Publication of the Coin World list of The Most Influential People in Numismatics brought forth a number of comments both here and elsewhere.
Coin World Managing Editor Bill Gibbs submitted this response.
A response to the observations on Coin World's
Most Influential publication
Ever since Coin World published its
The Most Influential People in Numismatics supplement to our
May monthly issue, our editors, sales representatives and customer service staff have been bombarded
with email and phone calls from readers and advertisers. Many of our customers praised the
publication; some wanted additional copies to keep and share; and others were critical of omissions
Why isn't he on the list? and
Why am I not on the list?). Most, however, at least recognize the
monumental effort required by the Amos Media Company to produce and publish the publication.
The last two issues of The E-Sylum have featured comments from readers, first from Pete Smith, whose
American Numismatic Biographies is a pioneering work, then from others. Except for David
T. Alexander (whom I have known for more than 45 years since we both worked together at Coin
World), most of responders in The E-Sylum have been critical of our selection of names on the list, decrying a
perceived slant toward individuals from the
commercial side of the hobby/business and a lack of
recognition for researchers and writers.
It is accurate to state that most names on the list come from the commercial side rather than the
research side. Since the readers of E-Sylum are researchers, writers, and editors, I can understand their
feelings of being neglected (I first started writing about coins for school projects as a teen in the late
1960s; I recall going to my English teacher to tell her that her marking of the word
disme as a
misspelling on an assignment was incorrect). All of the names suggested by our critics are certainly
deserving of being recognized as
Influential. However, so do many of the people on our list who are
not researchers and writers. To dismiss dealers, graders, authenticators as not
Influential, as some
critics seem to suggest, is just wrong. The founders of one of the largest auction houses in the world or
the founders of the major grading services are just as influential in the hobby as the writers and
researchers who spend decades studying early American copper or Seated Liberty coinage or national
bank notes. They are just influential in different ways.
To that end, the name of the publication was chosen very carefully. The title is
The Most Influential
People in Numismatics, not
The Most Influential Writers in Numismatics or
The Most Influential
Researchers in Numismatics. We wanted to recognize all segments of the hobby, not just one. Could
we have produced a similar list bearing only the names of researchers and writers? Of course, we could.
However, every such list is controversial; every reader of The E-Sylum, if asked to come up with their list of
Most Influential People in Numismatics, would come up with a list that differed from every other list.
My personal list would have been different. That is the nature of such lists.
To those critics who say that the list is U.S.-centric, I say
guilty as charged. We are a U.S.-based
publication staffed by editors and writers from the United States, with a subscriber base that mostly
lives in the United States. A broader project would have taken many more months to research, write,
The editors, designers, sales representatives, and members of management at Amos Media who worked
Most Influential put many hours into this project beyond their regular tasks of producing monthly
and weekly issues of Coin World, maintaining a website and Facebook page, and producing weekly
podcasts. They deserve credit for that. They will deserve credit for future projects. Our
Influential publication was an experiment, and a successful one. It will not be the last such publication
of its kind.
William T. Gibbs, Managing Editor, Coin World
Thank you. Despite the ruckus over inclusion and exclusion, as noted previously the biographical articles were very informative, and I'll look forward to more people-centric articles in Coin World and other numismatic publications.
Brad Karoleff published one such article in this week's Coin World (p35). Check it out.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ON INFLUENCE IN NUMISMATICS
MORE ON INFLUENCE IN NUMISMATICS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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