At the suggestion of Pete Smith I reached out to the family of the late dealer James Fairfield for some information on his numismatic career. His son kindly sent this writeup and
image. Thanks, and thanks also to Ken Hallenbeck and Michael Schmidt who helped me contact the family. -Editor
JAMES WINSTON FAIRFIELD
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA
AUGUST 11, 1930 TO AUGUST 26, 2017
Jim discovered his affinity for coins while accompanying his mother on a shopping trip in the mid-1940's at a mezzanine level coin store in a local department store. He completed his
first collection, large cents within one year with wages from a neighborhood bakery at age 15. Large cents remained his lifetime favorite series. Dedication to the Army during Korean Conflict and
beginning a new life with his beloved wife, Helen were his main focus during the early 1950's.
Jim's interest for coins was rekindled in 1956. He and like-minded friends formed the Old Fort Coin Club, and Jim became member #7. In 1958, he joined the A.N.A. and held life member #627. Jim
continued to work tirelessly assisting in the formation of other clubs in Indiana and Ohio. Finally, Jim was a founding member of the Indiana Numismatic Association in 1959, holding membership
Throughout the late 1950's and 1960's, Jim traveled to shows buying and selling. In 1969, Jim purchased “Art Coins” in downtown Fort Wayne. It became a family business with his mother,
Dorothy and his son, Jim, Jr., working at the store.
From the 1970's to 2000's, the father/son team operated bourse tables at all the major shows. Jim had a quick smile, maybe a joke, and always fresh coins. In 1980, the downtown Fort Wayne
urban renewal, and the creation of a Bank building prompted Jim to move the coin shop to a suburban location. At the East State Street location, Art Coins became Fairfield Rare Coins. Jim then joined
the PNG in 1981. In 1989, Fairfield Rare Coins moved to its current location on Clinton Street. Worldwide travel was important and enjoyed by Jim and Helen, but foremost Jim was a family man. His
whole family is proud of what a great family leader and numismatist he was.
At age 87, a week prior to his passing, Jim was working in the store on buffalo nickels and currency doing what he loved. He passed surrounded by his 7 children, 22 grandchildren and wife Helen of
66 years. A Christian celebration and U.S. military ceremony were held in honor of him at his lifelong church, Concordia Lutheran Church.
Gary Adkins writes:
Jim was a great guy. He was a man of honor and integrity and he loved his family dearly.
Ken Hallenbeck of Colorado Springs, CO writes:
Jim Fairfield and I go way back in 1957 when I moved to Fort Wayne, Ind; we were in the Old Fort Coin Club and later the Indiana State Numismatic Association.(ISNA). I still belong to the Old Fort
Coin Club. Jim Sr. sold out to Jim Jr. but worked in the store, much as I do with my son, Tom.
To read Fairfield's online obituary, see:
In Memory of James W. Fairfield
Wayne Homren, Editor
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