The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 27, July 3, 2016, Article 14


There have been an outpouring of articles following the recent passing of Chester L. Krause, founder of Krause Publications. First, a note from Chet's longtime collaborator, Clifford Mishler. -Editor

Chet's Last Days
Clifford Mishler writes:

He died peacefully shortly after 9:30 Saturday evening. He had been living in his apartment at the local Living Oaks facility, attended to by hospice type folks up to this past Tuesday, when he was transferred to the local rest home facility. Two of his nieces were by his side when he passed; I received an advisory call from them shortly thereafter. I had last spoken to him on Friday.

He had actually been doing quite well until about 8 to 10 weeks ago; at that time I was thinking he had a good chance of making it to his 93rd birthday this coming December. About three weeks ago, however, his physical health started falling rather rapidly and consistently. Two weeks ago today was the last time he made it in to his office for what had long generally been almost daily visits; his office was just two doors from mine in a commercial condominium that we shared with others in downtown Iola.

Books on Krause Publishing History
David Gladfelter writes:

There are two earlier books about Chet and his publishing business, Just Plain Chet: The History of Krause Publications by Michael J. Goc (1992), a chronological account, and Pioneer Publisher: The story of Krause Publications' first 50 years by Arlyn G. Sieber (2001). The latter book has an appendix listing all the books and magazines published by Krause, the coin and hobby shows it sponsored, and a list of the names of all Krause employees through July 1, 2001.

When Sieber's book came out, free copies were given to persons who attended presentations given by Krause employees at shows. And not to be overlooked is Krause's establishment and sponsorship of the Numismatic Ambassador program in 1974. They published a list, with photos, of all the winners in 2003 (I see your mug in there, Wayne, class of 2002). Closest thing American numismatics has to a Who's Who, I would say.

I was not aware of the Sieber book! -Editor

Redbook Editor Kenneth Bressett
Ken Bressett writes:

I knew, respected and admired Chet for all he did to spread the word about the joy of coin collecting. He was truly a giant in the hobby.

John and Nancy Wilson
John and Nancy Wilson write:

On June 25, 2016 we all lost a good friend and a great numismatist Chester L. Krause, who was born on December 16, 1923. Besides being a World War ll veteran and builder, a man called "Chet," was a numismatic icon who spoke in a mild and knowledgeable manner. You could say he carried a big stick with his excellent actions and communications and helped advance our numismatic hobby in countless manners.

Starting in the early 1950s, KPs weekly publication  Numismatic News was a powerful source of information for collectors from coast to coast. From that beginning and over the years other periodical publications were started such as Bank Note Reporter, World Coin News and Coins Magazine. These don't include the many hobby publications that are also under the Krause Publications and F + W umbrella, with many being standard references today. We found out on their web page over 150 different publications are part of the Krause Publications and F + W brand.

The firm continues to be a leader in numismatic and hobby publications along with a diverse selection of coin supplies. Today, Krause Publications in Iola operates with a very small staff and continues to print excellent periodicals and other publications in a timely and efficient manner. Chet started an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1988. The ESOP ended not long after F + W took ownership of the company in 1992 when the shares were distributed mostly to the employees.

Besides Mr. Krause's great impact in the numismatic hobby with his periodicals and publications, he was a great advocate and benefactor for our hobby and his beloved Iola, Wisconsin. His donations in the numismatic hobby were great. Over the years he was honored with the highest awards by many different organizations such as the ANA, ANS, CSNS and others. After making a significant donation to ANA, Chet and Cliff were instrumental in getting the ANA Museum named the Edward C. Rochette Museum in 2005. To find a new direction for the Association, Chet served on the ANA board twice, starting in 2007 and resigning in 2010.

He was also a phenomenal collector and researcher of not only his State of Wisconsin, but also of all types of Depression Scrip, World Bank Notes, Postage Currency Envelopes, Canadian Coins (including a rare Canadian 1936 Dot Cent) and many others. His great collections were sold by several major auction firms. His automobile and military collections were also fantastic, and over the years were sold. We know he wanted to get back the Sherman tank he sold and keep it in Iola.

The Iola Car Show (started in 1972) held annually is on land that once was owned by Chet Krause and nearby to the Krause Publications headquarters. The Iola Car Show site recognized Chet after his passing and said, "Chet’s influence in this area is felt far beyond what words can express, and we could never repay all he’s done for us and our community.

