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
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.
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
My first show-and-tell item was this Swiss Carnegie Hero Medal, a recent eBay purchase from a seller in Switzerland.
B. Max Mehl
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
Yankees Baseball Gold Charms
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
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.
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
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!
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