President’s Message

This page is a summary of recent PNNA president’s messages, as published in The Nor’wester. For older messages, please see back issues of The Nor’wester. There is normally a president’s message in each quarterly issue.

President’s Messages 2020 by PNNA President Ed Fischer

Ed Fischer
Ed Fischer

3rd Q 2020

This is my first presidential message as your new PNNA president. I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to serve PNNA and Northwest numismatics. James Reinders and the other past PNNA presidents have set a high standard to live up to. Thanks to the board already in place, the transition should be a smooth one. I don’t plan on rocking the boat or making serious changes to our direction. I and the PNNA Board are here to serve, develop and promote a healthy numismatic environment.

With that being said, 2020 is not cracking up to what could be classified as a normal year for any part of society. Many folks are hurting physically and financially as a result of the way the pandemic is playing out. We at PNNA will work to do the best we can, given the restraints placed on us by government and societal actions. We find ourselves still discovering the science behind Covid-19 and how it affects group situations.

At this writing, most all club meetings are being canceled because of distancing and attendance regulations. Many club meetings have typically been held in Fire Halls, Senior Center, and other public venues. It is just not safe for numismatist to gather for the sake of a hobby. Many of our coin friends are older or may have underlying health issues. It is a hobby! I would hate to be a part of any of my numismatic friends getting ill because we didn’t take precautions. I have great hope that some day we will meet on the Bourse floor.

In the wake of the cancelled PNNA Tukwila show in April, the new and old PNNA boards met together by phone on April 18. The PNNA board will use Zoom on August 1 for their next board meeting, and we will discuss the fate for the planned PNNA Fall show in Tukwila.

I can provide a few updates on the show scenes. Currently the ANA show in Pittsburgh this August has been canceled and they will get the chance again in Pittsburgh in 2023. The Florence Oregon show in August has been canceled for this year. I want to thank Rick and Tony for all their hard work—Washington has canceled their State Fair so there can be no PNNA outreach in the Hobby Hall. Still up-in-the-air shows include the PNNA fall show in Tukwila (planned to be our first Tukwila fall show!) for September, the Portland (Willamette Coin Club) Halloween show at the end of October, and the Salem show in December. While the final say for those shows will come from the PNNA board, the WCC board, and the Salem board, respectively—in all cases the definitive answers will be based upon venue restrictions, government restrictions, and safety concerns the clubs may have. For the most up-to-date list, check Eric has done a great job of updating the website as information comes in.

I have faith that the challenges Covid-19 places upon groups like ours will eventually subside. I can not venture a guess about the length of time or the evolution of societal norms. Interactions and processes may change on the bourse floor. I am a hands-on person, but have seen a huge increase in online or auction sales. Whichever way it plays out, PNNA will make the attempt to assist in whatever way possible.

With all this changing daily, I welcome any input you may have. Please don’t hesitate to email me your comments or suggestions at

Happily serving,
Ed Fischer

President’s Messages 2019-2020 by PNNA President James Reinders

James Reinders
James Reinders

2nd Q 2020

As we go to press with this issue (March 18), we have just made the decision to cancel our spring show in Tukwila due to concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

It did not help that Tukwila happens to be in the center of one of the key outbreak areas in the United States. Decisions by the state government regarding closures all but forced our decision, and the PNNA board was unanimous in its decision to cancel the show. We will proceed with a fall version on September 25-27 at the same location … the Tukwila Community Center.

We have updated The Nor’Wester to reflect this change, but please note that we did it on a tight schedule, and we apologize if we missed anything and left any references that were not updated with this late breaking news.

Congratulation to the new board, including our newly elected president. They will take office on April 18, at which time most of the (new and old) board will meet at Spiffy’s Restaurant. We will publicly congratulate them at the annual membership meeting which will be on September 26. We can together welcome them in person, by which time the new board will have met three times!

I really want to thank the outgoing board (most of whom are returning – which is great too!) for the past four years … which included numerous amazing efforts that brought additional very effective educational programs into the Pacific Northwest, as well as laid the ground work to expand numismatic activities in other ways. We’ve helped collectors and dealers alike, through efforts to expand attendance at the shows, and keep the shows safe and secure with badging and camera systems that are proving effective but not intrusive.

