The first time I heard the name "Mr. Honeycutt" was when I came across the 1st edition hardbound version of the book "Philippine Medal and Token: 1780-2010" by Mr. Earl Honeycutt. This was in an auction held by Dekada Collectibles one December afternoon around 2 years ago. I was not very impressed with the design of the book as it looked like it was a book straight out of a history class in school. It reminded me of my notes that I had bound during my MBA that saved me during the end of the semester, as they were all perfectly collated ready to be reviewed. I won the book in the auction, as I was the lone bidder. I remember paying around Php3,000 for it. As I glanced and turned the pages, I came across the title page with a short dedication by Mr. Earl Honeycutt addressing the reader as "Dear Philippine Collector." It was published and copyrighted in 2014 by Mactanboy Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In the book, I was introduced to a whole array of Philippine medals going all the way back to the late 18th century. Some medals looked vaguely familiar, some were uncommon to me, and others maybe even strangely rare. It was difficult to see the designs of the medals though as the images of the book where all in black and white and it looks like they were just xeroxed or came straight out of a copy machine. Actually, at that time it did not matter, my main reason was to check on the details of a Pope Medal I had purchased early on, and that was my only intention. Little did I know that a couple of years later I will be drawn into this whole world of Philippine Medals, and it would be the latest editions of this book that will play a significant part of my exonumia collecting journey.
My friendship with Mr. Honeycutt started when I got hold of his email address on the book I had just purchased, and being a student of the hobby and one without shame, I took it upon myself to compose an anonymous email to him and just introduce myself. My very first email to Mr. H was sent last December 7, 2018. Though I knew the answer to some of my queries on that email, I just felt I needed to email him to see where the conversation would lead. It was my way of "opening up the lines of communication" through small talk. But the real reason, as mentioned above was to ask Mr. H about the Pope medal I had purchased a number of years before. It was the very first medal I had purchased in my exonumia collecting journey as I was drawn to the design of the medal, having been engraved by an artist I've never heard of named Greco. Mr. H shared with me all the information I needed to hear. In fact he even pointed me to the direction of the bronze variant of the medal that was being offered on Ebay at that time. What struck me was his enthusiasm and openness in helping out a neophyte, something you don't see much in this very competitive world. I felt a calm demeanor in his words, and I was very comfortable conversing with him and sharing with him stories of my "hunt" for coins, medals and of course about my family. Since then, I've gone to have this medal slabbed with NGC and was able to get a very decent grade for it -- MS67.
THE MAN BEHIND THE BOOK
As I read that initial email thread of almost 2 years ago, I realized I've come a long way in my friendship with Mr. H. I have discovered a lot about the man behind the book. I found out that he was stationed for 13 months at the Mactan Air Base in Cebu, which is probably where he got his inspiration for his Ebay handle: Mactanboy. He mentioned that he had reluctantly joined the Air Force as he was unhappy at first given that he missed his family and his girlfriend but what kept him busy was that he decided to start reading books on the Philippines and of course making Filipino friends. It was only after his initial tour that he returned to the US only to tell his parents that he wanted to go back to the Philippines. His parents thought he was crazy. But he insisted, and he ended up in Wallace Air Station in San Fernando, La Union, where he spent a lot of time travelling up north to Baguio, Pangasinan and the Ilocos area. So you see, Mr. Honeycutt was a sponge and he tried to soak up everything he came across in his short stay in the Philippines. He made sure he immersed himself with our culture and tried to understand the different cultures of our many different provinces. At the end of his 4th year enlistment, he went back to the US and went to college. In college he continued his fascination with the Philippines and continued to read every book he could get his hands on about the country he spent his last years with. In fact, one of his history classes allowed him to conduct independent research on the Philippine-American War from the time of Dewey defeating the Spanish at Manila Bay to the start of the Philippine-American hostilities on February 4, 1899; this allowed him to expand his knowledge of the Philippines even more. In his stories, I noticed that Philippine History and politics have been a large part of his life since 1970, and it was when he started collecting Philippine medals and tokens that this love for Philippine history and politics grew even more. I began thinking that Mr. H was my walking encyclopedia not just for Philippine medals, but also for Philippine history. In fact, he probably knows more about Philippine history and politics than most of the Filipinos I know.
