Growing up in a Numismatic Family: Part 121

While Harvey Stack passed away in January of this year, we are pleased to continue to offer readers the articles he had already written, so that they can be read and enjoyed as he would have wished.?

On the auction front, 1995 was a very important and active year for Stack’s as we cataloged and presented nine separate auctions. These sales contained large and important collections of United States coins from colonials to modern issues as well as coins of the ancient world and foreign issues.

We started off the year in January with an offering of 1,725 lots of U.S. gold, silver and copper, with many early pieces in Mint State and Proof condition. Our March sale offered more items from the renowned James A. Stack, Sr. Collection plus other important consignments, including the The New Island Collection of U.S. Paper Currency. This offering from the Stack Collection was primarily duplicates from half cents to $20 gold and provided collectors with an opportunity to acquire more common dates and series from with this famous pedigree.

In May we had two catalogs. The first contained the Chesapeake Collection of U.S. gold, silver and copper coins, the Donald R. Shasky Collection of silver three-cent pieces, the Edward Milas Collection of No Motto half eagles in some of the finest grades known, and the Jac and Cornelia Weller Collection of Gold Coins. Our second May catalog featured Ancient and Foreign coins from the John Dresser Collection, the James A. Stack, Sr. Collection, and other important consignments. June brought an auction of over 1,200 lots that included the Dr. James A. Vander Zanden Collection which was sold on behalf of Yale University – what a wonderful gift to that institution. To start the fall season, in September we had a large sale of over 2,300 lots that was made up of consignments of United States coins and paper money from the John D. Sayer Collection, as well as cabinets formed by other prominent collectors. It was a wonderful sale featuring early, classic, and scarce numismatic items.

In October 1995 Stack’s celebrated six decades in the coin auction business with our appropriately named 60th Anniversary Sale. Over those years we had conducted hundreds of sales and presented many of the most famous collections to come on the market. The early auctioneer was my uncle, Joseph B. Stack, assisted by my father, Morton. In the early 1950s I started my time with the company, along with my cousins Benjamin and Norman. We continued to be among the foremost coin auctioneers in America, if not the world.

For this important anniversary sale we presented the fabulous collection formed by Seymour Finklestein, a prominent New York City numismatist who had engaged Stack’s to help build his impressive U.S. coin collection. Mr. Finkelstein started with a fine type collection. He then expanded into collecting Indian Head cents, two- and three-cent pieces, 20-cent pieces, trade dollars, 20th century gold, and other series, as well as silver and gold commemoratives. He had been an active client for years, purchasing both over the counter and in our auctions. The sale featured nearly 1,900 lots with many important items, including a choice offering of Saint-Gaudens double eagles and early Proof coins with some original sets. The opportunity to sell his collection in this landmark sale was a very nice gesture of thanks to Stack’s for our help over the years. After his very successful sale, Seymour Finklestein pursued colonial American coins and historical medals.

November 1995 brought about a reunion of sorts, as we participated in the "Numisma ’95" sale that brought back together the firms of Stack’s, Paramount, Rarcoa, and Superior. These auction companies had produced the "Apostrophe" sales from 1979 through 1990, quality auctions that featured 500 lots from each auctioneer. In 1995 Stack’s was approached by Rarcoa and David Akers to consider another "joint sale" and we agreed.  The sale offered a renowned collection of U.S. dimes, virtually complete in the choicest examples, both Proof and Mint State, from 1796 to the late 1940s. The highlight of the sale was the "Finest Known" 1794 silver dollar from the Leland Rogers type set of copper and silver coins. Also featured was the David Queller Collection of Saint-Gaudens $20 coins, a superb run of original Proof sets from 1880 to 1900, plus hundreds of early type coins from the late 18th through the 19th century. This joint sale attracted hundreds of collectors in person and a record number of bid sheets for the 2,000 lots.

Closing out the important year of 1995 was our December sale of ancient and foreign coins, nearly 2,000 lots offered during a Fall Metropolitan New York Show. The sale offered choice and rare gold and silver coins of the ancient world, and a fine selection of world coins that included multiple Ducats in gold, large thalers, outstanding coins of the Orient, a superb collection of Medieval and early Renaissance coinage, and 18th to 20th century coins of the entire world. Collectors and dealers traveled from all over the world, as well as the United States to participate in this outstanding sale. 1960 had truly been a year to remember!

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