By Harvey Stack – Co-Founder, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
A Nice Yr and a Nice Problem
The yr 1974 turned one other nice yr for Stack’s. We bought a few main collections at public public sale and our over-the-counter enterprise was robust as new collectors appeared to be getting into the sector. We opened a number of new accounts: from starting collectors to younger people, to extraordinarily superior and devoted collectors who as soon as once more have been enhancing their collections by buying rarities as they turned obtainable.
With the Pastime Safety Act providing some assurance that counterfeits and copies can be extra policed, and the brand new numerical grading system providing one other sort of assurance, collectors developed a sense of confidence they could have lacked in earlier years and began to increase their collections. It was a yr that extra main collections have been began and expanded, and the worth of numismatic cash began to develop.
Stack’s was lucky in getting collections to promote, and we had 9 separate gross sales throughout 1974, with many nice rarities among the many choices. However first, let me inform you concerning the nice challenges we handled that yr.
The Passing of Joseph Stack
Joseph B. Stack took sick at his residence in Palm Seashore, Florida, and died in April on the age of 83. He was the older brother of my father, Morton Stack (who handed away out of the blue in 1966), the daddy of Benjamin and Norman, and the grand uncle of Larry. Joseph was devoted to numismatics, loved being with our clients, and traveled to and made associates of collectors throughout america. He was an incessant cigar smoker, all the time had a smile on his face, and loved a good dialog. Sellers appreciated him as properly, for he was all the time truthful and helped them make profitable offers acquiring cash for future gross sales.
Alongside together with his brother Morton, Uncle ” J.B.” was one of the founders of Stack’s, going strictly into the coin enterprise in 1933. Joseph loved the job as a “leader of the pack” of the household enterprise. Amongst his many associates was John W. Snyder, former Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman Administration, who was an avid collector. Snyder simply beloved cash as a interest. In reality, after Truman left workplace in 1952, he promised the President that he would offer a assortment to be exhibited on the forthcoming Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.
The Stack household, working with Secretary Snyder, designed and furnished a full sort assortment of cash used and issued throughout each president’s phrases of workplace. It was, subsequently, an academic exhibit to offer info as to what cash and designs have been struck throughout every administration. When the Truman Library opened in 1958, the Snyder Assortment was a function merchandise on show.
Sadly, there was a break-in on the library about a yr later and the coin assortment was stolen. All have been heartbroken, and the Stack Household took it upon ourselves to rebuild the gathering, accepting public donations in money or cash, which was a fairly liberal occasion. Inside one yr, a comparable show was re-mounted, beneath a safer exhibit, and continues to be on show.
As an fascinating word, when Snyder introduced his forthcoming present in 1952, he introduced President Harry S. Truman into Stack’s workplaces on West 46th Road to simply accept a group of cash to assist begin the show. My Uncle Joseph was a proud man to have a president go to him at Stack’s.
The Nice Numismatic Problem
I acquired a main telephone name early in January. It was Dr. Vladimir (“Val”) Clain-Stefanelli, the curator of the Nationwide Numismatic Assortment on the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
The dialog began with the plea, “Can you help me out? I have a very serious problem and hope you can find an answer to what could be a dilemma!” Understanding Val since 1949, and having had his fantastic spouse, Lisa, as half of our employees until 1954, I had by no means heard such a troubled voice from him on the telephone.
I shortly requested, “Are you alright? Is Lisa O.K.? Is Alex (their son) O.K.?”
He answered instantly, “Everyone is O.K.” I then requested, “Are all the coins in the Smithsonian safe, not stolen?”
“NO,” he answered, “worse than that!”
I instantly thought that there was a hearth or the constructing fell down! He assured me that each one was nicely, however the Smithsonian may lose a main half of their assortment and shows if I couldn’t give him a decision to the issue.
“Wow, why, how? …,” I exclaimed.
The reply got here again shortly, considerably in a splutter and considerably excited. The good physician took a breath and associated what had occurred.
“As you know, we are preparing for a great monetary exhibit of our colonial coins, foreign coins used in our country before it became a nation, and of course a follow-through of all the designs and patterns used for our currency through the years, and the display was to be here at the Smithsonian in 1976 to honor our 200th anniversary as a nation! We’ve been developing this exhibit since last year, selecting the coins and currency which would best tell the monetary story of our Republic.”
“Yes,” I responded, “I have worked with you getting some special examples ‘on loan’ that are presently in private collections to enhance your Bicentennial display. So, tell me, as calmly as you can, WHAT HAPPENED?”
“You’re conscious that the majority branches of the federal government have been requested to organize shows for 1976, the bicentennial of our nation’s founding. Every division on the Smithsonian has deliberate particular reveals. In fact, for our Numismatic Division, Lisa and I’ve spent countless hours planning what to point out, in order to exhibit how cash have been made and used from our colonial days to the current by displaying all of the denominations and designs that have been used, the fashions and patterns that have been thought-about and in addition the drawings that precluded the ultimate designs. It was to be a complete show that was to induce individuals to see how we grew from our first days to the current period of our coinage.
“Of course you know, that the Treasury as early as 1831 has sent examples of what they had in their files and trays, for they felt we were a better place to store these great artifacts of money. Naturally we have and will use many of the coins given to us by private people, including the thousands of coins you gave to us, and the things that we have acquired over the years that we purchased or received as gifts, but WE NEED TO INCLUDE MANY OF THE COINS THE MINT SENT TO US OVER THE DECADES”
“I don’t for the moment have a good answer,” I responded, “but let me give this some thought, and I will be with Norman in the office soon – maybe we can think of a way to keep all the coins at the Smithsonian.”
That morning after arriving in the workplace, I sat down with Norman in our workplace, which was fitted with a face-to-face “partner’s desk” that my father and uncle used. I shared the issue that Val (Dr. Stefanelli) introduced me and requested Norman what concepts he may need. As we talked, one thing got here to me.
Louis E. Eliasberg
Since Norman and I had gone to Baltimore the yr earlier than, performing some work for Louis E. Eliasberg, and I remembered that he needed to realize some recognition for his assortment earlier than promoting it. What if we might get HIM to think about displaying his assortment on the new Mint facility in Philadelphia, say for a yr or two, that might fulfill his want to provide his assortment extra publicity and the popularity nationally that it was thought-about the one full assortment of United States cash–in all metals: gold, silver and copper–ever assembled! Tens of millions will go to the Mint together with the various landmarks of the times of the Founding Fathers. Tens of millions upon hundreds of thousands of guests to Philadelphia can be attracted to go to the brand new Mint to see the place our cash are made, and in addition see the Eliasberg Assortment up shut.
“Wow, what an idea!” Norman exclaimed. “If we could get Eliasberg to do that, and then sell the Mint on this super, unique display, we could solve the problem for Val. Why not call Lou, tell him that this is the chance he wanted, and then we will try to help Val in selling it to the Mint!”
So I obtained my ideas collectively and referred to as Lou on the telephone. He was out of the workplace for about an hour, so I left a message with Miss Doris Everding, Lou’s private secretary, who had labored with Eliasberg for over 30 years. She assured me Lou would name again.
So I waited, and about an hour later the telephone rang and Lou was on the telephone.
“How are, my boy (his customary greeting)? I understand you have something special to talk to me about. So go ahead!” I reminded him of his want to get extra recognition for his assortment. Would he think about placing it on show on the New Mint in Philadelphia through the Bicentennial celebration? I advised it will be a great spot to get the publicity and a spotlight to his assortment. Extra individuals would see it displayed in this way than would see it at a nationwide practice exhibit that we had talked concerning the yr earlier than. There can be no expense for shifting, making certain and guarding the gathering, and it might nonetheless get extra publicity than both of us thought it ever might.
There was full silence on the telephone for about a minute, which felt like an hour, after which in Eliasberg’s loud and clear voice, I heard, “What a super idea! I wish I’d thought about it, but bravo to you and the Stack Family for helping me solve my problem. I love it! Can you really sell it to the Treasury and Mint?”
“I think so,” I stated, “but of course I had to speak to you first. If you like the idea, then I will propose it to Dr. Stefanelli at the Smithsonian, and to his senior officials, and together we will submit the idea to the Treasury and Mint.”
We began that day. First I referred to as Dr. Stefanelli and informed him of our concept.
“What did you say? Did you sell Eliasberg on displaying his full collection at the Mint in 1976 and 1977? Did you have to twist his arm, or threaten to take away his cigars?” Val requested in an excited tone.
