The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 35, August 29, 2021, Article 29


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

Revisiting 1974's Top Ten Ancients

Over on CoinWeek Mike Markowitz took a look at a 1974 list of "Top Ten" ancient coins and examined how they've fared over the years in reputation and price. See the complete article online. -Editor

Macedonia, Amphipolis Tetradrachm 1974-2021

The magazine Numismatic Scrapbook was published from 1935 to 1976 at Chicago by printer and collector Lee Hewitt (1911-1987). In 1974, Numismatic Scrapbook listed 10 record auction prices for ancient coins. CoinWeek asked me to revisit this list, exploring what equivalent coins might go for in today's super-hot ancient coin market.

Since every ancient coin is unique, comparisons are problematic (except in the case of the repeated sale of the very same coin). When comparing house prices, American realtors use the term comp to describe recently sold homes similar to the property you're trying to buy or sell in terms of location, size, condition, and features.

So I went hunting for comps. The results of my searches can be found below.

To read the complete article, see:
Top Ten Ancient Coins of 1974 Revisited (

Today's Booming Coin Market vs. the 1980s

Another CoinWeek article, this one by Louis Golino, compares today's coin market with the hot 1980s. Here's an excerpt - be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

Coin MArket in 1980s vs 2021

There is no doubt we are in the midst of a very bullish coin and bullion market today in the United States.

Since the start of the pandemic the demand for and premiums on physical precious metals, especially silver and gold, have reached some of the highest levels seen in decades with mints such as our own struggling to secure sufficient planchets to produce all its various coins.

Prices for major rarities continue to hit new records such as the June sale of the only legal-to-own 1933 Double Eagle for $18.9 million, almost double the prior record set in 2013 for the finest known 1794 silver dollar.

To help gauge how sustainable today's coin boom really is, it may be instructive to reexamine the major boom of the 1980s when a number of similar trends existed.

To read the complete article, see:
The Coin Analyst: Comparing Today's Booming Coin Market With the 1980s (

Civil War Sutlers and Their Tokens

Kentucky Colonel Dennis Tucker published a nice article on Coin Update about Civil War sutlers and their tokens. -Editor

From-the-Colonels-Desk_2022-08-05_Sutler-Token_Simmonds-Battery_obv From-the-Colonels-Desk_2021-08-05_Sutler-Token_Simmonds-Battery_rev

On several occasions in speeches he gave after the Civil War, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman warned against glorifying battle. War is hell, he said. Who could want it? Only those who had neither fired a rifle nor heard the screams and groans of the wounded.

While the nation was struggling in its great conflict, there were merchants who sought to ease the burdens of soldiers in the field—while turning a profit, of course. The Union Army licensed retailers to supply the troops with some of the comforts and conveniences of home. These merchants, known as sutlers, would often travel with the troops, selling their wares from wagons and pitching tents during encampment. Sometimes in occupied towns, they would have the luxury of setting up a storefront. They sold amusements to while away the hours: Games, playing cards, dice. They distributed information in magazines and newspapers with the latest headlines, and books to enlighten and entertain. Cigars, clothes, medicinal [ahem] bitters, and other goods, luxurious or common, aimed to distract the troops from the hell of war.

To read the complete article, see:
From the Colonel's Desk: Traveling salesmen and the hell of war (

The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson

In this article in the ABA Banking Journal, economist John Steele Gordon discusses how "Thomas Jefferson's ghost was finally banished from American banking." -Editor

thomas-jefferson Thomas Jefferson was born one of the richest men in the American colonies. At the age of 14, he inherited 5,000 acres and 52 slaves from his father. Later, he and his wife, Martha, inherited 11,000 acres and 135 slaves from his father-in-law, John Wayles. But as one of the largest planters in the country, he had an aristocratic disdain for those who engaged in commerce—especially banking—a business that makes money from money, rather than from what Jefferson rather ironically regarded as honest toil.

American banking began only in 1784, as before independence Great Britain had forbidden banks in the colonies. Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury, established the Bank of the United States, modeled on the Bank of England, to act as the central bank and provide discipline to the emerging American banking system.

To read the complete article, see:
The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson (

Mayor Forgoes Salary After Biting Olympic Medal

Remember the guy who bit someone's Olympic gold medal? After 7,000 complaints he's taking a salary cut as punishment. -Editor

MAyor bites 2020 Olympic medal A Japanese mayor who drew criticism for biting an Olympic champion's gold medal has offered to take a three-month pay cut as punishment.

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura chomped on the gold medal of Miu Goto, a pitcher for Japan's softball team, during a victory event earlier this month.

Speaking at a press conference, Kawamura has now said he is ready to forfeit three months' pay totaling 1.5 million yen ($13,000) as a penance for his indiscretions.

Goto is set to be given a free replacement medal from the International Olympic Committee.

To read the complete article, see:
A Japanese mayor who bit an Olympian's gold medal has offered to forfeit $13,000 of pay as a punishment (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wall Street Journal Covers Serbia-Croatia Tesla Tussle

Gerry Tebben passed along this Wall Street Journal article on the tussle between Serbia and Croatia over inventor Nikola Tesla. Thanks. -Editor

Nikola Tesla WSJ image This summer, the governor of Serbia's central bank is taking an aggressive position on a foreign currency: Trying to stop inventor Nikola Tesla appearing on Croatia's coins.

Though dead for 78 years, Mr. Tesla still raises temperatures between these two Balkan neighbors over which one has bragging rights to the pioneering electrical engineer, after whom Tesla Inc.'s electric vehicles were named.

Mr. Tesla was an ethnic Serb and grew up in a part of the Austrian empire that is in modern-day Croatia. In 1884, at 28 years old, he emigrated to the U.S., where he pioneered how to make alternating current work on a grand scale, electrifying the world.

In Belgrade, where the ubiquity of Mr. Tesla's name and image give him a profile typically reserved elsewhere for sport or pop stars, everyone has an opinion, and that opinion is unanimous: Hands off, Croatia.

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
Tesla Ignites a Feud, and It Has Nothing to Do With Cars (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

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