Good bye my sweet prince!

This post does not contain any numismatic content.

The day Boomer fell into our hearts: December 2, 2006.

On December 3, 2006, I wrote about our new acquisition. A day before that post, we traveled to southwest Virginia to adopt Boomer. At the time, Boomer was a 9-week old Puggle. Boomer was a very cute puppy with a stub for a tail. We were accused of cutting off his tail but that was the way he was born.

Boomer was far more intelligent than he originally let on. As many puppies do, he explored his limits he began to not only understand what he could or could not do, but how to pull at his new mommy and daddy’s heartstrings.

A cross between a pug and a beagle, Boomer showed more of the personality of the beagle but had the snuggle ability of the pug. Boomer was a snuggler, always wanting to sit on the couch or crawl into bed to snuggle with us.

Like the beagle, Boomer could bark and howl with the best of them. He was our storm warning system. When the thunderstorms were off in the distance, Boomer would warn us and howl right through the storm. We nicknamed him Thunder Boomer.

When we brought home Tessa, he was tolerant of her mishegas. She was much more active than the laid back Boomer but I think they grew to like each other. Tessa was really attached to her brother.

This is our last picture of Boomer taken the morning of December 24, 2018. Good bye sweet prince!

He was intelligent beyond that of an ordinary dog. He learned certain conversational cues and could react to them as we spoke. He would also teach us to respond to him by using those cues and his body language to tell us what he wants. It wasn’t a good time for a walk but he needed to go out? Stand in a certain place and let us know to open the back door. Did he want some attention? Tell us it was time for bed? Or any other thing that was on his mind? He had his own language and we were able to communicate.

Of all things, Boomer was a kind, sensitive, and loving dog who loved to be around us always wanted to snuggle and loved the attention. Since my wife and I could not have children, Boomer was our son.

At 5:25 am on December 25, our baby Boomer left us for his next adventure. He was a beautiful and smart boy. Always loved and always loving. Goodbye to our sweet prince.

Eric P. Newman (1911-2017)

Eric P. Newman honored on his 100th Birthday

It is with great sadness to report that an icon of numismatics, Eric P. Newman, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday at the age of 106. Even if you never met Newman your life in numismatics has been changed for the better by his work. He will be missed by everyone.

The following is the obituary scheduled to appear in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

ERIC PFEIFFER NEWMAN died Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at his home in Clayton at the age of 106. Devoted husband of the late Evelyn Edison Newman for 75 years, brother of the late Ivy Steele of Chicago, beloved father of Linda Newman Schapiro of New York and Andrew (Peggy) Newman of St. Louis, enthusiastic and inspiring “Opa” to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A life-long resident of Clayton, Eric attended John Burroughs School from the day the school opened in 1923 and obtained his engineering degree from MIT and his law degree from Washington University.

Eric was a great lawyer, inventor, and historian, but he was best known as a numismatic collector and scholar, generous philanthropist, and inveterate traveler. He was a member of The Explorer’s Club and, with Evelyn, pioneered travel to every corner of the globe. Over the years, they enjoyed hosting family and friends both in St. Louis and at their homes in Jamaica, Martha’s Vineyard, and the bluffs of Alton, Illinois. Eric established the Newman Money Museum in St. Louis and authored over 100 books and articles, principally in the field of numismatics.

Both directly and through his role in the Eric P. & Evelyn E. Newman Foundation, the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, the Harry Edison Foundation, and the Edison Family Foundation, he helped in the creation of St. Louis institutions such as the Butterfly House, The Magic House, the Eric P. Newman Education Center at Washington University, and many of the concepts and events dreamed up by his wife Evelyn. Their marriage was an enduring and remarkable model of love, partnership, effectiveness, and concern for others.

The family wants to express its heartfelt thanks to Eric’s many compassionate caregivers. Per Eric’s wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service. Any gift to your favorite charity would be a welcome tribute to his life. Messages of sympathy may be sent to EricNewmanFamily@gmail.com.

