number 36, February 22, 2022). -Editor
ANIMALS APPEAR in a wide variety of situations and motifs on fiscal paper. Livestock and other ruminants typically serve to illustrate agricultural bounty or evoke pastoral settings. Some animals symbolize a place itself, like the otter on checks from the Bank of Otterville, Missouri. Robert Eberhard Launitz's statue of Leatherstocking, which appeared for decades on checks of the First National Bank of Cooperstown, N.Y., depicts Natty Bumppo and Hector, the hunting dog gazing up in abject adoration at his master. Otherwise, canines are often used to portray some behavior or attitude that we value in banking and finance: loyalty, protectiveness, and vigilance. Variations on the vignette of a dog, perched upon a strongbox and guarding its key, are perhaps the most characteristic expressions of these traits.
Here's an interesting story from Australia about a forger whose face ended up on a banknote. -Editor
I didn't realize I was carrying the face of a criminal in my wallet for many years. And so were most people in Australia. The face was that of Francis Greenway, a convict sent to Australia for financial forgery who became one of the most highly respected architects in Australian history—so respected that his face was chosen to appear on the $10 note. He is the only convicted forger in the world depicted on a banknote.
Greenway was born in the United Kingdom in 1777.
He came from a family of architects, builders, and stonemasons and followed in their footsteps, training under the well-respected British architect John Nash.
Like my old friend J.S.G. Boggs, a man in China spent hand-painted, home-made banknotes. -Editor
In 2020, a short video on Douyin, China's version of TikTok, of an elderly man clad in rags and struggling to communicate his desire to buy noodles brought the man, Zheng Zulong, and the noodle store owner Guose Li, instant fame.
Misfortune, on the other hand, always seems to find its way to the already downtrodden. Zheng died in a drunk driving accident in January of this year, breaking the hearts of many people online.
May he no longer live a wandering life in heaven, a person commented.