I am an occasional collector of a lot of different collections. I blame my antique-collecting grandparents for the gene (https://hocomd.cc/2016/10/09/my-grandparents-were-john-schwarz-antiques/). One of my collections is foreign coins and currencies. I have money from 72 different countries, some just a single coin or currency, and others a real moneybag. I love the coins for the artistry, sometimes the politics, always the history and values represented. These are some of my favorites. (Click on any coin for a slideshow.)
My grandparents, John and Marie Schwarz, were Baltimore antique dealers from at least 1925, until my grandmother liquidated the business in 1985. John took over the family business when he was about 25, located on Antique Row, 827 N. Howard Street, and moved it some years later to 2013/2015 North Charles Street. My grandfather was known throughout the Mid Atlantic and New England as a leading expert in the decorative arts and assisted in the development of that portion of the American collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Papa John and Dede brought together all of our extended family, and I grew up having great times hanging at their antique store. So many magical and fascinating googahs and places to hide for small people. I honored my grandparents for their business savvy and was counted on to help with accounting at times. I delivered holiday orders one December when I was 20, learned my way around Baltimore, and was introduced to some of its wealthiest neighborhoods. I was even with them at times as they traveled New England, buying antiques at small shops and auctions.
My grandmother continued managing the business after Papa John died in 1966, with the help of their daughter, Ann Keene. Antique furniture has infused all of our family. It enriches my artistic sense.
My mother, Jane Imbach Schwarz, is an artist. While I never inherited her skills in the fine arts, I am imbued with her spirit and fascination with our world. I loved her for her commitment to being a great artist, an inspirational teacher, for her social ease, and for the way she conquered her struggles.We’d have heated arguments precisely because we understood each other’s point of view, and I’d always get her jokes.