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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 46, November 12, 2006, Article 22

HAVE A PASSION FOR YOUR NUMISMATIC SUBJECT

Dick Johnson writes: "The invitation came from my former instructor
at a college course on genealogy. Now we see each other at a genealogy
club formed from members of his classes on the subject. He knew of my
interest in numismatics and I knew of his interest in the historical
society in his city of Middlebury Connecticut. He is also the town
historian.

Well, Middlebury is celebrating its bicentennial next year and of
course Bob Rafford is on the bicentennial committee. He invited me
to come speak before his committee on why they should issue a
bicentennial medal. I arrived early and sat in on the committee
meeting, hearing all the reports on their planned activities.

Here was a group of stoic New Englanders having fun with their
bicentennial celebrations. These ranged from a Winter Festival
next month Ė where the major discussion was whether or not to
rent a snowmaking machine Ė to a pageant on the history of the
city scheduled for next September, then wind up the festivities
for the actual October anniversary date.

I didnít have a planned speech. When it was my turn to speak I
commented on the long heritage that New England towns and cities
have for issuing medals for their municipal anniversaries. I
mentioned these were widely collected by numismatists and that
there were even books on the subject, recalling the catalogs
compiled by Robert Heath. (He compiled one for each of the six
New England states with numerous revision editions.)

I guess I warmed up to my subject answering committee members
questions. Maybe I became passionate about the subject. Of course,
they asked questions about costs. I answered "I am not a salesman."
Whereby one lady committee member, commenting on my passion for
the subject, blurted out, "Well you should be!"

Previous to the meeting I had learned that one of their members
was a coin collector and his family had lived on their "farm" for
the two hundred years they were celebrating. "Fennís Pond" is a
Middlebury landmark on that property. I had asked him for a picture.

So I left the meeting with the trademark design they had created
for their celebratory year and a picture of Fennís Pond. Iíll turn
these over to one of the medalmakers in the area. So if you see a
notice in the numismatic press of a bicentennial medal from
Middlebury Connecticut next year you will know that it came from
a group that was having a lot of fun celebrating their city's
bicentennial. It may even show the pond on the family farm of a
prominent local coin collector. Hey, people in New England
celebrate things like that!"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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