Harvey Stack's latest Stack's Bowers blog series focuses on growing up in a numismatic family. Here's part 9, published January 10, 2018. -Editor
With all the activity in the coin market in the early 1950s, plus the major sales Stack's was offering at public auction, the staff and all five members of the family were kept very busy.
Among the Stack family the work was divided. Morton was our chief cataloger, and he started to train Norman to continue this work, Joseph was really our "Man on the Road," for he traveled
endlessly from city to city, town to town, East to West, and North to South. He met and worked with clients, bought and sold coins and took consignments from collectors nationwide. Joe trained his
son Ben to also go on the road and Ben liked this part of the business. I ended up spending most of my time in the store, as a coordinator, manager, and personnel facilitator. I met and served many
collectors, young and old, some who had only a few dollars and some who had virtually unlimited funds. It was always our goal to provide the best service and to help build collections, hoping always
that when the collector decided to sell he would think of Stack's.
Of course, each of the young Stack's had to cover for each other and do all the different chores when needed. Each of us would travel, each would go to coin shows, each would catalog, each
would work at the counter and stock coins; we all worked together to make things happen. My father Morton was in charge of getting our catalogs out, and that could be nearly every month. However, I
also learned from him about printing. At that time illustrations were made photographically, then transferred to copper engravings, which were attached on blocks of wood, and inserted into catalogs
so the printer could create an illustrated catalog. I learned about photographing coins, about making the copper "cuts" for illustration, how they were inserted by hand among the linotype
stripes that were carrying the wording, about binding and even mailing the catalogs. In my early days, I traveled (at first with my father) down to Federalsburg, Maryland, where our printer operated.
I would wait while the catalog was set into type, the pages made, the catalog printed and mailed, and I would go home to our office with bound copies. It was the training I needed to do the job when
and if I had to.
Therefore, our seniors trained us to be junior professionals. We learned how to run a coin business, at a time when the field was growing in importance each year. It was an exciting time, a great
learning period, and the things I was taught stick with me to this very day. In addition to the senior Stacks there were many authors and collectors who helped and taught us. For example, Dr. William
Sheldon, the dean of large cents at the time, made use of our inventory, our offices and collections he could study in order to make a Condition Census, comprising the highest grade example of each
date and variety. He worked with my father Morton to write his first book, Early American Cents: 1793 -1814. It was first published in 1949 and quickly became the prime reference on early American
cents. Cornelius Vermeule, along with a collector who served with him in Japan, issued a specialize book on "Japanese Coinage" which Stack's published. The opportunities to learn during
this era of coin collecting were incredible.
To read the complete article, see:
Growing up in a Numismatic Family Part 9 (http://www.stacksbowers.com/News/Pages/Blogs.aspx?ArticleID=2810)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
HARVEY STACK'S NUMISMATIC FAMILY, PART 8 (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n54a17.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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