The E-Sylum v8#31, July 17, 2005
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esylum at binhost.com
Sun Jul 17 20:09:13 PDT 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 31, July 17, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers is Jack Howes. A returning
subscriber is Serge Pelletier. Welcome aboard, and welcome
back! We now have 773 subscribers.
Ron Thompson suggested "Homren's Hype" or "Wayne's World"
as alternate names for the "Editor's Corner". I think I'll stick
with the lame name for now.
LAKE BOOKS SALE #80 PRICES REALIZED AVAILABLE
Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #80
which closed on July 12, 2005 is now available for viewing
on our web site at:
Prices were very strong and our thanks go to all of the participants
in the sale. Our next sale will be held in early October."
NEW BOOK ON SANTIAGO COINAGE
Alan Luedeking writes: "I'm pleased to announce the
impending publication of Carlos Jara's fifth and most
important work to date, his long-awaited study on the early
coinage of Santiago (1749-1772), in English and Spanish.
Before I say any nice things about it, the reader should know
I am highly biased in its favor-- I was a co-author of the
work! The 680 page book covers both silver and gold
issues, about which a great deal had remained in the dark
until Carlos's original research in the national archives of
Chile uncovered the circumstances surrounding the creation
and operation of this fascinating mint. For the first time, the
actual mintage figures of all of the silver pillar and early gold
issues is revealed, information which even the great Jose
Toribio Medina had not been able to discover despite
searching for decades. A history of the mint in its historical
context is presented, along with English transcriptions of
most of the key documentation. The documentary appendix
contains hundreds of pages of original documents, all
transcribed, in the tradition of the great Medina. A complete
catalogue of all known issues is provided, each with its
assigned rarity, and all of the non-extant dates which plague
current reference catalogues are deleted. All of the known
coins of the higher rarity ratings are pedigreed, most are
plated, and a complete glossary, bibliography and index
round out the work. The work will be printed in August in
a limited, numbered hardcover edition. Anybody wishing to
inquire about or order the book is encouraged to contact
either Carlos Jara at [clejara at yahoo.com] or myself (Alan
Luedeking) at [alan at ludeca.com]."
NEW BOOK ON 1933 NEW ZEALAND DESIGNS
Martin Purdy forwarded the following release about a
new book on New Zealand coinage:
"The Numismatic Birth of the Dominion - The 1933 New
Zealand Coinage Designs" - a brand-new book by Dr Mark
Stocker of Otago University, published by the Royal
Numismatic Society of NZ (including the Wellington Coin
Club) in 2005.
A fascinating glimpse behind the scenes as NZ prepared to
produce its first official coins in 1933, with lots of detail
about designs that were proposed but never used.
36pp, semi-gloss paper, card covers, A5 format. A special
publication issued as a supplement to the NZ Numismatic Journal."
Martin adds: "I'm selling this on behalf of the Royal Numismatic
Society of NZ, so there's nothing in it for me.
Price including postage worldwide - USD 11.
Payment: US cash in the mail to me at the address below;
personal cheques, bank drafts or money orders (make
cheques payable to "Royal Numismatic Society of New
Zealand), or Paypal strictly to rita at translatelimited.com.
(Because this is a private transaction rather than a business
one, any payments to my regular e-mail address will be
returned, less Paypal fees, sorry to say.)
Link to a sample page (450 KB):
AUGUST 2005 COLONIAL NEWSLETTER
CNL Editor Gary Trudgen writes: "The August 2005 issue
of The Colonial Newsletter (CNL) has been published. This
issue provides our readers with interesting studies on three
diverse topics in early American numismatics. In our previous
issue, we were treated to an excellent review and study by
Dr. John Kleeberg of a famous American land hoard,
specifically the Stepney Hoard. In this issue we are again
pleased to present another outstanding study of a legendary
American hoard, the Castine Hoard. Based upon two old
photographs of coins from the Castine Hoard, author Tom
Kays has made a startling discovery which questions the
time period in which the hoard was thought to have been
deposited. He weaves this discovery into the history of the
region and even treats us to a little historical fiction.
Next, we present a study of the original 1881 heliotype
photographic print of New Jersey coppers that was published
by Dr. Edward Maris in his monograph titled A Historical Sketch
of the Coins of New Jersey. Authors Dr. Roger Moore and
Ray Williams, both enthusiastic students of this coinage, provide
some interesting conclusions about the production of this plate.
The authors have determined that the plate was produced using
a four-step process. They came to their conclusion by comparing
several original plates which, in itself, was a difficult task due to
the rarity of the plates and their dispersal throughout the country.
Our final paper takes us back to Bermuda and Hogge Money.
We are pleased that Mark Sportack, an authority on Bermuda's
early money, has provided CNL with a study concerning the
re-emergence of Hogge Money. Acceptance by American
numismatists of Hogge Money as the earliest coinage made
specifically for North America came slowly over many, many
years. Mark methodically traces the chronological sequence of
discovery of the different denominations known today. It is
an interesting detective study in an effort to uncover the facts
from the mists of time concerning today's extant specimens.
CNL is published three times a year by The American Numismatic
Society, 96 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038. For inquires
concerning CNL, please contact Juliette Pelletier at the preceding
postal address or e-mail pelletier at amnumsoc.org or telephone
(212) 571-4470 ext. 1311."
UPDATE ON THE FORMER KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS
Russ Rulau writes: "After discussing my report on the sale
of F+W Publications (owner of KP in Iola) by Providence
Equity Partners to ABRY LLC, I have discussed the report
in detail with Chet Krause, Cliff Mishler and Bill Bright, the
latter the publisher of the numismatic periodicals division of
F+W located in Iola.
There is one error in my E-Sylum report which I wish to
correct. I stated Chet Krause had "won" his suit before the
U.S. Trademark Commission -- based on my understanding of
statements made to me by Chet 2-1/2 months past. This is
erroneous. Chet and his attorneys have won the right to pursue
the removal of the Krause surname before the Commision,
having provided sufficient evidence through depositions, etc.
Other portions of my summation of the re-sale story I have
reconfirmed with Chester L. Krause. A personal note to my
colleagues among the numismatic bibliophiles: The publisher
and staffs of NN, WCN and BNR in Iola are honorable folks
who love "Chet" as much as I."
RITTENHOUSE SOCIETY MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
John Kraljevich writes: "The annual meeting of the membership
of the Rittenhouse Society will be held on Saturday, July 30 at
8 AM at a to-be-determined breakfasting location in San
Francisco. A membership directory (never published or distributed,
thank you) has been compiled, but we would love to hear from
members with their most up-to-date email addresses for later
communication. All Rittenhouse members are invited to contact
John Kraljevich, Emergency Long-Term Secretary Pro-Tem, at
johnk at anrcoins.com to RSVP, update their contact information,
or generally harass the membership. Further details will be
forthcoming as to location, most probably at the absolute last
[At the ANA Convention John Kraljevich is apt to be here
and there, in and out, etc., but the best single place to find him
or leave a note is at the American Numismatic Rarities bourse
FORD TRIBUTE BY JOHN AND NANCY WILSON
John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL, write: "We were deeply
saddened to learn of the passing of John J. Ford, Jr. It is
hard to imagine that this numismatic legend and icon is no
longer with us. Over the years, we have attended numerous
educational programs by John Ford, Jr. They were always
well done, educational and interesting.
We took photos and slides of him at some of his presentations.
We used slides of John Ford in many of our presentations on
famous numismatists we met during our numismatic travels.
I remember at the 1990 sale of the ABNCo archives by
Christie's when at the conclusion of the sale I had a chance to
talk to him and Stephen Goldsmith of Smythe. John asked me
what bidder I was, and I told him. He then said that I got a
Santa Claus note, and he wanted to buy it. He evidently
tracked the sale and had the buyer's bidder numbers of all the
notes he wanted. Evidently he forgot to bid on the one we
were successful on and wanted to buy it from us. I told John
that it wasn't for sale and ever since then he always wanted
to buy our Santa Claus collection. John Ford's wonderful
Santa Claus notes were sold during one of the Stack's sales
and generated some great prices.
The sale of his phenomenal collection by Stack's will prove in
time to be one of the greatest collections ever formed and
sold. When all is said and done, the John J. Ford, Jr., collection
will realize prices higher then any other collection that has been
sold up to now. In any case though this legend of the hobby
will be greatly missed. He was a passionate collector of
numismatic literature and references along with related items.
His other collections that are being sold are amazing. Many
collectors and dealers are staying broke in purchasing this
John was also a tremendous dealer, collector, speaker,
researcher and author and served on committees for ANA
and other organizations. John J. Ford, Jr. will be missed
greatly in our hobby by the many thousands who knew him.
We send our prayers and thoughts to his family and the
memory of John J. Ford, Jr. will be with us forever."
NEW YORK TIMES ON JOHN J. FORD
Today the New York Times published an obituary on
John J. Ford. Here are some excerpts:
"John J. Ford Jr., a coin dealer and collector known for
catalogs that brought new clarity to numismatics and whose
collections, including the earliest American coins and prized
Confederate pennies, have dazzled recent auctiongoers, died
on July 7 at a nursing home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 81."
"Michael Hodder, a numismatic consultant, said bidders had
already spent $35 million on the Ford collections, and the
final total may rival the three auctions of the collection of Louis
E. Eliasburg Sr., who assembled every known American coin.
These exceeded $55 million.
Francis D. Campbell, the librarian of the American Numismatic
Society, said the sales have expanded appreciation of Mr. Ford.
"It's going to settle in that he was more important than we
thought he was," he said."
"John Jay Ford Jr. was born on March 5, 1924, in Hollywood,
where his father liked to socialize with movie people. The elder
Mr. Ford, a scientist and inventor, lost all his money in business
failures and retreated to Queens. He borrowed haircut money
from his teenage son.
The son, already a stamp collector, bought his first old currency
from a shop on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. He paid 15 cents
for a Confederate bill that years later fetched $200.
He quit his paper route, and got a job as a delivery boy for
Stack's. By the time he was drafted into the Army, he had a
thriving business making his own numismatic deals as he
went about his errands.
He was regarded as a wonder, having virtually memorized
"United States Pattern, Trial and Experimental Pieces" by
Edgar H. Adams and William H. Woodin, then a standard
numismatic resource. Mr. Hodder likened this to memorizing
all of a day's baseball box scores, only more complicated.
After serving as an Army cryptographer, Mr. Ford did other
kinds of work, before finding his way back to coin shops. He
soon joined Charles Wormser at New Netherlands,
becoming a partner in two years."
"He is remembered for the no-nonsense bomb shelter full
of valuable coins and currencies in the basement of the
Long Island home where he long lived, not to mention his
Cuban cigars. His stories, like the one about taking a $67,000
check written on toilet paper from a tipsy oilman are still
savored: it was the only paper in the hotel room."
To read the full article, see:
WHERE'S THE SLABBED CATALOG NOW?
Michael Schmidt writes: "I have heard Fred Lake's story
about John Ford's "slabbed" catalog before. Does anyone
know if it is still slabbed? And if so, where it is? I didn't
see it listed in either of the Ford library sales. I would also
like to acquire a copy of the photo Fred mentioned. I've
asked Fred about it before but he was unable to locate the
photo. He did tell me that he thought it had been printed in
the Asylum at one time. Does anyone have a copy of the photo?"
JOHN J. FORD, JR. - INFORMATION HOARDER?
Refering to the controversy surrounding John Ford which
Dave Bowers alluded to, Richard Doty writes, "..and how
'bout those Western Gold Bars, huh?"
As noted previously in The E-Sylum, Kleeberg and Prof.
T. V. Buttrey, Jr. maintain a website about western gold bars
and Mexican gold bars. On the site Kleeberg has published
his viewpoint on Ford and the gold bars. With permission
I've excerpted a couple sections from his most recent piece
mentioning the dearth of Ford's published writing on numismatics,
which Dick Johnson and others have lamented.
Kleeberg writes: "Yet his career resulted in him being
remembered not for the work he did, but for his notorious
habit of hoarding information and never publishing it;"
"From Olga Raymond he bought the rights to Wayte Raymond’s
publications. Unfortunately, since Ford had a phobia about
publishing, this resulted in the deep sixing of many useful
numismatic series, such as the Standard Catalogue and the
Coin Collector’s Journal."
"Ford’s coin collection and his library were auctioned
beginning in 2003. Collectors were astonished. Here were
coins, paper money, books, and research papers that they
had not seen for half a century. Many researchers were deeply
angered by Ford’s dog in the manger attitude, which had hidden
away from them items that were vital for their research."
[Aside from his auction cataloging, Ford published relatively
few articles and nothing of book length, with the exception
of his 1967 report to a committee of the Professional Numismatists
Guild investigating allegations of false USAOG coins; "The
Franklin Hoard of United States Assay Office of Gold Coins:
An Answer to Eric P. Newman." Ford tightly controlled the
distribution of these, making originals very rare today
(although photocopies have been made over the years).
I can't speak for other research efforts, but when I was
involved in the research that came together in Fred Reed's
book on U.S. Encased Postage Stamps, Ford made available
an inventory of his collection and contributed information on
how EPS could be altered or switched. Certainly, from other
accounts I've heard or read Ford was selective about what
information he would disclose and to whom. Just as certainly,
no one is ever obligated to share their information with others.
I'm sure our readers have thoughts on the subject. It must
be frustrating to work on a research project knowing that
information that would be useful is not being made available.
In some cases I'm sure, the lack of time to respond to information
requests is one factor. Karl Moulton's recent survey of
numismatic auction catalogs is one example, where he notes that
a number of collectors approached did not respond. I know that
I might have been in this category myself, but was able to
contribute at the last minute, with the urging of Tom Fort.
FRED SCHWAN ON JOHN J. FORD, JR.
In MPCGram 1311, Editor Fred Schwan reprinted
our recent item on John J. Ford, and added the following:
"I especially liked Wayne's story about JJF and
the Ridgeway medal. First, I consider the medal
a military numismatic item and I too would have liked
to just hold it. (Was it in any of the Ford auctions?)
I also liked the black hole aspect of the story.
John had a standing order for BNR Press books. To
say that they had to have special packaging is an
understatement. Essentially, John insisted that his
books be MS-70. More than one time, he returned
books because he could see, feel, or otherwise sense a
dinged corner. Even though the returns had undergone
an extra shipment by the time that I had received
them, I usually could not find any flaws, but, of
course, sent off another copy."
[Yes, I believe the Ridgeway medal was in one of
the prior Ford auctions, but I was unable to relocate
the lot listing . Can anyone help? -Editor]
WHAT MAKES A LIBRARY?
At the other end of the book condition spectrum is
Dick Johnson, who writes: "To answer Dave Kellogg:
One book makes a door stop. Two books keep bookends
apart. Three books make a library. It's not the count, it’s
...and how often they are used. Books in super mint condition
– even numismatic books – are not serving their purpose. I
have mentioned this before in The E-Sylum: I "consume" books
in my library. Ragged dust jackets and dog eared leaves prove
I have poured over the pages many times. I seldom read, I often
refer. I look up a lot of individual facts (like for writing these
E-Sylum items). It’s called research and reference. That’s what
numismatic books are for.
And that’s what makes a numismatic library."
[I'm not a Ford-style perfectionist when it comes to book
conditions, but like most of us I do like to have nice copies
on my shelves when possible. Back before I had a wife and
kids to slow down my book acquisitions, I did a lot of
wheeling and dealing in numismatic books, buying frequently
from book dealers and purchasing the occasional library.
I would often purchase the same book several times over,
each time keeping the best and selling the duplicate. So
the copy with the ketchup stains from my lunch has long since
found a home elsewhere, and a new copy is here waiting for
the next time I need to refer back to that book.
But as much as I like nice clean books, I appreciate Dick's
point that if you're not using them, why have them?
Last week, I wrote: ""I suppose there is some sort of
minimum number of books required before you could call
a collection of books a 'library,' but I have no idea where
to draw the line... "
David Gladfelter writes: "I don't know where that line is either,
but the same question could be asked, what makes a coin
collection? In the catalog of the Milton R. Friedberg extensive
fractional currency collection sold by Currency Auctions of
America (now part of Heritage) in 1997, appeared lot 172
consisting of the following: "A 1962 Proof Set in its original
mint wrapper, a 1909 VDB penny in Very Fine, a Spanish
Piece of Eight badly clipped and corroded -- apparently, a
salvage piece, two 1921 Morgan dollars both Extra Fine, a
1924-S Peace Dollar Fine, a 1911 $2½ gold piece Extra Fine
and a 1912 Liberty nickel Good. Offered without estimate
because this ain't our bag. Should be examined. No mail bids
on this lot please." This lot was captioned "Milt's Coin Collection."
BAGHDAD LIBRARIES REBUILDING
From a recent USA Today story, libraries in war-torn Iraq
are slowly getting back on their feet:
"Driven away by bombs, dispirited by shelves emptied by looters,
visitors to the public library in Baghdad's Khadamiya district are
now starting to return.
There's still work to be done. Stolen books and looted furniture
must be replaced. But seeing the return of readers is inspiring
enough for Alya Abdul Hussein, a librarian here for 20 years."
"Some libraries, such as the one in Khadamiya, fend for themselves.
Opened in 1947, it's one of the oldest operating libraries in the city.
It's a plain, two-story structure, small and dusty, with books resting
on bare metal shelves. The ground floor is used by women and
children; men visit the second floor. The ground floor opens onto
a garden, with a view of the nearby Al-Ama bridge, that is often
used by students.
In April 2003, in the chaotic days following the fall of Baghdad,
looters broke into the library, Hussein says.
Her husband brought his gun from home and the two stood sentinel
over the building, but not before looters made away with about
10,000 books and magazines, leaving about 5,000 volumes behind.
One day around that time, a U.S. tank pushed into the property and
punched a hole in the wall, Hussein says. Military interpreters told
her they were looking for Iraq's former leader, she says. Hussein
says she used her first paycheck from the city to patch up the hole
and mend the fence outside.
Soon after, she visited area mosques and posted signs asking
residents to return her books.
"Some people came by themselves and brought them back. Others
started to leave them behind the wall of the library (because) they
didn't want to be known," she says. "Other people began
volunteering their own books."
To read the full story, see:
ON PHILATELIC WEST
Len Augsberger writes: "There is a set of the Philatelic West at
the Smithsonian philatelic library. There is another in Lincoln, NE
at the state historical society. The ANS has miscellaneous issues
which are virtually crumbling. Orville Grady had a batch of a fifty
or so issues a few years back which I was the underbidder on.
They do have numismatic content and are waiting for careful
researchers. I've been wanting to get to one of the complete sets
in Lincoln or Washington for awhile. Philatelic West was the
forerunner of Hobbies, which had some marvelous numimsmatic
content provided by Thomas Elder in the twilight of his career. "
[ I love these obscure publications; you never know
what great info/gossip/whatever is waiting. -Editor]
KELLEY REPRINT LIST OFFER
Henry Bergos, who once sold an extensive holding of Kelley
reprints of economic and numismatic classics, has updated his
offer to those wishing a copy of his old (and now obsolete)
price list. Those who expressed interest in this earlier may send
me their mailing address and Henry will forward a copy of the
list to you gratis. Since the initial response was small, sending
Henry an SASE is no longer required.
A NUMISMATIC SUGGESTION
While looking for other things this week, I came across
a web site offering the followng book for sale:
Weber, F. Parkes. Interesting Cases and Pathological
Considerations and a Numismatic Suggestion. 1956
Lond: H.K. Lewis & Co., 1956. 8vo. Or.printed boards
(slightly worn and soiled). (IV,78pp.)."
So... has anyone else come across this title? What
could the "numismatic suggestion" be? "Numismatists
have an interesting pathology"?
ON SCHULMAN AND THE U.N. PATTERN COIN
Dick Johnson writes: "Sorry, Neil Shafer, it was not Hans
Schulman who ran the coin department in the Gimbles store
in New York City where you bought your Proclamation 2R
Philippine piece of 1834 – it was Robert Friedberg. At the
height of his empire Bob Friedberg had 33 perhaps 35 coin
departments in Gimbles and other department stores across
He is the same Friedberg who wrote the standard works on
world gold coins (1958) and British coins (1962). He published
these, and the book on so-called dollars (compiled by Hibler &
Kappen, published 1963) under the imprint, Coin and Currency
Institute, while he ran the Capitol Coin Company and the
thirty-some leased coin departments. [Bob died in 1963 but the
business was carried on by his sons, Arthur and Ira, who published
the U.S. paper money book (1964) after he died and have
updated it often.]
You are correct, Neil, in that Hans was involved with the
Andorra crown coinage of 1960. He was also involved with
the United Nations Pattern Coinage of 1946 which hasn’t
been mentioned yet in recent E-Sylum discussions of
Hans, and another famous coin dealer in New York City at
the time, Abe Kosoff, got the idea when the United Nations
was formed in 1945 that the UN could issued their own coins.
They formed a new corporation, Coin Associates, Inc, then
created this struck pattern to show U.N. officials what could
The pair chose the denomination name "ducaton" and took
their idea to Medallic Art Company, then also in New York
City. Medallic Art commissioned sculptor Karl H. Gruppe
to prepare the design and make the models. Gruppe did an
excellent design with the flags of the Big Five nations, and a
reverse with the theme of the Four Freedoms (religion, want,
Like Thomas Elder a half-century before them, who had issued
private pieces, Hans and Abe ordered the "coins" struck in as
many compositions as possible, because collectors love a lot
of varieties. It was fascinating pouring over the records of these
when I cataloged this piece for Medallic Art in 1969 (MAco
46-21). Because we classed this as a medal (not a coin) for
the firm’s internal records, it was called the "Four Freedoms
Medal" in all company files.
Hibler & Kappen list only three compositions -- gold, silver
bronze -- for their HK 871–873 (page 138). But I found in
MAco archives Hans and Abe had ordered more than these
three! First no silver was struck, it was bronze silver-plated.
The same design was also struck in eight other compositions:
aluminum, aluminum-bronze, brass, copper-nickel, nickel,
steel and zinc! That’s seven.
To further add frosting on the cake, it was also stuck in platinum
– in single and double thickness – and gold in FOUR different
thicknesses! Can you say PIEDFORTS? If you would like a
list of quantity struck of these varieties email me -- at
dick.johnson at snet.net -- and I’ll send this by return email.
[This is your Numismatic Alert System testing how many people
actually read down eight paragraphs for a free offer buried in
the center of a paragraph.] Put "Four Freedoms Medal" in the
subject line. A message is not necessary.
These were all struck with one pair of 1 1/2-inch (38mm) dies.
The two dealers had also wanted to issue the same design in
half this size, 3/4-inch (19mm) size. Samples were struck in
gold, silver and bronze. But the small size was canceled before
any quantity were struck.
These are legitimately scarce numismatic items today. You
find an Andorra 1960 crown a hundred times quicker than
a U.N. pattern "ducaton."
THOUGHTS ON EBAY
Last week, Dick Johnson asked, "After ten years what's
your opinion of eBay? Good or bad for numismatics?"
In response, Howard Spindel writes: "This is a bit of a hot button
for me. I'll try to keep this brief enough for publication!"
[I have edited this down further, but those wishing to correspond
with Howard on this matter can write to him at howard at sci1.com
Howard continues: "My opinion is that eBay is, at best, a mixed
blessing for numismatics. For someone who knows what he is
doing, eBay is an opportunity to locate rare and unusual items
that he otherwise might never see. Furthermore, due to clueless
sellers and eBay's Buy It Now, occasionally one can buy a rare
coin for a fraction of its worth.
The downside is that eBay is dominated by clueless sellers and
clueless buyers, not knowledgable numismatists. Numismatic
fraud is rampant. Budding numismatists are easily turned off
permanently to our hobby the first time they bring a "rare" coin
won on eBay to a coin dealer and are told it's worth a fraction
of what they paid.
I have personally done considerably more than rail against the
situation. When the ANA and eBay announced their liaison
to better police numismatic auctions, I was happy to see the
recognition that a problem existed. eBay posted a new web
page where one could report problem auctions and tell why
that auction was a problem. I spent a few months reporting
problem auctions in two main areas:
1) common 1882 filled 2 shield nickels erroneously offered
as rare 1883/2, and
2) silver plated pot metal replicas of tough date Morgan
dollars with deceptive auctions designed to fool the unwary
into thinking they were receiving the real thing.
Much as I would have liked to report other numismatic frauds,
I have trouble keeping up with the eBay auctions I regularly
watch let alone taking on more. (If you think that these aren't
problem auctions, let me tell you that I've seen the pot metal
replicas sell as high as $450. The manufacturer of these
things only charges $15.)
During this time I did not see any effect from my reports.
Auctions proceeded to their conclusion and buyers were
defrauded. Occasionally, a seller would respond to my note
about the erroneous shield nickel attributions and voluntarily
take down his auction and thank me for the information.
Invariably, the sellers who did this were small time, certainly
never a Power Seller or a high feedback seller. The latter
probably don't care - they are laughing all the way to the bank.
To make matters worse, eBay recently changed their reporting
form so that when one reports a problem auction one can only
supply the auction number, not a reason for the report.
Perhaps they tired of reading my reports? How can eBay
possibly know why I reported an auction if they took away
the mechanism for doing so!
For those of you interested in reporting problem eBay auctions
on your own, the link is at the bottom of this page:
where it says "Report problem auctions...".
In the last month I've seen a reduction in the pot metal replica
auctions. Perhaps I finally had some effect on them. I have no
way of knowing.
In the meantime, I will continue reporting problem auctions as
I have been. I am probably tilting at windmills. My hope is
that if enough people tilt at windmills eventually they have
enough power to topple them. Perhaps readers of The E-Sylum
will find a bit of Don Quixote within themselves and join me."
Ron Abler writes: "Count me among those who feel that the
advantages of eBay far outweigh the disadvantages. I started
collecting U.S. 1876 Centennial medals less than three years ago.
My collection is already quite extensive, enough for me to be
actively working on a book for publication. I attend as many
coin shows as I have time and resources to reach, and I peruse
the inventory of every coin shop I can walk into. Nevertheless,
I have obtained more than 90% of my collection off of eBay.
I conduct 20 different searches on eBay at least every other
day, sifting every possible way to net even the most poorly
described or incorrectly categorized medal.
After more than 600 eBay transactions, I have had only two
unsatisfactory experiences. Other than that, my eBay experience
has been all positive. I have purchased Centennial medals
which are totally unlisted and unknown, even to major dealers.
I have gotten to know many many sellers whose knowledge
and customer service rival any of the store-front dealers I
know. And I have done most of it from the comfort and
convenience of my own home office, with my collection, my
numismatic library, and the research potential of the Internet
immediately at hand. Try that at a show or in a dealer's shop!
I believe that eBay has provided an extraordinary leveling
service that has brought hitherto unknown material to the
marketplace, educated users in the ever-changing laws of
supply and demand, and opened markets previously unknown
and/or unavailable to collectors and dealers alike. With a
modicum of common sense and a large dose of caveat emptor,
anyone can benefit from eBay to a degree that, in my opinion,
outweighs the risks. In fact, I have been duped far more
often in the past by store-front dealers than I ever have on
THE HUB COIN BOOK
Ken Bressett writes: "I have only one issue of the Hub Coin
Book. It is the 24th Edition, and also carries the original date
Steve Woodland writes: "In the v2n10 issue of The E-Sylum
(March 8, 1999), you featured the Where`s George? website
(www.wheresgeorge.com)/ where "Readers can enter the
serial numbers of dollar bills passing through their hands and
track their later progress around the country with the help of
like-minded bill trackers."
There is a similar site for Canadian Currency called Where's
Willy (after Sir Wilfred Laurier, the first French Prime Minister
of Canada (1896-1911), who is featured on our $5 note).
The site address is www.whereswilly.com Both sites were
created by Hank Eskin."
SAVE ME FROM THE ‘DO-GOODERS!"
