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Rare Money Blog

Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 44

By Harvey G. Stack, Co-Founder

Author: Harvey G. Stack / Tuesday, May 14, 2019 / Categories: Harvey G. Stack Remembers

The year of 1966 was a challenging one for all of us at Stack’s. There was a lot of work to do, serving clients, both in the shop and on the road, as well as holding auctions and traveling to conventions. In addition to this “usual” work, we were making our case about the OSGO’s import standards and also preparing a specialized inventory for the estate of J.K. Lilly who had died. However, as 1966 ended, it became a year that I would always remember with pain and great sadness.

My father and uncle usually spent the winter, starting after Thanksgiving and for several months after in Florida, enjoying holidays with their families, and staying away from the cold in New York.

A few days before Christmas in 1966, my mother called and told me that my father, Morton Stack, was rushed to the hospital after having a severe heart attack. I immediately made plane reservations to go to Florida and started gathering a few things to take with me. Before I finished packing, my mother called again to tell me that my father had just passed away. She said I need not come to Florida, as she was planning to bring him back to New York for burial in a family plot. The news was such a shock to me, that I just sat down and cried. My father had been my teacher and mentor, and he set the example for how to treat people and build positive relationships with others. Now he was gone at the age of 66, and I knew I would miss him very much.

This tragedy was difficult for all of us at Stack’s. We had lost a beloved member of our family and a very important part of our business. While losing a client of some 16 years like Josiah K. Lilly had been very hard for me and the others to take, this personal loss was much more painful. But it was necessary that we all continue on, despite the pain we were feeling. The work that we had all shared with my father went on, building the hobby and our own business and serving collectors as best we could. We also had our ongoing case against the government which, when and if we won, would benefit not only Stack’s but also the entire numismatic community.

For me, my father’s passing meant that I inherited another 25% of the business. In 1955 he had given me 25%, so now I was 50% owner of Stack’s. My Uncle Joe still held 25%, while my cousins, Norman and Ben, each had the 12.5% that he as their father had given them. While we all worked together as always, I felt a great responsibility and weight upon my shoulders. It was good for me to concentrate on my work and on the many projects before us.

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