July 14, 2015 brought the monthly gathering of my Northern Virginia numismatic social club, Nummis Nova. Mike Packard was our host, and he arranged a table for us at Esposito's Restaurant in Fairfax. I arrived around 6:30, and the table was nearly full. I took a seat at one end of the table, next to Eric Schena and across from Steve Bishop and Roger Burdette. Tom Kays joined us shortly thereafter. Other attendees included
Julian Leidman and Dave Schenkman.
I brought along a couple of recently published books to show everyone, including Dick Hanscom's Tinnahs &Seal Skins, Gold Dust &Bingles, Doug Ball's Confederate Bonds, Second Edition, and a printed proof of the new Whitman book by Ron Guth on the 100 Greatest Women on Coins.
Julian and Joe Levine talked about the old days and traveling to coin shows. Eric and Dave talked tokens, and Gene tried out his French.
Julian brought along a serving tray studded head to toe with coins.
I joked that we would be serving pizza on it. But the restaurant was no pizza joint.
I thought my salad was wonderful, and my entrée of Spaghetti Bolognese merely OK. But since I shunned drinks and desert my tab came to a mere $12. Can't complain about that! Overall people thought the food was fine and Gene raved about the wine. In his picture the bottle obscures a view of Joe Esposito. To the right is a glimpse of Dave Schenkman.
I learned at the meeting that Dave will be inducted into the Numismatic Hall of Fame at the ANA World’s Fair of Money awards banquet next month. Congratulations! The more I've come to know him, the more admiration I have for Dave's boundless knowledge of and dedication to the numismatic hobby. One doesn't author eight standard reference books and more than 200 articles without a true passion for the subject matter.
It being Bastille Day (July 14), that was our theme for exhibits.
Joe Esposito brought along a medal commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which kicked off the French Revolution.
It was the first in a series of medals on the French Revolution and Napoleon engraved by Bertrand Andrieu. This 83-mm medal, “Storming of the Bastille,” was probably produced around 1800.
There was a lot of ordinary chitchat. We did discuss Dave’s forthcoming book on Virginia tokens and Virginia tokens in general. There was a brief discussion of the value of the Libertas Americana medal. Dave and I discussed banjos.
After the meeting, Eric and I discussed his fine article “Mystery of the Everman Counterstamp” in the June issue of The Numismatist. Tom and I talked about railroads, particularly the Reading Railroad; he has an interest in the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum in Pennsylvania (he was wearing its logo shirt).
Dave Schenkman and Eric Schena brought along a hardcopy of their massive manuscript for the new edition of Dave's book on Virginia Tokens. It's quite impressive - 591 pages with full color illustrations throughout. Eric assembled and formatted the manuscript, and his wife Heather proofread it. The long-awaited work will be the new standard of the field. Stay tuned to The E-Sylum for ordering information. Dave also brought with him a couple nice Virginia tokens.
Dave Schenkman writes:
Here the two Charles J. Raine, Lynchburg, VA 1860 tokens. One is brass, 28mm, and weighs 9.2gr. The token is scarce, but by no means rare. The other one is copper, 29mm, and weighs 16.6gr. It surfaced in the February 1975 Bowers &Ruddy sale of the Newport Collection (lot 01318). I’ve never seen another.
Steve Bishop bought along a couple of interesting Russian pieces.
1763 SPB 5 Kopecks overstruck on 1762 10 Kopecks
1788 MM 5 Kopecks overstruck on 1762 10 Kopecks
Some U.S. Coins
Steve also had some nice (and nicely toned) U.S. coins.
The Switt-Langbord 1933 Double Eagles
One topic of conversation at my end of the table was the ongoing Langbord family 1933 double eagle case. It was Coin World's most-read story of the week. We didn't think the nasty tone of the government's latest brief would help their case - it seemed to smell of desperation and a lack of any defensible remaining legal argument.
To read the complete article, see:
Government seeks 1933 gold double eagle rehearing involving coins from 'the family of a thief'
Of Kids and Food
Eric and Tom reminded me of the upcoming Annandale Coin Show and our regular kid's meeting. Time to get organized! In subsequent emails and three of us and Jon Radel developed a plan.
It was another great meeting. It's always fun to get together with fellow numismatists. On Friday I had a dinner of a different sort, going out with my family to try a new Chinese restaurant that had opened nearby. Actually, we were missing one family member, as son Tyler had opted to stay home. And actually, it was an old Chinese restaurant under new management. We hadn't set foot in the place since the first year we lived in the area.
As we pulled up to the place, our son Christopher remembered our last (and only) visit. "Isn't this the place where Tyler spilled water all over the table?" It was. We'd walked in with fussy kids and fusty grandparents, couldn't decide what we wanted to order, and the water spill was the last straw. We apologized, left a tip, and exited without ordering. "Tell them we got rid of that kid," I said.
Well, there was no one there to remember us. It was a totally new management and staff. How could we tell? My mother-in-law later said, "This is the first Chinese restaurant I've ever seen without Chinese people". Which, in Northern Virginia, is like a fast food place without Spanish-speaking help. That should have been our first clue. Everyone looked Middle Eastern. That explained the new neon "Halal" sign in the window. This was going to be interesting, if nothing else.
A teenager who seemed new at all this took our orders. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. The egg drop soups arrived cold and no one touched them. We waited some more. The owner came over to apologize and promised everything was cooking and would be out soon. We waited some more. Next he brought out free trays of spring rolls, which were actually very tasty. So we waited. And waited some more. I said, "I think we're fasting for Ramadan..."
My mother-in-law, who hadn't had Chop Suey since moving from Pittsburgh had been looking forward to this, since this place had it on the menu that came in the mail. When her Shrimp Chop Suey finally came, it was more of a Shrimp noodle dish. Not Chop Suey by anyone's definition.
I joked that the kitchen staff must be watching YouTube videos to learn how to cook Chinese. Like the two LG repairmen we had at our house last month. I kid you not - they were watching a YouTube video on their phone to learn how to replace the compressor. How do you say "Dumb and Dumber" in Korean?
At the end of our ordeal someone I guessed was the owner's son came out to apologize again and gave us our meals free. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he said, "When the whole world has Smartphones you'd think anyone could look up how to make Chop Suey..." I'm glad these people aren’t performing heart bypass surgery. I later told my wife, "I called and got us a family discount for having our stomachs pumped."
Here's looking forward to next month's Nummis Nova dinner - if I live that long.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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