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About Us

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit association devoted to the study and enjoyment of numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link


There is a membership application available on the web site Membership Application

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Print/Digital membership is $40 to addresses in the U.S., and $60 elsewhere. A digital-only membership is available for $25. For those without web access, write to:

Jeff Dickerson, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 578,
Weatherford, TX 76086


For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact Jeff at this email address:


To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:


Sale Calendar

Watch here for updates!


Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Wayne Homren 2017-03-15 full Thank you for reading The E-Sylum. If you enjoy it, please send me the email addresses of friends you think may enjoy it as well and I'll send them a subscription. Contact me at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

This week we open with an E-Sylum announcement, numismatic literature offerings, one new book, a book review, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notes from readers, and more.

Other topics this week include American Military Buttons, the Sacagawea dollar, great coin collectors, the Great Kentucky Hoard, plaster casts, Jim Risk, Sam Gelberd, fixed price and auction selections, and the Farnsworth dollars.

To learn more about Garrett Ziss, David Redden, Charles Pletz, George Mills, Coins of the Holy Land, holed coins, Whitsun Farthings, Siege Notes, other Bruun collection sales, and piles of cash found in Ohio restrooms, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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The number one question readers have for me as editor is "How the heck do you manage to publish so much information every week?" Sometimes I wonder myself. I've gotten pretty efficient over the years, but it's still a lot of effort. While Bruce Perdue handles all the website work and sends out the email, the editing and formatting of articles are done by yours truly. Or were until two weeks ago, when our sponsor the Numismatic Bibliomania Society brought on Garrett Ziss to assist for two or three hours per issue. He's been doing a great job pulling together and formatting articles. It's great to have a helper and backup. Time to make it official - welcome aboard, Garrett! -Editor

Garrett Ziss Becomes Assistant to E-Sylum Editor

Garrett Ziss 2024 Garrett Ziss, American Numismatic Association Young Numismatist of the Year for 2020, is now assisting E-Sylum Editor Wayne Homren. Ziss is well-known in numismatic circles and has contributed original research to the John Reich Journal and other publications. Garrett has conducted oral history interviews for the John Reich Collectors Society and Liberty Seated Collectors Club, and has delivered presentations at many events including the Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium. He also served as a summer intern for the Portal in 2021.

Garrett is a numismatic collector and researcher and has been a member of the NBS for nine years. His numismatic library has been assembled over the years to support his collecting and research interests and focuses on American paper money as well as early U.S. silver and copper coins. It contains several items with a meaningful numismatic pedigree, including literature previously owned by esteemed numismatists Eric Newman, Jules Reiver, Henry Hilgard, Kirk Gorman and Lester Merkin (bookplate shown below).

Garrett is a Senior Honors student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration (Business Information Systems, Analytics) and Economics. His interest in economics was sparked by his research on American obsolete paper money and the prominent role these notes played in keeping the country's commerce moving during times of economic hardship.

Lester Merkin Bookplate He will be involved in editing and formatting a number of articles and images each week, while learning the ropes and being on call should additional assistance be needed.

Garrett adds,"The E-Sylum has become an important part of the numismatic community and I'm excited to have the opportunity to contribute to it!

NBS President Len Augsburger stated, "We're very happy to have Garrett on board to help carry the editing load - since beginning as a small text-only email in 1997, The E-Sylum has grown to become a substantial award-winning publication with a worldwide numismatic audience, and a productive source of new NBS members."

Link to Garrett Ziss presentation, "From the War of 1812 to the Civil War: A Chronology of a Numismatic Marriage, from the March 2021 Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Kolbe & Fanning recently updated their website with a number of great new and used titles. -Editor

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers have been adding to their online inventory at their retail website, Featuring some 1000 titles, the Kolbe & Fanning site includes recently published books as well as second-hand volumes, with items spanning the entire range of numismatic subjects and ranging from $10 to $3500. We carry a variety of new publications from such publishers as Whitman, CNG, Spink, the ANS, Varesi, and Gadoury, including many titles we import to make available to our customers. A few new publications include:

  Gold Coins of the World 10th edition book cover Mint Errors to Die For 3rd Ed book cover

  7337 gold coinage of the low countries book cover 7219 Monnaies royales françaises book cover

  7277 Safeguarding history book cover 7212-1 Numismatique annamite

  • Ken Rendell's fascinating memoir Safeguarding History
  • And a few highlights from our selection of second-hand books include:

  • Désiré Lacroix's 1900 Numismatique annamite, the classic work on the coinage of Annam
  •   7218-1 Kunze Cabinet 7216-1 Vicomte de Ponton d'Amécourt collection

      7206-1 Hill Italian Medals 7215-3 Chapman Jenks sale

    All of these and more are available at It is important to note that we have two websites: one for retail sales ( and one for our live auction platform ( We look forward to hearing from you!

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    Haim Gitler of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem has published the first in a planned series of volumes based on the Jeselsohn Collection of Coins of the Holy Land. Volume I covers Hacksilber and Persian and Early Hellenistic coinage. -Editor


    JESELSOHN COLLECTION v1 book cover

    The book contains a catalogue of the largest collection of early coinages minted locally in the southern Levant during the fifth-fourth centuries BCE. The two centuries of Achaemenid dominion in the Near East, from 538 until 332 BCE, constitute a crucial period in the history of the southern part of the Fifth Persian Satrapy, also known as Beyond the River (‘Abar Naharâ). This period is marked by a profound transformation in the economic, political and cultural life of the region.

    From the mid-fifth century BCE we witness a transition in the means of payment from the use of weighed metal (mostly silver) to that of foreign coinage, and, subsequently, to local issues. The issuing of local coins by civic minting authorities should be seen as a part of a longer process of monetization by which the use of precious metals in various shapes for economic transactions was transformed into the use of coins for such transactions in the southern Levant.

    The current volume, covers the Persian and Early Hellenistic Coinage, i.e. from the Persian (Achaemenid) and early Hellenistic (Ptolemaic and Seleucid) periods, roughly 450 to 250 BCE, as well as three Hacksilber and jewelry hoards and varia. This includes the coinage of Philistia, Samaria, Judah and possibly Dor and Edom.

    Here is an excerpt from the book's Foreword by David Jeselsohn. -Editor

    The Jeselsohn Collection (also known as the David and Jemima Jeselsohn Collection and hereafter JC) of coins of the Holy Land requires geographic and chronological definition. Geographically the collection covers the area from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Arabian Desert in the east, and from the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula in the south to a line in the north stretching from Akko in the west to the slopes of Mount Hermon and on to the Arabian Desert south of Damascus in the east.

    Chronologically the collection covers the period starting from the beginning of coin minting in this area in the second half of the fifth century BCE, slightly after 450 BCE, until the end of the thirteenth century, dated for the sake of convenience to 1291 CE when the city of Akko/Acre, the last stronghold of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, was captured by the Mamluks.

    Thereafter, during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, coins were no longer minted in the area. The British Mandate authorities minted coins for Palestine in Britain with the inscription Palestine – Eretz Israel from 1927 to 1946 CE. Minting of coins in the area began again only when the State of Israel was founded in 1948 CE. One can therefore say that the JC covers all the minting activity in the area over 2,400 years, from about 450 BCE to 1948 CE.

    This long period of 2,400 years is divided into four consecutive parts, to be presented in four volumes as follows:

    Volume I, the current volume, covers the Persian and Early Hellenistic Coinage, i.e. from the Persian (Achaemenid) and early Hellenistic (Ptolemaic and Seleucid) periods, roughly 450 to 250 BCE, as well as three Hacksilber and jewelry hoards and varia. This includes the coinage of Philistia, Samaria, Judah and possibly Dor and Edom.

    Volume II will cover the city coins of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, i.e. from Alexander the Great's conquest of the area in 333 BCE to the cessation of city-coin minting under the Roman Emperor Gallienus from 258 to 268 CE.

    Volume III will be dedicated to Jewish coinage. It will cover the period from the Hasmoneans – John Hyrcanus I (134–104 BCE) – to the end of the Bar Kokhba War in 136 CE.

    Volume IV, which was the first to be published in 2022, covers the coinage of Islamic rulers, from the conquest of the area by the Arabs in 634 CE until the end of the minting activity in this area around the end of the thirteenth century CE. It also covers the coins of the Crusaders, between 1099 and 1291 CE.

    The book can be ordered from Yad Ben Zvi at Members of the Israel Numismatic Society get a discount. -Editor

    For more information, see:
    The Jeselsohn Collection of Coins of the Holy Land Volume I. Hacksilber, Persian and Early Hellenistic Coinage (

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    Tom Kays submitted this review of a new book about American Military Buttons, which have many parallels to the design, manufacture, and heraldry found on early U.S. coins, patriotic tokens, seals, medals, and currency. Thank you! -Editor

      American Military Buttons – An Interpretive Study – The Early Years 1785 – 1835
    by Bruce Bazelon and William Leigh

    American Military Buttons book cover Early American coin designers sought ways to depict the unique American character through tiny patriotic icons and legends on tiny disks of metal that would clearly invoke the ideals of Liberty, Freedom, and States United. Private token makers would likewise imitate early federal coin designs to make small disks with patriotic-themed advertising intentionally resembling coins.

    Yet, another group of manufacturers faced these same design challenges as coin and token makers. America's first military uniform buttons were flat, one-piece buttons about the size of a large cent that needed to distinguish all branches of federal military service, state militias, and civilian government officials. These too hold patriotic obverse designs like coins, but with a shank attached on the reverse, often surrounded by the manufacturer's advertising like tokens.

    A new guide to these fascinating hybrid bits of early American identity is available in American Military Buttons – An Interpretive Study – The Early Years 1785 – 1835, by Bruce Bazelon and William Leigh, Woonsocket Rhode Island, Mowbray Publishing, 2024. Nicely illustrated in color, are 224 pages with images of thousands of rare American uniform buttons gathered from many lifetime collections including the U.S. Army Center of Military History. Historic buttons are identified and interpreted with the work dedicated to The Society of American Buttonists. The authors present new information to trace the development of American patriotic heraldry through button types, manufacturers, and attributions from the end of the Revolution to 1835. This is an on-going project with the authors welcoming reports of new discoveries to be added to the text.

    In the late 18th century well-to-do individuals and fraternal organizations would design and have made sets of livery buttons with family crests and institutional heraldry. Military officers expected nothing less. Uniform buttons of the American officers and enlisted of the regular army from 1792 to 1835 needed to distinguish regiments of infantry, artillery, riflemen, dragoons, and specialized officers of ordinance, artillerists, engineering, and artificers, along with state militias, nautical services, marines, and the civilian diplomatic corps. These historic buttons are pictured, given full provenance as to identity, manufacturer, and era of use.

    In a fascinating parallel to numismatics, many types of American symbols, stemming in inspiration from the original Great Seal of the United States, state coinage, and currency are employed on these buttons. English-button makers copied various American document seals, gold coins, and American-theme Condor tokens available to them during George Washington's presidency in the hopes of selling military goods to the new United States Government. English manufacturers failing to sell coins with the establishment of the Mint at Philadelphia, recycled some coin designs into new endeavors to sell uniform buttons.

    For instance, English-button maker Carter on Lombard Street sold gold-washed, U.S. Army Staff Officer buttons, closely duplicating the eagle standing, with laurel wreath in mouth, the same design as the reverse of U.S. five and ten dollar gold pieces of 1795 – 1797. Used from 1799 into the War of 1812, these have long been incorrectly classified as Diplomatic Corps buttons. An excavated example was found at Sackets Harbor, New York.

      English made U.S. Infantry Officer Button
    English made U.S. Infantry Officer Button by Carter
    on Lombard Street, London (circa 1799)

    Another example are uniform buttons of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of the State of Massachusetts with standing Native American with bow, arrow, and star design used on the obverse of Massachusetts coppers of 1787-1788.

      Massachusetts Artillery silver-washed button

    1787 Massachusetts Cent, reverse (left) with Massachusetts Artillery silver-washed button (circa 1810 - 1820 on right) by Aaron Peasley of Boston/London.

    Many uniform button designs will ring familiar with numismatists who are familiar with colonial, early federal, and state-issued seals, medals, paper currency, and patriotic items. To order: call Mowbray Publishing at 800 999-4697; go to or contact author William Leigh at

    Tom adds:

    "I do collect a few Massachusetts buttons as they tie in well with Massachusetts coppers. This new 2024 button book updates the beginning pages of the standard button reference by Alphaeus Albert, Record of American Uniform and Historical Buttons, published back in 1976, with new information, better back mark attributions, and reclassifies some buttons to more closely attribute them to the units that used them and their manufacturers. I believe the retail price for the book is $75.00."

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    OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 500 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at

    DAVID NORMAND REDDEN (1949-2024)

    Auctioneer David Redden of Sotheby's has died. Along his career he auctioned what were at the time the most expensive coins, medals and stamps in the world. Born January 23, 1949, he passed on May 11, 2024 at the age of 75. -Editor

      David Redden with Declaration of Independence copy

    David Redden, a towering figure in Sotheby's history – and in the lore of auctioneering more broadly – has died at age 75 of viral pneumonia. But what a life he lived.

    He joined Sotheby's in the mid-1970s and, in a career spanning more than 40 years, rose to the rank of vice chairman and became one of the house's longest-serving auctioneers. He sold a staggering variety of objects, both at auction and by private sales.

    He sold the Magna Carta. He sold Earth's first spaceship. He sold James Naismith's founding rules of basketball. Three copies of the Declaration of Independence. Sue the dinosaur. Gilbert Stuart's lifesize portrait of George Washington. The collection of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. At one point, the vault next to his office contained both Faberge Imperial Eggs from the legendary Forbes Collection and the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    David was a great auction impresario, said Richard Austin, the Global Head of Books and Manuscripts, who worked with Redden. He was the one who really understood that an auction can be more than a financial transaction. It can be a moment in time. There was a sense of theater to it. For instance, in 2006, Redden brought drummers into the sale room for a sale of four flags captured in 1779 and 1780 during the American Revolution.

    David Redden was born in China, the son of a diplomat, and led a cosmopolitan childhood across Rome, Haifa and London. He received his art-history degree from Wesleyan University before joining Sotheby's, where by his own estimation he sold nearly one million lots including works from the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to the world's most expensive book, stamp, coin and medal.

      David Redden hammering the 1933 Double Eagle
    Auctioning the Farouk 1933 Double Eagle

    The great question that David would ask is: ‘Why isn't it worth more?' Austin recalled. And it was his job to prove that it was worth more.

    In turn, he was more than an auctioneer. Redden was largely responsible for launching, signaling his insatiable curiosity. Here was a man who moved effortlessly between the latest technology and a Hebrew Bible dating back to the Middle Ages. He touched so many categories, said Ella Hall, who worked as Redden's assistant and has ascended to become a specialist. Even as a junior person, he would bring you in on brainstorming. He took people's opinions and ideas seriously.

    To read the complete article, see:
    The Astounding Life of Auctioneering Legend David Redden (

    To read related articles, see:
    David Normand Redden January 23, 1949 - May 11, 2024 (
    David Redden (
    Stamp Sells for a Record $9.5 Million (
    PUBLIC LIVES; He's Auctioned the 1776 Declaration, Twice (
    A Coin Is Historic, Priceless and No Longer in a Vault (

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    The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is the Spring 2024 issue of Financial History. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

    Eric Brothers on the Sacagawea Dollar

    financialhistory149_0000 The journal of the Museum of American Finance, Financial History often contains articles of numismatic interest. The recent spring 2024 issue includes a contribution from Eric Brothers on the Sacagawea dollar, first issued by the U.S. Mint in 2000. This coin attracts little attention in the U.S. but is widely circulated in Ecuador, as Brothers explains. This writer can attest to receiving in change a well-worn golden dollar during a recent trip to that country.

    Brothers covers the legislative history of the coin and the development of the coin design. The golden description created confusion among the public, which in some cases truly believed their examples contained gold, while the Cheerios and Walmart promotions created their own controversies.

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    Bart and Milhouse react to a Sacajawea dollar The Ecaudorian economic crisis in 1998-1999 led to their adoption of the U.S. dollar in 2000, and the overflowing stock of Sacajawea coins in the U.S. Treasury vaults created a natural opportunity for the coins to circulate. Today they are widely used in the country of four worlds. As for the U.S., their attitude is best summed up by Marge Simpson, who being asked What is that? A quarter? A Chuck E. Cheese token? explained No! It's a Sacagawea dollar. You can trade it in at the bank for a real dollar!

    Image: Bart and Milhouse react to a Sacagawea dollar, from the Simpson's episode Margical History Tour, first aired February 8, 2004.

    Link to Financial History on Newman Portal:

    Link to Simpson's clip on the Sacagawea dollar, Season 15, Episode 11 (February 8, 2004):

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    The David Lisot Video Library on the Newman Numismatic Portal can be found at:

    We highlight one of his videos each week in The E-Sylum. Here's one from 2005 with Dave Bowers speaking about America's greatest collectors. -Editor

      Dave Bowers on Great Collectors title card

    Great Coin Collectors and Their Collections

    Q. David Bowers America's greatest numismatist shares stories about other great collectors. Stories include B. Max Mehl, Mrs. Henry Norweb, Harry Bass, Amon Carter, Ed Trompeter, Armand Champa, and John Ford. Q. David even discusses his own collection of state quarters.

    Speaker(s): Q. David Bowers.

    We're all indebted to David Lisot for his tireless work recording events like this - it's wonderful to hear stories about past hobby personalities directly from people who knew them "back in the day." -Editor

    To watch the complete video, see:
    Great Coin Collectors and Their Collections (

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    A couple weeks ago Adrian Gonzalez Salinas asked for a photo of author Elwin Cramer Leslie (1909-1999). Julia Casey has answered the call - and promptly too, although I didn't manage to get this note into our last issue. Sorry for the delay. -Editor


    Regarding Adrian Gonzalez Salinas's request for a photo of Elwin Cramer Leslie, attached are scans from the 1928 Lakewood (Ohio) High School Cinema yearbook. I also located a detailed article from the Sunday, March 8, 1959, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Persistently Yours: Skilled Hands Still Wield Pen Despite Trend, which included a photo of Elwin Leslie. The article is about Leslie's penmanship partnership with Michael G. Cunningham. Cunningham and Leslie were described as engrossers and illuminators.

    After Elwin Leslie's father, Scott E. Leslie, was killed in a car crash in 1941, details of his life were reported in the national newspapers. The August 22, 1941, New York Times wrote that Scott E. Leslie was a handwriting expert who helped terminate a number of criminal careers and that he was an expert in all kinds of writing, in ink chemistry, the age of writing paper, and in the types of writing employed at different periods of many countries. The elder Leslie's expertise was used in the Lindbergh kidnapping case and an important voting fraud investigation. He was able to show that a number of X's on multiple ballots were written by the same hand.

    ElwinLeslie2 As to Elwin Cramer Leslie, I also found an interesting article in the March 10, 1968, Grand Rapids Press, When GR Man Made His Own Coins by Tom LaBelle, about the Civil War Tokens of Philip N. Goodrich. Leslie had a Goodrich token in his collection, along with other tokens (L.H. Randall and Courtlander & Pressgood's Russian Clothing Store) from the Grand Rapids area. The article states that Leslie owns a fourth coin-like object which he is trying to identify, and which appears as if it might also have originated in Grand Rapids. The token is copper and has the head of an animal stamped on one side. The date is 1876.

    The article goes on to detail that Leslie said he got the coin thinking it was a trapper's tally seal skin identification tag. ‘After careful investigation, I could not reconcile the letters G.R.D.T. (stamped about the animal's head) with any known trapping concern and the portrait on the piece actually looked more like a dog than a seal.

    Leslie speculates that the letters were possibly for Grand Rapids Dog Tag or Tax, though it does seem rather unlikely that there were any such things as dog tags as far back as 1876.

      Civil War tokens

    Very interesting. Thank you! -Editor

    Adrian writes:

    "Wow! Amazing! Many thanks to Julia Casey and really I appreciate her time looking for a picture and information related to Elwin Cramer Leslie. Another incredible proof that The E-Sylum's readers are unique! I will print the Julia Casey's research in our monthly publication (Gaceta Numismática) of Monterrey Numismatic Society (Monterrey, Mexico).

    "Again, muchísimas gracias Julia Casey."

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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    Justin Hinh created an app using OpenAI's ChatGPT4 platform to provide coin identification and grading estimates. His April 28 update examined improvements in its grading performance. Following comments by Bill Eckberg, Justin revisited his calculations and submitted this revised report. Thank you! -Editor

      AI Coin Grading Followup & Update
    How the ChatGPT-4o Model is a Gamechanger and a New Approach to Testing AI Grading

    Bill Eckberg's response to my AI coin grading analysis in the April 28th newsletter raised serious points about the nature of coin grading and the need for more comprehensive testing. I had a chance to connect with Bill to understand his thinking better. His insights prompted me to reevaluate my approach to evaluating AI coin grading. I agree with Bill, it does not make sense to say Numi saw a 32.47% increase in overall accuracy. The test results should be broken down by each grade.

    While reanalyzing my test results to reflect this new approach, OpenAI released ChatGPT-4o on May 13th. Quite a nice surprise!

    ChatGPT-4o is a groundbreaking model because it is natively multimodal. Previously, ChatGPT-4 and most other AI models relied on translation systems to communicate between different modalities. When my AI app Numi was using GPT-4, when a user uploaded an image, Numi did not view the image directly. Rather, the images are translated into a detailed text description by another AI model and then given back to Numi. Numi never analyzed any coin images, only text descriptions of the coins.

    ChatGPT-4o is the next leap forward. It can process text, vision, and audio inputs natively within a single neural network. Details are not lost as we no longer need multiple models to translate information between each other. ChatGPT-4o actually analyzes images.

    To date, Numi ran a custom version of ChatGPT-4. Numi was customized with tons of training documentation, such as the grading standards from the ANA and custom instructions on how to handle different types of coins. However, I felt all these customizations were hampering its accuracy. With ChatGPT-4o's release and it being free and available to everyone, I wanted to know how much power was in every collector's phone right now. You can try it out yourself but make sure to select ChatGPT 4o from the model drop-down menu!

    My third test run on AI coin grading was conducted with just the base model of ChatGPT-4o. No additional customization. These are the results I found uploading images of coins and asking the AI, What grade would you give this coin?

    During my testing, I investigated two key areas, data & accuracy.

    "How much data about a coin does the AI need to yield the most accurate results?"
    Has the amount of data required changed as new AI models are released?.

    To answer this, I tested each coin using 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 photos.

      Numi Revisited figure 1

    The results show that as AI models advance, coins with grades 20 and above need fewer photos to achieve the most accurate results. This is encouraging, as it suggests collectors will only need to upload so many pictures to achieve reliable grading. However, the trend for coins graded 15 and below is inconclusive.

    "How accurate is the most popular public AI model [ChatGPT]?
    How has ChatGPT's accuracy changed throughout major model updates?"

    The line chart below illustrates the results of three tests conducted in December 2023, April 2024, and May 2024, using different versions of ChatGPT. The data should be interpreted as how AI progresses at each grade level, rather than AI grading as a whole.

      Numi Revisited figure 2

    The trend looks positive for lower-condition coins. We can see with each model release, the average deviation from the actual grade has decreased.

    I am pleasantly surprised to see the improvement for XF-40. The first model was 20 points off. Now it's ‘only' 5 points off.

    Mint State coins have generally been accurate between all three models.

    Although the results look positive, there are limitations to my testing. I only tested 12 different U.S. coins across 12 grade levels. Many grades are missing from the test. I also did not test any world or ancient coins.

    My goal going forward is to amass a diverse collection of graded coins to test against. If any readers are planning on throwing away cheap graded slabs, please send them to me instead!

    If you want to dive into the data yourself, you can find detailed test results on this Google Sheet. It includes links to photos of the coins tested.

      Numi Revisited figure 3
      Numi Revisited figure 4
      Numi Revisited figure 5

    Looking Forward
    As you can tell, I'm excited about artificial intelligence and its opportunities for Numismatics. I love this community and I believe that advanced AI models like GPT-4o will make our hobby accessible to a wider audience. Plus, it's cool to play around with.

    If I was a betting man, I'd predict that by mid-2025:

    • At least one estate liquidator will start scanning coins, either through phones or glasses, and see the estimated value of each coin in real time.
    • At least one coin dealer will kick out a customer for trying to cherry-pick coins with their phone or glasses
    • At least one third-party grader will announce a project utilizing AI somehow.

    The future is bright and I'm excited to see what comes next. Thanks again to Bill Eckberg for his insights on grading. I'll keep my eye out for future AI model releases and will update the community with future test results. In the meantime, I'll be toiling away on the next iteration of Numi…

    To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
    NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: APRIL 28, 2024 : The Grading Scale is NOT Quantitative (

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    More on Charles Pletz
    Julia Casey writes:

    Charles Pletz Assay Ingot "I found a little more information to add to the story of Charles Pletz, the Arizona assayer.

    "The June 22, 1872, Weekly Arizona Miner reported that Mr. Pletz, Assayer in Cerbat, is making our money: Plenty of silver bars, worth from $6 to $25, and stamped, Wallapai District, are in circulation here and money is becoming flush in consequence.

    "Pletz advertised his assaying office - this is from the November 27, 1874, Arizona Miner.

    "Later in the 1890s, Pletz advertised as a Mining Engineer and Metallurgist under the name Carlos Pletz. He "fell dead" in September 1897 at the fiesta grounds after inspecting a mine and was buried in Nogales. After Pletz died, the national press reported that his son, Fred Pletz of San Francisco, was stunned to learn that his father was a wealthy mining man who had left him $50,000."

      pletz Wallapai assay office notice

    Thanks. There's always something new to discover in numismatics. -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: (

    Money Art: AI-Designed Hobo Nickel
    Edwin Johnston writes:

    "Boggs remains a popular topic of discussion. BTW -- I recently completed an acrylic painting on canvas based on an artificial intelligence designed Hobo Nickel. I take a weekly painting class as therapy for my stroked arm."

      painting of AI-Designed Hobo Nickel

    Nice. Thanks. -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

    George Mills and the James Watts Death Medal
    Zach Filis writes:

    "Thank you for mentioning Laurence Edwards' reminder of a significant numismatic anniversary, and the image of the week, Boulton and Watts 50 pound note. The SOHO Mint was an interesting place with many talented engravers. To further highlight James Watts and his steam press, the below Watts death medal shows a nice depiction of it.

    "George Mills was one of those talented engravers at the SOHO Mint and who created this medal. Mills worked under Boulton and Watts. Mills won three gold medals for his designs from the Royal Arts Society. Unfortunately, he died young and did not fulfill his ambitions. Mills competed against William Wyon for the position of second engraver at the Royal Mint. Wyon was chosen and went on to become one of Britain's greatest engravers. The competition is an interesting story as are the other aspects of Mills' life. Sadly, Mills did not produce a medal of Boulton.

    "I have been researching George Mills over the past few years and may write a book about him and his creations. If any of your readers collect Mills' medals and/or coins, I would like to hear from them."

      James Watts Death Medal obverse James Watts Death Medal reverse

    Nice medal. Can anyone assist with the George Mills research? -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

    More Holed Coins
    Susan Sims writes:

    "I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the last issue of The E-Sylum. There was just so much good stuff. Keep up the great writing. It is greatly appreciated.

    "I found the holey auction quite interesting, being a holey collector myself. I collect early half cents. I have about five holey ones right now. I have a 1794, 1804, 1805 and 1828, and a couple others I can't think of. It's even better if I can find counter-stamped holey halves. There is something about a coin that old that was obviously used by people back then that piqued my initial interest."

    Rich Kelly & Nancy Oliver write:

    "We enjoyed the article about holey coins, and the story about you having one lost, and replaced. Yes, in most cases, not all of ours, 90% is what is still there, and collectible in its own way - valuable date or not. Here is what they are:

    Top left to right:
    1809 Half
    1876 Trade dollar (mintmark ? - fire damage)
    1808 Half

    Middle row:
    1913-S nickel
    1857 Flying Eagle Cent
    1856-O Half (hole in an unusual place)

    Last row:
    1853 three cent silver
    183? half dime (has a very strong reverse)
    1890 dime (if there was a mintmark, it was punched through."

      Rich Kelly Nancy Oliver Holed coins

    Ken Berger writes:

    "In the last issue of the E-Sylum, you discussed your holed Hawaiian quarter and U.S. merchant counterstamp collection. You also mentioned that counterstamping small coins is hard.

    "I thought you might be interested in seeing a Mexican 1/2 Real that is not only holed but has a Y.II Philippine counterstamp. I included a Roosevelt dime for size comparison. These counterstamps are normally found on 8 Reales (& sometimes 4 Reales) coins. It is quite rare to find such a counterstamp on a 1/2 Real coin."

      Y.II Philippine counterstamp

    Thanks, everyone. Fun coins. -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

    More on Wayne C. Phillips
    Daniel Demeo writes:

    Wayne C. Phillips "Like Kerry Wetterstrom, I, too, would stop by Wayne C. Phillips' table at the Long Beach coin show in the first decade of the present century. I would show him the respect due to an elder member of the community, though I now see he was a month younger than myself. And like Kerry, I would discuss the matter of his name, and that of his home town, Phillips Ranch, with him.

    "After he had closed his business, he came to the Long Beach show as a customer and showed up at Tom Reynolds' table. For some 20 years or more, I have sat at Tom's table, helping prospective customers, but mostly just keeping company with whoever was subleasing that end of the table, Bill Yates or Jim McGuigan. Anyway, Wayne came to the table, he was putting together a large cent date set of moderate quality, and I began showing him coins. After 1/2 hour or so, Tom, seeing a fair number of his coins spread out on the case, came over to see what was transpiring, and Wayne said, "I'll take these." I think Tom was more than a little surprised that I knew someone, not a regular copper collector, who would buy a dozen or more coins with a value into 5 figures.

    "A few years later, in October 2014, I found that Doug Bird had purchased a large cent collection from the heirs of Wayne Phillips, so I looked at the coins involved. Some were ones he had bought from Reynolds, but there was a 1797 NC-5, rarity 6 at the time (barely so, today), which Doug had not yet attributed. To buy the coin, Doug made me tell him the variety. I did, and although his eyeballs turned to dollar signs at the sound of those letters, NC, I made him give me a healthy discount for professional services, attributing the coin. I have the coin, tied CC7, in my collection. It was earlier from the Tom Wolf collection sold by the Goldbergs in 2008.

    "I find it interesting that I know Kerry from his involvement with ancient coins, from the Celator to CNG, Wayne from his dealing in ancient coins and table at Long Beach, Tom and Doug from my activities in large cents, that the 5 or us are all tied to one another. Wayne and Doug have passed, Kerry is retired, but I should be seeing Tom next month at Long Beach."

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
    NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 12, 2024 : On Wayne C. Phillips (

    Whitsun Farthings
    David Pickup writes:

    "Smoke Farthings at Whitsun (Pentecost)

    "In mediaeval times there was an annual farthing tax on households which had a chimney, which was paid towards the upkeep of the local cathedral. On Whit Monday people walked in a procession to the local cathedral, or if that was far away to the main church in the vicinity, and they paid what was known as the Whitsun Farthing. Amersham in Buckinghamshire was one of the designated local churches for people to process to, but the inhabitants in nearby Chesham resented going all the way to Amersham. In 1454 they petitioned the Bishop of Lincoln to allow them to hold their procession to the parish church in Chesham instead. This was agreed provided they contributed 16 pence annually to the upkeep of the cathedral. After the Reformation the tradition was to collect farthing donations at a special Whitsun service for the upkeep of church buildings generally.

    "This ancient tradition continued in Amersham and Chesham until 1960. In 1957 Christ Church Waterside in Chesham, collected 14,640 farthings; and Amersham parish collected 15,092 farthings. After 1961 when farthings were no longer legal tender the tradition died with it.

    "There are also references to Whit Farthings for Worcester Cathedral in 1656 and Southwell Cathedral in London in 1906."

    Thank you. I hadn't heard of the Whitsun Farthing tradition. -Editor

    Album E-Sylum ad Sale 49


    In the well-that-was-a-big-bait-and-switch department, The Great Kentucky Hoard television program teased earlier did not actually show or name the farmer who discovered some 800 gold and silver Civil War-era coins buried in a cornfield. Instead, we got a dramatization with a narrator reading text from an email (supposedly) sent by the finder. We still don't know where the coins were found, who the finder is, what they look or sound like, or if they even exist in the first place.

    As noted earlier, I understand why coin hoard finders may wish to remain anonymous, but it always leaves a cloud over the reported story since it could all be just made-up hooey. Still, the second part of the show is at least entertaining and worth watching, and Jeff Garrett discusses his role. -Editor

    For the first time ever, hear insights from the farmer who found more than $3 million in gold coins in a Kentucky farm field. Learn about the moment he stumbled across what's now known as the Great Kentucky Hoard, how his family has been searching for items from the past for generations, and his advice to treasure hunters looking to stumble across the next great discovery.

      Kentucky hoard dramatization 1
      Kentucky hoard dramatization 2
      Kentucky hoard dramatization 3
      Kentucky hoard dramatization 4
      Kentucky hoard dramatization 5 Jeff Garrett

    To watch the complete videos, see:
    The Great Kentucky Hoard - Part 1 (Lexington, KY) | Kentucky Life | KET (
    The Great Kentucky Hoard - Part 2 (Lexington, KY) | Kentucky Life | KET (

    See also:
    Anonymous KY Farmer Comes Forward About Multi-Million Dollar Gold Coin Discovery (

    To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

    Archives International Sale 94 cover front


    Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. I added an image of a Sacagawea dollar obverse plaster cast. -Editor

    Sacagawea coin plaster Plaster Cast. An image of any three-dimensional object molded of plaster of Paris. Plaster casts are inexpensive, easy to make, excellent for transferring relief and superb for studying an object's three-dimensionality. With the development of the die-engraving pantograph, plaster casts became the ideal media for which the original bas-relief design could be converted into a die. The artist could either model or carve the plaster itself, or if he worked in any other media, he could make a plaster cast from any firm medium, for a hard plaster cast that could be submitted to a mint or medal manufacturer to be rendered into a die for striking coins or medals.

    While plaster casts are somewhat hard they have the disadvantage, however, of scratching, chipping or breaking easily, therefore are inherently impermanent. Some plaster casts have lasted for hundreds of years (if kept dry, indoors and dust-free). But while plaster has been worked by artists for two thousand years, British Museum curator Sir George Hill once remarked that no plaster casts of medallic items have been found to have been preserved for more than a few generations.

    Plaster casting (the technique is described in the next entry) is important in the medallic and numismatic field for the following reasons: (1) models can be created in plaster, or if modeled or carved in another media they can be cast in plaster; (2) casts of finished objects, actual coins and medals, can be made, such are called study copies; (3) plaster casts were formerly used for photographing a number of diverse numismatic objects, and finally, (4) plaster casts of coins and medals can be framed for use as a room decoration.

    Plaster models. Models of coin and medal designs are made in plaster oversize for later reduction to required size by a pantograph. Plaster is excellent since it can be molded, then after drying it can be carved or additional relief can be added to it. If a relief is formed in a different medium, even soft pliable material as wax, clay or plasteline, it can be cast in plaster.

    Plaster casts can be positive or negative. The artist can work in either, he can add or carve detail, build up relief, smooth a surface or give it texture. Plaster is the ideal medium for creating the modulated relief necessary for coin and medal models, and plaster of Paris casts are a useful step in such a model's creation during manufacture.

    Study copies. Plaster casts of numismatic or medallic items are infrequently used for scientific or scholarly study. Museums sometimes provide casts as a service, much like a photographic service, the casts offering the ability to study the object's three-dimensionality. In the event someone cannot visit the museum to examine the objects first hand, a three-dimension plaster cast is invaluable to study.

    Plaster casts of medals were sold by sculptors' supply houses along with casts in the full round of hands, feet, torsos, busts, statues of famous works of art, people and animals. A 1911 American catalog of master caster and importer Eugene Lucchesi offered plaster casts of 50 Renaissance medals. These 50 were from the Medici collection in the National Museum, Florence, and sold in 1911 for 25 cents each, averaging 4-inch size. In addition, 250 different cameos were offered, average size 1 1/2-inch, $1.75 per dozen.

    Also the following plaster casts of U.S. Mint medals were illustrated: Benjamin Harrison President Medal (U.S. List 123), James Buchanin (List 115, 617 or 618), Zachary Taylor (List 421 or 423). These, like the Renaissance medal casts, sold for 25c each as well.

    Photographic aid. Formerly, when diverse numismatic objects were photographed, those perhaps with difficult lighting problems, plaster casts were made of all the objects and a single photograph was taken of all the plaster objects on one plate. Another advantage was that obverse and reverse could be shown side by side. This continued as late as 1974 when The Commemorative Medal by Howard W.A. Linecar was published.

    Today, more sophisticated photographic (or computer illustration) techniques are used and the practice is no longer necessary. Also there always seems to be a need for a photograph to be made of a plaster model before the die is made. This can be done by tinting the white plaster before the photograph is shot.

    Room decorations. A long-time use of plaster casts, particularly of large medals, has been the mounting of one or more in picture frames. The stark white against a solid color background with a gold and wood frame was an exceptionally attractive wall decoration.

    Plaster casts appearing on the market are usually study copies. Collections of such plaster casts have been formed but their collector or resale value is meager (as most collectors demand originals rather than replicas). The best use of these existing plaster casts, therefore, is to fame small groups of them for wall display.

    To read the complete entry on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
    Plaster Cast (

    Heritage E-Sylum ad 2024-05-19

    JAMES CHARLES RISK (1913-2005)

    E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on long-time Stack's staffer Jim Risk. Thanks! -Editor

    James C. Risk was an authority on orders and decorations. He was a long-time manager and cataloguer for Stack's Coin Galleries and editor of their Numismatic Review.

      James Charles Risk (1913-2005)

    James_Charles_Risk Risk was born on May 5, 1913, at Forrest Hills, New York. His parents were Frederick J. Risk (1883-1943) and Katherine W. Grasmuk (1886-1953). Frederick was a representative for the Mount Airy Knitting Company.

    Risk graduated cum laude from Dartmouth in 1936. He went to graduate school at Harvard before becoming a teacher at MIT. War interrupted his career and he joined the Navy in 1940 as an ensign. He served as a lieutenant on escort ships Dahlgren and Jeffers crossing the Atlantic. He was there at Sicily for that invasion.

    He wrote Administrative History of the US Navy in the Mediterranean which led to an appointment to the Allied Commission on the Democratization Of Italy. While in the diplomatic service, he became friends with Pope Pius XII, King Umberto and the Duke of Wellington.

    Risk joined the American Numismatic Society on June 1, 1939, and was a member and Life Fellow for 66 years. After the war, the American Numismatic Society published his British Orders and Decorations in 1945.

    Risk had studied orders and decorations. Following the war, Queen Elizabeth asked him to catalog and organize England's Royal orders and decorations. Many had been hidden in various locations during the war.

    He cleaned and repaired items in the collection and replaced missing ribbons. Queen Elizabeth was impressed with his efforts and honored him with the Royal Victorian Order. He was the first American to receive that honor.

    Risk himself received a few decorations. King Umberto granted him the title of Knight of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus and Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy. Later he was created a Knight of Grace of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and Commander of the Order of Malta With Swords.

    Risk left the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with postings to Vladivostok and Saigon. He left foreign service to take a job with Coin Galleries in New York,

    His application for membership in the ANA was published in September 1952. He was assigned number 20277. His address was c/o The American Numismatic Society in New York.

    Coin Galleries was the world coin division of Stack's. As manager, Risk frequently travelled to Europe on business and was known to the major European dealers. Back in America, he was a frequent lecturer and award-winning exhibitor.

    The full name of the periodical was The Numismatic Review and Coin Galleries Fixed Price List. It was a marketing tool for the company and much more. The articles were scholarly and informative. Risk's editorials were not the all too familiar promotional hype. They offered commentary on the hobby and on the market. Risk attempted to call attention to the lack of education of some collectors and flaws in other publications.

    The November 1962 issue of The Numismatist included an article, New Facts About an Old American Coin by D. F. Spink and J. C. Risk. David F. Spink was with the British firm of Spink & Son, Ltd. Of London. James C. Risk was with Coin Galleries in New York. The article followed papers presented at the American Numismatic Association Convention on August 16, 1962. For this the authors received a silver Heath Literary Award from the ANA.

    The ANA presentation revealed the existence of the King of Siam Class I 1804 dollar, The revelation caused Eric P. Newman and Kenneth E. Bressett to pull their book, The Fantastic 1804 Dollar from publication so the story could be added to their book.

