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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


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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 New subscribers this week include: Jason Elwell of the International Coin Club of El Paso; Chris Carter, via a Ron Guth YouTube video; and Michael DeYoanna. Welcome aboard! We now have 7,297 subscribers.

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.

This week we open with four new books, the Shekel Prize, one obit, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, Whitman Brands, and more.

Other topics this week include new banknote confusion, numismatic educational programs, conferences and symposia, the Dick Johnson collection and other auction highlights, Maundy money, marbled money, and that creepy book bound in human skin.

To learn more about early U.S. quarters, the Naseby Cup, Yehud coinage, Dated Coins of Antiquity, George Ohr's ceramic coins, the Pugilist Sower, slabbed coins, the legendary sneaker featuring printed money, Morse Code on Money, Islamic and Byzantine coinage, the Avery Library medal, a Bolen struck copy, the greatest coin robberies, the Dat So La Lee medal, people portrayed on both sides of the same coin, anthropodermic bibliopegy, and numismatic investment literature, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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Robert Powers has published the ninth book in his series of variety & die state attribution guides. -Editor

U.S Quarters 1796-1838 book cover Proudly presented to you is the 9th publication of a series of variety identification guides covering Early U.S. Coins. This book covers all of the currently known die marriages of the U.S. Quarters series from 1796-1838, including any newly discovered marriages not covered by any other guide. A complete list of all of the author’s previous publications to date are below, which are highly recommended:

  1. U.S. Large Cents 1793-1814 (Early Date Large Cents)
  2. U.S. Large Cents 1816-1839 (Middle Date Large Cents)
  3. U.S. Half Cents 1793-1857 (Complete Series)
  4. U.S. Half Dollars 1794-1807 (Flowing Hair and Draped Bust)
  5. U.S. Half Dollars 1807-1826 (Capped Bust Halves, Vol. 1)
  6. U.S. Half Dollars 1827-1836 (Capped Bust Halves, Vol. 2)
  7. U.S. Half Dimes 1792-1837 (Flowing Hair, Draped, and Capped Bust)
  8. U.S. Dimes 1792-1837 (Draped Bust and Capped Bust)
  9. U.S Quarters 1796-1838 (Draped Bust and Capped Bust)

Read more here


A new monograph by Ben Hellings is a detailed look at the amazing Naseby Cup in the Yale collection. -Editor

The Naseby Cup: Coins and Medals of the English Civil War
Benjamin D. R. Hellings

The Naseby Cup book cover One of the most exceptional numismatic objects in the world, the Yale University Art Gallery’s Naseby Cup was commissioned by John and Mary Frances Fitzgerald, Lord and Lady of the Manor at Naseby, in Northamptonshire, England. It commemorates the Battle of Naseby on June 14, 1645, during which the forces of the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax, defeated the Royalist army of King Charles I. Crafted by silversmiths Charles Reily and George Storer and completed in 1839, the intricately decorated Victorian cup stands more than two feet tall and features 72 coins, medals, badges, and counters from around the time of the English Civil War period (1642–51).

Many of these numismatic pieces are rare, such as a New England shilling from 1652 and a copy of an original 1644 Oxford crown of Charles I, which depicts the king on horseback and a view of the city. The cup is innovatively designed so that both the front and back of each piece are visible, one on the cup’s exterior, one on its interior. Integrating numismatics into the larger study of both art and history, this publication offers an in-depth look at the Naseby Cup and its many layers of meaning.

Read more here

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The following article alerted me to this new book published by the Israel Numismatic Society. -Editor

The Yehud Coinage
A Study and Die Classification of the Provincial Silver Coinage of Judah
by Haim Gitler, Catharine Lorber and Jean-Philippe Fontanille

The Yehud Coinage book cover This volume presents a die study of the provincial silver coinage of Judah in the late Persian, Macedonian, and early Hellenistic periods. It offers correct descriptions of the coins, their designs, and their inscriptions; enumerates the obverse and reverse dies identified for each of the 44 recorded types; and explains the probable sequence of the issues as deduced from iconographic associations and die links.

The iconography of the coin types is examined in depth, with comparisons to motifs in Greek, Persian, and ancient Near Eastern art, including other local coinages and sources in Judahite material culture. The monograph also analyzes data relating to the metrology, metal content, and circulation of the coinage. Overall, the study attempts to place the Yehud coinage in its historical context and to define its role in the economy of the ancient province of Judah.

Read more here

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The Shekel Prize is awarded annually to the best book published on the topic of ancient Judaean coins, coins of the Holy Land or Judaic numismatics. Here's the announcement of the 2024 winners. -Editor

  Shekel Prize Medal Obv ShekelPrize Medal Rev
The Shekel Prize medal was designed by Victor Huster.

  Scholars in Three Countries Win the 2024 Shekel Prize

Mel Wacks, President Emeritus of the American Israel Numismatic Association, has announced that the winners of the 2024 Shekel Prize are the co-authors of “The Yehud Coinage” - a comprehensive work weighing in at over 6 pounds and 832 pages. The die study was originally carried out by Jean-Philippe Fontanille, with commentary by Dr. Haim Gitler and Catharine Lorber. Gitler, Lorber and Fontanille are residents of Israel, the United States and Canada, respectively.

Read more here

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David L. Vagi submitted this review of the second release of Edward E. Cohen's Dated Coins of Antiquity. Thank you! Impressive review of an impressive work. -Editor

  Dated Coins of Antiquity DCA2 front covers

Dated Coins of Antiquity, Release 2 (DCA2), by Edward E. Cohen. Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., Lancaster, PA, 2023. Two volumes, hardbound. 907 pages. $195 from the publisher.

When Mr. Cohen’s Dated Coins of Antiquity originally was released in 2011, it was a monumental addition to numismatic literature. Ever since, its value has been proven worldwide among catalogers, dealers, curators, scholars, researchers and collectors who rely upon it to perform their work with accuracy and efficiency.

The release of DCA2 a dozen years after the original is an achievement on similar scale, if such a thing is reasonable to state. It’s not merely an update or slight revision, but a significant expansion of a work that most users might believe held little room for improvement.

Read more here

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E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on the late dealer and show promoter Gordon Berg. Thanks, Pete! -Editor

  Gordon Wells Berg (1936-2024)

Gordon.Berg.2024 This week I attempted to write a biography of Gordon Berg. I found there was a remarkable shortage of information. His name appears in the Newman Numismatic Portal about 960 times.

There are hundreds of references to the Baltimore show but there is little personal information. I did business with him and always enjoyed talking with him at shows in the 1980’s. I bought a large copper medallion from him that was featured in one of my exhibits.

Gordon was born on February 24, 1936. Census records show a Gordon W. Berg born in Ohio in 1936, the son of Rolland (1901-1947) and Sophia Berg. However, their connection to the coin dealer is unconfirmed.

Read more here

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Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following Easter Sunday report. Thanks! -Editor

An Easter Egg Hoard

numismaticfindso00klee_0001 Did you ever discover coins during an Easter Egg hunt? The May 1956 Numismatic Scrapbook reported a find of Spanish silver coins, discovered in beach sand while planting eggs for an egg hunt. John Kleeberg picks up the thread in Numismatic Finds of the Americas (entry 433), which describes the contents as “Spain, Charles III, 2 reales (pistareens), 1780-1784 (6).” Kleeberg helpfully adds a reference to the New York Times of March 30, 1956, which reported “Charles Holland, a workman cleaning the beach preparatory to hiding the eggs, raked up a half dozen old Spanish coins…Beach officials posted a watch at the scene to prevent trampling on the sand before the egg hunt. A number of adults had appeared with digging equipment to seek more of the coins.” One can imagine their disappointment upon excavating a rotten egg instead of a Charles III pistareen!

Read more here

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Len Augsburger also reminds us of the upcoming deadline for applications for the 2024 Newman Grants. Don't miss out - if you've got a great idea and could use some help with research expenses, please do consider it. Previous recipients have made excellent contributions to numismatic research. What great project do YOU have in mind? -Editor

EPNNES logo 2024 Newman Grant Deadline Nears

The Newman Grant program, sponsored by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES), annually awards grants for the purposes of original research in numismatics. This year’s program was previously announced in the January 28, 2024 E-Sylum, and the deadline for applications is April 15. Applications may be found on the Newman Numismatic Portal at and should be submitted to Grant awards will be announced on May 25, 2024, coincident with the late Eric P. Newman's birthday.

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 Executive Director Chris Cipoletti. -Editor

  future of the ANA 2005-04 title card

Read more here

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Looking forward to the future of numismatic publishing in the U.S., in his Spring 2024 CPG Market Review, Editor Patrick Ian Perez of the Greysheet discusses the recent merger of CDN Publishing with Whitman Publishing. -Editor

  Whitman Brands banner

As I mentioned in my last Editor’s message, towards the end of last year CDN Publishing acquired and subsequently merged with Whitman Publishing and their associated brands. At that time, we were still in the process of naming the new entity and trying to wrap our collective heads around the scope of the project. After careful deliberation and consideration, we landed on Whitman Brands. While there was an initial thought to create an innovative new brand name, it was recognized that the historic Whitman name had significant value. Thus, Whitman Brands was born. In the ensuing months, the personnel of the combined companies have been meeting with and learning about each other, in order to build a well-oiled numismatic publishing and data machine. From a personal standpoint, it has been invigorating to meet and work with new team members. I can feel that everyone has a singular focus to provide our hobby with resources to greatly enhance the collecting experience, and there has been much work done to this end.

Some of the earliest-ripening fruits of this labor will be both a refresh of long-appreciated titles and brand-new books for numismatists to enjoy. The team has been hard at work on the Sixth Edition of The Cherrypicker’s Guide, Volume 3. For those who may not be familiar, The Cherrypicker’s Guide is a reference book of United States coin varieties that have proven to be among the most popular, most widely collected, and most valuable. The third volume (of three) covers half dollar coins up through silver dollars, classic gold, modern Silver Eagles, and even U.S.-Philippines coinage. The sixth edition will feature all new updated coin values that are generated directly from our extensive pricing database. This will further represent a unification of pricing across multiple platforms.

Read more here

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George Ohr Coins at the Kirkland Museum
Ted Puls writes:

"I got to go play at the Kirkland Museum in Denver and took pictures of the George Ohr coins that they have on display."

  George Ohr exhibit George Ohr coin I Love U
  George Ohr coin Let's go George Ohr coin U Make My

Thanks. Museum quality! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: FEBRUARY 11, 2024 : George Ohr Works at the Kirkland Museum (

Other topics this week include the French Two Euro coin for the 2024 Olympic Games, and 1912 First Strike Coins from the U.S.Mint. -Editor

Read more here

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OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 500 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at


In an echo of the old "Josh Tatum" gold-plated "no cents" Liberty nickel story, Jim Haas came across this March 16, 1917 article about confused denominations, this time during a paper money design changeover. The story is from College Point, NY. -Editor

  College Point Cobbler Gives Wrong Change for a Dollar 1917-03-16 Daily Star

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Max Hensley edits Scripophily magazine for the International Bond & Share Society (IBSS). He passed along this commentary on “Important” Things in public auctions. Thanks. -Editor

I’m on the Sotheby’s promotion email campaigns so I get notice of all the big things Sotheby’s is offering for sale or auction. It used to be, years ago, when that venerable firm offered mostly old things with provenance and intrinsic value – antiques, paintings, coins, etc. “Important” is the term they applied to Louis XV ormolu-mounted girandoles. In that time, life was somewhat predictable and, well, language still had meaning.

So, I was shocked by an email notice of a March 26 Sotheby’s sale of “Important Sneakers and Modern Collectibles”. One word I do not associate with “sneakers” is “important”. Smelly, torn, fungus, stained, dirty, maybe. But not “important” by any stretch of the imagination.

Read more here

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The upcoming Michigan State Numismatic Society convention will feature a number of educational presentations. Here's the press release. Great lineup! -Editor

All meetings are in the Macomb Room!

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ANA President Tom Uram
ANA Update and “Morse Code on Money”

Tom Uram Newly elected ANA president Tom Uram will be coming to Michigan to speak at the MSNS Spring Convention. In addition to providing an update about ANA, he will also be doing a presentation titled “Morse Code on Money”. Having been involved in collecting since he was a child, he still loves to present to others sharing his numismatic knowledge.

Tom is an exceptionally good exhibitor and is well known in all areas of numismatics. He has been a delegate to presidential conventions since 1980. Extremely well connected, he was instrumental in having the legislation passed that enabled the passage of the circulating Morgan and Peace dollar in early 2021. During 2023, along with current CSNS vice-president Brett Irick, he was invited as a member of the public to the U.S. Mint Director’s Conference in Washington, D.C. He was chairperson of the CCAC- (Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee)- in addition to being the president of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. In his professional life, he owns a investment/advisor company in Western Pennsylvania.

Read more here

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The City University of New York is sponsoring a panel on Islamic coinage during the Byzantine and Sassanian Empires. -Editor

Friday, April 5, 2024
12:00 pm — 2:00 pm

Join the Circle for Late Antique and Medieval Studies for a panel discussion on Islamic coinage during the Byzantine and Sassanian Empires.

Read more here

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Princeton University is planning a conference devoted solely to Byzantine numismatics. Here's the announcement. Great idea! To be held on April 26-28, it is free and open to the public. -Editor

  From Solidus to Stavraton logo

From Solidus to Stavraton: Coinage and Money in the Byzantine World
April 26-28, 2024

This three-day international conference, to be held at Princeton University will be the first ever devoted solely to Byzantine numismatics, and it will reunite renowned scholars and specialists from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the U.S.

The acquisition of the collections of Peter Donald and Chris and Helen Theodotou, totaling over 17,000 coins, has placed Princeton University at the forefront of institutions supporting research in Byzantine numismatics. Both of these purchases were made with the help of generous support of the Friends of Princeton University Library and the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies.

Read more here

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“Money, War and More” is the theme of the Second Annual Numismatics Symposium presented by Nickle Galleries and the Calgary Numismatic Society (CNS), taking place April 27-28, 2024. -Editor

money war and more symposium logo “The Money, War and More symposium examines the interplay between money, power and the capacity to wage war, starting in the ancient era and progressing through to the present,” explains Marina Fischer, curator of numismatics at Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary. “It shows the crucial importance of economic power as the basic underpinning of all strategic considerations and strategies. This event hopes to draw attention to a connection between the history of war and money, an aspect of military power that is often ignored.”

The April 27-28 symposium offers ten numismatic presentations by several experts from across Canada. It also includes two workshops that will assist collectors in “Making Good Purchases” and better understanding “Tools for the Coin Collector.”

Read more here

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Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. This one has some terminology for bibliophiles. -Editor

Photography. Creating continuous-tone graphic images of coins and medals for use to illustrate articles, catalogs, books, advertisements. Coin photography is a branch of macro photography – closeup photography. Factors of lighting, focus and sharpness of detail are important factors in this field of photography. The intent is to show detail, often that is not that apparent to the naked eye, but is not just a magnified image.

Read more here

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Stack’s Bowers Numismatist Chris Bulfinch wrote a nice article about the life and work of the late Dick Johnson. See the next article in this issue for selections from the upcoming Stack's Bowers sale of Dick's collection. -Editor

  dick Johnson Collection 2

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is honored to be offering the D. Wayne Johnson (better known as Dick Johnson) Collection of art medals, coins, non-art medals, tokens, numismatic art, and assorted exonumia in a series of sales in 2024, starting with the April 17 Collectors Choice Online Auction of Tokens and Medals.

Richard Wayne Johnson, known as D. Wayne Johnson or Dick Johnson, was a well-known collector of tokens and medals, author of numerous books and articles on art medals and associated terminology, numismatic terminology, and hobby news. He was a talented cataloger and numismatic historian who was a fixture in the world of art medals and the broader numismatic community for well over half a century. Additionally Johnson was active in numerous numismatic organizations over the course of his long and varied career.

Read more here

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Stack’s Bowers will be selling the collection of the late Dick Johnson in April. Here's the announcement and several selected lots. Some nice items, many seldom seen. See the previous article in this issue for more on Dick's life and work. -Editor

  dick Johnson Collection

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to present our first offering from the Richard Wayne (Dick) Johnson Collection. Johnson was the founding editor of Coin World and a noted expert on art medals along with a wide range of other numismatic topics and concepts. He spent the vast majority of his career in numismatics, working for the Medallic Art Company and operating his own firms that specialized in medals and art medals (a distinction in which Johnson placed great stock). He was well-known in U.S. numismatic circles, not least for his prolific contributions to a range of numismatic publications covering a wide range of topics.

This first presentation will feature medals struck by the illustrious firm Tiffany and Co. and includes scarce and esoteric types both vintage and modern. Medals in silver and bronze are represented in quantity and cover many topics, ensuring something of interest for nearly every collector. The collection as a whole provides a window into the medallic production of a firm that continues to operate today, and collectors will appreciate the opportunity to view it from a historical perspective.

Read more here

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Here's the press release for the upcoming Auction 14 from MDC Monaco. Nice variety of great world coins and medals. -Editor

At MDC Monaco, we have the pleasure to announce our next numismatic auction n°14, which will take place at the Metropole Hôtel in Monaco, on Friday the 3rd, and Saturday the 4th of May, 2024. On this occasion, we will also present the collection of colonial coins from Jean Lecompte.

  • First session, Friday the 3rd of May – 1h30pm – 7pm (Lots n°1 to n°689)
  • Second session, Saturday 4th of May – 9:30am – 12am (Lots n°690 to n°1012)
  • Third session, Saturday 4th of May – 1:30pm – 4:45pm (Lots n°1013 to n°1515)
  • Fourth session, Saturday 4th of May – 5pm – 7pm (Lots n°1516 to n°1726)

Read more here

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Here's an addendum to last week's numismatic diary. First, here's more information on a couple interesting colonial pieces passed around the table at the March 2024 Nummis Nova meeting. Both were recent purchases from Jeff Rock's latest fixed price list. -Editor

In his introduction to the list, Jeff writes:

“Let’s face it. Rarities are cool. They make headlines when they sell, and the most famous rarities seem to break record after record as more collectors want to own these “trophy coins,” and have the resources to bid aggressively.…What often gets lost is that there are still extremely rare coins – sometimes even unique ones! – that are available for a mere pittance, at least if one looks beyond the most popular series. There is something special in knowing you have one of only a couple examples of a variety known – or maybe the only one known – and the feeling is even better when it did NOT cost you the equivalent of several houses in Southern California!

For this price list (#26) I decided to focus on rarities. Everything on this price list is Rarity-6 to Rarity-9 in nature – yes, with some unique things included! – with the exception of state coinages (other than Connecticut coppers) and Fugios, where the threshold was set at Rarity-5, simply because there are so few R-6+ varieties in those series that are currently available – or affordable… This focus solely on rarity means that there are more of certain types than usual, because that is where rarity and affordability intersect, especially St. Patrick’s and Hibernia coppers, the French Colonies issues, and Connecticut coppers – though there is a wide offering of other series as well. While it is unlikely that a $100,000 New Jersey copper will double in value anytime soon, it only takes a couple new collectors to make a $500 Hibernia into a four-figure coin.”

Read more here

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Happy Easter. Here's an excerpt from a 2015 article by Andrew Crellin on the tradition of Maundy Coinage. -Editor

1902 Maundy coins The first royal Maundy money ceremony took place when King Charles II gave people undated hammered coins in 1662. The distribution of coins to deserving citizens across the UK on Maundy Thursday continues today - Maundy coins have proven to be a rewarding, challenging and historic series of coins for collectors to acquire.

Many sources describe Maundy Thursday as the Christian holy day just before Good Friday, and that it commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. The term “maundy” refers to the foot-washing ceremony that Jesus Christ originally performed on his disciples.

While a foot-washing ceremony will strike many non-Christians in the 21st century as being rather archaic, this passage of the Bible shows that Christ intended it to be a physical demonstration of the equality of all in the eyes of God - no man is so higher or lower than another that they cannot wash their brother’s feet, or have them washed:

"If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Read more here

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Dat so? The Nevada State Museum has struck a new medal on trusty old Coin Press No. 1. -Editor

Datsolalee Commemorative Medallion The Nevada State Museum unveiled a new medallion in honor of Women’s History Month on March 20, 2024.