It's been 2 years from that first email, and now, after more than 200 email correspondences, I can safely say that I got to see the personal side of the man. He would always end his emails to me by sharing something very personal about his family. I found out that he has one son and 3 grandchildren. His son and his daughter-in-law are both doctors. They are all fans of the Duke University Basketball team, and, I remember reading in one of our emails that they were very disappointed when Duke lost a semi-final or final match despite having Zion Williamson as part of the team. So you see, from that very first anonymous email of 2 years ago, now, more than 200 emails later, I have developed a special friendship with this man. Someone I can share war stories with without any prejudices or biases and even share family stories of small victories. But it was that first email where his last message particularly struck me. It read: "Good luck in your coin/medal search. Feel free at anytime to contact me with a numismatic question. Should you find something unusual or not in my book, I would appreciate you sharing the medal/token so that it can be added to the 3rd edition that comes to press in 2020." It shows how enthusiastic, passionate and open he is in helping new collectors like me. He has helped me grow my collection over the last 2 years, and, in my opinion it is a pretty decent one, thanks to Mr. Honeycutt. But it was this mention of a 3rd edition that piqued my interest, and made my journey into Philippine Medals and Tokens go even deeper.
PHILIPPINE MEDALS, TOKENS AND JETONS: 1780-2020 (3RD EDITION)
When Mr. H mentioned a 3rd edition in his email, I knew I had to be part of that book, one way or another. I felt that I had to contribute in whatever way I could to make sure this 3rd edition would be a very big improvement from the previous two editions. In fact, I remember volunteering my services to Mr. H by showing him some pieces that were "unlisted." My very first contribution was a small Filipinas Jeton and since then I've sent him more than 30 pieces that were unlisted and I continue to send him as I discover. But the one thing where I wanted to contribute is to improve the overall design of the book. In fact, Mr. H and I would spend long discussion and ideas on how to go about improving on the design. We went as far as talking about changing the whole layout of the pages of the medals in the contents. But, we both felt that it would be too tedious and long to do so, given that there are more than 1000 entries already. However, Mr. H knew that the images should be colored, which would help a lot of the collectors to properly identify the designs of the medals we get and come across.
Enter the design of the book cover. This was one part that definitely needed improvement and the one area where I felt I could contribute. What we did was to get a couple of artists to submit their proposed book design, both front and back. There were 2 artists who submitted, and all the proposed designs were great, in fact it was very difficult to choose.
Here are some sample designs of what were submitted:
Design Sample 1:
Design Sample 2:
Design Sample 3:
All very nice designs and all very symbolic of what the book is all about. But it was the chosen design that I felt was the perfect cover for this 3rd edition as it immediately gives the reader a visual representation of what to expect from the book. Most of the medals that were used for the cover were actual pictures of medals owned by Mr. H and some by those who had contributed to this latest edition of the book.
And the name of the artist was very appropriate for the book he was tasked to design the cover for, his name is simply "BAYANI."
As one peruses the contents of the book, the reader will be glad to see how the author had properly divided it to make it easier for the reader to navigate and look for the information of the medal one is looking for. Primarily the medals are divided by the year of its manufacture, and it is further divided into specific periods starting from the year 1780 during the reign of Carolus III; and goes all the way to the People Power period up to 2020. It was a nice touch that the book separates the medals for Rizal, Bonifacio and the Katipunan and the medals about the Revolution. I guess it was the author's way of addressing specific collectors for these types of medals and by giving honor to these heroes of a very specific and important part of Philippine History.
Mr. H also has a whole section dedicated to school medals, which I believe addresses a very unique section of the collecting society. A very difficult segment to complete, as the number of medals already listed is pretty daunting. But this gives the book diversity. The section of jetons is another interesting section and very educational, not to mention such an eyeopener for me. It was because of this book that I was able to identify and purchase these three Isabel jetons from three different sellers here in Manila. Listed and referenced from left to right as Honeycutt-1359a, Honeycutt-1359 and Honeycutt-1364.
I knew the 3rd edition of Honeycutt's book would be a tremendous help for a lot of Philippine collectors, most especially the "hunters" here in the Philippines who make a living by going out to far-flung places to "hunt" for these elusive items. I remember getting all kinds of questions as to whether a discovered medal is listed in the book and how much would the going market price of the said medal, token or jeton would be. Mr. Honeycutt created a "tool" for every collector, whether a seasoned one or a newcomer. A tool to be used to sharpen one's trade and used as a guide in upgrading, adding or even selling some pieces in their collection. It has come a long way from the very first edition that was released around 6 years ago, and it is important to note that the author is not stopping. He is on to the 4th edition, which we expect to be released in around 2 years. From the release of this 3rd edition, more than 50 unlisted and undiscovered medals have been submitted by the readers of the book to the author. This book has definitely made the difference and has made the hobby of Philippine exonumia collecting definitely more interesting and even more rewarding.
(To Mr. Honeycutt, I thank you for the mentorship, the coaching, the advice, the inspiration and most especially, thank you for the friendship. It's been 3 months since we distributed the 3rd edition here in the Philippines, and I am proud to say that we've distributed a total of 60 books, most of them were new collectors or those who have come across Mr. Honeycutt's book for the first time.)
PART OF MR. HONEYCUTT'S COLLECTION WHICH HE SHARED WITH US....