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The E-Sylum (3/28/2010)

Book Content

We noted earlier that the 50th anniversary of the founding of Coin World was coming up, and the latest issue (April 5, 2010) includes the first of a series of articles on the history of the largest weekly U.S. Coin hobby publication. Congratulations and happy birthday!

We're fortunate that the founding editor of Coin World, Dick Johnson, is also regular reader and contributor to The E-Sylum. Dick and I were email pen pals for years before I had the opportunity to meet him and his lovely wife Shirley at the time of the 2004 Pittsburgh ANA convention.

Dick contributed a nice article to the Coin World issue, and I encourage all of our subscribers to read the issue for a great view into the early history of this great publication.

Current Coin World Editor Beth Deisher provided the below scanned image from a photo of Dick and Shirley examining the first issue of Coin World coming off the press. Below are Dicks' comments on the photo. Thanks! -Editor

Dick and Shirley Johnson review first issue of COIN World
Coin World 1960 Copyright photo, published by permission.

I am shown in photo with my wife, Shirley, who was the second employee of Coin World. An experienced newspaper woman, she was the former TV and Church Editor of the Kansas City Kansan. I had met her there but months went by before I got up the nerve to ask her for a date.

I was hired as a salesman in the classified ad department of the Kansan a daily newspaper, and within a year I had been promoted to Classified Advertising Manager with a staff of three outside salesmen and eight inside lady phone operators.

When the invitation came from Amos Press to come to Sidney, Ohio, and start a weekly coin newspaper I had, by then, experience in numismatics and newspaper publishing in all departments, editorial, advertising (both display and classified) and circulation. I was single at the time and asked Shirley to marry me and move to Sidney, to start a new venture, a new life, and a new coin publication.

As a classified ad manager at the Kansan I would day-dream by writing classified ads of imaginary coin dealers. When I started Coin World I reserved the classified ads for myself and would process hundreds of these every week. I had invented a Classified Schedule for an intelligent arrangement of these.

This was a first in Coin World as well as Coin World being the first weekly newspaper for the coin field. While Numismatic News had existed prior to the first issue of Coin World -- and had classified ads -- they were all a jumble with no rationale of order. By placing related ads together under topics in a logical order it made quick reference to desired ads for readers.

I took further pride in getting big names in numismatics as advertisers and as writers -- many of these I had met previously as I had attended coin conventions for years prior. I got Hans Schulman as a weekly columnist, for example. Later, I got John Ford Jr, to submit an article, he rarely did this for any other publication. Eric Newman contributed an article for our first special issue, on the centennial of the Civil War, we covered the numismatics of that period. It was the first of many special issues.

Perhaps I should let E-Sylum readers read more of the story of how Coin World got started in the April 5 issue and not reveal too much here.

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