The view from the front-row seat in numismatic history

Published : 05/02/12
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With the hindsight of 43 years as a professional journalist, I can affirm what my high school journalism teacher told us on the first day of class.

Since I no longer have my class notes, this is a paraphrase, based on memory: Journalism as a profession offers you the opportunity to have a front-row seat to history. With that seat come some of the highest responsibilities of a free society. Your accounts of what you observe and learn through interviews and research must be truthful, accurate and fair. Never take your front-row seat for granted. Make wise use of the privilege.

What I have come to understand, especially with my front-row seat to numismatic history during the past 31 years, is that it is rarely possible to convey the full story in a single report, simply because all of the facts may not be available or known when it’s time to go press. Decisions must be made as to whether to hold for the next issue or present what is known then — often pointing out what is not available at the time — and following up in subsequent issues as the story unfolds.

When the editorship baton of Coin World was passed to me 27 years ago, a new responsibility was added: To write Editorials. My approach has been to be an advocate for coin collectors and the hobby — offering perspective, opinions, and calls to action — seeking to stimulate ideas and discussions about topics and events important to all within the numismatic community. With nearly 1,400 Editorials bearing my byline in print, it’s time for a new voice and new opinions and ideas.

When my predecessor, Margo Russell, first approached me about joining the Coin World staff in 1981, she painted the numismatic community as being a fascinating world populated with interesting and wonderful people. How right she was and is!

There is simply not enough space in this column — or even the entire issue — to begin to list and thank the many collectors, dealers, club and organization leaders, and staff of the various Mints and congressional offices with whom I have been privileged to work and get to know as people during the past 31 years. I simply salute you and say THANK YOU.

There is one special group to which I shall forever be indebted. They are the people who have devoted their time and talents to bringing you the stories of numismatic collectibles and the people who have collected, cherished and passed them to present generations for safekeeping.

Heading this special group are members of the Coin World staff — past and present. I speak not only of members of our editorial team, but those in our advertising, design, pre-press, customer service and other support divisions. It takes all of these people, working together — sometimes under incredible pressures and seemingly impossible deadlines — to create the publications (both print and digital) that you read daily, weekly and monthly.

My colleagues on our editorial staff are a very special breed. Blizzards, floods, ice storms, airport delays and different time zones don’t intimidate them. They find a way to gather information, check facts, write and edit stories and meet deadlines, regardless of the hours it takes or the meals they miss. Their dedication to Coin World and to you our readers is amazing. I shall forever treasure their loyalty and support during my years as editor.

Also, I would like to thank some other very important members of our Coin World “family.” They are the columnists, valuing analysts and freelance contributors who share their expertise and research and meet deadlines so faithfully. They enrich our publications and add so much to the collecting experience.

Retirement means an opportunity to open a new chapter in my life and get to work on that long-delayed “bucket list.” I do not intend to close the door on the past nor forget the many great friends and acquaint-
ances I have come to know within the numismatic community. Nor shall I forget the many good times and extraordinary events and people that have been so much a part of the first draft of numismatic history I have witnessed during lo these many years. The view from my front-row seat in numismatics has been incredible. I endeavored to make wise use of it. I sincerely hope that it has benefited you. I have passed my ticket to Steve Roach and I know he will use it wisely, too. ■

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