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.