The new medallion honors Dat So La Lee, the “Queen of the Basket Weavers.”

Dat So La Lee, or Louisa Keyser, was a prominent Washoe weaver at the turn of the last century. Her works of art are highly sought after to this day. The new medallion is second in the Women’s History Series; the first was Agnes Train, one of the first women curators to work at the Nevada State Museum in the 1940s.

The new design was composed by Museum Exhibits Preparator Jeanette McGregor and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor Tom Rogers. The half-ounce .999 fine silver medallions are struck on historic Coin Press No. 1. This working artifact is the original coin press which made United States currency from 1870-1893 when Carson City hosted a branch of the United States Mint.

The Datsolalee medallion concept was approved and completed in conjunction with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

Read more here


The nonprofit library JSTOR published a short article on the origin of marbling as a paper money anti-counterfeiting measure. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume IX, Number 40, March 19, 2024) -Editor

  Continental Currency $20 with marbling

Paper money was only the promise of value, so people had reason to be more skeptical of early banknotes. Creating a reliable cash currency has meant fighting against counterfeiters. Serial numbers, sophisticated plate engraving, special paper: central banks have used all kinds of techniques to create authentic banknotes that can be distinguished from fakes. One eighteenth-century option was marbling.

Marbling, the printing of a marble-like pattern on paper by floating dyes on a water bath, was a technique that had been developed in Persia and India before spreading throughout the Ottoman Empire. When it made its way to Europe, it appealed to both artists and London’s world of financiers, who used it on banknotes and bonds. As historian Jake Benson describes, the idea caught on fairly fast:

Read more here

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Justin Perrault writes:

"In the realm of the cashless society debate, I found this to be a particularly interesting article, especially since it concerns our National Park Service."

National Park Service shoulder patch Three Americans are suing the National Park Service over the agency's refusal to accept cash payments to enter parks across the U.S.

The Americans - from California, New York and Georgia - filed the lawsuit earlier this month in federal court in Washington, D.C., saying that the park service is violating federal law by not allowing guests to pay cash to enter various parks, monuments and historic sites.

The lawsuit says the park service's police violates a U.S. law that says that "coins and currency ... are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues."

Read more here


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

Seeing Double: Same Person on Both Sides of a Coin

Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker of CoinWeek published a fun piece on people portrayed on both sides of the same coin. They are more examples of this that you may have thought of - check it out. -Editor

  1900 Lafayette Dollar

A rare occurrence on coins from the United States, there are still a few examples of the same individual being portrayed on both sides of a coin. In our experience, the obverse is usually a portrait bust, and the reverse shows that an individual in some place or tableau is historically related to them.

The Lafayette dollar was struck in 1899 and is the first commemorative dollar coin issued by the United States. The coin features a jugate or accolated portrait of George Washington and Lafayette on the obverse, and a depiction of Paul Wayland Bartlett’s statue of Lafayette mounted on horseback on the reverse. Interestingly, this silver dollar is also the first appearance of George Washington on a U.S. coin. 50,000 coins were struck, with 12,000 being sent to France for sale. In France, the coin sold horribly, and 10,000 were returned. The Lafayette dollar found more interest from American collectors. In total, 36,000 coins were sold, and 14,000 were returned to the Mint and melted.

To read the complete article, see:
People Portrayed on Both the Obverse and Reverse of the Same Coin (

Other topics this week include catching a gold scammer, and numismatic investment literature. -Editor

Read more here


We've never come across a numismatic book thus bound, but for bibliophiles and followers of anthropodermic bibliopegy, here's the latest news on that Harvard University library book that may or may not have been bound in human skin. -Editor

  Des destinées de l'ame cover Des destinées de l'ame title page

Of the roughly 20 million books in Harvard University’s libraries, one has long exerted a unique dark fascination, not for its contents, but for the material it was reputedly bound in: human skin.

For years, the volume — a 19th-century French treatise on the human soul — was brought out for show and tell, and sometimes, according to library lore, used to haze new employees. In 2014, the university drew jokey news coverage around the world with the announcement that it had used new technology to confirm that the binding was in fact human skin.

Read more here

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