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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit association devoted to the study and enjoyment of numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


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To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Print/Digital membership is $40 to addresses in the U.S., and $60 elsewhere. A digital-only membership is available for $25. For those without web access, write to:

Charles Heck, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 2058,
Bluffton, SC


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Sale Calendar

Watch here for updates!

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Wayne Homren 2017-03-15 full New subscribers this week include: Jared Stapleton of Metro Coin & Banknote Company, Toronto, ON Canada; and Ed Brozynza and Preston Pratola, courtesy of John Ferreri; Welcome aboard! We now have 6,686 subscribers.

Thank you for reading The E-Sylum. If you enjoy it, please send me the email addresses of friends you think may enjoy it as well and I'll send them a subscription. Contact me at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

This week we open with a numismatic literature sale, lots of new books, two reviews, a product roadmap for The Banknote Book, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and more.

Other topics this week include Swedish coins, Dutch medals, coin rubbings, the Eliasberg collection, 1838-O half dollars, Irish communion tokens, eagles on ancient coins, Dadler's medal, and Battle of Mactan quincentennial medals.

To learn more about late Roman bronze coins, National Bank Notes, Van Loon, John G. Humphris, Ted Vaccarella, Philip Henry Ward, Jr., Frank Howard, J.S.G. Boggs, The Coin Collector, bent coins, the 1921 Roman Finish proof Saint-Gaudens double eagle, Cracker Jack Mystery Club tokens, and Camel Toe toonies, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


Kolbe & Fanning have announced the sale of Part Two of the P. Scott Rubin Library. Be sure to read the catalogue carefully - there are many great items offered within, -Editor

Rubin library Part 2

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers are announcing Part Two of our sale of the P. Scott Rubin Library, which will be held as a traditional mail-bid sale on Saturday, July 10, 2021. The 923-lot sale features material from the extraordinary library formed over the course of more than half a century by Scott Rubin, of which highlights were sold in our Sale 157 last year. The present sale includes not only additional auction catalogues, but books, periodicals, and archival and ephemeral items. While most of the offerings focus on U.S. coins, it should be noted that quite a number of items pertain to ancient and world coins, and the sale includes something for everybody.

Some highlights of the sale include:

  • Lot 30: an extensive run of 129 Buy or Bid Sale catalogues issued by Harlan Berk, one of a number of lots featuring catalogues devoted primarily to ancient coins, including a group of sixty Harmer, Rooke sales (lot 219)
  • Lot 182: a rare plated copy of Tom Elder's October 14–15, 1907 sale, featuring material from the J.N.T. Levick collection, Elder's first plated catalogue
  • Lot 429: a nearly complete set of Hans M.F. Schulman catalogues
  • Lot 467: a complete run of the first 48 Stack's catalogues, 1935–1940, being the first of a number of lots of Stack's catalogues including Rubin's choice of the 75 most important offerings of American coins (lot 470) and a group of 83 Stack's catalogues featuring ancient coins (lot 471)
  • Lot 552: original photographic prints depicting 100 varieties of United States large cents from the collection of Louis Helfenstein
  • Lot 557: an 1876 handwritten letter, signed, from Joseph J. Mickley to Edward Denham, on topics relating to American history, mostly concerning Swedish settlers in early Pennsylvania
  • Lot 560: Dr. John Muscalus's original doctoral thesis typescript
  • Lot 564: Scott Rubin's first attempts to track coin price records, a series of over 250 index cards on which thousands of records for some 212 rare United States coins were meticulously tracked during the late 1960s and early 1970s, with auctions consulted extending back to the 19th century
  • Lot 589: Michael Hodder's extensively annotated working copy of C. Wyllys Betts's American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, with numerous inserts
  • Lot 852: the limited edition of the 2008 Red Book issued in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the American Numismatic Society, one of 62 lots of Red Books and Blue Books in the sale.

With estimates ranging from $10 to $750, the sale is being conducted as a traditional mail-bid sale. There is no printed catalogue: the PDF catalogue can be downloaded at Bids may be placed via post, email, fax or phone, but there will be no live online bidding. Bids may be placed at any time, and must be received by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on Saturday, July 10, 2021. See the Terms of Sale in the PDF catalogue for details.

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers LLC is a licensed and bonded auction firm in the State of Ohio. For more information, please see the Kolbe & Fanning website at or email David Fanning at We look forward to your participation.

To view the online catalog, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


SPINK has published Shawn Caza's new book on late Roman coins. Here's the information from the SPINK website. -Editor

A Handbook of Late Roman Bronze Coin Types book cover A Handbook of Late Roman Bronze Coin Types, 324 – 395
Hardback, with colour illustrations throughout
352 pages
216 x 138mm
RRP: £50
ISBN: 978-1-912667-61-1

With more than 260 illustrations, and catalogue entries for each bronze reverse type struck from AD 324 to 395, this catalogue gives detailed information about the late Roman bronze coinage systems, with each entry including details on dates, mints, personalities, weight standard, important variations and the history and meaning of the legend and design.

Extensive introductory notes in the first chapter discuss the life-cycle of late Roman bronze coins (manufacture, circulation, loss and the effects of burial) as well as their weight, fineness standards and contemporary value. The introductory sections of the subsequent chapters, each of which is dedicated to a short time period, cover the history of that period and the metrology (weight, size and metallic composition), overall pattern, and mint and field marks of the coinage of those years.

It is the first detailed examination of the coinage of this period by reverse design, providing different insights from those gained through an examination of the coinage by Mint or by emperor, and incorporates the latest numismatic scholarship, plus extensive footnotes and bibliography.

The indexed and cross-referenced catalogue entries will be of interest to collectors, cataloguers and researchers, with historical and metrological discussions appealing to scholars, numismatists and students alike, the focus on reverse types providing scholars working with hoards or site finds with much greater insight into dates and other aspects of the coinage than by simply identifying the emperor.

Shawn kindly provided this additional text from the book's frontmatter. Thank you! -Editor

About This Book

The most common Roman coins - in archaeological excavations, metal detector finds, and on the commercial market - are late Roman bronze coins. These coins are also, ironically, the least studied Roman coins. Academic books, museum displays and auction catalogues tend to focus instead on the larger bronzes of the earlier Imperial Principate and on the more valuable silver and gold denominations. This book is meant in part to remedy that situation.

The Romans began issuing coins in the third century BC and issued them in great numbers through the last 200 years of the Republic and the 500 years of the Empire. At its height, the Roman Empire likely had well over 60 million inhabitants living in a vast territory stretching from Scotland and Morocco, through to Iraq and Egypt. Roman merchants traveled much further to places such as Poland, southern Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Yemen and Ethiopia. Roman coins were used, and have been found, in all of these places.

Huge numbers of Roman coins were struck and many still exist today. For example, in England alone, over 72,000 coins struck during the years 330 to 348 are officially documented from archaeological excavations, known hoards, and finds registered by metal detectorists through the PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme). This averages to over 4,000 coins per year from that period, or approximately 11 coins per day. Of course these coins were neither struck nor lost in such an even manner, nor in fact were all coins struck during that period lost during those same years.

Nevertheless, this provides an idea of the scale of Roman coinage. When we consider that these 72,000 coins represent only those found in England, only those officially registered, and only for an 18-year period in the mid-fourth century, then it is easy to understand the fact that there are many millions of Roman coins existing in collections today and that many billions of Roman coins were once struck.

The bronze and copper coins from the last two centuries of the Roman Empire, struck during the period from 294 to 498, are usually referred to as late Roman bronze coins, or LRBCs. This book covers part of this coinage - the Roman bronze coinage struck from 324 to 395.

Note on the Use of This Volume

This book can be used in several different ways.

1) At its simplest, this book is a catalogue of late Roman bronze reverse types. Each chapter, after the first, examines the coinage of a period ranging from two to sixteen years in length. Together they cover the Roman bronze coinage of 324 to 395. Each of these chapters contains a catalogue of all the reverse types struck during that period. While rare types are covered, not every medallic issue is. Occasionally, several types are grouped together and follow a brief introduction which describes common features or notes. Readers looking up a specific reverse type should check the text above the entry to see if there is such an introduction as it will contain important notes about the coin type. Coin type entries can be found quickly by using the alphabetical Index of Reverse Legends, found at the back of this book.

It is important to note that this book does not provide a full listing of every coin struck during this period - it does not list all coins by legend break, officina, mint and emperor. It examines the coinage in terms of reverse type. It is meant to complement works that provide a comprehensive listing by mint (The Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC), Late Roman Bronze Coinage (LRBC), Bastien, etc.), or by emperor (Sear), not to replace them.

NOTE: SPINK is offering a 10% discount to E-Sylum readers. Should you have problems applying the discount through their website, contact . It is also available on Amazon and via numismatic literature dealer Charlie Davis at $75.00. -Editor

For more information, or to order, see:
A Handbook of Late Roman Bronze Coin Types, 324 – 395 ( s
A Handbook of Late Roman Bronze Coin Types, 324-395 Hardcover (

Atlas E-Sylum ad01


A new book on the coins of Sweden from 995 to 2021 is now available. Here's Google-translated information from the publisher's website. It is also available in the U.S. through Coin & Currency Institute. -Editor

COIN YEARBOOK 995-2021 - Pocket, A5 in color - Nominated for best coin book in the world by IAPN!

Myntårsboken 995-2021 book cover THE COIN YEAR BOOK is printed in color and published as a paperback in A5 format and catalogs all Swedish coins from the Viking Age, the Middle Ages and up to the present day, royal medals and the Riksbank's banknotes from 1666 to today. The pocket version is SWEDISH GOLD COIN 1512-2020 and SWEDEN COIN BOOK 995-2022 compressed and uses the same serial number system to easily identify the coins. In addition, each coin has a specified concordance to older standard reference works. THE COIN YEAR BOOK is published annually with the latest price updates, new variants, misprintings, etc., in addition to the latest scientific findings in terms of attributions and re-attributions of coin masters and coin sites. THE COIN YEAR BOOK will be a living document that handles all changes on an ongoing basis to give you as a customer maximum benefit and insight into changes in the market.

Myntårsboken 995-2021 sample pages

COIN YEAR 995-2021 includes the following

  • Sweden 995-2021
  • Viking Age, Middle Ages & Modern Times
  • Comprehensive variant description with detailed pictures and explanations
  • Royal medals
  • The Riksbank's banknotes from 1666 to today
  • Rarity description based on 50 years of statistics
  • Number of known privately owned specimens
  • Provenance
  • Numbering according to SWEDEN COINBOOK (SMB) & SWEDEN GOLD COIN (SG)
  • With concordance to older standard reference works
  • Nominated for best coin book in the world by IAPN!
  • Color
  • 512 pages
  • Author Roberto Delzanno
  • Publisher Roberto Delzanno

Myntårsboken 995-2021 sample pages2

For more information, or to order, see:
Myntårsboken 995-2021 - A5, pocket, färg - 512 sidor - Nominerad till bästa myntbok i världen av IAPN! (
Swedish Coins Yearbook (

See also:
New Handbook on Swedish Coins and Banknotes Now Available (

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Chris Steenerson's Currency Proof Club has been renamed the Currency Proof Study Group to better reflect the nature of the project. The first set of e-books has been released and made available free online without intrusive watermarks. For those who prefer hardcopies, print-on-demand versions are available for sale via Amazon.

Here's the press release. -Editor

National Bank Note Proofs__Main Set 1 Cover The Currency Proof Study Group's Online National Bank Note Plate Proof Research Project has finished beta testing and is ready to launch!

Exploring The Certified Currency Plate Proofs is a reference work indexing the National Bank Note plate proofs by state, bank charter, date period and denomination. The set of handbooks currently consists of 50,945 face and back proofs, divided into 333 volumes, in PDF format, with many more planned to eventually total 500+ titles. Thanks to all of the beta testers for the many suggestions and improvements.

