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A Tribute to Rhode Island Numismatist, and My Dear Friend, George H. Champlin IV

TomBTomB Posts: 20,907 ✭✭✭✭✭

Each of us has a series of relationships within our lives that take us from our earliest days to our last. They run the spectrum of family, close friends, acquaintances and business associates and in these we sometimes get to witness a glimpse, or more, of the private side of each person. Most of these relationships are cordial or perhaps warm, but the rare ones bridge the gap between people to leave one fulfilled and feeling like there is something else there, as well.

In my lifetime I can state that George H. Champlin IV was one of those rare folks who bridged the gap.

George passed away suddenly, unexpectedly and of natural causes at the age of 37 on February 22, 2020. I was traveling when he passed and stopped into his shop that Tuesday expecting to exchange greetings and to talk with him when his father told me the tragic news. I’ve known George and his father for over two decades and together they ran Westerly Enterprises in Westerly, RI.

George behind the counter of Westerly Enterprises several summers ago.

Westerly Enterprises is a small-town coin and jewelry shop with high-end integrity and George’s warm demeanor and passion for educating his customers was obvious to all who walked through the doors. Over the years we spent many hours discussing trends in numismatics, current events, his love of fishing or what my daughters were doing in school. He was wildly intelligent across a broad range of subjects, studied ancient coinage and had a personal collection of superb British pieces representing his favorite monarchs. He was also fascinated by my stories of competitive fencing and his face would light up when I recalled my bouts. On many visits I would have my girls with me and he would allow them free access through the shop, spoke easily with them and would make certain they picked out some costume jewelry to take home as his gift.

We entered into many handshake business agreements and never hit a snag, but I typically went there more with the idea of conversation or numismatic show-and-tell then I did for business. His show-and-tell ranged from ancient Greek coinage to original EF hobo nickels to interesting ephemera or collecting supplies.

Old Meghrig page showing the 1932 Washington quarter as a commemorative coin.

The last time we spoke was about two-weeks before he passed and he asked if I could bring in a specific Barber half dollar that I own. He had seen the coin in-hand previously, but he adored it so I went to the bank and set aside a small group of pieces to bring to his shop after my trip. We shared a firm handshake and as I left the shop his booming voice told me he would see me soon. I never did get to share those coins with George, but instead attended a visitation on Friday evening followed the next morning by a Celebration of Life in a church overflowing with locals and that closed with the hymn “We Three Kings of Orient Are” amongst many fallen tears. After the interment I went home, spread out the small group of coins I had taken out of the safe deposit box to share with George and took a photo in the thin February sun.

A small group of coins to share with George, just after the interment and before they returned to the safe deposit box.

There are no words to adequately express my shock and sorrow over George's sudden passing. In my experience, George was a humble, intelligent, vibrant, helpful and outgoing individual. The type of person you would like to know, you would like to have as a friend and you would like to emulate. I will miss him greatly, but will never forget his sincere smile, booming voice and kind spirit. It is my hope that all of George's loved ones might find some portion of peace in the memory of his smile and laughter.

Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson



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    airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 22,000 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's a lovely and touching tribute to someone I think I would have greatly enjoyed knowing. I'm sorry to hear of his passing, and I thank you for what you shared.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
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    morgandollar1878morgandollar1878 Posts: 4,006 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So sorry for your loss, he sounds like an outstanding person.

    Instagram: nomad_numismatics
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    rln_14rln_14 Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭

    It always seems the good ones go too soon, sorry for your loss and thanks for the well written tribute, condolences to George's family and friends

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    SkyManSkyMan Posts: 9,493 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A very nice writeup. Sorry for your loss.

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    JBNJBN Posts: 1,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Condolences. 37 is a ridiculously young age to depart.

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    1Mike11Mike1 Posts: 4,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A beautiful tribute to your friend. My condolences to everyone who knew him.

    "May the silver waves that bear you heavenward be filled with love’s whisperings"

    "A dog breaks your heart only one time and that is when they pass on". Unknown
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    air4mdcair4mdc Posts: 830 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for sharing, I’m sure George is looking down on you smiling.
    My condolences on your friends unfortunate passing.

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    SurfinxHISurfinxHI Posts: 2,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    And that sucks. He sounded like a great friend to have. RIP George.

    Dead people tell interesting tales.
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    roadrunnerroadrunner Posts: 28,303 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2020 11:09PM

    Very nice tribute from Tomb. Thanks for that.

    I only learned last week of George's passing at the annual Willimantic, CT show was looming....and now cancelled. I had many deals with George Jr. over a number of years.....and with his Dad since the 1980's. One of my favorite purchases from George Jr. was an original 1900 proof set with original wrappers directly from the original owner's family. Also a very nice AU58 1803 half dime. And so many more I can't really recall. He had a knack for running into some nice coins as there weren't many coin shops in the Southeast CT and lower Rhode Island. George really enjoyed collectibles and life in general. What a shame to be taken so young.

