This week's numismatic activity was a visit to the Whitman Coin Expo in Baltimore. I went on
Thursday October 30, arriving at the convention center about 1:30. I first made a quick pass around
the bourse floor. I first stopped to see literature dealer Charlie Davis, who was busy organizing
his stock. Sharing the table was Neil Musante, who showed me the manuscript he's working on for
a new book on medals. It looks great!
Next I sat down to chat with Charles Morgan of CoinWeek. We talked mostly about my web
site project, which was the reason for my next meeting. At 2pm I sat down with Len Augsburger and
Mary Burleson of Whitman Publishing in the comfy trio of lounge chairs at the Whitman booth. We had
a fruitful discussion, and Mary introduced us to one of the company owners, Charles Anderson. It
was a pleasure to finally meet him.
Next, Len and I went upstairs to the Kolbe & Fanning literature auction lot viewing room.
George Kolbe was there to greet us. We enjoyed having the opportunity to review such a great
grouping of rare numismatic literature. I recognized a number of items which also reside in my own
library, but the wealth of plated catalogs was far beyond my meager holdings. We both reviewed the
Bathe book on Jacob Perkins, a great rarity which has never been reprinted. I've always wanted
one for my library, but the price kept climbing beyond my reach. I congratulate the next owner on
David Fanning soon joined us with the coffee he'd gone out to get. Dave Hirt and his wife
Emi also came by. It was great to see them both. Dave's been a numismatic literature buddy of
mine for years. We tried to remember when we'd met. Dave believes he met me and John Burns at a
Lancaster, PA show one year, and that's probably correct. We recalled the time John and I came
down from Pittsburgh to see Dave's library, and all of us visited Frank and Laurese Katen in
Silver Spring and toured their numismatic library.
When I got back to the bourse floor I briefly chatted with Julian Leidman and Tony Terranova at
their respective tables. John Kraljevich was busy with customers, as usual. I wandered over to the
NGC booth to see Dave Lange, then sat down for a while at the Stack's Bowers booth with Harvey
Stack. He regularly laments that The E-Sylum isn't seen by a larger number of regular
readers. You can do your part by passing the word and encouraging your numismatic friends to
subscribe. There's always room for another reader.
Next I went back over to John Kraljevich's table, where, of course, he was still busy. But I
enjoyed talking with Erik Goldstein, who was keeping John company behind the table. Soon Bob Evans
arrived and chatted with me and Len. He had his famous SS Central America experimental wood
block with him. He'd displayed it at the PAN show the week before, but I hadn't seen it
close up. This time I got to hold it. Originally a four-foot four-by-four, after 24 years at the
bottom of the ocean near the wreck site, it had been eaten down to a 6-inch holey stub, as light as
a piece of Styrofoam. Bob had placed four posts in the sediment as an experiment back in 1990.
I asked about the unsold artifacts from the first expedition to the wreck, and Bob informed us
that they were still in the good hands of the receiver, and mostly well preserved. Someday an
exhibit or museum may come together, but not until all the litigation surrounding the case is
It was by now approaching 5 o'clock and I began heading over to the Sheraton hotel for the
Coinage of the Americas Conference. When I arrived at the room and spotted Ray Williams, I knew I
was in the right place. This year's topic is Colonial Coinage, and an A-list roster of speakers
was lined up. Jack Howes came over to say hello and we talked for a bit.
Soon along came local Mike Packard and former local Bill Eckberg, now of Florida. They saved me
a seat at a table while I phoned home to my wife. The room was filled with many familiar faces,
such as David Gladfelter, Jim Neiswinter and Jeff Rock, whom I hadn’t run into in years.
I took my seat next to Bill Eckberg, and on my other side was E-Sylum reader Jim
Glickman, who introduced himself. Also at our table was American Numismatic Society Executive
Director Ute Wartenburg-Kagan.
Jim asked about my collecting interests, and I explained how I’d assembled collections of Civil
War numismatics including Encased Postage Stamps, Civil War tokens and the Confederate Half
restrike. Then we discussed my newer collections of Carnegie Hero medals and Labor Exchange
As the program began a number of authors were honored for their works on Colonial coinage,
including Phil Mossman, Will Nipper and Chris Salmon. All were present to accept. As I'd never
met any of them in person before, I waited until a break and introduced myself. It was wonderful to
finally meet in person people I'd only corresponded with via email. This in-person interaction
is the best part of a coin show, and no electronic medium will ever completely supplant it.
With a long drive to get back home, I was unable to stay for the presentations. Bill Eckberg
informs me that "The talks were excellent!" But it was good to get home to say goodnight
to my wife and kids, walk the dog and prepare for another work day on Friday. It was a short but
delightful numismatic interlude with friends from across the country - the very best part of this
hobby we share.
THE BOOK BAZARRE
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