US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Dec. 10, 2018: helping out

The November wildfires are shown from space in this photo taken by NASA. The homes of several numismatists have been destroyed in the fires.

Image courtesy of NASA.

A few Editorials ago, I wrote how two disasters — World War I and the worldwide influenza outbreak that arose at the end of the war — had intruded into everyday life, including the numismatic community’s activities.

Now, another disaster — the terrible wildfires in California in November that killed at latest count nearly 90 people, with thousands of homes and businesses destroyed — has hit several who are part of the numismatic community. Among those who have experienced great loss are longtime Coin World contributors Richard Kelly and Nancy Oliver. Nancy’s mother perished in one of the fires, and their own home, including their library and research archives, was destroyed.

Richard and Nancy have written a number of articles for Coin World and other publications. They excel at digging out lost information in government archives and old newspapers that shed new light on U.S. numismatics. Their contributions to numismatic research have forever changed what we know about the hobby (they found a Mint warrant indicating that the San Francisco Mint struck an 1870-S Seated Liberty quarter dollar, a coin no one suspected existed, for the Mint’s cornerstone). At this writing, a group of hobby editors, writers, and fellow researchers has been discussing how best to assist them through this difficult time. 

Richard and Nancy are by no means the only numismatists suffering loss from the California fires. At least one other collector who lived in Paradise kept friends informed of his whereabouts as he and his family fled the fires, and they discovered that their homes, too, were destroyed, though fortunately all members of the family escaped unharmed. As of this writing, he has not been permitted to return to his community to see whether anything survived the fire.

A GoFundMe page was established for the collector who lost his house in the Paradise fire, found here.

A GoFundMe page set up for Nancy and Richard is here.

It is heartening to see the outpouring of support and concern for our fellow numismatists. All of us have an opportunity to do what we can to help.

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