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MR. RED BOOK
Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
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According to The Writer's Almanac:
The British Museum opened to the public on this date in 1759. Located in the Bloomsbury district of London.
The museum was housed in a mansion, Montagu House; admission was free, and by appointment only, to "all studious and curious Persons." Anthony Trollope once said, "When a man wants to write a book full of unassailable facts, he always goes to the British Museum."
This week we open with three new books, a periodical issue, an obituary, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and more.
Other topics this week include French banknotes, ANA Money Talks, Dave Bowers, Richard Yeoman, Ken Bressett, Mark Hotz, the Robbins Company, metal flow, auction previews and results, regulated gold coins, colorized coins, and the new King Charles III banknotes.
To learn more about gold coins of Anglo-Saxon England, Short Snorters, Henry A. Ramsden, Charles L. Vickers, Leon Lindheim, ANS Chairman's Fellowships, Red Quarters, the Numismatic Poets Society, Bank Note Reporter, a rare Union Civil War dog tag, a Grant Silver Peace Medal, and Miss El Salvador's money-themed outfit, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Editor, The E-Sylum
Tony Abramson has published a new book on early English gold coinage. -Editor
In 1948, Humphrey Sutherland published Anglo-Saxon Gold Coinage, the earliest truly comprehensive catalogue of the subject matter, including the first full description of the Anglo-Saxon coins in the Crondall hoard of 1828.
There has been no complete, illustrated catalogue since. Such is the glacial rate of numismatic progress on early gold.
However, in the digital era advancement is accelerating. With the increasing popularity of metal-detection in recent decades, more finds have surfaced. The Portable Antiquities scheme has facilitated recording in the public domain.. Popular metal detection websites and magazines have enabled improved access to information. Auction catalogues have broadcast high resolution images and recent results have obliterated previous records.
Peter Jones has written a new book; this one is on the banknotes of France. -Editor
This book shows the art and stories behind fifty of the most beautiful banknotes ever produced. Called the "French touch." France printed the notes during the 1900s. The author provides full page photos of each note with details of the designer and the meaning behind the designs, with fascinating biographies and details of history and economics. An introductory chapter gives a brief history of paper money, the Mississippi bubble, and paper money during the French Revolution. The remaining seven chapters describe the notes, complete with tables, graphs, glossary and index.
The format, starting on page 24, is a picture of the banknote on the right with a one page story about the note on the left.
While not quite new (published in 2020), a note in yesterday's MPCGram alerted me to a book I don't believe we've mentioned before - Tom Sparks' book on Short Snorters, which is available on the Newman Numismatic Portal. We featured Tom's website in 2015. Tom will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming MPC FEST. Here's the MPCGram article as an introduction. -Editor
The keynote speaker will be Tom Sparks, noted numismatist and founder of the non-profit educational Short Snorter Project. He is a graduate of The United States Merchant Marine Academy, then had a long career in the shipping and aviation industries. His interest in military history was fueled by grandfathers who both served in World War One, a father and two uncles who served in World War Two, and the Arlington dairy farmer, George Grimm, who was the US Naval Transport Service (NATS) pilot who flew Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz into Tokyo Bay for the surrender of the Japanese. The Grimm short snorter was Sparks' introduction to the tradition. This short snorter, begun by Grimm's flight instructor and presented to him when he graduated, has signatures of his flight school classmates, as well as many notable WWII figures, including Admiral Nimitz.
Here are the contents of the latest issue of Numismatique Asiatique. -Editor
Collectionner les monnaies sino-mandchoues
Collecting Sino-Manchu coins
E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on U.S. Mint sculptor/engraver Charles L. Vickers, who passed away last month. Thanks. Thanks also to Jim Licaretz for notifying us and to Norma Vickers for providing additional photos. -Editor
Charles L. Vickers sculpted many coin designs during his years as a sculptor/engraver for the U. S. Mint. He was born in Camp County, Texas, on July 16, 1937, the son of a building contractor, Horace Ellington Vickers (1904-1971) and Ellie Lawrence Vickers (1906-1993).
