The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 44, October 28, 2007, Article 24


I worked on completing last week's E-Sylum while I ate 
breakfast in my home office early Monday morning. When I 
got to my REAL office I attended to some priority tasks, 
then completed the E-Sylum chore and published the issue 
(a chore I repeated this week).

Wednesday afternoon, after getting a phone call from John 
Burns, I pulled together the special E-Sylum issue on 
numismatists and the California fires. That evening I 
compiled responses on the topic and finished drafting my 
review of Roger Burdette's book.

Thursday morning I called Don Carlucci to discuss the 
weekend's PAN show and make some suggestions for the 
officer's meeting. That evening I made sure my exhibit 
on Operation Bernhard notes was packed and ready to go.

At noon Friday I left my office and met my family at home. 
My wife Dee had pulled our boys out of school early so we 
could begin our journey to Pittsburgh, where I would be 
helping out with the Coins4Kids session at the coin show 
sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. 
We checked into the Radisson hotel next to the show and met 
her sister's family for dinner. Afterwards I went off on 
my own to meet an old roommate from my single days living 
in New Jersey. He and I had both worked at Bell Labs but 
lost touch over the years. He was in town for a convention 
at the Airport Marriott hotel. A wedding reception was 
also going on at the hotel, and it being close to Halloween 
the couple decided to make it a costume affair. I did a 
double take as I watched Pancho Villa, Snow White and an 
Amishman walk into the bar. (If anyone can complete that 
joke for us, I'd love to hear it!)

It was great to see Tony, his wife Mary Lou and their 
lovely daughter Veronica. Afterwards I got in my car and 
headed back to the Radisson on the other end of town. It 
was going to be a spooky weekend. The other event going 
on at the Pittsburgh Expo Mart was the 2007 Zombie Fest. 
Inspired by Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero's 'Night 
of the Living Dead' films, the event features 'The Zombie 
Ball - The Zombie Party of the Century', where The Expo 
Mart 'will be transformed into a huge Zombie discotheque.'

First thing in the morning I went over to the convention 
to set up my exhibit on Operation Bernhard notes. I quickly 
ran into PAN show regulars Ray Dillard, John Eshbach and Jerry 
Kochel. At the exhibit area I was greeted by Joe Boling, a 
Governor and former Chief Judge of the American Numismatic 
Association. He was working on judging the exhibits, which 
(except for mine) had been set up Thursday night or Friday. 
The exhibit area of the PAN show gets bigger and better each 
year. This time there were two very long rows of exhibit cases.

I didn't have to look too long at the other cases to know 
I didn't have a snowball's chance of winning. I wasn't 
bringing my "A" game. I had a passable exhibit, but it 
was more of a "first draft" than a completed exhibit. I'd 
learned my craft as an exhibitor from Eshbach and Kochel, 
two of the best, and knew better, but hadn't invested the 
time to bring it up to snuff. I fared better than I thought 
on my scores, but I know how to improve, particularly given 
the helpful suggestions offered by some of the judges.

My wife had taken the kids off on an adventure for the day, 
so I was left to my own devices at the show. Despite 
having more time to spend there than I'd expected, the 
show went by in a blur. I didn't get to see Byron Weston 
like I'd hoped. Part of the problem (and it's a good problem), 
is that I can't walk five feet at the show without running 
into someone I know. I stopped to talk with many dealers 
and collectors, including Larry Dziubek, Richard Crosby, 
Dick Gaetano, Ed Krivoniak, Ed Narcisi, and Blaine and 
Brad Shiff of Cybercoins.

After setting up my exhibit I stopped at the PAN Kid Zone 
tables where Sam Deep, Josh Wadsworth, Emily Rankin and 
her father Keith were getting set up before the show's opening 
at 10am. The Kid Zone is a wonderful idea. There are three 
tables with piles of Lincoln cents that kids are free to 
look through in search of coins they need to fill in their 
date/mintmark collection folders. The piles are seeded with 
a wide variety of older coins. The tables were busy throughout 
the show and afterwards Keith told me he thought a few 
lifelong numismatists were made at the event - the kids 
just loved it.

