A TRIBUTE TO BOB HENDERSHOTT
The E-Sylum (4/3/2005)
The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 14, April 3, 2005, Article 19
A TRIBUTE TO BOB HENDERSHOTT
John and Nancy Wilson, Ocala, FL write: "On Tuesday,
March 22, 2005, the numismatic hobby lost one of its
greatest ambassadors, Robert L. Bob Hendershott. Bob
was loved by everyone who knew him. He would have
been 107 on August 7th. We were fortunate to be good
friends with Bob and his wife Marjorie. They were a
dedicated and very hard working numismatic team. We
send our prayers and thoughts to his family over this great
loss. Rest in Peace Bob, your memory will live on in
everyone who knew you..
We did the following tribute to Bob Hendershott for the
Eighth Sale conducted by M. Remy Bourne, held on
September 25 - 26, 1998. Bobs numismatic library was
among the offerings in this sale.
What an honor it is for us to write about the Great One,
Robert L. Hendershott. We hope that our tribute to this
dedicated and hard working numismatic ambassador gives
you insight into his life and times.
Bob was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 7, 1898 and
was the proud son of Charlie D. and Cordelia Bartlett
Hendershott. His father was a street car conductor and later
owned a printing company. When the company went defunct,
he went to work for another printer. He was the oldest of
seven brothers. As a small child, he visited the 1904 St. Louis
World's Fair with his father. In his magnum opus 365 page,
1994 book on the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair, Mementos
and Memorabilia, Bob reminisced about this early visit to the
Now imagine if you will, a small boy tightly clutching his
fathers hand as he gazes in awe at the astonishing sights
before him. There..see that Ferris Wheel..so high that it
seems to touch the clouds..and over there..Look! a cow
made out of butter! Huge steam engines, huge boats,
thousands of lights, people of every size, shape and description
--speaking strange and unusual languages--and even people
wearing hardly any clothes!! To remember with such detail,
this early Fair visit is nothing new to Bob. If you have the
time to listen, he will reminisce about his life and collecting
interests. A year or so ago we were lucky enough to get
some insights from him on his life, times and collecting
As a young man Bob grew up and attended schools in Missouri.
He became interested in collecting at about 12 years of age.
At the age of 13, he told his father that he wanted to support
himself and paid for everything except room and board.
Bobs grandfather Robert Morrison Hendershott was a
drummer boy in the Civil War and also the Postmaster of
Middleton, Missouri. He was a small time collector who
saved some of the odd denomination and different types
of coins that came in across the counter. He kept them in
a small cigar box under the counter. During a visit from his
grandson, he let him look at some of the coins he had saved.
Bob was very intrigued by the many different varieties of coins.
His grandfather said he could take them home, but he had to
study them. After he studied the coins his grandfather said he
could keep them. Bob told us that all the coins he received
from his grandfather fascinated him but he was most interested
in the old cents that he received. Like many youngsters, Bob
also had a paper route which helped to supplement his collecting
interests. From this first start, he became a lifelong collector
of many different numismatic and odd and curious collectibles.
Later on he attended Washington University and the Gem
City Business College in Quincy, Illinois where he studied
banking. Bob wasnt eligible for service in World War One
because of height and weight requirements so he enrolled
in the Officer Training Corps. As the War ended, he still
was there. In 1922, Bob married his first wife Marguerite
Hamilton who was from the McComb, Illinois area. Her
folks had a home in Florida so they went down there on
occasion. In 1925, the Hendershotts moved to Florida.
He became involved as a real estate salesman and was
able to make a nice steady income. Land in Florida was
cheap back then, and Bob did very well as a salesman.
It wasnt long though before he left real estate and got a
job at the Exchange National Bank of Tampa. Bob said
that in 1933 and 1935 he was making $300 a month.
A great salary during these late depression years. He also
said that coins were cheap after the Banking Holidays in
the 1930s. He was buying commemorative sets 25 at a
time in 1936 and 37 at a very cheap price. Besides Florida,
he also worked at banks in Vandalia and McComb, Illinois.
Around this time, he helped organize the Tampa Coin Club
of which he served as President. Bob said that he first
exhibited coins at a Tampa State Fair in the late 20s or
early 30s. He placed a heavy glass on top of them, and
they stayed there for 10 days. Bob also was instrumental
in forming the Florida-Georgia Numismatic Society. After
a good start though, the organization relocated to Georgia
but eventually folded because of a lack of leadership.
