The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 28, July 10, 2016, Article 14


Tony Terranova, Mark Ferguson and Dave Bowers forwarded this Wall Street Journal article about the late Chester Krause. Thanks! -Editor

Chester Krause

Mark writes:

A short obituary for Chet Krause appeared on page A12 of the Saturday/Sunday, July 9-10, 2016 issue of The Wall Street Journal. A longer version can be found on a WSJ online post.

The Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote Chet’s obituary interviewed myself, Cliff Mishler (Chet’s “right-hand man”) and Arlyn Sieber, who assisted Chet in writing his autobiography, “I’m Chet.” I’ve known Chet for more than 40 years and consider him a friend, as many other people do, especially here in Wisconsin where Chet was a regular at very many local coin shows and coin club meetings over the years, as has been Cliff Mishler. They’ve both been great supporters of the hobby.

For example, back in the early 1980s I got tired of people coming into my office to invest in gold and silver and trying to badger me into dealing in cash in order to avoid the sales tax. In 1984 I organized the coin dealers in Wisconsin and hired a lobbyist in an attempt to obtain a sales tax exemption for coins and precious metals. Chet and Cliff generously supported this effort financially and were present and all or most of the meetings, hearings and political fundraisers, and helped in many other ways. After six years and three legislative sessions we very nearly accomplished our goal, but the legislative session ended as our bill was ready to come up for a vote. Shortly thereafter I took a temporary work assignment grading coins for PCGS in Southern California, but Cliff continued the effort, I’m sure with Chet’s help.

A photo of the very first issue of Numismatic News, dated October 13, 1952, appears in the WSJ online obituary. A couple years ago I had lunch with Chet in Iola and asked him to autograph the first 3 issues of Numismatic News that I acquired many years ago in a nearly complete collection of them. We discussed where on the pages he should sign them and what to say. We decided that it would be best if he just signed his name so that future owners could enjoy them without someone else’s name on them. The photo in the WSJ is the copy I had him sign that day.

In years past I used to run into Chet and several Krause Publications employees at airports when we were all on our way to or from the same major coin show somewhere in the U.S. One of my favorite memories of Chet was in one of those airports when he said to me, “You can watch people’s feet and tell what’s in their heads.” Chet was a very down-to-earth individual, very accessible to nearly everyone and a very generous philanthropist, as exemplified by his expression, “Give until it feels good.” He was a truly great example of how to live life.

Here's an excerpt from the article. -Editor

When he was a boy on a farm near the village of Iola, Wis., during the Depression, Chester Krause’s aunts gave him Whitman penny boards used to display coin collections. Those gifts launched a lifelong hobby that led him to create a publishing business with hundreds of employees in Iola, about 60 miles west of Green Bay.

Started by the World War II veteran on his dining-room table in 1952, Krause Publications eventually published scores of periodicals and reference books for collectors of coins, stamps, vintage cars, comic books and other items. Mr. Krause became by far the largest employer in Iola, whose current population is 1,300, before selling his interest in the company in the late 1980s and focusing on his own collections and philanthropy.

He died June 25 at age 92 from complications of congestive heart failure.

Chester Lee Krause, known as Chet, was born Dec. 16, 1923. He grew up in a house without electricity or an indoor toilet. During the Depression, the family was still using a horse-drawn plow and harvesting corn by hand. His father did masonry and other construction work on the side. His mother wrote local news items for the weekly Iola Herald. Chet’s schooling ended with high school.

Numismatic news introductory issue After noticing the lack of information available to coin collectors in rural areas, far from clubs and dealers, he created his own publication, Numismatic News. The first issue was printed on one side of a newsprint sheet. He included a short introduction to himself: “If you are like I am and I suppose you are, I imagine you are wondering just who Chester L. Krause is. Well to start with I am just plain Chet. I’m not 30 yet and still a bachelor.” He described himself as neither a dealer nor a printer but “only a carpenter” and added: “I am going to need a lot of help to put this paper over.”

The fledgling publisher also promised readers he wouldn’t be an “ad jumper,” taking advantage of advertised offers before they could.

The business flourished, eventually employing more than 400 people, and included publications for collectors of many kinds. The company also held hobby shows and published reference books, such as the annual “Standard Catalog of World Coins.” Mr. Krause traveled the world, seeing sights and attending gatherings of coin collectors.

To read the complete article, see:
Chester Krause Built a Big Hobby Magazine Publisher in a Tiny Wisconsin Town (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

David Alexander
David T. Alexander writes:

It is hard to imagine the world of numismatic publishing without Chet Krause. Though I worked for many years for his major competitor, Amos Press in Sidney, Ohio, our paths crossed often and I enjoyed a cordial relationship with him. On his last New York visit, Chet sat in my cubicle in the vast, nearly empty Stack's office at 110 West 57th and we discussed many things, including whether it was better to jump up and down replacing library books on the shelves of to wait until an assignment was completed and then replace all at one go!

Chet inadvertently got me my job with Amos Press when he hired away the late Russ Rulau in the Spring of 1974, part of a migration of Coin World and World Coins Magazine staffers that included Jim Fulton and Arnold Jeffcoat; years late my one-time co-workr Courtney L. Coffing would follow.

I had often wondered at the location of major numismatic periodicals in small town like Sidney and Iola; even the "Red Book" appeared from Racine, Wis., not exactly New York or San Francisco. Labor costs were always cited in explaining this reality... I was very aware of Chet's summation on "those New Yorkers who talk with their hands!"

However that may have been, now that we have received his final "30," he will be sorely missed.

Books About Chester Krause and Krause Publications
Bruce Smith writes:

I just finished a story about the late Chet Krause for the Journal of East Asian Numismatics, which is back in publication, online and free. His influence extended far beyond the numismatic world. I just wanted to mention three books I know of about Chet and Krause Publications:

Just Plain Chet: The History of Krause Publications by Michael J. Goc (1992)

Pioneer Publisher: The Story of Krause Publications' First 50 Years by Arlyn G. Sieber (2001)

I'm Chet: The Autobiography of Chet Krause by Arlyn G. Sieber (2008)

I have the first and third book, and just ordered the 2001 work. When I worked for Krause in the mid 1970's, I believe I saw in the office a small history of the company, probably published in 1972 for their 20th anniversary. I don't remember any of the details, except that it began with a story by Chet. He had been gone on a trip for a week, and when he entered the office on Monday, he said to the receptionist "I'm back" to which she replied, "Oh, were you gone?" The point of the story was that the company even then was running smoothly even when he wasn't around.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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