US Coins

Multitasking: Moving from one writing project to another

“Keeping everlastingly at it brings success” is the title of a 1917 advertisement by N.W. Ayer, a famous advertising agency of yesteryear, that said it had been using this motto for 48 years. This prompts me to say that keeping everlastingly at numismatics, as I have done since the age of 13 in 1952, has brought great rewards.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, I am finishing the manuscript for A Guide Book of Liberty Seated Silver Coins, to be delivered to Whitman in early summer. I like multitasking — switching from one project to another. Always keeping busy, it seems. I don’t think I will ever retire. What would I do then? 

This reminds me that the wide world of coin collecting beckons to retirees as a way to add a new dimension to their lives. More than just a few leading numismatists started on the long side of age 65. Here, indeed, is a great potential growth area for our hobby.

There is so much to do, so much to learn, that you will never run out of things to do. As it is, my numismatic plate is quite full, including the following.

I am working with the Stack’s Bowers Galleries staff and the Pogue family in the presentation (in New York City with Sotheby’s on May 19) of the D. Brent Pogue Collection and coordinating with Melissa Karstedt on her custom program in helping people build fine collections, not to overlook other Stack’s Bowers projects.

In the field of writing, I am coordinating with Susan Trask, Mark Glazer, and Evelyn Mishkin in a new edition of the Fuld Patriotic Civil War Tokens book for the Civil War Token Society. Laying the groundwork for several other Whitman books — one on Mint history, another on dollars from 1971 to date, and several volumes on obsolete paper money — creates ongoing projects. 

Beyond that are 101 other things, including some research into obscure numismatic aspects, trying to untangle, for example, what was going on behind the scenes at the several Mints in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Recently I learned from John Dannreuther (one of America’s top scholars), who has been deep in the National Archives, that in 1875 the Philadelphia Mint had on hand and for sale complete gold Proof sets dating back to 1862! I had never dreamed of such a thing! 

There is always something for me to learn.

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