The first alpha set, NBN-PP Set 1.0, is now posted at It has been released without watermarks to help future collectors and researchers.

About the National Bank Note eBook collection:

National Bank Note Proofs__Main Set 1 sample The series provides a visual tour through the National Bank Note plate proofs held in the National Numismatic Collection at the American Museum of National History. These large size notes were issued from 1863 to 1929 by thousands of banks throughout the country and territories, in various denominations, during three Charter Periods. It was the most extensive series of paper money produced by the United States. The reference set also has 330 tables on 475 pages with over 116,500 words. The 4-500 completed titles, as planned, will include Overviews, Indexes and Close-ups by Denomination.

Dealers and clubs can contact Chris to learn about opportunities for purchasing banner ads: Chris Steenerson,, 720/351-1818. -Editor

For more information, or to order, see:

National Bank Note Proofs__Main Set 1 sample--Gold Bank Notes_California-1

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:


Recently CDN Publishing agreed to acquire the world paper money catalogs edited by Owen Linzmayer and published under the name of The Banknote Book. In this new Greysheet blog article, Patrick Ian Perez lays out the product development roadmap. -Editor

Banknote Book Roadmap

Now that CDN's acquisition of The Banknote Book (BNB) is widely known, there has been much discussion and anticipation by legacy subscribers. We would like to lay out the roadmap of our future plans and goals so subscribers can get understand the concrete steps we are taking. This discussion is open to feedback so we can publicly discuss the future of BNB and make this the world's greatest "living" catalog of world paper money.


Our first and primary goal is the conversion of all the data contained in the hundreds of individual PDF chapters into a single database format. What will that allow us to do for subscribers?

Enhanced search capabilities via an online pricing and identification tool: When all information is digitized, users will have a powerful online search tool that unlocks vast possibilities. With a standard browser, users can look up notes by catalog number, country, issuer, date, denomination, and variety in any combination. Thus, if one wants to see all 100 francs issues of Switzerland, the search terms would simply be Switzerland 100 francs. If the user only wanted to see the 100 francs of 1964 the search would be Switzerland 100 francs 1964. If the user already knew the catalog number and just wanted to quickly check the price the search would be Switzerland B334f. The search will return the note listings and images, and clicking through to the individual note will show all relevant description information and pricing. The online tool will also allow a breadcrumb style of search, by clicking through the menus by country, then issuer, then to the note. This is helpful for those who wish to see all notes from a given issuer or time period.


We are planning a dedicated mobile app to access the content in the same way as the online pricing tool. The database format will allow users to search and lookup all notes using a fast, easy to use mobile app. The app will also feature a robust search function and will make looking up note prices faster than scrolling through chapters online. Subscribers can currently use the Greysheet mobile (and tablet) app to access BNB chapters, which works particularly well on the tablet version.

Some legacy subscribers have lamented the inability to download chapters. While this can still be done through July 1, 2021, via Content Shelf, legacy subscribers can also request this feature on the web site (email ). Requests must be approved by CDN Publishing administrators and may be denied in the future if we suspect PDF's are being shared or used unscrupulously. This is not a long-term solution, nor will it automatically be granted, or extended in perpetuity. We are, however, working on a solution.

Many users have stated they print the BNB pages for keeping inventory. We are developing a way to offer this functionality without allowing the unauthorized sharing of valuable BNB PDF chapters. In the future, catalog contents will be available to download in a modified format: the file will contain all information needed to identify and catalog notes, such as the BNB number and all variety information as it appears now. It will also include the signature tables and introductory and issuer text. It will not contain note images or pricing. This way, collectors will always have a handy printed reference.


We are focused on selling subscriptions to the entire catalog, but we understand some collectors only collect individual countries. While we are not setup to allow purchases of single chapters at the moment our long-term solution is a print-on-demand solution (see below).We will work with our printing partners to allow collectors to order single physical copies of a chapter in either high-quality book or magazine format.


Having the BNB content in a database gives us the ability to deliver it to major auction houses and third-party grading services and be compatible with their internal systems. Our experience in this area is vast, and we fully plan to work tenaciously with these firms to adopt BNB catalog numbers for attribution in their auction catalogs, grading slabs, etc. to ensure The Banknote Book becomes the new standard reference for the hobby.


Some have asked how they will know when a chapter is updated; the answer is they will be continually updated. Owen has kept a very accurate and amazing log of changes for each chapter, but PDFs are static, and the database is dynamic. Going forward any and all new issues and varieties will still be posted at, a site all users should be familiar with. When a new variety or issue is added to a chapter, a new PDF will be uploaded, and these additions will simultaneously show in the online tool and the mobile app. Everything will be in sync without the need for tedious downloads.

See the complete article online for more information on banknote pricing, print on demand, advertising & sponsorship opportunities, and a price freeze for legacy subscribers. -Editor

When John Feigenbaum acquired the Coin Dealer Newsletter, it was a sleepy decades-old print publication, and CDN Publishing brought it into the 21st century with a new technology vision. Users of The Banknote Book and the collecting community at large will benefit from the new technology platform as well. We'll look forward to reporting future developments. -Editor

To download the Free Greysheet app, see:

To read the complete article, see:
The Banknote Book: Product Development Roadmap (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 6, 2021 : More on The Banknote Book (

Album E-Sylum ad 2021-06-20 Internet Sale 10


Chris McDowell submitted this review of the new English translation of Van Loon's Medallic History of the Low Countries (1555-1716). Thank you! I'd been hoping someone would give us their thoughts. -Editor

Review of John Saunders and Hugo Vanhoudt's English translation of
Gerard Van Loon: Medallic History of the Low Countries (1555-1716).

By Christopher R. McDowell, Esq.

Van Loon book cover I should start this review by stating that I do not know the authors John Saunders and Hugo Vanhoudt and have no financial interest in their Van Loon translation. I am, however, a great admirer of Gerard Van Loon's 1723 four-volume classic Beschryving der Nederlandsche Historipenningen—a book so perfect in its coverage of the subject matter that it is still the preferred reference for early Dutch medals almost three hundred years after its initial publication. During my forced Covid hibernation, I became well-acquainted with Van Loon's masterpiece, which thrilled and frustrated me.

I am preparing a work based on C. Wyllys Betts's book on American medals. In doing so, I quickly realized that I needed a copy of Van Loon's four-volume masterpiece, which Betts relied heavily upon for many of the descriptions of the early medals in his book. After months of searching, I was able to obtain a lovely set from David Fanning, which, by the way, cost me a few thousand dollars. Although Van Loon's original work was published in Dutch, a later 1732 edition was made available in French, neither of which I speak or read. I do, however, read German, a language that, in my hubris, I thought was similar enough to Dutch to allow me to bumble through Van Loon's book. Much to my dismay, Dutch is just close enough to German to make for ridiculous translations. This failed experiment led me to purchase an instrument of torture commonly known as a Dutch/English dictionary, which led to the further revelation that Van Loon wrote in an archaic form of Dutch that, while close to modern Dutch, was not precisely the same.

I knew the key to understanding some Betts medals lay hidden within Van Loon's hieroglyphs. Still, the Rosetta Stone of a perfect translation eluded me—I would spend days translating two pages, only to have portions look like gibberish. As my frustration mounted towards the end of 2020, I even contemplated the heresy of purchasing the French edition and trying my hand at translating it. In desperation, I cried out to the numismatic Gods, Why, in almost three hundred years, has no one translated Van Loon into English?

As if in answer to my prayer, in late December, I saw an article in The E-Sylum to pre-subscribe to an English translation of Van Loon! I immediately placed my order. Three weeks ago, I received an email stating the translation was ready to be shipped and asking if I still wanted my copy. What an absurd question! Of course I did. The following week I received another email with the price. My money sent; I waited another week for the four-volume set to arrive. When it finally came, I opened the box and immediately took its contents to my library for solitary contemplation. Could this translation ever equal my overhyped anticipation? Ja! Het is geweldig!

Van Loon sample page 2 Van Loon sample page 1

First and foremost, this is a translation of the original Dutch version and not the later French translation. In my mind, this is the only acceptable course. To do otherwise would be like translating the Bible from French to English rather than an older Greek version—the best, most reliable translation is that which is closest to the original. I am sure it would have been much easier to translate the French version to English rather than the Old-Dutch of Van Loon's original; that Messrs. Saunders and Vanhoudt eschewed the easy path in search of the best translation speaks to the care and attention to detail with which they approached this important project.

This new book contains an exact translation of the original, i.e., if Van Loon made errors, they have been replicated in English in this new work. The temptation to amend Van Loon's words—to correct his errors—must have been overwhelming in many instances; however, the authors have wisely suppressed the urge to amend the text. Our knowledge of many of the medals appearing in Van Loon has advanced in the last three hundred years. Editing or correcting the text would have been a Quixotic, if not impossible, task, which, as we shall see, opens up the work to criticism. I prefer my Van Loon as in the original, warts and all, and that is how he is presented here, word for word, as the Dutch master put them down three centuries ago.

One of the great things about the original Dutch version is the hundreds of intricately detailed steel-plate etchings of medals found in its pages—they are true works of art. I worried, Would this new translation incorporate these etchings? Now I have my answer, all of the original Van Loon etchings have been lovingly reproduced in sharp detail in all four volumes. In addition, hundreds of new color photographs of medals and jetons have been added in plates with a light blue background. These etchings appear in the same order as they do in the original; however, since the page numbers of the translation no longer correspond to those of the original, the authors decided to identify each piece by a reference composed of the year of the event for which it was made, and a number of its order in that year. The authors go on to indicate that an asterisk is added after the year if the piece was actually issued (much) later than the event it commemorates. I feel that the numbering system they have created is advantageous and have already used it in my manuscript on Betts medal; thus, Betts-1, which is on Van Loon, Vol. 1, p. 8, is now 1555-10 according to this new translation.

While the authors use their new asterisk system sparingly, I would have recommended against this subtle form of editing. The truth be known, there are many medals depicted in Van Loon that were not produced on the dates indicated. To mark some, but not all, with an asterisk leaves the impression that the unmarked medals were created in the year noted, which is frequently not the case. Additionally, if the authors wished to take on the task of marking some medals with an asterisk, they should have followed up with an explanation of the correct date. This very minor comment is the only criticism I have with the translation.

The four-volume set cost me $228, which is a fantastic value. Quite frankly, based on the expense and time of translating Van Loon to English and the high quality of the binding and color plates, I cannot imagine how the authors are making any money off this venture. And while no one should purchase this four-volume set solely as an investment, I would venture a guess that it will appreciate in value over time.

I asked John Saunders if he intended to translate the ten-volume Van Loon supplement into English (Van Loon did not write these volumes, rather they were prepared after his death to incorporate medals left out of the original work). Mr. Saunders indicated that he was working on translating the ten-volume set, which will be an additional boon to American collectors.

In summary, anyone interested in medals should purchase this translation before it sells out. The work involved in translating Van Loon into English is incredible, which is why I suspect it has never been attempted before now. This new four-volume set brings Van Loon's work alive. For the first time, I feel that I can genuinely appreciate what Van Loon was trying to accomplish and have gained far greater insight into several early Betts medals. The full scope and grandeur of Van Loon's work is now available to the English-speaking collecting community thanks to Saunders and Vanhoudt—we all owe them a debt of gratitude. I could not be more pleased with this four-volume set.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Archives International Sale 68 cover back


Forbes magazine recently reviewed two books on the nature of money - Jacob Glodstein's Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing and Thomas Levenson's Money for Nothing. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VII, Number 1, June 22, 2021). -Editor

MONEY book cover Money For Nothing book cover

I have a personal blind spot when it comes to the subject of finance. I realize this probably seems an odd thing to publish under the auspices of Forbes, but the whole field of investments and financial economics just doesn't hold my interest, and information about it tends not to stick in my mind. It's not that I don't like money per se— I enjoy having money, and being able to buy things with it. But the various and sundry things people do to turn a little bit of money into a bit more money have never really been interesting to me. I'm happy to put the smallish amount of funds we have available for that sort of thing into index funds, and pretty much just leave it there.

This does, of course, seriously limit my chances of becoming a trillionaire, and investment is a fairly common topic of conversation among friends of mine, so every now and then I end up making a bit of an effort to learn something about the subject. That led, somewhat indirectly, into two recent reads: Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing by Jacob Goldstein, and Money for Nothing: The Scientists, Fraudsters, and Corrupt Politicians Who Reinvented Money, Panicked a Nation, and Made the World Rich by Thomas Levenson. I've enjoyed Tom's books in the past, so when a new one popped up it immediately went into the queue, but at around the same time the Goldstein got a lot of praise as a great introduction to the subject for the financially illiterate, which sounded like just the sort of thing I need.

Goldstein's book is by far the shorter of the two— 226 pages excluding notes and references, to Levenson's 340— but aims to be more comprehensive, a history of the idea of money from all the way back to the invention of physical coins to the modern craze for Bitcoin. This takes the form of 15 brief chapters, each delving into a particular anecdote from the history of money: the invention and subsequent abandonment of paper money in China, the time a Scottish gambler was put in charge of all the money in France, various experiments with going on and off the gold standard, or the creation of the complex financial instruments that led to the 2009 crash.

This was a light and entertaining read, but I'm not sure it left me all that much more informed, or did that much to increase my interest in the subject. A number of the individual anecdotes were unfamiliar to me, and they're all well told, but the core idea of money as a social contract was something I already knew. It is an important idea, though, so this book probably fills a valuable niche as a corrective for people who have a more intuitive sense that, say, gold is more real than paper money, or as a jumping-off point for people who are interested in the subject but don't know where to start.

Levenson's book, on the other hand, is a highly detailed exploration of a particular event in the history of money, the South Sea Bubble in England in the 1700's. This has a bit of overlap with the Goldstein— John Law, the Scottish gambler who made a mess of France's finances gets a chapter here, and there's a comparison of the French and English approaches to recovering from their respective crises. Where Goldstein's telling is necessarily very streamlined, though, Levenson really gets into the weeds with brief sketches of dozens of key figures and institutions of the period.

To read the complete article, see:
Book Review: Two Books About Money (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Davisson E-Sylum ad E-Auction-40


An article in the American Numismatic Society's Pocket Change blog notes that George Watson's recent book, Connections, Communities, and Coinage has won an award from the Royal Numismatic Society. Congratulations. -Editor

Connections, Communities, and Coinage book cover The Royal Numismatic Society has awarded its Gilljam Prize for Third-Century Numismatics to George Watson's book, Connections, Communities, and Coinage: The System of Coin Production in Southern Asia Minor, AD 218–276 (Numismatic Studies 39). The prize, awarded every two years, recognizes the book or article that represents the best contribution to the numismatics of the third century before the reform of Diocletian.

I am honoured to receive this prize, Watson said, which has been awarded to many distinguished scholars of third-century numismatics in the past. I am very grateful to the ANS for producing such a beautiful book that is worthy of this honour.

Connections, Communities, and Coinage addresses the system of coin production in the regions of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Cilicia during the third century AD, radically reappraising the numismatic evidence of die-sharing between cities in Southern Asia Minor.

To read the complete article, see:

I didn't realize this until just now, but we announced this one twice in The E-Sylum Must be good luck! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Garrett Mid-American E-Sylum ad06a Buying

JOHN G. HUMPHRIS (1936-2021)

Bern Nagengast alerted me to the passing of John G. Humphris. Thanks. Here's an excerpt from his online obituary. -Editor

John G. Humphris John G. Humphris, 84, of Sidney passed away Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 9:20 PM at Ohio Living Dorothy Love. He was born on November 24, 1936 in Birmingham, England, the son of the late Jack William and Jesse Mae (Jennings) Humphris. On January 3, 1972, John married the former Margaret E. Owen, who survives.

From 1955 to 1959, John was a member of the British Royal Air Force where he served in the intelligence branch with the secret service. He provided invaluable service as a linguist and distinguished himself as a translator of several languages. After finishing his military service, John worked in administration at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham from 1960 to 1966.

In 1966, John accepted a position in Montreal with Collectors Research Limited. He later worked as a freelance researcher and numismatic historian. John and Margaret came to Sidney, Ohio, in 1975, joining the staff at Amos Press at the personal request of J. Oliver Amos. John and Margaret founded the Birmingham Numismatic Society. He was a member of the Shelby County Coin Club for many years. John's freelance work provided Margaret and him opportunities to travel to many countries around the world. John enjoyed the study and translation of languages including Russian, Arabic, Turkish, German, French, Greek and Chinese. John collected books on coins, languages and history. Other interests were calligraphy and art.

Throughout his retirement, John's interest in history, languages and numismatics remained a passion.

Bern writes:

"I'm sure John was known to many of the readers. I knew John having had him translate a number of historical works for me over the last 25 years. He even was able to translate a 1700's scientific paper that was written in Latin! John was always willing to share his knowledge. I considered him a true genius!"

To read the complete article, see:
John G. Humphris (
John Humphris (

The Newman Numismatic Portal contains many references to Humphris. As just one example, a 1981 Essay-Proof Journal article by Humphris ("The Definitions of Essay, Proof, and Specimen Notes: including Cancelled, Unissued, and Unfinished Notes: and Samples Illustrated by Foreign Paper Money" was introduced by the editor as a "landmark, much-needed study."

Here's the complete article preface, which includes a photo and more biographical material. -Editor


The Essay-Proof Society is pleased to be able to present this landmark, much-needed study of the preparatory material produced in the course of the issuance of world paper money (foreign rather than U.S.). It is hoped that Mr. Elumphris' work will be treated seriously and form the basis of an accurate, accepted terminology for the collectibles under consideration. Comments are welcome, addressed to the Editor. The author has tried to define the terminology in a way which will be applicable to worldwide issues in general, but is always open to suggestions and further, new definitions.

Essay Proof Journal article separator

John G. Humphris c1981 John G. Humphris, P.O. Box 34, Sidney, Ohio 45365, started collecting and researching paper money and coins in the Middle East in 1957 while in the British Royal Air Force. In 1964, he joined the International Bank Note Society and started working part-time for a coin firm in England. He has worked full-time in paper money and coins since 1966 when he emigrated to Canada. In 1975, he emigrated to the U.S.A. and started his own business in 1976, as a numismatic consultant and dealer in paper money and coins.

In England he attended university studying art for three years with emphasis on design, printing techniques, calligraphy, and the history of art, artists, and design. Since then he has concentrated on international economics, techniques of production of paper money and coins, general world history and geography, and comparative linguistics. He is able to translate numismatic literature from eight languages, and can translate texts on paper money and coins in about 80 more languages.

He has contributed to many major books, articles, and catalogues on paper money and coins since 1964, including George Sten's books on paper money, and was a languages advisor to Dr. Arnold Keller. He is currently contributing to Krause's Standard Catalogue of World Coins and Pick's Standard Catalogue of World Paper Money. He has written over 350 articles during the past seven years, and was elected to the Numismatic Literary Guild in 1976. He is a member of several other international, national and state societies, and has held offices in these. At present, he is Research Chairman for the International Bank Note Society, and on the panel of experts on paper money for the Interpam 81 Congress to be held in Toronto, Canada in July 1981.

Although born in England, he has spent most of the past 25 years travelling and living in other countries in Europe, the Middle East, India, Canada, the West Indies, and the U.S.A. He is interested in international history, geography, economics, languages, paper money, coins, and fiscal documents. While his interests are in research in general, he is specifically interested in India and the surrounding countries, Chinese and Russian Turkistan, Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, Afghanistan, and Iran.

He is a numismatic consultant to museums, universities, companies, and individuals in the U.S.A. , Canada, and England. He continues to travel extensively (over 32,000 miles by road this year) in these three countries visiting conventions and institutions.

To read the complete article, see:

David Alexander writes:

"I knew the late John Gordon Humphris and his wife Margaret... quite well as they were next door neighbors in Sidney, Ohio, for several years. When the Humphris arrived in Sidney, it was the fervent wish of World Coins editor Courtney L. Coffing that with John on the magazine's staff, the publication would be able to preserve its comparative independence vis a vis Coin World and really take off. Courtney's wishes were totally frustrated.

"Despite his awesome numismatic knowledge and breath-taking command of Arabic, Turkish and Indian languages, newspaper writing was not John's strong suit. Filling Coin World each week (120 to 150 pages per issue) took limitless copy, much of it by necessity light-weight filler. A newspaper is not a democracy: you write whatever the editor demands, NOW! John could never accept this tedious reality.

"John explained, "I came here to be a NUMISMATIC EXPERT, not to write drivel for Coin World!!!" We all wrote drivel and lots of it! That was the name of the game."

"After the shutdown of World Coins and Numismatic Scrapbook as separate publications, John and Margaret then attempted to become foreign coin dealers, setting up at shows in Columbus and Cincinnati."

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Rochester Numismatic Association past president Ted Vaccarella passed away recently. The club has struck a medal in his honor. Thanks to Nick Graver, Eric Miller and the RNA for passing along this information. First, here's an excerpt from his online obituary. -Editor

Theodore L. Vaccarella Ted passed away peacefully on March 13, 2021, at the age of 81, with his sons by his side. Ted is predeceased by his mother and father, Louis J. and Lois P. Vaccarella; brother, Stephen J. Vaccarella and brother-in-law, Robert Chaffee. Ted is survived by his wife, Bonnie (Burger) Vaccarella...

Born in Rochester NY, Ted was a resident of the 19th ward in his youth and graduated in June of 1957 from West High School. Mr. Vaccarella received his B.A. degree from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. Upon graduation in 1961 Ted attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island and was commissioned an Ensign in the U. S. Navy at the end of his training. He was stationed all over the world including Vietnam during that conflict. Ted served five years in the Navy and became one of the youngest officers ever to become an Executive Officer of a ship (U.S.S. Hissem). After the Navy, Mr. Vaccarella began his civilian career with General Dynamics Corporation, continued at Strong Pediatrics department, and retired from LECESSE Construction in 2005.

Highlights of Ted's life include earning the rank of Eagle Scout along with his brothers, becoming Cubmaster of Troop 156 in the 1980's as his sons were scouts; attending reunions every few years with his fellow Navy U.S.S. Hissem wardroom members; becoming President of the Rochester Numismatic Association in 2008 and Numismatist of the Year in 2015; restoring an antique car; tracing his family history back over 1000 years to share with his family; and becoming a grandpa to his two grandsons who always brought out his warm, bright smile.

