Did you know Stack’s
Bowers Galleries is featuring the Alex Siegel Collection on our upcoming
official auction of the New York International Numismatic Convention, January
11-14, 2018, in New York City?
Alex Siegel was born a
Yankee in New Jersey in 1941. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts
before leaving New England for good to head to the University of Minnesota
where he earned a Ph.D. in Child Psychology. While in Minneapolis he met and
married Sandy. His first job took him to the University of Pittsburgh and it
was there that his children, Jeff and Laurie, were born. In 1979, he moved to
the University of Houston, where he became a “true” Texan, with cowboy boots,
hats, and all! He passed away on July 31, 2017, at the age of 76.
As a teacher, Alex took
great joy in encouraging his students. He became a mentor and father figure to
many, and his greatest pleasure was seeing them go out and become professors
and researchers on their own. He made significant contributions to the field,
publishing many articles and editing several books. He was chairman of the
Psychology Department for several years, but decided that he wasn’t having fun
anymore. He retired from the University of Houston in 1983 at the age of 60 so
he could devote his full attention to his coins.
Alex started collecting
coins with a Whitman nickel board. Being a psychologist, he was hoping to use
coin collecting as reinforcement for his children Jeff and Laurie, which
according to his wife, Sandy, didn’t work. However, it did hook Alex into coin
collecting. His early interest in U.S.
silver dollars led to the discovery of Mexican eight reales. After his
retirement from the University of Houston, he started a small coin business and
set up tables at many local coin shows. Then he met Mike Dunigan and his
interest really blossomed.
After he had taken the
eight reales set as far as he could, Alex sold it and went on to collect Mexico
1 Peso coins and Central Latin American Republic crowns. Alex was especially
captivated by the beauty of the Central American Republic and “Sun Over
Mountains” eight reales and the Chile volcano pesos. He won several awards for
the quality and completeness of his various collections. Everything Alex
bought, sold or collected had to be in pristine condition. Toning was
especially important. If a coin wasn’t pretty, he wasn’t interested in it.
As he had in his teaching
days, Alex also enjoyed being a mentor for future coin collectors. He taught
them what to look for in a coin and how to rate its value. He collected many
coin-related books and catalogs and would pore over them frequently. Coins
became a way of life for him, and brought him much enjoyment.