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Rest in peace, hobby friend

There was sad news in my e-mail when I got back to the office after a long Labor Day weekend. Radford Stearns died on Sunday.

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He was a member of the board of governors of the American Numismatic Association elected in 2007 to clean house.

Unfortunately, he had two struggles. The first was the political one. The second was his health. He was suffering from leukemia and he struggled hard against it.

Stearns was a collector’s collector. He not only collected things like Georgia Colonial paper money, but he also shared what he knew by giving talks and building award-winning exhibits.

He served as chairman of the 1987 ANA convention in Atlanta.

His understanding of the hobby was built from the ground up. He had a sense of humor that I enjoyed.

I was especially grateful for his willingness last year to be photographed by a room sign at the Milwaukee ANA convention. After election results showed that three members of the new board would be from Iola, Wis., I thought it was funny that the board was meeting in Room 101A, which looked suspiciously like Iola. He got the joke immediately when I showed it to him and I had a wonderful photograph for Numismatic News.

I am sure he would be the first to say that his work at ANA was not yet finished, but when you consider his entire hobby career, he has done more than most and he has earned his eternal rest.