An Invitation from 70 Years Ago!

Recently I published the story of the re-opening of the Stack’s Coin Shop on West 57th Street in New York City, which had just completed a full refurbishing. Shortly afterward I received the invitation pictured here. It was sent to me from the son-in-law of a dear friend, colleague and super numismatist, who found it among the family’s heirlooms.

It invited the recipient — collector, dealer, numismatist — to visit the opening of our new home at 12 West 46th Street, about 60 feet west of 5th Avenue. Joseph and Morton Stack bought the building so they could re-locate their shop from 32 West 46th Street to a somewhat larger facility that was also very close to Fifth Avenue. This invitation was dated December 1942.

The shop had double windows, with the entrance in between, which opened into a large showroom, with counters along one side and bookshelves and display frames on the other. The counters had comfortable chairs and there were several qualified numismatists available to assist visitors.

In the rear were safes, cataloging offices, the bookkeeping department and a private office for conferences. The building itself two stories, and on the second floor were more cataloging offices and a good size auction gallery, where Stack’s conducted its monthly auctions.

From the day we opened after moving, coin collectors from all over the world visited the Stack’s Coin Shop. During any day you could find Dr. Charles Green relaxing on our front couch. You might see Harold Bareford, Ray Gallo, Dr. William Sheldon, Oscar Schilke, Mortimer Hammel, Fred Knobloch, Louis Helfenstein, Lester Merkin, John J. Ford, Jr., Hans Schulman, Henry Grunthal, Martin Kortjohn, youngsters and old-timers who wanted to look at and acquire coins. There were so many that it would take pages to list them all.

Among the most legendary collectors who visited on a regular basis were Louis Eliasberg, Sr. and Josiah K. Lilly. The Stack’s coin shop was then (as it is today) a "club house," where numismatists met and discussed their collections. It was a place of business but also a place to gather knowledge and build friendships. Of course both senior Stack’s, Morton and Joseph B. were always there, and were “helped” by the up and coming juniors, Benjamin, Norman and myself, whenever we had days off from school and during our summer holidays as well. By 1947 all three juniors were full staff members.

In 1953 we moved to our current location at 123 West 57th Street, a store that has a similar ambiance. When we left West 46th Street, we deliberately designed the new shop and offices to be similar to those that people remembered. For the past 60 years we kept it somewhat as it always was, with slight changes in decor but maintaining the inviting furniture and displays that would make those visitors comfortable.

As I think back to 1942 and this invitation to "come by," I and all of us at Stack’s Bowers again invite you to visit, stay awhile, see our displays and let our full staff of numismatists assist you. I am certain you will enjoy your visit and we will be very happy to serve you.

Stop by! It is a great experience.

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