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.
It is hard to talk about coin collecting without understanding the history that surrounds coins. Often, the way it happens is that we know about certain facts of history, and when we get a coin from the same age and location, we can put it into perspective. Or, we can take the other approach. Take a random coin, and examine the era and the country the coin is from. They are both interesting, but time consuming approaches. We either have to hunt for particular coins, or read up on the background of a coin.
When it comes to the British Isles, Bob Whittington takes the guessing work out of the process, and helps us obtain the information we are looking for much faster, so we can enjoy the coins and the history together.
His book, Money Talks : British Monarchs and History in Coins, is the perfect companion for a coin collector.
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 can’t believe this blog has existed for 4 years already. With many ideas, expectations, unfulfilled desires, and many many more unexpected surprises. One thing for sure, as I plot the next year, things happen which make it different from what I have in mind. Again, during the last year, for the better.
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.