The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 26, June 27, 2021, Article 30


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

Commission of Fine Arts

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

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

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

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

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

Four Reasons the Ancient Coin Market is Complicated

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

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

There are four main reasons for this:

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

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

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

Counterfeit Canadian Post-Confederation Tokens

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

The Breton Catalogue

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

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

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

Women to be Honored on U.S. Quarters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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