The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 23, June 7, 2020, Article 18


On the Tom Elder/Paul Seitz Family Connection
Regarding the Tom Elder/Paul Seitz family connection, Ron Haller-Williams writes:

"I find that Kay O. Freeman had indeed done some digging - and guess where it's referenced as being written up!"

Ron located an article in the March 6, 2011 E-Sylum. Dave Hirt's comment was one of the last items I added to the last week's issue.  I remembered him bringing up the subject before but didn't search our archives for details. Here's the earlier article. My summary: "Between Kay's research and Dave's conversation with Seitz himself, it seems that Seitz was NOT Tom Elder's son-in-law, although there was a more distant family relationship." -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Dancing on Rainbows
Regarding the author of the book Dancing on Rainbows, Bob Van Arsdell writes:

Dancing on Rainbows book cover "Roy G. Biv, seriously, Roy G. Biv? A late April Fool's Day submission?"

Bob clued me in that "Roy G. Biv" is a mnemonic device for the order of the colors in the electromagnetic spectrum - Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet." I'd never heard that expression before. -Editor

Jeremy Haag writes:

"Thank you for the Dancing on Rainbows new book announcement in the last E-Sylum. I got a good laugh out of the author's pen name "Roy G. Biv." This is a grade-school science acronym to help remember the colors of the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. An apt name to be associated with a book celebrating the rainbow colored hues on toned coins."

Bob adds:

"So, the author's actually "anonymous". I see all the listings on eBay, all but one from the usual aggregators who solicit orders then go find the book to sell. The only one who's not a aggregator seems to be a seller who occasionally lists toned coins for sale. I wonder if anyone actually has a copy (the eBay feedback ratings notwithstanding)."

Roy G Biv color book cover Thanks, guys. So far no one's mentioned having a copy or offered a review. Meanwhile, since E-Sylum readers are curious folks, here's a whole book about color itself. -Editor

For an interview with the author of the color book, see:
Read The Rainbow: 'Roy G. Biv' Puts New Spin On Color Wheel (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The Six-Foot Hypotenuse
Ken Berger writes:

Social distancing sign with coins "The figure which accompanies the article, "STAY HEALTHY AND STAY SAFE" - Bourse Table Spacing, shows that only the diagonals are adhering to the 6-foot distance rule. The horizontal and vertical distances are not. If the coins make an isosceles right triangle and the diagonal (i.e. hypotenuse) is 6-feet then the other two sides (i.e. the horizontal & vertical, known as the legs) are of equal length. Using the Pythagorean Theorem, which we all learned in school, we find that the other two sides are approximately only 4.24 feet. If we want all the coins to be a minimum of 6 feet apart, then the diagonal distance (hypotenuse) would have to have a length of approximately 8.49 feet (again assuming an isosceles right triangle).

Luckily coins do not have to follow the 6-foot rule."

Good point. I jury-rigged that diagram by plopping coin images over a graphic I found on the web.  But Ken's right - if the diagonals are six feet, the sides of the outer square must be shorter. Can anyone point me to a more accurate graphic? "8.49 feet" isn't quite as memorable... or should I say "catchy"? -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
CORONAVIRUS UPDATES: MAY 31, 2020 : Bourse Table Spacing (

More on the Medal of Honor Law
Alan V Weinberg writes:

Thomas Kelly medal of Honor "At the Jan FUN bourse I was actually offered a fully intact Civil War era ribboned Medal of Honor at $15K ( presumably negotiable ) and was shown a cell phone picture of it. Regrettably I had to decline because of this silly law initiated at the urging of a highly placed military officer influencing Congress. The officer was offended by people wearing military decorations they had not earned.

"I can vividly recall decades ago when M of Hs from Indian War and Civil War eras were being regularly offered at $25K + at major militaria and gun shows ...until this Congressional law was passed. What a loss to the numismatic hobby - as if someone would be walking around wearing a genuine Medal of Honor!"

