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The E-Sylum (8/22/2010)

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John W. Adams forwarded this report on last week's activities of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society at the ANA convention in Boston. Below are Dan Gosling's photos of Frank Campbell and George Kolbe at the Massachusetts Historical Society. -Editor

NBS at the Mass. Historical Society NBS Awards Boston 2010

The NBS Symposium was the first of four NBS events at the Boston ANA. John W. Adams spoke to a full house on his recently-released book: The Medallic Portraits of Admiral Vernon/Medals Sometimes Lie. A copy of the book was signed by all in attendance and later, to complete a virtuous cycle, was auctioned to raise $5000 for the Club.

Lacking both our president and our vice-president, the Board meeting pushed most items forward but did renew the Club's commitment to YN scholarships. The regular meeting, another full house, with this one held in the awe-inspiring Dowse Library of the Massachusetts Historical Society, was riveted by Frank Campbell's biographical sketch which, for those who missed it, will be published in The Asylum.

The meeting, after the customary auction, adjourned by Treasurer and meeting chair David Sundman to view an unforgettable 10 case exhibit of some of the Society's numismatic treasures - all kudos to Anne Bentley for its design and execution.

Later, the NBS Board and invited guests boarded a bus to take them to fabled The Country Club, where a gourmet dinner put everyone in the perfect mood to "roast" our founder, George Kolbe. Toastmaster Joel Orosz was signed to a lifetime contract.

Dan Hamelberg and a small cabal created a lovely 10 ounce silver medal, the George F. Kolbe Lifetime Achievement Award. They then proceeded to award inscribed medal #1 to George and #2 to me. Marc Ricard designed the obverse and his dad the reverse.

Congratulations to George and John on their awards - their medals are great numismatic souvenirs related to numismatic literature, as is the coin Alan Weinberg mentioned last week. I didn't have an image handy then, but I do now, thanks to Nathan Markowitz. The coin was displayed at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Neither Alan nor I had known of its existence, and likely few if any bibliophiles had, either. What a wonderful association item from one of the greatest numismatic auctions ever held in the U.S.! -Editor

Charles Anthon Engraved 1867 Mickley sale dollar

Alan Weinberg writes:

It's an 1867 Seated Liberty dollar pulled from circulation that year - thus likely mint state. The reverse was planed off and hand-engraved in script profoundly well, celebrating Charles Anthon's apparent $1000 total purchase level at the 1867 Woodward auction of the Joseph Mickley coin collection. It was given to Anthon, presumably by dealer Woodward, as Anthon's change from the $1000 purchase, and so engraved ( presumably by Woodward's jeweler) to commemorate the extensive Anthon auction purchases at the sale. That's how I interpreted the minute but readable engraved script.

You can easily read "Charles Anthon" and "W. Elliot Woodward" in the top several lines and "Great Mickley Collection" at the bottom curve. The central engraving was readable behind the case glass but is obscured in the photo by toning. Still, it is a remarkable image taken with a cellphone through glass from about two feet away and enlarged.

It's a credit to MHS curator Anne Bentley (assisted by Boston-area collector/author John Adams) that this unique and obscure historical numismatic item was selected from MHS' multi-thousand piece collection to exhibit alongside rare early medals and coins for the special occasion of the Boston ANA. Undoubtedly, they recognized its "special appeal" to collectors.

Anne Bentley adds:

I'd like to remind folks who will be in our neighborhood between now and October 2 that it's not too late to visit the Massachusetts Historical Society to see the show.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NBS ACTIVITIES AT THE 2010 BOSTON ANA CONVENTION (

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