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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 No new subscribers this week. We now have 6,729 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 one numismatic literature lot, two new books, an obituary, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, a PAN show presentation, and more.

Other topics this week include dealer coin envelopes, the Chapman Brothers, John Haseltine, Justin Kurz, Akio Lis, National Immigrant Day, ANA awards, auction previews, and spending legal tender commemorative coins.

To learn more about Mr. Gerard of Soho, the Future of Money, Houdini, the 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars, money of the U.S. Civil War, Lucky Tillicum, Glendining's, Minnesota obsolete notes, Bret Harte, the Coin Collector's Journal, INCO test pieces, Olympic medals, Limerick Soviet notes, and shredder girls, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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I poked around, and this seems to be the only lot of numismatic literature in the November 10, 2021 sale of Domenic Winter Auctioneers. But it looks like an important item, though - a bound volume of sixteen early priced and named British numismatic sale catalogues. Can anyone tell us more about Mr. Gerard of Soho? -Editor

Gerard Tutet sale 1786 Coin & Medal auction catalogues. A volume containing 16 auction catalogues for sales of coins & medals, 1786-1791, comprising:

1. A catalogue of the genuine and valuable collection of Greek, Roman, British, Saxon, English, and other, coins and medals ... of the Late Mark Cephas Tutet ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr.Gerard, at his house in Litchfield Street, St. Anne's, Soho, on Wednesday, the 18th of January, 1786, and the three following days,

2. A catalogue of the valuable collection of coins, medals, antiquities, bronzes, Royal and other ancient seals, books, manuscripts, printed, &c. of Benjamin Bartlett ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr.Gerard ... on Wednesday, April 25, 1787, and the five following days, Sunday excepted,

3. A catalogue of the ... collection of coins and medals ... of the late Ralph Grey ... will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Thursday, the 14th February, 1788,

4. A catalogue of the genuine collection of ancient and modern coins and medals, & c. ... of the late Reverend Dr. John Pearkes ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr.Gerard ... on Thursday the 21st, and Friday the 22nd of February, 1788,

5. A catalogue of the genuine library of printed books, a collection of Natural curiosities, antiquities, and other miscellaneous articles, of the late Reverend Dr. John Pearkes ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Monday the 7th, and Tuesday the 8th of April, 1788,

6. A catalogue of the entire collection of Greek, Roman, British, Saxon, English, and other, coins and medals ... the property of the late Mr. John White, of Newgate Street, Part I. ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday the 27th, and Thursday the 28th, of February, 1788,

7. A catalogue of the entire collection of Greek, Roman, British, Saxon, English, and other, coins and medals ... the property of the late Mr. John White, of Newgate Street, Part II. ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Monday the 3rd, and Tuesday the 4th, of March, 1788,

8. A catalogue of the collection of Greek, Roman, British, Saxon, English, and other, coins and medals ... of a late well-known collector, deceased ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday, April 30, 1788, and the two following days,

9. A catalogue of a valuable collection of Greek and Roman coins..., which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday the 8th, and Thursday the 9th, of April, 1789,

10. A catalogue ... of ancient and modern coins and medals ... which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday, May 5, 1790, and the two following days,

11. A catalogue of the genuine and select collection of Roman, Saxon, and English coins and medals ... of Mr. Keyser Mole, deceased, which will be sold by auction, by Mess. Spurrier & Phipps, on the premises, opposite the Hoxton-Town Coffee-House, Hoxton, Middlesex. On Thursday, the 29th of April 1790,

12. A catalogue of the genuine collection of Greek, Roman, Saxon, English, and other coins and medals ... of the late Gustavus Brander ..., which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday, the 3rd, and Thursday, the 4th, of February, 1790,

13. A catalogue of the genuine and valuable collection of ancient and modern coins and medals ... collected by the late Charles Chauncy ... and his brother, Nathaniel Chauncy ..., will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday, May the 19th, 1790,

14. A catalogue of the entire and valuable museum of that well-known collector, the late Joseph Browne, Esq. of Shepton-Mallet, Somerset ... Part I. ... will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Wednesday, March 16, 1791,

15. A catalogue of the entire and valuable museum of that well known collector, the late Joseph Browne, Esq. of Shepton-Mallet, Somerset ... Part V. ... will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Thursday, the 2d of June, 1791,

16. A catalogue of the collection of ancient and modern coins and medals ... of the late Rev. Michael Lort ... which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Gerard ... on Thursday the 14th and Friday the 15th of July, 1791,

each catalogue with detailed manuscript entries of hammer prices achieved and purchaser's names, occasional dust-soiling and minor marks, ownership of J.C.Lindsay, 80 Main St., Cockermouth to pastedowns, contemporary half calf, upper joint cracked and lower joint worn, chipped at head & foot of spine, 8vo

To read the complete lot description, see:
Coin & Medal auction catalogues. A volume of 16 coin & medal auction catalogues, 1786-91 (

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A new book reviews the entire history of money to modern times. -Editor

A Global History of Money book cover A Global History of Money
By Akinobu Kuroda

Copyright Year 2020
ISBN 9780367859237
Published April 7, 2020 by Routledge
228 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations

Book Description
Looking from the 11th century to the 20th century, Kuroda explores how money was used and how currencies evolved in transactions within local communities and in broader trade networks. The discussion covers Asia, Europe and Africa and highlights an impressive global interconnectedness in the pre-modern era as well as the modern age.

Drawing on a remarkable range of primary and secondary sources, Kuroda reveals that cash transactions were not confined to dealings between people occupying different roles in the division of labour (for example shopkeepers and farmers), rather that peasants were in fact great users of cash, even in transactions between themselves. The book presents a new categorization framework for aligning exchange transactions with money usage choices.

This fascinating monograph will be of great interest to advanced students and researchers of economic history, financial history, global history and monetary studies.

Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1 Exchanges Generate Money Locally 1. Peasants, Marketplace, and Money 2. Stagnant Currencies and Stratified Markets Part 2 A Global History of Monetary Delocalization 3. The Ignition of Monetary Delocalization: An Unexpected Remnant of the Mongolian Regime, c.1300 4. The World Diversified and Stratified: Three Paths after the Global Silver March, c.1600 5. Nationalised Money: The Backstage of the International Gold Standard Regime, c.1900 Conclusion: Money as a Social Circuit

Akinobu Kuroda is Professor of East Asian History at the University of Tokyo, Japan. His research covers comparative studies of monetary history in East Asia, India, Africa and Europe, as well as specific studies of China's monetary history.

For more information, or to order, see:
A Global History of Money (

To read a CoinsWeekly review by Daniel Baumbach, see:
A Global History of Money (

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Picking up where Akinobu Kuroda left off, Eswar Prasad looks into the future of money. While cryptocurrency isn't directly numismatic, numismatists do care about what it means for the physical coins and other money we use today. -Editor

Future of Money book cover In the 13th century, Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, created the first fiat currency, money that gets its value from the state declaring it has value. This was not the first paper money — Chinese merchants had been using deposit certificates since the 7th century. It was, however, the first not backed by any kind of commodity, such as gold, but solely the power of the state. Indeed, anyone not accepting the tokens risked being put to death. It was the birth of money as most of us know it today.

Now, according to Eswar Prasad, we are in the midst of a new revolution, this time launched by private innovation. The spark came from bitcoin in 2009, the first digital money that needed no trusted third party — whether a government, a commercial bank or payments processor such as Visa. While the libertarian ideal of its creators — a financial system free of state power — will be frustrated, he argues, the decentralised record-keeping that underpins cryptocurrencies will bring cheaper and more efficient payments.

In The Future of Money, Prasad envisages an era of monetary separation between the state and the private sector. While modern money, mostly, consists of bank deposits, the commercial banks depend on central banks to provide the reserves backing them and to administer the system of interbank payments. New technologies will break apart this partnership. While the state's money will provide a store of value, private currencies will, often, be used to make payment.

Take Facebook's mooted cryptocurrency, now known as Diem. That could, Prasad argues, transform the creaky and expensive world of international payments. At present, cross-border payments hop from bank to bank with each adding fees at every step and repeating costly anti-money laundering checks. Instead, transfers could all take place by buying and then sending Diem. That would save often poor migrants from having to hand over to the financial sector a big chunk of the remittances they want to send home.

bitcoins The book is comprehensive to a fault and a vital handbook for anyone looking to understand how finance is changing. The style, however, can be quite dry and the language, often, too academic. And while the author's vision of the future is, in many ways, plausible, is this really as new an era as he suggests? Stablecoins are very similar to existing bank deposits. Indeed, the U.S. is considering regulating cryptocurrencies like banks. From a consumer point of view the future may look pretty similar even if, behind the scenes, payments systems work differently.

Prasad's prediction that the monetary balance of power will shift to the private sector will depend not on the efficiency of decentralised ledgers but the state's willingness to tolerate the challenge. Eras of free banking in Scotland and the U.S. when banks issued their own banknotes, similar to stablecoins, were brought to an end in the middle of the 19th century not because of better technology but because the state asserted control.

To read the complete article, see:
The Future of Money by Eswar Prasad — balances of powe (

For more information, or to order, see:
The Future of Money (
The Future of Money How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance (

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Pete Smith submitted this obituary and remembrance of his friend Steve Carr. Thank you! -Editor

Carr.Stephen.M.04 On Saturday I received the October issue of The Numismatist, somewhat delayed in the mail. I was saddened to read of the death of an old friend, Steve Carr.

Carr was an active member of the Early American Coppers Club [EAC]. A regular feature of Penny-Wise was Carr's Talking Beginners articles in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Then he and Doug Bird taught the Introduction to Early American Copper course at ANA Summer Seminar for twenty years 1999 to 2018. He promoted exhibiting and also taught a counterfeit detection class at EAC conventions. He contributed a column on large cents for Numismatic News.

Carr was born in Dayton, Ohio, on November 3, 1951. He was an award-winning swimmer and track athlete in high school. He received a B. A. in industrial technology from Hanover College in 1974 and M.A. in history from Purdue University in 1977. He went back for his B.S. teaching degree from University of Wyoming in 1987. He was married to Katherine Ann Thurston with a daughter and two sons.

He taught industrial technology in high school in Wyoming before teaching automotive technology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, for more than thirty years, 1996 to 2017. He was a member of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America. With this interest, he collected parts and frames to rebuild cars.

In March of 2012 the EAC and JRCS convention was in Buffalo, New York. Steve was there for the EAC convention and I was there for JRCS. The convention closed on Sunday morning and we each had a few hours to kill before our return flights. We walked over to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

There was a program there for Armed Forces Day. After the ceremony we walked through a cruiser (USS Little Rock), destroyer (USS The Sullivans) and submarine (USS Croaker) at the museum. It was a great experience to share with a friend and a reminder that sometimes the best experiences at a convention are away from the convention.

Carr catalogued coins at the Smithsonian Institution. For this he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Numismatics from the ANA in 2015. Carr received an ANA Presidential Award in 2020. He died at home surrounded by family on July 9, 2021.

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In time for the upcoming holiday Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. Thanks. -Editor

  JewishAmericanHallOfFameMedals Houdini 2 
  JewishAmericanHallOfFameMedals Houdini 1 

Houdini Escapes From a Halloween Medal Commissioned by the Jewish American Hall of Fame in 1996, this Halloween-themed Houdini medal set cleverly utilizes the three-dimensional aspect of the medal. A Halloween scene is incuse on one piece while in relief on the other, and the two pieces are intended to be mated. When a mated pair, the set depicts Houdini on the obverse and set of handcuffs on the reverse. As the pair is separated, symbolizing Houdini's escape, the mayhem of Halloween is unloosed on the viewer. Fittingly, Houdini died on October 31, in 1926. The full story of the medal set is related in Mel Wacks' Jewish American Hall of Fame Medals, available on Newman Portal.

Link to Jewish American Hall of Fame Medals on NNP:


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.


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 Tom Uram and the 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollar Legislation. -Editor

PAN President Helps Pass Morgan and Peace Dollar Legislation 2021.
VIDEO: 3:00.

  Tom Uram 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollar Legislation 

August 10-14, 2021.
Thomas Uram, President, Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists,
David Lisot, Interviewer,

An important piece of legislation was passed that allows the creation of a 2021 dated Morgan and Peace dollar coin for collectors. The year coincides with the 100 year anniversary of when these two coins circulated simultaneously. Spearheading the legislation was Tom Uram, President, Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, along with some allies on Capitol Hill. Tom talks about what was involved in getting the bill passed, who was responsible, and PAN, the organization of which he is president.

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

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See last week's article (linked below) for more information on the great educational program lineup at this week's PAN show near Pittsburgh. I'll be there as well, giving a talk Friday afternoon about collector Howard Gibbs and his adventures with primitive money of the world.

Here's a press release with more information about one of the events - a series of short performances with Abe Lincoln himself about money of the Civil War. -Editor

Abe Lincoln's Legacy: Money Matters of the Civil War™

Two non-profit educational organizations collaborate on their inaugural time travel program. Program finds compelling intersections between US Civil War History and Coins and Currency of today.

The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) and Forest Glen Commonwealth, Inc. (both 501(c)(3) not for profit organizations) are presenting a new, special, free public program suitable for all ages as part of PAN's HALLOWEEN WEEKEND COIN SHOW.

  FGC Logo Forest Glen Commonwealth Inc club_pan_logo 

Date: Saturday, October 30, 2021
Time: 11 A.M. – NOON
Location: Monroeville Convention Center, 209 Mall Blvd, Monroeville PA

This special Living History Program couples an established Abe Lincoln Interpreter with Co-Authors of the recently released book, Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting in the Civil War.

According to Mr. McBride, Secretary of PAN and himself a highly-regarded living history interpreter representing statesman Benjamin Franklin,

This is one of the first times PAN has leveraged the expertise of authors like Lank and Rush with our celebrity guest and living historian Abe Lincoln to produce an interactive program. This program will be great for kids...and as America's 160th anniversary of the Civil War begins in 2021 and runs through 2025, we intend to do even more programs about Abe Lincoln's Legacy: Money Matters of the Civil War.

Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists is in its 40th Year of hosting Coin Exhibitions, Sales and Lectures in support of the hobby with special educational segments and free family-friendly activities planned for Saturday Afternoon's PANKidZone.


  • Dates: October 28, 29 and 30, 2021
  • Expected participation by Vendors*: over 150
  • Expected number of attendees:* 1,500
  • PAN Show website:

*estimates based on safely lifting COVID related event restrictions.

Selected Money Matters of the Civil War Tales with Abe Lincoln will include:

  • 1861-1864: Lincoln appeals to Loyal Women from the steps of the US Treasury Building---Homefront Sanitary Fairs Raise Money
  • 1862, 63, 64: Lincoln Authorizes 3 new U.S. Branch Mints in the West to make up for shortages of small change
  • 1862: Legal Tender Act - Lincoln authorizes US Greenbacks as legal tender to pay for the war - Greenbacks open the door for Treasury Girls
  • 1865: Secret Service – Curtails Rampant Counterfeiting

The selected family-friendly programs will be presented in FOUR segments of about 15-minutes each for a total of 1-hour. The programs will be filmed and there will be an opportunity for questions and answers.

About No Small Change Programs:
Developed for educational purposes by founders of the Forest Glen Commonwealth, Inc. (501c3 non-profit) to make American History more accessible, entertaining and relevant to people of all ages. Free public programs have been presented in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Programs have been held for Coin Clubs, Local History Clubs, Archaeology Clubs, Book Stores, the B&O Roundhouse (Martinsburg WV) and at Public Libraries.

Dennis Boggs as Abe Lincoln Dennis Boggs (Lexington, KY) presents an enlightening, informative, and educational look at the life of the 16th President as it might have been told by Abraham Lincoln himself. From Lincoln's birth in the wilderness of Kentucky to his early years in Indiana and Illinois... from storekeeper to self-taught lawyer and politician... through his years as President during the Civil War and his death at the hands of an assassin in Ford's Theater.

Boggs has researched countless books and papers and has diligently designed a presentation that encompasses fifty-six years of Abraham Lincoln's life.

Boggs will collaborate with Lank and Rush to produce an engaging discussion of the Money Matters with which Abraham Lincoln was personally involved from 1861-1865.

Truth is stranger than fiction – and so there is nothing like digging deep into legends and stories that are rooted in historical events, but have been either forgotten or embellished with the passage of time... With that in mind, Lank has delved into several stories that have roots in the US Civil War period, but which have either taken on legendary status (such as the CSA Treasure Train and tireless tales of Confederate Gold) or have been largely forgotten by the public (such as how our paper money – Greenbacks – got its start because of the War and how women started making in-roads in federal civil services due to the War).

Lank first crafted the title and theme of Money, Mayhem & Might: How the Civil War changed our Money (and How Money changed the War) just before the Pandemic struck and Coin Shows were cancelled everywhere. He and his partner Becky Rush created Talisman & Coiner and expanded the stories and as of now there are three titles in the Money, Mayhem & Might Saga, with more to come.

Lank and Rush have been invited to give two presentations in October on the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) – with one topic being more on Abe Lincoln's Legacy: Money Matters of the Civil War and the other being Sumptuous Southern Stories of Missing Confederate Money.

Rush (Hagerstown, MD) is an inactive CPA who is keenly interested in US Monetary History and non-military roles played by women during the Civil War. Of the women who were some of the first employees of the U.S. Treasury, known as the Treasury Girls, some, who were war-widows were personally recommended by President Lincoln. Women organizing in hometowns who were inspired by President Lincoln to provide clothing/blankets/food directly for soldiers, also raised millions of dollars for the Union troops through elaborate Sanitary FAIRS. Rush is an advisory board member of the Women's Relief Corp, a federally chartered organization formed to honor the sacrifices of families and the memories of Union Soldiers of the Civil War.

Rebecca (Becky) Rush writes:

"Please help us circulate this information among your friends & colleagues...and those who may be "casually curious" about how Abe Lincoln's Legacy fits into today's numismatic hobby. Any questions, please call me (240-625-2583). We look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh!"

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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Pete Smith writes:

Littleton Coin Co envelopes "I have seven Littleton Stamp Co. envelopes in my collection. They are about 3.25 x 5 inches. I also have 18 from Tatham Stamp & Coin Co. They come in a variety of sizes.

I was not a customer of either company in my youth. I acquired them from coins acquired when I worked for Grove Coin."

Dave Lange writes:

"Littleton's business model evidently was borrowed from Tatham, as their market (beginners and casual collectors) and method (elaborate catalogs of common items available in bulk) are nearly identical. It's no surprise that Littleton rose to prominence when Tatham began to fade in the late 1950s following the suicide of its owner."

At the 2015 ANA I discussed the topic with Ken Bressett and Littleton Public Relations Manager Jill Kimball. -Editor

"Ken Bressett told us he'd once worked for the Tatham Coin Company attributing ancient coins - he'd typed up descriptions on Tatham envelopes! And Jill told us that Maynard Sundman had modeled the Littleton company after the mail order format of Tatham. Those little envelopes have had impact down to the present day."

Bruce Bartelt writes:

"David Lange's note brought back memories from my youth. I purchased primarily foreign coins from Littleton in the 1960s, and retained a number of the envelopes after transferring the coins to 2x2s at some time. A careful search of my archives (aka an archaeological dig through a box in the back of my closet) turned up these. I must have known they would have significance some day!"


To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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More on Tom Fort
Joel Orosz writes:

Tom Fort portrait "I was shocked to read in The E-Sylum that Tom Fort has passed away. He was three years younger than me--the very definition of leaving us too soon. I enjoyed my visit to the "Fort Memorial Library" during the 2004 Pittsburgh ANA, and never dreamed that this ironic designation would become sadly apposite so soon.

I last saw him several years ago, when I took him and one of his friends to lunch in Kalamazoo during a break from their presentations at the Medieval Institute held annually at Western Michigan University. He was, as Kenny Lowe would have said, a mensch, and will be remembered as a fine editor of The Asylum."

Indeed. I was able to attend services for Tom this past Wednesday. Don Carlucci, Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists gave a wonderful eulogy. Tom will be in our hearts and on our minds at this week's PAN show. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More Porcelain Coin Collectors
O. T. Thompson writes:

"Thanks for covering the porcelain 'Coin Collector'. Attached are a couple others I've collected over the period of several moons."

  O. T. Thompson porcelain Coin Collectors 

Susan Sims writes:

"I saw the little blurb about the Goebel Coin Collector figurine. I went on eBay and snapped one up. I had no idea they even made this. One more item for the coin room."

Glad to help! Happy collecting. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: OCTOBER 17, 2021 : The Goebel Coin Collector (

More on the Lucky Tillicum Pieces

Scott Miller submitted these notes regarding the Lucky Tillicum pieces. -Editor

1933 Roosevelt Lucky Tillicum token obverse There was an article about them in the April 1934 issue of The Home Hobbiest (pp.4-5). They were reportedly issued in two versions, bronze and nickel by the Patriotic Products Association. Colonel House suggested the project, and Governor Roosevelt sat for the the artist responsible for the portrait. The first example struck was in gold and presented to Roosevelt. A total of 25,000 Lucky Tillicum pieces were distributed to novelty stores prior to the inauguration. The article concludes with a reference to an article by Roosevelt's daughter Anna (Mrs. Curtis Dell):

After about six people had asked me what ‘Lucky Tillicum' means, I started to try to find out for myself. You know, they're those little metal disks with my father's likeness stamped on them. I asked at several stores that sell them, but couldn't learn anything. Finally, a newspaper man told me that ‘Tillicum' is an Indian word meaning ‘lucky piece.' That makes the erdunant translation ‘Lucky Lucky Piece.'

Thanks. Interesting that there was a gold version struck. I wonder where it is today? -Editor

Scott adds:

"I had to look that up, and assume 'erdunant' is a typo for 'redundant'."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Glendining's
Daniel Fearon writes:

"I was pleased to see that the Newman Numismatic Portal has looked at the catalogues from the old established firm of Glendining & Co., a firm well-known to Eric Newman. However, as the last Managing Director of the firm (1986-2000), I found the portal's resumé rather too simplistic. Glendining - UK auction house, today (2019) absorbed by Bonham's. Data source: content provided by auction company.

Glendining's had been absorbed by Phillips Son & Neale after World War II [1946] keeping its name and still run by its founder Douglas William Glendining, but had all but ceased trading following my departure. So the sad but real demise of the company started before the Bonhams purchase of Phillips in July 2001 (at a time after Bonhams had closed their separate Coin & Medal department). I think it would be fair to say that Bonhams have never captured the magic of the Glendining sales of old. However, I hope that the portal access will allow collectors and students of numismatic alike to realise the place Glendining's held in London for 90 years and just how amazing a company it was."

Thank you. I provided Daniel's note to Len Augsburger, and the company description has been updated. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Yap Stones (Fei) plus Turks & Caicos
Steve, an E-Sylum advertiser writes:

"In the 1970's-80's I travelled frequently to both Turks and the American Pacific Islands for the collectibles business. Along with my associate, SGE (Robert A. Siegel's son-in-law) we'd seek out contracts with world governments (for coin, banknote & stamp production, distribution etc), setting up local employment bureaus to service the demand etc.

Turks & Caicos was a prime example, where I'd spend several months a year. Like many other island communities, it was a close knit society, and everyone knew that I wanted to buy paper money, tokens and conch pearls.

In Palau, where many of the Fei (I like this term better than Rai or Yap-Stones, as it reminds me of my friend and author of The Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties: The VAM Keys, M. Fey), were from, the Government treated me like royalty (with generous gifts and many ceremonial dinners, consisting over 20+ varieties of raw sea delights). And in the Federated States of Micronesia (where Yap is) I would hang out with the Postmaster General (previously the PMG of Hawaii), who of course knew everyone.

Naturally, I'd bring back many treasures, most of which have been sold over the years. Occasionally, I'll find a little treasure (usually a token or pearl - we had given a golf ball size conch pearl to Lady Diana for her wedding) stuffed in a drawer. And the only reminder of the Fei is this wood crocodile carving made by a prisoner at the Palau jail & signed in 1983.

  PrisonCarvedCrocYapSignedandDated IGPCEdlPmxDominica1977 

RIGHT: Steve dressed in a Seersucker above-the-knee 'shorts' suit with SGE in Roseau, Dominica in the mid 70's 


Thanks! Cool stuff. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Reader Remarks on The E-Sylum
James P. Sibley of Spring, TX writes:

"I've been reading the weekly E-Sylum for the last couple years, complimentary of my ANA membership, and wish to thank you for putting together an incredible learning resource. While I'm not a bibliophile, there's enough info about coins themselves that make me want to read it first thing Monday. I also enjoyed watching a March NNP Symposium session with you, Craig Whitford, Jim Halperin and George Cuhaj [who I connect with Cliff Mischler's off-and-on column in Numismatic News and his "I had lunch with George Cuhaj at ____ Tuesday...].

Having retired three years ago from leading a software/data company for 31 years [the #3 largest real property title data company in the country], I can appreciate the "bleeding edge" risk. Salaries and related costs were, by far, our largest expense, with IT consuming the lion's share.

Speaking of retirement, that's how I got back into coins, after a 53-year hiatus [like many, I was a paperboy, delivering the New Haven Register growing up and started collecting coins as an outgrowth of this activity]. College, military service, raising a family and a career in business led me to put everything on hold until I had the time to pick up this fantastic hobby again December 2018.

Again, thank you for YOUR passion in putting together The E-Sylum each week---you do an outstanding job, one for which no amount of money could properly compensate you."

Thank you! Glad you enjoy it. It's always nice to hear from readers. -Editor

Shawn Hewitt writes:

"Thank you for featuring my web site in your recent E-Sylum edition. Coincidentally, just this week I changed the domain name of my website as part of a rebranding effort, retiring the old business name north-trek. Would you please be willing to change the link provided to ?"

  State Bank of Minnesota $2 note 

DONE. Our webmaster Bruce Perdue updated the back-end link on that page to go to the new address, but since we keep our web archive as a historical record, "" is still seen as originally presented in the Featured Web Site article. Thanks for the update! Check out Shawn's site for great information on Minnesota obsolete notes and National Currency. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Numismata as Source for 'Melange'
Evelyn Numismata 1697 title page Bruce Bartelt writes:

"This weekend's Wall Street Journal column Word On the Street by Ben Zimmer cites John Evelyn's 1697 Numismata as a source for the etymology of this week's word Melange (presently related to the new movie Dune). Interesting, if obscure, connection."

Here's a quote from the article:

"And in Numismata, a 1697 treatise on ancient coins, John Evelyn describes a metal alloy known in antiquity as Corinthian brass, which was thought to fuse copper with gold and silver: There were indeed many exquisitely wrought Vessels said to be of that precious Melange."

Evelyn on Google books:
Numismata: A discourse of Medals (

Thanks! I missed that. Interesting connection. So what's the etymology of "rich, Corinthian leather"...? -Editor

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
‘Melange': A French Recipe for the Special Spice of ‘Dune' (

  Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2021-10-10 NYINC


Universal Self Instructor book cover Carol Bastable writes:

"I just bought an 1883 book at a flea market. The topics covered are quite broad. I am sending you the sections on the Treasury Department, banking, and exchange rates. I thought that readers might enjoy seeing this period information."

Thanks! I hadn't seen this book before. Seems like a good compilation of general information. -Editor

White spacer bar
  Universal Self Instructor State Department Universal Self Instructor Treasury Department
  Universal Self Instructor Bureau of the Mint 
  Universal Self Instructor American Money 
  Universal Self Instructor Foreign Coins  Universal Self Instructor Banks of the U.S.

Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions in our Flickr library. -Editor

  Guth E-Sylum ad 2021-10-24 Legend Analysis


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

Foundation Medal. A medallic item along with other artifacts that are placed in a chamber of a new building's foundation, usually a cornerstone. The objects are somewhat of a time capsule to be examined at a later time – it is never known at the time of their entombment when they will see the light of day again. Sometimes the objects are lost track of, however building demolition workers know where to look and attempt to retrieve such artifacts. Often when these items are examined they are of less value and historical importance than expected. Medals are often the most relative artifact (and often the most indestructible) as paper items or other media may not endure the years of confinement. Such foundation medals, however, become artifacts for those that are recovered.

The custom of placing items in cornerstone or foundation goes back at least to the 15th century. One of the earliest foundation medals was a portrait of Filippo Strozzi, a merchant prince of Florentine, 1489. The artist is unrecorded but it is in the manner of Niccolo Fiorentino, made for the completion of the prince's palace, inaugurated August 6, 1489. (Kress A1024.286A).

NC5 {1951} National Gallery of Art, p 180, illus p 117.

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

  PAN E-Sylum ad 2021-10-03 Fall Show


American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this follow-on to his article last week on the Chapman Brothers. Thanks! -Editor

My article on the Chapman Brothers ran in The E-Sylum on the evening of October 17, 2021. The first correction came the next morning.

NBS board member David Hill wrote to mention that I had an incorrect date of death for Henry Chapman III. He died as a child in 1901. I attribute the error to failing eyesight at my advanced age.

On Monday afternoon, Jan Valentine called to correct an error in the number of catalogs produced by the brothers. In United States Numismatic Literature, Vol I, 1982, John Adams wrote that the Chapmans issued 83 catalogs from 1879 to 1906. Subsequently it was determined that catalogs 6 and 17 were not done by the Chapmans.

auctionsaleofcoi1913chap_0001 Valentine also noted the count was wrong for Henry Chapman. Adams said fifty-one. Later, the Emil Cauffman sale of January 18, 1913, was discovered. It is a small sale of only four pages and 53 lots, mostly proof sets. Valentine is aware of four surviving copies.

Jan also reminded me of another Chapman story. I wrote a column for the November 1995 issue of The Numismatist, The Chapman Brothers: Career Dealers. Then Bob Vail wrote an article for the March 1996 issue of Penny-Wise. This was apparently published via a time machine since it describes events of May 6, 1996.

Vail wrote, During the latter part of 1995, I received a phone call from Del Bland telling me he had gotten wind of an article Pete Smith had published in The Numismatist, stating that the Henry Chapman Library remnants had been donated to The Free Library of Philadelphia. Del asked me to check into it as we planned to be at the May 1996 EAC Convention in Philadelphia. Arrangements were made to view the materials on May 6, 1996.

The collection was dusty and grimy from long storage with no activity. The library had no accession records and no inventory of the contents. Among the contents was the discovery of the previously unknown 1913 Emil Cauffman sale.

The visit by Bland and Vail alerted the Free Library of Philadelphia that there were collectors interested in material that had no value to their library. They consigned it to sale by Charles Davis and the Chapman library was returned to the collector community. Apparently, I had a small part in making that happen.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

  Album E-Sylum ad 2021-10-17 Internet Sale 12


Pete Smith submitted this article on Philadelphia dealer John Haseltine. Thanks! -Editor

Haseltine.John.W.01 John W. Haseltine was an important coin dealer in the late nineteenth century. He was born in Philadelphia on September 6, 1838. His father, John William Haseltine (1793-1871) was a successful businessman and his mother, Elizabeth Stanley Shinn (1811-1882) was an amateur landscape painter. White was a grandmother's maiden name.

Haseltine married Rose Amelia Idler, daughter of coin dealer William Idler on June 9, 1869. They had one daughter, Marion Lucy, born on June 21, 1870, who married Thomas T. Richards.

Haseltine acquired some rare coins through Stephen K. Nagy. Walter Breen identified Nagy as Haseltine's son-in- law. A search of genealogy references concludes that this was not true. Nagy was married in 1909 to Gertrude B, Devere, daughter of William H. Devere and Wilhelmina Weldy.

Haseltine's first job at age 16 was as a clerk in a book store. From there he went into the wholesale shoe and boot business. In 1859 to 1861, he had a store in New Orleans. He returned to Philadelphia at the start of the Civil War.

On August 20, 1861, he joined Company B of the Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment and served as a first lieutenant until promoted to captain on October 1, 1863. He participated in battles at Bull Run, Gettysburg and Gaines Mills. He had three horses shot from under him and was wounded on August 15, 1864, at Deep Bottom near Petersburg.

After the war he was employed with mining companies as secretary and treasurer. He worked for Ebenezer Locke Mason in 1869 before opening his own store. In 1876 he hired the young Chapman brothers to help in the store.

He was active with the Masons in Philadelphia. He also joined Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post 2 in Philadelphia. Two other Masons who were members were Oliver Bosbyshell and A. M. Smith.

Haseltine had connections at the Mint that included Bosbyshell. Some Mint products came from William Idler while others may have come from the Mint directly. These included rare dollars and patterns.

In 1872 he published Description of the Paper Money Issued by the Continental Congress of the United States and the Several Colonies following in 1876 with Descriptive Catalogue of Confederate Notes and Bonds. In 1881, he published Catalogue of John W. Haseltine's Type Table of Dollars, Half Dollars, Quarter Dollars. It was an auction catalog of coins from his collection but also intended to be a reference book on those series.

Hazeltine conducted 87 auctions between 1870 and 1898. He took a break from numismatics and worked as a stockbroker. His brothers, James Henry Haseltine and Charles Field Haseltine, were artists and Haseltine managed their art gallery in New York City.

Haseltine presented an address at the 1908 ANA convention in Philadelphia. This was published in the October/ November 1908 issue of The Numismatist. It is worth reading in its entirety as is the earlier address by Lyman Low. After the talk, the chair, Farran Zerbe. referred to Haseltine as the numismatic refrigerator, with much on ice that is not only meat but very stimulating.

His talk touched on his discovery of the Confederate cents and dies, the Nova Constellatio 1000 and 500 mill pieces, and the Washington reverse New Jersey Cent.

Captain Haseltine died in Philadelphia on February 28, 1925. He is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, across the Schuylkill from Philadelphia. The American Numismatic Association inducted him into their Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1974.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

  Whitman Expo E-Sylum ad 2021-11


The latest article in Harvey Stack's blog series covers the remainder of the banner auction year of 1989. Thanks, Harvey! -Editor

  Harvey Stack Numismatic Family 2021-10

As our public auction schedule for 1989 continued, in July we again joined with our partners, as each firm presented 500 lots in the now very popular annual Apostrophe Auction – Auction '89. Once again, this pre-ANA event in conjunction with RARCOA, David Akers and Superior attracted a lot of attention and was attended by many who wanted to acquire some of the rarities we jointly offered. Our September sale of 1,685 lots started our fall session. This was a "something for everyone" sale that offered United States gold, silver and copper coins, along with U.S. paper money.

