David T. Alexander submitted these notes on dealer Hans Schulman. Thanks!
I am fascinated by the reminiscing over the late Hans M.F. Schulman.
It reminds us that time is indeed fleeting. In the old Miami (Florida) Coin Club we had an aged Russian emigre, the late Andrew Kelpsh, author of "The Rubles of Peter the Great and his Successors" in The Numismatist. Andy was really old school and HATED Hans for his unswerving determination to make every bit of brass trash "the rare opium weight money of the Boonga-Boonga tribe," every vaguely coin-like medal into an "unpublished pattern coin," notably all Hitler medals, and his perpetual romanticizing of every common "foreign' coin into an historic rarity.
The late John J. Ford spoke before NBS at least twice reminiscing over picking up junk wrought iron from a
soon to be demolished inner city slum house, possibly in Cincinnati, He was using the rusty metal as a walking
stick, brought it back to his bourse table and absent-mindedly set it down. The late William Fox Steinberg
asked if he could have the iron, soon came back and told Ford he'd pay his entire bourse and hotel bill if
John could get him more of these iron rods! Ford did, discovering them piled on Hans' bourse table with a
sign "West African Kissi Pennies! The coin with a soul!" and a hefty price tag! This was how the
great Howard D. Gibbs collection was built...
Andy Kelpsh was diagnosed with incurable colonic cancer soon after. His widow sent all of his marvelous stock to Hans M.F. Schulman. I don't know if she was ever paid. See the New York Numismatic Club Centennial History for his rather widely publicized record of non-payment to consignors.
The first auction catalogue I read as a kid was Hans' "Public Auction - Remarkable Collection of Crowns of the World," Sept. 21, 1956. This slim, orange covered catalogue personified all of these Schulman quirks and horrified me since I was a purist at the time. I eventually learned of the American tendency to swoon over exotic foreign accents, "Ooooh, he must know EVERYTHING! Just listen to that accent!!!
Hans remained a promoter of fantasy stories until his death, including the fantasy value assigned to his firm when it went public. To bring up the supposed value, his partner threw in the Schulman library that Hans claimed was still his personal property and which he lost in the debacle of Schulman Coin and Mint.
Hans had many fans, including J. Oliver Amos, publisher of Coin World, who tried to induce Schulman to move to remote Sidney, Ohio, when the paper was new and remained a bobby-soxer fan until Schulman's death. One fine day in the mid 1970's I acquired a copy of Hans' long out-of-print Coin Collectors Almanac, written mostly by Hans Holzer, later of occult publishing fame. The book first came out in 1946 and was a nine-day wonder. I asked Hans to autograph it and he wrote a couple of long paragraphs of glowing prose about the beauties of Sidney, the greatness of Alexander and his writing for Coin World, on and on! Yes, he was certainly suave.
Hans' father Moritz died at the Sobibor concentration camp. The senior branch of the House of Schulman in Amsterdam was always embarrassed by his American gyrations. Looking back on Hans' career and comparing his pleasantly accented depredations to the wholesale looting of later dealers and such entities as the Franklin Mint, it's possible to believe that perhaps his offenses were comparatively minor.
Toward the end of his life, Hans tied up with Asset Services Inc., an investment era operation that moved out significant numbers of U.S. coins to "investors" across the U.S.
Harvey Stack writes:
The constant query about Hans Schulman, who I knew personally,
together with his five wives, jolted my memory and all the stories
true and false attributed to him. The odd and curious items mentioned
were all part of the Howard Gibbs collection, as Howard, at different
times, did great work for Hans and his catalogs.
Zita, his last wife, was a great numismatist, and though she tried to
convert his various ways and habits of building a numismatic company,
Hans was the playboy of the industry during his time in business.
I remember vividly his adventures and dealings with King Farouk , and
the ways he was able to convince the King to try to be a numismatist.
Actually, he helped Stack's sell parts of the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection
of Gold Coins to the King and was somewhat instrumental in the sale of
the 1933 Double Eagle, which was made "legal" , before it was shipped
He opened his retail shop on 45th Street after World War II, to be just around the corner from Stack's on 46th Street in New York, to attempt to attract some of the
overflow that Stack's had developed for the location in midtown New York.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON HANS SCHULMAN
Wayne Homren, Editor
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