Coin World has published their 2022 special issue with their 100 Most Influential People In Numismatics list. While there is naturally a lot of overlap with the inaugural 2021 list, there is also churn as people pass away, fade from the headlines, or make bold career moves.
Last year's list generated a great deal of discussion here and elsewhere - see the earlier articles linked below for background. One E-Sylum reader has already chimed in with an analysis (and suggestion for an alternate list) - here it is with my commentary.
100 Most Influential People in Numismatics
and Numismatic Literature
This week I received the Coin World Annual issue listing the 100 Most Influential People in
Numismatics. It occurred to me that numismatic leaders fall into three basic groups. For
commercial numismatics there are dealers, auction houses and third-party grading services.
Hobby leaders include officers and volunteers in local, regional and national clubs. Numismatic
science falls to researchers, writers and publishers of numismatic literature. The Coin World list
is heavily skewed toward commercial numismatics.
One way to measure the influence of a writer is to see how many times their name occurs on the Newman Numismatic Portal. I created a ranking of the 100 Most Influential People based on that
Searching and counting name mentions is an inexact science, especially when the source material consists of about four million pages of digitized text. Scanning errors can mangle names, as can reporters and editors in their original documents. Even properly spelled and formatted names can be found in multiple forms - James, Jim, Jimmy etc. Our reader attempted to adjust for that by searching for such alternates and combining the results - 6,932 mentions of "Dave Bowers" and 26,389 mentions of "Q. David Bowers" add up to a total of 33,321 for the same top-ranking individual.
The following are the top twelve name mentions. Twenty of the
names have 2,000 or more citations in NNP.
33,321 Q. David Bowers
7,690 Ira and Larry Goldberg
7,293 Anthony Swiatek
7,244 Steve Ivy
6,670 Ken Bressett
5,488 David Hall
4,932 Bill Fivaz
4,152 Joseph Boling
3,839 Ron Guth
2,951 John Dannreuther
2,671 Jeff and Mary Lynn Garrett
2,585 Mark Borckardt
The ten least-mentioned names have 20 or fewer citations. In fairness, some of these names appeared in publications under current copyright that have not been posted to the Portal.
I was disappointed to see that Len Augsburger, Roger Burdette, Wayne Homren and Joel J. Orosz were not
included. They had been included in the similar 2020 listing. All are members of the Rittenhouse
Society, an invitation-only group of researchers and writers. Six society members made the Coin World top twelve and nine made the top 100.
I compiled a list of eleven more Rittenhouse Society members with 2,000 or more citations in
NNP. These should be considered if the Coin World list valued the influence upon numismatic literature.
4,525 Neil Shafer
4,196 George Kolbe
2,935 David T. Alexander
2,677 Wendell Wolka
2,668 Pete Smith
2,619 David Schenkman
2,396 Wayne Homren
2,338 Len Augsburger
2,227 Joel J. Orosz
2,043 Tom Delorey
2,013 Roger W. Burdette
There has been a list of the top 100 items of numismatic literature. Perhaps someone should
compile a list of the top 100 Most Influential People for Numismatic Literature.
Great idea! An excellent analysis - thanks for the work compiling the numbers.
Seth Chandler of Witter Coins in San Francisco got my own vote this year, and I'm glad to see his name added to the list. Where The E-Sylum and the ANA Summer Seminar hope to educate collectors and all numismatists, his Witter Coin University events are geared specifically toward educating the next generation of dealers, and that's just as important for the hobby's future, a very positive example of influence.
Coin World is soliciting nominations for next year's list, so here's everyone's chance to participate. Publisher Rick Amos states
".. we will evaluate each on key factors, including relevance, innovation, success, and impact. I would include "influential" does not include a judgement on whether they influenced the hobby for the better or worse. But they are disruptors, creators, organizers, marketers, fixers, doers, problem-solvers, writers, and innovators that have contributed in some meaningful way to this multi-billion-dollar industry that we all enjoy so much."
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN NUMISMATICS
ON INFLUENCE IN NUMISMATICS
MORE ON INFLUENCE IN NUMISMATICS
COIN WORLD ON INFLUENCE IN NUMISMATICS
HARVEY STACK ON INFLUENCE IN NUMISMATICS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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