    Spink had acquired the King of Siam set some years earlier and obviously knew what it was. Risk was co-author of the article and given partial credit for the discovery. It is likely he was more responsible for doing research for the article rather than making the discovery.

    As editor for Numismatic Review, he signed his name as The Editor. There were many individual articles credited to James C. Risk. I wonder how he felt about his job as editor.

    One editorial stated, This Editor, and I suspect any other of his species, in introspective moments feels that he occupies a lonely chair. Time and time again he expounds basic truths, numismatic or otherwise, only to suspect that he's whistling up a chimney. Nobody pays any attention to him.

    For the first issue of Numismatic Review in 1970, James C. Risk published Further Thoughts on the Class I 1804 Dollar and Proof Eagle. In the nine-page article, Risk is generally complimentary of the efforts by Eric P. Newman. Risk, however, took issue with the opinion of Newman that all 1804 dollars were produced illegally. Risk explained at great length that the officers and workers at the Mint were responding to a legitimate request from the president. As Risk wrote, The whole story of the Class I Dollar and the 1804 Eagle shows fairly conclusively that Director Moore felt no compulsion to make pieces that were such accurate copies they would pass muster as original coins struck in 1804, He wanted two pretty pieces for the sets and nothing more. So even the numismatic details give no support to the idea that there was a conspiracy for Mint officers to hide illegal activity on their part.

    The History of the Order of the BAth book cover He wrote The History of the Order of Bath and Its Insignia published by Spink in 1972. Stack's published The Yale University Brasher Doubloon in 1981. This was an 18-page booklet written by Risk to promote the company sale of the coin.

    James C. Risk died in New York City on October 24, 2005. He had been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians of London (FSA), a Knight of Justice of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. He belonged to the Naval and Military Club, the Royal Overseas League, and The Harvard Club in New York City. He had served as Chairman of the American Foundation of Savoy Orders and served on the executive committee of the Saint George Society of New York.

      James Risk Ordersand Decorations

    This picture shows Orders awarded to James C. Risk. The ones with the green ribbons relate to the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazares. The ones on the blue pad are related to the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. Who is the expert who can identify the rest?

    Great question - can anyone help? -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

    Rosa E-Sylum FPL 26 Ad 2


    Central States presented its 2024 awards at their recent show. Here's the announcement. -Editor

    Six numismatists were honored for their outstanding hobby work during a ceremony at the recent 2024 Central States Numismatic Society ( convention in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois.

    Each of these individuals is a hobby hero and deserving of special recognition, stated CSNS President Mitch Ernst.

    The Q. David Bowers Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dennis Tucker who retired earlier this year from Whitman Publishing, a prominent hobby publishing company.

    Dennis Tucker and Mitch Ernst
    Dennis Tucker (left) received the CSNS 2024 Q. David Bowers Award
    from CSNS President Mitch Ernst. (Photo credit: Barbara Gregory.)

    Des Moines, Iowa coin dealer Chris Seuntjens was awarded the CSNS Medal of Merit, and Iowa Numismatic Association President John Jackson was recipient of the first of the annual State Showcase Recognition Awards. Each year, CSNS will celebrate one of the 13 states that compose the organization's region and the inaugural 2024 state honored was Iowa.

    Chris Seuntjens and Mitch Ernst
    Des Moines, Iowa dealer Chris Seuntjens (left) received the CSNS Medal of Merit from
    CSNS President Mitch Ernst at the CSNS 2024 convention. (Photo credit: Barbara Gregory.)

    CSNS President Ernst presented three Sower Awards during the convention. One definition of a sower is someone who plants seeds for the future. Ernst launched the award in 2019 to begin recognizing individuals who figuratively are planting seeds to promote and build the future of numismatics.

    The 2024 Sower Award recipients are collectors Dreama Hurst of Florida and Dave Starck of Iowa, and ANACS grading service Vice President Paul DeFelice of Colorado.

    For additional information about the Central States Numismatic Society, visit . The 2025 CSNS convention (, will be held April 23-26 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

    Congratulations to all recipients! -Editor

    Schmidt E-Sylum ad 2017-06-18


    The ANA's online magazine Reading Room has been opened to the public. Here's the announcement. -Editor

    ANA Reading Room

    Beginning in early May, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) opened its Reading Room online magazine to the public. Introduced in November 2023, this virtual publication has emerged as a veritable treasure trove, presenting weekly news stories, exclusive op-eds, captivating columns, and features covering various collecting topics for collectors from all walks of life. The offering includes convenient audio files for on-the-go listening and early access sneak peeks from the Association's esteemed publication, The Numismatist.

    Over the course of the past seven months, the Reading Room has welcomed nearly 18,000 visitors. While the site's news stories have been publicly accessible since the launch, the Reading Room Exclusives, audio files, and monthly columns and features have been reserved solely for ANA members. Responding to overwhelming demand and reaffirming the ANA's unwavering commitment to spreading numismatic knowledge, these restrictions have been removed from the site, extending access to all.

    "Since its inception, the Reading Room has served as a vibrant center of activity," remarks Caleb Noel, Editor-in-Chief of the ANA. "To date, my team and I have diligently curated nearly 200 articles, audio gems, and riveting news stories, all aimed at engaging and informing our audience. We are thrilled to broaden our reach, ensuring that this wealth of content is available to collectors everywhere. This decision underscores our dedication to democratizing collecting, making it accessible and captivating for individuals at all levels of familiarity with the hobby."

    To explore the Reading Room, see:


    Dennis Tucker writes:

    "A quick CCAC update: Sam Gelberd is inheriting my CCAC position as "member specially qualified in numismatics." I've spent eight amazing, productive, and very satisfying years on the Committee, and I'm very happy that Sam is my successor. We've been friends for a long time. He brings to the CCAC sterling professional experience (including at the ANA) as well as an educator's love of numismatics. For years he's been an enthusiastic advocate for the hobby, and a hands-on teacher. He's going to add a lot to the Committee's work as the United States continues toward many exciting and important new coin and medal programs. "E-Sylum readers who don't already know Sam can read his bio here:"

    Thank you for your service to the hobby, Dennis! Here's Sam's bio. Great news. -Editor

    Sam_Gelberd-CCAC Sam Gelberd is an independent numismatic educator and content creator. He has collected since the age of nine, and was a middle school Social Studies teacher and athletics coach in South Florida for over a decade. He has presented lectures and classes to people ages 4–94 about topics including hobby basics, coin grading, counterfeit detection, the modern coin minting process, as well as counseling Wolf Scouts and Scouts BSA workshops.

    He assisted with editorial updates to the Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins (6th Edition; Whitman Publishing) and enjoys studying and sharing information about numismatic oddities as well as world coins.

    Since 2007, he has been a member of Florida United Numismatists and volunteers at their semi-annual conventions, assisting with certain educational activities and helping wherever needed. He won FUN's Best of Show Award (2017) for his exhibit Great Beards on Coins, earned the organization's Polly Abbott Service Award (2021), and was honored as a Numismatic Ambassador (2023). Sam worked as a Numismatic Instructor, Numismatic Educator, and Numismatic Education Manager at the American Numismatic Association for over 10 years. He authored a website feature as well as the column Treasures In Your Pocket for the ANA's monthly publication, The Numismatist and is a Life Member of the organization. He also holds membership in the Combined Organization of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA), Colorado Springs Coin Club, Colorado Springs Numismatic Society, and the Society of Bearded Numismatists.

    Sam earned a B.A. degree in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University. Originally from California, he grew up in the Chicagoland area of Illinois and has also lived in Florida, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. He currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife and two dogs.

    To read a Coin World article, see:
    Sam Gelberd becomes latest member of CCAC (

    Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2024-04-28 Gobal Showcase


    Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick sent along these five medals from his most recent upload of new material to his site. For all of the new items, please visit NOTE: the Moses medal has already been sold. -Editor

    Germany 4th Commandment Medal

    102585 | GERMANY. Moses/4th Commandment silver Medal. Issued circa 1800-1830. Parabolical series: honor thy father and thy mother (30mm, 8.66 g, 12h). By J. V. Döll for the Loos workshop in Berlin. DU SOLLST VATER UND MUTTER EHREN (thou shall honor thy father and thy mother...), Moses seated right on rocks, holding two tablets representing the Fourth Commandment (in Catholic and Lutheran tradition) // AUF DASS DIR'S WOHL GEHE ( that thou art well), cornucopia overflowing with coins and jewels atop table with basket of fruits. Edge: Plain. Sommer B-19; Bruhn 85; GPH 1145. PCGS SP-64. Incredibly brilliant and mirrored, with some alluring iridescence spread throughout. Tied with just one other example for the top spot in the PCGS census, though that example is rather inferior given its lack of color and noticeable hairlines. $345.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    102585 | GERMANY. Moses/4th Commandment silver Medal. (

    Swedish Pontus Wikner Medal

    102666 | SWEDEN. Pontus Wikner silver Medal. Issued 1938. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of the philosopher and professor of aesthetics (45mm, 44.43 g, 12h). By E. Lindberg at the Royal Swedish mint. PONTUS • WIKNER • NAT • MDCCCXXXVII • OB MDCCCLXXXVIII, bust left; VER • SACRVM / EVOCABAT in two lines in exergue // CARUS PLATO • CARIOR • FILIUS • ILLE • HOMINIS, Christ seated left on plinth, raising hand in benediction and instructing youth kneeling to left. Edge: SILVER 1938. Ehrensvärd 378. Choice Mint State. Gunmetal gray surfaces, with some deeper toning nearer the edges. $195.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    102666 | SWEDEN. Pontus Wikner silver Medal. (

    Swedish Alfred Nobel Award Medal

    102558 | SWEDEN. Alfred Nobel silver Award Medal. Issued 2001 or later for participation on the nominating committee for the prize in medicine (26mm, 13.09 g, 12h). By E. Lindberg (in 1901). Bust left; ALFR• / NOBEL – NAT• / MDCCC / XXXIII / OB• / MDCCC / XCVI across field // INVENTAS • VITAM • IUVAT • EXCOLUISSE • PER • ARTES (and they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery), basin and serpent-entwined staff of Aeculapius; wreath behind. Edge: Numerous hallmarks, including three crowns flanked by 2s, indicative of a post-2000 striking. Ehrensvärd 22; Lagerqvist 3A. PCGS SP-66. Blast white, with an alluring matte nature. Just one has been graded finer in the PCGS census among the types without a date or dating convention. $595.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    102558 | SWEDEN. Alfred Nobel silver Award Medal. (

    American and British Marilyn Monroe Medal

    102796 | UNITED STATES & GREAT BRITAIN. Marilyn Monroe cast bronze Medal. Issued 2000. "A Medal for Marilyn" (115mm x 130mm, 1.97 kg, 12h). By D. Thomson. Head of Marilyn facing slightly left // MEDAL FOR MARILYN, iconic pose of Marilyn from "The Seven Year Itch;" "For ever, / and ever, / Ah....Men." in three lines to left. Edge: DGT 2000 1. The Medal –; De Beeldenaar –. As made. Light olive-brown surfaces, with tremendous heft and relief. Extremely rare, and the first of just two produced. Ex David Nicholas Silich Collection (acquired from Howard & Frances Simmons, 2000). $895.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    102796 | UNITED STATES & GREAT BRITAIN. Marilyn Monroe cast bronze Medal. (

    American and German Edward Snowden Plaque
    American and German Edward Snowden Plaque

    102763 | UNITED STATES & GERMANY. Edward Snowden cast bronze Plaque. Issued 2013 (127mm & 112mm x 82mm, 495.70 g, 12h). By B. Göbel. Head facing slightly right, framed within sniper's crosshairs; to right, upper half of Statue of Liberty facing, with crack down the middle and holding up noose; concentric radio waves around // WER DIE WAHRHEIT / SAGT BRAVCHT EIN / SCHNELLES PFERD / CHINESISCH (he who speaks the truth needs a fast horse, –Chinese proverb) in four lines; EDWARD S?OWDEN DANKEND (thank you, Edward Snowden) below; in background, NSA (National Security Agency) in stylized letters tilted right. Edge: Beveled as made, with a few scattered marks, and 7 (for 7/10). BBK M011; The Medal –; De Beeldenaar –. As cast. Slate gray-green surfaces, with some dusty highlights. Extremely rare (from an output of just 10 pieces) and an incredibly interesting work of medallic art that pertains to a contemporary figure and still-recent events. $1,495.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    102763 | UNITED STATES & GERMANY. Edward Snowden cast bronze Plaque. (

      CNG E-Sylum Ad Auction 126


    Here are some selected lots in the Archives International sale closing May 22. 2024. -Editor

    1928 Afghanistan, Baccha-i-Saqao 50 Afghanis

    1928 Afghanistan, Baccha-i-Saqao 50 Afghanis

    Afghanistan, Baccha-i-Saqao, PMG graded Choice Uncirculated 64, SH1307 (1928) (Pick-13), Green with red and light brown underprint, back is green; S/N 86249 Block 82, handstamp on Afghanistan #10. Rarely seen this nice.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    Afghanistan, Baccha-i-Saqao, PMG graded Choice Uncirculated 64, SH1307 (1928) (Pick-13), (

    1914 Mexico, Banco Minero 1000 Pesos Specimen

    1914 Mexico, Banco Minero 1000 Pesos Specimen Obverse

    Mexico, Banco Minero, ND (1914), 1000 Pesos Specimen Banknote Rarity (Pick-S169s2), Pick #S169s2, Specimen Banknote, black on multicolor underprint with reclining woman at center, S/N F4152 00000, Specimen overprints and POCs, XF to AU condition, American Bank Note Company. Only two Specimen examples have been offered at auction previously in the Track and Price Census.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    Mexico, Banco Minero, ND (1914), 1000 Pesos Specimen Banknote Rarity (Pick-S169s2) (

    Assorted 1902/1914 Banco de Londres y Mexico Notes

    Assorted 1902:1914 Banco de Londres y Mexico Notes

    Mexico, Banco de Londres y Mexico, Assortment of Issued Banknotes, 1902//1914 (Pick-S233s), Lot of nine issued banknotes, including 1902, Ser.C, 5 Pesos, Pick #S233c; 1906, Ser.D, 5 Pesos, #S233d; 1913, Ser.I, 5 Pesos, #233j; 1902, Ser.C, 10 Pesos, #S234x; 1913, Ser.G, #S234h; 1912, Ser.E, 20 Pesos, #S235f; 1913, Ser.H, 20 Pesos, #S235i, all printed by American Bank Note Company; plus 1914, 1 Peso, #S240 (2), B&S. Condition ranges from Choice VG to AU condition (9). Shipping charges apply - weight 0.9 lbs.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    Mexico, Banco de Londres y Mexico, Assortment of Issued Banknotes, 1902//1914 (Pick-S233s), (

    1885-1913 Banco Nacional de Mexico 1000 Pesos Specimen

    1885-1913 Banco Nacional de Mexico 1000 Pesos Specimen Obverse

    Mexico, Banco Nacional de Mexico, ND (1885 to 1913), 1000 Pesos Specimen Banknote (Pick-S262s3), No Date, No Series, Pick #263s3 (BK-DF-358s), Black on multicolor underprint with portrait of M. Garcia Teruel at left and reclining woman at right. Back is red-orange and black with reclining woman with water jug at center. Specimen overprints and POCs, XF to AU condition with two pin holes, one on the left and one on the right middle border, as well as a purple production department date stamp of "Mar 1, 1905" on the top left back border, American Bank Note Company.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    Mexico, Banco Nacional de Mexico, ND (1885 to 1913), 1000 Pesos Specimen Banknote (Pick-S262s3) (

    Fr-18 1869 $1 Legal Tender Note

    Fr-18 1869 $1 Legal Tender Note

    1869, $1 Legal Tender, PMG Very Fine 30 (Fr-18), Allison & Spinner signatures, S/N B6747254 pp B, PMG graded Very Fine 30.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    1869, $1 Legal Tender, PMG Very Fine 30 (Fr-18) (

    Fr-301 1891 $10 Silver Certificate

    Fr-301 1891 $10 Silver Certificate

    1891, $10 Silver Certificate, PMG Very Fine 30 (Fr-301), Lyons & Roberts signatures, S/N E28957128 pp D, PMG graded Very Fine 30.KL-426.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    1891, $10 Silver Certificate, PMG Very Fine 30 (Fr-301) (

    1878-CC Morgan Dollar

    1878-CC Morgan Dollar

    1878-CC Morgan Dollar, PCGS graded Mint State 62.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    1878-CC Morgan Dollar, (

    Uncirculated 1907 Eagle

    Uncirculated 1907 Eagle

    1907 Liberty $10 Eagle, Uncirculated, 16.718 grams, Uncirculated.

    To read the complete item description, see:
    1907 Liberty $10 Eagle, Uncirculated, (

    For more information, or to bid, see:

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    Here's the announcement for the upcoming Sovereign Rarities Auction 13. Nice coins. -Editor

    Taking place on Wednesday 29th May, the auction offers a wealth of numismatic rarities, from a superb collection of ancient coins, to modern proof issues bearing the popular Una and the Lion design.

    The auction is online now on our website for your perusal, and also features on Numis24, Numisbids, Biddr and The Saleroom. The auction will be held live in our Mayfair office on the 29th May and will commence at 10:30am BST.

    The auction will start with the fantastic group of ancient coins, many of which are certified and graded by NGC. Of particular note is the very pleasing Calabria, Tarentum silver Stater which has been awarded MS 4/5, 4/5 designation by NGC (lot 4). Moving to Sicily, Akragas, we are pleased to offer a Tetradrachm and a Didrachm, both of which feature the highly popular eagle / crab motifs (lots 6 & 7). From Gela we are offering a fantastic Didrachm dated to c. 490-475 BC which features the man-headed bull reverse (lot 8), and from Himera, there is another coin following the animal theme as it features the cockerel / crab design. It is a stunning example of this type (lot 9). From Phoenicia we are also pleased to present a silver Half Shekel (lot 21).

    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 7
    Lot 7 - Sicily Didrachm
    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 8
    Lot 8 - Gela Didrachm

    In the Celtic section we are pleased to offer two gold Quarter Staters, from the Catuvellauni Tribe, as well as other issues from Gaul (lots 26-30). Moving forward, we also have some fantastic hammered Pennies, one of Cuthred with Duda as moneyer (lot 31), another of Aethelred II with Godwine as moneyer (lot 32), and Canute with Swartinc as moneyer (lot 33). We are pleased to offer further gold coins from Edward the Black Prince in the form of the Leopard d'Or which is a good example of a rare coin (lot 35), as well as a Charles I Unite which has significant eye appeal (lot 41).

    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 31
    Lot 31 - Cuthred Penny
    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 41
    Lot 41 - Charles I Unite

    In the milled British coin section we are pleased to present a Charles II Guinea of 1676 which is certified and graded by NGC as Mint State 61 which is a high grade for this rare date of issue (lot 45). Also issued by Charles II is the tin Farthing of 1684 which features much original lustre and is rare in this state of preservation (lot 50). We are pleased to also offer three further tin farthings, these issues of William and Mary from 1690 which are also in extremely fine condition (lots 52-54).

    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 45
    Lot 45 - 1676 Charles II Guinea

    The auction also features a gold proof Two Pounds of 1937 which is certified and graded by PCGS as Proof 66 Cameo, it is worth noting that only 5 coins in Cameo designation are awarded higher grades (lot 102). In the modern coin section we are pleased to offer two examples of Five Ounce gold coins, one commemorating Alfred the Great, the other celebrating the popular Gothic Crown of Victoria from the Royal Mint's Great Engravers Series (lots 126 & 127). Also on offer is the 2013 gold proof Five Pounds which is certified and graded by NGC as Proof 70 Ultra Cameo, which has an incredibly low mintage of just 388 (lot 113).

    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 102
    Lot 102 - Proof 1937 Two Pounds

    In a first for Sovereign Rarities, we are pleased to present a specific Sovereign section in Auction XIII spanning from the very first sovereign in 1817 (lot 133) to the first issues of Charles III in 2023 (lot 238). The section is peppered with highlights from the 1887 gold proof Sovereign certified and graded by PCGS as Proof 64 Deep Cameo (lot 186). We are pleased to offer the 1908C satin proof Sovereign (lot 194), as well as the gold proof 1911 Sovereign which is certified and graded by PCGS as Proof 65 Cameo (lot 195).