Eric Miller submitted this information on the Ted Vaccarella Memorial Medals. Thanks. -Editor

Chip Scoppa, Gerry Muhl and myself worked along with the North American Mint to bring together the Ted V Memorial Medal. This is subscription only (payment is due upfront). Medals are bought separately to make a set. The only medal price that may fluctuate is the .999 silver as its the spot price of silver when the medals are struck. The price list is as follows:

  • 1 ounce .999 Silver, Proof-like, in capsules $ 5.50 each + spot silver
  • 39mm Copper, Proof-like, in capsules $ 4.50 each
  • 39mm Bronze, Proof-like, in capsules $ 4.50 each
  • 39mm Silver Clad, Proof-like, in capsules $ 5.50 each
  • 39mm 24kt Gold Clad, Proof-like, in capsules $7.50 each
Anyone can order by contacting myself or Chip Scoppa:
Eric Miller- 944-4197
Chip Scoppa Here are some examples of the medals:

Ted Vacarella combo coin real silver2
Ted Vacarella combo coin real copper2
Ted Vacarella combo coin real brass2
RNA Vacarrella Presidentisl medal

These look nicely done. Since 1912 the club has also issued medals featuring its presidents. Ted was the 96th RNA president in 2008 - here's that medal. -Editor

For more information on the Rochester Numismatic Association, see:

Fricke E-Sylum ad02 Coppers


Newman Numismatic Portal intern Garrett Ziss provided the following article based on recently added digital content. Thanks! -Editor

1797 BD-1 Eagle Rubbing Obverse 1797 BD-1 Eagle Rubbing Reverse

In Volume 23, Number 33 of The E-Sylum (August 16, 2020), NNP Project Coordinator Leonard Augsburger discussed an inquiry sent to the United States Mint that included a pencil rubbing of a coin dated 1799. Since his report, four additional letters from the National Archives that include pencil rubbings of coins from that time period have been transcribed by the Newman Portal. While authenticity cannot be determined from these pencil rubbings, they appear to be examples of a 1795 Overton-125 (Tompkins-13) Flowing Hair half dollar, a 1797 Bass-Dannreuther-1 (BD-1) eagle, an 1800 BD-1 eagle, and an 1801 BD-2 eagle.

Mint Letter Regarding 1797 Eagle Of these coins, the most noteworthy is the 1797 eagle. BD-1 is the only known die marriage of that year with a Small Eagle reverse. It also boasts an unusual obverse star arrangement, with 12 stars to the left of LIBERTY and only 4 to the right. In the late 1990s, a new die state of the 1796 BD-1 eagle was discovered. This led to the determination that the reverse die used to strike the 1797 BD-1 was used to produce the 1796 BD-1 die marriage both before and after it was used to strike the 1797 BD-1. This remarriage is detailed in the December 1998 issue of the John Reich Journal as well as in the Bass-Dannreuther reference, Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties.

According to Bass-Dannreuther, approximately 55-65 specimens of the 1797 BD-1 eagle are known to exist. This scarcity is reflected by the fact that the Mint did not possess an example of the 1797 BD-1 at the time of the 1887 correspondence and they recommend that, we ought to have the coin in our cabinet. The letter further reveals that the Mint not only kept track of contemporary coin sale results, but also used this information to determine a monetary offer for the 1797 BD-1 eagle.

Link to Inquiry of the value of a 1795 half dollar:

Link to Inquiry of the value of a 1797 Eagle:

Link to Inquiry of the value of an 1800 Eagle:

Link to Inquiry of the value of an 1801 Eagle:

Link to the December 1998 Issue of the John Reich Journal:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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These are selections from the David Lisot Video Library that feature news and personalities from the world of coin collecting. David has been attending coin conventions since 1972 and began videotaping in 1985. The Newman Numismatic Portal now lists all David's videos on their website at:

Here's one on interesting numismatic material found at the recent Denver Coin Expo. -Editor

Cool Coins & Currency at the Denver Expo May 2021.
VIDEO: 17:49.

Coins & Currency at the Denver Expo May 6-8, 2021. David Lisot, Interviewer,, with Mark Alberici, James Curtis, Judith Kagin, Mark Machosky, Ashley Sandoval, and Christopher & Matthew Wiley.

You will see one ounce gold Buffalos, Eagles and Philharmonics, 1900 Lesher Dollar PCGS AU53, 1955 Lincoln cent Double Die PCGS MS64RB CAC, rolls of Morgan Dollars with some toned, 1932-S Washington quarter PCGS AU53, 1937 Lincoln cent NGC MS66 RD, 1943-S Lincoln steel cent uncirculated, 1977-S Jefferson nickel proof, 1858 Seated Liberty half dollar XF, various type coins, 1896 $1, $2, & $5 Educational Silver Certificates PMG graded, 1869 $2 & $5 Legal Tender Rainbow notes VF, 1918 Federal Reserve $2 Battleship PCGS NEW62.

Find out the difference in one ounce gold coins, why proof coins are struck, the reason steel cents were made in 1943, story of the Educational silver certificates, that men like notes with ships on them, and much more!

An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:

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In earlier blog posts, Ron Guth discussed his efforts to determine the current whereabouts of Barber Half Dollars once owned by collector Louis Eliasberg. In his latest article, Ron officially launches a larger project to track down all the former Eliasberg coins and bring their provenances and grades up to date. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. I added images and links to the Eliasberg sale catalogs on the Newman Numismatic Portal. -Editor

Eliasberg Sale 1 Eliasberg Sale 2 Eliasberg Sale 3
Eliasberg Auction Sales 1982, 1996, 1997

Louis Eliasberg, Sr. was (and remains) the only person ever to have completed a collection of United States coins. It is important to note that the concept of completion is constantly evolving as new coins are discovered (the 1870-S Half Dime, for instance), and as new coins are issued each year by the United States Mints. However, based on the standards of completion during his lifetime, Eliasberg succeeded where no one else had.

My interest in the Eliasberg coins stems from my on ongoing research into the provenances of America's best coins. The Eliasberg provenance carries much weight in the market and collectors will often pay a premium for coins that originated with the Eliasberg Collection. What I've discovered over the years is that Eliasberg coins fall into three categories: 1) where the modern grade is known; 2) where the modern grade is unknown; and 3) where the modern grade may never be known because these coins were not plated.

With that in mind, this is the official launch of The Eliasberg Project -- an ambitious attempt to track down the Eliasberg coins and bring their provenances and grades up to date. This is similar to my tracking of the Lord St. Oswald coins, which resulted in an award-winning series of blog posts on the PCGS website.

How will The Eliasberg Project help?

1. It will restore the Eliasberg cachet to many coins where the provenance has been stripped or forgotten.

2. It will give competing collectors a clearer view of the contents of the Eliasberg Collection.

3. It will provide accurate information with which the Eliasberg Collection can be updated in the PCGS Set Registry.

Last year, PCGS President Brett Charville was kind enough to provide a list of certification numbers for all coins in their database that carry the Eliasberg provenance. After a little massaging and with the addition of coins certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, I now show 962 certified coins that originated with the Eliasberg Collection. As provenance research continues, more and more Eliasberg coins are being identified.

1802 over 1 Quarter Eagle Ex-Eliasberg
1802/"1" $2.50 Ex-Eliasberg Image courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

For example, here is an 1802 Quarter Eagle that was identified recently as an Eliasberg coin. This coin has appeared at auction four times beginning in 2007 without a single mention of the Eliasberg provenance. Now that the coin has been identified as an Eliasberg coin, the updated provenance looks like this:

Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection - Bowers & Ruddy 10/1982:83 (as Raw AU58), $8,800.00 - Heritage 1/2007:3384 (as PCGS MS61 10882802), $29,900.00 - Aspen Collection - Heritage 7/2008:1888 (as PCGS MS61 10882802), $29,900.00 - David Lawrence 10/2010:4 (as PCGS MS61 CAC 10882802), $33,350.00 - Heritage 6/2021:3167 (as PCGS MS61 CAC 10882802), $38,400.00

Hopefully, the new owner will be excited to know that their coin is ex-Eliasberg and, hopefully, PCGS will update the grade in the Eliasberg Registry set.

If you are aware of an Eliasberg coin that has been certified and encapsulated but lacks the Eliasberg provenance, please contact me at

To read the complete article, see:
The Eliasberg Project: Where Are His Coins Today? (

To read the Eliasberg catalogs on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Bowers & Ruddy: United States Gold Coin Collection : 10/27/1982 (
Bowers & Merena : The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection : 5/22/1996 (
Bowers & Merena : The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection : 4/8/1997 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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James Higby writes:

"I remember subscribing to a bi-weekly numismatic newspaper called The Coin Collector during the 1950s. It was published in Anamosa, Iowa, and a subscription was within my financial capabilities as a newspaper boy. For some reason the name "Lawrence Brothers" pops into my mind.

I remember the first issue that I received very well - the front page had a photo of a couple of smiling young ladies who had access to the daily take of a business (it may have been a wishing well) and were surrounded by bags of coins that they could go through. By that time I myself was going through rolls of pennies (that's what the wrappers said on them) from the bank and remember feeling jealous of their good fortune."

Here are some additional notes from Rusty Goe. -Editor

Mention of this publication seemed to have awakened memories in James buried decades ago.

One of the listings David Hill from the ANS sent me shows this: The coin collector: the world's greatest paper for coin and stamp collection. The Lawrence brothers of Anamosa, Iowa, are listed as publishers. (The address was 300 Booth St., Iowa.)

David's ANS library listing shows what appears to be one issue on hand from 1960 in the Rare Book Room at the ANS.

Remy-Bourne-Lists-1860-1960-The-Coin-Collector-Jan-20-1954 On the NNP I found a digitized copy of Remy Bourne's 1990 American Numismatic Periodicals 1860-1960, Book II: An Illustrated Collectors Guide. In this book there is a section devoted to The Coin Collector, confirming that the Lawrence brothers of Anamosa, Iowa, published it.

I have attached a scan of Remy Bourne's image of the January 20, 1954, issue. It appears as if Bourne states this was the first issue. In the table of contents from Bourne's other book David Hill sent me, it shows publication dates running from 1950 to 1955.

Further research I conducted reveals that The Coin Collector was formerly published by the Lawrence brothers as The Philatelic Press.

In the 1/1/1994 issue of Calcoin News (vol. 48, no. 1 , pg. 13), Michael S. Turrini published a well-researched article about the Lawrence brothers, Roy C. and Ray L., who were twins born in 1904. Turrini details how the brothers started their Lawrence Bros. Stamp Bulletin in the 1920s, and how it evolved into The Philatelic Press and later The Coin Collector. During these brothers' five (or more) decades in business they serviced an extremely large mailing list. They also had some involvement with the 1946 Iowa Statehood Centennial Commemorative half dollar campaign.

Also, I discovered in the June 1, 1966, number of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine (p. 10) that, The Coin Collector has been sold by Lawrence Bros. Anamosa Iowa to the printing firm in Kewanee, Illinois, who will operate as Coin Collector Publishing Co. Inc. (Ed Babka.) Also noted is, One of the Lawrence brothers recently suffered a heart attack.

Two years later, in 1968, Ed Babka transferred The Coin Collector to Krause. By the end of 1969 Krause, as Turrini notes, discontinued it and its combined The Coin Shopper and merged the subscription lists with Numismatic News and Coins.

All of this is very interesting. It opens a corridor into numismatics (and the philatelic world) that I have never traveled before.

Nevertheless, it still does not lead me to the opportunity of acquiring copies of the issues I'm seeking. These are the following mail bid auctions:

  • 04/12/1957 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 01/05/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 03/10/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 08/05/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 12/09/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)

It appears as if issues of The Coin Collector from this period are extremely rare. The fact that they were in newsprint format probably foreshadowed their extinction.

Martin Gengerke must have seen the issues he cited in his American Numismatic Auctions. Perhaps they—or microfilmed copies of them—are in the ANA's library. (David Sklow will know. I will contact him.)

At any rate, if anyone reading this can furnish me scans of the issues cited I will be grateful and will gladly pay for the privilege of acquiring them.

Thank you again for publicizing my research request to the E-Sylum readership.

Cool. Who has some hardcopies of this publication? I've checked my ephemera files, and don't seem to have any of these. It would be nice to see the other cover photos, but nicer still to get scans to Rusty for his research. Here are some additional facts he learned from his digging. -Editor

This story could eventually gather enough information to write a book—not by me, mind you.

After my last email to you, I discovered that David Ganz got his start as a professional writer (presumably as a young teenager) submitting articles to The Coin Collector in 1965. He obviously knows as much about this publication's history as anyone living. No doubt, Remy Bourne owns a fact-file that would supplement David's knowledge regarding the Lawrence brothers' publishing activities.

