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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


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Charles Heck, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 2058,
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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: Gary Swartz, courtesy of Allen Pauly; Christian Thomsen, and 15 Fairfax Coin Club members courtesy of Daryl Haynor, including Gregg Coburn and Chris Robey. Welcome aboard! We now have 5,945 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 (but let me know if they are located in the European Union). Contact me at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

Happy Bloomsday, Joyce fans! This week we open with three new books, two reviews, a numismatic job opening, and updates on the Newman Numismatic Portal and the parent of Krause Publications.

Other topics this week include catching counterfeiters, the 50 State Quarter series, early Chinese paper money, Walmart's coin department, the finest known 1856-S dime, a Nobel Peace Prize medal, a Harriet Tubman banknote design, the money art of Karl Lagasse, and the work of coin sculptor Don Everhart.

To learn more about the Early Paper Money of America, Mexican paper money, ancient Syrian coins, coin doctoring and disclosure, cuds, U.S. Large Cent collector A. Heistand Glatz, the Poultry Club medal, Joseph Merriam's counterstamp, the Pan American games medal, apothecary weights, and How the great Khan Caused the Bark of Trees, Made into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All over His Country, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


CGB Numismatics Paris has published a new encyclopedia of modern French numismatics. Here is information from their web site. -Editor

Le franc book cover The Le Franc adventure began in 1995 and now continues with the publication this year of a new comprehensive book, Le Franc : les Monnaies, les Archives. Le Franc, Les Archives is a true history book offering a scientific approach – an encyclopedia of French modern numismatics.

This new publication is the fruit of extensive work by collectors, researchers and numismatists – be they French or foreign professionals or hobbyists – under the direction of CGB and Les Amis du Franc society (Philippe Théret, Christophe Charve, Xavier Bourbon and Franck Perrin, among others).

The recent digitization and study of more than 100,000 archive pages made it possible to establish a picture of today's knowledge, which had not been updated for more than a hundred years in such a detailed way. It revealed a mine of new information, which we would be glad to help you discover and share with you. Beyond the mere existence and price of each coin, so many historical events, political and administrative decisions, technical or artistic choices are worth knowing about. Getting to know and understand each coin's environment is exactly what Le Franc, Les Archives intends to do. Coins are thus considered in their specific context – historical, political, administrative, social, cultural and artistic. This is what coin collecting is all about, i.e. giving your collection its unique character.

Le Franc sample pages

After the success of Le Franc Poche's bilingual anniversary edition, this new encyclopedic version is exclusively in French. It offers more than 1,100 richly-illustrated pages with a whole host of archive documents, decrees, monetary orders, explanations, etc. The coin prices provided are those updated in 2016 for Le Franc Poche. Indeed, publishing a new price book was not the goal of Le Franc Les Archives. Prices are given only to complement the extensive research work carried out. Yet, their presentation has been thoroughly redesigned and many notes have been added to them.

The targeted public is wide and varied, and goes way further than the sphere of French modern coins collectors, i.e. the general public, beginner or seasoned or professional numismatists, antique dealers, anybody passionate about history, etc..

Le Franc sample pages2

Author : Collectif
Publisher : Les Chevau-légers - CGF
Language : Français
Description : Paris 2019, relié, (16,5 x 24 cm), plus de 1100
pages, cotes en Euro
Weight : 2240 g.
Price : 59.00 €

For more information, or to order, see:
Le Franc : les Monnaies, les Archives (,lf2019,a.html)

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Owen Linzmayer publishes The Banknote Book, a useful, continually updated electronic reference. On June 14, 2019 he announced via email the availability of the chapter on the banknotes of Mexico. -Editor

Banknote Book Mexico cover We're very pleased to announce that the Mexico chapter is now available for individual sale and as a free download to subscribers.

Mexico (North America) This 58-page catalog covers notes issued by the Imperio Mexicano (Mexican Empire) in 1823, Tesorerías de la Nación (Treasury of the Nation) in 1823, Banco de México (Bank of Mexico) in 1866, Banco de la República Méxicana (Bank of the Mexican Republic) in 1918, Comisión Monetaria (Monetary Commission) in 1920, and Banco de México (Bank of Mexico) from 1925 to present. Revised 14.06.2019.

Currently 280 chapters of The Banknote Book have been published as individual high-resolution PDF files. This represents a total of 5,741 pages covering 52,631 types and varieties.

For more information on The Banknote Book, see:


Scott Miller writes:

I just read a new book, Freedom's Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan and the Man Who Masterminded America's First War on Terror by Charles Lane. The book is about Hiram Whitley, onetime chief of the Secret Service. In addition to his work against the KKK, there are sections about anti-counterfeiting endeavors.

Thanks - we hadn't discussed this book before. It just came out in April. Here's an excerpt from a review I found from the Washington Post. -Editor

Freedom's Detectice book cover "Freedom's Detective" by Charles Lane revolves around the fascinating figure of Whitley, whom President Ulysses Grant soon appointed to head the Secret Service, a federal agency created in 1865 to squelch counterfeit currency. Under Whitley, the agency also infiltrated and impaired the violent, politically motivated Klan. His story sharpens a paradox of the Reconstruction era. Whitley flouted ethics, curried partisan favor and violated civil liberties. At the same time, he promoted a more genuine American democracy.

A charismatic man with a goatee and intense blue eyes, Whitley reveled in skulduggery. As Secret Service chief, he employed small-time crooks to topple counterfeiting rings, reasoning that only underworld types could permeate these cabals. His style bore results: In 1871, he arrested Joshua Miner, the kingpin of a massive counterfeiting operation in New York City. Miner was also an esteemed Manhattan businessman with connections to Tammany Hall, the political machine of the Democratic Party.

In 1870 Whitley's outfit came under the new Department of Justice, and Attorney General Amos Akerman secured Grant's approval for a Secret Service team to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.

"In all of American history," writes Lane, "there had never been a federal undercover operation to investigate civilians for alleged criminal violations of the constitutional rights of fellow citizens, much less whites' violations of African American rights." Whitley would serve as "spymaster, organizer, and supervisor of what amounted to a domestic anti-terrorism unit within the Secret Service."

Bolstered by deep research into government documents and press accounts, "Freedom's Detective" paints an illuminating portrait of Whitley, an intriguing representative of Reconstruction's feats and fiascos. It does not, however, always cohere as a work of narrative history. Lane jumps back and forth in time while his protagonist is battling counterfeiters and Klansmen, and it can be difficult to keep Whitley's life in order.

To read the complete article, see:
The Secret Service chief who embodied the best and worst of Reconstruction (

Here's another review from the Wall Street Journal. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
‘Freedom's Detective' Review: The First War on Terror (

As an aside, "The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan and the Man Who Masterminded America's First War on Terror" is a mouthful of a subtitle. Back on the 19th century it was commonplace for books to have paragraph-long subtitles. The practice died out, because full-color dust jackets became the marketing billboard for the book. Well, if you haven't noticed, subtitles are creeping back and having a new day in the sun. I thought I knew why, and I was right. Check out this Washington Post look at the topic. -Editor

How many words can you fit in a subtitle? For a slew of modern books, the answer seems to be as many as possible.

Blame a one-word culprit: search. Todd Stocke, senior vice president and editorial director at Sourcebooks, said that subtitle length and content have a lot to do with finding readers through online searches. "It used to be that you could solve merchandising communication on the cover by adding a tagline, blurb or bulleted list," he said. But now, publishers "pack the keywords and search terms into the subtitle field because in theory that'll help the book surface more easily."

Amazon allows up to 199 characters for a book's title and subtitle combined, making the word combination possibilities, if not endless, vast. Anne Bogel, host of the podcast "What Should I Read Next?," is not generally a fan of the trend. "I don't feel respected as a reader when I feel like the subtitle was created not to give me a feeling of what kind of reading experience I may get, but for search engines," she said. When Bogel asked author friends how they came up with their subtitles, several told her they can't even remember which words they ended up using.

That being said, sometimes titular long-windedness works. Bogel cites Julian Rubinstein's "Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts" as a winning formula. "When I see a subtitle like that, I'm intrigued," she said. "I think, how could all those things possibly go together? It makes me want to pick up the book or click on the link and find out more."

To read the complete article, see:
Book subtitles are getting ridiculously long. What is going on? (

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John Lupia forwarded this book review from the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Thanks. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Frédérique Duyrat, Wealth and Warfare: The Archaeology of Money in Ancient Syria. Numismatic studies, 34. New York: American Numismatic Society, 2016. Pp. xxvii, 596. ISBN 9780897223461.

Reviewed by Rebecca Dodd, Independent Scholar, University of Glasgow (

Wealth and Warfare cover This substantial and ambitious volume covers the full range of hoards and site finds of ancient Syrian coins from areas which today comprise modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, and brings together these sometimes disparate finds with detailed and coherent discussion of coins as historical sources. While the main focus of this work is the Hellenistic period, the author gives attention to the pre-Hellenistic Phoenician issues and to the coins of Alexander, while acknowledging that future studies should include the Roman period (p. 23). Indeed, one of the most significant contributions that this work makes to our knowledge of Hellenistic coins is that it clearly demonstrates throughout that ancient Syria was ruled and occupied by many different peoples, whereas much modern scholarship has focused on the Seleucids. Categorising this book is challenging; its sheer size and the amount of material covered make it an excellent reference source for any and all of the topics covered, especially in terms of its detailed catalogue and tables. In addition, the discussion chapters are written in a lively and accessible style that will appeal to students and professionals alike.

The catalogue occupies just under half of this volume and is placed at the beginning rather than being relegated to a final appendix as is often the case. This novel structure serves to underscore the importance of the coins and hoards as the foundation on which the study's evidence is built. Each hoard or archaeological excavation is discussed in turn, and each entry contains its own bibliography in chronological order by publication date. This has the double effect of giving a clear demonstration of the current state of scholarship and of illustrating a frequent problem with numismatic research, namely that academic studies can be scattered across rare numismatic journals and more obscure publications.

Few criticisms can be offered. The author does use quotations from and references to modern, and especially French, literature and popular culture on occasion throughout the book, which some may find distracting from the main arguments. That said, these references may prove welcome in a teaching setting, for which this book is well-suited. The grayscale charts and diagrams contained within the text can occasionally prove difficult to read and are sometimes less visually compelling than could be desired. The legends within the charts, however, are clear and consistent, and the accompanying text more than compensates for any confusion created by the charts themselves.

The author makes a well-founded case for coin hoards and their value as historical evidence, while acknowledging the gaps in our knowledge. Many of the chapters and the sections within could serve as standalone studies, but they are all brought together admirably to create a full picture of coins and coin circulation (or the lack of same) in ancient Syria. While it is likely that some of the specifics of this work will become outdated in the light of the welcome addition of new archaeological finds, nevertheless the overall methodologies and concepts will doubtlessly always have value. This work is more than a scholarly monograph in that it can serve as a valuable resource with materials which will be useful for researchers, students, and teachers alike.

