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Thanks to Hugo Vanhoudt of Belgium for sending a holiday greeting.
This week we open with a special anniversary journal issue, two obituaries, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, numismatic poetry, and more.
Other topics this week include the American Numismatic Association, Virgil Brand, Bauman Belden, the most useful numismatic books, Christmas Club tokens, medallic art, numismatic Halls of Fame, fixed price and auction previews, coin finds from Israel, short snorters, new banknotes, and the great title paper shortage.
To learn more about the Private Cash of Ancient Annam, coin gift Christmas cards, Eldridge Jones, Dick Johnson, Walt Husak, the Numismatic Poets Society, Civil War dog tags, Life-Saving medals, the Maroneia Stater, the 1873-CC No Arrows Seated Dime, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry medal, and coins of the Iconoclasts, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
The Winter 2023 issue of the Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society marks the publication's 250th issue and the society's 50th birthday. Editor Dr. Paula Turner passed along this announcement. Thank you. -Editor
A Letter from Your Secretary General
Dear ONS members,
It brings me great pleasure to introduce you to this special 50th Anniversary Conference issue of the Society's journal. This double issue is also fittingly the 250th volume of the journal and its antecedents.
As many of you no doubt remember, the Society celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020 and the conference was originally scheduled to be held in April of that year. Of course, you all know what happened next. The pandemic forced a postponement to 2021 and then, when the pandemic had not yet abated by April of that year, another postponement to 2022. Early this year, there was still a lot of uncertainty about whether things would open up and permit international travel to take place in earnest. The Council decided not to risk the need for another postponement and opted to commit to hold the conference via Zoom only.
Spread over two half-days, to allow more people worldwide to attend, the Conference was held on 25 and 26 June. It brought together speakers from eight countries and covered a wide range of areas within the purview of the Society. There were two keynote speakers, John Deyell and Dai Jianbing, and ten other speakers. Joe Cribb, who organized the conference, also gave a brief historical retrospective on the Society. All but two of these talks are published here in full; many of them are also available as video recordings on the Society's YouTube channel. (If you are not already a subscriber, I urge you to subscribe: just search for Oriental Numismatic Society on YouTube).
Pankaj Tandon, Secretary General of the Oriental Numismatic Society
Pete Smith submitted this note on Large Cent collector Walt Husak, who passed away this week. -Editor
Walt Husak died late in the afternoon of Thursday, December 15, 2022. Within hours, his friend Al Boka sent out a notification to other friends and fellow collectors around the country. Soon tributes were coming in from many of them.
Walter Joseph Husak was born in Chicago on May 27, 1942. His parents were Walter and June Blake Husak. At the time of the 1950 Census, they were living in Los Angeles with the father listed as a salesman for a sign company and the mother as a waitress in a restaurant. Later in the 1950's, Walter was a teller at the Merchants National Bank in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Last month collector and New York City sculptor Steward Blay passed away. -Editor
Bob Rhue writes:
Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger submitted the following holiday item from the NNP image collections. -Editor
A Gold Noel
The holiday season is a reminder of an old tradition of presenting gold coins as a commemoration of Christmas and other significant occasions. Illustrated here, from the Eclectic Numismatic Treasure collection, is an early 20th century greeting card featuring a cut-out for such a coin. The U.S. Mint correspondence similarly reflects this sentiment, with a disproportionate number of requests for one-dollar pieces coming late in the year.
