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This week we open with two new books, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notes from readers, two impressive anniversaries, and more.
Other topics this week include Confederate Treasury Note signers, colonial small change notes, David Lisot, the Ashmolean Museum's Heberden Coin Room, matte finish, ISIS coinage, fixed price and auction previews, numismatic diaries, the Star of Lima, and the new King Charles 50 pence coin.
To learn more about the paper money of East Bavaria, the 100 greatest Canadian coins and tokens, a 1792 Half Disme not previously in the census, the Coronation Medal of Edward VI, the missing 1849 Double Eagle, the Gothic Crown, Charles Cushing Wright's Declaration of Independence medal, the Sea Serpent token, the New York Botanical Garden medal, the Ferris Wheel, Massachusetts coppers, the French Colonies Double de l'Amerique, and stagecoach robber "Black Bart the Poet", read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
A new book by Charles Derby and Michael McNeil delves into the lives and stories of the signers of Confederate Treasury Notes. Thanks to Paul Horner for passing this along - we got a peek at the book cover in the earlier articles about the PAN Civil War Showcase. -Editor
• Introduction with a history of the Confederate Treasury Note Bureau and the professional activities of the Treasury note signers within it.
• Original research on the 371 signers of Confederate Treasury notes, some of whom also signed bond coupons. The book includes photographs of the signers and their lives.
• A section coupling an image of the signer's signature and name for quick identification of the signer on any Confederate note.
Here's a Google-translated excerpt from an article by Hans Ludwig Grabowski on Geldscheine Online about a new book on the paper money of East Bavaria. -Editor
The paper money of East Bavaria
The emergency money in the area of ??today's districts of Cham, Regen and Straubing-Bogen
223 pages, format 21 cm x 29.7 cm,
Paperback, self-published, Cham 2022
Price: 30.00 euros
Actually, it was "only" supposed to be an overview of the emergency money of the city of Cham in the Upper Palatinate, where the author was born and lives, but soon this was extended to the entire district and it didn't take long until two neighboring districts were added from Lower Bavaria were included in the work.
In this Whitman press release, author Dr. Harvey Richer discusses his experience writing his book, 100 Greatest Canadian Coins and Tokens. -Editor
How does one choose the greatest coins and tokens of any country? A survey of experts? That would unquestionably turn up a huge diversity of results. Nevertheless, this was one route I took to establish Canada's top 100 coins and tokens. There is a society of active numismatic historians and writers in Canada, the Canadian Numismatic Research Society (CNRS), of which I am a member. Other affiliates who are likely well known to the general collecting community include Paul Berry, past curator of the National Currency Collection of the Bank of Canada; Brian Cornwell, founder of the ICCS grading service, which grades and encapsulates mainly Canadian coins; and James Haxby, author of the bestselling Whitman Guide Book of Canadian Coins and Tokens. This group is not composed of active coin dealers (although there are a few in the society). Their collecting and writing tastes generally run to more eclectic subjects, such as tokens and medals.
Early in the research for 100 Greatest Canadian Coins and Tokens, David Bergeron, the president of the CNRS and current curator of the National Currency Collection of the Bank of Canada, polled the members of the society at my suggestion, asking them to name up to five of their favorite coins and tokens related to Canada. A number of very useful suggestions were proffered by the group, and about half a dozen that I had not originally chosen were included in the final list. In the end, however, the choices were largely mine.
Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. Thanks. -Editor
Skull & Crossbones Small Change Note
The David Lisot Video Library on the Newman Numismatic Portal can be found at:
Continuing David's tradition, we'll highlight one of his videos each week in The E-Sylum. Here's one of his first segments on the Financial News Network in September, 1983. It began with a show-and-tell format where David explained various collectibles from coins to matchbooks, then moved to a call-in format with viewers putting David on the spot with random questions. -Editor
Financial News Network: Money Talk 9-27-83
David Lisot is interviewed as a collectibles expert and talks coins, antique advertising, cigar labels, matchbooks, and more. He takes questions from a national audience about different collectibles.
