The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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About Us

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at coinbooks.org

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

Membership

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

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Membership is only $15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 for First Class mail, and $25 elsewhere. For those without web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/TreasurerNumismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

Asylum

For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact David at this email address: dsundman@LittletonCoin.com

Submissions

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

BUY THE BOOK BEFORE THE COIN


You won't regret it!

WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM JANUARY 4, 2009

Wayne Homren As of last week we had 1,232 subscribers Bob Neale writes:
Just two more to reach a magic number! At least, seems like it oughta be. Best for continued publishing this amazing work in '09. Happy New Year!


Well, among our recent subscribers are Jeff Melmed, Sam Brown and Wolfgang Bertsch. Welcome aboard! For a brief period we had the magic 1,234 subscribers. The number stands at 1,236 for the first issue of our 12th volume.

We open the new year with updates and information from four numismatic literature dealers: Kolbe, David, Sklow and Fanning. A lot of great material is coming up for sale early this year.

Articles on numismatic literature include topics such as the Coin Collectors Digest and Spink's Numismatic Circular. In topics first raised in earlier issues, we have more information on the Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention, and sculptor Robert Graham.

Queries this week include questions about Joseph Cloud of the Philadelphia Mint and Two Moon, a model for Fraser's Indian Head (aka Buffalo) Nickel. To learn what that secret Russian spy message hidden in a Jefferson Nickel actually said, read on. Have a great week and Happy New Year, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

KOLBE JANUARY 10, 2009 NUMISMATIC BOOK AUCTIONS

George Kolbe forwarded this note about his upcoming January 10th numismatic literature auctions. If you're planning to attend the sale, consider emailing me a short report afterwards for inclusion in next week's E-Sylum. Happy bidding! -Editor


Kolbe Sale #107 Kolbe Sale #108


Please remember to send your bids for George Frederick Kolbe's Saturday, January 10th, 2009 New York City Auction featuring the Twinleaf Library of American numismatic rarities and the Dr. Ferdinando Bassoli Library of classic early-printed numismatic books and standard works on Italian numismatics.

Through Wednesday January 7th, Kolbe can be reached by telephone at (909) 338-6527; by email at GFK@numislit.com; or by fax at (909) 338-6980.

NO BIDS TRANSMITTED BY MAIL, EMAIL, FAX, OR BUSINESS TELEPHONE WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER WEDNESDAY JANUARY 7TH.

Thursday, January 8th, will be a travel day.

Kolbe can be reached by telephone on Friday, January 9th, at (951) 236-1988, and on Saturday January 10th until 12: 30 PM. Telephone bidding may be available and several prominent numismatic literature dealers, who may be willing to accept commissions, plan to attend the sale.

CHARLES DAVIS JANUARY 31, 2009 NUMISMATIC LITERATURE MAIL BID SALE

Charlie Davis has planned a January 31st mail bid sale of "Numismatic Literature Surplus from the Library of the American Numismatic Society and Other Consignors". Highlights include:

American Journal of Numismatics Volumes 1-25
Superb deluxe Beistle Early Half Dollars
Early Q. David Bowers Publications
Crosby Early Coins of America
Superb 1925 Browning Early Quarter Dollars
Elder Magazine complete
Superb set of Frossard’s Numisma
Husak Large Cent Catalogue; 3/100 deluxe edition
Mehl’s Monthly bound in by Alan Grace
First Notice (1950) of the “D” punched on 1804 $
Fine original Newlin on Half Dimes
Raymond 1935 Standard Catalogue leatherbound
Early American Cents - signed
Scott Coin Collector’s Journal complete
Long run of Red Books, signed and special editions
World’s Greatest Collection, Dr. Judd’s full calf ed
Demetrio Numismatique Egypte Ancienne
Mionnet complete in 16 volumes
Complete bound SNG Copenhagen
Blades List of Medals 1869
Blades Numismatica Typographica
Burns Coinage of Scotland, large paper
Lavoix Monnaies Musilmanes, 3 volumes

Here are a couple other lots from the sale that I thought I'd highlight as well.

From the sale catalog: Lot 68
68 [CHARLOTTE MINT]: [Two Photographs of the Charlotte Mint Building], two glossy photographs, the first nominally 8x10", possibly made from a copy negative, showing the mint building from the front as originally constructed, obelisk type memorial to the left, markings on the reverse suggest the photo was to be used in a newspaper. Second photo, 2½x4½” depicting the building as reconstructed, 1930s automobile parked in front, view similar to that shown on Birdsall page 35. (50.00)

Two photographs, the larger showing the mint as originally built in the 1830s and the smaller after its depression era reconstruction. Curiously Birdsall’s The United States Branch Mint at Charlotte does not contain a photograph of the original building.


Our old friend Joseph N. T. Levick was mentioned in the description of lot 90. From the sale catalog:
90 THOMAS L. ELDER: The Elder Monthly/Elder Magazine, 1906-1908, all issued, 23 numbers in 19, 404 pages total, red cloth, card cover of Vol. 1 No. 1 mounted on the front board, hinges just a trifle loose. Near Fine. (750.00)

Davis 346. Elder's first house organ filled with news, original articles, and public lynching of his enemies, who in the early days were any collectors who did not pay their bills (names and addresses published) or who wrote letters displaying their ignorance of numismatics. On rare occasions there was praise.

In noting that J. N. T. Levick was known to be getting the “interesting little disks together in 1852,” Elder posed that “numismatics can hold a man in his later years. Mr. Levick can be found at every sale, minutely examining the pieces, making careful pencil notations, buying whenever anything suited his taste, and pricing his catalogue with the precision of clockwork. We doff our hats to J. N. T. Levick, the “youngest” coin collector in America.”

In general, dealer’s periodicals are considerably scarcer if not rarer than the auction sale catalogues each produced, and those of Thomas Elder are no exception. Initiated in March, 1906 as a monthly, Elder shifted to a bi-monthly format in June 1907 when several large consignments competed for his time. After changing the title to the Elder Magazine for the last two issues, he suspended publication entirely.


To view the sale catalog, see: www.vcoins.com/ancient/charlesdavis/store/catalog/mbs13109.pdf

DAVID SKLOW MAIL BID SALE #6 CLOSES FEBRUARY 7, 2009

David Sklow forwarded the following press release with information on his next numismatic literature auction. -Editor
Sklow MSB#6 February 7, 2009, David Sklow-Fine Numismatic Books will close their 6th auction. Catalogs available by request; Send inquiries to: David Sklow-Fine Numismatic Books, P. O. Box 6321, Colorado Springs, CO 80934. Telephone: (719)-302-5686; Fax: (719)-302-4933; Email: numismaticbooks@aol.com.

The catalog is currently accessible on-line: www.finenumismaticbooks.com Bids will be accepted by, telephone, fax, email and regular mail. Several sale highlights:

A wonderful library of over 125 works on Ancient Roman and Greek Numismatics;

Du Choul, Guillaume. VETERUM ROMANORUM RELIGIO, CASTRAMETATIO, DISCIPLINA MILITARIS UT BALNEAE: EX ANTIQUIS NUMISMATIBUS & LAPIDIBUS DEMONFTRATA. Amsterdam, 1685;

Easton, E. {Publisher}. ANTIQUITATES SARISBURIENSES. London, 1771;

Hendriks, Frederick. DECIMAL COINAGE: A PLAN FOR ITS IMMEDIATE EXTENSION IN ENGLAND, IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COINAGE OF FRANCE AND OTHER COUNTRIES. Bucklersbury, England. 1866;

Breen, Walter and Gillio, Ronald J. CALIFORNIA PIONEER FRACTIONAL GOLD – “ADVANCE COPY”. Wolfeboro, N.H. 2003;

Edwards, Jonathan, M.D. CATALOGUE OF THE GREEK AND ROMAN COINS IN THE NUMISMATIC COLLECTION OF YALE COLLEGE. New Haven, 1880. iv-vi, 236pp. 8vo, original brown decorative cloth covers, gilt spine;

Memorabilia of the great numismatic dealer B. Max Mehl, including a long run of his auction catalogs, Mehl's Numismatic Monthly, advertising items of every description, Mehl family photographs, letters, Mehl's Coin Circular, Mehl's Coin Chronicle;

Very Rare "Sponsors Edition" of The National Bank note Issues of 1929-1935 copy #3 of 25;

A run of bound New Hampshire Bank reports;

Several bound historical works concerning the 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition;

Kroh, Dennis J. ANCIENT COIN REFERENCE REVIEWS. [SPECIAL HARDBOUND NUMBERED EDITION # 1of 20];

Morris, Robert. THE TWELVE CAESARS: (JULIUS TO DOMITIAN) ILLUSTRATED BY READINGS OF TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN OF THEIR – COINS AND MEDALS. La Grange, KY., 1877;

Mehl, B{enjamin} Max. 1907 WEDDING PHOTO OF B. MAX AND ETHEL.{Fort Worth, TX.}. 14.5 x 22 cm. black and white, professional portrait of B. Max seated, and his wife Ethel, standing at his side;

Raymond, Wayte and Macallister, J{ames}.G.{cataloguers}. THE NUMISMATIC AUCTION CATALOGUES OF J.C. MORGENTHAU & CO.New York, N.Y. 1932-1945. Adams Sale Numbers One through Fifty-three complete. The large format (4to) catalogues are bound uniformly in two quarto volumes; dark brown grained half cowhide, five raised spine bands, maroon calf spine labels, gilt, marbled paper boards: the small format (8vo) catalogues are housed in two quarto solander book boxes, matching identically the two other volumes; all original printed card covers are present; all quarto sales with original prices realized; many octavo sales with original prices realized and several handpriced;

Mickley, Jos. J. DATES OF UNITED STATES COINS AND THEIR DEGREES OF RARITY. Philadelphia, PA. 1858. 4pp. 8vo.;

Grueber, H{erbert}.A{ppold}., F.S.A. A FIND OF ANGLO-SAXON COINS. London, 1894, 48pp. 2 autotype plates, {also} THE BALCOMBE FIND. London, 1898, 65pp. 4 autotype plates, 8vo, half leather with marbled boards, four raised bands on spine, gilt spine;

