Last week I told of how my 85th birthday on June 3, 2013, had made me nostalgic for my early days as a full time worker at Stack’s. I reminisced about the influential dealers who I had the honor of knowing and working with in my first decade as a full time numismatist from 1947 to 1956.
Of course, my knowledge also came from the collectors and researchers I met during this early period of my professional life. As I think about them, I am greatly indebted to them for their willingness to share their great knowledge. All that I learned made me more qualified to do my job and to pass this knowledge on to others.
Among the many collectors, specialists and researchers I met were many who went on to form major collections which were later consigned to Stack’s for auction, bought through private treaty, or brokered through our firm. All of the following were clients with whom I became friends and who I represented during my first decade at Stack’s. Many had great rarities and noteworthy collections, whose items are still considered great heirlooms. Among the names of individuals and collections that immediately came to mind from my first 10 years were Clifford T. Weihman, J.J. Pittman, James A. Stack, Louis E. Eliasberg, Gaston DiBello, Anderson Dupont, Davis Graves, Dr. William Sheldon, C. Douglas Smith, Harold Bareford, Fred Knobloch, Josiah K. Lilly, Vernon Brown, Oscar Shilke, Jack Bell, Eric Newman, Walter Breen, John J. Ford, Ray Gallo, Professor Thomas Mabbott, Henry Guttag, and Jules Guttag. I also thought of Mortimer Hammel, Dr. Charles Green, Cornelius Vermeule, Howard Gibbs, and the collectors who formed the Dollars of the World Collection and the Gold Coins of the World Collection. If you read through the pedigrees in auction catalogs, you can fully understand what good fortune I had to work with these great people.
I cherish having known them and worked with them and I also cherish all the things I learned from them. My experience in numismatics over the past 66 years has been greatly enhanced by all those I met, worked with, learned from and auctioned for over the years. And my good fortune continues to this day. As I enter my 67th year in the business, I am still blessed by the many people I encounter in the “Hobby of Kings.” I am still meeting and learning from coin people, and I hope that I can pass on my knowledge and love of numismatics to others, so that our hobby will continue to expand and flourish in the future.