The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 49, December 6, 2009, Article 3


But don't forget - another great sale is on the way. Numismatic literature dealer George Kolbe submitted the following note about the catalog of the upcoming Stack Family Library sale. Gentlemen, start your bid sheets! -Editor

Kolbe Sale 111 Stack Family Library Big E readers might like to know that we have posted at our web site (, the illustrated catalogue of Highlights from the Stack Family Library, to be sold at public auction in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC), on Saturday January 9th, 2010.

The large format catalogue features vintage illustrations of the firm's early facilities, including one of the library, as well as dozens of full color illustrations depicting highlights from the library.

Present as well are a number of interesting articles. After a brief preface, there is a remarkable contribution by William T. Anton, Jr. entitled "Stack's: The Business and Family As I Have Known It for the Past 60 Years." The "Stack Family Tree" is next, followed by a heartfelt account by Michael Hodder of his years at Stack's, and John Dannreuther's "The Inner Sanctum." Former ANS Librarian Frank Campbell has recorded his "Memories of Book Stacks and the Stack's Books."

Finally, P. Scott Rubin has written an extensive history of Stack's, as seen through their auction sale catalogues. At the end of his article is a particularly interesting compilation of the numbers of "Selected Rarities Sold by Stack's" over the years.

Following the Stack sale, one hundred lots of duplicates from The American Numismatic Society Library will be sold in a separate catalogue. ANS will receive the full hammer price of all lots sold.

Kolbe 111 lot 21 auction sales

With permission, below are reprinted some excerpts from the catalog. -Editor

Bill Anton, Jr.:

For those readers attending this unique book auction, it is an opportunity of a lifetime. For decades, the Stack family library was housed in the back office on the wall in front of Norman Stack. Many of the books were handled and used by the greatest numismatists of our era, such as Eric Newman, John Ford, Harry Bass, Lester Merkin, Louis Helfenstein and, last but not least, the late Louis Werner, my Dutch Uncle and Sergeant-at-Arms of the American Numismatic Association.

Michael Hodder:

The Elder Monthly I joined Stack's rather late in the game, in 1992, so I never had the chance to work under Ben Stack and never met the famous Rose who seems to have terrified everyone (except Larry, no one ever frightened Larry), but I was there when the firm began modernizing in a way and I may have been helpful with some of it.

At the time, Stack's was a charming, if sometimes awkward, mixture of the old and the new. We still wrote auction descriptions by hand on white envelopes the way they did at New Netherlands after the war (green envelopes were used for Coin Galleries' lots). Some of the descriptions were transcribed onto paper by typewriter but most were keyed into one of two MS-DOS computers running XyWrite III+, a software program that was already outdated and one that only Martin Gengerke of the firm loved. I was the first staff member, employee or consultant, to be given a laptop on which to catalogue.

The library, represented in the catalogue to hand, was in the partners' office where Harvey and Norman sat across from each other at a substantial partners' desk. At some time in the not too distant past Carl Carlson had been allowed to "organize" the books but since only Carl knew the key to his system no one else could ever find the same book twice.

I had to teach myself to remember where a particular book was by the color of its binding and that of its neighbors. The volumes in this catalogue were Stack's working library and valuable or not, there was never any question raised if someone wanted a book for cataloguing or just to read in a quiet moment, it could be removed and returned when finished.

The closing of the old Stack's really marked the end of the time when coin collecting was still a hobby engaged in by people who really loved numismatics. The dispersal of the family's professional library sets the seal on the closure. I wish neither had happened. For seventeen years Stack's was an important part of my life. The Stack family, Harvey, Norman, Larry, and Susan gave me my chance and I will always be both grateful and indebted to them for it. For their remarkable contributions to American numismatics they collectively deserve the gratitude of the hobby at large. They certainly have mine and my family's.

RizzGreche Della Sicilia

To view the complete catalog, see: 111/Sale 111 Stack w-images.pdf

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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