Harvey Stack submitted these recollections of LeLand Howard, head of the Office of Domestic Gold and Silver Operations of the Treasury Department.
LeLand Howard became the czar of the Office of Gold and Silver
Operations and imposed regulations in 1961 which limited without a
license from the O.G.S. importation of all gold coins.
It created a hardship, as the application for import approval (or dis-
approval) took from 3 weeks to several months. Any coins to be brought
in had to stay where they were. Collectors and dealers had to pay for
them to the sellers, and never knew what would be licensed and what could
not be licensed.
The firm of Stack's in late 1963 was offered a splendid collection of World
Gold Coins assembled by a client and collector in the Netherlands, and we
applied for a license to bring it into the U.S. and sell it at Public Auction.
The collection contained many coins of the 16th through the 19th Century, and
as I recall about 50 which were struck or dated after 1933.The whole collection
contained close to 1000 different coins.
After months and months inquiring when
we would get the license, the O.G.S, denied a number of coins, and the collector
in The Netherlands said he "would not break up his collection because of the
regulations "without explanation" in place. But he did promise to hold the collection
for us and give us the opportunity of getting an ADMINISTRATION HEARING at
the Treasury Department. In late 1966 we presented our case.
First of all, the Office never listed or gave the Criteria for Import License. They
ruled as the coins were presented, accepted or denied, without explanation. At the
hearing beside being the main witness of our case, (with a prominent Washington D.C.
attorney at my side,) I explained that the rules were not evident and that the actions
by the Treasury was arbitrary and capricious. Backing my claim was Henry Grunthal,
who was Director of the American Numismatic Society , together with both Stefanellis. who were joint curators
of the Smithsonian. After a lengthly hearing Stack's WON the case. The examiner felt
that the OFFICE OF GOLD AND SILVER OPERATIONS actions were Arbitrary and
However, (because we believe of the long standing of LeLand Howard in the Department)
the O S.G. denied license. We were going to go higher, but our attorney learned if we
let it go for a few months, there was evidence that things would change. In late 1967
LeLand Howard retired from the Department (with all the bells and whistles for long service)
and within one month the rulings were rescinded.
Unfortunately, the client had earlier in 1967 lost patience with the united
states rulings and regulations and sold the collection overseas.
Stack's won the battle, but lost the war. But as it eased the import of Gold Coins
I guess it was worth it.!!
Wayne Homren, Editor
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