The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 34, August 22, 2004, Article 4


  Tuesday was setup day for most exhibitors.  Several NBS
  members were seen in and around the large exhibit area
  at the front of the hall.  Dave Lange was one of the
  early birds, setting up his exhibit of coin boards in Class
  22, Numismatic Literature.  Joker Wendell Wolka came
  by to point out imaginary smudges on the exhibit case
  glass I was cleaning for the Carnegie Hero medal exhibit.
  NBS President Pete Smith stopped by later as well.

  Wednesday brought the opening ceremonies with Pittsburgh
  Mayor Tom Murphy and other political and numismatic
  dignitaries.  I was concerned that our Honorary Chairman
  was nowhere to be found, only to learn later he'd decided
  not to come up on stage and was watching from a seat
  nearby.  I'd been scanning the crowd like a Secret Service
  agent and was unable to find him.   It was all over in a flash
  for me, but I'm sure it seemed like an eternity to the throng
  waiting to get in the show.

  I had opened my day with a visit to the general meeting of
  the John Reich Collector's Society, where I was greeted by
  a lot of familiar faces.  The officers helped promote The
  E-Sylum, and I'd like to thank them here for their kind words.
  The E-Sylum has grown to its present size largely by word-of-
  mouth, and I encourage readers to forward issues to people
  they think may enjoy it.

  After the opening ceremony my next order of business was
  the downtown Pittsburgh walking tour.   Two docents from
  the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation led two
  groups around the city.  Despite a planning mixup at one of
  our stops, all went well.  The highlight for our group was
  visiting Dollar Savings Bank, whose main branch was built
  in 1870 and has been in operation as bank branch with little
  architectural change continuously since that date.

  While waiting in line for lunch back at the convention I met
  Doug Mudd, the new curator of the American Numismatic
  Association.  In a nearby line was Carl Feldman of New
  Jersey who told me he was counting the minutes until our
  library tour Friday morning.  Next stop was the in-progress
  meeting of the NBS Board where various organization
  topics were discussed.   At 2pm I left to get my car and run
  home to pick up my sons Christopher and Tyler.  When we
  returned to the convention we looked at the 1804 Silver
  Dollars and bought Mint Passports.  On the way to the
  mint booths we ran into John Adams and Denis Loring.
  After filling most of the passport holes it was time to head
  home again.  Both boys fell asleep in the car on the way
  home.  The show had tired them out, but they had fun.
  So when do I get to take nap?

  All in all the day went well, and my main regret was not
  being able to attend Chuck Larson's presentation at the
  10am Numismatic Theatre.  Author of the new book on
  numismatic forgery discussed here in previous issues, he
  told me that he planned to announce the outcome of his
  investigation of the 1959 Wheat cent Mark Hofmann
  claimed to have fabricated.  We'll probably see something
  in the numismatic press this week.  Were any of our
  readers in attendance?

  Thursday morning I attended the Krause Publications
  Numismatic Ambassador breakfast.   My table included
  Sam Deep, Al Johnbriar, David Alexander, and Tom
  DeLorey.  At noon I listened to Michael S. Turrini's talk
  on the Carnegie Hero Medal, then went to a press
  conference on the medal with Michael and officials from
  Carnegie Museum and the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
  Unfortunately, this conflicted with Scott Rubin's Numismatic
  Theatre / NBS Literature Symposium talk.  Anyone care to
  submit a report?

  Not having had time to grab lunch, I then hooked up with
  NBS Board member Joel Orosz and went down the street
  for a bite.  Toward the end of our talk we heard a loud
  CLANG which turned out to be the sound of my new
  ANA Goodfellow medal hitting the floor.  The clasp, which
  was too light for the weight of the medal, had given away.
  Clem Schettino and a group of fellow colonial coin collectors
  at the next table were as startled as we were.  Luckily, just
  a few blocks away was The Coin Exchange, where resident
  jewelry expert Debbie Dechicchis and owner Kitty Litman
  came to the rescue, replacing the clasp with something sturdy,
  and even sewing together the other end of the ribbon where it
  too had already frayed from the weight of the medal.  Note for
  post-convention suggestion box: Great medal, but please don't
  skimp on the ribbon.

  The medal was not the last surprise of the day.  My cell phone
  rang and it was my wife calling to tell me a rainstorm had just
  blasted thru our neighborhood damaging or uprooting several
  large trees, blowing our metal patio furniture into a neighbor's
  yard and sending the kids' wading pool far down the block.
  The sun was still shining downtown.  Although a nearby
  neighbor couldn't open their front door because of a fallen
  tree, luckily there were no injuries or damage to homes or

  Friday was the Big Day.  After spending the morning til 10am
  with my family as they got ready to hightail it out of town, I
  ran around like crazy cleaning and setting up the house for the
  library tour.  I made it to the NBS meeting late, where the
  fund-raising auction was about to begin.  After the meeting I
  herded our tourgoers down to the bus and off we went.

  I gave a running commentary on some of the historical sites
  we passed along the way as everyone dug into their boxed
  lunches.  Soon we were at Tom Fort's house and everyone
  poured into his library and nearby dining room where several
  choice books were displayed.

