The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 11, March 17, 2019, Article 22


Banknotes from Budapest
A nice surprise arrived in my mailbox Monday. It was a note from Dave Hirt, who had recently returned to Frederick, MD from a long stay in Budapest, Hungary.

In an earleir E-Sylum article we discussed the new 500 forint Hungarian banknote. Dave wrote: "Balazs Csanady & I decided to send you one as a gift, but I found two with consecutive serial numbers. I am enclosing also a brochure explaining the security features."

Thanks! I scanned the notes and brochure.

Hungary 500 Forint banknote consecutive serial numbers

Hungarian banknote flyer front Hungarian banknote flyer back

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Nummis Nova March 2019

Nummis Nova 2019-03 Nummis Nova 2019-03 Chris Neuzil

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 was the meeting night of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova. Tom Kays was our host - we met at Osteria Marzano, a restaurant in an office complex near Alexandria, VA.

I was among the last to arrive. The waiter kindly took a group photo with Tom's phone. Clockwise from front left are Steve Bishop, Eric Schena, Dave Schenkman, Robert Hoppensteadt, Chris Neuzil, Tom Kays (standing), Jon Radel, Joe Esposito and me, Wayne Homren. In the second photo Chris Neuzil examines a Finnish art medal.

Pittsburgh-Butler Turnpike Note

Pittsburgh & Butler Turnpike Co.

Dave Schenkman brought along this new acquisition, which for me was my favorite exhibit of the evening. I collected Pittsburgh obsolete banknotes for many years, and never encountered this one. It's rare and historically important. Notice that it's serial number 1, which is perhaps why it was saved from destruction over the years. I used to regularly travel the main road leading from Pittsburgh to the city of Butler, PA (now State Rt. 8).

Dave's article on turnpike notes and tokens will be in The Numismatist soon.

Kilenyi Alcoa Aluminum Wright Brothers Anniversary Medal

alcoa aluminum medal obverse alcoa aluminum medal reverse

Dave also brought along this nice aluminum Julio Kilenyi medal commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' historic flight at Kitty Hawk. great medal - I like it.

1902 Scovill Medal

1902 Scovill-obv 1902 Scovill-rev

But wait, there's more! Here's another Schenkman exhibit item, a 76mm bronze 1902 Scovill medal.

Another Author! The Shelter
I learned we have another author in our ranks. in addition to everyone's numismatic books and Joe Esposito's recent nonfiction book Dinner in Camelot, Robert Hoppensteadt is about to publish a fiction novel. The book is still in production, but he was able to share the cover art. Here's Solstice Publishing's jacket blurb:

the shelter-cover "In the half-light of an Alaskan summer night Matt Tulugak pulls his truck off a gravel road and gets out to relieve himself. Looking out over the tundra, he sees a brown gash where permafrost has melted and sloughed off a low hillock. A bony claw reaches out of the mud. He shivers in the light breeze, notices the crescent moon hanging low in the sky, starts to walk. As he approaches the claw it resolves into five huge mammoth tusks arranged in a circle. Within the circle a human skull, half buried and yellow with age, looks through empty eye sockets into a world that is about to change forever."

An Afghanistan Multiple Dirham

Nummis Nova 2019-03 Afghnistan multiple dirham obverse Nummis Nova 2019-03 Afghnistan multiple dirham reverse

Eric Schena brought along this Afghanistan Multiple Dirham from the Ghaznavid dynasty. Photos courtesy Tom Kays.

A Token Tale
Dave Schenkman brought along a donation for our local young numismatist program, but I told him I'd pass it along to the American Numismatic Association YN auction. It's got an interesting story a young researcher might wish to follow up on for an article. Below are my poor cellphone photos.

VANAK CORP otken obverse VANAK CORP otken reverse

It's a token Bill Fivaz bought in a small collection and sent along to Dave. He wrote, "... have no idea what VANAK CORP" is - have you seen this rascal before? Keep the thing if you think if it's worth less than $1,000."

Adjustable Check Testing Apparatus Fig 18-19 Well, it's worth considerably less - it's a common piece cataloged in the Amusement Token book, Video Arcade, Pinball, Slot Machine, and other Amusement tokens of North America, by Stephen P. Alpert and Kenneth E. Smith. Steve Bishop noted the patent number and later sent me the complete text of the patent for an "Adjustable Check Testing Apparatus" filed July 20, 1935 by Aaron A. Knee (and patented March 9, 1937 as #2,703,392).

