The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 11, March 16, 2014, Article 14


Tom Kays has again compiled an excellent diary of our latest Nummis Nova meeting. Here it is. Thanks! -Editor

Mike Packard T-Shirt Nummis Nova met yet again on Tuesday, which is date night for some, who are now in the dog house for going out with the boys instead. Bonefish Grill in Chantilly on a Tuesday night was crowded and the table snug, but the seafood was excellent. Our theme for the evening was a doubleheader, due to co-sponsorship by Steve Bishop and Tom Kays. “Wearable numismatics” was my idea. I thought we might see coins used as buttons, pins, necklaces, bangles, but money designs printed on T-shirts was what turned up and it all worked for me. Here Mike models a fancy EAC cotton T-shirt, “Liberty in Copper,” being definitely the most distinguished and wearable numismatic regalia of the evening, and worn with charisma and good “sense” (on both the front and flip side).

Steve ordered up a side of numismatic humor. Numismatic humor is a tall order since fiscal jocularity and dry / dusty coin collectors are usually very distant relations. Coin collectors may be characters, but usually not comics. Jokes that only a coin collector would get was Steve’s objective, the more arcane the better. Now most everyone could think of jokes that had to do with money in a general sense, but not in the numismatic sense. The best “imported” joke, transcribed from an old story about horse trading, but instead of the old cow, insert an early American copper (Sheldon-272 I believe it was), as told by the nattily attired, Mike Packard, who may have an R-9 there. It was a long joke which only Mike can tell. Ask him!

Flip-Flap railway card front Flip-Flap railway card back

From “ha ha” funny jokes to mere “fun,” this delightful dime scrip to the Flip-Flap Railway on Young’s Pier at Atlantic City invites us to spill our silver in the sand.

Not one cent but just as good token Mike continued along a parallel theme of “funny money” with this 1855 copper “Not One Cent – But Just As Good” token. It is dry humor, with a big cud at the “but” and about as funny as money gets. Think you can do better? Send your best numismatic joke to the editor and we’ll all have a laugh, perhaps at the April Fools edition of The E-Sylum.

Boggs Indian Princess note

Aligned with the idea of funny money Wayne presented impressive J.S.G. Boggs five dollar notes for the “Considerate State of America” and signed by Wayne Homren as registrar of bogus bills.

Boggs Indian Princess special note Rebelbux

Here we see another of those “rebelbux” of James Steven George Boggs. Present were many Nummis Nova regulars plus an invited mystery guest. Gregg Coburn, one of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Numismatic Association (VNA), who forsook his usual Tuesday night banana split with the missus to be present, under the sponsorship of Wayne Herndon, sat at my end of the table. Gregg swapped fish stories and foreign coin tales having served his numismatic apprenticeship with coin dealer George Watson (another VNA Director) whom he met years ago, sailing with the Navy somewhere along the Pacific Rim, and again after twenty years their paths crossed at a local coin show.

Gregg now serves as a trusted minion in the warehouse vaults of Wizard Coin Supply. The mustachioed, grand vizier of Wizard Coin Supply, himself, presided at the head of the table, telling us how as a youngster, living on a mohair farm, beyond the farthest outskirts of San Antonio, Texas; living so far out that neither television nor radio signals would reach his hacienda, that little distractions of boyhood, such as those advertisements in the back of comic books, promising to bring X-ray glasses, ant farms, sea monkeys, and foreign coins for a dime or a nickel, all the way home, to the one’s rural mailbox; that those enticements loomed large in the imagination of farm boys. Now the next nearest “occupied” house was ten miles away, school thirty miles away, the nearest small town forty miles away, and the big city a hundred miles distant, yet rural delivery happened regularly, by a mailman serving two small Texas towns, a hundred miles apart, including one special mohair hacienda back in the foothills.

One fateful day an errant copy of Coin World, intended for a namesake forty miles further on, landed at the hacienda mailbox. You could buy and sell coins by mail? Filling out the subscription card that farm boy entered the exciting and fast paced world of numismatics, as a purveyor of mail-order rolls of wheat pennies, selling the duplicates to all his school chums. From those humble beginnings grew the vast Wizard Coin Supply empire of today. All around my end of the table we gave thanks the postman did not deliver in error, a copy of Lynn’s Stamp News, back on that fateful day in Texas.

Nummis Nova March 2014 photos1-3
Wayne Herndon, Gregg Coburn, Jon Radel, Wayne Homren, Eric Schena, Dave Schenkman, Gene Brandenburg, Aaron Packard

Looking down the table to the more dour end, (I say this since they asked me not to tell any more jokes after the “stud finder” joke went south), and coming back to numismatic reality, swimming along the table came a small school of magnificent thalers.

