The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 18, May 3, 2020, Article 22


Naming The Asylum (and The E-Sylum)
ANA Edition reader Felix Bronstein writes:

"Would you mind explaining the origin of using the name Asylum (and E-Sylum)?"

The Asylum v25 Supplement Certainly! The Numismatic Bibliomania Society was founded in 1979 by Jack Collins and George Kolbe. "Bibliomania" is defined variously as a "passionate enthusiasm for collecting and possessing books", an "excessive fondness for acquiring and possessing books" and an "extreme preoccupation with collecting books". Literally, it is a mania about books. Bibliomaniacs are often termed "book nuts" (affectionately or perjoratively). We were numismatic bibliomanics.

There was some debate over what to call the group's journal. One side leaned toward something formal and scholarly; another side argued in favor of something simple and fun. The fun side won out. While it may not be fully politically correct today, "The Asylum" became the name of the journal because, well, insane people ("maniacs") were sent to live in the Insane Asylum.

Fast forward to the 1990s. The Internet came along and I started an email newsletter for NBS members. In the spirit of the early 'net, it was free and open to all as a way to promote the society, engage members, and recruit newcomers. There was another discussion of what to call it. I thought of "The Babbler", in keeping with the insanity theme. But the overwhelming consensus choice was The E-Sylum as the clear electronic counterpart to our print journal, The Asylum.


Were 1883 No Cents Nickels Released in 1930s?
Jonathan K Kern of Lexington KY writes:

1883 No Cents Liberty Nickel reverse "About the 1883 no cent nickels -my understanding from some news article buried deep in my library is that the nickels were not all released in 1883 as the fraud issue of gold plating them became apparent. They were held in the treasury until 1933 when gold coins were withdrawn. When released in 1933 or 1934 they were an instant anomaly to the public in an era of buffalo nickels, and saved. Hence, many high grade examples."

Interesting story. I guess it's plausible that the Treasury stopped releasing these at some point, but it's more likely that the coins would have been destroyed rather than held for decades. I tried searching on a newspaper database but came up empty. If you come across that article, let us know. Has anyone else seen this report? Is there any other evidence that the Treasury released 1883 Nickels in the 20th century? -Editor

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: APRIL 26, 2020 : More on 1883 No Cents Nickels (

St. George First Non-Royal on British Coinage
Gary Greenbaum writes:

1818 George III Silver Crown "In reading about St. George in your latest issue, it's possibly worth noting that his appearance on the sovereign in 1817 was the first real person not a royal to appear on a British coin. (Dismissing the unreleased Cromwell crown of the 17th century, which was English, rather than British). The first non-royal person on a British stamp waited until 1964, with William Shakespeare."

Good point. Thanks! -Wayne -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Brit vs. Britt

Gary Greenbaum adds this note about Latin abbreviations. -Editor

1952_G_Britain_Penny_PF64_RB_5880542_001 LG The doubling of the T in Britt, although it stands for Britanniarum, is explained in A New History of the Royal Mint, p. 511 as follows, dealing when Victoria's version of that inscription was adopted in 1860 with the bronze British penny:

On one point there was later public controversy, the doubling of the T of BRITT in the inscription on the obverse. Here the classical scholarship of the chancellor himself [William E. Gladstone] had saved the Mint from error, but lesser minds failed to understand the application of the Latin rule that the final consonant of an abbreviation should be doubled when necessary to indicate the plural.

Dyer, G.P.; Gaspar, P.P. (1992), "Reform, the New Technology and Tower Hill", in Challis, C.E. (ed.), A New History of the Royal Mint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 398–606, ISBN 978-0-521-24026-0"

Thanks again. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
1952 Proof Penny Legend Translation (

On Paper Thickness
In the maybe-you-really-CAN-be-too-thin department, Nick Graver writes:

Red Book Hardcover Edition Thickness "A recent issue had a chat about thickness of the Red Book. I don't buy one every year. I wanted to suggest that people check the actual page count, not issue thickness. A printer might use a slightly thinner paper stock which makes a book thinner while still having full content.

"I know the publisher of a camera price guide who says some readers are concerned when an issue is thinner than the previous one. So he continued with thick paper that made it a bigger and heavier book, clumsy to carry around and costly for each book that gets mailed. He used the term "bible paper" in the conversation."

Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes:

"Mr. Graver is correct, of course: the kind of paper used in a book will affect the thickness of the spine. It's something we're constantly attuned to, and an important factor in Whitman book designs. (We request templates from our printers for laying out our covers; spine width is a major part of the equation.)

"We choose paper with an eye toward quality and visual appeal. We want good color saturation and tonal contrast, and obviously it would be distracting if images or text bled through to the other side of the leaf.

RB21_cover_spiralbound-hardcover "For the 2021 edition of the Red Book we chose 50# Influence Matte, which has a ppi of 714. (Matte paper generally provides the greatest longevity, compared to glossy or coated-matte papers.) We strive for consistency with the paper, for the sake of consistent spine widths, but we also stay flexible in our paper supply, in order to be able to add pages while maintaining high quality.

"The Red Book's page count has never gone down. In recent years it's been increasing. Today it's 464 pages plus endpapers and a bound business-reply card. Grabbing a random volume off my shelf: the 2014 edition was 448 pages plus endpapers and a card."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: APRIL 19, 2020 : 2021 Red Book Changes (

Coronavirus Stimulus Check Spotted

Recently we discussed the collectibility of the CARES Act Economic Impact Payment checks. While many Americans received their payments via electronic funds transfer, many others received physical checks. Gary Beals provided this image of one. Thanks! -Editor

Coronavirus stimulus check

Gary writes:

"My mother-in-law died in August of last year — her $1200 stimulus check just arrived.

The envelope tells the recipient to check the box marked "deceased" if the person is no longer living and send it back. Mom died last August in the Los Angeles area at age 94. Her name was on the check, followed by DECD, a government code for the word Deceased — so the government knew she was not alive in 2020.

How many other errors such as this are happening nationally is unknown."

Gary's sister-in-law snapped the photo of the check; I blacked out some portions for privacy. As long as no one attempts to cash it, it might be fine to keep it. Great numismatic souvenir of our times. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Colonial Newsletter CD Sought
Colonial Newsletter n113 cover Darryl Atchison writes:

"I am hoping that one our readers might have an unwanted copy of The Colonial Newsletter on disc up to issue 103. I have the disc from 104 to the final issue already. I know it's on the Newman Portal but I don't always have access to the internet. So, if I have it on CD, I can read it anywhere."

Can anyone help? Darryl can be reached at . -Editor

E-Sylum Leidman ad02new portrait

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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