The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 14, April 3, 2016, Article 23


Nummis Nova 2016 Baltimore Dinner
As readers of The E-Sylum know, a highlight of my month is the regular dinner meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social club, Nummis Nova. My out of town friends (and that means YOU, The E-Sylum readers) often tell me they'd love to join us sometime if they're in town, and over the years a couple of you have been able to do just that.

A couple months back Dave Bowers invited us to come up to Wolfeboro for a visit, and several of us began thinking through options for a road trip sometime. But in the meantime, I suggested a less taxing option - a dinner at the Whitman Baltimore coin show with Dave and some of our other out-of-town friends. After an exchange of emails, plans were made.

And so it was that upon leaving the coin show floor, I put on a tie and headed over to Morton's for a special dinner of Nummis Nova members and our guests. Eric Schena was our host for the evening, and he'd arranged for a private room and made up namecards to help everyone put names to the new faces.

Regular Nummis Nova members besides myself and Eric were Tom Kays, Joe Esposito, Mike Packard, Julian Leidman, Dave Schenkman, Ron Abler and Roger Burdette. Out-of-towners included Maryland dealer Michael Merrill and collector Dr. Ben Swanson (guests of Dave Schenkman), Syd Martin (guest of Mike Packard), and Will Nipper (guest of Joe Esposito). My guests included Dave Bowers, David Sundman of Littleton Coin Co., Mary Burleson of Whitman Publishing, Len Augsburger of the Newman Numismatic Portal project, and Pat McBride and Tom Uram of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists.

Here are a few photos from the cocktail portion before taking our places at the table.

Ron Abler and Pat McBride Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016
Ron Abler and Pat McBride

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Burdette Burleson Bowers Homren
Roger Burdette, Mary Burleson, Dave Bowers, Wayne Homren

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Kays Esposito PAckard Nipper
Tom Kays, Joe Esposito, Mike Packard, Will Nipper

Tom Kays writes:

“See the “Worlds of Wayne” as they collide with PAN / Nummis Nova / Whitman Empire / ANS / NNP / Stacks-Bowers / Littleton representatives and guests, all seated at table, like when at a wedding folks from different spheres of our lives come together from work, neighborhood, family and friends who settle in for cake with a similar group from the bride/groom’s side. The result is a potent mix of conviviality as we shared Thursday night. It was cool.

I understand Q. David Bowers talked with Eric Schena about travelling in Eastern Europe, glad of the freedom from formal duties that weigh down other gatherings he presides over. Our end of the table talked about recent coin finds at Jamestown, pouring one’s own silver bars, politics and Pistareens, the veracity with which we may name the models of Liberty depicted on the Morgan/Peace dollars and leaky aquariums.

Just as the Nuclear Summit in DC sent motorcades with twenty heads of state in new and interesting directions the very same night, perhaps we might call this Baltimore dinner a “Numismatic Summit” to send dealers, researchers, publishers, archivists, collectors and authors down new paths.

I guess it was a summit of sorts, although one with no particular agenda. I opened the dinner with some short remarks about how I had created Nummis Nova, basing it on The Sphinx Society, founded in Pittsburgh in 1960 by Ray Byrne. There are no Constitution and Bylaws, no reading of the minutes, no committees, no nothin' except the fun part - numismatic fellowship.

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Table-center
Wayne Herndon, Wayne Homren, Pat McBride, Mike Packard
Photo by Tom Kays

I introduced my guests and other members introduced themselves and their guests. Wayne Herndon joked about how often people across the hobby confuse the two of us, being two Wayne H's from Virginia. He said he'd "gotten some good book deals that way", and I responded that I'd gotten some good coin deals that way, too. (Not really, but I do get confusing emails and phone calls on occasion until I realize they want Mr. Herndon, the mustachioed one).

And then we got down to the fellowship part. The room was alive with conversation the rest of the night. I was sitting at the middle of our long table, between Pat McBride and Wayne Herndon, and across from Tom Uram, Dave Schenkman and Ben Swanson.

I learned that Ben lives just down the street from the Baltimore convention center. Poor Dave had just had dental surgery a few days before and had to be content with crab cakes rather than Morton's steaks. I indulged with an 8oz fillet. The evening already seems a blur, but I recall conversation topics included the upcoming PAN show, the Burns Memorial Library, Wayne's growing Wizard Coin Supply business, and new content for the Newman Portal.

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 table-right Packard Martin Sundman Burleson
Mike Packard, Syd Martin, David Sundman, Mary Burleson
Photo by Tom Kays

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Table far-right
Schena, Augsburger, Liedman, Uram, Schenkman, Swanson
Photo by Tom Kays

Joe Esposito adds:

Not surprisingly, the wide range of interests allowed for many stimulating discussions. Among them at our end of the table was one on American sculptors and medalists, including Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Anthony de Francisci, James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser, and Paul Manship. Roger, who has written a trilogy of important books (“Renaissance of American Coinage”) which cover these artists and others, provided instructive insights.

Tom Kays adds:

To capture a remembrance from all the fleeting host of numismatic luminaries, I bothered everyone to deface a duce by signing my “short snorter.” Some had never done so, while others recalled similar actions in Viet Nam. Dave Bowers said we should tape more notes to this one as others are invited to sign, perhaps next year. Have you E-Sylum readers ever signed a “short snorter?” Tell us more.”

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Snorter-a-crop
Photo by Tom Kays

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Snorter-b-crop
Photo by Tom Kays

As with the regular Nummis Nova dinners, it was a wonderful, relaxing night of numismatic discussion and fellowship. Here's a group shot taken by Tom as we were doing introductions.

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 Table-head

Before parting Dave Bowers suggested making this a regular event at the March Whitman Baltimore show, and we're already working to reserve the room in 2017.

I was dead tired after the long day and still had an hour's drive home. But the dinner was a marvelous cap to a great day of numismatics. It was wonderful to see everyone and have some relaxed conversations. I couldn't help but be mentally transported back to that Tom Elder dinner photo I'd seen that afternoon at Dave Hirt's. What a day to remember!

Nummis Nova Baltimore 2016 group shot
Photo by Morton's server, courtesy Eric Schena

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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