Dr. Sol Taylor

Adna G. Wilde Jr., Pillar of the ANA

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
Saturday, December 20, 2008

etired Lt. Col. Adna G. Wilde Jr. passed away Nov. 17, 2008, at the age of 88. He was to the very last year a pillar of the American Numismatic Association. He served at almost every post from president (1981-83) to executive director (1968-72), treasurer (1983-2008), governor (1973-1979), and vice president (1979-81). He received almost every award offered by the ANA and other numismatic organizations.
    Wilde and Ed Rochette founded the annual Summer Seminar program, which started shortly after the ANA opened its headquarters in Colorado Springs in 1968. At the 1975 seminar, Wilde featured a slide program on one of his favorite research projects, the Lesher Referendum dollars of 1900-1901. In his slide program he pointed out the details of these unusual silver trade tokens including a "secret" mark probably made by Joseph Lesher — a tiny pin hole where Pike's Peak met the rim. It may have served as a "signature" or an anti-counterfeiting device.
    Wilde also led a small contingent of instructors and students to the Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs where his personal collection of Lesher dollars was on display. He was an early and eager buyer of these tokens before they achieved wide popularity. I sold him a piece from the Maurice M. Gould estate in 1977 for $100 — which at the time was a huge price for a token (even if it was silver). Wilde published an article on Joseph Lesher and his tokens in 1975; it can found online by Googling "Joseph Lesher tokens."
    Adna Wilde was born in Vicksburg, Miss., on Oct. 1, 1920. He graduated from The Citadel in 1943 and joined the Army. He served in Europe during the war and moved to Colorado Springs in 1945. He achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel before arriving at the ANA in 1968. His work at the ANA earned him its highest awards and nomination to the ANA Hall of Fame in 2002.
    His other specialty was the counterstamped Stone Mountain commemorative half dollars. This obscure series wasn't fully explored until Wilde and a few others researched the origins of the state counterstamps found on a few of these coins. His collection included several specimens.
    Apparently some of the newly issued Stone Mountain commemoratives were stamped with the initials of the various states that participated in the project, and each piece also was numbered. These are highly desirable items, especially at public auction.
    Adna is survived by his wife, Joan, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The ANA has created a memorial page on its website in his honor.