Building a World Class Numismatic Gold Coin Collection: The Josiah K. Lilly Collection Part 18

​Mr. Lilly was always encouraging us to be watchful for other coins of the world for his growing collection and at Stack’s we worked hard to fulfill his desires.  We continued to search, again contacting collectors and dealers in the United States as well as worldwide. We sent out letters, we made phone calls, and we attending many conventions, with the goal of filling the gaps that Mr. Lilly still had in his developing world-class collection.

As mentioned earlier, Amon Carter would often come by the shop whenever he was in New York. On those visits or when we would encounter him at a show, he always greeted us, smoking his favorite cigar. Often he would start the conversation with, "Hi Guys, how are you doing?  Don’t ask, I know you want to buy my 1822 half eagle.” He promised that when he was ready to sell he would give us first refusal, remembering all the things the Stack family had done for him over the years. Amon Carter understood that our client was hoping to complete his collection and therefore needed an example of the 1822 half eagle. He noted that he shared the desire for completion and it had been a goal of his father before him.  He told us that he also recognized our client’s need for privacy and admired our firm’s discretion in preserving that privacy and not letting on to him or to anyone else who this important collector was. He told us: “My father was somewhat secretive as you know, and he rarely revealed that he was collecting coins.  Privacy is important to maintain.” He mentioned that no one knew that he had even discussed the 1822 half eagle with us, and that was the way it should be. He thanked us, as always for our friendship and numismatic guidance.  

It wasn’t until the summer of 1960 that all of our attempts to acquire an 1822 half eagle for Mr. Lilly came to fruition. I will tell that story in a later part of this series.

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