The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 45, November 4, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Tom McCain, courtesy of
Warner Talso, Mike Miller, courtesy of Alan Weinberg, and
Benjamin Kock.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,074 subscribers.

This week we open with word of the passing of one of the
legends of coin marketing in the United States.  Next, in
Mark Twain fashion we are quite pleased to report the
non-passing of prominent E-Sylum contributor.

Topics of new books discussed this week include an Australasian
engraver, ships on coins, and U.S. silver dollars.  Next up are
new reviews of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography and Roger
Burdette's 'Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915'.

In follow-ups from last week Scott Semens provides a dealer's
perspective on the pricing dynamics of out-of-print numismatic
literature, and Dave Hirt provides some background on proof
gold coins purchased by Virgil Brand.

In the news articles quote former Mint Engraver Sherl Joseph
Winter, discuss a company wishing to melt U.S. cent coins,
and a Canadian coin enters the Guinness Book Of World Records.

My three-year-old daughter Hannah made a lovely Snow White at
Halloween last week, but I can assure you she didn't accompany
Pancho Villa and an Amishman into a bar.  To learn about the
non-numismatic trio's wanderings, read on.  Have a great week,

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Maynard Sundman, founder of the Littleton Stamp and Coin
Company (and father of NBS Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman)
died this week at the age of 92.  Our thoughts and condolences
go out to the Sundman family. Below are excerpts from an article
on Sundman published in the Union Leader of Manchester, NH.

"Fascinated by postage stamps as a young boy and resolved
to turn his passion into his life's work, Maynard Sundman
parlayed his earnings from magazine subscription sales and
raising rabbits into two of the world's largest stamp and
coin companies.

"Sundman, founder of the Littleton Stamp Co. and the
Littleton Coin Co., died Wednesday at the age of 92 in
the hometown he adopted more than 60 years ago.

"'Here was a man who took a hobby and turned it into a
huge international business,'' said Littleton Selectman
Brien Ward. 'He could have made his living anywhere, but
he wanted to live in the North Country.''

"Maynard Sundman is remembered for his innovations in
mail-order advertising, particularly through newspapers
and magazines, in an era when his competitors simply advertised
in stamp collecting publications. He also gave his customers
a chance to look over their stamps at home before they
purchased them.

"'He was an expert on mail-order response,' said fellow
numismatist and longtime friend Q. David Bowers, co-chairman
of Stack's of New York City and Wolfeboro. 'He was most
skilled at that.''

"Maynard Sundman continued to be active at the Littleton
Coin Co. until shortly before his death. He used a 1948
Royal typewriter to keep in touch with collectors from
around the country.

"'He was a nice person,'' Bowers said. 'He was kind to
everyone he met -- he never had a bad word about anyone.
He was well-liked and a good example of what a business
person should be.'"

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story
[A more extensive article was published in the Caledonian
Record.  Many thanks to Dave Bowers for forwarding it.

News of Sundman's death saw "many dazed people, and a lot
of tears," on the floor of the Littleton Coin Company,
said longtime employee and friend Edward Hennessey.

Until very recently, Sundman had continued to come to
work at the coin company almost daily. "He worked for 91 1/2
of his 92 years," said Hennessey. "He'd been suffering from
congestive heart failure, so he had stopped driving about
three or four months ago."

"He was in his 90s, but we still wanted him more," said
Kathleen Hennebury, administration assistant to the Littleton
Area Chamber of Commerce. "The thing about him and his generation
was that he was always giving back, how could he do more for
the community, how could he do more for his employees. It is
definitely a loss for the community. He was such a good soul."

"Until recently, Dad came to work nearly every day here
at Littleton Coin," said David Sundman. "He used his trusty
1948 Royal manual typewriter to answer correspondence from
friends and collectors around the country."

The stamp company's first home was a one-room office in
Tilton's Opera Block on Littleton's Main Street. The
Sundmans lived in a small apartment above the A & P Store,
across from the post office. "Once customer orders began to
arrive, it was Maynard's daily routine to walk across the
street to the post office to pick up the daily mail and carry
it in a shoebox a few blocks down the street to the office,"
the family stated. "Today the mail for Littleton Coin Company
arrives daily by the thousands in large trucks, and is the
largest postal customer in northern New Hampshire."

Between the two companies, some three million orders each
year are fulfilled for stamp and coin collecting customers.
In 1995, a book about Sundman had been published called,
"A Decent Boldness: The Life Achievement of Maynard Sundman
at Littleton Stamp & Coin Company."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

David Sundman writes: "Dad went to two just coin shows in
his whole life, so very few dealers knew him except by mail
order dealing, or trips to Littleton.  Dad was our first U.S.
coin buyer. I can recall that he told me he had to turn down
bags of Indian Head cents offered to him in the early 1950s
at $150.00 a bag (3 cents a coin) because he did not have
the money.  In those days, a bag of Indians would include
every date except 1877 and 1908-S and 1909-S.  I remember
because I used to sort the bags — starting at around age five
or so.  Dad loved the hobby and the business and couldn’t
wait to get to work.  He was just amazed at how large the
coin trade had become over the nearly 60 years he witnessed.
Dad was making it to work nearly every day up to a month ago.
Our family and our staff will miss him greatly."

[Again, our heartfelt condolences to the Sundman family and
Littleton for their loss.

