The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 3, January 21, 2024, Article 8


Jeff Burke submitted this article based on the archives of the New Jersey Numismatic Society (NJNS). Thank you! -Editor

  Highlights of the New Jersey Numismatic Society Archival Documents

I joined the New Jersey Numismatic Society (NJNS) in 2013 and took over as Society Secretary after Dave Ginsburg's untimely passing in 2016. Ginsburg was a brilliant numismatist. I often marveled that he sometimes knew more about topics presented by distinguished guest speakers at our meetings than did the presenters.

Dave and I shared a passion for numismatic research, writing and publication. I miss having conversations with him about numismatic books and our latest research pursuits. On that note, I will turn to my current research project.

I was curious to see the NJNS archival holdings, so NJNS President Pete LaConte gave one box of documents to me after our September 2023 NJNS meeting. It was exciting to open the box and begin examining the contents over the December/January holiday period! I found copies of The Numismatist from 1933 and 1934, NJNS membership rosters dating to 1944, auction catalogs, a notebook of NJNS newsletters, a 1958 issue of The Flying Eaglet Numismatic Magazine, elegant NJNS annual and anniversary dinner menus, yellowed Northwest New Jersey Daily Record numismatic articles published by Harold Flartey, correspondence, photographs of NJNS members, awards bestowed upon the NJNS by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Garden State Numismatic Association (GSNA), and other documents.

  The Numismatist December 1933 Flying Eaglet v4n1

From the archives, I learned about another founding member, Jim Wade, thanks to an enclosed letter and note that Ed Price mailed to Harry Rescigno on May 24, 1999 (for more information about Ed Price, see postscript). The smaller inside envelope contained a letter from Jim Wade to Charles F. Nettleship, dated May 29, 1950. An inscription on the top left of the interior letter reads Jim Wade was a founding member of NJNS. Price included an index card in the mailing which mentioned Harry – I thought this might be useful for the archives . . . . The New Jersey Numismatic Society was founded in October 1933, with C.F. Nettleship, Jr., being selected to serve as Chairman of the new organization. Gladys Wade was selected as Secretary. (The Numismatist, Dec. 1933, p. 794).

In his 2008 President's letter marking the 75th anniversary of the NJNS, Harry Rescigno noted: The NJNS is dedicated to the advancement of numismatics through the study of the history, manufacture and art of coins, paper money and exonumia. Throughout the years, the NJNS has been privileged to have had many notable numismatists such as: F.C.C. Boyd, Henry Christensen, Willard Blaisdell, Henry C. Hines, Dr. Stanley Sherr, Herbert Oechsner, Ernest Kuesch, Herb Silberman, Robert Schonwalter, Harold Flartey, Christopher Connell, William Moore, George Wait and many more, as members. NJNS members have been active in other organizations, with many serving as Fellows of the American Numismatic Society and Board Members of the American Numismatic Association. Dr. Michael Fey served on the ANA Board of Governors from 2005 to 2007.

  NJNS ANA 50 Year plaque

These are some NJNS guest speaker highlights from the archive:

  • Leland Howard, assistant U.S. mint director was the guest speaker at the ‘New Jersey Numismatic Society' dinner, this was the society's (25) Anniversary, held at the ‘Robert Treat' Hotel in Newark. Howard gave a speech on the process and general production of our coins and currency. (The Flying Eaglet Numismatic Magazine, May 3, 1958, p. 3).
  • Robert W. Julian was the special guest speaker for the 529th meeting of the NJNS on June 17, 1985. The topic of his lecture was Medals of the United States Mint: 1792-1892. (NJNS Newsletter, June 1985).
  • Dr. David Menchell was the speaker on the occasion of the 800th meeting of the NJNS. Menchell's topic was American Colonial Medals as Catalogued by Betts. (NJNS souvenir card, December 20, 2004).

NJNS 50th Anniversary plaque In addition, NJNS members were active in producing numismatic books and articles, presentations, show exhibits, serving as officers of numismatic organizations, and many other activities. For example:

  • Three NJNS members . . . served on the U.S. Assay Commission: Founder Charles Nettleship (1937), Past President Vernon Brown (1942) and Joseph Litvany (1965). (The Numismatist, May 1983, pp. 953-954).
  • Vernon L. Brown was Curator of the Money Museum of the Chase Bank of New York. (The Flying Eaglet, May 3, 1958, p. 10.).
  • Herb Silberman founded the Early American Coppers specialty club in 1967.
  • Ray Williams was President of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club from 2000 to 2010. Ray also has been writing a quarterly column on colonial numismatics for The Numismatist since 2016.

(Dave Bailey served as President of the Garden State Numismatic Association from 2008 to 2018).

