American Numismatic Association "Coin Camp"Just got back from my annual pilgrimage to ?coin camp? at the headquarters of the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where I spent two weeks with hundreds of fellow numismatists. This is a tradition that began six years ago when I first decided to become a coin dealer and has become a regular part of my continuing education in this great hobby.
The first week was spent in honing my grading skills in the Advanced Grading class (which I took for the fifth time in six years). The course was taught by four grading professionals that included Jim Young, Senior Grader at Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC), Cameron Kiefer, a former Young Numismatist who now grades for Independent Coin Grading (ICG) in Denver, Jerry Bobbe, an early American copper specialist who used to grade for Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) and last, but certainly not least, Tom Hallenbeck, a second generation coin dealer from Colorado Springs. For those of us who love this hobby, there is no such thing as looking at too many coins, and we had a chance to see and give grade opinions on hundreds of coins that included some really rare pieces such as Mormon and Gruber territorial gold coins.
We got some time to look at more coins at the Colorado Springs Coin Show in between the two sessions at ANA. One of the highlights of my experience at the show was that I got to meet a long-time customer, Bob Norine from Desert Team Coins in Phoenix. Along the way, I was also able to acquire several new items that will be appearing on the BMC website as soon as Clark can get the images shot.
The second week I took the class in Civil War Numismatics, taught be Wendell Wolka, the universally acknowledged expert, author and lecturer on currency, along with co-instructor David Schenkman, who is known far and wide for his expertise and publications on tokens and other exonumia.
However, the very best part of the Summer Seminar was getting to see all of the old friends I have made at the event over the years, participate in the evening bull sessions and generally getting to talk with fellow enthusiasts about numismatic topics without their eyes glazing over after fifteen seconds. The best of the best attend this event every year and we get to know them as we share meals in the Colorado College cafeteria and lively conversation in the dormitory lounges and breezeways in the evening.
Finally, for those of you who love this hobby as much as I do, I would encourage you to plan to attend next summer?s Coin Camp and learn more about the parts of numismatics that are of interest to you. Courses are offered on every conceivable subject and can be the experience of a lifetime! For more information, you can visit the ANA?s website at www.money.org or call the Outreach Coordinator, Jane Colvard at (800) 367-9723, extension 169.