The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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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,
Bluffton, SC


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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: Mark Baldwin and James Gravesande. Welcome aboard! We now have 6,554 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. Contact me at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

This week we open with results of the NBS benefit auction, FIVE new books. an author obituary and updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal.

Other topics this week include coins from the Confederate treasury, game counters, a rare Ormsby pamphlet, collector-dealer Ferguson Haines, auction and dealer inventory updates, Australia's Donation Dollar, the great American COVID-19 coin shortage, money art, and the fantasy banknotes of the Trash Isles.

To learn more about moneyers and the monetarii, George Washington on coins and currency, New Zealand commemorative medals, Disney Dollars, Richard Plant, P. O. Tremblay, “Proof polish”, Chihli silver dollars, the Amazonian $20 pattern, the last encased postage stamp issuer, the Mayflower coins, dwarven supporters and the Dickin medal for animals, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


Numismatic Bibliomania Society President Tom Harrison submitted this report on the recently-concluded 2020 NBS Benefit Auction. -Editor

NBS Benefit Auction 2020

I am delighted to report again this year, the membership stepped forward to ensure the financial health of the NBS through their support of the benefit auction. Our generous donors, enthusiastic bidders and the cataloging efforts of David and Maria Fanning produced $7035 for the treasury! The highlight of the auction was lot 14, Virgil Brand’s copy of Thomas Elder’s plated Wilson sale which drew the top bid of $850.

Other highlights included lot 26, seven of the twelve scarce issues of C.E. Leal’s The American Numismatist hammered for an impressive $270, lot 40, a single issue of a scarce periodical produced by Charles Steigerwalt The Coin Journal brought $100 and lot 13, a beautiful deluxe full leather-bound edition of John Dannreuther’s United States Proof Coins Volume 4: Gold, brought $450. In addition, lot 1, a well-preserved 1936 Minneapolis ANA Convention photograph realized $300. Nearly 50 percent of the diverse 50 lot sale realized $100 or more.

You can access the NBS benefit auction catalogs from 2017 to date on the Newman Numismatic Portal at I want to convey a sincere word of gratitude with our members who continue to share their time, talent and resources for the betterment of the NBS.

If you are not an NBS member, I invite you to visit our website at and enjoy our past podcasts and read a sample issue of our print journal The Asylum. If you decide to join the NBS, your membership will help support the NBS mission of promoting and sharing an interest in collecting numismatic literature and cultivating cooperation among collectors and researchers.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

DWN E-Sylum ad05 New Orleans Book


A new book from Heinz Tschachler examines George Washington on coins and currency. -Editor

George Washington on Coins and Currency book cover George Washington on Coins and Currency
Heinz Tschachler
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8110-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4034-1
Imprint: McFarland

George Washington is the most popular subject on coins, medals, tokens, paper money and postage stamps in America. Attempts to eliminate one-dollar bills from circulation, replacing them with coins, have been unsuccessful. Americans’ reluctance to part with their “Georges” are beyond rational considerations but tap into deep-felt emotions. To discard one-dollar bills means discarding the metaphorical Father of His Country.

Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, said that monetary tokens were “vehicles of useful impressions.” This numismatic history of George Washington traces the persistence of his image on American currency. These images are mostly from the late 18th-century. This book also offers a close look at the pictorial tradition in which these images are rooted.

Heinz Tschachler is a former professor of English and American studies at Alpen-Adria-University in Klagenfurt, Austria. He is the author of numerous books.

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue: “Americans for George” 1

Part I. Vehicles of Useful Impressions 13
1. The Father of His Country and America’s Money 15
2. The Mark of the Prince 30
3. Constitutional Prohibitions and the Era of Private Banking 41

Part II. The Antebellum Period and the Civil War 57
4. The Cult of Antiquity 59
5. George Washington, Gallant Revolutionary 68
6. Ornamenting the Façade of Hell 86

Part III. From the End of the Civil War through the 1920s 93
7. The Only True American Contribution to the Arts 95
8. National Myths 110
9. Value and the Paternal Image 120

Part IV. A More Permanent Familiarity 131
10. Patriotic Extravaganzas 132
11. Dollar Bill Y’all 140
12. Money and Faith 151

Epilogue: “Where’s George?” 166
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 223
Index 229

For more information, or to order, see:
George Washington on Coins and Currency (


A new book has been published (in German) on the coins and medals of the Hessian counties from 1483 to 1803/1806. Here's the Google-translated description from the publisher's website. -Editor

Hessian coins and medals Horst-Dieter Müller
Münzen und Medaillen der hessischen Landgrafschaften von 1483 bis 1803/1806
(Coins and medals of the Hessian counties from 1483 to 1803/1806 Concordance with the standard works, market prices and auction results)

Published by Battenberg Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-86646-187-1
Edition: 1st edition 2019
Images: color throughout
Hardcover: 584 pages
Format: 21 x 29.7 cm

The hobby historian Horst-Dieter Müller(born 1941) became a coin collector due to the accumulation of the invalid small coins on the occasion of the currency reform in 1948. From the vast amount of coins he had brought with him, national collections were created, which he maintained under historical aspects. In this book, Müller has worked out the similarities and contrasts of the currencies typical of the Hessian countries and explained the deviations from imperial coin dictates (including the Prussian currency). He has dealt with previous quotes that he disagreed with. Numerous tables facilitate orientation.

To read the complete article, see:
Münzen und Medaillen der hessischen Landgrafschaften von 1483 bis 1803/1806 (

To read a review by Daniel Baumbach in CoinsWeekly, see:
Extensive Catalogue of Coins From the Lundgraviates of Hesse (

Steinbergs E-Sylum ad01 Buying 300


Martin Purdy writes:

"After compiling several printed catalogues of New Zealand commemorative medals and challenge coins, the team from the Royal Numismatic Society of NZ that I'm part of has adopted a new approach for the next couple of projects on its list: updates to Leon Morel's catalogue of NZ commemorative medals 1865-1940 (2nd ed. 1996, Supplement 2000) and to the MacMaster/Purdy catalogue of post-1940 NZ commemorative medals (2nd ed. 2014) will now be published in sections and made available in digital form as soon as we finish each one.

Part 1 of the Morel project is now complete - it covers just the 1939-40 NZ Centennial items but runs to over 100 pages, thanks to some introductory bits and pieces, and quite generous spacing to allow room for still more discoveries! Subsequent chapters of "Morel 3" and also "MacMaster/Purdy 3" will follow as we finish them, but this is at least a start after a few years in preparation."

Thanks. Here's the announcement. -Editor

Leon Morel Catalogue (3rd edition, Part 1) now available

NEW ZEALAND commemorative medals 1939-40 book cover Part 1 of the 3rd edition of Leon Morel's catalogue of NZ commemorative medals 1865-1940 is now available. This section covers the issues produced in 1939-40 for the Centennial and Centennial Exhibition, and expands greatly on the listings previously included by Leon in his 2nd edition and Supplement.

Each chapter will be made available online as a colour PDF and can be downloaded at no cost. Feel free to share them (with due acknowledgement for the RNSNZ as publisher please), but note they are not intended either for sale or resale.

Collect your copy from

Further parts will be added once ready, and Part 1 of the updated MacMaster/Purdy catalogue of post-1940 medals (covering the 2010-2019 decade) is expected to follow before the end of the year.

Let us know of any errors, omissions or new discoveries. One advantage with electronic publishing is that we can update whenever necessary and make a new version available for downloading. It may pay to look in on the "catalogues" folder periodically to make sure the versions you have are the most recent.

Martin Purdy

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Ted Ryan writes:

"I noted your May 15, 2016 E-Sylum article about the discontinuance of Disney Dollars where you stated: "Well, at least we now know what a complete set consists of. Or do we? Have Disney Dollar issues been comprehensively cataloged anywhere? I know there have been some coin show exhibits and articles in numismatic publications. A quick search of the ANA's archive of 'The Numismatist' turned up 94 results for "Disney Dollars" beginning in July 1987."

"I have been working on it and compiling the data for over 30 years now. It has taken much longer than I expected to get the book finally published, but that allowed me to compile even more data.

Disney dollar

That's great to hear! Here's the press release. -Editor

Although the Disney Co. Retired and Removed its Fantasy Dollars
from Circulation in 2016, the Disney Dollars Currency
is Still Going Strong in the Hearts of Collectors

Disney NumisMagic book cover You can no longer buy the Disney Dollars private currency directly from them, but auction houses are still host to a staggering effort at keeping them in circulation on the collector's market. In fact, an Uncut (18-Note) Limited Edition Sheet (#5/200) with consecutive serial numbers, of the 2000-D Series Disney Dollars, sold in November of 2018 on eBay for over $14,000.

Of course, not all Disney Dollars demand that high an amount from collectors but they still hold a high value amongst Disneyana enthusiasts and numismatic collectors. Some Framed Sheets and Limited Edition Sets are even still available for retail cost at Disney merchandise locations but when they are gone, they are gone forever at those prices. Otherwise, the only place you will find them is through the collectors' market, trade shows and auction houses.

In order to help with understanding all of this and to determine a "fair market value" for these pieces, CVM Enterprises has just released its book: Disney Numismagic - The Art and Magic of Collecting Disney Currency for $34.95 retail (252 pages-Hard Bound), available direct from the publisher (ISBN: 978-0-9890441-7-2).

This full-color illustrated and hard-bound text has a history of the Walt Disney Company and a Mickey Mouse biography as they relate to Disney currency and scrip from the 1930s forward, along with the Disney Dollars private currency over the years. It catalogues and details the individual banknotes by Year and Series with a comprehensive VALUATION GUIDE and multiple categorized classification charts, which list the notes by Type and Grade to indicate the collectors' pricing for all of these unique currency items - using the numismatic industry’s established guidelines (IBNS and Numeric Scales).

Disney Numismagic - The Art and Magic of Collecting Disney Currency Catalogue and Valuation Guide for Disney Fantasy Currency

A complete illustrated history of Disney fantasy currency and particulares from the 1930's forward; including a Walt Disney Company timeline and biography of Mickey Mouse as they relate to Disney currencies and bank notes over the years.

Includes: Mickey Mouse Club "Cone Coupons", WW2 Disney War Bonds, Disney theme park promotional scrip and coupons, Disneyland Dollars, Magic Kingdom Club M.O.U.S.E Money, Walt Disney World Vacation Club Sand Dollars, Walt Disney World Resort Recreation Coupon Dollars, Disney's El Capitan Theatre-Hollywood Dollar; as well as the official Disney Dollars private currency, from 1987 to present.

Written and designed for Disneyana enthusiasts, notaphilists, numismatic collectors and dealers; including a comprehensive and thorough Valuation Guide, which catalogues and details the individual Disney banknotes and scrip by Year and Series with detailed descriptions; plus multiple categorized classification charts listed by Type and Grade for indicating collectors “fair market value" of these unique currency items.

