The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 51, December 11, 2011, Article 5

JOHN R. ESHBACH: 1921-2011

John Eshbach, Dee and Wayne Homren I was saddened to learn this week of the death of John Eshbach of Lancaster, PA. John was one of my numismatic mentors, a guiding force in the creation of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, and a leader nationally in numismatic exhibiting. He will be greatly missed. Below is an online obituary forwarded by Richard Jewell of PAN. While not an avid numismatic bibliophile, John built an extensive collection of the publications of the early coin dealer John Steigerwalt of Lancaster.

Above is a photo of John (left) with me and my wife Dee at the 2008 ANA Banquet in Baltimore. In 2011 Dick Duncan, John Eshbach and Gerry Kochel received Lifetime Achievement awards at the PAN banquet at the LeMont, Mount Washington, Pittsburgh, PA. Over ninety friends and guests paid tribute to the longtime PAN/ANA members. -Editor

John Eshbach John R. Eshbach, 90, of Lancaster, entered into rest on Sunday, December 4, 2011 at his residence with his family by his side. Born July 13, 1921 in Lancaster, he was the son of the late John H. and Ethel Ellen (Charles) Eshbach. He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 50 years, Evelyn E. (Henry) Eshbach, on February 7, 1994.

Mr. Eshbach proudly served our country as a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II in the South Pacific Theatre, finishing his tour of duty in a school battalion at Camp Pendleton. He retired after 36 years of service at RCA as an electrical engineer, where he supervised the construction of high-powered radar and television equipment. John graduated from the Hershey Industrial School.

John was an accomplished numismatist, or coin collector, for over 50 years. He was a member of the Red Rose Coin Club, the American Numismatist Association, and the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. Mr. Eshbach had received numerous awards for his achievements in this field. He was often involved in conventions, where he enjoyed judging exhibits and teaching new collectors about his favorite hobby.

Mr. Eshbach is survived by his son: John R., Jr., wife of Jean Eshbach of Marietta; four grandchildren: Jessica Miller, Eric Eshbach, Heather Eshbach, and Jason Eshbach; and six great grandchildren. In addition to his wife, John was preceded in death by his daughter, Kay L. Schrawder, and his sisters, Anna Mary Dings and Frances Field.

To read the complete obituary, see: Obituary of John R. Eshbach (

John kindly served as Exhibit Chairman for me when I was the General Chairman of the 2004 ANA convention in Pittsburgh, and did a marvelous job. Do the math - he was 83! Below are remembrances of John from E-Sylum readers. -Editor

Joe Boling, Chief Judge of the American Numismatic Association writes:

I worked with John for many years as an ANA exhibitor and exhibit judge. He assisted me in certifying about half of the ANA judges now serving. He was the first recipient of the Joseph E Boling award for Excellence in Numismatic Judging. He was also a recipient of the highest honor the ANA bestows, the Farran Zerbe Award for Distinguished Service. The ANA community joins you in grieving his loss. We will miss him.

ANA Exhibit and Awards Committee Chair Steve D'Ippolito writes:

My first reaction was great dismay at the loss, keenly felt here on the high plains of Colorado. I found myself last night rambling about it to friends who came over to visit, showing them my autographed Red Book from the PAN banquet, and stopping myself when I realized they had never been to a convention and therefore had no idea who he was, which was their loss.

My second reaction was relief that he had lived long enough to attend that banquet, to receive the accolades he so richly deserved.

I am new enough to exhibiting ("only" since 1998) to have missed out on most of his exhibiting career, but I have personally witnessed a lot of outstanding work with his name on it. (Or rather not on it, doing so being prohibited by the rules.) I can speak a lot less knowledgeably about his work as a judge, but those in the know in that area gave him the highest praise they could.

Joe Boling said it first, he was a stalwart in the exhibiting field. I cannot think of a better word.

John Eshbach & Gerry Kochel
Photo by Barbara Gregory of John Eshbach (left) and Jerry Kochel at the 2011 PAN Banquet in Pittsburgh.

Sam Deep writes:

We in Pittsburgh are honored to have had John as a numismatic colleague and as a friend. My memories of John mounting his final exhibit at the National Money Show in Pittsburgh and attending the PAN Banquet there to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award are cherished.

My most indelible memory of John Eshbach occurred during the October 2008 PAN Show as he fulfilled his perennial role as PAN Chief Judge of exhibits. My grandson Josh had just that summer been certified by Joe Boling at the tender age of 14 as an ANA Exhibit Judge. To witness a man whose judging expertise and experience I so much admired be willing to approach Josh at the beginning of that show and request that he serve as a PAN judge gave me even more respect for the man.

Richard Jewell writes:

John was a great human being, quiet, sincere, honest, a great hobbyist, a good friend and he'll be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Don Carlucci writes:

With the passing of another numismatic giant, I can best remember not only what he did on the local and national level, but what he did on the state level. Without John's influence, the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists would never have stretched from the Ohio line to the Delaware River.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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