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Numismatics' Most Intriguing People
By Numismatic News
October 10, 2007


The editors of Numismatic News interviewed some of the world's most intriguing numismatists to celebrate their 55th anniversary edition. Here are their complete responses.

Julian M. Leidman
Julian M. Leidman, Inc
Bonanza Coins


How did you get started in the hobby?
My mother got me started in 1957 as a way to get me interested in something other than TV. We tried stamps first, but I didn't have any real interest and then she showed me some coins that her father, for whom I am named, had given her.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I have become more active in my synagogue as I have gracefully aged and am now singing in the choir. From time to time I even participate in karaoke. I have always enjoyed numbers and consider myself an amateur handicapper of situations whose outcomes are based on chance of success.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
I purchased the Indian Double Eagle, formerly listed as J-1776 (but it will always be J-1776 to me) in 1979. Given the opportunity and no price constraints, I would love to own it again. Being a numismatic dealer, primarily dealing in American coinage, I have avoided competing with my clients for coins that belong in their collections, so my philosophy has always been that anything that I own is for sale, at any time!

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
As I was finishing my high school education, having just moved to Maryland, I met Albert L. Bonan and his father, Al. They were probably the most influential on my early dealing habits and ethics. I officed in their store for over 25 years and when Albert decided to retire in 1991, I took over Bonanza and operate it today. I have been fortunate to have known and enjoyed many, many other professionals, too numerous to mention, since the middle 1960s.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Find a series that you would most enjoy collecting. You will need to look at some books and examine many different kinds of numismatic items, but finding that special series is critical, because a collector's enthusiasm is the most important part of any collection.



Derek Pobjoy
Pobjoy Mint Ltd Chairman


Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
• I was apprenticed to the diamond trade.
• I served with the Royal Marine Commados in Egypt and Cyprus.
• I studied art and sculpture at the London School of Arts & Crafts.
• I have raced power boats offshore and took the following titles: World Speed Record, Lake Windermere CEII Offshore; Harmsworth Trophy; 1st European Champion; 1st Commonwealth Champion; 4th in World Championship.
• I have produced many "first" coins: first mass produced Platinum Bullion coin the 'NOBLE' for the Isle of Man government; first £1 coin in Virenium; first edge-lettered 50p coin; first Gold Angel Bullion coin for the Isle of Man.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
The coin I would buy is the original Angel coin. This coin was originally produced in medieval times and first struck in France in 1341 and adopted by England during the reign of King Edward IV. King Henry VIII adopted the Angel as a gift to present to his favoured courtiers on special state occasions. This, and the image of Archangel Michael casting out the demon in the form of a dragon, was to gain the Gold Angel the reputation as a charm thought to possess magical powers.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection what would it be?
The coin I would select would be the first EURO. It symbolises the beginning of a united Europe. It is issued by the central Banks and can always be exchanged for goods if necessary.



< Christine Karstedt
Stack's President


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
I met Dave Bowers in 1984 in Wolfeboro, N.H., when the relatively new firm formed by Q. David Bowers and Raymond N. Merena was growing by leaps and bounds. My daughter Melissa and Dave's son Andrew went to school together, leading to our acquaintance (now Melissa and Andrew are both part of the Stack's staff!). I started with Dave on the auction side of the business with the very basic tasks of processing bid sheets, working on site at auctions, and assisting Dave in the cataloging and processing of consignments for the auctions. ... I then went on to help with marketing, publications, customer relations and management.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
My formal education was in the science fields and my first formal job after graduating college was teaching freshman chemistry and physics. In teaching, you enthusiastically share information with your students and peers and work closely with them. I think this prepared me for much of the customer relations work I do today. Working with consignors, bidders and the people in the hobby is something I truly enjoy.

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years?
Without a doubt, working with Dave Bowers on the S.S. Central America treasure, in harness with Dwight Manley, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A California Gold Rush History, featuring the treasure from the S.S. Central America, written by Dave and published by the California Gold Marketing Group, stands alone as a masterpiece of literature, history, numismatics and graphic arts.



Edmund C. Moy
Director, United States Mint


What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Collect what you love. Your collection should be an extension of your personality and interests, not someone else's idea of what you should have.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
The college fraternity I joined was the same one that Ronald Reagan became a member of ... Tau Kappa Epsilon.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
The 1907 double eagle High Relief experimental proof – because it was the double eagle the way it was meant to be.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection what would it be?
Presidential $1 coins, because you'll learn about history, be helping the taxpayer and have 10 years of coins to look forward to.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
My parents, who taught me the value of hard work and education. Ed Edwards, the former president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, who taught me how to be an executive with integrity.
Clay Johnson, former Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel, who took focus and results to the next level.
And President George W. Bush, for nominating me to become the Director of the United States Mint.



David Hall
Professional Coin Grading Service founder


What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Look a lot and buy little. Read books on coins. Go to coin shows and look at all the coins. Go to auction lot viewing and then go to the auction. Look, listen and learn ... before you leap and actually spend your money.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your success.
I had three friends who made a big impact on me: Hugh Sconyers, Allen Harriman and Bob Blaugrund. And a marketing guru, Jay Abraham. And I have had one business partner, Van Simmons, for the past 27 years.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
The 1907 High Relief $20 Saint-Gaudens Indian Head pattern, former Judd-1776. It's gorgeous, super important and very valuable.

