The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 28, July 9, 2017, Article 12


Collecting Without Responsibility
Gary Dunaier of Flushing, NY writes:

Regarding your note that the 4/12/1792 National Gazette that is accessible via the Newman Numismatic Portal was actually scanned from your personal copy, specifically your comment that "There's no substitute for owning the original historic document, but I'm glad to have it digitized to share with my fellow numismatists."

I agree with you that there is no substitute for owning the original. But one advantage of reprints and scans is that it enables me to "collect without responsibility" - which simply means that I can enjoy the contents without having to worry about inadvertently damaging the original.

Agreed - it's not at all the same as having the original in hand, but quite safe for sharing. Good point. -Editor

Andy Newman of St. Louis writes:

I'm just reading the chapter in Chernow's Hamilton biography that deals with Freneau and Jefferson and the bias of the National Gazette. So now I have extra appreciation of your kind donation of the 1792 Mint Act item.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The Russian Mint in St. Petersburg
Paul Schultz of Pennsylvania writes:

I was recently on a Baltic cruise. I saw Berlin, Danzig/Gdansk, St Petersburg, Tallinn (Estonia), and Stockholm. While in St. Petersburg, I visited the Peter & Paul Fortress. The guide happened to mention in passing that if we turned around, we would see the Russian mint! No tours there, no samples, but here is a photo of the outside of the building.

Russian Mint

Thanks! -Editor

Jane McAdam Freud, Medallist
Thoughts and deeds medal by Jane McAdam freud George Cuhaj writes:

It was nice to see the Freud numismatic items article. I just wanted to add that his granddaughter, Jane McAdam Freud, is an accomplished artist, sculptor and medallist. She is quite active in FIDEM.

Thanks - I didn't know that! I added an image of the "Thoughts and Deeds" medal by Jane McAdam Freud. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on the Helfenstein Photo
Regarding the poster sized prints of the Helfenstein Sale photo, Tony Terranova of New York City writes:

I still have the one from the 1992 NBS benefit sale.

Denis Loring of Palm Beach Gardens, FL writes:

Lester Merkin once told me that there were four "originals" made. Two were hanging in his office, one was given to Mrs. Helfenstein, and I don't remember the fate of the fourth. I got one of the office copies (now seriously faded) from Lester when he retired.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

David Alexander on Dale Birdsell
David T. Alexander writes:

Dale Birdsell was the compiler of Ku Klux Klan Tokens, the second edition of which appeared dated 1981. I had seen the first edition in the Coin World library earlier and was fascinated by Birdsell's identification of his sources by such names "Joe W., Bill S." etc. His second edition listed and illustrated wearable award medals that were not yet struck... true "inside information."

The second edition's back cover announced the imminent publication of "The Klans," described as "an important pictorial history of 624 pages (each 8-1/2 x 11 inches) with 1,400 rare photographs," prepublication price $30.00, bookstore price $40.00..." As I understand it, this book was Birdsell's downfall. Money was sent to him but no books appeared, exposing him to charges of mail fraud and imprisonment. His booklet on Klan exonumia remains useful if it can be found.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

A $50 Chinese Practice Note

$50 Chinese Practice Note front

$50 Chinese Practice Note back

Web site visitor Rennae Ford of Washington DC writes:

My grandson came home with this today. My 7 year l old grandson received it from a teenager at Ft. Washington Park in MD. I was online doing a search trying to find out if it came out of some board game. Its very worn. I ran across your article.

I replied: "This is not real U.S. currency. It comes from China and people across the country have been trying to spend it. They can and do get arrested for that, so he should take it back to wherever he got it or report it to the police. -Editor

Rennae adds:

I took it to my local police station and a report was taken. I was given a report number for the incident.

