Harvey Stack submitted this great reminiscence inspired by the recent photo of young numismatists at the Chase Manhattan Money Museum in New York. Thanks!
I read with great interest the story of the Chase Money Museum that Richard Margolis wrote in the June 27th issue of The E-Sylum.
It brought back some great memories. I remember my early years in Stack's, from as early as 1947 to the early 1960's, the great sources of Numismatics the city of New York offered anyone who had an interest in collecting coins.
The Chase Money Museum was located on 6th Avenue (now the Avenue of the Americas) and 50th Street. It was developed under the great leadership of Vernon Brown. As with most places of interest it was open 6 days a week and visitors from all over came to this midtown location. One of the nearby attractions was its neighbor, Radio City Music Hall.
The displays at the museum changed regularly, and were designed to show the history of Money, mostly of the United States, but it also had interesting displays of foreign, ancient and world currency. It showed the relationship of coins and currency to trade and growth in the world. It even had a great exhibit of Odd and Curious Currency.
Vernon Brown often gave lectures on the weekends to visitors to instill an interest in coins and to encourage collecting.
The reason this museum is part of my memories, was the location of Stack's during the l940's and early years of the 1950's, Stack's was housed in a store and offices of West 46th Street, near 6th Avenue, just a short walk from the Chase Museum. One of the great coin clubs that visited the area was from the Pingry School of New Jersey, a prep-school for talented young
men. Among the extra-curricular activities the school offered its students was a Coin Club.
One of the proctors was Edward Knoke, who taught History and Economics, sometimes using coins as a teaching aid. Coins fascinated these young students, and they met each Saturday as a club to discuss numismatics, and also had a "show and tell". About once a month they made a field trip to New York and visited the Chase Money Museum, as it offered many different
coins for them to see and learn from. They usually arrived on a Saturday morning and stayed for a few hours. Then Edward Knoke would take them around to coin shops in the area so they could see more coins and possibly acquire some for their collection.
One of the first places they visited was Stack's on 46th Street. My father, Morton, My Uncle Joe, and the three junior Stacks, me, Ben and Norman always welcomed these fine young gentlemen. Stacks was somewhat unique in New York - it had a street level shop, sit-down counters and a Hall
of Cabinets, which housed coins from all part of the world, from ancient to modern times.
The knowledge these boys had about coins was astounding, and therefore they were invited to view the displays, study coins in the cabinets, ask questions, use the Stack working library and just exchange ideas.
We realized that these were to be some of the great numismatists of the future so we at Stack's encouraged them and gave them the time and freedom they needed to pursue their hobby. Many of these young men eventually in the next decades became the collectors whose collections were noteworthy. It must be remembered that they were encouraged by Edward Knoke and Vernon Brown to go out past them and learn more about collecting. We all learned from each other.
These field trips did include several visits to dealers around us, such as Wayte Raymond, Charles Worsmer, Hans Schulman and others, but they were only comfortable in the spacious facilities that Stack's offered, as the others were in offices and didn't provide the space for several dozen young people to browse about. So Stack's for them became a "Club House". I might add, that many mature collectors who worked in New York found the "club house" atmosphere quite inviting for them to gather also.
Stack's always welcomed young numismatists to its premises. I can remember numismatists who can be counted as welcomed guests included such greats as Cornelius Vermuele, John J. Ford, Jr., Walter Breen, Q. David Bowers and of course Richard Margolis, to mention but a few.
I guess you can see why I said earlier, the nostalgia that the Richard Margolis story possessed revived one the many memories I have of working in Numismatics, and stayed actively engaged for over 62 years.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
RICHARD MARGOLIS ON THE CHASE MANHATTAN MONEY MUSEUM
Wayne Homren, Editor
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