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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 44, October 31, 2010, Article 13

WAS HOBBIES MAGAZINE NUMISMATIC EDITOR A 'GHOST'?

Dick Johnson submitted this Halloween-themed item. Do you know of a numismatic ghost? -Editor

Hobbies Magazine June 1937 The editor of the Numismatics section of Hobbies magazine for nearly 20 years was Frank C. Ross Sr. He lived in Kansas City, Missouri, where, as a teenage coin collector, I lived and became active in the area. I joined the local coin club, Heart of America Numismatic Association, in 1946. Club members knew of Frank Ross, but as I remember none had ever met him. He was somewhat of a numismatic ghost in his own city.

By 1946 at age 16 I had decided what I wanted to do in life: be a numismatic writer and editor. And here was a famous numismatic writer and editor in my own city! Frank Ross didn't die until 1955, but we never met.

This brings to mind the vast number of numismatic personalities who are prominent in the field through their writing, but who are not active in local clubs, in regional or national numismatic organizations, who don't attend numismatic functions. I don't believe it is an anti-social reason, but could it be that these writers consider such local or social numismatic activities a waste of their time?

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of numismatic authors who I have never met -- and whose acquaintance I would like to make. Our paths have never crossed. But some who are so unfamiliar that no one seems to have known them personally.

Maybe I am falling into that category myself. For four decades I tried to attend every national ANA convention (I think the total number to date is 29), attend as many regional conventions as possible, and join every local coin club possible. As I moved around the country (in military service, college, and various employments) I delighted in this numismatic camaraderie and cherished the occasion to learn something new with other collectors.

I just counted my membership cards to learn I was a member of local coin cubs in 34 cities (but some of those were honorary where perhaps I gave a talk one time and didn't attend regularly). But my attendance is diminishing because of age and difficulty of traveling. I am down to only one local club, Litchfield County Coin Club. Certainly this is not for lack of interest or wishing to meet new collectors.

I could name a dozen numismatic "ghost" writers who I would like to meet and chat with in person. If you could spend an evening with a favorite numismatic author you have never met, who would it be?

Wayne Homren, Editor

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