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Next generation already here

Yesterday I indulged in a bit of personal nostalgia about my career in numismatics.

Now it is time to look forward.

Collectors have wondered what the future holds and where the new hobbyists will come from.

One firm has answered that question for itself and tapped the next generation of leadership.

Michael Contursi has been promoted to the position of president of Rare Coin Wholesalers.

Congratulations. Good luck and all the best to him in the future.

I have met Michael. I have gotten a quote or two from him in my coverage of shows. However, it is his father Steve that I am more used to dealing with.

That sounds like something a gray-haired guy would write, doesn’t it?

I whistled to myself when I read the press release pointing out that Michael has been with the company since 2006.

I remember when Michael first appeared at the firm’s bourse table. It doesn’t seem like 10 years have passed already.

In making the PR announcement, Steve said this, “We are absolutely thrilled to promote Michael to the position of president.

“This move is the culmination of a 10-year mentorship and our firm’s dedication to helping our clients and their families. It gives us great pride to pass on the leadership of our respected company to the next generation.”

Steve always knows how to say the right thing.

It is in the nature of life for one generation to succeed another.

This confirms it, and it is reassuring.

The next generation that will carry numismatics forward is already taking positions of responsibility.

Michael has learned the business. He served as RCW executive vice president. He has supervised all aspects of the company’s financial operations, serving as manager of the wholesale and public divisions.

Steve helped Michael fine-tune his numismatic knowledge and expertise.

According to the announcement, in his new position Michael “aims to provide the company’s clients with the opportunity to succeed in the rare coin market, leveraging the knowledge and experience of the Contursi family has gained over the course of more than 40 years.”

Michael hopes to add to the more than $2 billion in coins the Irvine, Calif., company says it has already sold in its history.

You might remember the 2010 sale of the 1794 silver dollar for $7.85 million, or the 2011 offering of a Brasher doubloon that RCW says a Wall Street investment firm subsequently paid nearly $7.4 million for.

Will Michael Contursi succeed?

I expect so, but this is the kind of question every retiring generation asks about the coming generation.

His resume certainly provides a solid basis for optimism.

Michael earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Webster University in Missouri. He also served in the U.S. Air Force, earning the Air Force Achievement Medal for his work during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently resides in Orange County, Calif., with his wife and two children.

Now instead of asking about whether there is a future generation in numismatics, I would like to ask how many zeroes will be added to the prices of the great U.S. rarities during the coming decades of Michael’s career?

He will be there not only to find out, but he will be writing some of the checks.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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