The David Lisot Video Library on the Newman Numismatic Portal can be found at:
We highlight one of his videos each week in The E-Sylum. Here's one from 1986 with Eldridge Jones, who served as the Treasurer of the ANA during the era of fundraising for the Colorado Springs headquarters. A collector since 1941, he joined the ANA in 1947 and attended that year's Buffalo, NY convention. A resident of Hyattsville, MD, he was a collector of National Bank Notes of the Washington D.C. area. -Editor
Last week I had some fun with the new AI chatbot ChatGPT from OpenAI, using it to write poems, marketing blurbs and other things about The E-Sylum. -Editor
Gosia Fort writes:
Coinarama's Edgerton and Lenker Best of Show Awards
Ken Spindler of San Diego writes:
Ken provided a photo of the 2005-2018 award plate, which he sponsors. It is named for Kay across the top. From 1978-2004, Kay sponsored a more ornate Coinarama Best of Show silver award plate, named for her first husband, Stuart T. Edgerton. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY, KAY LENKER! (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n49a20.html)
Other topics this week include Dick Johnson's Legacy, David Lisot, Robert Hoge, and the 1964-D Peace Dollar. -Editor
In sorting through miscellaneous items in his numismatic library, Dan Hamelberg found this Virgil Brand item and passed it along for our readers. Thank you. -Editor
Here's another item from Dan Hamelberg - a 1959 list of the "Twenty-Nine Most Useful Numismatic Books" selected by R.S. Yeoman and distributed by Glenn B. Smedley. Neat item - thanks! -Editor
Author Jim Haas recently published a book on sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil, the creator of the Standing Liberty Quarter. He submitted this article on a chance numismatic find of another sort. Thank you! -Editor
This tale is not about MacNeil, but it is another kind of numismatic discovery I made some thirty years ago. It was a fantastic, never--to-be-repeated happening, and a good story as well. In the early part of 1990, during a relic-hunting jaunt in Poolesville, MD with my friend Henry Winkler, (not the Fonz) I had the good fortune to find the I.D. Tag of a Civil War soldier named Frank Ward who served in Co. H, 2nd Vermont Infantry. Further research determined that Ward had been born in Wiliston, Vermont, July 29, 1844, and subsequently I wrote a piece about the I.D. Tag for a popular Civil War magazine, North South Trader's Civil War.
David Pickup submitted this seasonal article about Christmas Club Tokens. Thank you! -Editor
Christmas Clubs feature in one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes stories "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle". That is about a valuable gem which is found inside a goose, which had been dropped by its owner during an altercation. The owner of the goose had joined a
goose club at The Alpha Inn, whereby customers paid a small amount each week and got a bird for Christmas. I do not know if the licensee of that pub issued tokens for his customers. The Alpha Inn has been identified as the Museum Inn which is real public house near the British Museum. The owner was unware of the jewel inside the bird and Holmes and Watson track down the culprit who stole it.
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Medallic Art. A class of art that can reproduce bas-relief images, often including lettering, expressed as medals, medallions, plaquettes or similar objects. Because of the similarity of manufacture, medallic art could also include coins, but this is more aptly termed numismatic art (as it is in this book). Medallic art may be included in the class of glyptic art, which also includes engraved objects like gems, seals and cameos (only some of which are included in this book – those that are, or can be, reproduced).
E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on numismatic Halls of Fame. Thanks! -Editor
This week I spent some time reviewing names of people inducted into the Hall of Fame for some organization. Each of these can be found on a website and my information is only as current as that website. I will mention some things I found to be interesting. Then I have some questions to stimulate interest and discussion.
In the 2022 No. 3 issue of ANS Magazine, American Numismatic Society Francis D. Campbell Librarian David Hill published a nice article about earlier ANS Librarian and author Bauman Belden. With permission, we're publishing an excerpt here. Thank you. -Editor
Bauman Belden: Perhaps Overlooked but Not Forgotten
Bauman Belden is the kind of person you often encounter in the records of old institutions: the ones running the show but not necessarily the ones people remember. These are exactly the people most familiar to researchers and archivists, however. With someone like Belden—the Society's secretary from 1896 to 1916 —the institution's records are like their own personal files, with much of the correspondence, internal and external, coming to and from them. Belden served the Society at an important time, as it was transformed from a rootless and club-like 19th-century entity into a formidable 20th-century research institution and museum, with its own building, a superior research collection, professional staff, and secure scholarly footing under the leadership of the big names people do remember, Edward Newell and Archer Huntington.
Belden was 23 when he joined the ANS in 1886, and it wasn't long before he was taking an active role in its affairs. In 1891 he became chair of the Society's room committee, placing him in a position of high visibility to the Society's membership, as it put him in charge of organizing the meetings that took place in the Society's rented rooms. He would schedule speakers, prepare announcements, and help make important decisions, like whether to invite women to a particular meeting or how to appropriately acknowledge and display some books given by one of the Society's most important donors. Belden was full of ideas and eager to help implement them. When he suggested in 1892 that the Society publish the last four years of its proceedings along with the various papers read at meetings, he was put in charge of a committee to get it done. At that time he also became the Society's librarian, a position he held for five years.
In an email newsletter to customers on December 8, 2022, dealer Harry Laibstain provided this great overview of recent hobby history, from grading service changes to the entry of the billionaire collectors. With permission, we're republishing it here with minor edits and format changes. -Editor
As yet another momentous year winds down, it seems each more historic than the last, we are left to wonder, can we top that? Looking back over the last two decades I can still recall how the bargain basement prices at the beginning of 2000 would very slowly pick up steam for the next several years until 2003. It was then that I realized the coin market had moved up several notches with growing participation and more money in the game than ever before. Innovations in grading including plus designations by PCGS and the growing popularity of registry collecting had spurred interest and growth in the industry.
The Bull market that begin in 2003 would roar until 2014. It would be briefly interrupted by the real estate debacle created by some overly creative financing and other questionable practices. Between 2008 and 2009 stuff really hit the fan. These events would overshadow the start of John Albanese's CAC service in 2007. However, it was this innovation in certified coin grading after the financial bedlam of 2009 that picked the market up by its bootstraps and propelled the second chapter of the Bull market that had begun in 2003.
BOWERS SERIESBOOK, Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez's Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, presents an in-depth 384-page study of the history, designs, retail and auction values, and other aspects of the world's most popular silver bullion coins. A behind-the-scenes book; required reading for collectors and investors! Order your copy online at Whitman.com , or call 1-800-546-2995.
This press release describes an expansion of the 2023 Central States Numismatic Society convention. -Editor
Three new bourse floor areas will be added for the convenience of collectors and dealers at the next Central States Numismatic Society (www.csns.org) convention in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois, April 27-29, 2023.
In addition to adding 100 tables to the regular bourse floor space, an entirely new area will be devoted specifically for lower-priced items, and there also will be another space devoted to merchants who are only doing wholesale dealer-to-dealer business.
Atlas Numismatics has updated their website with 591 new coins, medals, and tokens at fixed prices. Selections include the following items. Some beautiful pieces here. -Editor
Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick sent along these three attractively toned medals from his recent addition of new material online. The theme of this particular upload was the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, which issued a number of medals celebrating its past members. Emanating mostly from the mid-late 19th century, they tend to offer some interesting iconography upon each reverse, especially those related specifically to various disciplines in the sciences. For all of the new items, please visit https://www.numismagram.com/inventory. -Editor
Here's a press release enumerating a number of highlights from the upcoming Heritage sale of the Harry W. Bass collection. Great coins. -Editor
To many collectors, the ultimate opportunity involves a chance to acquire something unique, a stand-alone trophy that nobody else could have.
Collectors of top U.S. coins will have three such opportunities within a week at Heritage Auctions, the world's leading auctioneer of coins and currency, when a trio of unique trophy-quality coins are offered in The Bass Collection, Part II US Coins Signature® Auction - Orlando FUN Jan. 5 and the FUN US Coins Signature® Auction Jan. 11-15.
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
Charles II, Embarkation at Scheveningen, June 2 1660, silver medal by Pieter van Abeele, bust of Charles II almost facing, CAROLUS . II . D:G . MAGNÆ . BRIT . FRA . ET . HIB . REX ., rev. Fame bearing ribbon inscribed SOLI DEO GLORIA flies over a fleet sailing away from Schreveningen, on the inside of a shell below S.M. is Uit Hollant Van Scheveling aufgevaren naer fyn Conineryken Ao 1600 Juni 2, around IN NOMINE MEO EXALTABITUR CORNU EUS . PSAL. 89., 69mm, 70.98g (Eimer 210; MI i 457/48; MH 1919, 42). Extremely fine.
