On Dec. 4, the numismatic hobby lost one of the most enthusiastic, humble and dedicated numismatists who ever lived, John R. Eshbach of Smoketown, Pa., at the age of 90.
We knew John for many years, crossing paths with him and Gerald Kochel at major coin conventions from coast to coast. We always enjoyed talking to John (and Jerry), usually in the exhibit area of the convention we were both attending.
John was one of the best exhibitors we have ever known and the recipient of many best-in-show awards. He was a certified American Numismatic Association judge and always did a masterful job when performing that assignment.
We always enjoyed our many conversations at the conventions we attended.
John and Jerry taught a course on exhibit preparation at the ANA Summer Seminar some years back. John had been an exhibitor and judge for ANA since 1960.
In his youth John served our country as a technical sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific during World War ll. After the service he attended and graduated from Hershey Industrial School. He worked for RCA as an electrical engineer and retired after 36 years.
John belonged to many coin clubs at all levels, but had a passion for the ANA, the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, and the Red Rose Coin Club.
John ran for the ANA Board of Governors in the 2007-2009 election. It is unfortunate that he wasn’t elected to the board as his wisdom in the hobby would have helped the ANA greatly.
He received many awards and honors during his time in the numismatic hobby. From the ANA, he received in 1987 the Outstanding Club Representative Award, the President’s Award in 1998, the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 2000, the Medal of Merit in 200, and the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 2009. In 2007John, along with Gerald Kochel, received the Joseph E. Boling Award for Excellence in Judging. We think that in 2012 John would have received his 50-year membership medal from ANA.
At the recently completed ANA National Money Show in Pittsburgh, PAN held a dinner at one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, the Le Mont. At the dinner three numismatists were honored with the PAN lifetime achievement award: Dick Duncan, John Eshbach, and Gerald Kochel.
In 1992 John received the Krause Publications/Numismatic News Ambassador Award. This is one of the greatest honors anyone can receive. The recipients are picked by previous award winners.
Just how does anyone become interested in the hobby of numismatics? In John’s case, his interest started with his daughter and her coin club at school. Thanks to his daughter, we along with his many friends were fortunate to have John as a friend and fellow numismatist for many years.
John’s life can be summed up with this rhyme: “For when that one great scorer comes to write against your name; he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.” John played the game of life in an honorable, loving and honest manner and will be missed by us, his thousands of friends around this great country and his family.
You will be missed John, but never forgotten. All of our prayers and thoughts are with his family.
John and Nancy Wilson, Ocala, Fla., are longtime hobby activists, prolific exhibitors, and regular attendees at coin and paper money shows nationwide. John is a former American Numismatic Association president and Nancy is a former ANA Board member.