encourage and promote the science of Numismatics by the acquirement and
study of coins, paper money, tokens, and medals; to cultivate fraternal
relations among collectors and to foster the interests of the youth in the
subject; to stimulate and advance affiliations between collectors and
kindred organizations; to acquire and disperse numismatic knowledge; to
demonstrate the fact the numismatics is an educational, serious yet
entertaining pursuit; and such purposes do not include operations for
Objectives of the Washington Numismatic Society
WNS was organized
on March 18, 1927 under the name of the Washington Coin Club. On May 24, 1929
the members changed the club's name to the Washington Numismatic
Society. Members thought the word numismatic
accurately defined the clubs fields of interest because it included not only
coins, but medals, tokens, paper money, and other media of exchange.
WNS members have contributed their time and talents to the American
Numismatic Association through the years. In addition, our Society has
financially supported ANA with donations to its library, certification
service, and headquarters building fund. In 1971, WNS served as the host
Society for the 80th Anniversary Convention held at the Washington DC.
WNS is proud of the current and former members who have authored books and
written for magazine publications.
the Stage for WNS:
In 1895, when the American Numismatic Association was only 4 years old,
its convention was held in Washington in the Art Parlors of Benjamin H.
Collins, longtime Washington collector and dealer in coins, curios, and art.
ANA was headed by A.G. Heaton of Washington, DC. He was ANA's third president. One of
the questions that engaged the 1895 convention was the absence of a National
By 1926, Washington had a National Coin Collection and several dedicated
numismatists were affiliated with ANA, but there was no coin club in the
nation's capital. The 1926 ANA convention was staged here at the Hotel
Washington without the customary sponsorship of a local club, but several
metropolitan area ANA members served on convention committees.
Washington Coin Club Organized:
organization meeting of the Washington Coin Club was held March 18, 1927. The
main business was the organization and election. The first meeting included
exhibits, among them a miscellaneous lot of coins, including nearly all of
the commemorative half dollars to date, several gambler's pieces, trick
coins, and Chinese money. Theodore T. Belote, Curator of History at the
Smithsonian Institution, and Custodian of the United States Coin and Medal
Collection, was the speaker at the club's fourth meeting. At the end of the
first year, Washington's first coin club boasted 11 dues-paying members.
On May 1929, members changed its name to the Washington Numismatic Society,
the one it retains.
Initially, the club held
meetings on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Later it adopted
monthly meetings, the second Tuesday of the month. Another change shifted the
meeting to the first Monday of the month. Today meetings are held on the
third Tuesday of the month.
The club proceeded with programs that involved informal discussions of
numismatics and trading of coins among members. The issuance of commemorative
half dollars was often discussed because of the Congressional activity
concerning bills introduced that called for a new commemorative coin. Along
with many other activities that were affected by the economic depression that
saw closing of banks and the recall of U.S. gold coins, the Washington
Numismatic Society became inactive after its March 14, 1933 meeting. Combined
with the spreading depression's somber effect on club members was the
prolonged illness and death of Mr. Russell on June 14, 1936.
In January 18, 1936, club action resumed when eight numismatic
enthusiasts met. One of the club's first moves was to invite the ANA to hold
its 1937 convention in Washington as guests of the WNS. ANA accepted
immediately. The ANA convention was held at the Washington Hotel. WNS member
Harry X. Boosel was the convention's general chairman. Registration totaled
198 from a total ANA membership of 2,527. Honored guests, all WNS members,
were Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross, Director of the Mint; Alvin W. Hall, Director
of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing; and Theodore T. Belote, Curator of
History, Smithsonian Institution.
Beginning on February 1937, the WNS held its meetings in one of the
Washington Hotel's parlors for several years. The club also has met in the
Smithsonian Institution. The club now meets the third Tuesday in the month at
the Community of Christ Church, 3526 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
last 50 years, the greatest contribution of the Washington Numismatic Society
to the advancement of the art has been in its educational efforts.
