The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 29, July 14, 2013, Article 16


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes:

Here are some thoughts on the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar, second session --- a combination of several Facebook postings, and follow-up notes sent to my “Legends in Numismatics” co-teachers (Ken Bressett, Bob Hoge, and Beth Deisher). Our students included published writers, club officers and newsletter editors, vest-pocket dealers, researchers, and three Young Numismatists. I thought E-Sylum readers might be interested in what turned out to be a fun, energetic, and thought-provoking class.

Thanks for the great report. The Summer Seminars are great events for numismatists of all ages and backgrounds. -Editor

In today's ANA Summer Seminar course (with Robert Hoge, Kenneth Bressett, and Beth Deisher) we focused mainly on writing for numismatic periodicals --- weekly, monthly, and quarterly newspapers, magazines, and journals: the different kinds of publishable numismatic writing; what editors look for; the best way to approach an editor and pitch your article concept; how long an article or column should be. Do numismatic periodicals pay for submissions, and if so, how much? The importance of writing-style guides, like AP and Chicago Manual of Style, and which is preferred by various publications. Legal issues such as libel and copyright. Deadlines. Fact-checking (whose responsibility is it?). Tips on managing a club newsletter or journal.

Our students are great --- smart, talented, and eager to take their writing, editing, and publishing to the next level. They asked sharp, intelligent questions and really picked our brains.

Tomorrow: more of the same! We'll review tonight's homework ("Write a 200- to 300-word query letter to an editor, to pitch your writing concept"). We'll discuss more topics in writing for periodicals. We'll talk about BOOK proposals and start to get into some of the fundamentals of book publishing.

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Wow --- we covered a huge amount of territory in today's ANA Summer Seminar class. First we critiqued and discussed last night's homework (write a 200- to 300-word query letter to an editor, pitching an article idea). We talked about protection and expiration of copyright, how to write and submit a book-manuscript proposal, public domain and "fair use," ways to improve your writing and your creative process, online resources for numismatic writers and researchers, tracking changes in MS Word, using social media, and more. I think we have the best students in the 2013 ANA Summer Seminar!

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In the "Legends in Numismatics" class I taught with Ken Bressett, Bob Hoge, and Beth Deisher at the ANA Summer Seminar, these were some of the students' goals:

  • to learn how my writing can improve my coin club
  • to learn how to find and develop content for my club newsletter
  • to improve my numismatic writing
  • to hear the gossip and behind-the-scenes stories that go with the territory in numismatic publishing!

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July 2, 2013: Day 3 of our ANA Summer Seminar course. We covered "How People Collect"; identifying a target audience for your numismatic writing; the possibility of being a proponent of a new segment in the hobby community (e.g., Fred Schwan's pioneering of Military Payment Certificate research and collecting); the traditional arc of a coin collector's development; the difference between long-term collectors and short-term collectors; the average age of coin collectors, according to various sources; "How many coin collectors are there in the United States?"; membership levels of different hobby organizations; the most popularly collected coin series, and how that has changed over the years; non-circulating legal tender (NCLT); learning about, and writing about, world coins; the American audiences targeted by various world mints; readership and membership demographics of coin clubs, and how to run surveys; and the definition of "libel" and why it's important to understand as a writer (including the five factors a plaintiff must prove to successfully claim libel).

Co-teachers Bob Hoge and Ken Bressett played a version of Dr. George French's "Old Cent Whist" (described by William Sheldon in Penny Whimsy), using beautiful ancient coins from their personal collections. We taught the class how a professional copyeditor uses the "Track Changes" function in MS Word. And Beth Deisher recounted a famous Coin World libel case that backfired and led to the downfall of a huge multi-million-dollar scam operator. It was a wonderful day of conversation, knowledge-sharing, and fun!

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July 3, 2013: Day 4 of our ANA Summer Seminar course ("Legends in Numismatics," taught by Beth Deisher, Ken Bressett, Bob Hoge, and myself). We explored club newsletter topic ideas, including the most popular features and sections as identified by David Crenshaw, longtime numismatic newsletter editor-in-chief; Ken and I discussed the "History of the Red Book" (including the early years of Whitman-Hammung and Western Printing Company, R.S. Yeoman, the 10 millionth Red Book, an amusing visit to Whitman by U.S. Mint Director Eva Adams, behind the scenes at the Red Book, errors and misprints, valuable varieties, and more); and Ken discussed the phenomenon of "virtual coin collecting."

We took a short side trip to visit Ken Hopple and his Carson City Mint setup, and to strike our own "Black Diamond" souvenir medals. Then another exclusive highlight of the class: a behind-the-scenes visit to the editorial offices of The Numismatist, where we picked the brains of the magazine's award-winning editors and photographer. (Kudos and thanks to Barbara Gregory, Jerri Raitz, Robert Kelley, and Janine Hall-Conrardy!) We toured the ANA's Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library, including the Rare Books Room, and reviewed the library's periodicals collection. Another information-packed day of learning and fun for numismatic writers, editors, and researchers.

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July 4, 2013: Day 5 of our ANA Summer Seminar course on writing, editing, research, and collecting. Bob Hoge gave a sterling presentation on famous collectors and collections of the past, going back to ancient times and up to the modern day. We discussed self-publishing (today's print-on-demand technology, as well as yesterday's "vanity press" or subsidy publishing). We looked at the web sites of the Library of Congress and the American Numismatic Society, as case studies in research and image-gathering. We talked about web sites, social media, and promotion of your numismatic writing. And I gave away the ten Whitman Publishing books that we'd looked at throughout the week, including several new releases.

This concluded our formal lessons. That evening: the Summer Seminar's second-session banquet, and presentation of the 2013 Young Numismatist Literary Awards. One of the winners was a student in our class!

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Each year the ANA recognizes young writers through the Young Numismatist Literary Awards, which are funded by Whitman Publishing. Awards are given in three age groups. First-place winners receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 voucher to build a personal library of numismatic books from Whitman Publishing. Second place receives a certificate and a book voucher for... $200, and third place receives a certificate and a $100 book voucher.

Ken Bressett and I presented the 2013 awards at the ANA Summer Seminar banquet last Thursday, July 4th.

The honorees for 2013 include:

Bill Fivaz Young Numismatist Literary Award (Ages 8-12)
First — Garrett Ziss, “Presidents & Their Coins”
Second — Isaac Matittia, “Silver Coinage Usage & Significance: From Ancient Early Times of the Bible to Modern Times”
Third — Benjamin Mous, “The Inspired Collector”

Q. David Bowers Young Numismatist Literary Award (Ages 13-17)
First — Olivia Beauvais, “The Struggle for Recognition: The 1909 VDB Cent”
Second — Danial Usvyat, “On the State of the Modern Cent”
Third — Matt Draiss, “10,000 Tokens: Their Story, Their Variety, Their Fun”

Kenneth E. Bressett Young Numismatist Literary Award (Ages 18-22)
First — Ermin Chow, “Canadian Tire Money as a Numismatic Collectible”
Second — Erik Elbieh, “Making Cents of Circulating U.S. Money”
Third — Luis Ramos, “Inflation in the Roman Empire Due to Incorrect Coinage and Fiscal and Monetary Policies”


For more information about ANA programs, see, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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