The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 13, March 31, 2019, Article 15


Remembering Neil Rothchild
Dave Hirt writes:

I was sorry to read that Neil Rothchild had passed away. I had not spoken with him for many years, but I have good memories of him. We both attended the Frank Katen numismatic literature sales. After one evening session had ended, we talked about numismatic literature for over an hour.

He mentioned that his friend Bob Martin was looking for information on C W Betts, because Martin owned a Betts fabrication. He had been told to check Woodward, but he didn't find anything about Betts. I told Neil that the problem was that the Betts fabrications were not sold as a stand alone sale, but as an addenda to the 1864 McCoy sale. I also told Neil that Bob could find more about Betts in Counterfeit, Mis-Struck, and Unofficial U.S. Coins, by Don Taxay Pg 139-147. Later Bob Martin telephoned me and thanked me for this information.

Knowing where to find information is half the battle. I've always been a big fan of the Taxay book, and it would be great if someone tackled bringing it up to date with a new edition or totally new work. With all the reproductions made in the intervening years it would be a tall order and likely result in a multi-volume work. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEIL ROTHSCHILD (1956-2019) (

Coin World - Numismatic News Rivalry
Tom DeLorey writes:

As to the demise of Numismatic News, it is my understanding that it began as an every other week publication, and only switched to a weekly format after Coin World succeeded as a weekly in 1960. I began working for Coin World in 1973, and heard many stories about our rival. The depth of the rivalry varied considerably depending upon who was telling the story.

I remember working my first coin show for CW, selling subscriptions at a Penn-Ohio show in (I think) Toledo. Cliff Mishler had a one-man NN booth next to mine, including a fancy display stand that required two people to assemble. I introduced myself to Cliff, helped him assemble his booth, and told him "Don't tell Margo!"

I believe that's correct - Numismatic News was not produced weekly at first. Great story about the booth. Nothing wrong with having frenemies. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Query: Centenarian Numismatists
Pete Smith writes:

The E-Sylum has occasionally had items about numismatists who reach the age of 100. Can any E-Sylum reader confirm that Clyde Hubbard is still living? How about Nora Hussey? It is possible that there are currently three numismatists still living at this advanced age.

Following is a listing of old numismatists:

James E. Charleton (7/26/1911 – 9/20/2013) 102 years
William S. Dewey (12/5/1905 – 4/2/2006) 100 years
Edward Gans (8/30/1887 – 2/13/1991) 103 years
Dr. Jesse C. Green (12/13/1817 - 7/26/1920) 103 years
Robert L. Hendershott (8/7/1898 – 3/22/2005) 106 years
Genevieve T. Herdegen (8/30/1886 – 7/12/1989) 102 years
Clyde Hubbard (1916
Nora W. Hussey (3/26/1915 still living in 2017)
Robert Hepworth Lloyd (5/18/1906 – 10/10/2009) 103 years
George Francis Marlier (1/12/1868 – 9/1/1967) 99 years, 8 months
Eric P. Newman (5/25/1911 – 11/15/2017) 106 years
Nellie Tayloe Ross (11/29/1876 – 12/19/1977) 101 years
Carl Subak (1/31/1919 – still living)

Is there anyone else that I missed?

Can anyone help? This is primarily a U.S. list; who are some of the centenarian numismatists from around the world?

I knew Eric Newman fairly well and had the pleasure of meeting Bob Hendershott when he was over 100. George Marlier was a member of my hometown club, the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society, but passed before my time there. Numismatics is a lifelong hobby, and some of those lives can quite long. Here's to all the old timers! -Editor

On U.S. Mint Director David Ryder
Vic Mason writes:

Thank you for the good interview, in your latest newsletter, conducted by Louis Golino of CoinWeek with David Ryder, Director of the United States Mint. Mr. Ryder has clearly been thinking hard this past winter about how to make not only the Mint's typically beautiful (circulating, proof, commemorative and bullion) coins but products relevant to the revival of interest in numismatics for America's masses, especially for the kids who must be the future of coin collecting.

Mr. Ryder clearly has his heart in the right place in working with the hobby and the industry. I think he understands the issues. But, as he says, he needs both the support of the US Congress in passing enabling legislation and the understanding of the Department of the Treasury in making the important changes needed now to move the hobby forward. I think the United States government can learn a lot from the imaginative programs recently reported in designing new coins in Australia and new bills in the United Kingdom.

I heard Mr. Ryder speak this week at the Welcome Banquet for the ANA National Money Show in Pittsburgh. He's definitely bringing new ideas and energy to the position. He's brought new staff on board and I expect we'll see a number of good and interesting changes during his tenure. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

U.S. Mint Shenanigans
Vic Mason writes:

John Lupia's quotations from immigrant numismatist Siegmund Kohn Harzfeld (1848-1883) -- alluding to the dubious moral caliber of some leaders of the United States Mint in the post-Civil War era – were classics. I laughed out loud to read Harzfeld's references to the 150 1879 Stellas ($4 gold pieces), which Harzfeld found were being hidden at the United States Mint and which “were available to concubines but not to collectors." Harzfeld's familiarity with Mint employees, says Lupia, “led [Harzfeld]…to become a strong critic of U.S. Mint practices" and to accuse the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint, James R. Snowden, of “illegally selling restrikes of the 1804 dollar."

Q. David Bowers has alerted us in recent years to the shenanigans that were often going on at the United States Mint starting in the 1830s but which intensified in the post-Civil War era. The E-Sylum article in this edition on the $50 Half Unions prompted me to check out the chapter on “Significant U.S. Patterns" (pages 1317-1324) in the First Edition of the Deluxe Edition of The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins by Kenneth Bressett, Q. David Bowers and Jeff Garrett. The Red Book mentions the survival of “2000-plus distinct varieties“ of patterns, some “made in secret, outside the normal day-to-day work of the Mint…and often against stated policy and law….Not until mid-1885 did an incoming new director of the Mint enforce stringent regulations prohibiting" the sale and distribution of such patterns.

Ron Chernow's excellent biography of Ulysses S. Grant – as outstanding as his prior books on Alexander Hamilton and George Washington – makes clear that Grant, president during much of this time, was a scrupulously honest man, with many fine Cabinet Secretaries. But, in office between 1869 and 1877, Grant could also be excessively, even blindly, loyal to those whom he trusted, some of whom were not deserving of that faith and trust – as he would often discover later, to his chagrin. As Chernow writes (page 733), “Grant had made a genuine effort at civil service reform and deserves credit as the first president to do so, but he hadn't produced lasting change. Only with the 1883 Pendleton Act would competitive exams be required to fill a portion of federal jobs."

Great observations. Thanks. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
KAGIN'S MARCH 2019 ANA AUCTION PREVIEW : 1877 $50 Half Union Pattern (

Anne Bingham and the Draped Bust Dollar Design
Dave Lange writes:

Every now and then I find an opportunity to contribute to a non-numismatic publication. A recent article in American History Magazine prompted me to send the editor a letter, and this was printed in the June issue.

American History Magazine 6-19 detail

HLRC E-Sylum ad05 In the Loupe With Link

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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