American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this op-ed style item about criteria defining influence in the world of numismatics.
Last October I reviewed the list of about two hundred people under consideration by Coin World for their
list of The Most Influential People in Numismatics. I added more than fifty names to my listing of
American Numismatic Biographies (ANB) although I thought some of them were weak candidates.
Last Wednesday I received the issue with the 96 people selected. I went through the statements and made
about 400 revisions to ANB based on those statements. There were a couple of names I did not recognize
and about five people who were not already in ANB. I will not be adding them.
There are people on the list who have never written a book, never had an article published, never held an
office in a coin club, never made an educational presentation at the ANA and never received an award
from a numismatic organization.
In my opinion, buying and selling coins in the numismatic market does not make someone influential.
That would still be true when the coin value is in seven figures. I have more respect for the people on the
list who have never been a dealer but who have contributed to our knowledge.
Then I noticed something interesting. Some of the people I don't know place regular full-page ads in Coin World. A typical recent issue has eleven full page ads. Each of those companies is represented by one of
the influential numismatists. The eleven ads represent thirteen people on the list. Some of those are very deserving, but some, in my opinion, are not.
I believe the list is worthy of discussion and I would be interested in comments from other readers.
Such lists are always open to interpretation and suggestions. Plenty of worthy candidates won't make the cut and that's always unfortunate. Similarly, some included candidates will certainly prompt questions. Only Coin World can address the criteria used for their list.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN NUMISMATICS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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