On Monday I received and forwarded several files of pages scanned from The Elder Monthly in response to John McMichael's request. Many
thanks to Rick Stroman for scanning his bound volume of The Elder Monthly 1906 - 1908!
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 bought the latest meeting of my northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. Wayne Herndon was our host. I
was among the last to arrive and took a seat next to Ron Abler. Soon Julian Leidman took the seat on my other side. Others in attendance were Steve
Bishop, Gene Brandenburg, Chris Neuzil, Wayne Herndon, Eric Schena, Joe Levine, and Dave Schenkman.
We were back at Reston Town Center, this time at a French restaurant called Mon Ami Gabi. I was amazed at how packed the place was for a Tuesday
night. The food was great and no one had any complaints. I started with French Onion Soup, something I hadn't had in years. My salmon was
excellent, as were the mashed potatoes, although I remarked that there must have been a full stick of butter in them, they were so rich.
Centennial Medal for the 'President of the American Parliament"
Ron Abler showed me an amazing 4+ inch bronze medal struck by France for the Centennial Exhibition in 1876. It's rare to see such a huge medal -
impressive! Below is the catalog description, followed by a question from Ron for the E-Sylum readership.
Obverse: In the center, a rendition of the coat of arms of America reminiscent of Dupre’s version on the Diplomatic medal: the spread eagle head
right with six arrows in its right claw and an olive branch in its left, bearing a scroll inscribed with the motto “IN PLURIBUS UNUM”; on its chest
the escutcheon with thirteen paleways (vertical stripes) and 14 stars on the chief (horizontal band above the paleways); behind, a cloud surmounted
by a glory of 53 rays with two bands of stars, 13 in the upper and 9 below; the seal encircled by three rings: solid, rope, and bead; clockwise
around from 8:30 in two lines: “A MR. LE PRÉSIDENT DU PARLEMENT AMÉRICAIN / SOUVENIR DU CENTENAIRE DE L’INDÉPENDANCE” [To the President (or Speaker)
of the American Parliament / Souvenir of the Centennial of Independence]; below, an ornate curved tablet with “A.BUREAU . GRAVEUR BTE / LILLE• FRANCE
• NORD” (From the Bureau of the Mint Bldg / [city of] Lille, Northern France); “• 1776 •” to the right and “• 1876 •” to the left; the whole
encircled by a bead chain inside a cove rim; on the edge: the bee symbol of the Paris Mint and “CUIVRE” (bronze).
Reverse: In eight lines, the top and bottom curved: “AGRICULTURE . HORTICULTURE. / 1876 / EXPOSITION / INTERNATIONALE / DE / PHILADELPHIE / 1776 /
ARTS . INDUSTRIE .”; encircled by a cove border, outside of which is a dense wreath of oak leaves and acorns left and olive leaves and olives right,
bound with a crossed ribbon at the four compass points; the whole encircled by border composed of a single line and a rope border.
Cross-refs: Not listed.
Diameter: 110 mm.
One has to wonder for whom this medal was intended – for the Vice-President, who presides over the Senate, or for the Speaker of the House, Samuel
J. Randall, who presides over the House of Representatives, as well as joint sessions of Congress? Interestingly, the office of Vice President was
vacant in 1876, because Henry Wilson died in office on 22 November 1875, so Randall would have been acting VP. Thus, the medal apparently went to
Randall, but in which capacity?
To read the listing in Ron's Centennial medals catalog, see (scroll to p6): Medals Struck in or by Foreign Countries
August Dittrich Tokens
Dave Schenkman brought a nice group of Washington, D.C. tokens and provided the above images. He writes:
After being in business with his brother for a few years, in the mid-1860s August Dittrich opened a store at the address on his tokens. Both are
brass, 24mm. The one with the 1875 Liberty head reverse is scarce; the other one is quite rare. They were struck by Dorman’s Stencil & Stamp
Works of Baltimore.
I tried to mingle a bit and visit with others at the far end of the table, but it was difficult in such a crowded space. I did little more than
say Hi to Chris Neuzil, whom I hadn't seen in a few months. I did get a number of compliments from people on The E-Sylum, including
"it's the best publication in numismatics today, bar none." (blush). Well, I try, and like the Beatles, I get by with a little help
from my friends. Thanks to Dave Schenkman, Ron Abler and John Feigenbaum (see below) for their assistance with this diary entry,
Newman Numismatic Portal Meetings
Thursday night brought another numismatic dinner. After work I drove to D.C. and managed to find a parking spot in a lot next to the DuPont Circle
PNC Bank branch, which I believe is an old Riggs bank. I walked over to Pizza Paradiso and put my name in for a table.
There would be five of us, and soon the others arrived: Len Augsburger, Roger Burdette, John Feigenbaum of David Lawrence Rare Coins, and Chris
Freeland of the Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). We'd converged on D.C. for the first face-to-face meeting of the Newman Numismatic
Once we got a table and ordered our pizzas, the conversations turned to all of the great things we could do for numismatics with this project.
Tens or even hundreds of thousands of books and millions of images digitized and made searchable, starting with Eric Newman's library, which
holds many a rare volume.
Afterwards I headed home for the night but returned early Friday morning to get a parking spot. I killed some time working on The E-Sylum
at the DuPont Circle Panera Bread (a clean and cozy place). A little before 9am I walked down Massachusetts Avenue. D.C. is a place like no other.
Everywhere were foreign embassies, national organization headquarters, and important-sounding buildings.
The local office of WUSTL is in a building emblazoned Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "How's that working out for ya,
Andy?," I thought. Then I chastised myself for being so flippant. War and Peace aren't to be taken lightly, especially in today's
environment. Our project is insignificant in comparison, but I was eager to start. I found my way to a conference room on the 7th floor where the
others were already in place. John Feigenbaum took this photo to mark the occasion (thanks!):
Len Augsburger, Roger Burdette, Wayne Homren, Chris Freeland
It was a very productive meeting. We worked through lunch and outlined team roles and responsibilities, project goals, and a timeline of
intermediate milestones. I think we all came away more excited than ever about where the project could go. Afterwards I walked Len over to the Metro
Station before going back to my car. I headed home and worked some more on The E-Sylum after dinner with my family. The rest of the weekend
was taken up with basketball games and other family activities, some more E-Sylum work, and entering a bid on a medal on eBay. All in all, a
good week. 'Til next time.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
NEWMAN NUMISMATIC PORTAL LAUNCHES IN 2015 (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n51a08.html)
THE HISTORY OF THE COIN LIBRARY (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n51a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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