The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 45, November 8, 2015, Article 20


Whitman Baltimore Winter Expo
On Friday morning, November 6, 2015 I pointed my car in a different direction; instead of heading to work, I went up to the Baltimore Convention Center for a whirlwind visit to the Whitman Winter Expo.

I arrived early and hadn't arranged for an Early Bird Badge, so I cooled my heels in the lobby. Among the first people I spoke to was Wayne Herndon. As Virginians we naturally discussed the drive to Baltimore and how it's nearly impossible to arrive promptly at 9am. Wayne correctly noted that "If you leave at 7 you'll get here at 8. If you leave at 8 you'll get here at 10 or 11."

Next I spoke with Tony Terranova and John Dannreuther. We discussed a nice silver plug 1794 half they'd seen at the show. The plug was prominent and perfectly fitted, an unusual combination. The Mint got everything just right that day.

John and I also discussed numismatic literature. He mentioned a copy of the Adams-Woodin pattern book with blue and red check marks made by Abe Kosoff to record pieces in the Farouk and Newcomer collections.

As the doors opened for dealers I saw quite a crowd move thorough the hall. Among them I spotted Julian Leidman, Stu Levine, Mark Borckardt and Al Boulanger. I also spotted my old friend Bob Meztger and went up to chat with him. Decades have gone by since we last got together in person. I was single then and now I have a 6'2" highschooler at home. Bob was in Baltimore for the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) meetings.

At the registration desk I met Ed Craig, a longtime E-Sylum subscriber and President of the Maryland Token and Medal Society. Ed and John Dannreuther both told me something I heard from people all day - that they always find something of interest in The E-Sylum. Ed had recently recommended it to a dealer he visited in a shop in Hawaii. That's how we get most of our subscribers - word of mouth. Thanks, Ed!

Another Marylander I met for the first time was Russ Sears. We'd corresponded for years but our paths had never crossed. I'm glad we made plans to get together for a while. We had a nice talk sitting at one of the lobby tables.

Finally, I also hooked up with Steve Davis from Michigan, who gave me a copy of his new auction sale catalog. His advertisement and press release of the sale is elsewhere in this issue. With the big coin auction firms getting even bigger, there is a niche for auctions of interesting lower-valued collector material, and we'll look forward to his future sales.

We entered the show floor when it opened to the public. I ran around to see several people in the short time I had available. Among my visits were the tables of Doug Winter, Charlie Davis and Neil Musante, and Dave Perkins and Andy Lustig. While speaking to Neil, Dave and Emi Hirt came by and we talked for a while.

Andy Lustig, Dave Perkins Baltimore 2015-11
Steve Liu, Andy Lustig, Dave Perkins

1799 Dollar B-18 BB-15a Miller Collection I took a look at some of the coins Dave and Andy were selling from the Miller collection. This nearly uncirculated 1799 dollar caught my eye. Nice coin. I took the above shot while Steve Liu was visiting the table.

I couldn't stay long, because I'd made plans with Bob Metzger to go to an early lunch together. We met at John Kraljevich's table. I never got to talk to John as his table was always surrounded. People are drawn to him like flies on ... Well, maybe I need another metaphor. Let's just say he's popular.

Jeff Rock was there at the table and we discussed The E-Sylum and the CoinWeek Breen article. He was also there to make a deal with Bob Metzger, which they completed just as we were leaving for lunch.

Bob and I trekked across to street and took seats at an outdoor table. We both ordered the tuna tacos, which were very good. We filled each other in on our careers and families. When we were last together I was living in Pittsburgh and Bob was in Texas. Several job changes later I'm in Virginia and he's in Minneapolis, newly retired.

Bob showed me his new acquisition, It's a 1760 Voce Populi, Nelson-15. Nice coin!

Voce Populi Nelsen 15 obverse Voce Populi Nelsen 15 reverse

The Newman Numismatic Portal
NNP Baltimore slide As noon approached we crossed back over to the convention center and made our way upstairs. Len Augsburger was getting set up to give a presentation on the Newman Numismatic Portal. I joined him at the front of the room.

About fifteen people attended, among them Mike Packard, Dave Hirt, Bill Eckberg, Bob Metzger and David Gladfelter. We fielded questions about how books are digitized, and how people will be able to access the portal when it goes live. This is a big project and we're only getting warmed up. But it's been great to see the level interest and participation.

National Numismatic Collection Research Library
After chatting with Ray Williams and Bob Metzger and introducing Bob to Len, we said our goodbyes and began the journey to our next stop - the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian. Len stopped at his hotel while I pulled my car around to the Pratt street exit. I set my Google Maps GPS navigation for our destination and we got caught up on Newman Numismatic Portal status along our southward journey.

