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This week we open with our new subscriber contest results, two new books, a new house organ issue, two obituaries, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and more.
Other topics this week include U.S. pattern coinage, Eric Newman, Minerva, auction previews, coin finds, Engelhard London ingots, and King Charles III banknotes.
To learn more about Russian medieval coins, Napoleonic medals, Northern Ireland Banknotes, Brian Cornwell, engraver Robert Lovett Sr., National Archives research, medallic objects, the Veterans of the Civil War Congressional Gold Medal, the Quebec Taken Medal, Coin of the Year nominees, and Star Wars prop medals, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
OK gang, it's time to announce the results of our new subscriber contest. It's a mixed bag; some only had one friend to recommend, others worked hard to pull together addresses a few at a time off their cellphones, and one passed along multiple files of addresses. Some well-meaning readers had other commitments that kept them from meeting the contest deadline. No one specifically followed our rules, but the number of entries was fairly small and I was able to format the submissions as required for our mailing system to accept. It would be too evil to declare every entry inadmissible and keep the prize money myself (although that sound in the distance is our holiday credit card bills growing daily).
Dzmitry Huletski has published a new edition of the catalog of Russian medieval coins. -Editor
4th edition of standard catalogue of medieval coins (X-XVI cc) minted in Kievan Rus, feudal duchies of Rus and grand duchy of Lithuania. The book is a classic reference guide for scientists and collectors. Mintage of vast nations and cities of Eastern Europe is structured by types and varieties, with rarity grades given to each position. researchers and collectors.
More than 670 a4 size pages, hard cover, color photos 2:1. researchers and collectors.
A separate chapter covers Silver and golden ingots, with detailed photos and metric data. Each chapter contains links and references to most advanced studies on separate coin types. Edition of 2022 continues the series of catalogues started in 2013. More than 70 new types and varieties of coins and countermarks are added as compared to the previous edition, more than 200 images updated.
David Alexander has published a new book on Napoleonic medals. -Editor
Medals recording the meteoric career of Napoleon Bonaparte have fascinated collectors for more than two centuries. The Monnaie de Paris has produced the majority of existing Napoleonic pieces and continues striking many today, including many such later issues as the 1840 Retour des Cendres and the 2021 Bicentenary of the Emperor's death. In all this time there has never been a comprehensive English language survey of the Napoleonic series to introduce the American collector to this fascinating subject. This book does not pretend to include every Napoleonic medal ever issued, but presents a survey to aid beginning or advanced collectors wishing to explore this fascinating field.
The title, The Napoleonic Medal Primer, has been chosen to express what this book is and is
not. Napoléon Bonaparte (born 1769, died 1821) bestrode the world of his day like a colossus
and left behind one of history's most extensive medallic
fossil records which has continued to
grow centuries after his death on the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena.
The Winter 2022 issue of the SPINK Insider has been published. The London firm's house organ is available in print form as well as a free download. Great cover photo and a number of interesting articles. The articles cover a wide range of numismatics, including coins, medals, paper money and finds by metal detectorists and mudlarks.
The Story Behind the Stamp
by Tom Fell
Spotlight on Collecting: Whisky
by Daniel Lam
Searching for the Next Henry III Gold Penny
by Graham Birch
He passed a few years ago, but I just learned this week that fellow Pittsburgh-area collector Dr. Ernie Montgomery is gone. I'd lost touch with him after we both moved out of the city. Thanks to Larry Dziubek who notified me of a notice in the Civil War Era Numismatics journal. A fellow member of The Sphinx Society, "Doc" was a regular with wide collecting interests. In addition to Civil War tokens, I know he collected half cents, Chinese paper money and model trains, having a massive train setup in his Natrona Heights home.
A Canadian Coin News article by Jesse Robitaille reports on the passing of ICCS founder Brian Cornwell. With permission, we're republishing a preview here. Thank you. The complete story is available to CCN subscribers. -Editor
Tributes have poured in for numismatic icon Brian Cornwell, who nearly 40 years ago revolutionized the Canadian hobby by co-founding the country's first third-party grading service, following his death this fall.
A long-time collector, Cornwell teamed up with two well-known dealers, Bill Cross and Ingrid Smith, to launch the International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) in Toronto in November 1986. The firm quickly followed in the footsteps of the U.S.-based Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), founded in the same year, to improve market confidence and bolster the hobby in Canada. Smith eventually left ICCS before Cross sold his shares to Cornwell, who ran the business for about two decades before his death on Nov. 21 at age 82.
