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Building a World Class Numismatic Gold Coin Collection: The Josiah K. Lilly Collection Part 17

In
the fall of 1958 we had our customary visit from Mr. Lilly and we showed him
some of our recent acquisitions for his growing collection. He had been
studying other collections and what made each of them important and
desirable.  He wanted us to tell him more about the Louis E. Eliasberg
Collection which the Stack family played an important role in building in the
early 1940s when we were able to obtain the Clapp Collection for this important
collector.


With
Mr. Eliasberg we negotiated to acquire an almost complete collection of United
States gold, silver and copper, along with a wonderful group of foreign gold
coins. The combination of what Mr. Eliasberg already owned and the Clapp
Collection resulted in a very important collection and the Stack family was
pleased to be a supplier of new and upgrade coins as well as helping to set
aside the duplicates for future trading and possible sale. Louis E. Eliasberg
was collecting at the right time and he was able to get a great start on his
unparalleled cabinet.


Mr.
Lilly commented about this: “I guess this does not happen often. It was
fortunate for me that I was able to purchase the U.S. gold coin collections you
found for me in 1954 and 1955.” We once again marveled at how far he was able
to get with his collecting because of these advantageous acquisitions from the
Anderson Dupont, Weihman and Schermerhorn collections. “I guess I was in the
right place at the right time,” he said.


He
then noted that he still needed two U.S gold coins to complete the collection.
One was the unique 1870-S $3 gold piece (which
Louis Eliasberg owned). Mr. Lilly noted: “I guess I have to wait till
he either sells his collection or until he passes on.  Since we are close
the same age, I will try to wait.” All this was said with a warm smile on
Mr. Lilly’s face.


He
continued: “But I do have a chance on getting the 1822 half eagle. You
told me there are only three examples: the one in the Smithsonian, the
Eliasberg specimen, and the one in the Carter Family Collection, which is vast,
but not as complete as the one you built for me!”


Mr.
Lilly mentioned that members of the Stack family had approached Amon, Jr., over
the past four years but he hadn’t wanted to sell it.  He asked us to keep
trying, as he was excited to be just one coin away from a
complete collection of U.S. gold.


He
also encouraged us to continue adding to his Ancient and world gold collection,
as well as his territorial series. He wanted to expand his Spanish American
gold collection to see what he could get in the smaller denomination of this
popular series. He was always stressing how important the Spanish American
coinage was to the development of a universal currency to expedite world trade
and the role it played in the economic development of the United States.


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