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

CSNS/ILNA Fall 2017 Seminar Speakers
Bruce Perdue writes:

The speakers for the Central States Numismatic Society / Illinois Numismatic Association Fall Seminar following the 58th ILNA Show are:

Robert Campbell Past ANA President
Topic: "Natural vs Artificial Toning of Coins"

Dr. Lee McKenzie - Collector from Lehi, Ut
Topic: "Numismatic Proclamations of Liberty"

Steve Petty - Collector from Pompano Beach, FL
Topic: "All about Seated Silver Dollars"

Peter Huntoon - Authority on National Bank Notes, from Boulder, NV
Topic: "Illinois National Bank Notes with emphasis on Chicago Banks"

The seminar will take place at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL on Sunday, September 24, 2017. -Editor

For more information, see:
Central States Numismatic Society Fall 2017 Seminar (

Gasparro’s Susan B Anthony Dollar Design
Jeff Kelley of Duxbury, Mass. writes:

Susan B Anthony dollar Over at the PCGS forum a poster provided some very interesting insight into Frank Gasparro’s design for the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The discussion in the thread predictably turned to criticism of Gasparro’s design for the SBA, and “denga” added a personal anecdote that I think is worthy of being recorded for posterity:

“The criticism is unwarranted. I once asked him, in his office, why the portrait was so bad when I knew he could do much better. He said that the mint director and the family demanded that he use the photograph that he had been furnished and no deviations were allowed. He said that he had offered to give Anthony a more pleasant visage and was told not to ask again.”

Frank Gasparro definitely had a unique and recognizable style of designing/engraving. Perhaps his most maligned work was the SBA dollar, but I assume part of that is because the coin itself was largely unpopular. I must say that it has grown on me a lot over the years, and dare I say it, I actually like the SBA now.

Thanks. A similar dynamic is playing out now following the release of the Bank of England's note picturing author Jane Austen, which had people complaining that the depiction was too pretty. -Editor

To read the complete discussion thread, see:
Frank Gasparro's Signature (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Dr. Pepper's Phos-Ferrates Token

Regarding the Dr. Pepper token illustrated last week, John Byars sent in these images of an earlier one. Thanks! -Editor

Dr. Pepper's Phos-Ferrates Token obverse Dr. Pepper's Phos-Ferrates Token reverse

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: JULY 2, 2017 : Circa 1900 Dr. Pepper Good-For Token (

More on St. Eliguis

Herman Blanton of Mt.Vernon, OH writes:

A search of Eligius on NNP brings up several results for those interested, including the three listed below.

Thanks - here are the references Herman found, in no particular order. -Editor

bru_sale_1_lot_075 St. Eligus

NI Bulletin July 2010
St. Eligus An Introduction NI Bulletin July 2010 a one pager with image of gold tremissis including Eligius name as mintmaster. Above is the original color image supplied by the auction house, The Bru Sale Auction 1 lot 75.

ANS Museum Notes, vols. 20-21
ANS publication "ANS Museum Notes, vols. 20-21, esp. p. 135" with Eligius identified as minter and further detailed information.

NI Bulletin July 1999
NI Bulletin had an introduction in the July 1999 edition. Numismatics International Bulletin, Vol. 34, No.7

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Digital Scanning Resolution
Bill Daehn of Minneapolis writes:

Last week Dave Bowers provided advice on digital scanning resolution settings.

One of my frustrations with using scanned documents is that, all too frequently, the scans of the plates are of very poor quality. It seems that the plates are often scanned using a black-and-white setting which works fine for most text but often results in plates that are nothing but dark blobs.

Greyscale would be a better setting, and a color setting works best. But both result in much larger file sizes. It would be nice if those in charge of scanning at least used a color setting when scanning the plates of a book or catalogue. Those auction catalogue plates are very useful when researching the provenance of ancient coins. Black blobs on a scanned page are useless.

Those that have utilized very old books in libraries have undoubtedly found examples where the library photocopied the original item due to its crumbling pages and binding. The library then binds the photocopied version and discards the original. Invariably, the photocopied plates are of very poor quality and when the book is scanned, there is nothing anyone can do to fix the problem.

Another problem I’ve seen is the fact that some collectors were in the habit of cutting individual coin photos out of the plates of auction catalogues. Then when the catalogue is scanned, there are a lot of blank (or black) areas where the missing coin should be. This is why it is important that the same book (or auction catalogue) be scanned from more than one library. It increases the chances that a complete quality image will be obtained.

All quite true; good advice. Thanks. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 2, 2017 : Observations on Digital Scanning Resolution (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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