The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 17, April 28, 2024, Article 10


On Eponymous Numismatic Classifications
Len Augsburger of the Newman Numismatic Portal writes:

"Below is an excerpt from the forthcoming bibliography of Eric P. Newman’s publications, the draft of which is up to 138 pages."

Newman 36. Foreword to America’s Foreign Coins: An Illustrated Standard Catalogue with Valuation of Foreign Coins with Legal Tender Status in the United States, 1793-1857, by Oscar D. Schilke and Raphael E. Solomon, IX-X. New York: The Coin and Currency Institute, Inc., 1964.

America's Foreign Coins.01 Newman opens by remarking on how inconceivable it is that it took the United States Mint 67 years — from 1793 until 1857 — to replace foreign coinage in circulation with United States coinage. He underscores that, prior to the American Revolution, what little gold and silver that circulated in the American colonies consisted of foreign, not British, coinage. The adoption of the Spanish silver dollar as the U.S. coinage unit after the Revolution was hoped to be a temporary expedient, with the switch over to a decimal system of American coinage hoped to be accomplished soon, but unforeseen problems and unexpected developments kept foreign coinage in circulation for three generations. Newman closes by reminding the reader that this book does not cover the minor coinage that never attained legal tender status: everything ranging from English halfpence (genuine and counterfeit) to American state coinages to Nova Constellatio coppers and Fugio cents.

Newman accepted Schilke and Solomon’s offer to write a preface in correspondence dated May 10, 1962. In a follow up letter on May 23, Newman weighed in on eponymous numismatic classifications: I believe it is immodest for you to refer to ‘S. S.’ numbers in your own book. That is for others do to. Newman practiced what he preached. He did not introduce Newman nomenclature in his work on Fugios (1949), Continental dollars (1952) American Plantations tokens (1955), or Virginia coppers (1956). However, numismatists today commonly use the Newman term when referring to die varieties within these series. Schilke and Solomon took Newman’s advice, and the final version included only numbered (and not named) varieties.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The Grading Scale is NOT Quantitative
Bill Eckberg writes:

Numi Full Test Graph "With respect to the GPT-4 update, there are some things that need to be pointed out. First of all, for the many who don’t seem to understand it, the grading scale is NOT quantitative. It was an attempt to predict the prices of early US cents in the 1940s, and it has never done so effectively. Each grade actually represents a category, not a numerical value. A 40 coin is an XF, and that does not mean it is 40/70 from a perfect coin, 40/60 from a Mint State coin or 10x better than a G-4 coin. So, any numerical graph that uses the Sheldon scale as its X-axis is misleading. I say that knowing that we have all done it from time to time for convenience, including me. But let’s not get carried away with the incorrect notion that grading is somehow quantitative. It is not and never has been. Eye appeal is subjective.

"Because of the above, the mean absolute deviation that he calculated, evidently across all grade categories, is meaningless. A glance at the graph shows clearly that the differences are not at all consistent along the grading scale.

"Second, the computer variations from what supposed experts called the grade seem to be all over the place. How can the computer call a F coin everything from G to VF without saying it’s inaccurate. Or, how can it be accurate if it calls an XF coin everything from VF to UNC, which that 20-point difference says. It would be helpful to see what the actual variances are. The first E-Sylum report on this actually included the data. For the XF coin, a 1943D Mercury dime, most of the computer derived grades were F-12, and the highest few were VF-20. That’s a long way from XF, and all of the variation is in the same direction! Presuming that the slab grade was accurate, the computer was very poor at grading the XF coin.

"When we wrote the EAC Grading Guide, published a decade ago (wow!), we found the differences between slab and EAC-type grades were very small at the bottom and top ends and quite large in the VF-XF range. With the computer, the differences are fairly small at the top end, where price spreads are the largest, but large even at the bottom end. Since each grade point appears to represent multiple scans of a single coin, we can’t say anything about the general applicability of the computer grade to the real world.

"I commend Justin Hinh on his efforts, but he needs to test multiple coins at each grade level for his analysis to be more useful. He could then calculate the variance in computer to slab grades at each grade level."

Good points. Thank you. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

50-Year Button Search Resolved
Mel Wacks writes:

Immunized Against Diphtheria button "I read with interest the item about the button book and museum. I have been searching for a particular button for nearly 50 years. They were handed out to hundreds of thousands of children who took the Schick Test for diphtheria in the 1920s. I sent a query to the Busy Beaver Button Company -- and within 10 minutes Emma discovered the button.

I will eventually add it to my web page for Dr. Bela Schick ( It's amazing how many times I find items of particular interest in your great e-publication."

We love to hear news like this. I had a good feeling about The Button Museum, and wasn't too surprised to see the neatly organized collection record Mel passed along. If you've accumulated any interesting old buttons over the years, consider contacting them, and perhaps making a contribution. -Editor

McGovern Eagleton button Jim Haas writes:

"This one is very rare, because I know the guy who had it made, and he has a good-size collection starting with the Eisenhower years. He also has posters from Kennedy and Dukakis and an unused bumper sticker from Kennedy. From what he’s told me, there’s more; he just hasn’t looked at it all in a long time."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

On Protestant Reformation Martyr George Winckler
1536 IORG WINCKLER medal obverse Kerry Wetterstrom writes:

"I enjoyed reading the latest issue of The E-Sylum, and I saw the note on the wooden medallion of George Winckler. Winckler was a Protestant Reformation martyr and I believe he was assassinated in 1527, hence I’m not certain what the date of 1536 signifies. I’m sure you’ll hear from others that know more than I do about Winckler."

So far, Kerry is the only reader to respond. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: APRIL 21, 2024 : Query: 1536 IORG WINCKLER Medallic Item (

Nashua Coin Club Wins ONA Club of the Year Award
Judy Blackman writes:

"On Saturday, April 20th, 2024, the Nashua Coin Club of New Hampshire was recognized for the THIRD time as the Ontario Numismatic Association’s Club of the Year. NCC has received this award for the years 2021, 2022, and now 2024. This photo taken by Alan Roy, shows (left to right) NCC Secretary Kevin Winn, NCC Director Bob Fritsch, and ONA Club Services Chairperson Stephen Adams."

  Kevin Winn, Bob Fritsch, Stephen Adams

Congratulations! -Editor

For more information on the Nashua Coin Club, see:

Maintaining Interest and Enjoyment in Collecting
Nick Graver writes:

"I was interviewed the other evening by an officer of the Rochester Numismatic Association coin club. He conducted a Zoom discussion with elder numismatists about when they started collecting coins in the 1950s.

I am member # 1, the longest active member and probably one of the oldest! That happens when you arise each morning.

There were three veterans speaking, two were at the meeting and I was online. We each answered seven questions and then added items that came to mind.

The seventh/last question the moderator asked the three of us was: "considering all the changes in coinage and numismatics over the years, how have you maintained your interest and enjoyment in collecting?"

My joy has come from the history involved, the wonderful people I have met and the traveling we have done. I mentioned E-Sylum, the weekly newsletter produced by fellow Pittsburgher Wayne Homren now living in Northern Virginia. It keeps me learning and meeting new people and topics.

The moderator again mentioned E-Sylum in his wrapup and all the material it contains."

Thanks, and congratulations on reaching #1 status! -Editor

For more on the Rochester Numismatic Association, see:
Rochester Numismatic Association (

Bakelite Silver Dollar 25th Wedding Anniversary Plaque

Jim Haas passed along this newspaper clip of an interesting (and expensive) Depression-era wedding anniversary gift. Unfortunately, there's no image of the item. Has anyone encountered such a thing? -Editor

  Bakelite Silver Dollar 25th Wedding Anniversary Plaque

Shevlin E-Sylum ad 2024-03-10 listen to So-Called Dollars

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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