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The E-Sylum (3/26/2017)

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Stone Mountain Association Scrapbook Sought

1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar obverse 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar reverse

Jim Harris writes:

Can anyone direct me to a copy or information relating to: ‘Mrs. N. Burton Bass’s ‘Scrapbook of the [Stone Mountain Association] Harvest Campaign’, “from the Harry Sponseller collection”? Unfortunate I have no other information. I assume from the subject, it was put together C. 1927, perhaps privately printed and in limited edition. Not even sure of the format. Any assistance would be appreciated.

I added images of the 1925 Stone Mountain half dollar from the NGC Coin Explorer site. Can anyone help locate the scrapbook? Jim can be reached at . Thanks. -Editor

Researcher Seeks Earliest Records of Washington Tokens
Regarding the Washington tokens mentioned in the Oxford Numismatic Society blog article last week, Bob Leonard writes:

The author of this blog thought that the Double Head cent was struck as late as the 1840s, because "the token was still in circulation at mid century." This is an inadequate reason: 18th-century New Jersey coppers ("horseheads") were still found as late as the 1850s.

The date of striking is uncertain, however. I have been trying to locate the earliest record of each piece in this series, and the best I can come up with is a mention in the Third Bulletin of the Proceedings of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science that Item No. 319, "Copper Cent of America, Washington and Independence, 1783" was donated to this forerunner of the Smithsonian Institution Nov. 13, 1843 by Capt. J. S. Inglee (Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli, History of the National Numismatic Collections, 1968, p. 75). Capt. Inglee clearly thought it was old, so a date in the 1820s is more likely.

Does anyone know of any earlier records for any of these four pieces?

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

On 'Dropping a Dime'

Last week I asked, "Would anyone care to explain for our younger readers what “dropping a dime” means?" -Editor

Jeff Starck of Coin World writes:

It refers to that time long ago when there pay phones (What are those?!) and it cost a dime to make a phone call, generally to avoid trouble.

Pete Mosiondz, Jr. writes:

It was my understanding as a kid that it meant that one would go to the corner pay phone and call someone to let somebody know of another person’s behavior or conduct, or perhaps calling the police. Pay phones were a dime back then for the first three minutes. You would drop the dime in the appropriate slot and dial the number. Pay phones, as I recall, had slots for nickels, dimes and quarters.

Googler-in-Chief Ron Haller-Williams offers the following. -Editor

Well, if you Google the exact phrase (i.e. with the double quotes), the first hit on offer states:

The phrase refers to making a phone call. In early detective novels, it's a fairly literal reference to someone "dropping a dime" into a payphone slot to make a call (typically, to the police to rat out or snitch on some criminal activity).

Also on offer is this:

“Dimes” in Basketball. The term “dropping dimes” means making assists in basketball, and it is believed to refer to a person that could “drop a dime” into a payphone to tell the police about a crime. That means he “assists” the police in solving a crime.

Reading the above a couple of times should make it clear - and this comment is from a "Limey"!

P.S. I remember when (in the UK) one had to insert 3 pennies (value about 5c) into the slot, then either press Button A to get connected or Button B to get the money back. (Must have been about the mid 1950s.)

Thanks, everyone! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Dave Hirt On Maximilian Salmon, Lyman Low and George Lovett
Dave Hirt writes:

The bio on Maximilian Salmon was interesting to me. I own catalogs of both his coin sales. His address in the catalogs is 137 Pa. Ave. Baltimore, Baltimore. The same address is also listed in a copy of Mercer's Numismatic Directory for 1884 that I have.

Also, I was looking through the catalog of Lyman Low's sale of May 31, 1922, and noticed a lot that I will quote his description:

1887 Seneca Falls, NY 100th ann. Early view of the falls and log cabin. Dies by G. H. Lovett, who paid compliment by placing L H. L. NY in dies, the only instance where the cataloger name appears on a medal or token.

I wonder what was the connection of Lyman Low and Seneca Falls?

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Albert Delmonte
Jeffrey Zarit writes:

The story of the Dutch Ducat was very interesting, however, the Delmonte book was written by ALBERT Delmonte and NOT ANDRE. I believe there was a supplement for the gold version as there was for the silver one, with corrections and more plates

. In the mid 1970's, I met Mr. Delmonte when he came to the New York International convention. He was very knowledgable and I wish that I had more knowledge about Dutch numismatics then. Today, I would have dozens of detailed questions to ask him.

I believe the Dutch coins from about 1500-1800 are just as interesting and just as complex as the Germanic ones, however, they do not get the notice that they deserve.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

On Bar Mitzvah Medals
Jeff Starck writes:

Bar Mitvah gold medal obverse These are cataloged in Israels’ Money & Medals 1948/1973, published by Arnold Kagan. The work is indispensable for these early Israeli medals, with design and production details to answer almost any question.

I stumbled upon a few large bronze examples of this medal in my flea market and antique shop hunting, and noted Judaica expert/auctioneer William Rosenblum has sold examples from time to time. A total of 12 examples of various sizes and an array of metals were made, with mintages as high as 40,000 for the 19mm, 5-gram gold version.

The medal was issued to mark the Israeli states’ 13th anniversary or “birthday” but the importance of the Bar Mitvah design and the ubiquity of the more affordable bronze and silver examples makes them appropriate and popular gifts for that important ceremony in Jewish life.

I should also state that the medals are found on eBay from time to time, as this example is among my recent listings:
Jewish Bar Mitzvah bronze medal tribes of Israel, 59mm (

Bill Rosenblum writes:

The first issue of the medals was issued in 1961 on the 13th anniversary of Israel. Various size medals in gold, bronze and silver were issued then. The 1961 gold medals had mintage's of 10,000 for 27mm, 20,000 for the 22mm and 40,000 for the 19mm. They are not scarce but are always very popular and I've sold them to people who wanted an unusual Bar Mitzvah gift. And Rita and I have probably given out more than we've sold as our Bar Mitzvah gift. Similar issues were also struck in 1971, 1978 and the early part of this century.

The first issues were also struck in 19, 35 and 59mm in silver and 59mm in bronze. And there are number of varieties of some of those that make an interesting challenge to some. Some of the 19mm silver pieces were also issued as a key chain. Back in the 1970s there was even a dealer in Southern California who basically made a market (perhaps a small one) by buying and selling Bar Mitzvah medals.

Thanks. I'm glad these Numismatic Nuggets articles are finding an audience. They are a lot of work to put together, but serve as a great way to surface interesting items that might not otherwise be discussed. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: MARCH 19, 2017 : Bar Mitzvah Gold Medal (

More On Death By Books
Larry Gaye writes:

Bibliomortis is my candidate for "Death By Books" or bookshelves. I hope I'm one of the first, not to die by books, but to contribute my thoughts and insight regarding the subject.

Morten Eske Mortensen of Copenhagen writes:

In the year 2013 I actually by a split margin of just 1 minute survived the horrific destiny of ”Death by numismatic bookshelves”.

A series of photographs of this sad event have been put on the web. The photos show the exact place (the working desk), where I would have been either crushed or squeezed or fixated (for starvation) to death by hundreds and hundreds of kilograms of coin books pressing down on my back fixating my chest against the working place desk.

Today the shelves have been solidly bolted to the wall !

Morten Eske Mortensen collapsed bookshelves

Morten survived, but only by luck. Maybe we shouldn't laugh so much at the potential for calamity. My shelves survived the Virginia earthquake that damaged the Washington Monument, but I do wish now that they were anchored to the wall. My newest shelf came with a built-in strap for doing just that. I don't know if that's a new regulation, but it's a good idea. Toddlers have been killed climbing up to reach things on shelves. -Editor

To view Morten's photos, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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