Arrangements and care have been entrusted to Ross Funeral
Home of Littleton, 282 West Main Street, Littleton, NH,
telephone 603-444-5377.  Email

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Littleton
Regional Hospital Charitable Foundation, 600 St. Johnsbury
Road, Littleton, NH 03561 or


Regarding an item he noticed in the latest issue of the
American Numismatic Association's publication, David Fanning
writes: "I saw that the Numismatist has Howard A. Daniel III
as having died recently.  It's in the November issue, page 92.
There's not an obit, but he's in the In Memoriam listing:
"Howard A. Daniel III, Deltaville, VA (8-68)"

[I hadn't heard from Howard in a while, and checked in with
his good friend Joe Boling, asking "Is there anything you
can tell us?"  Joe writes: "Yes - that reports of his demise
are greatly exaggerated. When I heard via phone that he was
listed as "In Memoriam" in the November Numismatist (not yet
received here), I called him. He's still here among us."

Howard A. Daniel III adds: "My wife was not amused but I
am going to have to use the obituary in some way."

Howard is a regular contributor to The E-Sylum and a hard
working supporter of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society and
several other organizations.  We're quite glad to learn of
his non-demise.  -Editor]


[Jim Duncan forwarded the following press release about
a new book, and it sounds like a great addition to the
body of numismatic literature. -Editor]

'The Numismatic Society of Auckland, P O Box 818, Auckland,
New Zealand, has just published "Teutenberg - a Master Engraver
and His Work"

This long-awaited reference work was published in March
this year, and forms an encyclopaedic record of Anton
Teutenberg's contribution to the medallic history of New

The book describes over 400 pieces of his work, and over
200 are illustrated in enlarged photographic form.  There
are drawings, photographs and detailed historical notes,
plus an excellent index, a street map showing his known
premises, and a translation of part of his diary of his
voyage to New Zealand in 1866.   There are also notes about
working colleagues such as Anton Seuffert, the renowned
furniture maker, with whom Teutenberg collaborated.

This is the most complete history ever attempted of any
Australasian engraver, and is not only a numismatic catalogue
but also an historical record of Auckland in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries.   The authors, Jim Duncan and John
Cresswell, have been working on this history for over 40
years, and both have previously published numismatic works.

Teutenberg produced pieces for a number of centres in New
Zealand, especially Thames with its numerous gold mines.
His work includes company seals, commemorative medals,
agricultural prizes, and fire brigade service and competition
medals, bravery awards for individuals, even horse tram
tokens and jewellery, and a huge array of 'stock medals'
- as wide a range of material as can be imagined.
Even stone work!

Copies from a limited edition of 200 copies are available
from the Society at $35 a copy.   If ordered from overseas
NZ$35, plus postage at cost.

Order by mail from the Society at the address above, or
by e-mail from'

Jim adds: "It's A4 format, and there are 71 pps text and
89 plates."


E-Sylum reader Yossi Dotan kindly forwarded me a copy of
his new book "Watercraft on World Coins Volume I: Europe,
1800 – 2005".  I was unable to devote to it the time it
deserved while traveling back and forth to London this
summer, and since my return I've had quite a backlog of
books to review.  But I wanted to write a few words this
week on the remarkable work Dotan has produced.  I have
to say this is probably one of the best books I've ever
seen on a topical numismatic subject.  No mere catalog,
the book delves deeply into the background of each coin,
providing anywhere from a few sentences to a full page of
information about each coin, its history and design, and
the history of the watercraft depicted.

Krause-Mishler (KM) numbers are used, providing easy
cross-reference to the standard price catalogues.  This
is ideal, for a topical book has a far longer shelf-life
than price catalogs, and had any prices been included they
would quickly become outdated.  Coins with a common design
are grouped together, even though the basic sequence is
that of the Krause-Mishler numbers. Yossi writes that
design grouping "is important to the topical collector
with a limited budget because it enables him to decide
which of them to include in his want list, in case he
does not want to buy all of the coins with that specific

The primary shortcoming I see is with the book's
illustrations - they are very good, but many coins are
not illustrated at all, and those which are tend to be
modern coins.  Although the catalog covers the period from
1800 to date, I noticed no nineteenth century coins

The present volume covers Europe, and is the first in a
planned three-volume set.  Volume II will cover "America
and Asia 1800-2008" and Volume III will cover "Africa and
Oceana".  The 272-page paperback book was published in
June 2007.  It is illustrated with some 200 coin illustrations
and is priced at 35 GBP ($55).   The three-page bibliography
and five-page index attest to the level of research and
care of presentation that have gone into this work.  The
book's biography of Dotan notes that "extensive research
has taken him to libraries on three continents."

Regarding the illustrations, Yossi Dotan writes: "There
are only nine 19th-century coins, three of which are
illustrated. All other coins in the book (more than 600)
are of the 20th century. Of these about one third are
illustrated. There are two reasons for the missing
illustrations: either I was unable to obtain them, or
the watercraft on the coin was too small in relation to
the overall effect of the coin. The book describes ALL
coins with watercraft in the two centuries covered, but
I felt that by giving an image of a coin that, for instance,
depicts a rowboat on a lake in front of a building, the
reader would effectively see a building only and thus
detract from the 'ship' aspect of the book."

The following quotes are taken from the publisher's
web site, with minor updates by the author:

"Yossi Dotan is a numisnautical researcher, a recognized
expert in modern coins which depict watercraft. “Ship coins”
have fascinated him for over thirty years. Extensive research
has taken him to libraries on three continents. He lectures
on the subject and has published articles in numismatic
periodicals in Canada, Germany and the United States.

"His book shares this learning of many decades; it is a
most needed tool for collectors, numismatists, and historians.”
A major contributor to the book was the late Dr. Lloryel W.
Antoine, Ed.D, CPO USN (retired), of Florida, USA who wrote
a monthly column on 'ship coins' in World Coin News for five
years in the 1990s, and authored the book Nautical Numismatics.

