The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 7, February 15, 2015, Article 12


It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've spent a lot of time working on the Newman Numismatic Portal project. I've been talking with Barbara Gregory at the American Numismatic Association about their project to digitize The Numismatist, and have also been working with librarians Kendra Johnson and David Hill at the ANA and American Numismatic Society. I've also been drafting user requirements documentation with John Feigenbaum, and staying in touch with Len Augsburger, Roger Burdette and Joel Orosz.

Between that and my kids' four basketball games last weekend, I was unable to put forth my usual effort on last week's E-Sylum. But some of the submissions that fell through the cracks appear in this week's issue.

Tuesday night was a fun diversion. After work I drove to the Maggiano's restaurant at the Springfield Mall for the February meeting of my Northern Virginia Numismatic Social group, Nummis Nova. Tom Kays was our host for the evening. I quickly ran into Wayne Herndon and Eric Schena as I dashed over into the mall for a quick Valentine's Day purchase - I needed a nice gift bag for the necklace I'd bought my wife.

Back at the restaurant several of us cooled our heels in the waiting area while our table was being set up. I had a big box full of preordered Girl Scout Cookies my daughter Hannah was selling for her troop. Thanks, guys!

After much fussing we were finally seated. I ended up near Eric, Tom and Steve Bishop and David Schenkman. Julian Leidman held court at the opposite end. Rounding out our group were Gene Brandenburg, Mike Packard, Joe Levine, Ron Abler and Jon Radel. Aaron Packard, Roger Burdette and Lenny Goldberg were unable to make it.

We decided to go "Family Style" and the wait staff brought out dish after dish of Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna and Salmon for sharing. That was on top of some great appetizers and a prelude to dessert. We all ate far too much, but it was very good and the staff was great.

I brought a couple medals and some rare books on tokens. One medal was the 1989 Pittsburgh ANA convention medal by John Mercani. The other was a Swedish Carnegie Hero Fund medal. Sorry, no pictures - the Carnegie medal was an eBay purchase and the listing has since been taken down, and I forgot to grab the images.

The token books I brought were:

Bushnell, Charles I., An Arrangement of Tradesmen's Cards, Political Tokens, also Election Medals… 1858

Bushnell, Charles I., An Historical Account of the First Three Business Tokens Issued in the City of New York, 1859

Satterlee, Alfred H., An Arrangement of Medals and Tokens, Struck in Honor of the Presidents of the U.S., 1862

I also brought another rarity written by a Mint Director:

Snowden, James Ross, The Coins of the Bible and its Money terms, Enlarged edition, 1862

Here are some of the obsolete notes Dave Schenkman brought, starting with a recent heritage FUN sale purchase.

Butter Cup front

Butter Cup back
Butter Cup Silver Mining Co.

Coosa Navigation & Coal-25
Coosa Navigation & Coal Mining Co.

Dave adds:

This one didn’t come from the Heritage sale. Virginia Obsolete Paper Money lists three denominations from the company; this one is unlisted.

Raven Cliff Furnace

Dave also asked me what I knew about Joseph Barnet, and I steered him wrong. I thought he was an early collector of Civil War tokens (early as in post-Civil War). I thought for sure we'd find a bio in Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies. I checked after the meeting, but no such luck. I also checked John Lupia's Numismatic Mall site and came up empty. So tonight on a hunch I reached over to my library shelf and grabbed a familiar blue volume - Dave Bowers' book on American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860. Here's what I learned:

Perhaps the next impetus occurred in the 1930's and 1940's when New York City dealer Joseph Barnet became especially active in Civil war tokens.

So Barnet was a dealer, and came along much later. Dave writes:

I have a token in an envelope with Edgar Adams' printed on the flap. Barnet’s name is written beneath that. I’m trying to determine whether the token was obtained by Adams from Barnet…

I spoke with Eric Schena on a number of topics. He writes:

The dinner was great as always thanks to the company! I had a fantastic time chatting with you at the dinner regarding the "Franklin Hoard" book and "California Coiners & Assayers."

Pioneer and Territorial gold coins have been something I have been enthralled about since I first saw a Red Book in the 1970s. Since my cataloging work for Stack's Bowers has included a number of such coins, it's been a genuine thrill to be able to write about them.

Barium Springs NC obv Barium Springs NC rev

Here are pics of two items I had with me. First is an orphanage token from Barium Springs, North Carolina. The piece was issued for the Barium Exchange store at the Presbyterian Orphan's Home located in Iredell County, just south of Statesville. It was founded in 1891 and is still in operation as the Barium Springs Home for Children. The Exchange was started in 1924 and the tokens (which I am told are quite scarce) may have been in use soon after. Here is what was recorded in the "Minutes of the One Hundred and Eleventh Annual Sessions of the Synod of North Carolina" held October 14-16, 1924 regarding the creation of the Barium Exchange:

"The only new enterprise effecting the entire institution inaugurated during the year, is the starting of the ''Barium Exchange" system of pay and expense. A full description of this is in the current issue of the Barium Messenger. Suffice it to say here, that this system was set up after months of careful planning, in which the matrons, department heads, and older boys and girls gave counsel. It is designed to more fully train for actual conditions of life that will meet our young people leaving this institution. This has been in active operation for six weeks, and while it still has many imperfections, the good results are already manifest to a most encouraging degree."

I don't know of any other tokens that specify "Orphan" or "Orphanage" on them, to I'd love to know if there are more such pieces.

Johnson Crematorium The second item is actually a gift from Dave Schenkman to my wife, Heather: it's a crematorium tag from Johnson Crematorium. It's undated, doesn't specify a town, unholed, and appears it hasn't been in the retort (oven) like many of them are. Heather and I did some researching and we think it's from a now-defunct funeral home in Naples, Florida. Unlike some of the pieces Heather wrote about in her TAMS article, this one may have been placed outside the retort. A neat variety!

I'd never seen or heard of an Orphanage token before. Can anyone confirm the existence of others? In keeping with the gallows humor of the crematorium tag, I noted that the orphanage name would be an unfortunate one for a nursing home: "Bury 'em" Springs.

It was another great evening. Some of the guys followed me out to my car and bought out the remaining extra Girl Scout cookies I had with me. Hannah and her troop thank you!


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Wayne Homren, Editor

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