The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 21, May 21, 2017, Article 13


Hagar the Coin Collector

Hagar coin collector cartoon

While cleaning up my desk a few weeks ago I uncovered this cartoon sent in by Nick Graver. While cleaning my desk yesterday I found it all over again and this time scanned it in. Thanks! Gotta love Hagar. -Editor

An Encounter With an 1802 Half Dime
Tom DeLorey writes:

The item about the 1802 Half Dime book reminded me of an unusual encounter I once had with an 1802.

James G. Johnson was the founding Editor of Coin World's Collectors Clearinghouse page in 1960. I had corresponded with the department for many years before joining it in 1974, and had visited it several times and knew both Johnson and his Assistant Editor, Ed Fleischmann.

Johnson was known in the hobby for having assembled a complete set of regular issue non-gold U.S. coins in circulated condition, including a well-worn 1894-S dime! He did not care about condition, partly because he had collected for many years on a teacher's salary before hearing loss had forced him to retire from that profession and offer his numismatic services to CW. He did not care how bad a coin was, so long as he had the date and mint mark represented.

Fast forward to an ANA convention in Denver, where I was working for Harlan Berk. A gentleman came up to the table with an 1802 half dime that was almost slick from wear, but which had become bent a bit in circulation in just the right way that the date was clearly preserved. After looking at it I told the gentleman that the coin was not for us, but that I had once worked with a gentleman whose collection it would have been perfect for.

After describing the collection I gave the collector's name, James G. Johnson. Startled, the man burst out "That was my father!" We laughed and shook hands and spent a while reminiscing about Jim!

Great story! Thanks. -Editor

More on Discours sur les medalles antiques

Regarding the 1627 numismatic book, picking up where he left off on this topic last week. Ron Haller-Williams writes:

1627 Discours sur les médalles antiques Seems that even when the "i" was used, the accent was optional for quite some time. Claude-François Menestrier, in his 1693 work "Histoire dv Roy Lovis le Grand Par les Medailles, Emblêmes, Deuises, Jettons, Inscriptions, Armoiries & autres Monumens Publics. ...", has a large number of occurrences of medaille/s and of médaille/s, in about equal proportions:

Whereas Antoine & ‎Nicolas le Pois, in their* 1579 work "Discours sur les Medalles et Gravevres antiques, principalement Romaines: Plus, vne Exposition particuliere de quelques planches ou tables estans sur la fin de ce liure, esquelles sont monstrees diuerses Medalles & graueures antiques, rare & exquises", uses “medalle” or “medalles” well over 100 times (not counting page headings), and only once uses “medaille” (in the plural, on page 45, line 1 – a “typo”?); there are, however, 19 occurrences of medaillon/s.

* Really it was Antoine's work, but his brother Nicolas did the finishing touches and dedication after Antoine's death.

Nostradamus (1503-1566) has an instance of "medalles" (and no medaille/s or médaille/s), see (1611 edition)

it would be interesting to have the “take” of somebody whose first language is French and who is interested in old literature.

Well, guess what? -Editor

Hadrien Rambach writes:

Regarding the 1627 book, I have actually published three articles about it & its author:

Hadrien Rambach, « Louis Savot, la modernité d'un regard novateur », in C. E. Dekesel (éd.), Europäische numismatische Literatur im 17. Jahrhundert, Wolfenbütteler Arbeiten zur Barockforschung 42, Wolfenbüttel 2005, pp. 59-67 ;

Hadrien Rambach, « La Controverse Louis Savot – Charles Patin, numismates du XVIIème siècle », in Schweizer Münzblätter, vol. 231 (septembre 2008), pp. 71-75 ;

Hadrien Rambach, « Remarques sur Louis Savot et son Discours sur les medalles antiques », in Schweizer Münzblätter, vol. 245 (mars 2012), pp. 3-10

Small world. I never know where something will lead in The E-Sylum. An offhand mention of an antiquarian numismatic book has generated multiple responses from our learned readership. Thanks, everyone! -Editor

To read Hadrien's essays, see:
Hadrien J. Rambach (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 14, 2017 : On Numismatic Spelling and Punctuation (

On Eliminating Denominations
Last week Dick Johnson wrote:

I proposed to eliminate both the cent and the nickel, and later the quarter. These coins to be replaced by two new denominations for circulation, a $5 and a $10 coin, and later a $20 coin. This would leave the dime, half dollar, and dollar coin denominations intact.

