Dave Alexander submitted this additional recollection of Walter Breen and his relationship with Coin World. Thanks! -Editor
A fellow Coin World Alumnus reminded me of another piece in the Walter Breen mosaic that determined his relationship with the
newspaper. Some time before my arrival in Sidney, Ohio, Breen announced that he had joined forces with another genius of that hour, Don
Taxay, to establish the Institute of Numismatic Authenticators. In theory, this was a major step forward in the war with counterfeiters of
numismatic collectibles and was announced while Breen was still doing his "Bristles and Barbs" column in CW.
The plan was for possessors of great rarities to submit coins to Breen and Taxay, who would authenticate them (or not) and issue a
letter attesting to authenticity. A New York City address was given, and numbers of readers began sending treasures to the authenticators.
Serious troubles soon developed. Coins were accepted but seldom properly acknowledged, follow-up questions went unanswered and requests for
return of material were ignored.
Hell was raised with Coin World, as frantic readers bombarded publisher J. Oliver Amos with demands for help, "this guy
works for you, doesn't he!?!" In the end Coin World staffers were joined by Professional Numismatists Guild leaders in
descending on Breen's four-story walk-up rathole, ransacking the place for coins scattered amid the filth and rat droppings, fishing an
1804 gold eagle from under the sink and eventually connecting most of the recovered coins to their legitimate and now less-trusting owners.
In his marvelously fictionalized autobiography in Penny Wise, journal of Early American Coppers, Breen later wrote that his
Institute of Numismatic Authenticators became inactive after ANACS went full time. Sure it did.
Another subject, perhaps for our readers: whatever became of Don Taxay???
"Let's get together and call ourselves an Institute" - Paul Simon
As for Taxay, we've sought clues before, but have never come up with a definitive answer. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
WALTER BREEN AND COIN WORLD (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v18n47a13.html)
WHATEVER BECAME OF DON TAXAY? (coinbooks.org/esylum_v08n54a10.html)
DON TAXAY WHERE ARE YOU? (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n01a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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