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Numismatic Mentors Appreciated

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 14 / Views: 404Next Topic  
Pillar of the Community
United States
3438 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  03:13 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add SteveInTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Early on, my parents encouraged lifelong learning, which has served me well through the years. In fear of leaving someone out or forgetting a name, I'll try and mention the names of people that have helped me with numismatic advice.

No one has been more generous with general advice and behind-the-scenes information to me than John Spinelli. John has a wealth of information and experience that he has openly shared with me through many phone conversations. Next would be James Hatch (Jim61) and Scott Lindquist. Fred Bart, Robert Azpiazu, Derek Moffitt, Fred Reed and Carlson Chambliss have also given me valuable advice. Rob, (Numbersman) introduced me to Nancy Poli who performed a small miracle on a scarce Tampa National and David Spencer helped me when I was going through my Web and sheet-note phase. Dan at Currency America and Jim at Tickle Your Fancy helped me with Fancy serial numbers and Lou Dufault helped me with autographed notes and deuces. I thank Greg Alex for peaking my interest in engravings and expanding my numismatic library. I've also learned from many members here and on different forums. Too many names to list, but the point I'm making is from a quote I once read, " If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room."

I feel the greatest strength of my collection lies in its diversity, in which many have contributed.

Feel free to tell us who has helped you gain knowledge about this hobby.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
41895 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  04:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Would you call yourself more of a numismatist or a notaphily?
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
Pillar of the Community
United States
3438 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  04:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SteveInTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Numismatist for sure, I also collect American coins. Matter of fact, my last dozen or so numismatic purchases have been the shiny metal discs. Currently, I'm into Jefferson nickels.

Edited by SteveInTampa
10/21/2021 05:13 am
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19252 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  08:11 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
After 50 years collecting across the whole of numismatics, I still need mentors in their specialist fields.
That is why I need to be a minor part of the CCF.
Valued Member
United States
461 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  1:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add PlumCrazy814 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I too am always learning - and relearning. What gave me the most information about the "art" of collecting was attending monthly coin club meetings with my Father at three coin clubs in the area where I grew up in the early to mid '70s.

One of the most interesting things I learned was how some "dealer" made sure he gained on sales. I was collecting Canadian dimes at the time because you could still get them at a reasonable price and they could be found in decent shape. This dealer was my source. He led the meetings at two of the clubs and always had a publication that he referenced to inform the clubs of the current price of silver and gold. It took me a few times to realize that he would not have ANY silver to sell when he had to deliver news that the price was down and ALWAYS had silver to sell when the price was up. He also thought it was acceptable to "pocket shine" coins of lower value.

As I recall, most of the silver CA dimes I bought ran around 30 cents or less depending on the price of silver. Of course, I did get many at face in circulation.

There were also interesting presentations on numismatic topics and one of the clubs had an annual family-based dinner party around Christmas time complete with door prizes and a fun White Elephant auction to raise funds. One item I remember being auctioned at the White Elephant auction one year was a "Diamond Pin" but actually a "dime on pin" - literally a dime glued to a straight pin. Great family fun.
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United States
106380 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  4:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is a very interesting topic.

While my parents and grandparents did much to encourage me, I did not really have a "numismatic" mentor guiding my way for a long time. Books and magazines provided me the most knowledge, with an occasional dealer offering advice here and there.