Ingram Books / CVM Enterprises

ISBN: 978-0-9890441-7-2
252 pages
Hard Bound
Available direct from the Printing House / Publisher
Retail $34.95

I have a copy of the book and it is very nicely done. The Introduction is an excellent "Welcome to Numismatics" for those who may be coming to the topic as casual collectors, discussing rarity, conditions and third-party grading services. The first chapter includes a timeline of Disney history and an overview of the artwork included on the notes. Chapter Two is an overview of the various related issues including 1930s-era Mickey Mouse "Cone Dollars" (exchangeable for ice cream cones at theaters showing Disney films), WWII Disney War Bond certificates, Operation M.O.U.S.E. money, and various issues of the more modern dollars, including Disneyland Dollars, Magic Kingdom "Happy Dollars" and Disney Resorts "Sand Dollars". I was unaware of most of these precursors.

Chapter Three covers the first generation of the official Disney Dollars and includes many original source documents such as the initial press release, newspaper accounts, and internal employee memos and publications. There is even a mention of interactions with the U.S. Treasury, Secret Service and other government agencies, who were supportive of the idea and provided anti-counterfeiting advice. Who doesn't like Disney?

Chapter Four covers the second and final generation in the 2000s. But as a numismatist, my favorite chapters come next - Chapter Five is an overview of proof and specimen, while Chapter Six deals with "Errors, Freaks and Oddities,"

The book finishes off with a chapter on limited editions and framed sets, a glossary of terms, the all-important valuation guide, and a section on references, publications and numismatic organizations. Lastly, the book includes a petition form for asking the Walt Disney Company to reconsider its decision and bring back the Disney Dollar program. Why not? Long Live Disney Dollars! -Editor

For more information, or to order, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


IN GOD WE TRUST: William Bierly’s outstanding in-depth exploration shows how the Civil War changed not just the face of American coins and paper money, but the very foundations of modern banking and finance. Get your copy of In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion (352 pages, hardcover) for $29.95 at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


Whitman Publishing has released a new book by Dave Bowers and Mary Martin on collecting postcards. This was a sideline hobby of mine for many years. I built a nice little collection of postcards picturing scenes from my hometown of Pittsburgh which I later donated to the local Heinz History Center. I still have other numismatic-themed postcards in my numismatic ephemera collection. You can be sure Dave didn't neglect the numismatic connection in the new book. Here's the media release. -Editor

Whitman Publishing Releases
A Guide Book of Collectible Postcards, by Bowers and Martin
New Book Will Appeal to Coin Collectors and Other Hobbyists

GB-Collectible-Postcards_cover_ Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book of Collectible Postcards, by Q. David Bowers and Mary L. Martin. The 432-page book will be available for preorder Labor Day weekend, 2020. In mid-September it will be available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide and online (including at for $39.95.

Postcard collecting has been a popular American pastime since the hobby’s Golden Age (the 1890s through World War One). For today’s collector, postcards offer historic photography, snapshots of pop culture and everyday life, colorful works by famous artists—and the thrill of the hunt while building a collection.

White spacer bar

GB-Collectible-Postcards_pg207_ GB-Collectible-Postcards_pg208_
Various United States Treasury facilities pictured on vintage postcards.

The Guide Book covers the hobby from the earliest postcards of the 1870s to the modern chrome cards found on store racks today.

Leonard A. Lauder, in the book’s foreword, wrote, “Together, Mary Martin and Dave Bowers have raised the bar for the serious recognition of the postcard as one of the most important forms of mass media in history.”

The Guide Book includes:

  • more than 1,500 illustrations
  • Real Photo Postcards (RPPCs), linens, chromes, signed artist cards, sets and series, hand-colored cards, error cards, composites, mechanicals and novelties, and more
  • Christmas, Halloween, comics, and other popular categories
  • famous artists like Charles Dana Gibson, Winsor McCay, Alphonse Mucha, and many others
  • history of the hobby and postcard production methods
  • advice for smart buying and collecting
  • valuation charts for hundreds of card types
  • grading instructions
  • check lists for sets and series, to keep track of your collections
  • high-resolution images of more than 1,300 example postcards
  • a comprehensive appendix describing more than 2,000 historic postcard manufacturers and distributors
  • extensive indexes for further research

GB-Collectible-Postcards_pg209_ GB-Collectible-Postcards_pg210_
Beautifully embossed and colored U.S. and world coin images.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and U.S. postage stamps

“Collectors and dealers have been waiting for a full-color overview and in-depth reference to this fascinating hobby,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “The Guide Book of Collectible Postcards is a one-stop resource for newcomers and experienced collectors alike.”

GB-Collectible-Postcards_Bowers-and-Martin Q. David Bowers and Mary L. Martin share decades of experience in buying, selling, and collecting. Bowers, well known to coin collectors as the “Dean of American Numismatics,” says that “Postcard collecting, like coin collecting, takes you on a unique trip into the past. The Guide Book of Collectible Postcards showcases cards of high society and lowbrow humor, natural disasters, social, political, and religious movements, popular artists’ illustrations, newspaper comics, circus animals, early movie stars, athletes, planes, trains, automobiles, and the corner general store.”

Coauthor Mary Martin grew up in the postcard business when her parents were among the nation’s leading dealers. She is recognized as an organizer of collector shows, a prolific researcher and author, and one of the field’s most active buyers and sellers.

# # #

A Guide Book of Collectible Postcards
By Q. David Bowers and Mary L. Martin; foreword by Leonard A. Lauder
ISBN 0794847374
Softcover, 8.5 x 11 inches
432 pages
Full color
Retail $39.95 U.S.

Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes:

"I can’t wait to hold a copy of this book in my hands, hopefully next week. I’ve seen every page in layout, of course, but finally having a bound book in hand is still exciting after all these years. This one is not only beautiful to look at, but also fun to read --- an immersion in American history. I can’t think of anyone who could have brought it all together, other than Dave Bowers. The depth and breadth of his knowledge is almost hard to believe. I know I’m preaching to the choir!"

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RICHARD J. PLANT (1928-2020)

Frederick A. Liberatore writes:

"Richard J. Plant, author most recently of "Greek, Semitic, Asiatic Coins and How to Read Them" (revised and augmented 2013) died in early August at the age of 92. A review of this book was published in The E-Sylum to alert numismatists of a new and useful publication. Readers are likely familiar with Richard's other two well-known books, "Arabic Coins and How to Read Them" and "Greek Coin Types and Their Identification."

All of these books feature information generally hard to find elsewhere as well as thousands of his remarkable hand drawn illustrations of the coins under study. The publisher of the 2013 2nd edition on reading coin legends sent me the final copy from Grandad Press #91. The book is now officially out of print. Lucky purchasers own a treasure."

Here is an obituary Plant's son Stephen J. Plant wrote. I added book cover images and a photo of Plant supplied by his granddaughter Emily Sarah Plant. Thanks, everyone. -Editor

Richard J. Plant The Rev. Richard J. Plant, who died peacefully at his home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on August 2nd , was a longstanding contributor to Coin News. His distinctive approach to writing about coins arose from a life-long quest to make coins accessible to collectors who lacked his own classical education. His articles and books, typically illustrated by his own meticulous, hand-drawn illustrations aimed at making clear features difficult to discern on even the best photographs, brought coins to life. Neither as a collector or as a writer was Plant much interested in a coin’s monetary value. He focussed instead on making connections to the history, myths, places, objects and people on them.

Plant was born in London in 1928, the son of a Scottish-Australian father and Welsh mother. His father, a civil engineer who had returned to London to join up in 1917 after several rejections by the Australian army because of his poor eyesight, went blind when Richard was very young. He won a scholarship to Emmanuel School in Clapham and was evacuated during the war. His first coin was a 1916 zinc coin from the German occupation of Belgium. A keen student of Latin and Greek, he built his collection up by identifying coins for dealers on the Portobello road in London in exchange for a few coins. During National Service in 1945 he was stationed in what is now Libya, and once found a bronze of Valens in the sand by the latrine.

Arabic Coins and How to Read Them book cover Following demobilization Plant read classics at Oxford University then trained for the Methodist ministry in Cambridge, where he added Hebrew and Semitic languages to his box of tricks. He subsequently served in a number of towns and cities around the UK. His writing career began in the 1960s, with an article for a Spinks magazine on the coat of arms of Lorraine. But it was in 1973, with Arabic Coins and How to Read Them, that he really broke through. He wrote in spare moments during the working day; the writer of this obituary recalls holding a torch for him to draw by in the evenings during the three-day week of 1973. The book won him the Royal Numismatic Society’s Lohkta Memorial Prize in 1975.

Greek, Semitic Asiatic Coins and How to Read Them book cover This was followed in 1979 by Greek, Semitic Asiatic Coins and How to Read Them (reissued in 2013). Plant always regarded this as his magnum opus, though he was perhaps unfortunate in his choice of publisher, and the volume is not as well-known as it deserves to be. Like his first book, this was illustrated throughout by his trade-mark pen and ink drawings. And also, like his first book, the choice of subject matter was to an extent driven by his limited budget. In the 1970s, Arabic, Semitic and Asiatic coins tended to be cheaper to collect than English, or even classical Greek coins, and Plant often began writing about coins in his own collection.

On a clergy stipend, Plant only spent on coins what his royalties and identification fees earned him. His notebooks often recorded not only the type, metal, weight and condition of coins he had bought, but where he had got them and the price he paid. Frugality, patience, and skill in identifying coins meant he picked up bargains. In a long biographical piece on him for The Celator in 2010, Mark Fox quotes Plant’s recollection of finding an unpromising bronze coin in a dealers’ box that, after a bit of cleaning, turned out to be a rare Judean coin over-stamped X by the Tenth Roman Legion during the occupation that followed the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70. This was just the kind of thing that interested him; a small piece of history in the palm of his hand.

Greek Coin Types and Their Identification book cover In 1979 Seaby’s published Plant’s Greek Coin Types and Their Identification, which took the unique approach to listing pages of line-drawn illustrations of human figures, gods, half-human mythological creatures, animals, birds and inanimate objects as a quick and easy way to identify them. (A Cambridge classics doctoral student told me that, armed with this guide, he had outperformed all-comers in identifying coins during a prestigious coin identification course at the British School in Athens). A similar approach was taken in his guides to Roman Base Metal Coins (2000) and Roman Silver Coins (2005), both of which proved popular and became standard tools for identification for collector and specialist alike. Once, seeking to buy a few Indian coins from a shop in Cochin, I saw my Father’s books behind the counter, and on producing proof of my identity to the sceptical dealer, negotiated a pleasing discount when I told him who the coins were for.

A Numismatic Journey Through the Bible book cover The last substantial book Plant wrote was A Numismatic Journey Through the Bible (2007), which began life as a series of illustrated talks for church groups. Other books exist about early Judean coinage, or about the coins used in Judea during the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Plant’s book dealt with all that, but also used coins from other periods and places that he could connect to biblical events and characters.

Plant’s Coin Lexicon and Coin Classroom articles for Coin News proved to be an especially fruitful late vehicle for his interests. These allowed him to roam freely from ancient to modern, and from Western to Eastern coins, to explain words like Maeander and phalanx. Here, the full scope of his linguistic, historical and numismatic knowledge was harnessed to his quirky humour and imagination.

Plant always thought that clergy without a hobby tended to be over earnest and a bit too intense for their own good. Coin collecting and writing nearly always played second or third fiddle to his long and faithful Christian ministry and to his family. But his hobby kept him sane; through it he made friends around the world with whom he enjoyed emailed conversations, especially as his physical world contracted. His unconventional writing will be missed by many, as will his extensive knowledge, his winsome charm and his defining modesty.

To watch a video of the funeral service, see:
R J PLANT 1200 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2020-09-06 2020-11 Consign


The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is Chapman correspondence with P. O. Tremblay. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

American Numismatic Society Chapman Correspondence Digitized

After a hiatus of several months, due to the epidemic, scanning of the Chapman correspondence at ANS has resumed on a full-time basis. Sponsored by Newman Numismatic Portal, scanner Lara Jacobs is now up to the letter “V,” representing approximately 2,000 correspondents to date. Samuel H. and Henry Chapman, brothers, operated as numismatic dealers in Philadelphia, c. 1880-1935.


Among the recently scanned material is the P. O. Tremblay file. Tremblay was the curator of the Antiquarian and Numismatic Society of Montreal as well as an early ANA member. The Chapman / Tremblay correspondence primarily concerns Tremblay’s bidding activity in Chapman sales.

Image: Postal cover from Tremblay to the Chapman brothers, 1902

Link to Chapman/Tremblay file:

Link to Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal (series 1-3) on Newman Portal

HLRC E-Sylum ad 2020-09-06 1851 Cent


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. The Newman Numismatic Portal now lists all David’s videos on their website at:

Here's an interview with Iraj Sayah. -Editor

Sayah, Iraj FNN PNG Living History: Iraj Sayah, July 12, 1988.
Sponsored by the Professional Numismatists Guild.
VIDEO: 17:11.

Iraj Sayah was an Iranian businessman who become involved in the numismatic market ending up a few years later as a paradoxical figure due to problems with the Federal Trade Commission. When Iraj first got into coins he explains to David Lisot, who was a reporter for the Financial News Network, why he chose coins as an area in which to invest. He compares coins to other markets and why he believes the American coin market is the best. Iraj Sayah was a major force in numismatics holding Friendship Parties and Numismatic Symposiums. Another colorful character in the coin market!

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


wow history logo

Ron Guth has a new Wow! History YouTube channel. In the 4th episode, he discusses Alice Paul and her connection (or lack thereof) to Chester Arthur and his First Spouse coin. Nice library! -Editor

Ron Guth still Alice Paul video

To watch the video and subscribe to his channel, see:
Wow! History #4 - Alice Paul (

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Charles T. Steigerwalt Gravestone
Charles T. Steigerwalt gravestone Kerry Wetterstrom of Lancaster, PA writes:

"I read the note about Charles T. Steigerwalt in the latest E-Sylum, and thought I would share his gravestone with you. I was at Woodward Hill Cemetery last year, looking for another historical figure's grave from Lancaster's past, when I saw Steigerwalt's grave, which is close to that of President James Buchanan."

Thanks! With Kerry's permission I've shared this with John Lupia as well. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Brenner's Three-Dimensional Sculptures
Scott Miller writes:

"I read last week’s E-Sylum and noticed your mention of "the only three-dimensional work of Victor D. Brenner". In fact, Brenner created quite a number of busts and other statues, though I do not know of any others on such a large scale as the Schenley Fountain."

Victor David Brenner bust of Samuel P. Avery, Jr. Victor David brenner bust of Charles Eliot Norton Victor David Brenner bust of Isaac Drummond

Samuel P. Avery, Jr.
Brooklyn Museum

Charles Eliot Norton
Fogg Museum

Isaac Drummond
New York Historical Society

I stand corrected. Thank you. I've seen the fountain described as Brenner's only "monumental three-dimensional work", and I guess with that qualifier it's true. -Editor

Regarding sculptures by coin designers, Tony Terranova writes:

"Garrett has found one of the more interesting facts regarding the designers of our coinage. A little study reveals how many of them were very serious American artists. You're correct!! The subject would make a really cool book !! A lot of the info has been included in many references already written."

Tony also shared this medal by Peace dollar designer Anthony DeFrancisi. Thanks. "It’s uniface and done by Medalic Art Co." -Editor

Charles Frederick Rand medal

Medal awarded to Charles Frederick Rand for Excellence in Mine Administration by his friend Anthony de Francisi (designer of Peace declaration).
Bronze 1924
Larger Bronze Version in Smithsonian

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

1865 Grand Review of the Armies Medal

1865-Grand-Review-Of-The-Armies-obv 1865-Grand-Review-Of-The-Armies-rev

Jonathan Brecher writes:

"This small silver medal has no legends of any sort on either side. The Newman Numismatic Portal is a great resource… but not so great when there is no text to search for!

"The quality of the engraving is maybe best described as "charming", likely not the efforts of a master engraver. On the other hand, there is a lot of detail crammed into a very small space (26.0 mm, 14.1 g). The two horsemen in the foreground are in such high relief that they rise well above the height of the rims. Given all of that, I took a hunch that this was produced for a specific event that would have been recognized at the time, even without legends.

"I got lucky with a Google image search. The event shown on this medal was the Grand Review of the Armies, held at the conclusion of the Civil War on May 23-24, 1865.

"And that's all I've got. This medal might be contemporary with the 1865 event. Or it might have been produced later, for example in conjunction with a GAR encampment held in Washington. Or maybe something else.

"Does any reader have any other information about this medal?"

Grand Review of the Armies at the end of the Civil War

To see the lithograph image:
Grand Review of the Armies at the end of the Civil War (

Interesting piece with great detail. I've never seen one before. Can any readers help? Thanks. -Editor

Biblical-Era Palace Remains Discovered in Israel
Aaron Oppenheim writes:

"Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered parts of elaborate columns from an ancient royal structure in Jerusalem.??????? In this image, an Israeli five-shekel coin is shown against the background of the capital discovered."

Israeli five-shekel coin showing column capital

Thanks. See the article for more. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Mysterious remains of 'magnificent' Biblical-era palace discovered in Israel (

Saville E-Sylum ad02


1861 8Reales Gen Johnston obverse The Confederate Treasury included a large quantity of Mexican silver 8 reales coins. At the war's end the Treasury was shipped south from Richmond by rail, and along the way Confederate notes were redeemed for silver coin at the rate of 70 to 1. The remaining coins were paid out to escorting troops. Some of the coins were kept as souvenirs of the war and later engraved.

Website visitor Chelius H. Carter of Fredericksburg, VA passed along images of a coin he recently purchased with accompanying documentation stating that it had been paid to a soldier in the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry. Thanks - very interesting! Can anyone add further information? Links to earlier E-Sylum articles are included below, and some of those mention references. -Editor

Samuel Milton Taylor Confederate treasury Mexican 8 reales obverse Samuel Milton Taylor Confederate treasury Mexican 8 reales reverse

I was looking for information to further document the use of Mexican silver coinage to pay off Gen. Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee and it's pretty clear that $38,000 - from your article's read ($39,000 in other documents) in Mexican silver coin was left in Greensboro, NC for that purpose on or about 08 April 1865.

The rest of the renowned "lost Confederate treasury" is a subject of almost mythological proportion; I was only interested in documenting the path of what was paid Johnston's troops, following their 26 April 1865 surrender.

I recently purchased one of these coins, issued to Sgt. Samuel Milton Taylor, a soldier in the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry. Accompanying the coin is a 1907 written documentation of the piece from his family (transcribed in type on a protective envelope in the 1970s).

Samuel Milton Taylor Confederate treasury Mexican 8 reales letter

Number 620

This is a Mexican Dollar which was paid to Samuel Milton Taylor by the Confederate Government at Greensboro, N.C. at the time of the surrender of Gen. Joseph R. Johnson in May, 1865. He was paid $1.50. He spent the 50 cents on his way home (Cheek's X Roads, Tenn.) and kept the Dollar as a Souvenir. Presented to F.W. Taylor 2nd.; brother of Samuel Milton Taylor, by his sister, Mrs. S.Ellen Folsom.

The photos were not clear and when I received this piece, I immediately noticed a significant detail the Seller had missed...on the worn area of the Mexican eagle's breast - a St. Andrews Cross (Confederate battle flag) was incised thereon - presumably by Sgt. Taylor.

Samuel Milton Taylor Confederate treasury Mexican 8 reales closeup2 Samuel Milton Taylor Confederate treasury Mexican 8 reales closeup

From my read of your articles for the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, I thought this piece and its history might be of interest.

Absolutely! I wonder what the "Number 620" signifies. Was this an item number in an estate inventory? A lot number in an auction? Any further information on this or similar pieces would be of interest. -Editor

Chelius adds:

"You have their transcription correct (note his family mis-spelled Gen. Johnston's name). As to the "Number 620" - yes, I will assume it was an old estate sale lot number.

"What I can tell you thus far in researching this man's where-abouts is that Sgt.Taylor enlisted in the 16th Tennessee (we'll assume Cavalry) and I believe it was later consolidated into the 2nd Tennessee Regiment of Cavalry, charged with protecting Knoxville, TN from U.S. Gen. Burnside's advance in the fall of 1863; Taylor was captured in the cavalry's rear-guard action, as they were withdrawing to join Gen. Bragg's forces for the coming Battle of Chickamauga. and he was sent to Camp Douglas, near Chicago, IL.

"I pondered the family's story (hence questioned the Seller) to HOW he was able to get from Camp Douglas (near Chicago) to Greensboro, NC...even if he was released in early April.

"A friend, Dr. Anthony Hodges, dug into his 2nd Tennessee History and in Fold3 for me and determined that Sgt. Taylor had indeed been exchanged and transferred to Point Lookout, MD by 14 March 1865 and was in the correct part of the country with a paroled prisoner's pass (eastern seaboard) and had plenty of time to re-join his old unit, the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry...just in time to surrender again."

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

E-Sylum Ad CNG Sale 115


Jorge L. Crespo Armáiz of the Puerto Rico Numismatic Society poses a question for readers about game counters resembling the Standing Liberty quarter. Can anyone help? -Editor

Standing Liberty Quarter style game counter I’m researching and working on an essay on a rare type of game counters or tokens that resemble or imitate the Standing Liberty Quarter. These are crude pieces that in the obverse present the Spanish legend LIBERTAD.

I wonder if readers could be so kind helping in finding if there are articles related to these pieces. The major mystery is regarding their origin, particularly since they have a prominent Spanish legend, while on the reverse some varieties show English denominations (like VALUE 25c).

Of course, I know the important Rulau/Fuld work on American Game Counters, published in TAMS Journal in 1972. But although they list 6 varieties of these SLQ counters, the authors don’t give information on their origins. Some people have suggested Mexico, other Cuba, but I think they were made in the USA.

Any help will be appreciated and credited. Thanks

Jorge L. Crespo Armáiz, PhD
Puerto Rico Numismatic Society

There are the books by Ben Fauver on American Game Counters, recently discussed by Fred Holabird in the earlier article linked below. I also wonder if these were ever mentioned in MacNeil's Notes, the journal of the Standing Liberty Quarter Collectors Society. These are not yet on the Newman Numismatic Portal, but I understand they are expected sometime next year. -Editor

Jorge adds:

"I do have volume #5 of Fauver on small denominations counters. It helped a lot to identify other varieties, but has no background information on their origin nor their Spanish legend.

