The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 33, August 5, 2012, Article 13


The American Numismatic Association has announced that its 2012 Numismatist of the Year Award will go to Robert W. Julian. It's hard to think of someone more deserving - congratulations! Below is an excerpt from the ANA's press release, follow by part of an article in CoinWeek. -Editor

Julian Medals of the US Mint Robert W. Julian has been named the American Numismatic Association’s 2012 Numismatist of the Year. Julian will receive his award on Aug. 10 during the Awards Banquet at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.

A researcher and prolific, award-winning author, Julian is perhaps best known for his quintessential work Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century, 1792-1892, published in 1977. Other books include From Rus to Revolution: Russian Coins through a Thousand Years (1988); Medals of the United States Assay Commission, 1869-1977 (1989); and Russian Silver Coinage, 1796-1917 (1993).

To Julian, coins speak volumes—about history, economics and American culture. “I gain satisfaction from finding new and interesting information about coins and medals that has remained unpublished or little known,” he said. “As I study documents in the National Archives, I have the sense of being at the writers’ sides as they pen U.S. Mint history into the dusty ledgers.”

“(Julian’s) first publication was an article on the coinage of Czar Alexander II that appeared in Numismatic Scrapbook in 1960. Since then, he has published more than 1,300 articles in all the significant commercial and organizational numismatic publications in the United States and some overseas,” said Joseph E. Boling, who nominated Julian for the award. “He has spent hundreds of hours at the National Archives, extracting information that he then passes to the collecting community. His carefully researched treatises, most based on primary sources, have changed our common knowledge.”

CoinWeek published a nice interview with Julian by Al Doyle. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

He’s one of those semi-familiar names who has accomplished as much or more in his field than others with greater notoriety. That’s what happens when a person quietly and diligently goes about his business for more than half a century.

Author and researcher R.W. “Bob” Julian will be honored as the American Numismatic Association‘s Numismatist of the Year during the upcoming ANA summer convention in Philadelphia. Julian’s byline has been a regular sight in coin publications since the early 1960s, and he can do more than write magazine-length articles.

Medals of the United States Mint – The First Century is still regarded as a “must read” book 35 years after its 1977 publication by the Token and Medal Society. It was the product of thorough research and an unwavering commitment to accuracy. In other words, a typical Julian effort.

“I spent 12 or 13 weeks at the National Archives in 1975 and 1976 doing research for the book,” Julian said. “My first visit to the National Archives was in 1963. You soon learn that your hand wears out taking notes, so I started using a reel to reel tape recorder.”

Like many who grew up in the 1950s, Julian’s interest in coins was sparked by checking dates on Lincoln cents. The Logansport, Ind. native quickly moved on to a much different area of numismatics.

“There was a local coin dealer, and I would go to his shop,” Julian recalls. “He had trouble identifying his foreign coins, so I did it. There was no pay involved, but I would receive five or 10 coins out of every lot for my work. The czarist Russian coins looked neat, so I started collecting them.”

The interest in Russian coinage has never waned. Julian’s term paper on Russian monetary reform in the 1800s caught the attention of a professor at Purdue University.

“The professor liked it so much that he recommended I try and get the paper published,” Julian said. That led to a number of articles on Russian coins for the Numismatic Scrapbook and The Numismatist.

His hunger for knowledge and verifiable information was evident even at a young age. Julian corresponded with the Hermitage in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in an effort to learn more about Russian coinage. That was an unusual move during the height of the Cold War era.

The Hermitage’s staff numismatist offered to microfilm Russian-language numismatic books. The cost was $100, a significant sum at a time when a new car could be purchased for $2000. Julian came up with the cash.

“I can read Russian slowly and catch snippets of conversation,” he said. “It’s all self taught.” Speaking of teaching, Julian made his living as a math teacher in Logansport for 30 years and spent much of his free time in numismatic research and writing.

“Nobody gets rich writing articles, but I just enjoy finding new material and publishing it,” he said. A good chunk of Julian’s earnings as a coin writer were used to feed his quest for knowledge, and that led to a problem which required a creative solution.

“There’s a little home I bought and fixed up to keep my library of 5000 to 7000 books,” Julian said. The converted home also serves as his office. Although he doesn’t keep track of the hours spent on writing and research, it’s much more than a casual pastime for the retired teacher.

Now THAT'S a numismatic library! The CoinWeek article mentions that Bob is working on a book dealing with the history and operations of the Philadelphia Mint prior to 1837. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: MEET THE 2012 NUMISMATIST OF THE YEAR (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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