I’ve enjoyed all the PNNA board discussions, which often took turns that I did not instantly support … but I always found that we made the right decisions together because combined we figured out the best path forward. Really an amazing and uplifting experience time and time again. It has been my honor to serve as the PNNA president.

I have had a very enjoyable four years (the maximum allowed per the PNNA bylaws), because we have a fantastic group of people dedicated to helping numismatics in the Pacific Northwest. I cannot say enough good things about the PNNA board and other PNNA volunteers. They aren’t paid – they generously volunteer their precious time to help. I can’t tell you how often members of the board will apologize for not having as much time as they’d like to help. I am never disappointed – I’m just humbled by their steadfast dedication to give what they can so selfishly. Every board member contributes strongly to our amazing PNNA.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, Colonel Steve Ellsworth, the current president of the ANA has told us we are very lucky (we make the luck!) in the Pacific Northwest to have such strong clubs. I love the synergistic relationships between strong local clubs, and the regional PNNA efforts, that end up making the Pacific Northwest such a great place to be a coin collector or coin dealer.

Per the PNNA by-laws, I will move to serving on the PNNA as the “immediate past president.” I look forward to serving in that role.

This is going to be another great year – It is unfortunate that we will not be together for a spring show/convention in Tukwila, but we will get together in September instead! We had quite a few Boy Scouts planning to get a Coin Collecting Merit Badge on Saturday at the show, and we will invite them to join us in September instead.

The Puyallup Fair (Washington State Fair, September 4-27, 2020), wants us back to “every day of the fair” in 2020 after experimenting with reducing us to half the fair in 2019. Apparently, the fair attendees missed us dearly! Everyone should come help the PNNA promote numismatics. This will include juggling a bit to cover during the overlap of the fair and our new fall PNNA show.

We are deep in planning the launch for the first ever PNNA Fall Show (in Tukwila, September 25-26-27, 2020). We are interested in any input you may have on the show. I will work tirelessly, to see that both shows (spring and fall) are considered MAJOR – I do not expect one to be smaller than the other. While I anticipate keeping the annual PNNA membership meeting at the spring show normally, we will hold the annual membership meeting on September 26 this year since we cancelled the spring show.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, launching a second Seattle-area PNNA show follows a strong national trend. Strong annual shows, across the country, have found that two shows per year works best (vs. one). This has happened with the Florida FUN show, Baltimore, and many other large cities. It was definitely time for the PNNA to make this move. Not every show succeeds at this, but I believe we understand why some have failed while many have succeeded. We have a solid team to make this happen. While it takes a team to do it, I will share that our secret “ace in the hole” is Scott Loos. I’m not sure we would try to launch a new show without Scott, but with Scott — how can be lose?

This national trend has caused the ANA challenges, and is a key reason the ANA repeatedly finds itself considering an option to standardize on Chicago for the summer. We know that for the ANA, Portland remains the best location for us to attract an ANA show into the Pacific Northwest. We were not selected in the last round, but we will continue to try to bring the ANA to the Pacific Northwest in future years.

With the great shows in the Northwest – Boeing, PNNA Spring, PNNA Fall, WCC Fall, Salem, and many more … we can all reach out to coin collectors who have not yet heard or attended our many clubs or our many shows in our region. How many state quarter collectors can we attract in the upcoming years? I see lots of opportunity.

Portland Fall Show/Convention (October 31-November 1) and Salem (December 5-6) offer a solid combination of shows to look forward to when 2020 winds down. The WCC board has appointed Jason Breedlove to be their new show chair, while Scott remains the bourse chair. The monthly WCC board discussions about the future of the show are energetic and energizing. I think the WCC show is going to grow over the next five years in both scope and personality. The WCC club is very strong (they recently moved their meeting space, and an upside is that the new space is an upgrade – better parking, and better lighting in the room). I feel great about the transition of the show to the WCC completely, and I am confident it will help strengthen numismatics in the Pacific Northwest through the dedication of the WCC club. Again, we are really blessed to have strong clubs throughout the regions – I see it first-hand around Portland (where I live) – but I also know through others that the greater Seattle area has a number of clubs that distinguish themselves, and there are many other clubs sprinkled across Washington and Oregon that are doing great things. I have insider knowledge that will be popping up on the web to promote Grants Pass area numismatics. It’s all so great to see – and THANK YOU for all of you helping keep it fun and interesting – it all depends on the local collectors and dealers having fun together.