    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 186
    Lot 186 - Proof 1887 Sovereign

    From Elizabeth II we have a superb run of Sovereigns with the ever popular Gillick designed portrait (lots 212-225) which are in Mint States 64 & Mint State 65 grades from NGC. We are also pleased to offer two examples of the 1989 one year type Sovereign featuring the effigy of Elizabeth II enthroned to celebrate the anniversary of the Sovereign (lots 228 & 229).

    The world section features a gold Twenty Srang from Tibet dated 1919 (lot 257) as well as a fantastic selection of gold coins from France (lots 260-270). Of particular note is the Jean II le Bon gold Mouton d'Or featuring the lamb of God design to the reverse (lot 262).

    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 257
    Lot 257 - 1919 Tibet Twenty Srang
    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII Lot 262
    Lot 262 - Jean II le Bon Mouton d'Or

    The auction is online now on our website for your perusal, and also features on Numis24, Numisbids, Biddr and The Saleroom. The auction will be held live in our Mayfair office on the 29th May and will commence at 10:30am BST. If you have any questions or queries please contact Adele and Emma at, 020 3019 1185

    For more information, or to bid, see:
    Sovereign Rarities Auction XIII (


    The Trevor Wilkin Collection of Siege Notes will be offered at an auction by Noonans in London on May 30. Here's the Foreword by the catalogers. -Editor

    Trevor Wilkin Siege Notes Catalogue Cover When Thomasina and I first began our careers in this wonderful hobby, well over a decade ago, Trevor was one of the first people to introduce himself at the Maastricht show. He would always take the time to chat, asking about us and what we were doing, and to offer his help and advice. His superb talks on a variety of subjects were always informative and memorable. For my part, I particularly enjoyed our many conversations about his siege note collection.

    Siege notes are a niche but popular subsidiary of military banknote collecting. All of the notes in this catalogue were produced during incredibly turbulent periods of human history. Most are printed on poor- quality paper never intended for this use, using cheap inks and jury rigged printing machines. The majority were produced and hand signed by men, very often soldiers, who certainly never imagined they would be issuing money simply to keep a town or fortification running during weeks, sometimes months, of desperation. Perhaps most humbling is the fact that many of those who signed the notes did not live to see beyond these sieges.

    I have a keen interest in military history and, by extension, military banknotes. Researching and cataloguing this remarkable collection has therefore been one of the highlights of my career. It is extremely unlikely I will ever see many of these items ever again. Several of them are unique, certainly outside of institutions, and handling them is a privilege I will not soon forget. Of all the notes in his collection, Trevor was most proud of his incredible 1 Piastre from the Siege of Khartoum. This small and unassuming note is believed to be the only example in private hands, and bore witness to one of the most dramatic events in colonial African history.

    We do hope you enjoy this special catalogue. Our hope is that it is a fitting testament to both Trevor and his collection, and that it will find a place in numismatic libraries for years to come.

    Here are some lots that caught my eye. Great notes! -Editor

      noonans wilkin siege note sale lot 1004 Siege of Mayence

    LOT 1004 Siege of Mayence, coins for 1, 2 and 5 Sols, 1793, used in the city before being shipped back to France and replaced with paper money, sold as seen, no returns, some edge damage to the 5 Sols (3 coins) £80-£100

    To read the complete lot description, see:

      noonans wilkin siege note sale lot 1050 Siege of Colberg

    LOT ? 1050 Siege of Colberg, 8 Groschen, first issue, 1807, serial number 1256, six manuscript signatures, red and black ink, remains of stamp hinge on reverse, marginally scuffed but an exceptional example of the highest denomination for this issue, about uncirculated and rare Pick S1453 £400-£500

    To read the complete lot description, see:

      noonans wilkin siege note sale lot 1040 Siege of Palmanova

    LOT ? 1054 Siege of Palmanova, unissued 5 Lire, 1814, no serial number, three manuscript signatures, entirely hand-written on laid paper, one hand stamp, very fine and incredibly rare Pick S234 £1,200-£1,600

    To read the complete lot description, see:

      noonans wilkin siege note sale lot 1060 Siege of Osoppo

    LOT ? 1060 Siege of Osoppo, 6 Lire, ND (1848), serial number 634, several manuscript signatures, hand-written with three hand stamps, very fine, incredibly rare Pick S241 £1,000-£1,500

    To read the complete lot description, see:

      noonans wilkin siege note sale lot 1132 Siege of Mafeking

    LOT ? 1132 Siege of Mafeking, £1, March 1900, serial number 386, light mounting traces on reverse, a few bends but no folds or creases, about uncirculated and a superb example of a scarce and iconic type Pick S655, Ineson 144 £1,200-£1,600

    To read the complete lot description, see:

      noonans wilkin siege note sale lot 1136 Siege of Kimberley

    LOT ? 1136 Siege of Kimberley, soup ticket for 3 pints at Town Hall depot, type 2, ND (1899-1900), red card, extremely fine, rare Ineson 311 £150-£200

    To read the complete lot description, see:

    For more information, or to bid, see:

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    As announced in March, Stack's Bowers Galleries has been selected to auction "the extraordinary coin, medal, banknote, and book collection of Danish industrialist Lars Emil Bruun (1852-1923)." The popular press got wind of the sale this week and a number of articles have appeared about it. Here's an excerpt from a Washington Post piece. -Editor

    Bruun World Coin Collection Denmark WaPo 1

    For more than 100 years, one of the most valuable private collections of coins in the world has been kept out of the public eye. It's been stowed away in a secret location that almost no one knows — and before that, behind the walls of a castle and in the basement of a bank.

    This fall, it will go on sale — and is expected to fetch up to $72 million. It is the most valuable world coin collection to ever come to market, according to Stack's Bowers, the American rare coin dealer and auction house handling the sale.

    The collection of nearly 20,000 coins, medals, bank notes and books was assembled over the course of decades by Danish businessman and butter magnate Lars Emil Bruun.

    Bruun, who died in 1923, stipulated in his will that his collection should not be sold for a century after his death. After experiencing the ravages of World War I, Bruun declared it should be kept in reserve to replace the Danish national collection should it ever be destroyed in a war or through other misfortune, such as a fire.

    Bruun World Coin Collection Denmark WaPo 2

    Since the Danish Royal Collection of Coins and Medals is still intact, Bruun's collection will now be sold with the proceeds benefiting his heirs.

    The upcoming sale has attracted outsize attention, in part because of the air of mystery attached to it, said Helle Horsnæs, a senior researcher at Denmark's National Museum.

    But it's also because of the unique nature of the collection, which captures centuries of Scandinavian history, including a time when Denmark and Norway were united under one same kingdom from the 16th to the early 19th century, Horsnæs said.

    Bruun's grandson was involved in an effort to negotiate a direct sale of the collection to the National Museum of Denmark, he said. But Danish authorities prevented the sale, saying it went against Bruun's will, according to Johnsen. Authorities only authorized the sale of a small number of coins, Johnsen said, to help cover insurance costs.

    Once the 100-year mark passed, the National Museum still had first rights to purchase certain pieces from the collection — and it selected seven rare coins, said Horsnæs, who was involved in the sale this year.

    Stack's Bowers said the sale of the collection will start in the fall and will likely take three to five years to complete. The expected value of the sale is based on the insurance valuation of the collection, which stands at about 500 million Danish kroner ($72 million), according to the auction house.

    To read the complete article, see:
    Rare collection of ancient coins, locked away for 100 years, heads to auction (

    Thanks also to Kavan Ratnatunga for passing along the story.

    While finalizing this article I came across a January 2000 note from Alan Luedeking quoting a lot description in George Kolbe's sale 79 noting that the "…Lars Emil Bruun collection of Swedish coins [whose] first component, featuring medieval coins, was sold in May 1914, but the eruption of World War I prevented the second part of the sale, scheduled for October 26 & 27, 1914, from taking place."

    The press release on the sale of the collection didn't address the earlier sale, but this history fits the narrative that the devastation of WWI led Bruun to change plans for the disposition of his collection.

    So a selection of medieval Swedish coins had been sold off earlier, and another group of seven pieces has been sold to the National Museum of Denmark. The group is described in a recent CoinsWeekly article, linked below.

    Where did coins from the 1914 sale end up? It would be an interesting exercise to reconstruct an inventory of the original full collection (or does one already exist?)

    I assume the mentioned book collection is a library of numismatic literature; we'll look forward to the future sale announcements. -Editor

    To read the complete CoinsWeekly article, see:
    National Museum of Denmark Acquires Seven Coins of the Bruun Collection (

    See also:
    Coin collection of Danish butter magnate going on sale after being sealed for 100 years (

    To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

      Whitman E-Sylum ad 2024-05-05 Greysheet


    Here's a selection of interesting or unusual items I came across in the marketplace this week. Tell us what you think of some of these. -Editor

    Vima Kadphises Double Dinar

    Vima Kadphises Double Dinar

    Kushan Empire, Vima Kadphises (c.113-127), gold Double Dinar, 16.01g, bilingual series, Bactria, bearded bust of king right emerging from jagged mountain top, wearing a high-crowned hat with upturned peak, carrying a club over shoulder, the forefinger of his right hand is enlarged, flames radiate from shoulder right, tamgha in left field, legend around starting at 7 o'clock: bacieyc ooh-mo ka?Fichc, rev. Oesho stands facing, head to left, flames emanating from top of head, ithyphallic and naked except for a diaphanous garment, he holds a trident in his right hand, an animal skin in left, he leans against a bull standing right, nandipada symbol in left field, Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa rajadirajasa sarvaloga isvarasa mahisvarasa vima kathpisasa tradara (of great king, king of kings, lord of the world, great lord, Vima Kadphises, saviour) (Göbl 12; Jongeward & Cribb 261; Sunrise 524 bust righ, 525 bust left), fine, very rare

    From the Spink Numismatic e-Circular 35 Indian and Islamic Coins sale. -Editor

    To read the complete lot description, see:

    1852 Gold Dollar Pattern

    1852 Gold Dollar Pattern obverse 1852 Gold Dollar Pattern reverse

    While technically there's not a whole (pun intended) lot to the coin, holey patterns are always fun to look at. This Gold Dollar pattern was struck in copper-nickel. It's listed as a low Rarity-7, and is the first one of this particular Judd number that we have handled. CAC Price Guide is $5400.