Special thanks to Wayne Homren, Editor of The E-Sylum, for the text of the obituary.

Godspeed, John Glenn

New Frontier Bronze Medal features the portraits of Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. facing left, and Friendship 7 astronaut John Herschel Glenn Jr. facing right. The reverse features the Apollo 11 LEM orbiting the moon and the Friendship 7 mission capsule orbiting Earth.

Over the years, society has started labeling people heroes for doing something as minimal as their job. While some of these jobs require a heroic sense of self, like running into a burning building to save trapped people, they are really not heroes. We should remember that these people do an extraordinary and dangerous job and should be respected. But being a hero should have meaning, like doing something that nobody else could or would do.

Heroism is climbing to the top of the Atlas LV-3B rocket, that was rushed to completion and whose tests did not exactly go as planned and launched into low Earth orbit trying to help the United States catch up in the space race. With the entire world watching and the next year after the Soviets made their own flight into orbit, John Herschel Glenn, Jr. rode Friendship 7 into history.

COL John Glenn

COL Glenn had nothing to prove before being launched into space. He dropped out of college to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1943 only to transfer to the Navy in 1944 in order to be a pilot. Glenn then flew for the Navy in World War II and Korea. After the Korean War, Glenn was stationed at the Patuxent Naval Air Station in southern Maryland to become a test pilot. Among his accomplishments was being the first pilot to break the sound barrier on a transcontinental flight and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. But that was not enough for COL Glenn, he applied for the space program.

Glenn was so humble that he said that he was the just the next one up. But subsequent stories came out later that with the push to have an American fly in Earth’s orbit quickly, the schedule was manipulated so that Glenn was the pilot of that mission. Some have accused Glenn of using his relationship with President Kennedy for that honor, but that was later disproven.

NASA Payload Specialist for STS-95

It was his friendship with Kennedy that prevented Glenn from flying again. Kennedy was so afraid that this hero and friend would be killed, he ordered NASA to ground Glenn forever. When Glenn flew on Discovery (STS-95) in 1998, President Bill Clinton had to rescind Kennedy’s order that kept Glenn grounded. John Glenn was 77 when he went to space on Discovery becoming the oldest person in space.

In between flights into space, Glenn became a corporate executive with Royal Crown Cola with an eye on politics. He started with an attempted run at the senate in 1964 but withdrew after a personal accident. He was with Robert F. Kennedy on the campaign trail when Kennedy was assassinated. In 1970 lost the Democratic primary for the senate against Howard Metzenbaum. Glenn finally won the 1974 Democratic primary and was elected Senator from Ohio, a seat he held until retiring in 1999.

Official U.S. Senate portrait of John Glenn

Along the way, Glenn was considered to be a candidate for vice president and even ran for president in 1984 before dropping out of the primary.

From the day he dropped out of college to join the Army through the end, John Glenn has been nothing less than a hero. He spent most of this life in service to his country with impeccable honor and distinction. Glenn showed how good people can serve for the sake of service without having to get anything more out of the service than the satisfaction that he made life better.

We are better for having had John Herschel Glenn, Jr. amongst us.

Godspeed, John Glenn.

Still frame of John Glenn in orbit, taken by a motion picture camera inside Friendship 7

Credits

  • Image of the New Frontier Bronze Medal courtesy of the U.S. Mint.
  • All other images are from government sources and in the public domain.

Remembering Chet Krause

Chet KrauseThe numismatic world lost one of its great pioneers when Chester Lee “Chet” Krause passed away on June 25, 2016 from congestive heart failure. Chet was 92.

There are many tributes to Chet that will discuss his life and accomplishments you can read here, here, here, and this tribute by the current editor of Numismatic News Dave Harper.

I cannot say that I was Chet’s personal friend, but when you were around him he treated you like you were his best friend. The few times we met, he was a gentleman and generous with his time and knowledge. He was willing to talk numismatics as long as he could.

And he insisted that everyone call him Chet.

