One of the first four recruits who recently began year-long paid internships in the Professional Numismatists Guild's "Promoting Numismatic Growth" project has been offered and has accepted a full-time job just a few weeks into the program.
The PNG internship project is designed to provide education, training and mentoring for the next generation of coin and paper money dealers.
Zeke Wischer, 22, of Abilene, Kan., has been hired as a cataloger at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, where he started as a PNG intern on Feb. 15, 2014.
"If someone had told me six months ago that by March I'd be cataloging full-time at Heritage Auctions, I would have said, 'Yeah, right.' This internship program has made possible for me things I never thought could actually happen," said Wischer.
"Zeke grew up on a farm in Abilene and was home schooled. He worked two jobs while taking our online University of Rare Coins classes, and although he started two weeks after everyone else, he not only finished on time, he scored 100 on every unit and his required reading test," said Carol Raia, administrator of the PNG Promoting Numismatic Growth program. "We're all so proud of him!"
Wischer and three others in the first class of PNG interns successfully completed an extensive online, multi-media education and training curriculum of basic knowledge about numismatics that was prepared in conjunction with the University of Rare Coins. They also completed a second phase of study involving more advanced numismatic-related topics.
"It helped me realize my dreams of establishing a career in numismatics, and put me on the path to becoming a professional numismatist under the guidance of recognized experts. However, I cannot forget my elders at the Manhattan, Kansas Coin Club who mentored me from my first spark of interest in coins, and then recently encouraged me to look into the Promoting Numismatic Growth Internship Program. I owe many thanks to them, the PNG and the folks at Heritage Auctions for making this all possible," Wischer stated.
"When Zeke came on as an intern at Heritage we were all immediately impressed by his depth of numismatic understanding, writing abilities and his energy for the business," said Noah Fleisher, public relations director at Heritage.
"While Zeke is only 22, like so many greats in the business he's been a collector all his life and a dealer since his teens. He brings the perfect mix of skills and enthusiasm and can look forward to a long and impressive career in the business."
Three other PNG interns, Monica Bacon of Indianapolis, Chris Salladin of Fernandina Beach, Fla., and David Sunshine of Easton, Conn., are now individually spending three-month stints at Harlan J. Berk Ltd. in Chicago, Dillon Gage in Dallas and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. in Sarasota, Fla., before rotating to another of those participating firms or into the open internship positon at Heritage.