About 1pm Friday November 15, 2019 I arrived at the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo. The first numismatic personality I spotted in the lobby was Victor England of Classical
Numismatic Group. I soon ran into locals Ken Fritsch and Drage Vukcevich from my coin club, and we chatted for a bit. Both had been there all day and were leaving as I was just
walking into the lobby.
I headed back to the last aisle, planning to do a complete circuit. Along the way I encountered Garrett Ziss, who told me about a U.S. large cent he was contemplating
purchasing. The rest of my afternoon was a blur, stopping at tables and bumping into friends old and new along the way.
My first stop was at the NGC booth where I spoke with Dave Lange, a regular E-Sylum contributor. He was looking happy and healthy after a recent health issue, and it was
great to see him.
American Numismatic Society
At the ANS table I waved hello to Mary Lannin and met Jesse Kraft, the new Assistant Curator of the Coins and Currency of the Americas. A former student at the Eric P. Newman
Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics, Dr. Kraft's research specialties include the circulation of foreign coins in the U.S. thru 1857, and the transition from the large to
small U.S. cent. His thesis and dissertation papers are not yet available on the ANS or Newman Portal sites, but I'll look forward to reading them once they are. I wish
I'd had more time to chat - those are subjects I've always been curious about - my own specialty is the period that followed, the Civil War era.
I also greeted and congratulated Dr. Gilles Bransbourg, the new ANS Executive Director. I don't get to New York very often, but I'm already looking forward to my next
Next to the ANS table was Jessie Zhang, whom I'd met at the ANA National Money Show in Pittsburgh earlier this year. We talked for a bit and I invited her to send along
interesting new items from her stock for our readers to learn about.
At the table of Schulman b.v. from Amsterdam I met Xander Leijen and owner Eduard Absil. Both are new E-Sylum readers. Xander and I spoke about E-Sylum and
numismatic digitization on the Newman Numismatic Portal.
I found American Numismatic Association Board Member and E-Sylum supporter Shanna Schmidt and her Mom Ellen manning Shanna's table. Known for her expertise in ancient
coins, Shanna also deals in interesting world coins. I snapped a couple photos before my phone's charge ran out.
Over at numismatic literature dealer Charlie Davis' table I met up with Len Augsburger. We made plans for dinner where we could discuss our work with the Newman
While at the table a man came by and left three coin scales for Charlie to sell for him. Len and I talked about Eric Newman's 1999 book on coin scales authored with George
Mallis. Kolbe & Fanning may still have copies in stock - some remainders were discovered in Newman's estate.
We also discussed the International Society of Antique Scale Collectors (ISASC), which is planning to host back issues of their journal on the Newman Portal.
Before leaving Charlie's table I picked up a copy of Roger Moore's new book on the coins of colonial Virginia.
I walked Len over to the table of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC). There we ran into former Congressman Jimmy Hayes, now the Executive Director of the Industry Council
for Tangible Assets (ICTA).
He told us a great story. His father was well known and connected in their community and one day the manager of a small town bank in Louisiana contacted him about some old
coins they'd found while cleaning their vault. He connected him with Jimmy. It turned out to be an original untouched mint bag of 1907-O Half Dollars. He bought the whole
thing. Like bags of silver dollars, many had some bag marks but many others were nearly pristine uncs. Here's a generic image from NGC Coin Explorer.
At the table of Archives International I met up with longtime E-Sylum supporter Bob Schwartz and his wife. He'd printed a small number of hardcopy catalogs of his
current sale. He stopped printing and mailing them to most of his bidders some time ago.
However, his virtual online catalog and the printed version now include images of nearly every lot in the sale, a big change from the days when only selected lots got pictured
due to space and expense constraints. This makes it ideal for browsing.
I mentioned that since Stacks Bowers often send me hardcopies, that makes it easier to browse the sale looking for items to highlight in a "Selections From..."
article. It's just harder to click thru a long sale online than to just flip the pages of a physical book.
So I gave him a web site feature suggestion. It's something I don't think I've seen many sites implement, but what I think would be really useful is a scrolling
page featuring ONLY images of the lots in the sale. It would make it MUCH easier and faster to browse the sale online. People are visual thinkers. We can flip through images very
quickly and immediately zero in on something that stands out or otherwise catches our eye. Bob said he'd speak with his web site developer about it.
Something like this...
Before leaving their table David Gladfelter came by. I thanked him for his help with gathering back issues of the Garden State Numismatic Association's journal for future
digitization on the Newman Numismatic Portal.
Next I found paper money author and dealer Pierre Fricke examining a new purchase - and old-time album filled with obsolete banknotes. We snapped this photo with his phone.
At the table of new E-Sylum advertiser David Kahn I met Dave and his daughter Melissa. There I was able to finally meet author Winston Zack and pick up a signed copy
of his new book on contemporary counterfeit coins. But in all the confusion I ended up walking away without paying for it! Good trick, but not one I want to become known for. I
contacted them after the show and made payment arrangements. I'm looking forward to reading it.
