In his item last week about breaking B. Max Mehl's cost code, Dick Johnson mentioned Mensa and the IQ's of several numismatists, including Walter Breen. Here are some follow-ups from readers.
Thanks for the latest issue! Have you ever figured out how many hours a week you spend getting an issue together? It's quite a job, I'm sure.
Not to nitpick, but...The word Mensa is not an acrostic, and should not be in all caps. Mensa is a Latin word; I believe the word for table. There is a constellation Mensa in the Southern sky. I used to belong to Mensa, many years ago, but I do no longer.
Several discussions on the E-Sylum over the years (including recent ones) have mentioned Walter Breen's IQ. This information exists in Breen's military records.
On October 3, 1946, Breen enlisted in the Army Air Force for a period of three years at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas. Why he was accepted at this time when turned away on a previous attempt to enlist in April is unclear. He was sent to the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (soon to be renamed Lackland Air Force Base) for training. On entering the military, his personal information was recorded as follows:
Height: 6 feet, 1 inch
Eye color: hazel
Hair color: brown
The September 5, 1928 birth date was used when he enlisted and he apparently listed his “mother” as a dependant. His military identification number was 18 324 478. The records documenting the above are in the possession of Breen's remaining family.
An IQ of 144 is very high, and is generally regarded as being as a 99.8% percentile ranking. (Note there are different IQ tests resulting in different percentile rankings, though these differences tend to evaporate at these elevated levels). IQ measurements above 200 are generally held to be apocryphal, with differences above 150 or so being very difficult to detect via standard testing (and frankly mostly irrelevant). Breen was a member of Mensa, though I don't know how active he was in the organization. Breen's daughter Moira is an active member.