Stack’s Sells the Dr. Conway A. Bolt Collection in 1966, Part 1

During the later half of the 20th century Stack’s was awarded many major collections for sale at Public Auction. One of the major collections sold in 1966 was the great collection formed by Dr. Conway A. Bolt.

Dr. Bolt was devoted to numismatics and pursued his collection of coins enthusiastically. He celebrated his 50th anniversary in the hobby shortly before his collection was offered at public auction. His collection had won more than 20 national, state and local convention awards as either "Best of Show" or "First Award." He was the past president and founder of numerous numismatic associations and clubs throughout the eastern part of the United States.

Dr Bolt’s philosophy can be best expressed by this excerpt from a speech he gave:   "Why collect or have a hobby? This is a question that was asked of me in my profession of medicine. We need a diversion from the strain and stress of our routine work or profession or earning a living: something that is restful and coated with the meringue of pleasure. This makes for good mental health, which is good preventive medicine. The definition of hobby gives you the answer: ‘It is a good favorite occupation, subject, topic or the like pursued by amusement, pleasure and interest it affords.’ It gives you something extra not often found in our daily grind of making a living. What a person collects makes very little difference. But a hobby that delights a person is the surest key to that person’s inner self. Many people become more efficient n their professions as well as experts with their chosen hobby."

The words of Dr. Bolt were published widely in the 1960s and the leadership he provided encouraged many to start or continue collecting. The collection that Stack’s sold was indeed a landmark and exemplified many of the goals that the good Doctor set for himself and expounded to all.

A quick review of what Dr. Bolt accomplished is summarized in the Table of Contents of his auction catalog.  Since his interests included coin in all metals, from early colonial days, to the rare pioneer and territorial issues, to a wonderful offering of U.S. paper money, the sale attracted many collectors in all series.  As was usually the case, after the convention was closed, a major banquet was held, where hundreds attended.  It was a wonderful weekend for all.

The Conway A. Bolt sale took place on April 21, 22, and 23, 1966, in conjunction with the Metropolitan New York Numismatic Convention. For many years this convention was held annually in New York City in the spring, sponsored by eight numismatic clubs in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  It was always attended by a large group of collectors, many of whom came from over 500 miles away to be with fellow numismatists.

I will continue my story about Dr. Conway Bolt and his collection in the weeks to come.



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