This weekend I made a whirlwind trip to Pittsburgh to visit my sister and also my coin friends at the PAN Show. If you haven't been to a Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists coin show in a while, make plans for the next one. After being displaced from their old venue, the show has now landed at a marvelous new facility just a stone's throw from their traditional home in Monroeville, PA.
The new Monroeville Expo Center in Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs is ideal for a coin show. Spacious and brand-spanking new, the facility is actually a completely refurbished big-box store building next to the former Radisson Hotel (soon to be a new Doubletree).
Local collectors came in droves, and the dealers were very happy - several said the show was much better for them than the recent Los Angeles ANA or Philadelphia Whitman show. Bourse chairman John Paul Sarosi and PAN President Kathy Sarosi collected a big stack of applications for the next show (May 7-9, 2010).
I missed it, but I heard the Coins4Kids event drew record numbers, nearly 70 kids. Sam Deep and the PAN officers have expanded the Young Numismatist events in recent years, and in the new facility the PAN KidZone now has a permanent room for nearly full-time activity. I arrived at the show late Saturday afternoon and there were a dozen of so kids happily sifting through piles of donated coins to fill holes in their cent and nickel folders.
I was disappointed to learn when I arrived at the show that I'd just missed former Numismatic Bibliomania Society Secretary-Treasurer Dave Hirt. I chatted with PAN officers John Eshbach, Jerry Kochel and Dick Duncan at the club table, then ran into Sam Deep and Richard Jewell at the exhibit area.
PAN always has some great exhibits. Rich Jewell's exhibit was on Victor David Brenner's Lincoln and other medals. The six-case exhibit held over sixty medals and other items, including a 1907 Lincoln plaque on green marble, a 1900 "Lady at Piano" bronzed galvano, a 1917 painting medallion and a galvano of the reverse of the Carl Schurz plaque. Great stuff, nicely displayed.
Other exhibits included Jerry Kochel's "Half Cent Clip Clock". Arranged around an actual clock face were twelve U.S. Half Cents from 1797-1857, each with a planchet clip at a different position. At Saturday evening's awards banquet, Jerry won first place.
A noncompetitive exhibit was placed by John Eshbach, the 88-years-young winner of the American Numismatic Association's Farran Zerbe award. I'd never seen the Zerbe award before, and the 10K gold medal is beautiful. It's a high honor, and well deserved. John volunteers tirelessly for the ANA and the hobby in general. A true gentleman.
Several folks at the show complimented me on my work on The E-Sylum. Truth be told, it's folks like John Eshbach who inspired me to create it and keep it going all these years. It's my way of giving back to the hobby that's enriched my life in so many ways. John's only complaint about The E-Sylum, delivered with a smile, is that "it's too long." Agreed. Stop sending me all those great submissions, people! (just kidding - don't you dare stop).
I walked around the show floor a bit and spoke to a number of folks, including Paul Schultz, Ted and Blaine Shiff, Dick Gaetano, and Sam Deep.
I had an hour to kill before the banquet, so I drove over to the Holiday Inn, found the room, and chatted with the woman setting up the tables and cash bar. With her OK I pulled out my laptop, fired it up and was delighted to connect to the hotel's free wireless network. I brought up The E-Sylum draft and worked on a few stories. Then I grabbed my suit from my car and knocked on the door of John and Dick's room, where they let me change out of my jeans and sneakers.
Properly suited up I joined John Eshbach and Dick Duncan at their banquet table, and a bit later the Sarosis filled the remaining seats. There was a great crowd - about forty people. Before Jerry Kochel kicked off the ceremonies I talked with Tom Sebring. He told me about building and selling his collection of high grade U.S. colonial coins, then building and selling another great collection of shipwreck coins. Tom had an exhibit of shipwreck coins at the show.
Other banquet attendees included PAN's Chairman of the Board Don Carlucci and his family, Dawn and Pat McBride, Corleen Chesonis, Charles "Skip" Culleiton, the Shiffs, Richand and Fran Jewell, Ray Dillard and Tom Uram. Sam Deep sat with our guest speaker Ron Sirna, General Counsel for the American Numismatic Association. Ron spoke about toned coins, and then gave an update on ANA business.
It was a great evening, and I really enjoyed getting to see everyone. Sunday I drove back to Virginia, and once my wife, kids and dog were in bed for the night, I wrote up this diary and published another week's E-Sylum.
Good night, all.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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