The latest additions to the Newman Numismatic Portal are photo sets of U.S. pattern coins. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor
Saul Teichman Creates Judd Pattern Photo Sets
The Judd reference on U.S. patterns, United States Pattern Coins, is well-known and currently in its 10th edition. Saul Teichman is a longstanding contributor to this Whitman Publications reference, which is currently authored by Q. David Bowers. Teichman has now released over 200 photo sets that depict and trace the rarest examples in the series. This extensive effort includes hundred of pedigrees and will serve as an indispensable companion to the Judd volume. Internet presentation is a natural format for works of this nature, which are otherwise impractical for print production. Representing thousands of hours of research from a careful and detail-oriented observer, collectors and cataloguers of the pattern series will no doubt frequently access this new and valuable resource.
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 Eric P. Newman himself. -Editor
Roger Siboni submitted these comments on the "Castorland Hoard" mentioned at one time by dealer Lester Merkin. -Editor
Like Alan Weinberg, I too have heard the stories of and read the articles and snippets of the
Merkin Castorland hoard. But after talking to a few people that worked closely with Merkin and even were active Castorland Jetton Collectors at the time.
Merkin hoard of originals out of France or otherwise never materialized and is clearly not present in the extant population that has been researched so far. Several have been working on a census of so-called
Simon pure Castorland Jettons (a name assigned by John J. Ford from the Sussana Centlivre's play
A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1718) referring to something of untainted purity or integrity).
The pure originals with essentially no spalling or die breaks (see last blog post) are still quite rare in Silver or Copper. There was one piece illustrated in the October 2007 MCA issue from the curator of Rochester Numismatic Association allegedly handed down from the Duvivier family. But certainly no hoard.
That does not mean a hoard can still not exist. But Auction records, articles going back decades and present collections (American and French) don't reflect any such hoard.
If one of your readers knows of such a hoard (IRL), I would greatly appreciate hearing about it.
Pete Smith was the first to respond, with a one-word reply of "Minerva". -Editor
Ken Berger writes:
Another Coin Gift Christmas Card
Tony Tumonis at Glass Shoppe coins, Tucson writes:
Very cool. Thanks! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
A COIN GIFT CHRISTMAS CARD (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n51a05.html)
Other topics this week include Engraver Robert Lovett Sr., -Editor
Author Roger Burdette spends a great deal of time researching at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and assisting the Newman Numismatic Portal in acquiring digitized records. Here's his advice on using NARA materials on NNP in research. He notes "It intentionally avoids details - largely because there is an immense amount of material not digitized, and even less has been transcribed." -Editor
Doing your own National Archive research
With more US Mint Bureau documents becoming available on-line through the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP), it seems a good time to give those doing numismatic research a little guidance. This will show how various groups of documents are connected and suggest which files to search for letters relating to specific events or persons.
The information will help researchers look through thousands of documents without have to spend weeks at NARA locations thumbing through thick volumes and overstuffed file boxes.
What you will find: Connections between archive files. Transcriptions of some documents.
What you will not find: Transcriptions of everything.
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Medallic Object. A work of art inspired by the medallic genre. There are few restrictions on medallic objects or their creation, other than perhaps, they must be permanent, capable of being reproduced, usually made of metal and, in most issues, have multiple sides. Other than that they are as removed from medals, as medals are from coins (which are overburdened with restrictions, as size, weight, denomination, tolerance, height of relief, coinability, vending machine suitability, recognizability, circleness, nationalistic propriety, surface resistivity, shall I go on?). Medallic objects break the rules of coin and medal design, go beyond any limitations, transcend any technical restraint, overcome medallic prejudice, all the while becoming interesting, aesthetic objects for the eye to behold.
E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith provided these answers to his questions last week on numismatic Halls of Fame. Thanks. -Editor
Last week I posed some questions following the article on ten numismatic halls of fame. I hoped they might generate some interest and discussion.
Pete Smith also submitted this compilation of numismatists who were either born on or passed away on Christmas. Interesting! Thanks. -Editor
In July of 2021, I submitted an article on
Born on the Fourth of July. Following the
overwhelming positive response to this, I am now offering a listing of people who were born or
died on Christmas, based on dates in American Numismatic Biographies.
Here are some U.S. highlights from the January 16, 2023 Auction 67 from Numismatic Auctions LLC., starting with a 1795 dollar. -Editor
Lot 202 1795 Flowing Hair, 2 Leaves. Satiny lustrous gunmetal blue, teal and golden toned Unc or virtually so, a trifle softly struck at centers as typical for the issue yet on a broad flan with strong presentation, some light old marks and faint scattered hairlines nearly concealed by the toning and not detracting to the naked eye. A beautiful type coin and scarcer variety with great eye appeal.
