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About Us

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit association devoted to the study and enjoyment of numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link


There is a membership application available on the web site Membership Application

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Print/Digital membership is $40 to addresses in the U.S., and $60 elsewhere. A digital-only membership is available for $25. For those without web access, write to:

Jeff Dickerson, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 578,
Weatherford, TX 76086


For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact Jeff at this email address:


To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:


Sale Calendar

Watch here for updates!


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.


Wayne Homren 2017-03-15 full Thank you for reading The E-Sylum. If you enjoy it, please send me the email addresses of friends you think may enjoy it as well and I'll send them a subscription. Contact me at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

Oops! Last week I somehow managed to run last year's ad for Steve Davis's annual Numismatic Auctions, LLC sale. Sorry for the confusion. I sure think I got it right this time, but who knows what else I bumbled. Anyway, I included an extra copy of this year's ad in this week's email. See the article elsewhere in this issue with some selections from the sale, and be sure to browse the lots.

This week we open with two new books, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notes from readers and more.

Other topics this week include the Morgan Dollar 1878 8 Tail Feathers (8TF) and 7 over 8 Tail Feathers (7/8TF) varieties, sample slabs, the American Numismatic Society, coin gift holders, the New Orleans Mint in the Civil War, clickbait numismatic headlines, pebbled surfaces, fixed price and auction previews, women on ancient coins, community currencies in Japan, and currency in science fiction.

To learn more about gold placer disks, gold pressed latinum, the Charleston Freedman Badge, the Numismatic Bug, Del Romines, Jim Johnson's "poor man’s Eliasberg collection," a gold 'Zodiac' mohur, the ‘Gothic’ crown of 1847, the Jewish Bath in Speyer medal, the Mint of Poland's levitating coin, and the "Rare Bicentennial Quarter Worth Nearly $49 Million USD," read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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  Levitating Coin, UFO MP-1766 floating
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Leroy C. Van Allen and Michael S. Fey have published a new book on Amazon Kindle on the story of the Morgan Dollar 8 & 7 over 8 Tail Feather varieties. -Editor

Morgan Dollar Tail Feather Story book cover Morgan Dollar 8 & 7 over 8 Tail Feather Story
by Leroy C. Van Allen (Author), Michael S. Fey (Editor) Sooner or later every advance collector/investor of Morgan silver dollars will gravitate toward 1878 8 Tail Feathers (8TF) and 7 over 8 Tail Feathers (7/8TF) varieties. Why? These silver dollars represent the first few weeks and months of production. They are considered by advanced collectors as the “caviar” of silver dollars, the first ones of the new silver dollar design fresh off the press. They were struck with a higher relief than later silver dollars, and are often seen with beautiful one-sided or two-sided cameo proof-like (PL) and deep-proof-like (DMPL) strikes. They represent the some of the most appealing of the Morgan dollar series.

The striking of the new, untested design was fraught with many problems. Dies cracked under the pressure of striking, numerous die marriages exist, many different dies were hand engraved, mintages on many varieties were very small, designs were changed, and expedients were engaged to try to save costly dies and save time in order to meet a Congressionally mandated mintage of 2 million coins a month.

Read more here

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A sample slab is a certified coin holder given away by a grading service as an example of its work. The 2nd edition of David Schwager’s Sample Slabs catalog (pictured) was published in 2016, sold out and was reprinted in 2019. A third edition is being worked on by Burton Strauss. Here's some information about it. -Editor

Sample Slabs 2nd ed First published in 2015, with a 2nd edition in 2016, the "Sample Slabs book was the first of it's kind.

Coverage includes Sample, Promotional, Club, Show, Luncheon, Novelty, and Young Numismatist Coin and Currency Holders. The second edition had 180 more listings and 300 more photos than the first edition, bringing the counts to 35 services, 760+ types and over 900 photos.

Future 3rd Edition As great as "the book" is, in 2022, it's a little long in the tooth. New samples are discovered almost every day. New companies are issuing samples. It's time for an update.

Given our assumptions of the number of new samples to be added, we expect will be splitting the third edition into two volumes:

Read more here

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Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report on a recent research discovery. Thanks. -Editor


Newman Portal Solves the Case of the Missing Gold Article

In the October 21, 2012 E-Sylum, Alaska dealer Dick Hanscom described a search for a long lost numismatic article that remained stubbornly lodged in his memory: “I remember an article in Coin World or Numismatic News Weekly about a pressed disk made from placer gold. This would be in the years ownership of bullion was prohibited. Ownership of placer gold was legal, so this was a way to ‘fabricate’ it into a more convenient form rather than gold dust. I have looked through Coin World from 1970 to 1975 (the years that I believe it would have been) but have not had the opportunity to look through Numismatic News Weekly.”

Read more here

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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 2005 with Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan speaking about American Coin Collections at the American Numismatic Society. -Editor

  American Coin Collections at the ANS title card

Read more here


Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger forwarded this press release on a group of numismatic exhibits now on display at Washington University in St. Louis. -Editor

Washington University in St. Louis Hosts Numismatic Exhibits

Washington University’s Olin Library announces seven numismatic exhibits that are now open to the public and will run through July 7, 2024. The library features such exhibits on a rotating basis, with recent installations covering the history of play money, World War II internment camp issues, and other subjects. In addition to exhibits, the library’s numismatic mission includes the administration of the Newman Numismatic Portal,

The exhibit Freedom Will Be Ours: Medals and Money in Black America, features a group of coins, medals, and tokens with varied connections to Black history. Loaned by John Kraljevich, the highlight of this group is an example of the Charleston Freedman Badge, issued by the city of Charleston, SC to free persons of color between 1783 and 1789. This piece is one of ten known and was recently discovered by a detectorist in the Charleston area.

Read more here

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Craig Sholley and Harry Salyards submitted this reply to Bob Julian's notes last week on the fineness of the silver in early U.S. coinage and the exchange of U.S. silver dollars for Spanish dollars in the Caribbean. Thank you. -Editor

Holed 1763 Mexico Silver 8 Reales obverse In response to RW Julian’s comments re our brief note on Alexander Hamilton being right, we first wish to note that we have seen no period document referencing the Bank of the United States “refusing” to deposit Spanish dollars prior to 1805 or the agreement between Director Boudinot and the bank president. Perhaps Mr. Julian could post links or photocopies of the documents to which he refers.

As to the Bank of the United States’ “rule” against depositing Spanish dollars, it must have been “relaxed” several times prior to 1802. The very first deposit containing the notation “Spanish dollars” (US Mint Records, Entry 113, available on NNP) was a mixed deposit of Spanish dollars and French crowns on Oct. 6, 1800 amounting to $10,000.15.

Read more here

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John Sallay submitted these notes and images on coin gift holders. Thanks! -Editor

  coin gift card and box

coin gift box open In last week’s E-Sylum, Bill Miller wondered about the age of the stamped brass coin gift holder in his collection, similar to one pictured in a January article by Victor Bozarth on the PCGS site.

Based on just the design and manufacturing style, Bill may be right that his coin gift holder dates from the mid-to-late nineteenth century. I believe, though, that these sorts of holders and perhaps even his specific holder were manufactured and used for gold coin gifts all the way into the early 1930s. And similar but less expensive cardboard cases were used for silver coin gifts for even a few more decades into the twentieth century.

Here are photos of a case similar to Bill’s, made from the same dies, but with a slightly different hinge and clasp arrangement. It was given to my grandmother by her employer as a Christmas gift circa 1927-28, when she worked as a secretary for a company in Cleveland following her high school graduation, before she was married. The coin inside is a quarter eagle, but the depression in the plush velvet is sized for a half eagle, about 22mm. Maybe the higher-ups in the company were given the higher denomination coin that completely filled the hole.

Read more here

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Art Kagin and the Good Old Days
Regarding last's week's video of a 2005 panel of luminaries trading stories of their early days in the hobby, master of ceremonies Ron Guth writes:

"I remember that presentation very well, especially Art's comment about adding a zero to a coin's value every ten years. I miss him...and those "good old days." It's hard to believe it's been almost 20 years since that video was made."

  Art Kagin 2005
Art Kagin

I think this every week, and need to say it more often - thank you, David Lisot, for your years of dedication to recording videos of numismatic events. These already are, and will continue to be, a great resource for future generations of numismatists. Thanks also to the Newman Numismatic Portal for acquiring and hosting this archive. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Other topics this week include a Quarter Counterfeiter. -Editor

Read more here

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Christopher Baker and James Ricks of Atlas Numismatics have a question for our readers. -Editor


We were wondering if you or your readers might be able to assist us in searching for some information about a set of coins that we have been having some difficulty finding out about. We would be grateful if E-Sylum readers may have any details regarding: coin specifications, number of sets issued/mintages or examples of any original advertising literature showing when these were available for sale?

The coins are reproductions (modern restrikes) of classic French types issued circa 1972 by Monnaie de Paris and Numismatics International, a commercial operation which may have been based in Milan, Italy.


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Tom Hoke submitted these notes on an interesting mislabeled record book from the New Orleans Mint. Thanks! Nice discovery. -Editor

  Mislabeled History: A Billion Dollar Mistake!

New Orleans Mint Gold Book label One of the flaws in archiving history could be an error, or it could have been done on purpose.

If you want to research what happened at the New Orleans Mint while the mint was still under Federal Control before it was turned over to the state of Louisiana and subsequently to the Confederacy, as the Civil War got underway April 13, 1861, it is easy to learn the remaining records can be found in Ft. Worth, Texas at the National Archives and Records Administration in a large leather-bound book called the "Gold Book" because it contains the details for all jewelry and gold transactions for many years.

Written page by page by hand in a beautiful script style, the "Gold Book" provides an accurate and precise record of the yearly and monthly day by day exchanges of gold and jewelry for the New Orleans mint.

Read more here

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Some numismatic research questions can be resolved quickly. One of them played out this afternoon, when Central States Numismatic Society President Mitch Ernst forwarded to me and Newman Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger this message from website visitor Terry Crain, with the subject line "1964 copyrighted coin". -Editor

"I am a Beatles researcher and author (Beatles U.S. memorabilia, etc.). I have an odd but intriguing question:

"A copyright was issued on Nov 18, 1964, for a "Numismatic Bug. [Dimensional Beatle-like.]" It was copyrighted to a Bettye J. Klauss, who I believe was a member of the Evansville Numismatic Club at that time.

"I was wondering if any of your members had an image of this piece, or if an image exists in your archives. I am curious because it was listed as 'Beatle-like.'

"Any information or leads would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!"

Read more here

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  I'm a real numismatist, and here's what I think about crappy clickbait headlines

One of the things I love about The E-Sylum is how we can hear directly from experts in the field and people who were there in the room when numismatic history happened. These first-person accounts are invaluable, which is why headlines such as "I’m the WSJ’s Tax Columnist. Here’s How I Tackle My Own Taxes" draw interest from readers.

But to piggyback on this natural instinct, spammers and clickbait headline writers (or their robots) have glommed onto this by falsely claiming first-person authorship, such as in this breathless numismatic headline from The U.S. Sun: "I found ‘silver-looking’ pennies in the reject slot of a Coinstar machine – turns out they’re worth up to $108,000." -Editor

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Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor

Pebbled Surface. A background texture of raised dots or tiny hemispheres, each of which is called a BOSS. This form of texture can be made by modeling or by the use of the dapple tool in the negative model or in the die, or by a puncheon with an incuse cupped hemisphere. The Japanese developed this surface to a high degree for tsubas, they called this texture "fish roe surface" (nanako), where the bosses were as small as one-hundredth of an inch diameter. A pebbled surface is the opposite of dappled surface (where the dots are sunken indentations). See dapple tool, dapple surface.

Read more here

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E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on numismatic author Del Romines. Thanks! -Editor

  Delma Kenneth Romines (1935-2013)

Del.Romines.1988 When I interviewed Del Romines, he estimated that his collection in 1990 included about a half-million coins and he continued collecting. Would that be the largest American coin collection?

Romines was born in Slick Rock, Kentucky, on November 8, 1935. He was the son of Carlos Winston Romines (1909-1993), a farmer, and Eula Mae Carter (1907-1991).

In 1944, he found a small magnifying glass in a box of Cracker Jacks and began to study coins in detail. In 1948, he discovered the 1943/2 Jefferson nickel but had difficulty getting worn pieces authenticated. The variety was not confirmed until 1971 when a high-grade specimen was found.

Read more here


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Pete Smith's question about the largest collection(s) in the U.S. prompted these responses from readers. Bern Nagengast submitted these notes on Jim Johnson and his "poor man’s Eliasberg collection." Thanks! -Editor

James Johnson Jr Here’s a story about what might be called a poor man’s Eliasberg collection. The late James G Johnson Jr. (1909-1992), who readers may remember as author of Coin World’s “Fair to Very Fine” and “Collectors Clearinghouse” columns, assembled one of the most complete US coin collections before he passed away. Jim joined Coin World as associate editor in 1960, retiring in 1974. He started collecting coins in the late 1940’s and at some point decided to assemble a collection of every regular issue circulation coin listed in the “Redbook”, starting in 1793 (no varieties or proofs).

Jim explained that the only way to make this affordable was to restrict it to the lowest collectible grade and limit it to half cents through silver dollars. By the time he passed away he had completed the collection missing only three coins – 1823 quarter and 1796 and 1797 half dollars. He had given up on those three because “they had gotten too expensive in any grade for me to afford them”. Keep in mind that this was done on his modest salary while raising a family.

Jim at one time owned a circulated 1894S dime and did extensive research on that issue. Jim displayed some of his collection at a meeting of the Shelby County Ohio Coin Club in the 1980’s and was asked about the 1894-S dime. Jim’s reply – “I sold it because it became too valuable to own”.

Much of his modern coin collection portion was assembled from searching rolls of coins, including Morgan and Peace Dollars. For many years he would cash his paycheck in silver dollars and was able to eventually find every date and mint at face value, especially after the massive Treasury releases of the 1960’s. Jim was very private about his collection, but was known for his extensive numismatic knowledge and his willingness to share it.

Read more here

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Here's a press release with results of CNG's Triton XXVII sale from last month's New York International Numismatic Convention. -Editor

  CNG’s Triton Auction Doubles Estimate to hit $12.5 million

A rare gold coin struck by the last independent Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt sold for a staggering $245,000 as strong demand for rare and important ancient, world and British coins drove prices in Classical Numismatic Group’s Triton XXVII Auction, held live in New York City and online January 9-10, 2024, to double the $5.5 million presale estimate, reaching a total of $11.1 million for the 1300-lot offering.

Two follow-up internet auctions, Triton XXVII Sessions 5 and 6, held January 17-18, also better than doubled their presale estimates to bring the total, bringing the total two-week haul to $12.5 million.

Read more here

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Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick sent along these four medals from his most recent upload of new material to his site. For all of the new items, please visit -Editor

  Christopher Columbus Columbian Expo Souvenir medal

102747 | UNITED STATES & GERMANY. Christopher Columbus/Columbian Expo Souvenir bronze Medal. Issued 1893 for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America (50mm, 42.14 g, 12h). By Mayer & Wilhelm in Stuttgart. CHRISTOPHER COLOMBUS / BORN 1456 DIED 1506, half-length bust of Columbus facing slightly left, holding charts; all within wreath / SOUVENIR WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION, CHICAGO, U.S.A. 1892-1893, two female allegories (Italia and America) to right, one seated and one standing, pointing at a distance to left over the expo ground; Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria on horizon to left with rising sun; above, crowned coat-of-arms of Italy with griffins as supporters; in two lines in exergue, 1492–1892 / IV. CENTENNIAL. Edge: Plain. Eglit 55; Rulau B6A; cf. Bernd Kaiser V, 128 (white metal). Gem Mint State. Rich brown surfaces, with great brilliance in the fields. $275.

During the lead-up to the quadricentennial of Columbus's initial contact with the New World, numerous medals were designed and struck, both in the United States—in conjunction with the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago—and abroad, sometimes for this event or for similar others.

To read the complete item description, see:
102747 | UNITED STATES & GERMANY. Columbian Expo Souvenir Bronze Medal. (

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Steve Davis of Numismatic Auctions LLC is holding Sale 68 this month. Here are some selections. -Editor

  Lot 1 Obverses Lot 1 Reverses

Lot 1: US 1787 Massachusetts 1/2 Cent & Cent Evanson Copy Pair. Lustrous mostly Red Brilliant Unc, cpl tiny spots/fingermarks. 2 coins.

Nice copies. Can anyone tell us more about Evanson? -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:

Read more here

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Sovereign Rarities' latest auction sale closes February 21st. Here's the announcement. -Editor

Sovereign Rarities is pleased to present our latest auction offering, and first auction of 2024, Auction XII.

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Lot 8

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Lot 12

Sovereign Rarities E-Sylum ad Auction 12 The auction commences with a varied group of ancient coins, including issues from Greece, Rome, and Baktria. Of particular note is the Leo I gold Solidus from Constantinople, which is in lustrous Extremely Fine condition, estimated at £480-800 (lot 12). We are also pleased to offer a wide range of Roman Imperial coins, one of which is a popular issue of Domitian featuring a design which recalls the famous legend of Romulus and Remus and the She-Wolf that cared for them in their infancy. The coin is estimated at £180-300 and is a Very Fine issue of this rare and popular coin (lot 8). The mixed Roman Imperial coin lots feature between 10 and 15 coins per lot and are sure to be popular among collectors given their wide scope and different designs (lots 13-19).

Read more here


The Künker Spring Auction Sales 402-407 are now online. Here's a preview of catalog 402 featuring Coins from the Ancient World, including the first part of the Dr. Kaya Sayar's Collection (Greek Coins from Asia Minor). -Editor

Lycia, Pamphylia and Cilicia: The Sayar Collection

One of the finest collections of Greek coins from Asia Minor will be auctioned off by Künker. On sale is the first part of the Dr. Kaya Sayar Collection, including more than 500 lots with coins from Lycia, Pamphylia and Cilicia. This highlight is the prelude to the general auction of coins from the ancient world.

Collecting is a passion – and you can most definitely feel this passion when browsing through catalog 402. It presents the first part of the Dr. Kaya Sayar Collection, which will be offered on 14 and 15 March 2024 at Künker in Osnabrück.

Read more here

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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

Gordian III Pentassarion of Nicopolis

Gordian III Pentassarion of Nicopolis

Gordian III Æ Pentassarion of Nicopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior. AD 238-244. Sabinius Modestus, legatus Augusti. A?T K M ANT GO??IANOC A?G, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust to right / ?? CAB MO??CTO? NIKO?O??ITON ??OC ICT?ON, arched open gateway within crenellated wall flanked by round towers. RPC VII.2 1263; Varbanov 4181. 11.82g, 27mm, 2h.

Extremely Fine; in an excellent state of preservation. Rare.

A nice architectural piece. From the upcoming Roma Numismatics sale. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
Gordian III Æ Pentassarion of Nicopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior (

Other topics this week include an American Bank Note Company advertising specimen note, and the Jewish Bath in Speyer medal. -Editor

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Mike Markowitz published a CoinWeek article featuring "10 Beautiful Women on Ancient Coins." Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

ANCIENT GREEKS AND Romans regarded their deities as having perfect human forms. Their gods were (mostly) divinely handsome, and their goddesses were supernaturally beautiful. When ancient coin engravers began to represent real men and women, they naturally followed the conventions of beauty long established by sculptors working in three dimensions and painters working in two.

What makes a face beautiful? This is a subject that has been intensively studied by social psychologists, as well as plastic surgeons. In general, Greco-Roman standards of beauty were much the same as those prevailing in our own time in the West, with the possible exception that ancients favored plumper cheeks–an indication of high status, in a world where only the elite were well fed.

Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the following is offered as a highly personal selection of beautiful women on ancient coins.

Read more here

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Local currencies continue to pop up around the globe. Found via the Coin of Note Newsletter #14 ( is an article from The Japan Times about initiatives in that country. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

When not surfing or studying, he works part-time as a barista at a coffee stand in CO Blue Center, a beachside complex that also houses a sauna, an ecologically oriented library and information clearinghouse, a marine agri-tech company and spaces for art exhibitions, satellite offices and co-working. Hamamura lauds CO Blue for its flexible working conditions, but he was also drawn to the center by its eco-friendly ethos of addressing problems such as ocean plastics, deforestation and the looming food crisis.

One initiative that particularly excites him is Re:COIN, a program that upcycles plastic beach trash into “coins,” which can then be redeemed at nearby businesses. The more beach trash you bring to CO Blue, the more coins you can get in return.

Read more here

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John Dale Beety writes:

John Dale Beety "This week, I published another article of possible interest to readers. It's for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), and it's about creating currencies for short stories, novels, and the like.

"The numismatic content should be mostly familiar to E-Sylum readers, but the examples of currencies in fiction may be of interest and supplement a few reading / watching / playing lists."

Thank you - great topic! Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

Read more here


Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor

Isle of Man Phasing Out 1p and 2p Coins

David Pickup passed along two articles about the Isle of Man's decision to phase out small copper coins. Thank you. -Editor

  Isle of Man coins

The Isle of Man is planning to phase out 1p and 2p coins with cash rounding despite kick back from the Manx people over concerns about inflation.

The Isle of Man stopped minting Manx pennies - which are part of their own currency and equal in value to the UK penny - in 2016 because the cost of making them was more than their value.

Last year, a consultation on whether 1p, 2p and 5p coins should be scrapped altogether was held but almost half of respondents came out against it - so the plan was shelved.

To read the complete articles, see:
The British island trying to kill off 'pointless' 1p and 2p coins: Isle of Man reveals plans to phase out coppers by rounding up prices despite fears the plan will cause inflation - after not minting new pennies for eight years (
The Isle of Man’s big move to phase out little coins (

Other topics this week include cryptocurrency, Ukraine's Valentine's Day Coin, and Singapore's ATM monkey. -Editor

Read more here


In the never-saw-a-coin-do-THAT department, here's a levitating UFO coin from the Mint of Poland. -Editor

  Levitating Coin, UFO MP-1766

The Mint of Poland introduces UFO MP-1766, the world's first levitating coin, honoring its 1766 founding year with legal tender in Cameroonian francs. This innovative, glow-in-the-dark silver coin pushes the boundaries of numismatics and demonstrates the power of human imagination.

In a remarkable fusion of art, science, and currency, the Mint of Poland, or Mennica Polska, has unveiled the world's first "flying coin," christened UFO MP-1766. This innovative piece, a testament to the mint's ingenuity, pays homage to its founding year, 1766, and the science-fiction aesthetics of a spaceship.

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