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Retirement closes new issues career

Fred Borgmann retires at the end of next week on June 1. He has been a colleague of mine on the numismatic staff for my entire career here, now almost three decades.

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Had he chosen to stick around until August, he would have marked his 31st anniversary with Krause Publications.

That’s quite an achievement in an age when we are told that the average worker will hold 10 jobs in his career.

Fred’s job was and always has been cataloging new issues from the world’s many mints so that they get listed in the Standard Catalog of World Coins. It is a precision job in an age of corporate “whatever.”

The world’s mints don’t beat a path to our door and hand us computer disks or paper lists of everything they produce. Dealers have regularly sent packages to Fred to identify coins, assign them Krause-Mishler numbers and figure out what they are made off. He sometimes resorts to specific gravity tests to figure it out.

All of this takes time, patience and encyclopedic knowledge of world coinage output. There is probably no other individual who has such a keen sense of what is going on with new issues.

Whenever I had a world coin question, I knew who to ask.

Several dozen of his co-workers gave him a retirement lunch yesterday here at the office. The photo shows him with his wife, Kathy, holding the retirement cake.

It was a nice affair. Brats and hamburgers were cooked on a gas grill. There was a little trouble getting it going at first, so I quipped to Fred that it was a good thing there was another retirement party next Thursday at the bowling alley where we could get it done right.

Those last few words might have been Fred’s motto, “Get it done right.” He always did.

For nearly 31 years that is what he has been doing to the benefit of the collectors and dealers of the world who use the Standard Catalog both in print and in its new incarnation online in NumisMaster.

Good luck in retirement, Fred. We’ll miss you.