"“Yossi Dotan’s Watercraft on World Coins: Volume I – Europe
1800-2005 will long be the standard of numismatic topical
descriptions. His research is richly detailed and the
narratives of ships – particularly fighting ships, but
also cargo carriers – of the last two centuries is not
only amazingly accurate but also extremely interesting
reading for all students of naval warfare, shipping, and
of course, numismatics.

"Fram, Golden Hind, Santa Maria, Vasa, and H.M.S. Victory
are names of famous ships that have played a part in Europe’s
maritime history. The stories associated with these and many
other ships are told in this book of “ship coins”. Each
narrative provides the historical background and watercraft
experience and circumstance of the soldiers, sailors, admirals
and generals, explorers, naval commanders and fishermen who
sometimes through bravery and sometimes through human error
have merited a place in the historical record, and are
associated with particular vessels that have merited the
striking of a coin in record and remembrance.

"This book is the first ever to narrate the history through
the medium of ships featured on coins. Each entry contains
information on the ships, wherever available (length, beam,
depth and tonnage). The book constitutes a catalogue of ship
coins organized according to the popular KM numbering system,
with groupings under separate headings where ships have a
common design. The coin images represent the many different
ways in which the ships are depicted. Each volume contains
a select bibliography and an index listing the ships, persons
and other major topics covered in the narratives."

To read the publisher's descriptions and order the book, see:
Full Story


The twelve year long Canadian Numismatic Bibliography project
has come to a milestone with the publication and shipment
of the long-awaited volumes.

Greg Burns writes (to Project Chairman Ron Greene): "They
say that good things come to those who wait. I was so pleased
to receive today’s mail and find my two-volume set of the
Canadian Numismatic Bibliography. Congratulations to you and
your cohorts upon reaching the fulfillment of your monumental
task. It’s an impressive work and will be very well received,
I’m sure."

[I received my copy this week as well, and it's a wonderful
sight for a bibliophile.  Bound in maroon cloth, the large
set is most impressive.  It's everything I expected based
on my delightful review of the manuscript when I met with
its editor, Darryl Atchison at Heathrow airport this past
July (see my 1 July 2007 London Diary, below). -Editor]

Editor Darryl Atchison of Cork, Ireland writes: "I probably
won't see the books until Christmas given the speed of
international post which will hopefully mean that all of
the subscribers will have them first.  I can breathe a sigh
of relief now that it is over."

[Congratulations to Darryl, Ron Greene and everyone responsible
for the successful completion of this important and monumental
project. -Editor]

David Gladfelter writes: "The long-awaited Canadian Numismatic
Bibliography, published by the Numismatic Education Society
of Canada and written by a committee including Project Chairman
Ronald A. Greene, Editor Darryl A. Atchison, and members Paul S.
Berry, Philip J. Carrigan and William H. McDonald, was shipped
last week and is now in the hands of subscribers.

"There is a saying among craftsmen and artisans that goes like
this: 'Cheap, fast and right: Pick any two, you can't have all
three.' Mr. Atchison's committee has clearly made the right
choices in producing this bibliography. It is an incredibly
thorough study -- individual entries are invariably accompanied
by critical annotations -- which runs to more than 1100 pages
of text, with a 94 page index; it is well illustrated throughout.
This work will remain useful for decades.

"The fact that the publication date was delayed by several
years may have irritated some but in the grand scheme of
things is of trifling importance: Those who consult this
work in future years, as they will, are certainly going to
be thankful for the extra effort and time that went into it.

"For portability, the work has been broken into two volumes,
each with its own table of contents. It is organized into
fifteen major subject areas, and additional minor topics.
For example, topic two covers coins, currency and tokens
of the pre-Confederation period (before 1867). The subtopics
are: General works; the French regime; geographic regions
(the Maritimes, Newfoundland, the Upper and Lower Canadas);
the Province of Canada; territorial and native issues; and
contemporary coins and tokens of other countries that
circulated in pre-confederation Canada, including the
newly-popular British evasion halfpence and Spanish
colonial silver.

"Volume I of the Bibliography contains entries for:
General numismatics; pre-Confederation numismatics;
Canadian coinage; trade tokens (excluding municipal
tokens); paper money, and banking. In volume II are to be
found entries for: orders, decorations and military medals;
commemorative and historical medals; mint histories;
counterfeiting and counterfeit detection; auction catalogues
and fixed-price lists; collectors and other numismatic
personalities; institutional collections, archives and
museums; a 'miscellaneous' section including articles on
such subjects as the Canadian coin teletype circuit; and
finally, a topic on numismatic organizations and periodicals.

"Beyond the foregoing topical organization, the plan of
presentation of individual entries is alphabetical, by
author. The detailed index makes every entry easy to find.
For example, one can find 71 distinct entries under the
index listing '1893 round-top 3 ten cent' and 14 under
'Breton 997' (a distinctive Ships, Colonies & Commerce
token variety)."

David adds: "There is a section about a detailed encyclopedia
Fred Bowman kept on a wide variety of Canadian numismatic
topics -- Atchison calls it "this enormous, unpublished
compendium of coins, tokens and medals (and some scrip) of
every imaginable description for every imaginable purpose,
entered in 29 ledgers in Fred Bowman's distinctive printed
hand." There are thousands of pages, with illustrations.
This is now kept in the archives of the National Currency
Collection at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa and you can use
it upon request. I didn't know that this existed before
receiving the Bibliography.

