It was September, 2016 on a Sunday afternoon when I was sitting on a flight from Cleveland to Toronto, and I couldn’t believe this is happening. Just one of those boring small flights, more on the ground than in the air, but it was a milestone in my life. It was the beginning of my new assignment.
It started about a year ago when I was first asked to do some work in India. After much preparation, I spent almost two weeks in Bangalore, and some days in Visakhapatnam and Pune. In general, I try to prepare for my trips by reading about the place I’m going to. Sometimes I do very poorly, but I tried to take India seriously.
I talked with people, read some articles, and books. My favorite was Ervin Baktay’s book about his three stay in India. This Hungarian orientalist spent three years in India between 1926 and 1929. It is almost a century later now, but the concepts were interesting, and in case of such a rich and ancient culture, or should I say cultures, a hundred years should not matter much. It was fascinating to read about the different religions and how they coexist together in India. Baktay’s book was the most helpful throughout my trip. I of course, also prepared numismatically, which wasn’t as easy as it seemed originally.
Practically, I have not done anything I wanted to, and managed to do things I never thought about. As always, when I put efforts into my trips, these turn out to be better than originally expected.
Throughout my more than two weeks in India, I still managed to get exposed to numismatics, and learn and acquire a little bit.
I Was very much looking forward to going back to Slovakia, for the second time this year. Not only because of the numismatic plans I had for which I didn’t have time when I was there in March, but also some of my childhood memories bring me back to this country. For those of you who are looking for some museum descriptions, I have to say, nothing happened. Those, who would like to understand the not always successful aspects of numismatic tourism, I’d like to tell you about the not so good as well, just so you get a more complete picture of what it takes, and the mistakes you can make. Fortunately, not harmful, only annoying ones.
Sitting in a hotel room in Bucharest, with so much information in my head after the visit to the Museum of the National Bank of Romania. It is too late now to do anything, late even for a meal or a drink, but I definitely want to dump my brain hoping to capture as much as possible from what I heard today.
It started as always, when I found out I would be working in Romania, I wrote to the museum of the National Bank, and Oana Sticlaru immediately got back to me and scheduled a meeting for me.
The next trip including numismatic interests led to Cambridge, UK. I’m spending a couple of days here and traveling on to Ireland this week. This time, I wanted to check out the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Currently they have a display of Indian coinage extending through the last two millennia. However, this time, I was not able to contact anybody at the museum. I tried through email and Twitter, but I didn’t even get a response. Fortunately, things turned out much better than it looked when I arrived, but more about that later. First, let me start with a few thoughts on travel which maybe interesting, not necessarily numismatic related, but part of the journey of a blind collector.
Over the last months I had a few conversations with Dr. Howard Berlin, the Numismatourist. I think the story around his book is just as interesting as the book. I am happy to announce, he agreed to an interview on this blog. I thought my readers would be interested in the background story as well. So, for a lack of better interviewer, I had the pleasure to ask him a few questions.
I have been to New York several times during the past year, but for some reason, I could never arrange a visit to the American Numismatic Society. I either didn’t have time, or it wasn’t open when I was there. This time, my trip got scheduled so close to departure that I could only call the day before I left. I had no hopes, but never hurts to try, especially because this was something I really wanted to do. I got to talk with Emma Pratte, the membership assistant. I explained the situation, and she promised she will see what she could do. In a few minutes my phone rang: they can see me at a two days advance notice. I was lucky again. But what can I do, I always have to schedule my trips last minute.
Just a few days after visiting the Money Museum in Cleveland, we traveled to Chicago with my daughter. Amongst many things, we had a chance to visit the money museum, with my friend, Carl Wolf. I couldn’t help but comparing it to the one in Cleveland, after all, both museums are maintained by the Federal Reserve.
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.