The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 7, February 16, 2014, Article 16


Tom Kays offers the following "Annals from the Nether End of the Nummis Nova Dinner Table" in his February 16, 2014 numismatic diary. Thanks! -Editor

As Wayne (our superb E-Sylum Editor) enjoyed a fine Italian repast at the far end of the table at “The Espositos” Restaurant in Fairfax, Tom Kays acting as secondary club secretary, captured some of the fast paced action and show and tells passing down at his end of the table, in order to share a little flavor of what transpires at a typical Nummis Nova dinner with the E-Sylum readers unable to join us in person.

I invite you to consider joining us as a visitor, for a memorable evening of coin talk in Northern Virginia. If you can keep up with our rowdy crowd, have unique experience in some facet of numismatics, and are quick in wit (and picking up checks) at the dinner table, full of numismatic wisdom, and flush with odd money to show-and-tell us about, contact Wayne, who would be glad to provide tickets to qualified individuals, by special invitation.

For example a Director of the U.S. Mint once joined us as a distinguished visitor, and now he is out of that job. See what associating with us might do for you! On the erudite side of the table sat Steve Bishop [just to the left, out of frame], Dave Schenkman, Wayne Herndon, Eric Schena, Aaron Packard, and Joe Levine. On my side supped, myself, Gene Brandenburg, Jon Radel, Mike Packard, Julian Leidman and Wayne Homren, all regulars at these events.

Nummis Nova February 2014

Show and Tell at my end of the table began before the antipasto, centering on uncirculated examples of raw and slabbed, Morgan dollars, some with nice bulls eye, rainbow toning, and to be precise, by “nice Morgan dollars” for example I mean I saw an 1882 CC VAM-2a (Hit List 40) GSA Hoard, NGC, MS-64 along with a blur of good dates including 1879 CC, 1889 CC and 1895 O examples. I’m not sure Wayne got to see them as they were a couple of discussions away down the table from him, on the far side of the boisterous contingent from Southern Maryland (who were delighted with pizza as an appetizer).

I did see them - pretty coins! -Editor

Floating along the checkered tablecloth, among the menus, were a “Vampire” Francais of Napoleon III le Miserable, in commemoration of awful events in the Sedan, in 1850 – 1851, a spate of gold coins including a Pistole of 1788, a Louis d’Or of 1726, an 1891 CC Eagle. A Monogram, Medio of Mexico of Charles and Johanna (the Mad) circa 1542-1553, that Gene had never seen before, a pair of Ecus of Louis XIV and XV, a MEPCOM Coin of Merit (Military Challenge Coin in the shape of the Pentagon) and a fine Civil War dog tag inscribed for CORP. J. MC.INTIRE – Co. D. – 2d DEL. V. with battle honors MALV HILL, ANTIETAM, FRED’KSBRG, GAINES MILL on a Major General George B. McClellan, War of 1861 obverse.

Exposition Universelle medal Each passed in review, sometimes in a jumble, each with a fascinating story being told in unison at times. With a serving of bread baskets, came a beautiful silver, Republique Francaise, Paris 1900, Exposition Universelle, 4me Match International Fusil, Olympic plaquette, and a set of 19th century Argentine medals from Buenos Ayres with their extremely rare original proclamation velum, and the famous Byron S. Loutzenhiser – Republican Candidate for County Coroner Token of May 17, 1910 with McKinley Memorial Dedication reverse, which continued round about the salad course. Are you keeping up? Did you catch all the interesting stories about them? Try more Merlot.

MCINTIRE Civil war dog tag Loutzenhiser coroner token

After salad, a flotilla of about fifty Civil War tokens steamed up stream, at one point occupying defensive positions amongst the wine bottles, as they went into action, and were captured by my side of the table with no parole. Of special acclaim, and not for sale, I saw a Charleston SC, M-SC-2 of Bernard S. Baruc, Importer of Fancy Goods in AU-55 (ex John J. Ford, Jr.), several New York tokens including one from the Felix Dining Saloon, New York, NY F-630W-2b in MS-62 from the Louis Kaufman Collection and a Detroit MI F225AJ-3a in MS64 from Hanna & Co. Tobacconists.

I leave one last example to your imagination as I saw a New York, NY F630 AGA-1h token in AU-55, and of course you know who issued it and what patriotic image it sports, since you are a virtual, qualified guest.

The main course arrived after the tokens marched away in captivity, my entre being a delightful Feste de Mare. Keeping high above the marinara, clam shells and olive oil, passed numismatic books and ephemera including a copy of From Crime to Punishment - Counterfeit and Debased Currencies in Colonial and Pre-Federal America by Dr. Philip L. Mossman (Numismatic Studies 27 by the ANS) and Coins for Colonial Virginia by Eric P. Newman, 1956.

Yet the highlight of the dinner for me was the dessert (Tartuffe to die for) and Wayne’s collection of antique stereo and postal cards of mints, numismatic, and money themes. Here we travel back in time to view the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (circa 1904) to examine uncut sheets of saddle blankets for errors.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing postcard1

Note the two foot high stack of uncut notes casually sitting on the seat of the chair on the left. Now we help count the stacks of bills and notes and wonder how many end up in those fancy metal trash cans.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing postcard2

So, are you salivating over spending an evening in this manner? Are you geographically compatible with NO VA (Northern Virginia)? Are you able to convivially converse about coins, eat with decorum (or at least gusto), and leave no fingerprints on the raw, the rare and the reader’s choice of numismatic literature being bandied about the bistro? If so, then you just might be Nummis Nova visitor material. Talk to Wayne about sponsorship. Buon appetito!

We're pretty full up with regular Nummis Nova members, but we can always make room for a guest, and we'd love to have you. E-Sylum readers are our kind of folks.

I visited Tom's end of the table at the close of the evening to chat with Gene Brandenburg, who kindly offered me a half full bottle of Merlot left over from the night's festivities. Clearly I had been sitting at the wrong end of the table or the bottle would have been emptied long before. As I write this it's Thursday evening and I'm sipping a glass of Gene's Merlot, which is a great way to end a day of shoveling a foot-plus of snow off our driveway and sidewalks. My wife and sons all pitched in, so I'm less sore than I would be otherwise. Spring will be quite welcome once it arrives in these parts. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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