At a convention a few years ago, we noticed that Bob had
an auction sale catalog dated Saturday, May 9, 1936. It was
cataloged and to be sold by R. L. Hendershot (only one T),
Tampa, Florida. We said Bob, that is great, you actually had
an auction back in the days when the hobby didnt have a lot
off collectors. We asked him if he brought the catalog to the
show with him or bought it here. He said that Remy Bourne
had a few and he purchased one. Needless to say, we went
immediately to Remys table and bought one of the catalogs.
We think Remy had three. Later on, we asked Bob about
the sale. He said that he sent the catalog to the ANA mailing
list and also to persons he thought would buy coins. He also
said that the bank management didnt like him taking the time
off for coin cataloging. He finished by saying that everything in
the auction sold, and he made $3,000. The sale catalog has
32 pages and contained 763 lots. The sale had a very
diversified selection of numismatic items but mainly centered
on rare U. S. coins. It is interesting to note that the terms
governing the sale said that, a charge of 5% will be made to
cover packing and mailing of lots actually purchased. This
tells you that indeed coins were very reasonable and the 5%
didnt add that much to a purchasers bill. Consider today
what a 5% postage addition would be to your bill from any
auction. Bobs prices realized is fun to look through, and
his catalog is probably very scarce. Bob also had one more
auction sale, but we dont have any information on that one.
Bob once again become involved in real estate and even
purchased three hotels. One of his hotel purchases was in
Tampa, Florida around 1940. He purchased it for about
20% of what it was worth. At the time, only one room
was occupied. Bob was able to purchase it because he
had good credit and references. Being close to an Air Force
Base, Bob turned it into a Military Hotel. Needless to say,
it filled up quickly. Bob spent eight years as President of
the Tampa Hotel Association and was involved with both
the Florida and national hotel association. He also formed
a private convention bureau and it wasnt long afterward
that he was running it. Later on during World War Two,
he served in the Coast Guard Reserve and was honorably
discharged as a Lieutenant.
Some of his fondest and present memories though center
around the Florida United Numismatists organization.
Belonging to some clubs in the Tampa Bay area, a gun
and coin collector remarked to him that this was a good
place to have a coin convention. Bob thought it was time
to organize a state coin group. After a first organizational
meeting in late November and early December 1955 in
Clearwater, Florida, the Florida United Numismatists
came to fruition. The coin show would be held the first
weekend after January, 1st. Bob was named the first
President of the organization. He has also served on the
Board and in many other capacities since its formation.
He is FUN Life Member #2. It wouldnt be a FUN
Convention if Bob, who is always in his orange jacket,
wasnt there to greet and talk to you. Bob wears his
jacket proudly not only there, but at virtually all the
conventions that he attends. FUN holds one of the
largest annual coin convention in the world every January.
At the 1998 FUN Convention, Bob was honored early
for his upcoming 100th Birthday Party. FUN went all
out for this birthday party and had light food, refreshments
and a large birthday cake. Many of his friends went to
the podium and heaped tons of praise on Bob and best
wishes for many, many more years of health and happiness.
A photo of Bob at the 100th birthday cake can be found
in this section.
Bob joined the ANA in 1931 and attended his first
national convention in 1945. From then to now, Bob is
pretty much a regular at the annual ANA event. Bob
says he looks forward to receiving his 75 year pin in 2006.
We cannot remember anyone ever receiving a 75 year
ANA membership pin. When he attends the 2004 St.
Louis Worlds Fair Centennial, it wont be long until Bob
receives his 75 Year ANA member pin. The American
Numismatic Association will be celebrating Bob Hendershotts
100th birthday at the American Numismatic Association
Convention in Portland, Oregon this August 5 - 9, 1998.
Bob has been named by the ANA Board of Governors as
the ANA Numismatist of the Year and will be honored at
the ANA Membership Reception Celebrating Bob
Hendershotts 100th Birthday. All members, their spouses,
children, and friends of Bob Hendershott are invited to this
Friday, August 7, 1998, 2:00 P.M. event being held in
conjunction with the show.
His being named Numismatist of the Year is very well deserved.
His dedication and hard work for many numismatic organizations
would fill a book. At the August 8 - 12, 1967 ANA convention
at the Americana Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, Bob was
named Assistant General Chairman. Incidentally, the official
auction by Paramount International Coin Corporation contained
the J. V. McDermott, 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. The nickel
was purchased by the Bebees who donated it to the ANA
museum later on in life. He served as Exhibit Chairman for the
August 15 - 19, 1972 New Orleans, Louisiana ANA convention,
which was held at the Jung Hotel. At the Bal Harbour, Florida
ANA convention in 1974, Bob Hendershott served as the
General Chairman for the show. For his service as General
Chairman Bob received the Goodfellow Medal and Plaque.