What is the best business decision you¹ve ever made, and why?
Starting PCGS! It changed the coin market forever. Second place, launching the Set Registry concept.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be?
Super limited budget ... a statehood quarter, or Presidential dollar.
Limited budget ... a Buffalo nickel, or Indian penny, or Walking Liberty half dollar.
Bigger spender ... gold is where the action is and the first coin everyone should have is a nice high-grade $20 Saint-Gaudens.



Alan Herbert
Contributing Editor, Krause Publications
Former ANA Governor


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
I was a county chairman for the March of Dimes in 1963. Two collectors approached me to "buy" the coins that came in the canisters. They picked out a number of Mercury dimes and a few larger silver coins. This aroused my curiosity and the next year I went through the coins, which included 13 silver dollars. I began seriously looking through coins, often several hundred dollars a week.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
A 1975 No "S" proof Roosevelt dime, as there are only two known.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
I had a successful career in radio when I started answering mail from Krause readers. When it got to the point that I was spending eight hours a day on radio and eight on coins, one had to go, so I retired from radio in 1973.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
In 1976 I had the opportunity to participate in the World Mint Director's Conference, the first journalist they had allowed in. I was fascinated by the technical discussions and papers that were presented, as well as the chance to meet the mint directors. Most of them were clearly puzzled as to why my readers would be interested in what they were doing.



Steve Contursi
President, Rare Coin Wholesalers


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
As a child growing up in Bronx, N.Y., during the 1950s, going through spare change and cashing in paper bills for rolls of pennies to search through was a delightful source of entertainment.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
Most people in the industry don't realize that I am a very active father of five children ages from 11 to 27. Over the past 20 years I coached all of them in soccer and/or baseball and/or softball. Coaching kids over the years fills a void in your soul that a successful business sometimes misses.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
The one coin I would like to own that only the Smithsonian has, and they have two, is the double thick, half the diameter Ultra High Relief $20 Saint-Gaudens.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
I found just as much enjoyment looking for better-date Lincoln pennies in the early days as I do today seeking out ultra rarities. Basically, collect a coin that you have interest in because of its ... design, metallic content, historical significance or rarity, etc. Once you decide on a particular series, try to put together the most uniform collection possible.



Fred Schwan
CEO, BNR Press


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
This is the easiest question of the group. I started collecting Lincoln cents as a sibling rivalry with my brother.

What would you select the first note for someone to begin a collection with? Why?
This is another easy question. It is also my absolutely favorite note. The two-franc Allied military note was prepared for and issued for the Allied invasion of France - D-Day.
This is an unbelievably common note. I believe that it is found in more collections than any other note in the world. How can this be? This diminutive note fit nicely in an envelope and was sent home by many thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen as a tangible souvenir of what they had done. ... When I hold the note (especially a circulated example), I can all but feel the Normandy sand.

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years.
Without question the most important thing ever done to promote numismatics was the founding of Numismatic News. It is hard to imagine now life without a weekly numismatic publication, but that was an amazing concept 55 years ago. It required vision, inspiration, dedication and possibly a little luck to make it happen. Our collecting lives are richer for that
If we limit the question to the past 54 years, the question is somewhat more difficult. ... The birth of third-party grading services might qualify and it certainly has been important. ... A subprogram of the American Numismatic Association might quality best for a program in the past 54 years. That is the annual summer seminar. ... Put it on your list of things to do before you die!



Helen Wallace
R.W. Wallace Stamp & Coin


What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
Central States in Chicago. It was my first big show and first time in Chicago. This show had all the elements, rub shoulders with the name dealers, see fantastic coins, sold and made big purchases, hotel burglary, had my life put at risk, had my honesty questioned by local law enforcement, fended off job proposals and a few propositions. This happened in the mid-'60s when females were not easily accepted as coin dealers. Dealers who knew and respected me would walk by with the statement, "Give 'em hell, Helen!" Yep, that's the old days.



Q. David Bowers
Whitman Publishing, Numismatic Director, Stack's Partner


If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
Having professionally handled just about every date and mintmark in United States coins, as well as colonial issues, this is a tough question. Not considering the value, a prime favorite would be the 1652 Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling, the first variety attributed as Noe-1, not a great rarity, and available from a few thousand dollars up to the $10,000 range, or for a particularly exceptional specimen, above that. This is a coin of history, story, and legend - with so much romance that if prompted I could certainly write a multiple page article on it and still leave much unsaid. Another favorite is the 1785 Vermont copper of the "landscape" style, again surrounded by immense history.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
As a college student at Pennsylvania State University in the late 1950s, when professional numismatics was a very small field, and when I was doing fairly well in school (earning, for example, the General Electric Award for Mathematics in my freshman year, out of 3,000 eligible students), I decided that while civil engineering might be interesting, being a rare coin dealer would be even more so. The decision was made, and I switched into the College of Business Administration at Penn State (later, in 1976, getting their Alumni Achievement Award).

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I have never worked a day in my life. I have fun with 99% of what I do.



Mary Counts
Whitman Publishing, President


What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
I always look to the future so I don't think our best decision has been realized. Also, we work as a team so it would not be an individual's best decision - it takes everyone to build a successful organization! Although it wasn't a deliberate decision in a way, as I was already involved with the Anderson companies, perhaps the Anderson family's decision to buy Whitman Publishing a few years ago was the best business decision that someone else has made, but from which I derive a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
Funny question. I am really from New York and have a fake accent …. just kidding. I am an avid sports fan, especially college sports. University of Alabama is my team; however, I am sure most everyone who has met me knows this already. Truth is that I am very competitive so I can be either really happy or in a "not so good" mood on a game day Saturday, which just happens to fall on the upcoming Whitman Atlanta or Baltimore winter show! By the way, I'm from Alabama and am only transplanted to Atlanta, Georgia. Happily, the Alabama state line is not far away.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the numismatics hobby?
I have to steal a line from Q. David Bowers, "Read the book first." There is so much more joy in numismatics than just the value of a coin. It involves history, art, grade and personal appeal. I would also say find an area with numismatics where you are passionate and stay the course.



