The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 22, May 29, 2022, Article 31


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

The Aes Grave

CoinWeek has a nice article by Tyler Rossi on the Aes Grave. -Editor

  The Aes Grave

It is said that when Greece was building grand temples of white marble, the Romans were living in mud huts. While this is a sweeping generalization, there is some truth behind it as is demonstrated by the Republic's earliest documented coinage, the Aes Rude or Rough Bronze. These proto-coins, used between the eighth century BCE and the late fourth century BCE, were basically rough ingots of cast bronze traded based on their base metal weight.

By the early fourth century BCE, as the Roman economy evolved and local metalworking technology became more sophisticated, the Aes Rude slowly transformed into the Aes Grave or Heavy Bronze. Like the Aes Rude series, the Aes Grave traded at the value of the metal. But unlike the rough bronze ingots, the Aes Grave can be considered true coinage that includes distinctive types as well as marks of value and approximating to a definite weight standard (Sydenham, 55). While the value of each Aes Grave was still based on weight, interestingly that weight fluctuated wildly. This was due to the fact that the Romans focused more on the total weight of metal and not on the individual coins. Since it was a fractional denomination system based on the roman pound, all the Roman mint was concerned with was casting the correct number of coins from each pound.

To read the complete article, see:
The Aes Grave Bronze Coin During the Roman Republic (

Trinity College Dublin Library Restoration

Here are a couple of items for the bibliophiles among us. Trinity College Dublin has one of the world's greatest libraries, and the building is about to undergo a serious renovation. The photo is some real eye candy. Thanks to Harry Salyards for passing along this New York Times article. -Editor

  Trinity College Dublin Library

The Long Room, with its imposing oak ceiling and two levels of bookshelves laden with some of Ireland's most ancient and valuable volumes, is the oldest part of the library in Trinity College Dublin, in constant use since 1732.

But that remarkable record is about to be disrupted, as engineers, architects and conservation experts embark on a 90 million euro ($97 million) program to restore and upgrade the college's Old Library building, of which the Long Room is the main part.

The library, visited by as many as 1 million people a year, had been needing repairs for years, but the 2019 fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was an urgent reminder that it needed to be protected, according to those involved in the conservation effort.

To read the complete article, see:
An Irish National Treasure Gets Set for a Long-Needed Restoration (

A History of Punctuation

At The E-Sylum we love words as well as the books they come in. Here's an article with a great history of punctuation. Yes, even that had to be invented. While preparing this for tonight's issue I discovered that we'd actually referenced this exact essay a couple years ago. But here goes anyway. If you hadn't clicked the link to see the full article last time, here's another chance. -Editor

first-known-semi-colon In the broad sense, punctuation is any glyph or sign in a text that isn't an alphabet letter. This includes spaces, whose inclusion wasn't always a given: in classical times stone inscriptions as well as handwritten texts WOULDLOOKLIKETHIS – written on scrolls, potentially unrolling forever. Reasons for continuous script aren't entirely clear, but might be connected to a conception of writing as record of speech rather than a practice in itself, and since we're hardly aware of the minuscule pauses we make between words when speaking, it isn't obvious to register something we do and perceive unconsciously with a designated sign that is a non-sign: blank space.

One of the primary purposes of writing in Ancient Greece and Rome was giving lectures and political speeches, not publishing texts. Before going on stage, an orator would work on his text, making subjective, individually determined signs for long and short syllables, pauses for rhetorical effect and breathing, and joining up of words when reading aloud. There was no such thing as reading at first sight.

Writing without punctuation lasted for many hundreds of years, in spite of individual efforts such as those of Aristophanes, the librarian at Alexandria.

To read the complete article, see:
A history of punctuation (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
LOOSE CHANGE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2020 : A History of Punctuation (

Weighing the Opportunities in Coin Collecting

Jeff Garrett published an article on the NGC site about gauging risk when purchasing coins. -Editor

Evaluating a coin If you can buy a great coin, you can almost be certain that another collector in the future will also want that great coin. The key words are: in the future. Never stretch to buy a great coin that you might need to sell relatively soon. You might not quickly find someone who is willing to stretch as you have, and you could be faced with a substantial loss. This comes back to your risk tolerance.

In general, collectors should make an effort to assess their tolerance for risk when making an investment in rare coins. As with other investments, your timeline for investing is also extremely important. A stock advisor will ask if you are investing money that you might need sometime soon. Obviously, if you might need the funds in the near future, you should avoid risky investments that might drop sharply and will take years to recover. Investing in coins should also be for collectors who think long term.

To read the complete article, see:
Jeff Garrett: Weighing the Opportunities in Coin Collecting (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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