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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 7, February 17, 2008, Article 2

MEDAL MAVEN SAM PENNINGTON OF THE MAINE ANTIQUE DIGEST 1928-2007

Dave Bowers writes: "I was distressed to read in ANTIQUE WEEK
that Sam Pennington, founder of Maine Antique Digest passed
away on February 2nd at the age of 79.

"A few years ago Sam discovered numismatics, and jumped
into medals with both feet, starting a medals column in M.A.D.
Meanwhile he formed a collection on the 'because I like it'
basis--perhaps the best way to collect.

"About 20 years ago Sam was thinking of getting involved in
coins one way or another, journalism-wise, and called me
about his publishing a guide to auction records in the field.
This never happened. He was 'numismatically aware' and kept
his finger on the coin hobby, even before he went into medals.

"He was a great man, a great asset to the collecting fraternity."

Dick Johnson writes: "I am devastated to learn of Sam
Pennington's death. We were planning to do so much together
for the future. He was a customer of mine for items of medallic
art 25 years ago, but his interest in medals really blossomed
in recent years. We formed a mutual friendship based on a
strong similar interest.

"He observed the specialized interest of the readers to his
monthly Maine Antique Digest, particularly after introducing
a column on jewelry. He wanted a similar column on medallic
art that he would likewise publish every month. In November
2006 he asked me to write that column. I refused, citing my
desire to finish several books underway, but instead offered
to furnish him as much background information as he wanted.

"He started that monthly Medals Column in the June 2007
issue of M.A.D. He wrote about medallic art that interested
him -- the medallic ashtrays of Paul Manship and other artists.
He had been acquiring these for a number of years. He obtained
photos of those he did not own and photographed those with
his Olympic camera he did. Since most had been made by
Medallic Art Company, I was able to furnish him some of
that promised background data.

"As predicted, his readers responded with medals they had
in their possession. The inevitable questions, "Can you
tell me anything about my ..." and, of course, "what is it
worth?" Sam attempted to answer all. He published their
photos and added comments. When I gave him so much background
data it nearly filled a column, Sam paid me as if I were the
author, despite the fact he wrote the entire piece.

"In his most recent column (number 8) he answered just
such a reader's inquiry for an IBM medal made just before
World War II. Sam often told me readers want to know the
value, always.  So I should always give my opinion of its
worth. I mentioned its most recent auction sale was $397
in one of Joe Levine's auctions.  I noted the extensive
damage to the edge and rims and commented on its deteriorated
condition. I suggested its value at $40 to $50.

"On the phone Sam commented 'I'd pay $400 for that medal.'
After quoting my comments, Sam appended in print: 'Author
Sam Pennington disagrees on the estimated value. He suggests
the medal in its present state should be worth at least its
1988 auction price of $397.'

"I smiled after reading that, but blushed at the brief
data on me under that article.

"Sam was like that. Always kind, giving, understanding,
cooperative. He encouraged and supported me in my research
on medallic artists. He wanted to see my databank on coin
and medal artists published and had requested a copy before
then -- a number of times. His persistence and encouragement
reached a peak after the FIDEM Congress, I gave in and
sent him a disc of that artists databank.

"One of the projects we had discussed for the future was
to reestablish the Society of Medalists. That may not
happen soon without the support of Sam Pennington."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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