The week was filled with numismatic anticipation for me as I prepared for my first trip to an American Numismatic Association convention in several years. With an entourage including a wife, three kids, two in-laws and a dog we don't travel just to make Dad happy, and going off to a show on my own while my wife is stuck with the kids doesn't fly very well, either. But thanks to a generous travel incentive and a special dispensation from the Mother of All My Kids, I was able to make the annual NBS meeting, the trip to Bill's Numismatic Library, and the ANA banquet.
Earlier in the week I opened some packages that had arrived in the mail. Included were review copies of Whitman's America's Beautiful National Parks and Colt Cylinder Scenes, 1847-1851 by Arthur Tobias. No time to start reading when I had to pack and finish some chores around the house.
On Wednesday I took a few minutes in the afternoon at work to give Eric Newman a call. He was summering at Martha's Vineyard. My 100-year-old numismatic friend was doing well, and we talked a while about The E-Sylum and some of Eric's current research projects. He has a question for our readers, so look for something in a subsequent issue. He hasn't been to an ANA in several years - I'll miss seeing him.
I'll always remember what a delight it was to see him walk through the cabin when my plane going to the 1996 Portland ANA convention had a stopover in St. Louis, Eric's hometown. He recognized me and said hello. After takeoff I sat next to him and we had a delightful conversation about numismatics, his life and family that continued all the way to the terminal.
I left work early on Thursday to get to Dulles airport. I needn't have bothered. My flight was delayed an hour because of stormy weather. Adding insult to injury, once out on the runway they halted all outgoing flights due to the storm. I was still on the plane as it rolled back to the terminal at 10:30pm, over three and a half hours after we were supposed to take off.
It was going to be a long night. The only good thing about it is I was able to pull out my laptop and work on editing The E-Sylum while we waited on the tarmac. I had plenty of time. After a change of crews the plane rolled out from the terminal at midnight, only to be stopped again due to weather. We finally took off at 1:30am. By the time I made it to my room at the Hyatt, it was 4am my time, and I'd been up since 5am.
But I dragged myself out of bed before 9am Friday and walked across the skywalk to the convention center. It was very quiet. I didn't see another soul and one of the air conditioners was making a sound like a cricket chirping. Where was everybody?
I made it to the registration table and walked right up. I thought I recognized Numismatist editor Barbara Gregory behind the counter, but it was her lookalike Christine. We chatted a bit and I got my badge. Not having had breakfast I bought an overpriced bagel and beverage in the lobby. I ate while reviewing the convention program.
When I went in I headed for Bill Burd's table. As luck would have it one of the first people I recognized was Julian Leidman. He was at his table. It seems that every coin show I walk into, he's the first person I run into.
When I got to Bill's table he was busy with a customer and I spoke with his daughter Katherine. There was an empty space where the Nova Constellatio Quint was to be exhibited. When I spoke to Bill he said Walter Perschke had submitted it for slabbing. I'd missed out on a chance to see the coin in the raw. I learned where the library tour bus would be and took a walk around the bourse floor.
The first familiar face I saw was none other than Howard Daniel, who was manning a club table and recruiting folks for NBS and other organizations. It had been a slow show, at least in that part of the course floor. While he'd talked to a number of people he also had time in between to work a bit on the manuscript for his next book. We'll look forward to seeing it!
From there I found John Burns' table and talked for a few minutes. Sorry - I forgot to pull out my camera phone. But I had it handy the rest of the day.
Next I stopped at the table manned by Joel Orosz and Len Augsburger, where they were selling copies of their new book on the first U.S. Mint. Here's Len with Bill Bugert and Brad Karoleff. I missed getting a great picture of Brad kneeling in supplication before Joel and Len, in honor of their winning the Numismatic Literary Guild's "Book of the Year" award the night before. I was with Brad in his "we're not worthy to be in your presence!" chant...
Never one to stop with just ONE joke, Brad went on to tell Bill and I how excited Len was to learn they'd won. "He jumped up and squealed like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Beiber concert!". When Len protested that he was exaggerating a little, Brad said, "OK - like a 12-year-old girl." Below is a picture of Joel inscribing a copy of their book.
Next to Joel and Len's booth was the Whitman Publications booth displaying the 1783 Nova Constellatio pattern set. With a security guard nearby, this lovely lass in Colonial garb distributed copies of a reprinted Coin World article on the set and how it was reassembled by John J. Ford.
It was hard to see the coins, mounted as they were behind multiple layers of glass and plastic. After confirming it was OK to shine a light on the coins I rummaged thru a compartment in my backpack and pulled out a 3x magnifier and a keychain-sized flashlight. I told the young lady I keep everything in my "Man Purse".
With the light in one hand and glass in the other, I examined the coins as best I could. The accessories helped a lot - I could actually see many details on the coins. Nice and shiny, with mint luster!
Next I ran into Dave Harper & Bob Van Ryzin at the Krause Publications table. Bob was wearing a great
bibliophile's tie showing shelf after shelf of nice books. I have the same tie and lamented not bringing it for
the banquet. They posed for this picture. QUICK QUIZ: who are the two gentlemen seated behind Dave & Bob?
Next I swung by the table of literature dealers Kolbe & Fanning. Thatís David Fanning on the left, and NBS cofounder George Kolbe on the right. At their table was Kerry Wetterstrom and the three of us talked for a while. I learned that George drew the short straw and would man their table while Dave went to the Bill Burd library tour. But George would attend the NBS meeting.
Just down the row was Charlie Davis. He told me about his pencil adventure. Finding himself needing a pencil to write prices in newly purchased inventory, he asked his traveling companion Fred Ouillette to find one. He came back with good news and bad news - he'd found a pencil, but it needed sharpened. After locating a pocket knife Charlie whittled it into service. We talked a bit about rubbings and how no one every seems to need or use a pencil for anything anymore.
On the way out I stopped again at Bill Burd's table. Luckily, the 1783 Type II Quint was back along with its owner, Walter Perschke. I took a nice close look at the now-slabbed coin, and got this picture of Bill and Walter.
Next up was the Numismatic Bibliomania Society Annual Meeting. I was a bit late after getting lost looking for the room. I took several photos. Here's one of the attendees. See the slideshow below for more. In the room was a Who's Who in U.S. numismatics and numismatic literature including Harvey Stack, Dave Bowers (standing in the photo), John Adams, Dan Hamelberg, David Alexander, Bob Evans and many others. I was pleased to hear several great comments about The E-Sylum and learn that I'd won an award from the Medal Collectors of American for the medal articles Ive edited for The E-Sylum.
Speakers included Charlie Davis and David Schenkman (talking about Al Hoch of Quarterman Publications), Harvey Stack (on the Stack Family Library), and Elizabeth Hahn of the ANS (on the ANS Library). Following the presentations and talks was the annual NBS fundraising auction. Look for more reports on the meeting in subsequent E-Sylums and Asylum issues.
Next on the agenda was the main event - a tour of Bill Burd's library. I may have more details in subsequent issue, but it's getting late as I write this. Attendees included myself, Bill Burd (of course), Howard Berlin, Amanda Harvey of the ANA, David Sklow, Myron and Darryl Xenos, Elizabeth Hahn of the ANS, Dan Friedus, Fred Reed, David Fanning, Pete Smith, Tom Sheehan and Richard Thompson and his son.
Dan Friedus, Pete Smith, Tom Sheehan
Bill Burd, Elizabeth Hahn, David Fanning
What a great event, graciously hosted by Bill Burd. His library was a delight and a highlight of the convention for all of us in attendance. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Wayne Homren, Editor
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