It was not until I joined CCF that I had personal interactions with those I would consider a numismatic expert. So many have come and gone over the years, I will not even attempt to make a list in fear of omitting someone worthy. But to everyone who has helped me or anyone who comes here for help, a sincere thank you.
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United States
437 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  6:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While I had a lot of encouragement from my parents and other family members, I never really had anyone to mentor me in numismatics as I was growing up. I had a subscription to Coinage by 1968 and that provided a lot of help, as well as a well-worn RedBook and some other books. In the early days of the internet, I was a member of a couple coin-related USENET newsgroups which I found very helpful - while I can't remember the names, there were some well-known numismatists who participated in these.
Now, with the vast amount of resources available online, including forums such as this one, the ability to learn and grow is virtually unlimited.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3438 Posts
 Posted 10/21/2021  7:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SteveInTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well stated @jbuck. I agree completely.
I joined CCF in 2016. Well into my collecting years, back in the PhotoBucket days. There were several very knowledgeable members here that I wasn't familiar with and now we're buds. Y'all know who you are.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1972 Posts
 Posted 10/22/2021  11:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My father started me on the journey, even though he wasn't a collector - just pulled silver from pocket change. But, he had a pile of older coins that piqued my interest. An older dealer in Raleigh back in the 1990's used to put up with my questions every Saturday and gave me quite a few culls for my Whitman albums. Can't remember his name and he has passed away now. Finally, my good friend @Commems has provided many an hour of conversation and advice over the past few years. Thanks to you all!
"Nummi rari mira sunt, si sumptus ferre potes." - Christophorus filius Scotiae
Pillar of the Community
Canada
1489 Posts
 Posted 10/22/2021  11:51 am  Show Profile   Check walk2dwater's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add walk2dwater to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I feel the greatest strength of my collection lies in its diversity, in which many have contributed.

Feel free to tell us who has helped you gain knowledge about this hobby.


- Great topic & fitting tribute 'Steve.'
I have felt similar many times in the last 4 decades but, my journey has been more solo like 'hoklefan_82' & 'jbuck' minus the parental support. (They just didn't get my desire to collect paper currency, coins were 'okay' but banknotes was 'over-the-top' I suspect).

I met Don Olmstead, a dealer from New Brunswick a few times around 2003 - 2006. This was when I got back into collecting & after a Toronto show I will never forget his expression after I showed him a VF 1935 $10 I picked up at the bourses (for what I thought was a bargain). We were having a dinner with about a dozen collectors who knew each other through the CPMF. He could see it was washed & pressed & pointed out the tell tale signs like I was blind (but he did it in a very gentle way). He then explained how these VF were 'apparent' & like a "dime a dozen," but it was the "original ones" which were "tough." He asked me what I thought was "collectible," & that changed my outlook on the hobby dramatically.

I don't think I will ever forget that little conversation (& his expression when he looked at that note & then looked at me). Since then, I've always tried to be super vigilant when inspecting a note (tried to use some of the tips Don taught me at that dinner) & looking for signs of 'processing' has been one of my guiding principles I've tried to employ since.

I had no idea how much Don had contributed to the Canadian numismatic scene until this sad news came about last year:
https://canadiancoinnews.com/don-olmstead/
Pillar of the Community
United States
3438 Posts
 Posted 10/23/2021  4:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SteveInTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You have to start'em out young. Photo courtesy of the PA Association of Numismatics Instagram page.

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United States
106380 Posts
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United States
2483 Posts
 Posted 10/26/2021  8:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting topic, and for my wife and I it's interesting timing for the topic. We just returned from a long road trip that marks the end of our time as vest pocket coin dealers and collectors and my time as a buyer's side agent.

We've been selling the remaining inventory from our coin show days for the last year or so, and this trip finished that process. We drove to where the inventory was stored, in a title company vault out of state. We loaded up that inventory, along with the bulk of our personal collections. It took most of a week, but we delivered the inventory to a dealer friend who is finishing the sales on commission for us. We played connect the dots with three of our longtime customers and friends who bought my Buffalo nickel collection, my 19th Century collection, and my wife's Canadian and Provincial collection. It's an interesting experience.

While we were driving long miles (and ducking tornadoes in the Midwest) we spent a lot of time talking about our younger years as collectors and the things we experienced along the way. My wife has a much better memory for detail than I do. She remembered so many of the mentors we both met.

