The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 9, March 1, 2020, Article 10


Correction Corrected
John Isles of Hanover, Michigan writes:

"Princess Anne is most certainly Queen Elizabeth's daughter. Mike may be thinking of Princess Margaret, who was Elizabeth's sister.

I expect a thousand other readers will be telling you this! Thanks for all the good work and best wishes"

Martin Purdy of New Zealand writes:

"The original was correct. Princess Anne is the Queen's daughter (born 1950), the younger sister of Prince Charles. Your correspondent Mr King may have been thinking of the Queen's sister Princess Margaret in error. The medal was thus from just the one person, who happened to be both the reigning Queen and Anne's mother, as originally stated."

Mike King writes:

"My apologies, but I was mistaken about Princess Anne. She was the daughter of the current queen."

Thanks also to Barbara Bailey, Jim Duncan of New Zealand, Philip De Jersey, Scott Miller, and Christof Zellweger of Switzerland.

My apologies for the confusion. This was one of the last items I had time to add to the last issue. I sent a copy to Mike but didn't see his correction until after the issue had gone out Sunday night. We removed the incorrect note from the ANA Edition and our archive.

Remember, The E-Sylum is a discussion forum and articles are not generally researched or fact-checked once received from a submitter. Our readers are the best numismatic fact-checkers in the world - thanks! -Editor

Ancient Gems and Their Connection to Coins
Ancient Gems lecture

Emma Pratte of the American Numismatic Society notes that the March 11, 2020 lecture by Pawel Golyzniak titled Ancient Gems and Their Connection to Coins: An Introduction will begin at 5:30pm EST. See the earlier article (linked below) for more information. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Overstruck Russian Coppers

1793 EM 5K Overstruck 15

Regarding Steve Bishops's overstruck Russian piece, Ken Spindler of San Diego writes:

"That is one of my favorite historic Russian coins. What that coin is, is a coin that was re-struck twice. It started out life as a 5 kopecks, and was re-struck as a "cipher" 10 kopecks dated 1796, in a surreptitious government plan to double some of the government's money. The cipher was a very large cursive Cyrillic E, abbreviation for Ekaterina, for Tsarina Catherine (the Great). The government saved up about 500,000 5-kopeck coins and started to re-coin them as 10-kopeck coins with the new cipher design, striking them with great force to try to spread them out (expanding their diameters; also, thinning them) so they would look like they contained enough metal to be accepted at face value. They were also going to acquire new edges, to further fool the public. The secret work was started at multiple mints. I think the scam was the idea of Catherine's finance minister.

"Anyway, Catherine died in 1796, and her son, Tsar Paul I (who disagreed with everything she did) immediately cancelled the project. All of the newly-re-struck 10-kopeck coins were re-struck as 5-kopeck coins again using old dies, so the government could spend them. Surviving original 1796 cipher 10 kopecks are extremely rare. I think I have 4 of these re-struck coins, and am always on the lookout for a bolder cipher. One of mine has a very bold 1796 date. The cipher is usually pretty faint on these if still visible at all. Part of the central horizontal denomination legend still showing from the 10-kopecks undercoin is usually the giveaway, but a circled ball in a field will do the trick, and is exciting to find. (OK, I'm weird.)

"The coin in the photo shows part of the horizontal denomination legend from the 10-kopeck die (inverted and at a slight angle) just below the bottoms of the eagle's necks. There were other denomination-increasing Russian copper recoinages during the 18th century, too. On those, sometimes you can see traces of both of the undercoins; the original denomination coin, the temporarily-increased denomination strike, and the final re-strike of the original denomination using old dies over that, haphazardly rotated from the original strike."

5 kop over 1796 cipher 10 kop

Steve Bishop adds:

"In fact, it is theoretically possible that such a coin may have been struck a total of five times! Here is the possible sequence: a 5 Kopeck piece of Elizabeth, restruck as a 10 Kopeck piece in 1762 by Peter III, restruck again as a 5 Kopeck piece by Catherine II ca. 1763-89, restruck a third time as a 10 Kopeck piece of the Cipher design in 1796, and restruck a fourth time as a 5 Kopeck piece of the usual Catherine II design in 1797 by Paul I. (Can you imagine how one of these coins would feel? "Oh, come on! Make up your mind, already!").

"Obviously, this would be difficult to confirm, as traces of earlier overstriking would have been obliterated by later ones, and thus the third way of discerning coins from the 1797 recoining program is by identifying traces of the 1796 Cipher design under the Catherine II 5 Kopeck design. The most telling clue is remnants of the distinctive dots of the Cipher design. Other prominent traces also found are remains of the large script "E", the 1796 date, and the denomination inscription."

Thanks! Great story, neat coins. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: FEBRUARY 23, 2020 : Bishop's Beauties (

Books on Railroad Medals

Last month Sandy Pearl emailed me to ask about books on railroad medals. George Cuhaj and Harry Waterson suggested these. Thanks! Any other suggestions? -Editor

Bennick, David, Compiler – A Compendium of United States and Canadian Railroad and Railroad-Related Medals and Tokens; Self-published in loose-leaf binder, Woodbury, CT 1991 [TAMS seems to list 3 editions of Bennick's thru 1994]

Moyaux, Auguste. LES CHEMINS DE FER AUTREFOIS ET AUJOURD'HUI, ET LEURS MÉDAILLES COMMÉMORATIVES. NOTICE HISTORIQUE SUIVIE D'UN CATALOGUE DESCRIPTIF DES MÉDAILLES DE TOUS LES PAYS. Bruxelles: Charles Dupriez, Éditeur, 1905. Folio [32 by 26 cm], later brown cloth and marbled boards; printed spine label. (4), (ix)-xii, (2), 262, (2) pages; title printed in red and black; decorative initials; numerous text illustrations, some full-page; table; 11 very fine phototypie plates of medals. Some repairs to the opening leaves, a few of which are a bit ragged at margins; blank corners cropped from two page margins, apparently to remove written notes. Very good. An exceptional work on railroad medals. One of 400 examples issued on papier vélin of an entire edition of 425 copies. Clain-Stefanelli 14223. [From a Fanning sale]

One Million Pound Notes at the Bank of England

Kavan Ratnatunga passed along this link to a video about the One Million Pound Notes at the Bank of England. Thanks. -Editor

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