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This week we open with a numismatic literature mystery, deluxe editions, four new books, a review, two obituaries, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and more.
Other topics this week include middle date large cents, Treasure coins, Oman banknotes, married women working at the Mint, Bruce Smith, Chester Martin, Bruce Smith, Don Everhart, Bruce Smith, Felix Schlag, auction previews, cowrie shell money, numismatic fundraising for Ukraine, and the Money Illusion.
To learn more about Martin Nathaniel Daycius, the Dutch East India Company, West African Manilla Currency, the Brewey Mint, coin collecting boards, Cory and Ali Frampton, the Winchester Mint, front-facing portraits, U.S. Navy Bills of Exchange, a hippocampus, a 1792 Half Disme, and the Ukraine solidarity medal, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
Numismatic Bibliomania Society Vice President Len Augsburger passed along this provocative report by a new NBS member, Sam E. Coudin of Montreal. -Editor
Numismatics Meets Modern Forensics
One of the most fabled bits of NBS history surrounds the March 1992 offering of a treasure trove of literature presented by the seller Martin Nathaniel Daycius Galleries (aka M. N. Daycius, a malaprop for
mendacious), supposedly of Fort Worth, TX. Ken Lowe reported on the event in the July 1992 edition of Out on a Limb and noted that more than a few NBSers were taken in by the April Fools ruse, a sale said to contain
many old catalogues on beautiful leathers,
lots of old records, and invoices,
large pile of old coin sales, a few going back to the 1820s, and so on. The seller's address was 1204 Magnolia, which, upon further investigation, turned out to be the old B. Max Mehl building.
As announced in an email to customers this week, Kolbe & Fanning are offering at fixed prices both regular and deluxe editions of the excellent books written by the late Sydney F. Martin. -Editor
David Kahn submitted this overview of the new book on Middle Date cents by Robert Powers. Thanks! -Editor
Robert Powers, a very accomplished, young author is back, with a brand new publication. His Middle Date Large Cent Variety Identification Guide is the follow-on from his first volume, dealing with Early Date LC's, 1794-1814. His new Middle Date guide, a 158 page, full color, soft cover, 8.5x11" up to date attribution guide for all of the Newcomb varieties of the Middle Dates, was just published and arrived here last week.
Powers has been collecting coins for over 30 years, and has had a strong interest in Bust, Seated, and Early American Copper for almost as long. He has recognized the need for updated attribution guides in those series, and has set out to publish a series of easy to understand guides with the highest quality photos available. Currently available are two new publications on Early Date Large Cents as well as Middle Date Large Cents. Robert has future plans for a comprehensive Half Cent guide, as well as a new guide covering Overton varieties of Bust Halves.
Peter Jones has just published a new book on shipwreck coins entitled TREASURE! Congratulations! -Editor
TREASURE! describes the author's personal journey with shipwreck treasure coins.The book is profusely illustrated with color photos, and includes full page pictures of a collection of 88 coins and medals related to shipwrecks.
Intended for treasure and coin collectors, history buffs, nautical enthusiasts and divers, Peter Jones' book TREASURE! puts the fascinating subject of treasure coins into historical perspective. It is a companion book to the First Coins of the Americas, which Bob Hoge wrote about in The E-Sylum. Dan Sedwick wrote the foreword to both books.
From Muscat Daily comes this article about a new book on the banknotes of Oman. -Editor
Abdulaziz al Kharusi, a young flight engineer, has let his creative pursuit of currencies take flight with an ambitious attempt to launch a chronicle of Omani banknotes.
The hardbound book – Oman Banknotes (1970 – 2021), published with exclusive images of banknotes and cultural symbols, accompanied by relevant text in Arabic and English, provides interesting insights into the design and relevance of various bank notes that had been floated during the past five decades. The book, to be launched on March 17, also serves as a guide into the history and evolution of the Omani currency in a simple, yet effective, manner.
A new book examines graphic satire and paper money in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. -Editor
August 2022 • ISBN 9781644532690 • $120.00
August 2022 • ISBN 9781644532683 • $34.95
* E-Book Available
Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture
The latest issue of the Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN) has been published. Editor Chris McDowell shared this summary. Thanks. -Editor
This is the December 2021 issue of the Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN). The issue was delayed because of supply chain problems, which have been addressed and will not reoccur. I received my copy this past week, and subscribers should be getting them any day now if they have not already been delivered.
The cover features the Continental dollar along with an image of Eric Newman because this issue starts with an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Newman on the Continental dollar. Even after all these years, Newman still has something to contribute to the topic.
This issue also contains a medley of articles on different topics of interest to those who collect and research items associated with this nation's founding. In fact, it may be our most diverse issue yet, containing articles on a mysterious theft of almost all the money in the New Jersey Treasury to the recovery of West African Manilla Currency from the muck of Philadelphia's harbor during the construction of I-95, which currency was used to buy and sell enslaved people along Africa's Gold Coast.
Dennis Tucker published a nice article on Coin Update about Dave Lange's book on Coin Collecting Boards. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article with more illustrations online. -Editor
David W. Lange is the director of research for Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC), and well known in the hobby community for his writing
George Cuhaj submitted this obituary of U.S. Mint sculptor/engraver Chester Martin. George provided all the photos and took the one of Chester at his work table with plaster busts in the background. Thanks! -Editor
Chester Y. Martin (November 2, 1934 – March 16, 2022)
If one spent any time with Chester Martin you learned many things. First was that he was a life-long resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee and graduate of Kirkman Technical High School and the University of Chattanooga. He loved the history of his city and could relate stories of particular events with great enthusiasm. A visitor would often be taken to Lookout Mountain or Chickamauga battlefields and informed of the battlefield plan, the state of the art aquarium, art museum, Medal of Honor Museum, TVA facilities or a game of the double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.
A special treat for me was a visit to the Old train station (now hotel) a ride on the incline plane railroad up to Lookout Mountain, a tour of
Rock City and a visit to the Chattanooga National Cemetery where the Andrew's Raiders monument is a highlight (The early railroads of the area, highlighted by the raid on the
General would be an oft-visited art theme of his).
Andy Singer passed along this Washington Post death notice for dealer David Gotkin. Thanks. -Editor
David Gotkin, 77, of Fairfax Virginia, passed away peacefully on March 15, 2022. He was born in Washington, DC on May 21, 1944, to Eleanor and Raymond Gotkin. He is survived by his sons Benjamin and Sean; his ex-wife Christine; and his grandchildren Ryan, Adam, Fionn and Cassidy.David served in the US Army stateside during the Vietnam war in the late 1960's.
Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following update on the topic of women working at the U.S. Mint. -Editor
More on Women in the Mint
Following up on Jerome Nashorn's insightful comments in the March 20 issue, the Journal of the Franklin Institute for 1855 reported:
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 another one from the 2021 USMEX Coin Convention, featuring an interview with collectors Cory and Ali Frampton. -Editor
Father and Daughter Team Enjoy Mexican Numismatics
David Lisot, Interviewer, CoinTelevision.com. October 21-23, 2021.
What a joy when one of your children shares an interest with you! Imagine how delighted the Executive Director of the United States Mexican Numismatic Association is that his daughter has an intrigue with the numismatics of Mexico. Learn the story of how this family developed their fascination of coins and paper money and see examples of actual pieces of history.
An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:
More on Denman Grammar School Medals
Michael Wehner writes:
Thanks, everyone. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON WOMEN AND THE U.S. MINT (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n12a09.html)
Other topics this week include M C Lilley's Unmarked Tokens, and The Winchester Mint. -Editor
Wayne Pearson submitted these thoughts on potential new coin designs while discussing the merits of front-facing portraits and profile views. -Editor
Currently, we have a Platinum bullion coin, a dollar coin, and a five cent coin, all three in a front view.
The bullion coin, with the Statue of Liberty design, in a front view looks really nice.
Starting in 1997, it has now reached 25 years, time for a new eagle reverse design. Hopefully, it will be a better eagle design than the ones being used on the gold and silver bullion coins.
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Immersion Finish. A medallic patina applied by placing the item completely submerged in a liquid bath. Immersion time is critical, often the longer the item is left in the liquid the deeper or darker will be the color. Immersion finishes are the most common of all patina finishes.
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on multiple numismatists named Bruce Smith. Thanks. It's taken a lot of work to put this together - can anyone help fill in the gaps? Thanks. -Editor
A project this week was to try to sort out various numismatists named Bruce Smith. I found nine or ten and suspect there may be more.
I will mention one area of confusion. Which Bruce Smith has compiled a book on Missouri Trade Tokens? I thought it was Bruce W. Smith who joined the ANA as member R-78328 in 1974. Then I discovered it was Bruce W. Smith who joined the ANA as member 1212253 in 2004. Perhaps his membership lapsed and he rejoined with a new number.
