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Meeting John W. Snyder, Former Secretary of the Treasury

In the late 1940s and through Harry S. Truman’s presidency John W. Snyder was secretary of the Treasury. During his term in office he visited New York on various occasions and stopped into our offices to greet an old friend of his, my uncle, Joseph B. Stack. Secretary Snyder loved coins and was working on building a presidential coin series in all medals.

To explain his collection, he sought one coin of each denomination that was struck during each presidency. It was really an expanded type set, representing one coin of each design struck during the term of office of each president from George Washington to Harry S. Truman. It was quite comprehensive but he felt that in this fashion he could educate those who saw the collection about what was struck during each presidential era. If more than one design existed he acquired both.

After President Truman left office, John W. Snyder, on one of his trips to New York brought the President into our offices. He wanted Joseph Stack to fully explain this project and explain the monetary importance from a numismatic viewpoint. It was my good fortune, along with my father, Morton, and my two cousins Benjamin and Norman, to meet President Truman during his visit. We were all deeply honored.

In 1953 plans were already underway to establish the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. John Snyder wanted to present his monetary project to the library as part of a Presidential display. At the time of his visit, he reviewed what was missing to complete the project and Stack’s went forward to locate the coins for him. After the project was complete, the coins of each president were mounted on large plastic holders with a portrait of that president in each one, and made ready for the opening of the Library. The display was a highlight for visitors to the Library.

Unfortunately a few years after the display was put out for the public, the Library suffered a robbery and the collection was stolen. John Snyder was heart broken, as was President Truman.

Stack’s developed an idea to restore the collection. We asked for public contributions of coins needed. Many coins were sent to our offices for rebuilding the display. Some duplicate designs were received and they were respectfully returned to the donors, who in many cases found a “missing link” and sent a replacement. Some cash was also sent and a small committee was designated to purchase those not yet acquired. The Stack family also made a large contribution.

Coin World, led by its editor, Margo Russell, was a great help. She wrote numerous stories as the collection was being redeveloped and the contributions were very important indeed. As the articles appeared, Stack’s purchased full-page ads announcing what was still needed.

The project took about two years to complete. It was remounted in similar holders as before, and to this day is a major attraction at the Truman Library. It was a privilege to be part of such an endeavor and we are proud of the Stack family’s contribution to this great numismatic project.

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