Tributes to the late David Lisot continue to arrive from readers. -Editor
Phil Iversen writes:
Bonham's 1792 Half Disme Lot Brings $113,775
A couple weeks ago Rob Luton passed along a lot from the October 25, 2022 Bonham's New York sale. The lot consisted of a printed broadside "Framed with small coin". The initial estimate for the document was $10,000 to $20,000. Rob noted the coin's resemblance to a 1792 Half Disme. I corresponded with the auction house as well as Pete Smith and Joel Orosz, co-authors of 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage. As it turned out, the coin was indeed a 1792 Half Disme not previously in the census, slabbed and graded VF 35 by NGC. The estimated range for the lot was raised to $20,000 to $30,000. So how much did the dual lot bring? -Editor
Thanks again to Rob, Pete and Bonham's for their help getting to the bottom of that "small coin" with no small pricetag in today's market. Great find, and congratulations to the new owner, whom we expect will have the piece reslabbed.
This was one of the more rewarding articles we've published, and one of my all-time favorites, along with the series we did on the coinage of ISIS a few years back (see a new article elsewhere in this issue). E-Sylum readers are the best. Double thanks to Pete Smith for his image analysis and 1792 Half Disme census data. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MINT AND 1792 HALF DISME (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n42a13.html)
Other topics this week include the Hopi Prayer for Rain Medal, and a new interview With CAC's John Albanese. -Editor
Gil Parsons writes:
Thanks. The department was undergoing renovations during my trip to Oxford in 2007, so I was unable to visit. Great article - here's an excerpt; see the complete article online. -Editor
Since its public opening on 24 October 1922, the Ashmolean Museum's Heberden Coin Room has grown to become one of the world's leading coin cabinets. The original collection of 60,000 coins and medals has expanded significantly and the coin room now houses some 300,000 items, including paper money, tokens, jettons and commemorative art medals.
Numismatic News Editorial Director Maggie Pahl published this article introducing the publication's 70th anniversary issue. Congratulations! -Editor
Welcome to this special week of celebrating the 70th anniversary of Numismatic News! Shown [here] is the debut issue of the magazine, datelined October 13, 1952, in its entirety. In an introductory message to readers aptly headlined,
Hello, founder Chet Krause wrote from the dining room table of his family home in rural Iola, Wis.,
Far away from the coin clubs, far away from coin shops, live thousands of collectors who rarely see another person whose interests are in harmony with his.
It will be through the columns of this paper that all collectors will have an opportunity to trade and correspond with one another from coast to coast.
His sign-off includes the following:
So without further ado, I will introduce myself as a fellow collector and publisher of the Numismatic News. I am Chester L. Krause.
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. See the Numismatic Nuggets article in this issue for an image of a Japanese End of World War I Bronze Medal with a matte finish. -Editor
Matte. A dull unburnished metallic finish without luster or sheen; an area of dead reflection. Matte surface, infrequently called mat surface, is produced by abrasive blasting with sand (or other grit abrasive), by matte dip (an acid that lightly etches the metal surface), or by matting tools (more often used in chasing). Matte finish is often used with proof surface for the contrast of reflectiveness – the main device is usually matte with the background or field in proof. Such dies are made by first masking the portion to have a proof surface, applying the matte dip to the area for the dead reflection, removing the masking material, then proof polishing the area to have the mirror surface. The contrast is quite startling. See reflectiveness, proof finish.
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on Treasury Secretary William Meredith, a missing rare coin, and altered fractional currency portraits. Thanks! All great topics. -Editor
One of America's rarest and potentially most valuable pattern coins is missing. This week we offer some clues to the disappearance of the only 1849 double eagle in private hands.
Atlas Numismatics has updated their website with 397 new coins, medals, and tokens at fixed prices. Beautiful pieces! Selections include the following items. -Editor
Gem Mint State Lucius Verus Aureus
Sedwick Auctions is offering an important medal by Charles Cushing Wright in their upcoming sale closing November 4, 2022. Here's an excerpt from the lot description. -Editor
USA, proof silver medal, Declaration of Independence (struck in the 1850s), by Charles Cushing Wright, unique in silver, NGC MS 62 [sic], ex-Bushnell, ex-Garrett, ex-Adams. Musante GW183; Baker (Rulau-Fuld) 53G. 91mm; 259.0 grams. NGC 6481717-001. Pedigreed to the John Adams Collection, with entire ownership pedigree dating back to Charles Ira Bushnell (Chapman auction of June 1882, lot 1274), Garrett Estate (Bowers & Ruddy auction of April 1981, lot 1910), Julian Leidman (Bowers & Merena auction of April 1986, lot 4126), and Charles A. Warton (Stack's Bowers auction of March 2014, lot 2077), subsequently purchased by Adams in the Stack's Bowers auction of August 2018 (lot 46). Estimate: $25,000-up.
