Making News at the 1958 ANA Convention

In the summer of 1958 the ANA held its summer convention in Los Angeles and I was selected by my family to represent the firm.

My son, Larry, was close to eight years old and my daughter, Susan, was four years old and I decided to make this Los Angeles convention the first for both of them. My wife, Harriet, brought the children and after the weeklong convention, we planned to spend a week at Disneyland for a post-show rest. The children had attended several shows in the New York area and knew many of the collectors and dealers so we felt we would be among friends.

The convention was to be held at the Statler Hilton and there would be things to entertain the children there. The hotel was also close to the downtown shopping area so my wife could keep busy as well. So it was decided that we would all go on this, our first numismatic trip as a family.

The show was quite large for the time, with several hundred bourse tables and a major auction scheduled. I had a great location for my table and met with numerous friends and clients. In the morning I would have breakfast with my family and they would help me set up my table. They were also available if I had to leave for business away from the bourse so I had time to look at lots in the sale and survey other dealers’ showcases.

You may recall Dora Nelson, the “mystery woman” at auctions in 1954 who I wrote about recently. She continued to be a major buyer at various Stack’s sales and other auctions and I was the member of our firm who handled her account. On the second day of the show I was paged to the phone and it was Dora Nelson, calling to see if I was attending the convention. She told me that her client wanted her to visit the show and look at a few lots in the auction and check out the condition of the market that summer.

She told me that she was coming into Los Angeles that afternoon and asked if I had the time to go to lot viewing with her. Of course, I agreed and asked her to meet me at my bourse table. I also invited her to have dinner with me in the main dining room of the hotel between lot viewing and the auction, which would be held around 8:00 pm. This was typical treatment of a valued client and when I told my wife that she would have to have dinner with the children without me, she responded, “You go take care of business, that is what you are here for.”

So, at about 4:00 in the afternoon Dora visited my table and we went to look at auction lots. We looked at coins, did the usual marking in our catalog and when we were finished it was close to 6:00. We headed to the dining room for a quick meal. A moment or two later Harriet and the children came into the dining room. They waved to us and went and sat down at a table across the room. We all had nice dinners at separate tables in the same dining room. Sometimes this is what happens when your “family business” is numismatics.

All in all, I remember the 1958 ANA Convention as a pleasurable one, a nice reminder that family, friends, and business can be a very enjoyable combination.

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