Rare Money Blog

Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 26

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

Author: Harvey Stack / Thursday, September 06, 2018 / Categories: Harvey G. Stack Remembers

The year of 1958 continued the growth of the numismatic hobby, and many new collectors entered the field. Stories appeared in various newspapers and magazines about numismatics. These included reports of coins found in diggings in the ancient world, of the value and growth of collecting, stories about old time collections being sold and how the sellers had realized increases in value. It was reported that coin collecting was the “hobby of kings,” including tales of the Farouk Collection that had been sold in 1954. There were descriptions of major collections, including stories about Louis E. Eliasberg and his “most complete collection of United States coins ever assembled.” The focus on the history, romance, and financial potential of coins all helped to increase interest in numismatics.​

Stack’s retail business continued to grow, as new collectors entered the field. There was enthusiasm to complete short sets, such as two-cent pieces, nickel three-cent pieces, Shield, Liberty Head and Jefferson nickels, Roosevelt dimes, twenty-cent pieces, Washington quarters, Franklin half dollars, Peace dollars, Indian quarter eagles and type sets of commemoratives – both gold and silver. The supply of the "short sets" was helped by the number of rolls put away in the early years, as well as the limited number of coins needed for completion (thus the name – short sets). These were a good way to start a collection as these coins were relatively available and also relatively low in cost. These short sets also provided a feeling of completion to a beginning collector. They then could return to the market to build a new collection.


Some collectors bought such sets already complete from dealers; others built them one coin at a time, searching for the quality they desired, or even the toning they preferred. Dealers broke up the sets they acquired to meet various clients’ needs. Interest spread and the market developed.


We had sold many gold coins to collectors who developed an interest after World War II. We were able to place coins from collections we had purchased earlier, such from the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection we acquired in the 1940s. In this way gold coins also made their way from the collections of the past to new homes with contemporary collectors.


In addition, our public auction sales also brought back to market coins that had been held in old-time collections. Among these sales were the Crosby-Mayfield Collection, the John Wharton Collection, the 1958 N.Y. Numismatic Sale, the Smith Ely Goldsmith Collection (an extensive holding of dimes and early Proof sets from 1858 to 1915), and a general collection formed by Frank Chase. Our sales were well attended, with hundreds of collectors filling the auction sales room, "standing room only" in many cases, along with record numbers of mail bids adding to the demand.


The many counterfeits entering the country and being sold as genuine continued to be a major problem. The U.S. Secret Service traveled from one dealership to another picking up the false coins they found, and in some cases indicting the dealer for selling "false coins." Along with other professional dealers, we were called upon to help the agents determine "good from bad" so they could do their job efficiently. This was just one more part of our mission to serve collectors and the hobby.