The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 39, September 18, 2011, Article 14


Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on numismatic experiences he'd love to have before going off to that great numismatic library in the sky. -Editor

The "Bucket List" term comes from a 2007 Jack Nicholson film, The Bucket List, meaning a list of things you would like to do before you kick the bucket.

I attained my 81st birthday late in August and reported to my physician this week. Sorry dear readers, I am in great shape, so I can be writing these brief numismatic items for some time to come.

Like Eric Newman, to whom I presented a centennial medal bearing his portrait on his 100th birthday in May, I hope to emulate Eric's longevity. Eric told me it was "medicine and numismatics" that has kept him alive. Same for me.

But our human mortality set me to thinking this week. What would I like to do in the numismatic field more than anything else before I hit the bucket. Here is my list:

1. Attend a convention of world coin and medal artists on Computer Engraving. I would like to hear from private artists, like medallist Daniel Carr, and U.S. Mint's engraver Joseph Menna, and others, on this century's advanced engraving technology. How is it done? What are the techniques? The limit of my concept of this is the "Z factor." I know height and width of a coin or medal design is X and Y. And the height of the modulated relief is the Z factor. Can you teach me about applying the Z factor to your X-Y designs? I would like to see the computer software companies have booths showing off their latest software to accommodate this technology. Bring your best technicians and plan to demonstrate your latest advances. Every mint and medalmaker in the world would send their engravers and technicians.

2. Get my hands on a couple hundred pounds of metal alloyed in space. For example, heavy-weight gold and light-weight aluminum, can NOT be alloyed on earth (such metals are called noncompatible alloys by metallurgists). If this could be accomplished in space (because of no gravity) it would result in a new metal with who-knows-what characteristics. Perhaps such a gold-aluminum alloy would be high value, gold color, low weight I wrote about this in E-Sylum (Vol 11, No 22, Article 16, June 1, 2008. I want to strike medals made of this rare alloy. That would be a collectible of worldwide interest!

3. Visit the bindery in Pennsylvania where the first bound copies of my 2-volume work, An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology comes off the production line. There are so many color illustrations it would be too expensive to have it printed here in America, so I expect the publisher will have it printed in China. But please, Mr. Publisher, have it bound here in America so I can watch the first copies come down that conveyer belt. It will culminate over 35 year's work.

4. Cut the ribbon at the opening of the first all-medal museum in America. Numismatic curator Larry Lee made a study of numismatic museums in America for is Ph.D dissertation in 2006.. He found and analyzed 353 of these (91 of which contained medals). However, there is not one devoted exclusively to medals, medallic art and how they are made. I would like to see such a museum.

5. Spend the first United States $10 circulating coin made of silver with a computer chip embedded in it. I have written of this in Future Coins (unpublished), explaining the reasons and technology to embed a micro chip in every coin with a denomination $10 or more.

6. Celebrate the tenth anniversary of my databank of American Coin and Medal Artists on the Internet. I know, it's not there yet, but I add to that list every day. It will be a great resource for everyone for data on every numismatic item made by more than 3,500 artists. For free on the internet.

Now what is your numismatic Bucket List? Do you have perhaps an unusual request?

I haven't given this much thought yet, but here are two for my list:1. Visit Brookgreen Gardens to see sculpture by many of the world's top artists, including many who also designed great coins and medals.

2. Visit the American Numismatic Society at their new headquarters in Manhattan.

3. Visit the British Museum again. I didn't see nearly enough the first time!


Wayne Homren, Editor

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