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The E-Sylum (4/2/2017)

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Baltimore Spring Expo
I took the afternoon off Thursday March 30, 2017 and pointed my car north toward Baltimore to visit the Whitman Spring Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. I'm lucky to live and work close to such a major regional coin show. It's an opportunity to meet numismatic friends old and new from all over.

I'd grabbed some lunch and travelled up I-95 and parked in a lot next to the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. I know my way around the convention area pretty well, a benefit for all of holding a show in the same place each time. I passed through the Sheraton and convention center lobbies, registered and got my name tag, then entered the bustling bourse area.

Gerry Fortin and Len Augsburger
Gerry Fortin and Len Augsburger

My initial plans were to meet up with Len Augsburger to discuss some Newman Numismatic Portal business, but he was busy with a customer at Gerry Fortin's table. Every table visited that afternoon was busy with customers.

Coin Boards

The Coin Collector album

The Coin Collector half dollar page I crossed over to the other side of the hall and David Lange was just finishing up with a customer at the NGC table. He showed me a rare Commemorative Half Dollar coin board he'd acquired at the show. It was part of a set of coin boards in a brown leatherette ringed binder embossed with The Coin Collector logo. The other boards were well worn, but the commemorative one was unused. While he worked with the next customer I took these photos.

Books, Tokens and Medals
I didn't take pictures this time, but next I visited Charlie Davis, who was still getting his numismatic literature booth set up. Sharing his table was Neil Musante, author of the new two-volume book set on Medallic Washington.

Liberty Trust Company plaque front Across the aisle was Paul Cunningham's table. Dave Schenkman was talking with him and I joined in. We briefly discussed the "Maryland Mystery Plaque" mentioned in earlier E-Sylum issues.

I think my next stop was Tony Terranova's table, where I wished him a Happy Birthday. I'd heard some friends had surprised him with birthday cake during the coin auction the night before. He was amused and smiled.

At the next table, busy with customers was John Kraljevich. With him was Erik Goldstein, Curator of Numismatics at Colonial Williamsburg. We chatted a while about a nice New York Yacht Club medal in JK's case.

I got my camera out at my next three stops. I realized later they were all named Dave.

Dave Wnuck

Wnuck case Wnuck half cent electrotypes

Here are some of the goodies in Dave's case. On the right are three electrotype half cents (the label didn't show well in the picture).

David Sundman

David Sundman

I caught up with David Sundman manning the Littleton Coin Company table.

Dave Bowers

Dave Bowers and Catherine Canuti
Dave Bowers and Catherine Canuti

On Thursday and Friday Dave Bowers was at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries booth, dividing his time between there and the Whitman Publications display across the aisle. He was holding court, so to speak, with a continuing stream of people coming by to say hello, chat, or to have a book or two signed. This wasn’t planned. It started when Dave sat down and people started coming over. Keeping him company part of the time was Catherine Canuti of Collateral Finance Corporation (CFC).

I was delighted to take a chair and chat with Dave, Catherine and many who came by. Dave helped me sign up new E-Sylum readers including Catherine, Richard August, who has been collecting and studying colonial coins since 1960, and Frank Robinson, a polymath, long-time numismatist, and author of several books. If I had stayed there all day I probably would have a couple dozen names of new subscribers!

It was a wonderful way to spend part of the afternoon. We had a lot of laughs over stories of West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Trump Tower, the Playboy Mansion, coin shows, the future of the American Numismatic Association, coin dealer side hustles, and free VIP tickets to see and meet Elvis Presley at one of his shows. And of course, we talked about the hobby past, present and future.

Dave Bowers writes:

As you were part of our “floating seminar” at the SBG bourse table, you know that there is a lot of enthusiasm among traditional collectors and dealers. I think there is more interest in numismatic research, history, and basic enjoyment of coins, tokens, medals, and paper money than ever before. The market is not at the level of what it was two or three years ago in certain categories, mainly those appealing to investors, but the solid core of basic enthusiasts is still there. I bought two rare Vermont coppers and one rare IMMUNE COLUMBIA copper Wednesday and was happy to get them.

Later I caught up with the crazy-busy Mary Burleson of Whitman who was attending to multiple items of business related to the show. We had a nice chat about coin shows and the Newman Numismatic Portal. Dennis Tucker joined us for a bit before he had to head off to the airport.

ANS Table

Gilles Bransbourg and Catherine DiTuri
Gilles Bransbourg and Catherine DiTuri

Books at the ANS table Baltimore 2017-03 It was a day of Daves and a day of Catherines. I had a nice visit with Catherine DiTuri of the American Numismatic Society. She was manning the ANS booth with Gilles Bransbourg. While Gilles chatted with a potential new member, Catherine and I reminisced about the now-closed-for-renovations Waldolf-Astoria Hotel and this year's ANS Gala.

Other folks I spoke with that afternoon included Mark Ferguson, Gerry Fortin, Joe Esposito and Julian Leidman. I also eventually caught up with Len Augsburger.

Mary Lannin

Out in the lobby I spotted Citizen's Coinage Advisory Committee Chair Mary Lannin sitting at a table and sat down to join her. She was with Ellen Haake, mother of E-Sylum advertiser Shanna Schmidt. I learned that Shanna has a blog on her web site and planned to sign up. Mary recently moved from California to Washington, D.C. and we discussed some of the local area coin clubs. She'll be my guest at a future Nummis Nova meeting.

Dark Athena book cover Mary told us how she'd recently accompanied her friend (and fellow Seleucid coin expert) Arthur Houghton as he researched his forthcoming novel at the National Cryptologic Museum at Ft. Meade, MD. Arthur's earlier book Dark Athena was reviewed in The E-Sylum in October 2016.

Another fun topic we somehow drifted into were dreams. Dreams of frustration where you walk and walk but never seem to get anywhere; dreams of panic where you find yourself totally unprepared, like arriving in class for a test you'd forgotten to study for. I recalled a dream about being in the attic of my childhood home and finding a door I'd never known was there, following it to stairway that wasn't there either down to a basement room I hadn't known, only to find my daughter sitting there doing her homework. Coin dreams didn't come up, but I remember one childhood dream where I had some quarters in my hand, but instead of eagles there were bats, and the coins turned into bats and flew away. Weird.

It was soon time for me to fly away myself and get ready for the evening event - a dinner with my northern Virginia numismatic group and several out-of-town friends. See the next part of my diary for the rest of the story.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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