To read the complete article, see:
2019.06.17 Frédérique Duyrat, Wealth and Warfare: The Archaeology of Money in Ancient Syria. Numismatic studies, 34. (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


John Lupia also forwarded this Bryn Mawr Classical Review on another recently published book on ancient coins. Thanks again. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Jane DeRose Evans, Coins from the Excavations at Sardis: Their Archaeological and Economic Contexts: Coins from the 1973 to 2013 Excavations. Archaeological Exploration of Sardis monographs, no 13. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2018. Pp. xxi, 305 p., 19 p. of plates. ISBN 9780674987258. $90.00.

Reviewed by George Watson, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main (

Coins from the Excavations at Sardis book cover As befits Sardis's status as the birthplace of western coinage, the publication of coin finds from the excavations there counts among one of the best and most extensive of any site in the eastern Mediterranean. The volume under review here not only supplements three previous publications with new material,1 but also corrects and newly analyses finds that had already been published. The aim of the book is clear both from the title and from the introductory chapters: not simply to analyse the coins, but also to set them in context. This book will thus be of interest not only to numismatists but also to archaeologists and economic historians.

After editorial prefaces, summaries in English and Turkish, and a brief introduction, come two substantive chapters, followed by four appendices concerned with countermarks, monograms, reverse types of late Roman bronzes and statistical formulae, respectively. The lengthiest part of the book is the catalogue, which lists over 8,000 coins found during excavations in Sardis between 1973 and 2013; this is supplemented with a concordance between the catalogue and field numbers from the excavations. The nineteen high-quality plates contain illustrations of 118 coins, 11 maps and 14 graphs.

The catalogue is well laid out and easy to use. There are, however, some concerns regarding Evans' dating of the Roman provincial coins, which is either too precise or not precise enough. For coins without an imperial portrait, she pays no attention to magistrates' names, which often allow a far more precise dating than that which she gives. For the coins of Sardis, she gives a false impression of precision. For example, coin types 157–58 are dated in the text of RPC to "between 63 and 68", and in RPC's catalogue to "c. AD 65", which becomes for Evans simply "65 AD". This becomes particularly problematic when one of these coins is used to give a terminus post quem of a votive deposit.

Mistakes such as these diminish confidence in the book, and its conclusions, as a whole. This is greatly to be regretted, particularly considering that analysis of coin finds from excavations in the eastern Mediterranean lags so far behind that done on sites in northern and western Europe. That being the case, if this book, despite its faults, can stimulate more attempts to do more with excavation coins than simply list the material, it is to be welcomed with open arms.

To read the complete article, see:
2019.06.19 Jane DeRose Evans, Coins from the Excavations at Sardis: Their Archaeological and Economic Contexts: Coins from the 1973 to 2013 Excavations. Archaeological Exploration of Sardis monographs, no 13. (

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The ANS is looking for an Assistant Curator; here's the announceent. -Editor

The American Numismatic Society Seeks an Assistant Curator, American Department

ANS enews logo The American Numismatic Society (ANS) seeks an energetic and creative assistant curator to oversee and lead its American Department. The successful candidate will be in charge of the collections of North and South American coins, currency, medals and related objects. Since its foundation in 1858, the Society has played a leading role in the field of American numismatics, and wishes to expand its audience while continuing its traditional role as one of the leading academic institutions in numismatics overall.

The successful candidate is expected to work on the ANS's exhibition program, regularly contribute to the quarterly ANS Magazine and online media, and do research in his or her own chosen field. S/he will have to be prepared to work on parts of the collection outside the American field, for which training will be provided. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to devote considerable time to the ANS's recently acquired holdings of the Medallic Art Company (MACO), a large private US mint. Among other responsibilities, the successful candidate will be expected to build a program of publications, exhibitions and teaching programs around this MACO material. In general, all ANS curators are expected to participate actively in the Society's development, outreach, public relations, and fund raising initiatives, which includes seeking funding for projects through competitive grants. Curators also provide instruction and supervise students in the ANS's eight-week Graduate Summer Seminar and in classrooms elsewhere.

The successful candidate should hold a Ph.D. or have equivalent academic qualifications in North, Central or South American history or art history, in particular in areas in which coinage or currency contribute to the understanding of the period. An interest in coinage or currency is an advantage but not required. Reading knowledge of foreign languages will be an advantage. The candidate is expected to be or become a recognized expert in his/her field, through study, research, writing, and publication on American coinage, currency, and economic history. The position provides a competitive salary depending on the experience of the successful candidate and includes excellent benefits.

About the Society
The Society has a collection of c. 800,000, of which over 600,000 are recorded on its online database MANTIS. The US collection of coins and banknotes contains c. 35,000 objects , and 30,000 objects from Central and South America. The archives of the Society provide papers and archival material of many major collectors and artists, while the Harry W. Bass Library has the country's foremost numismatic collection of almost 85,000 volumes. For more information about the Society visit

To Apply
Resume and cover letter via email to Names and email addresses of at least three references are required; reference letters will be requested by the ANS for short-listed candidates. Applications should be received by 19 July 2019; interviews will be held in New York City in August-September.

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The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a new online edition of Early Paper Money of America. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. Thanks. -Editor

Early Paper Money of America on Newman Numismatic Portal

May 10, 1775 Continental Currency $20

Eric P. Newman published five editions Early Paper Money of America, the standard reference for colonial paper money, from 1967 to 2008. The NNP Edition of this work is now available on Newman Portal, and combines Newman's fifth edition text with thousands of colonial paper money examples from the Newman collection. The web format allows for new features, such as hyperlinks in the Continental Currency section that link to the Journals of the Continental Congress and the legislation corresponding to each issue. Additionally, the sheer volume of images presented here would not be viable in a print format, as earlier editions contained representative images only.

The May 10, 1775 $20 illustrated here is one of the most iconic in the colonial paper money series. The marble edge was designed by Benjamin Franklin as an anti-counterfeiting measure, and the burst of color is immediately arresting. Franklin was further responsible for the emblems and mottos, chosen to inspire the colonists in the fight against Britain. The May 10, 1775 issue represented the inaugural printing of Continental Currency, and, while its ending is economically ignominious, the paper did what it had to do during the war and sufficiently greased the wheels of commerce.

Newman Portal intends to maintain Early Paper Money of America as a living document and invites edits and additional content from interested researchers and collectors.

Image: May 10, 1775 Continental Currency $20 note, CC-9, marbled border. From Newman VIII (Heritage Auctions, 11/2017), lot 28170, realized $26,400.

Link to Early Paper Money of America on Newman Portal:

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These are selections from the David Lisot Video Library that feature news and personalities from the world of coin collecting. David has been attending coin conventions since 1972 and began videotaping in 1985. In 2017 the Newman Numismatic Portal reached an agreement to list all David's videos on their website. Each week an excerpt of a different video is available on the CoinTelevision YouTube channel.

Here's one on Young Numismatists and how they got into coin collecting. -Editor

TNA16 Young Numismatists.00_01_03_02.Still001 It is the young blood that will make numismatists healthy into the future. Hear these three young men share how they got into the hobby of coin collecting and what it means to them.

This video is a highlight from Texas Numismatic Association held at its annual Coin and Currency Show in Arlington, Texas at the Arlington Convention Center from May 29-31, 2016. The TNA is a non-profit state organization for coin collectors chartered to promote education about numismatics. One way it promotes coin collecting is to hold one of the largest coin conventions in the state of Texas with hundreds of coin dealers from all over the country.

The entire interview is available on the Newman Numismatic Portal at:

An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:

Young Numismatists Share How They Got Into Coin Collecting
May 29-31, 2019, VIDEO: 3:15.
Eric Barron, Isaiah Marquez, & Brandon Spiegl, Young Numismatists, David Lisot, Interviewer,


For some time now we've been following news of the bankruptcy of Krause Publications parent company F+W Media. Here's what I know about the asset sales. Here's an excerpt of a June 7, 2019 article from Publishing Perspectives. -Editor

Gregory J. Osberg, CEO of F+W Media, has announced today (June 7) that Penguin Random House's bid to acquire the book-publishing assets of F+W Books has been selected as the winning bid following the sale process in the company's chapter 11 case.

In a statement issued by Penguin Random House to the news media, we read, "Penguin Random House has acquired the book-publishing assets in the United States and the United Kingdom of F+W Books, a division of F+W Media, in an auction held Thursday (June 6) by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

"F+W's new titles and its backlist of more than 2,000 illustrated nonfiction books across a broad range of categories and brands will be published within Penguin Random House's Penguin Publishing Group division."

To read the complete article, see:
Penguin Random House Buys F+W Media's Books at Auction (

Remember, there are TWO parts to the sale. This was for books, but it's not clear to me whether this would include the Krause Standard Catalog. The OTHER part of the sale is for "Communities", which includes blogs and magazines. I assume Numismatic News and Bank Note Reporter are lumped in here.

However, there are more hearings scheduled for June 17 and June 24th, so I don't think this is settled yet. Stay tuned. -Editor

To read the F+W bankruptcy legal docket, see:
F+W Media, Inc. Case # 19-10479 (

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Here's an announcement from Heritage Auctions published June 12, 2019 via email. -Editor

Heritage Auctions Launches New Web Feature to Offer Higher-Quality Photographs of World and Ancient Coins in Internet Auctions

Feature offers PCGS TrueView, NGC PhotoVision images from independent grading companies

Heritage coin image example Heritage Auctions, the world's leading coins auctioneer, has launched a new feature on its website that displays high-quality photographs of world and ancient coins taken by independent third-party grading companies whenever they are available for internet auction lots. now displays the PCGS TrueView or NGC PhotoVision images whenever those photos are available for all internet auction lots. Previously, coins received just Heritage's in-house photos of the encapsulated coins.

The high-resolution photographs from PCGS and NGC are shot outside of the coins' protective cases, which produces a clearer and more accurate depiction of the coins' surfaces and toning while at the same time reducing glare or any marks that may be on the plastic holder.

PCGS takes TruView images for all of its world coins, and NGC will take PhotoVision photos of all world and ancient coins submitted by Heritage Auctions, at no added cost to HA consignors.

"This feature represents a significant upgrade in the quality of photographs our consignors and clients will see on," Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Cris Bierrenbach said. "We estimate that within six months, as many as 50% of all lots in our weekly, monthly and Signature Internet auctions will have these exceptional high-resolution photographs, which only will increase bidders' confidence that they are pursuing exactly what they see on our website."

As all collectors and dealers know, not all coins at the same grade level are necessarily equal. The numerical grade assigned to each coin by the grading service remains an important feature, but the improved photographs on will allow collectors to make more confident, better-informed decisions about the bids they make, especially on high-quality coins that deserve a premium for the grade because of exceptional eye appeal.

