Other than working on The E-Sylum, I didn't do much numismatically this week until Saturday, when I visited the Virginia Numismatic Association show in Fredericksburg, VA. I arrived
about 12:30 Saturday. I wasn't sure if I was at a coin show or a dog show - the Fredericksburg Expo & Convention Center was running both, and the lobby was full of people and pets.
I registered for the show with Doug Harms at the front table and made my way to the back of the hall where I met VNA Education Director John Phillips. He was preparing to host their 1pm Boy Scouts
Coin Collecting Merit Badge program. Later I went back up to the front and signed up as a VNA member, meeting VNA webmaster Judy Merz in the process.
VNA board member Billy Hoovler.
My Nummis Nova buddy Jon Radel was there as well, helping to get kids registered and explaining some of the coins to kids and their parents.
I next wandered the bourse a bit, speaking with Karin and Wayne Herndon, and Bob Hurst and his wife. I was surprised to see a Florida dealer this far north, but they have done the show in the
past. Luckily their home was unharmed by all the recent weather events in that state.
Bob Hurst and his stock of ancient coins
John Phillips kindly lent me the key to his room at the Hampton Inn, and I went over there to set up my computer and work a while on The E-Sylum. I'd spent time each night this week
preparing a presentation for my talk at the evening's VNA banquet, and was glad to have a block of time to catch up.
The banquet began at 7pm over in the Hilton Garden Inn just across the way. In attendance were Nummis Nova members Tom Kays and Jon Radel. I got to meet a number of the VNA officers and
Paying It Forward I'd been asked to touch on my work on The E-Sylum and the Newman Numismatic Portal, but was free to discuss related topics. My theme was "Paying it
When I thought about the longer arc of my numismatic career I realized that so much of what I do involves paying back to the hobby the kindnesses I was afforded by my numismatic mentors. Had it
not been for their support and encouragement I doubt I would ever have become so involved in the hobby. And today I struggle to think what my numismatic experience would be without it. I might have
simply left the hobby like so many others who lost interest for one reason or another.
Like so many other collectors my age, I began by pushing Lincoln cents into Whitman folders. I discovered foreign coins through a gift from my step grandfather. I found coins through circulation
and searched rolls and the tills of friendly local shopkeepers.
I grew up in Pittsburgh and enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh. One day the local newspaper carried a story about the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh's planned deacquisition of its coin
collection. I had never known it had one. I knew nothing of local clubs or even publications like Coin World.
Interviewed in the article was Glenn Mooney, a Westinghouse engineer and a part-time curator of the now-closing collection. I picked up the phone book and looked up his phone number. I called and
told him of my interest in coins. I was a complete stranger to him, but he invited me to his home to talk.
So it was that I drove over to meet the man who would become my primary numismatic mentor. Here I am with him when the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society celebrated its 75th year of American
Numismatic Association membership at the Pittsburgh ANA convention in 1989. I'll show this picture to me kids to prove that yes, I once was skinny.
WPNS members Glenn Mooney, Wayne Homren, Armor Murdoch, Larry Korchnak
Photo courtesy Pat McBride
Glenn introduced me to WPNS, and their members introduced me to even more numismatic topics, including siege coins and counterstamps. I ended up holding every office in the club and writing a
history of the organization from 1878 through 1889.
Through the University of Pittsburgh coin club I met John Burns. who introduced me to the world of numismatic literature. John introduced me to Armand Champa, and through Armand I met a who's
who of U.S. numismatic luminaries who all became mentors and role models in various ways. In the years to come I would regularly consult or meet with the likes of Jules Reiver, John J. Ford Jr. and
Eric P. Newman.
As an NBS member I'd also gotten to know luminaries in the numismatic literature and research fields, including all the literature dealers (including George Kolbe, Ken Lowe, Myron Xenos, Frank
Katen, John Bergman) and writers like Jack Collins and John W. Adams.
I've been "paying it forward" ever since by giving back to the hobby in several ways. I helped start the Coins4Kids events at the PAN shows in Pittsburgh, and when I moved to
Virginia I started my club Nummis Nova and our kids events at the Annandale shows.
In 1998 I had started The E-Sylum, promoting the Numismatic Bibliomania Society and numismatics in general to what has become a worldwide audience. And my work with the Newman Numismatic
Portal has helped bring numismatic literature and research to a whole new level, preserving and making available millions of pages of great numismatic information to collectors and researchers around
I had no idea where my life would lead that day when I met Glenn Mooney. But I hope to provide a similar spark to a few numismatists of the future. All of us should work to find ways big and small
to pay those favors forward to the next generation.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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