The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 17, April 26, 2020, Article 12


More on 1883 No Cents Nickels
Bern Nagengast writes:

"The 1883 Nickel Rush" entry in the April 19 E-Sylum has Dave Bowers noting that: "All across America, men, women, and children scrambled to gather as many of these rarities as could be found. Nearly everyone was lucky. Some were able to squirrel away dozens."

1883 No Cents Liberty Nickel reverse "I believe this was factual. When I was first collecting in 1964 my grandmother mentioned that she had some old coins her father had saved. Expecting the usual well worn coins I was astounded when she showed me ten 1883 nickels that looked brilliant uncirculated. She asked me if they were valuable. Consulting my trusty "Redbook" I was disappointed to find out they were all of the "without cents" variety, worth only a few dollars in BU.

"My grandmother had no idea why her father saved the coins or when he got them, and at that time I could only wonder too. Since then I learned the story behind the 1883 Liberty Head Nickels. My great grandfather apparently was just one of those who scrambled to hoard what he thought was something of great rarity. I still have one of those nickels – it's not the rarest or most valuable coin I've owned, but it's priceless to me."

Great story! Thanks for sharing this. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

1952 Proof Penny Legend Translation
Regarding the legend on the 1952 Proof Penny, Ron Haller-Williams writes:

1952_G_Britain_Penny_PF64_RB_5880542_001 LG "of ... the Britons" would be "Britannorum" or "Brittonum". But it is clear from earlier coinage (e.g. "Britanniar: Rex" on the copper coins of George IV) that the abbreviation "Br" or "Britt" is for "Britanniarum".

Hence, "of all the Britains" - i.e. Britain and its colonies and dominions. That is why, in recognition of the independence of many of these, the phrase was dropped from 1954. I think you'll find this is echoed by official sources and most books."

Steve Hill of Sovereign Rarities writes:

"Many thanks indeed for the Latin correction and for taking an interest in reading about the 1952 Proof Penny. I am going to change that part of the description now and elsewhere where quoted wrong on the website. We appreciate it."

Chip Howell echoed Ron's comments. The corrected text is "The abbreviated Latin legend translates as "George the Sixth, by the grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith" the Emperor of India title having been dropped since 1949."

We've updated our archive to match. Thanks, everyone. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Book: Norwegian Tokens
Yosef Sa'ar passed along this note from the group Transportation Token Collectors on Facebook:

NORSKE POLETTER og akkordmerker by Magnar Øverland "Just bought a copy of "NORSKE POLETTER og akkordmerker" by Magnar Øverland, an outstanding catalog of all types of tokens of Norway. Published in 2003, it contains 143 pages with hundreds of color token photos. Likewise, there is a fifteen page supplement with estimated values in Norwegian kronur. Transportation tokens take up the first section of the book, 21 pages. The text is all in Norwegian. Recommended."

Thanks! -Editor

To visit the Facebook group, see:

National Archives Transcription Update
Franklin Peale letter to Levi Woodbury pattern billion and 2-cent_Page_1 Roger Burdette writes:

"The volunteer transcribers have completed almost 100 documents since they began a couple of weeks ago. Their work is clear, accurate and immensely helpful in opening early US Mint archives to research.

As said in many old letters "A hearty Thank You to one and all."

Thanks, everyone! As noted earlier, this is a great project that will benefit the hobby for generations to come.

Below is a link to a batch of transcribed letters from the U.S. Mint general correspondence series at the National Archives for the year 1838. Many of these were transcribed by Roger and an earlier, and still active, group of volunteers recruited from PCGS message board members. Some do not yet have transcriptions but all are great examples of original handwritten documents. -Editor

Newman Numismatic Portal eye logo To view the letters, see:
U.S. National Archives (Record Group 104, Entry 1, General Correspondence) (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Query: Wurtzbach Inscription

Wurtzbach copy 20 inscription page

Wayne Myers of Pittsfield, MA writes:

"I'm sure by this time everyone is suffering from "cabin fever" so I would like to request some assistance from the E-Sylum readers.

