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Everything posted by mmarotta

  1. In some years past, after Midnight Mass I have given a gold coin and myrrh to the Baby in the Manger with a note: "Balthazaar will be here later with the frankincense." I am sure that it always gives the priests something to talk about.
  2. These were the last two coins I bought to complete my collection of small Greek silvers, worth about a day's wages, from the towns and times of famous philosophers. I bought an Abdera obol some years earlier, but then re-attributed it to Samos. Abdera was the home of Democritus (Demokritos) and Protagoras. Democritus posited the existence of atoms (uncuttables) as the ultimate constituent of matter. Protagoras is known from the Dialogues of Plato for his debate with Socrates. (The images are in my Gallery. I am still having problems here. I cannot upload images from my computer. I was looking for a way to link from the Gallery, but I do not see that option.)
  3. (getting a lot of error messages)
  4. Fascinating! Thanks. Always a pleasure reading your posts, Ian.
  5. Still breaking in a new scanner (HP7610: BIG platen for those coffee table books). Central Bank of China 20 cents Note that the back shows the printer: Chung Hwa Book Co. Ltd.
  6. How would that be possible? The artifacts, the coins, go back to the 4th, they say, but the most recently minted coin defines the "terminus ante quem" (nothing earlier than this). They could have been buried yesterday, but they could not be locked up before the coins were minted.
  7. Very nice, indeed. The Franklin and Hall is also easy to like. See below. If you goto the Library of Congress website, you can find this illustrated narrative about Franklin, printing, and money. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/franklin-printer.html Just following the easy hits from the search engine produced this from the University of Missouri Press: Franklin also used mica chips in his notes. The American Philosophical Society has a bit on David Hall (1714-1772) here: http://www.amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.H142.k-ead.xml
  8. On my blog here: http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2013/11/money-as-press-and-speech.html I actually have about a dozen of these. Another Iceland shows people reading. A little one from China comes from a textbook publisher. Brazil honored its poet Carlos Drummond de Andrande. Estonia is all about authors and I have a couple of those, also. I was told by an ethnic Estonian that in the 1930s, people did not counterfeit money: they counterfeited postage stamps because it is a nation of writers. I also have a Danish note with Karen von Blixen-Finecke ("Out of Africa" writing as Isak Dinesen). I suppose that as with the Scientists, the American author who fits the series is Benjamin Franklin. Can't get a good scan of one of those, not a modern one anyway. Speaking of Franklin, nice artifact there, Scotty! Condition is not great, but the name makes up for it. Actual Franklins are rare.
  9. I am creating an article for my blog and these will be some of the illustrations. It is a famous argument here and now in US politics whether or not "money is speech." These are some of the banknotes I have that celebrate Writing, Printing, and Literacy. Money is Speech - Money is Press. In Greek: Krypho Scholeio: The Hidden School - from a time when teaching Christianity was punish by Islamic Law of the Turkish occupiers. Iceland's First Printing Press Iceland is the world's most literate nation, as measured by the number of books published per capita in the native language. On the face of this note, Guðbrandur Þorláksson (1541-1624) who edited and published at least 80 books, including the Bible in Icelandic and the Icelandic Lawbook. Antoine de Saint Exupery, author of several books including the whimsical Little Prince, but also Night Flight and Wind Sand and Stars. A personal friend of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Charles A. Lindbergh, he returned to France in 1940 for fly for the Free French and was shot down over the Mediterranean.
  10. The Alberta notes (ccg #5 above) are considered part of the same cultural context. The economies and of course the cultures of the US and Canada being so tightly bound, that the standard reference - The Standard Catalog of Depression Scrip of the US by Mitchell and Shafer includes Canadian issues. See also the website http://depressionscrip.com for Alberta Stamp Scrip. Re Detroit (Scottishmoney #8 above), yes, the note has the "snap" that bankers like. I am not sure if a general taxonomy can be made by this, but the the Detroit scrip was a loan against property taxes. So they had more resources to depend on. Also, Detroit was a large, otherwise booming industrial city of its time, the Silicon Valley or Edinburgh of its time. Henry Ford told a newspaper that the "real" depression was six months in the past. Whether or not that was true, the fact is that they had reason to expect a temporary condition that allowed them to draw on their resources, and thereby to print high quality notes. On that point, when I worked with the Traverse City Bay Bucks committee, I found an old-style printer, Backwoods Press, who could have produced intaglio on hemp paper, but the Committee Comrades saw no reason to waste money on money, which to them was just a utilitarian medium; so Traverse City got the proletarian version.