1st Q 2020

I have a lot of good news to share — which affect all PNNA members — so I want to get the word out on these five important topics:

1. The Spring show/convention in Tukwila has shifted to April, due to a conflict with another national show. Note the new dates! (April 17-19, 2020)

2. The planned educational class “Counterfeit Detection Seminar: Classic Fakes & Chinese-made Counterfeits” has shifted dates to align to the new dates (class is April 15-16, 2020), and sign-ups are open.

3. The PNNA board unanimously decided to launch a new show in Tukwila in the fall – the first is scheduled for Sept. 25-27, 2020.

4. Our bi-annual elections are coming up. Ballots will be mailed ahead of the April Tukwila show, with newly elected taking office on April 18. If you are interested in running for the board, or want to nominate someone — please let an officer or a board member know!

5. The Portland show/convention, after another great show, will have a branding change in 2020. I will come back to this at the end of my message.

Our Spring Show/Convention in Tukwila will be April 17-19, 2020 (now cancelled – see 2nd Q message)

Our previously selected date in March, suffered a rare unplanned date collision with another national show (Baltimore). This would have affected roughly a dozen dealers, so Scott Loos skillfully found us a new date. The Tukwila Community Center worked with Scott, to free their facility up (by shifting reservations others had) for us on April 17-19. Of course, we prefer to avoid such shifts if we can — but for such a major collision, we have reacted correctly to make it all work out. Please note the new dates! The ANA also helped, by shifting the dates for our class …

Please see the 1st Q 2020 edition of The Nor’wester for the remainder of James’ message, including a discussion of the fall show.

4th Q 2019

Fall is here, and so is an exciting line-up of things to do. We have our annual show with WCC, coming soon on Nov. 2-3 (setup on Nov. 1). There is a great educational opportunity as well on Saturday, Nov. 2 — a morning workshop on Exonumia!

Understanding Exonumia: A Workshop, Saturday, November 2, 2019, 9 a.m.-noon.

We will also have a Scouting merit badge clinic on that same Saturday afternoon — please encourage any scouts that you know to join us (a flyer can be download from the PNNA website on the YN/Scouting page – either for Portland in November, or for Tukwila in March). Your help spreading the word about these clinics is welcome!

Exhibiting is always encouraged at the shows – if you get your exhibit in for Portland (Nov. 1-3), you can also take it to Salem (Dec. 7-8), Boeing (Jan. 18-19), and Tukwila (Apr. 17-19) — all inside the Pacific Northwest. Of course, ANA and other shows outside the Northwest offer opportunities as well to share your collection and knowledge through collector exhibiting!

It has been 50 years since Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the Moon. The U.S. Mint, and others, have commemorated it this year. At left: U.S. Mint image of Apollo 11 commemorative coin. (See 4th Q 2019 edition of The Nor’wester for images.) I believe we will see at least two exhibits related to Apollo 11 at the Portland show. And, there is always room for more on Apollo 11, or any topic you care to exhibit.

Sign-ups are coming soon for the class in March (now April) … ANA Counterfeit Detection Course, Wednesday-Thursday, April 15-16, 2020. (Link is to ANA flyer with sign-up information.)

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates and Locations:

  • Nov. 2, 2019 at the WCC/PNNA Portland Convention, DoubleTree Lloyd Center, Portland, Ore., at about 6 p.m. (earlier if everyone is ready)
  • Jan. 18, 2020 at the Boeing Employee’s Coin Club Show, Kent Commons, Kent, Wash., right after the show closes (start meeting about 5:20 p.m.)
  • Apr. 18, 2020 at the PNNA show in Tukwila, at 8 a.m. (the annual membership meeting is after the show that same day)

Guests are always welcome to drop in on any board meeting – they are always open! The Board and Officers serve at your pleasure – please contact any one of us with your suggestions. We want to grow this organization and we want to better educate our members on the subject of numismatics.

There are many other coin shows to enjoy this fall and winter. See the event calendar for up-to-date listings.