This ANA award is only given to ANA General Chairman.
The 1974 convention was said to be the best ANA convention
in many years. ANA President, Virginia Culver said that the
convention was responsible for bringing in about 600
applications for membership. She also commented about
the great local and national advertising, that included Newsweek.
Later on Bob joined the ANA Representatives program as a
District Representative. He received the ANA Medal of
Merit in 1986 for service to the ANA and the hobby. In 1993
the ANA bestowed on him their highest honor, the Farran
Zerbe Memorial Award He received the coveted Krause
Publications Numismatic Ambassador Award in 1978.
This high award is giving to individuals who selflessly give of
their time and talents to the numismatic hobby expecting
nothing in return.
After a long illness, Bobs wife Marguerite passed away.
They had one child Jeanne who resides in Clearwater,
Florida. Bob has three grandchildren and two great
grandchildren. Bob met Marjorie Owen Hendershott who
was Secretary-Treasurer of the Central States Numismatic
Society, and they were married in 1984. They presently
reside in Jefferson City, Missouri. They are considered
by many to be the dynamic duo of numismatics. We consider
them the numismatic family of the century. Both of these
numismatic ambassadors have contributed greatly to our
hobby. In 1989 Bob ran for the ANA Board. As we sit
here looking at his flyer that he passed out at conventions,
it is very unfortunate that he didnt make the Board.
Quoting the flyer, ANAs best candidate in the 90s.
A numismatic gentleman. The ageless experience of more
than 50 years of membership. Mr. FUN. A tireless champion
for numismatics, dedicated to best serve the individual ANA
member through common sense and negotiation. Honored,
respected & appreciated by those who know him. Put Bob
Hendershott to work for all of our sakes! Anyone who
reads this would agree with all these comments. At age 91,
Bob would have made a great Governor. Bob is tireless at
conventions. As you enter the bourse early, he is there talking
and when you leave at night he is still there talking or
looking at coins. He can be seen in the lobby of the hotel
still talking when many half his age are going to bed. At the
age of 99 Bob has a terrific memory. Sometimes we think
that intertwined in Bobs brain is a sponge that soaks up and
remembers everything it hears, reads or sees. He is soft
spoken and is as good a communicator as anyone who has
lived in this or any country. We have never heard him say
anything bad about anyone or anything. He is a truly a
remarkable person that is as charismatic and personable
as anyone we know.
Bob is truly a gifted individual who shares his enthusiasm for
the hobby and life with anyone who will listen. He is an
author, collector, researcher, speaker, exhibitor, convention
worker and dedicated club officer. Bob has probably given
more numismatic talks to clubs then anyone in existence.
Bob attended the 1997 and most recently 1998 American
Association of Retired People (AARP) which was held in
Minneapolis, Minnesota. He represented the ANA along
with past Presidents Ken Bressett and Ken Hallenbeck
Recently Bob told us about the recent Minneapolis, AARP
Convention. He said it was a terrific convention that was
well attended. Bob talked with hundreds of people and
passed out literature. He also said that Willard Scott (NBC
morning Today Show) stopped by the table. Bob said that
he so intrigued Willard that he was invited to a private party
in his suite later. As we previously said, when you meet Bob
you just want to become his friend.
Bob also belongs to several coin clubs including the International
Primitive Money Society and or Odd and Curious Money Club.
That club honored Bob by naming the Odd & Curious Money
Exhibit Award in his name several years ago. Loved by everyone
who knows him, he doesnt have an enemy in the world. As a
matter of fact Bob said that he traveled to all the states in the
union and has been in many different countries. He is the
numismatic Will Rogers, who never met a man he didnt like.
In 1992, we put together a slide show on the 101st ANA in
Orlando, Florida, which was hosted by FUN. Bob was
Honorary General Chairman for the event. We called that show
a FUNtastic convention. Bob may your 100th birthday on
August 7, 1998 be a FUNtastic event. We are fortunate
to know him and Marjorie, who incidentally received the
KP Ambassador Award in 1981. We wish them both many,
many years of FUNtastic health, happiness and prosperity.
Yours in Numismatics, John Wilson, ANA Governor Nancy
Wilson, Past ANA Governor."