From the Sovereign Rarities online stock; earlier from the November 2022 Noonan's sale of the Jerome Platt Collection. Great head of hair and 'stache! Excellent portrait, and a finely detailed naval scene on the reverse. -Editor
To read the complete item description, see:
Charles II, Embarkation at Scheveningen, June 2 1660. (https://www.sovr.co.uk/products/charles-ii-embarkation-at-scheveningen-june-2-1660-gm28401)
Other topics this week include the Execution of Archbishop Laud Medal, a Higley copper, and a Ceylon 3 Annas Picking Token. -Editor
Arthur Shippee passed along this Jerusalem Post article about a museum display of 15 silver coins from the Maccabean period discovered in the Judean Desert earlier this year. Thanks. -Editor
A wooden box containing 15 silver coins that serve as proof of the Hanukkah story of the Maccabees – which was found recently during an excavation in the Negev Desert – will be put on display at the Hasmonean Museum in Modi'in in honor of Israel's heritage week, set to be marked over the holiday of Hanukkah, which begins on Sunday.
The coins, dating back to the years leading up to the Maccabean revolt around 2,200 years ago, were discovered in the Wadi Muraabat Caves in Nahal Darga in May of this year during an excavation project in the Judean Desert caves.
Arthur Shippee, Howard Berlin and Paul Horner passed along an article about another recent coin find. Thank you! -Editor
A rare, half-shekel coin from the Great Revolt from 66 CE to 70 CE during the Second Temple period has been discovered in Jerusalem's Ophel excavations south of the Temple Mount.
The Ophel – or citadel – is the still-extant Herodian, cased-in Temple Mount bordered to the south by a saddle, followed by the ridge known as the southeastern hill that stretches down to the King's Garden and the lower Siloam Pool. Two kings of Judah, Yotam and Manasseh, are described in the Book of 2 Chronicles to have massively strengthened the Ophel fortifications and was either very close to or identical with the
stronghold of Zion conquered and reused by King David.
An article by Chris Bulfinch on the Stack's Bowers blog discusses the post-WWI Polish mark-denominated gold coins. -Editor
In the early stages of World War I, after Germany seized territory constituting what is today Poland, it began issuing occupation currency there and in some other occupied territories. Denominated in Marks (plural Mareks), and introduced in 1916, the currency was retained after the war and continued to be issued into the 1920s. Two remarkable gold patterns from this short-lived period of Polish monetary history will be offered in our catalog of the Taraszka Collection, featured in our January 2023 NYINC Auction.
The Polish Mark/Marek was not destined to last long. With no metallic backing and a challenging postwar political and economic environment, inflation was a serious issue, and the Polish Mark was replaced with the familiar Zloty in 1924. Pattern coins were produced during the Mark/Marek period, a small number of which are known in silver and gold.
Noonan's is offering a Nobel Prize in Chemistry and other important medals of Archer Martin. Here's an excerpt from the press release. -Editor
The Nobel Prize medal awarded to the astonishing and inspiring chemist Archer Martin in 1952 will be sold by Noonans on Thursday, February 2, 2023 in a sale of Coins and Historical Medals. It is being sold by his family and expected to fetch £100,000-150,000.
As Peter Preston-Morley, Special Projects Director in the Coins department at Noonans commented: Archer Martin was a brilliant scientist whose discoveries led to extraordinary advances in medicine and other fields and won him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1952, but cruelly could not help his own mental decline. He was a fearless guinea pig for drug testing to transform the lives of Alzheimer's sufferers and delighted researchers when his condition improved.
The public first became aware of Archer's genius when he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1952 with Richard Synge for their ground-breaking invention of Partition Chromatography, an effective method of separating compound elements that had far-reaching implications for analytical chemistry.