This is great news. I HATE HATE HATE SUPER-HATE photos taken through slabs, especially those with the annoying white tabs around the coin edge. I don't mind seeing photos of the slab itself, but not if those are the ONLY photos available. High-quality photos of the coin itself are what collectors and researchers really need. This is a great development.

But don't forget about the third side of the coin - the edge. Not every coin needs the edge treatment, but it's crucial for certain pieces. I've heard of one extremely rare colonial coin that had a first-rate electrotype made of it, likely by Sylvester Crosby himself. A decade or so after the electro was sold, it showed up again at auction in a slab as genuine, and the extremely faint seam that was only partially visible on the edge was now completely obscured - the copy became real, the price went from $500 to nearly $100,000, and the person who breaks it out of the slab (which will eventually happen) will be in for one nasty surprise! -Editor

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Apparently New Jersey basements are a great place to find rare numismatic items that can be auctioned for millions. Like the gold certificates we recently discussed, a group of coins found its way to auction and legal action. Len Augsburger forwarded this Bloomberg piece on the odd tale of a group of valuable rare coins that may or may not belong to a cult economist. Thanks. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

The 58 rare coins at the center of two federal lawsuits are exceptionally valuable.

Now a bankrupt company's receiver wants them.

And an antique dealer wants them.

Martin Armstrong And so does Martin Armstrong, a self-taught economist with a cult following who spent years behind bars for what the U.S. said was a $700 million Ponzi scheme and for allegedly hiding assets, including what may be those very same coins.

Armstrong's story is one of Wall Street's more bizarre tales -- and the newest chapter makes it even more absurd.

... Armstrong later spent another five years behind bars after pleading guilty to conspiracy. He wasn't released until 2011, when he returned home to southern New Jersey and began holding conferences for his followers.

At least for the coins, that's largely where matters stood until March 2014, when, according to court papers, a day laborer walked into a Philadelphia thrift shop operated by George and Andrew Antoniak and sold them a box of coins for $6,000. The laborer said he found them while clearing out a house in New Jersey, according to the Antoniaks.

The coins' value -- $2.5 million -- soon became apparent. One of them, a gold penny from the year 1257, is one of just five known to exist and is one of the rarest, most valuable coins in English history. The Scottish coins come from the mid-16th century, and the Greek coins date from 500 BC to 300 BC. The Antoniaks consigned the coins to a Dallas-based auction house, Heritage...

"None of those coins are replaceable, all are unique," Armstrong's lawyers claim.

In 2017, Armstrong, a lifelong collector, learned that Heritage planned to auction the coins, and he claimed them as his own. In turn, the Antoniaks sued Armstrong, saying they'd never heard of him before he sought possession and asking the court to declare them the rightful owners. Armstrong then filed his own suit in Pennsylvania.

Maybe it's just me, but a "self-taught economist" is almost as scary as a self-taught brain surgeon. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Cult Economist Jailed for Hiding Rare Coins Says They're His Now (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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More on the Dr. J. E. Barrett Sale
Dave Hirt writes:

Every week I enjoy John Lupia's posts on early collectors. This week I want to comment on Dr. Charles Edward Frazer's catalog of the Barrett (in some references spelled Barratt) collection. The correct date of the Barrett sale is March 27, 1879. In W.E. Woodward's 33rd sale in 1880, two plated copies were offered - one realized .30 cents, the other.38 cents. Interestingly enough, two days before Frazer's sale, the consigner, Dr Barrett had sold his paper money, both Colonial, and Confederate at Bangs, cataloged by C. H. Bechtel.

1879 Barrett sale cover 1879 Barrett sale preface
Images courtesy Newman Numismatic Portal

Thanks, Dave. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

To read the full catalog on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Catalogue of a collection of coins and medals ... [03/27/1879] (

An Elder Temperance Token

New York Prohibition Token obverse New York Prohibition Token reverse

Dave Schenkman writes:

Isn't that New York Temperance token an Elder piece, Wayne?

Pete Smith writes:

Your June 9 issue of The E-Sylum included a reference to a medal with the text "THIS MEDAL / IS DEDICATED TO / THE CITIZENS OF / THE RUM-SOAKED / CITY OF NEW YORK." This obverse is shared with two reverses.

These were cataloged by Thomas K. DeLorey in Thomas L. Elder A Catalogue of His Tokens and Medals. originally published in The Numismatist in 1980 and later published as a monograph.

The first reverse [DeLorey 72] has the legend "SOME OF THE / EFFECTS OF RUM: / REVELRY / ROWDYISM / RIBALDRY / RIOT / ROGUERY / REMORSE / RUIN." It is the second reverse [DeLorey 73] illustrated in The E-Sylum. It was struck in silver, German Silver, copper, aluminum and several other possible metals.

Bingo! Thanks, guys. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: JUNE 9, 2019 : New York Temperance Token (

Diana Song Lyric


Web site visitor Richard Hughes writes:

I came across a discussion of this coin while researching a song lyric. The Song is "California Humbug," a traditional song. This song was used in episode 3 of Ken Burns's PBS series "The West" which concerned the California gold rush. The lyric of interest to me was "The gambler deals from the bottom all day And loiters about the Diana."

I assumed the Diana was a California casino or hotel. In looking for evidence, I came across the Diana coin. Since there seems to have been some question about the coin's authenticity, I thought you might be interested in this song which may provide at least some support for authenticity.

Interesting possible connection. Thanks. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Coin Doctoring, Conservation, and Disclosure
On coin doctoring and conservation, Jeff Rock writes:

I don't disapprove of someone who owns something making it look better - museums do it with artwork all the time. But there the process is (nowadays at least) reversible and the repair work is thoroughly documented and part of the history of that piece of art. If the same were done with coins it would be less problematical.

I'm sure we've all seen coins that a collector had repaired (a hole filled, a scratch removed, a spot lifted, etc.) and when it was sold the collector let the repair work be known. But the next sale, or the one after? That good faith disclosure disappears soon enough, especially when the repair work was well done.

Slabs, oddly, have compounded the problem because sometimes looking through a piece of plastic and not being able to see the edges makes some repairs much harder to spot. For all intents and purposes when a repaired coin makes it into a slab without the work being mentioned it essentially reclaimed its virginity. The coin is "good" until some collector breaks it out of the holder - and is left with a much less valuable coin.

Two other articles in this issue touch on this topic - one is on a new PCGS service to make available the grading company high quality photos of the unslabbed piece; the other is about similar doctoring and disclosure issues in the baseball card world. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

An Uncertain Brass Piece of 1677

An Uncertain Brass Piece of 1677 obverse An Uncertain Brass Piece of 1677 reverse

David Powell writes:

Another one for E-Sylum readers to identify, please. It is cast brass, approx 31-32mm square. I am guessing a pass or toll ticket, from somewhere in Belgium or the Netherlands, but none of my usual contacts for such things have been able to identify it. I feel that the piece ought to be in Minard van Hoorebeke, but I cannot see it. It appeared on Ebay recently advertised as English, but it quite clearly isn't.

It is the third example of these which I have seen in the course of the last 10-15 years, all dated 1677, and the first of them at a fair on the table of a Low Countries dealer. I think that there is probably a range of values, and I guess that the numeral, "XVI" in this case, refers to the number of horses or people who have been paid for to pass through the gate or over the bridge.

Interesting. Can anyone help? -Editor

Numismatic Literature Catalog Offer
Heath MacAlpine writes:

Some time ago, I was in Cincinnati's famous used bookstore, The Ohio Bookstore, when I found a cache of numismatic literature catalogs. My suspicion was that someone had downsized (or worse), and they had ended up in the company of century old National Geographics, the best sellers of 1956, and a million other books. I didn't really need them but I felt someone else would want them. I bought them all for fifty bucks, put them on a shelf in my office, and forgot about them.

I'm now in the in the process of moving, and I don't want to move these catalogs; time for the orphans to find a new home. They all appear to be in excellent condition. if any E-Sylum readers want to add them to their holdings, they can have the lot for the $50 I paid for them plus the media mail shipping charge. First come, first serve. Contact me at

Here's the list. Great references for the numismatic bibliophile. I've got all of these, but you can't have mine! -Editor

• Kolbe - The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Numismatic Library, Part One December 12, 1998
• Kolbe - The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Numismatic Library, Part Two June 5, 1999
• Kolbe - The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Numismatic Library, Part Three September 25, 1999
• Kolbe - The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Numismatic Library, Part Four June 10, 2000 December 12, 1998
• Stacks/Kolbe – John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Reference Library, Part I June 1, 2004
• Stacks/Kolbe – John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Reference Library, Part II June 4 & 6, 2004
• Bergman – The William and Elizabeth Wisslead Library September 19, 1992
• Bergman – An Interesting and Diverse Numismatic Library, The Property of Joe Der October 30, 1993
• Kolbe – The Dr. Ferdinando Bassoli Library January 10, 2009
• Kolbe – The Bassoli Library Part II & The Twinleaf Library Part II March 5, 2009
• Kolbe – Numismatic Literature Mail Bid Auction Sale March 10, 2001
• Kolbe – The John Frederick Bergman Numismatic Library, Part One October 6, 2001
• Kolbe – One Hundred Rarities of American Numismatic Literature October 6, 2001

Archives International Sale 53 cover front


Harvey Stack submitted this follow-up to last week's except from an article by Mike Castle on the creation of the 50 States Quarter series. Thanks. -Editor

State Quarters I read to day the story and letter from Michael Castle, former chairman of the Finance and Monetary Committee of Congress. He, as you know, is no longer active in the House.

I wish to bring to reader attention that 2019 is an important Anniversary year for the STATEHOOD QUARTER PROGRAM. 25 years ago, I, with others, were witnesses at a hearing relative the the Mint's over charging for late issue commemoratives, especially with the HUGE EXTRA PREMIUMS THEY CHARGED, and at the same time promote many as an "INVESTMENT IN THE fUTURE." The series of commemorative issues, from 1982 to the period of 1995, (when a group of numismatists testified before the House Committee on Banking and Finance, when the birth of the 'STATEHOOD QUARTER WAS PROPOSED !

What brought this Congressional hearing to be called? The Coin Market had during the 1982-1995 period, listened and followed the promotional language by the U.S. Mint, but found after a decade of systematic assembling these coins, NO SECONDARY MARKET DEVELOPED, and those who tried to sell what they acquired could not find buyers at 50% of what their original cost was. Dealers were called "rip off" artists, and the public expressed no great shame of having followed the MINT'S ideas what was scarce and rare, and will grow in value. The industry sent complaints to Congress, and a special hearing was called.

The commemorative issue was approved thereafter, and l999 was the first issue of these commemorative Quarters (THAT WAS 20 YEARS AGO, and therefore a notable anniversary). In addition in 2009, a decade ago (making this the 10th Anniversary of this special series) the last of the STATEHOOD QUARTERS WERE ISSUED. So the acknowledged success of the program, by the Mint and the Public has much to celebrate.