A highlight collection of the year, the famous Gilbert Steinberg Collection of Early Colonial Coins, crossed the block as part of our October sale. This cabinet featured many outstanding specimens he had acquired through Stack's in earlier years as we assisted in building his collection. Mr. Steinberg also loved Hard Time tokens and early store cards. He would visit us almost daily around lunch time, as his Art Store and Gallery was just up the street from our 57th Street location. Part 2 of our October sale contained the exclusive E. Richard Collection of U.S. Type Coins that had some of the finest known, plus a general offering of United States coins, 1,648 lots in all.

  Stacks auction89 cover Stacks james a stack sale cover 

In November, Stack's was proud to offer the now famous James A. Stack Collection of United States Gold, Silver and Copper Coins. James Stack was not a relative, but he was a very close and dear friend of the Stack family. He had assembled this fine cabinet over the previous half century, as he searched our sales and inventory to gather one of the finest collections developed during this time. Many coins were acquired from famous pedigree collections we had the pleasure of selling. It included an extensive offering of half cents starting with 1793 and including most of the Proof dates. Also of note were early type coins and runs of dates and mints of U.S. gold. This sale attracted hundreds of collectors nationwide, and today these rare and very choice coins reside in some of the finest collections, where the James Stack pedigree is proudly displayed. This auction of 1,888 lots was among the highlight collections offered during this decade.

In December, we closed the auction year with an extensive offering of Ancient and Foreign coins from various consignors. It featured three specialized ancients collections and a number of consignments of high grade material from estates, financial institutions and private collectors. The consignors included Dr. M. Bryce, Dr. Alfred Globus and the Estate of Amon G. Carter, Jr. Stack's was able to meld these various consignments into a catalog featuring some 1,787 lots which attracted collectors from all. The feature coin was the Poland 100 Ducat of 1641 issued by Sigismund III – the catalog cover coin.

It was a record year for Stack's, with over 20,000 lots being offered in 1989 at Public Auction. The staff, with Harvey, Norman and Larry leading the cataloging, were successful in presenting this large number of lots, cataloging them in house, and realizing many records. Our continuing dedication to our clients and collector friends resulted in these valuable numismatic consignments coming to us for sale. The extensive mailing list and collector base we established and maintained gave us this unchallenged position as leader in the sale of rare numismatics.

To read the complete article, see:
Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 107 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

  HLRC E-Sylum ad 2021-10-24 Baltimore


Regular readers know I enjoy finding articles about coin designers in their hometown newspapers. These articles often provide far more information than the short profiles found in press releases or even in the numismatic press. Here's an interview with Justin Kunz, designer of new snowboarding dollar coin and over a dozen other coins and medals. -Editor

  Justin Kunz snowboarder dollar design 

The U.S. Mint recently announced the latest dollar coins in the American Innovation series for the year 2022 and on the list was one dedicated to Vermont. The subject matter could have gone a number of ways — maple syrup, tractor technology, Bernie Sanders's mittens — but thankfully the design features snowboarding! Gov. Phil Scott expressed pride and support for the sport, saying, In many ways, Vermont is the birthplace of modern snowboarding, and this coin represents Vermont's contributions to the sport, from physical innovations in boards and bindings to the creativity and athleticism showcased by Vermonters — and others who train in the Green Mountains — in competition on the world stage.

The official release date is yet to be announced, so while we patiently wait, I reached out to the artist, Utah-based Justin Kunz, to learn more about how the design came to be.

Mountain Times (MT): Tell me about the process of getting your art selected. How long did it take? Did you submit multiple designs? Was there a lot of competition?

Justin Kunz (JK): I'm a member of the Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), the United States Mint's pool of contract artists. The Mint commissioned me to submit a design for this project late last year. I only found out about a month or two ago that my design had been selected, but it made my day!

I don't know how many other artists were commissioned to create designs for the Vermont coin, but after some likely initial vetting by the Mint, the portfolio submitted to the citizens coinage advisory committee (CCAC) for review in March featured 10 different designs. I believe all of these designs would have been created by AIP artists like me, or the full-time sculptor-engravers who work for the Mint.

I would have liked to submit more than one design, and it would have been permitted, but due to my current schedule of commissions and teaching, I was only able to complete one that I was happy with in time for the due date. It went through an extensive review process, like most coins produced by the Mint, including a few rounds of revisions based on feedback from the chief engraver, manufacturing experts, legal counsel, independent reviewers like the CCAC, and liaisons from Vermont.

For example, my first draft featured steeper mountains in the background, like the ones I'm familiar with here in Utah. It also had some chunks of snow flying around the figure, to suggest movement and energy. The Vermont representatives requested gentler slopes to represent the local terrain, and the Mint advised I make a simpler, cleaner version for the sake of visual clarity on the small format of a coin. Those were wise suggestions, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Incidentally, one of the first coin programs I worked on as a member of the AIP several years ago was the 50 state quarter for Utah. The theme I was given was winter sports, so I submitted a couple of designs featuring snowboarders — including one that was not too different from this — but the representatives from Utah ultimately decided to go with a different theme. Fast-forward to a year ago, when I was invited to submit designs for the Vermont coin, I was very excited to revisit this subject I had enjoyed so much in the past.

MT: Is this the first time your work has been featured on a coin?

JK: No, actually. I've been part of the AIP for at least 12 years now, and have had approximately 17 of my designs minted on coins and medals. It's always very exciting whenever a new one is announced!

MT: I love that it's a female! Was that an intentional decision? Also, is the rider based on a real person — if so who?

JK: Thank you! Yes, it was definitely intentional. In general, whenever I have the option, I like to feature women in my artwork. I enjoy drawing and painting men too, of course. But in my humble opinion, we could have more women on coins than we've seen in the past. The rider isn't based on a specific person — it's more of a generalized figure. Growing up in Utah, I witnessed some pretty remarkable ladies carving up the slopes. Mad skills that deserve respect! So this is kind of a tribute to all the shredder girls out there. Be safe and stay awesome!

To read the complete article, see:
Justin Kunz (
Q&A with Justin Kunz: designer of new snowboarding dollar coin (


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article today about a successful local businessman giving commemorative half dollars to members of Congress -Editor

  1986 Statue Of Liberty Commemorative Clad Half Dollar Proof Obverse 1986 Statue Of Liberty Commemorative Clad Half Dollar Proof Reverse 

Mr. Kotovsky happens to be a first-generation American born of a Lithuanian mother and Ukrainian father. The United States' immigrant heritage is extremely important to him. So, in honor of National Immigrant Day on Oct. 28, Mr. Kotovsky set out to remind politicians about where they come from by sending every U.S. senator and House of Representatives member a commemorative half-dollar coin that he believes is emblematic of that legacy.

The message is short and sweet: We're a nation of immigrants, he told the Post-Gazette. I think the diversification of immigrants made us the greatest country in the world. I would just like people not to forget that.

  Irwin Kotovsky 

He and Tracy Kosylo, Modular International's marketing manager, spent much of Monday, Oct. 11, putting together envelopes with the coins and letters that Mr. Kotovsky wrote to each senator and representative that they want to reach all those politicians by National Immigrant Day.

In 1986, the U.S. Mint issued a series of commemorative half-dollar coins with the Statue of Liberty on the front and a family of four on the back standing beneath an inscription that reads: United States of America: A Nation of Immigrants. Mr. Kotovsky bought enough of those coins to gift them to all 100 senators and 435 House members.

Mr. Kotovsky's team has been told the coins will be accepted upon arrival, and that it was a better idea to send them individually than in bulk. He hopes that even the most staunchly anti-immigration House and Senate members will take a moment to think critically about what his gesture represents.

I thought it might be interesting to remind people of what we're all about ..., he said. I just think we have to remember who we are.

I think this country was so great because of the immigrants that came here and what that did, Mr. Kotovsky said. We have problems here ... and we'll have to find a way to deal with that. But it's still the greatest country, in my humble opinion.

  Immigrant HAlf Dollars 

To read the complete article, see:
He's coined a way to tell Congress that we're 'a nation of immigrants' (

For more information on the coin, see:
Statue of Liberty Half Dollar (


The October 2021 issue of The Numismatist from the American Numismatic Association has a profile of the new ANA Library Manager. Welcome, Akio Lis! Thanks to Numismatist Editor Caleb Noel and Editorial Assistant Sydney Stewart for providing the text and portrait for republication here. -Editor

  Manley Numismatic Library logo Akio Lis 

Longtime ANA volunteer Akio Lis has been appointed manager of the Association's Dwight N. Manley Library.

An ANA member since 1992, Lis has attended Summer Seminar since 1994. It was there that he was introduced to the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum and the Library, which kickstarted his passion for numismatic literature and history.

Lis has taken numerous courses on world coinage, and he enjoys researching and writing about the historical and cultural significance of coins. In addition to receiving several YN writing awards, these efforts resulted in his being named the Young Numismatist of the Year in 1998 and landed him an internship with the Library in 2003. After relocating to Colorado Springs in 2005, Lis began to volunteer regularly at the Library and work with YNs on their fundraising auctions during Summer Seminar. Over the past 16 years, he has worked with every former library manager, including Nancy Green and David Sklow, all of whom have contributed to his extensive knowledge of the library's collection.

I will work to increase accessibility of the holdings of the Dwight N. Manley Library and continue in the long tradition of growth to this necessary numismatic asset, Lis says.

For more information on the Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library, see:
Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library (


Put on your thinking caps, folks. Who would be deserving winners of next year's ANA awards? Who would you like to nominate? It's not hard, but does require some paperwork. Start gathering information about your candidate(s). -Editor

  Recognize Fellow Collectors and Nominate Deserving Hobbyists
Deadline for Award Nominations is Jan. 15
  ANA Service Awards banner 

Each year, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) presents awards to deserving individuals in recognition of outstanding dedication to numismatics. The ANA is now accepting individual nominations for 2022 awards and Numismatic Hall of Fame "Historic Era" candidates.

All nominations can be submitted in writing and online – 300 words or more for the Numismatic Hall of Fame, and 50-100 words for all other awards. Nominations are accepted through Jan. 15, 2022.

  • Numismatic Hall of Fame – "Historic Era" nominees (individuals deceased more than 25 years) will be considered. Candidates are not required to be present or past ANA members.
  • Distinguished Service Award – The ANA's highest honor, this award recognizes years of outstanding, dedicated service to numismatics.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented to an individual, family, firm or judicial entity for contributions to organized numismatics.
  • Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Memorial Award for Achievement in Numismatics – This award honors women who have made a lasting impact to numismatic community and demonstrated lifelong commitment to the betterment of numismatics, whether through research, leadership or mentorship.
  • Numismatist of the Year – Recognizes individuals within the numismatic community who have demonstrated long-term leadership in the field and to the ANA.
  • Harry J. Forman Dealer of the Year Award – Honors professional numismatists who exhibit uncommon dedication to strengthening the hobby and the ANA and displays exemplary ethical standards as a numismatic dealer.
  • Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture – The award honors an artist whose cumulative lifetime achievements in the field of medallic sculpture have been of the highest order.
  • Adna G. Wilde Jr. Memorial Award for Exemplary Service – Awarded to an ANA member who has dedicated time and resources to strengthen the hobby and further the ANA's educational mission, setting an example for others to follow.
  • Medal of Merit – Recognizes individuals who have dedicated numerous years of service to the ANA and promotion of the hobby.
  • Glenn Smedley Memorial Award – This award honors individuals who have devoted their efforts to the betterment of the ANA.
  • Lawrence J. Gentile, Sr. Memorial Award for Outstanding Adult Advisor –Recognizes individuals who have devoted their time and efforts to recruiting young numismatists new to the hobby, and aiding the development of intermediate to advanced YNs.
  • Young Numismatist of the Year – Honors numismatists under the age of 18 for outstanding contributions to the hobby and who are active in volunteer service and numismatic research.
  • Outstanding District Representative – Recognizes the District Representative who most fully promotes coin collecting, coin clubs and the ANA.

