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Vol 09 No. 02 February 1995

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About This File

Last night I had a dream. It was ~ a strange dream, with two main characters. One wore a long flowing white robe with the name "Peter" embroidered on it. The other, a bearded and mustached middle-aged man with a sly grin on his face, was dragging a lug gage cart stacked to the top with Abafil cases. The two were standing on a misty ridge, before a pair of large mahogany doors guarded by a stocky guy with a blue blazer and 50s style crew cut. I couldn't quite hear the exchange between the two, but it was clear that Peter was trying to turn away the insistent interloper.

Not to be deterred, the man leaned forward and whispered something in Peter's ear. A chuckle emerged from his saintly lips, but Peter refused to be swayed. As he pointed to a path leading down the hill, the man leaned forward and once again whispered in Peter's car. This time Peter fairly roared as the golden tic of that toga-like garb danced over his midsection. Finally, the man reached into the briefcase on top of his stack and pulled out a faded newspaper. As he handed it to Peter, I could just make out the headline - CANDIDATE BEACH BLASTS ANA BOARD BOON-DOGGLES! A knowing and respectful smile appeared on Peter's face, and with a slap on the back he waved George M. Beach through the guarded doors.

Sadly, we won't see George again on this side of those mahogany bourse doors. We will easily remember the gracious and irreverent humor that George turned into a trademark, but we should not forget that there was another side to the man. He was a heavyweight in the fight for collectors' rights and for the good of numismatics. His business cards bear the motto "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing". Although his ambition to serve as an instrument of change on the ANA Board of Governors was never realized, his voice and opinions were heard loud and clear throughout the hobby.

I first met George shortly after we began publishing The Celator. He was supportive and helpful from the beginning and was always full of encouragement. Over the years it was my distinct privilege to become more closely acquainted with him. George was a man of much greater sensitivity than his manner suggested. Although a shrewd businessman, he was also willing to help a fellow numismatist out of a bind if possible. I could relate several instances in the course of our dealings where, without any personal motive, he did just that-and there are countless tales of a similar nature that other dealers could share. He was not at all a selfish man and was not above introducing his best clients to other dealers. He told me once that he liked to think of his bourse table as the "old barber shop" where friends and customers could chit-chat. He was especially proud that "all of my good customers have become good friends". Many of those friend's hail from the St. Louis area, which was George's favorite market and one {hat he essentially "owned" for many years. Reminiscing at the NYTNC last month. George told me how over the course of his career he had watched the market move from a collector orientation to one driven by investment interests and finally return to collector domination. It pleased him to sec the return of collectors as the primary market force. For the future, he predicted "a steady market but setbacks from promotions".

Although George appreciated a good meal, he was also a Chili Dog junkie. On the road, he liked to eat at German restaurants. Two of his favorites were Mader's in Milwaukee and Berghof's in Chicago. I have very fond memories of an evening some years ago when George treated me to dinner at a Serbian restaurant on the south side of Milwaukee. The restaurant provided serenading musicians and George provided nonstop tableside humor. It was quite a night.

As a full-time dealer for the past twenty years, he built a substantial business in coins and miscellaneous objects. The wide variety of stock led to his coining of the term "Numiscellaneous", which has become accompany logo. Concentrating mainly on the show circuit, he set up at about 40 bourses a year during his prime. Typically, George drove to these shows because of the large stock which he carried.

The entire numismatic community followed George's fight with Leukemia over the past few years, watching him rally over and over, only to relapse and weaken with each round. In recent months he was assisted by his son James, who intends to carry on the business. At the recent F.U.N. show I talked to James and his brother George, who manned the bourse in their father's absence. They said that it was a great disappointment to their father that he wasn't strong enough to make the trip. Actually, I think he was probably sitting up there in Owosso devising a plan to con St. Peter out of a photo ID. We'll really miss you George, and your distinctive point of view!





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