Dietmar Spranz
Austrian Mint
President and Master


What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Every coin tells a story - look at the stories behind the coins.

If you could select the coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be?
For modern numismatics: The U.S. Mint's 50 State Quarters Program. For historical numismatics: A Maria Theresa Taler or another one out of the great variety of Taler coins (the first of which was the Guldiner, struck 1486 in Hall in Tirol, Austria). Taler strikes are the roots of many currencies (among them, the U.S. dollar).

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
One of the Austrian 1,000-ounce gold bullion coins, "Wiener Philharmoniker." A solid investment in pure gold with a high numismatic value because of a mintage of just 15 pieces. And you mentioned: Money is not an issue.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
In 1988 I supported the minority of decision makers at the Austrian Central Bank who were in favor of purchasing the former State Mint. It soon became a success story!

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years?
The U.S. Mint's 50 State Quarters Program.



R.W. Julian
Numismatic author, researcher


Behind every successful person ... tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
In 1951 after my return to Indiana, I became acquainted with an old friend of my father's, Samuel M. Upton, who had been a dealer for many years and had known a fair number of the numismatic greats of the past including, for example, Max Mehl. His stories were fascinating and he encouraged me to learn as much as possible about coins.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I am interested in both Russian and U.S. numismatics, and those who know me in one area are usually unaware of the other side.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
Perhaps the best memories are from the ANA show at Cleveland in 1964. I was able to meet many of the luminaries in the hobby, especially those doing writing or research.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
In my case it would probably be the 1792 half disme because of it great historical interest to U.S. numismatics.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
I think that I would ask family members to find an old coin with sentimental value.



David L. Ganz
Ganz & Hollinger, PC, Attorneys


In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years.
No question: the Statue of Libery coin program (1985). I was a consultant and worked on the legislation and argued susccessfully for the copper nickel half dollar. I bet Steve Brigandi, the executive director of Statue of Liberty restoration, it would raise more money and sell more coins with a low-cost commemorative. ... Second: the state quarter program, of which I am a founding father along with former Mint director Philip Diehl and Congressman Michael Castle, R-Del.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
Three come to mind. First was Auction '79, a consortium run by Stack's, Paramount, RARCOA and Superior - because it was the first of its kind, and I was their lawyer.
Second was the 1982 auction by Bowers & Merena of the U.S. Gold Coin Collection, because I looked at the pedigrees and correctly guessed in print that the unnamed collector who assembled it was Louis Eliasberg. The third one was the record-breaking sale of the 1933 $20 gold piece about which I had written a great deal.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
I always thought the 1943 copper cent was a neat coin with a tale to tell. I attended an auction and bid on one, once, but dropped out long before it sold. Got a couple of bids in, though.



John and Nancy Wilson
ANA National Volunteers


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
We were married in 1968 and shortly thereafter John became interested in the numismatic hobby. I, Nancy, became involved in collecting as a youngster in Milwaukee, Wis.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
This would have to be the 1991 ANA World's Fair of Money held in Rosemont, Ill. This was an unbelievable event that had the most important numismatic exhibits probably ever displayed. Almost every mint or bureau was in attendance along with probably 90 percent of all the major dealers in the country. John was the general chairman for this show, and Nancy was serving as an ANA governor.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
We would suggest to new collectors that they join a local coin club and become interested in one area of the hobby. They should buy the book before the numismatic item(s) they are interested in and purchase the highest grade they can afford - as opposed to buying several lower grade numismatic items.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
Purchasing the George Wait Santa Claus collection (notes and die proof vignettes of Santa) from Len Glazer in the late 1980s. This gave us a very good start in collecting the series. Today we have a complete type set of the issued Santa Claus notes by die proof vignettes. To our knowledge this is the only complete type set in existence that includes the die proof vignettes.



Leon Hendrickson
Silver Towne L.P.


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
I started in 1949, buying and selling coins in a restaurant.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Collect the best grade of coins you can afford. Read, study and enjoy the hobby.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
Lincoln cents 1909 and up.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
An 1804 Dexter silver dollar because I owned it one time, from 1985 to 1989.

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years.
Silver Certificate days: 1980 silver and gold buying when markets hit $800 plus on gold.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success?
John Dowd, Harlan White, John Love, my family plus many hundreds of others.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
To collect coins. Then buying and selling coins full time.



Arthur Friedberg
Coin & Currency Institute


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
It was quite simple, actually. Perhaps more to get me out of the house and concurrently out of my mother's hair, beginning at about the age of 4, my father would take me into work with him on Saturdays. The immediate reward was neither the glory of seeing all these gleaming coins nor the possibility of a paycheck, but the promise of a restaurant dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. It was then that I first learned to sort coins. I often ended up on the lap of Norman Jacobs, who worked for us before he began his academic career, where I learned how to sort coins. I fast became really good at Lincoln cents, and one of my first questions was why there seemed to be fewer with the "S" on them.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
There is life outside of numismatics. I try not to take it home with me.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
My first ANA convention: The Fontenelle Hotel, Omaha, Neb., 1955. It was also the first time I was on an airplane and the first time I ever saw a movie in a theater (it was Mr. Roberts). I was too little to remember much else except for a whole lot of tables in a big room. But it must have made an impression on me because I remember it vividly.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
Any silver denarius of ancient Rome. The emperor doesn't matter. If you abide by the premise that coin collecting is, at its essence, "holding history in your hands," then there is no coin more representative of the role of coinage in history – for its use as a means of trade and commerce, for its precious metal content and its eventual debasement and consequential extinction, for its use by the emperors as one of their foremost instruments of propaganda.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
The silver decadrachm of Athens. Both for its beauty and its historical symbolism.



