The August 13, 2006 meeting celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Ancient Coin Club of Los Angeles (ACCLA).
The guest speaker was premier classical numismatist and author David Sear who spoke on his career in ancient numismatics.
The 40th Anniversary meeting began with a very convivial social gathering. Besides regular ACCLA members, a party from the Orange County Ancient Coin Club attended as well as a number of new guests and friends. Old friendships were renewed and some new friends were made. Of course coins were the major topic of conversation.
Barry Rightman, ACCLA treasurer and the Club's longest serving officer, looked back over the 480 meetings of the Club to describe its origin. Club Founders Ralph and Sally Marx and a number of charter members including, Joel Malter, and Gordon and Joan Levine were recognized. Barry spoke of the Club’s success in providing interesting programs as well as a unique exchange of information on ancient coins. As he said, the key to the Club’s success has been the active participation of members dedicated to the study of ancient coins.
Mr. Sear then took the floor to describe his career in ancient coins and the interesting people that he has met along the way. Beginning with a photograph of himself as a young child he illustrated his talk with slides from his personal files.
As a boy in middle school David was inspired to study ancient history by a field trip to the Roman ruins at St. Albans. He showed several pages of the handwritten report that he wrote on the trip with his sketches of objects from the St Albans museum. The sketches included a drawing of a coin of Nero possibly his first venture into coin “publishing”. Some time after the field trip he received, as a gift, an AE3 of Crispus. This gift cemented his dedication to ancient coins.
Just out of school David went to work in the ancient coin department at B.A. Seaby Ltd. in London; one of the most influential coin dealers of the time. At Seaby’s he worked during the week with some of the foremost authorities on ancient coins in the world while on weekends he explored Romano-British ruins with his friends. David showed numerous photographs of Romano-Britain ruins with he and his friends perched in various places. Also shown were photos of Seaby’s and his coworkers.
After a few years David’s thoughts turned to writing. His first book, “Roman Coins and Their Values”, was written on his own time, almost in secret. With the book complete he presented the handwritten manuscript to Seaby who published it in 1964 with great success. This book is currently in its 4th Edition. David showed the audience pages from the original handwritten manuscript.
Although by this time he was the head of the ancient coin department at Seaby’s he really wanted to spend his time writing. But this was not compatible with his work at Seaby’s so he went out on his own. Over the next years he produced books on Byzantine, Greek and Greek Imperial coins. David talked about these using slides of the dust jackets from the original editions.
In 1982 David and his family moved to the USA where he first worked for Numismatic Fine Arts (NFA). In 1994, he and Robert Freeman formed Freeman and Sear one of today’s premier coin dealerships. Mr. Sear continues to write and to provide a coin certification service. 1998 saw the publication of "The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators". He has recently completed the third volume of the "Millennium Edition" of "Roman Coins and Their Values" and is working on Volume IV. For the future he would like to revise the two volume “Greek Coins and Their Values” and perhaps add to Roman Silver Coins.
Following the talk members and guests partook of some delicious “Anniversary Cake” and coffee while Mr. Sear autographed copies of his books and participated in informal chats.
A number of Club members and dealers set up tables to display coins for sale and, long after the meeting, people stayed to inspect their wares and to socialize.