Last Saturday (December 8) I hosted an event for kids at the Annandale, VA coin show, with assistance from Jon Radel, Tom Kays and Mike Hudson. Tom donated some nice type coin lots for our auction, including Flying Eagle Cents. My topic was U.S. Type Coin collecting, and I quizzed the crowd with PowerPoint images of coins. They really knew their stuff, and I didn't stump them on a single one, not even a Wreath Cent.
I also discussed coin denominations, which I used as a stepping stone to talk about sales tax tokens and the Nova Constellatio pattern set and the proposed denomination of Mills (1/1000 of a dollar). Some of the sales tax tokens were denominated directly in mills, or other fractions of a cent. I diverged into the tale of how John Ford recognized and purchased the copper five mill piece and reunited it with the silver patterns after the Garrett sales. After wrapping up the sales tax tokens I told them about the ration tokens of WWII.
The last odd denomination coin I showed was the recently sold New England sixpence. They even got that right, although the first kid to respond was reading the Roman numerals as a seven rather than a six. I told them to story of how the coin had been dug up on a potato farm and had them guess what the piece sold for. Guesses were all over the map from $10,000 to $10 million. It sold for $430,000.
The auction was a hit, leading off with two lots I culled from a nice donation of tokens from Dave Schenkman. Lot 1 was a starter set of about 35 different sales tax tokens, and Lot 2 was a group of about 15 different OPA ration tokens, both red and blue.
My son Tyler missed out - he wasn't interested in going this time, so I flew solo. He loves animals so I brought home some coins picturing animals. "Are there any dogs?" "Not in this batch..." He wasn't interested. So much for expanding his horizons - gotta be dogs or nothin'.
Anyway, it was a great morning to be with the kids and see their enthusiasm and knowledge.
My next numismatic adventure was only semi-numismatic. The December meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova, was held at the Mt Vernon Inn on the historic estate of George Washington. Spouses and guests are invited, and everyone gets dressed up a bit. I was flying solo again. My wife was too worn out from preparing to celebrate the holidays that she didn't feel like going out to celebrate them.
I got there about six, and met Chris Neuzil and his wife Sandy in the parking lot. We were ushered into the sitting room where Mike Packard and others were waiting.
I'd planned to wear a festive red sweater, but had left it at home accidentally. Gene Brandenburg had a nice red sweater on, and seated next to the fireplace with his white beard he looked for all the world like Saint Nick. When Eric Schena arrived, I told him he'd have to get in line to sit on Santa's lap.
Tom Kays had a surprise for me - he'd run into a Chinese calligrapher and had him make a poster on cardboard with the name of our group, Nummis Nova. It's in classic Mandarin Chinese. Coincidently, during the night's dinner I received an email from an E-Sylum subscriber in China, Li/Tiesheng.
I lost count, but we had about 25 people seated at three tables in a separate room with an open bar. The confusion was ably organized by Jon Radel, who'd made the arrangements with the restaurant and collected the money to pay the tab.
There was a little numismatic content, but Dave Schenkman brought along a couple items appropriate to the venue and time of year. He writes:
The Mt. Vernon piece is interesting and I’ve never seen another. I purchased it from Joe Levine nearly 40 years ago. The distillery was located in Baltimore but I thought it appropriate to bring it to the dinner, given the name. The other piece is a neat early Christmas medalet.
Because of the spouses in attendance in December, we try to keep numismatic content to a minimum. At my suggestion Tom Kays created a great quiz for everyone about George Washington. It was interesting, and tough! It was multiple choice, but there could be more than one correct answer. Here are some samples - I'll post the answers next week. If anyone wants to try the whole quiz I'll email you a copy.
Nummis Nova Quiz for Dinner at George Washington’s Home
Excellent dinner guests should be well acquainted with their host.
Correct Answers may be none, one, several or all of the multiple choice answers offered.
Question 1. When was George Washington born?
a. In the year 1729.
b. In the year 1731.
c. In the year 1732.
d. In the year 1749.
Question 5. If you had mentioned “the White House” to George Washington he would have
told you it was located where?
a. In the District of Columbia.
b. He would not have known, it wasn’t completed until after his death.
c. Along the Pamunky River in New Kent County, Virginia.
d. Along the James River, near Bermuda Hundred.
Question 6. Who would George have said lived in “the White House.”
a. George and Martha Washington.
b. No one since he would not have known about the White House.
c. Mary Ball Washington (George’s Mother)
d. Martha Dandridge Custis.
Question 8. Where was George Washington inaugurated President?
a. In Virginia.
b. In New York.
c. In Philadelphia.
d. In Boston.
Question 19. What was George Washington’s net worth at his death in 1799 dollars?
a. $25 million dollars.
b. $8 million dollars.
c. $1 million dollars.
d. $350,000 dollars.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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