When I met him for the first time at the 2007 World’s Fair of Money where he became a member of the ANA Board of Governors, I said, “It is a sincere pleasure to meet you, Mr. Krause.” He chuckled as he said to call him Chet. I had a feeling that this was a theme throughout his life.

Chet published the first Numismatic News in 1952 in order to communicate with other coin collectors especially those living in rural areas. Later, he would work with Cliff Mishler to compile the Standard Catalog of World Coins, probably the most significant resource for collectors of world coins. Krause-Mishler (KM) numbers are a standard catalog identification system used by many collectors.

Chet was not just a numismatic publisher. Krause Publications published Old Cars, a weekly magazine for people with interest in classic and antique cars. Krause publications also publishes books and magazines about antiques, crafts, comics, outdoors, and other personal interests. While some see the Standard Catalog of World Coins is seen as a seminal work in the numismatic industry, Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles is a seminal work for those of us in that industry.

Regardless of his success, he was just Chet, an icon but you would never know it if you met him.

On behalf of the world you touched, from numismatics to collectibles, thank you Chet for helping make collecting that much more enjoyable.

Image courtesy of Numismatic News.

Thinking About Home

My hometown was in the news today for two very different reasons, yet both remind me of why I continue to love New York.

Mayor Ed Koch at the commissioning ceremony for the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CG 57), 1988

Mayor Ed Koch at the commissioning ceremony for the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CG 57), 1988

In the morning, we woke to the news that Hizzoner, the former Mayor of New York City, Edward Irving Koch had died around 2 a.m. Friday morning. He was 88 years old.

Koch’s exuberance and love of New York propelled himself and the city from the what was seen as the bottom to a trajectory that you could not think of New York without Ed Koch or Ed Koch without New York. Koch’s perpetual question, “How am I doing?” will forever be his trademark throughout the streets, cabs, subways, highways, and byways of New York City.

A more happier note, it was on February 1, 1913 that Grand Central Station (really named “Grand Central Terminal” but that’s not what we called it growing up in New York) opened. It was not the first terminal on the site to bear the Grand Central name. The previous version opened in 1903 and comprised of three separate buildings. Over the next ten years the structure that stands there today was built in phases that including the underground rail tunnels that are still in use today.

Grand Central underwent a rehabilitation that started in 1994 through 2000 that cleaned up the famous ceiling in the grand concourse and reconfigured the above ground areas to include more shops. But it still represents the major transportation hub of New York.

Collecting transportation tokens are the ultimate numismatic collection that represents local history. Transportation has been at the heart of every city and can be used as a personal tie to your collectible. Tokens and medals representing local transportation can be more beautiful and significant than coins from the same era. Not long ago, I was able to find a pewter medal from the dedication of the East River Bridge. The bridge was rename in 1915 and is known today as the Brooklyn Bridge.

Having a collection of subway tokens reminds me of all those subway trips I had taken over the course of my life and the sesquicentennial medal of the Long Island Railroad represents my daily commutes from Long Island to my job at 30 Rock.

As I think about my hometown today, remember where you are from and consider starting a collection of tokens and medals that helps to tell your story. It can be as rewarding as your memories.

And to Hizzoner, you did just fine! Rest in peace.

 

Image of Ed Koch courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Passing of a Legend

Last night saw the passing of Steve Jobs, a computer industry pioneer who revolutionized more than the computing industry. Jobs revolutionized how technology influences our lives and culture. That technology has even had an effect on this blog.

I bought my first Mac in 2002. I had heard about the new Mac operating system MacOS X and I wanted to learn more, so I decided to find a used Mac to play with. At the time, my company was holding a surplus auction where they would auction computers and peripherals that were beyond their life cycle. That year, the company decided that they would standardize on Windows and those with Macs would have to give up their machines. I bid on a PowerBook G3 that was code named “Wall Street” and won. I bought a copy of MacOS X Jaguar (10.2), more memory and started learning the Mac.

