The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 51, December 9, 2012, Article 8

GERALD JOHNSON 1928 - 2012

Jeff Reichenberger and Clifford Mischler forwarded the obituary of Gerald E. "Gene" Johnson, a longtime Wisconsin numismatist. Thanks. -Editor

Gene Johnson Gerald E. "Gene" Johnson, 84, 1921 Chase Street, a lifelong resident of Wisconsin Rapids, died Saturday, November 24, 2012 at the Odyssey Hospice House, Palm Springs, CA.

He was employed at the Biron Division of Consolidated papers, working 43 years in the quality control department until his retirement in 1990. Drafted into the army in November of 1950, he served 11 months as a combat mortar man in Korea.

A founding member of the Numismatists of Wisconsin in 1960, he served in all the elective offices of that organization, and edited their quarterly news magazine for over fifteen years.

A nationally known historian and numismatic writer, in 1967 he published the first state trade token book, "Trade Tokens of Wisconsin," a pioneer cataloging effort that led to listings that now encompass token catalogs from thirty two states nationally. Frequently honored for his writings, Johnson received the Fare Box Literary award in 1966 and 1977, the Seigel Literary Award in 1979, the Numismatic Ambassador Award in 1980, and in 1995, was honored by the Literary Guild for the best numismatic article published in the United States.

Clifford Mishler writes:

Gene was 84, having been born in Wisconsin Rapids on March 5, 1928; he died on Saturday, November 24, 2012, at the Odyssey Hospice House in Palm Springs, Calif., where he and his wife, Irene, have been wintering for the past 12-15 years or so.

His memorial service is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, at the Herman-Taylor Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids; I plan to attend the funeral, as will Chet Krause and a few other friends from Iola.

Jeff Reichenberger adds:

I was saddened to hear of the passing of a great Wisconsin numismatist, Gerald ‘Gene’ Johnson. I’ve only known Gene briefly but his kindness left me with a cherished memory. We met a few years ago at a coin show and ceremonial event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Wisconsin’s state coin club ‘Numismatists Of Wisconsin’, or N.O.W. He was one of the founders of the club and among several of them who were there to celebrate the anniversary.

Gene was the former editor and prolific writer for the quarterly journal ‘N.O.W. News’. It seemed he had an article in every issue, often about an obscure Wisconsin related numismatic item, but not always; in his very last article, this year's winter issue – just received in the mail – he covered the interesting ‘Parnell and Gladstone’ tokens of the 1870’s. He had an easy style of researching and breaking down information to make it readable and interesting.

I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with him at his home to discuss an article he wrote, which I desired to research further. He was open and cordial welcoming me into his home office filled with file cabinets and books. He gave me sage advice on how and where to dig for information, and he was always helpful and happy to pass along his knowledge in foregoing correspondence.

Of course he is most known for authoring ‘Trade Tokens of Wisconsin’ in 1967 with major revisions in ’77 and ’93. These are the bibles for collectors of the subject.

Gene was a true gentleman. Thank you Gene, you will be missed.

To read the complete obituary, see: Gerald Johnson (1928 - 2012) (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster