The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 6, February 5, 2017, Article 11


First 1794 Dollar Article Updated
David Finkelstein writes (in today's issue of the JR Newsletter):

1794 dollar Since publishing my article titled “The First 1794 Dollar Released From The Mint” in the January 29, 2017 JR Newsletter, I had the opportunity to correspond with Robert Julian, and archivists from the National Archives and Library of Congress.

Robert Julian mentioned and quoted from the October 16, 1794 Edmund Randolph letter in an April, 2016 Coins Magazine article, therefore I am not the first to reference it. I have also obtained digital access to George Washington’s diaries and Secretary of State Edmund Randolph’s outgoing letter book.

As a result, I have revised my article to include a reference to Robert Julian’s Coins Magazine article and have added images of 2 documents. The only text changes to my article are in the section titled “October 16, 1794” and the paragraph preceding it.

Thanks for the update. -Editor

To read the revised article, see:
The First 1794 Dollar Released From The Mint - REVISED (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

On Searching Contemporary Newspapers for Numismatic Content
Regarding Julia Purdy's great find of the 1787 newspaper article describing the Connecticut copper coins, Randy Clark writes:

connecticutmasscentinel4 Over the years, I have been through most of the Connecticut newspapers looking for news related to numismatics (like the Rhode Island legislative proposal to mint coppers ... and, of course, references to Connecticut's state coinage). But I have not looked as completely in adjacent states for references.

It seems like the search abilities are getting more sophisticated ... Lou Jordan, through his Notre Dame affiliation, was able to quickly search through period newspapers available electronically for references we needed to transcribe/interpret those recently found Connecticut account books.

Fantastic stuff ... and an awakening (of sorts) for researchers that cannot camp out for months in museum and library archives. Now, if we could just get the next generation to be interested in something other than video games (smile).

Thanks again, Julia. That find was a gem. -Editor

Arbuthnot Tables of Ancient coins Bob Van Arsdell writes:

The Martinus Scriblerus article mentions John Arbuthnot - a numismatic author in his own right.

He wrote two books on ancient coin weights, the best known is "Tables of Ancient Coins, weights and measures, explained and exemplified in several dissertations", 1727. I've attached a photo of the title page. John Arbuthnot's name doesn't appear in the 1727 book, only that of his son, Charles. The son had written a poem at the beginning of the book - including poetry was a common practice at the time. J. Tonson was a famous printer and publisher of fine books in 18th century London.

Thanks. Coincidentally, I included a copy of the Arbuthnot book in my note today on the upcoming Charlie Davis literature sale. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Extracting Coins Embedded in Acryllic
Web site visitor Kristen Anderson writes:

I came across your article on freezing acrylic covered coins last week... We have like 50 silver dollars encased in Lucite that I could not figure out how to get out! Thanks so much for this great advice - I bought some dry ice at the store just now and have been cracking lucite off all over the place (after chilling the coins for 15-20 mins)! I'm so glad we don't have to use any awful chemicals. Many thanks!

You're welcome! We have several articles on the topic - below is a link to one by Harry Waterson. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Frank Lapa Question
Regarding numismatic dealer and author Frank Lapa, Bruce W. Smith writes:

Some years ago (2003 and 2006) there was discussion of Frank Lapa, his trial for murder, and his numismatic publications. I Googled him recently and found that he also published a book called: Jewish Shekel Tokens, in 1972. It was a paperback, limited to 250 copies. There is an image of it on Google. I had never heard of this book before. As mentioned in previous postings, he put out books on Vatican coins, siege coins, Russian wire money, and Kandy coins of Ceylon.

His trial was covered extensively in Coin World and also in the Chicago newspapers, and perhaps in Los Angeles newspapers. I would like to know when he died. One posting said he died in prison, another said he died shortly after he was released from prison. Or is he still out there somewhere?

Earlier E-Sylum writers stated that Lapa died after leaving prison. So... when/where did he die? -Editor

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Indiana, not Illinois
Bob Evans of Ohio writes:

Illinois-shaped badge reverse With all due deference to Dick Johnson and his invaluable contributions (which are considerable) to our understanding of matters numismatic and medallic, the shape described in the last E-Sylum issue's snippet from Dick's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology, the "map shape" illustrated beside the New York piece is Indiana, not Illinois.

