By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..
Quentin David Bowers, better known in numismatic circles as Q. David Bowers and known to his family and friends as simply “Dave”, has announced his retirement as a columnist from both The Numismatist and Coin World.
He has accomplished much writing for both publications, earning the respect of generations of coin collectors and numerous awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. As readers and consumers of both publications, his regular presence will be missed.
We have long been fans of Q. David Bowers’ lengthy catalog of numismatic works. In fact, as is the case with so many in the hobby, we met Dave first through his columns and then his many numismatic books. Charles’ first Bowers book was his 1983 treatment on the collecting life and accomplishments of Virgil Brand. Soon thereafter, we read other works in his back catalog: Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States (1993); Commemorative Coins of the United States (1991); The History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection (1979); United States Gold Coins: An Illustrated History (1984); and his novel and exciting work Adventures with Rare Coins, published in 1979.
His columns touch on many stories and side streets contained in his larger works, but the informality of his shorter work allowed collectors a more intimate insight into Bowers’ point of view.
More recently, Dave has played an instrumental role in transforming Whitman Publishing’s numismatic catalog. The Bowers series of guides number nearly 30 and cover in some detail almost every major collecting specialty of United States coins and several major token series. All the while, Dave served as a key member of the Red Book brain trust, wrote blogs for Stack’s Bowers, kept on deadline for the aforementioned Numismatist and Coin World, and even had a few extra hours to spare to write the occasional exclusive for CoinWeek and appear on the CoinWeek Podcast.
Work that he will continue to do while he gives up the deadlines of his periodical columns.
As is the case with virtually anybody in our field who has gotten to know him, Dave is always been generous with his time, and his column work is clearly indicative of this. Dave’s primary work has always centered around buying, cataloging, marketing, and selling numismatic objects- both rare and not-so-rare. This work will continue. It’s impressive to think about all of the historically significant numismatic collections that he has cataloged, many of them generations old. And while most of the storied “old-time” collections have been broken up and sold off, Dave continues to work with and represent important collections, showcasing the hobby’s marquee collections at auction, many containing coins he helped place throughout the years.
Often when talented youngsters enter the hobby, some wonder if they might become the next Q. David Bowers. But as humble as he is himself, we believe that, in looking at the scope of Dave’s work in this field, no one will be approaching Dave’s prodigious literary output or his storied career as a numismatic auctioneer any time soon.
The COVID pandemic has cost us quite a lot. In matters of life and health, it has been devastating. But its cruelty also extends to its usurpation of our routines and the time we have left to enjoy each other’s company. Before COVID, Dave was a fixture at major coin conventions. Usually tended by longtime confidant and friend Christine Karstedt, Dave was almost always in the middle of something interesting. Whenever a big coin was about to cross the block at a Stack’s Bowers sale, Dave would find a good vantage point in the room with his digital camera and wait for his chance to take a snapshot. In some ways, he remains a 15-year-old coin collector in an 80-year-old man’s body.
We hope to see Dave’s enthusiasm for numismatics in the public space again at some point in the future.
Q. David Bowers may have retired his two columns but Dave is still here for his family and friends and friends in the hobby. We are thankful and better off for Q. David’s continued service and hope that the extra time he gives himself will now afford him the opportunity to continue the good work he most certainly has planned out.