Barry Stallard writes:
I grew up in Northern Illinois in the town of Freeport. Like Dave Hirt, I also delivered the local newspaper and I looked for scarce dates needed for my small coin collection by searching the weekly payments (35 cents) I received from my customers for paper delivery. I belonged to the local coin club during my middle school years in the early 1950’s. My dad would occasionally drive me to attend monthly meetings of other clubs in the area.
It was at one meeting, I think in Dixon, Illinois, that J.V. McDermott appeared and showed off his nickel encased in a plastic holder. He passed it around the room for everyone to examine. I wondered that he so casually did this since it was so valuable. But he said that he didn’t worry about getting it back because it was so well known that he was the owner.
Tom Casper writes:
I never met J.V. McDermott so I can't share any recollections of him. I was told of him and his famous nickel when I joined the Milwaukee Numismatic Society in 1967. He had also been a member of the MNS. A check of early MNS rosters from 1961-1963 showed he was member #104.
I did find one article about him in my files. It pictures him and his nickel. This article was published after he passed away on 9-29-66.
There are recollections of McDermott in the book, "Million Dollar Nickels-Mysteries of the Illicit 1913 Liberty Head Nickels Revealed" by Paul Montgomery, Mark Borchardt and Ray Knight. Check Chapter 7, pages 173-176.
Thanks. Tom sent along the following scan of the article.
John Dirnbauer writes:
Dave Hirt's comments about J.V. McDermott brought back some memories.
After WWII, my father, Martin J. Dirnbauer, managed the operation of the Zenith Lanes on Kilbourn Avenue in Milwaukee, WI. The Dirnbauer family businesses in the 1930-1950's were quite diversified. The Zenith was a "Laverne and Shirley" type of bowling alley with eight lanes in the basement of a building with a pizza parlor just above on the street level.
This bit of family history is pertinent due to the fact that the local coin collectors regularly gathered in the bar at the Zenith to discuss coins, share stories, play table shuffleboard and cup dice and drink martinis.
The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia and the advertising of B. Max Mehl were the fuel of conversation. J.V. McDermott was a regular at the Zenith and would freely show his 1913 Liberty Head nickel. I was five or six years old at the time (1952-53)and more interested in bowling duck pins than looking at silly old coins. However, I was reminded on a few occasions that Mr. McDermott put me on his knee, put that rare coin in my hand, and admonished me to remember it. I was thrilled to see that coin and its four siblings at the Baltimore ANA in 2003.
Thanks! What a great story,
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
J. V. MCDERMOTT AND HIS 1913 LIBERTY HEAD NICKEL
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster