The E-Sylum v8#32, July 24, 2005
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Sun Jul 24 19:08:38 PDT 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 32, July 24, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
We have currently 773 E-Sylum subscribers.
John H. Burns writes: "I'll second the motion to rename the
"Editor's Corner" to "Wayne's World!!" George Kolbe adds:
"I, too give "Wayne's World" a thumbs-up!"
Ex-squeeze me? "Wayne's World?" Well, it was our readers
who helped coin the E-Sylum name back when I was pushing
for "The Babbler." This publication is about numismatic
literature and research, but it's also about having some fun with
our hobby. On the other hand, it's not about me, which is why
I'm reluctant to put my own name front and center, even in a
goofy way. But if another week passes without further
suggestions (or an uproar against it), we'll switch to "Wayne's
World", at least for a while.
While on the subject of what The E-Sylum is all about, it's
worth noting a few things: First, although many, if not most
submissions are published verbatim, a number are at least
lightly edited for spelling, style and length. For better or worse,
very few submissions are rejected outright (and in eight years
these probably amount to only about a dozen or so). In nearly
every case, the deleted content is less numismatic than it is
political or personal. In the few cases where I've felt such
content was borderline and allowed it, I've often come to
regret my decision to publish it, for it inevitably leads to
counter submissions which only lead us further and further
away from our core numismatic subject.
The most recent such radioactive topic relates to the late
John J. Ford, Jr. I felt the bulk of a recent submission was
inappropriate, and submissions this week of opposing
viewpoints included phrases I felt were equally inappropriate.
In each case sections small and large were cut or edited for
publication, or not published at all. For example, as much as
I might savor colorful phrases such as "crap," "vile" and
"the demented yapping of a rabid Pekinese!!!", these have
been edited out, as have earlier phrases such as "corrupter of
numismatic fact" .
On a topic more on-target with our mission, thanks and
congratulations are in order for David Lange and other authors
this week, for we have no fewer than five new book announcements
in this issue. Get your checkbooks out, bibliophiles! We begin
this week's issue on a sad note, however.
ART KAGIN 1919-2005
John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "Another great
numismatic luminary, Mr. Arthur A. M. Kagin has passed
away. Art was truly a gifted numismatic dealer over many
decades, and also served on the Board of ANA, and other
organizations. He was probably one of ANA's greatest
promoters, and always had an application for membership
on him. We knew Art since becoming involved in the
numismatics and have learned a lot about the hobby from him.
We were very fortunate to have Art as a friend. We send our
prayers and thoughts to his children Don and Judith, along with
the rest of the Kagin family. Rest in peace Art as you will
always be in our prayers and thoughts."
ANA MUSEUM RENAMED
In a release from Colorado Springs, CO dated Saturday,
July 2, 2005, Mike Ellis writes: "Today in a joint press
conference and dedication ceremony held by Christopher
Cipoletti, Executive Director of the American Numismatic
Association; Chet Krause, founder of hobby giant Krause
Publications; and Cliff Mishler, Krause Publications past
President and longtime company spokesman announced a
$500,000.00 donation to the American Numismatic Association.
The ceremony was held in the upper gallery of what was
formerly known as the ANA Money Museum.
Today the name was changed. While unfurling an approximately
15 foot long, heavy duty canvas banner attesting to the name
change it was announced that the donation was given in honor
of naming the museum the "Edward C. Rochette Money Museum."
Half the money was raised by Krause Publications to help support
the ongoing renovation while half was given by an anonymous
donor in honor of Ed Rochette who had done so much for the
organization. Among the many contributions Ed has made include
being a past president, a multiple times past Executive Director,
responsible for the $1.00 per year lease agreement for the
permanent location of headquarters on the Colorado College
campus and founder of the highly successful annual Summer
Seminar. Ed currently enjoys the well-earned title of Executive
Director Emeritus of the ANA. It was also announced that Mr.
Rochette had just accepted a position on the initial board of
directors for the new Gallery Mint Museum Foundation, a not
for profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and
advancement of the numismatic arts."
NBS AT THE ANA CONVENTION
NBS President Pete Smith writes: "This is the final E-Sylum
notice before the American Numismatic Association convention
in San Francisco. Our NBS Symposium will be on Thursday at
1:00 p.m. in Room 3014. Scheduled speakers are Rich Kelly
and Nancy Oliver who wrote "A Mighty Fortress" about the
San Francisco Mint and a more recent book about coiner
Our General Meeting will be on Friday at 11:30 a.m. in Room
2012. We hope to see you there. We expect to have reports
from officers and a benefit auction of donated literature. ANA
Librarian Nancy Green will also speak about recent developments
at the ANA library."
[I'm afraid I won't be attending the convention this year, so
I'll miss the NBS events. Please email me any reports and
be sure to spread the word about The E-Sylum. If you're at
the convention and meet anyone who might enjoy reading it,
please get their email address. Can we reach 800 subscribers
by the end of the year? -Editor]
CCAC OPEN MEETING AT CONVENTION
Mitch Sanders writes: "On behalf of the Citizens Coinage
Advisory Committee (CCAC), I would like to invite the
readers of the E-sylum to a public business meeting and public
forum be held at the upcoming convention of the American
Numismatic Association in San Francisco.
At our public business meeting we will evaluate proposed
designs for Platinum proof bullion coins for 2006, 2007, and
2008. Immediately after the business meeting, a public forum
on “Coin design: past, present, and future” will be held. The
purpose of the forum is for the members of the CCAC to hear,
first-hand, the opinions and input of numismatic experts and the
general public with regard to coin design and coinage issues
We hope that you will visit us at the convention, to watch coin
design history being made and then lend your “two cents” to
the CCAC at the public forum. We encourage you to join a
lively discussion with members and others on U.S. coinage –
past, present, and future.
