The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 30, July 23, 2017, Article 12


Lincoln Cent Fidget Spinner

Lincoln cent figet spinner Lincoln cent figet spinner reverse

Gary Dunaier of Flushing, NY writes:

Regarding the money-themed souvenirs, here's something that may be of interest - a coin-themed fidget spinner.

Somebody has adapted a Lincoln cent for use as a fidget spinner design. It's obvious that whoever made it doesn't know anything about coins, because:

1) The obverse is a 2005-D, but the reverse is the shield design, which wasn't adopted until 2010. A real 2005-D cent would have the Lincoln Memorial reverse.

2) The orientation, if the pictures are any indication, is medal and not coin.

For whatever it's worth, I only have one fidget spinner, which I bought out of curiosity because the seller was only asking $3.00 for them. I don't need any more - actually, I think fidget CUBES are better for stress relief, because with a cube you only need one hand to discreetly fidget your worries away. But if these were dated 2017, I'd have gotten one, for no other reason than I think they're cool.

To read the complete eBay lot description, see: USA Cent Penny Triangle Fidget Hand Spinner Desk Toy EDC Stuffer Kids Adult (

Thanks. There is another numismatic spinner item - spinner tokens are made to be spun on a flat surface. These tokens (often made as advertising giveaways) usually have an arrow or pointing device and were often used to choose who would pay for a round of drinks at a bar. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Chinese Bamboo Tally Sticks
A reader writes:

Here is a sales sheet on both wood and copper Chinese Tallies (I refer to these as Money Sticks), along with a Liganda Spear Money. Many countries, business associations etc used these, but Chinese types lasted until the most recent of times (transactions were a one sided affair, so only a single stick representing a value was needed, like a good-for). These Chinese sticks survived, not for their monetary value, but as construction material (primarily insulation) in older homes.


Thanks. I didn't realize these were used in China, let alone relatively recently. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Harold Don Allen
HaroldDonAllen tokens Pete Smith writes:

In answer to Kellen Hoard's question, H. Don Allen is Harold Don Allen. He is mentioned briefly in American Numismatic Biographies on the Newman Numismatic Portal. Because he is Canadian, he did not get the attention that would be paid to an American author.

I have quite a collection of personal tokens issued by Allen.

Pete provided this image of his Allen tokens. Thanks! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Norman Rockwell Coin Collector Print
Ken Berger writes:

Last week's E-Sylum mentions the Norman Rockwell Coin Collector print. I too have a copy of this print which I inherited from my uncle, Melvin Roland. Unlike many collectors, my uncle kept any and all material related to any numismatic item he purchased or acquired.

This print was a gift to members of the Franklin Mint Collectors Society and was not available for sale. I am attaching a scan of the original letter which accompanied the print and a scan of the brochure about the print.

Norman rockwell coin collector print  Letter Norman rockwell coin collector print  Brochure

Thanks! Click on the images to see larger versions on our Flickr archive. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

That Math-y Stuff
Paul Hybert of Chicago writes:

1896 Universale Argentum One Fifth Talent obverse I finally read through a backlog of E-Sylum issues, and I question part of the piece on Universale Argentum.

In a contemporary newspaper article, the value of a talent was calculated as $4.07, by adding

      $4.14 for one-fifth of an ounce of gold ($20.07 per ounce)
      + .03 for four-fifths of an ounce of silver ($.67 per ounce)

But the total value shown in the newspaper article is $4.07, so there is an error in the original math, the newspaper editing, the typesetting of the newspaper, or the recent OCR step.

There is a second error -- in calculating the value of four-fifths of an ounce of silver, .67 times .8 equals .536, and not .03. No idea in which of the above steps this error occurred.

Thanks. Interesting how these blunders can creep in. -Editor

Paul adds:

I spotted a further oops, in the valuation of the gold part! Multiplying $20.07 times 0.2 produces $4.014, not the $4.14 shown. But this calculation might not be wrong, as much as inappropriate: a gold price of $20.70 per ounce WOULD result in a fifth of an ounce being valued at $4.14. So the listed per-ounce price of gold and silver must be added to the list of potential sources of error.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

And More Math-y Stuff
Barry Benjamin writes:

The distances are different in this Guinness Book of World records account for the farthest to blow a coin.



09 OCTOBER 2010

The farthest distance to blow a coin is 4.947 m (16 ft 2.76 in) and was achieved by Ashrita Furman (USA) in the gymansium of the Jamaica YMCA in Jamaica, New York, USA on 9 October 2010.

Ha1 Good catch - that probably say 4.947 METRES, not CENTIMETRES. Thanks. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Critical Thinking About Internet Sources
Bob Leonard writes:

The internet has greatly facilitated research (though I visited both the National Archives and the ANS in person when researching Forgotten Colorado Silver), but researchers must never fall into the habit of using secondary information. For all the Census information I consulted, for example, in every case I checked the actual image and did not rely on any website's transcription (I found some real howlers in them). I suppose that this is elementary and unworthy of notice, but in a day when I see Wikipedia, of all things, being cited as an authority, and some people believing that anything you find on the internet is the equal of an exhaustively-researched and vetted book, maybe it is worth mentioning.

