In a series of blog posts, Harvey Stack has been writing about his family's role in helping form the Josiah K. Lilly Collection. Here's the latest installment (#25) -Editor
During the later part of 1960 and into 1961 Stack's continued to locate gold coins of the world to enhance the J.K. Lilly Collection.
Mr. Lilly made his annual fall visit to New York and he came in again in the spring on his return from Florida. He reviewed what we had acquired and talked with us about adding to his collection.
Of course he wanted to learn how the import regulations would affect our ability to get the coins he needed to keep his collection growing.
As mentioned earlier, during the administrations of President Eisenhower and Kennedy, the influx of counterfeit gold coins was hurting the buyers in the United States. The Treasury put the Office
of Gold and Silver Operations, (OGSO) in charge of controlling this and they instituted a licensing procedure for importation of any gold coin. As described before the procedure varied with each
application. Each package that contained gold coins needed a license when arriving or carried into the United States. The coins could be held at Custom Houses around the country until a license was
issued. Because the OGSO did not publish the requirements and what the criteria would be for a license, Stack’s searched within the United States for coins rather than fight for each import.
We did quite well the first few months of our purchasing, as many dealers were not fully aware of the import problems and willingly sold us coins from their inventories. But as the availability
dropped, it became more difficult to find new and fresh coins to add to the Lilly Collection.
We explained the entire problem to Mr. Lilly and he instructed us to proceed the best we could with the handicap we were encountering in getting new material.
I made our customary delivery to Mr. Lilly at Eagle's Nest and while there reviewed the progress we had made. He loved to study each coin to learn more about the coins and coin series. He
wanted to have a greater understanding of the monetary and political events that were taking place at the time of the minting of each coin in his collection.
During the period of 1962 and 1963 we were fortunate to be able to acquire some very special coins and offer them to Mr. Lilly. From earlier purchases he owed a legendary Brasher doubloon from
America's colonial period. It had come from Charles Green, a Chicago dealer who had links to the extensive Brand collection.
Now we were offered and bought privately the half Brasher doubloon, a unique piece. We learned that it was held in an old-time collection and that it was now for sale. We researched the piece and
confirmed it was genuine. We felt and Mr. Lilly agreed that it belonged in the Lilly Collection.
In 1962-1963 we offered for sale the Baldenhofer Collection, a cabinet that included many rare United States gold coins, and had, as part of the early half eagles, three varieties of the 1797. Two
of the three varieties found in the Baldenhofer Collection were often found in extensive half eagle collections: 1797 Small Eagle, 1797 15 Star Large Eagle, but our research could not find any
special reference to the 1797 16 Star Large Eagle. (No doubt this variety was struck as the dies for the others wore out!) We cataloged it as we saw it, and offered it as part of the sale. Before the
sale we learned that this was the only example known of that variety.
We bid on it for the Lilly Collection and purchased it. Now the Lilly Collection was unique in its own way. It had two unique gold coins of the United States and Mr. Lilly was delighted.
To read the complete article, see:
Building a World Class Numismatic Gold Coin Collection The Josiah K. Lilly Collection Part 25
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BUILDING THE LILLY COLLECTION, CONTINUED (www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n11a21.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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