Here's the announcement for the November 2022 internet auction from Stephen Album Rare Coins. -Editor
Stephen Album Rare Coins will hold its Internet Auction 18 at its offices in Santa Rosa, California on November 7-8, 2022. Internet pre-bidding has already begun and can be accessed through the auction house's website. The Auction is made up of 2000 lots of coins from all categories and time periods. There is a wide range of value in the sale including items from $50 all the way up to $12,000 for a rare British Indian rupee dated 1939. Additional highlights include rare proofs of British India, difficult to find medieval Islamic rarities as well as general worldwide A-Z collector coins in choice condition.
Some highlights of the sale follow:
In the shameless-self-promotion department, the Stephen Album Rare Coins Internet Auction 18 includes a consignment of mine - the ISIS coins I acquired and wrote about back in 2018. See the earlier E-Sylum articles for more information. Four pieces are mine, and the fifth is from another consignor. -Editor
Here are some lots that caught my eye in Steve Hayden's December 11, 2022 token auction. -Editor
Lot 11: Indian Head Brockage Error
11 - 95/95 a R9 PCGS MS64 BN Distinctive 1863 Indian Head full brockage mint error. From the Steve Tanenbaum collection from Herman Aqua in January 1989. (750-1000)
To read the complete lot description, see:
11 - 95/95 a R9 PCGS MS64 BN Brockage Mint Error Patriotic Civil War token (https://www.civilwartokens.com/Event/LotDetails/3296493/11-9595-a-R9-PCGS-MS64-BN-Brockage-Mint-Error-Patriotic-Civil-War-token)
In their December 15 - 18 US Coins Signature Auction Heritage is offering an interesting Betts medal, a 1755 French Colonies in North America, Safety at Sea Medal. -Editor
1755 French Colonies in North America, Safety at Sea Medal, Betts-392, Frossard-52, Eimer-652, Lecompte-97a, MS62 PCGS. Silver. 35 mm. 14.5 g. Signed P.P.W. (Peter Paul Werner, Nuremberg). Mercury appears at the central obverse between two war ships, the left flying an Irish flag and the right flying a French flag. On the reverse, a Native American appears at left holding a bow and arrow with an alligator at his feet. A crowned female figure seated upon a seahorse appears at right holding a scepter and temple.
Alternately described as a Franco-American jeton by Frossard and as a medal by Betts, this colonial issue may commemorate the action of June 8, 1755 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence between England and France. However, other theories exist. Writing in the July 1889 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics, George Parsons described it as an "invocation for peace, a protest against the more general hostilities which were likely to follow the events of the previous summer" -- a reference to the onset of the French and Indian War in 1754.
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
1854-Dated Steamer San Francisco Life Saving Medal - J-LS-12
Weight: 205.8 grams
Diameter: 74.85 millimeters
Great piece from the eBay store of Kenny Sammut. -Editor
To read the complete lot description, see:
1854-Dated Steamer San Francisco Life Saving Medal - J-LS-12 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/175442070630)
Other topics this week include the 1893 Columbian Exposition Globe Dollar, a 1915 Buffalo Nickel, and a 1919 Japan End of WWI Medal. -Editor
Last week, Tom Kays recounted events at the October dinner of our Northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. Here are some additional notes from attendees, and answers to last week's quiz questions. -Editor
Dave Ellison writes:
Bowers Series.The info-packed reference addresses both the investor and the collector of this popular bullion series. 384 pages. Available December 2022. Order your copy online at Whitman.com , or call 1-800-546-2995.
On Thursday October 27 I had a whirlwind afternoon visit to the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo. The place was busy as usual, hosting not just the normal show but the Colonial Coin Collectors Club convention as well. Here are the two programs.