Dye, John S. BANKING HOUSE OF JOHN S. DYE [DELINEATOR LETTER].New York. 1854, 8vo, 27 x 21cm;

Frossard, Ed{ouard}. NUMISMA. [DELUXE EDITION]. Minneapolis, MN. And Rocky River, OH. 1983 reprint of the 1877-1891 original, ten volumes complete. Special limited Edition copy # 4 of 4 produced. Half leather with marbled boards, gilt spine, marbled pastedowns and endpapers. A very special limited numbered edition of 4, of which this is number 4. Ex Kenneth Lowe Library sale by The Money Tree sale 32 lot 146;

United States Government. {Secretary of the Treasury}. LETTERFROM THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TRANSMITTING SUNDRY STATEMENS REATIVE {SIC} TO THE OPERATIONS OF THE MINT OF THE UNITED STATES: FEBRUARY 28, 1817. READ AND ORDERED TO LIE UPON THE TABLE. Washington: 1817, 10pp. 1 foldout, folio 33.5 x 21cm;

and something for everyone!

Consignments are now being accepted for all future sales

AN UPDATE FROM DAVID FANNING

David Fanning forwarded the following update this week. -Editor
David F. Fanning Numismatic Literature has a new phone number and will shortly be publishing a new fixed price list. The new phone number is (614) 256-8915. The new price list is called The Bookshelf, and will be issued regularly. To be placed on our mailing list, please contact David Fanning at dfanning@columbus.rr.com. The list will also be uploaded onto our Web site at www.fanningbooks.com .

THE E-SYLUM COMPLETES 11TH VOLUME

John Nebel kindly compiled the following statistics on the first eleven volumes of The E-Sylum, which we completed with last week's issue. Since our first issue on September 4, 1998, we've published as total of 10,213 individual articles in 542 issues.

Volume Year #Issues #Articles
119981255
2199952417
3200054559
4200153676
5200252706
6200355922
72004521,107
82005541,290
92006531,540
102007531,509
112008521,432
54210,213


Wow! No wonder my fingers are getting short and stubby. But thanks for sticking with it, folks - your submissions are our lifeblood. Keep those book reviews, research tips, and smart-aleck comments coming.

I do have a life outside of these newsletters, though. A few months after beginning these missives our son Christopher was born - now he's 10 years old. Then came Tyler in 2000 and Hannah in 2004, followed by a move from Pittsburgh to Northern Virginia. This week brings a new addition to our family.

Not a kid this time, but a puppy - our first pet. Max is a two-month-old Yorkie-Poo we brought home yesterday. Our boys picked the name, but I stretched it to Maximilian and my wife made it Sir Maximilian. Big name for a small dog. Might as well be Max-A-Million for all the money we're spending on him.

Anyway, welcome, Max. Do any of our readers have horror stories (and/or advice) relating to dogs and numismatic libraries? -Editor


To access the E-Sylum back issue archive, see: www.coinbooks.org/club_nbs_esylum_archive.html

For a complete table of contents of all 10,213 articles, see: http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_toc.html

DICK JOHNSON BEGINS NEWEST STREAK OF CONSECUTIVE E-SYLUM POSTS

As most regular readers are aware, one of our most prolific correspondents is Dick Johnson, who seems to have a submission in just about every issue. Good news and bad news about that - the bad news is that Dick's latest submission streak has ended. The good news is that he's started a new one with four submissions in the current issue.

It's not Dick's fault - he makes an earnest effort each week and last week was no exception. But due to demands of the holiday and my overflowing inbox, I didn't get around to responding to his submission until just before press time late last Sunday.

Dick writes:
For the last 135 weeks there has been one or more items written by Dick Johnson in every issue The E-Sylum, but not a one in issue #52, the last issue for the year 2008. This despite a news story on an interview with the head of the Russian Bank sent at 2:01 Sunday in ample time to make the issue. The last time an E-Sylum was sans Johnson was issue #26 in 2006 where he had filed three articles in time for insertion.


I'm not sure what went wrong in 2006, but this time I decided to pass on Dick's submission. Unfortunately, the hour was so late Dick didn't have time to rework or replace it. But he's back again with some great submissions, and I was able to work last week's item in, too. Sorry, Dick, and welcome back!


FEATURED IN OUR JANUARY 10, 2009
NEW YORK PUBLIC AUCTION SALE

S. H. CHAPMAN'S OWN SUPERB
PLATED 1921 DR. J. M. HENDERSON SALE
ONE OF ONLY A HALF DOZEN KNOWN

GEORGE FREDERICK KOLBE
Email: GFK@numislit.com
Tel: (909) 338-6527
Chapman Henderson Collection 1921-05-27

JAMES MCNEES' COIN COLLECTORS DIGEST

Dick Johnson submitted the following article inspired by an auction lot in David Sklow's upcoming numismatic literature sale. The images are from my numismatic ephemera files. -Editor
McNees CCJ v1n1 David Sklow's auction catalog #6 arrived this week. I flipped open the first two pages lasing the auction lots and my eye was drawn to lot 24. Coin Collectors Digest in bold face type caught my attention. That sounds interesting, somehow familiar. Then my eye moved up a line to the author, "James G. McNees" and a flood of memories filled my mind.

