The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 29, July 17, 2022, Article 9


Justice for Zerbe?
Researcher and author Eric Hodge of the UK writes:

Farran Zerbe "I am not American. I am not a member of the American Numismatic Association. I am the first to admit that I am not an expert on American numismatics. I am, however, an interested numismatist. Interested enough to be worried by the apparent lack of correspondence and concern regarding the recent published information about Farran Zerbe.

"Under the heading ‘More on Zerbe and the 1909 ANA Election' published in The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 26, June 26, 2022, Article 12, Douglas Ward wrote what I considered a rather compelling article rebutting much (if not all) of what David Alexander wrote in a 2016 CoinWeek article.

"It was in a previous issue of The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 39, September 26, 2021, Article 17, headed ‘Zerbe Name Removed from ANA Top Award' that I first became aware of the acrimony directed at Farran Zerbe. I was previously aware of Mr. Zerbe from articles and books I had read and was aware of some issues raised, but certainly not to the extent that was now published.

"At the end of this article about the ‘Name Removed' the Editor Wayne Homren wrote; ‘This action seems sudden and arbitrary with no prior discussion of the issues.' He also made other extremely valid points.

ANA Farran Zerbe Award medal "With the rebuttal article by Douglas Ward I would have expected to read a flurry of opinions, for or against what he wrote. The fact that Mr. Ward finished his comments with ‘One only needed to read the last statements in Mr. Alexander's article to understand his true motivation.' and then went on to mention Chester L. Krause and the proposal to rename the Zerbe award the Krause award makes me wonder if there is some hidden agenda, some conspiracy to alter history, something for us all to worry about. Justice not only needs to be done but it needs to be seen to be done. In this case, in my opinion, it has not been seen to be done."

Thanks, Eric. I've been surprised myself at the lack of on-the-record commentary on either side of this question, either here or in other publications. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Joe Bickley Revealed
Mickley Memorial medal obverse Pete Smith asked about an old newspaper article's reference to a "Joe Bickley" as owner of an 1804 dollar later purchased by Reed Hawn. Julia Casey writes:

"I had to drop everything for the Smarty-Pants pursuit! I think I figured it out ... "Joe Bickley" is Joseph J. Mickley. I put it together when I saw that Reed Hawn had owned the Massachusetts Historical Society 1804 Dollar. I then went to Newman/Bressett and found that Mickley had owned that example. Newsday's folksy tone is probably the source of this typo."

Julia's detective skills are up there with the best of them. Her answer makes a lot of sense to me. I wouldn't call it a typo - the reporter likely misheard the name and didn't bother checking the facts before publishing. -Editor

Pete Smith writes:

"I hadn't figured out the Mickley connection until after I found that Bickley was not mentioned in the Newman Portal. I think it was just sloppy reporting by a writer with little background in numismatics.

"Congratulations to Julia for becoming Miss Smarty-Pants again."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
RICHARD REED HAWN (1949-2022) (

More on M. H. Rubenstein
Regarding the Long Island dealer M. H. Rubenstein, John Madlon writes:

"I saw your note in last week's E-Sylum looking for information on Mel Rubenstein (not Martin) who had a coin shop in Bay Shore, NY, and I believe I can be of some help. I lived a few towns over back in the 80's and 90's, and my grandfather would bring me to his shop every so often. Rubenstein had a shop in a strip mall on the South Service Road of Sunrise Highway (NYS Route 27), the tile shop a few doors down was owned by my neighbor's sister and her husband.

"He sold safes, coins and supplies. The front part of his shop had the safes, then behind them a decent assortment of supplies, and finally a u-shaped glass counter which held the coins. The left side was US, the right was foreign, and the center had the register, some ingots/bullion and the ever-present jumbo tin of Danish butter cookies. His wife worked at the shop as well, but I can't remember her name.

Coins of the Dutch East Indies photocopy title page "The empty cookie tins would hold the "junque" boxes, where in 1993 I found two copper coins from the Dutch East Indies, a Duit and a Half Stuiver from 1811. Those two coins were what started me on my lifelong interest in East and Southeast Asian coins. A few years later, in 1995, when I received a YN scholarship to attend the ANA Summer Seminar I found a copy of Sir John Bucknill's "The Coins of the Dutch East Indies" (Spink, 1931) in the ANA library. That opened up (literally) a whole new world of numismatics for me, it was just absolutely mystifying and held my interest like nothing else had before. I photocopied that book in its entirety, and it still resides in my numismatic library, three hole punched and bound up in a binder which I "borrowed" from my dad's office (the cover page I made for it is attached) I must have been a sight, a scruffy 16 year old photocopying this obscure book at the library photocopier, feeding it piles of change.

"But back to Mel, he was wonderfully patient with teenaged me asking all sorts of questions and poking about the cheap bins of coins and junk silver. I have nothing but the fondest memories of him and his shop. He used to put out fixed price lists, a few of which I still have tucked away in a box somewhere.

