Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing Up in a Numismatic Family, Part 57

​In 1971, Stack’s continued to offer specialized collections of United States coins, as well as world and Ancient coins. Most were smaller in scope but there were two major ones.

The first was held in conjunction with the annual American Numismatic Association Convention held in Washington, D.C.  This Washington D.C. convention drew one of the largest crowds ever. Our 1971 ANA Sale featured a very comprehensive offering of nearly 2,600 lots and was appealing to all collectors, beginners or advanced specialists. Whether someone collected small cents or $50 gold pieces, in superb or average condition, there was something for everyone.

Among the more specialized collections was over 240 lots of United States pattern coins, from the cent through the double eagle, with an unusually large collection of small cent patterns. There was also a good selection of private and territorial gold,  including rare $50 slugs. For the foreign coin collector we had a superb group of world crowns, with a specialized offering of English crowns, and Russian gold, silver and platinum pieces. It was indeed a wonderful offering!

In fall 1971 we offered 1,269 lots of the collection initially formed by John Quincy Adams, who during his travels as Ambassador, mostly to Europe, gathered a splendid collection of world coins that circulated during his time abroad. The collection was eventually given to the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1971 these coins were sold to help preserve the famous Adams Papers as well as further the ongoing mission of the Society. The proceeds were also used for new showcases and the establishment of larger display areas, along with enlarging the library to store more manuscripts and books.

In the later part of 1971 we were asked to auction the famous Nate S. Shapiro Collection which included coins from the ancient world through to modern coins of Europe and the other continents, together with a great selection of paper currency. Nate, a native of Detroit, Michigan, built his collection with the goal of showing it to school children as well as fellow collectors to advance the education of the observers. It was a perfect collection on which to build a lecture series about numismatics and monetary history. He donated his collection to the Detroit Museum. As they did not have room to show it in its entirety, the museum selected coins of historical and monetary importance and built a display about it. The money from the sale of the other pieces was used to provide a curator and lectures about numismatics.

As you can see, museums do not always have room to display all that is given to them, nor do they always have funds to provide for a curator and programs. So in order to serve visitors and students, museums decide which items will tell the story they wish to tell. Then the duplicates or items that do not relate to the main message can be sold to support the mission of the institution.

Over the years, Stack’s has had the privilege of assisting many institutions to maximize their resources to provide the best educational outcomes. In my next parts I will cover 1972 through 1973, when many changes and events occurred.

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