I was saddened in late January to receive a telephone call from
Michael Barhorst of Sidney, Ohio, informing me that his mother-in-law,
Margo Russell, had passed away at the age of 95.
Margo had been a close friend and adviser ever since the early
1960s, and a year never passed without my receiving a birthday card
and Christmas card from her.
During her numismatic career every honor worth having was bestowed
upon her. Certainly, any listing of the most prominent figures in our
hobby during the 20th century would include her at or near the top of
It was Margo who in 1962 invited me to be a weekly columnist for
Coin World. Today, 53 years later in 2015, the column,
retitled “The Joys of Collecting,” lives on.
I want to share some reminiscences about Margo from the early days
of Coin World down to the present day. Margo will come on stage
In 1959, J. Oliver Amos, whose family ran the Sidney Printing and
Publishing Co. in the Ohio city of the same name, contemplated
starting a weekly hobby magazine. By that time his firm had been
printing Linn’s Stamp Weekly for a long time, and had seen its
circulation prosper, going to tens of thousands of philatelists each
week. He endeavored to buy Linn’s, but it wasn’t for sale.
Being of a business turn of mind, he thought there would be other
possibilities. After all, stamps weren’t the only collecting field in
Meetings were held, and ideas were narrowed down to three
possibilities: antiques, bowling, and coins. Fortunately for all of
us, coins was the topic selected.
Launched on April 21, 1960, with D. Wayne (“Dick”) Johnson as
editor, and his wife, Shirley, assisting, Coin World was in the
right place at the right time. Dick and Shirley had been on the staff
of the Kansas City Kansan in their home town, with Dick in
charge of retail advertising and his wife tending to news about
television and religion. Both were well suited to their new
assignments. I had known Dick for a number of years.
In 1957 he and I were among the founders of the Rittenhouse Society,
which Margo Russell was invited to join some years later. She became a
frequent attendee to our meetings.
Next week: Coin World gets underway.
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