"I have integrated the listings of Rulau/Fuld (TAMS 1972) and Fauver (1991), with my own pieces, and developed my own list of at least 22 varieties (design, legends, metals). Last week I had the fortune of winning the two lots of SLQ counters from the Fauver collection sold in the Holabird auction. Now, I estimate I have 21 of the 22 varieties!

"I’m writing an article on these counters for our annual journal and also translating it to English for other American collectors. The specific riddle here is that Spanish “LIBERTAD” legend. Where and why?"

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


At my request book dealer Gil Parsons kindly provided this excerpt from the anniversary catalog of his firm Parsons Books. Last week we looked at one of the rarest books on U.S. paper money, Waterman Lilly Ormsby's 1852 work on banknote engraving. This week we examine an even more rare item - Ormsby's 1857 pamphlet. Thank you! -Editor


ORMSBY, W.L. The Administration of the Bank Department of the State of New York on the Subject of Bank Note Engraving containing details of my correspondence and experience with various Superintendents and a variety of valuable information on the subject of the prevention of counterfeiting

New York: John H. Duyckinck Printer, 1857

This extraordinary discovery, seemingly unrecorded in either general or specialist bibliographies, constitutes Ormsby’s response to charges leveled against him following the publication of his magnum opus. From the Preface: “These ‘details of correspondence’ are necessarily a relation of private wrongs, but they lead to a revelation of matters affecting the administration of the office of Superintendent of the Bank Department, involving such important principles of official duty, and of public safety as to possess especial claims upon the attention of all who have interest in the integrity of our banking currency, or the fidelity of those safeguards which the Legislative wisdom of the State has attempted to throw around this important subject.”

ormsby ii p

Since 1852 Ormsby had written several articles on the state of bank note production, one of the most significant of which, a lengthy piece in the New York Herald of 28 August 1857 (Bogus Bank Bills—History of Counterfeiting—Its Remedy) is reprinted in this pamphlet. Ormsby whines: “It is for such publications that I am now passing the severest ordeal—not of fair criticism by the press, for that has been, without exception, favorable—but of secret attacks upon my reputation.” In 1854 Ormsby filed a suit for slander, which suit had been pending for three years. One particular target of Ormsby’s ire was Superintendent Schoonmaker, who kept demanding more and more references and testimonials and cast significant suspicion upon Ormsby: many of the testimonials, from Morse, from Robert Hoe and several others of note are featured here. Ormsby notes the departure of Schoonmaker to become Comptroller of the Central Railroad: he “subsequently became a defaulter to a heavy amount, about which the newspapers said many severe things.” The dynamics of political intrigue as presented here are fascinating.

But the grist of this pamphlet is far more significant. Much attention is paid to the details of the reception of Ormsby’s book. Thus Robert Pike: “Mr. Ormsby published his work for the Public good; and one has only to read it to be convinced that it is the last book in the world that counterfeiters, or a friend to counterfeiters, would wish the public to have and to understand.” There follows a detailed list of Ormsby’s inventions, much information on the history of counterfeiting, one remarkable plate of vignettes identifying engravers and firms, considerable detail of counterfeits of particular bills of firms not his own (including Ormsby’s challenge to competitors to a head-to-head matchup). The engraver John Dye, giving a demonstration of how to alter the denominations of issued notes, is recorded in the pamphlet at hand as praising Ormsby’s work: “The most secure notes against alterations and counterfeiting that I have ever seen in circulation are the one dollar notes of the Carroll County Bank, New Hampshire.”

ormsby II m

Ormsby sums up his position: “The works of my own hands will be found in some shape in almost every house and hamlet in the land—in large national and religious pictures, book and magazine illustrations, printed volumes and newspaper communications, labels, cards, crayon portraits, ornaments upon Colt’s pistols, Connecticut buttons, combs, lockets and pencil cases, and on millions of bank notes bearing my imprint as well as the imprints of other respectable engraving establishments.”

The second half of the volume comprises a most interesting series of wood-engraved representations (largely by Howland) of bank notes. There are many repeats, as well as the suggestion that these should be torn from the volume for reference.

ormsby II g

This pamphlet, unique in commerce and as yet unrevealed in library holdings, is of the utmost importance in placing “the Ormsby controversy” in context.

Not in WorldCat, not in any of the standard numismatic bibliographies, not even within the purview of the specialized reference resources of either the American Numismatic Association or the American Numismatic Society

ormsby II g

Alas, this great item has already been sold to a lucky buyer. But For more information on other numismatic literature in his inventory, contact Gil Parsons at -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

E-Sylum Northeast ad02 buying


Dick Johnson submitted this entry from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Thanks. -Editor

Moneyer. An early coiner; a person who made coins before minting plants were established, during the Industrial Revolution. Moneyers were granted authority by a king or some municipal official to strike coins for a specified area. Their pay was typically one coin for every twelve produced, called brassage. Moneyers faced two problems: a supply of blanks –sometimes cast or cut from beaten plates of metal (see blanking) – and engraving the dies for the moneyer to strike (see dies and diemaking). They would strike coins between the dies with a heavy blow from a hammer, one die secured in an anvil, the other held by the coiner. In numismatics this is known as hammered coinage. As technology advanced, the manufacture of coins moved from the workroom of a moneyer to a building specifically intended for the production of coins, a mint, and from a moneyer with an assistant or two, to craftsmen with specialized tasks (see mints and minting).

History of moneyers. The first moneyers were created in Rome, 104 to 89 bc, according to numismatic writer Theodore Mommsen. Three officials were named to a triumvirate vested with the authority to oversee striking the coins by the moneyers. The monetarii were the mint engravers.

The decline of the moneyers did not come to a quick end. They fought the introduction of the screw press whenever it was used to strike coins. In England it was introduced in 1561 for 12 years, overthrown by the moneyers, until 1662 when the screw press was finally accepted. The same thing happened in France, until 1641 when the moneyers were finally replaced there.

E3 {1902-30} Forrer. See Mint-Masters 4:88 and 8:61.

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.


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 collector/dealer Ferguson Haines. -Editor

Haines, Ferguson (1840-1925), Businessman, Politician, and Coin Dealer, 67 Adams Street, Biddeford, York County, Maine.

He was born at Saco, Maine on March 2, 1840, son of William Pickering (1811-1879) and Harriet (Ferguson) Haines (1814-1896). He married Hattie Hill (1840-) on June 1, 1865. He died on May 8, 1925.

He was educated at the Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. He graduated Dartmouth with an AB in 1860 and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. In October 1862 he left the employment of the Pepperell Manufactory Co., Biddeford, Maine. He entered into the hardware business at Portland, Maine and was engaged in that trade from 1863 until 1866 leaving that city after suffering losses during the great fire. On June 1, 1865 he married Harriet Hill the daughter of Captain Nehemiah Hill of Biddeford, Maine. He and his wife returned to Biddeford, Maine and shortly after the Portland fire and he was active in the Democratic party there becoming elected mayor on March 11, 1867.

After completing his mayoral term in 1868 he was later on made the city alderman in 1869. He was a member of the Maine Legislature serving in the House of Representatives in 1870 and again in 1872. He then entered the cotton manufacturing business from 1875 to 1894 and retired. In 1874 he bought the coin collection of James L. Hill, the late Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin. During his cotton career days he became a coin dealer on the side and was appointed city treasurer and collector in 1879, and fifteen years later served as the first city auditor in 1894. Besides coin collection his other favorite recreation was angling.

Numismatic Career :
Haines was involved in thirteen coin and collectibles auctions during his career from 1876 to 1899. He collected many rare antique American Colonial documents, autographs and letters as well as coins. He was a shrewd Dartmouth graduate who understood how to invest and make a profit from coins and other collectibles he could own for face value or at marginal cost.

His coin collecting seems to have begun sometime prior to 1860 during his Dartmouth years when he probably acquired some ancient Greek and Roman coins as many college students had. We find these for sale in his first coin auction perhaps together with those of his father who also graduated Dartmouth. Coin collecting had also become popular in America with the new 1856 copper nickel cent and discontinuance of Large Cents in 1857. We can only imagine that he like many other coin conscious Americans who could afford the small investment hoarding required to accumulate the old big cents from change as well as other foreign coins which had just become demonetized by the U. S. government kept them in a cigar box or other similar type receptacle. In autumn of the “Centennial Year” he consigned his accumulation of coins, many of which he probably culled from change, to William Harvey Strobridge, selling them at auction at Messrs. Leavitt, New York, on October 17-20, 1876. Strobridge produced an 80-page un-plated catalog with 1,753 lots including ancient Greek and Roman coins, foreign silver and gold coins and foreign medals, and U. S. coins and medals.

From this sort of action we can appreciate Haines as a speculator. A coin speculator, an American term used since the 1860’s, is what we now call a coin investor. Haines saw how lucrative it could be finding collectible coins in change and through buying and selling them at a profit. Seeing that this could turn out to be a profitable sideline of business he became a coin dealer and eight months later held his own coin auction at Bangs & Co., New York on May 28, 1877. He published a 40 page un-plated catalog with 1,035 lots of U. S. coins, medals, tokens, store cards, Hard Times Tokens, and Numismatic Literature.

In that sale he offered 30 Silver Dollars ten of which he described as “Proof polish”, a term used by Ed Cogan, which probably meant a proof-like uncirculated coin, i.e., a brilliant uncirculated coin having a bright and probably mirror-like shine resembling a proof piece. As an amateur cataloger he did not make as much profit as he might have, had he had a well-known and respected dealer produce one. With this in mind he consigned his coins in future sales to four established and respected dealers, W. E. Woodward, S. Harzfeld, S.H. & H. Chapman, and Ed. Frossard. It was only once more in the late fall of 1883 that he ventured out on his own again. From then on he learned the wisdom to consign the remainder of his sales.

In order to enhance his position as a coin dealer he became a member of the ANS and also became a donor, in 1878, to the ANS library.

During the 7 months since his first coin sale he cherry-picked coins from change and bought others from hoarders. He knew he had to buy serious coins from top dealers to attract buyers at a future sale. As a result he was a principal buyer at the George W. Merritt auction held by Edouard Frossard on January 3, 1879. Among the coins purchased was lot 90, AG-3 Sheldon NC-3 1793 Trefoil Sprig Large Cent, paying $45.50. His entrepreneurship as a savvy dealer had begun.

On February 27, 1879 he wrote a letter to Edouard Frossard praising the response he received from advertising the sale of coins in Numisma. He accumulated so many coins as a dealer through Numisma that the following year, in 1880, he sold coins in five auctions, three of them in the second quarter :

William Elliot Woodward, Sullivan, January 27, 1880
Sigismund K. Harzfeld, Bangs & Co., New York, April 9, 1880
S. H. & H. Chapman, Bangs & Co., New York, May 28, 1880
William Elliot Woodward, Bangs & Co., New York, June 14, 1880
William Elliot Woodward, October 13-16, 1880

His various collections or assemblages of numismatic specimens typically consisted of early American coppers. These include the 220 large cents auctioned by W. E. Woodward from October 13-16, 1880, which included 37 varieties of 1794, and the unique 1793 Trefoil Sprig Large Cent purchased the previous year, and lot 260, an EF-40 1798 Sheldon 152, and an VF 1799, and a 1796 half cent; 200 large cents in the Chapman Brothers sale of 1270 lots on October 17-18, 1888 as well as some in the Edouard Frossard Sale of December 10-20, 1894.

