On Tuesday September 19, 2023 I made my way after work to the Lazy Dog restaurant in Fairfax, VA for the monthly meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. Wayne Herndon was our host. I was the last to arrive this time and took a seat at the end of the table between Lorne LaVertu and Steve Bishop. Tom Kays was positioned at the opposite end, and I'll open with his report.
Tom's Take on the September 2023 Nummis Nova
An even dozen of the Nummis Nova crew assembled at the Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar in the Fair Oaks Mall in Virginia for another night of numismatic escapades. Arrayed from sinister to dexter: Chris, Dave, Jon, Wayne, Steve, presiding at the head of the table with his nose in a book as always is our prime factotum Wayne, followed by the near invisible Lorne, Jonas, Kellen, Robert, Mike, and capturing the scholarly scene as it unfolded, your cameraman Tom, standing at the foot of the table out of view. This night would bring a literary bonanza of numismatic books, some premiering for the first time anywhere.
Appearing and soon disappearing in quick circulation around the long table could be seen a binder that was not given to be sold at the Important Numismatic Literature Auction of the amazing library of Wayne Homren, taking place this Saturday, September 23rd at noon, by Kolbe & Fanning, Numismatic Booksellers (by the time you read this you've already missed, it unless you paid attention to the E-Sylum). The binder contains local Nummis Nova ephemera such as a menu from the 2021 Nummis Nova Holiday Dinner at Gadsby's Tavern, a historic haunt of none other, than George Washington, himself, a manuscript edition of the Standard Catalog of Annandale, Vienna, and Dulles Coin Show Kids Auction Scrip by Jonas Denenberg (of which probably only a couple copies are extant), Dinner in Camelot ephemera from retired Nummis Nova luminary and author, Joe Esposito (recently seen bow-tied at sea, dining in high style on an Eastward passage of the luxury liner Queen Mary II), and other esoteric papers relating to high watermarks of Nummis Nova achievement.
Books galore included the Cherrypicker's Guide to Rare Die Varieties of the United States Coins (sixth edition, Volume II by Bill Fivaz, et. al.), The Medals Concerning John Law and the Mississippi System by John W. Adams, (ANS Numismatic Notes and Monographs #167), A Simple Souvenir - Coins and Medals of the Olympic Games by Peter G. Van Alfen, Coal Mine Company Obsolete Notes and Scrip by David E. Schenkman (fresh from the printers and soon to be available to the general public), America's Golden Age: Private & Pioneer Gold Coins of the United States 1786 – 1862 by Donald Kagin and David McCarthy, and finally a selection of ribbons and awards for Wayne's membership in various numismatic circles.
Did I mention the few odd coins passed along in popular plastic holders, such as a PCGS Almost Uncirculated (with Green Bean) 1796 Small Eagle Dime (JR-4), a PCGS MS-62, 1805 Dime (4 Berries) [shown by a person who does not collect dimes], a raw, octagonal Harvard Banjo Club token of 1888 (said to be scarcer than either of the two preceding dimes), an NGC (with Green Bean) MS-64+, 1921 High Relief Peace Dollar, and a PCGS VF-35 Ferdinand and Isabella (1474 -1504) Hammered, Half Real of Segovia, Spain with Assayer
O above the Roman, double-arched Aqueduct mint mark of the Casa Viejo (not the Royal Mill Mint of Segovia).
Discussion at the foot of the table included which of the 544 lots in the upcoming Kolbe & Fanning Auction might contain the most interesting numismatic ephemera (out of the seventy boxes of material Wayne provided), a unique $1000 Coal Mining Note in Dave's new book (I understand the proceeds of the sale of Coal Mine Company Obsolete Notes and Scrip books will be donated to a museum), Spintria (Spintrae) [not to be illustrated here], arrows in the wrong foot of the eagle on Massachusetts coppers struck during Shays' Rebellion that went onboard the first American-flagged ship to circumnavigate the globe (Columbia Rediviva of Boston under Captain John Kendrick) turning up on the West Coast, and finally, what the definition of
Early American Coinage means to each of us. Chat GPT says early American coinage provides a tangible link to the nation's early history and evolution of its coinage system. Depending on which starting year you pick, then in what year did they end? For how long a time was
early American coinage made? What do you call the era that came immediately after
early American? Ask a high-schooler and
early American could mean anything made before 1999, practically
pre-historic to them. E-Sylum readers, please join the discussion and help satisfy my numismatic/historic curiosity.
