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The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Leo and Laura Thomas Numismatic Center adds a new coin collection

The collection is coins minted in 1878 to represent the year of Ashland University’s founding  
Katelyn Meeks
The collection of coins is displayed in a custom-made plaque through the window of the Leo and Laura Thomas Numismatic Center. 

Bud Ingmand, director of the Leo and Laura Thomas Numismatic Center, met Eric Wiedenmann, a graduate of Ashland College in 1973, in April 2018 at Ashland University’s Alumni Association banquet.  

After the banquet, both chatted where Ingmand learned Wiedenmann was an avid coin collector and wanted to learn more about the center. He also learned that Weidenmann took an interest in the year 1878 since it was AU’s founding year and a critical year for the United States Mint. 

Within a month of their conservation at the banquet, Wiedenmann started shipping coins to the center. 

 “Eric had sent the center a shipment of a box of 24 1878 Morgan silver dollars, along with a 1878 trade dollar,” said Ingmand.  

Wiedmann reached out to Ingmand to inquire about what Ingmand was going to do with the coins.  

“Wwe’re trying to build the collection and trying to attract interest among the university and the students and their curriculum,” said Ingmand. 

Wiedmann responded by sending more coins which included the 1878 Indian cent and the $1 gold coin. 

Understanding the market value of the coins, Ingmand knew these were expensive, and overtime since both remained in contact via email and calling, Ingmand mentioned to Wiedmann that the center does not buy it own material and mainly everything is through donations. He asked Weidmann how they were going to get the rest of the coins donated. 

 Wiedemann told Ingmand to watch the mail as he would be sending some more coins. 

The final coins arrived in the mail, which consisted of a $20 gold coin and the most expensive coin in the set the $10 gold coin, due to scarcity. 

In total the collection consists of 13 coins all minted during the year of 1878 for the founding of Ashland University.  

When asked about the total value of the collection, Ingmand responded with it is valuable enough he asked the AU Business Office to insure the collection.  

Why donate the collection? 

As mentioned before, Wiedemann is an avid collector of coins and enjoys the hobby of collecting. 

“It’s one of the few hobbies you can make money,” said Wiedemann. “It’s like collecting art, collecting history, meeting friends at coin shows. It satisfies a lot of the visceral needs.” 

The main reason Wiedemann donated to the center was to support its endeavors and the exhibit is for the banner year of AU’s founding in 1878. 

“That’s when Ashland was founded, so I thought [it] would be like a keepsake remembrance, “ said Wiedemann. 

It took him roughly a year to find all the coins that completed the collection roughly a year due to the rarity of a few coins in the collection. 

The most challenging coin for him to find was the $10 gold coin because Wiedemann had to find a coin in good condition. 

The $20 gold coin was relatively easy because they made more of them, but $10 one was the hardest,” said Wiedemann. “It took me a long time to find something that would be affordable.” 

Before donating coins to the collection, Wiedemann heard about the center through the “grapevine,” which was the administration. 

After hearing about it, he wanted to get involved right away and start “spreading the gospel” of the center since it is, as he mentioned, “a well-kept secret.” 

“I basically found out about [the center] through accident,” said Wiedenmann. 

Moving forward 

Since donating the collection, Wiedenmann has already gotten involved with the deans of the college of arts and sciences and business and economics looking for more opportunities to get others involved in the center. 

“I also put some people on the board who were really well connected,” said Wiedenmann.  

But as for now, Ingmand hopes other potential donors will see Wiedenmann’s generosity and will step up to donate more coins to the center. 

“We, at the center, are hopeful that others will continue to contribute material and fund for the benefit of the center,” said Ingmand. 

Wiedenmann echoed the same sentiment and added that he hopes it will help recruit more students to get involved with the center since the center is unique to AU. 

If anyone is interested in seeing the new 1878 collection or check out the Leo and Laura Thomas Numismatic Center, contact Ingmand at [email protected] or call 419-606-9136.  

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