Wayne G. Sayles
Sayles and Lavender
Ancient Coin Collectors Guild


Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
My first exposure to the publishing business was in 1986 when I landed a job working at a weekly newspaper in Lodi, Wis. for $5 per hour. Within six months I was publishing The Celator on a kitchen table at home.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
An Alexander Poros decadrachm. Because to me it is the most impressive representation of an historical event in the field of ancient coinage.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
Easy question. The first session of the Sotheby's sale of the Nelson Bunker Hunt coins in New York (1990) was a mind numbing tour de force of marketing, presentation and orchestration. It set the bar for all who followed and in my opinion none have challenged that mark since.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
Warren G. Moon, professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin taught me to understand and appreciate ancient coins as works of art. In retrospect, what I learned from him has served me well almost every day of my professional career.



Harry Miller
Miller's Mints


How did you get started in the hobby?
It was 1957 at the age of 9. I was a stamp collector because my older brother was and gave me some of his duplicates. My friend collected coins in those old 19-cent Whitman folders and I would look through my father's pocket change when he came home from work in New York City.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Read about coins and go to some shows and look at as many coins as possible to get a feel for what they really look like. Paying special attention to the strike variations and surface characteristics.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I collect counterfeit coins. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1969 to 1974 and I am an avid yachtsman since childhood when I worked in commercial shell fishing as a teenager.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection what would it be?
Indian head pennies, because they are interesting and relatively easy to collect with a complete set being within reach of the average person.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
A high Grade proof Gobrect dollar, because they are fascinating and beautifully designed with a traditional liberty seated obverse and a majestic flying eagle reverse surrounded by stars.



Robert Brueggeman
Professional Numismatists Guild, Executive Director and
Positive Protection President


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
I began providing security for some local New York City conventions in the early '70s while working as the general manager for a New York City security firm, and did my first ANA convention in 1976 at the old Americana Hotel.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Today, as executive director of the Professional Numismatists Guild, I would recommend that anyone just starting out peruse our Web site at www.pngdealers.com to find a member in their locale, and work with them to gain direction in the hobby.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
Trading a career in mechanical engineering, where I was building missiles, bombs and other various weapons of destruction, for a career in the numismatic security industry is the best business decision I've made. This decision has brought me to where I am today with offices in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New York and Texas.

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years?
When Bowers and Merena, owned at that time by Collector's Universe, in conjunction with the ANA, at the Baltimore convention in 2003, offered a $1,000,000 reward for the Walton specimen 1913 nickel, and it turned up.



Steve Deeds
Bowers and Merena Auctions


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
My mother wanted me to have a hobby when I was a child so she sent away for a little book about coin collecting for me. I started to buy coins with my allowance every week or whenever I could, and I was hooked. I became a dealer in 1964 when I was just 17. I managed a local coin shop in Inglewood and I also ran my own mail order business and attended all the coin shows I could, all while I was finishing high school. So, I've been in the business professionally for about 43 years, the past four years with Bowers and Merena.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
I really love the 1802 Half Dime - I just think it's a really cool coin! If money were no object, I would buy the best one available, which is very hard to find in a decent grade. I don't know that a really nice specimen has been around for a while, and even problem ones only show up once or twice a year. It's one of those coins that everybody wants, and it's not like they're making any more of them.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
I have always considered myself very fortunate to be successful in a career doing something that started as a hobby and that I have truly enjoyed doing for most of my life.
But the major industry influence for me was Kevin Lipton, who was my business partner in the mid-1980s. Before that, I just kind of learned a lot on my own, having fun buying and selling coins, working in New York, working on the Redfield deal and the like. Partnering with Kevin really helped to focus my career and my professional knowledge.



Bret Evans
Canadian Coin News


If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection, what would it be?
I'd probably go with a really nice Victory nickel in tombac, one of the common ones. The colour is nice, and the design has enough detail and symbolism to be worth a long look. Then, when you discover that Tommy Shingles engraved the master die by hand, it's just that much more remarkable. A great design to start an interesting series, and easily affordable.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
I'd have to say the Ides of March denarius struck by Brutus. Here's a case of a coin that captures a moment in history. It wasn't just money, it was a political and personal statement about freedom. You could move up and build an expensive collection full of rarities, or try a type set without ever having to break out into a financial sweat.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I have a real fascination for Lallique Crystal. So far I only have a couple of small pieces and one Christmas ornament. Perhaps when the kids get bigger and the dogs get smaller I'll buy some more.

What is the most unique marketing program during the past 55 years?
The Canada 125 program of circulating commemorative coins issued in 1992. It was exciting from the beginning, and the coins caught the Canadian imagination right from the start. In January 1992 nobody thought the program would become as big as it was. By the end of summer it was a juggernaut. Directly or indirectly, I think it inspired the U.S. State Quarter program as well as the RCM's own 1999 and 2000 programs.

What is the most memorable industry event that you've attended?
I'd have to say the Jeffrey Hoare sale of Col. John MacRae's medals. It wasn't just that they sold for well above estimate, it was that the buyer was a immigrant to Canada, who just wanted to pay this country back for what he had. Especially since there was a real concern that they'd end up leaving the country. So it was a great story, and a patriotic moment. That doesn't happen a lot.



Mark Alan Harwell
Heritage Auctions


If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
For me it would be the 1907 Indian Head $10 Eagle rolled rim with periods. It is the most elusive of the series, I feel it is one of the best looking coins ever minted and the history associate with it makes it the top coin for me.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
In my career I have worked with a lot of great people who have had a huge impact on my business acumen, but the person who has had the most significant impact on my career has been my wife Beth. She has supported and helped me in every way and had been the perfect compliment to my Type A personality.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
At the company I was working for In 1994 I made a stand that we not invest in a BBS and instead get on the internet and adopt an e-commerce model of advertising and sales. We began selling online in March of 1995 and never looked back.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
Few people know that I was Texas State Skateboard Champion in 1978. It was for the down hill speed category. My specialty was free style skating which back then meant hand stands, 360s, head stands, and kick flips but I had injured my wrist and could not compete in that category.



Patricia 'Patti' Jagger Finner
ANA Vice President


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
Became a bookkeeper for Western Numismatics, Los Angeles, Calif., in 1980.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I raised lions, tigers, and pumas while working for Jungle Habitat in New Jersey.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
A proof set from their birth year, or the 50 state quarters. Reasonable prices (unless you're as old as I am) and availability.

Behind every successful person … tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
My mother - Kay Smith - who constantly reminded me that being a girl should not stop me from achieving anything I really wanted, especially in such a male-oriented business.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
Becoming a Boy Scout merit badge counselor and introducing and encouraging the next generation of numismatists. Raising the funds from a very responsive dealer community for the National Jamboree every four years.

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years.
Encapsulated coins by independent grading services, and eBay.



Russell Rulau
Author, researcher


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
In the summer of 1939, while I was still 12, I was working on my grand-aunt's turkey ranch in what was then Lakeside Township (it's now El Cajon) in California. Her name was Rose Hansen and she had cleared out her late husband's personal effects from his feed and grain mill, which she had just sold. ... She knew I was intelligent in school, so she gave them to me. Included were several coins.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - you've attended?
In June 1973 a group of 20 American numismatists visited the European and Asiatic parts of the Soviet Union. We dubbed ourselves The First Numismatic Study Tour of the Soviet Union, and the Franklin Mint struck a special 38mm silver medal to honor the event.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Don't buy any offerings of the U.S. Mint. Too many of these are grossly overpriced and can fall to price levels well below their initial cost. Never buy the offerings of foreign mints. Same reasons. "Never" as used means until you know precisely what you're doing. Collect from circulation. Best bet is the Jefferson nickel. It's been in circulation since 1938 and finds can be made. Collectors have had decades to cherrypick circulating cents.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
The 1950-D Jefferson nickel in BU condition. Get the "key" coin first.



Robert J. Leuver
Retired ANA Executive Director


Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
Hey, that is classified! Or, at least, it should be! I believe that life is passion. Whatever you do, involve yourself, do something because you enjoy it and believe in what you are doing. Be passionate about your life, whether it be marriage, family, career or hobbies. Passion will add a new dimension to your life and give you immense satisfaction.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
Thank God for the tenacity and foresight of David Ganz to get the U.S. Mint to begin the State Quarter Program. I would encourage any youngster to begin collecting State quarters and then branch out. The Whitman coin books are a great inducement. For someone older, you just have to tailor a program to someone's education and career.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
A U.S. coin that has a pedigree. Such a coin would have some collector value, but it would not have to be the most expensive coin. My fascination would be in the pedigree - who previously owned, how the coin traveled and what the coin represents.

What is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years?
The program that has done the most for numismatics in the past 55 years is the State Quarter Program. I have met so many people who have collected these coins for themselves or their grandchildren. Those who have collected the State quarters or the children led to numismatics by the program will quite possibly continue in the hobby. The State quarters program has been broad-based, relatively inexpensive and innately interesting.



John W. Mussell
Coin News, Medal News
Managing Editor


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
1960 as a collector of English pre-Decimal coinage. I became Editor of COIN & MEDAL NEWS in 1983 after many years in the stamp auction trade with H. R. Harmer Ltd, London.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
William Golding ("Lord of the Flies") was my school tutor for three years and gave me my interest in the written word.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
A nice coin of Hadrian, the Roman emperor who built the famous wall to keep the Picts and Scots at bay because it is English history encapsulated.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
Carol Hartman, who joined Token Publishing Ltd in 1990 and used her business acumen to professionalise the company.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
The original Hong Kong shows run by Richard Nelson of the Money Company (1986 etc.) - they were extravaganzas that have never been surpassed, both numismatically and socially.



Mark Salzberg
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation Chairman


How did you get started in the hobby?
My father traded $20 gold pieces on the black market after he got out of a concentration camp after the war, and I was always intrigued by that. One day, when I was 7 years old in Oyster Bay Long Island, a little girl gave me an Indian head penny. I came home and showed the coin to my father and he got me my first coin book. After that I couldn't get enough of coins. That was in 1969.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Find a mentor like I did in John Albanese. Not only will it help navigating the potential pitfalls of collecting, but it makes it much more fun.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I grew up on a farm.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be?
I think it would have to be a Morgan dollar in uncirculated condition. It is historical, interesting, and large. It's also one of the easier coins to learn to grade.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
I think it would be the Pogue example of the 1795 $10 gold piece in gem uncirculated condition. I simply love the coin for what it is. It's not the most valuable, but to me the most beautiful.



