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The E-Sylum (11/3/2013)

Book Content

The International Congress on Medieval Studies
Bob Leonard writes:

I fear that it has been many, many years since Joel Orosz attended the International Congress on Medieval Studies. After Medieval Curator Alan Stahl left the ANS in 2000, the American Numismatic Society stopped supporting it. (I have urged Ute Wartenberg Kagan to resume, but that must await the appointment of a new Medieval Curator.) Since 2000, an ad hoc group, Numismatists at Kalamazoo, has kept the numismatic session going, with unfailing help from Dr. Stahl. However, the ANS reception is a thing of the past!

For anyone with the least interest in medieval coins, the Medieval Congress is an incredible treat. True, there will typically be only two to six papers on medieval numismatics, but the Book Exhibit covers all the academic publishers--and at significant discount prices. Several out of print dealers set up also. There is even a coin dealer, Allen Berman! I probably am making a mistake in revealing this, but I have purchased a number of scarce numismatic books there over the years, usually at favorable prices.


Rare Coin Vending Machine
Rare Coin vending machine In an email with the subject line "Rare coin gumball machine?", Hubert Walker writes:

This is the first one of these I've ever seen. Found it at a gas station on N Main St in Clinton, TN., and thought it might interest you and your readers.

Thanks! Can't say I've ever seen one. Almost as good as the fabled cigarette vending machines where Q. David Bowers got 1955 Double die cents in change. -Editor

Heritage Seeks U.S. Coin Cataloguer
Mark Van Winkle of Heritage Auctions writes:

We just hired a full-time U.S. coin cataloger who is going to move here to our Dallas headquarters. I keep getting applications, though, maybe every other day for a remote cataloger position. Most of them don’t have the vaguest idea of what is required. Many of them only have an in-home library that consists of a Red Book and a Breen book. I received one application from a gemologist! We would still like to hire at least one more remote cataloger, so please keep our ad running.

Here's a chance to leverage your library, bibliophiles. If you or someone you know is interested, click on their ad in this issue to view the requirements and apply. -Editor

More on the Copper Coinage of the Habsburgs
Regarding the "Los Austrias Coppers" book I asked about last week, Francois Velde writes: THE LOS AUSTRIAS coppers (1516-1700)

According to Google Books, the book was published in 2011. I haven't seen it but it must be an improvement on what existed 15 years ago when I researched this topic. "Los Austrias coppers" means the copper coinage of the Habsburgs (as we call them now, the House of Austria as they were known).

Ron Haller-Williams writes:

An extract is available. The copyright date range of 2006-2013 probably reflects work leading up to this and the earlier publication of parts e.g. in talks, articles, etc. They also have some other interesting books

To read the extract, see: Los maravedís de los Austrias (1516-1700) (

To see the other books for sale, visit:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEW BOOK: THE LOS AUSTRIAS COPPERS (1516-1700) (

Bryce Brown's Thanksgiving Offer
Numismatic literature dealer Bryce Brown writes:

My specialty is "filling in the gaps" in researchers' libraries. My website is reasonably up-to-date, so I thought I'd offer E-Sylum readers a Thanksgiving Special: Free domestic postage for any $100 order in the month of November.

To visit Bryce's web site, see: Bryce Brown's Coin Auction Catalogs (

On Grading 'Reconsideration'
Alan Luedeking writes:

Is anybody else as steamed about the new PCGS ad as I am?

Here's a quote from the ad:

"RECONSIDERATION is a new service level from PCGS that allows you to submit your coins for regrading without the risk of a potential crack out if the coin does not receive an upgrade."

Alan adds:

PCGS now has a vested interest in grading too low the first time around since they can collect a premium from you every time they increase the grade by a point! They're asking you to pay to correct their mistake! So what happens if they graded it too high? What ever happened to "getting it right the first time"?

In the Beginning, God created coins. And saw that they were Good. Then God created Adam, so the coins would have someone to Honor and Keep them. Adam saw that they were Good too, but some were Very Good and others Fine indeed. Although all of God's coins were equal in His eye, to help Adam he created Steve. Now Adam's coins could be professionally third-party graded.

God said go forth and multiply, and soon there were grades aplenty, some seventy in all. And God said it was good. But one day Adam prayed to God, asking for the wisdom to tell the difference between Steve's MS-63 and MS-64. And so the Lord unleashed upon the land a bevy of fourth-party graders, to grade the grades of the graders.

And one day Adam prayed to God, asking "Lord, forgive me, for I can no longer see thy coins. And God saw that indeed, the coins were obscured by layers of plastic emblazoned with lengthy hieroglyphic grade descriptions, and encrusted with multiple stickers of approbation.

And God said, "What hath I wrought?"

[Like all grading service innovations beforehand, this one was undoubtedly created in response to a perceived need, pressure from competition, or both. The PCGS ads state that it was requested by their users. And like all other innovations it will have consequences on the industry, intended or otherwise. But none of us can truly predict what they will be. The only sure thing is that there will always be differing opinions. -Editor]
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