Lot 354 Very Rare Congressional Gold Medal of Honor – One of only four struck for presentation to the last surviving Veterans of the Civil War, 1956. AV, 70mm, 318 grams, by Gilroy Roberts. Stately conjoined busts of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee r.; Rx: Shields bearing Union & Confederate flag motifs; torch, sword and olive sprig with multi-line legend below. Unc with a few faint whispy inclusions and and cpl tiny old test marks on the edge, accompanied by its original presentation case. This example was presented to Walter Williams, Centenarian and the famous, possibly dubious forager for Hood's Brigade who died December 19, 1959.
Williams, often revered by many as the last surviving Confederate Civil War Veteran, still to this day remains a famous yet undocumented mystery in the annals of history. This medal first reached the numismatic community via the Williams family in the 1976 ANA Sale conducted by Stack's as lot #3321. The only other medal of its kind currently in public domain appeared in a NASCA sale of 1978, which was the William Lunday medal. The Albert Woolson specimen now resides in the Smithsonian Institution via the Sons of the Union Veterans with the fourth and final medallion being destroyed according to Stack's. A monumental rarity and sure to be the centerpiece of any medallic, exonumia or Civil War collection. An impressive and historic jewel, weighing in at over 10 ounces of solid gold. Sure to incite spirited bidding on its way to a new home as one of this original quartet of medals may never surface again in the collector market.
Here is the press release for the upcoming Künker February sale 379. -Editor
730 Lots Estimated at 6M Euros – Künker's Berlin Auction Sales
Künker's sales on 2 February 2023 are auctions of superlatives. Special highlights: the Widegren Collection with Swedish coins and the second part of the Liska Collection with rare coins from Czechoslovakia, not to forget 100 rarities from the Salton Collection.
Here is the press release for the upcoming Künker February sale 380. -Editor
Catalog 380: Coins and Medals from Medieval and Modern Times, Including Issues of the Kingdom of Sweden – the Stefan Widegren Collection –as well as Gold Coins from Czechoslovakia from the Dr. Pavel Liska Collection
One doesn't even know where to begin when highlighting the most remarkable pieces of auction 380. It seems like every other piece would be suitable to be depicted in this preview. Geographically speaking, the selection ranges from Albania to Zurich, in terms of time from the Stauffer Emperor Frederick I to the 1990s. The lightest coin has a weight of 0.87 g, the heaviest of 14.60 kilos. In other words: it really is an auction of superlatives with rarities of a kind that only enter the market on rare occasions.
An outstanding highlight is the Stefan Widegren Collection of Swedish coins. Among other items, it contains the first Swedish gold coin, a 1568 gold gulden minted by Eric XIV in Stockholm. Another highlight is the double rosenoble of half a portugaleser issued on behalf of John III around 1585/6. What's indisputably the most spectacular piece of this collection is the copper plate of 8 talers, created in 1659 in Avesta. After all, this piece is the second largest historical coin in the world. The Widegren Collection is complemented by further spectacular coins from Sweden from other estates.
No. 340: Sweden. Eric XIV, 1560-1568. Gold gulden 1568, Stockholm. From the Widegren Collection. Extremely rare. Small hole. Very fine to extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000 euros
No. 341: Sweden. John III 1568-1592. 2 rosenoble (1/2 potugaleser) n.d. (1585/6), Stockholm. From the Widegren Collection. Extremely rare. Minor traces of mounting, slightly bent, very fine. Estimate: 25,000 euros
No. 343: Sweden. Charles X Gustav, 1654-1660. Copper plate of 8 daler silvermynt 1659, Avesta. From the Widegren Collection. Extremely rare. The world's second largest coin. Extremely fine. Estimate: 150,000 euros
No. 439: Sweden. Sigismund, 1592-1599. Daler 1594, Stockholm. Very rare. Very fine. Estimate: 25,000 euros
Collectors of Czechoslovak coins can look forward to another part of the Liska Collection with numerous spectacularly rare pieces of exquisite quality. At this point, we will limit our preview to No. 477, of which only 56 specimens were minted. NGC graded the piece MS68.
No. 477: Czechoslovakia. 10 ducats 1951, Kremnica. From the Liska Collection. Only 56 specimens minted. NGC MS68. About FDC. Estimate: 25,000 euros
No. 479: Czechoslovakia. 2 ducats 1951, Kremnica. From the Liska Collection. Only 200 specimens minted. NGC MS67. Extremely fine to FDC. Estimate: 25,000 euros
Magnificent individual pieces and attractive runs – this is what auction 380 is characterized by. The wealth of rarities cannot be done justice in this preview in the slightest, therefore we limit ourselves to lots with estimates in the six-digit range and the only order of this auction sale.
No. 288: Great Britain. Victoria, 1837-1901. 5 Pounds 1839, London.
Una and the Lion. NGC PF 63 CAMEO (Top Pop). Very rare. Proof. Estimate: 100,000 euros
No. 485: Hungary / Transylvania. Georg Rakoczi II, 1648-1660. 10 ducats 1657, Weißenburg. Extremely rare. NGC AU58. About extremely fine / Extremely fine. Estimate: 150,000 euros
No. 630: Austria / Austrian princes / Schlick. Stephan, Burian, Heinrich, Hieronymus and Lorenz, 1505-1532. Broad triple taler 1520, Joachimsthal. Extremely rare. Very fine. Estimate: 100,000 euros
No. 642: Bamberg. Lothar Franz von Schönborn, 1693-1729. 10 ducats 1697, Nuremberg. NGC MS61+. Extremely rare. Extremely fine +. Estimate: 100,000 euros
No. 663: Brandenburg-Prussia. Frederick William, 1640-1688. 5 ducats 1679, Berlin. Extremely rare. NGC AU58. Extremely rare. About extremely fine / Extremely fine. Estimate: 100,000 euros
No. 675: Brandenburg-Prussia. William I, 1861-1888. Gold medal of 120 ducats 1871, by E. Weigand and F. W. Kullrich. General's medal commemorating the victory over France. Only 25 gold specimens minted. Extremely fine. Estimate: 100,000 euros
No. 732: Eichstätt / Bishopric. Johann Conrad von Gemmingen, 1595-1612. 8 ducats 1596, Nuremberg. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 150,000 euros
No. 835: Saxony. Christian II, Johan Georg I and Augustus, 1591-1611. 10 ducats 1611, Dresden. Commemorating the death of Christian II. From MMAG auction 7 (1948), No. 130. Extremely rare. NGC MS65. About FDC. Estimate: 250,000 euros
No. 843: Saxony. Frederick Augustus I, 1694-1733. 8 ducats 1725, Dresden. From the Dr. Friedrich Collection, Hess auction (1914), No. 1127. NGC MS 62+. Extremely rare. Extremely fine to FDC. Estimate: 100,000 euros
No. 864: Schwarzenberg. Adam Franz, 1703-1732. 10 ducats 1721, Vienna. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 125,000 euros
No. 512. Oman. Quabus bin Sa'id, 1970-2020. 1982 Order of N'Oman, 1st class set, made by the Spink & Son Ltd. company in London. Extremely rare set of orders. Quality: I. Estimate: 12,500 euros
As we don't want to create the false illusion that this auction wouldn't be of interest to
normal collectors, we follow these items by some attractive coins with estimates of less than 500 euros.
No. 407: Sweden. Oscar II, 1872-1907. 5 krona 1881, Stockholm. About FDC. Estimate: 100 euros
No. 539: USA. 5 dollars 1903 San Francisco. NGC MS64. Extremely fine +. Estimate: 400 euros
No. 727: Bremen. 1/2 reichstaler 1748. Extremely fine. Estimate: 300 euros
No. 797: Nuremberg. 1/4 ducat 1700 (later issue). Extremely fine to FDC. Estimate: 200 euros
No. 801: Nuremberg. Gold medal of one ducat n.d. (18th century). NGC MS61. Extremely fine. Estimate: 250
To order a catalog contact Künker, Nobbenburger Straße 4a, 49076 Osnabrück; phone: +49 541 / 962020; fax: +49 541 / 9620222; or via e-mail: email@example.com. You can access the auction catalogs online at www.kuenker.de. If you want to submit your bid from your computer at home, please remember to register for this service in good time.
For more information, see:
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 I (1625-49), Civil War Siege coinage, Obsidional Coinage, Carlisle besieged, Silver Shilling, 1645, Type II, C:R crowned with tri-pellets either side, mark of value XII. Below, within linear circle. Rev, legend in two lines, OBS CARL / (1645), contraction bar above L, , recognised die flaw running from the R in legend up through the top serif of the S, 5.12g (S.3139; N.2636; Brooker -; Nelson 4; cf. Slaney Part II, lot 350, 14.5.2015; cf. Goldberg's Auction 120, lot 1474, 2.2.2021, the William Oldknow specimen). A bold strike for issue, toned and the rarer of the two types for this Shilling, with the reverse legend and date in two lines. Some very minor marks on the reverse, otherwise much as struck, extremely rare, seldom seen at auction or within dealers trays. Purchased privately in the 1960's by a house of Stuart collector.
