Tuesday May 13, 2014 was the monthly meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social club, Nummis Nova. My son had a basketball game that evening. My wife took him, but I was home with his brother and sister. I had a fine dining experience anyway, as my daughter loves to play "restaurant". She played the dual role of hostess and waitress, and I'm a customer, along with one of our stuffed animal friends. I highly recommend the spaghetti and meatballs, and Winnie-the-Pooh swears by the salmon.
Aaron Packard was the host. He picked one of his favorite hangouts, Southside 815 Restaurant in Alexandria, VA. Since I wasn't there to tell the tale, Gene Brandenburg and Tom Kays have picked up the slack. Here are their accounts of the evening - first Gene.
The restaurant was a pleasant surprise, old dark wood English pub-like with a warm (and cute) wait staff. The food was hearty and well prepared - and reasonable. They offered a small but well thought out wine & beverage list, several bottles of a quite good Australian shiraz bit the dust (Dave, Eric, Tom & Jon helped out - it's nice to have trusting friends around in a pinch). This place needs to be revisited.
Quite good 'show and tell' with some rarities. Tom Kays outdid himself again, he's almost a mobile numismatic museum. Dave brought some rare paper including a unique mining note from Elyria, Ohio. There is a rather well known collector in the D.C. area from Elyria with a reputation for being - well 'annoyingly excessively frugal' may be an understatement. Fun & games are being planned - paybacks can be hell.
Julian Leidman worked the room, shaking hands. It's good to see this quite busy dealer take the time out to attend. His sage advice (he OK'd a suspicious 1877 cent for someone), good humor and great stories help make Nummis Nova what it is. There's hundreds of years of numismatic experience at these dinners and the stories are memorable. Giggling with the older guys about some of the truly goofy dealers & collectors we've known is well, just flat damn fun.
Now here's Tom Kays' report.
Executive Summary - We supped and drank, swapped coin stories and went home happy.
More Details – Nummis Nova convened at Southside 815 on South Washington Street (Home of Southern Classic Cuisine) in Old Town Alexandria on Tuesday last. Some arrived steaming after a two and a half hour Beltway commute, badly needing the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere at the restaurant to unclench fingers long held in the death-grip position around steering wheels doing little actual steering. E-Sylum’s fearless leader, Wayne H. (#1) went missing due to his son’s basketball playoff, demonstrating well-rounded leisure pursuits beyond “numismania” as they used to call it.
Last week Wayne H. (#1) was cracking safes, cleaning estates, and auctioning coin books for a friend in Western Pennsylvania, and next week Juno Moneta only knows where the next Numismatic Diary will originate. We in coin society must stand in awe of Wayne’s multitasking abilities and weekly editorial accomplishments bringing you yet another dandy E-Sylum. Nummis Nova boasts a numerous enough quorum to occupy a very long dinner table that typically divides into distinct “conversation zones” hither and yon. I sat “hither” near Gene B., Dave S., “Q” Eric S., Jon R., and newcomer Joe R., who is Jon’s son, an ANA member, trusted assistant at the Annandale Coin Show Kid’s Event, and middle-schooler, who collects “weird” coins. Boy was he seated at the right table for that!
Pictured Left-to-Right: Hither Zone with Gene (talk to the hand), Dave, Eric, and Jon / Yonder Zone with Chris, Joe, Wayne H (#2) and Steve
The “yonder” conversation zone, beyond my earshot included Aaron P., Steve B., Julian L., Wayne H. (#2), Joe L., Chris N., and Lenny G. No telling what they actually said about folks in the “hither zone” but I have it on good authority much of their evening was spent ratting out good from bad customers who do / don’t pay for coin purchases without some delay or grief like IOUs, rubber checks, or bill-me-later-catch-me-if-you-can plans. All the trouble-makers tend to be well known “friends” of coin dealers, while strangers invariably provide prompt and sterling payment. Why is that? Does familiarity breed deadbeats? It’s a head scratcher.
Passing by in review, well before our main course (I recommend the red beans and rice with smoked kielbasa on special) were one of the (800 of 1500 printed) EAC Grading Guides released at the EAC/C4 convention and signed by Bill Eckberg (author and half cent mogul), and a token celebrating Eric Newman’s birthday (his 103rd).
Pictured Left: Unique? W.H.Baumgardner Dairy Token, circa 1880s and Right: 2014 Proof Baseball Dollar fresh from the Mint
Numismatic “weirdness” (our de facto theme for the evening?) began building with a supposed unique W.H. Baumgardner Dairy Token for One Pint Milk, with Longhorn reverse (do any readers have another example?), a fine collection of Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) encampment badges, a 1792 Barbados half penny token, a small group of leather bill folds and wallets dating back to about Andrew Jackson’s presidency including a tri-fold for New York State with eagle on globe motif (similar to Pre-Mexican War, NY State Militia, one-piece uniform buttons styled similar to Albert NY-7 through NY-16 in his “Button Book”) with marbled end papers, and an early U.S. Navy (Eagle with anchor on slanted oval shield) bi-fold, bill fold.
Also seen were a beautiful slabbed and toned, 1796 silver dollar, grading at least extra fine, a Ferran Zerbe Advertising “C-Note” (When U want 2 Buy, Sell or Obtain Information on Coins, Paper Money, curios, or Souvenirs Write Farran Zerbe – The Expo Souvenir Man – Tyrone PA), a token for S.H. Quint and Sons, Medalists of Philadelphia, an 1860s Norfolk, VA token for R. Chamberlaine in white metal by Bolen with George Washington reverse of which just five were struck, a 2014 Baseball Commemorative Dollar in proof (neat convex/concave coin) on sale now from the U.S. Mint, several Russian Kopeck Novodels, including a 1796 cipher-style, an unearthed 1787 Nova Eborac copper, and many other R-7, R-8 and R-9 trade tokens (such as a “Good for Ten Cents” aluminum token for Ivey E. Futch of Lake Placid, FL and several varieties of Weil and Levi Tokens of San Francisco), a stack of obsolete bank notes of Ohio including a rare note from a certain coin collector’s home town which has yet to be discussed, and yes, other coins of nearly indescribable “weirdness” to the delight of young Joe, such as a modern carving in the style of the Hobo Nickel in tribute to the art on ancient coins with a fine visage of “Minerva.” Weird coins we got.
Pictured Left: One of multiple embossed cartouches of Eagle on Globe on leather “Excelsior” Tri-fold New York State Document/Bill Fold; Pictured Center: Early U.S. Navy cartouche on Bi-fold wallet; and Pictured Right and far Right: “Minerva” styled after Athena in crested Corinthian Helmet as found on ancient Greek silver, but carved as a “Hobo Nickel” on a 1916-Denver Mint Buffalo, done by master carver “AC” for Alan Chernomashentsev, a pleasing tribute to the numismatic arts spanning millennia.
Wow, thanks, guys - you've done a great job. This afternoon was spent with my sons and their grandfather watching the new Godzilla movie, so I'm happy for the help with the Nummis Nova diary. I'm really looking forward to the next one.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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