YN Walter J. G. Waholek presented a display and
did a talk on transit tokens last spring.
The exhibit included an operating Lionel Trolley
and many traction models with historical traction artifacts along
with exonumia. The display and talk centered on the
Philadelphia transit system from its infancy to present day.
Philadelphia is the last major urban system to use tokens, which
are scheduled to be discontinued in 2014 along with the fare box
and be replaced by a debit card system.
Walter, a freshman at Father Judge High School
Philadelphia and an ANA YN, is a charter member of the Train
Collectors Association, TCA, Kids Club. He was invited to display
his transit coin exhibit at the TCA Atlantic Division Fall toy
train meet. The reaction being overwhelmingly positive with
collector interest in toy trains, tokens and traction, will repeat
this in December at a special annual Christmas toy train exhibit
open to the public. Walter believes cross exhibiting can cause
cross collecting when interested parties are introduced to each
In addition, Walter has helped develop a Boy
Scout Merit Badge workshop for coin collecting in cooperation with
the local northeast Philadelphia coin clubs William Penn and Double
Eagle, based on the ANA model and using ANA provided materials.
When he initially presented his idea to the local scout
commissioner attached to Troop 394 where he is a member and Star
Scout, the District Commissioner, Dominic Aquilino, suggested
developing a program on introducing coin collecting to cub scouts
since there was no current program in place. That new program, with
Walter's help, is now nearing completion will be presented for
approval and projected to be operational and in place January
Walter introduced O' Scale military trains in an
exhibit based on the military coinage and currency of WWII. This
exhibit will join the transit token display along with a Boy Scout,
coin, medal and Scouting Challenge coin display with Lionel's O'
Scale Boy Scout train set and cars at the TCA National Convention
being held in June 2014 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Walter has presented monthly theme exhibits,
attended Summer Seminar in 2013 and hopes to return in 2014 if he
can secure another scholarship. His Native Americans on coin theme
presented during National Coin Week won him a mention and picture
spot in The Numismatist. Since the 2011
World's Fair of Money, Walter's rise in coin collecting can be
attributed directly to the ANA youth programs including the Scout
workshop, and the support and encouragement from his fellow coin
Prior to his submission of his grand prize
winning design in the U.S. Mint's kids challenge in designing a
coin for "what's so great about baseball" contest, he created two
designs and had his fellow coin club members participate in a vote
on which design he should submit. Opportunities have opened doors
to events such as John Mercanti's 70th birthday party where he
shared cake and a moment of glory being in the presence of the
former chief engraver for the U.S. Mint. John's silver eagle design
is Walter's favorite and most collected coin. Last week, as the
guest of the deputy director of the U.S. Mint, Walter toured the
Philadelphia Mint being allowed on the production floor, silver
bullion room and even a vault.
What's left for a 14 year old? I'm assured by
Walter he has just begun to collect and invest. He hopes to one day
write and submit an article for The
Numismatist. He intends to apply himself to the YN
programs now that he has a better understanding of what is
required. But most of all introducing coin collecting to friends
and strangers in a positive light is his immediate goal.