The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 4, January 24, 2010, Article 9


Harvey Stack submitted the following thoughts on the recent Kolbe sale of highlights from the Stack Family Numismatic Library. He adds:

"I think it gives another perspective to 'Get the book before the coin (and use it after you get it)'

The comments at the sale were great, the results were super, and the appreciation of what we had was so rewarding to hear from those who I spoke to. It was a separation from something I and the family lived with, and I know those who acquired the books had the same appreciation for the library."


Harvey Stack

Now that the first part of the STACK FAMILY LIBRARY has been sold I feel that I should write to you and tell you how pleased my family and I are with the catalog prepared by George F. Kolbe for the Public Auction on January 9, 2010.

The catalog was a MASTERPIECE. Not only did it offer some of the great highlights of the Stack Family Library, giving each lot a full description and commenting on its importance to numismatics, but it also traced the history of Stacks from the Depression Years to the present day through its PRIZE WINNING CATALOGS and LIBRARY.

George invited a group of collectors, dealers and a chief librarian, to comment on the Library, and how it reflected on Stack's dedication to the Hobby of Numismatics and the collecting environment during the last eight decades. He published their writings in the auction catalog, providing great insight as to how they and the Stack Family and their staff used the library and files.

Those who wrote included William (Bill) Anton, a great collector; Michael Hodder, super researcher and author; John Dannreuther, a professional numismatist; Frank Campbell, the famous ANS Librarian; numismatic researcher and bibliophile P. Scott Rubin; and, of course, George F. Kolbe, the greatest numismatic book cataloguer and myself.

The story of William Anton, Jr., of his father and his experiences, begins when he first visited Stack's during the late 1940s. Both were always treated both as friends and great numismatists. They were early members of the STACK'S CLUBHOUSE. Stack's offered numismatists a meeting place on Saturdays throughout the year, where collectors could gather, talk numismatics, use our library, and buy, trade, or sell numismatic items.

We provided a warm, wood-paneled showroom, with sit-down counters, and lots of spots for private discussions. Much information was freely exchanged and those who came learned from each other. All of the famous collectors and dealers visited from time to time, and we all benefited from these scholarly chats. I, for one, received some great training and was able to participate in the discussions.

Michael Hodder, who joined Stack's in the 1980s as a cataloger and researcher, wrote about his friendship with the Stacks and how catalogs were conceived and brought to fruition. Mike's last major project was to be the lead cataloguer for the famous and greatest collection ever sold at auction. Ultimately, twenty-one catalogues were entirely devoted to the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, a prize-winning accomplishment.

Frank Campbell, the former Chief Librarian of the American Numismatic Society, wrote about the books we published, and how he as well as others used them, also the importance of a WORKING LIBRARY in the hands of the professional dealer and auctioneer—an immeasurable aid in making their catalogs authoritative and interesting.

John Dannreuther authored an interesting and humorous narrative about the INNER SANCTUM, the office in the back portion of our shop where Norman Stack, my cousin, and I shared a Partners Desk for decades, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling book shelves containing portions of the "working library."

P. Scott Rubin wrote about early numismatics in New York, its dealers and collectors, and the catalogs that Stacks produced from 1935 to the present century, some 800 different sales catalogs in all. Scott also discussed how the Stack family influenced the way numismatic business was done and the dignity they tried to project on the industry and hobby.

George F. Kolbe unquestionably produced the best NUMISMATIC BOOK CATALOG one could hope to have. He is extremely knowledgeable, dedicated to his work, knows how to describe books in the context of their importance, and enhances his catalogs with numerous illustrations, resulting in a marvelous catalog to offer the items he has for sale. He contacted many potential buyers, prepared advertising and press releases to develop interest in the sale, and so much more.

The end result: an AWARD WINNING CATALOG!

My part in the catalogue was to prepare the Family Tree so that everyone would know one Stack from another; to get photos of the family to go with the narratives; to check some of the information, mostly from my memory; to add to the descriptions; and to do any other work George needed done.

It was an exciting though somewhat sorrowful experience, parting with Old Friends (books I used and loved). It is also gratifying to know that the purchasers would use the information in the library to enhance their knowledge and the fun and excitement of numismatics—by learning from THE PAST TO ENHANCE THE FUTURE.

Upcoming Kolbe sales include:
  • Sale 112: April 29, 2010
  • Sale 113 (Stack Family Library Part II): June 3, 2010
  • Sale 114: September 16, 2010

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: KOLBE 111TH SALE RESULTS: STACK FAMILY LIBRARY & ANS DUPLICATES (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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