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The E-Sylum:  Volume 4, Number 5, January 28, 2001, Article 2

FRANK KATEN, 1903-2001 

   John Huffman writes: "Frank Katen passed away last 
   Sunday afternoon, just hours before family and a few 
   close friends were to gather for his birthday party.  He 
   was 98.    In lieu of flowers, the family asks that 
   contributions be made in Frank's name to the American 
   Lung Association of Maryland, 14435 Cherry Lane Ct., 
   Laurel, MD  20707. 

   NBS Board Member Joel J. Orosz writes: "Frank Katen was 
   a man of few words and deep convictions.  He will forever have 
   a place in the history of Numismatic Bibliomania, for he was 
   the first major dealer in the U.S. (at least since W. Elliot 
   Woodward) to make a specialty of selling books about coins. 
   He remains the only literature dealer to have conducted an 
   ANA sale, and the only one to have attempted a "guide book" 
   of literature prices (published in early editions of the Coin 
   World Almanacs).  Frank was the cataloguer of the Fuld 
   collection, the first American blockbuster sale of literature, 
   and also dispersed the greatest cache of 19th century catalogues, 
   the Wylie Hoard.  And he did all of this after having waited 
   until middle age to become a professional numismatist. 
   Frank Katen was the pathfinder of American Numismatic 
   Bibliomania." 

   Board member and past President P. Scott Rubin adds: 
   "I believe the "guide book" of literature prices first appeared in 
   copies of Coin World before the Coin World Almanac was first 
   printed.   George Kolbe also handled an ANA sale but it was 
   only literature, not coins.   Frank did most first and handled 
   more great material than most of us will ever see in our entire 
   lives.  I wish his wife well.  Frank was always a gentleman to 
   me and a dealer who tried to be fair to all of his clients.  NBS 
   will miss him.  I know I will." 

   Board member Pete Smith continues: "Katen was a prominent 
   general coin dealer before he specialized in literature.  I believe 
   that in 1948, when he conducted the ANA sale, he would still 
   have been considered a general coin dealer.  Back then some 
   coin dealers sold books just as Bowers and Stacks sell 
   books today. 

   As I was going through a collection of back issues of Coin World, 
   I saved the annual book editions. In the center was a listing of 
   books, with prices, provided by Katen.  I think this was in the 
   1970's" 

   Former NBS Vice President David Sklow writes: "The 
   Numismatic world has suffered yet another great loss! 
   With the passing of Frank J. Katen the Numismatic Literature 
   field has lost its Moses.  I have known Frank for over twenty- 
   five years and it has been an honor and a privilege to be his 
   friend. There are so many great stories to think back on,  I 
   would not know where to begin! 

   The story that comes to mind first, is when Frank drove his 
   Red Cadillac to the 1992 ANA Convention in Orlando Florida 
   to receive his 50 year gold membership medal.  After the 
   convention Frank and Laurese drove to Port St. Lucie to visit 
   Sherry and I at our bookstore. Frank loved that Cadillac, but 
   it broke down two miles from my store! I  picked them both 
   up and took them to a repair shop, the caddy was towed in 
   and Frank and Laurese spent the day at the bookstore with us! 
   I do not think there was a single book in the entire shop he 
   did not pick up and look at!! 

   He was a great supporter of people's ventures.  During that 
   visit I made a deal with Frank and purchased all remaining 
   stock from big February 1992 fixed price list, over 3500 
   books!!!  I always enjoyed getting one of Franks auction 
   catalogues, you never knew what little treasure was waiting 
   for you within those pages.  To Frank I would say but one 
   thing, THANK YOU!   The entire Numismatic Literature 
   world says, THANK YOU! " 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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