The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 49, November 20, 2005, Article 3


Howard A. Daniel III writes: I was planning to visit Bill
Spengler when I will be at the ANA Headquarters in Colorado
Springs after the ANA Convention in Denver in August 2006.
It was a shock to me when I received an email from Bill
Rosenblum that he passed away.

My first conversation with Bill was at a Numismatics
International (NI) meeting at an ANA Convention many, many
years ago.  After Bill gave his talk on South Asian or Indian
coins, I told him that many of the counterstamps on his coins
were close to those on many old Thai pieces.  This started
many years of conversation and correspondence with Bill.

About five years ago, at another NI meeting at an ANA
Convention, Bill approached me.  He asked if I would
consider replacing him as Moderator for these NI meetings.
Me, replace Bill?  He told me he was getting old and tired,
and would not be able to attend all of the future ANA
Conventions.  He never told me about being more seriously
ill.  I thought about it for awhile and then said "Yes."
A few minutes later, I had a stack of stuff that consisted
of signs, books, and many other NI items that I have been
carrying around to ANA Conventions and Shows.

I remember my first time being Moderator when I stood
up in front of the attendees and introduced myself.
There was an immediately a question from one of them,
"Where is Bill Spengler?"  I told him that Bill had
requested that I replace him because he was getting
old and tired.  The man rose out of his chair and walked
out of the meeting!  I expected the remaining attendees
to walk out but they stayed, and so have many other
numismatists at the meetings I have moderated for NI.

After a couple of NI meetings, I decided to also man
a club table for NI, and members donated world coins
for me to give to new and young collectors, and to
tell them about NI.  Later, I added the International
Bank Note Society for world paper money and handed
out free pieces for them.  Then I added NBS to my club
table.  So Bill got me started on the path of promoting
world numismatics and the references about it.  If
you are tired of seeing me at the ANAs, you can blame
Bill for it.

Bill was a gentleman first and a numismatist second.
He was one of the reasons I enjoy the brotherhood and
sisterhood of numismatics so much, and I will miss him
very much.

Dave Lange writes: I was very saddened to read of
Bill's passing. He was always such a gentleman and a
pleasure to converse with. Bill and I were named
Numismatic Ambassadors at the same event some years
ago, and that may have been the first time we met.
I soon discovered that Bill had known J. K. Post,
the inventor of the coin board, when Bill was a child.
Post hosted an informal coin club on Saturdays to
which all the neighborhood boys were invited. Like
the others, Bill soon had himself a Lincoln Penny
board received directly from the source. Sadly,
this board, along with its contents, was lost in a
household fire a few years later. It was my pleasure
to send Bill an example of this first edition board
some 60 years after he had been given his first.

Lately, I've been kicking around the idea of doing
a book about collecting coin boards. I was planning
to interview Bill or, at least, have him put his
recollections in writing so that I wouldn't have to
trust my own memory of what he had said. This
opportunity has now been lost, along with a wonderful
gentleman of the old school.

Last week Bill Rosenblum noted: "Bill was co-author
with Wayne Sayles of the two volume standard on Turkoman
coins."  Steve Dippolito writes: "How could I have
forgotten that?  It brings up one of my favorite stories.
I was in the ANA library, trying to discover the origin
of the double headed eagle motif that appeared on Russian
Imperial coinage--this was for my 1999 exhibit.  I had
heard that it was of Roman origin but could find nothing
in the Roman section.  But my eye fell on the Spengler/
Sayles volume, and being one of those who is easily
distracted during research, I said to myself "I didn't
realize Bill had written a book," pulled it down, and
started leafing through it, figuring it would be a break
from my frustrating research.  I was absolutely
thunderstruck to see a coin with a double headed eagle
in there, with a paragraph describing the design's
origins in antiquity!  I was done with my search in a
most unexpected way. Thanks, Bill!  That helped me win
the first of my three second-runner-up Howland Wood
Awards.  (I don't know if he ever heard this story, alas!)

(BTW it was true that the _Byzantine_ Romans had used
the symbol but most books on "Rome" or the "Roman Empire"
focus on pre-Constantine Rome or the Western Empire.
This assumption is so universal and casual that in a
way it is almost misleading to say that the "Romans"
used the symbol.  Byzantium is pretty neglected in
our historical education, getting dismissed with a
"...and the Eastern Empire survived until the 1300s.
Next, we will talk about 1000 years of feudal France
and England")"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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