Deaths blow to hobby

ANA Summer Seminar great
Published : 08/06/11
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The last couple of weeks have brought sad news to those of us who attend many of the national conventions. Two friends have passed away, leaving a void in our convention-going experiences.

I heard first about Roger Solomon via an email from another collector. Solomon was a very unassuming gentleman who built a very nice collection of Bust coins virtually unnoticed. His tastes were for higher grade material in any of the Bust series. His collection is to be sold during the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., by Sheridan Downey, who had helped Roger acquire many of the coins in his collection. I will report more about the results of the sale in a future column.

I learned about the passing of George Fitzgerald after returning home from the Summer Seminar at the ANA in Colorado Springs, Colo. I was catching up on my reading and there on page 55 of the July 11 Coin World was the bad news.

Everyone who had the privilege of meeting George came away with a smile on his face. He was the consummate collector. His interests were across the board in numismatics.

I remember the last time we had the chance to talk. It was at the April Central States Numismatic Society convention. George was excited about finally purchasing a very scarce variant of a Feuchtwanger 3-cent token for his collection. He proudly showed off the token to me, giving me a complete description of his long and arduous search.

George also was an avid fan of the Olympic Games. He had attended all the Summer Games since 1968 and collected Olympic memorabilia. He was looking forward to the next Games in London. I will miss the numismatic discourse we shared during our coin show meetings.

On a lighter note, I recently returned from my first visit to the ANA Summer Seminar. I finally had the opportunity to go to Colorado Springs to experience the event in person, after hearing great things about the seminars from many collectors who had attended. Whatever you hear about it, the experience will make any description pale in comparison!

I cannot say enough good things about the seminar, the people and especially the ANA staff that keeps things running throughout the week. You, too, have to experience it for yourself to know what it is really like.

The most important thing I took away from the week was the personal experiences with people. Some I had never met before accepted newcomers to the group as if we had been coming for decades.

One of these inspirational people was “Buddha.” He has been a feature at the seminars for over two decades. His eyesight is failing, but he still enjoys his hobby as much as anyone I have ever met. Life has thrown him a bit of a curve, but he has driven it over the wall for a grand slam. His cheery attitude and friendship were an unexpected bonus for the week.

I met many other great people who made the experience more than I had anticipated, both attendees and ANA staff. I cannot thank you all enough. I am counting the days until Summer Seminar begins next year! If you are interested in experiencing one of the truly unique experiences in numismatics, consider attending next year’s event. You can get more information by visiting the ANA website at

Brad Karoleff is a vice president of the John Reich Collectors Society and editor of the club’s journal. He can be reached via e-mail at

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