The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 53, December 31, 2023, Article 10


More on Rex Stark
Donald Ackerman writes:

Rex Stark "When you reach a certain age, friends and colleagues start dying off which can be rather depressing but, as they, say, it beats the alternative!

"I first met Rex around 1976. While at a show, he showed me a bunch of snapshots of items in his collection.

"In remembering Rex, I can't think of a single bad thing to say about him. He was truly a straight shooter who treated everyone with respect and courtesy. He did have a rather sardonic, dry sense of humor which shone through on occasions.

"He was entrusted with the sale of Richard Ulbrich's Indian Peace Medals and George Washington Inaugural Buttons, having established a trusted position with the family.

"Buying and selling collectibles was Rex's life blood. He loved the action of setting up at shows and bidding at auctions. Not too many items escaped his radar. After receiving his cancer diagnosis, Rex could have opted to spend his last days traveling and checking off items on his bucket list. But, he didn't have a bucket list. He did not change his routine. Some years back, Rex bought Patti a house in Tasmania and she implored him to move to Australia, but he would have none of it (he didn't want to cross paths with 12 Huntsman spiders or other poisonous denizens of the outback). Outside of yearly trips to London for the Ceramic Fair, he stayed in New England, convenient to Brimfield and Antiques Week in New Hampshire, as well as other hobby events. He wasn't consumed by his illness (at least not emotionally or intellectually). He did what he loved best until the very end."

Thanks. Might as well go out with one's boots on! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Michael Kirzner
In response to Mike Bourne's question, Julian Leidman writes:

"Michael Kirzner was not an obscure dealer back in the early 70's. He was a well known dealer at shows. I had many dealings with him, although I could not name anything specific. He was very knowledgeable and I remember that he offered to pay $1,000 for a real uncirculated Bust Dollar, which I had never seen at the time."

Alan V. Weinberg writes:

"Michael Kirzner of the Boston area was a prominent, self-employed professional numismatist back in the 1970's who handled rare coins far above the level of most dealers. I knew him fairly well. At the time he was in his late 20s-early 30's & was considered a wunderkind along with Jim Halperin, Steve Ivy and a very young Kevin Lipton.

"Unfortunately Mike got sucked into handling stolen coins from organized crime burglary / robbery gangs, testified against them and became a convicted / protected witness, secluded for years.

"About a decade ago I wandered into a fancy antique shop and immediately recognized the store owner as Mike Kirzner, still looking very much like his self of the 1970's but older & still handsome. He'd aged well. We talked briefly and I got the feeling that he was still conscious of being sought after by crime figures he helped convict. Mike would be in his late 60's-early 70's now but looks younger.

"I'm reliably informed that a Kirzner-contemporary wunderkind Alan Brotman, once a friend of Kirzner, also once involved in numismatic criminal activity during a prominent career and not seen for many years in the hobby, was present and wandering on the Pittsburgh ANA bourse floor last August."

Julian adds:

"Kirzner was much older than the wunderkids that Alan referred to, 10-15 years older. I have seen Brotman several times at shows over the past couple of years."

Thanks, everyone. Sad stories. Brotman's brushes with the law are documented in Pete Smith's new Numismatic Rogues Gallery, discussed elsewhere in this issue. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: DECEMBER 24, 2023 : Michael Kirzner Information Sought (

More On Encapsulation and Coin Weight
Ralf Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes:

"When wondering about the pros and cons of encapsulated coins, it is, in my opinion, always helpful to start with where this idea originally came from: US coins. There was a need to weed out numismatic forgeries, and, more importantly, there was a need to establish whether a coin was "MS-64" or "MS-65", since this separated the market for uncirculated coins into several ones and enhanced the profits for the industry.

"While US coinage is very uniform in weight and quality of strike, and there usually is no need for recording the weight, the same does not hold true for most coins from Latin America, and even less so if they were used to create necessity coinage. So many of the rules and reasons for slabbing US coins do not really work for them. Or even work against them, as in this case, where it is no longer possible to properly study the coin.

small coins on scale "If I were to win the lot in question in the upcoming auction at a price I consider reasonable (unlikely given the current markets, but one never knows), I would take this coin out of its "Snow White's coffin", as I like to call these slabs. From a numismatic point of view, there is no reason for this coin to be in one. The coin would then enter my collection database with its correct weight and dimensions."

While the owner of a coin can of course remove and weigh it, researchers working from grading company and auction house records are at a loss if the weight is never published. But we're spoiled by the existence of online information and miffed when it's not as complete as we'd like - as in the past, only one with physical possession of the coin is in a position to measure and record its weight. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: DECEMBER 24, 2023 : Coin Weight as Proprietary Information (

Morgan Bulkeley Information Sought
Gary Greenbaum writes:

Morgan_G_Bulkeley "In addition to being a retired lawyer, I improve Wikipedia articles. Recently I've been working on that of Morgan Bulkeley. In addition to being a senator from Connecticut and governor, he was the first president of baseball's National League, for just under a year, for which he's been enshrined in Cooperstown's National Baseball Hall of Fame, though whether he should have been placed there in the first place is somewhat open to question.

"After completing the research I needed, I somewhat as a lark checked The Numismatist's archives. Somewhat to my surprise, I found him in the February 1918 issue (p. 75), one of 96 donors who had contributed just under 20,000 items to the American Numismatic Society. His name appears among such numismatic and non-numismatic figures as J. Pierpont Morgan and Farran Zerbe.

"None of the biographical sources I've read on Bulkeley mention any interest in coin collecting, and the few results from the Newman Portal don't help. Bulkeley was a bank president in the 1870s before becoming the long time president of Aetna and he may have accumulated unusual coins at some time or other. Any connection between a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and numismatics is also interesting.

"Does anyone know anything that can expand on this enigmatic reference?"

Interesting. I'm not familiar with Bulkeley. Can anyone help flesh out his numismatic side? -Editor

To read the Wikipedia article, see:
Morgan Bulkeley (

Gold Bracelet Found in Norway
Paul Horner writes:

"A neat find of a gold bracelet in Norway."

  norway gold bracelet cleaned

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
Metal detectorist stumbles on very rare gold treasure from 2,500 years ago, photos show (

Video: Nigeria's Fake Banknotes

Howard Berlin passed along this video about how Nigeria is dealing with fake bank notes. Thanks. -Editor

  Nigeria banknotes

Fake naira bank notes are in circulation in Nigeria, and the country's central bank has warned the public to stay vigilant. But authorities are doing little to confront the problem, leaving it mostly up to locals to work out if the money they're exchanging is real. As a result, trust in Nigerian currency is being undermined. DW's Flip Side takes a look.

To watch the video, see:
How is Nigeria dealing with fake bank notes? (

  CNG E-Sylum Ad 2023-12-10 Triton XXVII

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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