Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 79

In the fall and early winter of 1979 we continued to present public auctions that offered a wide variety of numismatic items. Just after Labor Day, we offered a large, specialized collection of high quality and rare U.S. colonial coins formed by Donald S. Fleishcher. Don Fleishcher was well known in the numismatic clubs in the Metropolitan area as he had worked for decades with collectors who were centralized around New York. The friendships he had developed while collecting resulted in many specialists and well known numismatists participating in his sale, and it was a talked about event for months after. The sale contained hundreds of lots of colonial coins and currency, along with some classic early American issues to support the offering. It was a great opportunity for collectors in this field.

Martin F. Kortjohn, another great numismatist, had unfortunately passed away this year. His family awarded us the sale of his extensive collection, which yielded 1,235 lots of outstanding and quality coins of the United States. Martin was a dedicated numismatist, who had collected for well over four decades. Almost weekly he met with a number of friends, including Harold Bareford, Ed Hessberg, Vernon Brown, and Ray Gallo at Stack’s, where they discussed coins, showed their latest acquisitions to each other, and traded duplicates. He had been extremely active in starting local coin clubs like the Bronx Club and the New York Metropolitan Club. Martin also served on many committees for the ANA and was Chairman of the Annual Numismatic Association Convention, held in New York in 1952. He played a great role in developing new collectors. The October 1979 auction catalog for his collection was an important source for tracing pedigrees, as many of the coins he acquired in his decades of collecting were bought from name sales where old timers were selling their collections.

Our 1979 auction season closed out with our December sale, which featured, a group of outstanding consignments which we had gathered during the summer and fall. We wanted to be sure we get them to market, as the sudden collapse of the silver market (almost 80% of the value) a few months earlier was beginning to affect numismatic prices. It was a very hard market to predict, as all the speculation in silver and the value that had been lost in the "great drop," had an effect on other precious metals, including gold. As the year came to an end, Stack’s had to help collectors who had big losses due to silver speculation make sense of the market and cope with their losses. Despite this, it was a very successful and gratifying year for everyone at Stack’s as we continued to work with collectors to help them build their collections and also to bring to market collections of all sizes and types, when it was time for those items to move on to another generation.

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