Pablo Hoffman passed along this new Atlas Obscura article on short snorters. Great photos! Thanks, -Editor
AT FIRST GLANCE, THE DOLLARS look like any others, tinted with age with some bearing the familiar visage of George Washington and others adorned with faces that aren't easily as identifiable. But upon closer inspection, these bills are covered with signatures and are taped to one another, like an odd and expensive celebratory banner. This is a
short snorter, part secret society badge and part autograph book.
The short snorter in the Air Mobility Command Museum collection belonged to Tom Farrow, a B-17 crew member of the 384th Bomb Squadron who escaped the burning wreckage of his bomber before being taken as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II. After being rescued, he retired to Delaware and donated his short snorter to the museum, along with his diary and dog tags. It would have been rolled up for easy transport, only unrolled when a new bill or signature was added from a colleague or famous figure.
Pablo Hoffman of New York City passed along this article on the new Naira banknotes of Nigeria. -Editor
This came about three weeks after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), unveiled the new bills at a weekly Federal Executive Council meeting in Aso Rock Villa.
The President unveiled the redesigned notes across the N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations.
Jamaica is also launching a new series of banknotes. -Editor
For only the second time since Independence, Jamaica has introduced a new series of banknotes, which are set to be released on a phased basis in 2023.
The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) on Thursday, December 15, launched the revamped series developed on polymer substrate, which the central bank says is more durable, resulting in cost savings and a longer-lasting product. BOJ officials said that the purpose of the launch was to show the notes as being ready.
Here's a Washington Post article for bibliophiles, on a world drowning in old books. -Editor
Books are precious to their owners. Their worth, emotional and monetary, is comparably less to anyone else.
Humorist and social critic Fran Lebowitz owns 12,000 books, mostly fiction, kept in 19th-century wooden cases with glass doors in her New York apartment.
Constitutionally, I am unable to throw a book away. To me, it's like seeing a baby thrown in a trash can, she says.
I am a glutton for print. I love books in every way. I love them more than most human beings. If there's a book she doesn't want, Lebowitz, 72, will spend months deciding whom to give it to.
Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor
Here's a report on the sale of Forrest Fenn's treasure. -Editor
All 476 artifacts in the collection were sold, and a total of 1,643 people placed bids for a piece of the fortune, Heritage Auctions communications director Robert Wilonsky told Outside.
A 549-gram Alaskan gold nugget brought in the most cash, with the highest bidder taking it home for $55,200. The next highest price was for a wax-sealed glass jar purportedly containing Fenn's 20,000-word autobiography, which went for $48,000. In his 2010 memoir The Thrill of the Chase, Fenn wrote that he included the autobiography
because maybe the lucky finder would want to know a little about the foolish person who abandoned such an opulent cache.
The sale is yet another wrinkle in the saga sparked by Fenn in 2010, when the late art dealer hid the chest filled with gold and jewels somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Obsessives searched far and wide in pursuit of the riches, with a 24-line poem as their only clue. One man served time in prison for digging up graves at Yellowstone National Park. Five people died while looking for the cache.
To read the complete article, see:
Forrest Fenn's Treasure Sells for Less than a Condo in This Mountain Town (https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/exploration-survival/forrest-fenn-treasure-sold-online-auction/)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
FORREST FENN'S TREASURE CHEST OFFERED (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n47a18.html)
Other topics this week include Coins of the Iconoclasts and Snow Globes. -Editor
The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest shortage of title paper, which is slowing auto sales. The situation is no surprise to E-Sylum readers - we discussed this back in 2015 following an Ohio-based company's closure. -Editor
When I first heard of this, I said, ‘What?' recalls Bob Wheat, general manager at Village Ford car dealership in Dearborn, Mich.
It was just a total surprise to me.
Already, the auto industry has dealt with crimps in supplies of chips, batteries and even the oval blue badges that Ford Motor Co. puts on trucks.