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James A. Stack, Sr.

My early days as a full time dealer were full of excitement and experiences that are a pleasure to remember. I remember fondly many of the collectors who were part of the Stack’s “clubhouse” in those days. One such collector was James A. Stack, Sr., who was no relation to my family.

James A. Stack, Sr. was a widower who then resided in the Hotel Roosevelt, East 45th Street and Vanderbilt Ave., just around the corner from Stack’s on West 46th Street. He was a broker and finished his day’s work at 3:00 each afternoon. He would visit Stack’s several times a week to see “what’s new” in our stock, view items in our upcoming auctions, and sit with my Uncle Joe or my father, Morton, to discuss coins.

In the 1940s and early 1950s Jim, as we all called him, formed one of the biggest collections of United Sates coins, U.S. paper money and English coins. Jim’s family immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century, and undoubtedly his sense of heritage attracted him to English coinage.

Jim, of course, also deeply loved the coins of the United States and pursued the classic American coins from 1793 to date in all metals – gold, silver, and copper. As he added to his holdings, he had vast collections to choose from as they came onto the market in the 1940s. It was a fact that many legendary collections formed during the late 19th and 20th centuries up to World War II, became available as either the old timers or their estates decided to sell them. The resulting “pickings” were great for collectors then active in the hobby.

Among these available collections were those of Geiss, Col. E.H.R. Green, J.F. Bell, F.C.C. Boyd, James Clark and numerous others. When Jim Stack died in 1949, his son took over the collection and ultimately arranged the sale of his father’s holdings. The resulting auctions continued over nearly half a century, entirely through Stack’s. To this day, collectors talk about the extraordinary coins Jim acquired, and about the great sales that made these coins readily available during his years of active collecting.

Collectors like James A. Stack, Sr. molded my early numismatic experience and knowledge and I fondly remember him and many others.

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