Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 63

1974 was another great year for Stack’s as we were able to continue to offer major collections at public auction as well as maintain our strong over the counter business. New collectors seemed to be entering the field, and Stack’s was able to open new accounts for beginning collectors and young folk. We also kept working with advanced and dedicated numismatists who were enhancing their collections by acquiring rarities as they became available.

The hobby was able to encompass all levels, from those filling Whitman Boards with pocket change to specialists focused on building major collections. At the same time, there were people who were completing their collections, were fiscally unable to continue, or had passed away. In all these cases, Stack’s had the knowledge and experience to help with our clients’ needs, whether they were buying or selling.

The Hobby Protection Act providing some assurance that there would be more policing of counterfeits and copies, and the new numerical grading system offering another assurance. Collectors developed more confidence, started to expand their collections, and added some of the great rarities. It was a year that more major collections were being started and expanded, and the value of the collectable coins grew..

Stack’s was fortunate and had nine separate sales during 1974, with many great rarities among the offerings. But first, I will tell of a sad development at Stack’s and then of a great numismatic challenge that came our way beginning with an early morning phone call.

My uncle Joseph B. Stack took sick at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, and died in April 1974, at the age of 83. He was the older brother of my father, Morton (who had passed away suddenly in 1966) and the father of Benjamin and Norman. Joseph had been dedicated to numismatics for most of his life. He enjoyed being with collectors and traveling, making friends of collectors all over the United States. He was an incessant cigar smoker, always had a smile on his face, and truly enjoyed talking and visiting with clients in our shop, or on the road. Dealers liked him as well, for he was always fair in his dealings with them.

Uncle " J,B." was founded Stack’s along with his brother and they focused solely on the coin business beginning in 1933. Among Joseph’s many friends was John W. Snyder, secretary of the Treasury during the Truman years, who was an avid collector who loved the hobby. In fact,  after Truman left office in 1952, Snyder promised the President that he would dedicate and provide a collection to be exhibited at the forth-coming Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.

The Stack family, working with Secretary Snyder, designed and furnished a full type collection, of coins used and issued during Truman’s terms in office, an educational exhibit. In fact, Snyder brought President Truman into Stack’s offices on West 46th Street to accept a group of coins for the display. Uncle Joseph was very proud to have had a president visit at Stack’s.

When the Truman Library opened in 1958 , the Snyder Collection was a featured display. Unfortunately, about a year later, there was a break-in at the Library and the coin collection was stolen. All were heartbroken, and the Stack family decided to rebuild the collection, accepting public donations in cash or coins.. Within one year, a similar display was mounted at the Library, under more security, and it is still on display at the Library.

All of at Stack’s were very sad to lose one of the firm’s founders and a beloved family member. However, as always, those of us who remained, both family and staff, continued to do the work that was needed to build our business and the numismatic hobby.

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