At that hearing in 1995, I, who represented Stack's, the collectors in toto, the PNG dealers who wanted to limit or stop the excessive premiums, that during my testimony I suggest to the HOUSE COMMITTEE, that a commemorative quarter, HONORING EACH STATE ENTERING THE UNION, be struck, and distributed each issue, (50 in all) at FACE VALUE , so the Entry Fee to start a collection of STATEHOOD QUARTERS could be gathered from change each year, with NO PREMIUM ATTACHED. The idea was accepted in full by Congressman Castle, and his committee and became a "SPARKPLUG TO INDUCE NEW COLLECTORS TO COLLECT"

When Congressman Michael Castle, interrupted me as I made my presentation, exclaiming " That is a wonderful idea , Mr. Stack, and since I represent the State of Delaware, which was the first State to sign the confederation, (indicating that his State would be the first to be commemorated) we all smiled and I continued my presentation.

The entire hearing, with full transcripts is in the Congressional Record, and I was fully acknowledged about being the "First to make the suggestion"

At the meeting representatives of the ANA and ANS were present and made some suggestions and commented on a "change of policy by the MINT"

To correct the statement made by Representative Castle in the last issue of The E-Sylum, he credited Beth Deischer with the initial suggestion, and did not acknowledge my idea. Beth did endorse the idea extensively in Coin World, David Ganz. representing the legal aspects of the idea, and Philip Diehl,, (then Director of the MInt) , felt it was a wonderful idea, however, the costs and distribution would have to be explored (a typical response from a government official). To be acknowledged as the one who made the first and initial suggestion is an HONOR I will always cherish.

So I write to you so all your reporting is exact, it can be found in the Congressional Record of the day, it can be confirmed in The E-Sylum, Volume 21, Number 26, Sept. 9, 2018 where I wrote a simplified story about the STATEHOOD QUARTER.

Longtime E-Sylum readers are well aware of Harvey's effort to kickstart a circulating commemorative with the 50 States Quarters idea, as the earlier articles attest. As for Mike Castle's short article, he said "coin collecting advocates" suggested the 50 States Quarter series idea, with Beth Deisher of Coin World being among that group. See the earlier articles for more background. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Garrett Mid-American E-Sylum ad04b Mary Lynn


John Mellman passed along this numismatic item by Jon Bushell from The Royal Society's The Repository, found via the PhiloBiblos blog. Thanks! -Editor

The Royal Society has many connections with Chinese scientific and historical institutions.

Our Foreign Secretary Professor Richard Catlow FRS, and Executive Director Dr Julie Maxton, recently went to China to visit our scientific colleagues, and just last week the Library team hosted several guests from the Qian Xuesen Library and Museum in Shanghai. They were here to research Qian Xuesen's visit to the United Kingdom in 1987, as the leader of a delegation from the China Association for Science and Technology. This provided an opportunity to show off some of our archival material, and to reflect on the long history of relations between the Royal Society and China.


One of the oldest Chinese documents we have is a Ming dynasty paper banknote, likely printed around 1400. Paper money is a Chinese invention, dating back to around the tenth century. A common practice among Chinese merchants was to store their coin with a trusted agent, and carry an early form of promissory note instead; these could be used in place of the coins themselves, and be exchanged for the money with the agent at a later time. The Song dynasty developed this practice further, and by the twelfth century it operated a number of printing factories, creating paper notes for use in particular regions of the Empire.

Kublai Khan adopted the practice when he conquered China and established the Yuan dynasty in 1271. The Italian merchant Marco Polo was so intrigued by the idea that he devoted a chapter of his book to the subject of ‘How the great Khan Causes the Bark of Trees, Made into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All over His Country'. The concept of paper money began to spread to Europe around this time, but it wasn't until the seventeenth century that the practice really took off in the West.

In Peking on 9 November 1748, Gaubil wrote a letter to Royal Society secretary Cromwell Mortimer, and enclosed two banknotes, one of which Mortimer gifted to the Society in 1749. It is a 1 guan, or one-string, note, meaning that the bearer could exchange it anywhere throughout the empire for a string of 1000 copper coins. However, the government did not set limits on how many notes could be printed, and the bills had no expiry dates; this led to huge levels of inflation, and by 1535 a 1 guan note was worth less than a third of one copper coin!

To read the complete article, see:
Cash in the archive (

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Dick Johnson submitted this entry from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Thanks. I added some images. At left is a Lincoln cent with an obverse cud; at right is a die for a Malaysian coin showing a break that would cause a cud when struck. -Editor

1977Lincoln Cent with cud CUD Die

Cud. A raised lump or boss on a struck piece near the rim. There are two kinds of cuds: (1) on the face of the struck piece, as the result of a diechip breaking away from the surface of the die at the edge leaving a cavity that forms such a boss on each piece struck from that die; and (2) on the edge, where it is a result of a broken collar. The latter is called a collar cud by collectors. (A raised lump elsewhere on the face away from the rim of a struck pieces called a boss.) In either case it takes the shape of the area broken away from the mass of the die.

Cuds are the end result of a progression of events in the life of a die once it starts to deteriorate. It begins with a hairline crack at the point of greatest metal stress on the surface of a die. This is nearly always near the edge where steeped-pitched lettering, as legend, is located. Continued striking causes this hairline crack to grow. It widens and deepens into a diecrack. Two or more nearby diecracks may join.

With even more striking these diecracks may turn into a diebreak. The portion of the die that is dislodged may not yet fall away immediately being a retained diechip or until continued striking causes it inevitably to fall away. At this point the portion of the die that is missing has created a cavity, die cavity. It is these cavities that create the cud on all pieces struck from that die forever after.

It is a pressman's responsibility to halt and remove such broken dies during a production run. This is one reason pressmen continually inspect struck pieces with a magnifying glass. Any coin with a cud is reason to stop the press, to remove the impaired die, and to replace it with a fresh or satisfactory die.

In cataloging, the existence and position of the cud should be noted. It is not necessary to explain the shape but the length of the cud could be mentioned.

History of Cuds. The term cud was first used by Mort Goodman in his writings on mint errors in the 1960s. He first used the term "design cud." What was once a collector's term has now been accepted by the minting industry and the numismatic field for the type of mint error it describes. The concept is not that different from a cow's cud that is ruminated from one stomach to another. In coining the ruminated material is metal from the mass of the blank filling the cavity broken away from the edge of the die, or from the collar. See also broken die, collar break.

NM11 {1979} Marvin and Margolis, The Design Cud.
NM19 {1991} Margolis: (on face) p 219-224; (on edge) 175-180.

Book lovers should be word lovers as well.

Looking for the meaning of a numismatic word, or the description of a term?  Try the Newman Numismatic Portal's Numismatic Dictionary at:

Or if you would like a printed copy of the complete Encyclopedia, it is available. There are 1,854 terms, on 678 pages, in The Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology. Even running two a week would require more than 19 years to publish them all. If you would like an advance draft of this vital reference work it may be obtained from the author for your check of $50 sent postpaid. Dick Johnson, 139 Thompson Drive, Torrington, CT 06790.


AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS: Are your books carried by Wizard Coin Supply? If not, contact us via with details.


John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book of numismatic biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is Pennsylvania collector A. Heistand Glatz. -Editor

ABRAHAM GLATZ photo General A. Hiestand Glatz was an antiquarian and coin collector since boyhood in the 1840's. He later became Pennsylvania State Senator Glatz.

Abraham Heistand Glatz (1835-1894), was born November 3, 1835, a fraternal twin with his sister Margaret, son of Dr. Jacob Glatz (1803-1845), and Susan Hiestand (1802-1883), of Lancaster and Accomac (Glatz's Ferry), York County, Pennsylvania. After his father died his family moved in with his mother's family in Marietta, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

In 1850, he entered Princeton, then called the College of New Jersey. In 1854, he graduated Princeton.

He was elected to the Pennsylvania State House, 1858-1859.

He was a Brigadier General in the State Militia before the Civil War.

The 1860 U. S. Census lists him as a gentleman living with his mother.

On May 3, 1861, he enlisted as staff Quartermaster, 16th Pennsylvania Regiment, Jackson Guards.

He was elected to the state Senate, 1861-1868. After the Civil War he ran the family farm as his lifelong career together with politics.

The 1880 U. S. Census tells us he was living as a boarder in his aunt Sarah Wilson's boarding house.

GLATZ sale York Daily, Sun 2_4_1895, p1 There are several pieces of correspondence of Glatz to the Chapman Brothers beginning in the 1880's in the Lupia Numismatic Library.

On December 28, 1894, he died of apoplexy at his home 15 Beaver Street, York, Pennsylvania. He was 59 years old. His funeral was in St. John's Episcopal Church, York, Pennsylvania. He is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania.

To read the complete article, see:

* * * * *

The entire inventory of the Lupia Numismatic Library is for sale. Individual items will be available before the remaining archives are broken up into parcels sold at philatelic auctions in the U. S. and Hong Kong. Check frequently as dozens of new items with estimates will be posted daily until everything is sold.

All inquiries will be given prompt and courteous attention. Write to: .

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Harvey Stack's blog series focuses on living in a numismatic family. Here is part 46. Thanks, Harvey. I added an image of the Chales Jay catalog from the Newman Numismatic Portal. -Editor

Stack Numismatic Family 1964

In 1967 Stack's continued its active over the counter and mail order business, as well as offering exciting public auction sales. Collectors visited our shop to see what we might have added to our inventory, meet with other collectors on Saturdays and use our library for their research. Our monthly auction sales, which usually took place on the weekends, brought many to view lots and participate. Of course, our usual buying and selling over the counter kept us very busy, and usually one or two members of the Stack family, were on the road attending shows and visiting collectors.

We opened 1967 with the Robert Arnel auction featuring a type set, which had been assembled by a New Yorker during the previous decade by attending our sales or visiting us on a regular basis. This set was so nice that new records were established when we sold it. Along with a close friend, Bob also set about to see how many 11 piece commemorative gold coin sets could be assembled. It was a very popular series at the time, as were silver commemoratives. Because of their desire for quality, Bob and his friend only amassed 15 sets the first year. The early sets cost $325 to get, and by the time they got to 15 the last set cost them $595.

We next sold the Bernard Copeland Collection of U.S. gold, silver, and copper coins, which contained many choice early coins. That was followed by the Nicholson Family Collection featuring many early U.S. type coins that had originally been assembled by the father, and then continued by the son.

Also in this year a most unusual type collection was offered by Stack's: the celebrated Charles Jay Collection. Charles Jay had been collecting for about 15 years, and was a familiar face at Stack's auctions. He was introduced to Stack's by close friend and super photographer, Maurice Bauman, who had dedicated much of his time to building one of the finest collections of U.S. half dollars 1794 to 1947. Charles Jay, became enamored of type coins as he wanted to have a representative of each denomination, with each design so he would own an overall view of U.S. coinage, from colonials right through to the 20th century. He knew of Mr. Eliasberg's complete set and realized he could not build a collection of that size. In building his type set, Mr. Jay focused not only on quality and pedigree, but he also wanted to have very rare coins in his collection.