Something else I learned is that Anamosa, Iowa, reveres the Lawrence brothers. They donated to the city the building in which they operated for decades. It became (at first) a historical society. It is now called the Lawrence Community Center. Ray Lawrence died in 1968 and his twin brother Roy passed in fall 1983.

One last thing, I called the ANA today hoping to connect with David Sklow. The woman who answered said he no longer works for the ANA. I had not heard this news. I asked if someone had replaced him as the ANA's library director. She said she didn't know. The library is still closed until further notice, except for online inquiries.

I never dreamed my simple request for scanned copies of mail-bid sales conducted by a Carson City coin enthusiast (not a professional dealer) living in Reno, Nevada, would open so many doors to a fascinating saga of numismatic publishing from the 1920s to the 1960s.

You never know where a question will lead.

That's what makes numismatic research interesting and fun! Sorry to hear the ANA library hasn't been reopened yet. -Editor

Mike Bourne writes:

"I have issues of The Coin Collector 1964-1965 and Coin Shopper 1967-1968. Nothing in the 1957-1958 range."

Len Augsburger writes:

"The American Philatelic Research Library has a run of the predecessor publication (Philatelic Press) from 1935-1951, but unfortunately no issues of The Coin Collector.

"Neither the Iowa State Library or Anamosa, IA library have it listed in their online catalog. I did however, find a microfilm copy at the Iowa State Historical Society.

"Eric Newman and Ken Bressett cite a 1960 issue of the Anamosa, IA Coin Collector in their 1987 COAC article on the 1804 dollar, so one of them must have had access to at least this issue. It's possible there are copies in the Newman library remainders, but it would take a good deal of hunting to confirm one way or another."

Clifford Mishler writes:

"I checked the shelves in the old KP library yesterday and did not find anything in the way of bound or loose issues of The Coin Collector . . . I distinctly recall that the product was on the shelves in bound form at one time . . . blue bindings as I recall ... "

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 20, 2021 : Query: The Coin Collector (


OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 500 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at


Kin Carmody submitted these notes on the 1838-O Half Dollars. Thanks. -Editor


For nearly 100 years, it has been universally accepted by numismatic experts that the 1838-O half dollar was a PROOF ONLY issue, and all specimens had an identifying (GR-1) die crack running through the half dol. legend on the reverse.

Recent research by Dannreuther and Flynn (ALIGNMENT OF THE STARS published in 2015) has established that there were two different production runs of 1838-0 half dollars in New Orleans in 1839.

The first production took place in Jan. 1839 and made exactly 10 circulation strikes before the reverse die support collapse ended the run.

The second, in late March 1839, made PROOFS, which were sent to Mint Director Robert Patterson.

While the eight out of ten survival rate of the proofs is very high as expected, there is only one known original circulation strike. Nine originals have been lost, but it is possible a few of these lost originals may have been misidentified as counterfeits. An analysis of the only surviving original circulation strike shows that the originals were made using lower striking pressure, which resulted in highly significant device definition differences vs. the proofs.

1838-O Half Dollar circulation strike obverse 1838-O proof Half Dollar obverse Atwater specimen

LEFT: 1838-O circulation strike
RIGHT: 1838-O proof Atwater specimen (courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

The image comparison above shows that there are way more drapery fold lines on the proof. The 8 in 38, and the tips of the stars are weakly defined on the circulation strike as compared to the proof. In addition, the original circulation strikes do not have the GR-1 die crack on the lower reverse.

In late March 1839, after production of 1839-O circulation strike half dollars had begun, there was still no directive ordering the disposition of the 10 originals. It is possible that these coins were simply added into the 1839 half dollar supply destined for circulation and the production numbers adjusted accordingly. The Mint records tallied half dollars STRUCK for circulation in 1839 but did not keep specific records by coin date as this was not ever expected to be a problem. The 1838-O originals were an exception like the 1836 Gobrecht dollar struck in Jan 1837. Without specific direction, adding these few coins to the circulation 1839's would have been the easiest disposition of the 1838 originals.

If this happened, any surviving circulated originals would have been quickly judged to be counterfeits because they obviously weren't proofs, and they lacked the defining GR-1 die crack.

If readers are aware of any 1838-O half dollars that have been judged to be counterfeits, I encourage you to reevaluate them based on this article, and please contact me through The E Sylum for further information.

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J.S.G. Boggs Photo
J.S.G Boggs May 27, 1987 Richard Miranda writes:

"Your J.S.G Boggs section reminded me of a picture from 1987 that I purchased on eBay some years ago. The photo is dated May 27, 1987 by Sean C. Kelly of J.S.G. Boggs with some samples of his work. You can see some of his Bank of England & US Notes (including a $50.00 note). I thought it was interesting."

Indeed. Often the photo files of newspapers ended up being sold off as the publications converted to digital. I've seen some of these offered as well, but hadn't taken the plunge. I wonder what publication this appeared in and where it was taken. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Quiz Quiz: What's Wrong With These Coins?
Bruce Bartelt writes:

History of the United States Mint and Its Coinage book cover "In the what's wrong with this picture category, has anyone else noticed that some of the coins depicted on the dust jacket of David Lange's History of the United States Mint and Its Coinage are not real? Can you spot the difference? They all bear a common feature that makes the distinction obvious."

Interesting question. It's a printed cover rather than a dust jacket. Readers can click on the image to see a higher-resolution version on our Flickr archive. Hmmm. What do readers think? -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: JUNE 20, 2021 : Books, Books, Books (

Getting Bent and Unbent

Edward III gold coin find

David Pickup writes:

"I was interested to see this story but I have not seen any comment on the fact both coins have been folded. The leopard looks like a very expensive taco!

"I am not an expert in finds but the coins look deliberately folded rather damaged by wear or movement in the ground. What do others think?

"I have seen Anglo-Saxon coins deliberately folded for possible use as votive offerings."

Alan Luedeking writes:

"Should the coin, so badly bent and yet so rare, be slightly heated and straightened out again? In this case, I'd vote YES. Any restoration to its original intended shape can only improve the piece. Would you agree?"

I don't think I would advocate for that. The bending makes it doubly interesting, due to the unknowability of just how and why it ended up that way. What do readers think?

Computer manipulation of the photos might enable the virtual "unbending" of the coin for study purposes. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Pandemic effects are global and unevenly distributed. While many numismatic organizations in the U.S. are beginning to inch back toward normal operations, other areas are still experiencing lockdowns. As a result of local conditions the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association cannot hold its planned convention in Ottawa this year. Instead, the group is planning a virtual convention and opening it up to participants around the world. Here's the press release. -Editor

Royal Canadian Numismatic Association invites collectors from every corner of the globe to participate in its first virtual convention

RCNA_Logo_Medal+transp-background Since 1954, members of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) have met annually to share their knowledge, proudly parade their new acquisitions, and for fellowship. Well, that was until last year when the convention was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic. While this situation has prevented the in-person portion of this year's assembly, the RCNA will host its first virtual convention, which will be held via Zoom™ online meetings from July 16 to July 24, 2021.

We were sad when we couldn't host the [physical] convention this summer, said Steve Woodland, chairman of the convention that was to be held in Ottawa.

Ottawa, home to the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mint and of the Bank of Canada, is always popular with Association members from across Canada.

The Board of Directors decided to hold a virtual convention, said Robert Forbes, president of the RCNA, and we asked James Williston, of Calgary, to take on the organization of this special event.

On July 17–18, we will be offering educational seminars from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT each day on topics such as ‘Ancient Coins as Art' and ‘The Sign of the Golden Fleece: The Rutherford Tokens'.), said Williston. Nine specialized clubs, including the Canadian Association of Token Collectors and the Canadian Paper Money Society, will hold online meetings between 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. from July 19 to July 23.

Since we're meeting in cyberspace, we invite numismatic enthusiasts from every corner of the world to join us, said Forbes.

To see the detailed schedule of activities, visit .

Note that all times are Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-5).

For more information on the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, see:

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Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor

Engraver. The person who hand cuts a die; a hand engraver; also the tool to cut metal; a burin, or graver. While the die engraver is often called a diesinker, the same person can often perform any of a large number of engraving tasks. In the art world – and most reference works – engraving means flat engraving or line engraving or surface engraving, that is, cutting lines on a flat metal plate for printing an image as for producing prints or documents, paper money or maps. Cutting dies differs greatly from flat engraving by removing more metal to form the modulated relief of the detail and lettering in a die.

The engraver is a steel worker. He must have knowledge of steel and how to get a desired design of three dimensions into a steel surface. Mostly the engraver works at a bench (benchwork) using sharp tools (burins, gravers, chisels, spitzsticks) to cut and carve, to grind away and smooth surface metal. He can work in positive, cutting a cameo die, or in negative, cutting intaglio. (Also engraving can be done on media other than metal, as wood or stone, cameo cutting in shell, or cutting in ivory, bone, plastic or whatever.)

Hand engraving was the standard method of preparing dies for 2,600 years. Experiments were conducted throughout the 19th century, for mechanical engraving. Even when this was perfected (by Janvier in 1899) it never entirely replaced hand engraving and diesinking. For the most part of the 20th century, however, dies were and are still made from sculptural models reduced by pantographic diecutting (see pantograph), and by COMPUTER ENGRAVING in the 21st century. Despite these techniques, engraving by hand is still achieved, but only under certain conditions. Cutting simple dies, or dies needed in a short time are some of those conditions.

Formerly an engraver, employed by a mint, was responsible for creating a die by engraving the device punches, then by sinking, punching the devices into a die along with the letter punches which he often had to carve. Prior to mid 1800s, the engraver did this all entirely by hand in exact size of the die. Once the pantograph was in use (as the contamin in 1836), the engraver either prepared the model, or had a sculptor prepare this, then he was required to place this on the reducing pantograph to make a reduction punch.

The engraver then sunk this punch in a die to which he must finish by adding lettering, ornaments and figures. Since the beginning of the 20th century the sculptor now makes the entire sculptural model, lettering and all, and the modern pantograph operator cuts the entire die from a hard copy of this model. Thus the hand engraver was replaced by a sculptor-medallist; he was no longer needed for cutting artistic dies, but is required for touchup or for cutting dies with simple design and lettering.

A chief engraver at a national mint is an experienced engraver, head of the engraving department, and is as much an administrator as an artist. The chief engraver must be highly creative in preparing their own bas-reliefs models, have specialized knowledge of engraving, sculptural model making, diesinking, hubbing, tool steel, tool diework and somewhat metalworking and heat treating. This in addition to overseeing workers of all the tasks in the engraving department. The chief engraver is responsible for the artistic output of the engravers and the production of all the dies.

Robert Julian, who did extensive research in 19th century U.S Mint archives comments: The U.S. Mint called the master engraver Engraver of the United States Mint at Philadelphia. The common term chief engraver was not used except on rare occasions. All others trained in die engraving had the title of Assistant Engraver.

Only in the 20th century did the term Chief Engraver become more recognized. With the appointment of John R. Sinnock to the position, 1925, the term has been used by the Treasury Department and by numismatists.

Nonemployee engravers. For the most part engravers are employees of a mint or medal manufacturer and work on the premises; these are known as factory artists. Occasionally in history engravers were not employees, but engraved dies on a piecemeal basis in their own studios. In late 18th and early 19th century England these were called outworkers and numerous such engravers were located near Birmingham. Sir Edward Thomason employed a number of these outworkers for his Birmingham factory where he first made buttons, but later struck tokens, and finally medals.

In the United States the U.S. Mint early contracted for the engraving of medal dies outside the Mint while all coin dies were engraved on the mint premises. Moritz Furst was a notable example of this type of arrangement. He came to this country to be employed by the U.S. Mint, which did not transpire, however the Mint commissioned him to hand engrave medal dies for over thirty years. Also Engtaver Anthony Paquet prepared dies and letter punches for the US Mint for nearly two decades.

