Bruce W. Smith submitted these thoughts and recollections on dealer Hans Schulman. Thanks!
I only met Hans Schulman once, in the early 1970's. As far as I can recall, I only had one commercial contact with him. I ordered from his fixed price list what was described as a Chinese silver cash coin. When it arrived, it turned out to be a copper-nickel jewelry item, and not even correctly attributed. I was interested in the piece, but not at the price of an unlisted coin. No problem he replied -- send it back, I have other customers for it!
A few years later when I was working at Krause Publications, Russ Rulau mentioned that he owned stock in Schulman Coin and Mint and that they had an attractive stock certificate. The stock was issued at something like $7 a share originally, but Russ had bought his at 50 cents a share -- just before it went into bankruptcy. I said I would like to have one of those certificates, and he told me the stock was still being traded and put me in touch with his broker. The stock was then at 15 cents a share, so I bought 500 shares -- the smallest trade the broker would accept. I made it clear that I wanted one or more actual certificates, but I never got them.
A few months after making my investment, the company was liquidated. Before that happened, I was in New York and stopped at the Schulman shop. The fellow at the counter was polite, a bit cold, and didn't have anything to show me. When I mentioned that I was a stockholder, I was suddenly his best friend. "Come to the backroom" he said, "have something to eat or drink." On the way down the hall, I noticed a bushel basket full of teeth. When I asked about it, he said these were the famous Schulman tooth money. They appeared in his auctions from time to time as tooth money from the Solomon Islands or some other place, but they were really from New Jersey.
The fellow at the counter also related a story about Robert Bashlow. Most collectors know Bashlow as the guy who made the last restrike of the Confederate cent. I had heard of him because of a strange incident involving the 1962 aluminum coins of Irian Barat and the Riau Archipelago -- both in Indonesia. All the coins of both sets were worth around 25 cents each, but one edition of the Standard Catalog of World Coins had a typographical error, making them $25 coins! Bashlow flew to Indonesia, went to those islands and began buying up the coins. He ended up with barrels full of them, only to learn that the price was a mistake.
In the mid 1970's he consigned all those coins and a lot of other stuff to what was probably Schulman's last sale. The company went under and Bashlow never got paid.
There's more to this tale, but I'd better stop there - while some of this is Bruce's direct experience, the rest is second hand information from an employee of the firm, not Schulman himself. So I'm not sure what we can or should believe of this, but I'd be eager to hear if others can corroborate any of this information, particularly about Bashlow.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON THE SCHULMAN MEDALLIC HISTORY OF MONEY AND BANKING
Wayne Homren, Editor
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