Submit a nomination for a numismatist you find deserving of an award. Information about each of the awards and online submission forms can be found here:

For questions about the awards, please contact or call (719) 482-9811.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect coins and related items. The ANA helps its members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of educational and outreach programs, to include its museum, publications, conventions and webinars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit

For more information, see:


Holabird Americana's sales cover a lot of collecting ground. There are always some numismatic items on offer along with a fascinating array of other collectibles and ephemera including stock certificates, postcards and a host of items numismatists often acquire as association items. Here's the press release for their upcoming sale. -Editor


The auction has more than 3,200 lots in a wide array of collecting categories and at price points that will appeal to both novices and veteran collectors alike. Important collections will be sold.

Holabird E-Sylum ad 2021-10-28 sale Holabird Western Americana Collections' five-day Autumn Splendor Western Americana Auction, October 28th -November 1st , is packed with over 3,200 lots of Americana, railroadiana, mining collectibles, numismatics, stock certificates, rare books, art and more, online and live in the Reno gallery at 3555 Airway Drive, starting at 8 am Pacific time all five days.

The massive sale will feature several important collections, beginning with the Stuart Scotty MacKenzie Montana collection. Stuart was a lawyer, inveterate collector and dealer. He scoured the backroads of northern Montana looking for documents, archives, company files, libraries, correspondence – most anything historical except bottles and tokens.

After Stuart's death, we brought back two 28-foot trucks and a large, tall van full of goods, probably 18-19 tons of collectible material, said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections. A local auction was held for some of the items in his store, which had been closed for about ten years.

Stuart had a strong love of mining items. He acquired major collections in Butte, Virginia City, Pony, Helena and many other towns. We put together a massive Montana town document collection of over 500 different locations – nearly 600, Mr. Holabird remarked. There are document archives from many of Montana's most famous towns that are being offered in this sale and upcoming sales.

Another major holding are his fruit labels and other labels, from the 1870s through about 1950 that came from all over America and even Europe. MacKenzie also acquired a major printer's archive of Victorian wall art, mostly pretty ladies in attire of the times, the kind put up in saloons or used today in interior decorating. There are also postcards, postal history, bird prints and a fantastic Montana library.

In another major collection, Shirley Bovis was a mainstay in Tombstone, Arizona – an avid collector and part-time dealer. She bought longtime Tombstone dealer Joe Soebbing's adobe in the middle of town and quickly turned part of it into a museum. Her collection of gambling items, saloon, cowboy, Native American – pretty much everything that is and was Tombstone – will be in this and upcoming auctions.

The Ken Prag collection is the gift that keeps on giving. We picked up another large group of cards and stocks from Ken and by publication time may not have had time to process much, but it's coming, Mr. Holabird said. This sale features a large batch of California postcards, plus more rare autograph stocks including American Express, Wells Fargo, Robert Morris and more.

Holabird continues to get in great collections of tokens, medals and bullion coins from a wide variety of Western coin dealers and collectors. This sale will feature a great batch of so-called dollars. Also offered will be consignments from three important railroad pass and stock collections, as well as nearly 200 lots of lock keys and lamps, as wells as a huge railroad library.

The mining category will include Western mining photographs, documents and publications, and carbide lamps. Mining stocks will feature a spectacular issued Bodie stock signed by Leland Stanford and a collection of Canadian stocks. Hollywood and Disney autographs and ephemera will feature a big group of autographed pictures and cuts from Hollywood's biggest stars, plus rare collectibles.

Holabird 2021-10 sale Shakespeare folio fragment Also up for bid will be Native Americana; jewelry; belt buckles and other cowboy collectibles; bottles and saloon collectibles; rare Western documents and photos; militaria, including Civil War knives; gaming and circus collectibles; art and advertising; and the auction's star lot: an exceptional and rare William Shakespeare original first folio fragment from The First Part of Henry the Fourth.

Day 1, on Thursday, October 28th , will contain 651 lots of General Americana, led by Alaska and Wyoming collectibles and Part 1 of the MacKenzie Montana collection; bottles, saloon and cigar items; marbles and toys. A featured lot is a signed print of 1920s actress Nita Naldi by the iconic American artist Alberto Vargas (estimate: $3,500-$5,000). Signed prints by Vargas are very rare.

Also offered on Day 1 will be an interesting array of covers and letters addressed to Ruth Disney (Beecher), Walt Disney's sister; and to Elias Disney, Walt and Ruth's father – eight items in all, from 1918-1965 (estimate: $2,000-$2,500); and a pair of trays, one for Old Judge Whiskey (Rothenberg Co.) and one for Wieland's Beer (both San Francisco) (estimate: $1,000-$1,700).

Day 2, Friday, October 29th , will have 632 lots, led by Part II of General Americana, featuring gaming, circus and cowboy collectibles, jewelry, general foreign and books, which will include Montana directories and, of course, the Shakespeare first folio fragment, which could easily sell for $50,000-$100,000. Also being sold will be firearms, military and political memorabilia.

Other Day 2 star lots will include the 1886 edition of The History of California in 23 volumes by Hubert Howe Bancroft, covering the history of the Golden State from 1542-1890 (estimate: $2,000-$2,500); and a group of four first edition books, three of them classics by Dr. Seuss and one by P. D. Eastman, titled Are You My Mother, published in 1960 (estimate: $2,500-$3,500).

Other Day 2 offerings will feature a Haag Bros. Circus poster (date unknown), printed on heavy canvas measuring 29 inches by 44 inches and boasting vibrant colors (estimate: $1,000-$4,000); a Civil War-era Bowie presentation knife made in Sheffield and used by the 9 th Corp under Gen. Ambrose Burnside, acid etched Victory to Our Brave Volunteers (estimated: $2,000-$3,000); and a beautiful 14-18kt gold Art Deco style brooch with multiple dangling ornamentation and a central clear faceted stone, in a burgundy velveteen drawstring bag (estimate: $1,500-$2,500).

Day 3, Saturday, October 30th , will be bursting with 661 lots of art and advertising, Native Americana, transportation (air, auto, steamer, railroadiana and passes), ephemera, keys, lamps and model trains. A lot to watch is the hollow silver bead necklace with six bear claws capped with silver adornments, plus a central turquoise cabochon set in silver (estimate: $2,000-$4,000).

Day 4, Sunday, November 1st , will be just as busy, with 618 lots of mining ephemera and collectibles, stocks and bonds (mining, oil, railroad and miscellaneous, to include autographs, early American and Express), and numismatics (to include ingots, currency, scrip, ephemera, coins, medals, so-called dollars and tokens. Ingots have done especially well in prior auctions.

  Holabird 2021-10 sale Alta stock certificate 

Stock certificate from 1863 for the Alta No. 2 Copper Mining Co. (Del Norte County, Calif), signed by American short story writer and poet Bret Harte (estimate: $6,000-$10,000).

An expected Day 4 top achiever is a stock certificate signed by Bret Harte from 1863 for the Alta No. 2 Copper Mining Company (Del Norte County, Calif). This important and rare certificate was signed by the American short story writer and poet Bret Harte as secretary best. Harte was best known for his short fiction works featuring miners and gamblers of the California Gold Rush (estimate: $6,000-$10,000).

  Holabird 2021-10 sale Gold piece belt buckle 
  Holabird 2021-10 sale Mexican gold piece 

Other Day 4 highlights include a round container of 21.2 grams of gold and silver amalgam (estimate: $1,200-$1,200); an 1898-S $20 Liberty Head gold piece belt buckle and Western belt, by Silver Creek Collection, accented with lizard skin (estimate: $3,000-$4,000); and a 1947 50- peso Mexican gold coin (90 percent pure gold) with a 14-carat bezel (estimate: 2,600-$3,000).

Day 5, Monday, November 1st, will offer 648 lots of philatelic (postcards, covers and stamps), and bargains and dealer specials, which include general Americana, stocks and bonds, and numismatics. Sold on Day 5 will be a collection of Humboldt and Del Norte (Calif.) counties postcards, showing NorCal redwoods scenery along US 101, 125 pieces (estimate: $300-$600).

Online bidding via,, and The full catalog can be viewed online now, at For those planning to attend the auction in person, regulations and protocols regarding COVID-19 will be enforced.

Color catalogs are available by calling 1-844-492-2766, or 775-851-1859. Also, anyone owning a collection that might fit into an upcoming Holabird Western Americana Collections auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels extensively throughout the U.S., to see and pick up collections. The company has agents all over America and will travel to inspect most collections.

Holabird Western Americana Collections is always in the hunt for new and major collections to bring to market. It prides itself as being a major source for selling Americana at the best prices obtainable, having sold more than any other similar company in the past decade alone. The firm will have its entire sales database online soon, at no cost – nearly 200,000 lots sold since 2014.

That's great news about the sales database - this will be a great tool for researchers and cataloguers.

Don't forget Bret Harte's numismatic connection - he served as secretary to the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint from 1863-1869.

As a bibliophile, my non-numismatic fave is probably that Shakespeare folio fragment. See the earlier E-Sylum articles for a discussion of Henry Folger's quest for Shakespeare folios. -Editor

For more information, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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Whew. Now for some additional numismatic lots that caught my eye in the upcoming Holabird sale. -Editor

Lot 4379: Massachusetts Bay Lottery Certificate

  Massachusetts Bay Lottery Certificate 
No. 584, issued for 15 pounds on June 1, 1783, signed by H. Gamore(?) as treasurer. Nice vignette of a pine tree encircled by a rattlesnake engraved by Nathaniel Hurd. This bond was issued to pay the winners in the state lottery. Cut roughly, otherwise fine!

To read the complete lot description, see:
State of Massachusetts Bay Lottery Certificate, 1783 [130264] (

Lot 4406: Coin Collector's Journal 1876-1884

  Coin Collector's Journal issues 
This collection contains The Coin Collector's Journals vol.1 - vol. 8, and Vol. 11 issues 120-133 with issue 130 missing. These journals range from 1876-1883, and Vol. 11 is 1884. All pieces are fragile and very rare.

To read the complete lot description, see:
The Coin Collector's Journal 1876-1884 [137746] (

Lot 4434: Counterstamped Half Dollars

  Counterstamped Half Dollars 
Lot of six counterstamped half dollars. 1) 1834 Bust half, AG, stamped "I. Brich" obverse; "BRICH" on reverse. 2) 1854 Liberty Seated, AG, "B" on obverse. 3) 1854 "arrows", G, "L.E. Seymore" obverse. 4) 1855 "arrows, AG, "F R" on obverse. 5) 1873, "W. B. Hancock" on obverse. 6) 1876, AG, "G. Hyers" on obverse.

To read the complete lot description, see:
Counterstamped Bust and Liberty Seated Half Dollars [140662] (

Lot 4515: Nevada U.S. Centennial Exposition Medal

  Nevada U.S. Centennial Exposition Medal 
Obv: Liberty Bell between Minute Man and Soldier, clouds below, to l. 1776, to r. 1876, above (on ribbon) Centennial all within center circle; outside, around Let God be with us as He was with our fathers. Rev: Mining scene, above Nevada--in center circle; outside, around Made from Nevada ore at International Exhibition; below * All for our country * Julian CM-36. NGC certified AU 55.

Medal was product of 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia; engraved by William Barber; 2526 pieces struck from Nevada silver ore at U.S. Mint, Philadelphia; sold at Nevada Building on grounds for $1.25. Following certificate accompanied each medal: "Mint of the United States. Philadelphia. Coiner's Department. June 20, 1876. I certify that the Nevada Exposition Medals, prepared in this department, and this day delivered to Mr. C. C. Stevenson, Chairman of the Nevada State Board, are made of pure silver, crushed from Nevada ores, at the Nevada quartz mill located in the Centennial Exposition grounds and subsequently refined at the United States Mint. (Signed) A. Loudon Snowden, Coiner."

To read the complete lot description, see:
Nevada U.S. Centennial Exposition So Called Dollar HK-19 [140675] (

Lot 4535: Lincoln Centennial Medal

  Lincoln Centennial Medal 
Obv: Centennial of Abraham Lincoln / (portrait) / MCMIX; Rev: Government / Of The People / By The People / For The People / Shall Not Perish / From The Earth. Rd., Br., 42 mm.

Date: 1909

To read the complete lot description, see:
Abraham Lincoln Centennial Medal [141019] (

Lot 4604: Lovett Die Sinker Token

  Lovett Die Sinker Token 
Undated Rulau merchant token M-PA-339. Obverse shows wear, reverse has mint luster. Uncertain if this is thin or thick planchet.

To read the complete lot description, see:
George Washington R Lovett Jr. Die Sinker Token [136194] (

  Jewell E-Sylum ad 2021-10-24


The November 1, 2021 Heritage Inco & Gould Pattern Showcase Auction features many pieces examined and illustrated Roger Burdette's 2019 book Private Pattern and Related Pieces: International Nickel & Gould Incorporated. An article from NGC has more information. -Editor

  Inco-Gould book cover Inco-Gould 

More than 150 patterns and blank planchets that were created amid major changes in US coinage in the 1960s and 1970s — all certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®) — are being offered in a Heritage Auctions sale. Bidding is already underway for the INCO and Gould Patterns Showcase Auction, which concludes on November 1, 2021.

  Gould $1 pattern 

Among the highlights is a (1977-78) Gould $1 graded NGC MS 64 RB (lot 46127) with impressive copper toning. In the 1970s, Gould Inc. struck tokens such as this one showing George Washington in order to demonstrate new compositions for planchets. At the time, the US Mint was considering how to shrink the Eisenhower Dollar, which many people found too inconvenient to carry around.

  1964 INCO 50 Cents pattern 

The sale also includes International Nickel Co. (INCO) patterns from a decade earlier, such as this 1964 INCO 50 Cents graded NGC MS 66 (lot 46029). It shows Paul D. Merica, the former president of INCO. The US Mint at the time was exploring options for planchets as the era of silver in circulating coinage was coming to a close.

Opportunities amid the farewell to silver
The Coinage Act of July 23, 1965 removed all silver from US dimes and quarter dollars and reduced the net silver content of the half dollar from 90% to 40%. These provisions became effective with the coins dated 1965, though none of the resulting pieces would be seen by the public until the fall. The new quarters debuted in November, the dimes in January of 1966 and the halves two months later.

In the meantime, production of the old .900 fine silver coinage occurred concurrently with the new clad coins, and all such pieces bore the date 1964 as late as the openings months of 1966. Along with the suspension of mintmarks for all coins dated 1965-67, regardless of where they were struck, it was a very confusing time for both the public and coin collectors.

The US Mint had known as early as 1964 that the removal of silver from circulating coins was inevitable, and it didn't wait for such a law to be passed before testing suitable replacement alloys. The new coins would have to look somewhat like silver to gain public acceptance, and they would also have to function as well as the old issues in parking meters, vending machines and elsewhere. Exactly what composition would prove to be suitable required extensive testing, and to perform these tests the Mint drew upon the expertise of American industry.

INCO test pieces are collectible today
The companies that provided blanks and tokens of proposed alloys did so at their own expense, believing that it was a worthwhile investment in possibly securing a contract to supply the composition ultimately selected by the Mint and Congress. Though DuPont struck trial medals utilizing its Detaclad laminate composition that were found satisfactory in tests with pay telephones and vending machines, it was International Nickel Company that made the most extensive tests and provided a broad range of test pieces that today are highly collectible.

During 1964-65, INCO contracted with Medallic Art Company to strike sample pieces from its various alloys. The resulting token-like coins were provided to the US Mint for its own studies. Also furnished were unstruck blanks that could be struck by the Mint if desired. These were made in sizes corresponding to dimes, quarters and halves.

The extensive series of INCO trial pieces are known with a variety of designs that simulate the sort of elements that would be used on actual coins. A portrait of Paul D. Merica, former president of the company, was paired with a view of the research facility named for him as the obverse and reverse designs for tokens used extensively for testing in 1964. These coins are actually dated with that year.

Other test pieces bear text only, while some have just raised mounds on either side to simulate a typical height of relief. Most commonly used are assorted blends of copper and nickel, but other pieces were made that include silicon, chromium, zinc, aluminum, vanadium — the list of non-precious metals tested is a long one.

Another major coin change
In 1976, the US Mint commissioned the Research Triangle Institute to perform a study of America's existing coinage with a view toward its future needs. Among the recommendations found within RTI's report were the elimination of the half dollar denomination and the replacement of the existing Eisenhower Dollar with a dollar coin of smaller size. In fact, the US Mint had been drawn to this conclusion already the previous year, since the National Automatic Merchandising Association reported that the poor circulation of Ike Dollars was precluding its members from adopting a dollar coin slot for their machines.

As in 1965, the question arose of what composition to use for the proposed mini dollar. The Mint wanted to retain the familiar copper-nickel-clad composition used already for dimes through dollars, but this decision was arrived at after the testing of several alternative alloys, some of which were the product of sintering and powdered metal compression. Since the Mint's own facilities could not perform these processes, it contracted with Gould Inc. to provide sample planchets of the proposed mini dollar size that the Mint struck with its familiar test dies featuring Martha Washington and Mount Vernon.

These samples proved unsatisfactory to the Mint for a variety of technical reasons, and that was when the decision was made to go with proven clad composition. Gould, however, was not inclined to give up so easily. From 1976 to 1978, it produced a series of test tokens featuring a portrait of George Washington recycled from the products of Washington Mint Inc. This was paired with three slightly different versions of the Great Seal of the United States for the reverse.

The test pieces were produced in a variety of compositions, and among the metals utilized were aluminum, copper, iron, nickel and titanium. The US Mint was not persuaded to change its plans, however, but the Gould specimens survive in limited numbers as fascinating reminders of what might have been.

To read the complete article, see:
NGC-certified INCO and Gould Patterns Offered in Heritage Sale (

This sale is a great opportunity for pattern collectors; this is the first appearance in the market for most of these pieces. -Editor

To view the auction lots, see:
2021 November 1 The Inco & Gould Pattern Showcase Auction 63172 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

  Holabird E-Sylum ad 2021-10-28 sale


The Canadian Numismatic Company is holding a major sale in November. -Editor

TCNC E-Sylum ad 2021-10-18 Prominence5 This auction of more than 1500 numismatic lots features two major collections joined by selections from 62 other consignors across North America. The first and second Sessions are highlighted by three attractive coin and banknote collections. The Moody Collection of Canadian Coins, The Montreal Collection of Canadian banknotes and the Little CollectionPart II of Canadian Copper coins.

Also featuring in this auction; The Holy Grail of Canadian coins, the famous 1936 Dot 1 cent in Gem Specimen-65, the elusive 1936 Dot 10 cents in Specimen-63+. A scarce 1937 brass penny in Specimen-66 from The Paris Mint. A superb 1948 Specimen set in Gem condition, a very scarce 1908c-Sovereign in Gem Specimen-65 and an ultra rare example of a 1909c-Sovereign in Specimen-64. An 1886 Obverse 2 in Choice condition, a fantastic pair of 1886 25 cents obverse 4 &5 in Superb Gem Mint State-65, some beautiful key dates 1889 and 1884 10 cent pieces in Choice Mint State-62, a very rare 1858 20 cents Pattern, some unusual Test tokens, an 1885 small 5/5 5 cents in Mint State-62, a 1935 dollar in Superb Gem Mint State-67 and so many more. In addition, a superb selection of very scarce Proof banknotes and several others including Rare Serial number issues and error notes.

The Little Collection Part II holds a premium selection of carefully chosen elusive copper issues. Most of the coins are graded by ICCS and each piece has been carefully selected and is attractive and proper for the grade attributed, some surprises and attractive issues. The Montreal Collection offers an outstanding selection of banknotes, the two Jewels of this collection are a Commercial Bank dated 1857 $2 Brockville and The Exchange Bank of Canada 1872 $4 with EXETER Blue Overprint. Both are Unique and excessively rare. Several other attractive and stunning issues.

This fantastic Prominence V sale Auction should make some spectacular moments and active evenings of auctioning. We expect this to be one of the prestigious numismatic online events of 2021 featuring several rarities never offered to the public.

To bid online, see:

To download a .pdf of the sale catalog:

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Here's a great article by Ursula Kampmann on a rare silver crown and its relation to the Morgan dollar. -Editor

Gold, Silver, the Morgan Dollar and the Rarest Silver Crown of the Latin Monetary Union

On 16 November 2021, Numismatica Genevensis will be auctioning a very important rarity: 5 francs, 1886 – the rarest silver crown of the Latin Monetary Union. Produced around the same time as the Morgan dollar, its rareness also shares the same economic and historical background: the overproduction of silver in the American town of Virginia City, Nevada.

By Ursula Kampmann
Sponsored by Numismatica Genevensis

On 16 November 2021, Numismatica Genevensis will be auctioning a very important numismatic rarity. It is the rarest silver crown of the Latin Monetary Union. Only five specimens of this 5-franc coin from 1886 are known: three of them are located in Switzerland's most important museums. Only two of them are in private hands. And now, for the first time since 2008, one of those two specimens is coming onto the market.

  1886 Latin Monetary Union silver crown obverse 1886 Latin Monetary Union silver crown reverse

Swiss Confederation. 5 francs 1886 B, Bern. One of two specimens in private hands. One of five known specimens. From Auction SKA Bern 1 (1983), Lot 659. NGSA 5 (2008), Lot 1292. NGC MS64. FDC. Estimate: CHF 200,000. From Auction Numismatica Genevensis 14 (15 and 16 November 2021), Lot 395.

The estimated price for this piece, graded as MS64 by NGC, is CHF 200,000. The obverse depicts Helvetia against the backdrop of the Alps, a die created by Geneva-born medallist Antoine Bovy for the new coinage of the recently established confederation. The incredibly rare year can be found on the reverse, surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves and Alpine roses. The coin was minted in Bern, hence the little B under the wreath.

This coin not only holds significance in the world of Swiss numismatics. It is a key testament to the economic history of the 19 th century, bearing witness to the close link between the silver deposits discovered in the American state of Nevada and European monetary policy, as well as the almost global transition to the gold standard.

  1866 Bavaria. Ludwig II gold crown obverse 1866 Bavaria. Ludwig II gold crown reverse 

Bavaria. Ludwig II, 1864-1886. 1 crown 1866, Munich. NGC PF63+CAM. FDC estimate: CHF 20,000. From Auction Numismatica Genevensis 14 (15 and 16 November 2021), Lot 202.

A Groundbreaking Change in the Monetary System
For centuries, Europe used gold and silver to mint its coins. They were all appraised regularly, since their value fluctuated depending on how high the price of gold or silver was at the time. In order to keep these currency fluctuations off their balance sheets, merchants reverted to using a money of account, a system created in the Carolingian period. Any incoming or outgoing amount paid in cash had to be converted into this money of account for bookkeeping purposes.