We found the building quickly enough and knew we had a parking spot reserved for us, but finding the parking lot was more of a challenge. Google was no help. "You have reached your destination" it told us. "Shut up", I thought. Len turned it off. We crawled through D.C. traffic and were still perplexed. Len called our host, Carrie Smith of the Smithsonian Libraries. Carrie went above and beyond the call of duty, coming to our rescue with her cell phone at her ear. She hopped in the back of our car and guided us to our parking spot.

I'm sure her mother taught her never to get in a car with strangers, but luckily for us Carrie made an exception. We introduced each other in the parking lot and crossed a street to the National Museum of American History building.

Once inside we passed the entrance to the new National Numismatic Collection exhibit and entered an elevator to an upper floor. These were the bowels of the Museum, the back room offices the public never sees. Carrie soon guided us to a numismatic bibliophile's paradise, the NNC's research library.

The outer room was lined with tall shelves stuffed with long runs of bound numismatic periodicals from all over the world. I made mental notes of publications to prioritize for digitization for the Newman Numismatic Portal. The Smithsonian Libraries already participate in digitization projects with the Internet Archive, and we met some of the people involved at the IA conference in San Francisco last month. The Smithsonian was involved with cataloging the NNC's library for the first time, and much progress has been made.

The catalog is available online, although it's still a work in progress. Here are Carrie's instructions on how to access it.

  • Go to the Smithsonian library catalog:
  • Use Browse option for known titles/authors/serial titles
  • For a very general search use Keyword search
  • General keyword: numismatic* [truncate the search term to pull variations] - this will give the most results
  • Limit by: Search National Museum of American History (Note: there are other collections in the Smithsonian Libraries than at this location, but the majority will have the collection code NMAH Numismatics) (Note: the Dibner Special Collections Library also holds rare numismatics materials)
  • Sort by: to further narrow the search

Carrie adds:

The library is still in process of reorganization. Contact Ask A Librarian with any questions.

Mint Collection Record Books
Mint Cabinet Account Books

When the U.S. Mint cabinet was transferred to the Smithsonian, these record books came along with it. Inside are entries describing each acquisition, whether donated or purchased. These hold great information and clues for researchers; unique materials like this will be among our top priorities for digitization.

National Numismatic Collection vertical files
National Numismatic Collection Library Vertical Files

The cataloging effort is a work in progress, and much remains to be done. The inner room, which leads to the collection vault, holds a long row of movable bookshelves. Along another wall is this rotating vertical file holding thousands of pamphlets and auction catalogs. The books have been organized and are being entered in the online catalog. These files will take much more time to process.

Len and I had a ball perusing the library. We found a few great gems we'll follow up with the staff on. After a couple hours we bid our goodbyes and headed downstairs to take a look at the exhibit before leaving.

National Numismatic Collection Exhibit
The exhibit door was manned by the largest, burliest security guard I've ever seen in my life. The vault door was equally impressive, even though it's just there for show. It's a great way to attract visitors to the exhibit. Here are some photos.

NNC Exhibit Safe Door closeup

Visitors viewing the NNC exhibit

NNC Exhibit case NNC Exhibit Case Collecting Money

NNC Exhibit Red Book Mockup

As bibliophiles, this item stopped us in our tracks - Dick Yeo's original handmade mockup for A Guide Book of United States Coins, the very first Red Book. Wow!

NNC Exhibit Case 5

NNC Exbibit Drwer Sacajawea Dollar

NNC Exhibit case 2 NNC Exhibit Case 4

My kids will roll their eyes, but here's me taking a selfie. I enjoyed my brief visit to the exhibit. I thought it was generally well done and appropriate for a general audience.

Wayne Homren at National Numismatic Collection November 6, 2015

Len and I walked outside together, and then split up. He would take a train back to Baltimore while I drove home to Virginia. At least that was the plan. I discovered when I got to my car that I hadn't turned the key all the way off and my car battery was drained. It wouldn't start.

After a call to AAA and a short talk with the friendly attendant, I took a seat on a sidewalk bench to wait. It was a pleasant enough evening, so why not enjoy it? I just watched the world go by for a while, in cars, buses, bicycles and on foot. Even a 200-strong group of greenshirted middleschoolers went by.

Once my help arrived I was soon back on the road. I made it home in perfect time to meet up with my family for dinner at a local restaurant. All in all, a great day.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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