Vickers served in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne Division from 1957 through 1959. He studied at the Art Students League and Frank Reilly School of Art, the Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts. He was a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.
A job with the Franklin Mint had him move to Philadelphia in 1976. He started a studio there in 1985. Also in 1985, he was employed as a senior graphic designer for Thomas J. Paul, Inc.
Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report inspired by the recent addition of recordings of the American Numismatic Association's Money Talks radio spots. Thank you. -Editor
ANA Money Talks & The Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal
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 another one from 1986, this time an interview with dealer and author Q. David Bowers. -Editor
MR. RED BOOK
This Whitman Publishing release is an article by Joel Orosz about two pioneering Red Book editors. -Editor
Kenneth Bressett's memoir A Penny Saved: R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book
celebrates the life of Bressett's mentor, hobby legend Richard S. Yeo (known as R.S.
Yeoman), and the longevity of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the
Red Book), first
published in 1946. The 352-page hardcover volume is available from bookstores and hobby
shops and online (including at Whitman.com). Here, numismatic historian Joel J. Orosz
provides an appreciation of both Yeoman and Bressett.
In his Coin Update blog, Dennis Tucker announced that the current Redbook editor Jeff Garrett is now a Kentucky Colonel. Congratulations! -Editor
I'm pleased to devote my first
From the Colonel's Desk column of 2023 to a longtime friend and one of the newest members of the ranks of Kentucky Colonels: professional numismatist Jeff C. Garrett.
Quoting from the Governor's Office,
The highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky is that of Kentucky Colonel. The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels further defines the award as
recognition of an individual's noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state, and nation.
I recommended Jeff's commission last fall to Governor Andy Beshear. He was granted the governor's official letters patent as a Kentucky Colonel on October 4, 2022.
If you're a coin collector in the United States, you probably already know Jeff Garrett, or at least you've seen his name in a hobby newspaper or magazine, or online, or on the front cover of the Guide Book of United States Coins. Here are some biographical details I shared in my nomination:
The ANS is offering fellowships to qualified graduate students and scholars. Here's the announcement. -Editor
The American Numismatic Society is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Chairman's Fellowships for Numismatic Research.
Beginning in 2023, the ANS will award a limited number of fellowships each year, worth between $1,500 and $2,500 each, to qualified graduate students or scholars pursuing serious numismatic research projects that are expected to result in academic publication.
Confirming the Red Quarter Story
Edwin Johnston writes:
"When I was a kid in the mid-1960s the jukebox at the bar/restaurant by the bay kicked back an occasional silver quarter painted with red nail polish. I would think it served a similar purpose as that described for arcades."
Chriss Hoffman writes:
"I can also confirm the "house quarters" call on the painted red quarters, I managed a large video arcade for Bally's in Colorado called the "Goldmine Arcade" we painted 200 or $50 worth of quarters with Krylon red spray paint one time to use in machines as replacements or free plays, these red quarters were not counted in our weekly accounting and were also subtracted from the machine's play counts. If I recall it was around 1984 so all the quarters I painted would have been older than 1985 the arcade closed down I believe in the later 1980's so if they still were doing it none of the ones in the Denver, Colorado area we painted would be older than 1989."
Thanks for the confirmation! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE MYSTERY OF THE RED QUARTERS (https://www.coinbooks.org/v26/esylum_v26n02a24.html)
Other topics this week include a French Brothel Token, the Numismatic Poets Society, and Leon Lindheim. -Editor
Heath White collects and researches stamping dies, and he recently acquired dies used by The Robbins Company to strike a wide variety of items. Here's his report. -Editor
The company commonly known as The Robbins Company (they changed ownership and names in recent years) ceased operations at their Attleboro, MA manufacturing facility in early 2022. I'm not aware of any notice of this in any publications and thought some of the readers of The E-Sylum may be interested in knowing. Many of the items manufactured by Robbins since their founding in 1892 are sought after by collectors in many areas of collectables ranging from police/fire badges, military insignia, radio premiums, aviation wings, Masonic pennies, and the 1926 World Series rings to name a few. Official medals for NASA starting with Apollo 7, all official medals and badges for the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, military medals from the Distinguished Service Cross down are a few examples of the many notable items produced by Robbins.