3rd Quarter 2019

Education is always on my mind – and we have two opportunities that I hope you will consider signing up to attend. I will discuss them in more depth in a bit, but here are the dates and titles:

Saturday Nov. 2, 2019 – Understanding Exonumia

Wednesday-Thursday March 18-19, 2020 – Detecting Counterfeits (including Chinese)
Please note that dates have changed; see 4th Q message for updated info.

Both are taught by world experts, which the PNNA has invited to come to our area to share their expertise. I plan to attend them both! Sign-up now! Definitely bring young numismatists too – exonumia is great for us all, and can be easier on the budget!

I’m delighted to see the PNNA continuing to drive educational opportunities for us all, and underwriting much of the expense. I also offer my special thanks to the WCC (Portland) for helping support the workshop this fall, including underwriting WCC members who want to attend (sign up for $20, and then ask at a WCC club meeting for details!).

Understanding Exonumia: A Workshop – Saturday Nov. 2, 2019, 9 a.m.-noon

Held in the early hours of the fall convention – this is a DO NOT MISS opportunity – information, experts, and giveaways! This workshop will feature three key experts (Margorie Akin, James Bard, and Kevin Akin) in exonumia – researchers, and book authors! They wrote the 2016 book titled Numismatic archaeology of North America: a field guide.

From beginners to experts, this workshop will increase your knowledge of all aspects of exonumia. No prior knowledge of exonumia collecting is required. Bring an open mind and be ready to branch out into this interesting and rewarding subfield of numismatics!

Exonumia are numismatic items (tokens, medals, or scrip) other than coins and paper money. It includes “Good For” tokens, badges, counterstamped coins, elongated coins, encased coins, souvenir medallions, tags, wooden nickels and similar items. It is related to numismatics (concerned with coins which have been legal tender), and many coin collectors are also exonumists already – even if they didn’t know it!

There will be helpful handouts including a bibliography of published and web-available resources to help identify, date, and attribute exonumia; a guide to finding and market-savvy purchasing; and instructions on how to research the origins and functions of your tokens. This workshop will be hands-on. Though it is impossible to bring examples of each-and-every kind of token, medal, ticket, store-card and the like, the presenters will bring (and give away examples of) an interesting array of exonumia types, both common and rare.

ANA Counterfeit Detection CoursePlease note that dates have changed; see 4th Q message or flyer for updated info.

This counterfeit detection class will be presented by the ANA, in advance of the PNNA annual spring show in Tukwila. We had a fantastic ANA course last October in Portland at the WCC/PNNA convention, and I’m pleased that we will offer a different ANA course at the PNNA convention a year and a half later!

This hands-on seminar will look at the various types of counterfeits produced and how to authenticate them. From cast fakes and electrotypes to various high-quality struck counterfeits, students will learn the diagnostics to spot the fakes, and characteristics found on genuine specimens.

The course will cover Colonial coinage through gold coinage, as well as modern Chinese-made counterfeits and bullion issues. Students will also learn diagnostics and techniques for detecting altered dates and mintmarks. Hundreds of coins from the ANA’s counterfeit detection set will be available for study.

Instructor: Brian Silliman, professional numismatist, Brian Silliman Rare Coins, and former NGC grader/conserver and ANA authenticator/conserver.

As we did for the ANA course last fall in Portland, the PNNA will offer some scholarships, and clubs are encouraged to offer scholarships to these worthwhile education opportunities.

Puyallup changes

Please see the story on page 3 of The Nor’wester … the PNNA will only be at the Fair from Sept. 11-22 this year.

We had no opportunity to affect the decision, and no warning it was coming. We have concerns that the Puyallup Fair may choose to head the way of the Oregon State Fair, in looking to not give away as much free space. We’ve wanted to be a part of the Oregon State Fair as well, but they have had no interest in allowing us to have a table for a reasonable cost — while the Puyallup Fair has always invited us to attend for free. We have had other free outreach opportunities – including setting up with the Washington BSA Jamborees. We welcome low cost opportunities, and hope the Puyallup Fair remains that — we think it has been a win-win for many years. Time will tell.

2nd Quarter 2019

We will have our annual membership meeting on March 16, 2019 at about 6:30 p.m., which is shortly after that day’s close of the PNNA Spring Convention. I look forward to seeing all of you who can make it! Earlier on that Saturday we will have the coin show, exhibits, numismatic theater talks, club meetings, training for exhibit judges, and a scout merit badge workshop.