With permission, we've been republishing excerpts of former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart series published by CoinWeek beginning in April 2018. Here's the final segment. What great experiences! Thanks for sharing these with the hobby. -Editor
Barack Obama (2009-2017)
During almost the entire Obama Administration, the engravers did not hear any news about a potential Presidential Medal. It is a tradition that goes all the way back to George Washington; would this be a gap in the succession of Presidential Medals?
Here is the announcement for the March 30-31, 2022 sale by Archives International Auctions. Great material! -Editor
ARCHIVES INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONS OFFERS HISTORIC CHINESE & WORLD BANKNOTE & SCRIPOPHILY AUCTION OVER 2 DAYS ON MARCH 30 & 31, 2022.
The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions at their offices in River Edge, N.J.
The March 30th and 31st, 2022 auction by Archives International Auctions will consist of over 1,320 lots of rare and desirable U.S., Chinese & World Banknotes, Scripophily, U.S. Colonial Fiscal Documents, Historic Financial Ephemera, and Security Printing Ephemera over 2 days. The first day will include 673 lots offered in a Live Gallery, Live Internet and Absentee auction with a second day, on March 31st offering 654 lots in a timed auction. The Day 1 Auction is highlighted by 95 lots of rare and desirable Chinese banknotes, a majority of the notes are from old-time collections and estates that are being offered for the first time.
We are privileged to offer another exciting and desirable group of rare banknotes, ephemera and scripophily, including 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 the upcoming auction are rare and desirable numismatic items that will enhance the collections of every level of collector and dealer.
The Roma Numismatics Auction XXIV sale closes Monday March 28th. Here are some highlights from the company's recent email release. -Editor
This comprehensive collection of the coinage of Tuscany, assembled by Mike Ballerini of Chicago, covers the period from the first Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici to the abdication the last Grand Duke Leopoldo II of Lorraine in 1859. Ballerini's family originally came from Tuscany and accounts for his passion for collecting coins from this area.
Noteworthy pieces from this collection include an extremely rare gold ruspone da 3 zecchini in near mint state condition, struck under the provisional government in Tuscany in 1859, a gold 80 fiorini coin of Leopold II di Lorena in the same state of preservation and an extremely rare francescone da 10 paoli of Francesco Stefano di Lorena published in Pucci, Le Monete della Zecca di Firenze.
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
CEYLON: AE token, ND (1881), Prid-96, Lowsley-35, George Steuart & Co. Wekande Mills coffee token, featuring two women at work; one filling a sack inscribed GS&C, a superb quality example! PCGS graded MS65 RB. This token were issued in 1881 for the firm of George Steuart & Co. merchants, bankers, estate and commission agents, which was started in 1835. This type token was designed by the manager, Mr Charles Hendry and circulated at the value of 19 cents at the time. This was probably the last Coffee token issued and the only token recorded that bear inscriptions in native scripts, although neither are correct, in Sinhala and Tamil.
CEYLON: AE token, ND (1881), PCGS MS65 RB This one is from the Stephen Album Internet Auction 15, closing April 11. -Editor
Other topics this week include the Panama-Pacific $2.50 Gold, and the Paul Revere Sesquicentennial Medal. -Editor
Ted Puls shared a copy of the 13 page summary of the talk he gave to the International Primitive Money Society (IPMS) at the ANA show in Colorado Springs this month. Here's an excerpt. For an electronic copy of the complete paper, contact Ted at email@example.com . -Editor
The oldest money is the humble cowrie. In China, archeologic finds suggest their use as a durable form of storing value. Cowrie experts report that the earliest use of cowrie for money was ca. 2000 B.C. These small shells sometimes are stored in rare and beautiful bronze vessels made for this special use. This practice suggests the high value placed on these shells.(1) The earliest inscription discussing monetary use dates from the time of transition from the Shang Dynasty into the Zhou dynasty ca. 1100 B.C. (2) Bronze vessels of this era often had inscriptions to honor ancestors and report the faithfulness of the person ordering the vessel to the ancestor. One added how much he paid for the vessel in the honorific. The value paid was 120 strings of cowries for the vessel. The
string at this time was apparently 10 shells on one string. If this accounting is accurate, it suggests that a pretty high value was placed on these shells.
