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FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK: A TALE OF TWO BASHES

By Ed Reiter

The 2012 NLG Bash will be here before you know it.

The festivities will get under way at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, in Salon F on the 5th Floor of the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, the main hotel for this year’s World’s Fair of Money.

Tickets will be available at the door, or can be purchased in advance starting Wednesday, Aug. 8, from Co-Treasurer Kay Lenker on the bourse floor or from me at bourse table 545 (the COINage booth).

The program will begin with a sumptuous buffet featuring an expertly prepared selection of entrées, side dishes and cheeses and desserts. Amy Powell, assistant marketing director to longtime NLG supporter Mike Fuljenz, is serving as Bash coordinator, as she did last year at the Chicago/Rosemont show. Mike is making it possible for Amy to be in charge of our event planning on-site for two solid days to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Those who attended the 2011 Bash gave rave reviews to the buffet, which Amy Powell planned in detail.

This year, our awards coordinator, Scott Travers, has scheduled some of our top awards, including the “Book of the Year” and the Clemy, to be presented early in the program, beginning about 8:30 p.m., with the entertainment portion of the evening shortly after that. We will close with presentation of the balance of the awards to winners of the 2012 Writers’ Competition.

As 2011 winner of the Clemy, Kay Lenker will get to bestow that award – the Guild’s highest honor – on this year’s choice. She made the selection from names submitted to her by the NLG Board of Directors. Kay received the award in Rosemont from Paul Whitnah, the 2010 honoree. It will be my pleasure to pass along the Ribbit Award, which I received last year from Scott Travers.

Wendell Wolka will serve as Bash emcee again this year, and has promised his usual potpourri of sight gags, zingers and satirical asides – most at the expense of the ANA, the U.S. Mint and similar targets of opportunity.

Wendell doubled as a vocalist at the 2011 Bash, singing a parody I had prepared to honor our host town, the remote Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill. Wendell provided a stellar rendition of the 2011 offering, a left-handed tribute to Rosemont sung to the tune of “Chicago (That Toddling Town).”

Rosemont’s remoteness also came in for some pointed but good-natured jabs when Scott Travers teamed up with two well-traveled Coin World scribes, Steve Roach and Jeff Starck, to reveal the 10 Best Reasons for Holding the World’s Fair of Money in that community.

In response to absolutely no requests from members, we revived a Bash routine called “If They Had Wed.” To groans and guffaws, we regaled the audience with a list of peculiar names that would have resulted if certain well-known hobbyists had married given individuals.

If Judith Murphy or Judith Frank Kaller had married Howdy Doody, for example, she would have become Judy Doody. And if Mel Wachs had married actress Bea Arthur, he would have been Bea’s Wachs. Things went downhill from there.

On a more serious note, David Alexander spoke briefly but eloquently about hobby legends Eric Newman and James Charlton. Both reached the remarkable age of 100 in 2011. And thankfully, both are still going strong a year later.

The top award in the 2011 Writers’ Competition – Book of the Year – went to The Secret History of the First U.S. Mint, by Joel Orosz and Leonard  Augsburger.

In accepting the Clemy, Kay Lenker – treasurer of the Guild since 1986 and one of our most tireless volunteers – delivered a memorable acceptance speech: “It’s about time!” The only shorter speech in our 44-year history, as far as I am aware, was Cliff Mishler’s in 1991: “Thanks.”

As Kay suggested in her understated way, the honor she received was long overdue. She has done a masterful job of collecting dues and keeping our finances in order, and gone above and beyond the usual duties of her office by getting tickets printed for more than two dozen Bashes, selling those tickets beforehand, collecting them from Bashgoers at the door and, in general, lending a helping hand whenever needed – all without a cent of compensation.

Maurice Rosen has helped shoulder the burden in recent years as co-treasurer – and he, too, has been a mainstay of the Guild since before the millennium. In addition to working with Kay on financial matters, he also is a vital cog in sorting entries each year in the Writer’s Competition, distributing them to judges and donating countless hours to serve as a judge himself.

Scott Travers has been coordinator of the contest for many years, and Tom DeLorey has done yeoman work tabulating the judges’ decisions and drafting the list of winners.

Other essential members of our team include Wendell Wolka, who has served as Bash emcee for a quarter century; David L. Ganz, our savvy legal counsel; Michael Sedgwick, publisher of our Newsletter; and Walt Ostromecki, our secretary, who doubles as chief presenter of writing awards at the Bash. Without the indispensable expertise of dedicated officers such as these, my job would be vastly more difficult.

The Guild has also benefited from the generosity of corporate sponsors, whose annual donations enable us to sustain the quality of the food, entertainment and awards that make the Bash such a unique and enjoyable event, as well as other NLG activities.

This year, as in the past, these sponsors – really, friends – include  Heritage Auctions; the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC); Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles; the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC); and Michael R. Fuljenz.

The 2011 Bash was a smash hit. The 2012 version figures to be even bigger and better.

See you there!

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