Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while probably know that the biggest challenge of collecting without vision is recognizing an unknown coin. There just isn’t a good way to do it alone. I need help. I was trying to come up with all kinds of ways of using technology to do this independently, but I couldn’t succeed. There are a number of shortcuts, but in most cases I need help from a human. While this hasn’t changed, I found a solution where I don’t have to bug friends and family, and I can get a coin recognized any time I’d like to. I found an app, called BeSpecular.
I still have a few things on my bucket list, one of them was visiting a mint. Until recently. A business trip took me to Ottawa, where it was just the right thing to do. I don’t even know why some things take so long to complete from my bucket list, after all, these are supposed to be some of the most important things. The mint in Philadelphia could have been doable, I even started to make arrangements, but somehow, it never happened. I have even been to Philadelphia a few times when I always had “more important” things to do. But enough is enough. What’s living without having been to a mint, if living is possible having been to a mint.
Over the last few years, great things happened through my blog. I got to meet people, had interesting conversations, and had opportunities open up to me. But the biggest of all was that I made a new friend. Even I was wondering, how do I make friends on the internet. It didn’t happen overnight. Finally, after emailing for years, I met my friend, Quentin, in real life, a couple of weeks ago. This post is about how it happened. I did get Quentin’s permission to use his name and picture.
I was happy to find out that I had to go to Dublin for a few days. You guessed it right, I started to look for a coin museum to fill my free time. Unfortunately, I only had a short time to prepare, so I didn’t have time to do much reading. Instead, I contacted the National Museum of Ireland to schedule a visit. I had to admit, I knew very little about the museum, for that matter, I didn’t even know much about Irish coins. So, when I got the obvious question, what was it I wanted to learn about, I said, well, Irish coins. I figured no matter what they have, probably it would be a great opportunity to learn about the rich coinage of a small nation right there, just guessing, but it is hard to imagine that any other place would have a good overview of Irish coins. Though I had no idea, I got it right. The exhibit was outstanding, so was my experience.
A couple of years ago I have read about an interesting book, the Numismatourist, by Howard Berlin. The author is a retired history teacher and a numismatist. He is traveling around the world visiting mints and coin museums. I found his book interesting and inspirational, at that point I didn’t know I would try to follow his footsteps.
I was very much looking forward to visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where there is a coin gallary. I have never heard coins classified into the art category, though it does makes sense, I was curious to find out how and why. I started arranging for this visit before the trip to the Smithsonian in November. It seems that each of these museum visits are more interesting and educational, once I know what to look for or what to ask, having a comparison.
The Gallery of Numismatics opened to the public last year. The National Numismatic Collection, which houses 1.6 million numismatic artifacts, is also available for researchers by appointment. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out that my next trip was to Washington DC There was even more to the excitement, I used to live there for almost ten years, and I’m always happy to be back for no matter how short of a time. But for now, let’s talk numismatics. At least for the most part.
I sure needed some luck for things to work out just perfectly. I was scheduled to spend a few days in Chicago for work. I emailed the secretary of the Chicago Coin Club, Carl Wolf, to enquirer about their next meeting. It wasn’t totally random, I was already thinking about joining the club, but given that I had no idea when I’d be in Chicago I passed on it last year. So, it turned out that during my stay the club will meet. A few days later I got a request to be the presenter at the October meeting.
Recently I got a new work assignment, I will be traveling to train how to make information technology usable for people with disabilities. So, you can imagine. It is not just a job or an assignment, this is something I am passionate about. Both the travel and the work aspect of it. I started in Toronto last week. And there’s no better way to spend free time than experiencing the area, and of course, adding to my collection.