Charles' wish was possible, as between 1950 to 1967 many rare and unusual examples were sold by collectors who had built their cabinets in earlier decades. He acquired Mint State coins or Proof and Specimen examples. To give you some idea how vast his collection was, here are some of the rarities he amassed.

For Mint State coins he had:

Colonials: Birch cent, Continental dollar, Oak Tree Shilling
Half cents: 1793, 1794, 1796 Pole to Cap
Large cents: 1793, 1794, 1796
Half dimes: 1794, 1796, 1802
Dimes: 1796
Quarters: 1796, 1901-S, 1918/7-S
Half dollars: 1794, 1796 ?

His Proof and Specimen coins included:

Cents: 1856 Flying Eagle, 1864 "L"

Five cents: 1867 With Rays
Quarters: 1827
Silver dollars: Four different types and dates 1836-1839, 1866 No Motto, 1895
Gold dollars: Almost a full set, C and D Mint (He liked the small gold coins because of the quality available).
$3 gold: 1857, 1858, 1873, 1875, 1876, 1877
$4 gold Stella: 1879
$10: 1872, 1907 Wire Edge
$20: 1862, 1907 Flat Edge

Charles Jay Collection sale catalog The other coins that made up the set were very choice. We were so excited to offer this fabulous collection that a special cover was designed showing a walnut chest with flat display trays, that we shot and printed in color (one of the first color covers ever). The presentation of this collection attracted numerous collectors when we auctioned it.

We concluded our 1967 public auction season by offering the Hall Park McCullough Collection, which had been formed over 50 years earlier. Once again it was a landmark collection that featured coins with excellent pedigrees.

As our sales of 1967 made clear, many of the collections we sold at public auction were built by collectors who were dedicated to finding the best coins, with the result that the sales were very successful. Buyers at the sales appreciated the rarity and quality that was offered, and used the opportunity to build their own quality collections. Stack's was proud to help appreciative numismatists build outstanding collections and then offer the opportunity for these important pieces to move into the hands of a new generation.

To read the complete article, see:
Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 46 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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The study of numismatics is inextricably linked with the study of economics and art. A new museum in Paris explores economics, inspired by a similar museum in Mexico City. An Art Daily article provides some background. -Editor

Citeco Economics Museum

Do consumers make rational choices? It might not sound like the title of an art exhibit, but it's one of the questions visitors can contemplate at France's first museum aimed at revealing the arcane theories and systems underpinning the global economy.

But the Citeco, housed in a sumptuous neo-Renaissance palace built by a banker in the 19th century, also takes up a tougher challenge: reconcile the French with a subject often viewed with a mix of suspicion and contempt.

"The idea is for people to better understand and grasp the economy, that its general mechanisms be laid out in one place, because the level of comprehension is not what we would hope," Philippe Gineste, the director, told AFP at the museum's inauguration on Friday.

The museum is banking on 130,000 visitors a year, including some 30,000 students as young as seven or eight.

The project was conceived after a visit by the former Bank of France governor Christian Noyer to the MIDE interactive economics museum in Mexico City, which opened in 2006.

Many of the exhibits are hands-on, including a contest where players compete to get to the beach fastest by figuring out how to make or trade for the sunglasses, hats and other things they'll need.

Visitors can also touch a gold bar or try their hand at making their own paper money, or admire a buffalo sculpture by the French scrap metal "alchemist" Christian Champin.

"There are plenty of things to look at, read and think about. Overall we offer around 12 hours of content, but the idea is that visitors just pick and choose what interests them the most," said the museum's curator Xavier Limagne.

And even if people don't leave with expert knowledge of the concepts of scarcity or utility, maybe they will have a better understanding of their own spending or the current trade battles by the US with Europe and China.

To read the complete article, see:
The art of money: New Paris museum puts economy centre stage (


Here's another numismatics-related exhibit to visit in Paris. A new two-room exhibit at the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) highlights coin purses from the collection of Claudette Joannis and Henri Joannis Deberne. I learned about it in an article in the June 13, 2019 CoinsWeekly. Here's the descption from the Monnaie de Paris site. -Editor

Coin purse with dogs Monnaie de Paris, as a creator of coins, naturally takes interest in ‘treasure troves' which have fulfilled the role of containing money and sometimes various other objects throughout the ages. Features of everyday life and indicators of social status, purses, coin purses invite discussion surrounding societal life over the centuries, and more specifically the 19th century, as well as providing an illustration of ‘Parisian chic'.

Surprisingly, never in France has an entire exhibition been dedicated to purses. The aesthetic quality of these objects necessitates an approach which looks beyond their practicality. Henri Joannis-Deberne's collection has never before been exhibited. Covering the period 1830 to 1930, it will be shown for the first time alongside purses on loan from French museums and from leather goods and jewellery houses. These objects date from the 20th century, a period when the purse, much like the handbag, became a fashion accessory of major contemporary brands.

Monnaie coin purse The over 200 different pieces which will be exhibited are made of various materials (tortoise shell, wood, ivory, mother-of-pearl, fabric, metal, shells, leather, etc.) and come from many different parts of the world (France, Austria, England, Italy, Russia, etc.) Many associated jobs and trades - fine cabinet makers, goldsmiths, jewellers - have gone through training to create this type of object. Finally, coins from the Monnaie de Paris collection will be presented alongside these purses.

For more information, see:
Chic and practical, the art of the purse (

To read the CoinsWeeklyarticle, see:
Chic and Practical – The Art of the Coin Purse (

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David Pickup of Buckinghamshire, England submitted these thoughts on coin shops today. Thank you. -Editor

Blue Ribbon 1st Place I think should be a competition to encourage coin shops to be more welcoming. Why not a prize for best shopfront, most helpful assistant and most informative dealer website? I recently travelled abroad and went to a coin dealer in a large city which came up first on an online site. Credit where credit is due. At least there were some coin dealers. Many cities in this country do not have any at dealers all.

However the shop was not attractive from the outside. The shop assistant did her best to be helpful but did not understand what historical medallions were and I was shown some worn tokens. There was little evidence of what they did in fact sell or anything to encourage collectors.

I realise there is a need for security and a camera controlled lock on the door is needed as well as internal CCTV, but jewellers and banks probably have higher levels of security and manage to be welcoming and informative. Even lawyers and dentists try to put people at their ease. You can still have good security systems and be welcoming.

I do not know but callers must include people buying presents for others, collectors who are knowledgeable with a specific interest, the idle curious, the general public who think they have found buried treasure and people who have acquired someone else's collection. It must be difficult catering for all tastes but any if you went to a shop linked to any other hobby you would see information and displays on the subject, magazines and notices about events and local clubs. At least there would be a chair to sit on.

Interesting proposal, and a good incentive for shops to up their game. Perhaps national organizations in each country could take this on. Could there be a worldwide competition someday? Has any such thing ever been tried? -Editor

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Coin shops were never as plentiful as coffee shops, diners or gas stations, but you didn't have to look far to find one in any city or town in America - even department stores had coin shops. As more and more business of all types moves online, we may be seeing the rebirth of the coin department. This Greysheet blog item from CDN Publishing (published June 14, 2019) notes a new coin section on the site of retail giant Walmart. -Editor

Walmart coin shop

It's no secret that retail giant, Wal-Mart, has been investing very heavily on its e-commerce department — waging a full-scale attack on Amazon and eBay. It's not surprising then to see them enter the numismatic fray as well. Tucked away in their "Jewelry" category, you'll find many modern world issues, proof sets, and other retail-friendly items. Are better date coins next? Currently, APMEX and SD Bullion offer items on the site. I expect we will see more in coming days, especially as this launch appears to coincide nicely with the rising bullion market.

Look close at the coin images. It's clear that these are generic photos and not images of the actual item you'll get. In place of the year on several items is a poorly Photoshopped "Random date" label. -Editor

Gold Buffalo random year Mexico 50 Pesos random year

Gold Eagle random year Capped Bust Dime random year

Franklin Half roll random date Washington quarter roll random date

2006 Proof set Silver statehood quarters roll random date

Byzantine gold solidus 2017 Queen Nefertiti

Of course, there's no folksy coin expert to tutor newbies, and the store is only for selling bullion and common coins - the public will have to look elsewhere for less common coins or to sell their late uncle's collection.

These mass-marketing selections are driven by what the seller is able to assemble in quantity, everything from junk silver to Byzantine gold solidi. The oddest thing I saw here was the roll of silver state quarters. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Wal-Mart Joins the Online Coin Market (

To browse the Walmart Collectible Coins Department, see:

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Dix Noonan Webb of London are selling the second part of Marvin Lessen's North Yorkshire Moors collection of British coins. Here's the press release. -Editor

Lessen II sale coin1

Dix Noonan Webb, the international coin, medal, banknote and jewellery specialists, are delighted to be selling Part II of The North Yorkshire Moors collection of British coins formed by Marvin Lessen. The auction will be held on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at 12noon at their auction rooms in central Mayfair - 16 Bolton St, London, W1J 8BQ. This follows the success of Part I which sold in April 2018 for more than £300,000.

Mr Lessen was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1934. His family moved to Hazleton, Pennsylvania and thence to Albany, New York, where relatives still live. Graduating from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, he spent his career in the aerospace/defence industry, working in various technical locations in Europe and North America. A collector from an early age, of coins, stamps, arms and armour, his move to Scarborough in 1962 precipitated the interest to collect British coins on a serious basis.

Lessen II sale coin2

By the time he had joined the British Numismatic Society in October 1964, and subsequently the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society, he was well-known to the principal London dealers of the day – Baldwin (Douglas and Peter Mitchell, and later Michael Sharp), Seaby (Frank Purvey and Alan Rayner), and in particular, Spink, where he enjoyed firm friendships with the late Douglas Liddell, then Patrick Finn, as well as with Douglas Saville and Howard Linecar in literature; also Corbitt & Hunter in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and other sources in the North-East. In the US there developed close connections with CNG (David Guest and Victor England), David Hess, Chris Blom, Joel Malter and Bill Castenholz, to name a few dealers in classical and medieval coins, as well as friends.

As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, DNW, explains: "This second sale of coins from the Lessen collection spans the half-millennium between Eadgar's coinage reform in 972/3, when mint names started to accompany those of moneyers on coins, and the death of Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485. Coins from over 50 different mint-towns from the period 973 to 1278 are represented in this catalogue, of which worthy of particular mention are the only penny of Lichfield available to commerce, excessively rare coins of Hythe and Pevensey and two issues from Gothabyrig, the West Country establishment whose exact location remains the subject of debate. Students of the later medieval period will be aware of Mr Lessen's particular interest in the coinages of Henry IV and V, and the period from 1399 to 1422 is very liberally represented in this catalogue".