  11. This forum - as most others in numismatics - is organized by a physical taxonomy: US coins, Foreign coins, ... etc. In fact, my collections are all pretty much thematic. This Sierra Pen medal fits into a couple of categories, perhaps the more salient being Writing & Publishing. I have these banknotes: Bulgaria celebrated its first printing press. Iceland celebrated literacy. Slovenia honored its first ABCD. Hungary was always big on the poet Sándor Petőfi and I have several. And I have this medal from the Pitman Graphics Company Bronze 75 mm (3 inches). Extremely high relief. Plain edge with incuse “Medallic Arts Company Bronze.” Obverse: “Serving the Graphic Arts / 1906 – Fiftieth Anniversary – 1956” “Pitman” (At left above P engraver’s name: Harold M). Center: in Wreath: Camera, Press, Engraver’s hand with tool. Reverse: three scenes: “Photo Engraving”: “Lithography”: “Rotogravure”. Center triangle with center circle Camera and operator. Harold M. Pitman founded the company in Chicago in 1907. Starting out by himself, he made and sold steel dies and copper plates to engravers. Pitman celebrated its 100th birthday in 2007. Agfa Gevaert Group acquired Pitman for $80 million on July 15, 2010. The Pitman brand is still seen at 16 sales and operations offices in the USA. Brief history from AgfaGevaert
  12. 38 mm. Silver. Reeded edge. Obverse: “Sierra Ball Pens” on Mountain. “Faber Castell / 1986” below. Reverse modeled on Morgan Dollar. Legends “United States of America One Troy Oz. / .999 Fine Silver.” More industrial medals on my blog article here.
  13. PS Among the lots were Krugerrands, modern coins, of course. Also, others were stored in ammo boxes, also a mode for hoarders of our generation, and not likely for anyone before 1940.
  14. Actually, the truth is a bit different. As so often, Snopes had the story. It is from 2002. It is from Fredericksburg, Virginia, not Frederick, Maryland The birds were not nesting in the machine. The owner did not find $4000 on the roof. http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/carwash.asp (Other birds are also attracted to shiny objects. And it is still an interesting story.)
  15. Yeah... that is an interesting fact, that governments claim a monopoly on money. I mean, it is in the US Constitution Art I Sec 8 as an enumerated power. But I also point out that Congress shall keep and publish a journal (Article I Section 5). Other people could sit in the galleries, take notes - sometimes verbatim with shorthand - and publish their reports. At first, the US Senate kept no records. They were not required to, only allowed to if they wanted: "shall". So that is a double problem. They were empowered to keep and publish a journal but chose not to; and, again, to meet the public need, private individuals reported on the Senate. So, what if the government chose not to mint coins? To me, this is a grey area, a contradiction within the Constitution.
  16. All very interesting. It is truly amazing what numismatics reveals. Thanks.
  17. The Howell Trade Dollar by Michael E. Marotta The Stock Market Crash of 1929 marked the onset of the Great Depression, but it took 30 months for the banks to fail. After all, the stock market had crashed often, sometimes twice in a decade. While the effects were not to be ignored, they were negligible in an agrarian, frontier society. The purpose of the stock market is to raise new capital for industrial ventures and in this it competes with other avenues. (Venture capitalists were known in ancient Athens.) So, it took three years of government intervention, first under Hoover's New Deal, then, finally under Roosevelt II, before total economic collapse occurred. And even so, all that was missing was money. Most people had the same assets (and liabilities) they held the day before and would hold the day after. What they needed was a medium of exchange. So, the Howell Board of Commerce issued "stamp scrip." The First National Bank in Howell was placed in conservatorship on February 13, 1933. The Howell Trade Dollar was issued on February 22. Within two weeks, all 5000 notes were in circulation. This is telling because in order to get one, you had to spend $5. Some people bought automobiles in order to acquire many of them. Other people paid off accounts three years old. The notes circulated for 6 months and were widely regarded as having been successful. What made this scrip special and subject to study on the national level is that it depended on the "velocity" of money. The holder of a note had to spend it every three days. When the note was spent, a 2-cent stamp was affixed to the back. After 52 transactions, the note was redeemed by the Howell Board of Commerce for a real dollar. (If the note was not spent, the holder still had to buy a 2-cent stamp.) The idea was to keep this money in circulation. The notes had a natural tendency to accumulate in the shops of retail merchants. Therefore, they were sold to businesses, school boards, etc., at a 5% discount. Citizens Insurance of Howell was one of many businesses to pay wages in Howell Trade Dollars. Some of the details of how the scrip was actually used are no longer clear. Some issues show some kind of tally. It is not likely that these are final evaluations, since about half the places are still open. Many of the stamps have double zeroes written across them. The tallies could represent the whole dollar value of the purchase which necessitated the stamp. If so, the 00 would indicate that the stamp was bought as a penalty for holding the note without spending it. Also, according to the legends on the back of the note, stamps were required every 10 days. The notes seem to have been intended to circulate from July 25, 1933 to December 6, 1934, a total of 509 days, 519 allowing for a 10-day period before the first stamp was due.
  18. STAMP SCRIP During the Great Depression of the 1930s, hundreds of communities created their own currencies. I believe that 1200 of all kinds have been catalogued. That includes "wooden nickels" as well as debt instruments, such as that of Detroit, and other cities, that borrowed against future property taxes. In Lansing, Michigan, the city-owned utility, the Board of Water and Light, created emergency money that could be used to pay for city water and electricity bills. The city's own workers were paid some fraction of their wages in this scrip and it circulated well in the community. Stamp scrip was also a popular alternative. It was based on the theory of "velocity" of money, then still a relatively new concept from economist Irving Fisher who endorsed the scrip of Wörgl in Austria. Different plans were put into place, but essentially, at each transaction, someone paid a small fraction of the note's nominal value as a "tax" or "subsidy" and a validating stamp or sticker was affixed to the note. Usually the backs were adorned, though sometimes the fronts, depending on the number of stamps needed. In Howell, Michigan, stamps were required every 10 days. The notes seem to have been intended to circulate from July 25, 1933 to December 6, 1934, a total of 509 days, 519 allowing for a 10-day period before the first stamp was due.
  19. The best website for this is http://www.depressionscrip.com which has a good history and a wealth of images. From my collection. For an article in the MSNS Mich-Matist, I wrote:
  20. Dammit.... I already saw it on a wall in my office ... and then I realized: "wallpaper" right... Nice images, though. Captured and put into the ScreenSavers.
  21. Money of the Bible, 3rd Edition by Kenneth Bressett. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing LLC. 120 pages. 10 x 12 inches. Hardcover with dustjacket. $29.95. This large format "coffee table" book (25.4 x 27.9 cm) is yet another lavishly illustrated, inexpensive, and authoritative publication from Whitman, written by an expert. While the narrative is not as detailed as the examinations by David Hendin (Guide to Biblical Coins, 4th ed., New York: Amphora, 2001), the stories are lively and compelling. Coins and other artifacts give historical context to the Old and New Testaments. This book also provides other illustrations, as well, to underscore or highlight the facts. From jewelry and the first coins to modern tourist trinkets with ancient-looking symbols, knowledgeable collectors and novices will find a treasury of information surrounded by colorful art from across the millennia.
  22. I was never a big CWT chaser. I had a few, including "Shoot him on the Spoot." So, Fuld was just a name I knew when I had to attribute a token for someone else. However, I received the new 3rd Edition of A Guide Book of Civil War Tokens by QDB and it has an essay, "Reminiscence" by George Fuld. So, I did some web searching on key words and really found it difficult. The tokens were easy. He is well-known for that. The ANS published this biography. Like many of us, he was pretty much a private person. His publications range all over exonumia from Colgate-Palmolives to Washington Peace Medals. If you look for him as an industrial chemist, you can find a few publications archived in and around the American Chemical Society. Mostly, after about 1965 or so, he just did coins.
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