Longtime Philadelphia coin dealer Catherine Bullowa has passed at the age of 97. -Editor
From a May 17, 2017 email to members of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG):
We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of a true icon, Catherine Bullowa-Moore. She was Life Member number 3, one of the founding PNG members when the organization was formally
launched in 1954. Catherine was a good friend and mentor to many in the hobby and profession. She received the first PNG Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and for her decades of goodwill she
received the PNG's Art Kagin Ambassador Award in 2013. Catherine passed peacefully in her sleep on Monday night, at the age of 97. She will be missed.
Harvey Stack writes:
I met Catherine in the early days of my numismatic career. It was in 1947 that I traveled to Philadelphia to buy a collection and stopped into the numismatic shop of David M. Bullowa on
18th Street, I met Catherine then who was working for David and learned a few years later that they married.
David died in 1953 and Catherine decided to continue the numismatic business and eventually changed the name to The Coin Hunter. She was a well taught and active numismatist and became friends to
many of the coin collectors in Philadelphia. She became active in many of the clubs in the Pennsylvania area, as well as those in New Jersey and New York. She loved the hobby and the people who were
active in coin collecting.
She was active in the American Numismatic Association and attend many of the meetings of the American Numismatic Society in New York City. She was highly respected by her clients and collegues.
She was active in many of the shows about the country and would man her table with great enthusiasm for those who stopped by.
She knew a great deal about numismatics, having been initially trained by her husband when she worked with him for many years, and had the opportunity of meeting and learning from the core of
great numismatists who lived in or near Philadelphia, As she got older she became somewhat frail, but her memory and knowledge of numismatics were with her till the day she passed away. All who knew
her admired her skills and personality, and once you met her, she always remembered you, and would tell a story about the early days when coins were considered a "fun hobby."
We all will miss her greatly, but she left a legacy for woman in numismatics which is envied by all
At the suggestion of Alan Weinberg I included this circa 1953 photo of David and Catherine Bullowa taken from the Winter 2014 issue of ANS Magazine. Thanks. Also, Here are a
couple more photos provided by George Cuhaj. -Editor
Catherine with David Bullowa c1953; at 2011 NY International
2012 Wall Street Bourse (Joy Moore is in red behind Catherine)
PNG Secretary James Simek penned the following remarks, passed along to us by Donn Pearlman. Thanks. -Editor
Grande Dame of Numismatics Passes Away at 97
By James A. Simek, PNG Secretary
Catherine Bullowa-Moore, a very highly respected Philadelphia coin dealer for six and one-half decades, passed away peacefully May 15, 2017. She was 97 years of age and was originally from
Larchmont, New York. She was likable, charming, engaging and very interested in educating people about the joys of numismatics. She was particularly fond of talking to youngsters about coins because
she felt they represented the future of the hobby.
I first met Catherine in 1966, I believe, at a coin show in downtown Chicago. I was a teenager with very little money to spend, and I let her know that. She graciously spent time visiting with me
and even let me have a coin on “memo” since I did not have enough money with me to pay for it (at the time I did not even know what “memo” meant!). I was taken aback, since we had just met and did
not really know each other, but she said “that’s OK, I trust you.” That left an indelible mark and led to a friendship that has endured for more than half a century. She is one of the reasons I am in
this profession today.
After marrying David Bullowa, one of America’s premier professional numismatists, Catherine was thrust into the rare coin business when David died unexpectedly in October 1953 after only 1-1/2
years of marriage. Although approached by numerous dealers who wanted to purchase the business name and location, Catherine was determined to make a career of it herself. “Determined” is a good word
to describe Catherine. She was independent, strong-willed and extremely capable and was admired by many for having these traits.
She had acquired a love of coins from her late husband and, in his memory, decided to continue the business. Keep in mind that, at the time, there were only a handful of female coin dealers in the
entire country so this presented quite a challenge for the young lady who had majored in zoology at Connecticut College.
Catherine loved to read and made good use of David’s extensive numismatic library. She studied not only United States coins and currency, but foreign and ancient coins as well. It was not long
before she was a self-taught expert in several aspects of numismatics.
In 1959, Catherine married Earl E Moore, an autographs and manuscripts specialist. Their union was to last 41 years. They were frequent attendees at coin shows and conventions throughout the
country and both of them enjoyed the camaraderie and interactions with old friends that these opportunities afforded.
Through the years, Catherine held membership in numerous professional and hobby- related organizations. Among them were the American Numismatic Society (ANS) of which she was a Life Fellow and to
which she contributed generously; the Royal Numismatic Society (RNS) of which she was a Fellow; the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN); the American Numismatic Association
(ANA) in which she held Life Membership #355; and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) where she had Senior Member status. She was also a founding member of the Professional Numismatists Guild
(PNG), and one of only a handful of individuals to have been given Life Member status (#3) by the organization.
Catherine received many awards and accolades throughout her illustrious career, and one she was quite pleased to receive was the PNG’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. She also
received their Art Kagin Numismatic Ambassador Award in 2013.
One achievement of which she was particularly proud was to have been chosen in 1965 as a member of the United States Assay Commission. Names were submitted by the Director of the Mint to the White
House where the final choices were made. Members would check random samples of the previous year’s coinage for weight and purity and membership in the Commission carried with it a great deal of
prestige. She also was a member of the Old Time Assay Commissioners’ Society and enjoyed that immensely.