"Hope this helps somewhat. Sorry I ended up writing mostly about myself, but he holds a really sentimental place for me. "

Thanks - great story. Julia Casey found an ad from the Watertown Daily Times (October 10, 1974) where M. H. Rubenstein was visiting towns as a coin buyer representing the Edison Coin Company of New York. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
RICHARD REED HAWN (1949-2022) (

More on the Fantasy Sommer Island Gold "Pound"

  Fantasy Sommer Island gold pound Garrett sale
Mike Costanzo asked about the whereabouts of the fantasy Sommer Island gold "pound" from the Garrett collection. Alan V Weinberg writes:

"I attended and actively bid in all four Bowers and Ruddy Johns Hopkins University / Garrett auctions (QDB told me I was one of only 34 who attended all four sales) and heavily annotated my catalogues. RL (Bob) Hughes, once a prominent dealer (and still with us), bought the Wuesthoff Sommers Island gold pound which opened at $400 and hammered for $1250.

"I have not seen it since but my best guess is the late Donald G Partrick subsequently acquired it. If so, it would have been returned by Heritage to the Partrick family along with other counterfeits (ie casts, electrotypes) found in the collection as Heritage avoids marketing such items - this info came to me from Heritage. While this fantasy could have a legitimate place in numismatics (like Bolen, C. Wyllys Betts copies, etc), Heritage's view has merit in these litigious times."

  Fantasy Sommer Island gold pound restrike obverse Fantasy Sommer Island gold pound restrike reverse

Thanks. Buyers and sellers can always choose where to spend their time and money. As for myself, I would contend that when properly documented and described, copies and fantasies have a very legitimate place in numismatics - they can help inform and educate us all, and are interesting collectibles in their own right. -Editor

Sam Deep writes:

"The hub that made the die that created the gold Sommer Islands fantasy piece was in my "Off the Beaten Numismatic Path" collection. Last year I gave an ANA presentation featuring the collection and the exhibit that was first runner up at the 2008 Baltimore Convention.

I found the hub at an ANA Convention many years ago, and picked up the white metal impressions at a PAN Show some years later. You might guess how exciting a find they were to go with the hub."

  Sommers Island gold fanstasy hub

Very cool item! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on the Rijksmuseum 1794 Dollar
Henk Groenendijk writes:

"The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has a website where many items from the collection are shown in high resolution. This includes the 1794 dollar.

  Rijksmuseum 1794 dollar obverse KOG-MP-1-5152 Rijksmuseum 1794 dollar reverse KOG-MP-1-5152-01

Only the obverse image was available on the site, but Henk reached out to Rijksmuseum officials who provided high-resolution images of both sides of the coin. Thank you! -Editor

To view the obverse image online, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 10, 2022 : More on the Rijksmuseum Coin Exhibit (

More on Federal Reserve Bank Bags
Pete Smith writes:

"I wrote to David Lange after the item on Mint bags appeared in The E-Sylum last week. I did not share this correspondence with The E-Sylum.

Federal Reserve Bank Bag Richmond, VA "I worked for Minneapolis Gold and Silver during 2003 to 2006. They received frequent shipments of 90% silver in used cloth bags. The used bags were thrown in a large cardboard box and they repackaged the coins in new bags with their client's name. I was allowed to look through the bags and pick out ones I wanted for my collection.

"I accumulated 31 different bags for Federal Reserve Banks including a set for the twelve different banks. The bags come in different sizes and have identification numbers that I don't understand.

"I have one bag for the Omaha Branch of the Kansas City Branch and one for the Louisville Branch of Saint Louis. I suspect there could be other branch bank bags.

"Whoever writes the reference book on Federal Reserve bank bags will have to deal with different sizes, different dates, different colors, different series numbers and the branch banks. I suspect that my accumulation is a small fraction of the whole field of study."

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Pete is the first to report having a complete set. Thanks! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 10, 2022 : Federal Reserve Bank Bags (

Print-on-Demand Providers
Peter Jones asked about print-on-demand provider that offer formats other than perfect binding. Dick Hanscom writes:

"I use 48hourbooks -"

Thanks! I passed this along to Peter. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 10, 2022 : Query: Print-on-Demand Sewn Bindings (

Bicentennial Coin Design Finalists Photo

  Bicentennial Coin Finalists 1-22-74

Dave Lange writes:

"I recently purchased a photograph that likely was published in coin periodicals at the time, but it was nice to have an actual print of the press release photo. It shows several finalists in the competition for America's three Bicentennial coins. Interestingly, only Jack Ahr's drummer boy would make the final cut.

"Another photo I really wanted to buy but on which I was outbid was an image from 1926. It shows Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker meeting with members of Congress about the bill for commemorative half dollars honoring the OT's role in American history. Meeker was the principal proponent of marking and preserving the famous route west, which eventually was achieved. I suspect the winning bidder was either a collector of the coins or simply someone who recognized an important moment in history when he saw it."

Thanks. Nice history. What plans are being made to mark the quarter millennial (or "semiquincentennial", or 250 year anniversary) in 2026? I haven't seen any plans since the passing of the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Best of Show Candidate
Woman wearing Coin headdress Harry Waterson writes:

"Here is an exhibitor who should get Best of Show at the next ANA."

Quite the fashionista... -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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