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Tom Cederlind (1959-2015)

by Ursula Kampmann

January 7, 2016 – On December 16, 2015, American coin dealer Tom Bentley Cederlind died unexpectedly in his home town of Portland. Those who knew him will remember him as a gentleman who always placed the satisfaction of his customers first.

Tom Cederlind was born in Bellingham / Washington on August 9, 1959, as the youngest of four brothers. After visiting the Sehome High School in Bellingham / Washington, he studied Ancient History at the Lewis and Clark College in Portland / Oregon and the Pomona College in California. In 1986, he received a Bachelor’s Degree.

Already at that time, Tom Cederlind dealt with ancient coins and objects. During his more than 30 active years in the coin trade, he published 181 catalogs. His customers refer to him as a gentleman who favored a good conversation over a big turnover. The well-known collector BCD portrayed him with the following words that probably describe Tom’s attitude to his profession best:

Tom is no longer with us. I will miss the enigmatic half-smile he had in store for me every time I visited his table during the December (and later, January) New York show, going back so many years that memories fade like wisps of smoke. I am sure that from somewhere above, his spirit is looking down upon us, contemplating with the same half-smile, the big joke that the lives of each one of us were, are and will be.

I will not say anything about his passion for coins which has been an integral part of his life. All of us involved with this great hobby, but mostly his family that had to live with his wonderful obsession, knew about it and respected him for it.

I will not talk about his quiet, unassuming disposition when it came to talk coins with collectors who asked from him so much more than they could ever give back. He was always willing to help with information and advice, even when he knew that he would get nothing in return.

I will not mention his integrity and fairness in his dealings as it would be stating the obvious to all who ever conducted business with him.

But I have one story that I would like to share with you. It involves repeated desperate phone calls between Athens, Greece and Portland, Oregon during very inconvenient hours. I was asking (actually pleading with) Tom to try and recover a coin from his list that was sold to another collector. Those were the days before electronic mailing and the list arrived, as usual, too late. The coin was not only unique but also from a totally unknown mint. Tom immediately understood how important it was for me and he was able to get it back by paying a small premium to the collector. He wanted no commission for his efforts and this alone speaks for the man’s quality.

It is rare for a dealer to “get into the skin” of a collector and “feel” with him, live through his highs and lows, his cravings, his disappointments and his triumphs. Tom was such a person and that is why we all loved being with him and we now miss him and will keep missing him for a long, long time to come.

Tom Cederlind leaves behind a three-year-old son, Leif Spenser Broncova Cederlind. The team of CoinsWeekly mourns with him and his two brothers, Jim und Gary Cederlind.

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