I learned late yesterday that American numismatics has lost another one of its greats - George J. Fuld. Here are some reader reactions to the news.
Tony Lopez writes:
George was not only a pioneer in numismatic and exonumia research, but also an extraordinary gentleman. George helped me with various projects over the years on historic and Indian Peace medals, and was an absolute encyclopedia. Despite the width and breadth of his incredible expertise, George was open to new ideas and discoveries and was never dogmatic about his knowledge.
I was fortunate enough to spend a day with George in 2008 visiting the Maryland Historical Society and authenticating their amazing holdings of iconic historic medals, including the original silver Comitia Americana medal awarded to revolutionary War hero John Eager Howard by the early Congress for the Battle of Cowpens, an Annapolis Tuesday Club medal, and their complete set of Maryland medals (Betts 34-36).
In the above photo from our visit that day, L-R are Jeannine Disviscour (Curator), David Menchell, Barry Tayman, George Fuld, Tony Lopez, and the late Patricia Ann Roberts (MdHS Volunteer) in front of a painting of John Eager Howard by Charles Willson Peale.
George, always generous with his knowledge and time, saw a need there at the MdHS, and after our visit contacted the MdHS and became a volunteer there, assisting them with their numismatic holdings. After our visit, We went to lunch and George went over his research on the Washington Pattern Coins of Peter Getz with Barry and me. Listening to him, I have to admit that the kid inside me was secretly thrilled. There I was, hanging out with one of my numismatic heroes - none other than George Fuld from all my Civil War token and Washington Medal catalog numbers and the same George Fuld who wrote all of those books on medals and tokens that I used all the time.
But in person George was just a regular guy, down to earth, and easy to be around. His tireless passion and dedication to advance the published knowledge of coins, medals, and tokens left behind a timeless legacy of important reference works - but what I will always remember most about George was his generosity, unselfish accessibility, kind demeanor, and more than anything his graciousness.
Joel Orosz writes:
George Fuld and his father, Melvin, built the first really comprehensive American numismatic library of the post-World War Two era, or at least the first such postwar collection to go under the auctioneer's hammer. The sales of the Fuld collection by Frank and Laurese Katen in the early 1970s paved the way for George Frederick Kolbe to begin his auctioneering in 1976, which led directly to a modern robust marketplace in numismatic literature. Beyond this enormous contribution, George Fuld was the very model of a thoughtful scholar and a thoroughgoing gentleman, a man to be admired for both his contributions to numismatic knowledge and his old-school civility.
George Kolbe writes:
George Fuld was one of my earliest customers, going all the way back to the 1960s. The sale of George's numismatic library by the Katens in 1971 would have a major impact on the course of my career as a numismatic bookseller. The finest American numismatic library to have been formed up to that time, the many rarities and the comprehensive runs of classic United States numismatic auction sale catalogues—so meticulously assembled—attracted the attention of a whole new generation of budding numismatic bibliophiles and researchers. The results of the sale changed the entire demand and price structure. Less than five years after the sale, I conducted my own first sale of numismatic literature, a modest affair to be sure, but one that met with unexpected success.
Sometime in the late 1970s I had the good fortune, via Barry Tayman, to acquire George's annotated set of the ANS Dictionary Catalogue. The auction catalogue volume of the series demonstrates George's unwavering devotion to completing the various series recorded therein. Every catalogue present in his library is recorded, along with a whole raft of sales not in the ANS Library at the time. In a sense, I have lived with the man for over three decades. The seven volumes, once nearly new, are all now shelf worn from heavy use.
All the good you may hear from others about George is true, and more. A few years ago, Alan Meghrig and I had the great pleasure to work with George in bringing to completion his work on Peter Getz patterns, based on the preliminary research of Jack Collins. A few weeks ago I spoke with George about an article I am writing. He sounded good: his mental powers and basic human decency as vibrant as ever. I will miss him. In the numismatic world a great loss is counterbalanced by a long lifetime of invaluable published numismatic research, and a life well lived.
Dave Bowers writes:
We have just lost one of the nicest people I have ever known in numismatics—a true prince. He started collecting coins in 1946 when his father Melvin (born 1901) did. He had been doing it ever since.
David Gladfelter writes:
George and his late father Melvin wrote the leading references on Civil War tokens, including U. S. Civil War Store Cards published in 1972 with a second edition in 1975, and Patriotic Civil War Tokens now in its 5th edition published in 2005. George contributed his reminiscences about CWT collecting in Dave Bowers’s book A Guide Book of Civil War Tokens published by Whitman earlier this year.
He had been in a nursing home for some time but his mind was sound – he gave me information recently over the phone about CWTs he had obtained from the Scovill Manufacturing Co., Waterbury, CT.
With permission, here is the updated entry for George Fuld from Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies. Thanks, Pete!
Fuld, George J(oseph) Author (b. 11/8/1932 d. 10/19/2013)
Born in Baltimore, Maryland; son of Melvin. Married in 1955 with three children; married to Doris in 1969. Received an Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Consultant with Fuld Brothers 1954 to 1960 and vice president 1960 to 1963. Employed in radiation research with Goodyear Tire Company 1963 to 1967. George and Doris were owners of Dorge Approvals in the token and medal and philatelic business. Dorge Approvals conducted 13 auction sales from 1972 to 1976.
He served as president of the Society of Tokens, Medals and Obsolete Paper Money in 1960 to 1962. He was also editor of the TAMS Journal 1960 to 1962. He was honored by TAMS with a medal struck by the Medallic Art Company. His library was sold at auction by Frank and Laurese Katen August 15, 1971. In 1980 he became auction manager for Bowers and Ruddy.
Received ANA Medal of Merit (1961, Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) Numismatic Hall of Fame (2008). Honored in Civil War Token Society Hall of Fame (2007),. NBS Armand Champa Award (1993), MCA Carl Carlson Award (2004).
To visit the funeral home page for George, see:
George J. Fuld
Dave Bowers is coordinating a memorial page to be published in Coin World. The cost will be divided equally among those friends and fans of George who would like to be listed. If this is of interest you are invited to e-mail Dave at
firstname.lastname@example.org giving a subject line in your e-mail: George Fuld Memorial.
Please do this before Wednesday. Dave will bill you once the cost is determined. It will be in the tens of dollars. State how you would like your name listed: casually as Bill, formally as William, or Mr. and Mrs. or whatever. Dave would also like to find several good photographs of George.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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