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This week we open with three new books and a book review, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, machine engraving, and more.
Other topics this week include Gunmoney, Philippine emergency notes, food stamp change, changing tastes in art, fixed price and upcoming auction highlights, the money cowrie, foreign coins struck by the U.S. Mint in WWII, monarch portraits and pronouns, medal heroes, and two dollar bills.
To learn more about Joseph Eckhel, James Earle Fraser, Laura Gardin Fraser, Emily Damstra, Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coinage, the Denver Coin Expo, the Startled Queen, mechanical die engravers, the Alexander Distater,
tournament horseman tetradrachm, the
Red Baron medal, the U.S. Mint's six-sided coin, the reluctant philatelist,
and the Clemson Tiger Twos, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
Here's the announcement of the new edition of Phil Timmins' book on Irish Gunmoney. Thanks! -Editor
It is inevitable that any book concerned with the complex Gunmoney series of coins should require revision periodically. I thought Edition II would be a near complete and definitive listing for the subject. How wrong was I. Edition III incorporates many updates to each month, revised pricing and new chapters not included in the first or second editions of the book. This includes new chapters on the manufacturing practices of the Mints and on Gunmoney coin metallurgy which has increased the page count by 38 pages from Edition II. I appreciate that some may consider the book too detailed and others not detailed enough. I hope a balance has been reached for both beginners, collectors and dealers.
Hadrien J. Rambach notified me of this new book on the life and work of the 'father of numismatics', Austrian classical scholar Joseph Eckhel. -Editor
Joseph Eckhel (1737-1789) and the Transformation of Ancient Numismatics
Bernhard Woytek, Daniela Williams
Published Online: 2022/09/01
This richly illustrated volume explores the life and work of the Austrian classical scholar Joseph Eckhel, a crucial figure in the transformation of numismatic studies into a modern discipline. Eckhel has been celebrated widely as the ‘father of numismatics' since the 19th century: still, this is the first book in the history of scholarship entirely dedicated to him.
Dr. Ken Berger has released the next volume in his series about Philippine currency circulation during the Japanese occupation in World War II, Philippine Emergency Notes: Counterstamped, Signed & Initialed (CSI) – Iloilo and Leyte Provinces. This book is the product of years of scholarly research and was made partially possible through an Author's Grant from the Central States Numismatic Society. -Editor
Unlike the first two editions of his earlier book, this book is completely in color and on glossy paper, thus eliminating the need for an accompanying CD. Besides covering the CSIs that are found on Iloilo and Leyte emergency notes, it also discusses the historical development of these notes. In addition, it presents a completely new, highly detailed, and well-documented hypothesis for the reasons why CSIs were needed on notes and why very few are from the island of Leyte. The book also provides a detailed chronology of the various redemptions of emergency currency, including copies of the required forms, Japanese counterstamps, and examples of redeemed notes. Although the book can be considered a continuation of his research and therefore the next volume in the series, it is written in such a way that it can be treated as a stand-alone text.
Ray Czahor of
Cookie Jar Collectibles, a well-known dealer
and collector of Philippine numismatics, has stated,
In my opinion, all serious collectors of Philippine/emergency notes need this new 146-page book for their libraries!.
Coin designer Emily Damstra reviews the new book 100 Greatest Canadian Coins and Tokens by Harvey Richer. -Editor
Emily S. Damstra and the 100 Greatest Canadian Coins and Tokens
A new Whitman Publishing book, 100 Greatest Canadian Coins and Tokens, by Dr. Harvey B. Richer, debuted this summer at the annual convention of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association in Ottawa, then at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Chicago. Now the 160-page hardcover coffee-table volume is available from bookstores and hobby shops and online. Here, Emily S. Damstra, a prolific designer of U.S. and Canadian coins, reviews the book and shares some thoughts on Canadian numismatics.