  • Club member George Wait compiled a massive volume entitled New Jersey's Money for the Newark Museum. (The Numismatist, May 1983, p. 953).
  • James K. Brandt served as President of the 27th Annual Metropolitan Numismatic Convention (Spinx & Son USA Auction catalogue No. 3 March 24-26, 1983, p. 5).
  • Our friends Ernest Keusch and Robert W. Julian are gathering research data for a forthcoming reference on Assay Commission Medals. (The Collection of David W. Dreyfuss Auction Catalogue, Bowers and Merena, Inc., and the Presidential Coin and Antique Company, Inc., Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention, April 12, 1986, p. 13).

A number of NJNS members have won prestigious ANA Awards including George Blake, David Lange, Chris Connell, James K. Brandt, Ron Thompson, Ray Williams, Michael Fey, and others. The following NJNS members are former or present members of the Numismatic Literary Guild: Harold Flartey, Chris Connell, Harry Rescigno, Arno Safran, David Lange, Ray Williams and Jeff Burke.

Some NJNS members assembled coin collections that were major contributions to numismatic inquiry and learning. For example, Carl Feldman owned 98 of the 120 known die varieties of the early dollars, minted from 1794 to 1803.

Also, while reading through the NJNS archival documents, I observed that we have had members of the NJNS who were also members of the New York Numismatic Club (NYNC), such as F.C.C. Boyd, George Blake, Axel Julius de Lagerberg (see his obituary in The Numismatist, 1936), Damon G. Douglas, Susan Douglas, Herb Oechsner, Ernest Kuesch and Robert Schonwalter. Damon Douglas served as President of the NYNC from 1949 to 1951. Douglas had a presidential medal issued after his tenure. There are probably other names to be added to this list. However, the NJNS archives are scant between the mid-1930s through the 1970s. More recently, there have been other members of both organizations, as well.

Future research suggestions to find numismatists who were members of the NJNS and the NYNC include checking club reports for each month in The Numismatist starting in 1933, and reading through obituaries. Scott Miller recommends referring to Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies and conducting searches on the Newman Numismatic Portal. Miller also mentioned that a NYNC membership list can be found in An Island of Civility, The Centennial History of the New York Numismatic Club 1908/09-2008/9, by John M. Kleeberg and David T. Alexander, published by the NYNC in 2009. I loved reading this book from cover to cover a few years ago!


I was struck by the wide range of service to numismatics provided by our Society members at the local, state, regional and national levels. I feel inspired by their level of dedication and am considering what I can do to further promote the study of numismatics. As for now, I plan to put the NJNS papers in acid-free archival folders in an acid-free archival box for future preservation.

Postscript: Focus on Ed Price, Scholar of Bust Dimes and Early Quarter Eagles

Imagine the world of 1950, when Ed Price began to collect contemporary circulating coins as an eight-year-old. Ed graduated from Yale University in 1964 and began to assemble a U.S. type collection of coins in 1970. After selling the lion's share of his type collection in 1988, Ed began a decade long pursuit of studying and assembling early Federal coinage, with a focus on half dime and early dime varieties. (Heritage Press Release, March 4, 2008).

Ed Price joined the NJNS in 1991 and was an active member in the early 1990s. Various NJNS members reflected on how Ed encouraged other numismatists to see first-hand and learn about his numismatic treasures. I remember him as a real gentleman who generously shared his fabulous collection with the NJNS members while he had it. (David Lange email, September 22, 2019). Charlie Davis noted, his knowledge of bust dimes was extraordinary and the catalogue of his collection which opened my eyes to the fact that quarter eagles shared similar if not the same dies is one of my favorites. (Charlie Davis email, September 22, 2019). Arno Safran had perhaps the most familiarity with Ed's coins: Back in 1994 at Ed's request, I photographed all of his early dimes the old-fashioned way on kodachrome slides. The fact that they were the same basic diameter as the $2.50 quarter eagles was also an interesting bit of knowledge Ed taught me. Ed was a highly intelligent and disciplined numismatist and although he was earning a considerable income as an insurance executive at the time, when it came to upgrading or buying expensive rare coins he would say, ‘One must sell in order to buy!' (Arno Safran email, September 22, 2019).

Today, Ed Price is known for his incomparable variety collection of early Dimes and Quarter Eagles ... auctioned by Heritage ... at the Baltimore ANA, July 30-Aug. 2, 2008. The Ed Price Collection was a complete collection by variety of both the early dimes and quarter eagles, featuring the common reverse dies, such as has never before been assembled. (Heritage Press Release, March 4, 2008). The Ed Price unique collection of early dime and quarter eagle varieties sold for 5.7 million dollars. (NGC Newsletter, August 2008, p. 28).

The Heritage catalog for the Ed Price Collection is considered to be one of the most important references for the study and classification of early federal dimes and quarter eagles. Ed had his research on Bust dime and early quarter eagle die states and varieties published in the John Reich Journal. Refer to the Newman Numismatic Portal for more information on Price's research on bust dimes and early quarter eagles.

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to New Jersey Numismatic Society members who answered my questions and provided information for this article, including Charlie Davis, Arno Safran, Harry Rescigno, the late David Lange, Ray Williams, Scott Miller, Ron Thompson, and Pete LaConte.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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