The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 10, March 8, 2015, Article 11


At my request, new subscriber John Humphris provided this summary of his numismatic interests and experience. Thanks! -Editor

Here is an outline of my numismatic experience. I lived in Birmingham, England until 1966 when I emigrated to Canada after being invited to join a numismatic company called 'Collectors Research' owned by Dr. Kenneth Gaver near Montréal. In 1970 I was asked to join the 'World Wide Coin Company' in Montréal, which imported coins wholesale from all over the world and exported them to mostly wholesale dealers in many countries. Here I became vice-president and traveled to several countries on business including India.

My wife, Margaret and I first met the Katens in 1966 when they visited Collectors Research in Montréal, and we visited them a few times in Silver Spring. I bid on many books over the years in their auctions. Right at my side is a collection of U. S. Mint Reports from 1888 to 1923 on which I successfully bid. I did not want them for information on U. S. coins, but for the detailed history of foreign coins that they contain.

In 1974 Oliver Amos, the owner of Amos Press, asked my wife and I to report on the Canadian Numismatic Society Convention in Hamilton, Ontario. I sent him our report, and soon after he asked us to join Amos Press and began proceedings for us to immigrate. Fortunately the U.S. consul in Montréal was also a member of the Montréal Numismatic Society of which I was president, and he facilitated the immigration proceedings which took 15 months instead of the usual two years. My wife was secretary of Montréal Numismatic Society and president of Lakeshore Coin Club, a western suburb of Montréal.

The U.S. consul was none other than Harrington Manville. We used to meet him at the U. S. Consulate with Jerome Remick for coin research meetings 1973-1975. We were sorry to read about his death in The E-Sylum. He was an old friend of ours but we had been out of touch for some years. He was in the U.S. diplomatic corps as mentioned in his obituary, but he was also in other government services.

We were at a show in Silver Spring and we went into Washington to meet him. He wanted to show us certain things, but after a while he told us that he had to leave us and we could not follow him. I suspect that he was called to one of those intelligence service offices. He was interested in me because I can read Anglo-Saxon and its special script, and Middle English and its various scripts, to aid him in researching the origin of English coinage and its weights.

We arrived in Sidney, Ohio in 1975 where I was assistant editor of World Coins magazine for which I had written articles over the past years. My wife became the coin society writer for societies all over the U.S.A. for Coin World newspaper. In 1976 Courtney Coffing, the editor of World Coins left Amos Press to join Krause Publications like Russ Rulau before him, and John Amos decided to terminate the magazine. We were in contact with Russ Rulau since 1964. For a time I worked for Coin World under Margo Russell, then we left Amos Press, but I continued to write monthly articles for Coin World from home. My wife and I still attend bimonthly meetings of the Amos Press Retirees Club.

Margaret and I were contributors to the first edition of Coin World Almanac in 1976. I wrote about everything to do with foreign (non-U.S.) coins and paper money for the Almanac, and Margaret compiled and wrote about U.S. and international coin club meetings and addresses. Margaret researches world coins for the history and geography they depict.

We became full-time foreign coin and paper money dealers from 1978, traveling all over the U.S.A,, Canada, and the U.K. until we were robbed of our stock in New Jersey in 1987. Before this I started to contribute information to Colin Bruce for the Krause Publication's Standard Catalogs of World Coins and Standard Catalogs of World Paper Money mostly on the weights, finenesses of the coins, and translations of these items, until 1997.

I collected my first coin in 1949, an Anglo-Saxon silver penny, and I expanded the collection to all British coins, then foreign coins and paper money. I began to write about numismatics in 1967 with my first booklet published by 'Collectors Research' on The Currency of Iraq, followed by another booklet It's Fun to Collect Foreign Coins. I began to write for World Coins magazine in about 1972, and Coin World from 1976 to 1987. I have had several hundred articles published in magazines and newspapers, and in Numismatics International, International Bank Note Society, Banknote Reporter, Numismatic Scrapbook, and Whitman Numismatic Journal, for which I have received awards. I am a life-member of the Numismatic Literary Guild which I joined on August 1, 1976 on the recommendation of Ray Byrne.

I have co-authored three books on foreign paper money with Masahiro Tomita, published in Japanese. I translate texts on foreign bank notes for him, and explain the story of the illustrations on the notes, which he publishes. The latest story I did for him was translating some current Armenian notes and explaining the saints on them. I can type and translate over 100 languages, and my formal education was in metallurgy, printing, and graphic design.

I have compiled a research library on European, Islamic, and Asian numismatics since around 1964. I have hundreds of books on international numismatics, finances, history of countries, historical geography, atlases (including one huge one with wooden covers from 1878, hand-colored), militaria, flags, heraldry, and about seventy languages.

I specialize in translating the coins and banknotes of countries using the Arabic and Cyrillic scripts, and the countries of the former U.S.S.R. I did some translations of notes and coins, mostly Islamic, for Dr. Clain-Stefanelli in the Smithsonian Institution; and for coins and paper money of Xinjiang for Marion Archibald in the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England in the early 1960's . We were founder members of Birmingham Numismatic Society, England, in 1964.

I have given several lectures to societies, and a special presentation in 1987 to Thomas Ferguson, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, talking about and illustrating by examples the security features used in foreign bank notes, such as watermarks (used in British banknotes since the 1690's), metal strips embedded in the paper (used in British notes since World War II), metallic inks using rare minerals, metallic color-shifting inks, etc. - all of which were not used in U.S. banknotes at that time, and all have since been adopted, except for using polymer instead of paper.

What a fascinating numismatic career! I often say that our collective intelligence as E-Sylum readers goes up a point with every new subscriber. I think we've bumped up more than a couple notches with John and Margaret. We'll look forward to tapping their expertise in future issues. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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