David Sear
Author


Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I became a professional numismatist at the early age of 16 having made a conscious decision to obtain practical knowledge and experience through exposure to the numismatic marketplace rather than obtaining academic qualifications through higher education.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
A superb example of Kimon's masterpiece, the facing head of Arethusa on a Syracusan tetradrachm of circa 410 B.C. It is of unsurpassed beauty and inspired many coin types of other mints in the following century. Writing in the early 20th century the famous classical numismatist Barclay V. Head stated "[this coin] is Kimon's masterpiece, and admittedly the finest representation of the facing human head on any coin."

If you could select the first coin or note for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
A Roman denarius of one of the better known second century emperors, such as Hadrian or Marcus Aurelius, as good quality specimens are still available at very reasonable prices.

How and when did you get started in the hobby?
My interest in ancient history dates back to a school visit to the Roman city of Verulamium (modern St. Albans in Hertfordshire, England) in 1953 when I was 11. ... I was caught up in the romance of the antiquities (including Roman coins) which I saw in the Verulamium Museum.



James Hughes
Associate Curator
National Numismatic Collection


Behind every successful person ... tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
The late Art Kagin once told me: "Jim, we don't collect coins, we collect stories." I treasure the moments I spent with Art and others over the years who have shared their stories and outlook on life.

What is the best business decision you¹ve ever made, and why?
When my job at the National Portrait Gallery ended in 1979, I applied for and got a job at the museum where I now work. That decision has enabled me to work with history and historical objects since then in numismatics and the history of technology at the Smithsonian.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I recently got married and most of my in-laws live in Colorado.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you¹ve attended, and why?
Bob Cochran invited me to the paper money show at Memphis in 1999. I gave a brief slide show on coins and currency at the Smithsonian, and outlined the planned collaborative efforts by Dr. Peter Huntoon and other volunteers he recruited to organize a massive collection of federal currency items. ... That paper money show in Memphis raised the profile for the project and encouraged a number of people to participate. It also underscored for me how much barbecue, music and fun numismatists can have when they gather.



Lee Minshull
Lee Minshull Rare Coins, Inc.


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
In 1968 my Dad gave me a blue coin folder and I was hooked. I went to my first coin show in 1971 and began advertising in local newspapers to buy coins by 1973, at the age of 13.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I love to scuba dive and I love to travel. I also collect maps and globes from the 17th and 18th centuries. One of my most prized possessions is a three-inch miniature pocket globe from the early 1800s that is labeled "Minshulls." Minshulls was a travel store in London during that period of time.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
An 1849 proof $20. I have specialized in $20 Liberties my entire career and I have always felt this would be the absolute coolest coin to own.

Behind every successful person … tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
My mother, Ruth Minshull, gave me the freedom and confidence to venture out in this industry at an early age. Next is Steve Ivy, who I began working for in 1978. He is one of the best businessmen in this industry. Steve allowed me the opportunity to run the wholesale division at Heritage for 11 years. During that time I learned the ins and outs of the largest coin business of all time. Third is Kevin Lipton. His consultation and support have been invaluable to me and he has been a great friend for over 30 years.



Barry Stuppler
ANA President


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
In 1960 I was 15 years old and selling screen doors for my father, door to door. I needed a break and stopped by a coin shop. The dealer talked me into buying 10 rolls of the new Philadelphia Mint pennies. Five months later I was working in the same area and stopped by the same coin store. The dealer offered me $10 a roll for the same rolls I had purchased at $1.25 - a 700 percent return on my investment in five months. I was hooked.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
Before making any major business or association decision, I ask myself, If this decision was published on the front page of a national publication would I be proud to share it with the numismatic community?

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
An uncirculated 1795 $5 or $10 Gold Small Eagle. The beauty and history is just amazing. After 47 years looking at coins, I still get chills holding these rarities.

What is the most compelling marketing or promotional program of the past 55 years?
Dwight Manley's marketing and promotional program for the SS Central America gold coins and bars. And, the creation of the PCGS and NGC collector registries. Both programs were brilliant, successful and provided insight into understanding numismatic collectors.



William H. Horton, Jr.
ANA Former President


How did you get started in the hobby?
Around 1970 when I walked into a coin shop and noticed a 1914 $20 Federal Reserve Note.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I love to go fishing in the ocean with a 15-foot boat and now that I'm off of the ANA board I will return to doing such after a four-year absence in the high seas.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
There are two, the Walking Liberty half dollars and the Saint-Gauden's $20 gold pieces.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection what would it be?
I would suggest for the beginner to focus on the 20th century coins which are obtainable in XF, AU and UNC.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Pick out what area you want to collect. Before you do anything, buy the book and study and learn. Visit show and auction to get an idea of what to look for when you purchase and item. Join a club in your area and join the ANA. As a member of the ANA , enroll in the summer seminars. It will be the best decision of your life and besides the knowledge that you leave with you will make friends that will last a life time.



Bill Fivaz
Numismatist


What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
The advice I'd give to a newcomer to the hobby is to "have fun!" That's what a hobby is supposed to be, and by doing your homework ahead of time and selecting two or three series that you enjoy and concentrating on those first, you'll start off on the right foot. Also, I'd caution beginning collectors NOT to buy coins from telemarketers, from ads on TV or from daily newspaper ads.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I'm going on 74 years of age next February and my wife, Marilyn, and I are the parents of a grandmother! We have a 3-year-old great-granddaughter, Ella, who lives here in the Atlanta area with our granddaughter and her husband. Talk about reality!

