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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 24, June 11, 2006, Article 2

JOEL MALTER 1931-2006

As we noted last week, Joel Malter was recently interviewed by
Coin World about the sale of his numismatic library.  "The end
of my life is close and I thought, 'I don't want to be six feet
under when my library is disposed of," Malter said."

Joel Malter passed away in the early hours of Monday June 5.

George Kolbe writes: "I attended Joel Malter's library sale
Sunday; it was a phenomenal success. On Monday I received a
call from a friend attending the remainder of the auction
to inform me that Joel died in the middle of the night. Before
I left the auction I had congratulated Joel on its remarkable
success and shook his hand; he was in good spirits. As I am sure
Joel would have liked, the sale continued. When our time comes,
as it must, I cannot imagine leaving on a higher note."

Chris Hoelzle of Laguna Niguel, CA writes: "Joel Malter, who
was VERY pleased with the results of the first day of the auction
of his 45 year collection of Numismatic Literature on Sunday June
4, went to bed a happy man. He awoke at 4 am, collapsed and died.
Efforts to revive him failed.

I attended lot viewing at the Malter library in his home Saturday
evening and Joel was well and in good spirits but seemed tired
from all the work involved in setting up the auction.

During the Sunday auction, he seemed very alert and was involved
in calling out late phone and mail bids in to Michael Malter
(his son) the auctioneer. The day was horribly hot - more than
100 degrees in the library that served as the auction room. Joel
took a break during the afternoon when the lack of breeze and
the high temperatures were getting to us all.

After the bidding was closed for the day, Joel came back and
seemed to be in good form - congratulating bidders, helping them
pick their lots from his beautiful library shelving and helping
reconcile the invoices. Everyone left the auction at about 7 pm
in an upbeat mood. Wonderful books, and a great feeling of friendship
and enjoying a once in a lifetime chance to purchase items from
such a tremendous library.

At 7 am Monday morning, I received a phone call from Michael Malter
telling me what had happened to his father. I was in shock. It was
one of those events where once I had hung up the phone, I just shook
my head trying to decide whether it was real or just a bad dream.

The family decided that the auction would go on. Everything was in
place - bidders in attendance from as far away as the UK, the internet
live auction connection, the mail bids, phone bids - everything was in
place. The family uniformly stated that they "knew" that Joel would
want the auction to continue.

The family was very shaken by the events of just a few hours prior.
Michael had a family friend, who is also an auctioneer, call the lots.
After just a few bumps during the first few lots, all went smoothly.

As a real family-run operation, the various family members would
tell us privately about his love of the books, his wonderful home
and the pride he had in his library.

I remember talking with Joel a few years ago about his fabulous
book collection and he told me that he wanted to make sure the books
would go into the hands of other collectors of numismatic literature
when he no longer needed them.

A gentleman to the end - he made sure that we got the benefit of
his life's work."

On Thursday, Mike Malter posted a very nice farewell letter to his
father on the Malter company email list.  Describing his father's
entry into the coin business in 1961, he wrote: "A large family
required a change in occupations. He now took a huge chance ...
and ventured away from teaching and to start his own company that
dealt with his love of history and coins. Joel L. Malter and Company
was born with its world headquarters in the garage of his Venice
home. They say that timing is everything and my dad had just that
touch. When he got into the coin business in the early 1960's there
was a plethora of coins and collectors and little competition. He
soon learned the tricks of the trade and turned what started out
as a one man coin business into one of the largest and most
successful firms of its type in the world by the 1980s."
[Thanks to Larry Mitchell for forwarding a copy. -Editor]

Kerry Wetterstrom, Editor/Publisher of The Celator writes:
"I was just told this morning about Joel's passing and I did know
him and his son Mike, who has been managing the family coin and
antiquity business for some time now. Quite tragic and sad,
especially considering the timing -- the day after the sale of
his beloved library.   Or perhaps it was a blessing as at least
he was able to enjoy the fact that his books fetched record prices.

I printed a two-part article by Joel about his library and how
he acquired various rare titles over the years in the March and
April 2006 issues of The Celator. Joel was a pillar in the ancient
coin hobby in the U.S., and many collectors (and dealers) think
of him as their mentor.

He was the founder of the (new) Numismatic Fine Arts, a name acquired
from Edward Gans, and subsequently he hired Bruce McNall to work for
NFA. When Bruce and Joel decided to part ways, Bruce purchased the
rights to the NFA name from Joel. Interestingly enough, today the
rights to the NFA name are co-owned by Classical Numismatics Group
(Victor England and Eric McFadden) and Freeman & Sear (Rob and Tory
Freeman and David R. Sear). Eric, Rob, Tory and David all are former
employees of NFA, and I believe that the hope is to revive the
firm's name someday, and restore it to its former glory, so-to-speak.

Of course, Joel continued on with his eponymous coin firm after
selling NFA to Bruce McNall, and he built a business dedicated to
collectors by a collector. Joel's deep knowledge and love of
numismatics was reflected in the just concluded sale of his library.

Joel and I shared an interest in the coinage of ancient Egypt.
While I was still in high school, I was given a copy of his Auction
No. II (Joel L. Malter & Co., Inc., held on Feb. 23-24, 1978), which
contained many Egyptian rarities. This catalogue was my primary
reference for many years, and when I finally met Joel in person at
a Los Angeles coin show in 1983 (C.O.I.N. or the Convention of
International Numismatists, held just prior to the San Diego ANA,
as I then drove from L.A. To San Diego with Frank L. Kovacs,
another California dealer whose library rivals Joel's for ancient
numismatics), I told Joel this and he seemed quite pleased by
this little fact."

[Many thanks to everyone who forwarded information to me for
this issue.  I contacted Malter's office for confirmation and
was asked not to publish anything until Mike had a chance to
respond.  Since I was unable to get out a timely special issue,
I waited until our usual publication date.  Our thoughts go out
to the Malter family. -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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