Interesting information on Al Wick. Since I'm from St. Louis, I had many joyous conversations and meetings with Al. He was quite a guy and somewhat of a philosopher. He was never at a loss for words, no matter what the subject. He lived in south St. Louis and I lived in the north part of the county, so I didn't get to visit him very often, but when I did he always had some interesting coins to look at and sometimes offered them for sale.
When I was president of the Missouri Numismatic Society, sometime in the 1960s I think (old people tend to forget exact dates), Al was on the Board of Directors. If he liked what was proposed, things went smoothly but if not, you had better be prepared to defend your position. Glad to see him get some recognition!
Mark Van Winkle has a set of Al Wick’s colonial books in his library, including all three parts.
Part One has red covers and includes pages 1 – 11
Part Two has blue covers and includes pages 12-24
Part Three has gray covers and includes pages 25-44, along with an index
The choice of blue covers for part two was unfortunate, with blue ink used on the blue cover.
Interesting! We weren't aware of the grey covered one, and this information clearly indicates that the three comprise a set. Mark provided an image of the index (below). Now the question is, who besides Mark Van Winkle has a complete set of all three parts?
Bruce W. Smith writes:
I was surprised to see the name of Al Wick in last week's E-Sylum. I first met Al in the early 1970's. He was a fixture at meetings of the Missouri Numismatic Society in St. Louis. He was already over 70 when I met him. I had just started building my numismatic library and Al wanted to get rid of his. I didn't really have any money but that didn't matter to him if I could trade him something easier to sell. Nobody collected numismatic books in those days and they sold cheaply. He gave me his address in south St. Louis and I drove down there one day to look over what he had. I couldn't find the address so I stopped at a warehouse in the otherwise residential neighborhood to ask directions. To my surprise, Al was there at the warehouse. In fact, he and his wife lived in the warehouse! As we talked, I found out why.
He was not just a coin collector, he collected many other things and had many hobbies. Among the things he collected were napkin rings, bar coasters, sugar sacks, postcards, old bank checks, old stocks and bonds, and many other items -- some of which I had never imagined anyone collected. He told me had had, in fact, 103 hobbies.
In the warehouse he had built row after row of wooden shelves to hold large boxes of a standard size. All of his collections were neatly filed away and organized in the boxes. This is why he lived in a warehouse -- an ordinary house would not hold all of his collections.
Not long afterward his wife passed away and he was even more anxious to trade. I went to see him again, and found he had moved to another warehouse nearby. He explained that his only close relative was his daughter who lived in California. He wanted to dispose of as much of his collections as he could to prevent his daughter having to deal with them in the event of his death.
On my second visit he showed me some of his check collection and I remember thinking how strange it was to collect checks. I didn't obtain any, but I wish I had. I later became a determined collector of Missouri checks as well as tokens, stocks and bonds, postcards and other items from Missouri. I am sure he had many items I would want for my collection.
On that second visit I learned that he had published around 1950 a booklet on investing in coins. I think I saw some other booklets he published about that time, but I don't remember what they were. He also had published for years a magazine called "Hobbies To Enjoy". In this he wrote about the many things he collected and about his other hobbies. He wrote all the articles (and some fiction), did all the artwork, took the photographs, laid out the pages, and may have even printed them himself.
I obtained a few issues of the magazine and only years later came to appreciate them. By that time he had died and I found out that when his warehouse was cleaned out, they found boxes and boxes of back issues of his magazines. Someone carried the boxes to several meetings of the Missouri Numismatic Society where they were offered to members for free. Even so, many boxes of the magazines ended up in a trash dumpster. I had already moved away from St. Louis and did not find out about the magazines till a couple years later. Since then I have looked in vain to find any back issues of the magazine. Last week I did find a couple issues for sale online, but it appears to be a rare item today.
A Google search under his name turned up the fact that he collected sales tax tokens and had also produced a catalog and album for US tax tokens in 1949. I suspect he published other now rare booklets on various subjects. I wish I had spent more time looking around his warehouse.
Wow - now THAT'S a collector. Thanks for the great information. Bob Leonard provides some information on Wick's Sales Tax token book in the next article. What other Wick books will turn up someday?