Among the prize rarities he owned is the Proof 1827 Quarter (restrike), and lot 189, AG-3 Sheldon NC-3 1793 Large Cent sold by W. E. Woodward on October 13-16, 1880.

To read the complete article, see:

Album E-Sylum ad Sale 38


The ANS is looking to hire a curatorial assistant. Here's the position announcement. Great opportunity to work at a world-class numismatic institution. -Editor

Curatorial Assistant

ANS enews logo September 1, 2020
The American Numismatic Society (ANS) is seeking to hire a Curatorial Assistant, who will organize the disposition of duplicate items. The Curatorial Assistant will work with portions of the curatorial collection and assist the staff in cataloguing and in the de-accessioning process. We seek an energetic self-starter with the ability and desire to institute a direct sales and marketing program for the ANS, a non-for-profit museum and research organization in New York City. The successful candidate will set up and manage an online store. The ANS will provide training in registration, photography, and numismatics if needed.

About the ANS
The American Numismatic Society is dedicated to the study and public appreciation of coins, currencies, medals, and other related objects. Since its founding in 1858, the ANS has assembled a permanent collection with over 800,000 objects dating from 650 BCE to the present and numismatic library, which houses approximately 100,000 books, documents, and artifacts. These resources are used to support publications of books and periodicals, lectures, academic seminars, and exhibitions.

Skills and qualifications
High school diploma required, BA desirable.
High level of organization essential
Excellent digital and computer skills
Ability to work independently in a great curatorial team
Self-motivated, interested in sales/marketing (previous experience a plus)
Ability to take on all aspects of running an online store
Interest in modern and US coins desirable

The position is a full-time position based in the offices of the American Numismatic Society in New York City. It will be for one year in the first instance. Salary is commensurate with experience; very generous benefits including health and dental insurance as well as generous vacation days.

All applicants should send a resume, names and contact information of two reference letter as well as a letter describing their interest and qualifications for this position.

Send applications to:
Application deadline: when the position is filled.

To read the complete article, see:
Curatorial Assistant (

Fred Weinberg ad01.png


Here's the press release for Stephen Album Rare Coins upcoming Auction 38. -Editor

Stephen Album Auction 38 cover Stephen Album Rare Coins will hold its Auction 38 on September 24-27, 2020 at its offices in Santa Rosa, California. The auction is made up of an even 4,000 lots of Ancient, Islamic, Chinese, General World, and Indian Coins.

Featured in this sale are two Chihli Specimen Dollars from the Peiyang Mint form the Richard Bagge Collection. The two Chihli dollars are the first of the year 29 Peiyang dollars graded by the major grading companies as specimens. The Peiyang mint had just been rebuilt in 1902, necessitated by its destruction during the Boxer Rebellion. These dollars were likely gifts to Richard Bagge, a Swedish diplomat based in Shanghai, upon the reopening of the mint. These coins are of the utmost rarity and we feel are conservatively estimated. They are sure to be a major highlight.

Another sure highlight will be the Dabestani Collection of Persian Coins, which includes many rare gold and silver coins that were unpublished when they were acquired. One particularly stunning example from the collection is Lot 659, a gold presentation toman issue of Fath ‘Ali Shah. It features a portrait of the king seated on a throne and is one of the rare earlier issues struck to the sahebqirani standard. A superb example, it is graded MS62 by PCGS.

Some highlights from the sale follow:

Stephen Album Auction 38 lot 0065

LOT 65: ANCIENTS: SASANIAN KINGDOM: Shahpur I, 241-272, gold dinar (7.35g), G-21, diademed bust of Shapur right, wearing mural crown with korymbos // fire altar flanked by two attendants, holding long spears, each looking away from the fire and wearing mural crowns, some scratches on the obverse, mostly across the korymbos, otherwise very attractive, EF, R. Estimated at $3,000 - 3,250

Stephen Album Auction 38 lot 0659

LOT 659: ISLAMIC: QAJAR: Fath 'Ali Shah, 1797-1834, gold presentation toman (4.59g), Isfahan, AH1245, A-2871, KM-763, portrays the king seated on throne, with medallion bearing the ruler's name to the left // mint & date in fancy border, a superb quality example! PCGS graded MS62 (Gold Shield NFC Secure Holder), RRR, ex Dabestani Collection. Estimated at $3,000 – 4,000

Stephen Album Auction 38 lot 1169

LOT 1169: CHINA: CHIHLI: Kuang Hsu, 1875-1908, silver dollar, Peiyang Arsenal mint, year 29 (1903), Y-73, L&M-462, with deep original color and iridescent rainbow toning on obverse, NGC graded Specimen 65, RRR, ex Richard Bagge Collection. Estimated at $60,000 - 80,000. Opening Bid: $35,000

Stephen Album Auction 38 lot 1170

LOT 1170: CHINA: CHIHLI: Kuang Hsu, 1875-1908, silver dollar, Peiyang Arsenal mint, year 29 (1903), Y-73, L&M-462, with deep original color and iridescent rainbow toning on reverse, NGC graded Specimen 64+, RRR, ex Richard Bagge Collection. Estimated at $50,000 - 70,000. Opening Bid: $30,000

Stephen Album Auction 38 lot 1499

LOT 1499: WORLD: SINGAPORE: Republic, gold 12 ounce medal, 1987, KM-X32, 70mm, Chinese Lunar Series - Year of the Rabbit with four Chinese characters “amiable countenance”, medallic issue containing 12 ounces of 999.9 pure gold and a mintage of only 250 coins struck at the Singapore Mint, NGC graded Proof 69 UC, R. Estimated at $22,000 - 24,000

Stephen Album Auction 38 lot 1885

LOT 1885: WORLD: CHILE: Fernando VI, 1746-1759, gold 8 escudos, 1751-So, KM-3, Fr-3, assayer J, although not indicated on holder, clearly from Nuestra Señora de la Luz wreck, PCGS graded MS61. Estimated at $3,000 - 4,000

The firm is now taking consignments for its Auction 39, which will be held January 21-23, 2021.

More information can be found on their website at

See also the NGC article elsewhere in this issue about Chinese Specimen silver coins. -Editor

Shevlin E-Sylum ad 2020-03-22


Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick forwarded along these highlights from among the selections recently added to his website at the beginning of the month. In addition to these new art medals and plaques, he will also be featuring an assortment of medallic works from the hand of Swedish sculptor-engraver Erik Lindberg (famous for his design of the Nobel Prize award medals and related nominating committee medals) later this month, so stay tuned to for all of these new additions. -Editor

Banská Štiavnica Mining Academy Medal

Banská Štiavnica Mining Academy Medal

101205 | AUSTRIA-HUNGARY. Mining Academy bronze Medal. Issued 1870. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the academy in Banská Štiavnica (69mm, 107.39 g, 12h). By C. Radnitzky. A • MARIA • THERESIA • HUNG : REGE • METALLICORUM • ACADEMIA, diademed, veiled, and draped bust of Maria Theresia right between wreath of palm frond and laurel branch / SCHEMNICII • CONDITA • 1770 • PRIMUM • SECULUM • CELEBRAT • , Hungaria seated facing on throne, holding miner's lamp and open mineralogy book; countryside with factories and mines in background; in exergue, coat-of-arms with dwarven supporters. Edge: Plain. Hauser 1645; Serfas 305; Montenuovo –; Wurzbach 6044; Preussag Coll. II, 1631. Gem Mint State. Glossy chocolate brown surfaces, with an intense degree of radiating luster; a few light spots on the obverse are noted for completeness. $325.

A town tied to mining since antiquity, Banská Štiavnica was mentioned by Roman authors for her silver ore mined there by the Celts, and was the main producer of silver and gold for the Kingdom of Hungary during the Middle Ages. In 1627, it became one of the first places where gunpowder was used for blasting. This medal commemorates the centennial of an academy established there in 1770 in the field of mineralogy.

Dwarven supporters! A beautiful and interesting piece. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101205 | AUSTRIA-HUNGARY. Mining Academy/Maria Theresia bronze Medal. (

Ernst Otto Theodor Westerlund Medal

Ernst Otto Theodor Westerlund Medal

101233 | SWEDEN. Ernst Otto Theodor Westerlund silver Medal. Issued 1899. Commemorating the 60th birthday of the physician (56mm, 76.75 g, 12h). By A. Lindberg. ERNST WESTERLUND, bust right / ÅT / LÄKAREN / MÄNNISKOVÄNNEN / MEDBORGAREN / AF / STADEN ENKÖPING / DEN 22 OKT • 1899 in seven lines; oak and laurel branch curled to left, with serpent-entwined staff below. Edge: Plain. Brettauer –; Storer 3768. Choice Mint State. Pleasingly toned on the obverse, with a somewhat lighter nature on the reverse, and attractively matte throughout. $295.

Born in 1839 in Öregrund, Ernst Westerlund was thrust into the role of provider for his household at a very young age due to the early deaths of his father and siblings. He studied at Uppsala University, where he received his degree in medicine in 1867. Following the death of the city doctor in Enköping in that year, Westerlund took over the role, quickly developing a name as a skillful gynecologist as well as a neurologist. The name of "Enköpingsdoktorn" was bestowed upon him, and he continued to receive patients not only from around Sweden, but from Finland, Norway, Denmark, and even Russia. One such Russian patient was Count Lev Tolstoy, son of the famous "War and Peace" author by the same name. While under the care of Westerlund, he fell in love with the latter's daughter, Dorothea (Dora), marrying her in 1896 and ultimately settling there during the early years of World War II. Westerlund continued his practice in Enköping until his death in 1924 at the age of 84, having served the community for nearly 57 years.

To read the complete item description, see:
101233 | SWEDEN. Ernst Otto Theodor Westerlund silver Medal (

Jan Kolda Medal

Jan Kolda Medal

101249 | CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Jan Kolda bronze Medal. Issued 1972. Commemorating the life of the comparative anatomist and professor (60mm, 86.44 g, 12h). By V. A. Kovanic. AKADEMIK JAN KOLDA 1895–1958, bust left / ANATOMIA FUNDAMENTUM MEDICINAE, view of a human brain from the top. Edge: Plain. Gem Mint State. Brown-bronze surfaces, with a great matte nature. Highly interesting anatomical type. $185.

A comparative anatomist and professor, Jan Kolda passed away on 29 November 1958 in Doubravník. His lengthy career can be best summed up by fellow veterinarian and professor, Cenek Cervený, following Kolda's death: "The work he performed to the benefit of Czech and world-veterinary morphology, is enormous. He was an excellent university teacher, he compiled the first Czech textbook of veterinary anatomy, developed scientific activities on a wide basis and educated many successful followers. He built the Anatomical Institute and a magnificent anatomical museum. He laid solid foundations to Czechoslovak veterinary morphology."