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
The best business decision I think I've ever made is not to worry so much about making money in this hobby as to enjoying it and helping others as much as I can. That, to me, is what it's all about.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
There are so many people who have impacted my collecting life that it would be difficult to select just one. My very good friend, Ken Bressett, has had as much of an influence on me as anyone. I admire and respect his knowledge, love for the hobby and his willingness to share that knowledge with others. I'm privileged to call him my friend.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
I think I would select a Buffalo Nickel, mainly because it is a truly All-American coin and it has a bold design on both the obverse and reverse. James Earle Fraser did a magnificent job indesigning this wonderful numismatic coin!

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
I believe the one coin I would buy, no matter what the price, would be an original, full head, mint state Standing Liberty Quarter. In uncirculated condition, this coin is, in my opinion, the most eye-appealing coin we have ever minted.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
The most memorable "industry" event that I've every attended is really a compilation of the 25 annual Summer Seminars in Colorado Springs. I've been very fortunate to have been able to teach at 25 of these since 1980, and the experience is absolutely fantastic! I've met some of the nicest people and have met hundreds of collectors whom I now call "friends".

How and when did you get started in the hobby?
I began my collecting experience around 1949 or 1950 when my Dad had several Liberty Nickels and my uncle had some Indian Cents. I bought a couple of the Whitman blue folders and started plugging them in, as so many others did.



John Kamin
Writer of articles for many publications, including Numismatic News


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
At the ripe old age of 2-1/2, I sold two silver Peace dollars at $1.50 each. My mother was earning $2 a day, and she'd given them to me to buy a shirt for my father for Father's Day.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Re-sell something you bought every year to where you bought it. You'll learn a lot about who you do business with.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I'm an economist and author of 15 books on money, high finance, coins and property. I helped get F.D.R.'s anti-gold laws overturned in 1973 when everyone told us we couldn't do it.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
Humphrey Neill, author of The Art of Contrary Thinking, who started the Contrarian Movement in 1953.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
There are two of them. One of them was to buy the Forecaster Moneyletter when one of the founders died. We have since published more than 2,000 reports. The second was to buy BU Morgan dollars by the bag at or near face value.



Gary Adkins
President, Gary Adkins Assoc.
President, PNG
Vice Chair, ICTA


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
I started collecting in 1958, and dealing in 1964. My father got me interested when he met someone from the coin club at his place of employment.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Read everything you can on the area you are interested in collecting before making a purchase. Learn basic grading skills. Establish a relationship with a dealer or mentor you feel comfortable dealing with. And, most importantly, check prices with multiple sources.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle for enjoyment.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
I would recommend an Indian Head/Buffalo nickel in mint condition. Common dates sell around $40-$50. This coin has a beautiful design, and incorporates an American historical theme.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
I left a great job at Ford Motor Company and began my business as a full time numismatist. It was tough at first but I have never regretted my decision.



Larry R. Felix
Director, U.S. Bureau of
Engraving and Printing


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
My grandfather was a collector of both paper and coined currencies; in watching and listening to him over the years I became interested in the subject too.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
The best business decision I've made has been to implement the larger manufacturing environment (50-subject printing) into the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's currency production environment (currently 32-subject). I consider this integration to be a more effective approach to the future work of the Bureau.

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years?
The May 13, 2003, unveiling of the redesign of the $20 note at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was the most unique/compelling promotional program during the past 55 years in my opinion. Billed as "The New Color of Money: Safer. Smarter. More Secure," it was on that date the U.S. government unveiled the redesign for the $20 bill which was the first one to feature subtle background colors since the Series 1905 $20 Gold Certificate.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended and why?
The most memorable industry event that I've attended was the European Paper Money Bourse in Maastricht, Netherlands, in 1994.



Michael S. 'Stan' Turrini
Teacher, collector


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
In the late 1950s, my long deceased and little remembered neighbor, Mrs. Tripplet, gave me a simple small Christmas gift. It was one of the old type small boxes, like those one would pick up at a local stationery store for notary seals or gold stars that a grammar school teacher might stick on a really good assignment. For me, opening it, opened a world of involvement and fun with time. I still remember unwrapping it, with my late Dad looking on and lifting the box cover to discover some old coins and in particular a well-worn 1898 Barber Half Dollar. It is still in my collection, saved and secured in my safe deposit box, over a half century later.

If you could select a coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be ?
Something old, really old, which one can tell a story to it. In my accumulations, there is a 1861 Seated Liberty Half Dollar, purchased from my first and foremost mentor, back in the mid-1970s, for just a few dollars, but it was what 'Bill' Cummings said to me when I purchased it that should be said by others to novice hobbyists. It was these words: "If that coin could talk."Any old coin has been held by saints and sinners and traveled thousands of miles through time itself, witnessing history as it happened. That is powerful.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
A gold Carnegie Medal, knowing that only 19 were issued, with the last in 1923. I have bronzes and two rare silvers, but the gold eludes me. Did hold, in 2004, in Pittsburgh, Pa., a specimen gold strike, and even have a snapshot of me holding it for a very brief few seconds.



