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The E-Sylum (12/22/2013)

Book Content

Howard Gibbs in Egypt
Larry Dziubek writes:

Is that Howard Gibbs on the Egyptian Rolls-Royce? Does he have a gun in his waistband?

Mystery Numismatic Postcard

Yep, that's collector Howard Gibbs of Pittsburgh in Egypt for the Farouk sale. I heard he got in trouble for bringing a gun into the country. Could be. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: POSTCARDS AND NUMISMATICS (

Bob Leuver on The E-Sylum, Bitcoins, and Jesse Owens
Bob Leuver (former head of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the American Numismatic Association) writes:

The E-Sylum, believe it or not, is quite exciting. The personal recollections of numismatic stalwarts such as Harvey Stack and Dave Bowers and the tidbits and slightly longer recollections and comments of members re numismatic items are extremely interesting and refreshing.

Barb Gregory's The Numismatist and your E-Sylum are my enjoyable window to numismatics. Each offers a different perspective and treat different topics.

I am waiting for Ken Bressett to incorporate and write about how Bitcoins are part of numismatics. As a retired Treasury hand--now 25 years--I find it interesting that Treasury funds about 60% of the Bitcoin program. At my sister-in-law's promotion (graduation) into the senior executive service at IRS Dec. 6, I asked IRS executives how IRS will tax Bitcoin profits. No profound information.

Regarding David Ganz's photo with Jesses Owens, David wisely recounted how renowned Mr. Owens was. I was on a panel with him in 1955, in Kankakee, Il, for all KKK county high school seniors. I believe, Mr. Owens was a VP at Ford then. The two of us talked for almost 1/2 hour prior to the panel. I was just a kid when Mr. Owens and Mr. Ralph Metcalf--who later was part of the Chicago political scene, set Olympic records in '36.

This is only the second time in my life that I've encountered the name of the town of Kankakee. The first was in a popular song, one of my favorites. QUICK QUIZ: Name the song! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: E-SYLUM READERS ON MEETING JESSE OWENS (

Kavan Ratnatunga on Bitcoins
Kavan Ratnatunga writes:

I do not understand the details on how the BitCoins system works. As far as I understood they are like a finite number of shares in a virtual company transacted only online.

Physical BitCoins independent of the digital representation could lead to fraud as hinted in article since you could hold the physical Bitcoins and spend the online version. I assume the real owner is as registered in the online database, and the physical Bitcoin then becomes just an independent collector's item with maybe a numismatic value and nothing else.

This Bitcoin Mint being shutdown is probably the best thing that happened to those who hold these novelty fantasy items from them.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN PHYSICAL BITCOIN MINTER (

Query: Are There Fake Numismatic Books?
Last week Elizabeth Hahn wrote:

Some interesting issues addressed specifically in the New Yorker article are how cases of forged antiquarian books are much less frequent because of how time consuming it can be to accurately reproduce each detail of text within such a book.

Arthur Shippee writes:

At least, they were, before the new technologies -- that's the gist of this crime, right?

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THEFTS SHOCK THE RARE BOOK WORLD : LC Authenticity Symposium: A Brief Report (

The Fantastic Confederate Cents
The Heritage article quoted last week contains this passage:

Very little is known as fact about original Confederate cents. What is known is either 12 or 16 pieces were struck in early 1861.

Bill Eckberg writes:

YAAAARGH!!!! Right after complaining that numismatic fallacies repeated often enough become numismatic fact, the article immediately states one of the biggest whoppers ever.

Please understand that I don't mind Heritage hyping such a consignment. That's their job, and I don't mind at all if someone wants to drop a huge amount of disposable cash on one of these curiosities. But, it is absolutely NOT "known" that they "were struck in early 1861," or that they were struck for the Confederacy or that they even existed at all before their alleged discovery shortly before the first sale of one. At least I have never seen any such evidence in print. If someone has it, please publish it. Otherwise, let's just call these fantasy pieces.

Not that there's anything wrong with fantasy pieces - there are the 1913 Liberty Nickels and the Fantastic 1804 dollars, of course. All fantasies, yet avidly collected and sought after for both their rarity and notoriety. -Editor


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