And then came the 19th century. The people gained more power and demanded a currency system that even the simplest farmer would be able to understand. The money of account and the coins actually minted increasingly became one and the same. To make it easier for everyone to use these coins, the value was stamped on them right away, as illustrated by the Bavarian coin shown here: the inscription tells us that, in accordance with a coinage treaty, fifty such crowns were to be minted from one Cologne pound of gold. The monetary system changed rapidly in the late 18th and 19th century. Each nation chose one single currency, whose value was fixed exactly. For example, the American Coinage Act of 1792 states that each dollar must be equivalent to 371 4/16 grains of pure silver. In its 1850 Federal Coinage Act, Switzerland postulated that its new single currency, the franc, should contain 4.5 g of fine silver, following the French franc.

The problem here was that it wasn't just silver coins circulating in all these countries, but also gold coins, and the price ratio between gold and silver was constantly changing due to the many new gold and silver mines being discovered in the 19 th century. The prices of precious metals were rising and falling more quickly than many governments were able to respond to them.

Mining_on_the_Comstock The Comstock Lode and its rich silver deposits changed the world's monetary landscape forever.

Gold From California, Silver From Virginia City
Just think of the California Gold Rush of 1848, when the discovery of gigantic amounts of gold caused the price of the metal to plummet. Here are a few figures to illustrate just how drastically the amount of gold in circulation changed after 1848: in the decade between 1851 and 1860 alone, 189.7 t of gold were mined. By way of comparison, this figure reached just 136.3 t in the half-century from 1801 to 1850, although it was already clear from 1849/50 that the price of gold was in free fall due to the increased mining output. That's why Switzerland, for example, delayed its gold coinage until 1883.

At that time, the price of silver was in free fall because the enormous yields from the Comstock Lode, located in Virginia City, Nevada, caused the world's silver production to skyrocket to 2,544 t between 1861 and 1870. By way of comparison, this figure had been 772 t between 1841 and 1850, before rising to 1,760 t between 1851 and 1860. Between 1901 and 1910, 5,681 t of silver were mined around the world. And of course, this had an impact on the price of silver. Whereas in 1870, the London Fix price for one ounce of silver was 60 pence, it fell to 47 pence in 1890 and then to 28 pence in 1900.

Impact on the Global Economy
What did this mean for the global economy? Each individual nation had to decide which metal they trusted to retain a certain level of stability. While India and China continued to rely on silver, Germany, when it first emerged as a unified empire with a single currency in 1871, opted for gold as the standard for its currency. To be clear: this didn't mean that there were no longer any silver coins circulating in Germany, on the contrary. But the currency was defined in terms of gold and all denominations could be converted into gold at any time without any extra charge.

Therefore, a large proportion of the 6,000 t of silver contained in the coins that were withdrawn following the change in currency was reminted into German Reichsmarks. Of course, some of it also flowed into the global market. And that was an excellent excuse for all the silver barons in Virginia city, who were furious that their substantial financial investments were no longer paying off due to the dramatic drop in the price of silver on the global market. To put it into specific terms: between 1871 and 1885, the ratio between gold and silver fell from 1:15.51 to 1:32.6!

And by the way, the rumour that the monetary reform in Germany was solely responsible for the drop in the price of silver is still perpetuated in many numismatic books to this day.

The Emergence of the Morgan Dollar
This brings us to the measures taken by the U.S. government to help its silver producers. Richard Parks Bland, a lawmaker representing the state of Missouri, initiated a bill that would become known as the Bland-Allison Act. Nicknamed ‘Silver Dick', Bland knew the major players of silver production and had seen their problems first-hand. In fact, the start of his career was directly linked to the Comstock Lode. So, he made their concerns his own and actually pushed through the Bland-Allison Act of 1878 – which went against the President's veto, by the way. It stipulated that the U.S. Treasury should purchase 2 to 4 million dollars' worth of silver in Virginia City every month. This silver was used to mint dollar coins, which have today become a very well-known and popular field of collection: the Morgan dollars.

A Conference in Paris in 1885
But let's return to Europe. Here, the Latin Monetary Union was struggling to counteract the currency distortions caused by the overproduction of silver in America. Since it was established, the Latin Monetary Union had relied on bimetallism. In other words: the fineness of the coins minted under the agreement had to be such that the metal value of silver and gold coins remained at a fixed ratio of 1:15.1. But with the price of silver constantly falling, this was impossible to sustain. The price of silver was plummeting faster than the weight and fineness for new silver coins could be determined, the old ones could be withdrawn or the new ones could be minted. That's why the representatives of the Latin Monetary Union members, which also included Switzerland, met in Paris to discuss how they should proceed. At the end of 1885, the delegates signed a treaty stating that the minting of silver coins should be suspended until further notice. In exchange, France promised to continue exchanging the currently circulating silver coins at face value into gold on account of the French Treasury. The Swiss representatives were able to negotiate a special arrangement for themselves: since Switzerland had seen colossal growth, both in terms of population and gross national product, and therefore had a lack of silver coins, it was granted permission to mint a disproportionately larger amount of circulating coinage in silver than the other member states. The official figure allowed was 6 francs in silver coins per capita – which would have amounted to 19 million francs –, but this figure was increased by 6 million francs to 25 million. Switzerland was also granted permission to remint 10 million francs' worth of old 5-franc pieces into new 5-franc coins. The treaty entered into force on 1 January 1886, bringing us to the important 5-franc coin from 1886, which Numismatica Genevensis will be presenting in its upcoming auction.

A Broken Master Die and an Issue that was Never Realized
Whereas in 1884 and 1885, the Bern mint had only produced small-denomination coins from base metal, in 1886, it released an extensive issue of gold and silver coins. 250,000 gold coins were minted, in addition to one million 2- and 1-franc coins. There were also plans to mint 5- franc coins, but this failed due to a technical problem: the master die for the obverse broke, meaning that no new obverse dies could be produced. The newly produced 1886 reverse die had to be tested with old obverse dies before the official decision was made to mint the large- scale issue with new coin designs.

Although a competition was held in 1886 to select the new coin design, it wasn't until 1888 that the design could be used to mint an extensive issue of 5-franc coins.

Thus, the rare Swiss 5-franc coin from 1886 is an historic piece that proves that globalisation is not just something that has emerged in the past few decades. The rareness of this coin was caused by the same historical events that led to the prevalence of the American Morgan dollar, which was minted 6,400 kilometres away.

For more information on the sale, see:

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Münzen & Raritätenshop GmbH of Bern Switzerland are offering a selection of Olympic related medals in their Auction 16 November 26-27. Here are a few that caught my eye. -Editor

Lot 4: Athens 1906

  Olympic medal Athens 1906 
  Olympia Athens 1906 copper medal 58.8g 50mm rare extremely fine

To read the complete lot description, see:

Lot 6: London 1908

  Olympic medal London 1908 
  Olympia London 1908 commemorative medal to the participants 44g bronze 50mm extremely fine +

To read the complete lot description, see:

Lot 11: Los Angeles 1932

  Olympic medal Los Angeles 1932 
  Olympia Los Angeles 1932 Large bronze medal 147.7g 68mm rarely almost FDC

To read the complete lot description, see:

Lot 16: Berlin 1936

  Olympic medal Berlin 1936 
Olympia Berlin 1936 bronze medal 94g 70mm rare extremely fine + 

To read the complete lot description, see:

Lot 33: Barcelona 1992

  Olympic medel Barcelona 1992 
  Olympia Barcelona 1992 copper medal 70mm without box almost FDC

To read the complete lot description, see:

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The 1652 New England shilling recently discovered in the United Kingdom has been confirmed as the finest-known example of the first coin struck in what is now the US. It is due to be auctioned online on Friday November 26 by Morton & Eden of London. It is estimated to bring £150,000-200,000 (US$200,000-300,000). An ancestor of the current owner was an early settler in New England.

Morton & Eden kindly provided this preview draft of the catalogue description. Thank you. Great discovery! -Editor

The Property of the Hon. Wentworth Beaumont

  1.New England shilling 1652 MortonAndEden 

U.S.A., Colonial North America, New England, shilling, undated, struck in Boston in 1652 by John Hull and Robert Sanderson, the silver planchet countermarked ‘NE' on obverse and ‘XII' on reverse, 72.2 gr. (Noe 3-B; Salmon 3-C), the finest known example of the first coin struck in what is now the U.S.A., recently discovered in the UK and now in NGC holder graded MS61, extremely rare and the only New England shilling to have been classed as ‘Mint State' by either grading service £150,000-200,000

Wentworth Family Collection. Probably acquired when new by William Wentworth (1616-97), an early Colonial settler who may well have landed in New England in 1636 with John Wheelwright (the controversial antinomian who was related through marriage to Anne Hutchinson and who, in 1638, founded the town of Exeter in what was to become New Hampshire). William Wentworth followed Wheelwright to Exeter and some of his many descendants - he was twice married and had 11 children - were to achieve great prominence both in the nascent state and elsewhere.

This specimen was recently discovered in the United Kingdom in a tin containing numerous coins and medals, many of which are included in this sale (see lots xxx, xxx….) and it has not previously been recorded. Although the possibility exists that the shilling was collected at a later date by one of William Wentworth's numerous descendants (including one Lieutenant Governor and two Colonial Governors of New Hampshire), the presence in the family collection of certain other pieces - notably the Commonwealth unite of 1650 (lot xxx) - is felt to support the hypothesis that William Wentworth probably obtained it when it was new.

Hull and Sanderson's New England coins, famously the first pieces to be struck in North America, were produced over a period of just a few weeks in 1652 using puncheons which were, essentially, like hallmarking tools. The present specimen was made when the ‘NE' punch had been re-cut for the third and final time, while the ‘XII' is from the second of four separate reverse punches, this one being distinguished by a pronounced flaw caused by a crack in the punch running from the base of the second ‘I' to its edge. It is believed that this example is the tenth-known coin struck from this combination of punches and its Mint State status is superior to that of all known specimens of the type. As it so happens the next-finest piece is also of the Noe 3-B variety and is graded AU58 NGC (ex Robert Coulton Davis (1890), Thomas Hall, Virgil Brand, Carl Wurtzbach, T. James Clark, F.C.C. Boyd, John J. Ford, Jon Hanson and Donald Partrick).

For more information, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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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

Prince Edward Island Halfpenny Token
Prince Edward Island Halfpenny Token obverse Prince Edward Island Halfpenny Token reverse

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: AE halfpenny token, ND (1858), Ch-PE-8A2, Breton-921, Steamship sailing left, Fisheries & Agriculture type, thin flan variety, EF to About Unc. The last token of Prince Edward Island was issued about 1858. Probably issued by James Duncan & Co., a hardware merchant in Charlottetown. It seems that after 1858 Prince Edward Island was amply supplied with copper for there were no more halfpenny issues. The official adoption of the decimal system in 1871 rendered these tokens obsolete.

A nice token from the Stephen Alpert Internet 12 sale. Great detail on the ship. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: AE halfpenny token, ND (1858). EF-AU (

1860 Idler Dealer In Coins Token
1860 Idler Dealer In Coins Token obverse 1860 Idler Dealer In Coins Token reverse

Pre Civil War 1860 token Miller / Rulau PA 230F Very Nice Uncirculated. W. Idler Dealer In Coins, Minerals, Shells, Antiques & c. 111 N. 9th St. Philada. Continental Paper Money, Autographs, Engravings & c. Bought & Sold W. Idler, 111 N. 9th St. (150-200).

From the eBay store of Steve Hayden. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1860 Philadelphia Pennsylvania Merchant Token W Idler Coin Dealer (

Set of World War II Ration Tokens
Set of World War II Ration Tokens

Complete Set of World War II Ration Tokens, both Red and Blue Points. Fiber. Choice About Uncirculated.

16 mm. Contains (54) pieces, both the rare red MV and blue WC tokens are present.

While these are mostly common, a few are scarce to rare, and assembling a complete set is a challenge. Buying a complete set takes away the thrill of the hunt, but it's a nice opportunity. From the Stack's Bowers November 2021 Baltimore Auction Numismatic Americana Internet Session. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
Complete Set of World War II Ration Tokens, both Red and Blue Points. Fiber. Choice About Uncirculated. (

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Researchers in Germany as studying a large hoard of Roman silver coinage discovered in Augsburg. Found via The Explorator newsletter. To subscribe to Explorator, send a blank email message to: -Editor

  silver treasure of Augsburg 

More than 15 kilograms of silver coins from Roman times have been discovered in Augsburg. There is talk of the largest Roman silver treasure in Bavaria. Researchers hope to gain new insights into the life of the Romans.

Stefan Krmnicek from the Institute for Classical Archeology at the University of Tübingen turns the lock on the safe, enters a numerical code, then pushes a lever to the side and pulls the centimeter-thick steel door open. Together with his doctoral student Leo Brei, he enters the university safe. The coins from Augsburg are ready for restoration in five gray plastic boxes. It is the largest Roman silver treasure that has been found on Bavarian territory to date. Each coin is individually packed in a plastic bag and numbered. There are around 5500 coins in total.

This amount of money must have been enormous by ancient standards, says Krmnicek. They weigh a total of around 15 kilograms. It is certainly not owned by someone who belonged to the lower social pyramid. This is most likely to think of people who were active in the military or in trade.

The coins were found individually distributed in a construction pit in the Oberhausen district, which is the nucleus of the city. There the stepsons of Emperor Augustus founded around 15 BC. A military camp that was later also used as a supply depot. That is why Augsburg is the second oldest city in Germany after Trier. Later, Emperor Hadrian granted the Augusta Vindelicum settlement, which had arisen around the military camp, city rights. A time about which very little is known in relation to the history of the city of Augsburg.

The coins should be researched in about three years. Then the question arises as to where they are exhibited. Because in Augsburg, the city that is more rich in Roman history than almost any other in Germany, the Roman Museum has been closed for years. It is a rehabilitation case.

To read the complete article, see:
Coins from Roman times: The silver treasure of Augsburg (


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Here's an English version of an article from Spain about a recent Spanish court ruling related to the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes "Black Swan" shipwreck. -Editor

  Black Sawn booty 

The history of the Spanish frigate Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes includes two grievances and one victory. The first of the former was when the British Navy sunk it and its 275 crew members on October 5, 1804, off Portugal's Algarve coast. The second offense came in May 2007, when the US treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration scooped up its cargo of 500,000 silver and gold coins from the shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. In order to conceal the origin of the treasure, the company used the code name Black Swan for the recovery project.

Triumph came when the US justice system confirmed that the treasure belonged to Spain, in a ruling released in February 2012. But there was one more affront to come: a Spanish court has just definitively shelved a case into alleged crimes committed by the US treasure hunters as they were removing the coins. After a tortuous 14-year investigation, a courtroom in Cádiz has been left with no option but to let the probe die, albeit admitting its bafflement and anger over what it considers unusual proceedings.

At the same time as the legal process began in Florida to determine who was the rightful owner of the rescued treasure, Odyssey or Spain, a court in La Línea de la Concepción, in the southwestern Spanish province of Cádiz, began investigating whether the then-CEO of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Greg Stemm, and his team had committed any criminal offenses when they removed the haul from the shipwreck. Among the potential crimes were damaging an archeological site and smuggling.

The fact that the 500,000 pieces of silver and gold were returned to Spain in February 2012 – nearly 17 tons of material, which are now held in the ARQUA underwater archeology museum in Cartagena – is proof that the legal battle in the United States ended well for Spain. But the latest decision in the Spanish case, to which EL PAÍS has had access, leaves no doubt that the investigation into potential crimes has definitively been shipwrecked.

The three judges who were responsible for the case found that the shelving, which cannot be appealed, is based principally on the fact that the potential offenses have now exceeded the statute of limitations in Spain for trial. And the slow process of the probe, according to the judges' writ, was due to the failure of the US justice system to respond to the letters rogatory sent in 2013, and that were needed if Stemm and the rest of the suspects were to be questioned by investigators.

In terms of the lawsuit over the coins, the United States was on Spain's side, explains Ángel Núñez, a public prosecutor who specializes in cultural heritage and who was in charge of the case until 2009. But it is true that when it comes to targeting one of their own nationals, they are not so willing to collaborate. And given that these were US citizens who are not at the disposal of the Spanish courts…

To read the complete article, see:
Spanish court shelves case against US treasure hunters that looted ‘Mercedes' frigate (

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Stack's Bowers Paper Money Researcher & Cataloger Christopher Dahncke published a blog article on the 1919 Irish "Limerick Soviet" notes. I was unaware of this event. interesting political/emergency issue. -Editor

  1919 Irish Limerick Soviet notes 

Our January 2022 Official Auction of the New York International Numismatic Convention is shaping up to be another fantastic sale, with offerings of rarities from a multitude of countries. One such treasure we are pleased to offer is this set of 1, 5 & 10 Shillings from the civil disobedience period in Ireland.

This is an astonishing offering for those seeking to collect the trio of Limerick Soviet notes. The front of the notes reads "General Strike Against British Militarism" in the top and bottom margins, and "The Workers of Limerick Promise to Pay the Bearer (Denomination)" at center. The notes are dated April 1919 in the left and right end designs. All are hand signed and display neat, bold signatures of John Cronin and James Casey. The one shilling displays the written denomination and counters in gray ink, while the 5 Shilling is in green ink and the 10 Shilling is in red.

The Limerick Soviet existed for a two-week period from April 15 to April 27, 1919. The Soviet was formed as a response to the British Army's declaration of a "Special Military Area," as a result of events from the Irish War of Independence. Limerick organized a General Strike, refusing to use British passes to enter the city, and instead issued their own passes, currency, fuel and food. After two weeks, martial law was finally lifted by the British Army and the strike was over. The Soviet ceased to exist after the strike ended, and the currency was quickly confiscated and destroyed by the British Military. The notes that were not confiscated were promptly destroyed by the Irish to avoid being caught with contraband and sent to jail. The survival of this set of notes is a miracle, and we expect them to attract spirited bidding from Irish or British collectors seeking the rarest of the rare.

To read the complete article, see:
January 2022 NYINC Auction to Feature Limerick Soviet 1919 1, 5 & 10 Shillings from Ireland (

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

Musical Instruments on Ancient Coins

This week Mike Markowitz published a new article in his CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series on musical instruments on ancient coins. Check it out! -Editor

  Lesbos, Mytilene EL Hekte

MUSIC IS MUCH older than civilization — it may be as old as language itself. The earliest known musical instrument, a flute made from a bear's shinbone found in 1995 in a cave in Slovenia, dates from 43,000 years ago[1]. In the ancient world, musical instruments played important roles in worship and warfare as well as entertainment, and we see them depicted on a wide range of coins. In modern times, one of the most popular collectible bullion coins is the Vienna Philharmonic (Wiener Philharmoniker) issued since 1989 by the Austrian Mint. The reverse bears a horn, bassoon, harp, and four violins centered around a cello.

By far the most common musical instrument seen on ancient coins is the lyre, a kind of harp with a hollow soundbox, two curved arms, a crossbar, and between three to 12 gut strings that were strummed or plucked with a pick (plectrum). Seven strings were common. The second-century astronomer Claudius Ptolemy even put one in the northern sky, the constellation Lyra.

  Kyzikos stater 

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

The Victorian Thames Tunnel Medals

Dominic Chorney of Baldwin's published a video on the Thames Tunnel medals. -Editor

Thames Tunnel Medal Dominic Chorney takes a closer look at two white metal Thames tunnel medallions. It was the world's first tunnel to ever be dug underneath a navigable river and took 13 years to construct.

To watch the video, see:
The Victorian Thames Tunnel Medallions and its Fatal Construction | Baldwins Coins (

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Venezuelans Pay with Gold Chips

Paul Horner passed along this article about financial desperation in Venezuela. Thanks. -Editor

To fathom the magnitude of Venezuela's financial collapse, travel southeast from Caracas, past the oil fields and over the Orinoco River, and head deep into the savanna that blankets one of the remotest corners of the country.

There, in the barber shops and restaurants and hotels that constitute the main strip of one dusty little outpost after another, you'll find prices displayed in grams of gold.

A one-night stay at a hotel? That'll be half a gram. Lunch for two at a Chinese restaurant? A quarter of a gram. A haircut? An eighth of a gram, please. Jorge Pena, 20, figured that eighth came to three small flakes -- the equivalent of $5. After getting a trim one recent weekday in the town of Tumeremo, he handed them over to his barber, who, satisfied with Pena's calculation, quickly pocketed them. You can pay for everything with gold, Pena says.

In the high-tech global economy of the 21st century, where tap-and-go transactions are the rage, this is about as low tech as it gets.

Most of the world moved on from gold as a medium of exchange over a century ago. Its resurfacing in Venezuela today is the most extreme manifestation of the repudiation of the local currency, the bolivar, that has swept the country.

To read the complete article, see:
Venezuelans Break Off Flakes of Gold to Pay for Meals, Haircuts (

Travels With George

Kudos to the designer of this book's clever cover image. There may be little numismatic to be found, but collectors of colonial and early American items may enjoy the history within or even be inspired to take roads trips in the footsteps of the author and President Washington. -Editor

Travels With George A few months after his inauguration in 1789, he began a series of trips that would define his presidency.

When he became president, suddenly he was confined to his office in the presidential mansion, with all the stresses associated with creating the office of the presidency, and it was really bad for his health, says Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy.

He decided the best way to learn about Washington's presidential trips was to take them himself. With his wife, Melissa, and Dora, their mischievous Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, the trio traveled the Eastern Seaboard, trying to stay as close as possible to Washington's original routes.

I wanted to know not just how Washington experienced this tour but how the people in each town were affected by Washington's presence, the author said.

Reaching out to historical societies and libraries, and from Washington's own diaries and papers, Philbrick was able to reconstruct most of the journeys. Some of the accounts were by children amazed to find Washington in their villages and towns. One account by Sarah, an 8-year-old girl from Oyster Bay, Long Island, noted that the president stopped across from her home to help workers erecting a one-room schoolhouse. Today a plaque commemorates that event, and Philbrick said there were many times like that when you'd feel like you were stepping into the vortex of history.

At another stop in Charleston, S.C., Philbrick climbed a spiral staircase to the octagonal arcade atop St. Michael's Church, a height of 186 feet. Washington had climbed that same staircase about 230 years ago.

To read the complete article, see:
Author retracing George Washington's travels finds his steps sometimes uncertain (

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This article from The Sun discusses a recent instance of someone spending Royal Mint legal tender commemorative coins. -Editor

Trafalgar Square commemorative spent for petrol A COLLECTOR nicked for using a £100 commemorative coin to buy fuel has won a £5,000 payout from cops.

Brett Chamberlain, 54, was thrown out by staff who said it wasn't real money.

He was then interrogated at a police station.

But the Trafalgar Square special edition, with 45,000 minted in 2016, is legal tender under a 1971 Act.

He was accused of making off without payment after filling his car with £60 of diesel at a Tesco Extra in Exeter in July last year.

Cops released him under investigation but later sent a letter to say he would not be charged.

He took legal action and received notice of damages this month.

"Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury's have taken them but Tesco are always difficult.

Shops and banks do not have to accept the large denomination coins.

Tesco said it will not accept commemorative coins as it is not considered to be circulating legal tender.

Devon and Cornwall Police said: We have taken steps to recognise and rectify the issues raised in this case.

To read the complete article, see:
COINING IT Collector arrested for using £100 coin to buy fuel at Tesco wins £5,000 payout (

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