"Figure 18 is an elevation of a special slug or coin which is slightly larger in diameter than a normal coin and which is adapted to be used in connection with the structure shown in firurge 15, 16 and 17;"

Toned Dollars
Steve Bishop brought four nicely toned Morgan dollars. They don't all come off well in the photos, but looked great in person.

1880-S Morgan NGC MS65 Star Toned
1880-S Morgan Dollar

1881-S Morgan PCGS MS65 2 Toned
1881-S Morgan Dollar

1883-O NGC MS65 Toned
1883-O Morgan Dollar

1884-CC NGC MS64 Toned
1884-CC Morgan Dollar

Art Medals
Jon Radel can always be counted on for unusual material. Here are some new additions to his collection of Finnish art medals.

Nummis Nova 2019-03 art medal obverse Nummis Nova 2019-03 art medal reverse

It was a smaller crowd than usual, but still a great night of excellent food, numismatic discussions and fellowship. But wait - there's more. Here's Tom Kays' report.

Tom Kays Tales from The Other Side of the Table
On Tuesday, Nummis Nova met at Osteria Marzano, an upscale Italian Restaurant just off the Fairfax County Parkway. I was our host and we all welcomed meeting in the daylight for the first time since Winter began. Nine of us supped including Wayne, Joe, Jon, Tom, Chris, Robert, Dave, Eric and Steve.

By now we are all on a first name basis, so I know, you know who's who, without me naming names and drawing arrows. In the picture, see the special lighting we requested, all the better to see dark copper coins and old manuscripts at table in fine dining establishments that usually carry candlelight ambiance to extremes. No so in this case, as it appears Robert and Chris appear to be wearing planetary headgear, but that is just a joke from our waiter who knows how to take a group photo with panache.

Osteria Marzano-crop

As related in prior E-Sylum editions, each month we face the awesome task of finding and bringing the finest numismatic objects and ephemera to wow this crowd, which is a difficult task after years of show-and-telling from our collections. It is not the monetary value that impresses, but we value historic or artistic expression and unique numismatic impact of collections and objects, sometimes needing little more than a fine presentation of most any old token or scrap of paper that we have not seen before.

This month I decided not to 'sweat the load' but simply brought whatever happened to be languishing in my collection, discovered to be in imminent danger from PVC flips. I pulled some items that had not seen the light of day for years from my "two-bit" collection of, well, two bits and pistareens. All have been rescued from their PVC hell with nice new archival flips.

Three Coins-A-crop


Wayne was impressed with one oddity, seen in the center of the image. "I paid extra for that hole," is how I started to describe this silver, 'two bitts' that was punched on the Leeward Island of Dominica, circa 1816, and which started life as a 1724-dated, Spanish two reales of Philip V.

According to F. Pridmore in The Coins of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Part 3, West Indies this custom was a local practice to make coins that would stay and circulate on the Island, and not be shipped out as bullion due to their high metal value.

Next to it on the right is an example of the whole coin that did not suffer this fate. On the left is a contemporary French colonial Windward Islands coin for the "Isles Du Vent" in the Lesser Antilles, a 12-sols made under the authority of Louis XV at La Rochelle in 1731, intended for Saint-Martin (the French side of the island) and points South, being the penultimate coin listed in the voluminous 18th Century Edition of the Standard Catalog of World Coins by Chester L. Krause and Cliff Mishler.

As I said, this was just whatever happened to be in hand the day of our dinner. More examples of two bits from odd colonial mints were present in my mahogany display case, but mine was not the only item floating by under those planetary lights.

Also seen were a dollar from the Pittsburgh and Butler Turnpike Road Company of January 1st, 1822, an aluminum medal for the Fiftieth Anniversary of Powered Flight featuring Wilbur and Orville Wright on the obverse, and the ALCOA Massena Works - Producing Aluminum for 50 Years reverse, a Scovill Manufacturing Company Centennial Medal from 1902, presented to George F. Sinclair, a massive Finnish Medal seemingly in iron, with eye sockets holes that connect the pupils of a boys sculptural face and a girls sculptural face on opposite sides, a series of attractively toned Morgan dollars in high MS grades, several interesting and large, Multiple Dirham silver coins from Afghanistan dating to the Ghaznavid Dynasty (quick off the top of your head how old would they be) and a 1965, 2nd Edition of Coins and Collectors by Q. David Bowers that shows an advertisement offering up to three of the 1933 Double Eagles for sale.

Show and Tells had to make way for fine dining including my Yellow Fin Tuna grilled to perfection topped off with a Sicilian Limon Glace to make for a perfect evening of conviviality.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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