I not only love the hobby but I support it as well. I have been an American Numismatic Association member since 1980 and became a life member in 2003.
I have been a course instructor – Collecting U.S. Type Coins – numerous times at the ANA's annual Summer Seminar held in Colorado Springs, and I am an active ANA Exhibits Judge. In fact, this year (2016) in Anaheim I was one of four “Best in Show” category judges.
I have earned a few Numismatic Literary Guild awards for my writing, and I have led a charmed life numismatically when it comes to the collections with which I've been associated. In 1987 I joined Bowers and Merena in time to catalog a portion of the first of three Norweb Family sales, and I wrote portions of every B&M auction catalog from that point through the break-up of that company in 2003.
Among my favorite sales was that of the collection of Commodore Mathew Calbraith Perry. From ancient coins through mid-19th century American and world pieces, Perry had it all, including a beautiful 1836 Gobrecht dollar. I became involved with Perry's history and his family members through several biographies, and I was the cataloger of his coins. He quickly joined the small pantheon of my personal heroes; some other members of that small group include my dad and Mickey Mantle.
And, I own a Hard Times token from the Perry collection, as well as a unique bit of Naval memorabilia “from the stomach of a duck” that served as banquet fare the night before Commodore Perry first went ashore in Edo (Tokyo) Bay. When I pass on the two pieces will be going to the Perry exhibit at the Naval Museum at Annapolis, Maryland.
Another favorite sale was the Tower Hill Collection, a group of coins which was assembled from just after World War II to the mid-1960s. By the time I met with the consignors, two of the nicest guys I ever met, they were well into their 80s and ready to liquidate. After we sold their Tower Hill collection, they called me and told me they had more than just the world gold coins we had just sold. I ended up traveling to New Jersey on three different occasions to be with my new friends.
Long story short, their $36,000 or so spent between 1945 and 1965 yielded in excess of $800,000 when the dust had settled. And they gave me a beautiful jazz acoustic guitar custom-made by Guild in1976 for my part in their success – my son plays this special guitar on a regular basis. I promose to reminisce about other sales in future blogs right here on the franklycoins.com website.