Catherine’s rich legacy and fond memories remain with countless people she has come in contact with throughout her long and illustrious career in numismatics. She will be greatly missed by her
family, as well as by numerous friends and associates.
A number of people wrote tributes to her over at the Collectors Universe forum. Here's what MrHalfDime shared. -Editor
Catherine Bullowa was a class act, and a tribute to her profession. She always had time to talk coins with anyone who stopped by, and because of her many years in the profession, she had some
fascinating stories to tell.
I recall in one of her many 'CoinHunter' mail bid sales, in June of 1993, she had a significant listing of half dimes (approximately 150 pieces), listed as "Wonder Half
Dimes". I was the successful bidder on a few of these coins, particularly an AU-55 1832 LM-6/V11, listed at the time (before publication of the Logan/McCloskey reference) as an R4, and listed as
an R6 by Jules Reiver in 1986, and a condition census piece to this day.
I was curious about who might have been the consignor of these half dimes, wondering if they might be remnants of the long-lost Daniel W. Valentine collection. I once asked her who might have been
the consignor, and being the professional she was, she declined to reveal the consignor's identity. She then asked me why I wanted to know, and I told her that I wondered if they had any
connection to the Valentine collection. She smiled, and said that she could provide me with some interesting information about the consignor and the Valentine collection.
She said that her late first husband, David Bullowa, knew the consignor well, and the consignor was a friend of Valentines, and they often traded examples of half dimes. She was confident that
some, perhaps many, of the coins in this consignment, were once owned by Dr. Valentine. She was intrigued by my interest in the history of the coins, and gave me as much information about them as her
professional ethics would allow. I still have several pages of notes on her comments about the coins and consignor.
I will miss her smiling face, her candor, and her many stories about the history of the hobby. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her. May she rest in peace.
To read the complete discussion thread, see:
Catherine Bullowa Passed Away
A Thursday May 18, 2017 article published by Ursula Kampmann of CoinsWeekly alerted me to an article published by the American Society of Appraisers on her 94th birthday.
Hee's an excerpt. -Editor
The year was 1953 when Catherine E. Bullowa, ASA began the process to become Accredited Senior Appraiser. She had gained a love and admiration for coin collecting from her late husband David
Bullowa who owned a shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When David passed away in 1953, Catherine had a choice: sell the shop or run the business herself. She decided to move forward with both her
love of coins and the memory of David. “I took over. Started. Tried. And it worked! I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Catherine studied at Connecticut College before embarking on her appraising career. And the major? Not one you’d expect. “I was a Zoology major at Connecticut College and graduate din 1941. That’s
how I knew how to grade coins, from looking at things through a microscope and a magnifying glass.”
Her most memorable sale was an unlikely coin she bought off of a collector in 1965. She had purchased the entire collection and sold them off, piece by piece, but for some reason kept one coin. In
2004, the coin sold at auction for a little over $1M. “I was ready to faint. I didn’t even know how to write a million! But Ron Guth was the auctioneer and he helped me.”
Ron Guth writes:
Catherine Bullowa was one of my favorite people in the hobby. Circa 2005, when I was active as an auctioneer, Catherine invited me to Philadelphia to call a couple of her sales. Her daughter, Joy
(who is also a fine lady) was assisting Catherine and the two of them were a real pleasure to work with.
Catherine's sales were smallish affairs with a nice mix of collector coins and a few rarities. However, her December 2005 was something very different. Catherine decided to pull out a few of
her special coins and offer them for sale. The highlight of the auction was a 1795 Flowing Hair $1 (B-7, BB-18) in Gem condition. Catherine knew it was a special coin, but I think even she was
surprised when most of the big players began showing up for lot viewing.
I remember sitting in her office with Chris Napolitano, where we spent quite some time examining the coin, discussing it's merits, and guessing it's worth. I can't remember the opening
bid when the coin came up for sale, but it was substantial and it kept on climbing. I'm relying on ancient memory here, but I believe the bidding ended up between Don Ketterling and John
Gervasoni. I believe the lot was won on Don's cut bid of $1.1 million, yielding a hammer price of $1,265,000.
Catherine was stunned, obviously very happy but also shaken. It was one of those surreal moments when the ultimate buyer (who turned out to be D. Brent Pogue) met the ultimate coin owned by a very
special and deserving seller. I don't think Catherine, even in her wildest dreams, ever expected the coin to sell for so much, but it could not have happened to a nicer person.
After the coin sold, we took a short break to make sure everything was recorded properly and to revel in the moment. At the end of the sale, Catherine presented me with an unexpected gift - a
lime-green Tommy Bahama shirt. For my part in selling the coin, I received my usual fee of $1 per lot, a new item for my wardrobe, and one of the greatest memories of my career. I'll always
remember Catherine's beaming, incredulous face.
To read the complete articles, see:
A Century of Living History: Catherine Bullowa, ASA (http://www.appraisersnewsroom.org/?p=1113)
Icon of American numismatics passed away
To read the Pogue sale lot description, see: The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part II Lot #2042
I met Catherine just once, at her bourse table at an ANA convention. I remember thinking wow, was that THE Catherine Bullowa? I knew her late husband's reputation and he'd
died long before I was born. I lived at the other end of the state and never had the opportunity to visit her shop. What a great career she had. -Editor
To read her online obituary, see:
Catherine B. Moore
Wayne Homren, Editor
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