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to 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 pecuniary gain.”
Objectives of the Washington Numismatic Society

Encased rev.jpgWNS 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.

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WNS is proud of the current and former members who have authored books and written for magazine publications.

Setting 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 Coin Collection.

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. to Top

Washington Coin Club Organized:
The 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.

1783_wa_draped_bust_restrike_obv.jpgInitially, 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.

Reactivation Of WNS:
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. to Top

Educational Activities:
During the 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.

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Mr. 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 Collection.

WNS's 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 the ANA.

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.

George_Washington_Presidential_Dollar.jpgIn 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
Many WNS 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.


Virginia 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.


MWNA wood.jpgMetropolitan 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.

Triclub Wood 7a.jpgTri-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. to Top

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