By the autumn of 1644, much of northern England was under the control of Parliament. Carlisle, which remained loyal to the king, was blockaded by a Scots army under the command of David Leslie from October to June the following year. In May 1645, an emergency issue of three-shilling and one-shilling coins was struck from silver plate supplied by the besieged citizens. Interestingly, these coins were tariffed at more than their intrinsic silver value six shillings face being produced from five shillings' worth of metal. These coins were produced, and survive, in much smaller quantities than the contemporary siege issue from Newark.
Sold recently by Baldwin's. -Editor
To read the complete lot description, see:
Charles I (1625-49), Civil War Siege coinage, Obsidional Coinage, Carlisle besieged, Silver Shilling, 1645, Type II (https://auctions.baldwin.co.uk/108-lot-92-lot-92-british)
Other topics this week include the 1759 Quebec Taken Medal, the 1972 Apollo 17 Medal, and the satirical 6 cents Humbug Glory Bank note. -Editor
David Pickup passed along this Daily Mail article with more on the Herefordshire hoard. -Editor
A man jailed for not declaring a £5m Viking hoard he and a friend discovered with metal detectors claimed he had sold 20 coins to a rogue dealer at a motorway service station.
George Powell, 40, who was jailed in 2019 alongside his fellow metal detectorist Layton Davies, 54, told a proceeds of crime act hearing that he received £20,000 for the 1,100-year-old coins.
Tom Kays passed along this article from August; if we've discussed it before I've been unable to locate it in our archives. Nice find. -Editor
The remains, found at the site of Fort Mercer and the 1777 Battle of Red Bank, rested for 245 years until a human femur was found in June during an archaeologicall dig of a trench system that surrounded the fort, scientists said. Additional excavation yielded more skeletal remains and items including pewter and brass buttons and a King George III gold guinea, which would have been a soldier's pay for a month.
The nominees for the 2023 Coin of the Year have been announced. -Editor
From 2,300 coins produced around the globe, 100 rose to the top. This is how 10 coins in 10 categories of competition became The COTY 100, these to be considered by an international panel of judges in the first round of voting in the 2023 Coin of the Year awards. The coins are all dated 2021.
The program, presented by World Coin News and sponsored by The Journal of East Asian Numismatics, begins each year when the COTY Nominating Committee convenes to select these 100 nominees.
A new article published today on the All Engelhard site discusses the Engelhard London silver ingots. -Editor
Our very first All Engelhard article in March of 2015 featured
Engelhard London Kilos and Half Kilos. This is
where it all started for us…the mystique and allure of these old-world vintage ingots intrigued us on many
levels, setting us on a journey that continues to this day. There truly is something magical about these very
early, iconic legacy ingots that is more captivating than any other collectible bullion we know of.
Engelhard London began producing 1 Kilo ingots in 1960, in both Silver and Gold, and reliable sources tell us that early production years were shared with N.M. Rothschild & Sons London, who later sold their bullion interest to Engelhard in 1968. The large and heavy font of the Engelhard London ingots was a typical and unique characteristic of Rothschild bullion production. Engelhard ceased production of London ingots in 1973, but their relatively short tenure delivered 100g, 250g, 10oz, 1/2 Kilo, 1 Kilo and even a 200oz example to the market.
Kavan Ratnatunga passed along this Bank of England news release about the new King Charles III banknotes. Thanks. It was published December 20, 2022. -Editor
Today the Bank of England unveiled the design of the King Charles III banknotes. The portrait of The King will appear on existing designs of all four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50), with no other changes to the existing designs.
The King's image will appear on the front of the banknotes, as well as in cameo in the see-through security window.
Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor
Kavan Ratnatunga passed along this Facebook video of a contest where people fill sacks with pennies and carry them away. Thanks. -Editor
To watch the video, see:
How Much Can They Carry? (facebook.com/watch/?v=484385193760759)
Other topics this week include NFT Tokens With Precious Stones, and Star Wars Prop Medals. -Editor
Adam Spikes submitted this great numismatic version of the Twelve Collecting Days of Christmas. Thank you! -Editor
Back in 2018, David Pickup thought he'd celebrate Christmas by trying to find twelve coins to illustrate the famous song. I've used five of his original choices but have added some I thought might be worthy of consideration. What would you have chosen? Per his original statement,
This is not perfect…, so give us grace on the coin choices we've made. I've included links to web pages for those of you who would like to research the coins further. Merry Christmas!!