Chip Howell writes:

This doesn't go far enough, in the "cents" zone. I'd get rid of the dime & half dollar, and leave the quarter to circulate--as someone calculated a few years ago, the dime has less buying power now than the half-cent did in the 1850s (my guess is, the only reason Congress was willing to tackle the issue back then, is that otherwise they'd've had to address slavery & the impending Civil War. Who knew government could be so hard?)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on the Young America Furnace Company Notes

Young America Furnace Company note

Correction: the Young America Furnace company was in business circa 1856-1860. Dave Schenkman and I miscommunicated, and I pulished an incorrect date range. Look for more on these obsolete notes in Dave's next column in Paper Money, published by the Society of paper Money Collectors. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MAY 14, 2017 : Young America Furnace Company Notes (

A Phylum of The E-Sylum
Dave Bowers writes:

Nice issue. It might be interesting sometime to issue a (printed) book with interesting tidbits from The E-Sylum — not definitive research, but “personality” stuff—the life, romance, and appeal of coin collecting and the collectors involved.

Joel Orosz writes:

I've got the title for the book: "A New Phylum of The E-Sylum."

Dave adds:

I took a survey and 98.67% of E-Sylum readers did not know what “phylum” meant.

We can always count on Perfessor Orosz to sling a 50-cent word every now and then. I like it! But I may need to go look it up myself. Great idea. I've been too busy editing this publication each week to think much about a compendium of greatest hits, but it would be a worthy project to tackle someday. -Editor

London Dealer Richard Lobel

medal_advert_coincraft_obv medal_advert_coincraft_rev

Dennis Tucker writes:

London coin dealer Richard Lobel was mentioned in last week’s issue. I have a medal that was issued I believe in the early 1980s to celebrate his 30th year in the business. It’s a neat addition to the category of numismatic personal medals

Thanks! Nice medal. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 14, 2017 : "We Forgive You" Bicentennial Medal (

A Mystery Item Struck on Civil War Token

Mystery item struck on Civil War token obverse Mystery item struck on Civil War token reverse

Bill Miller of Denton, MD writes:

I receive your delightful weekly E-Sylum report. I have a very enigmatic token that I would like to share with your readers with the hope that someone may be able to shed some light on its attribution.

A scan is attached. It is round, copper, and 18mm. The reverse is a listed Civil War die, 1352A, thought to have been done by a Baltimore, MD diesinker. The obverse suggests that it was originally meant for a larger planchett and only a partial legend is evident. Also, the reverse civil war die appears to have been over-struck at around 12 - 1 o'clock (it shows what appears to be a reverse "BA" and some sort of rosette).

A very mysterious item. Anything you can do to help solve the mystery would be appreciated.

Mysterious indeed. I've never seen anything quite like this. Thoughts, anyone? -Editor

Hall of Fame for Great Americans Medals
David Thomason Alexander writes:

Bravo to The E-Sylum for its continuing interest in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans medal series (HOF). As much as I love these impressive medals, however, I cannot agree with another writer's description of them as "one of the most popular in the world." The tragedy of this great medal series was that it never achieved the popularity needed for commercial success. Yes, there was the brief medal boom going on, but HOF cluttered up a still-limited market. Then too, offering a dizzying array of sizes and metals confused and intimidated many interested collectors.

On Getting 'Winstoned'
Chip Howell writes:

As for cutting one's nose on the new £5 note, Winston warned them: he promised blood and tears (besides toil & sweat).

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Saville E-Sylum ad01

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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