Dick Johnson forwarded these thoughts on a related topic: grumpy coin dealers. -EditorThe item on grumpy and discourteous book dealers in last week's E-Sylum reminds me of similar traits in coin dealers. My candidate for the title-holder for such a disposition would be Art Kelley, a long-time coin dealer in St. Louis. He followed in the footsteps of famed St. Louis coin dealer B.G. Johnson [no relation to me, unfortunately], who a youthful Eric Newman purchased coins from in the late 1920s and 1930s.
Art Kelley dealt in coins out of a shop full of antiques on St. Louis's Olive Street, operating as Kelley's Antiques. His pet peeve was two customers in his shop at the same time speaking to each other. Should one of these say so much as a "hello" to the other would earn a tongue-lashing from the proprietor. You spoke to him, and him alone, absolutely no fraternizing on his premises.
He had a kitchen in the back of his shop, and after he got to know you, you could be invited there for perhaps a cup of coffee. But even here you could not speak to anyone else in the inner sanctum. Even as president of the Missouri Numismatic Society (St. Louis's only coin club) I often wanted to speak up to invite a fellow customer to attend a coin club meeting. But after being on the receiving end of only one Kelley tirade I learned to keep quite as required.
One time, however, I circumvented this requirement. "Hey, Art, why don't you come to the coin club meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel" and I named the date of the next meeting, even knowing in advance he would never attend. But I got the point across to my tacit associate.
Gosh, that happened fifty years ago. I hope E-Sylum readers don't mind a little reminiscing from an old-timer who has been around a lot in the numismatic field, dare I say the coin world?
Lordy, I fear we'll open up the floodgates with tales of grumpy coin dealers. But what the heck - it'll be interesting. Thanks for sharing this, Dick. Now who else has a tale or two to tell? -Editor
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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