The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 34, August 5, 2005, Article 9


[NBS President Pete Smith will have some additional
convention news in the next issue of The Asylum. The
following note from Asylum editor E. Tomlinson Fort refers
to an award The Asylum received at the convention. -Editor]

Tom writes: "The Lesson for 2005 from the Numismatic Literary
Guild (NLG) is that if you organize a major project and do 90%
of the work all of the credit will go the someone else.

I had been aware that the NLG existed for several years. A
number of The Asylum’s contributors are members and the
numismatic press usually prints a list of the awards that they
present every summer. At the 2004 Pittsburgh ANA convention,
NBS president Pete Smith (who is a member) and I went to their
meeting. Everyone on the floor was recognized by the nice people
sitting at the front table, the only two exceptions being Pete and
myself (they later apologized for this omission at another NLG
function that evening). Since I was a non-member and had never
attended a NLG meeting, let alone an ANA convention before
in my life, this is not surprising. Pete tried to get me to cough up
the $20 for a membership by I demurred, using Groucho Marx’s
famous dictum that I did not want to join any club that wanted
me as a member. I did ask Pete, and other NLG members,
what the organization actually did and they frankly admitted that
they spent most of their time giving out awards to each other
and having a nice time at ANA conventions.

Earlier this year NBS president Pete Smith submitted the special
25th anniversary issue of The Asylum to the NLG for consideration
of one of their awards on the suggestion of our editor-in-chief
David Fanning (who is also an NLG member). It had been their
intention that any award(s) go to the journal, a policy with which
I heartily agree. Instead, the NLG gave an award for “Extraordinary
Merit” to David. I cannot stress too much that neither Pete nor
David did anything wrong. They submitted the issue to the NLG in
the firm belief that an award, if won, would go to the publication.
David certainly had no idea that the award would go to him. For
those who have not had the pleasure of meeting either man, both
are fine individuals and brilliant scholars. If you do not believe me,
please see their articles in The Asylum over the past few years.
The NLG should give both men awards, but for the outstanding
works they have written.

The special issue of The Asylum was my baby. I conceived the
idea and sold the project to the board. I solicited the articles
from our contributors, sent them gentle (and in a couple of cases,
not so gentle) reminders that I needed their work by the deadline.
I created the layout. I worked the images through Photoshop.
I read and re-read everything until I had almost memorized the
studies. I sent out the press releases. I came up with the ideas of
deferring costs through the publication of a limited edition hardcover
copy and the auctioning of the signed manuscripts from the authors.
I dealt with our printer and binder. David, Pete and Gosia (my wife)
read through the proofs and pointed out lots of errors. Those
who bought the marked up proofs at last years NBS Society
meeting can see the level of their contributions. Nevertheless,
the quality, or lack thereof, for the issue rests with me. If any
awards are to be handed out for this issue they should bear the
name(s) of the journal (the best choice), the NBS or myself.

I am not a member of the NLG and therefore the organization
gave the award to David. Again, please let me stress that neither
Pete nor David is at fault, neither man knowingly did anything
wrong. The blame rests on the shoulders of the NLG. Apparently
it is their policy only to give awards only to members. Even if the
member(s) did not do the work. Thus, if you are an NLG member
and help a numismatic author on his/her monograph and get a
mention on the acknowledgments page you can submit that
work to the NLG and win an award. What a great organization!
Even better, they will send out press releases to Coin World,
Numismatic News, The Numismatist etc… and your name will
appear in print while the person who spent months locked away
from friends and family will be anonymous. And, as an added
bonus, you get a great plaque with your name on it to hang on
your wall and show your friends.

And all this for $20. What a great deal. It must be great to
be an NLG member.

If the NLG wants to truly recognize literary merit, it should be
like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and
grant awards (in their case the Oscars) to the best work,
or to those who do the best work, regardless of whether they
are members or not. The NLG is a private organization and is
well within its rights to grant awards to whomever it likes.
However, as today’s lesson demonstrates, the quality of
these awards is very low indeed. "

David F. Fanning adds: "I not only have no problem with
anything Tom says here, but will loudly declaim to all and
sundry that Tom did the vast majority of the work on this
issue and deserves any award for the issue as a whole way
more than I do. I'm an NLG member and am perfectly
happy to be such. I am very pleased that they chose to give
me another award for the individual article I contributed to
our special summer issue. I don't deserve an award for
the issue as a whole, however--Tom does."

NBS President Pete Smith adds: "David did not submit the
issue for the award because he did not have enough copies
to send. I sent in the copies and submitted his name as
Editor-in-Chief because he is the NLG member. The NLG
gives awards to its members and does not accept submissions
from non-members. I feel we should accept the award as
the recognition for a great issue of our Journal.]

[I can certainly attest that the anniversary issue was Tom's
baby from start to finish. I regretted being unable to help
much beyond my individual article contribution due to the
demands of being General Chairman of the convention. The
printer problems were maddening but Tom never threw up
his hands, and kept working though the problems even
during the week of the convention. The naming situation
is unfortunate, but the recognition of the quality of the
anniversary issue is very well-deserved. -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google Web
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address:

To subscribe go to:
Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.



Copyright © 1998 - 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster