JEFF BURKE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY MARCH 12, 2017
The E-Sylum (3/12/2017)
“My Numismatic Adventures with Dave Bailey and Friends”
Dave Bailey and Fran Cackowski are well known to the Garden State Numismatic Association (GSNA) members in New Jersey. Dave serves as President of the GSNA and Fran edited the New Jersey Numismatic Newsletter for twelve years. At present, Fran is the recording secretary of the GSNA. On May 15, 2016, I enjoyed visiting Dave and Fran’s cozy home on Staten Island.
Dave gave me the tour of his “man cave” where he does his numismatic research and writing. What a vast collection of books! He also showed me some examples from his Conder token collection including half pence and farthing pieces. Dave explained the intriguing history behind each piece. He started collecting Conder tokens in 1973. Fortunately, Dave stores his numismatic treasures in safe deposit boxes so he doesn’t have to worry about home safety issues. Fran showed me some of the beautiful quilts she has sewn.
Two months later, I joined Dave B. and Dave Noyes on a train from the Metro Park Station in Iselin, N.J. to the Baltimore Show. Both gentlemen are active members of the Watchung Hills Coin Club which has a vibrant YN program. Noyes, a former rugby player at Dartmouth and the University of Michigan, has foreign currency notes from over 200 countries and is eager to add new specimens to his collection. Noyes also collects classic commemoratives, fractional currency, national bank notes, New Hampshire scrip and obsoletes. He earned an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1972 and has had a distinguished career as a banking, finance and insurance executive.
When Noyes was about six, he picked out 10 or 11 pieces from his dad’s coin collection to spend at a local candy store in Richfield Park, N.J. The young lad ended up buying sweets with an 1877 Indian Head cent and a 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln cent, among other collector coins. Needless to say, Dave’s father had an informative talk with his son after the incident. Fortunately, the Noyes family was able to recover all but one of these misspent treasures!
Carl, Dave’s father worked as a bank teller in Haverhill, MA during the Depression. As a teller, Carl swapped out Indian Head cents and Lincoln cents from his own spare change. These coins formed the basis of his coin collection. Later, Carl was CEO of the First New Hampshire Bank, when he got to know Dave Bowers. Noyes collects New Hampshire National Bank notes in memory of his dad because these banks were part of his father’s holding company. Dave has expanded his collection from the eight or so banks in the holding company. Today, Dave Noyes is referred to as “Dave number three,” in reference to his friendship with New Hampshirites Dave Bowers and Dave Sundman.
The indefatigable Dave Bailey taught middle school math and history from 1967 until he retired in 2002. Since then, he has worked as a substitute teacher in Staten Island schools where he has served his entire career as a teacher. This year marks his 50th year as an educator! Dave collects ancients, Conder tokens and Civil War tokens, German, French and North American jetons, and medieval coins, and has many other numismatic interests as well. Bailey feels that holding a medieval or ancient coin in your hands transports you back in time. Dave recalls filling out Whitman blue albums of various denominations during his childhood.
Around 1965, Dave unearthed a William III half penny dated 1699 while digging near a church on Staten Island. This discovery piqued his ongoing interest in learning about all sorts of numismatic coins, tokens and medals. He also remembers finding a 4th century Emperor Valens Roman coin for a dollar in a dealer’s junk box as a college student, circa 1967. Dave had Latin in high school which helps him decipher words on ancient coins. Staten Island Coin Club member Tom Sarrow was skillful at helping him acquire ancient coins.
In the early 1970s, Dave saw an ad in the back of Coin World for Conder tokens. He acquired the dealer list of Conders and placed a phone call to order his first token. After purchasing the Seaby book on Conder tokens, he began to order more Conders (merchant tokens in England) from the Colony Coin Shop in Newtonville, MA, run by Arthur Fitts and Neil B. Todd. Dave’s prize Conder token (which I’ve had the pleasure of examining) is a Suffolk Cardinal Wolsey gateway piece, one of only four struck in 1795! This token, once owned by James Conder himself, has collector tag pedigrees dating back to 1901 that now include Dave Bailey.
