The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 5, January 31, 2021, Article 9


Coin Whirligigs
John Phipps writes:

Merriam Token Two-Holder Pie Crimper reverse "When I was a kid and reading Boy's Life and Popular Mechanics regularly, I remember seeing an article on how to make a clock by hand (like a mechanical Heathkit project). At the time, my father and I were both coin collectors and into working on shop projects in the garage so we both noticed it. We weren't interested in this project so my memory is nothing more than noticing the article. So maybe some of these "pie crimpers" are "gears" for a clock or other whirligig. That might explain the one with two holes."

Dave Karstaedt writes:

"The 2 holed pie crimper is neither a pie crimper nor a button. It is a child's toy called a whizzer. These are commonly found on colonial and early sites. They are often made of lead discs but can also be made from coins. The edges are often cut or serrated. A string is threaded through the holes in a special way. Then the whizzer is wound up then the string is pulled back and forth making the disc spin fast. This causes a whistling sound."

John Sallay writes:

"The piece pictured in last week's E-Sylum in "Merriam Token Two-Holed Pie Crimper" is not a pie crimper, but a spinner, created as a toy for a child (or a numismatist with too much time on his hands). These have been made for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, though I've never seen an ancient coin made into one. They are also sometimes called button spinners, thread spinners, buzzers, whirligigs, and probably other things as well. In this case the edges are notched to create a buzzing sounds as it rotates at high speed."

A video is worth thousands of words. John kindly included links to a couple of excellent YouTube videos of multi-holed whirligigs in action. Thanks! Check 'em out. The second one has more discussion, plus some discussion of different types. -Editor

whirligig threading
whirligig threaded

To watch the videos, see:
Thread Spinner - The Button-Thread Toy - Buzz Saw Toy (
Button Spinners (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 24, 2021 : Merriam Token Two-Holed Pie Crimper (

Tulsa Race Massacre Numismatic Survivors

Last week we discussed a medal given by the Oklahoma state legislature to survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Here's another numismatic connection to the event. -Editor

Len Augsburger writes:

"In the last chapter of Tim Madigan's The Burning (2001), he describes a meeting with George Monroe, a 96 year old survivor of the Tulsa race massacre."

Here's the passage. -Editor

The Burning

"Some days now, George Monroe wears a remarkable souvenir from that day, a pendant made of dimes that were melted together when his family home burned. And he still wonders why people could be so mean for no good reason at all. In all these years, no one has been able to answer that for him. The best folks can do is to listen to his story and join in with his remembrances. Now he takes a sip from a beer, rises from his chair and disappears into a back room of the home. In a minute, he returns holding a blackened penny, one of hundreds his family extracted from the ruins of their place so long ago. "That's a penny you can keep," he says, handing it over. "Keep that penny as a reminder."

Interesting! Thanks. I hope those burned relics remain preserved and properly documented. I'm still curious to learn more about the gold-plated medals presented by the state to survivors. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

For more information, or to order the book, see:
THE BURNING The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 (

The Japan Craze
Ted Puls writes:

Framed replica Japanese coins "I loved seeing the framed Japanese coin article at the end of the last E-Sylum. I enjoyed seeing a similar item when visiting the ANA Library. It was on the wall near the books on Chinese coins. Sadly this item was stolen by someone not reading the nearby books, to know that the coins were fake. I wonder if these displays were "mass-produced"?"

All things Japan were a big craze at one time, and these decorative art frames are likely from the 19th-century versions of Home Goods. See the complete article linked at the bottom of the earlier piece. -Editor

"Many of these framed objects have connections to some of the 19th century's great curio shops that specialized in the manufacture and selling of Japanese decorative arts objects, silvers, furniture, and lacquers to European collectors."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
LOOSE CHANGE: JANUARY 24, 2021 : Framed Displays of Japanese Money (

Churchill in a Military Cap
Chip Howell writes:

"Purely by serendipity, I ran across a coin w/Churchill in a military cap just this evening: Liberia $10, 1995 (KM#145)"

Churchill Navy Medal obverse

Chip was responding to my comment about this medal, noting that I hadn't seen a coin or medal depicting Churchill with a military cap. I found a similar dollar coin on Numista. -Editor

White spacer bar
Liberia Churchill dollar obverse Liberia Churchill dollar

Chip adds:

"That coin (KM#140) is the same design as the one I saw (KM#145)

"I made the "mistake" of typing "Churchill" into Numista, and came up with several other examples.

"This is very much a minority among his depictions, as you referenced--most are bare-headed or w/homburg et al."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: JANUARY 24, 2021 : Churchill Navy Medal (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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