Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing Up in a Numismatic Family, Part 40

As 1966 opened, the coin hobby continued to be active and much time was dedicated day and night to our numismatic business at Stack’s. We had a series of important auctions, we were very active in our retail sales (both over the counter and from mail order), we attended many shows and conventions, and we continued to build the J.K. Lilly Collection. Stack’s was also dedicated to trying to find ways to understand the requirements of the OGSO for acquiring licenses to import gold into the United States. This non-stop engagement demonstrates why 1966 was a year that I will never forget.

In 1966 many collectors joined the hobby, with the American Numismatic Association gaining many new members. Many shows were conducted nationwide to bring dealers and collectors together. New information became available and those who had already published references, expanded on them. Starting in the 1930s, the catalog listing coins by date and price was the Standard Catalog of U.S. Coins by Wayte Raymond, followed by the Guide Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman (the Red Book).  Numismatic News began in 1952 followed by Coin World in 1963. The explosion of available information, with some published weekly, kept the coin market informed, taught about the hobby, and encouraged many to start collecting or expand their interest. There was current information available, whether you were near a big city or out in the country, helping collectors to learn about coins and pricing – essential to the expansion of the hobby that was taking place during this time. Even the hype surrounding the Mint’s discontinuation of producing coins in silver brought many people to the hobby. By 1966 more collectors were entering the field, visiting coin shops, attending coin shows and conventions; the market grew and prices rose.

This price rise was noted by those who had collections or had inherited cabinets and this motivated some to put their coins on the market, which meant that Stack’s was able to offer some important auctions in 1966. To start the year we offered the Dr. Conroy Bolt Collection (built years earlier by George Walton, and Stack’s), which offered gold coins issued by southern states, starting with the Bechtler pieces and including complete runs of gold coins from the Dahlonega, Charlotte and New Orleans mints. Dr. Bolt also had an extensive collection of U.S. silver and copper issues. We also auctioned the Lee S. Miller Collection of copper coins, the Wilson Rise coins, the Andrew Watson Collection and the fabulous, high quality collection formed by Maurice Bauman. The last sale included a featured collection of half dollars that my cousin, Norman, and I had helped Mr. Bauman build. As in so many cases we had the opportunity to both build and later sell a collection.

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