In a career spanning nearly six decades including public service under five U.S. presidents, Paul A. Volcker, Jr. worked for private and public firms as an esteemed economist and helped shape the nation’s economic policies. In these roles he received numerous awards, medals, and commendations from entities both domestic and foreign, which Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to offer at auction to private collectors and museums. In addition to the awards, Volcker collected a small group of numismatic coins that will also be offered in the August sale.
Beginning in 1952, Volcker joined the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as a full-time economist. After five years there, he moved on to Chase Manhattan Bank where he served as a financial economist. In 1962 Volcker joined the U.S. Treasury Department as Director of Financial Analysis and, a year later, was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for Monetary Affairs. He returned to Chase Manhattan Bank as Vice President and Director of Planning in 1965.
President Richard Nixon appointed Volcker as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Monetary Affairs, a position he held for five years. During that tenure, he was instrumental in eliminating the convertibility of gold to the dollar, ending the Bretton Woods system which had been in place for just over a quarter century. Following his work at the Treasury Department, Volcker became President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a position he held from 1975 to 1979.
In July 1979, President Jimmy Carter nominated Paul Volcker to serve as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He was confirmed by the Senate the following month and was re-nominated four years later by President Ronald Reagan. Under Volcker’s leadership, the Federal Reserve helped curb inflation, which had risen to nearly 15% in March 1980 – three years later it had fallen below 3%. To fight inflation, the Fed under Volcker raised the federal funds rate, which resulted in extremely high interest rates during the early 1980s.
Paul Volcker left the Federal Reserve in 1987 and became Chairman of Wolfensohn & Co., a prominent New York investment banking firm. Throughout the 1990s he remained active, serving as the chairman of various committees and task forces, among them the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (Volcker Commission), the IFRS Foundation, and the Group of Thirty.
Under President Barack Obama, Volcker was selected to head the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He was reported to be Obama’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury, but as he was over 80 by then, he was considered too old. In 2013, Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance, a nonprofit organization to address the challenge of effective execution of public policies and to rebuild public trust in government.
Highlights of the collection to be offered in the August auction include Volcker’s gold Treasury Department Service medal; a massive gold Benjamin F. Fairless medal certified by NGC as MS-67; a Nelson A. Rockefeller Public Service Award medal in gold and a Harry S. Truman Foundation Good Neighbor Award gold medal.
The collection of awards and medals presented to Paul A. Volcker Jr, former Chair of the Federal Reserve under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan will be offered August 22, 2022, as part of the Global Showcase Auction, presented by Stack’s Bowers Galleries, official auction partner of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. For more information call 800-458-4646, email [email protected], or visit the firm’s website at StacksBowers.com.