This was the time of the “switcher” commercials. One commercial was a woman who talked about how she was able to recover pictures from her digital camera to save Christmas. It was not Christmas time, but I was sitting with a cheap digital camera I bought to try out digital photography and having a difficult time getting the drivers loaded under Windows 2000 (remember, this was in 2002). I opened the PowerBook to try that computer. I plugged in the camera and was searching for the camera’s instructions when I noticed that not only did iPhoto start, but recognized the camera and asked if I wanted to import the photos.

To say I was blown away would be an understatement. It was easy and ordering prints online from Apple were easy and not expensive. I was hooked. I transitioned everything from the Windows machine to the Mac and never looked back. Today, I am using my third Mac. I write and manage this blog using a 27-inch iMac (late 2009). Sweet machine!

That ease of use runs through Apple’s product line and was Steve Jobs’s vision. Digital music players existed before the iPod, but Jobs lead his team to do better. From the iPod to the online digital music store, iTunes, Jobs and Apple revolutionized the electronic music business like nobody has. This portable player also lead to the revolution that are podcasts that expanded our access to information. As I look down on my desk, there is my 6th generation iPod Nano that I will clip to my shirt to listen to podcast on the go.

There were smart phones before the iPhone, but after Jobs rejected two prototypes, he gave his most exciting keynote address (called a “Stevenote”) where he introduced a single device to surf the web, listen to music, and a cellular phone—no stylus required. Then, Apple adapted the concept of programming the phone (other than by web pages) and the app store was born. In the app store, we find a number of apps that have been reviewed here including The Numismatist reading app.

The last coin show I went to, I saw a few dealers taking payments with their iPhone. Using a device called Square attached to the earphone port, dealers could swipe credit cards and get approved for payments via their iPhone. With low swipe fees (2.75% per swipe), dealers can now accept credit cards and expand their business. This would not be possible without the technology behind the iPhone.

Yes, I will pre-order an iPhone 4S tomorrow.

Never satisfied to stand still, Jobs pushed his team to build the iPad. Rather than accept what was “normal” for tablet computers, Jobs took the lessons learned from the iPhone and created another drool-worthy device that others are trying to imitate. I drooled over the iPad for over a year until the iPad 2 came out—I never buy the first version of anything. It was the reason that earlier this year, I wrote asking about electronic numismatic books which was noticed by the hobby’s two largest publishers. I have since downloaded a few numismatic books to read on the iPad. I also use the iPad to post links to numismatic stories on Twitter (see @CoinsBlog).

Even if you do not have these devices, the improvements elsewhere are because Apple pushed the envelope in that direction. Android-based phones and tablets came after Apple introduced the iPhone and iOS. Microsoft changed their Windows interface to compete with the MacOS interface. And nobody has really come up with an answer to the iPod, which remains the best selling music player in the market and iTunes is continues to sell the most downloadable music than any other vendor.

Regardless of the industry we are in and regardless of how we interact with technology, Steve Jobs and Apple has influenced all our lives that should live on.

Thank you Steve for being the influence that makes all of this possible. Rest in peace.

A Tragic Loss: Cameron Kiefer Dies

It is with great sadness to report that Cameron Kiefer, 28, died on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 from an apparent suicide. Cameron was an accomplished numismatist who had won the 2001 CSNA Literary Award and the ANA Outstanding Young Numismatist of the Year in 2002. Subsequently he became a grader at the Independent Coin Grading Company when it was located in Colorado Springs. Cameron resigned from ICG in March 2008 to become a full-time coin dealer.

I briefly became acquainted with Cameron after I posted the story about his departure from ICG. After a few email exchanges where he seemed excitedly nervous, I wished him luck and said that I hope we can do business in the future. Running a business did not come easy for Cameron which may have lead to his unfortunate decision.

Cameron Kiefer was married and left behind two children, reported to be three and one years old. My sincere condolences go out to his family and wish for better times ahead.

UPDATE: Obituary and funeral information may be found at the Horan & McConaty Funeral Home.

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