That was printed on my old printing press! I had built a print shop starting in my junior year in high school. I had purchased a used 10 x 15-inch Chandler & Price printing press, and dozens of fonts of type and taught myself how to set type (by hand!), lock it in a press and how to run the press -- by foot power. The press was from the 1880s and old by then, but they never wear out.

I printed tickets for high school functions, a play program, and even membership cards for the Heart of America Numismatic Association. And stationery, lots of stationery for friends, family and even for an uncle who had two business in rural Missouri. It brought in enough money I could even buy a second, larger press.

The presses were set up in my grandparents' basement and I spent all my spare hours there printing small jobs that came my way. This went on for three years, even after my first year in junior college. (Here I found a way I could access the college bulletin board -- it was behind locked glass; I would print raunchy poems, jiggle the lock, lift the glass, and post them on the college bulletin board -- to the amusement of my college buddies)

My third college semester was at an out-of-town college, Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas [the Rev. Arthur B. Coole Oriental coin collection was located here]. And I had no time for printing. With the draft breathing down on me for the Army during the Korean War, I joined the Air Force (for 4 years) instead of being drafted into the Army (for 2 years). This was not for any patriotism, I liked the idea of flying.

I had to dispose of the print shop. I sold it to Jim McNees. He had four boys -- Jim was a photoengraver -- and he wanted to teach his boys graphic arts from the ground up. And that's why he bought my print shop and ultimately printed the Coin Collectors Digest now offered Dave's auction.

McNees CCJ Editorial

McNees CCJ Subscription
But I will have to tell you about Jim McNees and a collector friend of his, Ray Janda. Both were coin collectors, but a better term would be "traders." They were active in local coin clubs and Ray Janda was even once on the U.S. Assay Commission. They would build a collection or buy a coin and sell it or trade it to the other.Then often acquire it back in some involved trade.

This went one for years. Homes, cars, every possession you could own were traded back and forth among the pair. Wives and children were the only things off limits. Ray was a successful salesman and Jim did well as a partner with his brother in the photoengraving business.

Jim once built a frame which he engraved at the top "Money of the World" and filled it with odd and curious money. He traded it to Ray. Somehow I got between the two and acquired it from Ray Janda before he traded it back to Jim. Forty years later I still have that frame with all that odd and curious money.

So, Dave, your lot 24 flooded me with hundreds of Jim McNees and numismatic memories. What a delight!



THE BOOK BAZARRE

DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS Sale #6, February 7th 2009, catalog .PDF is now on our web site for viewing or downloading. We are accepting consignments for all future sales. numismaticbooks@aol.com PH: (719) 302-5686, FAX: (719) 302-4933. Visit our web site for sale highlights www.finenumismaticbooks.com



THE DECEMBER 2008 SPINK AUCTION INSIDER HIGHLIGHTS NUMISMATIC CIRCULAR

Spink Auction Insider 2008 December The December 2008 Auction Insider published by Spink includes a brief article on the history of the Numismatic Circular.

First published in December 1892, the house organ has been produced continually with few major glitches, even through World War II, when the Spink office was hit by a bomb.

Only four distinguished editors have guided its publication over the last 116 years: Leonard Forrer, Howard Linecar, Douglas Saville, and now Philip Skingley.





Spink Numismatic Circular #1


ON THE METROPOLITAN NEW YORK NUMISMATIC CONVENTION



George Cuhaj writes:
I do not know how many other New York Numismatic Club members read The E-Sylum, however the convention Alan Weinberg wrote about is the Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention, which has nothing to do with the New York Numismatic Club, although as with many things New York, there are interlocking members. As for the later days of the NYNC, when the Barbazon Hotel was converted into Luxury Condos the Metropolitan NYNC was the opening event at the then recently-opened Vista International Hotel at the World Trade Center. It ran there until the 1993 WTC bombing, which occurred in the parking garage located directly UNDER the ballroom which would have been the bourse one week later... That event effectively killed the show.


ALAN DAVISSON ON NIALL FERGUSON'S NEW BOOK

Alan Davisson writes:
Ferguson Ascent of Money Thanks for the review of Niall Ferguson's new book. It is an interesting read, covering broad swaths of human enterprise. Interestingly enough, he got it wrong on the history of Roman coinage when he says that the aureus-denarius-sestertius coinage was minted with "all bearing the head of the reigning emperor on one side, and the legendary figures of Romulus and Remus on the other." He is mostly right on the first half of the assertion but wrong about the reverses.

He is not the only author who refers to coinage without checking his information. Some of Bernard Cornwell's series of historical fiction based on British history makes coinage-related mistakes as well.

I acknowledge that this may seem pretty picky on my part, but these simple misstatements leave a nagging concern in the back of my mind about information utilized in other parts of the work that might be equally questionable.


DICK JOHNSON ON ROBERT GRAHAM'S DESIGNS

Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on Robert Graham's designs. -Editor
Sculptor Robert Graham, who died two days after Christmas, had a penchant for placing human figures on pedestals, and more often, torsos on poles. However, the Art Committee selecting an artist for the monument at the Los Angeles Olympic Stadium, knew this in advance. It was inevitable this is what Graham would create for the 1984 Olympic Games venue, to become a symbol of the Los Angeles Olympics that ultimately appeared on a U.S. commemorative dollar struck by the U.S. Mint.

