The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 15, April 13, 2008, Article 16


Since late last year I've been meeting monthly with a group
of numismatists in Northern Virginia.  Bill Eckberg hosted
our meeting at the Jackson 20 restaurant in the new Hotel
Monaco Alexandria.  In the meeting invitation he wrote: "Any
numismatist who cannot figure out the significance of the
name of the restaurant should turn in his slabs and take up
philately or some other preversion.   All members are urged
to read the plaque installed at the western end of the building
front before entering the restaurant. I'll be explaining the
truth about it and its very significant numismatic connections
at the table."

After work I hit the highway to plow through rush hour traffic
toward Alexandria.  After getting through the bottleneck
entering the Capital Beltway, traffic flowed pretty well.
Just before 6:30 I slid into a parking spot and fed a couple
quarters into the meter.  Just down the street I spotted Roger
Burdette.  We started walking toward the restaurant when Dave
Schenkman caught up with us.

I remembered Bill's instructions about reading the plaque so
we looked for it before entering the restaurant.  I grabbed
my notebook and started scribbling the text so I could share
it in The E-Sylum.  Not surprisingly, Dave Schenkman was well
versed in the history and I listened while he and Roger talked.
Long story short, James Jackson was an ardent secessionist who
boldly hoisted a Confederate flag atop the hotel he managed,
the Mansion House.  Union soldiers invaded Alexandria and Col.
Elmer Ellsworth and eight troops entered the hotel intent on
taking down the flag.  Jackson shot Ellsworth to death, and
was in turn killed by Ellsworth's troops.

It is said that victors always write history, but in this
case the vanquished have their say.  The plaque, erected by
the Sons and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers, hails Jackson
as "the first martyr to the cause of Southern Independence."

I later found a nice article about the opening of the Jackson 20
restaurant which tells the story well.  It was published February
27, 2008 in the Alexandria Gazette Packet.

 At the corner of Pitt and King Streets ... an old plaque beckons
 passersby with a headline boasting "The Marshall House." Those
 who stay to read the rest of the plaque experience a strong
 dose of Confederate patriotism honoring James William Jackson,
 a man whom the plaque boldly tells us "the justice of history
 does not permit his name to be forgotten."

 People are still taking about James W. Jackson. He is
 considered by some to be "the first martyr in the cause of
 Southern Independence," which was the subtitle to an 1862
 biography published in Richmond the year after his death.
 Never mind that the others consider Jackson to be a cold-blooded
 killer responsible for the murder of Col. Ephraim Elmer
 Ellsworth - at least for now - until we learn from the
 unvanquished plaque author that Jackson is "an example to
 all" who "laid down his life . in defense of his home and
 the sacred soil of his native state: Virginia."

At dinner Bill described the numismatic connection for us
and passed out copies of an article he published in The
Virginia Numismatist titled "The Marshall House Token and
the Civil War" (or as he put it, "The War of Yankee Aggression").
In 1859 the Marshall House issued a trade token (Rulau 103).
One side features simply the Marshall House name and the
1859 date.  The other side?  A Liberty Cap design identical
to that on the Confederate Cent.  Both pieces were engraved
by diesinker Robert Lovett, Jr.   Bill also passed around
a lovely example of the Marshall House token.

The restaurant was quite noisy and it was difficult for us
to hear each other.  But it was a very enjoyable evening.
Besides myself, Bill Eckberg, Roger Burdette and Dave Schenkman,
attendees included regulars Tom Kays and Joe Levine and
first-timer Dick Doty, curator of the National Numismatic
Collection at the Smithsonian.

Joe had done his homework on the meeting site and passed
around a beautiful tintype photograph of Col. Ellsworth in
an ornate gilt frame. The photo was bright, sharp and clear.
Text on the reverse identified the photo as COLONEL/. ELMER

In keeping with the Civil War theme, Tom passed around display
boxes filled with nice examples of what he called "the contents
of a typical cash register in the Civil War" - Civil War tokens,
cents and other circulating coins.   Since I've greatly scaled
back my Civil War collection I brought pictures - I passed
around a copy of the American Numismatic Rarities Lake Michigan
& Springdale Collections sale of June 21-23 2006.  Beginning
at lot 812 is my consignment of U.S. Encased Postage Stamps,
Postage Stamp Envelopes, cardboard scrip and counterstamped

I also passed around my uncirculated Dolley Madison First
Spouse $5 gold coin (since I felt compelled to have an actual
coin to show).  I asked Dick Doty about the recent legislation
that directed the U.S. Mint to transfer examples of all new
coins to the national collection, and he said that coincidentally,
the latest Mint shipment had just arrived that morning.  Dick
also told us about progress on the second edition of his
"America's Money, America's Story" book which will be published
by Whitman.

Roger Burdette shared copies of a draft of a paper he's been
working on for some time: "Anna Williams: The Girl on the Silver
Dollar?"  Roger's been working to ferret out the truth in the
old story about Anna W. Williams being the model for George
Morgan's 1878 U.S. silver dollar design.  Another topic was
Monday's Press Release about the discontinuation of the PCI
grading service name and the creation of Dominion Grading
in Virginia Beach, VA.

I also had with me the Civil War album from my numismatic
ephemera collection.  Here's a partial list of the contents,
with links to a couple images:

* Pliny E. Chase, Catalogue of Tokens Circulating During
 the Rebellion of 1861, published in 1863

* Manuscript titled 'Dix Civil War Tokens of 1863'

* Varieties of Dix Civil War Tokens of the Year 1863 by D.C. Wismer

* 1957 manuscript by Thomas E. Mowery on Civil War Tokens

* D.C. Wismer price list of Necessity Coins of the United States

* Circular to Collectors dated April 2, 1874 by J. Colvin
 Randall and John W. Haseltine offering their Confederate Cent
 in gold, silver, nickel and copper
 Full Story

* Undated newspaper clipping is a reprinting from an unknown
 newspaper of a Washington Post article on the Confederate Half
 Dollar and Cent.
 Undated newspaper clipping

* "The Currency Question on the Pacific Coast During the
 Civil War", an offprint from the Mississippi Valley Historical
 Review June 1929

* October 1, 1893 Special List No. 8 by Ed Frossard of
 Unique Collection of Essays & Proofs of United States
 Fractional Currency

* Fixed price list of U.S. Fractional Currency R.W. Mercer
 of Cincinnati, OH

* Fixed price list by Lyman Low of Paper Money of the
 Confederate States

* D.W. Valentine Classification and Check List of Fractional
 Currency of the United States 1924

I also brought along my "Million Dollar Bill" and we joked
about paying the check with it.  I believe it was Roger who
suggested using my Dolley Madison $5 coin for the tip.  We
paid the check with Federal Reserve Notes - I forgot to ask
if the establishment accepted Confederate currency.  The
event ended all too soon, and we went our separate ways.
I can't wait til next month!

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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