The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 26, July 1, 2007, Article 11


Last week John Meissner posed the question, "It's the early 1960's.
You have $100 to spend.  Which of the following regular or semi-regular
advertisers in "Coin World" or "Numismatic News" might it be best to

1.  Miczek & Co., Corry, Pennsylvania
2.  Loser's Coin Store, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
3.  Ned Davis Coin and Toy Shop, Reading, Pennsylvania
4.  H.C. Buell, Lone Tree, Iowa
5.  Buell and Son, Washington, Missouri
6.  Daniel J. McBride, Atlanta, Georgia
7.  Norman "Poor Ole Broke" Brock, San Antonio, Texas
8.  Fred Johnson, Camden, New Jersey
9.  Toivo Johnson, Brewer, Maine
10.  W.E. Johnson, Santa Barbara, California

Extra-credit for details of why it might be best to avoid your choices."

Dick Johnson writes: "Please thank John Meissner for his quiz. This brought
back memories.  I would spend all $100 with Norman Brock. He ran a bookstore

and dealt in coins (and tons of other stuff).

"He called himself 'Poor ole broke Brock.' But he was broke like a fox.
This was actually a brilliant marketing ploy.  He often said he lost
three fortunes before he got into the book / coin business. This could
have been true (in Texas real estate? oil? other high risk ventures?).

"His San Antonio bookstore was piled to the rafters. He also said he could
never sell anything since he could not find it. True! There were piles of
everything everywhere. He kept buying and added new purchases to the piles
of old. Had he been in existence today his store would have been a delight
to browse for any eSyluminary.

"The three Johnsons (8, 9, and 10) also had to be good guys. Tovio Johnson
issued the Coin Designer Medal Series of six medals struck by Metal Arts
of Rochester.

"The name Buell on two choices were aliases of a teenager gone bad. He
offered scarce coins at bargain prices in both Coin World and Numismatic
News and never shipped the coins. This quickly caught up with him. We had
suspicions of him when his ads came into Coin World at the time. I ran
into him at a coin show and came up behind him and called out the name
he had given us in the ads. No response. He didn't turn around nor
acknowledge my greeting, adding further suspicion. When the complaints
came in we alerted the postal inspectors.

"I don't remember his real name but the postal inspectors did arrest him
and he went to prison. Many people who wanted a coin bargain lost money.
I have often wondered what happened to him after he got out of prison.
Had he learned a lesson, or was this his first act in a life of crime?"

John Meissner writes: "The 'bad' dealers include numbers 1, 3, 5, 6, and
8.  Numbers 1 and 5 were the same individual (number 5 was a shell company
set up by number 1, John Miczek.  While in Corry, the teenage Miczek was
at least a somewhat honest dealer if slow, but by late 1960 he was wanted
by Corry police for passing bad checks).

Numbers 3 and 6 were also a single individual.  Number 3 was an alias
used by Daniel McBride, wanted for mail fraud in Atlanta and almost
caught when members of a coin club recognized him in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Number 8, Fred Johnson (an alias) actually sued two local banks, saying
that they were hurting his business by not providing him with an unlimited
supply of mint sealed bags at face value.  When he lost the case, he
disappeared, having bilked collectors and other dealers out of thousands
of dollars in undelivered Philadelphia mint rolls and bags.  Federal
authorities charged him with mail fraud, and eventually turned up working
at a used book store in Hawaii, again flushed out by a savvy coin club

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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