Bob Van Ryzin published a great amateur Indiana Jones story in
Numismatic News, including excerpts from an earlier article,
To Watch a Fortune Disappear, by John E. M. Moore in the May 1963 issue of Coins. You can probably guess where this is headed, but be sure to read the complete article online for the full context.
A genuine silver tetradrachm of Alexander III the Great. (Images courtesy Heritage Auctions.)
When we camped near the ruins of the old city of Taxila in Northern Pakistan, I went off in the rays of the evening sun to seek my fortune in the dust of the ancient marketplace. Darkness came too quickly, and I realized that I would have to recruit my companions if I was to find anything before we went on to India.
Here's an excerpt from the Stack's Bowers lot description for a 1792 Half Disme offered in their Spring 2022 Auction. Nice coin with a provenance back to the Empire Coin Co. in 1965. -Editor
Although 1,500 pieces is generally regarded as the entire mintage for this issue, research published by Pete Smith, Dr. Joel Orosz and Leonard Augsburger in their excellent reference 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage (2017) confirms a second striking period in October of 1792. The authors believe that the 1,500 coins from the July strike were made on Harper's press while the October striking utilized the Mint press. A third striking period is also discussed, the dies having been removed from the press after the second striking period to create an interruption in coinage. Exactly how much time elapsed between the second and third striking periods is unknown.
An article on the PCGS site by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez examines the 1973 Ike dollar. -Editor
The Eisenhower Dollar was released in 1971 and became the first circulating dollar coin officially issued by the United States since 1935. Some of the impetus in getting the Eisenhower Dollar rolling was to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower, a highly respected World War II general who went on to serve as the nation's president from 1953 through 1961. Eisenhower died in 1969 at the age of 78, and many in Congress felt it would be a fitting honor to place his likeness on a coin just as the nation did with President John F. Kennedy in the months after his assassination in November 1963.
Aaron Oppenheim and Paul Horner forwarded this story about a Nobel Peace Prize winner offering to auction his medal to raise funds for Ukraine war refugees. Thanks. -Editor
Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Dmitry Muratov announced on Tuesday that he will auction off his medal in order to raise money for the refugees in Ukraine.
George Cuhaj passed along a link to a Paris Mint product raising funds for Ukraine. Thanks. -Editor
In solidarity with the Ukrainian nation, which is courageously fighting to defend its freedom, Monnaie de Paris is launching a mini-medal to support the people suffering from this conflict.
For each 10€ mini-medal purchased, Monnaie de Paris will donate 8€ to the Red Cross for the Ukrainian population. This donation aims to provide humanitarian assistance to protect the life, dignity and provide assistance to victims of this armed conflict.
Stack's Bowers Paper Money Researcher & Cataloger Christopher Dahncke published this article about interesting TDLR overprints in the firm's April Valkenburg auction. I'd seen the "TDLR" description before, but had to scratch my head a bit before realizing that it stands for the Thomas De La Rue banknote printing firm. -Editor
Our April Valkenburg auction is nearly completely cataloged and soon will be posted to StacksBowers.com for viewing and bidding. We are excited to finally host a show and auction in Europe! One interesting lot that we will be offering are these TDLR-produced overprints for the planned 1991 invasion of Iraq during the Gulf War – a neat piece of history created for that conflict.
Howard Berlin passed along this article about why African countries print their paper money in Europe. Thanks. -Editor
At least 40 African countries print their money in the UK, France and Germany — decades after independence, raising questions about self-sufficiency. DW examines what prompts them to outsource their currency production.
Here's a story from Kathmandu about old banknotes turned into briquettes for use in heating. -Editor
Banknotes out of circulation in Nepal are still benefiting the citizens, now as a heating material for the past months.
Nepal Rastra Bank, the country's central bank, has been converting the old and worn-out banknotes into briquettes used for heating since August last year, instead of just burning them.
What is money? What is art? Age-old questions explored by artist Yves Klein between 1959 and 1962. -Editor
Would you pay $500,000 for a certificate for an invisible artwork? What if it was by Yves Klein?
That's the question bidders will have to ask themselves when Sotheby's auctions off a receipt granting ownership to an invisible artwork by Klein in Paris on April 6. The estimate is €300,000 to €500,000 ($331,000 to $551,000 at current exchange rates).
The late Money Artist J.S.G. Boggs had the last laugh when the world finally understood his message about the root of what makes money valuable. -Editor
The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.
What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Powell passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.
This week's Featured Web Site is about coin designer Felix Schlag.