The public business meeting begins at 2:30 PM on Thursday
July 28, 2005 in room 2008 on Level II of the Moscone Center
in San Francisco, with the forum following immediately after the
CCAC public business meeting concludes.
Established by Public Law 108-15, the CCAC advises the
Secretary of the Treasury on any theme or design proposals
relating to circulating coinage, bullion coinage, Congressional
gold medals, and national and other medals. It also advises
on the events, persons, or places to be commemorated by the
issuance of commemorative coins; and recommends the mintage
level for commemorative coins."
UNION 1, BOOKDEALER 0
Numismatic literature dealer John H. Burns writes: "Due to the
avarice of whatever union inhabits the docks of the Moscone
convention center I won't be having a table at this year's
American Numismatic Association convention in San Francisco.
I was informed that it was MANDATORY for the union to
unload me at a cost of $117 per hundredweight. Considering
that I bring approximately 4,000 pounds of books, I'll let you
do the math. I think it's an absolute obscenity that something
that I do dozens of times a year (unload my van by myself taking
maybe 90 minutes total, or pay somebody $20 to get it done in
45 minutes) would have cost me more than I was likely to gross
for the entire show. Unfortunately, there was nothing the ANA's
convention manager Brenda Bishop could do. She tried everything
in the book (and a few things that aren't!). She's a great lady and
an indispensable asset to the ANA. Oh well, maybe next year in
Denver. Forget selling books; I'm joining the UNION!"
CHARLES DAVIS AT THE ANA
There will however, be at least one numismatic literature dealer
at the show. Charlie Davis writes: "I will have table 345 at the
American Numismatic Association Convention in San Francisco
next week." [I'll bet his inventory weighs less than John's - that,
or he has a brother-in-law in the Moscone center union. -Editor]
NEIL SHAFER ON KAGIN AND FORD
Neil Shafer writes: "Sorry to say I'll miss seeing everyone at
the ANA convention because of hospital complications. I am
better now and home but can't travel yet. The main reason I'm
writing is to help memorialize two true luminaries, of course
John J. Ford, Jr. and Art Kagin.
Art sold my Philippine Islands (PI) coin collection in 1975, and it
did very well considering it was that long ago. I could always talk
to him about a number of things, and he was ready and eager to
share many insights into various subjects we discussed over the
years. I will certainly miss him greatly as will we all.
About JJF, there's another story. I first bumped into him quite by
accident when I visited the New Netherlands (NN) shop in 1960.
I was fresh from having done extensive research on PI coins and
paper at the Bureau of Engraving and National Archives, and had
all the facts and figures in place for publication which happened in
1961 (coins) and 1964 (paper). I was actively seeking examples
of both kinds, and in due course simply came to visit NN to see
if they happened to have anything of interest to me. Well, John
heard what I was asking about, came over to me and we started
talking PI. He knew more about the paper currency than anyone
else I had ever met, especially considering the fact that the material
I had researched appeared to have been totally fresh - in other words,
how could anyone have known such things if they had not done
this very research? Except for one thing- he was close when he said
something as fact, but just not quite right- he would say, for example,
that the PI series started out in 1903 and consisted of values from
2 to 500 pesos. Almost correct- it did start in 1903 but was for only
2, 5 and 10 pesos, and payable only in silver. The higher values
were approved in 1905 but never were issued until after the law of
June 23, 1906 allowed them to be backed by gold as well as silver.
I had seen the overprint to that effect. Well, it went on pretty much
that way for a good while- John would say something, and I would
agree in part, or point out that what he really meant was.... well, you
get the picture. Finally he said, "you know what? You are the first
person I ever met who knew what he was talking about when it
came to these notes. Tell you what I have..." At which time he
pulled out a fantastic frame of face-back pairs of the 1903 2-5-10
pesos, and I knew this had to be one of only 4 sets made since I
had seen reference to them! He let me buy it for the princely sum of
$200, and I promptly carted it away, went back to Washington, DC
by Greyhound where I lived then- I stuck that wrapped frame on top
in the carrying spaces and went to sleep!
Was the frame a deal? I certainly thought so, even though at the
time I was a music teacher in Montgomery County, MD making a
total of $3.500 per year, so think again about the percentage of my
yearly salary that went towards that frame. It adorned my office
for years. One other of those 4 frames came up some years ago,
this time cut apart but still with all six note sides together- owned
by J. Roy Pennell, I think it brought around $3000 or so when
sold, Mine subsequently left me, and years later on the market it
brought $18,000 I believe. I do not know where it is now.
Over the years I did get to know JJF quite well, and of course
had tremendous respect for him both personally and as a
fantastic numismatist. Late in 1985 I took over the position of
Editor-in-Chief of what we called the New England Journal of
Numismatics, sponsored by the New England Rare Coin
Galleries out of Boston. The first issue was Summer 1986 and
had articles by Breen, Julian, Doty, Slabaugh, Ball, Liza
Clain-Stefanelli, Zander and others. The second (and last) issue
came out as Autumn, 1986 and continued along similar lines.
In the Letters-to-Editor section JJF wrote: Discussion on the
$50 Gold Pieces "You are to be congratulated on the quality
of the first issue, as is your publisher, Dana Willis. You are
almost in the same league as the prestigious New England
Journal of Medicine (a worthy publication to emulate!). Ever
since the sad demise of the American Journal of Numismatics,
collectors have needed a learned journal of opinion, one free
from stale reporting of unimportant news and ridiculous 'get
rich quick' oriented, advertising. I only hope that you will
receive the help and cooperation that you will need to stay
"The article by my long time friend, Doug Ball, on the Unique,
hand drawn CSA essay note, was of particular interest to me,
as I sold it and the rest of the group to him back in 1963. I
well remember his excitement at the time. Items of this
caliber couldn't find a better home than with D.B.B.
(regarding)..."Mrs. Stefanelli's story of the two 1877 Barber
designed U.S. $50 gold pieces, in her well written article...I'll
add to it some day. Someplace, I have the original bill-of-sale
for the two fifties, Haseltine to Woodin, the letter of seizure
from the Treasury Department, and the Woodin effort to get
his $20,000 back from Haseltine, Nagy, et al, the latter
consisting of memos and correspondence, It is all quite
interesting. (He then goes into a critique of her article
pointing out a couple of errors).
"Nit-picking aside, I found the first issue of your journal all
it was advertised to be and more. Keep up the good work!
John J. Ford, Jr. Rockville Centre, L.I."
On another subject, the purchase of my 1834 Proclamation
2R Philippine from HMF Schulman, it was absolutely not
purchased from Friedberg as Dick Johnson suggested - it
was sold to me at that Gimbels in NYC by HMF who at least
worked there if he didn't run the place. Actually, I may have
met Robert Friedberg once...or not, I am not sure at this point,
so I know for a fact that it was not he who sold that coin to me."
I HOPE YOU DIDN’T SAY FRIGGIN’
Peter Koch writes: "There’s little doubt of John Ford’s
station in American numismatics. The landmark New
Netherlands’ catalogues were pioneering and influential;
and as the Stack’s Auction sales attest, his accumulation
of Americana is staggering – and there are more sales to
But, there are also more Ford stories to come. Like Wayne
Homren’s eloquent account of the Ridgeway medal [E-Sylum
Vol.8 No.28 July 8, 2005] brings out a side of us that wants
to say… Yes, Wayne, you should have sent a friggin’ ashtray!
Your phone would have been blistering off the hook."
MORE ON THE FORD RIDGEWAY MEDAL
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "The gold Congressional medal
awarded to General Matthew B. Ridgeway was auctioned
as lot 263 in the Stack's John J. Ford Jr Sale # 7 on January
18, 2005. It opened at $5500 and hammered for $13,000 to
collector Michael O'Shea of San Diego.
To my recollection, Ford paid $10,000 for it years earlier.
The medal 's original availability was extensively advertised in
a half page ad , as I recall, in the Maine Antique Digest. I did
not pursue it then as I felt it was "too modern" and apparently
the current sale price also reflected this general feeling as similar
"old" gold medals in the Ford collection have sold for tens of
thousands of dollars more.
I am amazed that a federally-funded institution or museum
like the Smithsonian or West Point did not pursue the Ridgeway
medal and allowed it to fall into private hands again."
[The $10,000 figure is basically correct. The medal was
actually auctioned twice - the original buyer at the first Ridgeway
estate sale did not pay, and it was reauctioned later - that's when
Ford learned of it and brought me in to bid for him. A local
coin dealer was the underbidder the second time around. I
don't know what the initial hammer price was, but it was less
As another example of how Ford liked to hold his cards
close to his vest, he asked me not to let on that I knew anything
about numismatics when I went to the auction house to view and
bid on the medal. "Go in dressed like a farmer," I recall him
saying. This was no country auction, though, and dressing in
bib overalls and chewing on a piece of straw would not be a
way to blend in with the crowd at a high-end antique auction
house in the swanky end of town. But no one would mistake
me for a high roller anyway, so I went disguised as myself.
The auction took place on a Saturday morning, and the room
was filled with antique collectors and dealers from around the
country. The auction lots were posted on the Internet and
there were online and telephone bidders from around the
country (or around the world, for all I knew). Like most
auctions, the lot was hammered down in a few minutes. I
believe I had to go back the next week to pick it up. I had
the medal for a few days and packed and shipped it to Ford
within a week. -Editor]
ON THE KLEEBERG FORD ARTICLE
John H. Burns writes: "Just when I didn't think it could get any
worse I made the mistake of reading Kleeberg's "obituary" on
John J. Ford. I know you have to present "both sides" but this
was over the top."
George Frederick Kolbe writes: "It is way past time for
fair-minded coin collectors, dealers, researchers, and scholars
to publicly condemn the rantings of a small yet significant
segment among us. The latest insult is John Kleeberg's so-called
obituary of John J. Ford, Jr., posted on the Internet and publicized
in the last issue of the E-sylum (for those who have read only
Wayne Homren's excerpts, believe me, he exercised great
discretion - read the whole sordid mess at the peril of losing
your appetite, or worse).
I do not know with certitude whether John J. Ford, Jr. was
"the greatest forger ever" or if he is innocent of all serious charges.
I do know that the personal invective spewed out by Kleeberg
and others brings them only dishonor, and for those of us who
remain silent, complicity in this calumny.
I propose that: 1) honorable numismatists decry the ad hominem
attacks of Kleeberg and others; 2) support honest research to
determine the authenticity of controversial pieces and the genesis
of any pieces deemed false; and 3) cast personal agendas, pro or
con, aside in reaching honest conclusions."
LANGE'S MERCURY DIME BOOK UPDATED
David Lange writes: "A new and highly revised edition of my
book, The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes, is expected to
arrive from the printer on Thursday of the ANA Convention
in San Francisco. Of course, the publisher and I had hoped to
have it in hand before the show, but there was a last minute
addition prompted by a coin I saw at the Mid-America show
in Chicago last month. There may be a few copies available
during the final days of the ANA Convention; check with me
or John Feigenbaum (David Lawrence Rare Coins). Also, the
ANA booth may have them, assuming they arrive on schedule.
Of interest in the new edition is an exhaustive history of this
coin type's conception and the long trial-and-error process in
creating usable dies. I spent several days last winter at the
National Archives regional office in College Park, where the
records of the Philadelphia Mint and all the correspondence
between it and the branches are stored. Many letters not
previously published are included in the new book. Among
the revelations is that the two pattern Mercury Dimes held by
the Smithsonian (both J-1981) are actually two die states of
the same die pair. The many differences in appearance between
them has confused generations of researchers, but these are
simply the result of severely lapping the original dies. Adolph
Weinman had prepared his models with sculpted, textured
fields, this being in favor among medalists at the time. Charles
Barber and his superiors had a difficult time seeing the virtue
in this style, and so the dies were lapped to give them the
smooth, reflective fields to which the Old Guard were
accustomed. Large, sharp photos by Tom Mulvaney of both
specimens are included in the new book, along with excellent
photos of the other pattern varieties.
In the past I have had prepared deluxe, leatherbound editions
of all my books, but I don't anticipate doing this with the new
Mercury Dime book. The market for limited editions has
declined to the point where I could not sell all 25 copies within
a reasonable amount of time. Since it isn't fair to those persons
holding the higher numbers of previous books to not make
these numbers available, I can't see doing just 10 or 15 deluxe
copies. I may reconsider this issue, if enough interest is shown
in a deluxe edition.
The Mercury book is pictorial hardcover only, list $42.95,
and it can be ordered from the ANA or David Lawrence
LANGE'S NEW BOOK ON THE U.S. MINT AND COINAGE
David Lange writes: "A second new book is actually a very
long term project that it is finally seeing print. "History of the
U. S. Mint and Its Coinage" is a work that began ten years
ago as an ANA correspondence course commissioned of
me by then ANA Education Director James Taylor. I was to
write the history chapters, and J. T. Stanton would write
chapters about current Mint technology and variety coins.
I submitted the first draft of my history to James near the end
of 1995, and it kicked around his office for a couple years,
while we awaited J. T.'s submission. When it became evident
that this was not to be, my portion of the project became a
stand-alone item. I continued to refine it, adding more material
to justify a separate publication. Before it could be published,
however, Taylor left the ANA, and it went forgotten until Gail
Baker took over as his replacement and began looking through
old files. Gail was excited with the prospect of publishing it,
and she asked me to add new chapters, sidebars, etc, and I
began selecting images from NGC's archive of Photo Proof
coins. The ANA board of governors authorized funding for
its publication during the Early Spring Convention in 2000,
and everything was good to go.
Before the text and images could be assembled, however, the
Harry W. Bass Foundation loaned the coins that are still on
display at the ANA Museum in Colorado Springs, and the
ANA's graphic designer, Mary Jo Meade, was put full time
on preparing that exhibit. After that work was completed,
Mary Jo and I spent a couple more years preparing yet further
material, while she drafted some additional sidebars based on
the images she found in various archives. Endless correspondence
between us resulted in a richly detailed study, as we went back
and forth trying different phrasings and layouts. By this time Rudy
Bahr of the ANA's Money Market division had assumed control
of the project. It was no longer to be a correspondence course,
as the ANA people were sufficiently pleased with the illustrated
work that they wanted it put out as a book for general distribution.
Some very nice cover art was designed by Mary Jo in 2003, and
it appeared that everything was go for publication by the ANA.
It was at that stage that the ANA staff underwent a purge, and
Rudy and six other employees left. The book was once again
set aside, the splendid cover art abandoned, and I was beginning
to think that my work would never see the light of day. Finally,
early this year the ANA made a deal with Whitman to have it
published commercially. This book was actually published in
April, but problems with the first press run caused this to be
discarded. Only this month have sufficient copies become
available for purchase.
I'm pleased with the final result, and I believe it fills a very
real need for a general history of our coinage from the colonial
era to the present. Don Taxay's book, while certainly not hard
to find in the stocks of numismatic literature dealers, is largely
unknown to the present generation of collectors. In addition,
it lacks coverage of the past 40 years in U. S. Mint history.
For better or worse, the majority of current collectors are
focused on modern coinage, so the new book fills a popular
demand for information. The titles of both books are similar,
but this proved unavoidable if potential readers were to
understand the scope of the book. Another criticism that I
anticipate is the lack of citations throughout. My original
manuscript was fully notated. This feature was removed at
the request of the ANA when the project was still expected
to be a correspondence course, since it was thought that the
notes at the back would make it difficult for users to perform
the question-and-answer portion which, of course, has since
been deleted. The ANA may yet use this book as a
correspondence course by making the actual course book a
separate publication to be used in connection with the history
book. This detail hasn't yet been worked out yet.
This book is not a scholarly work in the true sense, but it does
contain a great deal of information that has not appeared under
a single cover before. It is meant to be entertaining, as well as
informative, serving as an introduction to our rich numismatic
history. It is the hope of everyone involved that this work will
be widely distributed in general bookstores, unlike most
numismatic books which are little known outside the
established community of collectors.
I long ago signed an agreement to write this book solely as
a donation to the ANA, so I won't make any money from
the deal. That doesn't matter at all, since I'm just so relieved
that ten years of work has finally borne fruit. I can't compliment
Mary Jo Meade enough, as she contributed all sorts of great
ideas that prompted me to go back to the writing desk for
yet more material. I also want to thank Gail Baker for her
persistence and faith in the project. Because of the repeated
delays, I sometimes had sharp words for her and other ANA
officers, but I believe all of us are satisfied with the end result.
I'll be at the NGC booth during the convention in SF, should
anyone want to discuss either of these books. As usual, I don't
anticipate that I'll be able to attend NBS functions or any other
meetings during bourse hours, but I certainly hope to see some
of my fellow bookies at the table or after hours. The Mint book
lists at $19.95, pictorial hardcover only, and can be ordered
from either Whitman or the ANA."
NEW BOOK ON THE RUBLE COINAGE
The following is taken from a July 21 report by the Russian
News and Information agency: "The Patriarch's Palace of
the Moscow Kremlin will host the presentation of a book
dedicated to the history of the ruble on July 22, the
www.museum.ru website said.
The book, "The history of money in Russia: the 350th
anniversary of the one-ruble coin," written by expert coin
collector Sergei Zveryev and published by Moscow Kremlin
Museums, is based on the museums' coin collection.
The Russian ruble is one of the oldest currencies in Europe.
According to historical sources, the word "ruble" appeared
in Novgorod in the 13th century. In 1654 under Tsar Aleksei
Mikhailivich the first silver rubles were circulated, re-coined
from Western European talers.
The history of the ruble has coincided with Russian history,
as any historical milestone led to a change in its features,
including weight, image of the ruler, and national symbols.
Throughout the centuries the ruble has remained both a method
of payment and a symbol of state power.
The presenters of the exhibition include the Moscow Kremlin
Museums' administration and leading research fellows, and
officials of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange
To read the full report, see:
[The museum's web site is in Russian. Can anyone decipher
how those of us elsewhere can order the book? Will any of
the numismatic literature dealers among our readership
attempt to stock copies? -Editor]
NEW BOOK ON LATIN AMERICAN BANK NOTES
A new book by Ricardo M. Magan on Latin American Bank
Notes is based on the archives of the American Bank Note
Company (1865-1965). From the press release, the book is a
".. catalogue of Latin American banknotes produced by the
American Bank Note Company for the following countries:
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti,
Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico,
Uruguay and Venezuela.
Over two thousand banknotes are listed from two hundred
and seventy two banks and government issuing authorities
throughout Latin America.
Hundreds of illustrations and information from the original
production records (production dates, quantity of banknotes
printed, serial numbers, series letters, dates, signatures and
This book is an essential reference for any collector or
historian of the paper money numismatic field.
210 pages // Limited Edition – 8 ½ x 11 printed in Opaque paper)
*Price: $ 42.00
*Shipping and handling in the USA: $ 5.00
*Shipping and handling in Mexico and Canada: $ 10.00
*Shipping and handling rest of the world: $15.00
To order send check or money order to:
Ricardo M Magan
505 Dighton Avenue
Taunton MA 02780-7145
Phone: (508) 880-6188
E-mail: Sally1904 at comcast.net "
For further information, see:
NEW BOOK: GOD IN THE OVAL OFFICE -
ST-GAUDENS WANTED TO ELIMINATE THE MOTTO
Dick Johnson writes: "It’s a long trail and this is fifth handed
(this is a report of a news story of a review of a book) but
there is a story of Augustus St-Gaudens in an unlikely new
book. It covers religion and politics – two subjects rarely
mentioned in The E-Sylum – but this might be of interest to
anyone researching St-Gaudens.
The book is "God In The Oval Office" by John McCollister.
He tells the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s correspondence
where St-Gaudens wanted to eliminate "In God We Trust"
from our coins "for artistic reasons." Roosevelt agreed. He
wondered whether it "cheapened" religion for God to be
mentioned on earthly currency."
To read the full story, see:
U.S. COIN SALE CATALOG PRODUCTION 1856-1858
Adrián González Salinas writes: "Best wishes from Monterrey,
Nuevo León, México. I'd like to congratulate you for the
excellent contents in every The E-Sylum issue. In fact, this
electronic publication is an immediate collectible.
I enjoyed reading the Karl Moulton's article "American
Nineteenth-Century Catalogue Census" (The Asylum Vol.
XXIII No. 1 - Winter 2005).
Analyzing his information, in the period 1856-1858 only Bangs &
Co. published just one numismatic catalogue (26 Oct 1858).
Neither Augustus B. Sage nor M. Thomas published catalogues
in this period. Does any reader know why just one catalogue was
published in 1856-1858?"
[Attinelli's "Numisgraphics" lists three entries for 1856, but only
one is an auction sale. There are four entries for 1857, but again,
only one is an auction (as with 1856, the others are catalogues
of public collections including the New York State Library and
the National Institute and Patent Office. In 1858 Attinelli lists
four entries, but none are auctions (two are fixed price lists, and
the remaining two are catalogs from other public institutions.
OBAMA RELENTS ON FORE NOMINATION
The Chicago Tribune reported July 20th that "Sen. Barack
Obama (D-Ill.) told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on
Tuesday that he would withdraw his objection to her choice
for undersecretary of state for management, Henrietta Fore.
After expressing misgivings about comments Fore made
during a 1987 speech at Wellesley College, Obama met with
Fore, now director of the U.S. Mint, and received assurances
that she would make diversity in the State Department
workforce a top priority."
"Obama said he decided to allow the nomination to proceed
after holding a series of conversations with Fore, talking to
people who had worked with her and reviewing her record
at the U.S. Mint and at the U.S. Agency for International
To read the full story, see:
According to a July 20 report in The Times of London,
inflation in Zimbabwe has gotten to the point where
"a million dollars won't fill up your car ... and a box of
matches cost a thousand."
"Inflation hit 164 per cent last month. Economists predict
that it will double in five months, and again three months after
that. This time last year, £1 fetched Zim$8,500 on the black
market, increasingly the only real exchange. Yesterday it
"The $Zim20,000 bill is the currency’s highest denomination
and also its most common unit. It is not a banknote, however.
It is a bearer cheque, and most carry a 2004 expiry date.
People carry a fat wad of 50 bills called a “bar” after the days
a bar of gold was worth Zim$1 million — just in case they find
a petrol station with fuel and a short queue.
Nearly always, however, the lines outside service stations are
“hope queues” where drivers leave their cars to gather dust."
"On those rare occasions when I can fill up my car, it costs me
On Saturday riot police arrived at my local supermarket to beat
back a queue of about 700 people waiting to buy sugar, which
had just been delivered. Last week I had struggled through a
crowd for a loaf of bread, only to have someone steal it out of
To read the full story, see:
ANATOMICALLY INCORRECT BUFFALO STOPPED IN TRACKS
The following excerpts are from a July 19th article in the
Lawrence Journal-World of Kansas:
"The Kansas commemorative quarter was struck Monday
at the U.S. Mint in Denver, and, yes, the buffalo’s horns point
in the right direction."
"They should be widely available by the Sept. 9 official state
“launching” of the coin during a ceremony at the Kansas State
Fair in Hutchinson. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will attend. All
children attending will receive a quarter.
