The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 47, November 13, 2011, Article 14


Tuesday was Election day in Virginia, and political items were the theme for my monthly Northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. We met at J. Gilbert's steak house in McLean, VA. I had to work late and was the last to arrive. Already seated around a cozy table were Gene Brandenberg, Ron Abler, Joe Levine, David Schenkman, Julian Leidman, Eric Schena, Jon Radel, Chris Neuzil, Tom Kays, and our host, Roger Burdette.

The food and drinks were excellent, and I wouldn't be surprised if we end up going back. I think the wine was flowing well before I arrived, because this was one of the loudest and funniest dinners I can recall us having. What fun!

Tom Kays is never without a display, and among the items he brought was an example of the famous "end of pain" token. I found an example of the token (a "Conder" token attributed to Thomas Spence by Dalton & Hamer) online.

1793 Middlesex Spence 833a Obv 1793 Middlesex Spence 833a Rev

The inscription "END OF PAIN" is a pun on Thomas Paine, who was hated by most Englishmen of the 1790s. The designer is suggesting that the obverse scene would in fact be a welcome end to Thomas Paine. The inscription "THE WRONGS OF MAN" is an obvious jab at Paine's book "The Rights of Man" which was published in 1791. The date on the right leaf of the book 21 January 1793 is the date that King Louis XVI of France was executed. The suggestion here is that Paine's ideas lead to the death of the King of France and would do the same for the King of England if his ideas were to gain a following there.

G. W. Jones notes

Eric Schena brought along a Virginia Readjuster Party ballot and a scrip note incorporating an identical vignette (above). He explained that the Readjuster Party campaigned on a platform of making West Virginia pay an apportioned share of Virginia's pre-Civil War debt. The issue wasn't settled until well into the 20th century.

Virginia Readjuster Party ballot Eric adds:

The ballots (there were three in total) came from Bath Co. and were in a postal cover from the Bath County treasurer in Hot Springs to a merchant in Warm Springs. I like the fact that vignette was used almost 20 years later with almost minimal changes (if any at all). I have also seen that vignette used as newspaper mastheads from the same timeframe. A fascinating bit of local lore, especially considering the question of WV's pre-Civil War debt wasn't settled until 1915 and the last payments weren't made until the 1930s.

Chris Neuzil showed off this set of dimes with an interesting connection. His friends Joanne and Bruce Taylor have two Rottweilers, so they get out a lot walking the dogs. Each dime was spotted by eye on a walk near their home in Reston, VA.

Taylor Dime Set2

Chris writes:

I thought it was amazing that they found all three 20th century design types and that they are in such nice shape. The Merc even has quite nice toning. Neither of the Taylors is a collector. And yes - they have kept looking at and around the find locations. The dates are 1913, 1936, and 1956.

I brought along a book I'd recently won in a Kolbe & Fanning auction lot 1320, Sale 122). Dave said something like "Well what do you know about that? - Wayne brought a book - surprise, surprise!". It's an inscribed dedication copy of Fancies in Thoughts and Verse", a compendium of poems by an important U.S. numismatic author, Augustus Heaton.

I passed the book around and asked, "OK, let's see which one of you dolts is the first to tell us what numismatic book Heaton wrote." I think it was Joe Levine who joked, "it was those Heaton counterfeit detectors, right?"

Chris Neuzil won the dolt-of-evening award, correcting identifying Heaton's "Mint Marks", the first book devoted to coinage of the U.S. branch mints.

The book does include some numismatic verse, including "A Miss Taken Scent" and "The Numismatist and the Burglar". The book arrived the week that the American Numismatic Association's Executive Director was relieved of his duties. When I took the book out it opened naturally to "The Amorous Numismatist".

When people started retelling the same jokes I'd heard earlier in the evening I knew it was time to leave. But the food and drink were nearly as memorable as the evening. What a great night of numismatic fellowship.


Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers has hundreds of titles listed for immediate sale on their website at From the standard to the obscure, from all periods and in all languages, Kolbe & Fanning cover the entire range of numismatic literature. New titles added regularly. Come check us out at

Wayne Homren, Editor

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