The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 14, April 7, 2024, Article 20


weschler Boggs A Comedy of Values book cover This week brought a special treat - a trip to the Newman Numismatic Portal offices at Washington University in St. Louis. I got moving before sunup on Wednesday, making it to my gate at Dulles airport with plenty of time to spare. I was tired, but got a second wind while on the airplane, and spent much of the flight rereading Lawrence Weschler's book, Boggs: A Comedy of Values. It would be a refresher for my Wednesday talk on money artist J.S.G. Boggs in conjunction with the exhibit of his works from my collection.

It had been a long time since I'd opened my copy of the book, and I was delighted to see it had been signed by both Boggs himself and Tom Hipschen, the B.E.P. portrait engraver who created the delightful cover portrait of Boggs.

The flight and subsequent taxi ride were uneventful, and I was delighted a second time upon entering my room at the recently-renovated Charles F. Knight center at Wash. U. I settled in, got some work done and had lunch while waiting for NNP Project Coordinator Len Augsburger to arrive from Chicago. We took an Uber ride to the NNP offices on the North Campus. Piles of incoming material awaited processing.

  NNP office

  NNP students scanning

Digitization Supervisor Kimberly Dumas showed us the recently renovated digitization lab with its newly painted walls and ceilings to reduce stray light reflections. Two students were busily at work with the latest digitization projects, possibly minutes and archives of the New Jersey Numismatic Society.

Kim drove the three of us back over to the main campus where we viewed the current NNP exhibit at Olin Library. We started with the case highlighting the digitization process, featuring the rare Hart plate loaned by Joel Orosz, and the first seven volumes of The Numismatist loaned by Len. A very well-made video of the scanning process played on a large screen above the exhibit case.

  NNP Exhibit Coins Across Time sign NNP Scanning Exhibit Historical Chart
  NNP Scanning Exhibit
  NNP Scanning Exhibit video 1
  NNP Scanning Exhibit video 2

  NNP Scanning Exhibit video 3 closeup
Zooming in to see details in high resolution

Medals and Money in Black America was the theme of a nearby case of material lent by John Kraljevich. Some amazing and rarely-seen material. I'm looking forward to his book on the subject.

  NNP Freedom Exhibit 3 Freedman badge
  NNP Freedom Exhibit 1
  NNP Freedom Exhibit 2

  NNP Washington Exhibit WUSTL J.S.G. Boggs Exhibit
Washington and Boggs Exhibits

  NNP Wulfing Exhibit
Wulfing Exhibit

  NNP Maris Exhibit
Maris Plate and Continental Dollar Material

Washington medals were lent by the American Numismatic Association Edward C. Rochette Money Museum. Washington University in St. Louis's Wulfing Collection of ancient coins contributed a selection of pieces. We were unable to see a case in another room which was closed for the day by the time we arrived. But fear not - all exhibit items have been photographed and a catalog is in preparation.

Len and I walked back to the hotel and had a nice dinner at the noisy bar. After breakfast the next day we went back to the NNP offices where I worked on my presentation on money artist J.S.G. Boggs.

  NNP Boggs Lecture prep

I'd brought with me some donated items for scanning, including a slide presentation on tokens by Dave Schenkman and a Mint-themed piece of sheet music from Nick Graver. The sheet music turned out to be unneeded as it was just a photocopy and an original had been digitized elsewhere. Sing along, everyone!

  Sheet Music Man That Makes the Money In the Mint cover Man That Makes the Money In the Mint chorus
"I'm the Man That Makes the Money In the Mint"

I made a hundred thousand dollars yesterday at noon,

I might have made a million if I didn't quit too soon;

But the whistle blew for dinner, Now can't you take the hint,

When I tell you I'm the man that makes the money in the mint.

To read the complete document, see:
I'm the Man That Makes the Money In the Mint (

After lunch Len gave me a tour of the NNP "cage", a storage area where books are held before and after digitization.

  NNP cage 1

  NNP cage 2 Newman works
Len looks through a box of Eric P. Newman publications

  NNP cage 3 Newman newspaper
A newspaper interview with Newman

NNP Boggs Lecture sign My Boggs presentation was at 5pm back at the Olin Library, just down the hall from the exhibit. I was pleasantly surprised to see past Numismatic Bibliomania Society President Tom Harrison had driven in. Jeff Starck of Coin World was also on hand as were some NNP staffers and members of the Missouri Numismatic Society. Lianna Spurrier was there to record a video which will also be part of the upcoming NNP Symposium. I'll zoom in remotely for the Q&A portion.

Wednesday's audience was attentive and asked lots of great questions. I enjoyed reminiscing about my old friend and his art. He was quite a unique character, as much a philosopher as an artist. I'd updated my title to "Why Boggs? Why Now?" to reflect his growing cultural importance - he's now seen as a spiritual father of cryptocurrency and his thoughts on artist copyright have new relevance in today's world of generative artificial intelligence.

Several of us met afterwards for dinner at a nice restaurant. It was a great way to wrap up my visit. Much of Thursday was taken up with travel back home to Virginia. Friday brought a little more numismatics as I toured Washington D.C. with my sister who'd come to see what's left of the cherry blossoms.

  Washington DC Lincoln Washington DC Lincoln columns

Outside the Lincoln Memorial I recalled learning about the state names on the back of the five dollar bill (shown on the outside of the Memorial), and how Lincoln appears on BOTH sides of the five and the Memorial Cent (peering out from inside the Memorial).

I also found some numismatic items on display at the National Portrait Gallery and at the Holocaust Museum shop. No numismatic connection to the Hopper painting, but enjoy the photo anyway.

  Washington DC Portrait Gallery Hopper
Edward Hopper painting

  Washington DC Portrait Gallery Jackson medal
Andrew Jackson medal

  Washington DC Portrait Gallery Teddy Roosevelt plaque
Teddy Roosevelt plaque

  Washington DC Holocaust Museum coins 1
Holocaust Remembrance coins

That's all for this week - thanks for accompanying me on the journey.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Archives International Sale 93 cover front

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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