Here's some additional information about the Robbins Company from Dick Johnson's Medallic Art Collector website. -Editor
Charles May Robbins (1856-1929) founded the Chas M. Robbins Company in 1892 and ran it for the next 18 years. Having become wealthy, he retired from it in 1910. In 1912 the company renamed itself to Robbins Company.
In 2007 the Robbins Company merged with the Tharpe Company to form TharpeRobbins, which renamed itself to Engage2Excel in 2015.
The Robbins Company struck many beautiful medals in the first half of the 20th century but I have very little information about it. I would be deeply grateful to anyone who can help me find out more about it. One artist who had many of his medals struck at Robbins was Julio Kilényi. Check out his medals to see more examples of Robbins' work.
Congratulations to Bank Note Reporter in its 50th year of publication. Columnist Mark Hotz wrote about his experience writing for the paper beginning in 1997, and his article is a great view into the history of the hobby (and changing technology as well). Here's an excerpt, but be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor
Congratulations to Bank Note Reporter on its Golden Jubilee of service to the currency collecting community. I am delighted to have been an integral part of the Bank Note Reporter contributing team since 1997 – half of its existence! This month, as part of that celebration, I am going to reflect on my experiences writing for 25 years and how the currency market and currency collecting have changed, in my view, over that time.
I first got involved with Bank Note Reporter through former long-time editor David Harper, who I got to know at the annual American Numismatic Association Summer Seminars, held each summer in Colorado Springs. At that time, I was instructing courses in U.S. Large Size Currency with Gene Hessler, and later a course on U.S. National Banknotes with Peter Huntoon. David Harper was there as an emissary of Krause Publications. We became acquainted and he inquired if I would be interested in writing a column for Banknote Reporter. I found that intriguing, and so this decades long association began.
Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor
Metal Flow. The movement of metal in a blank at the instant of striking as it flows into the cavities of the dies under pressure during striking in a press. Metal flow is this metal movement, the result is called displacement. Metal flow occurs throughout the mass of the blank, but is most severe at and near the surface. Surface displacement is the metal flow that creates the design, where the metal flows into all the contours and cavities of both dies. Metal flow can also (but not always) cause microscopic surface striations, parallel ridges and channels, generally from the outer rim inwards as the metal is displaced to the area of the greatest cavities of the dies. These striations, flow marks, are the cause of luster, and, very infrequently, cartwheel effect.
This press release from CNG discusses the auction room action when the Diocletian denio medallion was sold this week for over $2 million. -Editor
A spectacular Roman gold medallion sold to an anonymous phone bidder for $2.327 million at Classical Numismatic Group LLC's Triton XXVI auction in New York City Wednesday, shattering the record for the highest price paid for a Roman Imperial coin and electrifying a ballroom packed with onlookers.
Here is the announcement for the January 24, 2023 sale by Archives International Auctions. -Editor
ARCHIVES INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONS OFFERS HISTORIC U.S., CHINESE & WORLD BANKNOTE COLLECTION ON JANUARY 24, 2023.
The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions at their offices in River Edge, N.J.
The January 24th, 2023 Auction by Archives International Auctions consists of 726 lots of rare and desirable U.S., Chinese & World Banknotes, Scripophily, Historic Ephemera, and Security Printing Ephemera. The auction includes 426 lots of World banknotes highlighted by 89 lots of rare and desirable Chinese banknotes and Scripophily. Also included are over 55 lot of historic U.S. Colonial banknotes, Colonial Connecticut fiscal documents, U.S. Obsolete banknote, Small and Large Type Notes, National Banknotes, and miscellaneous U.S. fiscal documents. Historic and Security Printing Ephemera includes 55 lots of rare and seldom seen items highlighted by an issued Bill of Exchange from a Charleston, South Carolina Military Prison from a Union Civil War POW in addition to related documents; and, over 181 lots of U.S. and World scripophily.
