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The E-Sylum (4/30/2017)

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This week I made a whirlwind trip to the Central States Numismatic Society show. Wednesday was a regular workday, and at 2:30 I was glad to be able to duck out and say, "Sorry - I've got to catch a plane." I told a coworker, "Pray for me - I'm on United." Thankfully, the worst thing to happen was while having a turkey wrap sandwich for dinner before boarding - the first half was great, but the other half rolled off my lap onto the floor. Oh, well.

I got back in my car and headed to Dulles Airport. After a thankfully uneventful flight and taxi ride I checked into my room at the Renaissance Shaumburg Convention Hotel around 7:30 and texted Len Augsburger - we were planning to meet up to discuss Newman Numismatic Portal issues. I took some photos to show my kids.

Renaissance Shaumburg Convention Hotel lobby
Comfy Lobby

Renaissance Shaumburg Convention Hotel bathroom mirror TV
Check out the TV screen built into the bathroom mirror

We talked for a bit in the lobby, then got a table at the hotel bar. We had a lot of topics to cover and didn't split up until about 10 local time.

Len Augsburger at 2017 Central States Newman Portal User Forum
The CSNS meeting signage is always well-done.

The next morning, still on eastern time, I got up around 5:30. After breakfast I worked on The E-Sylum in my room until 10:30, when I met Len in the Serenity Room. He was already setting up his presentation for the Newman Numismatic Portal meeting at 11.

One slight problem - Len had ordered lunch for everyone, but the room had only chairs, no tables. A quick call to Bourse Chairman Kevin Foley solved the problem (the hotel had dropped the ball). Thanks, Kevin!

While workers reconfigured the room setup I spoke to some of the earlybirds, including Paul Hybert, Andy Newman, Bob Leonard, Beth Deisher, NBS webmaster Bruce Perdue, and Ute Wartenburg Kagin, Executive Director of the American Numismatic Society.

Other attendees included David Lisot, Pete Smith, Cliff Mischler, Maureen Levine, Bill Bierly, Harry Waterson, Mark Verbeek, Bill Burd, Shanna Schmidt, Mary Lannin, and David Finkelstein.

2017 CSNS Newman Portal User Forum audience

Front row: Pete Smith, Paul Hybert, Ray Lockwood
Second row: Shanna Schmidt, Mary Lanin, Bill Burd, Bob Leonard
Third row: Andy Newman, Maureen Levine, Beth Deisher, Harry Waterson, Cliff Mishler
Back wall (standing): David Finkelstein, David Lisot (Seated): Mark Verbeck, Gerry Tebben.

I warmed up the crowd with an overview of several ways to look at the portal - curated content "Encyclopedia" vs. uncurated "bulk" content, scanned vs. digital content, front-end "retail store" vs. back end "warehouse", and accessing content via menus or search. I also touched on the history of our digitization partner, Internet Archive.

Len delivered the main presentation, a combination of PowerPoint slides and live demo of the site in action. He covered new content partners, our scanning centers in St. Louis and New York, and new advanced search features. He also showed a video of a scanner operator in action.

A productive question-and-answer session followed next. Topics included the quality of our optical character recognition (it's very good), non-U.S. content (not a priority now, but we'll take it), and what turned out to be a bug report (we'll fix it - in certain cases users would only get a maximum of 50 search results even when more were available.

Len Augsburger at 2017 Central States Newman Portal User Forum lunchtime
First row at right: Bill Bierly
Secord row at right: Cliff Mischler

Next it was time for lunch - box lunches and soft drinks were available for everyone. I met E-Sylum advertiser Shanna Schmidt and E-Sylum contributor Harry Waterson for the first time, spoke with Mary Lannin, Maureen Levine, Pete Smith and Andy Newman. After the room cleared out Len and I met for a while with Andy about various NNP topics.

I went back up to my room to check email, change into more comfortable traveling attire, pack my bags and check out. I'll miss the bathroom TV.

In her email Newsletter #14 published yesterday Shanna Schmidt writes:

I also attended a wonderful 45 minute presentation from Len Augsburger and Wayne Homren on the Newman Portal. I encourage all of you to use this free portal to look at a plethora of articles, periodicals and books, etc. on U.S. coinage. This extensive database was funded by a grant from the numismatist Eric P. Newman, who by the way is still alive and well at 105 years old! Currently the portal is primarily for the study of U.S. coins but there are some ancient coin articles and catalogs available.

Len Augsburger and Neil Shafer I spent the rest of my time walking the bourse floor. I immediately ran into author Neil Shafer and had a nice conversation. Len Augsburger joined us. Neil's 84 and still looking and feeling great. It was so nice to see him. Len did a quick check of the Newman Portal on his cell phone and reported to Neil that his name produces over a thousand search results on NNP.

As I made the rounds of the bourse I stopped to talk with some E-Sylum advertisers and contributors, including Doug Winter, Gerry Fortin, and Dave Perkins.

Old World Coin booth

I was impressed by the booth of Old World Coin of McHenry, IL and spoke to the owner, Dave Holladay. He's now an E-Sylum subscriber. This is the type of presentation I wish more dealers would have. I've discussed this often with my friend Pat McBride of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. It's nice to see people upping their game.

Next I went to the impressive exhibit area, which I enjoyed a great deal. Kudos to all CSNS exhibitors - this was a high quality showing. I took several photos.

Odd Denomination exhibit
Odd Denominations

Half Centavo Proof Issues (1903-1908) exhibit
Half Centavo Proof Issues (1903-1908)

Electrotypes exhibit

Translating Numismatic Literature exhibit
Translating Numismatic Literature

Pennsylvania Railroad Medal for Heroic Service
The Pennsylvania Railroad's Medal for Heroic Service

Carnegie Hero Medal exhibit
The Carnegie Hero Medal

A personal favorite of mine. This is the silver Carnegie hero medal we discussed earlier.

To read the complete article, see:

Phrygian or Liberty Cap exhibit
The Phrygian or Liberty Cap

Nice treatment of an interesting and important numismatic topic.

Society of Medallists exhibit
The Society of Medallists

Great collection of medals!

Polymer Bank Notes of the World exhibit
Polymer Bank Notes of the World

This exhibit included a new book recently discussed in The E-Sylum.

Bread tag exhibit
Bread tags

The collecting instinct can lead many places. This exhibit was created by someone looking for something to collect that wouldn't break his budget. He decided to collect and categorize tags from bread loaves. It turned out to be an interesting study and a great exhibit multicase exhibit for the miscellaneous category.

Back out on the bourse floor I ran into ANA President Jeff Garrett, and we sat down to talk for a bit. Next I stopped at the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists booth where Tom Corey was talking with Harry Waterson. Tom kindly took this photo.

Harry Waterson and Wayne Homren
Harry Waterson and Wayne Homren

Harry introduced me to James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser collector Gary Hermann, also a new E-Sylum subscriber.

I'm not sure what happened, but I also took a photo (or thought I did) of elongated cent maven Ray Dillard. Sorry Ray - I don't have the photo. I can attest that he looked great; it was nice to see him.

One of the last folks I spoke to was Bruce Perdue. We talked about some E-Sylum production issues and planned to hook up online Sunday night as usual.

I had a LOT of time to kill at the airport and tapped out this diary after dinner while waiting for my flight. I didn't get home unto the wee hours and had to drag myself back to work on Friday. Not a productive day, but it sure was a productive week numismatically. It was great to see everyone.


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