The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 49, November 25, 2012, Article 7


Russ Rulau Dick Doty writes:

Affectionate regards for Russ Rulau! We shall not see another like him for a very long time.

Joe Boling writes:

Rulau's obituary states, "He often stated the high point of his service came July 30, 1945 when he was assigned to General Macarthur's arrival honor guard from among the first combat troops to reach Japan at Atsugi Field the evening before. "

Russ Rulau may have been assigned to the honor guard on 30 July, but he was not at Atsugi until the end of August. On 30 July we were still bombing Japan.

Dave Alexander writes:

The recent obituaries of Russ Rulau appear to downplay his role in assuring the launch of modern world coin collecting in the U.S. through the monthly magazine "World Coins," published 1964 through early 1976. It would be difficult to overstate the significance of this monthly magazine which brought in-depth, accurate, up to date research articles, news of new issues, hobby figures, organizations, happenings and all the rest.

When Russ left Amos Press to join Krause Publications, it was expected that he would build up the anemic "World Coin News" tabloid to something of comparable quality. This failed to happen. "World Coins" magazine was the victim of a very short-lived rogues' alliance between "Coin World" editorial and advertising (ordinarily rivals in the best newspaper tradition).

The CW editor eliminated the last pocket of independence in Amos Press (presided over by Russ Rulau's successor Courtney L. Coffing). Advertising cut its staff workload by 2/3 ("Numismatic Scrapbook" was eliminated at the same time, David T. Alexander, Executive Editor). The plan was that advertisers in "World Coins" would now be bludgeoned into paying vastly more to advertise in the new "Coin World International" feature or perish. Many perished and a great deal of damage was done to the world coin market.

Russ described the annihilation of "World Coins" to me as "a criminal act," as indeed it seemed to so many. I treasure my bound set of "World Coins" that reposes in green library buckram behind my work desk.

Rulau's book ventures deserve more recognition that the obits suggest. His revival (with George Fuld) of William Spohn Baker's "Medallic Portraits of Washington" deserves the applause of a generation. It went through two editions and while the decision to preserve Baker numbers at all costs was not fully compatible with modern presentation of the actual material, Baker remains the only reference worth citing in its field.

"Discovering America, the Coin Collecting Connection" brought a wealth of material from the most scattered sources to collectors but never got the recognition it should have received. For one thing, it brought much of the late Nathan Eglit's incoherent Columbiana listing back to collector accessibility.

Bibliophiles may be surprised to learn that while Krause Publications always boasted of its pioneering of computer technology in book publishing, Russ would have none of it, telling me before his death that he maintained his typed or hand-written research data on Washingtoniana on file cards!

David L. Ganz writes:

I was saddened to hear about Russ Rulau's death. I have a number of memories of him, but here's one that I'll share.

In March 1972: Interviewing Mary T. Brooks, director of the Mint. (I interviewed Mrs. Brooks many times over her tenure in office as Krause Publication's Washington correspondent. As I often point out, I was Burnett Anderson before he was.) At that meeting, I asked her about what seemed very logical to me, a gold coin for the bicentennial, paralleling the sesquicentennial issue of 1926. Her verbatim response – which you didn't read in Numismatic News in May, 1972: "I'd love to strike a gold bicentennial coin. No more wonderful way could be found to commemorate our bicentennial than with a gold coin."

Later that day, a staff member who was present at the interview– Roy Cahoon– called me at home and requested that the remark be left unpublished – evidently the Treasury Secretary heard about it and decided it would roil the gold market if the Mint director were heard advocating gold coinage.

For real! I understand economics and this could be a consequence, so the story gets spiked. A month later, my competitor on topics relating to gold, Russ Rulau, publishes a similar interview that he held with Mrs. Brooks in Numismatic Scrapbook, also a competitor. Except that he expands upon it with her! The international monetary system survived, and we got no gold coinage for a few more years.

Russ was a newspaper competitor, and a fierce on at that, but he got the results fair and square. And I kidded him about it for years.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: RUSSELL RULAU 1926-2012 (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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