February was a short month, so the March meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova seemed to come around fast.
Our host Tuesday night was Joe Levine. Traffic was awful, and I arrived about 7pm at Esposito's restaurant in Fairfax. It was raining
and I put up my umbrella for the short walk to the door.
Our party was seated just inside, and I waved thru the window. I took an empty seat at the close end of the table across from Gene
Brandenburg and next to Lenny Goldberg. Besides Joe and a guest sitting next to him (more later), attendees included Julian Liedman, Wayne
Herndon, Mike Packard, Jon Radel, Steve Bishop, Dave Schenkman and Eric Schena.
Your Most Treasured Numismatic Item
Joe had previously declared the exhibit theme for the evening: "My most treasured numismatic item. If times got bad and you had to
raise money to feed the family, what would be the last numismatic item you would sell?"
Interesting thought experiment. Since I'd already sold off much of my collection itself, I turned my thoughts to my library. It was
a tough choice, but I decided to pick my copy of the 1851 Roper sale, a rare item from a landmark event in American numismatics. It was
Mark Collet's copy, priced and partially named. As an exhibit though, it doesn't look like much, and to protect it from spaghetti
sauce, olive oil and wine, I decided to leave it at home. How would E-Sylum readers answer that question?
Eric and Dave were among those close enough to talk to at my end, and topics ranged from wine, decanting and silver decanters, coin
dealers, favorite numismatic purchases, and a world leader nicknamed "Spanky" (don't ask).
The Six-Cent Nickel
Back on numismatics, I learned from Gene that Wayne Herndon was paying six cents for nickels dated prior to 1960. Ever one to take
advantage of a new opportunity, before I'd arrived Gene gave Wayne a nickel and asked for a receipt, which Wayne made out on the spot.
But not before Gene told him that he and Dave Schenkman were joint owners of the coin, so he'd need to issue TWO three-cent checks. I
missed out on the fun, but will check my change more carefully - a 20% return is a 20% return. Beat THAT with the stock market...
1902 Winchester, VA Sesquicentennial Medal
1882 $50 gold certificate
Eric provided an image of one of his exhibit items. He writes:
As always, I had a lovely dinner at Nummis Nova. Here are scans of an item I just got that night courtesy of Dave Schenkman. It is a
32 mm diameter bronze medal commemorating the sesquicentennial of Winchester, Virginia and July Fourth celebrations in 1902. The medal
has a beautiful high relief bust of George Washington on the obverse and is listed as Baker-1833. I have not run across one of these in
my travels in the area. The photos don't do it justice - it's quite stunning.
For the dinner's theme of "last numismatic item you'd part with," I brought an 1882 $50 gold certificate, FR-1196
Vernon-McClung, that was one of my first bigger numismatic purchases back in 1985. I got the note from a dealer who had a small shop in a
strip mall in southern Fairfax County off of Route 1. I wanted a large denomination note and really wanted a gold certificate and a
friend of mine said he had all sorts of neat notes. Turns out he had a small group of six of the type, all but one as it turned out were
the much more common (relatively speaking) FR-1197 Napier-McClung notes.
I was just a "tween" then and all I noticed at the time was that it was a different sig combo so I picked that one for $180.
I kept it and just a few years ago sent it to PMG who gave it a VF-25 grade. It's a rarer Friedberg number (perhaps 30 or so known in
any grade). I still have the thing and will for some time to come. I wish I remembered the name of the dealer - he had stacks of
currency, in particular high denomination notes. It was the first time I ever handled $500 and $1000 notes which is pretty heady stuff
for a young kid!
It was a nice note. Great taste! This kid will go far. Oh wait, he already has - not only as a numismatic author and editor, but as a
cataloguer for Stack's Bowers.
Engraver Ad Note and Token
Next up are some images of Dave Schenkman's other items. Here's an advertising note for an engraver, an unusual issuer for items
of this type.
Dave also had a great token none of us had ever seen before - the Key token with Monitor reverse in silver. The Key company were
engravers & die sinkers in Philadelphia.
To the best of my knowledge it is unique. It came out of a Bowers & Ruddy sale back in the 1970s, as I recall.
TAMS Franklin Mint Literary Award Medals
Lastly, Dave brought one of his Token and Medal Society Franklin Mint Literary award medals. He writes:
I brought this to the dinner because the theme was “If times got bad and you had to raise money to feed the family, what would be the
last numismatic item you would sell?" Thanks to the Franklin Mint, for many years the highest TAMS literary award medal was
approximately 5.5 ounces of 14kt gold. I was honored to receive eight of them.
That had to be the highest-paid part-time writing gig anywhere in numismatics. These are impressive medals - wow! Dave earned them.
Down at the other end of the table there was a gentleman whose name I didn't know. I'd run into him once at Joe Levine's table
at a Baltimore coin show few years ago, and we chatted about our collecting interests. I didn't get his name.
Since our area was pretty cramped, I didn't get a chance to get up and visit with the other end of the table. On the way out though,
Joe introduced his guest to those of us at our end of the table. He was Jimmy Hayes, the former Congressman from Louisiana.
As politician, his ad-libbed lines were well-rehearsed. A moderate Democrat, he later switched to the Republican party. When someone
chided him for "going over to the dark side," he laughed and said, "The sides are ALL dark - there IS no bright side to this
business..." and "When I switched, BOTH sides of the aisle got up and applauded..."
Hayes had assembled a fabulous collection of U.S. coins which was sold by Stacks many years ago. He's still a collector and lobbies
Congress on various coinage issues. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to talk more with him. For more information, see his Wikipedia
To read the complete Wikipedia article, see:
Jimmy Hayes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Hayes)
It was going on 9:30 when I left to head home. It was still raining, and the precipitation combined with the snow-covered ground to make
a pretty dense fog. But I made it home still in time to see my family and walk the dog before calling it a night. 'Til next time!
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster