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Growing up in a Numismatic Family Part 7

By Harvey G. Stack, Co-Founder

Author: Harvey G. Stack / Thursday, December 14, 2017 / Categories: Harvey G. Stack Remembers

Air Force. They had been away from their families for as long as five years. They were rebuilding their lives in peacetime, getting back to their jobs and if they could, to their hobbies.

Among those who served in the United States armed forces from Stack's was John J. Ford, Jr.,  who served in U.S. Army Intelligence. Cornelius Vermeule was an Army finance specialist who was in Japan inventorying their money, as he was fluent in Japanese. Commander. James C. Risk was a U.S. naval attaché to Russia. In addition, we gained Henry Grunthal, who immigrated to the United States after the war. These were just a few of the specialists who once again became a part of Stack’s and they were much needed as we found that the post-war era brought many collectors back to the hobby, as well as attracting new ones

In order to produce catalogs for the many sales we held in the years from 1945 through 1949, we needed a good research staff, fluent in all areas of numismatics. In this way we could engage all the returning and new collectors in building collections and buying and selling coins. It was what we needed in order to properly conduct our business. By 1946, Ben, Norman and I had been "drafted" by our folks to be available to help any day we were not tied up with school or schoolwork.

Ben, being a bit older than Norman and myself, finished school first and became part of the Stack's over-the-counter staff. In 1947 both Norman and I were given similar positions in the firm. We were all very lucky that our fathers brought us into the business at a time when the shop was very busy with many advanced collectors. These numismatists visited the store to enhance their collections and check out anything new we might have acquired. In addition, they were very generous with their knowledge, teaching us what they knew and had earlier researched. It was an extension of our education, learning much about the art of collecting coins and other items.

It was in this way that the “three young Stack's," as we were called in the shop, started on our way to becoming professional numismatists. We learned about many different areas, from Ancient to modern world coins, the entire United States series in all metals, and paper currency. As we became involved with buying and selling, we had unique opportunities to see many of the greatest rarities as well as outstanding collections. Our growing Public Auction program, usually conducted once a month except in the summer, added to our experience especially in the arts of grading and valuing.

During this period, Stack's continued to handle items that were owned or had been owned by some of the most important names in the hobby, names that included David Proskey, James A. Stack (no relative), James Flannigan, J.F. Bell, George H. Hall, Charles Deetz, Theodore Grand, and duplicates from the Louis E. Eliasberg Collection. The last we sold under the name The H.R. Lee Collection, a title created from the initials of Mr. Eliasberg’s wife’s maiden name and his own name.

This was a hectic period at Stack's and my father and uncle worked seven days a week and many nights to build our business and serve the many collectors who counted on the firm. And the “three young Stack’s” learned all about hard work at the same time they were learning about numismatics.