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Going for another kind of gold

I see gold has slid below $900 this morning and silver is under $17, but I don’t want to dwell on those numbers as I write this.

I have just returned from a one-day show put on by the Mansfield Numismatic Society in Willimantic, Conn. It was held Sunday, March 30. I spent yesterday morning in transit.

My mission was to give two Numismatic Ambassador Awards. The award is given to hobby workers and volunteers who make organized numismatics what it is.

The first recipient was C. John Ferreri. He has been the show chairman since the first one in 1973. The place the award was given was at the entrance to the old high school gymnasium that is the location of the 75-table show.

Roger Durand blew the whistle at about 11:50 a.m. like a high school basketball referee and the room became silent – if you can imagine such a thing on a bourse floor. However, I had spent more than half an hour prior warning dealers at their tables that it was going to happen and not to think something was wrong.

I cited Ferreri for his work with the MNS and many in the room spontaneously clapped.

As the president of the MNS said, afterwards, “John is the man. He’s the life blood of the club.”

As a surprise, we had persuaded the second recipient to travel down from the Boston area to be present to see Ferreri receive his award. Then the second award went to Tom Rockwell of North Andover.

He is, I believe 96 years old, and he has been a stalwart in three clubs, the Boston Numismatic Society, where he has been secretary, the Currency Club of New England, where he has also been secretary and the Boston Numismatic Society, where he has been treasurer.

Adding all of the terms together, he has spent about 100 years as a hobby volunteer according to Durand’s arithmetic.

“I never thought I’d get it,” the surprised Rockwell told me over and over again as we posed for photos with the plaque.

Well, the people at the show thought it was about time they both got the awards. I was happy to be in the right place at the right time to make it so.

Then it was back to business.