Also worth mentioning is a short history of Canadian numismatics,
written by Peter Moogk and Wayne Jacobs, and an article about
the national currency collection by J. Graham Esler.

I forget what I paid as an advance subscriber,
but I recall your suggestion that we donate something to
get the project out of the red. What's fair? Do we send
it to Ronald Greene or to the Foundation?"

[I asked Ron Greene about this, and he writes: "All payments
should be to the J.D. Ferguson Historical Research Foundation.
The Treasurer is:

Len Buth
P.O. Box 28012
Oakridge Post Outlet
1201 Oxford St. West
London, Ontario
Canada N6H 5E1

Alternately, donations could be sent to me and I will
forward them with my regular remittances.

Ronald Greene
P.O. Box 1351
Victoria, B.C.
Canada V8W 2W7"




[The following is taken from the publisher's press
release. -Editor]

Whitman Publishing, LLC, has released the third edition
of A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, completely
updated and now in full color. The book, by Q. David.
Bowers, offers pricing, grading instructions, history,
and tips on being a smart collector.

Readers will learn what to look for when they buy, how
to grade their coins, how to cherrypick valuable rare
varieties that appear normal at first glance, and how
to be a smart buyer. A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars,
third edition, includes a thorough market analysis for
each date and mintmark, a detailed look at the minting
process, and a study of Treasury releases and other hoards.
A section on U.S. Mint pattern coins shows various coin
designs that “might have been,” which ultimately led to
Morgan’s final motif.

A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars is available
online at and other web sites, and at
hobby shops and bookstores nationwide.

304 pages
6 x 9 format
Fully illustrated in color
By Q. David Bowers; foreword by Leroy Van Allen

Publisher Dennis Tucker adds: "The valuations and
certified population reports are the main data that
were updated. In addition, Dave made a thorough edit
of the book, correcting various typographical and other
errors, updating the text with new research (including
some mintages), etc. There are new illustrations in the
introduction, and the whole book is in color now."


[Jeff Reichenberger submitted the following review of
Roger Burdette's 'Renaissance of American Coinage
1909-1915' -Editor]

Several times I’ve contemplated sitting down to write a
review of Roger Burdette's books, each time my ability to
communicate a worthy synopsis fell short. So I enjoyed
reading Wayne’s fine review and hope he’ll allow me to
piggyback on his thoughts.

What can you say about what will certainly be the definitive
works on this period of United States coinage? This third
published volume of the trilogy (second chronologically),
the ‘white book’ as Wayne put it, covers the coins most
near and dear to the hearts of many an American collector,
the Lincoln cent and Buffalo nickel. These are the coins
that started so many of us off and running in the hobby.
These are the coins, along with all of the other coins in
‘renaissance’, which are looked upon with such reverence
by so many collectors today.

Through the original sources we learn about the coins, the
artists, the designs, the process, the mint players and
government officials and their pecking order, and the
correspondence between them. We get the details of finances,
timelines, failures and successes. Even a few dealers get
into the act, as well as the infamous manipulations of
vending machine manufacturer Clarence Hobbs.

I was especially pleased that Wayne mentioned the ‘trove’
of wonderful footnotes found throughout the book. I find
myself reading them in full on every page. It takes longer
to read, but the rewards are well worth the time. I can
attest to this on a personal level. Following a footnote
from the 1916-1921 volume, I went off on a tangent resulting
in a self-published study of my own. In turn, Roger found
some information in my study that turned into a collaboration
for an article in Coin World. It was a fantastic experience
for me, and a testament to the power of shared information,
which is what this trilogy is all about. Roger is as generous
with information as he is tenacious in his quest for accuracy,
and he has laid it out for us to enjoy. Through these books,
the number of tangents that an inquisitive reader could
avail himself/herself is infinite.

The ‘white book’ is a triumph, just as the other two are,
and destined to win another book of the year award from the
Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG), just as the other two did.
As a numismatic bibliophile you must add these books to your
library. If you are simply a collector and want to deepen your
understanding of the making of your favorites coins, these
books are the perfect companions to your collection, and the
price offered at $155 for the set is an absolute steal.

Roger Burdette has hit the numismatic literary TRIFECTA!
Thank you Roger!


Regarding my review of "The White Book" and Roger Burdette's
red-white-and-blue binding scheme for his three-volume
"Renaissance of American Coinage" series, David Gladfelter
writes: "This binding in national colors is reminiscent of
Frank W. Grove's three-volume set on Mexican medals bound
in green, white and red, respectively, with the eagle on
the white volume. The set stands out on the shelf. You
surely notice when one volume is missing."

Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany made a similar observation.
Are there any other numismatic series with a similar kind of
color scheme?


Regarding our discussion of the pricing dynamics of
out-of-print numismatic literature, Scott Semans writes:
"I've become cynical regarding complaints about high
aftermarket prices on out-of-print works.  I deal in Asian,
African and Ethnographic monies, and their literature, so
obscure specialized references are what I'm about.  I began
carrying these books long ago to help my coin-collecting
customers and encourage more research and publication.
Since I was making money on the coins, I considered the
books a sidecar and sold them as cheaply as I could,
always at a discount  below list.

"But once a book goes out of print, the whole dynamic
changes.  Suddenly I get orders for the book, from the
collectors who have been price-shopping or putting off
buying it, AND other dealers who know they can ask what
they want for it.  Do I continue being the good guy and
keep my cheap price until it sells out?  No, I charge
what the traffic will bear.  I'm still sitting on stocks
of other titles that will soon become obsolete or will
always be kept in print, and have to be blown out below
cost in today's super-competitive Internet-driven market.