Christopher Webb
Dix Noonan Webb Auctioneers


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
To cut a long story short, I was an apprentice elevator engineer and a total failure. I started looking for a new career, applied for two places: one a landscape gardener, the other an auction sale room porter (Glendinning's). It was November 1972. I passed for both places, could not decide and said yes to both. On the Monday morning tI was to start work, it was pouring with rain. So that settled it, auctions for me.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Make sure you enjoy it or there is no point.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
A Roman Denarius. You can buy them for a few pounds, they are fantastic works of art and the thought that these were used all over the known world by people in togas makes you think.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
To leave Glen's and to set up this present company. It is hard to describe how satisfying that is.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
So many auctions it is hard to pick one, but I guess the sale of the Mary and Henry Darnley Ryal of 1565. It sold for £42,000, then a record price. I discovered it in a junk box!



Ed Reiter
COINage Senior Editor


If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
I can think of several, but I guess my first choice would be a 1909-VDB Lincoln cent. Lincolns are the coins most new collectors begin with, and this first-year issue contains a number of the elements that make our hobby so appealing: history (the fact that it marked the centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth), artistry (Victor D. Brenner's simple yet elegant design), the importance of small features (Brenner's initials and the mintmark – or, in this case, the lack of a mintmark), intrigue (the outcry that led to the removal of those initials) and value (when the new collector learns what the coin would be worth if it had those initials plus an "S" mint mark). The 1909-VDB can be purchased in attractive circulated condition for just a few dollars. It would be a great starting point.

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
I've had helping hands throughout my career as a numismatic writer, columnist and editor. My editor at the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, Si Liberman, gave me my first chance to write a regular coin column. Cliff Mishler recruited me to edit Numismatic News - a position that greatly broadened my perspective and my platform. Bernie Gladstone gave me my biggest soapbox of all, as numismatics columnist for The New York Times. But of all the people who helped my career, the single most important was Jim Miller, the late publisher of COINage, who hired me in 1986 as that magazine's senior editor - a post I still hold today. Although this is not a full-time position (I also work at a daily newspaper in a job unrelated to coins), it has given me the security I lacked in my years as a free-lancer and the stature to present my views in print and receive a respectful hearing.

What is the most memorable industry event - auction, show, etc. - that you've attended, and why?
The opening session of the Garrett Sale in 1979. That was the sale that ushered in the era of fabulous public auctions where coins from some of the all-time greatest collections – Garrett, Brand, Eliasberg, Norweb, Pittman, Ford and others – changed hands for incredible sums, totally transforming the hobby and the marketplace.



Donald H, Kagin, Ph.D.
Kagin's, Inc.


How and when did you get started in the hobby?
(In) 1955 my father brought home a sack of 1,000 Lincoln cents to sort by date, and I was hooked.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I left college for a year to travel with an international music group called Up With People.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
If one could afford it, a $50 gold piece from the California Gold Rush. It represents the ingenuity of our nation's pioneers to provide for an adequate medium of exchange (the main reason for issuing coins), it is unusual and interesting, and one of the most beautiful of all coins.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be and why?
The Brasher doubloon, because it is the first distinctly American gold coin.

Behind every successful person … tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
My father, A.M. Kagin

In your opinion, what is the most unique/compelling marketing or promotional program during the past 55 years?
The creation of the independent grading services starting with ANACS, and especially PCGS and all their promotions.

If you could select the first coin for someone to begin a collection with what would it be and why?
For a 5-year-old, I would use a large cent or Flying Eagle cent. For a 50-year-old who likes history, I would use a Constantine the Great Roman coin.

What is the best business decision you've ever made, and why?
One of the best business decisions was created out of deperation not forethought. On a $1 million estate we purchased and used the coins as collateral at a Fort Worth bank. It refused to release the entire inventory to us for an ANA annual show in Houston. A compromise was resolved. The bank would at our expense deliver the coins by Brinks truck each morning to the show and pack up the coins each evening for off-site storage. Twice a day Brinks personnel would pump their shotguns and holler "Make way." They stood guard all day. Sales were fantastic. Seems all of Houston just had to see what was for sale.



Julian M. Leidman
Julian M. Leidman, Inc
Bonanza Coins


How did you get started in the hobby?
My mother got me started in 1957 as a way to get me interested in something other than TV. We tried stamps first, but I didn't have any real interest and then she showed me some coins that her father, for whom I am named, had given her.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
I have become more active in my synagogue as I have gracefully aged and am now singing in the choir. From time to time I even participate in karaoke. I have always enjoyed numbers and consider myself an amateur handicapper of situations whose outcomes are based on chance of success.

If you were allowed to buy one coin, no matter the price, what would it be?
I purchased the Indian Double Eagle, formerly listed as J-1776 (but it will always be J-1776 to me) in 1979. Given the opportunity and no price constraints, I would love to own it again. Being a numismatic dealer, primarily dealing in American coinage, I have avoided competing with my clients for coins that belong in their collections, so my philosophy has always been that anything that I own is for sale, at any time!

Tell us about someone who has had a significant impact on your professional success.
As I was finishing my high school education, having just moved to Maryland, I met Albert L. Bonan and his father, Al. They were probably the most influential on my early dealing habits and ethics. I officed in their store for over 25 years and when Albert decided to retire in 1991, I took over Bonanza and operate it today. I have been fortunate to have known and enjoyed many, many other professionals, too numerous to mention, since the middle 1960s.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby of numismatics?
Find a series that you would most enjoy collecting. You will need to look at some books and examine many different kinds of numismatic items, but finding that special series is critical, because a collector's enthusiasm is the most important part of any collection.





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