Robert Julian Named 2012 Numismatist of the Year
Anyone who appreciates or collects the medals made at the United States Mint in the 19th Century knows Robert Julian and his magnum opus, Medals of the United States Mint the First Century 1792 to 1892 published by the Token & Medal Society, 1977.
I had the pleasure of being with Mr. Julian when he was named the 2012 Numismatist of the Year by the American Numismatic Association at their annual convention in Philadelphia. While I had known him before as an accomplished numismatic scholar, I did not know much about him outside the context of his passion for the history of United States medals.
After teaching himself Russian, French and German in high school, he started developing an interest in foreign coins and assisting dealers in identifying them. He got his real start during his undergraduate years at Purdue University, during which time he wrote a series of magazine articles relating to collectible coins. His first publication earned him $100, which he used to purchase U.S. coin books that he bartered for microfilm from coin museum curators in Russia.
Over a period that spans decades, Julian has authored more than 1,300 articles on coins and even published a book on rare coins in the 1970s. He was also inducted into the Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1998, and continues to publish content for several journals and associations. He is also unsurprisingly an avid coin collector himself. He was nominated for the award by a friend, who provided insight on Julian’s contributions to the world in an earlier issue of Numismatic News.
“He has spent hundreds of hours at the National Archives, extracting information that he then passes to the collecting community,” wrote Joseph Boling in his nomination letter. “His carefully researched treatises, most based on primary sources, have changed our common knowledge.”
Given his impressive knowledge and lifelong dedication to the subject, his honor is well deserved. At the age of 73, he is the 17th recipient of the prestigious title.