The monument, called Gateway to the Olympic Stadium, was widely criticized at the time. It was said to be an atrocious monument displaying beheaded nude athletes, male and female, standing in a bucket of cement, on a giant slab supported by two pillars. It was more appropriate for disposal at sea rather than the entranceway for athletic achievement.

When this Gateway monument was chosen by the Treasury Department as the device for the dollar commemorative that year it submitted the design to the Commission of Fine Arts as required. The Commission members rejected the design calling it "a loser" but the Treasury, in its infinite wisdom, issued it anyway.

1984Olympics(LosAngeles)DollarColiseum3obverse
Walter Breen, in describing this coin in his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, said the two headless figures were "'all brawn, no brains' unintentionally symbolizing the Orwellian motto 'Ignorance is strength.' Between them, the flame's configuration suggests that someone is making a rude gesture with a middle finger."

But that is not the last of it. For that same year Krause Publications awarded this coin a COTY -- Coin of the Year -- as the most popular coin. Evidence both of widespread lack of artistic acumen in the U.S. Treasury and the numismatic field. Bad Art Endures.

Incidentally in the index of names in Breen's Encyclopedia, following Graham's name is a cryptic "297b."

It didn't guide the reader to the entry of this coin (on page 606) and there is nothing about Graham on page 297. It was rumored Breen used this as a code word as a parting insult hurled at the artist. We mentioned this in E-Sylum (vol 3, no 8, art 7 as early as February 20, 2000). We asked if anyone could break the code. George Kolbe and Wayne Homren commented, but no one yet has broken the code for Breen's single arrow aimed at Graham.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article on Graham, see: SCULPTOR ROBERT GRAHAM 1938-2008 (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v11n52a06.html)

MORE ON AMERO BANKNOTES

Beverly Lewis-Fifield writes:
I look forward to reading your newsletter and just read your last installment on the Amero. If you go to myspace.com/northamericanunion and look on the right hand side, about half way down there will be a video there with Mr. Pervis on the CNBC stock channel talking about the Amero.

Normally, I would not have taken the rumors of changing our currency seriously, but when I saw them talking about it on the stock channel my ears perked right up. While Hal Turner could be all the things that he's accused of, I don't know because I've never listened to his show. The point is, the North American Union aka Security and Prosperity Partnership is very real.

There is a woman Senator from Ohio who has complained about this to Congress many, many times. By the way, I have also heard of another currency called the DEY, Dollar, Euro, Yen that is being considered.


Beverly forwarded the following video links. -Editor


NAFTA Super Highway - Congresswoman Kaptur explains on Congress Floor (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cd29U90s_ik)

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur on NAFTA and elites 4/6/08 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=lmp2XHgXkvU)

20-50-100 Amero BankNotes


So, does anyone know where the pictured pieces of Amero Currency were produced? -Editor


To read last week's E-Sylum article on Amero notes, see: BLOGGER CLAIMS EVIDENCE OF NEW "AMERO" BANK NOTES (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v11n52a16.html)

THE EURO'S TENTH ANNIVERSARY

Dick Johnson submitted this item on another anniversary - the tenth year of the Euro. -Editor
The euro -- with all its numismatic moneyifications of coins and currency -- is ten years old January 1st. Europe's single currency is "an unquestioned part of daily life for 330 million people in sixteen countries" according to a recent article -- Slovakia joined the first day of 2009.

With economic issues aside, how has the new currency effected the daily life of Europeans? Here are some of the recent factors:

  • Euro coins are now circulated almost as widely as ancient Rome's denarius -- the first truly Pan-European coin.
  • Half of French citizens still think in francs for every transaction in Euros.
  • In several regional areas of Germany somewhat of a regional currency is in use -- shades of German State coinages of yore.
  • Many countries are considering abolishing their lowest euro denomination coin or two because of entropy - they are just not viable in modern commerce. Much like other countries around the world which are abandoning their lowest coin, Europe's one-euro coins are destined to become extinct.


Still euro coins and paper money are serving well the purpose of a circulating medium for most of Europe. It is a compliment to the European Currency Union for their creation now with a decade of utility behind them.

"Currency unions come and go, typically revolving around one dominant power," states that same article. "The euro is a different animal. It has no political anchor. It is a leap into the unknown without a state, treasury, debt union, or EU social security net to back it up."

But economics dominates the discussion of any euro history, as does the long article below, which is chosen for its birthday celebration

To read the complete article, see: The euro's bitter-sweet triumph at 10 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard
/4045210/The-euros-bitter-sweet-triumph-at-10.html)

MORE ON THE CSA SILVER INGOTS

Regarding the silver"CSA" ingots discussed in earlier issues, Dave Bowers writes:
To my knowledge there is no such thing as either a CSA or any other silver ingot specifically associated with the Civil War. These seem to be modern fantasies sold on the Internet.


Joe Boling writes:
Has anyone done the most obvious test of the CSA ingots - a specific gravity measurement?


CSA Ingot Fricke - SB - 1-2 obv CSA Ingot Fricke - SB - 1-2 rev


THE BOOK BAZARRE

DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE buys and sells publications on all aspects of numismatics from all times and places. To request our latest catalogue or discuss consigning items for sale, write to dfanning@columbus.rr.com to be placed on our mailing list. Our Web is available at www.fanningbooks.com .



BROOKLYN EAGLE ARTICLE EXAMINES HOLLOW SPY NICKEL CASE

The Brooklyn Eagle published a story this week on the famous "spy nickel" case. This is the first article where I've seen the actual secret code hidden inside the piece. The article even has a translation of the message. It's pretty mundane, but that one nickel led to the capture of a Russian spy. -Editor
Spy Nickel Code It was late June 1953 in Brownsville, another Monday night collecting Daily Eagle subscription fees door-to-door. Fourteen-year-old newsie Jimmy Bozart knocked on a door at 3403 Foster Avenue. His customer needed change for a buck so Jimmy got nickels from the housewives across the hall. The deal done, Bozart made his way out to the summer Brooklyn street.

As he bounded down the stairs, the nickels in Jimmy’s palm slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor. The newsie rushed to gather his change, and then he noticed one of the five-cent pieces had cracked on impact. Jimmy dropped the suspiciously light coin again to see what it was made of. As soon as the nickel hit the floor, Jefferson’s face split from Monticello on the other side.

“Whaddya know, there’s a picture inside this nickel.”

So began the strange saga of the hollow nickel case, a true spy story principally involving a nickel, a newsie, Brooklyn, Finland, Moscow, a sad spy, and a major motion picture starring Jimmy Stewart with special guest J. Edgar Hoover.

When Jimmy examined his busted nickel, he didn’t know what to make of the half-inch photograph inside it—a picture of nothing but numbers in columns. But as a newsvendor and an avid reader of the pulps, his gut told him it was a secret code, a spy thing. Bozart let his suspicions slip to a friend whose dad was a cop. The NYPD patrolman reported Jimmy’s nickel up the chain of command, and a few days later, the FBI came to collect that five-cent piece.

The Bureau couldn’t make heads or tails of the coin or the microfilm inside it. The nation’s best cryptologists and most sophisticated machinery could not crack the code. Agents fanned out to New York’s novelty shops, interrogated curiosity dealers and interviewed magicians. A nationwide effort to ferret out hollow coins yielded a few magic pennies in LA and DC—and in New York, a half-dollar novelty for the concealment of other, smaller coins. The Bureau’s search confirmed what Jimmy probably already knew: trick coins were common enough, but none of them looked like the Brownsville nickel. The hollow nickel case was left to cool in 1953, but it was not shelved.

To read the complete article, see: The Hollow Nickel Case: Espionage in the Borough of Brooklyn (http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=23&id=25448)

BOWERS SEEKS U.S. PAPER MONEY IMAGES FOR WHITMAN BOOK

Dave Bowers submitted the following call for help in locating images needed for his latest book on U.S. Paper Money. The list is too lengthy to include here, but I've reprinted the first section to provide a flavor. Contact me or Dave for more information and a copy of the full list. Not all are great rarities - even current notes are needed for illustration purposes. Can E-Sylum readers help? -Editor
I turned the basic manuscript for the new Whitman Encyclopedia of United States Paper Money to Whitman last month.

I am now down to just a FEW notes for which I need color photos. Especially needed are the small-size.

The listing is divided into two categories: Small size notes and large size, the last including a lot of esoterica. Proofs are fine for some of the high denomination large-size issues. Indeed, circulating examples do not exist of some of them.

Thank you for ANYTHING you can supply!

SMALL SIZE NOTES
Regular Issues

$1 Federal Reserve Note, Series of 2006, Green Seal, current, any FR district.
$10 Gold Certificate, Series of 1928 Gold Seal. Not released. Might a specimen impression be available?
$10 Federal Reserve Note, Series of 1928-A, YELLOW-GREEN seal only.
$10 Federal Reserve Note, Series of 1981-A • F- 2028 any.
$10 Federal Reserve Note, Series of 2006, current, FORT WORTH
$500 Federal Reserve Note, Series of 1928, Light Yellow-Green Seal
$500 Federal Reserve Note, Series of 1934-C • F-2204 any bank

QUERY: INFORMATION ON BUFFALO NICKEL MODEL TWO MOON SOUGHT

Author Ginger Rapsus writes:
Two Moon I have wrapped up novel #5, about the young lady who inherits a rare coin, takes it to a show, meets a nerd, who is actually a football player. Novel #6 is in the research stages...a fictionalized memoir of Two Moon, one of the models for the Buffalo nickel.

Any suggestions for info on Two Moon, besides the familiar Buffalo Nickel volumes? Today I went to Borders downtown and found a reference book on the Cheyennes, which will help tremendously! Thanks.


QUERY: JOSEPH CLOUD OF THE PHILADELPHIA MINT

In the course of looking up other things I came across a reference to a book described as follows: Conversations on Chemistry, in which the Elements of that Science are familiarly explained and illustrated by Experiments and Plates, From the last London Edition: The Second American Edition: Enlarged by an Appendix Consisting of a Description, with a Plate, and the Manner of Using of the New Hydro-Pneumatic Blow-Pipe, invented by Mr. Joseph Cloud of the Mint of the United States.