Damstra is a natural-science illustrator, nature artist, and coin and medal designer. Through her work, she explores many aspects of nature, science, and culture, from Paleozoic seas to modern life. Her illustrations appear in numerous publications, on interpretive signs in museums and natural areas, and occasionally in our pocket change. As of this writing, she's created more than 40 designs for the Royal Canadian Mint and nearly two dozen coin and medal designs for the United States Mint. Outside of work, she is often found in the yard, engaged in a perpetual campaign to oust the invasive species from her native-plant garden.
ANS and Oxford University have launched a new online resource for ancient Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coinage. -Editor
The ANS and Oxford University launches Bactrian Indo-Greek Rulers (BIGR)
The American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents at Oxford University are pleased to announce the launch of Bactrian Indo-Greek Rulers (BIGR, numismatics.org/bigr), a new online typology and research tool for ancient Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coinage. BIGR is a component of Hellenistic Royal Coinages (numismatics.org/hrc) and has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as a two-year joint ANS-Oxford University project. The award comes through the New Directions in Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions program that partners the NEH with the United Kingdom's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) intended to fund trans-Atlantic co-operative projects. At the ANS, Dr. Peter van Alfen and Ethan Gruber have worked with their partners Prof. Andrew Meadows and Dr. Simon Glenn at Oxford University, who are funded by the AHRC, along with Dr. Gunnar Dumke at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, Prof. Gul Rahim Khan at the University of Peshawar, and Dr. Asma Ibrahim at the State Bank of Pakistan.
The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is the Food Stamp Change Newsletter. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor
Newman Portal Adds Food Stamp Change Newsletter
With food stamps denominated in dollars, how did stores make change for odd amounts? Simple – they issued privately produced tokens. The number of variants ran into the thousands, and the collector urge to create order from the disparate issues took root. Jerry Schimmel led the way and began producing the quarterly Food Stamp Change Newsletter in 1980.
Collector interest was ultimately insufficient to sustain the publication, and Schimmel wrapped up the Newsletter in 1984, with the last two issues serving as an index to the series. Wikipedia notes that states began moving from paper stamps to debit cards in the late-1990s, and today this is a non-issue. Newman Portal acknowledges Michael Wehner for his assistance with this title.
Image: Inaugural cover of the Food Stamp Change Newsletter
Link to Food Stamp Change Newsletter 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 Denver Coin Expo. -Editor
David Lisot, Host, CoinTelevision.com with Bryson Bailey, Harrison Beagles, Jerry Britton, Revick Galstaun, Hal Greimann, Tom Hallenbeck, Neal Hatgi, & Sanford Howell, & Haley Niles,
David Lisot walks about and shows you great coins, why people collect, the local Denver Coin Club, and what is the best part of coin collecting. Learn why you do not want to miss a Denver Coin Expo!
An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:
The Startled Queen Coin
Jim Wells writes:
Other topics this week include the First Coin struck in Llantrisant, and Stamp Papers Used in British India. -Editor
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Machine Engraving. In the broadest sense, any engraving not done by hand, by any device other than a hand-held burin or graver. All machine engraving must have a pattern or template to control the cutting away of the metal surface which is accomplished by a CUTTING POINT, rotary milling bit, or laser. In contrast, hand die engraving places all control in hands and mind of the human engraver creating modulated relief in varying depth and shapes.
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on husband-and-wife sculptors Laura Gardin Fraser and James Earle Fraser and the recent fate of their work. Thanks! -Editor
Great monuments built in the past are being removed because they are no longer considered appropriate representations of our public values. Art of the Frasers, James Earle Fraser and Laura Gardin Fraser, are both subject to such changes.
Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick sent along these highlights from his recent upload of new tokens and medals to his website. For all of the new additions, including a couple Masonic-related pieces as well as some cardiology-themed medals, please visit https://www.numismagram.com/inventory. -Editor
102140 | FRANCE. Mutual Fire Insurance silver Jeton. Issued 1819 for the Seine & Oise Departments (not including Paris) (32mm, 12.50 g, 12h). By Barre at the Paris mint. IL RENAIT DE SES CENDRES (he is reborn from his ashes), falcon standing left (likely representing the triple god Ptah-Seker-Osiris), wearing atef crown with solar disk and two uraei; serpent to right; to lower left, altar bearing radiant head and supporting egg among flames / ASSURANCE MUTUELLE CONTRE L'INCENDIE, DÉPts DE / SEINE ET OISE / ET DE LA SEINE / (PARIS EXCEPTÉ) in four lines within oak wreath. Edge: Plain. About Uncirculated Details. Highly brilliant and lustrous, with some alluring iridescence nearer the peripheries, though some scattered hairlines from a light cleaning are noted for completeness. A very rare and highly interesting type featuring a good deal of iconography from ancient Egypt. $295.
One of the more historically important events involved in Napoleon's French campaign into Egypt during the end of the 18th century was the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799. A stele from Ptolemaic Egypt that conveyed a decree from the king in three different languages (Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Ancient Greek), it provided the first chance to crack the code of hieroglyphics, which to that point had remained shrouded in mystery. The first transliteration of the hieroglyphics was completed by Jean-François Champollion in 1822, which the discovery of the stone arousing great interest in all things ancient Egyptian—likely the reason for the use of iconography here, just three years before Champollion's transliteration.
Atlas Numismatics has updated their website with 513 new coins, medals, and tokens at fixed prices. Selections include the following items. -Editor
Siculo-Punic Tetradrachm with 1914 Pedigree
17.17gm. Charioteer driving racing quadriga left, horses arrayed in ascending tiers; Nike flying right above to crown charioteer, Punic [RŠMLQRT] in exergue / Head of Tanit-Kore-Persephone right, wearing tripe pendant earring and necklace; three dolphins swimming around. Jenkins, CPS I, 68, 60. ""RShMLQRT"" issue.
Ex Feuardent Freres, Paris (05/1914) Lot 157.
Here's a press release with highlights from the upcoming Künker auction sale 376. -Editor
Ancient Showpieces from the Köhlmoos and Salton Collections With several extensive collections on offer, Künker's Fall Auction Sales contain favorite pieces of every collector of ancient coins. Whether you want to invest in rarities or are looking for an affordable Roman denarius: Künker's Falls Auction Sales will provide you with great opportunities.
Stack's Bowers published this item about their upcoming sale of the second part of the collection of Syd Martin. -Editor
Part II of the landmark Sydney F. Martin Collection will feature some of the areas that Syd was most passionate about, including his front line set of 1785 and 1786 Connecticut coppers, French Colonial coinage, Rosa Americana coinage and Washingtonia. The sale will be held during the 2022 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo in association with the C4 annual gathering. Syd was an avid member of C4, and the sale being held live during this convention is a tribute to his significant contributions to the C4 club and the friendships he built among the members.
A review of a new book on seashells delves into their use as money. -Editor
Money began as a language for expressing gratitude and became the lever of the extraction economy — the currency of aggregate human entitlement. In the golden dawn of modern capitalism, Henry Miller — passionate, idealistic, and broke — sang the thrush song of warning:
The dilemma in which we find ourselves today is that no matter how much we increase the purchasing power of the wage-earner he never has enough. A century hence, the dilemma has swelled to a carbon cloud of doom — and yet money keeps washing through this pale blue dot no longer capable of regarding itself as a world without its circulating medium.
How did we get here?
It turns out we came on the back of a small marine gastropod mollusk, in the lap of a fierce Maldivian queen.
This article cites the 2003 book by David M. Schaps on the invention of modern coinage. -Editor
It's hard to imagine life without the concept of money. But for most of human history, there was no money, in the modern sense of the word. For a better look into the role money plays in our world today, let's turn back the clock to the dawn of money.