John Kraljevich was looking good and making deals at his crowded table. We caught up on life in general and his recent work on the 2020 Presidential campaign.
Erik Goldstein of Colonial Williamsburg was at the table, and we talked about the numismatic gallery being planned to open in a couple years. A new museum annex has been
constructed and is waiting to be filled. This will be a destination for all numismatists.
Also at JK's table was literature dealer David Fanning, who showed me his current publishing project which will be announced in the near future. We also talked about our
mutual friend John W. Adams and the previous evening's sale of his landmark collection of Comitia Americana medals.
Over at the Early American Coppers table I spoke with EAC President Bill Eckberg, a member of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova (now retired in Florida). We
spoke about the upcoming 2020 Pittsburgh EAC convention and a project we're jointly working on with the Newman Numismatic Portal.
The Colonial Coin Collectors Club was holding its annual convention in conjunction with the show, and the real party was at the C4 tables, where everyone congregated. I was very
pleased to finally meet in person longtime E-Sylum contributor Julia Casey.
It was here that I also met for the first time author Roger Moore, who kindly signed my copy of his Coins of Colonial Virginia book. I also had a long conversation with
C4 President Jack Howes about archiving their photos and chat forum on the Newman Portal.
Others I spoke with were a mix of old and new friends, including Mike Packard, Ray Williams, Craig McDonald, Roger Siboni, Will Nipper, and C4 cofounder Jeff Rock. Across the
way my old friend Bob Metzger was temporarily manning the table of Clem Schettino. It was so great to see everyone. I'm sorry I was unable to attend Thursday night's
forum, where I understand Erik Goldstein and David McCarthy gave a great talk about their research on the origin of the Continental Dollars.
Over at the table of Northeast Numismatics, Chris Clements was on his computer while Tom Caldwell was closing a coin deal that took an unusual turn and produced the most
entertaining moment of the day. As I understand it, Tom's price for the wholesale lot was $10,000, and the dealer asked (and I'm not sure if he was joking) if Tom would
take $9,000. And Tom said, "I'll flip you for it - if you win it's $9,000, but if I win it's $11,000". Soon a coin was being flipped in the aisle in front of
the booth. Tom won, and a check was written for $11,000. There's an amount of randomness in the price of every deal, but this is the first time I've seen it decided on a
I enjoy error coins even though I don't actively collect them. So I stopped by the booth of error specialist Jon Sullivan who showed me a great array of error proof coinage
that recently came to market.
Along came Steve Roach of Coin World, and Jon gave him a broadstruck piece he'd been holding for him. Then we all had a look at the broadstuck proof piece shown
above at right.
For more information, or to order Jon's proof errors, see:
ngc 50c 1973-s proof kennedy half double-struck 25%
off-center pf66 cameo (https://www.sullivannumismatics.com/coin/ngc-50c-1973-s-proof-kennedy-half-double-struck-25-center-pf66-cameo?v=5434)
ngc 50c 1973-s proof kennedy half double-struck
broadstruck pf67 cameo (https://www.sullivannumismatics.com/coin/ngc-50c-1973-s-proof-kennedy-half-double-struck-broadstruck-pf67-cameo?v=5014)
My last stop in the bourse floor was unplanned, but delightful. I sat down for a long conversation with Mark Anderson of New York. We talked about the Newman Numismatic Portal,
the New York Numismatic Club. his father Burnette Anderson (the Washington correspondent for Numismatic News for many years), and money artist J.S.G. Boggs.
Dinner with Len and Deb
The time passed all too quickly and soon I was off to meet Len Augsburger in the lobby at 5:30. We walked over to Sullivan's restaurant where his wife Debra Kurtz joined us.
We ordered steak dinners and the meals were marvelous. The waitstaff was attentive and we had a very enjoyable evening talking about family life, today's show, the Newman
Portal and everything in between.
The Boston Banquet
Midway through our dinner, in walked another group of numismatic friends, (mostly) Bostonians: John and Regina Adams, Regina's son Jean, Charlie Davis, Neil and CJ Musante,
Anne Bentley, and David Fanning. Before leaving we stopped by their table to say hello.
John's Comitia Americana medal collection had been a highlight of the show's auctions. He was sorry to see his old friends go, but pleased with the overall outcome. It
was great to see John, Regina and everyone.
... and More
Before ending my diary I should mention that I spoke with a number of other people as well, including Don Kagin and Julian Leidman.
People I missed because they'd either left the show or been busy when I passed their table included Dave Bowers, Tony Terranova, Harry Laibstain, Doug Winter, Gerry Fortin.
Dave Perkins, Joe Lang at Stephen Album Rare Coins, Daniel Frank Sedwick and Augi Garcia at the Sedwick booth and Wayne Herndon.
It was a short walk from Sullivan's back to the Hyatt garage where I'd parked. In about an hour I was safely home. My knees were sore from being on my feet most of the
afternoon. But it had been a delightful day - it was great to see so many friends and make some new ones. 'Til next time, everyone.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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