The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 15, April 10, 2005, Article 20


Dick Johnson writes: "The article in the Lithuanian numismatic
groupís newsletter, "The Knight," the April 11th Coin World,
and last weekís E-Sylum all indicated that Victor D. Brennerís
gravesite was lost. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We must give credit, however, to this author for photographing a
nd publishing the photo of the headstone and for his energy in
tracking this down.

The gravesite location was known to a small group of Brenner
aficionados, including Michael Turoff, a noted VDB collector.
Most recently it was also known to a contributing editor of
Vanity Fair, David Margolick, who has written a rather lengthy
article (even longer than typical Vanity Fair length, as yet
unpublished) on the American coin sculptor. When queried,
Dave emailed me: "It seems to me there was no mystery about
where it was; the stories at the time [of Brennerís death]
described where he was to be or was actually buried. So while
this fellow may be the first person to visit the gravesite recently,
I don't think it ever 'disappeared.' "

This illustrates an important point for numismatic authors Ė to
fully research your subject. Learn everything about your subject.
Be careful about making statements that can be easily disproved.
Ask around. Find out who in the field is really knowledgeable
about the subject. Learn what you can from them. Dig deep.
Do your best numismatic scholarship.

I have learned in 40 years in the numismatic literary field that
numismatists are proud of the information they have gleaned
about their specialty. They are often glad to tell you what you
want to know, often anxious that a writer is finally going to
put this in print. (The only holdouts, I learned, where those
who were planning to write their own article or book.)

But who to ask to learn more information you might ask?

(1) Start with the librarians at the two major coin organizations,
American Numismatic Society and American Numismatic
Association. Sorry, Frank and Nancy, for sending more work
your way. These two overworked professional individuals
often know who has been researching what subject recently,
but more important who has written on the subject in the past.
But you must ask them, they are not going to volunteer the
information unless you ask first.

(2) National coin dealers. They often know who is active in
a selected subject. Not the local coin dealer, but one who is
savvy about the entire field, goes to all the conventions,
knows everybody in the field, who perhaps is a writer himself.
(Gad, I just described Dave Bowers.) But others may know
the information as well. Ask around. Network.

(3) Editors of the numismatic publications. They often know
who is working in what garden in the vast numismatic field.
Include E-Sylumís own Wayne Homren in this group.

(4) Officers of the NLG, the Numismatic Literary Guild.
They know who is writing, but not always on what subject.
(Many are staff writers on coin publications who write, of
course, on a variety of subjects.)

(5) Me. I have a databank of over 3,300 American coin
and medal engravers, diesinkers, medalists and sculptors.
Email me. Convince me you are researching or writing for
a legitimate purpose. I will furnish a brief biography, list of
work and bibliographical references. My rules are this: I
will email back only if less than six lines; over six lines I
photocopy and send to a mailable address. You cannot
give the photocopy to anyone else; it must be for your own
use. More than five pages I charge a small fee (mostly for
postage). Some artists are embargoed because of file size;
Brenner, for example, is 40 pages long. dick.johnson at "

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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