Chet's contributions to Iola are legendary and run into millions of dollars and countless hours dedicated to the city he loved. Besides Iola, Chet was a major benefactor to Rawhide Boy's Ranch in New London, WI. Chet's obituary states that any donations made in his memory go to Rawhide (

He also made donations to several Wisconsin based companies, and in 1990 was named the state's Small Business Person of the Year. His philanthropy in many areas was huge, and he never wanted any thanks or a pat on the back for his contributions. All of us should be thankful that we had many of the 92 years of Chet's life to be his friend.

He will be missed greatly by his many friends not only in this country but many others. We send our sympathy to his family on the loss of Chet. His accomplishments and achievements will far outlive everyone who has crossed his path or is reading this. Rest in Peace Chet, we will never forget you.

Sincerely, John and Nancy Wilson, Former Wisconsinites now living in Ocala, FL.

Cliff Mischler and Chet Krause at 2015 NOW Show Iola Mills party
Clifford Mishler and Chester Krause

Dave Harper

Here is a short excerpt from a June 27, 2016 article by Dave Harper, editor of  Numismatic News. -Editor

It is probably appropriate that I was on the road when he passed as no individual was more responsible for opening my eyes to the wider world than was Chet.

Even though I wrote a blog in early April that he was in a bad way, like many times previously he had bounced back again and returned to his routine of going to his office on Main Street.

The last time I had coffee with him, some of the conversation of the four of us present was about how many caregivers he was going through. He always retained a sense of humor.

The numismatic world has lost a giant.

He did not like to be called Mr. Krause as I found out when I first addressed him as boss in 1978.

As the name of a book that was later written, he wanted to be called just plain Chet.

So Chet I called him.

I subscribed to his products as a kid, both Numismatic News and  Coins Magazine. I went to work for him after college.

Through both aspects of my life in numismatics, Chet introduced me to the wider world.

Now it is time for me to pay respect as it is for others whose lives he enriched.

It is time to say thank you for a life well lived.

Thank you, Chet.

To read the complete article, see:
We’ll miss you, Chet (

For those who prefer listening to reading, here's a link to the CoinWeek podcast interview with Dave Harper on the Passing of Chet Krause. -Editor

Podcast David Harper on Chet Krause

To read the complete article, see:
CoinWeek Podcast #34: Numismatic News Editor Dave Harper on the Passing of Chet Krause (

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Numismatic News Staff

Tom Casper forwarded this article by Numismatic News staff. Thanks. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Chet Krause with books The first issue of what became a monthly and then weekly periodical was published Oct. 13, 1952. It originally sold for $2 a year. It helped revolutionize numismatics and changed his life. He went from rural carpenter/building contractor into a pioneering hobby publisher.

Mr. Krause picked up on a need for ever increasing speed in numismatic business and communications, yet remained loyal to his hometown of Iola, Wis., which even now has a population of only 1,300.

It was this rural isolation, far from the urban areas that hosted coin shops and shows, that brought him to believe that many other collectors shared the same needs he had.

He was right. That single insight proved to be timely. It eventually became the basis of a large publishing business called Krause Publications serving collectors in many other fields beyond numismatics.

Numismatic News grew with coin collecting to the highs of the roll and bag boom that peaked in 1964. He acquired a magazine in 1962 that he renamed Coins. The numismatic recession that hit in 1965 along with clad coinage nearly cost Mr. Krause the company.

He sold his coin collection to support the business. He founded a new title, Coin Prices, in 1967, but soon he reached beyond coin collectors and it was this diversification that set off a period of consistent growth.

In 1971 he founded, Old Cars, a paper for car collectors. His business vision took him into other collectible fields that ranged from sports cards and comic books to firearms, antiques and paper money.

If there was a collector of something, there was a need for a price guide. Mr. Krause compiled the Standard Catalog of World Coins first published in 1972 and it became the bedrock resource for the world's many coin collectors and dealers. Today, the Krause-Mishler catalog numbers named after him and his co-author, Clifford Mishler, are the basis of the world coin identification system.

To read the complete article, see:
Hobby publisher Chet Krause dies (

Connor Falk and Others

Here's an excerpt from a June 29, 2016 article by Connor Falk in Numismatic News. -Editor

Chet Krause’s positive attitude and dedication to numismatics is his lasting legacy to a coin collecting hobby he cared deeply for.

Jeff Garrett, president of the American Numismatic Association, said he appreciates his time serving with Chet Krause on the ANA board.

“I liked Chet’s wit and wisdom,” he said. “I worked with him during some trying times in the ANA. He was one of the guys who could cut to the chase, get to the nitty-gritty, a no-nonsense type of person.”

Chet Krause changed the industry when he formed Krause Publications, he said.