    From the Northeast Numismatics website. Great coin. -Editor

    To read the complete item description, see:;

    M.C. Escher Medal

    M.C. Escher Medal

    Escher, M.C. (1898-1972) (after). Commemorative medal of the 100th anniversary of the artist M.C. Escher, Bronze after M.C. ESCHER, 1998, Ø 7 cm., stamped "M.C. Escher 1898-1972. MCE 1998" and "© CA", executed by the Royal Begeer / Utrecht, in orig. box.

    From a sale in Haarlem, Netherlands. It didn't sell. But I've always been an Escher fan and wasn't aware of the medals. -Editor

    To read the complete lot description, see:
    Lot 3906: Escher, M.C. (1898-1972) (after). Commemorative medal of the 100th anniversary of the artist M.C. Escher, (,-M.C.-1898-1972-after-.-Commemorative-m-3906-c-F6C4AF99C7)

    Subway Token Brooch

    Subway Token Brooch

    Vintage Original Mixx gold tone brooch with crystal, bead, faux pearl, cherub, and subway token decoration. Signed to underside, dated 1995. Hinge pin to underside. Piece has weight. Measures approx. 1.75 x 3 inches. Some surface wear including scratching observed.

    If relic medals are the "made-from" numismatic genre, then this is a "made-with" item like Love Tokens. Can't say I've ever seen anything like it. But "vintage" is not a word I'd use to describe something made in 1995, but that's just old-guy me. Too late for Mother's Day shopping, but Christmas is always on the way. -Editor

    To read the complete lot description, see:
    Original Mixx Crystal Subway Token Brooch (


    Wow - a Girl Scout who saved the life of a toddler has received the Medal of Honor from the Girl Scouts USA. Congratulations. -Editor

      Medal of Honor Girl Scout, Amelia Juracka

    The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York (GSNENY) recognized Cadette Amelia Juracka from Greenfield Center, NY, who earned the Medal of Honor from the Girl Scouts USA.

    She earned the honor for saving the life of a toddler who fell into a swimming pool.

    The GSNENY says the Medal of Honor is a rare award given to Girl Scouts for saving a life or attempting to, under circumstances that indicate heroism or a risk to her own life.

    They said only 215 Girl Scouts nationwide have earned the honor since 2017.

    To read the complete article, see:
    Greenfield Center Girl Scout receives Medal of Honor Life Saving Award (


    Len Augsburger passed along this story of a bank's ATM distributing a counterfeit $100 bill. Thanks. -Editor

      fake hundreds

    A Wells Fargo customer says she's shocked after the banking giant gave her fake cash during a seemingly routine withdrawal.

    Kam Ridley recently went to a Wells Fargo branch in Mississippi to withdraw cash and pay bills, reports the ABC-affiliated news station WAPT.

    Ridley then went to her other bank, Trustmark, to deposit the cash – but the ATM refused to accept her $100 bill.

    Bewildered, Ridley went inside the bank and spoke to a teller who told her the money from Wells Fargo is obviously fake.

    When I give it to the teller, she says, ‘Oh, I can't take it. It's counterfeit.'

    I was like, ‘Girl, no. No.' I said, ‘Run the little marker thing over it.' And she said, ‘I don't have to. I'm looking at it. It's counterfeit.'

    In response to the incident, Wells Fargo released a statement on its efforts to scan paper money and fight fraud.

    As the article notes, this is a dispute with little chance of resolution. The woman may well be right, but her bank can claim there's no proof that the counterfeit bill actually came from their ATM. Tough situation. -Editor

    To read the complete article, see:
    Wells Fargo Hands Fake $100 Bill To Customer, Issues Alert on Worthless Withdrawal and Counterfeit Cash: Report (
    Woman withdraws money from bank, finds out $100 bill was counterfeit (


    Paul Horner passed along this odd story of cash stash finds in Ohio. Thanks. -Editor

      Ohio cash stash

    A money mystery in Marysville has police trying to figure out where nearly $40,000 came from.

    More than $25,000 was found in the restroom at the Avalon Theatre on Saturday, and then, Thursday night, more than $12,000 was found in the restroom at a KFC restaurant on Delaware Avenue.

    Investigators said they're pretty sure the discoveries are related, but still don't know where the cash came from.

    "We're trying to figure out whose money it is, and what possible connection it could be ... to anything that we could see in the city," Marysville Police Capt. Nate Sachs said.

    The bills found were in multiple denominations like fives, tens, and even $100 bills. Police are urging anyone who might find other cash dumps to contact them.

    To read the complete article, see:
    Nearly $40,000 in cash found in restrooms of Marysville businesses (


      mona lisa dollar

    Gerry Tebben writes:

    "A little easter egg is in The Washington Post this weekend. A photo in the story "Book Tour: At home with Amor Towles" has what appears to be a Donald and Era Farnsworth Mona Lisa dollar on a bookshelf in front of a 1931 encyclopedia. The couple uses real bills for their artwork, avoiding the Boggs counterfeiting problem. Sadly, the article makes no mention of the bill, but it's an illuminating look at the author's bookshelf."

    To read the complete article, see:
    Book Tour: At home with Amor Towles (

    Thanks. There seems to be a second dollar pictured at the upper left of the photo.

    I wasn't aware of the Mona Lisa dollar or Donald and Era Farnsworth. Here's some more information. -Editor

    Using actual dollar bills as the physical foundation for each work, the artists satirize, ponder and comment upon the monetary system, politics, art, and the ties between corporations and the economy. Look closely, as there are many details, visual quips, and quotes from artists and other broad-minded thinkers. Clearly, the Farnsworths are on a roll and having a good time with this ongoing series.

    Artist's statement:

    One of the most beloved but lesser-seen treasures at Magnolia Editions, secreted away in an unassuming flat file, is the late conceptual artist Chris Burden's Diecimila, a color photo etching depicting an Italian banknote with criminally perfect precision and printed at Crown Point Press in 1977 on a sheet of handmade Donald Farnsworth paper, complete with an approximation of the official watermark. Having worked on Diecimila has served as an inspiration to us over the years, just as U.S. paper currency has served as an aspirational challenge to printmakers ever since the dollar bill's original engraving was designed in 1929. After all, the basic concerns of the Bureau issuing currency are fundamentally identical to those of any fine art intaglio printmaker, from questions of registration, engraving, and ink additives on down to the molecular composition of the fibers in the paper. As Jonathon Keats details in Forged: Why Fakes Are The Great Art Of Our Age, artists including Ed Kienholz and J.S.G. Boggs have advanced projects further obscuring the line between printing art and printing money, breaking out of the museum-gallery complex [and] leveraging the absurdity of art to question the sanity of finance.

    Working with Enrique Chagoya at Magnolia Editions in 2004, the dollar's design became the basis for a series of prints and projects satirizing the Bush-Cheney administration's fiscal policies and the economic disaster that followed. This prompted discussions about the transition in our lifetime from a bill backed by precious metals like gold and silver to a far more abstract kind of note, inspiring Don to begin experimenting with coating the surfaces of one dollar notes with layers of 22 karat gold and silver leaf. These inaugural Art Notes reminded us of ‘scratchers' (scratch-off lottery tickets); paradoxically, the precious metal which once insured their value now made them valueless, unable to be tendered until the gold layer was scratched off. Earlier this year, the colorful historical relationship not just between art and money, but between artists and currency as medium and subject matter, was further revealed when we were invited to tour the wonderful collection of David and Louise Riemer. The variety of currency-inspired works we encountered at the Riemers' inspired us to continue using the design of the ubiquitous greenback as a vehicle for creative commentary.

    Working with the one dollar bill has provided a fascinating series of challenges. Elements from the original bills were sanded, scratched with a single-edged razor blade, and even chemically removed. To introduce new words into the bill's design, fonts had to be painstakingly recreated over the course of nearly a year; to introduce new graphic elements, we needed to paint a ground that would be opaque enough to cover the rich, deep black lines of the original engraving while also accepting a layer of meticulously registered water-based inkjet printing. Eventually we arrived at a concoction containing titanium dioxide, gum, and digital medium, which serves to bind and bring out the colors in the overprinted ink. For those bills bearing a layer of gold and silver leaf, we printed acrylic ink in the target areas and then applied the leaf by hand directly to the wet acrylic. Using sequential bills made registration slightly easier, and retaining the Federal Reserve's serial numbers helped us to keep track of each bill as the project grew to include dozens of proofs and variations.

    We're not interested in counterfeiting money; by using an actual dollar bill as the physical foundation for each work, we hope that our intentions – to alter, satirize, and comment upon the bill's design, rather than to slavishly reproduce it – will be clear from the outset. Initially we simply sought to capitalize (so to speak) on the humorously strong similarities between the dollar's portrait of George Washington and the Mona Lisa, using various methods to merge the two faces until we arrived at a bill with da Vinci's portrait entirely replacing that of the first president. Later, we began to compose bills with the intent to honor artists to whose brilliance, courage, and innovation we are indebted – well known iconoclasts like Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as unsung international treasures such as Zinaida Serebriakova, one of the first female Russian painters of distinction, and Gustave Caillebotte, a French painter who was also a patron and generous supporter of other Impressionist artists – an art lover who truly put his money where his mouth was. Another sequence, bearing the slogan Corporations Only addresses the troubling assignment of ‘personhood' to corporations and the sense that great sums of money are now restricted to corporations only, as tax loopholes and offshore accounts are increasingly making wealth the sole province of corporate entities. Still other bills, like HONEYBEE's images of endangered honeybees or the bills depicting American Indian leaders like Red Cloud and Sitting Bull, serve to chronicle and celebrate lost or vanishing treasures. Most bills with a human figure also feature a quote from that person; Kahlo's bill reads: Nothing is absolute – everything changes. The Art Notes remain legal tender, but through careful embellishment, we've altered their value; in doing so, we hope to provoke reflection upon what is truly of lasting value in both art and life.

    Art Notes: Mona, 2017

    Art Notes: The Almighty Dollar, 2017

    Art Notes: Magritte, 2017

    Art Notes: High Water, 2017

    The High Water piece is reminiscent of the J.S.G. Boggs monoprint Ripples in the Pond in my own collection. -Editor

      JSG Boggs Ripples in the Pond

    For more information, or to order, see:
    Art Notes: The Almighty Dollar, 2017 (

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