Please Help Judge Exhibits

If you are interested in helping judge exhibits (we could use the help!) please let Eric Holcomb know. It is easy to learn, and helps provide feedback for exhibitors to help them improve their exhibits. I have benefited from judging feedback in past years to help improve my exhibits – something that helped me compete better at the national level! Please consider being a judge. See for complete collector exhibit information, application form, rules and judging criteria, and past winners with exhibit photos.

Introducing the “Del Cushing People’s Choice Award”

The PNNA board recently asked PNNA Chief Judge Eric Holcomb to review exhibiting for the spring and fall shows and make recommendations. In January the PNNA board accepted all of Eric’s proposals, and they will be in effect starting in Tukwila. The WCC board reviewed and agreed with the changes as well. The changes are three-fold:
(1) Exhibit classes have been revamped to six modified classes — three traditional classes by type of material (coins, paper money, tokens and medals), and three by topic or theme (common element, topical and Pacific Northwest). These are fully explained online — see the exhibit webpage reference above. The Best-of-Show exhibit will be selected from among the first-place class exhibits.
(2) The new classes will be used at both the spring and the fall shows.
(3) The People’s Choice Award in Tukwila will be renamed the Del Cushing Memorial People’s Choice Award in recognition of Del’s long standing as an outstanding numismatist in the greater Seattle area. It is a fitting tribute to name the award in his honor!

Eric consulted with ANA Chief Judge Joseph Boling about the changes, and Joe was very supportive. Thank you, Eric. Exhibitors at both shows will have many prizes available including:

  • Six classes – potentially 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each class.
  • Best-of-Show (named the Byron F. Johnson Jr. Memorial Award at the spring show).
  • Best Exhibit of Tokens and Medals (currently awarded at spring show only, and named the C.E. “Hepp” Heppner Award).
  • People’s Choice (now named the Del Cushing Memorial Award at the spring show).

Encouraging our best exhibits to go National

In addition, in February the WCC board voted to offer $200 for the Best-of-Show winner at the fall show to take his/her winning exhibit (most likely with updates) to an ANA show within two years. This matches what is available for spring show Best-of-Show winners courtesy of the PNNA. It is wonderful to see exhibiting in Portland blossoming to the point that the WCC club can encourage national level exhibiting too. I believe that all the exhibits we saw in Portland last fall would compete well at the ANA level (esp. with the tips given by the judges as feedback). The $200 helps cover some of the costs in going to an ANA show, while encouraging our best exhibits to be seen at the national level.

On January 27, I held a workshop in Portland for exhibitors. Over the course of three hours, we discussed techniques, tips, experiences, and discussed example exhibits. I got some good tips from the nine attendees myself – it was a really nice group! The presentation that I used for the workshop, originally developed for the 2015 Portland ANA show, is available on the PNNA website (see link on the exhibits page). I will do a very condensed one -hour version as a numismatic theater talk at the Tukwila show, at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Technology Tip: try Reversee (use it at a coin show!)

I will finish the “technology insight” that I started in my letter for the prior issue. If you visit you can upload any image you want, and Google will analyze it and show you similar things on the web. You should upload a picture of a coin, currency, animal, or whatever and give it a try!

However, I never actually visit the Google website myself. Instead, I use an “app” on my “smartphone” (an iPhone) called “Reversee.” It’s one of several “apps” that take a picture with your phone, upload to Google (, and show the results very nicely on the phone.

I frequently forget about this powerful tool, but I was using it recently when working on an exhibit layout. I kept wanting to sort some new currency I had, and I kept forgetting which was which. Reversee made it quick and easy to double check.

I will warn you: you have to watch what it matches. If you don’t crop the picture after you take it and before you submit it, it might search for the hand that was holding the coin, or the 7-11 Big Gulp cup that was sitting on the desk behind your hand! I highly recommend trying Reversee or another “app” that fronts Google’s image search. Or, if you don’t have a smartphone, you can use any web access that you can upload your photo to, and use directly.

Guests are always welcome to drop in on any board meeting – they are always open!

