Each week, CoinWeek, in collaboration with the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, brings you a highlighted feature from the current volume of the E-Sylum eNewsletter.

This week, we take a peek at Wayne Homren’s numismatic diary as he visits the Washington Numismatic Society (WNS) in D.C. and listens to Bob Evans, Kevin Flynn and Ben Costello at the Pittsburgh Area Numismatists (PAN) show.

 

Washington Numismatic Society

Tuesday night I left work with a new destination programmed into my GPS. I had been invited to speak at the October 2014 meeting of the Washington Numismatic Society. Although I live in the metro area I had never been to the club, which meets in Washington, D.C. 

The traffic and rain made for a unpleasant but luckily uneventful commute, unless you count the serpentine course my GPS system decided upon to guide me to my destination. Somehow I made it to the right street and parked my car. I opened my umbrella against the steady rain.

I was unfamiliar with the venue, a church building on Massachusetts Avenue. I saw a light inside and walked around to the nearest door. I opened it and went inside. Rather than finding a meeting room I observed a little old lady at work in an office. I asked her where the club meeting room was, and she offered to show me but asked, “How did you get in here?”

1715fleet
Two youngsters take in an exhibit at the 1715 Fleet Society table  (Photography © Pat McBride 2014)

“Through the door there.” “And it was unlocked??” Yep – it was unlocked. But it wasn’t supposed to be. Some workmen had forgotten to lock up. The lady was as sweet as could be, though. After locking the door she led me through the sanctuary and down to the basement meeting room. She propped open the new door the workmen had just installed. It was lucky I arrived when I did, for the club members did not have the new key.

They soon began to arrive and one of the first was my host for the night, Wayne Wilcox, who had invited me to speak. I helped set up some of the tables and chairs. President Simcha Kuritsky arrived as well, and he set up a projector. Around 15 members and guests settled in for the meeting.

After holding some club business and breaking for snacks, I began my presentation on the “Past, Present and Future of Online Numismatics”, a reprise of my talk at the August Numismatic Bibliomania Society meeting. I recapped the history of computers and the Internet, online forums like rec.collecting.coins, and the creation of The E-Sylum. Moving on to the future, I discussed the CoinLibrary site I’m working on.

I enjoyed meeting everyone and seeing the exhibits, which included some nice Alexandria and D.C. scrip notes. But it made for a long day and I was glad to get back home around 11pm.

The PAN Show 

On Friday I worked half a day and joined my family for a trip to Pittsburgh to visit my wife’s family and my sister. Because our trip coincided with the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists show, I was able to spend a few hours there Saturday. Thanks to Pat McBride for providing the below photos.

My wife dropped me off at the convention center and I soon found myself talking with a number of old Pittsburgh numismatic friends, including Dick Gaetano, Rich Crosby, Larry Dzuibek, Ed Krivoniak and Don Carlucci. Bryce Doxson of Maryland was also on hand at the exhibit area. There are a number of great exhibits. I didn’t take notes, but two that stood out for me were one on Morse Code on coins and medals, and an amazing one on a 13-note short snorter, which stretched several feet across a custom-built showcase. 

The 1715 Fleet Society 

I also stopped at the table of Ben Costello and the 1715 Fleet Society. Ben had an absolutely jaw-dropping exhibit of sea salvage coins and artifacts primarily from the 1715 Fleet, but also the Atocha and other famous wrecks. I was particularly fascinated with a 50-pound silver bar from the Atocha.

 

Bob Evans and the SS Central America

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Bob Evans delivering his presentation on his work with the SS Central America. The author is seated in the front row, fourth from right. (photography © Pat McBride 2014)

I sat in the front row for Bob Evans’ presentation on his work recovering coins, ingots and other artifacts from the wreck of the SS Central America. I counted about 100 people in the room. It was a rapt audience that paid close attention to his first-hand accounts of REAL treasure hunting and how it’s not quite like what people might envision from the Hollywood treatment of the subject. Bravo!

 

Kevin Flynn and Coin Collecting

Bob was followed by Kevin Flynn who gave a nice presentation of his own on coin collecting. Afterwards I helped out with the auction. Bob Stakeley of the Pittsburgh History Center expertly called the 50 lots while me, Dick Gaetano and Corleen Chesonis were the “runners” giving winners their lots and collecting their auction dollars. I was very glad to be able to be there. Seeing the great crowd was a “George Bailey” moment for me (from one of my favorite films, It’s a Wonderful Life). I’d helped start the program some 20 years ago and it was fantastic to see it not only continuing, but thriving. Congrats to PAN for keeping the flame of numismatics alive for the next generation of collectors.

 

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Click here to read the rest of this week’s issue of the E-Sylum eNewsletter.

 

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