By now most of our readers have heard about the wildfires in Colorado Springs, CO, home of the American Numismatic Association. This week the ANA's annual Summer Seminar is taking place. If this sounds familiar, it's because the same situation occurred last year.
I'm writing to warn those who are coming to Colorado Springs for the upcoming ANA Summer Seminar that Colorado is again experiencing hot, dry and windy weather. On Tuesday a fire blew up in the Black Forest Area which is northeast of Colorado Springs. At the moment 100 or more homes have been destroyed. I know at least one numismatist who lives in the middle of the evacuated area and I hope and pray he and his family are ok. Ironically he is a Colorado Springs Fire Fighter.
The mailing addresses of all those homes in unincorporated El Paso County have Colorado Springs Zip Codes/ I presume there are more than a few other numismatists who live near there. Steve D’Ippolito, who is running for ANA Board, lives near there but hopefully far enough east of the fire-ravaged area. Those who visit, please be very careful of fire and right now the air, even 50 miles NW of the fire, is very smoky.
I learned on Friday that at least one coin dealer lost everything but his life in the fire. Dave Bayuk - his dream house which he just bought last November when he retired burned to the ground. Everything gone. Had to run to get out of harm's way. All is gone: wallets, driver's license, cash, files, business records, and everything he moved from the basement of his old business.
The fire didn't come any closer to the ANA than 7 or 8 miles. The air quality was pretty bad at times, but if you were inside and air conditioned, it wasn't too bad. I guess if you had some respiratory or lung problems, it could have been pretty bad, but haven't heard of anyone with problems.
By the time the ANA summer seminar gets going, the air quality should be just fine. My son Tom's house was in an area designated as "Pre-evacuation." This was defined as "ready, get set. and go." Since Tom and family are in Germany (they get back Tuesday), several of us went to his house and loaded his cars with what we thought was meaningful or valuable and got it over to my area which was quite removed from any immediate danger. In the end, it would not have been necessary, since his area in now removed from any evacuation notice. But, how could we foresee this? Better safe than sorry.
We had a few customers who were evacuated, but haven't heard of any losses. Leonard Albright, who was formerly ANACS chief and worked at PCGS, and now works part time with us was forced to evacuate. But went back to his place last night.
A former coin dealer, Dave Bayuk, who recently retired had built the house of his dream in Black Forest. He had just recently moved in. His house was a total loss, and he barely made it out alive. A lady who worked for him for a number of years came to us when he retired has kept in touch with him. I've no idea whether he had anything numismatic in his house.
That brings to mind the fact that after the Waldo Canyon fire a year ago, almost to the day, we've bought some damaged and even melted coins, jewelry and sterling flatware. It is so sad/ It's a heck of a way to do business.
After the Waldo fire of a year ago a couple came in to our store and sold us some items. As part of our procedure, we get their driver's license, fill out a form, require them to fill out a form, etc. The form gets turned in weekly to the police. Well, they get a copy which they retained. Somehow the police got them, they still had the form (dumb). The police asked us if we had bought things from them, which we said we had. We gave the police a copy of the video disc, and later, Chad, one our employees, appeared as a prosecution witness. One got 48 years and the other 24 or so. We lost $80 on the deal, but it was worth it to get those looters sent to jail. They were both previous offenders.
I'm looking forward to the ANA summer seminar. It is always interesting and fun. Besides, I see a lot of old as well as new friends in a relaxed atmosphere as opposed to the hustle and bustle of a coin show.