Highlights: Philadelphia, May 2017


Although it was a smaller gathering than usual this year, what we lacked in numbers was more than made up for with an overflow of "Scalie Spirit" as members came together May 4th through 8th for the 2017 ISASC Convention. In King of Prussia outside Philadelphia we met to renew our friendships and share our unique hobby. The weekend proved to be a full-scale experience and no one walked away disappointed.

The convention started off Thursday night with a causal relaxed atmosphere as we headed off on the bus to the Good 'N Plenty Restaurant located in Lancaster County, the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Over an all-you-can-eat dinner of down home cooking served family style we caught up on the comings and goings of everyone's past year. It was also good to see a few folks again who we hadn't seen for a while.

Friday was a grand day spent viewing some world-class collections. First up was a two-for-one deal at the home of Jerry and Mary Katz. Along with Jerry's collection with an emphasis on counterfeit coin detector (CCD) and postal scales, Steve Beare displayed some prime examples from his collection with an emphasis on scientific and analytical balances. Next stop was over the border into Maryland to see the extension collection of Steve and Kathy Barnett. All types of scales and weights were displayed very attractively throughout their home. Special cases designed to show many of the items to their best advantage added to the enjoyment of seeing this superb collection.

There was a full schedule for the Saturday morning presentations. Steve Beare enlightened us with his topic of J.T. McNally CCD & Its Many Siblings.

Ernie Segundo enumerated the top ten reasons he collects scales with number one being the camaraderie he has found with other members.

Mike Foster discussed sovereign scales invented to address the problem of gold coins losing their full value due to the wear and tear resulting from regular usage. From his ephemera collection Cliff Lushbough showed a variety of postcards, trade cards and photos featuring scales.

Following up on an article he wrote for Equilibrium about making iron weights from wooden molds, Steve Barnett shared his photos from a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, showing the complete process going from creating the mold to the finished casting.

Saturday afternoon was reserved for the Silent Auction and Let's Make a Deal. Many use this venue as a primary source for acquiring new scales. After initially viewing the selection of items offered, members set about identifying their "must haves" and placing what they hoped would be the winning bid. When the final results were in, many scales, along with weights and other related items, were carted off to go to new homes.

The day concluded with the gala banquet made even more so with the unexpected surprise concert by Bill Jacobson on his accordion. Getting into the swing of things Margaret Granville and Mary Katz started a chain dance around the tables with many members joining in creating an exuberant atmosphere as others cheered them on. The night ended on a high note!

First on the agenda for Sunday morning was Show and Tell. Bill Allan shared his interest in ancient weights using a "touch and tell" approach by passing around numerous rare Sumerian dome form weights from his personal collection. Bob Beuhler explained that during the twenty or so years he has been collecting he has concentrated on acquiring scales that are of interesting design. In this vein he showed a Chatillon dynamometer that for him fit this criterion. Mike Foster introduced a newly discovered single-coin sovereign cast rocker with a design that suggests it was most likely made by J. & E. Ratcliff.

Greg Hill brought a scale he got from the Jack Young Collection. It is made from heavy iron and appears to be a homemade one-of-a-kind with graduations up to 3400 lbs. He wondered if it was a crane scale, but Jan Berning thought it was most probably a wagon spring measure. Bob Jibben had a scale he had purchased in an antique shop without knowing much about it. After doing some research he found out it is a rare Merry Pherson & Parkers English letter scale circa 1840s. Judy Soslau presented her Bolton Rail Scale and the information she had found out about it. It is a bit unclear on how it was used, but the general consensus was it related to the weight bearing capacity of the track.

Early Monday morning found us loaded on the bus heading for the Philadelphia Mint. Once there we were granted pre-opening access to view a display of scales from their own collection. These scales are not shown to the public and were brought out as a special treat just for us before beginning our private tour through the mint. Watching the machines, each stamping out 12 pennies per second, was highly impressive to say the least. Even more mind-boggling was learning the Philadelphia Mint alone would that day produce 30 million coins.

After a bit of free time in the city on our own, we were back on the bus headed to American Treasure Tour, a massive collection of Americana from antiques to pop culture. What we saw there was the result of over thirty years of one man's collecting of anything and everything in the way of American antiques and memorabilia. Of special interest to our group was the collection of antique music machines. This large and diverse collection came to life with "live performances" as the machines were played for our listening pleasure.

Upon returning to the hotel, folks started to scatter in different directions heading home and beyond. While saying our good-byes, we renewed our commitment to see each other next year.

The 2018 convention will be held May 3rd through May 7th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although we last visited there in 2004, Hosts Bob and Mary Jibben, Fred Rengel and Pam Koetz promise us a spectacular weekend with scales and more scales and visits to venues we didn't see last time. It their words, it will be a whole new world.

The camaraderie prevalent at any convention is something that only increases the joy of collecting. President Bob Hayden, along with all the board members, extends a personal invitation for you to join them. Both first timers and long-time convention goers are always welcomed. So make plans to find your way to Minneapolis next May to join your fellow Scalies. See ya there!