The coin features the image of a buffalo and a sunflower. It also
bears the date 1861, which was the year Kansas became the
34th state admitted to the United States. Kansas high school
students voted on the designs last year and selected the one
featured on the coin.
But the design also caused a stir when it was unveiled because
the buffalo’s horns were pointed too far forward and thus
were anatomically incorrect.
“I believe they got that fixed right off the bat,” said Nicole
Corcoran, spokeswoman for Sebelius’ office. “There was no
problem once they got past the initial illustration.”
To read the full story, see:
EXTENDING THE STATE QUARTER SERIES
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "Did you know there was a bill in
the House of Representatives to provide for a circulating
quarter dollar coin program to honor the District of Columbia,
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa,
the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of
the Northern Mariana Islands?"
[This one has been around for a while. There has been no
action on it in over a year. Has it died in committee? Has
anyone heard word of it being revived? Surely, the coin
supply lobby would be solidly behind anything that would
make the millions of U.S. State Quarter books and
holders suddenly obsolete. -Editor]
To read the full text and history of the bill, see:
SLABBED STACK'S CATALOG LOCATED
Dan Hamelberg writes: "In response to Michael Schmidt's
question on the John Ford slabbed Stack's catalog, I have it
in my library. I purchased it years ago ( I don't remember the
exact year) at an NBS meeting. John Ford donated it for an
NBS auction, and I was the lucky buyer. It measures 10 inches
tall by 8 inches wide in the "holder". The slab insert reads:
Bibliographic Universal Grading Service (BUGS)
Item: Stacks 3/17/93 Halperin Catalogue; 2nd Printing,
Registered To: John J. Ford, Jr.
Grade: MS-70 Centering: Perfect Aging: None
There is a 3/4 inch margin of duct tape around the perimeter
which seals the catalogue inside the plastic slabs. I do not
recommend this method of storage for numismatic literature -
it makes it difficult to read."
F. PARKES WEBER: DEATH AND NUMISMATICS?
Last week I asked about the following 1956 book by
F. Parkes Weber: "Interesting Cases and Pathological
Considerations and a Numismatic Suggestion".
Gar Travis writes: "The author also wrote "Aspects of death and
their effects on the living : as illustrated by minor works of art,
especially medals, engraved gems, jewels, &c., published by
The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910, 160 pp.
[This is certainly interesting - two books 46 years apart?
I was not aware of any catalog of medals with designs relating
to death. Has anyone seen this book before, either?
STILL MORE ON COINGATE
Another Toledo Blade article details more information about
the state's rare coin investments:
"A seemingly endless stream of cash flowed into Tom Noe’s
personal business, Vintage Coins and Collectibles, from Ohio’s
$50 million rare-coin ventures that the former Toledo-area coin
dealer managed, documents show."
"On Thursday, Mr. Petro charged that Mr. Noe stole nearly
$4 million from Ohio beginning on the same day the Toledo-area
coin dealer received his first installment of $25 million from the
state in 1998."
To read the full article, see:
EURO BILL TRACKER SITE
Dennis Hengeveld of The Netherlands writes: "In the last issue,
I see that you are referring to two sites, whereswillie.com and
wheresgeorge.com. A similar site exists for euro bills. It's
very active, and based on the wheresgeorge.com site. It's a
long URL due to the english language option."
[I've used the tinyurl.com site to shorted the URL to a
manageable length. From the site's home page:
"EuroBillTracker is an international non-profit volunteer team
dedicated to tracking Euro notes around the world. Each user
enters the serial numbers and location information for each note
they obtain into EuroBillTracker."
"Euro banknotes and coins were put into circulation on January
1 2002 and we have been tracking notes since then. The site
was initially created by Philippe Girolami (giro). Anssi Johansson
(avij) has been assisting with running the site since mid-2003."
EBAY AND CAVEAT EMPTOR IN NUMISMATICS
Howard Spindel writes: "Following up on my report last week
about problem numismatic auctions at eBay, I'd like to alert
E-Sylum readers that in addition to using the eBay reporting
system I am also working with the American Numismatic
Association to try to effect changes.
While the availability of numismatic material on eBay has
certainly been a stimulus for the hobby, I believe in the long
run that the hobby can only be hurt by deceptive auctions.
A few well-placed emails from those of you who care about
this could make a difference. Drop me a line at
howard at sci1.com for more information."
Roger deWardt Lane writes: "I've not sold any numismatic
items myself on eBay, but let a numismatist friend sell my
numismatic library for me on eBay. We are probably doing
as good, as if sending them out-of-town to a used book auction,
as only the better books receive average or above average bids.
Many of the book go overseas. A few times I've sold my
Numismatic CD, but I only get the listed price and sometime it
does not sell. Anyway, the reason I am adding to your comments
is the research value of eBay.
I purchased a Indian Princely States Junagadh Kori AH 1274
(1857) for a few dollars at our local club meeting last week.
Spending hours on Internet research (I'm retired and have the
time). I found a copy for sale on INDIAN eBay (didn't know
there was such as thing). The coin seem to be a different die
engraving than my coin, but with the same inscriptions. It's for
sale at 200 Rupees. At the time they were issued the population
of the Princely State was about 500,000 with the Capital city
probably less than 100,000. I don't think the mintage could
have been very large.
So, as you can see, without eBay we would not have this
information and would have to rely on Krause Standard World
Catalogue which does list the whole series. I still like eBay."
Kerry Rodgers of New Zealand writes: "I couldn't agree
with Ron Abler more. I have recently published a longish
article on my first 12 months of eBay. It has appeared in a
number of numismatic and non numismatic publications in
various guises. These include Coin News (UK) and
Serendib (Sri Lankan Airlines inflight mag.)