Cartographically yours,
Bob Evans, Geologist, etc. (Son of Hoosiers)

Dick Johnson writes:

Okay, Bob Evans, you caught me. You won a medal. You see, that was what I call a Zinger. Very infrequently I use Zingers to test to see if, or how many, read my articles. How many respond. It can’t be too complicated that few would know. It can’t be a typo. It has to be something obvious, what anyone would know. Calling Illinois for a map of Indiana was Ideal. If you think you found a Zinger in my future articles please send on an email. “Dumb” or “stupid” are permitted in your response – but are cliches. Be more creative in your response. First response wins. Bob Evans has won the Order of Zingers.

Thanks from all the geographically challenged among us. -Editor

Bob adds:

I am honored to have been awarded the Order of Zingers. I will adjust my CV.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Of Blockheads and Shakespeare

Durkee rev Middlesex 1053

Regarding a token pictured in an earlier issue of The E-Sylum, last week Jeff Rock wrote:

I enjoyed Durkee rev David Schenkman's tokens, but the joke is a far older one than the 1890's -- at least a century older as you can see from the attached picture of a "Conder" token, though here the viewer is only a blockhead not an ass.

Dave Schenkman forwarded this quote from his recent article in The Numismatist about the token:

Regarding the two-donkey design, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that R. Dalton and S.H. Hamer, in their classic 1910 reference, The Provincial Token-Coinage of the 18th Century, (PE60.D3), list an interesting farthing-size token (Middlesex 1058) with a somewhat similar theme on its reverse. Issued by a coin dealer (yes, they had plenty of them in England back then), it has the busts of two men facing each other, with the words WE THREE BLOCKHEADS BE around them and the date, 1796, below. As for the question “When shall we three meet again?,” it is the opening line of William Shakespeare’s classic play Macbeth, which he wrote in 1606.

Jeff and I both missed that article. Thanks, Dave. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 29, 2017 : We Three Blockheads (, Since 2000
Tom Caldwell of Northeast Numismatics in Concord, MA writes:

With interest I note your article about dealer websites that have faded away. One of the factors is that there has been much consolidation over the years. Without even giving it much thought I can think of a dozen or more dealers that have closed up or sold out to join another firm. Many or most of today's dealers are aging, to say the least and not keen on putting in the time and infrastructure to get with the times and new technology. Too easy to just list on eBay, consign to auction, or attend shows to do the majority of their business. The handful that have prominent sites and work at it on an everyday basis are the beneficiary in this respect. A good example is our Northeast Numismatics site It was started in 2000 and still going strong.

Congratulations on your longevity! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The Work of Artist Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey's Obama HOPE poster In last week's item about the "E Pluribus Venom" note by artist Shepard Fairey, I said I was unfamiliar with the artist. Mary Lannin writes:

Oh, I bet you'd recognize this!

Thanks! That, I recognize. -Editor

For more information on Shepard Fairey, see:
About Shepard Fairey (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: JANUARY 29, 2017 : E Pluribus Venom Note (

Movies with Books
For bibliophiles, Bruce W. Smith writes:

When it's cold and snowy, I would rather stay in and watch a movie. Some of my underrated favorites are book related:

Signs movie The Ninth Gate (1999) Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer.

Yentl (1983) Barbra Streisand as a turn of the century Jewish girl who loves books and wants to attend the male only Hebrew school.

The Book of Eli (2010) Denzel Washington protecting one of the last remaining books after the apocalypse.

Cloud Atlas (2012) Tom Hanks and Halle Berry playing multiple roles in a movie with multiple stories, part of which involves the journal of an American in the 19th century South Pacific. You will have to watch this one two or three times to understand it.

Signs (2002) Mel Gibson as a clergyman who discovers the meaning of crop signs. If you like M. Night Shyamalan's suspenseful movies, you will like this.

Thanks! Great ideas for cold winter nights. -Editor
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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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