In the 20th and 21st centuries this practice of commissioning outside engravers continues, but not, perhaps as extensive as before. One such hand engraver, Franz Eue, did hand engraving of numerous dies for Medallic Art Company, working out of his own residence. In 1971 the Franklin Mint commissioned Alvin DeHoff to hand engrave a Peace Corps 10th Anniversary Medal. Today these artists are more aptly called freelance engravers.

Another class of engravers existed in the 1860s through 1880s in America – the itinerant engraver. With insufficient work in one locale this craftsman would travel from town to town and do any kind of engraving. For the most part this was monogramming silverware, and engraving nameplates for pews, doors and coffins, but occasionally would cut a die for diestriking.

In ancient times an engraver was once known as a celator. See engraving, diesinking.

So THAT's where the name of The Celator came from! -Editor

To read the complete entry on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Engraver (

PHILIP HENRY WARD, JR. (1886-1963)

Here's another entry from the online draft of John Lupia's book of numismatic biographies. Thanks! This is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is collector/dealer Philip H. Ward, Jr. -Editor

WARD, PHILIP H. JR.-PHOTO Philip Henry Ward, Jr. (1886-1963), was born in Washington, D.C., on November 28, 1886, son of Philip Henry Ward and Ida Harner Ward. He began collecting stamps and coins in 1892.

Philip H. Ward, Jr., was an Electrical Engineer and a coin, stamp and autograph collector and dealer. Col. Edward Green was one of his principle clients for both stamps and coins.

He graduated George Washington University.

On June 4, 1913, he married Ruth Coke MacNamara (1890-1964), daughter of Patrick MacNamara and Margaret Stuart MacNamara, of Washington, D.C..

He worked for Walker Electric Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He was the founder and president of Ward Electric Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until his retirement in 1930. The 1930 U. S. Census lists him as an Electrical Engineer living at 27 Seminole Avenue, Philadelphia, with his wife Ruth and their three children: Virginia Stuart Ward (1915-1986), Eleanor Ward, and Philip Henry Ward, III, and two housemaids Minnie and Madge Green from Ireland.

PHILLIP H WARD TOMBSTONE Stacks Phillip H. Ward Jr. sale

He died of a myocardial infarction on August 23, 1963, at University Hospital, Philadelphia. He was buried at St. Thomas Episcopal Cemetery, Whitemarsh, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Ward's Estate had Stack's sell his coin collection from April 30-May 2, 1964.

To read the complete article, see:

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American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article with biographies of three men associated with the legendary 1933 Double Eagles. Thanks! -Editor

Farouk 1933 Double Eagle obverse Farouk 1933 Double Eagle reverse

This week I added F. Leland Howard and George A. McCann to American Numismatic Biographies and updated Israel Switt.

Howard, F(rank) Leland (b. 8/21/1907 d. 6/25/1991)

Born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Graduated from University of Kentucky. Received Ph.D. from University of Virginia. Economics instructor at the University of Virginia. Married to Edith Owen Sisk with three daughters.

He began working at the mint in 1933. Superintendent of the Silver Unit of the Mint Bureau. Appointed assistant to the Director of the Mint in 1939. Acting Mint Director in 1944. He took an active role in attempts to recover 1933 Double Eagles sold to collectors.

He served as director of the Treasury Office of Domestic Gold and Silver Operations from 1961 until his retirement in 1968. He was awarded the department's highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton award. Howard died at Martha Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is buried at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

McCann, George A(loysious) (b. 7/3/1895 d. 2/19/1956)

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James and Mary McCann. For thirty years he resided in Westmont, New Jersey. Married to Jennie M. Traynor with a son.

In early years he worked for his father as a broom maker. Weigh Master at the Mint in 1920. Appointed Cashier of the Mint on March 19, 1934, and served until 1940.

The Secret Service suspected that McCann provided 1933 Double Eagles to Israel Switt but charges were never filed. In 1941 he was convicted of thefts of silver from the Mint and sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

He died at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and was buried at New St. Mary's Cemetery in Bellmawr, New Jersey.

Switt, Israel (b. 9/27/1895 d. 1/18/1990)

Born in Philadelphia. Brother-in-law of Edward Silver. Married to Elizabeth Gross in 1920. Parents of Joan Langbord. Philadelphia jeweler. He was accused of acquiring as many as 25 1933 double eagles from the Mint illegally. His family sought legal title to ten remaining coins but lost the court battle in 2011. They also lost an appeal in 2016. The ten coins were shown at the Denver ANA World's Fair of Money in 2006.

Switt is buried at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Trevose, Pennsylvania.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:


Here's a selection of interesting or unusual items I came across in the marketplace this week. Tell us what you think of some of these. -Editor

1754 Peru Ferdinand VI 8 Reales
1754 Peru Ferdinand VI 8 Reales obverse 1754 Peru Ferdinand VI 8 Reales reverse

Ferdinand VI 8 Reales 1754 LM-JD MS64 PCGS, Lima mint, KM55.1, Cal-457 (prev. Cal-310). An absolute peach of an 8 Reales just shy of Gem Mint State designation, and bathed in an impressive array of color that lends to the coin's superior aesthetic caliber. Struck with exacting precision and lightly obscured luster, this piece finds itself tied for the finest certified with one other.

A beautiful piece in the upcoming Heritage Hong Kong sale. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
Peru: Ferdinand VI 8 Reales 1754 LM-JD MS64 PCGS,... (

1817 U.S. Large Cent Countermarked "P. BARTON / CAIRO"
1817 U.S. Large Cent BARTON counterstamp obverse 1817 U.S. Large Cent BARTON counterstamp reverse

1817 U.S. Large Cent

Countermarked "P. BARTON / CAIRO"

Stamped with a two-line punch of unusual design.

The host coin is dark, somewhat glossy, and has nicer surfaces than appear in the photos.

Issuer: Pliny Barton
Occupation: Manufacturer of scythes, shears, etc (Trip Hammer)
Place of issue: Cairo, Greene County, New York
Date of issue: Circa 1817 - 1832


Ex. Q. David Bowers collection.
Ex. Coin Galleries Sale (11/15/1989).

Research Notes:

There are only two countermarked coins known from this issuer, from two different styles of punch marks. I also own the other example, and will be listing it in the following week.

There is a large amount of information available on Pliny Barton and his factory works located in Cairo, New York. Barton's factory ruins are still visible deep in the woods. I explored the factory ruins with the local town historian, and they are an AMAZING sight, buried deep in the woods, next to a stream, which the factory used to generate water power for their Trip Hammer (stamping hammer). I visited the site on 26 May 2009.

From Bob Merchant's latest eBay offerings. A great piece with equally great cataloging. See the listing for more information. -Editor

Large Cent BARTON counterstamp obverse To read the complete lot description, see:
1817 Large Cent Counterstamp "P. BARTON / CAIRO" (Pliny Barton, Cairo, New York) (

Bob adds:

"Really enjoyed researching this coin. Next week I am listing (on eBay) the only other known counterstamp from this early American manufacturer. The stamp is of a different (probably later) style."

1837 Scovill Hard Times Token
1837 Scovill Hard Times Token obverse 1837 Scovill Hard Times Token reverse

Hard Times token LOW 130 R3 HT-103 AU. JML & WH Scovill 1837 Waterbury Con. with Phoenix rising on obverse. Gilt Buttons Of Every Description Sheet Brass Plated Metal & Gold Plate (200-250).

From Steve Hayden's eBay offerings. A classic piece from a major 19th century numismatic manufacturer. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1837 Waterbury Connecticut Hard Times Token Scovill Die Sinker HT-103 Low 130 (

The Counterfeiting of Morgan Silver Dollars

1882 Grand Jury Document Regarding Counterfeiting Coins

In our years of purveying historical documents we rarely ever come across any sort of reference to coins themselves. This interesting case regarded the counterfeiting of Morgan silver dollars, which would be significant to our numismatic clientele.

Interesting numismatic archival material. Check it out. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1882 Grand Jury Document Regarding Counterfeiting Coins (

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A great collection of Irish Communion Tokens is being offered by DNW. Here's the press release. -Editor

1112 - Londonderry

A great collection of Irish communion tokens, unlikely ever to be equalled for its breadth and scope, will be offered in a sale of Coins, Tokens and Historical Medals on Tuesday, July 6 & Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at international coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery specialists Dix Noonan Webb, based in Mayfair, London.

Amassed over many years by Delmas Parker, the collection comprises 72 lots, totalling 455 pieces. Majoring on pieces from the northern counties such as Antrim, Down and Londonderry, the group includes pieces from the Norweb, Noble and Macmillan collections, as well as that of Lester Burzinski, author of the standard reference. The collection is expected to fetch in the region of £10,000.

1100 - Dublin As Peter Preston-Morley, Head of Coin Department at Dix Noonan Webb, explains: Communion tokens are derived from the Irish wars of religion of the mid 1600s. Protestants assembled in large church meetings, which served, not just as religious meetings, but also as political gatherings. To keep track of just who was attending these larger meetings, which were subject to activities of political spies and people that did not belong, communion tokens came into being. They were given to known local congregants by the priest or pastor to whom, like the Catholics, confession was made. The tokens would then be surrendered upon taking communion at the larger church meetings. The tokens, thus, act as passes, allowing members from smaller congregations to assemble in larger churches and not be deemed political spies, or worse, unrepentant sinners.

Most of the towns and villages in Northern Ireland are represented in the collection, with interesting items being an extremely comprehensive group of 21 tokens from Belfast churches dating from the 1820s onwards which are estimated at £600-800; while from Londonderry, 13 tokens are expected to fetch £400-500, and from Broughshane in Co. Antrim 18 tokens for the same village carry an estimate of £200-300.

1101 - Tralee Although the majority cover Northern Ireland, there are some from the Republic of Ireland too. From County Dublin, a group of three tokens from Ormond Quay including the Scotch Church, 1843 and Lower Abbey Street Presbyterian Church are expected to fetch £150-200, and an extremely fine token from the Presbyterian Church in Tralee in County Kerry, dating from 1911 is estimated at £60-80.

Delmas Parker was the seventh child, born to a couple settling the Oklahoma prairie panhandle. His mother soon died from complications of the birth given in the sod brick house. His father put him on a train with his oldest sister, and one dollar, to grow up in Kansas with an aunt. Delmas obtained a BA degree in English as a Shakespearian actor, from the University of Iowa. Upon graduation Delmas signed with the U.S. Merchant Marines. He served 11 years on oil tankers, as the Chief Steward, hauling Venezuelan crude during all of World War II, from the deep water ports of Aruba and Curacao to the Texas city refineries. He survived two of his ships being torpedoed and sunk.

Seventh born children are natural diplomats, as they are the deciding family vote, and being physically diminutive, are forced to learn language and social coping skills during their formative years to be competitive. Being outcast from before he could remember, Delmas rose to the challenges of his early life, putting to memory and understanding vast sections of Shakespeare and the poets of the English Romantic Movement, and the American poems of Robert Browning and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was a man of letters, writing constantly with his older brothers, two of whom were priests to their congregations for 50 years each. Both his older sisters lived to be 100. Delmas had command of the depths of English literature and was able to share and instill haunting and unique perspectives, as the situation required. He was a collector of vignettes of language. He loved and relished the English language, and could stand and deliver for hours, from memory.

Delmas married Alice, also from a family of seven from Oklahoma, who working as a public health nurse in Texas City, Galveston. The couple moved to Houston and Delmas became the first chef at the new Shamrock Hilton Hotel, where he cooked for Clark Gable, and later the Houston Yacht Club. Delmas was a co-founder of the Texas Culinary Society and wrote regular cookbook reviews for the CondéNast magazine Gourmet. He was elected to the local Houston school board and provided the recipes and organization for the annual Chili Supper. He authored two books, Curry for America and Recipes for 50.

