On Tuesday I had some visitors here at the E-Sylum Central Office; members of my monthly northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova came to my house before dinner for a brief tour of my numismatic library.
At about 6pm Max the Wonder Dog started barking. I picked him up (he only weighs about nine pounds) and opened the door for Tom Kays, Jon Radel and David Schenkman. After Max got past his barking stage and met my guests he began to settle down. Before long he was laying on his back getting belly rubs from Tom.
My library is in my office, situated just to the left of our front hallway. Ten bookcases line the walls, holding about 3,000 volumes. I gave a quick overview - these two cases hold most of the rare and antiquarian books. Next, in order, are biographies of numismatic figures, general works (like Roger Burdette's Renaissance of American Coinage series, Breen's Encyclopedia and several Q. David Bowers works). After that I have a couple shelves of books on U.S. Colonial Coinage followed by a shelf of mint histories (The Philadelphia Mint, Charlotte, Dahlonega, Denver, etc.).
Then come books arranged by denomination - works on U.S. half cents, large cents, small cents, nickels, dimes, etc. through double eagles. Next are books on patterns, commemoratives, errors, counterfeits and grading.
The next section holds books on banking followed by a shelf and a half on U.S. colonial paper money. Following that are books on obsolete paper money, civil war paper money, National Bank Notes, depression scrip, and U.S. paper money.
(Whew!) After paper money are sections on counterfeiting and lottery tickets. Next up are tokens and medals, with sections for Hard Times Tokens, Civil War Tokens, Pioneer Gold, Counterstamps, etc. A big section is arranged alphabetically - Architectural Medals, Assay Medals, Bolen tokens, Bryan Money, etc... Indian Peace medals, Military Medals, Political items, So-Called Dollars, Transportation tokens, etc.
That's it for U.S. subjects, but another bookcase and a half holds works on Ancient coins, Canadian, Mexican and British numismatics, world paper, and more biographies of numismatic figures.
A glass-front barrister bookcase holds a partial leatherbound set of Numismatic Scrapbook, a complete set of Coin Collector's Journal, a long run of U.S. Mint Reports and other items. A couple two-shelf cases in front of my desk hold a set of Historical Magazine, runs of Bowers and Ruddy/Merena and George Kolbe hardbound auction catalogs, a complete hardbound set of Stack's John J. Ford sales, and a group of proceedings of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia.
Spanning the top of five side-by-side bookcases is my bound set of The Numismatist and atop that are over fifty three-ring binders holding numismatic catalogs and ephemera in archival sleeves.
Tom Kays was curious about works on counterfeiting, so I pulled out for him a group of several Heath's Counterfeit Detectors and my binder of counterfeiting pamphlets and ephemera. Later he browsed my shelf of other books on counterfeiting.
I pulled out a few of my rare early books to show, including Barton's 1813 Life of Rittenhouse, Crosby's Early Coins of America, and Bushnell's Early New York Tokens, 1864. See below for images of some of the books.
Tom had brought a medal with him for attribution. Dave Scheckman recognized it as something in DeWitt. I pulled the DeWitt book off the shelf and we quickly located Tom's piece. A also took a look in Atwood's transportation token catalog.
Max the Wonder Dog barked some more as others arrived. He met Chris Neuzil and Roger Burdette and as with the others, he managed to calm down after a few minutes. I'd been afraid I'd have to lock him in his crate, but he was fine.
Roger bought me two DVDs holding parts of his latest research project - U.S. Assay Commission records (Vol II 1873-1892, Vol III, 1893-1911). There will be four disks in all.
I passed around my latest acquisition - a fortunate eBay purchase of a privately printed leatherbound history of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, issuer of the Carnegie Hero Medal.
We had a grand time and could have gone on for hours, but it was soon time for dinner. At about 7pm the group headed for their cars. By then my wife Dee and our three kids had returned to the house and were playing a pickup game of basketball in our cul-de-sac. I stuck around awhile to play and talk with Dee and our neighbors. When Dee took the kids in for their baths I hopped in the car and drove a couple miles to the Ashburn Bertucci's restaurant.
Tom, Jon, Dave, Chris and Roger were already there along with Howard Daniel and Wayne Herndon who were unable to meet early enough for the library visit. Others in our group (Traci Poole and Julian Liedman) were traveling to the Long Beach Coin Show and couldn't attend. So it was a small group, but just as enthusiastic as ever.
Tom passed around a box of coins asking everyone to evaluate which were real and which were fake. There were a number of contemporary circulating counterfeits. Most of us did pretty well on the quiz - I kinda flubbed it.
Dave Schenkman passed around a little buying guide from a Virginia coin dealer. I'd never seen this item before. Howard mentioned that the Army War College has asked him to write up his experiences in the Vietnam War, and he'd written over a hundred pages so far. Howard's the nicest guy around, but also the toughest. Let's just say that if Nummis Nova had a Sergeant-at-Arms, Howard would be our man, hands down.
Before dinner was over I passed around something of my own - my library guest book. Stephen Pradier had given it to me. He had it made by Longs-Roullet Bookbinders as an example of their work. When I had a bus tour of Numismatic Bibliomania Society members visit my library during the 2004 Pittsburgh American Numismatic Association convention, I had everyone sign the book and inscribe a message.
When I moved to Virginia my library and guest book came with me. Roger Burdette and Douglas Saville signed it next on separate occasions. Tonight Chris, Jon, Dave and Tom added their John Hancocks. Thanks, guys. What good is a numismatic library if you can't share it with friends? Below are some images so I can share a few items with all of my readers.
It was a great evening, and as always I was disappointed to see it end. But I'm already looking forward to next month.
Woodward's McCoy Sale
W. Elliot Woodward, Priced Catalogue of the Entire Collection of American Coins & medals, &c. Made By John F. McCoy, Esq., of New York City, and now owned by W. Elliott Woodward of Roxbury, Mass., together with a Few Fine Foreign Coins and Medals and the Whole of Mr. Woodward's Private Collection of Coin Catalogs, American and English, and Other Papers and Pamphlets, Relating to American Coins and Coinage, May 17th-21st, 1864. Priced and named copy.
Bushnell, Early New York Tokens, 1864
Bushnell, Charles L., Early New York Tokens, 1864.
I bought this from the sale of Armand Champa's library. It's a small pamphlet housed in a beautiful 3/4 leather book box.
Chapman, S.H. & H, Bushnell sale, 1882
Chapman, S.H. & H, Catalogue of the Celebrated and Valuable Collection of American Coins and Medals of the Late Charles L. Bushnell, Esq., of New York, Philadelphia, 1882. This is a plated copy of the sale of Bushnell's collection, from the library of Donald M. Miller.
Dye's Coin Encyclopedia, 1883
Dye, Kohn S., Dye's Coin Encyclopedia, A Complete Illustrated History of the Coins of the World, Philadelphia, 1883.
DeWitt, American Campaign Buttons and Atwood's Transportation Tokens
DeWitt, J. Doyle, A Century of American Campaign Buttons 1789-1889, Hartford, CT, 1959
Atwood, Roland C., Atwood's Catalogue of United States and Canadian Transportation Tokens, Third Edition, Boston, MA, 1970
Arbuthnot, Heroes of Peace, 1935
Arbuthnot, Thomas S., Heroes of Peace, A History of The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission Commemorating the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth, on November 25th, 1835, of Andrew Carnegie., 1935
Wayne Homren, Editor
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