Joel Orosz submitted this report from the Boston convention about the annual breakfast meeting of the Rittenhouse Society. Thanks!
In 1957, a group of young numismatists with a scholarly turn of mind launched an informal organization with the dual goals of promoting numismatic learning and enjoying each other's fellowship, which they dubbed the Rittenhouse Society, in honor of the first Director of the United States Mint.
The Society holds the distinction of being the only Honorary ANA club. Its members, over the more than five decades of its existence, have made their organization the very antithesis of a bloated bureaucracy. Members are assessed no dues, for the Society is unencumbered by a building, a constitution, a set of by-laws, a board of trustees, officers, or even a publication. This informality does not prevent the Rittenhouse Society from holding a well-attended annual breakfast meeting, one which is remarkable for its freedom from politics. In fact, founding members attest that no serious discord has ever arisen among its members. Today, that membership has grown to 35 numismatic authors, editors, researchers, and scholars.
On Saturday, August 14, the Rittenhouse Society held its 51st breakfast meeting at the Sheraton-Boston Hotel during the ANA's World's Fair of Money. Generously hosting the gathering, as it has for the past several years, was Whitman Publishing. Members in attendance were John W. Adams; David Alexander; Leonard Augsburger; Mark Borkardt; Q. David Bowers (founding member); Ken Bressett (founding member and the only Ritenhousian to attend all 51 breakfast meetings); Phil Bressett; Roger Burdette; John “JD “ Dannreuther; Bill Fivaz; Erik Goldstein; D. Wayne “Dick” Johnson (founding member); Bob Julian; George Frederick Kolbe; David Lange; Denis Loring; Joel J. Orosz; Ed Reiter; P. Scott Rubin; Harry Salyards; Craig Sholley; Pete Smith; Dennis Tucker; and Wendell Wolka.
Ken Bressett launched the meeting by relaying greetings from founding member Eric P. Newman , who recently celebrated his 99th birthday, and was unable to attend the ANA convention. Denis Loring announced that the Numismatic Bibliomania Society had established the George Frederick Kolbe Award for Lifetime Achievement in Numismatic Literature, and that the first winner was—George Frederick Kolbe!
A highlight of every Rittenhouse Society meeting is the sharing of research and publication projects on which the members are working. These projects covered a broad swath of numismatics, from preparation of the next edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins, to technical studies of minting technology, to obsolete paper money, to coin folders, to medals of Luther and the Reformation; to the history of the first United States Mint.
It is clear that Rittenhousians are clattering their computer keys as quickly as ever, continuing to do their part to advance education in our great hobby.
The meeting closed with the election of two new members, who will join the Society for breakfast next year at the ANA annual convention in Chicago.
What a great group of folks, and a wonderful concept for an organization. I was delighted to become a member and missing the Rittenhouse breakfast is one of the things I miss most about missing an ANA convention. Sorry I couldn't be there. I was however, delighted to see my daughter Hannah's excitement this week as she came downstairs to show me the dollar the Tooth Fairy had left her for the tooth she'd lost the night before.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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