The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 25, June 19, 2016, Article 22


We were back in Alexandria, VA Tuesday night for the June 2016 meeting of Nummis Nova, my Northern Virginia numismatic social group. Our host was Jon Radel, and he picked Virtue Feed & Grain, a new restaurant on Union Street.

I arrived about 5:45 and saw Dave Schenkman and Gene Brandenburg in the parking garage next door. Jon Radel and Eric Schena soon joined us. We had to wait outside because they wouldn't seat us until we had seven people. But it worked out - it was a wonderful night and we enjoyed watching the crowds.

As it happens, the restaurant is almost right across the street from Gene's old coin shop, where Eric worked for him back in the day. The building where our restaurant was had been a popular bookstore. Now everyone has the Library of Congress in their pocket, and the books are gone.

Robert Hoppensteadt lives nearby, and he arrived shortly before 6:30. It was time for our reservation so we asked for our table. Up the stairs we went and were seated at a long table with tall bar chairs. People lounged about on sofas with their drinks. It was a cozy-looking watering hole.

The name of the place was "Virtue Feed & Grain", prompting Wayne Herndon to ask beforehand "Are you sure this is a restaurant? From the name, it sounds like we should pick up some feed for our sheep, goats and cattle before we leave." From the restaurant's web site:

Virtue Feed & Grain takes its name from the building’s long-ago function as a feed house. Soaring open windows, exposed brick and giant iron girders frame the urban scene.

It resides in Wales Alley, an area shrouded with coincidental signs that the project was meant to be: A former Alexandria Mayor, John Fitzgerald, of Irish decent shared ownership of the alley and it was once home to a brewery that sold beer as early as 1786; the alley lends its name from Andrew Wales, the owner of this brewery.

Wine bottle Two Shilling Red As we tool our seats Wayne Herndon, Steve Bishop and Joe Esposito arrived. Several regulars including Julian Liedman and Joe Levine were either out of town of otherwise engaged, so it was a smaller group than normal.

Joe Esposito brought two bottles of wine and the waiter brought glasses and uncorked them for us. The labels were appropriately numismatic. Gene groused "What a cheapo brand of wine - only two shillings". It wasn't bad, though - I had a couple glasses.

Swiss Carnegie Hero Medal

Swiss Carnegie Hero Medal

My first show-and-tell item was this Swiss Carnegie Hero Medal, a recent eBay purchase from a seller in Switzerland.

B. Max Mehl

Star Coin Book JUnior Mehl Republic of Texas Notes

Since I still had room in my briefcase I brought a long a binder of material from my numismatic ephemera collection. This one was full of items related to Texas dealer B. Max Mehl.

Above is an example of Mehl's Star Coin Book Junior, a rare item. Next to it is a Mehl-published pamphlet produced in a feud with dealer A. Atlas Leve of Syracuse, NY. Below are images of both sides of a response produced by Leve, who refers to Meh as "Mox Nix Nil".

Leve Republic of Texas Notes1

Leve Republic of Texas Notes2

Yankees Baseball Gold Charms

1960 gold all star 1962 gold world series

Dave Schenkman had these two 14kt gold charms from the 1960 Yankees All Star Game, and 1962 Yankees World Series.

1775 British Half Penny Full Reverse Brockage

1775 British Half Penny Full Reverse Brockage

Steve Bishop had a number of nice items including more Russian copper and some pretty Morgan dollars. But my favorite was this 1775 British Half Penny with a full reverse brockage error. Neat item.

American Hoards
Eric was sitting right across from me, so we got to have some good conversations. Eric had the interesting side. He writes:

At the dinner, Wayne Homren and I had a great discussion regarding undiscovered finds and if any are still out there in the wild awaiting discovery. I can recall three such discoveries for which I have some knowledge.

Back in the 1960s, there were plans to put in a parking lot in the old part of Winchester. At the site was a house called the Conrad House that had to be razed. In the process of destruction, a hoard of local Civil War era notes all in low grade was recovered, including a number of Corporation of Winchester scrip and $1 notes from the Bank of Winchester. The hoard has long since been dispersed to the four winds but the notes regularly turn up. It can be reasonably safe to assume that if you run into a tattered Bank of Winchester $1 it came from that hoard.

A similar hoard of scrip turned up in 2004 or so in an old house in Luray that included some real rarities but again, they were mostly low grade notes from the central Shenandoah Valley area. I managed to get a good sampling of these notes for my collection.

The one hoard we talked about was one that Nummis Nova's own Gene Brandenburg had the pleasure of sorting out. Back sometime in the 1980s, Gene had purchased a large group of Confederate currency, almost all of which were in smaller denominations. There was a huge number of crisp 1864 notes, namely $1 T71, $2 T70, and $5 T69 notes, some of which were in serial number order.

I don't fully recall the nature of how the hoard came to be, but from my recollection they all came from a long abandoned safety deposit box at the Burke & Herbert Bank just two blocks from where we were dining - coincidentally the only pre-Civil War Virginia bank still in business.

The notes looked like they were fresh from Keatinge & Ball and deposited the next day with bright white paper and brilliant colors. I was a teen at the time and bought a small group of them which fortunately I still have in my collection. I am tempted to get them certified.

Schena confederate notes

Before everyone left I hit them up for donations for the next Annandale coin show kids event, and Jon and I discussed meeting at Wayne Herndon's warehouse some Saturday to organize our material.

It was another great night of numismatic fellowship. As it happened, it was also the last day of school for our kids. As my wife and reviewed plans we ended up deciding we'd better take our family vacation right away or we might not be able to squeeze it in between my work trips and her friends' visits. So we quickly pulled together some reservations and are now out of town for the rest of the week. Luckily I was still able to pull this issue together.

'Til next time!

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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