Editor’s Note: The following was taken by permission from the Spring 2017 issue of The Centinel, the quarterly publication of the Central States Numismatic Society.
By Kevin Foley
Probably everyone who has been past the fourth grade has heard of Andrew Carnegie, the one-time richest man in the world. How many of you, however, can remember the actual name of the company that was his vehicle to accumulate all this wealth, or even name the field in which he operated? I’ll wager not as many who have heard of and admire the Carnegie Foundation or the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Certainly anyone who has traveled even a little bit in this country has encountered one of the public library buildings that he endowed, widely known as “Carnegie libraries.” Ticonderoga, N.Y.; Lebanon, Ohio; Baraboo, Wis.; and Schenectady, N.Y. (the public library I fondly remember as a child) are just a few of the places that come to mind where I’ve personally encountered the typically distinctive architecture of a Carnegie library. Here in Wisconsin alone, somewhat more than 60 public libraries were built thanks to the largesse of Andrew Carnegie. In fact, across the country, roughly 1,800 public and academic libraries were built with Carnegie money. While Andrew Carnegie will be remembered many years from the time when all of us have gone to whatever reward awaits us, less well known is an admonitory quotation of his that carries some rather sobering advice about life in general: “The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.”
On that sobering note, I’ll turn to something a bit more uplifting and commend to your attention two organizations that I also feel deserve your support. One is the Numismatic Crime Information Center, headquartered in Arlington, Texas, and managed by retired sworn officer and Police Chief Doug Davis. Mr. Davis’ organization serves as an informational clearinghouse and resource center to contribute to the solution to numismatic crimes and to enhance the ability of the professional law enforcement community to solve such crimes when they do take place.
In my personal experience, I’ve known two numismatic dealers who were killed in the course of crimes being committed against them, Bob Rose and Harry Collins. When I say “known,” I don’t just mean that theirs were names I’d heard of or about, but that they were flesh-and-blood people who I’d sat next to, talked with, done business with and sometimes shared a meal with.
Just as there are some people in this world who have chosen medicine, law, dentistry or numismatics as their profession in life, there are also those among us who have chosen crime as their career. Like any professional, the professional criminal is often quite skilled in the pursuit of his chosen work and we, their victims, are amateurs in defending ourselves. Very simply, Doug Davis and his Numismatic Crime Information Center help even the odds and the end score. I know that your support of his cause would make a material contribution to the safety and security of each and every one of us. You can contact him at Numismatic Crime Information Center, P.O. Box 14080, Arlington, TX 76094. His phone is (817) 723-7231. Or, you can reach him by e-mail at Doug@numismaticcrimes.org.
Do you live in a state where numismatic material is exempt from retail sales tax? If you do, you are a beneficiary of the work of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. ICTA is far more than a dealer trade association. If you have ever even whispered the word “numismatics,” you are likely a direct beneficiary of ICTA’s work. There has been much attention given to the subject of government regulations in recent political debates. Regulations are a double-edged sword. Carefully crafted and applied, they can and typically do protect us all against predatory business practices. Not so carefully created, however, they can have a destructive effect and add illogically to the cost of doing business and inflating the prices consumers pay in an over-regulated marketplace. That is where ICTA comes in as a defender of your – yes, your – direct economic and civil liberties interests.
ICTA operates as a resource to identify overly intrusive threats to the numismatic marketplace, some of which are actually quite well intended initially as consumer protection measures, but some, quite frankly, which originate with competitive business groups whose purpose is actually to undermine and hinder the numismatic trade.
If you think of ICTA as a dealer organization that exists to promote the commercial interests of dealers and that’s about it, you are really off the mark. When ICTA supports and enhances local efforts to obtain or defend numismatic sales tax exemptions, you are the direct beneficiary; when ICTA fights against ill-conceived and destructive regulations applicable to the numismatic trade, you are the direct beneficiary; when ICTA battles against regulations that could make it more difficult – maybe impossible – to hold numismatic conventions or shows of any size, you are the direct beneficiary.
I could go on at greater length, but the bottom line here is that ICTA exists to defend your personal interests. It can’t just do this by waving a magic wand or rubbing its ruby slippers together and wishing for an outcome. ICTA needs your help. I hope that you’ll consider supporting its efforts to help support your interests. ICTA’s executive director is Kathy McFadden. You can reach her at P.O. Box 3253, Annapolis, MD 21403, by phone at (410) 626-7505 or via e-mail at Kathy.email@example.com.
In closing, let me invite each of you to stop by the Message Center at our upcoming 78th Anniversary Convention April 26-29 at the Schaumburg, Ill., Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center That is where I typically can be found during the operating hours of our bourse. Like our bourse chairman, who can be found at her own separate post not far from the Message Center, I look forward to meeting our members at the convention and hearing your ideas and opinions about your convention experiences.
This “Viewpoint” was written by Kevin Foley, chairman of the Central States Numismatics Society Convention.
Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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More Collecting Resources
• More than 600 issuing locations are represented in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800 .
• Order the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues to learn about circulating paper money from 14th century China to the mid 20th century.