  All too soon it was time to pack up again and Pete Smith
  and I herded the group outside for a group photo before
  getting back on the bus.  At my house we split into two
  groups.  One group viewed the ephemera and pamphlet
  binders while another went in the house to see the main
  library.  Other books were on tables and counters around
  the house, and the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic
  Society records were on a table in the living room.  We
  stayed a little longer here, but in what seemed like a flash
  it was time to get back on the bus again for our return
  trip to the convention center.   Everyone had a great time
  and I was grateful that history didn't repeat itself in one
  aspect: during the 1935 Pittsburgh ANA convention
  George Clapp invited a group to his home in Sewickley,
  and along the way the bus broke down, stuck in mud
  from a rainstorm.   We did have another rainstorm, but
  only after we had made it back safely to the convention
  center. Thankfully, Friday's storm brought no new damage
  to our neighborhood.

  Thursday's dinner was a very pleasant affair at the
  Pittsburgh Fish Market with Barry Tayman, Joel Orosz,
  George Kolbe and Scott Rubin.  It was nice to relax a
  bit after all the day's commotion.   Calling my wife to
  check on her day, I learned that in one afternoon my
  father-in-law had managed to both trip and knock over
  the baby carriage, baby and all, and fish our four-year-old
  son Tyler out of the hotel pool just as he was getting into
  water too deep for him.  Baby Hannah and brother Tyler
  were fine, but I downed an extra glass of wine to calm
  my nerves.

  Saturday morning brought the Goodfellows breakfast.
  The Goodfellows are former convention general chairs
  who advise the ANA on running future conventions. I
  learned I wasn't the only general chair to have a problem
  with the heavy Goodfellow medal.  Mine took a lickin'
  and kept on tickin'.  Luckily, Debbie's repairs held the rest
  of the convention.  Thanks!

  Using my laptop I pulled to together a set of slides for
  Richard Crosby's 4pm talk on Pittsburgh Exonumia - he'd
  been having computer problems and was unable to create
  a disk to use.  At the 5pm Numismatic Theatre I operated
  a computer slide show for Joel Orosz' talk, "Did George
  Washington Provide the Silver for the 1792 Half Dismes?".
  The talk included a discussion of the earliest appearances
  in print of the stories surrounding the half dismes, and many
  bibliophiles were in attendance.

  Soon it was time for the banquet.  As planned, we had a
  magician entertaining the crowd at the 7pm reception.
  Back when the ANA convention was in Pittsburgh in 1935,
  a magician performed at the banquet, so I thought it would
  be fun for a reprise.  He did a great job, delighting the kids
  (and adults!) in the crowd with close-up card and slight-of-
  hand tricks.  The banquet held many highlights, but for the
  locals we were happy to learn that Sam Deep won the
  Rodger E. Hershey People's Choice award.  Rodger was
  a close friend of Sam's, and he helped raise the funds to endow
  the award after Rodger's death.  Chick Ambrass noted that
  if Rodger were here, in his typical fashion he'd say that
  getting the award was "better than getting a sharp stick in the
  eye!"   Another highlight for the evening was the announcement
  of the Howland Wood Best-in-Show exhibit winner.  Having
  just told E-Sylum contributor David Menchell at the reception
  how I was "blown away' by his "Medals of Conflict, Medals
  of Conquest: The Numismatic Legacy of the French and
  Indian War," I was delighted to hear he'd won the Howland
  Wood.  Congratulations!

  Sunday was wrap-up time.  Arriving at the show midmorning
  I made my first stop at a dealer table - nothing like waiting 'til
  the last minute.  Three hundred dollars later I had added two
  Pittsburgh obsolete notes to my collection from the stock of
  Tom Denly.   The next stop at Charlie Davis' table replenished
  my wallet, as he paid me for an old consignment I'd left with
  him.  Not a bad trade.  As I sat down for lunch later, exhausted,
  I was soon joined by George Cuhaj and John and Nancy Wilson.
  Afterwards I headed to Numismatic Theatre to introduce local
  Siege Coin expert Larry Korchnak.  After his interesting talk
  I introduced John Frost, the last speaker of the convention.

  Attendance was sparse, but these two talks were wonderful,
  and made for a nice way to end the convention.... until my
  cell phone rang.  You guessed it - my wife again.  Her sister's
  husband had had a heart attack and was being flown by
  helicopter to a hospital.   My plans for carefully repacking my
  exhibits went out the window.   I was able to recruit Bill
  Cowburn, Eric Holcolmb and Eva Crosby to help take down
  my 22 cases of material. Amazing what you can do in a rush
  when you have to.   Thanks one and all, also Gene Hynds for
  quickly responding to my pleas for opening the exhibit cases.
  My apologies to Dave Menchell for being unable to talk as he
  left the hall.  Once packed I left my exhibits in the care of Eva
  and Richard Crosby and dashed off to the hospital, arriving at
  the emergency room just as my wife arrived with the rest of
  my family.  A bit later her sister and kids arrived.  The surgeons
  installed a stent in my brother-in-law's heart valve, and told us
  he was doing well.  He'll spend the night in intensive care.

  By 8pm I was driving my sister-in-law and her daughters
  back to their home and by 9pm I was meeting Richard Crosby
  at a gas station off the interstate to pick up my exhibit.  Now
  it's after midnight and time to finish off The E-Sylum.  'Night all.
  It was an amazing week, but I'll be happy to get back to my
  sedate everyday routine tomorrow.  Meanwhile, keep those
  emails coming.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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