As a member of the Pittsburgh Numismatic Society I once had the pleasure of meeting Mimi Bizic, a local schoolteacher and collector and promoter of hobo nickels. The recent Vol 31, No 4. issue of Bo Tales from the Original Hobo Nickel Society included a nice article about Mimi and her relationship with Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple Computer. I'd been unaware of that connection. With permission, we're publishing an excerpt here.
Thanks to Bo Tales editor Ralph Winter for providing the text and images.
After seeing Del's
1981 COIN WORLD articles on hobo nickels, Mim
contacted Del and invited him to come to speak to her
class. This was shortly after Mim's fourth grade class had
finished a unit on Numismatics. More could be shared
including Del Romines second visit to Mim's 4th grade
I need to share a little more about Mim. Mim had the
opportunity to be one of the first teachers to use Apple
Computers in the classroom. Through this relationship,
she got to know and become friends with Steve Wozniak,
one of the founders of Apple.
Here's an email I recently received from Mim:
I just want you to know that I'm getting ready to send one
of my great
Bo's to Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the
Apple computer. He was always a good friend of mine
through the years, like coming to Pittsburgh at his own
expense for me. (1) In 1988 when he came to speak to our
Apple Pitt's Computer Club that met once a month at
Penn State's McKeesport Campus, and (2) right before I
retired from Edgeworth Elementary School in May of
2004. I told him
You always said you wanted to come to
my school. Well, you better hurry because I'm retiring in
June! He did! Oh, what a delightful visit that was with
the whole school participating in
This Is Your Life, Steve
I first met Woz in Washington, DC, where my
students and I won a First Place award for
Computers Into the Curriculum. (We studied Egypt).
That was in 1985 where I received an Apple II for our
school. Even my U. S. Congressman, Doug Walgren was
We repeated that in 1986 (Ancient Greece and Rome)
and 1987 (China and Japan) before they put me in the
Apple Computer Club's Hall of Fame and awarded me a
trip to Hawaii. I wasn't allowed to enter for two years as
nobody else had a chance! When the two years were up,
we won again for
Writing Women Back into History, but
Using Our Computers to Do So!
In total, we received 10 Apple computers over the
years. One was a gift from Steve Wozniak when he
returned to Apple to oversee the construction of the Apple
II GS. So it's my turn to reciprocate. Woz said he
collected Buffalo nickels as a kid, but he had never heard
of Hobo nickels. I was thrilled to find something I could
This is the letter Mim sent to Steve Wosniak and his
wife this summer all with the
My dear Woz and Janet,
This letter is to certify that I am enclosing
herein one of my very best, genuine original (classic) hobo
nickels designed by the master carver, George
Washington Hughes. It is a 1936 nickel from my own
collection of hobo nickels purchased from Ken (Del)
Romines of Louisville, KY, known as the father of the
book on Hobo Nickels. My purchase was in 1981, right
after Del wrote about finding Bo and writing about his
encounter in Coin World newspaper.
This coin probably
only cost me $15-25.00, but that's like saying I purchased
my original 5 shares of Apple stock for $40.00 each. Both
have gone up in price quite substantially. I'm sure if you
were to auction this off, it would bring quite a bit of
money, but I'm hoping you keep it as a souvenir from a
grateful admirer and friend for over 35 years.
For all these
many years, you've been out there making APPLE the
company it is today. YOU were the one who visited
computer clubs all over the country at your own expense
to talk about your incredible invention that has made a
difference to so many countless lives in every country of
the world. You were present to give Apple computer
awards out at the ceremonies in Washington, DC for the
International Apple Computer Clubs in 1985, '86 and '87.
YOU valued Education! We are all grateful to you. I will
be eternally appreciative to you for appearing at our Edgeworth Elementary School right before my retirement
in 2004. You have done so much for others, it was my turn
to do something special for you.
For more information about the Original Hobo Nickel Society, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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