The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 7, February 13, 2011, Article 2


A violent rampage in New York City has claimed the life of longtime token dealer Steve Tanenbaum. -Editor

Joe Levine spread the word on Saturday, forwarding a copy of a newspaper article on the killer's rampage which spanned nearly 28 hours and two boroughs. After stabbing people in a crowded subway, he then drove to the home of his former girlfriend, killing her and stabbing her mother.

He then jumped into his car, smashing into another vehicle. He stabbed that driver in the chest, leaving him in stable condition. He then sped off, hitting and killing pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum.

At that point I'd only seen the story but had not heard confirmation that the pedestrian was the Stephen Tanenbaum known in the numismatic community. David Gladfelter wrote:

It is probably our Steve because he lived in Brooklyn. I don't know much about Steve's family but know that he had a brother. If anyone can reach Rich Rossa, his former business partner, we might get more information.

On Sunday I heard from John Kraljevich, who writes:

I spoke to Rich Rossa, Steve's long time partner and friend. He's in touch with Steve's family. One of Steve's brothers is already in New York City making arrangements, another is on the way. Steve was apparently walking to the bank late yesterday afternoon when this unspeakable tragedy happened. Rich is handling it pretty well. As he told me, simply, "Steve's time was just up."

When I was about 11, toting my mom around to coin shows, there was a select group of dealers who were happy to just sit, talk, and teach. Steve was one of them. We've been friends ever since and I'll miss him.

December took Cameron Kiefer, January took Joe Lasser, now Steve in February. Enough already.

Below are excerpts of accounts from the New York Times and the Associated Press. -Editor

Tanenbaum crime spree map A fugitive with a knife, who the police said had left behind a calamity of murders and broken lives in Brooklyn, was captured by officers at Times Square on Saturday morning after stabbing another victim on a subway train, investigators said.

It was the culmination of a roller-coaster of violence that included three fatal stabbings; a hit-and-run homicide; four other stabbings; four auto thefts, including two carjackings; death threats against several others who got in the way; a dangerous manhunt by hundreds of police officers; and for millions of New Yorkers a round-the-clock ordeal of a killer on the loose in the city.

Mr. Kelly said he had never encountered a crime spree like Mr. Gelman's. "It's so horrendous and bizarre," he said at an afternoon news conference. "Obviously, if he wasn't apprehended this morning, he could have injured, killed, many more people."

The arrest was the climax of a 28-hour drama in which, the police said, Mr. Gelman killed his mother's companion as well as his former girlfriend and her mother in knife attacks at two apartments in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, then seized a car, stabbed the driver, fatally struck a pedestrian and sped away.

To read the complete article, see: Suspect in Brooklyn Stabbing Spree Is Captured (

The stabbing spree started just after 5 a.m. Friday, when police say Gelman fatally knifed his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, at their apartment in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. Gelman had gotten into a fight with his mother after she refused to allow him to use her Lexus, and Kuznetsov intervened and was attacked, Kelly said.

Police found the 54-year-old man's body at his home in the predominantly Eastern European immigrant neighborhood. The Ukrainian-born Gelman and his mother became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2004 or 2005, Kelly said.

At about 10:30 a.m., several blocks away, Gelman entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and used a kitchen knife to fatally stab her mother, 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko, Kelly said. When 20-year-old Yelena Bulchenko arrived home at about 4 p.m., she found her mother dead in a pool of blood and called 911, police said.

Gelman apparently was still in the house, chasing Bulchenko as she fled outside and stabbing her 11 times as she died, Kelly said.

He then sped away in the Lexus to Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood, rear-ending a Pontiac. The driver confronted Gelman and was stabbed three times in the chest but survived and was in stable condition, Kelly said.

Gelman drove off in the Pontiac, hitting 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who died of his injuries, police said. He later abandoned the car, engine running, in the driveway of a private house in Midwood, not far from a freight railroad line "Gelman frequented as a graffiti artist," Kelly said.

To read the complete article, see: Police: Man kills 4 in stabbing rampage in NYC (

Donald Erlenkotter, Editor and Past President of the Civil War Token Society forwarded this from the CWTS Hall of Fame section on the Society's Web site:

Stephen L. Tanenbaum

Steve Tanenbaum is considered by many to be the most knowledgeable active person in the field of Civil War tokens. He has been relied upon for many decades as a consultant, editor, and contributor to numerous CWT works. After beginning his CWT collecting journey in 1972, he became a full-time dealer for tokens in 1981. Steve has handled, purchased, and built some of the greatest modern-day collections, although he always considers himself a collector first. He has discovered hundreds of new varieties, previously unknown die states, and odd mint errors. Steve has been elected to eight terms on the Board of Governors, and also filled two partial terms by appointment. He has served as Vice President of the Society since 2004.

David Gladfelter writes:

Steve was vice president of the Civil War Token Society and participated actively in many of its projects, primarily, the upcoming third edition of the store card catalog originally written by George and Melvin Fuld. He was a major contributor to Russell Rulau's catalog of American tokens, published by Krause Publications.

He was in charge of the CWTS Hall of Fame medal program which has honored such persons as George and Melvin Fuld, Julius Guttag, George Hetrich, Jack Detwiler and Joseph N. T. Levick. He knew John J. Ford. Jr. very well and was as close to being Ford's confidant as just about anybody. He had several exhibits at the American Numismatic Society over the years. He was a walking encyclopedia of token and medal information.

He was well known, well liked and well respected throughout the numismatic community. A huge loss to all.

I knew Steve myself for about thirty years. I bought many a token from him at coin shows, including quite a number of counterstamps. When the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh sold their coin collection, Steve bid for me on encased postage stamps being sold at Spink in London, securing a few good bargains for me.

Another time I appraised a collection of coins in the Pittsburgh area and found a neat colonial coin with a New York merchant counterstamp. Steve had a huge personal collection of New York tokens and he bought the piece for top dollar.

Many a time I decided not to buy certain tokens from Steve because his selling prices seemed top dollar as well. But that's the natural position for someone who makes the market in a particular collectible. Of course, the market has advanced many times since then and naturally I wish I'd bought far more from Steve.

One of the last times I spoke to Steve was in 2006. I got a phone call from him from out of the blue after the American Numismatic Rarities catalog of my civil war collection came out. He had apparently spent twenty years looking for the New York cardboard scrip tokens in my collection, and had despaired of ever finding them on the market again. He bought most of them in the sale, again for his personal collection. It will be interesting to see his that collection come up for sale someday - I'm sure it contains some blockbuster token rarities.

What a sad end for one of the nicest and most knowledgeable numismatists in the country. Our thoughts are with his family in this time of shock and sorrow. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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