To date, for me, the advantages of eBay far outweigh the
disadvantages. I have been ripped off in only one unsatisfactory
transaction over this period and then due to my inexperience
of The System. This is no more or less than I have experienced
with conventional mail order dealers. I have had some difficulties
in completing a few transactions but these invariably involved
vendors who implemented additional rules over and above
those of eBay and/or declined PayPal.
For me eBay has helped fill many gaps in my Fiji collection I
could not otherwise have contemplated.
It is a venue in which my expert knowledge allows me to score
a number of A1 successes and one which is causing prices in
my chosen collecting area to stabilize."
Ron Abler writes: "I agree completely with Howard Spindel's
castigation of clueless buyers, clueless sellers, and less than honest
dealers. However, eBay's only contribution to that malodorous
melange is to democratize a situation that has always existed.
Many is the time that I have had to bite my tongue in a dealer's
storefront when some unsuspecting customer walks in the front
door bearing grandpa's cigar box of "old coins," and the shark
behind the counter goes through his "buy low to sell high" song
and dance. Clueless buyers and sellers (who don't know any
better) and disreputable dealers (who do) we have always had
and always will.
When I first started in eBay, I tilted at windmills, too. Like
Howard, I learned quickly that peeing up a rope only got my
hands wet. I found myself roundly cursed at, politely ignored,
and/or barred from bidding with certain sellers. I decided that
"caveat emptor" would be the price I pay for the privilege of
picking my own way through the eBay jungle. The risks are no
greater than were and are those of the storefront and bourse
Dick Johnson writes: "I had several readers respond to my item
"eBay After Ten Years" here in E-Sylum two weeks ago. I see
in this week’s "MoneyMail" from ANA that the American
Numismatics Association and eBay are working together. "On
July 27, they will join again to sponsor a welcome reception for
ANA-member dealers at 7 p.m. at the ANA's World Fair of
Money in San Francisco."
Surprisingly, at least to me, everyone who responded to my
diatribe reported that they had made purchases off eBay in which
they had made money. While the amount of modern merchandise
is outdistancing collectible items there still appear to be good
buys, just fewer of them. My respondents mentioned they are
searching eBay less, on average once or twice a week instead
of every day.
One even mentioned eBay should have a separate venue just
for collectibles. This doesn’t seem practical, however. Another
complained of minors selling on eBay. I can relate to that. I bid
on a medal and won it at one-fifth of its most recent auction sale.
When I received it I observed it was firedamaged (not apparent
in their eBay photos). I emailed my complaint, they hadn’t the
slightest idea what I was talking about. I wrote them and
received a letter – from the seller’s mother!
So I have changed my attitude toward eBay. Bid on the good
items as you wish. If the dummies selling what they don’t know
anything about – or misdescribe it – buy it anyway. It is their
stupidity. If it is not what it is supposed to be, complain.
First to the seller. Demand your money back and postage both
ways. Then complain to eBay. Then the department of consumer
protection in the state where the seller lives. A last resort would
be to the police department in the city where the seller lives. Do
this in less than two weeks. Use the word "fraud" in each of
What should eBay do? Instead of spending money being nice-nice
holding receptions at conventions they should hire a person
knowledgeable in numismatics who would have the AUTHORITY
to DO something – question suspicious offers, immediately take
down obvious fraudulent offers, prohibit repeat offenders from
eBay and prosecute the bad guys."
Ron Abler writes: "Also, I agree with Dick Johnson about the
Freedom Tower "Silver Dollars." The only good thing about
the suit against the issuing company is that the publicity will add
interest and value to an issue that should have been simply
ignored. My ingrained cynicism whispers to me that the refunded
medals will not be destroyed, but will reappear in the
marketplace at some future date, claiming something to the effect
that, since "most of the medals were refunded," the few that
remain must be worth a premium price. The same goes for the
Micro "O" Morgan that PCGS has recalled under its guarantee.
If I had one of those, I'd hold on to it until the unusual story and
undeniable provenance of a slabbed counterfeit makes its rounds
and turns the counterfeit into a collectible variety in its own right."
COINS MAGAZINE ISSUE SOUGHT
Nancy W. Green, Librarian of the American Numismatic
Association writes: "During the summer seminar we discovered
that our Coins Magazine Volume 37: July to December 1990
was bound with an August 1989 rather than an August 1990.
Is there an E-Sylum reader who could/would donate a copy?"
DIMITRI LOULAKAKIS, COIN DEALER
The Financial Times of London published a story July 22
on longtime coin dealer Dimitri Loulakakis:
"A genial cigar-smoking Arsenal fan, has spent most of his
business career dealing in coins. Born in Athens, he was
influenced by uncles who were in Greek politics and was
originally destined for the diplomatic corps."
"Ten years later, at the age of 30, he was European sales
manager for one of the largest privately-owned Greek shipping
and cruise lines. The entry into coin dealing came when he got
interested in the first Churchill Crown, a commemorative coin
struck on the death of Britain’s wartime prime minister.
A colleague suggested he talk to a friend at Spink – who turned
out to be the legendary coin expert Howard Linecar – and,
“within a week I was a confirmed numismatist. It quickly went
beyond a hobby to become a lifelong passion.”
"A couple of years ago Chelsea Coins, his fledgling business,
was absorbed into Noble Investments (UK), currently the only
listed coin dealer in the UK stock market. Loulakakis, now in
his early 70s, remains an executive director. He is also an adviser
to and coin buyer for the Hellenic Numismatic Museum, for
which he seeks out specific items when the Ministry of Culture
In a lengthy career as a coin dealer there have inevitably been
high and low points. Loulakakis says that his lowest ebb came
when his car and entire stock of coins were stolen while he
was attending a coin show in 1968...
The high point was in 1971, when he was the first British dealer
to attend the Long Beach Coin Show, a long-time fixture for
American coin collectors and dealers. Having put together every
coin he could muster, he sold out within four hours, then toured
the show buying more stock, and sold out again, repeating the
trick several times before the show closed. “It made my name
in the business,” he says."