A brainy piece. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101249 | CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Jan Kolda bronze Medal. (

Johan August Wahlberg Medal

Johan August Wahlberg Medal

101218 | SWEDEN. Johan August Wahlberg bronze Medal. Issued 1858. Honoring the naturalist and explorer (31mm, 10.79 g, 12h). By L. Ahlborn. JOH AUG WAHLBERG RER NAT VESTIG SVEC, bare head left / NOMEN DEDIT ET MORTEM, elephant trumpeting right; in four lines in exergue, PEREGRINATORI CELEBRI SOCIO / ANTE DEFUNCTO QUAM ELECTO / R ACAD SC SVEC / MDCCCLVIII. Edge: Plain. Olsén 133; Laidlaw 0024. Mint State. Charming red-brown surfaces, with some brilliance in the fields and just a hint of rub on the high points. $225.

A Swedish naturalist and explorer, Johan August Wahlberg graduated with a degree in chemistry from Uppsala University in 1829, and later in forestry and agronomy in 1834. Beginning in 1838, Wahlberg embarked upon an exploratory trip to southern Africa where he collected countless specimens of natural history to be sent back to Sweden for study. While in what is now Botswana, Wahlberg was tragically killed by a wounded elephant. As news of his death had not yet reached Sweden, he had, in the meantime, been elected to be a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, making him the only member to have been elected posthumously.

Ironic combination of images, but a great elephant nonetheless. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101218 | SWEDEN. Johan August Wahlberg bronze Medal. (

Endicott New York Firemen's Convention Badge
New York Triple Cities Firemen's Convention Badge 101320 | UNITED STATES. Endicott, New York. Brass Parade Badge. Issued 1912 for the 8th annual Tri-Village Firemen's convention & parade (65x92mm, 16.71 g). Three clasps, each decorated with scrolled border; the top reading: "8TH ANNUAL PARADE / ENDICOTT FIRE DEPT. / AUGUST 31ST 1912 in three lines;" the middle displaying: vignettes of Chief Charles E. Sweet between First Assistant Chief Lee E. Baker and Second Assistant Chief James J. Murphy; the bottom reading "FOREMEN / GEO. F. JOHNSON HOSE CO. NO. 1 / M. E. LIDDLE / L. D. DUREN HOSE CO. NO. 2 / CARL GRISWALD / BUNDY H. & L. CO. NO. 1 / ARTHUR HARTER" in seven lines; image of shoe in background. Essentially as issued, though reverse pin has been replaced at the top, with the two others missing. A great piece of Americana from New York's Southern Tier. $295.

Emerging as one of the "Triple Cities" in the Southern Tier of New York, Endicott was the final of these three triplets (the others being Binghamton and Johnson City) to be established, incorporated largely as a company town in 1906. The source of the village's early boom was shoes—namely, the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company, which rapidly grew to become one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the nation, even supplying nearly all of the footwear for America's war efforts in World Wars I and II. "E-J" quickly became a highly sought-after employer on account of the "square deal" promoted by company president and partner, George F. Johnson. Employment, though piecemeal, offered medical benefits and the first 8-hour workday/40-hour workweek in the shoe industry. Additionally, activities and attractions for the workforce outside of the job were created, such as libraries, parks, pools, parades, and even company built homes.

This badge was for the 8th annual parade for the association of firemen from the "tri-villages" of Endicott, Union, and Johnson City (then still known as Lestershire), with 1912 being the inaugural year for the creation of Endicott's fire department. Notable firefighting companies among the parade's foremen included the George F. Johnson Hose Co. No. 1 (named after the aforementioned G. F. Johnson), the L. D. Duren Hose Co. No. 2, and the Bundy Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 (named for Harlow E. Bundy, a nearby resident of Binghamton who mass produced his brother's invention of the time clock and whose subsequent business—the Bundy Manufacturing Co.—was eventually amalgamated into what would become IBM). Adding even more local flair, a shoe—emblematic of Endicott itself at the time—is subtly displayed in the background.

Unusual, rarely-seen item, -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
101320 | UNITED STATES. Endicott, New York. Brass Firemen's Parade Badge. (

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I enjoyed my friend Kavan Ratnatunga's presentation on the coins and currency of Sri Lanka at last week's NNP Symposium. I especially liked the artist renderings he displayed - they make it much easier to understand the coin images and inscriptions. A number of these images are displayed on Kavan's website. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

These lead tokens were found in last two decades of 20th century, buried around Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka and are dated to 200 BCE. to 200 CE. Lead is used in many of early coins because probably of low melting point. Most are unique and not found in hoards, so unlikely to be coins. They maybe tokens buried in the foundation of houses as is the custom even today. They are very small weighing few grams at most and less than an inch in diameter.

This attempt is not the traditional line drawing of coin, but an attempt to visualize what may have been represented on the coin. Trying to interpret what the ancient Artist who made the token may have tried to illustrate on the token, to aid someone who looks at the token to see some of the detail which is otherwise missed. The ancient art that is illustrated on these lead coins can only be visualized by an artist and not with a camera which can never capture the exact stance and perspective.

OBRW_A5_elephant_brahami_o OBRW_A5_elephant_sanjaya_art_600

Elephant token line drawing

Coloured Artwork which are realistic representations of the stylised drawing on coin is by Wildlife Artist Sanjaya Weeratunge.

The adopted methodology is to start with tracing the outline of an enlarged print-out the coin scan on A4 paper. When painting the artist deviates from outline as little as possible to get a realistic representation of the Animal or Human figure. In this way the drawing can be super-imposed on the coin image after appropriate scaling.

We started with 10 Tokens, which he has now completed in the COVID-19 lockdown. He sent me images of artwork which needs to be scanned when I get them after the curfew. The preliminary images with the coin images have been posted below.

OBRW_E12_antelope_brahami_o OBRW_E12_antelope_sanjaya_art_600

Antelope token line drawing

Wilfried Pieper's Line drawing of 8 of these coins from the 1999 book Ruhuna. The Ancient Civilization Re-Visited by by Osmund Bopearachchi and Rajah M. Wickramasinhe are also included for reference. Those lead tokens were obtained in 2016 from Lalith Raddella in Colombo who had purchased a selection from Raja Wickramasinghe.

When I sent this page to Wilfried Pieper for comment he said I quote "The images done by the artist are simply wonderful! I Thank him for his encouraging words which will motivate me to ask Sanjaya to paint more of the lead tokens for me.

To read the complete article, see:
Art on Lead Tokens Coins from Ancient Ruhuna (

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An article elsewhere in this issue highlights lots in the upcoming Stephen Album Rare Coins Auction 38. This article from NGC discusses an interesting pair of specimen coins in the sale. -Editor

1903 China Chihli dollar slabbed Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) certified a pair of exceptional Chinese Specimen silver coins that will be offered by Stephen Album Rare Coins in its Auction 38, being held September 24-27, 2020. Both coins are Specimen Year 29 (1903) Chihli “Period After Yang” L&M-462 Silver Dollars.

Specimens are coins struck with special care to accentuate the strike and protect their surfaces. While they don’t quite meet the criteria to be called Proof, Specimens are clearly distinct from circulation strikes. Both of these Specimen coins have exceptional surfaces, strong strikes and amazing original toning.

No Specimens or Proofs of this issue were known prior to the discovery of these pieces. They are pedigreed to Richard Bagge, who was Consul-General for Sweden and worked in Shanghai circa 1906. His son, Ragnvald Richardson Bagge (1903-1991) was a Swedish diplomat as well, and this set was a part of his estate.

The Peiyang mint began striking silver dollars again in 1903 after a three-year hiatus due to the Boxer Rebellion. It is quite possible that these coins were struck for dignitaries to celebrate the reopening of the mint. Regardless of the precise reason for their striking, the coins were clearly specially struck and merit the prestigious Specimen designation.

Both coins were well struck from the same pair of very early die-state dies. The coins indicate a complete lack of die fatigue or erosion, which is frequently seen in the denticles on circulation issues. The rims are also much better formed than those on business strikes, and the dragons are completely struck up, as are the beaded circles on the opposite side of each coin.

Also notable is the complete lack of “ghosting” on the reverse, which shows how early the die state is. Ghosting occurs after many planchets are struck and a faint shadow of the dragon will begin to show on the reverse due to the extreme pressures of minting.

Lastly, the coins also have extensive die polish and circular die lines that surround the devices on both sides. The lines are all crisp and complete — as opposed to later strikes, which have less-sharp lines that fade in certain areas.

The coins are extremely well-preserved. Chinese silver dollars of this era typically have numerous bag marks and wear from handling, neither of which are evident on these coins. This lack of damage shows that they were carefully handled from the time they were struck. The coins’ well-established pedigree goes back to just three to seven years after they were struck.

The toning patterns are indicative of a set meant to display both the obverse and reverse of the coins at the same time. Apparently, one coin was dragon side up and the other was dragon side down in a presentation case. As a result, the obverse toning pattern of one matches the reverse toning pattern of the other. The depth and originality of the toning indicates that the set was likely stored in the same case for decades.

To read the complete article, see:
NGC-certified Chinese Vintage Rarities Highlight September Stephen Album Sale (

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Heritage Auctions sent this press release for their upcoming sale of an Amazonian Double Eagle pattern in aluminum. -Editor

1872 $20 Amazonian Twenty Dollar, Judd-1252, Pollock-1394, R.8, PR66 Cameo PCGS_Heritage_Auctions_1 1872 $20 Amazonian Twenty Dollar, Judd-1252, Pollock-1394, R.8, PR66 Cameo PCGS_Heritage_Auctions_2

Rare Pattern From When Aluminum Outranked Gold

Aluminum is so ubiquitous today that it may not strike you today as a metal that would belong on the "precious metals" list or that even has much value. However, in the early and mid-1800s, it was considered in the United States and Europe to be very precious indeed. This led to the production of some rare pattern coins (trial pieces made to test out new designs or metal compositions) struck in aluminum. In fact, for a time during the 1800s, aluminum was more valuable than gold!

As an example, the most honored guests of French ruler Napoleon III dined with aluminum cutlery, while the less-important were only able to use the more everyday silver forks and knives. The issue was not necessarily scarcity but rather than most people did not understand how to scientifically make use of aluminum. It was not until scientists found easy ways to release this metal from its ore (starting in 1886) that it fell from its favored position as an uncommon element to become something very pedestrian. Before that point eventually came, just a few very special aluminum pattern coins were created that have occasionally survived to be enjoyed by collectors today.

One of the most famous pattern designs of all is the so-called "Amazonian" series. Heritage Auctions will be offering an amazing example of the $20 Amazonian pattern struck in aluminum as part of the Bob Simpson Collection in Sale 1310. US Mint worker William Barber designed patterns for all 6 gold coin denominations in 1872, with this $20 coin being the largest and most impressive. Only two pieces are known to exist in aluminum, making this a true prize for the most discerning collector.

Not only is this a very rare piece, but its condition is also a key factor. Aluminum is a soft metal, and the US Mint was unfamiliar with using it. Aluminum patterns are often not in the nicest condition or lack eye appeal today, but this coin is a stunning example that managed to not only be struck beautifully but also to be stored and cared for in nearly pristine condition. Graded Proof 66 Cameo by PCGS, this Amazonian $20 will really impress when it crosses the auction block.


