The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 15, April 12, 2020, Article 18


Groundhog day alarm clock scene Well, here we are again. It's Groundhog Day. The alarm's gone off and Sonny and Cher are singing. Again. Here's another roundup of news about numismatics and collecting in this strange netherworld of cancelled events, self-isolation, and energized online interactions. Like many of us, I'm getting a lot done in this period of time at home while also having some time to relax. I feel like a dating site profile - "I like sleeping in, reading books, long walks, sunsets and red wine." Sorry ladies, I'm taken.

But another phrase popped into my head earlier this week. "Intensive scare unit". Nobody ever wants to be in the ICU or have a friend or family member who is, particularly in this unsettled time. It's hard to truly enjoy any activity when bad things are happening to good people everywhere, including friends in this great hobby of ours.

Yet somehow most of us will get through all of this. Wuhan, China and other cities hit earlier on are starting to reopen. And though these are some of the darkest days for places in the U.S. and elsewhere, the time will come when the cancellations stop and bit by bit life begins returning to normal. These reports will get slimmer before they get big again, hopefully with good news about businesses reopening and events being rescheduled. No one really knows how long it will take, but hang in there everyone, and keep us posted. -Editor

Lyon & Turnbull, Scotland (April 1, 2020)

While non-numismatic, this report I came across on Monday shows the general trend of success in moving the collectible business online during these times. Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull held the firm's first sale using the ‘live online' format. The Decorative Arts sale was remarkably successful. -Editor

Peter Pan bronze "Alone in the saleroom, managing director Gavin Strang stood for 12 hours on the rostrum, fielding bids via video-conferencing software from three online platforms and phones operated by staff from home.

"Almost 1400 bidders registered online, with around 500 online absentee and 700 commission bids left before the sale. The selling rate across around 600 lots was 83% – above the norm for this sale category.

"It was certainly the longest time I have ever spent on the rostrum, but I'm not complaining" said Strang. "If there hadn't been so much bidding, I might have been finished in half the time.

"I'm glad we were able to trade in a way which allowed all our staff and customers to safely stay at home."

To read the complete article, see:
"The longest time I have ever spent on the rostrum" – Lyon & Turnbull's live online sale delivers results (

Britain's Volunteer Army

This Washington Post article profiles the British government's "volunteer army" helping the National Health Service. -Editor

NHS volunteer army When the British government asked people to help the National Health Service during the coronavirus crisis, it called for a "volunteer army." Within four days, 750,000 people had signed up — three times the original target and four times the size of the British armed forces.

Britain hasn't seen such a surge in volunteers since World War II, when the country pulled together in a way still remembered with immense pride. Now — with more than 60,000 people here having tested positive for the coronavirus, and with the prime minister among those who have been hospitalized — organizers are figuring out how to deploy the army, while individuals and companies are engaged in informal volunteer activities throughout the British Isles.

Michael Hayes, 55, is a taxi driver who joined the volunteer army and is awaiting his first official assignment. In the meantime, he spends about five hours a day driving NHS staff home, at no cost, from Newham University Hospital in East London, where his three children were born.

"Some of them come out, they've had dreadful days, the worst ... and they are walking out thinking, ‘I still got to get home,' I'm sort of like a little ray of sunshine," Hayes said. "They see me sitting there and I whiz them home."

They aren't involved in medical care. Another 12,000 former NHS workers said they would come back for that. Rather, the volunteers are supposed to help the elderly and others deemed especially vulnerable to the virus by doing such tasks as delivering groceries and medicine, driving people to appointments and conducting check-ins on those in self-isolation.

To read the complete article, see:
750,000 people volunteered to help Britain's NHS. Now they're being deployed. (

United States Mint (April 8, 2020)
In their April 2020 Coins Online Newsletter the United States Mint writes:

US Mint Coins Online newsletter logo "In our last issue, we were looking forward to springtime and the joys that come with it—longer, warmer days, basketball season's end and baseball's beginning, and the ability to continue to offer a wonderful and diverse selection of our collector products. But quite suddenly, everything has changed—we're down to appreciating the warmer weather, albeit from guarded distances.

"Today we face ongoing uncertainty regarding nearly every aspect of life as we know it. Not surprisingly, this includes the U.S. Mint's production facilities. We continue to produce our congressionally-mandated circulating coinage and bullion to support day-to-day commerce, but production of our numismatic products has been suspended for the time being."

Shop Now button

They've got plenty of product in stock though. The note ends with "That said, we still have lots to offer—take a look!" followed by a "Shop Now" button. -Editor

Sixbid (April 9, 2020)
Sixbid Numismatic Auctions writes:

"This week we will inform you again about the current developments of the upcoming auctions. We will continue to notify you of changes and postponements in a box on the home page of our platform. Please also note the auction calendar, in which you can also find all postponements at a glance."

Among U.S. dealers, the Daniel Frank Sedwick Auction 27 is postponed to May 27-28, 2020. -Editor

To visit the SixBid auction calendar, see:

Northeast Numismatics (April 9, 2020)
Tom Caldwell of Northeast Numismatics writes:

Northeast Numismatics logo "With us our online business has been doing quite well thru all of this. The challenge which we continue to make changes in is office time & how to do work remotely. We have listings, images, sorting, shipping & other tasks happening at several different locations now. Of course it's different without any shows but fortunately our retail in the mail is doing well. Folks have more time at home."

To visit the Northeast Numismatics website, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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