"Some time ago I took it a step further, and made a
distributor-level investment in a very good, but very
specialized book which I knew would never be in enough
demand to reprint.  The self-publishing author got his
money back quickly, collectors initially got the book
from me at a good discount, and - years later - I had
enough copies left to ask 10+ times my cost for the
remaining books, and get it.  Those last books went to
collectors who really, really wanted them, and the excess
profits went to me, not to intermediary dealers.  Futures
trading in numislit commodities is just another survival
strategy in a competitive market.

"Moral for the collector or researcher: If it looks like a
solid work on a topic that interests you even slightly,
shop for a good price, and buy it when it's in print.  You
will likely be supporting an author who published out of
love of his subject, you will at least learn something, and
the book could start you on a series you will enjoy immensely.
Pecuniary side benefits include making money when it goes out
of print, and outwitting greedy speculators such as myself!"


[One problem with making databases accessible on the Internet
is that the content is often obscured by the interface -
while great information is available within, it is hidden
deep within the bowels of the system and its specialized
query mechanism rather than being directly accessible through
general search engines.

This week Sebastian Heath of the American Numismatic Society
announced an initiative to create deep links reaching down
into the ANS collection database, making it easier for other
web pages (and newsletters like ours) to reference individual
coins in the society's collection.  I encourage E-Sylum
readers to use these new links when referring to items in
the ANS collection, and pledge to use them myself.

The general system being proposed would be even more useful
if more numismatic organizations institutions (commercial
and nonprofit alike) would adopt it.  Each has its own system
for naming web pages, but introducing a common naming convention
would go a long way toward easing the like of numismatic
researchers as well as boosting the overall profile of
numismatic information on the Internet.  The ANS is also
experimenting with using Google maps to display the geographic
location of mints, another useful feature. -Editor]

Sebastian Heath writes (in the AMNUMSOC-L Yahoo group):
"Along with ANS Fellow Neel Smith, I am working on a system
for bidirectional links between the ANS database and web
pages that refer to objects in our collection.

"We are trying to take advantage of the fact that the
sequence of characters "" is
understandable as a reference to the coin with that accession
number, which happens to be the first ever donated to the
collection. We call the combination of domain name and
identifier a Domain Name ID or DNID.

"At a very simple level, if everybody referring to this
coin put "" into their web pages,
Google would  eventually index those texts and then the
would list those resources.

"Going further, I have set up the ANS web-server so that it
can usefully handle URLs similar to: .

"1858.1.1" can be replaced with any valid ANS accession number."

ANS Digital Publications Project:

Digital Coins Network: "


Arthur Shippee writes: "The current New Yorker has an
article on digitizing libraries; on their site, they
have this brief over-view of on-line libraries and archives.
The version on the site has hot links to all these named
places.  It looks to be very helpful."

[Below are a few excerpts from the article.  Numismatic
researchers gain more and more online resources every as
more material enters the digital world.  -Editor]

Many roads lead to the real—and utopian—digital collections
that are taking shape across the Web. One might start with
the biggest: Google is launching Partners Program and the
Library Project; Microsoft has begun Live Search Books
Publisher Program; and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
rolls out a colorful guide to its Gallica project. But it’s
also worthwhile to stop by some older efforts, such as
Project Gutenberg, which offers a vast range of information
about collateral projects, e-book readers, and more. At
the Internet Archive, you’ll find an eclectic electronic
bazaar where you can listen to Phil Lesh or Matisyahu,
watch classic Betty Boop cartoons, or read the original
manuscript that became “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
The archive also sponsors the Open Library, an idealistic
and elegant effort “to get catalog information for every
book” in the world, to be compiled on a wiki, with the
help of readers.

Historical documents are also crowding onto the Web, as
national archives around the world digitize large parts of
their holdings. Historians interested in Spain’s obsessively
self-documenting monarchy, for example, can read thousands
of documents from the Archive of the Indies and other
collections on official Web sites or, in some cases, computers
set up at the archives themselves. Nowadays, a historian
can create his or her own archive, thanks to the digital
camera, and many libraries and archives encourage readers
do so. At the British National Archives at Kew, you’ll see
ranks of historians clicking away, making sharp digital
images that they will study at home. As documents are
reproduced in shoals, it becomes harder by the day to
discover what’s out there before you duplicate someone
else’s effort.

One of the best ways to get a handle on the sprawling
world of digital sources is through George Mason University’s
Center for History and New Media, which was created in 1994
and run for many years by the late Roy Rosenzweig. This
site will teach you about doing and using digital history,
and lead you to the richest sites on the French Revolution,
September 11th, and Jamestown, as well as to a digital
re-creation of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, hosted by
the American Social History Project/Center for Media and
Learning, at the City University of New York. It soon becomes
clear that the digital world has already become a Land of
Cockaigne for scholars—a place where we can lie down and
feed ourselves all day without needing to move, and where
the main danger is of bursting.

But many questions remain. Some months ago, I worked with
a group of historians, supported by the Centre for History
and Economics, at Harvard and King’s College, Cambridge,
who are investigating the impact of digital history on
libraries and archives around the world. The group’s notes
are beginning to appear online. For now, however, the best
way to get a sense of how scholars and librarians are
struggling to sort the gold of the new projects from the
pyrites is to visit some of the blogs run by experts. See,
for instance, the historian Robert Townsend’s post “Google
Books: What’s Not to Like?,” and the discussion it sparked.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dave Hirt writes: "In the October 21 E-Sylum, Saul Teichman
wrote on pedigrees of proof gold coins purchased by Virgil
Brand at Elder's 1911 Woodin Sale.  I can provide a few more
details. The 1834 2.50 had '???' on the lot number. It was
lot 949. The 1857 and 1858 2.50's realized $41 and $29.

