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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 36, September 10, 2007, Article 14

PETE SMITH’S OMAHA DIARY

Pete Smith writes: "The Omaha Coin Club hosted the NTCA National
Token and Medal Show over Labor Day weekend. I attended with
another collector from Minnesota. With the show opening at noon
on Friday, we had nothing scheduled that morning.

"As we reviewed a local guide for tourists, I recognized the
Durham Western Heritage Museum. With my few remaining brain
cells, I recalled this as the location of the Byron Reed collection.
We decided to visit.

"On the way we stopped at the birthplace of President Gerald R.
Ford. It is a nice park but missing an essential feature. The
house there was destroyed by fire in 1971.

"The museum is in the old Union Station with a great Art Deco
interior. The main lobby is on the upper level with the museum
on the lower level. Near the elevator is a coin rolling machine.
I am a member of TEC (The Elongated Collector) but not one of
those who spend their vacations hopping from one coin rolling
machine to another. I had little interest until I noticed that
one of four images on the roller is of Byron Reed. I turned a
handle to select the image, inserted two quarters and one cent.
After a few more turns the elongated cent dropped out of the
machine. This is now a treasured addition to my collection of
numismatist tokens.

"Another of my collections includes badges from Worlds Fairs
and Expositions. Several nice badges were included in an exhibit
for the Trans-Mississippi Industrial Exposition. This is next to
the Byron Reed exhibit.

"The first panel inside the Reed gallery mentions the depth and
quality of his library. In the case was an example of Dye’s Coin
Encyclopedia. The next case discusses auction catalogs and the
auction process. For me it was great to see an appreciation for
numismatic literature shown in the museum.

"The museum has panels for Hard Times Tokens, Civil War Tokens,
Suttler Tokens and Merchant Tokens. Among great rarities was an
1804 dollar. It was prominently displayed but poorly lighted. It
was also at a low level more suitable for viewing by a child than
by a senior citizen.

"I was impressed by the way the exhibits managed to explain numismatic
items to the public while showing great rarities that would be
appreciated by serious collectors. As I read the exhibits I wondered
who had written the text. I thought of Dr. Larry Lee who was a
curator of the collection in the past.

"For dinner Friday evening, my roommate insisted that we visit
Runza, a chain found only around Nebraska. Their specialty is a
dough filled with seasoned ground beef, onion and cabbage. I don’t
think I will make a special trip to Nebraska to try it again.

"At the show I chatted briefly with Orville Grady who attended
the show as a visitor. I had seen him recently in Milwaukee.
The only large groups of books for sale were at the table of
California token author Duane Feisel.

"I enjoyed a discussion with R. W. Chadwick who recently published
a book on Oklahoma Exonumia. It is only a slight exaggeration to
suggest that half the people in the room either had written a book
or were working on writing a book.

"I was unable to exceed my budget buying tokens so I bought an
advertising mirror for Grinnell Brothers, Michigan’s Leading Music
House. In 1910 their president was numismatic author Albert Avery
Grinnell. This is a nice addition to my small collection of
association items.

"Late on Sunday a customer came by asking for Communion Tokens.
It took a moment for me to realize this was Dr. Larry Lee. He
confirmed that he had created the Byron Reed exhibit and the Trans-
Mississippi exhibit. We also had a brief discussion of his legal
battle with the ANA.

"I recently learned that the trial was postponed because the
plaintiff’s attorneys withdrew from the case. I look forward
to a settlement and accounting for the legal fees spent by both sides."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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