I currently have copy number 20 of the Carl Wurtzbach Massachusetts Silver book - see the above image of the presentation page. This book was presented to Frank J. Kelly who was a neighbor of Carl's in Lee Mass.

My question is, has anyone seen a copy of this book that appears to have been recycled? If you look at Frank Kelly's name there is clearly another name written underneath. Has anyone seen a similar presentation copy with two names? I would also like to know if anyone can make out what the name is that was originally listed. Had the person died or did Carl Wurtzbach change his mind about who would get copies?

Historically what I remember from a very brief conversation with Frank Kelly about 25 years ago was he had the book since around 1937 or 1938, he would have been in his early 30's at the time. Frank was very proud of this book and told me he was a neighbor and friend of Carl Wurtzbach. Frank had stopped by for one of the monthly meetings the Berkshire Coin Club to donate this volume to club so it would remain in Western Massachusetts. I was president of the club at that time and unfortunately do not recall much of the conversation. Frank never mentioned the other name under his at the time. Unfortunately Frank passed away several years after donating the book.

A number of years ago the membership voted to sell off the club library which was basically unused. I was fortunate to be the high bidder for this volume. It currently resides in a place of honor in my book case.

Any help would be appreciated. I also wonder how many books are actually out there and what numbers. I know ANA has #1, I have #20, #24 was to Sheldon and #38 was auctioned by Charles Davis with no name.

Thanks again for all the work every week putting together The E-Sylum. It remains something to look forward to every Sunday night."

My copy is #75 and it's uninscribed with no evidence of a name having been removed. I bought it in 1994 from Money Tree sale #21 (lot 196).

Can anyone help? Below is a close-up of the inscription. The middle initial looks like an "L" to me, although that could be the first letter of the last name. That's all I can make out. You can click on the image to see the original versions in our Flickr archive. I think this one will be tough to solve from images.

Does anyone else have a reinscribed copy? -Editor

Wurtzbach copy 20 inscription page

Medieval Magic? Mystery Amulet

Mystery Medieval Amulet obverse Mystery Medieval Amulet reverse

Bob Leonard writes:

"When I was in Jerusalem in July 1999 I purchased some Crusader lead tokens from the late Shraga Qedar, and among them was this 21-mm item which he said came from Caesarea.

"Qedar thought it was from the Crusader period (1099-1291) because it resembles a lead piece illustrated in Schlumberger, Numismatique de L'Orient Latin, Pl V. 9, attributed to Sidon. But it isn't lead; from a break in the patina it can be seen to be copper.

"The "inscription" certainly isn't Latin or Arabic. I thought that it might be simply a nonsense, dummy inscription, but wonder if it is not Hebrew or some Kabbalistic symbols. Hebrew amulet expert Simcha Kuritzky took a look and didn't recognize it or understand the "inscription." He remarked that the reverse has 11 triangles in the margin—highly unusual.

"Vaguely similar seals are illustrated in Volume II of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, Formulas of the Magic Kabala (n.d., n.p., "Published for the Trade"). This handmade item certainly looks medieval; is it a magic amulet for finding treasure or love? Does anyone know?"

Can anyone help? -Editor

1932 Washington - Gustav Adolf II Medal
Howard Daniel writes:

"I know Washington pieces are popular and I do not remember this one, which might be of interest to your readers."

1932 Washington - Gustav Adolf II medal

Lot 1210. VEREINIGTE STAATEN VON AMERIKA, Br.-Med. 1932 v.Waitehead-Hoar a.d. 200.Geburtstag von George Washington und den 300.Todestag von Gustav Adolf II. von Schweden. Büste von Washington r. Rs.Büste von Gustav Adolf II. r. 24,85g; 38mm. vz.

I wasn't familiar with this one, either. Thanks. It commemorates the birthday of George Washington and the anniversary of the death of Gustav Adolf II of Sweden. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:

Garrett Mid-American E-Sylum ad03d books

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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