US Coins

Friends plan May wake for John Burns

Friends of the late John Henry Burns will host a respectful dinner/wake/memorial service in his honor May 9 during the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists Spring Coin Show in Monroeville, Pa. 

Burns, 55, a numismatic book dealer and longtime PAN member, died while attending the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando in January. 

Following the news of Burns’ death, PAN Treasurer Pat McBride said he and Wayne Homren, editor of The E-Sylum, the online publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, had discussed what needed to be done, as they considered themselves Burns’ oldest friends. 

In response, PAN established the John H. Burns Memorial Fund and donations to it have so far allowed McBride to arrange for Burns’ cremation, and for McBride to travel to Florida to retrieve Burns’ ashes, personal effects, truck and numismatic literature stock. 

The funds have also been used to pay the rent on Burns’ town house, book storage units and other obligations. Burns had no life insurance. 

So far more than $5,000 has been donated to the fund, though much of that money has now been spent, according to McBride, who was named executor of Burns’ estate.  

The estate will reimburse the fund when all of Burns’ books, coins and personal belongings are sold, McBride said. The fund will be managed by PAN to promote numismatic literature and education. 

McBride and “a number of helpers from western Pennsylvania coin clubs have begun cleaning John’s townhouse and organizing his numismatic literature holdings, which go far beyond the truckload he took to shows,” according to an article in the March 9 issue of The E-Sylum.

Donations to the memorial fund will provide a way to continue to honor Burns’ memory through numismatic research grants, and library donations. 

In addition, it would fund the establishment of a traveling numismatic reference library at coin shows that would allow collectors to sit and relax at a table during the show and browse through reference books in a learning environment. Tables and chairs would be provided to permit collectors to trade stories and knowledge, as was the typical scenario at Burns’ table. 

Donations may be made on PAN’s website at 

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