The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 23, June 8, 2008, Article 13


Pete Smith writes:
I want to add to the tales of Ted Naftzgers generosity with my experience during the 1988 EAC Convention held in Los Angeles. At the time I was compiling descriptions of die states of Classic Head Cents. Before the convention I wrote to Ted to arrange to see his Classic Cents. When we met he handed me a short 2x2 box. As I recall, there were 49 coins in the box, mostly mint state and condition census coins. Each was in a small poly bag inside a paper envelope with pedigree information. I kept the box overnight while I wrote up descriptions and took it with me to meals and meetings. When I handed the box back to Ted, he opened it and said something like, Yep, theyre all there without counting the coins.

As I research biographies, I find that coin collectors are often successful in business. Sometimes I can find more information through professional sources than I can find in numismatic sources. With Ted Naftzger, I found little biographical information through either type of source and he did not respond to my request for information.

Somewhere I heard that Ted shared his birthdate with Myles Gerson and included that in my booklet, Names With Notes. For many years I was unable to find the birthdate for either. A great official source is the Social Security Death Index. Today I looked up Roy Naftzger and found his date of birth as August 23, 1925. I double checked on Myles Gerson and found that he was born eight days earlier so they shared the month of birth but not the date. This is not the first and will probably not be the last error I have published.

Some of my friends in EAC say that Naftzger knew he did not hold clear title to some of his choice cents. Still, I feel he was also a victim in his dispute with the ANS. I believe his love for the hobby soured and he withdrew from the numismatic community. This may be one reason why his family did not notify the numismatic media of his death.

When EAC founder Herb Silberman died, I received e-mail notification within the first day and had forwarded material for his obituaries before the end of the second day. When EAC legal counsel Milton Pfeffer died, it was months before that information got back to the club. This past Christmas, I learned that my last surviving uncle had died several months earlier and my sister and I were not notified at the time. Like so much with research, there is great diversity in the ways people choose to reveal biographical information.

Denis Loring writes:
With regard to Alan Weinberg's article on Ted Naftzger: It's not my intention to reopen old wounds, but simply to set the record straight. Naftzger was not an innocent dupe. He knew about Sheldon's switches with the Clarke collection, knew about the ANS switches before the New Netherland sale in which the coins were offered with false pedigrees, and lied to the ANS years after he had detailed information about specific switches. How do we know this? From letters written to me by Ted, which he asked me to destroy (which I didn't) before the ANS subpoened them (which they did); numerous conversations among Ted, Del Bland and myself; and the actual trial record.

Ted had an incomparable collection, and was generous to many people in many ways. He also perpetrated multiple frauds upon his fellow collectors. If he is to be remembered, let it be in the full light of day.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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