A Remembrance of Craig N. Smith
Numismatic literature dealer and NBS co-founder George Frederick Kolbe submitted this remembrance of collector Craig Smith. Thank you! -Editor
Craig and I became friends in the second half of the 1990s. His collecting interests were wide-ranging and he loved to learn everything about the items he acquired,
whether they be early American maps and atlases, pinball machines, cars, vintage catalin clocks and radios, coins, or numismatic literature. We both grew up in Pasadena,
California, though I was several years older, and for many years we engaged in frequent and often extended telephone conversations. We were simpatico.
Craig's spouse, Ruanne (Ron) Smith has kindly supplied additional commentary on Craig's interests: "he collected guns, knives, juke boxes, slots, trade stimulators, pocket
watches and early gaming dice, too. The thing is, once he got interested, he bought every book he could find about the subject. So, he not only has a numismatic library, he has a
library of many varied subjects. He was particularly interested in the history of the United States, including railroad expansion and creation of the intercontinental railway,
California history, the Gold Rush era and has many books in these areas as well."
I met Craig and Ron Smith in early 2005. Upon landing in Seattle, I rented a car and drove north to the ferry terminal, landing shortly thereafter on Whidbey Island.
From there I drove to the City of Freeland and to the Smiths' beautiful waterfront home. Adjacent to it was a large structure devoted to various collecting interests. Outside
their home, their delightful dog Mel-perpetually holding two tennis balls in her mouth - was ever ready for a game of fetch. Inside was, of course, the library; many of Craig and
Ruanne's smaller collectables adorned the living areas.
In less than a decade, the Smiths assembled a select but outstanding numismatic library, reflective of Craig's love of history and interest in American coins, and enhanced by
Ron's interest in ancient coins and their shared appreciation of the book beautiful. Craig and Ron rarely traveled and most of their key acquisitions were made with little fanfare
or notoriety. Only when the library was sold via public and mail auction in a June 2005 Kolbe sale, did their accomplishment become widely known.
Craig forged a friendship with Eric Newman and they shared information on pioneer gold coins, particularly those of dubious origin. His important collection of coins on the
topic was sold anonymously in a June 2000 Bowers and Merena auction sale. Craig's United States coins were sold in a 2003 B & M sale.
Craig and Ron Smith in the early 1980s
The world is a poorer place without Craig Smith. His gusto for collecting and his thirst for information, if not publicly known, was still a force in enhancing our knowledge
about all sorts of things. He will be sorely missed.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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