Ever since receiving the news in January that I had been awarded
a scholarship by the GNA for a week at the ANA Summer Seminar, my
excitement level was a ten. The hardest part was convincing my
husband, Buddy, that he could survive for a week without me. We
have been married 48 years and he is sort of attached to his
spouse. I immediately made reservations with American
Airlines. In a second call, I negotiated an outside aisle seat
assignment since I am somewhat claustrophobic.
My twenty-eight inch carry-on bag was fully packed two weeks
before departure day. On the morning of the flight to Colorado
Springs, Buddy let me out at the airport curb. With everything
meticulously pre-planned, there was no need for him to park and
walk me to security. I chose an early morning flight to make sure I
arrived at the Colorado Springs airport during the specific times
that the ANA had shuttles to the college. The opening Summer
Seminar reception was at 6:00 p.m. When I approached the agent to
pick up my boarding passes, she advised me that the flight had been
cancelled. No reason was given. After a foot-race to Delta's gate
and an unexpected transfer in Houston, I eventually made it to
Tiny Cross, an iconic ANA volunteer, cheerfully greeted me and a
few others. He delivered us to Loomis Hall, an older building at
the college with very basic dorm rooms. No phone. No TV. No
Weary from the journey, I plopped on the twin bed at 4:30 p.m.
hoping to catch a quick nap before the evening reception. I woke up
several hours later to a pitch dark room. I peeked out the dorm
door to the eerily quiet hallway. A partially dressed man with a
beach towel over his shoulder was coming my way. I asked if he knew
the time. "3:30," he mumbled. I groaned. So much for my making the
opening reception and orientation.
A few hours later I walked what seemed like two city blocks to
the college cafeteria. It was nice to finally see lively
numismatists of all ages. I didn't recognize anybody then, but
later ran into GNA members, John Phipps and Chip Davis. It was
difficult choosing my courses for study during the week. I selected
the seminar: "Light from Many Lamps: All Star Numismatic
Symposium." A variety of speakers and subjects was presented
morning, afternoon, and even some nights. Impromptu and scheduled
bull-sessions were common.
In my first session, Stephen Carr lectured on collecting early
American coppers. He used slides to demonstrate the nomenclature
and unique vocabulary common to numismatists. Identification of
varieties was taught. I learned the need for counting the beads on
certain large cents.
Ever wonder how a commemorative coin gets chosen and then
minted? Rod Gills discussed that long journey. He urged ANA members
to contact their congressman. The WWI American Veteran Centennial
Commemorative Coin Act needs lobbyists. If the act passes, proceeds
would be used to erect a monument recognizing the ending of WWI.
Rod had a personal interest. His grandfather was a veteran of
"So-called Dollars" was the subject of Jeff Shevlin's talk.
These historically significant, eight-sided medals can be made of
most any material including aluminum and plastic. Chris Marchase
added to our knowledge by lecturing on the Lesher Referendum
Dollars. Joseph Lesher was born in Ohio in 1836. He was captured in
the Civil War but escaped Andersonville. He only served 100 days,
but was responsible for commercial token minting.
S. Henry Mitchell directed the study of Roman Bronze Coinage and
included detailed PowerPoint slides depicting emperors as struck on
Imperial, Provincial and Byzantine bronzes. Coins bearing portraits
began with Julius Caesar. The height of portraitures occurred
during the reign of Nero around 50-96 A.D. David Lange, from NGC,
taught on the basics of variety attribution. I was surprise to
discover there were so many coin varieties and not just Morgan
VAMS. From 1793 to the mid-1830's, the large designs were punched
and then given to engravers to add lettering and other details.
Joseph Boling taught on official counterfeiting. Did you know
that the producers of currency during the Civil War furnished it
for both the confederacy and union without either side being aware?
His stories were truly interesting and informative. Seems that
countries all over the world have counterfeited currency for
economic and espionage purposes. Wendell Wolka also engaged us with
the subject of possible treason in regard to the Montgomery notes
One of the most fascinating classes for me was led by Jamie
Franki. Professor Franki is responsible for many significant coin
designs including the obverse of the westward Journey nickel
series. His favorite design is an Olympic medal. If one of
America's teams medals at the Olympic Games, the athlete gives his
or her coach the Franki- designed medal. It debuted in Beijing and
has been used ever since.
Bill Rosenblum enlightened us on numismatics of the Holy Land, a
place I have been privileged to visit three times. My current Roman
and Greek coin collection is meager, but I look forward to adding
to it in the future.
David Schenkman spoke about tokens, also a favorite of mine. He
discussed the various values of trade tokens including the
half-penny and half-dime. Did you know that there are token
denominations as unusual as 8 3/10th? My knowledge of war currency
was practically nil until Fred Schwan filled us in on current
trends in military collectibles. He also showed us some fascinating
numismatic trench art which included unusual items made from
objects of war such as shell casings. Old soldiers can be very
creative. Kenneth Hallenbeck brought many examples of plastic and
alternative money. He disclosed the fascinating genesis of credit
cards. The American Express Diner's card is believed to be the
first. Some of the earlier credit cards are quite collectible as
well as valuable.
Dick Horst, an expert on Thalers, delivered the most technical
of the classes. The Thaler was a silver coin
used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Dick used
detailed charts to demonstrate the minute differences in weights
that help in detecting varieties. Not all of our time was spent in
the classroom. David Sklow, owner of a numismatic literature
company, gave us a comprehensive tour of the Money Museum. He
acquainted us with the ANA library, a mecca for researchers. He
explained the library's unique numbering system and escorted us
through the small, but magnificent rare book room which held many
original or first editions of coin-related material. The 2013 ANA
Summer Seminar wasn't a vacation. It was a valuable education. My
knowledge of numismatics was vastly expanded. Thank you, GNA, for
providing this learning opportunity.
(Dr. Nancy W.