Another Heritage Auctions press release is for their upcoming sale of a nice California fractional gold piece. -Editor

1853 50C Arms of California 50 Cents, BG-435, Low R.5, MS65 NGC_Heritage_Auctions_1 1853 50C Arms of California 50 Cents, BG-435, Low R.5, MS65 NGC_Heritage_Auctions_2

Small In Stature, But a Big Deal For Collectors

California Fractional Gold coins are artifacts of Gold Rush history that were created to solve the lack of coinage in circulation that occurred when gold was found in the West in the 1840s and 50s. While there were not enough coins to keep commerce running smoothly (as the West was far from most of the operational mints creating coins at the time and "off the beaten path" for most trade), there was plenty of gold metal--mostly impractical gold dust.

Enterprising groups turned this raw metal into small but powerful coins known today as California Fractional gold. These were mainly denominated as 25 Cents, 50 Cents, or One Dollar. These coins are tiny--smaller than today's dime--but they are a big deal for collectors despite their small stature.

Of the over 450 varieties known to exist, one of the most famous is the Arms of California type, which shows the state's coat of arms. Heritage is offering a round example of this famous and popular type, which is expected to sell for more than $10,000 despite its diminutive size! It features the Assay Office Eagle reverse, which is familiar to collectors of territorial gold coinage. Graded MS65 by NGC, this coin is also tied for the finest graded by that service, so it combines overall rarity with especially nice condition. A similar piece sold for $17,000 in this grade a few years ago.

This is part of the September Sale 1319 here:

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Dave Bowers beat me to it - I was already planning to mention the numismatic connection to Lord & Taylor, the recently bankrupted store chain. -Editor

Encased Postage Stamps

Lord & Taylor, the famous fashion retailer, is no longer with us, or at least not in its usual form. On August 3 the firm announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and stated it planned to close all 24 of its stores.

Numismatically, Lord & Taylor is well-remembered for its issuance of encased postage stamps. In the second week of July 1862, with no silver or gold coins in sight, and the channels of commerce awash in paper bills, even copper-nickel cents were hoarded. It was impossible to find a coin to buy a newspaper, get a haircut, or take a ride on a horse-drawn car. Breaching the gap, many merchants, towns, and others issued tickets imprinted with values from one cent onward; paper money scrip notes with three cents and five cents were the most popular, but other values went up to a dollar or more. In time, many merchants issued bronze tokens, the size of a cent, which served for that value.

In the meantime, both the Confederate and Union were issuing more and more paper money. On February 25, 1862, the first “greenback” bills were authorized, these being called such because of the color of the reverse. By June 1862, over $100,000,000 of greenbacks flooded the North.

Silver and gold coins sold at increasing premiums, with changing rates published in the daily papers. In New York City in July, the premium on silver coins was 5% to 6%, meaning that it took $105 in greenbacks to buy $100 in federal coins.

On July 11, it took $130.

Horace Greeley, proprietor of the New York Tribune, suggested on July 9, 1862, that ordinary postage stamps could be used as change, these being conveniently pasted onto the bottom of a small piece of paper, the top being folded over. The idea achieved some popularity, mostly by taking the form of loose postage stamps in small envelopes imprinted on the front with a value such as 25¢. Others took postage stamps and pasted them to small pieces of cardboard. The idea caught on, and the Treasury Department began experimenting with such.

On July 14, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase suggested to Congress that government stamps be made official as legal tender for small transactions. In the meantime, Treasurer Francis E. Spinner had pasted postage stamps onto sheets of Treasury Department letterhead paper, cut down, and bearing his signature, together with stamps amounting to 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢. He contacted the local post office and made an arrangement that stamps that were damaged should be redeemed at face value for new ones.

In response to Chase’s request, the Act of July 17, 1862, provided for the use of postage stamps for monetary transactions, including that by August 1 stamps would be exchangeable for Legal Tender “greenback” notes at all Treasury offices. They were also receivable for government obligations in amounts under $5, but they were not given official legal tender status, despite the Chase’s request.

In August 1862 Postage Currency notes were issued, featuring the same designs as postage stamps but in the shape of small pieces of paper money with additional inscriptions and with perforated edges. At first these were distributed to Army paymasters, then in September to the general public. By early 1863 about $100,000 of these flimsy little bills reached circulation per day.

The great public confusion regarding the use of stamps and early issues of Postage Currency is delineated at length in The Standard Catalogue of Encased Postage Stamps, by Michael J. Hodder and Q. David Bowers, 1989, created in part with advice from John J. Ford, Jr., who encouraged the project. Now long out of print, copies of this book can be found on the internet.

During this time 31 different merchants signed up to advertise on encased postage stamps, invented by John Gault. Early issues bear Gault’s own imprint and, beginning later in the year 1862, after he joined Joseph Kirkpatrick in the formation of Kirkpatrick & Gault, 1 Park Place, the name of the new company was used.

To read the complete article, see:
The Last of the Encased Postage Stamp Issuers (

Here's a little history of the firm. -Editor

Lord & Taylor, the first department store established in the United States, is officially going out of business, ending a nearly 200-year run.

The bankrupt company announced Thursday that all of its 38 remaining stores and website have begun liquidation sales — a reversal from last week's decision to keep 14 locations open.

The company was once a mainstay of high-end fashion. Lord & Taylor opened its first store in New York in 1826.

According to its website, Lord & Taylor was created by English immigrants Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor when they opened their first store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan nearly 200 years ago. The store would grow and relocate six times over its first 80 years, moving into its flagship Fifth Avenue store near Times Square in 1914. By then the company had already been publicly traded for 10 years.

To read the complete article, see
Lord & Taylor is closing all of its stores after 194 years in business (

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In the how-RUDE-to-even-THINK-about-collecting-this-one department, Kavan Ratnetunga and Pabitra Saha forwarded this article about Australia's new "Donation Dollar". Interesting concept. -Editor

Australia's Donation Dollar The Royal Australian Mint has released a new coin that’s designed to be donated.

The Mint unveiled the Donation Dollar as part of a world-first donation initiative. While the dollar is legal tender, the Mint is encouraging Aussies to use it wherever cash donations are accepted to help people or organisations that are in need.

Each of these coins feature the call to action “Give to Help Others”. There’s also a green centre with a gold ripple design, which represents the ongoing impact each donation makes to those in need. According to the Mint, three in five Australians said they would be likely to donate this coin if they saw it among their change.

The first lot of three million coins has been released into circulation, with millions more to be released in the coming years. If every Australian donated one of these dollars, it could possibly raise an extra $300 million a year for those who are disadvantaged.

“The Royal Australian Mint has a rich heritage of producing coins to meet the needs of every Australian,” he said. “So we’re extremely proud to introduce the world’s first Donation Dollar and tap into the Australian spirit of generosity. Like any other one dollar coin, the cycle of a Donation Dollar is ongoing, as is its potential for positive impact.”

The coins come in the lead up to the International Day of Charity on September 5, a UN initiative which calls on people all over the world to help others not just during a crisis but at any time of the year.

While some people might be thinking of collecting these new coins, the Mint is discouraging this idea. In its FAQ document about the Donation Dollar, the organisation said it aims to produce 25 million of these coins – one for every Australian – so “the Donation Dollar will be anything but collectable.”

To read the complete article, see:
The Royal Australian Mint has unveiled a new dollar coin that is designed to be donated to charities – and 3 million have already been released into circulation (

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The Washington Post published a story this week on the nationwide coin shortage. Here's an excerpt. Great cartoon. -Editor

Coins under COVID cartoon

In yet another 2020 plot twist, coins aren’t making their way through the economy, with the repercussions rippling from the upper echelons of the federal government down to ice cream shops and bank teller windows. With more people staying home, buying less and shifting their spending online, the natural flow of pocket change through banks, restaurants and retail stores has dried up.

Coin issues can be a big deal. In the early 1960s, a shortage of silver helped usher in the passage of the Coinage Act of 1965, which removed silver from circulating coins. (Although, for those keeping score, the U.S. Mint says this is not a coin shortage or supply problem. The mint says it’s a circulation bottleneck that can only be cleared up with the public’s help.)

Whatever it’s called, this lack of coinage seems to be a challenge that ever-divided government, businesses and Americans can unite behind. There’s a new coin task force, complete with its own hashtag: #getcoinmoving. Businesses heavy in coins are helping businesses without. A Chick-fil-A in a South Carolina mall is inviting people to bring in their rolled coins in exchange for cash and a free sandwich. Casinos are trying to tempt would-be gamblers to empty jingling pockets in exchange for free slot play.

For its part, the U.S. Mint is actually on track to produce more coins this year than it has in almost two decades, having ramped up production to fill the void. Like everything else about this pandemic, the coin shortfall is unprecedented, at least for modern times.

“There is no comparison to previous events,” said Michael White, spokesman for the U.S. Mint.

Simply making more coins won’t completely solve the problem — hence the U.S. Coin Task Force, established in July to pinpoint how to kick the supply chain back into gear.

At the table are exactly whom you’d expect: the mint, the Fed, bank and retail industry groups, plus representatives for the big armored carriers that drive the money around, coin aggregators and federal credit unions. Among the group’s preliminary recommendations: financial institutions could give out free coin-rolling kits, and parents could use this weird time in history as a “teachable moment” for young ones learning about money.

But when it comes to getting coins flowing through the economy once again, the solution will depend on swaying Americans to change new habits developed during the pandemic.

To read the complete article, see:
A penny pinch: How America fell into a great coin shortage (


In the find-a-penny-take-a-penny department, the TSA reports finding nearly a million dollars in left-behind passenger cash during the 2019 fiscal year. Found via the News & Notes newsletter by the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VI, Number 10, August 25, 2020). -Editor

TSA luggage scanner The Transportation Security Administration collected nearly $1 million in unclaimed money passengers left behind after going through security checkpoints.

The agency added up $926,030.44 in loose change and paper money from passengers during the 2019 fiscal year, $18,899.09 of which came from foreign currency.

According to a press release shared with Fox News, the top five airports for forgotten change were John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, which found $98,110; San Francisco International Airport had $52,668.70; Miami International Airport with $47,694.03; Nevada’s McCarran International Airport had $44,401.76; and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with $40,218.19.

“It is always TSA’s goal to reunite travelers with items they have left behind at checkpoints. If someone returns to the checkpoint within a short timeframe to claim an item that they left behind, it is easily returned to them,” the TSA wrote.

To read the complete article, see:
TSA collects nearly $1M forgotten by passengers (


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We've often discussed the coins and banknotes of micronations. Kavan Ratnatunga passed along articles about promotions for a new micronation created by activists to draw attention to a big environmental problem. This one was found on the International Bank Note Society forum. Thanks. The articles date from 2017 and I don't see much about it online since 2018, so I don't know where the effort stands today. But it's absolutely in the grand tradition of micronation lore. Where are the banknotes today? Were they sold as a fundraiser? -Editor

Trash Isles flag Floating in the North Pacific Ocean is a mountain of waste the size of France. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of two masses of rubbish between the US and Japan and contains everything from LEGO bricks to computer monitors and fishing nets.

This pollution has had a devastating effect on marine life (around 1 million seabirds die from encountering plastic waste each year) – so media site LADbible has joined forces with The Plastic Oceans Foundation to do something about it.