Thanks. If the problem was with people wearing medals they haven't earned, then why wasn't the law confined to that? That might make a little more sense, though exceptions would have to be made for military reenactors and theatrical actors; and what about replica medals? Unintended consequences can pile up fast. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Numismatic Scrapbook reprints
Dave Hirt writes:

"The post on the Hazelwood family and their reprints was quite interesting to me. Especially the Numismatic Scrapbook reprints. These are very deceptive in my opinion. The originals of volume one can be identified by the colored border, especially if compared side by side. However while searching through a dealer's stock, that may be hard to remember. The reprints of volume two are even more deceptive. I pulled out my copies, and on close examination, I am suspicious that my set of vol. two numbers 1-4 are reprints. I have a single issue of vol. two #4, and it is 1/8" larger, and a darker yellow. This is quite a shock to me. I have owned them for over 30 years."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

A Gentle Madness
Cole Hendrickson writes:

A Gentle Madness book cover "In a recent episode of the Coin World podcast there was a mention to the book A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas Basbanes. This prompted me to purchase a copy of the book which I am now reading. It has likely been discussed before in The E-Sylum but I wanted to point it out as it is a wonderful book and one that many bibliophiles would likely enjoy."

Yes, it's a fascinating book. I still have my first edition copy on the shelf. There have been a number of books written about bibliophiles, and this is a good introduction. Below are links to some earlier E-Sylum mentions of it. -Editor

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Damage or Charm?
Nick Graver writes:

"This concerns a medal that, hopefully will be part of an article in the future. The medal, significant for the article, has mild scratches on the reverse, apparently carried as a pocket piece by the recipient.

Numismatically it is somewhat impaired, but historically there is a certain 'charm' that shows daily use by the owner, whose name is inscribed on it.

Would readers care to discuss this case of Damage versus Charm? It is the only piece I am aware of, so it is not just a matter of looking for a better example."

Rare Carausius Antoninianus Sells

David Sundman forwarded this follow-up on the sale of a coin featured last week. Thanks. -Editor

Carausius Antoninianus A RARE Roman coin discovered in Colchester more than 40 years ago has sold for £4,000 after going under the hammer.

Kevin Scillitoe found the coin, minted by the Emperor Carausius, when he was ten-years-old.

Dave adds:

"I wonder if the buyer was an E-Sylum reader. If so, a testimonial from him could help you sell advertising space."

We may never know about this one, but I often hear from readers that they purchased an item that was discussed here in The E-Sylum. And for books, a mention here has led to sellouts twice this year alone. One seller reported: "Oh. my. God! The floodgates opened as soon as the article went out. Lots of orders last night and today - I believe it will clean us out!" -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Rare Roman coin discovered in Colchester by schoolboy 40 years ago sells for £4,000 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Custom Slab Labels
Nick Graver writes:

"I was given a Saint Gaudens Eagle ($10 gold) piece as a wedding present from my wife 61 years ago. It was recently mounted in a slab by NGC and looks very nice even though it does not say it is a USA coin, just the date, denomination and grade.

I'd like to have a label permanently attached, denoting this wedding present, that might help it survive in the family for future generations. Is there a commercial service available, or have readers devised an attractive do-it-yourself method?"

Grampa Smith's Lucky Dollar slabbed Good question. While custom holder solutions have been available for years (such as Capitol Plastics holders), I'm not sure how one would go about augmenting a grading company slab after the fact. Maybe a printer could make a nice custom CAC "green bean" style sticker. Even better would be for the grading company itself to include custom text on its label per your instructions.

It's too late for that now that the coin has already been slabbed, but the grading companies do have "reholding services" where they'll accept previously-graded coins for new holdering. They certainly do add provenance information to their labels for larger collections, but I'm not aware of any label content for individual sentimental reasons. Maybe this is a new service they could offer someday. I have a one dollar gold piece that my step-grandfather received from his Sunday school teacher. It would be nice to have it slabbed and appropriately labelled for posterity. -Editor

David Lange of NGC confirms:

"NGC will do such customized holders in bulk for numismatic events and, sometimes, for coin clubs. It does not do this for individuals seeking a single customized coin, though it will provide a provenance with the collection name."

Thanks. Can anyone suggest other options for one-off custom labeling? -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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