US Coins

The hot coin news during Dave Bowers' first ANA show

As I write these words I am getting set to go to the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim, Calif. If you plan to attend and want to say hi, or have a book autographed, track me down. I’ll be most available on Thursday and Friday.

It is with mixed feelings that I contemplate the first ANA convention I attended 61 years ago in 1955. In The Numismatist in April of that year I had read this: “Some additional bourse space is available for the annual convention of the ANA in Omaha, Neb., Aug. 24-27, 1955. Bourse space will be limited to not more than 40 so that adequate facilities, light, and aisle space will be available. ...”

I signed up, went with my father to Omaha, and had a great time. By then I had set up at several other shows, including the Empire State Numismatic Association events in Syracuse and the especially dynamic Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention. Shows were rather informal back then. The dealers all knew each other from the past, or, if not, quickly made new acquaintance. The honor system was universal. I don’t remember ever getting a bad check from a collector or dealer at the time. It turned out that there were 45 dealers set up, and the convention registration was a record 528.

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The names of the registrants were published in The Numismatist the following November. In reviewing them today I recognize only these names of people who I know are still living (there may be others): Cathy Bullowa, Arthur Friedberg, D. Wayne Johnson, and John Rowe. I am sure I will see some if not most of them at this year’s convention.

If I in retrospect were to pick several hot news items from 1955, they would be:

(1)?The San Francisco Mint announced it would close its doors forever, after making 1955-S cents and dimes. Hundreds of bags of the cents were grabbed by dealers and investors.

(2)?The 1955 Doubled Die cent, publicized by Jim Ruddy that year, but not to become famous until a few years later. Jim “made a market” in them, paying 25 cents each, but stopped when he had all he wanted!

(3)?The 1950-D nickel was the key item for investors. Everyone wanted a bank-wrapped roll.

Wonder what the three top news items of this year will be?

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