Before World War II, John was part of the staff at Stack’s in New York. During some of this time Norman and I were doing part time apprentice work at the company. My father, Morton, and my Uncle Joseph were pleased with John’s skills, his knowledge of coins, and his devotion to numismatics. John went into the army in 1942 and was discharged in 1946. He returned to Stack’s and worked with us in he store until late 1947. At that time he was asked by Charles Wormser, son of famous numismatist Moritz Wormser, to join a new company Charles was forming, New Netherlands Coin Co. This was a wonderful opportunity for John and my father and uncle both encouraged him to take it, especially as there were three junior members of the Stack family already on the job (Norman, myself, and my other cousin, Ben). The Stack family maintained its relationship with John and he would bring to us collections and special purchases.
On Saturdays when we didn’t have an auction, we closed the store after a half day, around 2 pm. Often John would meet Norman and me at Stack’s and we would go have a great delicatessen sandwich at the Ace Sandwich Shop nearby. We would sit and discuss coins, what we had bought and sold during the past week and the collectors and dealers we had seen. We learned from each other, had a few good laughs, and sometimes even traded a few coins if we had them in our pockets.
Immediately after lunch we would walk down the street to a penny arcade that had a shooting gallery. We gave the owner 25¢ each and for this we each received a 15 shot round. John had been a marksman in the Army, Norman was the captain of his rifle team at school, and I wasn’t too bad a shot myself. The gallery had moving targets that would go down when hit and also around the entire rim, clay pipes, which would shatter when hit, and had to be replaced by the attendant by hand.
We liked to hit the clay pipes, and John would start out, usually taking down 15 with his 15 shots. Normal would follow suit, usually 15 out of 15 as well. I would get about 13 hits for my 15 shots. The prize structure was such that if you hit five pipes you got a small doll, 10 pipes a larger one, and 15 pipes won you a huge stuffed doll. We would always only take one of the small ones. While the attendant/owner didn’t like the extra work we created for him replacing all the clay pipes, he did like that we attracted a large crowd who would applaud our feats and often stay on and try their luck. John always thought of it as a “good deed,” and while I often thought the owner might not have necessarily agreed, we did have fun and relaxing adventures on those Saturday afternoons.