"Brand's acquisition of many of these coins is referred to
in the book VIRGIL BRAND THE MAN AND HIS ERA on page 147.
However they are incorrectly identified as coming from dealer
Lyman H. Low. The cantankerous Tom Elder must be turning over
in his grave over that one."


American Numismatic Association governor Joe Boling writes:
"My copy of The Asylum arrived while I was at the PAN show
last week. The story about visiting Philadelphia dealer
Harry Forman reminded me of my experience with Harry.
When I ran for the ANA board back in 1995, an unexpected
ad showed up for me in The Numismatist - paid for by Harry
Forman. I couldn't imagine why Harry was advertising on
my behalf (under current rules he couldn't to that -
permission has to be obtained from the candidate first).

"Finally I recalled - back in the early '90s, Harry had
taken payment from someone in French francs. The notes
were still good, but obsolete - they were not convertible
in this country. They had to be presented to the Banque
de France. As it happened, I had an employee in Germany
whose wife was French, and they visited France regularly.
There was a branch of the BdF in the town they most often
visited. So I had him take the stack of notes (two or
three thousand dollars worth, maybe a bit more) over there
and convert them. I then sent Harry the dollars and forgot
all about it. He didn't."


Dick Johnson writes: "An article in the Wednesday New York
Times (October 30, 2007) quotes sculptor and former Mint
Engraver Sherl Joseph Winter. The Times writer could have
devoted an entire article to this Philadelphia artist --
he is an unsung creator of coins and medals for the last
38 years.

"A prodigious medallist, Winter -- he prefers to be called
Joe, eschewing his first name -- was on the engraving staff
at the Philadelphia Mint for over a decade and a half.
Despite the fact he had been at the mint for a little over
a year he was named temporary Chief Engraver (even though
it was only for 120 days) upon the retirement of Frank
Gasparro and before Elizabeth Jones was named Chief Engraver
in 1981.

"He has created more medallic models for medals in series
than any but one or two other medallists. These series
were produced by both the United States Mint and for private
mints. These included, for the U.S. Mint, bullion medals,
Assay medals, Treasury Secretary and Treasury building
series. He created medals for Franklin Mint, Lincoln Mint,
Roger Williams Mint, Hoffman Mint, Olde Philadelphia Mint,
and Everest Mint (for which he was onetime chief sculptor)
and others.

"His first medal was created for Medallic Art Company in
1969. He worked on the reverse models for two coins at the
Philadelphia Mint, the 1986 Statue of Liberty Immigrant
half dollar and  1988 Olympic Games silver dollar which
won a CODY, coin of the year award of Krause Publications.
He designed and modeled the Philadelphia 119th ANA Convention
medal which was struck by Medalcraft.

"If I had to choose one word to describe this talented
medallist I would say Joe Winter is Versatile. Where he
rises above so many contemporary artists is his ability
to do lettering on a coin or medal. At the beginning of
his medallic career he studied cartography, the styles and
significance of letter forms. This is so important in coin
and medal models because of the small space for these glyptic
objects. Lettering supports the device and can make or
break such a small design.

"It is no wonder so many of American mints -- national and
private -- have called on Joe Winter's talents. His comments,
then, in the New York Times article are well founded. For
the Lincoln Cent he is quoted as saying: 'People usually
appreciate simplicity. You can’t have a lot of detail in
a very tiny coin like you could have in a larger coin. You
see everything at once.'

"The article ends with another Winter statement. Mr. Winter
said there was no question of the significance of coin
design. A penny, he explained, is more than loose change.
“You’re carrying around a little piece of sculpture all the
time,” he said."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Commenting on an article on "Hawaii and It's Coinage"
appearing in the October 2004 issue of the Journal of
Antiques and Collectibles, Dick Johnson writes: "This
is the first I have heard that Hawaiian cents were
tossed down a volcano!"

[Below are excerpts from the article by James C. Johnston Jr.
It's a great story of a junk-box find.  The last paragraph
has the passage Dick picked up on. -Editor]

Then one day, a fellow came in with a box of loose junk
coins some dead relative had collected over the years. He
offered me the lot for $100. I was very busy, but I looked
it over. I almost said, “No thanks,” then I felt inner
voice saying, “why not?”

I think that the inner voice belonged to the 12 year old
kid in all of us that comes out in our personalities
sometimes. So I said, “What the hell. O.K.”

I gave him the $100 and stuck the box in my desk drawer.
There it remained for ten years. One cold winter day,
when we were all snowbound in Massachusetts, I came
upon the box of junk in the desk. I put a terry cloth
towel down on the desk top and began separating the
coins onto it.

Some World War II Philippines material was there as
were coins from Australia, New Zealand, and the whole
Pacific rim. It was starting to look like some World
War II gathering of what was around in that time period.
The coins were mostly minors (small silver, nickel, and
copper coins), and there were odd British and Australian
pennies and half pennies, as well as tokens. But all of
a sudden at the bottom of the box was a thick old type
British half penny size coin.

It was covered with varnish which had picked up a lot
of dirt and odd bits of paper while drying. Under a strong
glass in a good light I could tell it was a Hawaiian 1847
cent. The varnish turned out to be yellowing shellac. I
thought to myself, “If the gods are good, this could turn
out to be a good thing, but how shall I get this garbage
off the coin?”

I couldn’t really tell much about it. It might be a fine
to very fine coin. After a bit of cogitation, I decided
to break out the Q-tips and rubbing alcohol and see what
I could do. After an hour of working, I saw that nothing
much was happening.

I went wildly outside the box. I went all the way to
acetone (C3H6O)! Acetone tends not to alter the color
of the coin or its surface. In the old days, a lot of
collectors varnished or shellacked their coins to protect
them. Even German museums did it.

My efforts were crowned with success. A nice reddish brown
A.U. Hawaiian cent emerged from more than a century of a
varnish-like coating.  Only 100,000 of these 1847 cents
were minted. Rumor had it that 50,000 of them had been
tossed down a volcano Pele. Who knows?

[So... has anyone else heard this tale?  Is there any
known documentation of the event?  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[The following Press Release was published Monday,
October 29, 2007.  -Editor]

The Canadian Numismatic Association announces that it has
been granted the privilege from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
the Second to change its name to The Royal Canadian Numismatic
Association and its equivalent in French, l’Association
canadienne royale de numismatique. Michael Walsh, president
of Canada’s national numismatic organization, states, “I
have the honour of announcing that Her Majesty has granted
use of the title ‘Royal’ by The Canadian Numismatic Association.
I wish to recognize the dedicated efforts of my predecessor,
Charles Moore, and of Doug Andrews, that have allowed the
CNA to achieve this prestigious distinction.”

In November 2006, Her Excellency the Governor General of
Canada, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, accepted an
invitation from the CNA to serve as its Honourary Patron.
“The Governor General’s acceptance was greeted with
enthusiastic approval and support throughout the membership,
and everyone with whom I have spoken has seen it as a
positive development,” says Walsh. The CNA Executive moved
forward, giving unanimous support at its Spring 2007
meeting to initiate the process of seeking permission
to adopt the Royal title.

Walsh indicates, “I welcome this announcement and
celebrate it as an indication of the esteem in which
our Association is held. The Canadian Numismatic Association
is a fifty-seven-year-old institution with a wonderful
history and a proud tradition. Adding ‘Royal’ to our name
will not change that, but it will give us more prominence
in the eyes of many collectors. And because of this, we will
very likely see our membership numbers grow and our
Association strengthen.”

“Numismatists, in particular, recognize the importance
of the monarchy in Canada’s unique heritage, and the
enduring recognition that it receives on all coins produced
by the Royal Canadian Mint.”

“The Queen has expressed her will, and we are now entitled
to use the name that we sought: ‘The Royal Canadian Numismatic
Association/l’Association canadienne royale du numismatique.’
A letter of acceptance and thanks has been forwarded to Her
Majesty. Our next step is to follow protocol for amending
our constitution to reflect the name change.”


Which numismatic book opens with the following quote:
What does it mean?


An E-Sylum reader writes: "I found the article below in
a recent web edition of the British newspaper 'The Independent'.
This article presents a broader picture of the Odyssey situation
and the sea salvage business in general than most of the
articles that have been printed lately."

[I located a copy of the article on the web site of the
Belfast Telegraph. A few excerpts appear below.  -Editor]

There is mounting concern among marine archaeologists,
academics and heritage groups at the activities of commercially
driven salvage teams currently scouring the ocean floor
checking out the worth of the estimated three million wrecks
that languish there. Not all of them are laden with glittering
baubles, but there are enough – around 3,000, according to
some estimates – to drive the kind of high risk, get-rich-quick
adventure business that would have set Captain Limbrey's
pulse racing.

But the search for submarine treasure is running into choppy
seas. This month the master of the Odyssey Explorer, a diving
support vessel owned by the Nasdaq-listed company Odyssey
Marine Exploration, was arrested and put in jail in Algeciras
in Spain.

In May, Odyssey stunned the world when it announced that it
had recovered 500,000 silver coins weighing 17 tons from a
vessel it would describe only as the fictional "Black Swan"
after the 1942 swashbuckling Hollywood classic of the same
name. The coins, said to be worth £250m, were taken to
Gibraltar and then on to Florida where the question of
ownership is now being settled in the courts.

The British media were certain that the booty came from the
Merchant Royal. The Spanish press remain equally convinced
that it was instead recovered from the Nuestra Senora de las
Mercedes, a Spanish warship sunk by the British off Portugal.

Odyssey refuses to reveal exactly where it found the treasure,
insisting it cannot identify with certainty the vessel on
which it was found. The scrutiny of the bounty continues.

Dr David Gaimster, general secretary of the Society of
Antiquaries, believes time is running out for the world's
most important wrecks with the ever-growing fleets of
private treasure hunters taking to the seas bristling
with the latest in sonar, GPS and remotely operated vehicles.

"For generations these hugely important sites were safe
because they were too far down to be safely reached. But
improvements in technology mean they are now quite easily
accessible. These irreplaceable cultural resources are now
being stripped. They are not being archaeologically recorded
but looted for profit with the bullion and other precious
metals being melted down or sold to collectors ...with the
result that they are lost for ever," he said.

For Robert Yorke, chairman of the Joint Nautical Archaeology
Policy Committee, organisations such as Odyssey operate
with little more than a "veneer of archaeology". "It is
very difficult to recover seven tons of coin without destroying
the organic material such as the barber surgeon's chest or
the musical instruments that we found in the Mary Rose and
tell us so much about life at that time. That sort of archaeology
is incompatible with a ship that costs hundreds of thousands
of dollars a day to run and when you are working with
shareholders on the Nasdaq," he said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Jackson Metals of Jackson, Ohio,
had been melting cents, as least the pre-1982 high content
copper coins, until the U.S. Treasury issued a ban on their
destruction in December last year. The ban became effective
in April 2007.

"Company owner, Walter Luhrman, contacted his U.S. Congressman,
Rep Zack Space, who amended a coin-composition bill to allow
his constituant's firm to return to melting the pre-1982 cents.
But Illinois Representative Jerry Costello raised concerns
about how changing composition legislation would affect a
company in his state that supplies the U.S. Mint with coinage
strips or blanks.

"According to the article Mr. Luhrman argues 'he culls out
pre-1982 pennies, which used more copper than the current
copper-plated zinc ones, and sells some to collectors. He
then redistributes the three-quarters of the pennies left
over to areas of the country where there are shortages. He
maintains that, as a result, the Mint could produce fewer
cents each year. That would be no small item  when you consider
that 6.58 billion cents were produced this year at a cost
ranging from 1.4 cents to 1.6 cents, according to the Mint.'

"Coin World editor Beth Deisher is quoted as disagreeing
with his argument. She knows of no such areas with a shortage
of cents. 'If there are shortages,' she stated 'he (Jackson
Metals) is creating them."

"I wonder where Luhrman is getting his stock of cents where
one-quarter are pre-1982 cents.

"The story was published in the Columbus Dispatch, written
by Jonathan Riskind, with contribution of numismatist
Gerald Tebben."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


The 100kg  gold coin produced by the Royal Canadian Mint
has been listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records as
the world's largest gold coin.

"'This recognition is a wonderful endorsement of the
incomparable skill and imagination of the people who work
at the Royal Canadian Mint,' said president and CEO Ian E.
Bennett. 'The Mint has long been recognized as one of the
most innovative in the world and the Guinness World Record
is further evidence of this fact.'

"The gold bullion coin with a $1-million face value was
originally conceived as a unique showpiece to promote the
Mint's new line of 99999-pure one-ounce Gold Maple Leaf
coins. After several interested buyers came forward, the
RCM decided to make a very limited quantity available for
sale. To date, five of these majestic coins, weighing 3,215
oz each, have been purchased by investors from Canada and

"The reverse of the coins features an elegant maple leaf
designed by senior engraver Stan Witten and the obverse
bears the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by
celebrated Canadian portrait artist Susanna Blunt. The
coins are manufactured in Ottawa."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


"Tributes are being paid to a cat credited with helping
save the lives of Royal Navy officers during the Chinese
civil war in 1949. Simon protected food stores from an
infestation of rats on board the HMS Amethyst during a siege.

"He was posthumously awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, the
charity's animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

"The ship's Commander Stuart Hett is to lead a wreath-laying
ceremony at the Essex cemetery where Simon is buried. Simon
was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery, instituted in
1943 by Maria Dickin CBE, the founder of veterinary charity
the PDSA, and was given the rank of Able Seaman.

"He suffered severe shrapnel wounds when HMS Amethyst came
under fire in a 101-day siege known as the Yangtze Incident
in which 17 marines were among the dead.

"He received a hero's welcome when the ship returned to
dock in Plymouth on 1 November 1949.  Simon died in quarantine
three weeks later and was buried with full military honours
at the PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex.

"Simon is the only cat among 62 animals to be awarded the
Dickin Medal. Other recipients include messenger pigeons,
horses and dogs."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To read a related article in The Telegraph, see:
Full Story


[Don't take the name of the U.S. Mint in vain -- you
could be fined.  -Editor]

"he United States Mint announced on Tuesday in a press
release that it can now fine companies and other entities
that misuse the agency's or U.S. Department of the Treasury's
names, symbols, and emblems. This move comes with the intent
of protecting consumers and coin collectors. This new
regulation was approved by the U.S. Department of the
Treasury and it authorizes the United States Mint to
exact civil fines against any companies or persons who
use the Department of the Treasury's or United States
Mint's names, emblems, or symbols so as to convey to
consumers the false impression of there being a sponsorship,
endorsement, or association with the two government agencies.

"'This regulation will not affect the vast majority of
individuals and businesses selling coins or coin products,'
said United States Mint Director Ed Moy in the press release.
'The rule will create a higher level of consumer awareness,
by defending the integrity of the United States Mint's names,
emblems, and symbols,' Moy continued.

"According to the press release, the United States Mint now
has the right to fine $5,000 for each and every incident of
misuse of the Mint's or Treasury Department's names, symbols,
or emblems. Furthermore, any such misuse of the agencies'
names, symbols, or emblems could result in an up-to $25,000
fine for each and every misuse in broadcasts and telecasts."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


In a non-numismatic aside in last week's numismatic diary
I invited readers to submit their endings for a joke based
on my observations at a hotel costume party.

Pete Smith writes: "So, Pancho Villa, Snow White and an
Amishman walk into a bar and order drinks. The bartender
serves them and charges $10 each.  The bartender says, 'I
don't aften see Pancho Villa, Snow White and an Amishman
in my bar.'   The Amishman replies, 'At these prices it's
no wonder.' "

Pete's second submission: "'Pancho Villa, Snow White and
an Amishman walk into a bar.  The Amishman says, 'I've had
a tough day' and orders a double scotch. Snow White says,
'I've had a tough day' and orders a double scotch.  Pancho
Villa says, 'I've had a tough day' and orders a ginger ale.
The bartender says, 'What's up? I might expect that they
would order ginger ale but not you.'  Pancho says, 'I'm the
designated driver.' "

Pete Smith's submission the Third: Pancho Villa, Snow White
and an Amishman walk into a bar.  The bartender says, 'What
is this? Some kind of joke?' "


This week's featured web page is "Memories and Milestones",
a history of the Littleton Coin Company from the company’s
web site.

Memories and Milestones

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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