Building a World Class Numismatic Gold Coin Collection: The Josiah K. Lilly Collection Part 8

In early spring 1955 Mr. Lilly stopped at the
Stack’s shop as he was passing through New York
from his winter in Florida and looked once
more at the Clifford T. Weihman collection of U.S. $5 and $10 gold, plus the
foreign gold coins,
especially the doubloons we were able to assemble. We had an enjoyable
in-depth discussion about them and when Mr. Lilly left he told us that his
would call to set up the date for delivery to Eagle’s Nest.

The date was set as April 12 and I arranged for
flights and his secretary made the customary reservation for me at the
Athletic Club. On the morning of April 12, Mr.
Lilly’s chauffeur picked me
up to take me out to Eagle’s Nest.  As it had
been a mild winter that year the
spring flowers and trees were already in
bloom.  Mr. Lilly met me at the door as
we drove up, and we proceeded to his study
room inside his “Hobby
House. We unpacked and started to review the coins
I brought
with me (this trip I traveled alone as my uncle was on the
road gathering a
few collections, and my father stayed in the shop to deal with the daily

Since I had been keeping the inventory of the growing gold coin collection, I was able to
provide all the information
that Mr. Lilly wanted. As we worked on the
collection in
the early part of the day, Mr. Lilly said that though he liked to
devote his time and attention to us on our delivery dates, he was expecting a
call about
11 AM and would have to excuse himself for it. I was with Mr. Lilly
when his call came.          

Mr. Lilly took the call in the room adjoining where
we were
working and arranging the new purchases. I
heard him say, “That’s
wonderful. I am glad after all the work we did and
the time it took to be
approved, it was.”  There was additional
conversation, and then Mr. Lilly
hung up, and walked back into our workroom with a
warm smile

He walked over to where I was working and said:
“History was made to day. I just learned that the FDA has approved our vaccine
to fight polio and authorized us to proceed in producing it for the
market.  Millions of children will be
saved from this crippling

I stood up, shook his hand, which had a slight
and congratulated him warmly. It was amazing
to be present when Eli Lilly & Co. got the go ahead to produce the polio
vaccine. After this short break, we went back to working on
the new additions
to his collection.

I will tell more about this historic day in my next

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