“He was a great businessman,” Garrett said. “I think that’s the way he wanted to have been remembered: as a great businessman.  Numismatic News has a great legacy. This was someone who created something that is still around. I still read Numismatic News today.

“I think his biggest impact was the Standard Catalog of World Coins series. Those books transformed the market at a time where information on world coins was difficult to find. It was a giant effort.”

Chet Krause’s own collecting brought him to sales and shows often, Garrett said.

“I admired seeing his paper money collection when it went to auction in 2008,” he said. “He collected a lot of Wisconsin National Bank Notes. It was inspirational to see him assemble such a collection while also working in the business.

“I always enjoyed seeing him at coin shows. He traveled often. I would see him on the bourse floor and he’d stop over to say hello and chat for a bit.”

Harvey Stack, founder of Stack’s Bowers, successor firm to New York’s venerable Stack’s, said he has fond memories of Chet Krause going back to before Numismatic News.

“It was 1951 when Chet came into the store and asked, ‘Do you think I should start a coin newspaper?’” Stack said.

Chet Krause founded Numismatic News a year later.

Ken Bressett, editor of A Guide Book of United States Coins, said he admires Chet Krause’s focus on advancing numismatics.

“I think his work impacted the whole hobby,” he said. “I knew him before he started the magazine. He was way ahead of his time in his thinking and in his attempts to stimulate the hobby. Numismatic News is his greatest contribution. Way above anything else. His Standard Catalog series was also very useful, but I think Numismatic News was his pride and joy.”

The article includes a great picture of Chet Krause with Redbook founding editor Richard Yeo. -Editor

Chet Krause and Richard Yeo
Two giants of numismatics from Wisconsin were
Chet Krause of Iola, left, and R.S. Yeoman of Racine, right.

To read the complete article, see:
Chet fondly recalled (


George Cuhaj forwarded a link to Chet's obituary on the funeral home web site. Here's a short excerpt - see the complete version online. -Editor

Lifelong Iola resident and perhaps its best-known citizen, Chet Krause, 92, died June 25 of complications of congestive heart failure. At the time of his death he was under hospice care at Iola Living Assistance where he had been admitted June 22.

Chester Lee Krause was born Dec. 16, 1923, in Helvetia Township, rural Waupaca County, about six miles east of the village of Iola. He was the youngest of six children born to Carl and Cora (Neil) Krause. His education began in a one-room schoolhouse that had been built by his father next door to the family farm. From an early age, Chet learned the building trades working with his father who was an accomplished stone mason. He attended high school in Iola, graduating in 1941.

In October, 1952, Chet published the first issue of Numismatic News. The paper was meant to fill a niche he had identified to serve coin collectors nationwide who were far removed from metropolitan areas. He was the prototypical customer for his new venture: a serious coin collector who was geographically cut off from that hobby's mainstream.

For the next five years the publication grew in advertising volume and circulation as Chet nurtured it on evenings, weekends and when inclement weather kept him away from current construction projects. In 1957, Chet finished the last building he would ever construct, a 40’ x 40’ brick and glass office a block off of Iola's Main Street. That would remain, with occasional additions as expansion dictated, the offices of Krause Publications for nearly two decades as Numismatic News and Krause Publications expanded through acquisitions and start ups of periodicals to fill identified needs in the coin collecting community.

Chet guided the growth of his publishing company through the 1980s, expanding into more that a dozen collectible hobbies and outdoors activities, producing dozens of periodicals and more than 150 book titles, with revenues approaching $100 million annually.

In retirement as he neared the age of 90, Chet spent much of his time writing monographs on subjects ranging from family and local history to a compendium of places named Iola throughout the U.S. These publications were a continuing facet of his lifelong goal to preserve historical information for future generations, whether they be coin collectors half a world away, or neighbors from down the block.

In January, 2014, Chet suffered a stroke that impaired his ability to read and write. He recovered much of his lost mobility and retained his generally upbeat attitude. He came nearly every day to his Main Street retirement office, remaining active behind the scenes in the planning and financing of village improvement projects. His office was a morning coffee-break meeting place for local friends, out of town visitors and former employees.

Among the most regular visitors to Chet’s office was his former right-hand man in the publications’ business, Cliff Mishler. Cliff maintains a Main Street office of his own just two doors down from that which Chet occupied. In retirement, Chet and Cliff were in almost as close a proximity as they had been for more than 40 years operating Krause Publications. Cliff remained a liaison to the numismatic world for Chet and continued to act as a sounding board on community affairs.

To read the complete article, see:
Chester L. Krause (

To read the earlier E-SYlum articles, see:


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