It was 50 years ago when Herb Silberman sent an article that was published in Coin World, requesting that collectors of large cents reply and form a club to share information and coins. This small beginning has evolved into Early American Coppers, a specialty club of approximately 1,200 members, which holds an annual convention and publishes the award-winning quarterly journal Penny Wise. Besides large cents, the Early American Coppers umbrella now also covers half cents, Colonials and Hard Times tokens.
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The 2017 EAC Convention was held in Philadelphia in April, with the intention of celebrating its anniversary in the city where U.S. coinage had its beginnings. Coincidentally, the April 20 to 21 event ran at the same time when the Museum of the American Revolution had its grand opening. Many attending the convention took advantage of this fortuitous timing, including the writer, who highly recommends a visit to the museum. Some members also had the chance to take behind the scenes tours of the U.S. Mint and to see coins in the collection of Independence Hall.
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Held at the Center City DoubleTree Hotel, convention events kicked off April 19 with a social/educational gathering of “The Boyz of ‘94,” a serious group of numismatists that specialize in the copper coinage of 1794. Starting off at 9:00 Thursday morning, instructors Doug Byrd and Steve Carr gave a three-hour seminar on the topic of grading and counterfeit detection.
Dealers started entering the bourse floor for a “dealers only setup day” Thursday afternoon. This was followed by a two-hour reception catered by the hotel. No one left hungry! Starting at 8:00 p.m., four educational events proceeded simultaneously, focusing on large cents, half cents, Colonials and early silver. These events are both educational and social.
The bourse opened to the public on Friday, to the delight of both dealer and collector. More than 300 members of the public attended this specialty club convention. While the convention was in process, education continued with four afternoon speakers, Scott Rubin, Greg Heim, Jim Matthews and Ed Fox. The Friday evening keynote speaker was David Finkelstein, presenting on the topic, “The Copper and Bullion Workflows of the United States Mint, 1792–1795.” It was well attended and well received.
Saturday saw another active bourse along with four more educational presentations, by Garrett Ziss, Mark Borckardt (assisted by Denis Loring, Gordon Wrubel and George Pretsch), Len Augsburger and Craig Sholley. Attendees were treated to nine fascinating exhibits placed by Bob Klosterboer, Bob Fagaly, John McBride, Ed Fox, Jack Young, Joe Pargola and Denis Loring, as well as a group exhibit.
Saturday evening, the EAC’s annual sale, an auction offering 411 lots this year, realized over $238,000. The majority of the lots presented large cents and half cents, but Colonials and literature were offered too.