Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Crime currencies

It is difficult to search for these stories, because there is a crypto currency also called “Italian Lira”. The crypto version has a total market cap of 1 BTC (about $14,000 USD).

Thursday, July 04, 2019


Last Monday I toured the Massachusetts studio of the sculptor Daniel Chester French. He designed the Lincoln memorial. There are quite a few pictures of the memorial on Twitter today. The pictures are taken from behind temporary fencing erected for tonights' Salute To America.

The memorial was intended to show the difficulty of Lincoln as the decision maker during the Civil War. Lincoln knew his actions would lead to many deaths. French's monument is a powerful representation of the necessity and undesirability of war. Even if you have seen the actual memorial it is enlightening to see the earlier, smaller versions, that the artist used to work out the design.

The actual sculpture was carved right here in the Bronx in 1922 by the Piccirilli brothers. They were Italian immigrants. An article by Lucie Levine points out "The brothers faced anti-immigrant sentiment even as they worked to realize some of the United States’ most patriotic sculptures.... The Lincoln Memorial Commission rejected French’s suggestion to have “Piccirilli” inscribed on the pedestal of the Lincoln Memorial."

Friday, June 21, 2019

Stater of Kherei

DYNASTS OF LYCIA. Kherei, circa 430-410 BC. Stater, Tlos mint.
Obv: Helmeted head of Athena to right.
Rev: πŠœπŠ•πŠπŠ•πŠšπŠ†πŠ›πŠ‹-πŠ—πŠπŠ€πŠ‡πŠ† (Lycian; =kerαΊ½i-tlawi); Gorgoneion within border of dots in a circular incuse.

There are two or three known examples. The photo is my composite of the Jameson specimen and the example auctioned in Switzerland by Nomos.

The inscription is in Lycian and names the ruler and the city of issue.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

US Mint suspends redemption program

A Coin World article by Paul Gilkes reports that the US Mint has suspended the Mutilated Coin Redemption Program “pending the development of additional safeguard”.

As previously reported here, the US government pays $19.84/pound for dimes, quarters and half dollars that are bent, broken or corroded. Chinese recyclers were returning 'coins' that did not have the metallic composition of original coins. Every year millions of dollars of such coins are somehow being found in China by firms that recycle cars and electronic equipment.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Counterfeiter Daniel Johnson

A story in the LA Times by Del Quentin Wilber includes photos of the counterfeit $100 bills produced by Daniel Johnson. The Secret Service seized fake bills with a face value of $300,000 from Johnson's counterfeiting plant and home.

The counterfeiter was killed in a shootout with US Marshals in May 2018.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Dr. William H. Sheldon, Ted Naftzger and the Large Cent Thefts.

John Kleeburg's lecture on the large cent thefts at the ANS last year. 70 minutes.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Copyright has expired for US books from 1923

After many extensions, US books printed in 1923 are now out of copyright. This week the Internet Archive made 33 numismatic works from 1923 available.

1923 wasn't a stellar year. The works are mostly auction catalogs. Included is Henry Chapman’s Ancient and modern foreign and American gold coins collected by the late Enrico Caruso, the sales catalog of the opera singer's coin collection.

No illustrations. This is the copy from the American Numismatic Society library. The catalog is 'priced' (sale prices recorded in the margins).