Making the Coin Club Circuit
By Dr. Sol Taylor
Earlier this year, I was invited to speak at the Upland Coin Club in San Bernardino County, about an hour's drive from home. I had spoken there a few times over the years.
In preparation for my talk, "Coin Collecting During the Great Depression," I found a flier from the Uplannd Coin Club dated October 1964. The lead story was, "Sol Taylor, president of the Whittier Coin Club, will speak on the subject of coin collecting 25 years ago."
I held it up and asked who remembered that talk. One member, Nona Moore, was there and remembered it. So I changed my topic for the evening to "Coin Collecting 67 Years Ago." I gave the 1964 club flyer which was mimeographed to the club secretary for the club files.
As president of the Numismatic Association of Southern California in 1975, it was my obligation to visit as many member coin clubs as possible with various topics including promoting the 1975 American Numismatic Association convention being held at the newly opened Airport Marriott Hotel. My topics stemmed from my favorite coin series, the Lincoln cent. My overhead transparencies of Lincoln cent varieties have not changed much in the past four decades; a few new varieties have been added. I am not computer-savvy and have not entered the realm of PowerPoint.
As a good friend of some giants in the field Maurice M. Gould, Abe Kosoff, Lou Friedman, Q. David Bowers, Don Kagin, Florence Schook, Herb Bergen, Gordon Z. Greene and others I often used some anecdotes involving my dealings with these people.
I also taught the grading seminar at the ANA in 1975, 1976 and 1977 and used those experiences as topics at clubs I visited during those years and several years thereafter, promoting the Summer Seminar as a worthwhile activity for collectors young and old. One of my star young students was Scott A. Travers, a well-known author and dealer today, and one who refers to me as his mentor.
Since I published my first book on the Lincoln cent in 1982, I have used the book as the focus of many of my club talks. I have also been a speaker at many ANA "numismatic theater" programs in cities from Denver (twice) to San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia, Baltimore (twice), Tucson, New Orleans, Miami, Boston (twice) and Atlanta. At the seminars, my book was often the featured item.
As founder and president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors (since 1982), these programs often served as recruiting missions for SLCC. In 2004 and 2005, some 50 new members resulted from programs held that year alone.
Some other featured programs were the 25th anniversary of the Whittier Coin Club banquet with Dick Yeoman as featured speaker and several ANA VIPs present, including President Florence Schook. I designed a souvenir card which was given to each of the 120 guests and signed by all the VIPs including past ANA president Herb Bergen, several past NASC presidents, and several past WCC presidents. I was the master of ceremonies. I also served as emcee at the NASC's 25th anniversary banquet in 1980 when Nona Moore was sworn in as president. In 2005, I served a second time at the NASCís 50th anniversary banquet as emcee. Don't count on me for the 75th anniversary, however.
Some of the clubs I have visited (many more than once) include a wide range of locations from Santa Barbara and Ventura to Hemet, San Diego and dozens in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. The members in attendance varied in numbers from a dozen or even less to more than 150 at meetings at the Downey Coin Club and about 100 at the Los Angeles Coin Club and West Valley Coin Club. Unfortunately, the last two have since disbanded.
The coin clubs that have survived the fallout in recent years still have active members and speakers or visual programs at each meeting. These features keep the clubs vital and growing. With the newer coins stimulating collector interest the presidential dollar series, the 50-state quarters and the upcoming Lincoln bicentennial designs we hope that coin clubs will continue to serve collectors.
I hope to continue to visit them well into the future, and I welcome their invitations.
Dr. Sol Taylor of Sherman Oaks is president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors and author of The Standard Guide to the Lincoln Cent. Click here for ordering information.
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