Posted on October 10, 2010 by Don Willis
I remember seeing a thread on the PCGS message boards years ago which asked the hypothetical question, “what would you do if you were asked to be president of PCGS?” What followed were the expected responses and wish lists from a cast of characters who never seriously expected to be in that position. I always thought that it was an interesting thread especially after I was asked to be president of PCGS!
I think I first met David Hall at a Long Beach show. My table, Premium Numismatics, was setup not too far from DHRC and David would pass by frequently. Occasionally he would sit down and look at my inventory (mostly pre-1840 Bust material for those who don’t know). We would always have a pleasant exchange and David would make a few gracious compliments about my coins. This got to be a regular thing and David started calling me “Coin Stud” (of course it probably helped that almost all of my coins back then were in PCGS holders). We obviously shared a love and appreciation for coins.
As a local dealer I would occasionally visit the PCGS offices to drop off or pick up coins. I even had a couple of instances where I asked PCGS to review coins based on their turning in the holder (an artificially toned 1914-D 1c as well as a matte proof 1908 $20). These occasions were additional opportunities for David and I to get to know each other. [btw, both coins were bought back by PCGS.]
Most of you probably don’t know that I spent almost 30 years in Information Technology. The first 20+ working for large corporations where I ended up as a Senior Vice President running a very large organization, followed by 7 years where I founded and ran an Internet based software company. Some of the disciplines learned through those years will stick with me forever, for example recognizing the power of information. After selling my software company I founded Premium Numismatics in 2002.
David and I had several lengthy conversations about coin related information and how much of that PCGS had generated in over 20 years of business. We agreed that information actually makes coin grades more meaningful and that the more people knew about their coins the more they would enjoy their hobby. We discussed many other aspects of the coin business as well.
One night my wife and I attended a high school musical performance that our daughter was part of. When we returned home I had a message from David asking me to call him. So I called his number and after saying hello, David said “We’ve got a bomb to drop on you”….”What’s that?”…..”We would like you to come on board as President of PCGS”….”Well, that is a bomb!” You could say it was! Over the next few days we met several times and worked out the details. One very important issue for me was Ron Guth who was the current president and who I have known for years and always admired and respected. Well, David’s master plan called for Ron to head up the new information initiative which was going to be called PCGS CoinFacts. Ron is a fabulous researcher and author and I thought this was a fantastic opportunity for him, if he was interested, which he was. So over a two or three week period everything was worked out and I was introduced to the staff and the rest of the world as the new President of PCGS!
I am reflecting on all this because last week marked my second anniversary at PCGS. It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by already. There is so much going on at PCGS these days that time seems to fly by. Hopefully a few years from now we’ll be able to look back and see that what we are doing today made a real and positive difference in the coin hobby.
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