Since last month's Nummis Nova was a week late due to the ANA convention, the September meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic
social group seemed to come around early. On Tuesday September 8th I arrived at Clyde's of Tyson's Corner, a longtime favorite
restaurant in a quite enclave amid the bustling Tyson's area.
Before I could get out of my car I spotted Howard Daniel, who was my partner in hosting this month. He'd done all the work, scouting
various restaurant before deciding on Clyde's. He was there early to check on our table. All as in order, but he had to leave to pick
up his guest Hung Vinh Nguyen at the nearby Metro Station. Howard adds:
In Viet Nam, he is Deputy Director General of the State Bank of Viet Nam Office of International Cooperation. Here in the USA, he is
the Vietnamese Representative to the International Monetary Fund for the next two years. A couple of years ago, I first met him on a
plane when we sat next to each other on a Viet Nam Airline flight from Vientiane, Lao PDR to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I headed inside and was the first person seated at our long table. I'd barely read thru the menu when Dave Schenkman and Gene
Brandenburg arrived. Gene took a seat to my left and Dave sat across from him. Next came Ron Abler, who took a seat to my right.
Gene ordered a bottle of Virginia wine on a lark, and later regretted it. I asked his help in picking a red wine, and he recommended one
from Chile. I ordered a bottle to share. Gene liked it so much he ordered a second bottle. It was indeed good. Other attendees soon
arrived, including Joe Levine, Eric Schena, Tom Kays, Roger Burdette, Joe Esposito, Julian Leidman, Steve Bishop, Jon Radel, Chris Neuzil
and Wayne Herndon, who arrived loaded with three boxes of books and supplies from his Wizard Coin Supply business, deliveries of preordered
Jon Radel, Julian Leidman, Hung Vinh Nguyen
On Left Side: Hung Vinh Nguyen, Eric, Dave, Chris, Joe, Roger
On Right Side: Howard, Joe, Wayne Herndon, Ron, ???, Steve
Coal & Mining Scrip
Dave Schenkman brought along some very rare scrip notes relating to coal and iron mining. He writes:
The Oliver Iron Mining Company note popped up on eBay last month. Although listed in R. Shawn Hewitt’s A History & Catalog of
Obsolete Bank Notes & Scrip, and also in Neil Shafer and Tom Sheehan’s Panic Scrip of 1893, 1907, and 1914, this one has a
different bank and town name than either of these references list.
Hobos With Banjos
The West Virginia note was in a recent Heritage sale. I’ve never seen one from this company, so was glad to add it to my collection of
mining notes. Interestingly, although there are more coal company tokens from West Virginia than any other state (by a large margin),
only a few paper notes are known to exist.
Dave also brought along some interesting hobo nickels with a banjo theme. He writes:
These two carvings are the work of Steve Adams. In addition to the ones I brought to the dinner, I have about a dozen other modern
nickels featuring banjos by various carvers.
I was introduced to modern hobo nickels many years ago, when Gail Baker took my ANA Summer Seminar course. At the time she was collecting
carvings by Ron Landis, and this one was among those she showed me. When she found out I was in the banjo business she gave it to me (thanks,
Here my other Ron Landis carvings. One he sold me, and the one with a turtle playing a banjo arrived in my mailbox a few weeks after
an article I wrote on the Gallery Mint was published in the TAMS Journal.
Note that Dave's business is the Turtle Hill Banjo Company.
The Virginia Tokens Book
Joe Esposito reported that...
There also was some discussion of the roll-out of the Schenkman-Schena book, the revised second edition of Virginia Tokens. I
understand that there will be a signing at the Virginia Numismatic Association Convention & Coin Show later this month. See: http://vnaonline.org/publications.html.
Steve Bishop brought along an interesting group of items starting with these overstruck Russian coppers. Thanks for the images! As always,
you should be able to click on these and see a larger mage on our Flickr photo archive.
Overstruck 1758 2 Kopecks
Overstruck 1788 MM 5 Kopecks
Teddy Roosevelt Campaign Button
Einstein Morgan Hobo Dollar
Neat "Teddy Bear" item. And you don't often see silver dollars carved this way.
Conversations were all over the map, numismatic and non-numismatic. No one was bored - how could you be? The numismatic material always
delights and amazes, and the company is unrivalled.
Zimbabwe Bond Coins
Jon Radel stumped just about everyone but me with this group of Zimbabwe Bond coins. Jon writes:
I have found few details on these, and there are moments when I wonder if these aren't issued simply to sell to foreign
collectors. (Probably not--but it was noted that during the very last days of the Zimbabwe Dollar, raiding the vaults for bricks of
trillion dollar notes to sell to collectors was probably one of the last ways the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), or at least the
employees, had of earning hard Currency). There are reasons that the RBZ is held in such low regard that there are press reports of
Zimbabwe consumers preferring the receive small change in candy rather than these coins.)
Vail Medal Postal Cover
Vail Medal Postal Cover
Vail Medal Postal Cover close-up
Jon also had an interesting and unusual postal cover with a numismatic connection. He writes:
As shown around at dinner, the cover, postmarked May 11, 1925 in Postville, Iowa, with a Vail Medal printed on the envelope. As you
can see from the detailed scan, it looks like it may be based on a photo of a medal that was awarded, but, the screening on the printing
is much too coarse for me to decide if there is or isn't engraved text below the "AWARDED TO;" I certainly can't make
out what it might say.
What was this? Personal stationary from an award winner who was well known enough locally to not feel a need for using a return
address (the back of the envelope is blank)? I have no idea. I suppose the next step would be look at the little ads in the back of some
magazines aimed at telephone company employees in the mid-1920s and see if anyone was advertising these.
Before breaking up for the evening, me, Eric, Jon, Tom, Wayne and I discussed plans for numismatic mentoring sessions with our local senior
young numismatists. In addition to bull sessions we talked about field trips to various locations including my numismatic library, the
Wizard warehouse, the Smithsonian collection and offices, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Later I thought about the National
Archives, where the kids could research a numismatic topic for a school project. We're very lucky to have so many great options right
in this area. Other ideas included having the kids make presentations to the younger kids. We're looking forward to the next phase of
our local numismatic outreach program.
That was the end of our evening together, but I had one more numismatic adventure waiting for me.
Max and the Mini-Maxen
On Friday a mystery package arrived, a gift from E-Sylum reader Nick Graver. In it was something for each of us - my wife and our
three kids. We were surprised and delighted when we found individual ceramic figurines in the likeness of our dog Maximillian, a black Yorkie-Poo.
His dog-loving wife Marilyn had asked for photos which I'd shared with her a couple months earlier.
Each of the five figures was a mini-Max in a different position. Mine was reading a coin book! My wife's Max was chewing on a coin
book. She said, "They got that right!" - she's no numismatic bibliophile. One was rolled onto his back awaiting a belly rub,
a familiar position for Max.
The figures are a delightful keepsake, and must have taken a good while to design and make. Thanks, Nick! My wife has plans to array the
group of them together in a curio cabinet.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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