The oldest written references to daily life in ancient Greece can be found in the epics of Homer, namely in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Though these texts are works of mythology, Hellenistic scholars have long looked to them for clues about everyday life in ancient Greece.
The epics indicate that the Homeric age, which lasted from 1200 to around 800 B.C., was an age without money. Homer expresses the value of objects not in terms of coins, but cattle. Each of the gold tassels of Athena's aegis, for instance, is described in the Iliad as being worth 100 oxen. The German economic historian Bernard Laum traces the economic significance of cattle back to sacrificial practices.
A group of Islamic gold and silver coins has been uncovered behind a temple in Egypt. -Editor
Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered a nearly 1,000-year-old cache of gold and silver coins behind a temple in Esna, a city located along the Nile River.
The hoard, which was discovered by a team of researchers from Egypt's Supreme Council for Archaeology, includes coins minted throughout different parts of the Islamic era, which began in A.D. 610(opens in new tab), when Muhammad received his first revelation, and lasted until approximately the 13th century(opens in new tab).
Len Augsburger passed along this New York Times article about the return of a rare quarter-shekel piece to Israel. David Hendin and Sam Spiegel are quoted. Thanks also to Aaron Oppenheim and Pablo Hoffman for other links to the story. -Editor
American investigators returned a rare silver coin to Israel on Monday that they say was minted as a marker of independence during the Great Revolt against Roman oppression of A.D. 66-73 and centuries later was looted from an archaeological site in the Valley of Elah.
The coin was seized in 2017 when collectors tried to sell it at an auction in Denver, where it was listed as having an estimated value between $500,000 and $1 million. But it did not clear the legal hurdles to be returned to Israel until this summer.
A CoinWeek article by Tyler Rossi examines foreign coins struck by the U.S. Mint during WWII. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor
As with during World War I, the United States Mint played a vital role in supporting the Allied powers throughout World War II. Through the 1874 Act of Congress authorizing the production of foreign coins, the Mint was able to supply 26 countries across the globe: Australia, the Belgian Congo, Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dutch East Indies, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, French Indochina, Greenland, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Surinam, and Venezuela.
Of these, five were either colonies and do not exist anymore or have since changed their name.
We recently discussed the Chinese Sun Yat-sen silver dollar. A Stack's Bowers blog article by Jeremy Bostwick describes an interesting engraved example in the firm's upcoming October 2022 Hong Kong Auction. -Editor
Serving as the first year in the three-year series of Sun Yat-sen Dollars, the famous
birds over junk appellation emanates from the three birds seen flying above a junk boat on the reverse. With by far the lowest mintage of the three dates, this initial offering has grown immensely in popularity over the past few years, with high grade examples especially generating great enthusiasm. Though our upcoming fall Hong Kong auction contains a number of these
birds over junk Dollars across various grade points, it is likely the lowest-graded example that possesses the most interesting story.
Earlier this week David Pickup sent in a group of photos of the coins of Queen Elizabeth II. Yesterday an article turned up with some familiar-looking photos and the intro, "BBC News takes a closer look at some of the coins made during the Queen's 70-year reign, with the help of The Oxford Numismatic Society." Here's an excerpt - see the full article online for some additional photos. -Editor
Her Majesty's first portrait was created by Mary Gillick in 1953, seen here on this 25-cent piece from Canada that dates from 1964
Wayne Pearson provided these images of consecutive left-facing portraits of Kings George V and VI on Canadian coins. As David Pickup noted in the previous article, "The exception was Edward VIII, who was never crowned. Very few coins were made for him and his portrait looked left like George V and George VI." -Editor
Allan J. Behul writes:
The firm is offering the Pure Gold 1kg 2023 Lunar Year of the Rabbit Coin. -Editor
2023 Pure Gold Coin – Lunar Year of the Rabbit
An article in the Independent notes that 17 of the 23 living recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross medals will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. -Editor
Here is a list of them, and their achievements:
– Warrant Officer Class 1 Kim Hughes GC
In 2009, Staff Sergeant Hughes was working in Afghanistan when several comrades were injured or killed by explosive devices.