We are privileged to offer numerous rare and desirable banknotes, historic ephemera and
bonds and shares that are rarely seen at auction and include many examples we have never
had the pleasure to offer previously, stated Dr. Robert Schwartz, President of Archives
Included in our 82nd auction are hundreds of items that will appeal to
every level of collector and dealer.
Here are some more highlights from Auction 67 from Numismatic Auctions LLC., including a rare Civil War dog tag and some Pre-Confederation Canadian pieces. The sale opening has been pushed back a week to January 23, 2023, and the Session II online closing has been extended to February 18. -Editor
Lot 415: West Virginia Union Civil War Dog Tag
Rare Union Civil War Dog Tag on VA(West Virginia). WM, 30mm. Assigned and engraved to A.W. Lindsey, Co. G 12th Reg. Virginia Volunteers, Harrison County, VA(West Virginia). Bust of McClellan left, UNION and LIBERTY either side. Very Fine, pierced for suspension, some old marks and scrapes, primarily to the portrait side. An important and rare, seldom offered Union Dog Tag on a tougher state and one that should inspire some bidding interest for certain.
To read the complete lot description, see:
US Very Rare Civil War Dog Tag on Harrison (West) Viriginia - Sharp VF (https://numismaticauctions.nextlot.com/auctions/1417146/lots/11327821)
Here's the press release for Stephen Album Rare Coins upcoming Auction 45. -Editor
Stephen Album Rare Coins will hold its Auction 45 on January 26-29, 2023 at its offices in Santa Rosa, California. The Auction is made up of 3,355 lots of Ancient, Islamic, Chinese, Indian, and General World Coins. The combined low/high estimate is $1.5 to $2.0 million USD, with the final total expected to far exceed the high estimate amount.
Featured in the sale is the Joe Sedillot Collection of World Coins (Part IV) which includes a wide array of type coins from numerous countries. A significant number of the coins in the collection are in choice condition and were selected for encapsulation in PCGS holders. Parts I through III were offered in the firm's auctions in 2022. Many pieces went for multiple times estimate and some items set new price records. Part IV largely consists of European coins from countries starting with A through P. Additional parts of the collection will be offered in subsequent auctions in 2023.
Some highlights from the sale follow:
Here are some lots that caught my eye in the upcoming Holabird Americana sale. -Editor
Lot 1101: Kansas Hotel & I.D. Tags
Lot of five medals: brass tag from the New Eldridge hotel of Lawrence Kansas (#18). Four I.D. tags: W. H. Mills, Damar; J. A. Alman, McPherson; Chas. Cox, Clyde; Barney Gallagher, Stockton.
An article by Chris Bulfinch on the Stack's Bowers blog has a striking image of a regiulated Brazilian coin. -Editor
No, King Joseph I's eye isn't bugging out on this 1762/1-R Brazilian 6,400-reis. The coin was plugged and stamped by John Burger, a New York assayer and coin regulator and contemporary of the famed Ephraim Brasher. Before, during and after the American Revolution in what would become the United States, a coterie of assayers
regulated gold coins – assaying and then raising or lowering their weight to the necessary level to serve in. In this time, before the establishment of the U.S. Mint, such pieces filled an acute need for coinage of a standard weight. In our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles 2023 Spring Expo, we are pleased to be presenting this beautiful example, graded AU-55 Countermark Unc Details by NGC, a piece that was modified to serve as an $8 coin then later clipped to meet a lighter West Indian standard.
Last month COINage had an article by Mike Garofalo on the history of toned and colorized coins. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor
The popularity of coins with color on them drives certain segments of rare coin markets and collectors. Morgan Dollars, type coins, and classic commemoratives are all distinct types of numismatic coins where beautiful and original colors bring strong premiums. An ever-growing segment of the coin market appreciates natural color on coins. Non-collectors are also attracted to the colorful images, even though the coins are secondary.
In April 2004, Superior Galleries offered a beautifully toned 1926 Oregon Trail Commemorative Half Dollar, graded MS67, at a public auction in California. The coin brought $69,000. That's 34.5 times its graded value of $2,000. Why? Because of the coin's beautiful, natural and original color.
This article discusses the Royal Canadian Mint's new dollar honoring Canada's first woman journalist, Kathleen "Kit" Coleman. Unusual design, but I kind of like it. Certainly different. -Editor
The Royal Canadian Mint has dedicated its 2023 Proof Silver Dollar to celebrating the inspiring life of Canada's first woman journalist, Kathleen "Kit" Coleman. Born in County Galway, Ireland and emigrating to Canada in 1884, Kit Coleman first joined the Toronto Daily Mail as a Women' Editor and later became North America's first accredited woman war correspondent, gaining international fame for her coverage of the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. She also helped establish the Canadian Women's Press Club, and served as its first President. Her fascinating journey is told through the artistry of Pandora Young, who used Kit's silhouette as the canvas upon which the main chapters of her life are richly illustrated on the reverse of the coin.
Pandora Young has fashioned another portrait of the pioneering journalist on the 2023 $100 Pure Gold Coin. The reverse features Kit Coleman writing at her desk. Behind her is a map showing North America and Europe, with dotted lines retracing her epic travels across both continents.
China has issued coins commemorating its Tiangong space station. -Editor
China's first space station is now complete in Earth orbit — and on a new set of coins.
The People's Bank of China on Monday (Jan. 9) issued gold and silver coins(opens in new tab) in celebration of the completion of the nation's Tiangong space station. The orbital complex, which was first proposed in 1992, was finished last year with the addition of two science laboratories to an earlier launched core module.
David Sundman forwarded this Financial Times article about collecting the new King Charles III banknotes. Thanks. People will be looking for low serial numbers. -Editor
It will be quite a moment for Britons when new designs of banknotes enter circulation summer next year. They will be the first UK currency to feature a new monarch — King Charles III — since 1960.
Members of the International Bank Note Society, arbiters of artistic excellence in folding stuff, may be less impressed. Heads of state change regularly across the world. And English currency is pretty staid compared with developing nation money replete with exotic birds and flowers.
For bibliophiles, Michael Sullivan passed along this interesting New York Times article on libraries and climate change. Thanks. Scary. -Editor
At Tulane University, 1.5 million books and manuscripts were drenched when Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana in 2005. In 2018, the University of California, Los Angeles was in talks to receive a donor's collection when it was destroyed in the Woolsey fire. And the following year, the Getty fire sent up thick, black plumes of smoke that threatened to filter into U.C.L.A.'s libraries and damage the fragile materials housed inside.
We were lucky that day, recalled Chela Metzger, the school's head of preservation and conservation. Acidic smoke and greasy soot are grave concerns for any conservator, but in this case, the winds held them at bay.
Julia Casey passed along this article about the money-themed outfit worn by El Salvador's Miss Universe contestant. Thanks! -Editor
A Miss Universe contestant from El Salvador strutted onto stage this week wearing a bitcoin-inspired gold bodysuit, a glittering tribute to her country becoming the world's first to adopt the crypto-currency as legal tender two years ago.
Alejandra Guajardo, the Salvadoran beauty queen set to compete at the global contest's 71st annual event in New Orleans, shared photos and videos of herself in the costume on Instagram late Wednesday, complete with gold booted stilettos.
This week's Featured Web Site is the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society.
The Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study of coins, medals, tokens, paper money, and other objects of a numismatic nature from all parts of the world and all eras of history. One of the oldest numismatic societies in the United States, WPNS was founded in Pittsburgh in 1878. Membership is open to all persons with with an interest in the study of numismatics.