How does this relate to the Newman Numismatic Portal? For primary source information like auction catalogs, not at all. But now many club newsletters are scanned, and the little articles in them may be based on old and incomplete information. Both will come up in an NNP search, however. Not everything up on the NNP is of equal value.

I've learned over the years that anytime you start thinking that something should go without saying, it's probably time to say it. Of course Bob is correct - the Newman Portal and other online resources should never be used blindly - as noted here earlier, critical thinking is always necessary to verify statements and put them into proper context. -Editor

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 14, 2017 : On Discerning Meaning From Numismatic Information (

More on Coin-Embedded Lucite Toilet Seats
A Flroida reader writes:

And as far as the toilet seat - I've seen several, with one recently at a shop here in Florida, where someone made an honest attempt at gouging the coins out of the toilet seat (with no success, other than ruining the look of the areas where the extraction was attempted).

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
Coin-Embedded Lucite Toilet Seat (

Naperville Neighborhood Artworks
Bruce Perdue writes:

alaska quarter I was much amused to see that Luther Herbert Whitt was buried in Arroyo Grande, California. My daughter lives right across from the that cemetery in Arroyo Grande! I was there at the end of June and walked around the edge of the cemetery with my daughter and new grandson. Small world!

I am also enclosing a couple of pictures I took Wednesday while completing my daily 10K steps. I was walking in Naperville, IL when a coin related item caught my eye and several book related items as well. There are always some art works on display in the downtown which is still very vital and always full of people. The benches are used for photo opportunities.

The Alaska quarter was embedded in a new stretch of sidewalk in the downtown area.

book bench 3 book bench 2

Thanks. Cool benches! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More Math-Y Stuff: Identical Serial Number $1 Bills
Burton Strauss writes:

Regarding “Query: Identical Serial Number $1 Bills”, the why were they “slabbed” is probably because somebody had the pair and thought it was really cool and wanted to preserver it. As to the probability…

This is another example of “the birthday paradox”: the chance of finding somebody in the room with YOUR birthday is the assumed 1 in 365.24, the chance of finding any two people in the room with the same birthday is much higher (see and In fact, with just 23 people, the probability is over 50%.

When it comes to bills, similar problem, just a large number of ‘dates'. The WikiPedia article has the general problem formula ( [where n is the # of bills examined and d is the possible values].

In order to calculate the probability, we need to extend the formula for “identical” items (probability handles this for, say pulling red and black marbles from a bag where you can't distinguish a given red marble from any other red marble.

And, we need “d” – the number of possible bill serial numbers, which is much harder problem than you think.

For US$1 bills (which haven't been redesigned and so use the traditional serial number format), there are 12 first letters (the individual Federal Reserve Banks or Districts), eight digits and a final letter. If you assume they are all used, there are 12 * 100,000,000 * 26 possible bills per series, or 31,200,000,000 bills.

However, every value is never printed. The best site I know of that tracks this is

Typically, the numbers only run up to 96,000,000 and never has the BEP printed all 26 letters for even a single Federal Reserve Bank. Visit here: for more than you want to know about the numbering scheme.

The site tracks details about everything that has been printed from the BEP's own published reports. For example, for Series 1993 $1 ( the highest letter used was K (only for San Francisco, e.g. L…K) followed by H for New York (B…H) and Atlanta (F…H). For series 2003 $1 (, L…N and F…L are the maximums, with the additional complication that every block is not fully printed.

At this point, I'll exit (followed by a bear) and leave the problem to somebody better at probability math than I am.

Thanks! I'm a geek, so I think this stuff is fun. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 16, 2017 : Query: Identical Serial Number $1 Bills (

The Original Sculpt for the Lincoln Cent

While not actually sent in by readers, I thought I'd include here a couple interesting items I came across this week. The first is from the web site of Medallic Art Company. -Editor

1909- VDB-Lincoln-Cent-obv The Lincoln Cent was designed and the sculpt produced by the Medallic Art Company for the U.S. Mint. The original sculpt for the penny is still held in the archives of the Medallic Art Company.

To read the complete article, see:

Chinese Coin Production in 1989

And for good measure I thought I'd call attention to this interesting David Lisot CoinTelevision video of a talk by E-Sylum advertiser Fred Weinberg at the January 2016 Florida United Numismatist (FUN) show about Chinese coin production in 1989, when Fred was there as the Tiananmen Square protests unfolded. -Editor

1989 coin production in China 1989 coin production in China2

Fred Weinberg During the Tiananmen Square demonstrations commemorative coins were still being produced in China. Fred Weinberg was there and has never before been seen video during that include scenes of the protestors.

To view the complete video, see:
CoinTelevision: Tiananmen Square Protests and Chinese Coin Production in 1989. VIDEO: 19:08 (

E-Sylum CSNS ad 2017-07-09 ILNA Seminar

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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