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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 14, April 2, 2006, Article 35

RULAU'S JOHN J. FORD OBITUARY, PART II

Russ Rulau published a lengthy article on John J. Ford, Jr. in
the March 21 edition of Numismatic News (p34,36).  Russ has
given us permission to publish additional parts of the article
which did not make the final cut, and a few selections are
shown below.

DONALD MILLER
Donald Miller of Indiana, Pa., an insatiable U.S. token
enthusiast, an attorney of solid bodily structure, and John J.
Ford Jr. were bidding at a penthouse auction sale of rare Hard
Times tokens in the mid-1950?s.  Each was bidding on a pristine
HT 1 (Low 1) variety, a pro-Andrew Jackson ?Bank Must Perish?
piece. Ford approached Miller to whisper something and a
vicious verbal exchange erupted.

The argument was carried out of the auction room and onto the
terrace, which had a rather low wall.  A great struggle ensued;
Miller grabbed Ford and pushed him against the barrier and it
seemed Ford might be thrown to eternity many floors below.

Four men rushed to restrain the now-violent Miller, two of
whom are still alive.  One of these, the very young (then)
Dave Bowers confirmed this report to me July 15, after it
had been published in The E-Sylum by the other living
participant. [See esylum_v08n29a07.html
-Editor]

Bowers said Miller ?had a bit too much to drink.? The Don Miller
I knew was a very self-controlled person who updated Edgar Adams?
1920 U.S. token catalog in 1962, and whose numbering system I
still use in the Merchant Token segment of my ?Standard Catalog
of U.S. Tokens 1700-1900,? now in its fourth edition. John Ford
could enrage almost anyone, it seems.

INVASION OF LOUISVILLE
Collector James H. Adams of Wisconsin wrote that he was honored
to be among 40 guests visiting Armand Champa?s numismatic library
during the 1988 Cincinnati ANA gathering. John Ford used Champa?s
Louisville, Ky. bedroom to hold forth in his booming basso voice
on subject after subject in numismatics. John loved an admiring
audience. This episode appeared in Bank Note Reporter for June,
2005, pgs. 62-64.

Two of the greatest "lobby sitters" in numismatics were Ray Byrne
and J. William Ross. I sat in on several of their post-bourse
all-nighters talking coins, paper money, tokens, crooked coin
dealers and of course girls.  The Sixties held the "lobby sitters"
conclaves and anyone was welcome. They differed from the Ford
pontifications in that everyone got their say. A Ford conversation
was actually  more a  listening session. JJF never joined any
"lobby sit-in" of which I'm aware, but regulars were John Pittman
Gordon Dodrill, Amon Carter, Grover Criswell and similar folks --
all now sadly gathered to their Maker.

PAUL FRANKLIN AND THE "MASSAPEQUA MINT"
(quoting from the internet Kleeberg article)
"Trained as an engineer, Paul Franklin was an expert tool and
die maker. From 1933 until 1975 it was illegal for Americans
to hold gold unless it had a numismatic premium .... but bullion
traded  in the black market. Colonial coin dealer Richard Picker
dubbed the activities of Ford and Franklin 'the Massapequa Mint.'
Ford lived in Rockville Centre and Franklin in nearby Massapequa.

John Ford's charisma won him clients -- Frederick C. C. Boyd,
Mrs. Emery Norweb, John Murrell.  Ford sold the $140 pioneer
bar ostensibly from Dawson City, Yukon to Mrs. Norweb for $5,250.
He sold a fantasy Republic of Texas countermark to Murrell."

OLD FEUDS GO MARCHING ON
A fitting epitaph for this article was penned by Ed Reiter,
ex-coin columnist for the New York Times in a 1999 Numismati
Literary Guild bash, sung to the strains of the Battle Hymn
of the Republic:

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of John Ford.
They have gazed on Doctor Sheldon?s coins when they were being stored.
They have glimpsed the brouhaha about the Western assay hoard.
Old feuds go marching on."

[Many thanks to Russ for sharing these writeups with us.  I
knew Don Miller and he told me the story of that famous rooftop
struggle with Ford.  I was also lucky to be among the Fortunate
Forty bibliophiles at Armand Champa's that day, and I vividly
remember Ford holding forth from his perch on the bed in Armand's
stepdaughter's room.  Whatever happened to the videotapes of
that day?  Armand hired a videographer and parts of Ford's
exposition were caught on tape.  Do any of our readers have a
copy? -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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