Tuesday night was the monthly meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. We met at the San Vito Italian restaurant in Fairfax, near George Mason University. We had our best turnout ever, an encouraging sign for the future of the group.
Attending were Bill Eckberg, Chris Neuzil, Dave Schenkman, Howard Daniel, Joe Levine, Jon Radel, Julian Leidman, Mike Packard, Roger Burdette, Tom Kays, Traci Poole, Wayne Herndon and me.
I was the last straggler and squeezed onto the end of the table between Howard and Julian. I thanked Howard for the heads' up about the cgb.fr web site. He recalled visiting the shop on one of his trips to Paris. He said he doesn't often find titles in his Southeast Asian specialty area, but when he does, "It's a goodie".
Tom Kays was sitting next to Julian. I apologized for forgetting to bring my copy of Dye's Coin Encyclopedia. I had brought it along to show him the previous month, but he was unable to make it. His E-Sylum query about the book elicited some great responses.
I always look forward to Tom's attendance - he can always be counted on to bring some great coins for show and tell. It being Bastille Day, our host Mike Packard had suggested bringing "French items or items tied to the French Revolution". Tom was well prepared, bringing a number of French and French colonies pieces.
I brought two cases, one with French coins and another with odds and ends including charge coins and the Herr Alexander token we discussed before in The E-Sylum.
In choosing French coins I picked items mostly dating from Louis XIV through Louis XVI. Genuine and contemporary counterfeit coins, jettons, French colonial coins and a few newer items including an 1815 gold coin of Napoleon’s hundred days and an 1824 Lafayette medal filled out the case.
From Demi-Mousquetaires to counterfeit Sou Marques to the Isle du Vent 15 and 30 sols either people knew what they were right off, could not see them (as the lighting is usually set to "ambiance" in the various restaurants at which we dine), or they were afraid to ask. Book-wise I brought Coinage of France from the Dark Ages to Napoleon by Nicholas Mayhew.
I agree that the lighting at our meetings always leaves something to be desired. I should bring an extension cord and lamp in addition to the magnifier I usually manage to forget and leave in my car. I did have a hard time seeing much detail on Tom's coins, although I could tell that many were in great condition.
In addition were some Presidential items I was researching. One was a Lincoln medal. I asked Joe Levine which one it was. He replied that it was the one with the error. So my question didn’t turn out to be as elementary as I thought it would. This was a 60 mm Lincoln medal made by Hugues Bovy of Geneva Switzerland. Hugues only began engraving in 1864 and this was a much admired medal from 1865 done in association with the Republican Club of Geneva that got him started on a long career to rival his engraver uncle.
Hugues used words from the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln’s second inaugural address, but in abbreviating "Proclam’d" he left out an "I." Other versions of the medal corrected the spelling. Also in the case was an 1864 McClellan token, William Barber’s 1881 Lincoln / Garfield U.S. Mint medal in silver, a mechanical McKinley / Hobart jugate Goldbug and a pinback with McKinley’s picture in memoriam.
I'm not sure who brought them, but a couple nice copies of the Libertas Americana medal were passed around the table, too.
Howard brought his copy of Monnaies Coloniales Francaises 1670-1988 by Victor Gadoury & Georges Cousinie. Here's some additional information Howard forwarded to me after the meeting: 2nd Edition, 552 pages, 1988. Published by Victor Gadoury Numismate (now Victor Gadoury Editions) 38 boulevard des Moulins, Monaco MC-98000.
Several other books were passed around. I had brought a copy of Andrew Wager's The Mystery of Henry Morgan: A Numismatic Detective Story, which I'd received just the day before. I also had my copy of The Rebirth of Antiquity: Numismatics, Archaeology and Classical Studies in the Culture of the Renaissance, edited by Alan Stahl. Man, I've got a lot of book reviews to do.
As if that weren't enough. David brought me a nicely inscribed copy of his brand new book West Virginia Merchant Tokens. I'll write a review in an upcoming E-Sylum. He had a copy for Joe Levine, too, and the inscription had everyone, most of all Joe, in stitches. Written on the title page, it said
For my good friend Joe Levine, whose curiosity about West Virginia tokens will probably not take him much further than this page......
Conversation was lively throughout our table. Before our dinners arrived I walked over to the far end, where I spoke with Mike Packard, Traci Poole and Roger Burdette. Roger had been talking about his upcoming Coin World article based on his latest research. Other topics included the longevity of the Stack's coin firm. Roger quipped, "I wonder what 'Moses Stack' had on that auction scroll catalog he took to Babylon?"
I spoke with Traci about Saturday's coin show in Annandale, VA. Me, Jon Radel and Mike Hudson were there running the kids' program at 11am. We had a nice turnout of about thirty people. I gave a presentation on the Lincoln Cent. Jon donated a roll of the new Lincoln cent designs and we gave one to each kid. Mike and Jon helped to sign people in, and Jon's son Joe was our runner, handing out coins and extra auction cash to kids who answered quiz questions.
QUICK QUIZ: I explained to the kids how Abraham Lincoln is pictured on BOTH sides of the Lincoln Memorial cents and the five dollar bill (because his statue is shown inside the Lincoln Memorial). The kids caught on quickly and fired back quiz questions of their own, catching me a little off guard. So who can name coins which picture George Washington on both sides?
The kids' coin auction went very well - we had twenty lots, including two nice Morgan and Peace dollars. It was the first time we did this here, but the kids caught on pretty quickly. I kept the pace fast, and everyone seemed to have fun and come away with an item of interest. We're looking forward to doing it again in December.
When our meals came I scooted back to my seat. Joe regaled us with some great tales of fellow dealers and his experiences over the years. After ordering dessert I wandered over to the other side of the table to mingle again. This time I spoke with Wayne Herndon, who's doing very well with his Wizard Coin Supply business. We're working on some ads for upcoming E-Sylum issues.
Usually our meetings come to an end all too soon. This one was particularly enjoyable, but it dragged on too long thanks to a crashing computer. Our poor waitress had to figure out who had what to reconstruct our individual checks by hand. It was 10pm before most of us got out of there. But the meal was great as was the company and conversation.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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