I hope to see as many of you as possible at the annual PNNA membership meeting at the Tukwila Community Center on Saturday March 16 at 6:30 p.m. (The show closes at 6 p.m.)

1st Quarter 2019

So much to discuss: Conder Tokens Collectors Club, Facebook ads bringing in new blood, the amazing instructor Brian Silliman helping us avoid ‘the coin you wish you never bought,’ exhibiting, and how to guide us on future numismatic seminars. I hope you’ll yield a few minutes to my ramblings here …

October brought us the WCC/PNNA Fall Convention, and the Numismatic Seminar, and they were both great! I reported that the seminar was a sell-out (room capacity), but fortunately a larger room became available and we were able to admit everyone on the wait list! We appreciate the patience of people who were disappointed when they tried to register, but put themselves on a waitlist to give us a chance to accommodate them – which we did!

At our next board meeting (Saturday January 19) we will be discussing how and when to hold the next numismatic seminar, this time around the Seattle area in 2020. Feel free to offer your input to any board member of the PNNA! The feedback on locating in Portland was very positive (verses finding a “neutral in-between Portland/Seattle” location) because only half the attendees needed hotels rooms. I got to go home each night personally, and I look forward to a spring 2020 seminar where I stay in a hotel and let half the attendees go home. Personally, I’d also love to see some Coeur d’Alene and Spokane area encouragement for the PNNA to help attract a seminar in that region … I only need a little encouragement!

About the Seminar – officially titled “Coin Grading, Problem Coins & Conservation” – the instructor Brian Silliman was amazing. Everyone in attendance got far more from the class because of him, than all the book reading (or internet surfing) in the world could offer. He was knowledgeable, genuine and raw (in a good way). He talked openly and honestly about what is done to coin in the name of ‘conserving’ as well as to improve the look to an untrained eye for a fast buck. Our eyes were both opened, and trained, to be better at avoiding (as Brian put it) ‘the coin you wish you never bought.’

The Portland show was well attended, and we collected data on how people heard about the show for the first time ever. Yes, this well-known marketing technique of knowing your customer is creeping in for us with the best intentions. We want to make sure our past attendees don’t forget to attend each year, but we also want to bring in new blood. With that in mind, the WCC board spent a little money on Facebook ads. Some curmudgeons like myself had our doubts – but the surveys don’t lie. The show brought in some new (first time attendees) people with targeted Facebook ads. Of course, we didn’t “invent” new coin collectors, but we did connect with some local ones who had not been to the show. We are going to adopt some of the WCC practices to help bring people into the Tukwila show. I am grateful for this innovation by the WCC board.

I also enjoyed the Salem show in early December. I was honored to win some exhibiting awards there, which brings me to my next advertisement: I will do an exhibiting workshop on January 27, 1-4 p.m., at the location where the WCC (Portland) club meets. I will also repeat the workshop (maybe condensed) sometime during the Tukwila show. Over the past decade, I have gone from a complete novice exhibitor, to an intense nation competitor, back to a nice guy who likes to exhibit! At least, I hope to be remembered that way. I think the exhibiting workshop will be a lot of fun – and I’ll provide practical tips on how to get-off-your-butt and share pieces form your wonderful collection. I’ll also provide tips on how to win awards, if that if your thing too – but mostly, I’ll encourage sharing! I hope to see many of you on January 27 in Portland, and March 16 or 17 (to be announced) in Tukwila.

The Conder Token Collector’s Club ( is an odd but lovable group. If you do not know them, you should. Their long-time president, Bill McKivor, is looking to pass the reigns to a new president. Those are enormous shoes to fill, so allow me to share some advice: new presidents should grow into the shoes, not expect to fill them immediately. (Danny – I’m working on it – honest!) In any case, if you’ve ever thought tokens were cool … I’d encourage you to seek out these crazies. They tend to hang out at coin shows near McKivor’s or Bobbe’s table, and they usually have a semi-official meeting in Tukwila. They really aren’t crazier than the rest of us, but I like calling them crazy (esp. Jerry Bobbe, for the record).

Technology Insight – Have you ever visited It allows you to upload any image you want, and Google will analyze it and show you similar things on the web. You should upload a picture of a coin, currency, animal, or whatever and give it a try. I find it super useful at finding what’s on the web about a coin or currency piece that I have. — More details in March!