I'm an oldster, so my mentors are from a nearly forgotten generation of numismatists. As a teenager who could barely drive, I started vest pocket dealing. (It was a literal vest pocket back then!) I drove crazy distances to shows, all the way to the Mississippi River and California. Fun times.

At a show in St. Louis, I worked some floor deals and spent some time visiting with an older dealer from Florida. Hubert Carcaba was a character. People told me he had "something" to do with the 1913 Liberty nickel. I asked him, and he grinned and said "I may have." That's all he ever said on the topic. He had an endless supply of Hudson halves and Isabella Quarters, along with some remarkable early coppers. He taught me how to buy quality, not quantity, and how to grade the tough coins. I bought several Isabellas from him, and made some decent money. That got me hooked.

He introduced me to another Florida dealer whose name I flat can't remember. I know he was older and had a full head of gray hair. He was chubby and had a huge entourage with him. I listened to his stories of making deals with Max Mehl and Farran Zerbe and other early numismatists. He taught me a bit about trade tokens and obsolete currency. He also had a few of the specimen strike 1964-D Kennedy halves. That fascinated me. I didn't know they existed.

Then he introduced me to yet another Florida character I could never forget, Grover Criswell. He looked like Col. Sanders, and had a table full of Confederate currency. He talked me into buying two Confederate $500 bills for $20, and told me I'd make good money on them some day. He was right. At a break, he took me around to several other dealers, and shared a tip. He pointed to a California dealer who had a table full of Morgan dollars. He pointed to several prooflike dollars, and said "buy all of them you can find." He explained that everybody wanted the brilliant dollars (today's blast white coins), but he said the prooflikes would be the ones to own someday. He showed me the difference between semi-prooflikes, prooflikes and what he called true prooflikes. They didn't seem to be in as much demand back then, and were definitely affordable. I followed that advice, and build a ridiculous assortment of them over the years. We just sold them this last week, at a healthy profit.

At shows in Kansas City and Omaha, I met Virgil Marshall. He was one of the true gentlemen of the business. I bought two rolls of 1909 VDB cents from him. He convinced me to go for the higher grades, and sold me two EF/AU rolls. They were good profit factories, too. I ran into another vest pocket dealer from Missouri about then, Bill Knight. Over the years, we did business with each other and sometimes bird-dogged coins for each other's clients. That taught me how to network for mutual benefit and profit.

I also had a few dealers warn me about people to avoid. At one show (I think it was an ANA show) a couple dealers pointed to a creepy looking old hippie and said I needed to stay very far away from him because I was a young guy. I must have been naive, because one of the dealers pulled me aside and told me what that meant. I found out later that was Walter Breen, and I heard stories that made me glad I avoided him by a country mile. I still refuse to use his books or reference numbers.

Lots of sage advice, and the most precious commodity was the time these dealers took with a teenage kid who was learning the business. Half a century has gone now. I'm a long way from a teenager. But those experiences were everything.

And along the way, I started making phone calls back home to a black haired girl with a twinkle in her eye. For over 38 years, I've been the luckiest man on earth with an amazing bride who went from "why would anybody pay that much for a nickel?" to a coin shark who assembled an amazing collection from her parents' native Maritime stomping grounds.

What a blessing of a journey.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3438 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2021  01:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SteveInTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Phenomenal post @fortcollins, thanks for sharing.

Most collectors I interact with through private messaging and emails are really nice people with interesting stories. I was contacted recently by a member thanking me for advice and they went on to mention that their son was starting to show interest in collecting paper money through circulation finds. I wanted to help jump-start his journey so I asked if I could send him a couple of notes to add to his growing collection. Two weeks later he sent me this photo of his excited son holding his two newest additions.a gently circulated $2 LT and $1 SC.

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United States
106380 Posts
 Posted 10/27/2021  10:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sounds like you have had a great numismatic life, fortcollins!


Quote:
Two weeks later he sent me this photo of his excited son holding his two newest additions.a gently circulated $2 LT and $1 SC.
Excellent!
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