Howard A. Daniel III writes:
I was recently interviewed and photographed by a reporter, Miss Hieu Thao, from the Saigon Times newspaper, and English language newspaper. Her
English is not perfect and she did not correctly "hear" me, but she did a pretty good job. As a result of the article, I am now working on
an article for another Vietnamese newspaper, and it will be centered on the coupons used on the Ho Chi Minh Trail for their Tet 2015 issue.
Nice article - here it is in its entirety. -Editor
There are many people who are interested in money not only
for its exchange value but also for the stories behind the banknote. Each banknote carries with it a historical context that hardly anybody knows if
they do not devote their time to it. Besides the joy of possessing valuable and rare coins and banknotes, the knowledge of historical and social
backgrounds of currencies attracts people to collect them.
The 74-year-old American Howard A. Daniel III finds a great joy when studying currencies, and all the more so when it comes to Vietnamese
banknotes and coins. The elderly man now is a widely recognized scholar in the field of numismatics, and has been compiling a great deal of materials
on the local money after spending decades in this sector.
Daniel entered the sector as a collector, then a researcher and writer specializing in South East Asia’s currencies. His numismatics studies
started in 1964 while he was in the army in Japan, working with big mainframe computers. He has published numismatics catalogs on French Colonial,
Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. At present, he is making the second edition of his Democracy Republic of Vietnam Coins and Currency catalog.
Daniel used to serve as a numismatics ambassador for years, giving lectures about Southeast Asian numismatics in the U.S., Europe, Canada and
Asian countries. In 2000, after a conference in Jakarta, he thought of compiling numismatics catalogs for Vietnam because such a job had not been
assumed by any in the country.
Numismatics associations in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Myanmar have already taken over the compilation job in their countries.
However, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia still have not established numismatics associations, says Daniel. He hopes such associations will be established
in these countries to encourage people to research and write their own catalogs.
Being an enthusiast in money studying, Daniel has still faced challenges, especially, the language barrier and lack of sources.
“I had to find a little piece of information in many locations in the world,” he talks to the Daily. He has spent many days searching through
libraries around the world, including eighteen months of weekends in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C, looking from A to Z for information
about Vietnamese and other currencies. Many other times, he has also visited private libraries and collections looking for new information, coins and
banknotes. Whenever he finds a way out of a deadlock, both himself and his readers are rewarded with interesting and useful information.
Many Vietnamese numismatists, historians and researchers have been using Daniel’s catalogs about coins and currencies when he first published them
in the U.S. Thousands of copies have been sold out after being published in Vietnamese.
Ho Hai, a member of the forum viet-numis.com, comments, “In my opinion, catalogs of Howard Daniel have plentiful references and accurate
arrangements. It is helpful because the catalogs show meticulous works reflecting the currency development process of Vietnam.” Each catalog includes
categorized lists of coins, notes, bullion bars and rounds, settlement checks and properties from private collections.
Having spent 50 years on Vietnamese numismatics research, Daniel still considers himself a student, not an expert. According to him, “an expert
has nothing more to learn, and I know I have much more to learn. Even on November 11, I find something new in almost every collection, inventory and
library I look at that I did not know before. This proves I am still a student, and I look forward to find something new every day.”
To read the complete article, see:
Studying values behind money
Wayne Homren, Editor
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