Thanks, Tom. Here are a couple photos I took from my end of the table.
LEFT: Clockwise from left: Jonas Denenberg, Kellen Hoard, Robert Hoppensteadt, Tom Kays, Chris Neuzil, Dave Schenkman, Jon Radel, Wayne Herndon.
RIGHT: Clockwise from left: Kellen Hoard, Tom Kays, Chris Neuzil, Dave Schenkman, Jon Radel, Wayne Herndon.
Lorne and Steve are only partly in the shots.
Russian Privitization Voucher
The books were mine, including the copy of Dave's new Coal Mine Scrip book, which he kindly gifted and inscribed to me. The only numisamtic item I brought was this new eBay acquisition - a 1992 Russian privitization voucher, as discussed in an earlier article.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
1992 RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS
Banjos and Dimes
Here are some of Dave Schenkman's exhibits.
"The Harvard Banjo Club issued at least two medals. I knew of this one only because of its listing in Russell Rulau's catalog of 1700-1900 tokens, where it is cataloged as Ma-Cm 4. Evidently Rulau never saw an example, because his illustration is from a 1987 Charles Kirtley auction catalog. The illustration looks like a round medal, but Rulau describes it as octagonal, and gives 42mm as its size; it is actually 47mm. The reverse is blank, and very likely the intent was to engrave the name of a recipient."
Slabbed 1796 and 1805 Dimes, purchased at the Pittsburgh ANA
Half Real of Ferdinand and Isabella
Tom Kays writes:
"Here are close-up images of my dinner show-and-tell, a PCGS VF-35 Half Real of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, minted at the older of old Mints in Segovia, circa (1474-1504) and with the assayer
O hiding among the rings of the Oxen Yoke of Ferdinand, and floating above the double-arched Roman aqueduct. The reverse shows a bundle of arrows of Isabella, who was patroness of Columbus' voyages initially aimed at landing in the Indies, but the Americas got in the way.
NE PLVS VLTRA indeed."
E-Sylum Email Changes
Non-editing tasks have taken up a lot of my time over the past few weeks. A number of subscribers have reported not receiving their E-Sylum email. What usually happens is that the subscriber's provider puts it in their spam folder, or just drops it entirely after declaring it spam.
Reports have come from Yahoo, AOL and Verizon users, although many others are getting their issues normally. Sometimes these things fix themselves after a while when the provider wakes up and realizes we're not spam.
We'll experiment with a new email provider for The E-Sylum. We'll move cautiously, first testing with NBS officers, then encouraging subscribers having problems to try the new mailing list. If all goes well we may ultimately move everyone over from our current provider.
Remember, we always publish The E-Sylum issues on the NBS web archives, and an email reminder is nice but never required. You can find all the issues for this year on your own here:
... and also on
In addition, we've also started publishing the link the week's full issue on Facebook when it's published:
With graphic design assistance from Asylum Editor Maria Fanning and Bruce Perdue's webmaster work, we're rolling out two new sponsors. Their support is greatly appreciated and helps NBS keep the lights on.
Many thanks to Shanna Schmidt Numismatics and RareCoin of Germany. Click on their banners at the top of the issue to check out their website offerings.
As on every weekend, I spent much of Saturday working on The E-Sylum, but it was hard not to get distracted by the sale of my library consignment at Kolbe & Fanning. It went well, with most lots selling and bringing over estimates. Thanks again to David Fanning for his great cataloging and to all the bidders and underbidders who made it a great sale. I'm glad my old friends are finding good homes, and the proceeds will help pay our kids' college expenses. I wore a shirt from our daughter's school that day.
Not all of my material made it into the sale, and we expect to have more on offer next year, perhaps in K&F sale 170. So stay tuned!
The Sounds of Cents
In the don't-take-no-plugged-nickels department,
The Writer's Almanac tells me that today is the birthday of bluesman
Blind Lemon Jefferson, who busked on the streets of Dallas but had no use for pennies.
Everybody had a story about seeing him at the local venue. He seemed to have an uncanny ability to
see even through sightless eyes; musician Lance Lipscomb said later:
He had a tin cup, wired on the neck of his guitar. And when you pass to give him something, why he'd thank you. But he would never take no pennies. You could drop a penny in there and he'd know the sound. He'd take and throw it away. Delta musician Ishman Bracey said:
He carried a pearl-handled .45, and he could shoot the head off a chicken. And he couldn't see nary a lick. Just did it from the sound he heard.
For more information, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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