I have a two-part diary this time. I had a nice dinner earlier this month that I hadn't written about yet. And this week I had another nice
meeting of the Nummis Nova group.
Society of Medallists
My friend Tom Uram is a busy numismatic bee. They say that if you want a job done, give it to a busy person. Tom's picture should be
next to that quote in the encyclopedia. He's President of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN), Chair of the Citizens Coinage
Advisory Committee (CCAC), an American Numismatic Association Exhibit Judge, and is currently running for ANA Vice-President.
An active exhibitor himself, Tom developed an award-winning exhibit of medals produced by the Society of Medallists. It's now on display in
the lobby of the U.S. Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C. Here's Tom at the exhibit with former Mint Sculptor Don Everhart. For more
information on Don, see this week's Featured Web Site.
Dinner with the Mint
Well, not the whole U.S. Mint, but some key players. On Monday June 3rd, 2019 I set my GPS for Scotts Restaurant in Washington, D.C., where Tom Uram
had invited me to join him for dinner. I got there early, but recognized a familiar face at the bar and introduced myself to Don Everhart. "Tom
sent me". With Don was U.S. Mint Design and Engraving Manager Ron Harrigal, who quickly introduced himself. His glass of red wine looked fine to
me, so I ordered one of the same.
I told Don I'd seen him at the Welcome Banquet for the ANA's National Money Show in Pittsburgh earlier in the year. I'd also heard Ron
speak at a U.S. Mint conference, but had met neither gentleman. It was a double treat. (And both are now E-Sylum subscribers!)
We had a nice conversation at the bar but soon Tom Uram arrived with his father Andy. Andy's 99, still getting around and looking good.
Tom's from good stock.
We took to our table in the much quieter dining room. The waitress greeted our party like Norm from Cheers - these guys are regulars.
She'd gotten interested in coin collecting and Ron instructed her to be on the lookout for the 2019-W quarters.
Our dinner conversation was maybe half numismatics, half everything else under the sun, from long commutes, restoring old houses, Pittsburgh and
environs, and the benefit of a quiet restaurant where you can hear your own table's conversation.
On the numismatic front we discussed Tom's Society of Medallists exhibit, and he sent me the above photo of him and Don Everhart at the
exhibit. He also kindly gave me an exhibit brochure he'd created, a nicely done 20-page compilation of the exhibit material and more (pictured at
Other topics included the Berlin World Money Fair, visiting PCGS to discuss recent Mint error coins, production issues at the West Point Mint, Joe
Menna and the Chief Engraver position, John Mercanti, and Don's post-U.S. Mint career.
It was a great evening in a vibrant part of D.C., just down the street from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and other tourist attractions.
Andy Uram, Wayne Homren, Don Everhart, Ron Harrigal, Tom Uram
Nummis Nova June 2019
My next numismatic event was the monthly meeting of my northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. We met Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at
Ristorante Bonaroti, an Italian place in Vienna, VA. Jon Radel was our host.
We were lucky to get a private room at no extra charge, and it was a very nice venue. It's a treat to have our own space. We could mingle like
a cocktail party for a good while before sitting down to order our dinners. I spoke with Chris Neuzil, Tom Kays, Robert Hoppensteadt and others
before grabbing a seat next to Dave Schenkman and across from Howard Daniel. It was a treat to see Howard. He and his wife Phung still have a condo
in McLean, VA, but spend most of their time at their new home in Port St. Lucie, FL.
Other members present included Jon, Mike Packard, Roger Burdette, Wayne Herndon, Steve Bishop, Julian Leidman, and Eric Schena. I lent Dave a
non-numismatic book I'd completed recently - Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, about the con
man who stole millions from Malaysia and lived large with A-List celebrities. Dave had earlier lent me his copy of Life, the memoir of Rolling
Stone guitarist Keith Richards.
See, some of us do have lives beyond numismatics. Dave Schenkman comes from a long line of musicians, plays banjo, and does a good worldwide
business selling banjos. Tom Kays brought an old banjo with him for Dave to evaluate - it had been donated to his church. While not a rarity (or even
particularly desired by today's players), it turned out to be worth about $1,000.
Tom Kays, Dave Schenkman, and the Banjo
In numismatics, Dave Schenkman roots out the best of the best in tokens and medals. Here are two of his display items that really floored
Joseph Merriam Counterstamp
I used to collect U.S. Merchant counterstamp avidly, but I never had one from famed Boston die sinker Joseph Merriam.
This is the earliest known numismatic item of Joseph H. Merriam, who was only listed in the Boston Directory of 1854-5 at the Washington Street
Arctic Expedition Token
This token from the 1839 United States Exploring Expedition is white metal, 25mm. The Vincennes was the flagship of Lt. Charles Wilkes, who
led the expedition. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone with thoughts on who struck the token, or how it was used. Similar tokens with
other ship names are known.
Wow - I've never seen this. Beautiful piece.
Jon Radel asked the group a question: "How big does an art medal have to be before it's no longer a medal?" He displayed this nice (and
My take is that it's about proportion as well as size. Those gigantic gold "coins" from Canada and Austria are still recognizable as
coins - they have the right proportion and shape despite their size. This is a nice piece of sculpture, but it's hard for me to call it medallic
Eric's World Tokens
Eric Schena writes:
Here are the things I passed around: three world tokens, one from Sumatra and two from Africa.
1. A plantation token dated 1890 from Asahan in Sumatra issued by Unternehmung (Company) Goerach Batoe and good for 1 dollar( Lansen/Wells 86a;
Scholten 1059). This is an impressive 39 mm on each side and made of a cupronickel alloy that as you can see did not hold up well in the tropical
2. A large aluminum 1895 calendar token from Cape Colony in South Africa issued by B. G. Lennon & Co., a large pharmaceutical company that was
headquartered in Cape Town. The company was in business well into the twentieth century and is still in business in a way through Aspen Holdings,
which had acquired the parent company, South African Druggists, in 1999. The great thing about it is that it lists all its branch offices throughout
Southern Africa: Port Elizabeth, East London, Aliwal North, Beaufort West, Graaff Reinet, Bloemfontein (Orange Free State), Johannesburg (ZAR),
Kimberley (Griqualand West), and Bulawayo (Matabeleland/Rhodesia).
3. A neat bronze token issued by Banco di Roma for use in Italian Eritrea in the 1920s from what I have been able to research. I have also seen
this listed for Libya.
GROUP PHOTO. Clockwise from left: Dave Schenkman, Mike Packard, Robert Hoppensteadt, Tom Kays, Chris Neuzil, Roger Burdette, Wayne Herndon, Julian
Leidman (obscured), Steve Bishop, Eric Schena, Jon Radel, Howard Daniel. (Image courtesy Wayne Homren)
END OF THE EVENING: From left: Wayne Herndon, Julian Leidman. In mirror: Mike Packard, Dave Schenkman. Back to camera: Tom Kays, Robert
It's always a great time to just socialize and talk numismatics. 'Til next time!
THE BOOK BAZARRE
GET YOUR TWO BITS HERE!
The fifth edition of MEGA RED
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has a 295-page feature on 224 years of U.S. quarter dollars, 1796 to date (plus earlier Spanish-American two-reales), covering 1,105 varieties. Order
your copy for $49.95 online at Whitman.com
, or call
Wayne Homren, Editor
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