Lessen II sale coin3

The collection comprises 526 lots and among the highlights is an extremely fine and rare penny dating from the reign of Edward the Martyr (975-978) which is estimated at £4,000- £5,000, and an example of a very fine and rare groat, dating from the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) and a new denomination at the time, is also estimated at £4,000-£5,000.

For more information, see:

Here is some additional information about Mr. Lessen from the catalogue Foreword. Follow the link for a list of Lessen's major numismatic writings. -Editor

Mr Lessen has been a frequent contributor to the pages of The British Numismatic Journal, The Numismatic Chronicle and Spink's Numismatic Circular, as can be seen from the bibliography below. His favourite period of numismatic study centred on the mid-17th century – the coins, medals and seals of Oliver Cromwell and the early years of Charles II. It is no coincidence that his favourite numismatic author was the gifted youth Henry William Henfrey (1852-81), whose Numismata Cromwelliana, privately published in 1877, remains one of the truly significant pieces of numismatic work produced in Britain in the 19th century which is still essential for the student in the 21st. Henfrey died of TB at the age of 29, his proposed history of English country mints unfinished – a very sad loss to numismatics at the time.

To read the complete Foreword, see:

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Here's a selection of interesting or unusual items I came across in the marketplace this week. Tell us what you think of some of these. -Editor

1911 Poodle Club Medal

1911 Poodle Club Medal obverse 1911 Poodle Club Medal reverse

Poodle Club 1911 Medallion awarded to Count de Monte Cristo

One for the dog lovers. Cool medal. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
Poodle Club 1911 Medallion awarded to Count de Monte Cristo (

Poultry Club Medal

Poultry Club Medal obverse Poultry Club Medal reverse

The Poultry Club Silver Medal (founded 1887) - c. 23g

If dogs aren't your thing, how about chickens? -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
The Poultry Club Silver Medal (founded 1887) - c. 23g (

c1924 Labuk British North Borneo

Labuk British North Borneo 20 cents obverse Labuk British North Borneo 20 cents reverse

20 cents tokens copper oJ (around 1924). Labuk British North Borneo. Polished plate, small scratch

A recently sold piece from Teutoburger Münzauktion. I believe it's a plantation token - perhaps a tobacco plantation. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
20 cents tokens copper oJ (around 1924). Labuk British North Borneo. (

1930 Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Token

Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Token obverse Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Token reverse

Description: *Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Token, G.V.R., dated 1930, reverse officially inscribed ‘A. Waters', in original fitted case of issue by ‘Harold Stabler, 34 Upper Mall, London. W.6.', toned, practically as struck. Arthur Waters, in service at the Sandringham Estate, received his Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal in 1930, and his 30 years' service clasp in 1940. The book Royal Service Volume III, by D. Stanley, states that he exchanged his Long and Faithful Service Token for a Medal in 1930.

Interesting item. I wasn't aware of this series, and there's a whole book about them. Do any of our readers collect these? -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
Lot 1461: *Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Token, G.V.R., dated 1930 (

British North America Library of Coins Album

British North America Library of Coins Album British North America Library of Coins page Newfoundland 5 cents

A seldom seen Library of Coins album with some Newfoundland coins included. A starter album! I asked author David Lange about it. He writes: "It is a scarce title that surfaces perhaps 2-3 times per year. My Value Guide for LOC albums rates it as F - $50, VF- $75, NM - $130." -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
British North America Library of Coins (

E-Sylum Tom Uram ad 2019-05-26a


I have a two-part diary this time. I had a nice dinner earlier this month that I hadn't written about yet. And this week I had another nice meeting of the Nummis Nova group.

Society of Medallists
Society of Medallists Exhibit at Mint HQ Tom Uram don Everhart My friend Tom Uram is a busy numismatic bee. They say that if you want a job done, give it to a busy person. Tom's picture should be next to that quote in the encyclopedia. He's President of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN), Chair of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), an American Numismatic Association Exhibit Judge, and is currently running for ANA Vice-President.

An active exhibitor himself, Tom developed an award-winning exhibit of medals produced by the Society of Medallists. It's now on display in the lobby of the U.S. Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C. Here's Tom at the exhibit with former Mint Sculptor Don Everhart. For more information on Don, see this week's Featured Web Site.

Dinner with the Mint
Well, not the whole U.S. Mint, but some key players. On Monday June 3rd, 2019 I set my GPS for Scotts Restaurant in Washington, D.C., where Tom Uram had invited me to join him for dinner. I got there early, but recognized a familiar face at the bar and introduced myself to Don Everhart. "Tom sent me". With Don was U.S. Mint Design and Engraving Manager Ron Harrigal, who quickly introduced himself. His glass of red wine looked fine to me, so I ordered one of the same.

I told Don I'd seen him at the Welcome Banquet for the ANA's National Money Show in Pittsburgh earlier in the year. I'd also heard Ron speak at a U.S. Mint conference, but had met neither gentleman. It was a double treat. (And both are now E-Sylum subscribers!)

We had a nice conversation at the bar but soon Tom Uram arrived with his father Andy. Andy's 99, still getting around and looking good. Tom's from good stock.

We took to our table in the much quieter dining room. The waitress greeted our party like Norm from Cheers - these guys are regulars. She'd gotten interested in coin collecting and Ron instructed her to be on the lookout for the 2019-W quarters.

Our dinner conversation was maybe half numismatics, half everything else under the sun, from long commutes, restoring old houses, Pittsburgh and environs, and the benefit of a quiet restaurant where you can hear your own table's conversation.

Society of Medallists exhibit brochure cover On the numismatic front we discussed Tom's Society of Medallists exhibit, and he sent me the above photo of him and Don Everhart at the exhibit. He also kindly gave me an exhibit brochure he'd created, a nicely done 20-page compilation of the exhibit material and more (pictured at right).

Other topics included the Berlin World Money Fair, visiting PCGS to discuss recent Mint error coins, production issues at the West Point Mint, Joe Menna and the Chief Engraver position, John Mercanti, and Don's post-U.S. Mint career.

It was a great evening in a vibrant part of D.C., just down the street from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and other tourist attractions.

2019-06-03 Andy uram, wayne Homren, Don Everhart, Ron Harrigal, Tom Uram
Andy Uram, Wayne Homren, Don Everhart, Ron Harrigal, Tom Uram

Nummis Nova June 2019
My next numismatic event was the monthly meeting of my northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. We met Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Ristorante Bonaroti, an Italian place in Vienna, VA. Jon Radel was our host.

We were lucky to get a private room at no extra charge, and it was a very nice venue. It's a treat to have our own space. We could mingle like a cocktail party for a good while before sitting down to order our dinners. I spoke with Chris Neuzil, Tom Kays, Robert Hoppensteadt and others before grabbing a seat next to Dave Schenkman and across from Howard Daniel. It was a treat to see Howard. He and his wife Phung still have a condo in McLean, VA, but spend most of their time at their new home in Port St. Lucie, FL.

2019-06 Nummis Nova artwork1 2019-06 Nummis Nova artwork2

Other members present included Jon, Mike Packard, Roger Burdette, Wayne Herndon, Steve Bishop, Julian Leidman, and Eric Schena. I lent Dave a non-numismatic book I'd completed recently - Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, about the con man who stole millions from Malaysia and lived large with A-List celebrities. Dave had earlier lent me his copy of Life, the memoir of Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards.

See, some of us do have lives beyond numismatics. Dave Schenkman comes from a long line of musicians, plays banjo, and does a good worldwide business selling banjos. Tom Kays brought an old banjo with him for Dave to evaluate - it had been donated to his church. While not a rarity (or even particularly desired by today's players), it turned out to be worth about $1,000.

2019-06 Banjo Tom Kays Dave Schenkman
Tom Kays, Dave Schenkman, and the Banjo

In numismatics, Dave Schenkman roots out the best of the best in tokens and medals. Here are two of his display items that really floored everyone.

Joseph Merriam Counterstamp

Merriam counterstamp-obv Merriam counterstamp-rev

I used to collect U.S. Merchant counterstamp avidly, but I never had one from famed Boston die sinker Joseph Merriam.

Dave adds:

This is the earliest known numismatic item of Joseph H. Merriam, who was only listed in the Boston Directory of 1854-5 at the Washington Street address.

Arctic Expedition Token

Vincennes-obv Vincennes-rev

Dave writes:

This token from the 1839 United States Exploring Expedition is white metal, 25mm. The Vincennes was the flagship of Lt. Charles Wilkes, who led the expedition. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone with thoughts on who struck the token, or how it was used. Similar tokens with other ship names are known.

Wow - I've never seen this. Beautiful piece.

Art Medal
Jon Radel asked the group a question: "How big does an art medal have to be before it's no longer a medal?" He displayed this nice (and heavy) item:

Bird medallic sculpture winner

My take is that it's about proportion as well as size. Those gigantic gold "coins" from Canada and Austria are still recognizable as coins - they have the right proportion and shape despite their size. This is a nice piece of sculpture, but it's hard for me to call it medallic sculpture.

Eric's World Tokens
Eric Schena writes:

Here are the things I passed around: three world tokens, one from Sumatra and two from Africa.

Sumatra token 1 Sumatra token 2

1. A plantation token dated 1890 from Asahan in Sumatra issued by Unternehmung (Company) Goerach Batoe and good for 1 dollar( Lansen/Wells 86a; Scholten 1059). This is an impressive 39 mm on each side and made of a cupronickel alloy that as you can see did not hold up well in the tropical climate.

1895 SA token obv 1895 SA token rev

2. A large aluminum 1895 calendar token from Cape Colony in South Africa issued by B. G. Lennon & Co., a large pharmaceutical company that was headquartered in Cape Town. The company was in business well into the twentieth century and is still in business in a way through Aspen Holdings, which had acquired the parent company, South African Druggists, in 1999. The great thing about it is that it lists all its branch offices throughout Southern Africa: Port Elizabeth, East London, Aliwal North, Beaufort West, Graaff Reinet, Bloemfontein (Orange Free State), Johannesburg (ZAR), Kimberley (Griqualand West), and Bulawayo (Matabeleland/Rhodesia).

Libya Banco di Roma - 1 Libya Banco di Roma - 2

3. A neat bronze token issued by Banco di Roma for use in Italian Eritrea in the 1920s from what I have been able to research. I have also seen this listed for Libya.

2019-06 Nummis Nova

GROUP PHOTO. Clockwise from left: Dave Schenkman, Mike Packard, Robert Hoppensteadt, Tom Kays, Chris Neuzil, Roger Burdette, Wayne Herndon, Julian Leidman (obscured), Steve Bishop, Eric Schena, Jon Radel, Howard Daniel. (Image courtesy Wayne Homren)

2019-06 Nummis Nova2

END OF THE EVENING: From left: Wayne Herndon, Julian Leidman. In mirror: Mike Packard, Dave Schenkman. Back to camera: Tom Kays, Robert Hoppensteadt.

It's always a great time to just socialize and talk numismatics. 'Til next time!


