The Winter 2015 issue of the Civil War Token Society Journal included several tributes to the late Evelyn Mishkin, a driving force behind
the publication of the 3rd edition of the club's U.S. Civil War Store Cards 1861-1865, research, editing, and graphics for the
still in-process sixth edition of Patriotic Civil War Tokens, and other activities. A dynamic and multi-talented lady who is missed and
dearly remembered, was honored with several tributes from CWTS members and officers. A few are republished here with permission. Many
thanks to David Gladfelter, Dave Bowers and Susan Trask for alerting me and making these tributes available in The E-Sylum -Editor
The Civil War Token Society lost a great asset in October. She entered our group quietly in December 2013. With no fanfare, a wonderful
sense of humor, and a creative talent that amazed us all, she began laying out SC3 with John Ostendorf. Before long she was forging lasting
friendships with many in the CWTS. What our general membership may not know is how instrumental she was in getting SC3 over the finish line, how she
contributed to the production of the CWTJournal (every edition since I took over as editor), and the 7 months of work she did with Mark
Glazer, Steve Hayden, Dave Bowers and me on the 6th Edition of Patriotic Civil War Tokens.
Evelyn was humble and somewhat shy about her talents. She had a way of bringing out the genius in her associates and was quick to give
them the credit that really was due her.
This past August in Chicago at the NLG awards, SC3 garnered the top award. Since she was not able to attend ANA, Evelyn made me promise
to share the outcome of the awards with her. So very late that evening I sent her a photo of John Ostendorf holding the plaque for their
publication. She texted how she was shedding tears of joy at John’s accolades. At the same time we were all toasting Evelyn’s beautiful
work. Little did any of us know at the time that she would only be with us for such a short while.
She left us with no more fanfare than when she entered. Graciously she asked to have her illness kept quiet as she believed she would
beat it. She knew she would be around to finish all her numismatic projects. Somehow I know she will be here with me to carry Patriotic 6th
Edition over the finish line. That’s just the kind of friend she is.
If prompted I could write a book about Evelyn. She lived in Santa Barbara, California, and I lived in Beverly Hills, two hours away. We
became close friends and confidants, sharing our concerns with each other, often by late-night telephone calls that lasted an hour or two.
Her maiden name had been Evelyn Rose Castino, and she sought to get an ERC license plate. Sorry, but that was taken. “Why don’t you make it
a bit French, as ERCQUE,” I suggested. She did. And I called her that for the rest of her life unless others were around, at which time she
Fast forward to a few years ago. She was a skilled writer and editor, and, as it turned out researcher and graphic artist. She was
looking for a new horizon for her talents. At any given time I am usually immersed in researching several books and finalizing one or two.
“I have just the project for you!” I exclaimed. I was finishing A Guide Book of Disc Music Boxes, a comprehensive (600 to 800 pages)
study of this field, which at the turn of the 20th century was a prominent worldwide industry. I put her in touch with Terry Smythe of the
Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors Association (AMICA), the intended publisher. She jumped in to work with Terry and also to help me
with esoteric research, such as visiting the factory building that once housed the Symphonion Music Box Company and reporting what she
learned. I was impressed!
Stack’s Bowers Galleries was working on various books that also involved research and editing, including one on Liberty Head double
eagles 1850-1907 and two on the D. Brent Pogue Collection, not to overlook some work on auction catalogs from our Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
office. I put her in touch with Christine Karstedt who was organizing multiple projects. Chris and Evelyn became close friends.
Wait, there’s more!
At the Civil War Token Society John Ostendorf was at the end of five or six years’ of research for United States Civil War Store
Cards, third edition (the second edition was ancient, having been published in 1975). Evelyn jumped in with Susan Trask, who was
supervising much of the scheduling, and with John. Within a year the book, illustrated with thousands of pictures and 664 pages in length,
was a reality! Then came the next project: Patriotic Civil War Tokens, sixth edition. Susan rounded up pictures and information, and
Evelyn did the editing and graphics. As of early August this year it was perhaps half finished. Then came Evelyn’s surprise diagnosis of
sarcoma. Nine weeks later she was no longer with us.
We all cried. Not often in life does someone pass away and leave such a group of close friends and associates who loved her dearly and a
family that did likewise. Her memory will live on—in the books she has done, in the hearts of her friends, and, tangibly in the present
memorial edition of the Civil War Token Journal. Thank you, Evelyn, for having passed our way and enriching our lives.
Evelyn was a true joy to work with. She was so talented and smart. When you look at how beautiful SC3 turned out, it was due to her
talents. It's hard to believe she wasn't a numismatist because she anticipated what a numismatist would want when laying out the
book. Her attention to detail was amazing, but what I will miss most was her sense of humor. Laying out a book like SC3 can be a long and
tedious process. Evelyn kept it light and would occasionally throw me an intentional "goofball" error just to make sure I was
paying attention and to give us both a much needed laugh. I will always look back at our work together fondly and I will always think of
Evelyn whenever I look at SC3 and how beautifully it turned out thanks to her talents. I already miss you Evelyn.
By the time I finally met Evelyn in person in May 2013, she was something of a numismatic celebrity. She and her daughter Shaina
accompanied me and Dave on a research trip to the Philadelphia Mint and then to Washington to meet with various Treasury and Smithsonian
officials and to tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Ostensibly Evelyn’s roles would be as note-taker and as backup photographer
(with Shaina our main photographer). Of course she brought so much more to the undertaking. That’s what you always got with Evelyn.
In Philadelphia we were meeting with Mint officers, production managers, line workers, and artists, studying processes, observing new
technology, and generally absorbing huge amounts of information. It was the same in Washington. And Evelyn was right in the thick of it:
asking very savvy questions; taking incredibly detailed notes; offering fresh and unique insights. Our “note-taker” was a crucial member of
Beyond the professional side of our trip, Evelyn was just fun to travel with. That four-day jaunt was filled with as much laughter, good
conversation, and all-around camaraderie as you could imagine. After the trip our emails and phone calls continued as we both worked on the
Token and Medal Society shell-card book and other projects. Every once in a while, out of the blue, Evelyn would make an inside joke from
Philly or D.C.—usually involving either “hokey ice cream” or the phrase “retired admiral”—you had to be there!—and it would give me a
May 15, 2013: Dennis Tucker, Shaina Mishkin, and Dave Bowers
with the belle of the ball, Evelyn Mishkin (relaxing on a
$41 million couch of new $100 bills at the BEP).
Dave Bowers adds:
I think it is accurate to say that in the entire history of numismatics no single issue of any publication has ever devoted so much
space to fond tributes of a key person who passed away. Remarkable!
For more information on the Store Card book, see:
U.S. Civil War Store Cards 1861-1865
For more information on the Civil War Token Society, or to order the book, see:
THE BOOK BAZARRE
LOST AND FOUND COIN HOARDS AND TREASURES!
Q. David Bowers reveals the stories of thousands of buried, hoarded, forgotten,
lost, and rediscovered coins. This richly illustrated 480-page volume will immerse you in the wonderful world of hidden numismatic
treasures. Hardcover, full color. Get your copy today for $39.95 at Whitman.com
Wayne Homren, Editor
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