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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 25, June 21, 2009, Article 18

FIRST NEW YORK NUMISMATIC CLUB MEETING PHOTO

Last week in my review of the latest issue of ANS Magazine I published a photo taken at the first meeting of the New York Numismatic Club. Jerry Fochtman writes:
That's a real nice and clear picture of the NYNC meeting at the Chop House! I've been looking for one of the first dinner they had on January 24, 1913, and possibly a list of who's who in the picture.


I asked John Kleeberg, who writes:
Mr. Fochtman is asking about the photograph of the first Club dinner, held at the Hotel McAlpin, on January 24, 1913, which is reproduced in the Numismatist for March 1913 (page 146) and the New York Numismatic Club Year Book for 1913 (page 8). That's a different event from the one in the photograph in the ANS Magazine.

The photograph reproduced in the ANS Magazine is a photograph of the Club meeting of November 12, 1909 (not the inaugural meeting - the inaugural meeting of the Club was December 11, 1908). This photograph also appears in Mehl's Numismatic Monthly, December 1909, page 194, and in The Elder Magazine, January 1910, page 14. The same photograph also appears in Adelson's 1958 history of the ANS (facing page 157), with many of the persons identified, although with an incorrect date and with many faces retouched. The reproduction in the ANS Magazine is the best one I've seen so far.

The photographs of the November 12, 1909 meeting and of the January 24, 1913 dinner also appear in the New York Numismatic Club History of 1961 (pages 6 and 19) and the 1992 edition of the New York Numismatic Club history (pages 8 and 21), which was largely a reprint of the 1961 edition.

The date of the photograph can be determined from the dates given in Mehl's and Elder's magazines; and also from the fact that John H. Clapp appears, since he did not attend many meetings (he lived in Washington, DC).

NYNC 05-00063


The individuals depicted in the photograph are: Head table, left to right: Bearded man at extreme left, unfortunately unidentified, possibly Charles Leopold Podhaiski or J. A. Clarke; Joseph C. Mitchelson, Elliott Smith (goatee), Daniel R. Kennedy, Albert R. Frey (mustache), Frank C. Higgins (mustache), Edgar H. Adams (mustache), D. Macon Webster (goatee), Thomas L. Elder.

Seated at the left of the front table, left to right: Wayte Raymond (glasses and cigar), Victor D. Brenner (bearded), Elmer Sears, Stephen K. Nagy, Bauman L. Belden (bearded, appears to have a water jug on his head)

Seated at the right of the front table, right to left: George H. Blake, William H. Woodin (mustache, holding cigar), John H. Clapp, and on the extreme right, partly cropped off, William R. Weeks.

Everyone who appears in this picture is important - Brenner, of course, and William H. Woodin, who worked himself to death in 1933-34 saving the U.S. financial system, but it is also the only photograph I know of that shows Stephen K. Nagy (the son-in-law of John Haseltine) whom David Tripp describes in his book on the 1933 double eagle as "the top crook of them all" (Tripp, page 101).

John H. Clapp was one of the prior owners of the Clapp collection, the nearly complete collection of U.S. coins that Louis Eliasberg bought. D. Macon Webster, the attorney of the Club, was a pioneering African-American civil rights attorney. William R. Weeks, another attorney, had a rather uneven career: he served as historiographer and librarian of the ANS, but he also looted his clients' monies and got thrown into Ludlow Street Jail.

While we're correcting things, the Chicago Coin Club was founded in 1919, not 1933, the Brooklyn Coin Club in 1932, not 1933, and the Bronx Coin Club in 1933, not 1934.

The ANS Magazine also has a photo of the 1910 ANA Convention (although the person that is identified as Zerbe I think is actually John Henderson). That's noteworthy because there is no official photograph of the 1910 convention - Mr. "Charles F. Allen," who took the official photograph, collected money from everyone for it and then disappeared.

The photograph in the ANS Magazine (which also appears in Adelson, facing page 160) is probably a snapshot made by Edgar H. Adams, an enthusiastic photographer who also did the plates for Elder's coin auctions.


What a Who's Who of American numismatics! Many thanks to John for providing the information. -Editor




Wayne Homren, Editor

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