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PNG shows its all about people

Ever wonder how the titans of the numismatic business got that way?

Last night at the annual dinner of the Professional Numismatists Guild at Gibson's restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., you wouldn't even ask the question.

It was evident.

Kevin Lipton presented three Lifetime Memberships. He knew all three personally.

Though he was prepared with notes, he probably could have recited the honorees' hobby biographies because he knew them.

He wasn't acquainted with them. He knew them.

He had met all three while he was between the ages of 12 and 15. He is 56 now.

It was clear the three had a made a deep impression on him, that he liked them and perhaps they influenced him in a way that made him the successful coin dealer that he is.

The first one to be recognized was former PNG President Leon Hendrickson (1985-1989) of Winchester, Ind. Hendrickson could not be present. Lipton clearly had great affection for him.

He joked that Hendrickson's SilverTowne business was not just located in Winchester, but it was Winchester, from the building that houses it that looks like a stately manor to land it owns on which cows graze.

Lipton recalled how he became acquainted with Hendrickson's business methods.

Next was Harvey G. Stack of New York City, also a former PNG president (1989-1991).

Lipton said he was taken to Stack's by his grandfather when he was 12 years old and there he met Harvey and was treated with courtesy and respect.

The third was John Rowe III of Dallas, Texas. Lipton joked about being at that city working as a coin dealer before he could drive. There he met Rowe.

The remarks were longer than a relaxed dinner would normally allow for one award, but they came from the heart. They were true. They put the personal relationships of the nation's coin dealers front and center.

This is how the giants of numismatics did their business. This is how they passed their passion for it to the next generation.

Harvey Stack emphasized the importance of the personal relationships when he thanked PNG for the award.

He said it was the collector that makes the business what it is. Collectors are individuals. They like to be treated that way.

"To know the collector is part of the beauty of numismatics."

Can anyone put it better?

There were other awards given at the dinner as well.

The 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jeff C. Garrett of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Louisville, Ky. He also was a former PNG president and he will be sworn in Aug. 14 as president of the American Numismatic Association.

“Jeff’s excellent reference books, his dedication to the hobby and profession, and his efforts to help the Smithsonian continue to expand and exhibit the National Numismatic Collection make him the outstanding choice for this year’s award,” said Barry Stuppler, co-chair with Dana Samuelson of the PNG Lifetime Achievement Award Committee.

Samuelson told the audience that Garrett started working as a coin dealer in his teens and now is in his fifth decade as a professional numismatist.

Steve Ivy of Dallas, Texas, co-chairman and CEO of Heritage Auctions and a former PNG President (2003 - 2005) was given the Abe Kosoff Founders Award by Terry Hanlon and John Maben.

Ivy first began advertising in the national media in 1964 when he was 14.

Fred Weinberg gave the Sol Kaplan Award. He told of catching a coin show thief through cooperation of a number of coin dealers.

Victor Bozarth of Bozarth Numismatics, Inc. of Brenham, Texas and Sarah Miller of Heritage Auctions, New York City, actually got the award, for their critical roles, but they were not alone. In a sense the award went to a group of dealers.

The Significant Contribution Award went to Julian M. Leidman of Bonanza Coins in Silver Spring, Md. It was given by Jeffrey F. Bernberg. Bernberg was the recipient of the Distinguish Service Award for 12 years of service to PNG, which included a term as president (2011-2013).

Robert Korver of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas was given the Achievement in Excellence Award. Brueggeman announced this special award for Korver’s “countless hours championing the fight against import restrictions.”

Korver warned those present that there are people in government and the archeological community that consider private collectors to be criminals and we must always be on our guard.

John G. Hanson of Wellesley, Mass., was not present, but he was recognized for 50 years of PNG membership.

For 25 years of membership, the honorees were Klaus J. Degler of Denver, Colo.; William Dominick of Tappan, N.Y.; Stephen J. Gehringer of Allentown, Pa.; Salvatore Germano of Hawthorne, N.J; Ed Grundy of Pueblo, Colo.; James Halperin of Dallas, Texas; Richard N. Nachbar of Williamsville, N.Y; Daniel N. Ratner of Rockville, Md; and affiliate member Paul R. Whitnah of Arlington, Texas.

Numismatics might be the study of coins, but the truly successful put people at the center of it as the dinner and its awards clearly proved.