"One reason for folding his coin dealing business into the
potentially much larger operation of Noble Investments is
that he sees great potential for developing an investment
market in coins in the UK. As he notes, “the American market
is a hundred times more powerful than our own, and it has got
to that stage almost entirely as a result of investor money”.
“There is no reason why a late 19th century US one cent coin
should sell for $100,000 whereas a 1798 Dorrien Magens
shilling, of which there are probably fewer than ten in existence,
will only set you back £15,000. But that is a fact."
To read the complete article, see:
COST OF NICKEL RISING
Dick Johnson writes: "It happened slowly. The cost of copper
is rising. So much in fact the cost of the copper in a nickel is
pushing the metal value over the face value.
Perhaps we have been so concerned with the metal cost of
gold and silver that we have been overlooking the price of
copper. Since a nickel is 75 percent copper we may have
deja vu from the days when the 1942-45 wartime silver
nickels' value rose. What are they now – 51 cents metal
This is a guaranteed investment scheme that has been noticed
by Dr. Steve Sjuggerud who publishes a newsletter for
would-be investors. He is in favor of having some metal assets.
(But does he want that big a pile of nickels?)
Sjuggerud writes: "Here’s a guaranteed investment scheme...
You and I buy up all the nickels we can get our hands on.
Since the underlying metal in a nickel today is worth about 6
cents, we lock ourselves in at a guaranteed 20% profit by
selling short the coin’s metal in the financial markets today.
Then, to guarantee this investment scheme, all we need to
do is melt down the nickels...
Okay, so it’s not so easy. And there’s probably some sort
of law against this. But the reality is, at current metals prices,
it costs the U.S. government about six cents to produce a
Leave it to the U.S. government to LOSE money by
In fiscal year 2003 (ending in September), it cost the U.S.
government 3.78 cents to produce a nickel. In fiscal year
2004, it cost the government 4.56 cents to produce a nickel.
And so far this fiscal year (from October 1, 2004 to present),
the price of copper (which is the most prevalent metal in a
nickel) is well above its fiscal year 2004 levels, meaning
that it’ll likely cost the government about 6 cents to produce
To read the full article, see:
INDIAN COIN WEB SITE
Roger deWardt Lane, Hollywood, Florida writes: "Last
Thursday evening I attended the local coin club meeting -
Ft.Lauderdale Coin Club. A few members set up and display
a few coins for sale to members before the meeting and
I was able to purchase a Modern Dime Size Silver Coin of
the World - new for my collection which I had never seen
before - Junagadh Indian Princely State AD1274 (1857).
Kori about 17 mm.
As a result of trying to find as much background on this
state, I have spent a number of hours surfing the Internet.
One of my searches took me to a very fine web site.
Check it out for Indian coins and paper money:
BUT OFFICER, IT'S WEST VIRGINIA'S FAULT
Here's a novel way to weasel out of a parking ticket: claim
that you put out-of-state Fifty States quarters in the meter, but
they didn't register. From a news story out of Boston:
"I was meeting a colleague in Boston, and I parked on Tremont
Street," David Flynn said.
Flynn said that he was shortchanged by a parking meter recently.
Eight quarters should have bought him 2 hours, but the meter
only registered 1 hour and 15 minutes. He complained to a nearby
parking meter attendant.
"She said, 'Sometimes when you put in quarters from other states,
Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, they don't register right
and you don't get correct credit," Flynn said.
Flynn got a ticket that day so he appealed using the parking
official's explanation and the ticket was dismissed.
"I was thrilled I didn't have a ticket, but I think if it is a problem
then a lot of people are being ripped off," Flynn said.
"From what I understand, state quarters do in fact work,"
Boston parking commissioner Tom Tinlin said.
Tinlin said that they tested hundreds of meters after hearing
complaints like Flynn's and found states' quarters work."
"States' quarters not working in parking meters isn't unique to
Boston. A spokeswoman at the United States Mint said they've
heard it from around the country, but can't find any proof."
To read the full story at The Boston Channel, see:
KOREAN GRANDMA'S MOLDY STASH REDEEMED
"Not a few of the 3,450 people who applied to exchange
damaged banknotes this year are beneficiaries of windfalls,
the Bank of Korea said Tuesday. It said one person in
Youngcheon, North Gyeongsang Province exchanged
damaged bills worth W18 million (about US$18,000) their
father had buried in the backyard after selling land. Another
man in Incheon exchanged W7 million his mother had
hidden under the floorboards, while yet another swapped
W9 million his late father had tucked away in a closet.
The central bank said Tuesday W485 million of burnt or
tainted banknotes were exchanged for crisp new bills in
the first half of the year.
Well-preserved ashes were the most frequent cases, with
some 1,301 people exchanging burnt bills worth W224
million. The bank said a man identified by his surname
Kang mistook W4 million he made from selling a cow for
trash and incinerated the bills before realizing his error -
luckily before the banknotes became unidentifiable.
In other cases, 754 people damaged bills by keeping them
under the floor or in a microwave oven. If less than 25 percent
of a banknote is damaged, the BOK repays the full value. If
less than 60 percent is damaged, it pays half. "
To read the full story, see:
GEORGE KOLBE, CHAMPION OF THE 1ST AMENDMENT
George Kolbe writes: "With regard to the frequent misspelling
of "numismatic," all of us have also heard the word mispronounced
innumerable times, even from those within the fold. It's a lousy
word in other respects too. When I first rented offices in 1978 at
the Santora Building in Santa Ana, California, I recall a conversation
with the leasing agent after I had explained that I bought and sold
numismatic books. With a worried though man-of-the-world,
wink wink, air, he inquired in a low conspiratorial voice, "you'
don't mean, uh, 'dirty' books, do you?"
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is an online version of the book
"Yesterday's Elongateds" by Dottie Dow. And no, there's
nothing dirty about 'elongated'....
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