Mel Wacks writes:
Shouldn't it be
Q. David Bowers, the “Dean of American Numismatists,” not Q. David Bowers, the “Dean of American Numismatics”?
I’m not familiar enough with the usage of the term 'Dean'. I’ve heard “Dean of Men”, which would argue for the “Dean of American Numismatists” usage. I put the question to Dennis Tucker, who coined the appellation.
In 1985 Bowers & Merena published a limited-edition (500 copies) book entitled Abe Kosoff: Dean of Numismatics, in conjunction with its auction of Kosoff’s estate. (A review and discussion of the book was posted on the PCGS coin forum a few years ago).
In the book’s front matter, author Q. David Bowers noted the following:
Note: The title of the book, ABE KOSOFF: DEAN OF NUMISMATICS, was suggested by Abe's daughter Sonnie. Whether to use "numismatics" or "numismatists" was discussed, but in the past the honorary title had appeared in print more often as "Dean of Numismatics," so that is the format used here.
In 2005 I began using the sobriquet “Dean of American Numismatics” when referring to QDB himself. (Incidentally, I feel the term is well justified, in the sense that Dave has significant authority over the subject matter of numismatics. Not sole authority, of course; and not the longest active experience as a professional numismatist [Harvey Stack was working full-time for the family firm in 1947]; but certainly he’s a significant force in the numismatic world.)
As for the terminology itself, there can be deans of people (e.g., of men, of women, of freshmen, of architects, or even of numismatists, I suppose), deans of campuses, deans of schools or programs, and deans of subject matters. Probably other kinds of deans, as well. Dean Martin comes to mind. A “Dean of American Numismatics” might be akin to a “Dean of Engineering” --- just with more Buffalo nickels lying around his office.
To read the PCGS coin forum post, see:
Abe Kosoff: Dean of Numismatics--A book review and commentary
Wayne Homren, Editor
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