I'm continually impressed by what I learn of the skills and accomplishments of the gentlemen who manned the early Philadelphia Mint. From Director Rittenhouse on down, this was a very talented assemblage of individuals. Below is one reference to Cloud found on the Internet. Is anyone aware of other information on Joseph Cloud and his work at the Mint? -Editor


He was head of the melting and refining dept. of the US Mint, at Philadelphia from Jan 1798 until Jan 14 1836, when he resigned on account of poor eyesight. - Cloud Family Journal Vol. XIV, No. 4, p. 91 Aug. 12, 1845
Death Notice At his residence in Delaware county, on the 31st ult., Joseph Cloud, Esq., aged 75 years. The deceased was appointed an officer in the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, by General Washington, and held the situation till removed by Gen. Jackson. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him, and regarded as a man of fine scientific attainments.

Joseph CLOUD was "Refiner and Melter" of the United States Mint (Philadelphia) from 1797-1836. He was elected to America's oldest scholarly organization the American Philosophical Society (founded by Benjamin Franklin), in 1806. He served as Secretary (1812) and Curator (1814-22) under Thomas Jefferson who was President of the Society from 1797 to 1814. By training, Joseph Cloud was a chemist. Following are excerpts from Chemistry in Philadelphia, by Edgar F. Smith (1919), pp. 86-90: "He had an honorable share in finally establishing the individuality of palladium . . . Cloud's papers are thoughtful and give evidence of wide knowledge in chemistry and skill in experiment. . .


Joseph Cloud 1770 - 1845 (http://mykindred.com/cloud/TX/getperson.php?personID=I52734)

MARC MELLON DESIGNS OFFICIAL OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL MEDAL

In an earlier issue I inquired about the status of the official Barack Obama Presidential Inaugural medal. At that time no decisions had been announced and the Inaugural Committee seemed to be completely incommunicado.

Well, about 5pm today the committee published an email press release announcing the online opening of "the official Presidential Inaugural Store":
In just 16 days, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States, opening a new chapter in our shared story. You can own an enduring piece of American history by visiting the official Inaugural Store today.


One of the items for sale is a bronze "medallion", priced at $60. Although there is an image of the medallion, there is no information on its size, finish or other important numismatic details. I suspected it's really a medal, not a large size medallion. Here's what the site says:
The 2009 Presidential Inaugural medallion is meticulously sculpted in solid bronze by Marc Mellon. The front shows Barack Obama. On the opposite side is the Presidential Inaugural Seal. Includes wood base and a certificate of authenticity. Note - Medallions will not ship until Jan. 10th.


Obama Medallion


For more information on the Obama Inaugural medal, see: The 2009 Presidential Inaugural medallion (http://pic2009.inauguralcollectibles.com/optimizer/product/J0401.html)

What, no silver (or gold) versions? For more information I sought out the sculptor's web site. The diameter is 2.75 inches. Only the obverse was deisgned by Mellon - former U.S. Mint engraver Tom Rogers designed the reverse. The medals are being struck by the Medalcraft Mint of Green Bay, WI.

Marc Mellon’s obverse (front) design for the 2009 Official Barack Obama Presidential Inaugural Medal was recently approved by the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee. The Official Presidential Inaugural Medal has a history going back to the time of Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

The series is widely collected, and considered to be an important part of the art history of America. Proceeds from the sale of the 2-3/4” medal will help make the inaugural events open to as many people as possible, as we commemorate the day Barack Obama takes office as the 44th President of the United States.


Marc Mellon
Marc Mellon is one of America's foremost representational sculptors, well known for his portrait busts, commemorative statues, and other works in bronze exploring the worlds of dance, sport, and family life.

Schooled to pursue the sciences, Mellon left pre-medical studies for the study of history and philosophy before discovering art as a vehicle to embrace all of his interests. From the start he enjoyed the challenge of conveying something of the inner life of his subjects, multi-faceted portrait busts, dance and sports sculptures in balance and motion, and strong figures of women that project a modern female sensuality.


I was unaware of Marc Mellon before reading this announcement, but he has a very impressive body of work, including the 2003 Brookgreen Gardens medal. Be sure to check out his web site. Here's an image of him at work on the plaster model for the Obama obverse.

Marc Mellon Designing Obama medal


For more information on sculptor Marc Mellon, see: Marc Mellon Studio (http://www.mellonstudio.com/)

JOHN LAW MEDALS A SIGN OF THE (MODERN) TIMES

Cheapskate extraordinaire John Burns once scrawled this verse for me on a piece of paper:
Times are rough
Times are hard
Here's your f*^#ing
Birthday card


Well, the events of 2008 have brought Hard Times upon many of us. But if it's any consolation, the world has seen tough economic times before and managed to endure. For one example, numismatists can looks to medals relating to John Law and the Mississippi Company, such as those cataloged as number 115 and 116 in C. Wylys Betts' 1894 work, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals.

Roughly translated, the inscriptions include the phrases "Credit Is As Dead As A Rat" and "Bankruptcy is the Fashion" Here's a description and image of one of the medals from Stack's.

From the Stack's January 2006 sale (John J. Ford, Part 13):
John Law. Credit Is As Dead As A Rat, 1701. B.115, var; B.XXVI. Unsigned. Silver. 26.2 mm. 109.8 gns. Obverse: A man dead on the ground his wallet of now worthless letters of credit lying beside him inscribed WEXEL|BRIEFE. Reverse: An empty suit of clothes seen from behind with date 1701 on the waist. Very Fine. Silver gray toning with some iridescence. The types and legends refer to a drying up of credit and some sort of replacement fraud (''Now You See It, Now You Don't'') and contingent mass bankruptcy but not necessarily the collapse of Law's Mississippi scheme.


Betts 115 Obv Betts 115 Rev


To view the complete lot description, see: Stack's January 2006 Auction, Lot 583 (http://www.stacksarchive.com/viewlot.php?auction=ST0106&lot=583)

Last week I just didn't have a logical place to put Dick Johnson's submission. But here's the perfect opportunity, one week later. -Editor
Last week the Good Lord evidently realized that not enough people had been reading Hyman Minsky’s explanation of how financial cycles end in Ponzi schemes – the stage in which banks keep the boom going by lending their customers the money to pay interest and thus avoid default. So He sent Bernie Madoff to dominate the news for a week and give the mass media an opportunity to familiarize newspaper readers and TV watchers with just how Ponzi schemes work. What Mr. Madoff did was, in a nutshell, what the economy as a whole has been doing under the moniker “wealth creation.”


To read the complete article, see: The Ponzi Paradigm (www.counterpunch.org/hudson12232008.html)

RUSSIAN BANKER RECOMMENDS DROPPING TWO SMALLEST COINS

Dick Johnson emailed this submission last week, but somehow it got lost and didn't make it in to last week's issue. Sorry! Here it is. -Editor
In a long year-end interview published December 27, 2008, the head of the Russian Central Bank, Aleksey Ulyukaev, commented on a number of money subjects. Included in this were his statements on Russia's low denomination coins, particularly the 5- and 10-kopek coins. Like low-value coins in other countries it is costing Russia more to manufacture these coins than their face value. Question: Why does the Central Bank produce the [low value] coins? Many shops in Russia no longer take Russian pennies – the 10 kopek coins and lower. Why do you produce that many [when] the people don’t even care to pick up from the sidewalk? Are they worth the production cost?

Answer: Because we have to. We produce them because we have to in accordance with the legislation. We understand the point and our position is to abolish the smallest coins – at least 5 kopeks or 10 kopeks and smaller. But it’s up to the Parliament to adopt this or that decision, and of course we will fulfill it if they do. Question: By producing these coins you are losing money, aren't you?

Answer: We are losing. To read the lengthy interview click on the URL below (the coin questions are near the end): Russian Central Bank's policy (www.russiatoday.com/spotlight/release/1845/)

HOARD OF 7TH CENTURY GOLD COINS UNEARTHED IN ISRAEL

Stephen Pradier and Arthur Shippee forwarded information about this marvelous find of Gold coins in Israel. -Editor
7th century gold coin hoard The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday -- the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park.

The coins were minted during the early 7th century.

"This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem -- certainly the largest and most important of its period," said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Researchers discovered the coins at the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started at sunset on Sunday.

To read the complete article, see: Israeli archaeologists find rare gold coins (www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/22/israel.rare.coins/)

QUOTE: A POX UPON YE WHO MANHANDLE BOOKS

Glut by Alex Wright I do read more than just coin books, you know. I came across the following quote of interest to bibliophiles in Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages by Alex Wright.

It's an interesting account of how man stored and processed reams of information long before the age of the computer, a great way of providing some historical perspective. Technology may change, but people and their needs are constant.

I do what I do using a computer and Internet connection, and if Leonard Forrer were alive today he'd probably be producing the Numismatic Circular in front of a keyboard much like mine. -Editor


Writing of the world's first library, author Wright states:

The books also included a warning that anyone who stole or vandalized a book would be subject to a curse "terrible and merciless as long as he lives."


FEATURED WEB SITE: NATIONAL NUMISMATIC COLLECTION

This week's Featured Web Site is recommended by John and Nancy Wilson. It's been featured before, but it's always well worth revisiting.

National Numismatic Collection


The National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution, one of the largest numismatic collections in the world and the largest in North America. Located in the National Museum of American History, Behring Center, the NNC includes approximately 1.6 million objects. There are over 450,000 coins, medals and decorations and 1.1 million pieces of paper money (including the recently acquired “Confederate Treasury horde” of cancelled Confederate paper money) in the collection, highlighting the entire numismatic history of the world.

The NNC contains many great rarities in coins and currency, from the earliest coins created 2,700 years ago up to the latest innovations in electronic monetary exchange, as well as fascinating objects such as beads, wampum, dentalia, and other commodities once used as money.

The collection emphasizes the development of money and medals in the United States. The core of the U.S. collection, consisting of more than 18,000 items, including coins of great rarity, came to the Smithsonian in 1923 from the United States Mint.


http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/numismatics/

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