    Barbarous Relic No More, LSCC -GoldSeek--shadow stats--SafeHaven--321gold
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    JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 22,847 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Touching and heartfelt tribute. Thank you for sharing and sorry for your loss


    Walker Proof Digital Album
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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 34,110 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2020 1:43AM

    What a sad, unexpected event and a loss for the world. Thanks for the wonderful and touching tribute. I could really feel the depth of your relationship and the warmth of his personality in your post.

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    sparky64sparky64 Posts: 7,031 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My condolences to you and his family.
    Thank you for the beautiful tribute.

    "If I say something in the woods and my wife isn't there to hear it.....am I still wrong?"

    My Washington Quarter Registry set...in progress

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    giorgio11giorgio11 Posts: 3,855 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a loving tribute to a man who was obviously very special to you and many others in special ways. Sympathy for your losses. You did your friend proud.

    Kind regards,


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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Condolences to you Tom and the family. What a beautiful tribute you have provided. RickO

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    astroratastrorat Posts: 9,221 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That was very nice. Sorry for your loss. He was far too young to pass.

    Numismatist Ordinaire
    See http://www.doubledimes.com for a free online reference for US twenty-cent pieces
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    SanctionIISanctionII Posts: 11,839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lovely tribute to your friend. My condolences to you and his family.

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    johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,708 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A beautiful write up. My condolances to all involved

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    ironmanl63ironmanl63 Posts: 1,972 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing.

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    jdmernjdmern Posts: 297 ✭✭✭

    I was sorry to see this post this morning. I had planned to get together with George at Willimantic like usual in March. George was great to do business with, but more importantly, was great to just chat with. He was extremely knowledgeable in the areas he focused on, especially with his high end British coinage.

    Justin Meunier

    Boardwalk Numismatics

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    LakesammmanLakesammman Posts: 17,324 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wonderful tribute, Tom. Sounds like a man all of us would have enjoyed knowing.

    "My friends who see my collection sometimes ask what something costs. I tell them and they are in awe at my stupidity." (Baccaruda, 12/03).I find it hard to believe that he (Trump) rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world. (Putin 1/17) Gone but not forgotten. IGWT, Speedy, Bear, BigE, HokieFore, John Burns, Russ, TahoeDale, Dahlonega, Astrorat, Stewart Blay, Oldhoopster, Broadstruck, Ricko.
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    lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 16,891 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This makes me sad.

    Very nice tribute, @Tomb. You will never forget George, I am sure.

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    skier07skier07 Posts: 3,787 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute.

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    divecchiadivecchia Posts: 6,561 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That was an incredible tribute. Your friendship came through loud and clear.

    My heartfelt condolences to you, his family and friends.


    Hobbyist & Collector (not an investor).
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    Becky7474Becky7474 Posts: 103 ✭✭✭

    I am so sorry. :'(

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    NicNic Posts: 3,351 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome tribute. RIP and condolences to everyone.

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    SonorandesertratSonorandesertrat Posts: 5,695 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice tribute indeed. My condolences. Remember the good times, and do for others what he did for you.

    Member: EAC, NBS, C4, CWTS, ANA

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    SwampboySwampboy Posts: 12,902 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So sorry to hear of your friend's passing Tom.
    What a wonderful relationship you did enjoy.

    The entertainment can never be overdressed....except in burlesque

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    StupidStupid Posts: 558 ✭✭✭

    Sorry to hear this and how it hurts Tom. Great, heartfelt write up.

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    logger7logger7 Posts: 8,237 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sad, and sorry for your loss. It is certainly harder to have new good friends as we get older.

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    littlebearlittlebear Posts: 1,478 ✭✭✭✭

    A wonderful tribute.....

    Autism Awareness: There is no limit to the good you can do, if you don't care who gets the credit.
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    Tom147Tom147 Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very touching tribute to your dear friend. My condolences on your loss.

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    TomBTomB Posts: 20,907 ✭✭✭✭✭

    RIP, George, two-years ago today...

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

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    BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,767 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow. I think I missed this the first time around. You wrote a fantastic tribute. I hope his family was able to read it.

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    RichieURichRichieURich Posts: 8,393 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A wonderful tribute to your friend. My condolences on your loss.

    An authorized PCGS dealer, and a contributor to the Red Book.

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    ConnecticoinConnecticoin Posts: 12,770 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry for your loss. Westerly is a nice town, I love walking the Watch Hill beaches in the off season.

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