He set about clearing a path to the injured, providing constant reassurance that help was on its way, and also calmly carried out manual neutralisation of three explosive devices – the single most outstanding act of explosive ordnance disposal ever recorded in Afghanistan.
With Presidential appointees now on board for both signature roles, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing can begin a new series of Federal Reserve Notes. -Editor
US banknotes are set to mark two historic precedents in coming months, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen swore in Lynn Roberge Malerba as treasurer on Monday.
Yellen's signature on Federal Reserve notes will be the first in US history by a female Treasury secretary. And Malerba's will become the first by a Native American treasurer.
CNN Business published a topical article on $2 bills yesterday, including nice quotes from ANS Curator Jesse Kraft. Thanks to Aaron Oppenheim and Tom Sheehan for passing this along. -Editor
Inflation has made it hard to buy much with a buck these days.
$1 pizza has disappeared. Dollar stores aren't dollar stores anymore.
So wouldn't it make more sense to start paying with $2 bills instead?
If you had a $2 bill, perfect, said Heather McCabe, a writer and $2 bill evangelist who runs the blog Two Buckaroo chronicling her spending with twos and other people's reactions.
It's a very useful thing to pay for a small amount.
Yet the $2 note is the unloved child of paper currency.
The previous article interviewed $2 bill blogger Heather McCabe. In her January 14, 2019 article she discussed a couple celebrities who also enjoy $2 bills. Earlier we'd discussed Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's impish obsession with the notes (linked below). -Editor
In honor of Dave Grohl's birthday today, I'm whipping out some special material I've been sitting on for a long time.
Back on September 16, 2016, I was having drinks with the man himself (he was visiting NYC for some sort of music-business purpose). Downtown at the great Nancy Whiskey Pub with a beloved mutual companion who was the reason we were together at a time-worn, seemingly knife-stabbed old wooden bar table, we got to talking about $2 bills. (I mean, of course!) Before long, he told his own story about why he likes $2 bills.
You know that sinking feeling you get when you hear a coin go "thunk" on the floor? -Editor
Holly Willoughby was left embarrassed when she knocked over a rare coin in a blunder on This Morning today.
The TV presenter and her co-star Phillip Schofield were discussing royal memorabilia on the ITV show this morning as they fronted another episode where they paid tribute to the late monarch and shared stories about the now King Charles III. However, things got a bit tricky when Holly found herself knocking over something quite expensive.
Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor
Howard Berlin passed along this article on the massive cost of changing queen to king on banknotes, coins, stamps and post boxes. Thanks. -Editor
The Bank of England says it costs approximately 7 to 8 pence to produce a banknote. There are some 4.7 billion banknotes in circulation in the UK. So the cost to replace these can be estimated at around 350 million pounds, according to Joe Trewick, a writer at The Coin Expert, a website for coin collectors and hobbyists.
"The Royal Mint does not disclose how much it costs to produce new coins, but with 29 million currently in circulation to replace, we can assume the total cost will also be several million pounds," Trewick told DW.
To read the complete article, see:
UK coins and banknotes face slow queen-to-king renewal (https://www.dw.com/en/uk-coins-and-banknotes-face-slow-queen-to-king-renewal/a-63113794)
Other topics this week include When Queen Elizabeth Carried Cash, Nuremberg Gate Tokens and the Origin of the Federal Reserve. -Editor
We'll close this week with an essay that should resonate with bibliophiles and collectors in general. -Editor
If you are at all like me, books never cease to allure you, delight you, amaze and even intoxicate you.
I would rather spend time in a bookstore than a museum, and I dearly love museums, which may explain why I especially adore used-books bookstores — and public libraries, too — because they are like bibliophilic museums, only better, because you are allowed to handle the old artifacts on display.