The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 21, May 26, 2013, Article 16


In his two most recent blog entries, Harvey Stack recounts the story of the cataloging of the Davis Graves and the Anderson Dupont collections in 1954. Here are some excerpts. Great story! -Editor

Harvey Stack 1954 Large Cent collections

When the two collections arrived at Stack’s, each was laid out in large display trays with the information that came with each coin set alongside. Just looking at these two arrays was a treat in itself. Our next job was to catalog each collection and we sought out expert assistance to best showcase the coins when offered at public auction.

My father was a student of large cents and enjoyed discussing the series with the collectors and dealers who visited Stack’s. He had developed a close friendship with Dr. William Sheldon in earlier years and he hoped he could get Dr. Sheldon to help him catalog these two collections. As chance would have it, during the late 1940s and into the 1950s, Dr. Sheldon was teaching and working at the Columbia-Presbyterian University Hospital in New York City and often came into the store to say hello to Morton and find out what was new. In this case my father answered, “Have I got a surprise for you.” Of course, once Dr. Sheldon saw the coins laid out in the trays he gasped and asked where they all had come from.

My father told him these were from two very old-time collections. Dr. Sheldon looked further and said, “Mort, do you realize that I will now have to rewrite my book as the Condition Census is no longer accurate and there are a few no one ever listed for record.” “Man,” he continued after taking another breath, “would I like to work on these.” Morton, taking advantage of the exclamation replied, “How would you like to catalog both collections for Stack’s?” His response? “Boy, would I!”

So the two friends struck a deal…

It was the Stack’s plan to offer the Davis Graves Collection in April of 1954 and the Anderson Dupont Collection in September of that year. In the spring of 1954 the King Farouk Collection was scheduled for sale in Cairo and we hoped to put our two great collections on sale before the King Farouk coins created a drain on collector funds. If we could meet our timetable we could beat out any sale that might alter our success. Dr. Sheldon understood and said he could do it. However he said he would need our help and asked to have C. Douglas Smith to help him. Dr. Sheldon stated: “We worked together on my book and he can take great dictation. He types flawlessly. He will speed up the entire process of cataloging and help to meet the dates you set forth.” Morton responded, “We have known Doug for years and he is good, but it will take someone like you to convince him to work on this project.” Dr. Sheldon replied, “Doug will be as excited as I am to do the job.”

My father then laid out the game plan. First of all the coins were to be kept at all times in the vaults in the office, the photography was to be done in the office, and the exhibition would also be held there, in accordance with the rules our insurance company set forth when we took possession of the collections. Morton told Dr. Sheldon: “Since you and Doug work during the day, we will set up office space for you and Doug here in the back office. As you know we are part of the Hotel Salisbury but they do not have a dining room but they do have room service.” My father noted that we had used this room service many times so that we did not have to lock up the premises each time when we worked nights and weekends.

As Dr. Sheldon and Doug would be working late afternoons and Saturdays, it was agreed that their dinners would be pre-ordered and, Morton continued, “My son Harvey who is the only younger Stack presently in the office will sit with you, help you when he can, and secure your work after each session. If you and Doug can give us a few days each week, we will get the work done. I will work with you when I can, help with the proofreading and other chores.” So, I had the unique opportunity to learn from Dr. Sheldon and Doug how experts dealt with two collections of this importance. For my father (and for me) this was a Win-Win situation. Both Dr. Sheldon and Doug Smith saw the importance of the opportunity as well and they both agreed to the terms.

And so both large cent collections were cataloged, Davis-Graves first and then Anderson-Dupont, and the schedules were met. Collectors received their catalogs in time to study them, view the coins in our offices, and make up their minds as to which pieces they wanted to acquire.

There's more of the story to come, so stay tuned. Harvey hints about "the appearance of a Mystery Lady" at the public sales. -Editor

To read the complete articles, see: Remember When: The Story Of Two Great Large Cent Public Auctions In 1954 (
Remember When: The Story Of Two Great Large Cent Public Auctions In 1954, Part 2 (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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