Unforgettable Ed Rochette has died

News arrived yesterday of the death of Edward C. Rochette on Jan. 18 at the age of 90.

I will miss him, as to know him was to realize he was a force of nature.

He was a former president of the American Numismatic Association, 1991-1993.

He was a longtime executive director (then called executive vice president) of the ANA during many years of heady membership growth.

When he left that post, he almost immediately ran for the board of governors and was elected in 1987.

I remember him especially as a former editor of Numismatic News. He served in this capacity from 1960 to 1966.

He preceded me at Krause Publications by 12 years, but from time to time I would receive mail at Numismatic News addressed to him.

Some old friends in Iola, Wis., remembered him warmly.

He had shocked the community by painting his house a New England red. It is gorgeous. It is still that color.

But in Iola in the early 1960s, it had just not been done before, and it was called “barn red.” Tut tut tut. And to what had been the house of a judge no less.

But Ed was always his own man.

When he left Numismatic News and Iola, he moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., which had then just become the new permanent home of the ANA.

He took over the editorship of The Numismatist.

Ed was a professional through and through.

But he had an impish sense of humor.

He employed it in hand-drawn cartoons in the 1950s that caught the eye of Chet Krause, the Numismatic News founder.

The cartoons had ended many years before I knew Ed.

I remember him for his many stories. He was a tale-teller.

When Coin World was founded eight years after Numismatic News in 1960, the rivalry that was born brought opportunities for practical jokes.

One of Ed’s anecdotes that I particularly remember is something that occurred at a coin show.

There is piping at the back of booths to which are affixed identification signs. This allows the public to know whose table they have arrived at.

Ed went over to the booth of his rival numismatic editor and engaged him in conversation.

All the while, the Coin World sign was taken down behind them and the Numismatic News sign was put in its place.

A photo was then proposed, which was quickly agreed.

In the photo, it appeared as if the editor of Coin World was proudly posing at the Numismatic News booth.

How could such a thing happen between intense rivals?

Ed thought it was hilarious.

He imagined the Coin World editor was called on the carpet about the photo and asked why he was tending the Numismatic News booth. That was Ed.

Nowadays, we are a little more laid back.

Swapped signs would hardly register with a 21st century hobby audience.

But Ed shared many other stories with me of events over many years. Humor in all situations prevailed.

I will miss him. I know others will, too.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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