The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 21, Number 28, July 15, 2018, Article 23


Sometimes the months just fly by. After work on Tuesday July 10, 2018 I made my way to the Pazzo Pomodoro restaurant in Vienna, VA. Mike Packard was the host for this month's dinner meeting of our Northern Virgina numismatic social group, Nummis Nova.

I got there early and was the first to arrive. I was seated at a long table in a nice side room. As it happened we had the room to ourselves for the evening. The rest of the place was busy for a Tuesday night, and we soon learned why - the food was excellent and the wine list amazing.

One of the next to arrive was our resident wine expert Gene Brandenburg who studied the list and ordered a magnum only to be told they'd just sold the last one. Fearing a reenactment of the Monte Python cheese shop sketch, I was relieved when they could supply his second choice, which he shared with me, Eric Schena and Dave Schenkman; we were all seated at one end of the table.

Others arrived and filled in the rest of the seats. Julian Leidman held court at the opposite end with Mike Packard between us and Jon Radel, Robert Hoppensteadt and Steve Bishop across. It was a small gathering this time. Tom Kays expressed regrets through the Meetup app, having to turn back after hitting traffic too slow to bear.

COHASCO catalog cover Rex Stark catalog Kennedy plate

I started the evening off by circulating some non-numismatic catalogs I'd received, but ones where great numismatic items can sometimes be found. On the right is a page from Rex Stark's Catalog #88. He was unable to attend, but I'd planned to show Joe Esposito the Kennedy license plate. He's our resident JFK expert, having just published his book, Dinner in Camelot: The Night America's Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House.

ISIS Coins?
I brought out the following recent acquisitions, coyly asking folks to identify them. Mostly I got shrugged shoulders and smartass comments like, "it's a round metal thing called a coin." Eric was the first to correctly guess these are coins issued by the terrorist group ISIS. At least I THINK that's what they are.

See the links below for earlier E-Sylum discussions about these. After publishing the articles I heard from someone who said they were embedded with YPG troops in Syria fighting ISIS and he wanted to thank me for the articles, which had helped him identify some of the coins he and his comrades had found in areas cleared of ISIS fighters. He said he would send me some, and after a very long wait a box had arrived in the mail a couple days earlier.

ISIS coin set obverses

ISIS coin set reverses

If I'm reading these right, they are (left to right):

5 fils, copper, 0.825" diameter
1 dirham, silver?. 0.825"
10 fils, copper, 1.0"
25 fils, copper, 1.33"

Matching these images with some identified by readers earlier, I could see they have a common obverse design which Chip Howell had translated as saying "Islamic State" around the top and "Caliphate for the Prophet's Pathway" below. I measured them and translated the denominations, double checking against what readers had said before. At the meeting Jon Radel read the inscription on the silver-colored one and said it stated "99.9 Fine Silver", confirming Chip Howell's reading.

I had thought it was nickel (and too light for aluminum). That inscription is a clue that it might actually be made of silver, but as Jon correctly pointed out, these people aren't known far and wide for telling the truth. I don't have a working scale and forgot to ask someone to bring one, so I don't know what they weigh.

Are these catalogued anywhere yet? Where? Krause's Unusual World Coins? I'm missing the 2 dirham from the set pictured earlier, but are there any more denominations? It's hard to find time, but I wouldn't mind exhibiting these or writing an article sometime. Any willing and able co-authors out there?

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

U.S. Mint Silver Dollar Box

U.S. Mint silver dollar box top view U.S. Mint silver dollar box open view

I took pictures of this U.S. Mint product. Can anyone tell us more about it? Is this a gift shop product? The eagle logo connects it to the mint, but inside is a circulated silver dollar on no particular note.

Jon Radel looked online and found that the mint is selling similar boxes today (sans coins).

Mint display box closed Mint display box open

To read the complete product listing, see: American Eagle Silver Bullion One Ounce Presentation Case (100 Count) (

Bishop's Beauties
Steve Bishop always has some attractive new acquisitions to share. These are often nicely toned silver dollars, but his interests run far and wide. I especially enjoyed the Lincoln cent error. Thanks to Steve for providing these images.

1796 Adam & Eve Conder Token Farthing DH1087
1796 Adam & Eve Conder Token Farthing DH1087

ND (1796) Adam & Eve Conder Token Farthing DH1083 PCGS MS65BN
ND (1796) Adam & Eve Conder Token Farthing DH1083

1884-O Morgan PCGS MS65 Toned 2
1884-O Morgan PCGS MS65 Toned

ND Lincoln Cent Saddle Strike PCGS MS64 RD
ND Lincoln Cent Saddle Strike

$100 Bank of the Commonwealth of Virginia Note

Bank of the Commonwealth 100

Eric Schena exhibited a rare Civil War era Virginia banknote. He writes:

I passed around a $100 note from the Bank of the Commonwealth of Richmond, Virginia, dated 18 January 1861. The Bank of the Commonwealth was a short-lived institution: it was chartered in 1858 which was then rescinded in 1861 for unspecified reasons but continued on as an unchartered institution through at least the early years of the Civil War. During the war, it issued odd denomination scrip ($1, $1.25, $1.50, $1.75, etc.) as well as larger denomination notes but without the required state auditor countersignature.

While the small denominations are somewhat readily available up through the $10 notes, the larger ones are quite scarce, in particular the $50 and $100 notes. This note was issued while it was a chartered bank and has the auditor's signature. The bank itself was burned down during the Evacuation Fire of April 1865 and other than the bank's fiscal instruments, not too much else is known. I have been a fan of these notes because of the bright red overprints, which make them quite vivid.

A very impressive note.

A Visit To Stack's Bowers
Eric also shared with us the story of his recent visit to Stack's Bowers Galleries. He writes:

Just got back from my cataloging trip to Stack's Bowers to help with their Rarities Night sale at the ANA World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia and thought you might be interested to hear a few things about it. It was a lot of work - I quite literally got to the hotel, dropped my bags off then went over and did a near full day of writing as soon as I arrived - but it was probably one of the most rewarding numismatic trips I have had. I have done remote cataloging for SBG for three years now but have not been onsite before since I primarily do some of the historical and research portions which do not necessarily require me to have the coins in hand.

Everyone there was extremely welcoming to me and their catalogers definitely know their stuff - that is a very knowledgeable and dedicated team of folks and I was very impressed. It was a completely different experience doing this in person and to be able to learn additional aspects of cataloging, as well as get to examine some of the great rarities closely and in depth. I certainly came away with a greater appreciation for what goes on to put together a major sale. Plus, I was also able to cross one thing off my numismatic bucket list: examining the Eliasberg 1913 V nickel up close.

Eric Schena and the 1913 Liberty Nickel

World Coin Games
Tom Kays made a futile attempt at fighting traffic, but had to turn back and didn't make our meeting. But afterwards he took the lead to prepare for the next Kids Event at the upcoming Annandale Coin Show.

As you may recall from earlier E-Sylum articles, Gary Beals invented the World Coin Games as a fun, interactive way for young numismatists to participate and learn. Using a dealer junk box style pile of loose foreign coins, the players form teams and compete in timed segments to see which team can find and identify coins from the most continents, the most countries, the most different metals, the most different shapes, the most different animals, etc.

Not knowing just how many different pieces we had in our treasure box, I suggested we seed the pile ordering a One of Each Country package from Educational Coin Company (170 different!). Tom did this, picked up index cards and markers, and also located and purchased three world maps (we'll pass the hat to reimburse him).

The show is next weekend, so stay tuned for reports on how it goes. I understand the Virginia Numismatic Association is also planning the give the World Coin Games a try at their show this fall. Many thanks to Gary Beals for originating the concept.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Flight 93 Congressional Gold Medal

Flight 93 Congressional Gold Medal display

Although it didn't take place this week, I wanted to publish this photo I took recently while visiting Pennsylvania with my family. On our way home we detoured to the Flight 93 Memorial run by the National Park Service in Shanksville, PA.

My next numismatic diary will likely be from the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia, PA. I hope to see many of our readers there. Look for me in the Numismatic Bibliomania Society events, the Money Talks presentations,or the NBS club table. It's always nice to connect faces to email addresses. See you then.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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