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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 50, December 12, 2010, Article 18

WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: DECEMBER 12, 2010

I usually check my personal email account before leaving the house for work. Waiting for me Monday morning was a note from Jim Duncan in New Zealand. There was also a deluge of other E-Sylum email. Several folks had forwarded articles on the BEP's continuing problems with the new $100 bill, and a number of readers responded to the Jenny Lind quiz question.

Jim's email had the subject line "Songbird". That really struck me because only minutes before I'd called my daughter Hannah a "songbird". She was tying her shoes getting ready to leave for school, and singing a little song to herself. Hannah was born with a song in her heart. She often sings, sometimes even singing herself to sleep and waking up in the morning with another song.

Last year when the two of us were home alone one weekend afternoon she wanted to play "talent show". She made up a song and dance routine on the spot, and played it to the hilt. She lounged on a kid-sized table like a pint-sized Michele Pfeiffer on the baby grand piano in The Fabulous Baker Boys. She walked over and high-fived me, all while continuing to belt out her song. Five years old, and she's WORKING THE CROWD. Where does this stuff COME from? Anybody know a talent scout?

On Tuesday I began sweating when I learned that BOTH of my helpers for the kids' event at the upcoming Annandale Coin Show would be unable to come. Not a problem ordinarily, but my wife Dee had mentioned having plans for Saturday morning, and I was wondering if even I would be able to make it. But luckily it worked out - she was planning to take the kids with her and I'd be free to go to the show.

When Wednesday arrived I left work early to return home to pick up Dee. We were going to the holiday dinner for Nummis Nova, my Northern Virginia numismatic social group. It was at a restaurant called Marco Polo's in Vienna, VA. We saw a number of nice Christmas light displays along the way from our house.

We had a separate room for our group, and it was pretty spacious. Three round tables were set up. We found seats at a table with Chris Neuzil, Howard and Phung Daniel and Jon Radel, one of my kids' program helpers. Later Julian and Fran Leidman joined us.

At a nearby table were Joe and Alice Levine, Dave and Joannne Schenkman, and Gene Brandenburg and his wife Amelia. The third table had Roger Burdette, Dick Doty, Mike Packard, Brian Cushing, and Wayne and Karin Herndon.

Although the facility was pretty nice the service was SLOOOOOOOOOW. But the upside to that was having plenty of time to talk and trade stories. The restaurant name reminded Chris of a news story. Police were called to a reported break-in at a warehouse. Two cops arrived and sure enough, a door had been broken into. Once inside, they saw that the darkened warehouse was HUGE, and wondered how they could ever find the crooks. Then one of the cops yelled "Marco!" and another voice called out, "Polo!" (If you don't get it, you need to know about the children's game called Marco Polo, usually played in a swimming pool).

For entertainment I'd prepared a holiday quiz with questions I'd found on the Internet, like "How to you say Merry Christmas in Spanish?" and "How many la's are there in a line of "Deck the Halls"? It was fun. I was inspired by Don Carlucci, who'd always prepared something like this for the holiday dinners at Sphinx in Pittsburgh, the club I'd modeled our group after.

Karin Herndon told my wife how great I was working with the kids at the coin shows, and Dee wondered "So why can't he help our kids with their homework?" I thought, "Because every time I do, you butt in, tell me I'm doing it all wrong, and call me an idiot..." I didn't say that, though. I may actually BE an idiot, but I know what's good for me.

Roger delivered copies of his new Assay Commission DVD set to Joe Levine and other purchasers. It was about 10pm by the time we all got our checks and could head home. It had been a great evening.

My next numismatic event was unexpected. While driving to work Friday morning National Public Radio aired an interesting segment about Yap Stone Money (see the separate article in this issue for a long excerpt).

Instead of working on The E-Sylum Friday night, I prepared a set of slides on collecting U.S. Type coins for Saturday's kids event. I had earlier visited Wayne Herndon's office to prepare the auction lots and bidding envelopes. I finished about midnight and called it a night.

Nova Kids 2010-12-11 Saturday went well. I arrived early to prepare the room and lay out the auction lots. As 11am approached kids and parents began to arrive. I asked one of the parents who'd come a number of times to help out, and he gladly accepted, taking over the registration table for me. In the end we had twelve kids, including three girls, with about 25 people in the room. My talk was on collecting U.S. type coins. The auction afterwards was fun, and I think everyone came away happy.

I took a couple minutes to walk around the bourse floor. I noticed one dealer's table had a sign that read, "You wife called. She said you can buy anything you want." I ran into Bill and Susan Eckberg and we chatted for a while. Bill showed me a nice red 1951 Lincoln cent he'd purchase to upgrade his set.

On the drive home I called Don Carlucci in Pittsburgh to talk about the upcoming election of officers of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN). He was visiting the coin shop of Ed Narcisi, a former member of Sphinx. The society had their holiday dinner the same night I'd had mine in Virginia, and they also took one of Don's holiday quizzes.

I got stuck in traffic on the beltway and passed a nasty accident - a van was tipped over on its side. I guess it was a good thing I lingered a bit at the show. When I got home at 2pm I was just in time to hop into Dee's van to take our sons to their basketball game. They played great. Tyler scored the first basket, putting their team ahead. They stayed in the lead most of the game, but their opponents caught up and went 1 point ahead late in the 4th period. Christopher scored the winning basket and Tyler made a rebound to run out the remaining seconds. They won by 1 point, 24-23. Whew!

After dinner Saturday night I opened my mail and found a copy of the new edition of Scott Travers' book, The Coin Collectors' Survival Manual. Donn Pearlman had sent it. No time to read, though. After the kids went to bed I worked on The E-Sylum for a while. It had been a good week.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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