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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 12, March 23, 2008, Article 13

WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY MARCH 23, 2008

This week I was on vacation with my family - we drove over
1,000 miles, visiting Wilmington, NC, Myrtle Beach and
Charleston SC and points in between.  Our overnight in
Wilmington was memorable.  We had decided to wing our first
night (last Saturday) without making reservations in advance.
We ended up having dinner near Wilmington and stopped at three
nearby hotels looking for rooms.  We settled on a place and
checked in just as a near-tornado-force rainstorm rolled
through.  I don't think I've ever seen so much rain coming
down so hard.  We kept our children away from the windows
until it passed.  Luckily, there was no major damage or
flooding nearby, but I'm sure glad we weren't still out on
the road.  Later I fired up my laptop computer and we viewed
photos of tornado damage the day before in Atlanta.

No numismatic activity to report from this trip, however.
The closest was when our horse-drawn carriage tour driver
in Charleston pointed out three firemarks on homes we passed.
I remembered first learning about firemarks from a presentation
given by Armor Murdoch at the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic
Society when I was a new member in the late 1980s.  Firemarks
are plaques placed on the outside of buildings to designate
that fire insurance had been purchased from a local fire
brigade.  They typically have the insignia or initials of
the fire company.  I have some books in my library on these,
but I've never collected them.  Armor passed around his copy
of Footprints of Assurance, one of the best works on firemarks.
Do any of our readers collect or research firemarks?

Another near-miss numismatically took place Monday morning.
We drove 15 miles south from Myrtle Beach to Brookgreen
Gardens, a place we've discussed before in The E-Sylum.
Created by Archer Huntington and his wife, Brookgreen is a
sculpture garden showcasing magnificent works by America's
top sculptors, including many who also designed coins.  But
after visiting the welcome center my wife decided that the
kids weren't going to like it.

Our oldest (9-year-old Christopher) wanted to stay.  My wife
offered (or was it threatened?) to leave the two of us there
for the day, but wishing to keep the family intact I gave in.
It was embarrassing, but I had to ask if they'd let us have
our money back and leave.  A supervisor came out to talk
with us.  He was quite gracious.  He spoke with my wife but
she still wanted to leave.  So we got our money and left.

The Most Tranquil Place on Earth was no match for my wife
and kids.  The phrase "pearls before swine" came to mind,
but to keep peace I bit my tongue.  In the end we had a fine
day of family fun together even though the finest piece of
sculpture we saw was the T-Rex in the Jurassic Golf miniature
golf course.  In my mind I quoted The Terminator: "I'll be
back".  Someday, I hope to get the chance.

While I was gone a package arrived from Stack's.  It contained
the final three hardbound volumes of the John J. Ford sale
catalogs.  It's a real treat to finally have the complete
21-volume hardbound set on my shelves.  I'm still disappointed
that Ford's unaccounted-for Nova Constellatio silver pattern
set wasn't documented in the sales (If anyone knows where it
is, they arenít talking, at least not to me).  Still, it's a
magnificent set that I'll refer to often.  As I've said before,
an American numismatic library is incomplete without a set of
these landmark sales.  Does anyone know approximately how many
of each were bound by Stack's?  Were the same number of each
hardbound?  How many complete sets are out there now?

Over the holiday weekend my wife's sister's family visited us
from Pittsburgh.  Yesterday we went to the Smithsonian's National
Air and Space Museum center near Dulles Airport.  Only minutes
from our home, I hadn't been there yet.  I had been looking
forward to visiting there ever since seeing the Imperial War
Museum at the former Duxford air field near Cambridge while
on assignment in London last year.   Ensconced at the center
are an Air France Concorde and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
What really stopped me in my tracks though, was the Enola Gay,
the B-29 bomber which dropped the atomic bomb that destroyed
Hiroshima.

Numismatically, I noted several displays of medals, including
groups of Apollo-11 medals and Soviet/Russian space medals.
These exhibits were not well lighted, however, and unfortunately
I didn't have time to linger and review the display text.
Another case displaying a pilot uniform also showcased a set
of four medals, but there was no accompanying text to explain
what the medals were.  Although medals were decidedly second
and third-class citizens in this museum, I was nevertheless
pleased to see them there and in the public eye.

The museum also featured a couple of elongated cent machines.
It cost a dollar (four quarters) plus a cent to make a "squished
penny" with one of several available designs.  Not having enough
pocket change between us, our kids had to go without.  Installing
a change machine nearby would probably lead to a tripling of
elongated cent sales.

 WORKS BY NUMISMATIC SCULPTORS AT BROOKGREEN GARDENS
 esylum_v09n17a21.html

 JOHNSON: PLAN TO VISIT BROOKGREEN GARDENS FOUR TIMES
 esylum_v09n18a13.html

 WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 1-2 SEPTEMBER, 2007
 esylum_v10n35a14.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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