“Now the ball’s in your court”, I stated. “You were approached by the Treasury and Mint to give up parts of your National Collection, parts that THEY gave to YOU! Now you can offer them a better idea. First, the Eliasberg Collection is considered unique as it is hailed as the ONLY COMPLETE COLLECTION OF UNITED STATES COINS EVER ASSEMBLED. That in the 1940s and ’50s it was on display in many banks in Baltimore and always attracted huge crowds. The collection is made and displayed so that interested viewers can see BOTH SIDES of the coins on exhibit. The coins are mounted in huge frames in circular vertical racks, and more than one person can view the items without interfering with other viewers. The coins are already labeled, and all that would be required are large, flat display tables to stand the racks on. The cost of moving the collection from Baltimore to Philadelphia and providing guard service during the display would be about the only cost the Mint would have. Either Mr. Eliasberg, who is not too well right now or his son Louis, Jr. will pack the collection for shipping, unpack it and set it up in the Mint and then be available to repack it when the display is concluded.”
Eliasberg’s 1893-S Morgan Greenback
So after listening to me out, Val went to the Chairman of the Museum of American Historical past, the place the Numismatic Assortment was displayed and saved, who then contacted Mint Officers, who then went to the workplace of the Treasurer. That they had me come right down to Washington to elucidate and make a journey with employees to Baltimore to see what was going to be on show. Some safety phrases have been negotiated with Eliasberg, and inside two weeks the thought was accepted. The Smithsonian stored all of the cash that the Mint needed.
It was really a “once-in-a-lifetime” expertise. Coping with authorities officers shouldn’t be my cup of tea!
(Once I get to the yr 1976, I’ll inform a story about how the deal was virtually quashed!)
I ought to relate right now, that the rationale Louis E Eliasberg was contemplating promoting his assortment is that in 1973 he discovered that he had a debilitating well being problem, and was given solely a few years to stay. If potential, he needed to see his nice assortment on show for as many individuals to see it as needed to take pleasure in understanding that a assortment like this as soon as existed. It’s to me, the most effective instance I do know that confirmed the PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP that a devoted numismatist has. It was a actual studying occasion for me and my household!
Even with the challenges that we overcame and the publicity Stack’s acquired, we needed to take care of our common enterprise. Curiosity in shopping for and promoting cash grew, and we devoted ourselves to our shoppers. Some had determined that 1974 was a yr to promote, and our public public sale program introduced some nice collections to market.
We provided one other portion of the Massachusetts Historic Society’s assortment, shaped by the well-known Adams Household, in the early half of the yr. The gross sales have been meant to assist fund the preservation of all of the historic paperwork that have been in the Museum’s possession. It was one other in depth providing of some 1,704 tons from that nice historic assortment.
In March of 1974, we provided the Property of Phillip Spiers, which was a complete assortment of U.S. cash and paper cash.
In April, we provided Half 2 of the Alfred Globus Assortment of Gold Cash of the World, which was a prize-profitable assortment.
In Might and June, we bought a number of smaller collections of top quality, which provided many scarce items for our basic mailing listing.
By September, we cataloged the excellent assortment of the Property of S.G. Steckler, who was a shopper of Stack’s for over three many years and featured many early U.S. Proof units beginning in 1858 thus far.
Henry C. Gibson’s Assortment of United States Gold Cash, featured a huge and virtually full providing of all the usual points of Pioneer and Territorial Gold Cash–with many acquired from gross sales of ours, such because the George Walton Assortment–plus an impressive assortment of uncommon dates and high quality items of all denominations of United States gold. This was provided in November, in a separate catalog. On the next day, we then provided a choice of colonial cash beneath the nom de plume of Donald Grove, which was the identify that Donald PARTRICK requested us to make use of in order that few would know that he was promoting some of his huge assortment. Despite the fact that most have been duplicates of his main assortment, they have been of very top quality and rarity and attracted very enthusiastic bidding.
In December, we have been privileged to catalog and promote the W. Earl Spies Assortment of Early U.S. Silver Dollars, which comprised most of the varieties listed in Bolender’s specialised reference e-book Early Silver Dollars 1794 to 1803. This was unquestionably probably the most full choices of Early Silver Dollars to return on to the market in many many years. The attendance on the sale was astounding as specialised collectors from everywhere in the nation flocked to the public sale to accumulate some of the good uncommon varieties that Spies had assembled.
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In order mentioned above, 1974 was a hectic yr. We had nice auctions. We helped with the problem from the Mint to get cash from the Smithsonian, and we misplaced my uncle, Joseph B. Stack. With my father, Morton, passing away seven years earlier, we have been lucky that my son Larry entered the agency, and all of us devoted to make and keep the corporate as a “Leader in Numismatics”. With Larry on board, we had 4 (four) Stacks to assist our shoppers and a dedicated employees of excellent numismatists to again us up!
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