Speaking of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4), here's a press release they issued after the show. -Editor
At the annual C4 Board of Directors meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland, last week, the C4 Board of Directors unanimously agreed to recognize Christine Karstedt's contributions in the area of colonial numismatics by designating her an Honorary Life Member of the Club. Christine has been a regular dues-paying member of C4 for many years. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Club and is rarely awarded. Christine is only the sixth person since 1993 and the first woman to be recognized in this way. She joins past honorees Q. David Bowers, Eric Newman, Kenneth Bressett, Phil Mossman, and Gary Trudgen.
A Stack's Bowers blog article by Gabriel Solares discusses the 17th century debasement of Spanish silver coinage. -Editor
By the middle of the 16th century, Spanish dreams of finding the mythical city of
El Dorado were beginning to fade. The colonizers soon found a suitable alternative with Cerro Rico. Located deep within the Andes range, the unassuming peak, dubbed Cerro Rico (
Rich Mountain), provided the Spanish with unimaginable quantities of silver, all extracted by indigenous slaves. While this silver was initially transported to Lima for coinage, the long and perilous route to the Viceregal capital proved untenable. Thus, the town of Potosi, placed at the very base of Cerro Rico, was born. By the time Philip III ascended to the Spanish throne in 1598, the Potosi mint's vast output was almost single-handedly supplying the global economy with silver and making Spain's empire fabulously rich in the process. So unparalleled was its production that the Crown shut down the Lima mint indefinitely as it could not keep up.
Another Stack's Bowers blog article, this one by Chris Bulfinch, discusses the first American coin with the word "cent" in its design. -Editor
The casual substitution of
cent by American consumers is so ubiquitous that there's no sense in trying to correct anyone who calls our national one-cent coins by the name of their British predecessors. Cents are pennies now. With the terms so thoroughly conflated, it's hard to imagine a time when the distinction mattered, but in the 1780s it was meaningful. Today we're going to take a very brief look at the first use of the
cent denomination on American coinage, the Massachusetts coppers of 1787-1788.
And here's the first coin ever to name the North American continent. Although I missed mentioning this important coin before the sale, I wanted to include something here. It sold for $504,000. Congratulations to the new owner. -Editor
1670-A French Colonies Double de l'Amerique. Paris Mint. Martin, chapter 5. Lecompte-185, W-11600, Breen-257. VF-35 (PCGS).
62.3 grains. The crown jewel of the Syd Martin Collection of French colonial coins and one of the most significant rarities in the entire realm of early American numismatics.
David Pickup passed along this BBC story about the Royal Mint's striking of the King Charles 50 pence coins. Thanks. -Editor
Manufacturing has begun of the first coin to enter general circulation carrying the image of King Charles.
The 50p coin has started to be struck at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, and will enter tills, wallets and purses in December.
Sculptor Martin Jennings, who created the portrait of the King, said that witnessing the coin being produced was a "quite remarkable experience".
Don Cleveland passed along this article about the theft of stage money stolen from a film production venue in Alice Springs, Australia. Thanks. -Editor
Northern Territory businesses are being warned to lookout for fake cash that has been stolen from a film production venue in Alice Springs.
Fake bank notes ?bearing portraits of wildlife expert Steve Irwin and actor Raymond Meagher, who plays Alf in television series Home and Away, were stolen from a property on Wilkinson Street in Alice Springs overnight on Monday, October 24.
The bank notes were being used for film and TV production.
In today's "This Week in Literary History" email from the Literary Hub is a profile of stagecoach robber "Black Bart the Poet". -Editor
Black Bart the poet robs his last stagecoach.
On November 3, 1883, the gentleman bandit known as Black Bart the poet—because of the poems he left behind at the scenes of two of his crimes—robbed his last stagecoach before being apprehended by the authorities. By then, Black Bart had been robbing stagecoaches in California's gold country for eight years—unbeknownst to the many members of San Francisco high society who knew him as Charles Bolton, a courteous middle-aged mine owner who sported diamond accessories along with his cane, derby hat, and gold watch. (According to Daniel R. Seligman writing in True West Magazine, Bolton got the name
Black Bart from the villain in William H. Rhodes's novel The Case of Summerfield, which had been serialized in the Sacramento Daily Union in 1871.)