In a video posted on LADbible yesterday, former Eastenders actor and TV tough guy / documentary maker Ross Kemp (who travelled the world tracking down criminals for series Ross Kemp on Gangs) announced a campaign to make the Pacific garbage patch a recognised state.

An application submitted to the UN on World Ocean’s Day asks for ‘The Trash Isles’ to be recognised as an official country. Climate change campaigner and former US Vice President Al Gore has been named an honorary citizen and the Trash Isles even has its own currency, stamps and passports.

Trash Isles 100 Debris note Trash Isles 50 Debris note

The LADbible film invites viewers to pledge their support for the campaign by signing a petition urging the UN to approve the application.

If the application is successful, the petition claims that other world leaders would be forced to work together to ‘clean up’ The Trash Isles under the UN’s Environmental Charter. (The charter states that “all members shall co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the earth’s ecosystem”.)

The Trash Isles campaign was thought up by ad creatives Michael Hughes and Dalatando Almeida. Designer Mario Kerkstra created the identity for the island, designing its flag as well as banknotes and a passport for Gore. LADbible developed the campaign’s overall look and feel and led the campaign’s marketing strategy and content production.

“We wanted to come up with a way to ensure world leaders can’t ignore it anymore, a way to stick it under their noses, literally.”

Campaigns raising awareness of climate change or pollution often rely on shock tactics and hard hitting messages. Hughes and Almeida’s Trash Isle project also manages to deliver a serious message about the extent of the problem in our oceans but does so with wit and a touch of wry humour.

It seems a little unlikely that the Trash Isles will be recognised as an official country – but it’s an inventive approach to talking about climate change. And at the very least, it might help spread awareness among LADbible’s sizeable audience.

To read the complete article, see:
Could an island made of trash become the world’s newest country? (

For additional information, see:
Come Join The Trash Isles! (
?Trash Isles Citizens Respond To The United Nations (

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A young artist's money artwork got caught up in a kerfuffle over a planned exhibit at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art. -Editor

Steven Montinar Koupe Tet, Boule Kay money art

Steven Montinar’s digital drawing “Koupe Tet, Boule Kay” (2020) was among the works selected for the Whitney Museum’s exhibition Collective Actions: Artist Interventions In a Time of Change (image courtesy of Steven Montinar)

The Whitney Museum in New York has canceled an upcoming exhibition of artworks created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement after facing strong criticism for acquiring most of the works through social justice benefits at discount prices and without permission from the artists, many of whom are Black.

The exhibition Collective Actions: Artist Interventions In a Time of Change was scheduled to open on September 17. Curated by Farris Wahbeh, Director of Research Resources at the Whitney, the show included artwork acquired for the museum’s special collections through fundraisers for COVID-19 or Black Lives Matter-related causes and would have showcased the work of almost 80 artists, spanning prints, photographs, posters, and freely-shared printable digital files for protest banners.

“The works tackle the health pandemic, structural racism, and demands for social and racial justice with material diversity and formal ingenuity,” the exhibition’s webpage says. “These projects draw on the long and vigorous tradition of activist artmaking and demonstrate the vibrant, spontaneous, yet tactical work that artists are doing right now.”

The museum states on its website that it had acquired the works “as the projects were launched and distributed.” Some of the participating artists have claimed that they were not aware of the inclusion of their work in the exhibition until receiving an email from Wahbeh in recent days, less than a month before the exhibition’s formerly scheduled opening.

Steven Montinar, a digital artist who was selected for the show, says he has complicated feelings about his inclusion. Because his work is used as the exhibition’s promotional image, the museum contacted him earlier than other participants, on July 18. Montinar had initially submitted his drawing “Koupe Tet, Boule Kay” (2020), depicting a partly-burned dollar bill with the Haitian Revolutionary phrase “‘Cut Heads, Burn Houses,” to Printed Matter’s open call for anti-racist posters, organizing material, and other ephemera.

His work was selected by Printed Matter and made available as a free, downloadable PDF on its website; a week later, Montinar says, he received an email from the Whitney saying the work would be included in an exhibition.

“I’m a senior in college right now, so hearing that the Whitney wanted to exhibit me was huge,” he told Hyperallergic. “A lot of what I’m doing right now is for exposure, because I’m still building a portfolio.” But reading other chosen artists’ criticism of the show on social media today has made him reflect on his own inclusion.

“With the type of work I make, I can’t just not stand in solidarity with the artists and the people who look like me, that’s who I make my works for. I’m conflicted because I want to be able to be part of this exhibition — but at what cost?” he added. “It’s important for me to stand with people. A lot of movements, especially the BLM movement, come from people not being heard. I’m trying to figure out what happens next,” he said, before the Whitney announced the show’s cancelation.

To read the complete article, see:
Whitney Museum Cancels Show After Artists Denounce Acquisition Process, Citing Exploitation (

To read another article on the topic, see:
Responding to Widespread Demands, Museums Are Acquiring More Works by Artists of Color. But How They Do So Matters More Than Ever (


Numismatists love history, and I think readers will enjoy this story even though the only numismatic connection is the mention of gold doubloons. -Editor

Hurricane Laura

When Hurricane Laura made landfall last week in Lake Charles, Louisiana, as a category 4 hurricane, it unleashed destruction all around. But there was one thing it could not destroy: The Sallier Oak.

This fabled live oak tree, which grows its twisty branches on the grounds of the Imperial Calcasieu Museum in downtown Lake Charles, is said to date back to 1645 at the latest, making it at least 375-years-old. After Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc last week, locals feared the tree might have been damaged in the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since the last island hurricane of 1856. But just as the Sallier Oak has survived storms for centuries before—and even a lightning bolt—it endured Mother Nature's wrath this time, too.

“The Sallier Oak is much more than an old tree. There are literally thousands of majestic live oak trees throughout the South. But Sallier is special. When the oak was a sapling, the native Ishak camped on its sacred ground. The first European settler, Charles Sallier [the tree's namesake], sought refuge and then later romanced his beautiful Catherine under its branches. The Sallier Oak hosted Jean Lafitte's pirate band and Arsene Lebleu's cowboys when they traded doubloons [a Spanish gold coin] for beef," says Lake Charles historian Adley Cormier.

To read the complete article, see:
The Incredible Story of Lake Charles' Sallier Oak, a 375-Year-Old Tree, Which Just Survived Hurricane Laura (


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

U.S. and Royal Mints Mayflower Anniversary Sets

As discussed earlier, the U.S. and Royal Mints have issued joint anniversary coinage sets commemorating the voyage of the Mayflower. -Editor


The United States Mint and The Royal Mint (United Kingdom) have collaborated to create two limited-edition sets marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage.

The story of the Mayflower is one that connects multiple communities, cultures, and countries. This transatlantic voyage brought 102 Pilgrims and migrants from Europe across the Atlantic and established a new foundation for governance in the New World.

The United States Mint and The Royal Mint have produced a joint two-coin gold proof set and a silver coin and medal proof set that will be released for sale this fall.

The coin and medal designs come together to tell the story of the Pilgrims, the Mayflower‘s journey, and the impact the Pilgrims’ arrival had on the native Wampanoag people.

The reverse of the U.K. coins and the U.S. coin and medal contained in the sets were designed by Chris Costello, who used multiple stylistic elements to tie them together. These include the choice of font and North Star on the U.K. coin, which connects to the image of the sun in the U.S. coin, symbolizing a new day. That symbolism is also a reference to the Wampanoag people who inhabited the region, and were known as the "People of the Dawn."

To read the complete article, see:
U.S. and Royal Mints Announce 2020 Mayflower Anniversary Sets (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
LOOSE CHANGE: APRIL 28, 2019 : The Mint's Legal Authorities (

Peter van Alfen Appointed to CCAC

Over on CoinWeek Lou Golino published a nice interview with Peter van Alfen of the ANS following his appointment to the CCAC. Check it out. -Editor

Peter van Alfen CCAC Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin appointed numismatic curator, scholar, and award-winning author and researcher Peter van Alfen to serve on the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on August 11. Van Alfen will serve in the position previously held by Robert Hoge as a numismatic curator. Mr. Hoge’s second term ended on June 14 of this year though he was serving during the holdover period until recently. The CCAC advises the Treasury Secretary on the designs that appear on all U.S. coins and medals.

Peter is an economic historian, nautical anthropologist, numismatic curator, and expert on ancient coinage as well as medals issued since the 15th century. He is currently Chief Curator at the American Numismatic Society (ANS) where he was hired initially as Curator of Ancient Greek Coinage. He has also served as the editor of the Society’s ANS Magazine for the last 15 years. The ANS is dedicated to the study of coins, medals, tokens, and related objects from all cultures and time periods.

Van Alfen has curated exhibits of medals of topics from the Olympics to World Fairs, WWI, and many others.

To read the complete article, see:
The Coin Analyst: Peter van Alfen Appointed to Fill Numismatic Curator Position on CCAC (

Dickin Medal For Afghanistan Military Dog

The BBC News reported that a military dog who worked alongside British soldiers in Afghanistan will be awarded a Dickin medal in November. -Editor

Dickin Medal dog Kuno A military dog who charged through enemy gunfire to save the lives of British soldiers fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is to be awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

During a raid, the Belgian Malinois named Kuno tackled a gunman and was hit by bullets in both back legs.

After losing one of his paws as a result, he became the first UK military dog to get custom-made prosthetics.

The four-year-old will receive the Dickin Medal from vet charity the PDSA.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Without Kuno, the course of this operation could have been very different, and it's clear he saved the lives of British personnel that day.

"This particular raid was one of the most significant achievements against al Qaeda in several years.

The prestigious award was first introduced by the charity's founder, Maria Dickin CBE, in 1943. It is the highest award any animal can achieve while serving in military conflict.

To read the complete article, see:
Medal for hero dog Kuno which saved soldiers' lives in Afghanistan (

A History of Punctuation

We at The E-Sylum love words, and hand-in-hand with words comes punctuation. Here's a great article on the history of punctuation. Long live the Apostrophe Protection Society! -Editor

first-known-semi-colon Are prescribed grammar rules necessary, though, or a relic of some fussy conservatism and elitist era? Do we really need apostrophes (or any other mark of punctuation for that matter) or could we get rid of them for the sake of brevity? Is Princes Street rather than Prince’s or even the formidable Princes’ Street really a sign of our careless inattention to detail today? If punctuation can fall away and the words still make sense, why did we need it in the first place? Punctuation, like any other cultural production, has a tumultuous history full of public good and personal interest.

In the broad sense, punctuation is any glyph or sign in a text that isn’t an alphabet letter. This includes spaces, whose inclusion wasn’t always a given: in classical times stone inscriptions as well as handwritten texts WOULDLOOKLIKETHIS – written on scrolls, potentially unrolling forever. Reasons for continuous script aren’t entirely clear, but might be connected to a conception of writing as record of speech rather than a practice in itself, and since we’re hardly aware of the minuscule pauses we make between words when speaking, it isn’t obvious to register something we do and perceive unconsciously with a designated sign that is a non-sign: blank space.

What about the history pf punctuation in numismatics? Has anyone specifically written about this? Punctuation marks (and abbreviation) in coin legends has a longstanding tradition. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
A history of punctuation (

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