Dick Johnson writes: "Please tell Jeff Schwartz I don’t want
a refund on a purchase of a Freedom Tower Silver Dollar,
I don’t want to join his law firm’s suit against "the company"
which put them out. As I recall these were promoted at just
under $30 each. I don’t remember "the company" holding a
gun against the head of everyone who bought one. Sure,
there was some lose verbiage about the silver coming from
silver stored under the Twin Tower. Have you ever heard a
coin dealer in a bourse room trying to make a sale to a
tough customer? Worse than that!
Irrespective of the fact less than two cent’s worth of silver
plated a copper piece, the price is $30, or whatever it was.
It was a buyer’s choice, a free will act to make the purchase
-- or pass it by. Perhaps the vendor wasn’t entirely truthful
in its sale pitch. Isn’t that trade puffing? It is, after all, Buyer
Beware as in everyday life. Caveat emptor!
So they put 2 cents worth of silver on a copper blank which
cost maybe 12 cents, and it cost $1.10 to strike it; the dies
cost $1200 and they had to pay an artist several thousand
dollars. The advertising cost perhaps $10 per order. There
was some administrative costs. My goodness, they might
make $15 profit!
Please save me from the "do-gooders" – who believe this
was a crime! I believe the "do-gooders" are more harmful
than "the company" selling the item. But I would state the
company did not need to stretch the facts like they did.
When you have a good product and good timing, you will
make your sales.
If I had bought a Freedom Tower Silver Dollar I would
have wanted it for what it memorializes, not the fact I paid
perhaps twice what it cost to make. I believe those who
have one would be short sided to ask for a refund. (An
inflexible rule exists in numismatics – the fewer the number,
the greater the value-- with some other provisions like
condition and demand.)
No, Jeff, I don’t want a refund on a Freedom Tower
Silver Dollar. I want to BUY one!"
ZEB PIKE MEDALS
Bill Spengler of Colorado Springs, Colorado writes: "
Yes, Virginia, there is a Zeb Pike medal.
Thanks to Larry Dziubek for confirming this and citing the
Hibler-Kappen reference in the last (July 10) E-Sylum. If
you want to see these medals honoring Lt. Zebulon Pike's
"discovery" of famous Pikes Peak in 1806 come to Colorado
Springs and at the same time have a glimpse of the peak
(14,114 feet according to a recent re-measurement) and
Pike's statue downtown. In fact, you can easily reach the
summit of the peak by car or cog railway, and not so easily
by foot. By the way, did you know that officially there is no
apostrophe in Pikes Peak? It is one of the few such exceptions
in American geographic placenames as recognized by a U.S.
Government agency. (Marthas Vinyard. I believe, is another.)
As it happens, only recently I sold my modest collection of ten
Zeb Pike medals and two large 1905 G.A.R. Pikes Peak bronze
medals to nationally-known dealer (and former A.N.A. President)
Ken Hallenbeck of the Hallenbeck Coin Gallery here. It included
Pike medals in various metals and configurations -- with and
without hasp, with suspender, with ribbon, with bar -- a nice
assortment. They were issued originally for the Pike centennial
here in 1906, and a stash of them was discovered in the vault of
a local bank during the sesquicentennial observances in 1956.
I understand that a local group is planning to issue an entirely new
Pike medal in gold (limited number), silver and bronze for the
bicentennial next year."
YET ANOTHER PAINFUL MISSPELLING OF "NUMISMATIC"
A nameless subscriber typed the word "numimsmatic" in his
submission this week - that's a misspelling I'd not seen yet.
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site was suggested by Roger
deWardt Lane, Hollywood, Florida, who writes: "This
one is in Spanish, but it has great pictures of Bank Notes."
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
non-profit organization promoting numismatic
literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/.
There is a membership application available on
the web site at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with
your check to the address printed on the application.
Membership is only $15 to addresses in North America,
$20 elsewhere. For those without web access,
David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, P. O. Box 82
Littleton, NH 03561
For Asylum mailing address changes and other
membership questions, contact David at this email
address: dsundman at LittletonCoin.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum,
just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor
at this address: whomren at coinlibrary.com
Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following
More information about the Esylum