1729 Thaler of Johann Ernst VIII of Saxe-Saalfeld 1729 Thaler of Johann Ernst VIII of Saxe-Saalfeld

Included was this beautiful 1729 Thaler of Johann Ernst VIII of Saxe-Saalfeld, issued on his death, with sarcophagus on the reverse, from the collection of Virgil Brand (Dav 2749).

1710 Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel of Anton Ulrich 1710 Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel of Anton Ulrich

Another thaler from 1710 Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel of Anton Ulrich, was issued on his conversion to Catholicism, and so, does not feature the usual “Wildman” but the rock “of faith,” also from the collection of Virgil Brand (Dav 2121).

1732 Thaler 1732 Thaler

Dave also displayed this marvelous 1832 Taler, and afterwards provided the photos used here. Thanks! -Editor

Dave adds this note about the Talers:

All are from a 1965 sale of the Virgil Brand collection. Here are the details:

1710 Brunswick Wolfenbuttel. : An undated taler issued in 1710 on Anton Ulrich’s conversion to Catholicism. Davenport 2121

1729 Saxe-Saalfeld. Johann Ernst VIII, issued on his death. Date in a chronogram. Davenport 2749

1732 Windisch-Gratz. Leopold Viktorin Johann. Davenport 1202

Many other fine numismatic items floated past from proof-like silver dollars, to medals, to a collection of hard times tokens with counter stamps, as does happen when all our show and tells collide, but it is that wild profusion of interesting items stacking up to one’s left or right, that ensures each evening we convene, there will be something new with that “Wow factor” worth seeing.

Along with binders of numismatic ephemera, more T-shirts not modeled, an imitation 1861 quarter eagle button, and a Garrett Pro-Pointer (of interest to the Wizard folks who may soon offer a wider range of supplies), I saw an early 19th century “patent” floating along. Not a patent for invention, but an 1807 land grant for a lot in the Town of Erie, as enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and surveyed in 1795. Title transferred from Thomas McKean, Governor, to George Burgess of Bucks County for twelve dollars.

Now Mike told me something interesting about one of the two founding families of Erie, Pennsylvania, Seth Reed. In 1786 Seth Reed petitioned the Massachusetts Legislature for the right to mint coins for Massachusetts, in competition with a rival petition by James Swann. The committee thought that making coins for the Commonwealth should easily amass the maker a tidy profit of perhaps 50% (not considering expenses), and so in May 1787, Seth Reed was denied the mint master position he sought. Seth determined to leave Massachusetts and became a surveyor at Geneva, New York, where he ran into difficulty in sharp trade with Native Americans. He vamoosed to Buffalo, and later went on to become one of the two founding families of Erie, Pennsylvania.

Seth Reed, neighbor to the newcomer George Burgess, is important to American numismatics being credited with adopting something used on American coinage. Do you know what the coin connection is with Seth Reed, co-founder of Erie, Pa?

Answer: .yadot-desu-llits-mvnv-subirulp-e-:ottom-eht-htiw-detiderc-si-deeR-hteS-,ekiM-ot-gnidroccA

Eric Schena provided the following information about the items he brought to the meeting. Thanks! -Editor

LW Shoulder entry in Mt Solon Mill ledger

I brought a couple of items, though they weren't on the theme for the dinner. I brought a ledger from the grist mill located in Mount Solon, Virginia from the 'teens to show Dave. It contains some interesting entries for a number of Western Virginia general stores that have proven useful in token cataloging. One entry in particular for the L. W. Shoulder & Co. store located in Doe Hill in Highland County includes a neat notation that it went bankrupt in June of 1913, thus providing what archaeologists would call a terminus ante quem, that is, the latest period the tokens from that store would have been used. Sometimes one of a kind materials such as store ledgers can add information that otherwise would have gone forgotten. Sometimes it pays to look for numismatic information in off-beat locations.

Virginia storecard tokens obverse Virginia storecard tokens reverse

I also brought some tokens to show a few of my fellow exonumists. For Aaron, I brought a trio of high grade Virginia storecards including a lovely brass storecard issued by Charles Raine in Lynchburg dated 1860. He recently purchased an example of this popular token, so we enjoyed comparing notes on them. I also brought a pair of James Wolff tokens from Petersburg, one in brass and one in copper.

Loudoun Clothing House obverse Loudoun Clothing House reverse

For local color closer to home, I also brought the only token from Loudoun County I have in my collection, a lovely silver dollar size aluminum good-for from the Loudoun Clothing House in nearby Leesburg. I have a particular affinity for this token because it is high grade, it is in a nice large size, has quite a bit of information from it (it hits all the major bits: store name, store owner's name, what they sold, and town name), and is also from a town in which I have spent much time in my working life. The building still exists at the corner of Market St. and King St. Part of the joy I get in collecting such tokens is the personal association I have with many of these places, as well as being able to put a human element to the pieces.

Thank again, everyone, for these great contributions, These get-togethers are always a great night of numismatic fun. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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