An example of its contribution to the people of Metropolitan Washington community
was its 18-year partnership with the Washington Star. The Sunday
Star carried one of the finest hobby columns on numismatics in the
Nation. WNS members Neil Shafer, Ben M. Douglas, Val Matelis, Vernon Bigsby,
R.C. Soxman, Lewis Hopfenmaier II, and Walter Mason met weekly deadlines to
bring popular and interesting coin news to area collectors.
Shafer wrote many of the columns that appeared during the first two years,
and Mr. Douglas authored more than three-fourths of them thereafter. Nearly
every aspect of numismatics was covered briefly with accurate data and
attractive photographs. Under the leadership of Mr. Douglas, often referred
to as the dean of numismatists in the Washington area, the column continued
to keep the club's hobby before the public.
Current and former members of WNS have produced an impressive list of
definitive publications. They are the authors, co-authors, or contributing
authors of more than 50 numismatic books. Some members have authored dozens
of magazine and journal articles, and more than 25 have consistently authored
books or magazine pieces.
Two of our distinguished honorary members, the husband and wife team of Dr.
Vladimir and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, were curators of the National
Role in ANA
In 1929, our Society affiliated with the American Numismatic
Association as a corporate member without a number. When WNS became active
after the Depression years of 1933-36, it again applied for affiliation with
Many WNS members have contributed their time and talents to the ANA through
the years. Two, Col. Joseph Moss and Adm. Oscar Dodson, rose to the ANA
presidency; two, Frank Duffield and Stuart Mosher, were editors of ANAs
monthly journal, The Numismatist; E. Ward Russell, Chairman,
National Coin Week; Eldridge G. Jones, treasurer and governor; Adna G. Wilde,
executive secretary and Governor; and Harry X. Boosel, Governor. In addition
our Society has financially supported ANA. with donations to its library,
certification service, and headquarters building fund. It is a member of
ANA's 250 Club, so designated on a plaque at ANA headquarters in Colorado
Springs, Colorado, for our contribution to provide equipment and furnishings
in the new ANA headquarters.
1971, WNS served as the host society for the 80th Anniversary Convention in
Washington, D.C. Nearly every active member in our club had an important role
in that convention. Brent Hughes designed the convention's commemorative
medal, an adaptation of which now serves as the WNS club medal. The 1971
convention banquet picture, the first made in many years, was taken with the
same camera that had been used to record the 1926 convention banquet here.
Attendance topped the 10,000 mark for the first time. Registrants totaled
10,571, which exceeded by more than 1,000 the previous record set at the 1963
convention in Denver.
WNS role in Local and Regional Organizations
members are multiple members and hold office and are active in other local
and regional groups as well as n the ANA. For example, the club, being the
first in the area, helped with the formation of the coin clubs in adjacent
Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties in Maryland, the Metropolitan
Washington Numismatic Association, Tri-Club, the Virginia Numismatic
Association, and the Middle Atlantic Numismatic Association.
In 1958, WNS joined with several clubs in Virginia to form the Virginia
Numismatic Association, and we in turn were adopted into their state
organization. WNS is honored to be a contributor to VNA's conventions, at
which our members have bourse tables and exhibits and provide educational speakers.
Metropolitan Washington Numismatic Association: In 1965, WNS took the lead
in the formation of the Metropolitan Washington Numismatic Association
comprising most of the active coin clubs in the D.C. metro area. The purpose
of that association is to sponsor a coin show, exhibits, and auction.
Part of its profits were divided among the individual clubs and also to
present the money to charitable organizations that assist retarded citizens.
Tri-Club: From 1980 to
1988, WNS joined together with Prince Georges and Montgomery County Coin
Clubs to hold an annual show with exhibits and an educational forum.
Maryland State Numismatic Association: In 2007, WNS joined over a dozen other area clubs in membership of the
Maryland State Numismatic Association. Originally founded
to hold an annual convention, MSNA has turned to sponsoring competitive
exhibits and a well-known speaker annually at a Baltimore coin show.