Gerry Fortin's Bio
I've been an active collector and researcher of Liberty Seated dimes since late 1986. Today, the passion for seated dime study continues even though the amount of personal acquisitions has decreased. Where did the inspiration to collect Liberty Seated dimes come from?
During my childhood years in Lewiston, Maine, I was very interested in the small denominations, building Lincoln cents and Jefferson nickles sets from bank rolls. Lewiston was a typical mill town with textile and shoe manufacturing being the predominate industries of the day. My father worked long hours at the local textile mill while my mother earned additional income as a sale clerk at the downtown 5&10 store. During the summer months, there was much free time and several times a day I would walk to the local bank and exchange $2 or $3 of penny rolls to continue searching for early date "wheats". Occasionally, a Buffalo nickel or even a pre-1965 silver coin could be located in local change. My mother would bring home interesting finds from the cash register. Then there was a great uncle who farmed on the town outskirts and sold produce for cash. Once a year, my mother and grand-mother would bring me to visit this great uncle and I was allowed to "search" his jars of change for coins for my collection.... it was a thrill for a young boy. But coin collecting gave way to the desires of teenage boys namely, stereo equipment, rock music and girls... luckily my mother saved my coin collection in the attic of our Lewiston home.
In 1978, I secured a university degree in electronics engineering from the University of Maine, Orono then moved to New York State to work for IBM, as a test/product engineer. I married Diane in 1980 and continued our 7 year stay in New York working for IBM with promotions into the management ranks. In 1984 our son Matthew was born and this event was a turning point in my life. Diane and I moved back to Maine to raise our son in the quiet country side, having purchased a wonderful 22 acre plot on a hillside facing the Portland coast. A passive solar, super insulated home was built and Fairchild Semiconductor was the new employer.
Around the time of the birth of our daughter Renee in 1985, I decide to pursue the hobby again. For a short time, I thought collecting Morgan $1 would be interesting but then the discovery of sliders brought reality to the pursuit of mint state coins. I had to learn to grade mint state Morgans or move on to another series. The move to Liberty Seated dimes came after studying the Redbook and recognizing that the set could be assembled in Fine condition for not too much money. First I bought several 1844 dimes in G-VG thinking I could build a hoard of this low mintage date. Doesn't everyone at one point? Then I bought the Kam Ahwash book from an advertisement in the Coin World classifieds. After receiving and studying the Ahwash for several weeks, I was hooked! Collecting the Ahwash book by variety was the goal that was set. Little did I know at the time, that 20 years would go by and I would still be collecting these varieties and almost finishing a complete set of Ahwash varieties.
During 1991, I joined the LSCC and met Brian Greer.......the rest is history as they say.
Here is a picture so you can recognize me at major coin shows. This shot was taken in Jilin, China after a difficult day with our local manufacturing partner..... thank goodness I found some Chilean wines for the long evenings. Yes, that is an issue of CoinValues on the desk!
2005 was another turning point in my life. Fairchild Semiconductor requested that I outsource the World Wide Semiconductor Foundry management team to Singapore and re-position or eliminate the U.S. team. After a long year of winding down the U.S. operations, I decided to take a position with a Chinese mainland semiconductor company and enjoy the challenges of the rapidly developing local semiconductor industry. Today I have an exciting position as Vice President of International Sales for the Central Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. and live a fair amount of time in Wuxi, China. Wuxi is about 2 hours north of Shanghai and is a "small city" against chinese standards.
As time allows, I'm still staying current with the happenings in the numismatic market and with incremental seated dime variety discoveries. Unfortunately, I did cancel my subscription to Coin World but have found the ability to maintain relationships with fellow collectors and LSCC friends