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Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 87

Our stellar series of 1982 auction sales continued in March, when Princeton University consigned a substantial collection of world gold and silver coins to raise funds to expand a variety of library services. In addition, other consignments of United States coins brought the lot count for this event to 1,484 lots.

In May Stack’s conducted the annual Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention Auction, as we had for many years. It featured a comprehensive offering of over 1,550 lots of Ancient and World coins and United States coins. The sale was designed to attract collectors of many different series to help make the convention’s attendance a great success. The variety of types as well as a wide range of grades were included in the sale, enhancing its wide-ranging appeal. Our June sale of over 1,300 lots also offered United States and World coins, and once again featured items that would appeal to a beginner as well as superb rarities for specialized collectors.

August 1982 brought another of our successful "Apostrophe Auctions," held with Rarcoa, Paramount and Superior. Once again each firm was responsible for providing 500 rare and choice coins, and by now this event had a reputation that brought the foremost collectors to the sale, as well as attracting huge amounts of bid sheets. In September Stack’s was honored to present the renowned collection of 19th and 20th century world gold coins formed Mortimer Hammel, a dedicated numismatist and friend of our entire family. In the 1930s, Mr. Hammel had developed a technique of fusing copper and silver, a process that was much needed in industry. This enabled him to retire and, as he lived in walking distance of Stack’s he had the time to visit often. He was not only a collector but an expert and he taught all of us about rarity and value in the foreign series. He had a great love for the gold coins of the 1800s and early 1900s, but had a particular interest in Spanish Colonial issues. He was of great assistance as we built the J.K. Lilly collection, guiding us as we put together some 500 different Spanish-American gold coins.

His collection consisted of almost 1,100 different type coins of the two centuries, gathered with condition and rarity as the first requirement. This was another landmark sale for Stack’s and our auction room was filled with collectors from both the United States and many other countries all hoping to capture some of the great rarities in the Hammel Collection.

In October, we offered 1,654 lots of United States and Foreign Gold, Silver and Copper Coins, along with Paper Money, highlighting the Estate of August Bohnhorst and the Carl S. Carlson collections. It was a great comprehensive offering for buyers in all fields and areas of collecting and was excitedly received and bid on. In December we brought to public auction Part III of the Robison Collection, featured alongside other compatible consignments. As with the earlier offerings from the Robison Collection, the funds raised were donated to Cornell University and Rensellaer Polytech to support the Robison family’s commitment to higher education and the athletic activities at those institutions. "Roby" expressed his feelings on this subject, asserting that healthy sporting activity was a great support to education, and that he wanted to enhance it as best he could.

At Stack’s we continued to feel lucky to have attracted so many dedicated collectors to both our shop and our auctions. Despite fluctuations in the market, we had a very successful year in 1982 and continued to enjoy serving our clients in any way we could. The markets were getting stronger as confidence grew in the hobby. In addition, we were about to see some outstanding collections come through our doors for public auction. These and other factors came together to make 1983 a super year for all of us at Stack’s.

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