For more information, see:

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In his latest CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series article, Mike Markowitz looks at eagles on ancient coins. Here's a short excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

Majestic, powerful, swift, and intelligent, the eagle has held a strong grip on human imagination since the earliest times. The bald eagle, native to North America, features prominently on the Great Seal of the United States, and on many classic and modern American coins. The U.S. $10 gold piece was called an Eagle, and the current one-ounce silver bullion coin bears the same name.

The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), native to the Old World, is frequently seen on ancient coins. A search for the term eagle on the Coin Archives Pro database, which currently lists over 1.8 million auction records, found 128,257 hits. Eagle and Tetradrachm (a common collectable ancient) produced 24,099 records. Eagles appear on eight coins listed in Harlan J. Berk's 100 Greatest Ancient Coins.


Ionia stater

IONIA, Uncertain. Circa 600-550 BCE. EL Hekte – Sixth Stater(?) (8mm, 1.86 g). Uncertain standard. Eagle flying upward, head left / Incuse square with two parallel right angle lines within. CNG E-408, lot 197 var. (lines in rev. punch); Rauch Summer Auction 2012, lot 345 var. (plain punch); otherwise unpublished. Good VF, as made. Extremely rare. Credit: CNG

The earliest appearance of an eagle on a coin dates from about 600-550 BCE: an electrum hekte (or one-sixth stater, 1.86 gram) from an uncertain mint in Ionia, on the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea. The bird is shown with wings outspread, the posture called eagle displayed in heraldry (Fox-Davies, 233). A unique, similar coin with a pelleted border and struck on a different weight standard (2.58 grams) is cited as one of the earliest attempts in numismatic art to represent a bird in flight (Rosen, 13).


Olympia stater

Elis, Olympia Stater circa 450-440, 82nd-87th Olympiad, AR 12.38 g. Eagle flying r., grasping hare with its talons and tearing at it with its beak. Rev. Nike running l., holding wreath in extended r. hand and l. raising hem of chiton; in the field, F – A. All within incuse circle. Seltman 69 (AN/at?). Gillet 965 (this coin). SNG Copenhagen 358 (these dies). SNG Spencer-Churchill 165 (this coin). Credit: Numismatica Ars Classica The city of Elis in Greece managed the sacred site of Olympia, where the Olympic games were held every four years beginning in 776 BCE. Foreign coins were not accepted at the games, so visitors had to exchange their money for special issues that produced a tidy profit for Elis.

For about two centuries, Elis maintained a high standard of artistry on this coinage, which often included an eagle, the companion of Zeus. A lifelike eagle in flight, grasping a hare in its talons and tearing it with its beak appears on a coin of Elis, struck c. 450-440 BCE and pedigreed to the famous Spencer-Churchill collection, realized over $32,000 USD in a 2019 Swiss auction.

To read the complete article, see:
Eagles on Ancient Coins (

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This press release describes two great U.S. gold rarities to be on display at the upcoming Summer 2021 FUN convention. -Editor

1921 $20 NGC PF64+ obverse 1921 $20 NGC PF64+ reverse

Not known to exist until 2006, the 1921 Roman Finish proof Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle authenticated and graded NGC PF64+ CAC, will be publicly displayed in July for the first time in nearly a decade.

From the collection of Brian Hendelson of New Jersey, it will be exhibited by Heritage Auctions ( at the Florida United Numismatists ( Summer 2021 Convention in Orlando, July 8-10.

1854-S $5 PCGS XF45

Heritage will also display the fourth known 1854-S Liberty Half Eagle that was discovered in 2018. Of the four, only two are in private hands including this previously unknown example now encapsulated PCGS XF45, one is in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and another 1854-S gold $5 has been missing for a half century, said Jim Stoutjesdyk, Vice President of Numismatics at Heritage.

An 1854-S $5 gold piece was stolen from industrialist Willis duPont in Coconut Grove, Florida in 1967 and is still unaccounted for. The duPont family has declared in writing it has no claims to the coin that will be exhibited at the FUN convention and offered at auction by Heritage along with the 1921 proof Double Eagle later this year.

On display at booth #703 during the FUN summer event, both the 1921 Roman Finish proof Saint-Gaudens $20 and 1854-S Liberty Head $5 will be among the top highlights of Heritage's Platinum Night auction at the American Numismatic Association's 2021 Chicago World's Fair of Money® ( in August.

No examples of Roman Finish proofs for 1921 Double Eagles were known until 2000 when a circulated example was discovered. Then in 2006, the numismatic community was stunned when this second coin in superb condition surfaced and was authenticated by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (, said Hendelson. Both proofs are believed to have been struck as presentation pieces by authority of Raymond T. Baker, who was director of the United States Mint in 1921.

This 1921 proof $20 denomination gold coin has previously only been publicly exhibited twice, at the 2010 and 2013 American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money conventions in Boston and Chicago respectively. A special brochure about the coin and how Hendelson helped discover it and battled to get it will be available at the Heritage Auctions booth at the FUN show.

When it was authenticated in 2006, NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg stated: The 1921 proof ranks highly among the truly important recent numismatic discoveries…it is earth shattering to encounter a coin like this for the first time outside of a museum or marquee collection. This is world-class numismatic treasure...

Roman Finish proof coins, also known as Satin Finish proof, were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1909 and 1910, although some examples are known from later years, such as the relatively recent discoveries of the 1921 Roman Finish proof Double Eagles. The Roman Finish combines a brilliant proof surface with a matte finish surface and are considered by some collectors as the most beautiful proof coins struck by the United States.


1946–2021: CELEBRATING 75 YEARS of the RED BOOK. The 75th edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins will release next week, April 7, 2021. Preorder now to reserve your copy—online at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


The New England Numismatic Association's official publication is NENA News. John Ferreri offered to share some articles with E-Sylum readers; thanks! Here's a token article that caught my eye - it's from the June 2019 issue. Written by Ed Brozynza, it's about the Cracker Jack Mystery Club tokens. -Editor

Cracker Jack Mystery Club tokens
The images above are obverse and reverse of a cancelled Abraham Lincoln Cracker Jack token found while metal detecting, also known as coin shooting to those involved in the hobby. The hole was punched as a way to cancel the token before sending it back to the owner. The third image is of a pristine example of the same token, uncancelled.

Just about everyone at one time or other has eaten a box of Cracker Jacks and eagerly looked inside for the prize that was included. The company that was to become Cracker Jack was started up by the Rueckheim brothers, immigrants from Germany. They were not the first to introduce a molasses covered popcorn snack but were the first to develop a way to keep the kernels from sticking to the other kernels in the box. They first introduced their snack to the public at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The snack was quite popular with the fairgoers which encouraged the brothers to market their product to the general public. In 1896 the product was registered along with their slogan, The More You eat, The More You Want. Toy prizes were first put into the boxes in 1912 and consisted mainly of baseball cards and toys which were mostly rings, plastic figurines and stickers. Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo were introduced in 1916 and became a registered trademark in 1919. In 1922 the company officially changed the name to Cracker Jack. Until 1937 most of the prizes were made in Japan but deteriorating relations with that country and eventually the war brought change to where the prizes were made. During World War II all prizes were made of paper because metal was needed for the war effort.

In 1933 the Cracker Jack Company launched a promotion called the Cracker Jack Mystery Club. Instead of the usual toy surprise, an aluminum token bearing the portrait of one of the U.S. presidents was included, starting with Washington and ending with FDR (Roosevelt) who was president at the time. Each token listed some general information about the President on the token along with his portrait. To become a member of the Mystery Club you had to send in TEN tokens and in return would receive a certificate proclaiming you as a member of the club along with a small gift and your ten tokens. To avoid having the tokens redeemed a second time they were either marked, cancelled or had a hole punched in them.

Soon after the program was introduced, the number of tokens required for membership was reduced to THREE and then shortly after that the tokens needed were increased to FIVE. The promotion was discontinued in 1936. The Borden Company bought Cracker Jack in 1964 after beating out the Frito-Lay company in a bidding war. In 1997 Frito-Lay bought the company from Borden and in 2016 stopped putting a prize inside the box.

While some people derive pleasure studying the various coins they obtain for their specific collections, I get pleasure searching for whatever the earth may give up to my metal detector. It could be a coin, a piece of jewelry or a long forgotten token such as the piece described. The enjoyment derived comes from the research performed to establish the story behind the object found.

For more information on the New England Numismatic Association, see:

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Künker is offering a great medal in their upcoming sale. Here's an article about it by Ursula Kampmann. -Editor

Politics, Religion and Divine Retribution: The Failed Ambitions of William II of Orange

In its anniversary auction sale 350, Künker offers a medal by Sebastian Dadler, which deals with the failed ambitions of the Stadtholder of the Netherlands: he would have liked for the Eighty Years' War to go on for a bit longer.

by Ursula Kampmann on behalf of Künker

If you think that the Thirty Years' War was a German affair, you are wrong. Germany was just the battlefield on which the rulers of Spain, France, Denmark and Sweden pursued their ambitions. An international front was formed at the Rhine. The Protestants and Catholic France stood on one side, and the Catholics around the Habsburg emperor and the Spanish on the other. It was all about the Netherlands. Those who controlled the Rhine were able to use or block the Spanish supply line between northern Italy and the Netherlands. The envoys of the German states were merely tolerated spectators at the negotiations leading to the Peace of Westphalia. The fundamental decisions were made by the French, Swedish, Spanish, Dutch and imperial envoys. And it was they who decided that, after 30 years of war, Germany finally had a prospect of peace, and that the 80 Years' War waged by the Netherlands against Spain was thus over, too.

Dadler meda01Willem_II_en_zijn_bruid_Maria_Stuart_De_latere_stadhouder_Willem_II,_prins_van_Oranje_(1626-1650),_en_zijn_bruid_prinses_Maria_Stuart_(1631-1660),_dochter_van_Karel_I_van_Engeland,_SK-A-102 The Interests of William II of Orange
Someone was not at all happy about the peace: the young and dynamic Stadtholder of the Netherlands, William II of Orange. However, when he took over the reign from his father on 14 March 1647 at the age of 21, there was nothing he could do despite all his efforts. The Netherlands signed the Peace of Westphalia. This was annoying for him. After all, he was married to a Stuart whose brother would have been the English king if Cromwell had not had Charles I executed. William needed soldiers in order to enforce his dynastic interests against Cromwell and Spain – but now, due to the peace treaty, the Netherlands wanted to reduce the size of his army and their tax payments.

William II refused to accept that and took violent action against the city of Amsterdam, where his loudest opponents resided. He had them imprisoned and ordered an attack on the city. Although the attack failed, the city fathers gave in: they preferred to fund William's army than to engage in an even more costly conflict with him that would have been detrimental to trade.

Thus, there would have probably been a new season of the Eighty Years' War against Spain had William II not been infected with smallpox. He died on 6 November 1650.

Dadler medal 02x01879a00 Dadler medal 02x01879r00

Sebastian Dadler's Medal Commemorating the Death of William II
We do not know who commissioned the medalist Sebastian Dadler, who lived in Hamburg at the time, to create a medal that interpreted the death of William II as the fortunate intervention of a divine power. But we do know that there was a large Dutch community in Hamburg and that Hamburg had close trade ties with Amsterdam. Hamburg merchants, just like their Amsterdam counterparts, probably appreciated peace as the basis of their business and thus gladly acquired a medal that depicted their view on the matter.

Dadler medal 03x01879v00

In order to comment on the death of William II on a medal, Dadler drew on well-known myths from ancient times. Thus, the obverse alludes to the Trojan horse, which carried ruin to Ilion in its belly.

On the obverse we see a large horse in front of the city view of Amsterdam. The horse is decorated with a magnificent saddle blanket. It features a sealed treaty with the inscription UNIO (= union) and RELIGIO (= denomination / faith). The saddle blanket represents the official propaganda of William II. He invoked his office as Governor General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands and propagated Calvinism as the religion that had to be protected everywhere.

