The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 14, April 5, 2020, Article 12


Being shut in for a pandemic is no reason not to have a little fun. Maybe it's the best reason of all. It didn't take our readers long to spot the fake news items in last week's issue. -Editor

PCGS Grader working with robot at Mint
Progressional Coin Grading Service Working in Tandem With Robot

Dave Lange of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation writes:

"I got a kick out of this year's installment of the annual April Fool's Day joke. Everyone knows that if the U. S. Mint were to have its coins slabbed onsite it would be done by NGC!"

Kellen Hoard writes:

"Two articles stood out to me as I was reading through The E-Sylum. The U.S. Mint/PCGS one had me at first until I looked more closely. As for the 1913 nickel story, I applaud the heightened production value for the gag."

Steve Shupe writes:

"You had me going with the PCGS in the mint article but the air puff and Lincoln cents part threw it over the top."

Bill Eckberg writes:

"I assume you did notice the "April fool" at the end and were just pulling our "wooden" leg?"

The article on NGC slabbing 10 million Silver Eagles was a real item that I hadn't managed to get into an earlier issue. But it made a perfect foil and lead-in to my April Fools story about the "Progressional" Coin Grading Service deal with the U.S. Mint to slab coins right off of the presses.

The "St. Louis TV Station news video" about missing 1913 Liberty nickels was something the Newman Numismatic Portal had been planning for a while. We brainstormed a few ideas and came up with the concept of finding coins hidden in Col. Green's old wooden leg. NNP video consultant Lianna Spurrier ran with it and did a great star turn as a news anchor. Is the Today show in her future? -Editor

Wooden Leg 1913 Nickel video

"Kaz" on the PCGS Discussion Board writes:

"Great gag! Reeled me in like a fish."

Pat McBride writes:

"Kudos to Lianna for "getting a leg up" on this story before the rest of the numismatic press."

ANA Edition reader Lev Messick writes:

"I do believe that that that young lady got us all for April Fool's Day! A little humor is a good thing for this current time."

Len Augsburger writes:

"Stu Levine said he nearly fell over laughing."

Wooden Leg 1913 Nickel video2

Wooden Leg 1913 Nickel video3

Wooden Leg 1913 Nickel video4

Bill Eckberg writes:

"REALLY good satire. It has more than enough truth to make it believable at first. I couldn't read the title on the grading submission sheet. It wasn't PCGS or NGC. And who is the coin dealer?"

Lianna Spurrier writes:

"The grading company is the entirely fictional "Numismatic Authentication & Evaluation Service," and the "coin dealer" is a friend of mine who volunteered that's not in the coin industry at all. I had a Joseph J. Fartelot Jr. arranged, but then all the closures hit from the coronavirus and he backed out. For what it's worth, the Fartelot truck was also entirely faked, and Lowen & Hopp doesn't exist. The 1913 nickels and wadded up bills are also fake, but I'm guessing we all realized those, and of course the inscription on the wooden leg photo. I had quite a good time putting this one together and trying to make it as believable as possible. If you look closely, the two 1913 nickels are entirely different coins (not just the same one with the color changed), and neither are actual 1913s - didn't want any specialists to be able to ID which specimen they were.

Glad people are enjoying it!"

Len Augsburger adds:

"Lowen & Hopp is based on the legal firm Lowenhaupt, for whom Eric Newman worked in the 1930s as an attorney."

Here's the direct link to YouTube:
Wooden Leg Sets St. Louis Legal Community on Fire (

Here's the article: LOOSE CHANGE: MARCH 29, 2020 : Missing 1913 Liberty Nickels Located? (

To read the PCGS discussion board, see:
Crazy discovery in St Louis! (

The video is well worth watching and rewatching.

There was one more article you had to read close to catch. -Editor

Bob Van Arsdell writes:

clump of silver coins "I'm completely chuffed by the article about medieval sixpences. It's one of the most thoroughly researched pieces in numismatics I've ever seen. I'm somewhat surprised, however, that the author didn't solicit the opinion of the National Museum of Rutland - since it's right here in Vermont!"

David Pickup supplied the text, and I added an image I found in an old Sedwick auction.

The articles on other collectibles might have looked fishy, but they're real. People really do collect and study pull tabs and banana labels. Here are a couple numismatic connections to the latter. -Editor

John Phipps writes:

Banana Sticker on Half Dollar "I was very interested to read in The E-Sylum the item on "Collecting Banana Labels." In February of 2015, I presented a "knowledge share" program on "Coin Collecting as a Hobby" at the Dekalb County Public Library. Many people attend these programs on their lunch period so I took a lunch too. In the Q & A period I was facing the usual questions. To make the point that rarity does not demand a higher price, I put a Chiquita sticker from the banana in my lunch on a 1997P Kennedy half dollar I had with me. Then I said, "This is so rare it is the only one in the world, did the value go up?" When I got home I put the "rarity" in a 2x2 and added it to my collection."

Good point, although advertising stickers on silver dollars and other coins are indeed collected and bring a small premium over the coin's silver value. And for a whopper of a value-added banana label, Jonathan Brecher reminds us of an item we discussed back in 2006. Thanks! -Editor

Jonathan writes:

"If you're going to mention banana labels, you really should include a reference to their most famous (?) numismatic cross-over."

Del Monte $20 error note front

This colorful error is commonly referred by collectors in the numismatic fraternity as "The Del Monte Note," simply because of the banana sticker that is a retained printed obstruction. Most obstructions fall off shortly after printing leaving a blank area of paper missing the design, but errors with objects that "stick" to the note are very rare. Objects seen on other obstruction errors include a Band-Aid, paper fragments, scotch tape, and wood shavings. United States Currency is essentially printed in three stages: the first printing is the back of the note, the second printing provides the face devices, and the third, final printing includes the Treasury Seal and the serial numbers. When this note was printed at the Fort Worth facility of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, it went through first and second printings before the sticker found its way onto the surface. The sticker's placement is ideal, as it covers part of the second printing details and is overlaid by part of the Treasury Seal and serial number from the third printing.

Most would conjecture that this note was no accident and probably the result of some very bored or creative BEP employee. Its presence in the market place however is not dubious as it passed through the regular channels of the Federal Reserve before it was released in circulation. In the summer of 2004 a college student in Ohio received it as part of an ATM withdrawal and shortly there after posted it on eBay where it sold to the highest of 12 bids. The note was a bargain at around $10,000 on eBay as news of the note had barely hit the collecting community. In subsequent weeks it was the cover story in Bank Note Reporter and Numismatic News.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

To read the complete lot description, see:
Fr. 2084-H $20 1996 Federal Reserve Note. PCGS Choice New 63PPQ. This colorful error is commonly referred by collectors in t... (

Here are some non-numismatic April Fool stories from the Hyperallergic blog, including "Museum of the Bible Reveals Newly Discovered Audio Recording of the Sermon on the Mount.":
Hyperallergic blog April 1, 2020 . -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

FOOL: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MARCH 29, 2020 : Medieval Silver Sixpences Found in a Pudding (





FOOL: LOOSE CHANGE: MARCH 29, 2020 : Missing 1913 Liberty Nickels Located? (

Lipson ad 2020-04-05

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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