GET YOUR TWO BITS HERE! The fifth edition of MEGA RED (the 1,504-page Deluxe Edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins) has a 295-page feature on 224 years of U.S. quarter dollars, 1796 to date (plus earlier Spanish-American two-reales), covering 1,105 varieties. Order your copy for $49.95 online at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


Remember the purser's safe discovered with the wreckage of the S.S. Central America? Another rarity has surfaced amid the 8,873 U.S. dimes found in one of the bags inside. The bag and coin are pictured below. Here's a lengthy excerpt from the June 14, 2019 press release. -Editor

SS Central America 1856-S 10c PCGS MS65

The S.S. Central America, the famous "Ship of Gold" that sank in 1857 carrying tons of California Gold Rush-era treasure, continues to reveal astonishing numismatic surprises. The latest find is an extremely rare mint condition 1856 San Francisco Mint Liberty Seated silver dime that is now tied for finest known and described as a "miracle" coin by one of its discoverers.

Recovered in 2014 with thousands of other dimes in the ship purser's iron lock box but only recently examined and cataloged, the coin now has been graded PCGS MS65 CAC. It is one of only two known at that grade and with none higher.

SS Central America Purser's Bag "The 1856-S dime has an incredibly rare mintage of only 70,000; a mere $7,000 in face value. In fact, the Professional Coin Grading Service Population Report indicates only 11 uncirculated 1856-S dimes that weren't put into circulation or melted! This example stayed pristine with full luster after a century and a half in the ocean environment," said Dwight Manley, Managing Partner of the California Gold Marketing Group (CGMG).

"It is among the crème de la crème, the best-of-the-best of coinage from this amazing sunken treasure," stated Manley.

CGMG acquired all the coins retrieved in 2014 from the fabled S.S. Central America as well as most of the coins found in 1980s recovery expeditions. The group took possession in January 2018 of the sunken treasure recovered in 2014, and a meticulous coin-by-coin, ingot-by-ingot examination has continued since then.

"We will publicly display this top rarity for the first time at the American Numismatic Association's 2019 Chicago World's Fair of Money, August 13-17, at booth 1615," announced Manley.

PCGS officials say it was a thrilling moment when the coin arrived there for grading.

"The recovered treasure from the S.S. Central America continues to put the PCGS grading team in awe. Seeing a silver coin that spent well over 100 years at the bottom of the ocean emerge in such incredible condition is a numismatic dream," stated Brett Chaville, President of PCGS which has certified all the recovered S.S. Central America coins submitted by CGMG over the years.

John Albanese, President and Co-Founder of Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC), described the 1856-S dime as, "A beautiful frosty gem! Hard to believe it was on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for 157 years!"

During the 2014 recovery expedition, two canvas bags were found in the bottom of the lock box, and one bag contained more than 8,000 dimes.

"It quickly became obvious that this was the ‘cash box' of the ship, a truly marvelous historical find," said Bob Evans, the chief scientist on the 1980's mission that first located and recovered a portion of the fabulous sunken treasure and who served in that same role and as a numismatist with the 2014 recovery.

"I saw the 1856-S after I already had examined around 4,000 other dimes from the purser's bag. That big bag sat in the dark, cold, swampy, anaerobic (lack of oxygen) interior of an iron safe for 157 years. But when I first saw it, I could see this dime was mint state," explained Evans.

"I saw the obverse first and assumed it was an 1856 New Orleans Mint or a Philadelphia Small-Date in high-grade, not uncommon among these dimes. I flipped it over expecting to see either no mint mark or an O. I remember my audible, ‘Well, at long last!,' somewhat stunned response to the S mint mark dime as I held it in my gloved fingers. It is truly a wonderful, miracle coin, and the fact that it is the only 1856-S dime from the S.S. Central America treasure makes it all that much more special," stated Evans.

A complete list of all the items recovered in 2014 will be published in an upcoming book, America's Greatest Treasure Ship: The S.S. Central America, by esteemed numismatic author Q. David Bowers and Manley.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: (

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The Chicago Coin Club is issuing a medal in honor if its 100th anniversary. Here's an excerpt from the press release. For more information, or to order, contact Scott McGowan at .

A beautiful medal! -Editor

Chicago Coin Club centennial Medal obverse Chicago Coin Club centennial Medal reverse

The Chicago Coin Club announces the release of a series of Medals celebrating the clubs 100th Anniversary. Weighing in at approx. 6 - 13 ounces depending on the which source metal. The series of 100th anniversary medals consists of four different medals of the same design all sized 3-1/4" x 2-7/16" x 1/4"

The medal design is a bi-directional Rotated Dies (ROT) oval medal with a landscape format obverse image of the Chicago's Clarence F. Buckingham fountain in Chicago's Grant Park and a portrait format reverse image of the famous Chicago Water Tower in downtown Chicago that survived the Great Fire of 1871 that is rotated 90° from the obverse. The obverse also contains the inscription "Chicago Coin Club, 1919 – 2019, A century of sharing numismatic knowledge." This combination of source metals, unusual die orientation and choice of iconic Chicago images marries up to create a beautiful 100th anniversary club medal that truly represents Chicago and adds to the club's long history of celebratory medals.

For more information on the Chicago Coin Club, see:

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Readers may recall our earlier discussions of Moe Berg, the polymath Medal of Freedom winner who played professional baseball and became a WWII spy. A new documentary film about his life opened last month. Michigan Today profiled the film and its filmmaker. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Moe Berg Bronze medal obverse Moe Berg Bronze medal reverse
Moe Berg Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medal

In May, Kempner released her latest one-of-a-kind story, The Spy Behind Home Plate. The movie tells the true tale of catcher and American patriot Moe Berg, nicknamed "the brainiest guy in baseball." The gloveman played for several teams between 1923-39, most notably the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. He also held a law degree, spoke multiple languages, and worked for a time on Wall Street between seasons.

But it's his career after baseball that captivated Kempner. In 1943, Berg joined the U.S. government's nascent wartime intelligence service, the Office of Secret Services (OSS). This was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency. Before long, the polymath patriot, ballplayer, attorney, and linguist would prove to be an MVP of espionage, interviewing prominent Italian physicists who had inside knowledge of Hitler's atom bomb program.

"The players loved Moe," Kempner says. "The fans loved Moe. But it's what he did out of the limelight that helped us defeat Hitler at a critical moment in history. That was his biggest hit: a grand slam for America."

Spy Behind Home Plate film logo In fact, Kempner was blessed to gain access to 18 unseen interviews stored in a Princeton University archive. The footage had long ago been recorded for an unproduced film on Berg. Kempner uses the clips to great effect and offers a fascinating look at this athlete who spoke several languages and wrote a classicAtlantic essay on the catcher/pitcher pas de deux.

Humor is central to much of the work coming from this writer/director/producer. In one sequence, Kempner reveals how Berg, as a catcher playing for Princeton in 1919 (no easy feat for a Jew), gave audible signals to his pitchers in Latin. When asked to describe his plan B, should the opposition decode his calls, the catcher answered, "We'll switch to Sanskrit."

The Spy Behind Home Plate, inspired and financed by executive producer William Levine, opened in theaters nationwide in late May. For tour dates visit .

To read the complete article, see:
A most valuable player (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 : Moe Berg Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medal (
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 17, 2018 : Moe Berg Film Opens June 22, 2018 (


Another gold Nobel Prize medal is coming up for sale. Sotheby's is offering the medal awarded to YMCA Leader John R. Mott in 1946. -Editor

John Mott Nobel Peace Prize Medal

Nobel Peace Prize Medal Awarded in 1946 to YMCA Leader John R. Mott (1865-1955) for "His Creation of a Peace-Promoting Religious Brotherhood Across National Boundaries."

Nobel Prize Medal, struck in solid 23 carat gold, designed by Gustav Vigeland and manufactured by the Royal Norwegian Mint (Det Norske Myntverket) in Kongsberg, Norway. Obverse with bust of Alfred Nobel left, legend "ALFR• NOBEL • NAT • MDCCCXXXIII • OB • MDCCCXCVI", in field, right "MODEL • G • VIGELAND". Reverse with three standing male figures, arms united in brotherhood, legend "PRO • PACE • ET • FRATERNITATE • GENTIUM". Edge inscribed "PRIX • NOBEL • DE • LA • PAIX", and "JOHN R MOTT 1946". Weight, approx. 182 grams, 66 mm in diameter, housed in the original green morocco case. [With:] accompanying diploma (515 x 421 mm) on paper, Norweigan text partially engraved and completed in manuscript, engraved decorative border incorporating the lion of Norway with silver ax in hand, signed by the five representatives of the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee, Oslo, 10 December 1946.

One of the most influential Protestant figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mott was the long-serving leader of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and worked to establish understanding and reconciliation among religions. He was a pioneer in the struggle against racial discrimination and for mutual respect and understanding among people of different faiths, a critic of the oppression of colonized peoples, and took part in both World Wars in relief work for prisoners of war. A founder of the Christian Ecumenical movement, he devoted his life to missionary activities and ecumenical work.

The Nobel Prize is widely considered to be the most prestigious award conferred in the fields of Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, and Peace, with the most famous of these being the Peace prize. According to Alfred Nobel's will, the Peace Prize was awarded to "…the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." It has only been awarded 99 times since the establishment of the prizes in 1895, compared to other categories such as Physics, which has been awarded 112 times thus far. Some of the best-known Peace Prize laureates include Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the 14th Dalai Lama, Elie Weisel, and Malala Yousafzai.

Only four other Nobel Peace Prizes have been offered at auction: Sir Randall Cremer, 1903 (Sotheby's London, 1985), Carlos Saavedra Lamas, 1936 (Stacks Bowers, 2014), Auguste Beernaert, 1909 (Christie's, 2015), and Alfonso Garcia Robles, 1982 (Christie's, 2017).

It's hard to imagine a more important or prestigeous medal. As noted in the lot description, these rarely come up for sale. Theestimate is $300,000 = $500,000. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Nobel Peace Prize Medal Awarded in 1946 to YMCA Leader John R. Mott (1865-1955) (

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While looking for other things I came across this medal from the 1959 Pan American Games. It sold on April 27, 2019. -Editor

1959 Pan American Games medal obverse 1959 Pan American Games medal reverse

The interest in showcasing amateur athletes from all nations in the Americas of the Western Hemisphere led to the creation of the Pan American Games. First held in Buenos Aires in 1948, the games quickly became the venue in which future Olympic champions were given their first taste of international competition. The third edition of the Pan-American Games was held in the Chicago, Ill., during the summer of 1959. Eighteen nations participated, but the events were dominated by the U.S., which won a total of 236 medals to easily eclipse runner-up Canada's 48.

One of the highlights of the '59 Games was certainly the U.S. Men's Basketball team. Composed of all the best college players around the country, Team USA featured two future NBA superstars, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. Robertson led the way, averaging 16.5 points per game as Team USA ran through six nations, beating each one by a 40-point margin on their way to the Gold Medal. Robertson, West and several other Pan-Am Games teammates would form the nucleus of the squad that would take gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics a year later.

