The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 53, December 25, 2011, Article 8


John and Nancy Wilson submitted these thoughts on the late John R. Eshbach. -Editor


On December 4th, 2011 at the age of 90 the numismatic hobby lost one of the most enthusiastic, humble and dedicated numismatists who ever lived, John R. Eshbach of Smoketown, PA. We have known John for many years crossing paths with him and Jerry Kochel at major coin conventions from coast to coast. We always enjoyed talking to John (and Jerry) usually in the Exhibit area of the convention we were both attending.

John was one of the best exhibitors we have ever known being the recipient of many Best-in-Show Awards. He was a certified ANA Judge and always did a masterful job when performing that assignment. We always enjoyed our many conversations at the conventions we attended. John and Jerry taught a course on exhibit preparation at the ANA Summer Seminar some years back. He had been an exhibitor and Judge for ANA since 1960.

John was not only a numismatist for over 50 years, but in his youth he served our country as a Technical Sergeant in the U. S. Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific during WW ll. After the service he went to and graduated from Hershey Industrial School. He worked for RCA as an Electrical Engineer, and retired after 36 years.

John belonged to many coin clubs at all levels, but had a passion for the American Numismatic Association (ANA), Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) and the Red Rose Coin Club (RRCC). He received many awards and honors during his time in the numismatic hobby. From the ANA, he received in 1987 the Outstanding Club Representative Award; the President's Award in 1998; the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 2000; the Medal of Merit in 2001 and the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 2009. In 2007, John along with Jerry Kochel received the Joseph E. Boling Award for Excellence in Judging.

He ran the ANA Board of Governors in the 2007-09 election. It is unfortunate that he wasn't elected to the Board as his wisdom in the hobby would have helped the ANA greatly. We think that in 2012 John would have received his 50 year medal from ANA at their annual World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia, PA.

At the recently completed ANA National Money Show held in Pittsburgh, PA., PAN held a dinner at one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, the Le Mont restaurant. At the dinner three numismatists were honored with the PAN lifetime achievement award, Dick Duncan, John Eshbach and Gerald Kochel.

Above is a picture of House of Representative member the Honorable John Maher, presenting a citation from the Pennsylvania House outlining their achievements to John Eshbach. Dick and Jerry also received this coveted honor. In 1992 John R. Eshbach received the Krause Publications Numismatic News Ambassador Award. This is one of the greatest honors anyone can receive. The recipients are picked by previous award winners.

Just how does anyone become interested in the hobby of numismatics? In John's case his interest started with his daughter and her coin club at school. Thanks to his daughter, we along with his many friends were fortunate to have John R. Eshbach as a friend and fellow numismatist for many years.

John's life can be summed up with this rhyme: For when that one great scorer comes to write against your name; he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game. John played the game of life in an honorable, loving and honest manner and will be missed by us, his thousands of friends around this great country and his family. You will be missed John, but never forgotten. All of our prayers and thoughts are with his family.

Larry Gaye adds:

John Eshbach sure was a presence at many ANA Conventions and always helping someone to make sure the convention was a success. I for one will miss the conversations I had with John.

Kerry K. Wetterstrom, Editor/Publisher of The Celator writes:

In response to your query in last week's E-Sylum, I have some of John Eshbach's Showcase holders. My set of Red Rose Coin Club medals is housed in Eshbach holders, in addition to some other miscellaneous coins.

Eshbach holders are quite common among the "older" collectors here in Lancaster. Members of the Red Rose Coin Club that were active collectors during John's production heyday (1980s) all seem to have one or two of his holders.

Showcase P-1801

I was not aware of any legal lawsuit that would have caused John to cease his production of his holders, but then again, I never asked. I will, however, ask some of our older RRCC members if they know the details of this lawsuit.

Also, as another testament to John. In 2008, the Red Rose Coin Club celebrated its 50th anniversary. The club has a tradition of issuing an updated printed history every 10 years, and we had been saving money the previous ten years to pay for the 50-year history. The only problem is that we couldn't find anyone to write it. As I was president of the club in 2008, I repeatedly asked for a volunteer to no avail. Finally, John came to me, and said he would write the history. Not only did he write it, but he also designed and typeset it using his computer.

John spent the last few years working on this project. At our club's most recent annual banquet, held on November 17th, John was in attendance with his granddaughter, Jessica Miller. She quietly mentioned to a couple of our members (Sam Nolt and John Long) that John's prognosis was not good, and if there was any way they could finish up the booklet in the next two weeks, it would be greatly appreciated. John Long went to the printer, explained the situation, and the printer produced three copies, one of which was presented to John Eshbach the following week.

I visited John the day after Thanksgiving, and he showed me his copy of the Red Rose Coin Club's 50-Year History. He didn't say anything about it, which was not unusual for him, but I could tell he was proud of the finished product.

The Red Rose Coin Club of Lancaster, PA is the host club of the 2012 ANA World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia next August 7-11, and I am the Host Club Chairman. If it were not for John Eshbach's influence and guidance, I doubt that our club would be the host club, nor would I be the chairman. Hopefully, we can help the ANA produce another blockbuster convention, and honor the memory of the quiet, distinguished ex Marine from Lancaster, Pennsylvania that lived the Corp's motto until the very end: Semper Fidelis -- "Always faithful."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: READER THOUGHTS ON JOHN ESHBACH (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster