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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 11, March 16, 2008, Article 23

WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY MARCH 11, 2008

On Tuesday evening I attended the March dinner meeting of
our Northern Virginia numismatic social group.  We're still
searching for a name, but I was having so much fun I forgot
to propose my latest suggestion: "Nova Nummis".  The "Nova"
is short for "Northern Virginia".  I thought "Nova Nummis"
had a nice alliteration and the feel of a classic Latin
inscription like colonial U.S. coins.  Or should it be
"Nummis Nova"... ?

We had a nice turnout.  Roger Burdette had a family conflict
but the regulars were all there with the addition of Mike
Packard as a guest of Bill Eckberg.  Mike's a longtime
collector of half cents and Massachusetts coppers. The
regulars included myself, Wayne Herndon, Joe Levine, Dave
Schenkman, Tom Kays, Chris Neuzil and Bill Eckberg.

Tom was our host, and he picked a nice upscale restaurant
called The Lamplighter.  We were serenaded by a piano player
who should have stuck to playing rather than singing.  But
the food was great (as was the company).  The table was
decorated numismatically - Tom had brought two large round
potmetal trivets with images of the obverse and reverse of
the Morgan Dollar.  Tom pointed out that the date of March
11 was 130th anniversary of the first striking of the coin
in 1878.   Tom also passed around two Morgan silver dollars
in plastic display cases distributed in the 1960s by American
Savings Bank.  The coins had toned beautifully over the years.
Someone remarked that these were in a way the "first
slabbed coins."

The talk of slabbing led to a discussion of the strange turn
of events with the rotating staffs of coin grading companies
ANACS and ICG.   Dealer Wayne Herndon reported on the recent
Baltimore show, which was a huge success.  On Saturday he had
eight employees selling coins as fast as he could buy them,
and no one had downtime long enough to eat or use the restrooms.
What a market!

Bill Eckberg showed off highlights of his half cent collection
in the form of nice images on his iPhone.  It's a great way
to share your coins with people without actually having to
take them out of secure storage, especially when some are much
too valuable to carry around.

I passed around some numismatic literature, starting with my
copy of Eric Newman's new book on Fugio coppers, which had
just arrived the day before.  No one had seen a copy yet.
I also had on hand the 1877 volume of the Coin Collector's
Journal, which I had taken off the shelf to make an image of
an article Ron Abler needed for his research on Centennial
medals.  Other literature included recent club periodicals -
The Token and Medal Society (TAMS) Journal, the Society of
Paper Money (SPMC)'s Paper Money, and the Brasher Bulletin
from the Society for Private and Pioneer Numismatics (SPPN).

Tom brought copies of a March 1860 Harper's Magazine article
on coin collecting written by W.C. Prime.  Of interest to
bibliophiles are Prime's mention of recently-published numismatic
books and pamphlets, including Dickeson's "Manual of American
Numismatics", Humphrey's "Coin Collector's Manual", and Bushnell's
"Arrangement of Tradesmen's Cards, Political Tokens, Etc."  Tom
highlighted an interesting passage in the article where Prime
pooh-poohs the fad of variety collecting: "The recent mania for
coin collecting had led to the demand and payment of enormous
prices for some pieces of copper which will, in a few years'
time, be regarded as worthless.  Of this class are all coins
whose value depends on errors in the dies, such as the E Pluribs
Unum of New Jersey, or an Auctobi of Connecticut."  Tom also
passed around a display case with a number of St. Patrick's
coins, in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day.

While some people had to hit the road, others lingered for
some time, continuing the numismatic conversation and fellowship.
It was exactly the kind of relaxed gathering of fellow coin
geeks I'd hoped for when starting the group.  We're already
looking forward to next month, where Bill Eckberg will host
a meeting in Old Town Alexandria.

[While we were having our meeting down in Virginia, up in New
York E-Sylum regulars Joel Orosz and Len Augsburger were giving
their presentation at the American Numismatic Society on
paintings of the first Philadelphia Mint.  Len writes: "Everything
went really well.  They taped the presentation and will be making
a DVD which, I assume, will be available to order in a few weeks.
Afterwards we had a delightful dinner with Ute and Bob Hoge."
-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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