Featured here is the Gold Medal presented to Oscar Robertson following his team's triumph at the '59 Pan-Am Games. The obverse reads "THIRD PAN AMERICAN GAMES" around the top with a map of the Western Hemisphere and a silver star marking the location of the Games. At the bottom is "CHICAGO 1959" in raised letters and numbers with a ciircular design of the U.S. Olympic team emblem surrounded by "City of Chicago Incorporated March 1837". The reverse depicts a torch and laurel wreath with "1st - BASKETBALL - MEN."

Made of gold-plated Sterling silver (hallmarked on the reverse with "STERLING" at the bottom), the medal measures 51mm in diameter and 3mm thick and weighs 70 grams. The rim and edge show some wear and tarnishing, but overall it remains in very fine condition. A shining example of Oscar Robertson's first foray into international competition when his legend was just getting started. Includes LOA from Oscar Robertson.

It's pretty bland and flat, but still a quite collectible sports medal. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:


Pablo Hoffman passed along this Atlas Obscura compilation of images forwarded by readers of interesting or unusual coins and banknotes. Here are some that caught my eye. -Editor

North Dumpling Island Currency

North Dumpling Island currency

"Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway (and a zillion other things), bought an island off the coast of Connecticut. When local authorities wouldn't let him build a wind turbine, he seceded from the United States. Part of that meant issuing his own money adorned with the faces of friends and family. This is the only picture I could find on the web for the currency of North Dumpling Island."

Hong Kong One Cent Note

Hong Kong One Cent Note

"Was in Hong Kong in the 1980's and got this tiny 1 cent bill in change at a store. Was worth far less than a penny. The dime is for size comparison. Tattered after all these years, but a curiosity I always remembered."

Two Scruples Apothecary Weight

Two Scruples Apothecary Weight "Not exactly a coin per se, but I found this in my collection and couldn't identify it until the advent of the World Wide Web. It's two scruples, an apothecary weight used in the days before electronic scales and prepackaged medicines. Pharmacists used a balance beam scale to measure the appropriate amount of medicine to a customer. One would put the appropriate weights on one side and then pour the powdered drug on the other until the balance was centered. Stamped in Philadelphia and New York, date unknown."

Do any of our readers collect apothecary weights? What are the standard references? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Show Me the (Most Beautiful and Unusual) Money! (



The New York Times obtained an image of a "facsimile" design for the proposed Harriet Tubman note. -Editor

Harriet Tubman Facsimile Design

Extensive work was well underway on a new $20 bill bearing the image of Harriet Tubman when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced last month that the design of the note would be delayed for technical reasons by six years and might not include the former slave and abolitionist.

In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman's likeness on next year's centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf.

That preliminary design was completed in late 2016.

A spokeswoman for the bureau, Lydia Washington, confirmed that preliminary designs of the new note were created as part of research that was done after Jacob J. Lew, President Barack Obama's final Treasury secretary, proposed the idea of a Tubman bill.

The development of the note did not stop there. A current employee of the bureau, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, personally viewed a metal engraving plate and a digital image of a Tubman $20 bill while it was being reviewed by engravers and Secret Service officials as recently as May 2018. This person said that the design appeared to be far along in the process.

Within the bureau, this person said, there was a sense of excitement and pride about the new $20 note.

In a separate statement released on Friday afternoon, Len Olijar, the director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said the bureau "was never going to unveil a note design in 2020," adding that doing so this far in advance of going into circulation would aid counterfeiters. He described the image obtained by The Times as a "facsimile" that contained no security features, and he echoed Mr. Mnuchin's argument that it was too early to develop an integrated concept or design until security features are finalized.

To read the complete article, see:
See a Design of the Harriet Tubman $20 Bill That Mnuchin Delayed (


While looking for other things I came across the site of artist Karl Lagasse and his money art. Here are a couple pieces that caught my eye. -Editor

Karl Lagasse One Dollar Gold

One Dollar - Gold
Aluminum sculpture - One of a kind original artwork
8" x 20" x 4" (20cm x 50cm x 10cm)
20" x 8" (50cm x 20cm x 1cm)

Karl Lagasse One Dollar Turquoise

One Dollar - Turquoise
Aluminum sculpture - One of a kind original artwork
12" x 39" x 10" (30cm x 100cm x 25cm)

To read the complete article, see:
Karl Lagasse (

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The Newman Numismatic Portal works closely with the Internet Archive, using IA as the back-end storage for millions of pages of numismatic content. Bibliophiles and information-lovers of all stripes will appreciate the foresight and dedication of a woman named Marion Stokes, who single-handedly created a massive archive of broadcast news, now being added to IA. Here's a review from Hyperallergic of a new documentary on Stokes. -Editor

Matt Wolf's documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is set to play at more festivals throughout the summer, ruminates on this modern phenomenon via a fascinating, previously little-known figure.

The film's press materials describe Marion Stokes in perversely appealing terms: "a radical Communist activist, who became a fabulously wealthy recluse archivist." The reality wasn't quite so straightforward, and the film paints a picture of a prickly, fiercely intellectual woman driven by forces that at first seem confusing. Stokes started out as a librarian, and she and her first husband were devoted left-wing activists. Later she began hosting a Philadelphia public affairs show with the wealthy John Stokes, who became her second husband. Stokes's money gave her the luxury of time, and she took on a project that became her life's work. In 1979, during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Stokes began recording the news on VHS tapes around the clock. She kept at this until her death in 2012 — in a tragic sign of the times, her final recordings captured coverage of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Altogether, she recorded 70,000 tapes.

Marion Stokes video archive

Recorder finds poignancy in Stokes's obsessive mission, rather than look at her as an oddity. The film becomes a treatise on the power of archival work. With the advent of streaming and the shift away from physical media, it's easy to assume that everything exists online somewhere, and will remain there indefinitely. This is patently untrue.

Many TV networks likely don't have much of the material Stokes recorded in their proprietary archives. Archiving is often given short shrift. Media companies tend to focus on the future, and the budgeting of corporate overlords doesn't usually leave much room for things that might uncharitably be referred to as "old." The Internet Archive's digitization of Stokes's collection is the culmination of her socialist mission. She wanted information to be accessible, and she wasn't discriminating in what she recorded. The ephemeral material on her tapes — commercials, forgotten local stories, jingles, lo-fi graphics, newscasters with bad hair — might be the most compelling stuff of all.

While Recorder is fairly conventional in structure with its incorporation of talking heads, it makes creative use of the archival riches its subject collected. The snippets of tapes we see are grainy and often soothingly banal, the textured stuff of the past. It's not all nostalgia, though. Wolf places Stokes's recordings in context. In one particularly effective sequence, he creates a grid of news channels in the moments leading up to 9/11. The footage starts calmly, with a sinking feeling setting in as each show receives word of the event. Without any commentary, Wolf succinctly shows us a moment in which the world shifted.

To read the complete article, see:
The Woman Who Recorded Decades of TV News on 70,000 VHS Tapes (


Numismatists often collect more than just numismatic items. For those with an interest in posters, here's another Hyperallergic article on a new poster museum opening in New York. Pictured is Alphonse Mucha's 1896 "Zodiac" poster. -Editor

Muncha Zodiac poster The United States has niche museums for almost every subject, from trains and boats, to UFOs and conspiracy theories, but it's never had a museum celebrating the art and history of the poster. That will soon change with the opening of Poster House in New York City.

The 15,000 square-foot museum, located on West 23rd Street in Chelsea, Manhattan, includes three exhibition spaces, interactive displays in its hallways, and a children's area. The new museum already boasts a permanent collection of 7,000 historical posters collected from around the world and 1,000 contemporary posters that will be shown in future exhibitions.

To read the complete article, see:
The First Poster Museum in the United States Will Open its Doors in New York City (


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

Sports Card Doctoring and Conservation

We recently discussed the fine line between coin doctoring and conservation. The topic is also rampant in the world of sports card collecting. Here's an excerpt from a June 14, 2019 New York Times article. See the complete article for more. Interesting parallels for numismatics. -Editor

Baseball cards displayed at MOMA

A scandal in the world of baseball card collecting threatens to undermine the value of a long-established card grading system, has put into question the legitimacy of a prominent marketplace and has raised concerns that some collectors overpaid for expensive cards.

Millions of dollars' worth of cards are at stake as collectors question purchases and wonder whom they can trust.

The controversy centers on the authenticity of sports cards. To verify their condition, cards are sent to a grading company, which scores them on a scale of 1 to 10. Grading sets the value of the cards and is considered a prerequisite for selling them on an auction platform like eBay.

Cards in pristine condition are highly valued by collectors and can fetch thousands of dollars more than similar cards with scuffs or worn edges. Sellers can improve the appearance of a card by trimming its edges or removing residue, but collectors believe any alterations make a card less authentic, and cards that are known to have been doctored are often worth considerably less.

And card alteration can lead to federal fraud charges, which happened in 2013 when a seller admitted to trimming a Honus Wagner card, one of the most valuable baseball cards in the world.

To read the complete article, see:
Retouching the Mona Lisa Is Restoration, but a Mickey Mantle? Collectors Cry Fraud (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

The Clearing House Upgrade

One numismatic sideline is the collecting of checks. Their use has been fading for years but they haven't quite disappeared in the U.S. like they have in many countries around the world. The clearinghouse system for managing check payments has been around for over a century, but it's in the midst of an overhaul. -Editor

The way we move money around in the U.S. is slow by global standards. Write someone a check or send them an ACH transfer through your bank, and it can take well over a day for the cash to show up in the recipient's bank account.

While that might not be a big deal when you're paying your roommate for rent, small businesses have to factor that delay into their everyday decisions.

Part of the problem: running a small business often means having to rely on some pretty ancient forms of payment.

Payments have to be cleared by clearinghouses to make sure the transactions are secure and legitimate. For ACH transfers, that job is done by the Federal Reserve and The Clearing House, a company that processes $2 trillion worth of transfers per day.

But The Clearing House is now pushing a new service, called Real-Time Payments, where transactions clear instantly, on any day and at any time.

To read the complete article, see:
Moving money around is a glacial process. That could change. (


This week's Featured Web Site is that of former Franklin Mint and U.S. Mint sculptor Don Everhart.

Since joining the Mint in 2004, Everhart has created designs for numerous coins and medals, notably the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins (selected 2016 Coin of the Year), designing the reverse and sculpting both sides of the first curved coins produced by the U.S. Mint.

Don retired from The United States Mint in July of 2017, after over 13 years of service. In February of 2018, Don was awarded the prestigious "Lifetime Achievement Award" from World Coin News in Berlin, Germany.

Although retired from The United States Mint, Don still works on commissions from his home studio in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Sprint-Finish medal by Don Everhart

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