What Dadler and his clients thought of this is expressed by the word SIMULANT, which is Latin for they deceive, pretend. This statement is illustrated by the soldiers hidden under the saddle blanket.

The legend comments the scene with a line from Virgil: From the one crime recognize them all as culprits. This refers to the arrest of hostile Amsterdam politicians by William II and his attack on Amsterdam – both happened on 30 July 1650, the date mentioned in the inscription. In other words, one should not pay attention to the propaganda of William II but to his deeds.

Dadler medal 04x01879v00 Kopie

The inscription in the exergue – he only did reject the war – is also from the Aeneid and compares the crime of the city of Amsterdam to that of Palamedes, who tried to convinced the Greeks to call off the Trojan War. His desire to make peace was punished with death.

Dadler medal 05x01879r00 Kopie

The reverse depicts the procession held on the occasion of the funeral service for William II. Courtiers with long coats and hats accompany the catafalque of the deceased Stadtholder pulled by eight horses in front of the scenery of The Hague.

Dadler medal 06x01879r00 Kopie 2

But this funeral procession is virtually pushed aside by Dadler's comment on the event. Again, it comes from Greek mythology: Dadler associated the young William II with Phaeton, who asked his father to let him steer the chariot of the sun. Apollon granted him his wish, but the boisterous driver was not up to the task. He got too close to the earth and started a great fire. In order to save the world, Zeus had no choice but to kill Phaeton by his lightning (or smallpox).

He failed daring greatly, reads the inscription on the reverse. It quotes a line of the epigram that is said to have been on Phaeton's tomb. The date associated with it – 6 November 1650 – was the day William II died.

Dadler medal 07x01879v00 Kopie 2 Dadler medal 08x01879r00 Kopie 3

Sebastian Dadler signed this work twice.

PR Experts
Anyone who consults the relevant encyclopedias today will find that the young William II still enjoys the reputation of having been an inexperienced hothead who wanted to continue the Eighty Years' War for selfish motives. We used these encyclopedias for the historical introduction.

The problem with this is that we are doing nothing less than adopting the excellent propaganda of the citizens of Amsterdam, who spread their view of things effectively by means of prints, copper engravings, paintings and medals. Sebastian Dadler also continued the myth of the peaceful and freedom-loving Dutch citizens with his medal. While doing so, he shows off his artistic talent in such a way that we are inclined to adopt the opinion of Amsterdam for the mere beauty of this piece.

However, present day teaches us that no party can always be right, and none can always be wrong – and that might have been the case in the 17th century too. William II simply didn't grow old enough to propagate his position with a lasting effect.

This medal is on sale in Künker's anniversary auction sale 350 from 29 June to 1 July 2021. You can find all coins of this auction at

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Earl Honeycutt submitted this information about three new Philippines Battle of Mactan Quincentennial medals. Thanks! Nice medals. -Editor

Battle of Mactan Medals
Earl Honeycutt and Sandy Lichauco

Three new medals are currently available in Manila to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Battle of Mactan. The battle occurred on April 27, 1521 and resulted in the death of Ferdinand Magellan and a number of his crew. Magellan and his men were attempting the first circumnavigation of the world while also converting local populations to Catholicism. After baptizing Humabon the Rajah of Sugbo (Cebu) Rajah Humabon sent word to Mactan Island, a short distance across a channel, to provide provisions for the Spanish expedition and to accept Catholicism. Lapulapu, one of two Datus of Mactan, refused to comply and Magellan took his warriors into battle with Lapulapu to force compliance. When the Spaniards arrived, they were met by a large number of Philippine pintados or painted warriors. After the conclusion of the battle, the Spanish landing was repelled and Magellan was fatally wounded. Because of his defiance of the European invaders, Filipinos view Lapulapu as the first Philippine hero. To commemorate this historic event on the 500th Anniversary, three medals are being offered.

The first medal is minted by the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP or Central Bank of the Philippines) and is 38.6 mm in diameter and 99.9% silver. The obverse side of the commemorative medal has Lapu-Lapu markings placed on the image of the Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Cebu and the logos of the BSP and QCP. The reverse side has the markings of Battle of Mactan above the rendition of the battle and an engraved date 27 April 1521. This medal is minted in limited numbers and already sells for a huge premium over the BSP initial price of $75. Some early sellers on Ebay® asked $300+ for the medal. More recent pricing is $220.

Philippines Battle of Mactan OR Central Bank Quincentennial  medal obverse Philippines Battle of Mactan OR Central Bank Quincentennial  medal reverse

The second medal is comprised of a zinc alloy, is 40 mm in diameter and 3 mm thick. The obverse of the medal depicts a Spanish ship, a large rendition of Lapulapu, 500th Quincentennial and April 27, 1521-2021. The reverse has Bayan Ng Filipinas and Datu Lapulapu framed by a starburst. With a mintage of 300 pieces, the Mactan medal is the first of 10 historical medals offered by Numisworks that are selling for $20-25 per medal.

Philippines Battle of Mactan Numisworks Quincentennial medal obverse Philippines Battle of Mactan Numisworks Quincentennial medal reverse

The third medal produced by Alamat Commemorative Coins is 32 mm Silver Plated Brass and is 2.5 mm thick. The obverse lists Republika Ng Pilipinas, a bust, and Lapulapu 1521. The reverse is Battle of Mactan, April 27, 1521, 500th Anniversary, and depicts a battle scene. Accurate pricing is not known at this time.

Philippines Battle of Mactan Alamat Quincentennial medal obverse Philippines Battle of Mactan Alamat Quincentennial medal reverse

Collectors are encouraged to monitor eBay offerings under Philippine Medals or ask family or friends in the Philippines to purchase for them as they come available. The three medals will be listed in Honeycutt's Philippine Medals and Tokens 1780-2020 (4th edition planned for 2023) as H-899-10 (BSP), H-899-11 (Numisworks), and H-899-12 (Alamat).

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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Canadian Coin News published an article this week about a collector who has been cataloging fake coins found in circulation. -Editor

Camel Toe toonie counterfeits
The most glaring counterfeit marker on a recent spate of fake $2 circulation coins (left) is the polar bear's right paw. On genuine toonies (right), the bear's paw is more uniform.

Since March, collector Brent Mackie has searched more than 200 boxes of $2 circulation coins – about 100,000 toonies altogether – to search for counterfeits.

I've seen many of the counterfeits and have noticed a great deal of defects on them including die rotations, die clashes, die cracks, extra die metal and weak strikes. Many coins feature multiple defects, Mackie told CCN.

Mackie is mostly cataloguing these Camel Toe fakes – named after the tell-tale marker on the polar bear's right paw – but he's also diving into the fakes struck at the so-called Montreal Mint, an advanced counterfeiting operation that minted 2004- and 2005-dated toonies before the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shut it down.

Mackie believes there could be millions of the Camel Toe fakes in circulation due to the variety and prevalence of the die cracks, which indicates poor-quality dies are being used until they destroy themselves.

To read the complete article, see:
Ontario collector cataloguing fake toonies (

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Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor

Commission of Fine Arts

Arthur Shippee passed along this NPR article about the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Thanks. -Editor

Art and government make prickly bedfellows. When President Harry Truman wanted to add a balcony to the White House, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts advised against it. Truman built it anyway and let those commissioners' terms expire. When legislators lobbed all kinds of criticism at Maya Lin's contemplative design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Commission (CFA) protected the fundamentals of her concept, albeit agreeing to some concessions to appease the critics.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts was established by Congress in 1910 "to advise the federal government on matters pertaining to the arts and national symbols, and to guide the architectural development of Washington, D.C." Commissioners are selected for their expertise in art and architecture.

2005 California Quarter In a given year, the CFA reviews hundreds of cases that vary widely in scope and scale. The proposals they review run the gamut from the immense coffered barrel vault design for the D.C. Metro's underground stations to small engravings for coins that fit in your pocket. In May, 2021, the commission reviewed coin designs submitted by a number of states. For Mississippi, the choices were Delta blues motifs and images of the world's first lung transplant. The CFA went for the lung transplant, even though one commissioner admitted the images made him squeamish.

To read the complete article, see:
What's Ahead For The Group That Approves U.S. Arts Projects, From Monuments To Coins (

Four Reasons the Ancient Coin Market is Complicated

Tyler Rossi published a piece on CoinWeek on "Four Reasons the Ancient Coin Market is Complicated". -Editor

King Menander I  Drachm A collector of modern coins can, with enough education, be relatively assured that they will at least come out even with their purchases. But unlike modern numismatic and bullion coins, whose prices are relatively easy to track and have a significant market, the ancient coin market is a little more complicated.

There are four main reasons for this:

1. Almost constant discoveries can flood the market with thousands of coins without warning.
2. Restrictive laws can reduce supply and increase demand.
3. There seems to be an influx of super-wealthy collectors.
4. The rise of internet stores and online auctions has impacted the ancient coin market dramatically.

One of the best ways I have of describing the rarity of ancient coins to numismatists who specialize in modern types is by comparing them to shipwreck coins. They are rare until suddenly they are not.

To read the complete article, see:
Four Reasons the Ancient Coin Market is Complicated (

Counterfeit Canadian Post-Confederation Tokens

A Canadian Coin News article discusses Ted Banning's presentation at the recent International Token Web Conference about fake 19th century Montreal tokens. -Editor

The Breton Catalogue

Canadian collector Ted Banning, a former CCN columnist, spoke at the recent International Token Web Conference about fraudulent 19th-century tokens from Montréal.

Unknown to many collectors, some of those tokens listed in Pierre-Napoléon Breton's iconic 1894 catalogue, Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada, were known at the time to be outright frauds, said Banning, who explored their likely perpetrators.

To read the complete article, see:
Canadian collector, former CCN columnist speaks at virtual token conference (

Women to be Honored on U.S. Quarters

Arthur Shippee passed along this NPR article about women to be honored on U.S. quarters. Thanks. -Editor

Poet and author Maya Angelou, America's first woman in space and a revered Cherokee Nation leader are among female trailblazers whose likenesses will appear on the U.S. quarter.

The new four-year American Women Quarters Program celebrates women's accomplishments and contributions to the United States' development and history, according to the U.S. Mint.

To read the complete article, see:
Notable Women Will Be Honored On U.S. Quarters (

Selling the Crumbs of Action Comics #1
Len Augsburger writes:

"This is from last December, but interesting from a book collecting perspective."

action-comic-number-one-pieces Superman is arguably the most well known superhero in the entire world, serving as the archetype for the modern comic book protagonist, so when it comes to collectors, old school Supes is always an absolute treasure. Now you can have the chance to own literal pieces of history as an auction has gone up for bits of Superman's very first comic, Action Comics Number One. That's right, you can get in on the action (pun intended) of perhaps the most important comic book in existence.

Saying that this auction will leave the winning bidder owning pieces of history is actually quite literal, as the auction is actually for, well, pieces of Action Comics Number One. No you did not just misread that, this auction isn't for a full comic, but actual parts of it. This might sound absurd to some, but honestly, that's just the world of collectibles.

The pieces are little bits of the comic that flaked off, including a full staple, as a rare copy of the Superman book was being looked over by professional consignors. As of 2012, Comics Buyer's Guide estimated that only 50-100 original copies of Action Comics #1 exist, meaning that these flakes are insanely valuable. Not only are these scraps extremely rare, but these are the first pieces to be officially certified and graded by the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC).

I think they meant to write "being looked over by professional conservators". Bizarre. No, this is not an April Fools story. Is it fake news? The article doesn't link to the auction in question. Where is/was it being held? Did the item sell? How much am I bid for flakes of a complete original set of the American Journal of Numismatics? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Small Pieces Of Action Comics #1 Available For Auction (

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