Next I went back to the registration area where I found 
PAN Chairman of the Board Don Carlucci and Josh Wadsworth 
working harder than elves the week before Christmas to fill 
a couple hundred 2x2 holders with examples of the new Adams 
dollar coin. The inserts for the 2x2s were printed up and 
cut by Don based on my layout. The dollar coins would be 
given to the first 75 kids at Saturday afternoon's Coins4Kids 
event. I'd arranged for Joel Iskowitz (designer of the 
Adams dollar and other recent coins) to come and speak to 
the kids. I jumped in to help. While we were working 
there Larry Korchnak (a fellow Western Pennsylvania Numismatic 
Society member and expert on siege coinage) walked by and 
told me, "Sam Pepys has got nothing on your London Diaries!". 
He said he's enjoyed them so much he would pass them on to 
his wife Karen to read.

Soon Joel Iskowitz arrived at the show and I went up to 
introduce myself. I showed him around and learned that 
PAN was the first coin show he'd ever attended. After 
introducing him to Sam Deep and others at the Kid Zone 
table, we found a quiet spot and worked on my computer to 
make some last-minute updates to his slide presentation.

After finishing Joel's slides I got a call from another 
old friend, a local high school buddy who'd come to the 
show with his wife and son on my recommendation. I hadn't 
seen Guy in a few years. I told him about how the show 
worked, and we went back to the Kid Zone tables to meet 
his wife and son, who was pouring through the cent pile 
on his table. Later they came to the Coins4Kids event.

At lunchtime I took a walk with Don Carlucci and Joel 
Iskowitz to the nearby Monroeville Mall, where we had lunch 
after stopping at a framing shop to have two pieces of 
artwork framed. One was a limited edition print of George 
Gershwin donated to PAN by Joel for the fundraising auction. 
The other was a nice print of an African Elephant made by 
Joel. I was getting it framed to give to my wife Dee, 
who collects elephant items. 

Monroeville Mall was the setting for Romero's 'Dawn of 
the Dead' film, where human survivors holed up to fight 
off the approaching zombie hordes. I learned later that 
on Sunday it would be the setting for an attempt to beat 
the Guinness Record for World's Largest Zombie Walk, as 
hundreds of people dressed as zombies shambled through 
the Mall.

The rest of the afternoon was a real blur. I dashed back 
to the show and set up my laptop and PAN's projector so 
Joel could deliver his presentation. About 120 kids and 
parents attended. Sam Deep warmed up the crowd, then I 
introduced Joel. Next up was Joe Boling who talked about 
exhibiting. The last segment was the auction, which the 
kids always have fun doing. After Coins4Kids was over, 
Joe walked through the exhibit area talking to several 
kids about exhibiting. Later long lines of kids and 
adults queued up to meet Joel Iskowitz.

I went back to the hotel to shower and change for the 
7pm banquet. Dee and I left our kids in the able hands 
of her Mom and went downstairs for the PAN banquet, where 
we sat at a table including Joe Boling, Sam Deep, Kathy 
Sarosi, Josh Wadsworth, Richard Jewell, Corleen Chesonis 
and Charles "Skip" Culleiton. Jerry Kochel emceed the 
event, where Joel Iskowitz was the featured speaker. He 
gave a marvelous presentation about his career as an 
artist and work with the U.S. Mint.

As the banquet was breaking up for the evening I went 
around the room and had attendees sign a copy of a 2001 
New York ANA Red Book that had been sold in the fundraising 
auction. I lost out to Don Carlucci, then had loser's remorse. 
I decided I should have bid more to have the book since 
I'd then have something people could sign. When I offered 
to buy it from Don he nicely just gave it to me. I missed 
Tom Sebring and his wife and Kathy Sarosi who'd already 
left, but I got most of the other attendees to sign. 

The next morning as I waited to get in to the show to take 
down my exhibit, the security guards were taking about the 
Zombie Ball and the great costumes they'd seen walking by. 
I went back to the hotel and picked up all of my bags - I 
wanted to take my stuff down to the car so I'd have my hands 
free to carry some of my family's stuff. A woman got in 
the elevator, then I did the same. As the elevator doors 
closed, a hand reached in. It looked bony and bloody. I 
stared. The woman stared. The doors reopened and there 
was a man with an ashen and bloodied face, wearing a dirty 
and torn suitcoat. He asked "Got room for a zombie?" 
My startled fellow passenger and I laughed and said, "Sure". 
Down we went.

It was a nice drive home through the fall colors of the 
Pennsylvania hills. We stopped for dinner near home, then 
after unpacking got the kids ready for bed. I finished 
drafting the E-Sylum, then called it a night myself. I 
hope I dream of anything but zombies. 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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