Collector's Halfpenny token
Peter Kempson token
Matthew Young token
Louis XVI Jeton
After arriving in Baltimore we took a taxi to the convention center. It was exciting to enter the bourse! I accompanied Dave B. to look through the French jetons that Bill Goetz had at his table. Dave helped me pick out a beautiful 1802 French Consulate Chamber of Commerce Rouen silver jeton. Next we stopped at Steve Damron’s table (Clein’s Rare Coins and Damron Numismatics) where Bailey helped me select a 1795 Suffolk, Ipswitch, Beccles AE ½ Penny Conder token with reflective surfaces. Then I went with Dave to Donald and Marcella Zauche’s table where he examined a tray of Bronze Roman coins.
At that point I decided to wander off on my own for a while before lunch. I stopped by Eagle Eye Rare Coins to say hello to Rick Snow and then headed over to Jim McGuigan’s table where I got to hold two high grade early half cents: a chocolate 1793 B-3, C-3 PCGS EF-40, and an olive brown 1793 B-3, C-3 PCGS AU-53. I was in numismatic heaven because a high grade 1793 half cent is my dream coin! Jim and I had a delightful talk about EAC and the upcoming EAC Convention in Philadelphia in April 2017.
I had a wonderful lunch with my travel companions at the Pratt Street Ale House a few blocks from the Convention Center. We discussed the news that the bourse would be closing early at 4 p.m. instead of the usual time of 6 p.m. because of a possible protest at or near the Convention Center. Some dealers had already packed up and headed home. We decided to stay at the show until 3:45 and then make our way back to the train station. As it turned out, Baltimore was quiet that night.
After lunch, I went over to Tom Reynolds’ table to look at his high grade 1793 and 1794 half cents and large cents. Then I walked around the bourse until it was time to depart. We caught the Purple Route (free) bus to head to the train station. En route on Charles Street, we passed the historic Hotel Monaco where Dave B. and Dave N. have stayed on their previous trips to Baltimore. Downtown Baltimore has such lovely, old buildings. We also passed the Washington Monument, which was quite a sight!
We found a table in the café at the Beaux-Arts style train station (worth a visit) constructed in 1911, and ordered cold refreshments on a hot day. Then we just relaxed and showed each other our bourse acquisitions. My Conder token and jeton were each purchased for under $100. It occurred to me that forging and enjoying numismatic friendships combined with making modest purchases can be just as fun as spending thousands of dollars on coins at a show. The fun is still in the hunt and acquisition!
American Numismatic Society
My next sojourn with Dave Bailey took place in Manhattan on July 22, 2016. Despite the scorching hot day, we met at 10 a.m. in front of the Gothic Revival style Trinity Church located at Broadway and Wall Street, the oldest church in New York. We walked through the church and then spent some time looking at old tombstones in the graveyard. We found the marker for Alexander Hamilton, as well as several other famous New Yorkers. After leaving Trinity Cemetery, we walked by Federal Hall where George Washington had his first inauguration as president in 1789.
Then, we meandered our way over to the American Numismatic Society (ANS) at 75 Varick Street, Floor 11. First, we looked at exhibits on Augustus B. Sage as well as Vladimir and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli; next we walked down to the library. ANS Librarian David Hill gave us a friendly welcome and took the time to retrieve several items for us from the Rare Book Room including an article on “James Conder; His Books and Tokens, with Some Remarks on His Contemporaries and Successors,” in Numisma, vol. 1, no. 7 (October 1948), pp. 113-130; and the book An Arrangement of Provincial Coins, Tokens, and Medalets, by James Conder, published in Ipswitch, England, in 1798. Dave felt transported back to 1798 while reading the latter reference!
After our respite in the cool and quiet ANS Library, we headed out to the Broom Street Bar (located in a landmarked building dating back to 1825) at 363 West Broadway to have lunch before heading to the subway station to go our separate ways. It was a fun day of activities in the Big Apple and we look forward to our next numismatic adventure, wherever it takes us!