Harvey Stack submitted these recollections about the founding of Numismatic News, the flagship publication of the Krause Publications empire.
It was so sad to read that F & W publications had to declare bankruptcy.
The growth of numismatic papers after the second World War, was developed by Chet Krause in the later part of 1950 or early 1951
I met Chet during this early period when he came to visit my Uncle Joseph who was one of the senior members of Stack's at that time. Both Chet and
Joseph became friends on the road,while attending coin shows all over America.
Chet came in to visit us at that time,when I first met him, to discuss the growth of numismatics with my uncle.
Chet started the chat with a question. " Joe" he said, I am in the printing business, as you know , in Iola, Wisconsin. Having visited many coin
shows and convention, I am of the opinion that numismatics is growing, especially since the Mint is continuing making Commemorative Half Dollars, and also is
striking some 50,000 Proof sets again, since 1950. A great increase since 1942 , when they ceased to making Proofs because of World War II. I feel that the
hobby has been revived somewhat, the economy is getting better, people are starting to collect again, and since most publications are monthly issues, the
information to help people learn and become aware of the market for coins, is needed, and a weekly paper , sent by mail to subscribers will help the hobby
continue to grow. So, Joe, I plan to start a weekly publication with Coin Information in it, and hope to create a larger market for Numismatics."
"However , Joe, that's why I am here.I admire the way your firm has grown, and the activity I see in your shop with collectors of all ages, and
know how you have grown, and have the experiences that could guide me to go ahead !!!"
"So Joe, I came to ask you, since you are so well versed in the hobby, have had responses of great note, not only for your retail and mail order
business, but have conducted many of the important sales for the last decade or more, WHAT DO YOU THINK ? AM I CRAZY TO TRY TO PUBLISH COIN INFORMATION ON A
WEEKLY BASIS, TO COMPETE WITH THE FEW PUBLICATIONS THAT PUBLISH ONCE A MONTH, AND EVEN THE ANA 'Numismatist" only comes out monthly, do you think I am
right to go weekly ?"
My uncle, while I was listening to this conversation, jumped out of his chair and reached his hand out to shake Chet's and shouted, " Chet, you are
going to be a Godsend for the hobby. A weekly publication will keep people interested more so in the hobby, give them news that is not month's old, and I
feel that you will be the best ' SHOT IN THE ARM' for the hobby !"
"Wow. Joe, you are very encouraging and I am happy I came in to discuss this with you. Joe, on your recommendation, I plan to go ahead, and thank you
for the encouragement you gave to me "
That to me was watching history about to happen.For over a half a century, NUMISMATIC NEWS was published weekly, had a great audience for decades,
and I was there when "history was made"
So to see a numismatic publication, possibly cease to exist, is very heart sickening for me, and I am sure the others who remember back to the birth of a
weekly publication will feel as sad as I do right now.
Maybe Numismatic News, and the other books and references published out of Iola will be taken over and become once again an important asset to the
I would hate to see it die, like other publications I witnessed in the past, and surely not want to see it just fade away, for it was confirmed to start at
Stack's and like Stack's Bowers now, I would love to see it continue.
Harvey G. Stack
Co Founder, Stack's Bowers
I feel strongly that the Krause numismatic businesses can be revived, but it would take a strong commitment to return to basics. Ridding itself of debt is
only the first step. Go back to the kitchen table where Chet Krause started Numismatic News, and start over. Today's technology is a must, but are
pricey high-end New York Times style systems the only solution? Auction houses certainly need that level of technology today, and the expense of these systems
is what has driven consolidation in the business.
But publishing doesn't have to be that complicated. I started The E-Sylum as a one-man effort and with a couple part-time helpers today we
publish some thirty articles a week. Owen Linzmayer is a one-man publisher with The Banknote Book world paper money catalog. Our products are
high-quality and sought after by readers. Hopefully all the Krause numismatic publications will find good new homes with owner-operators who care about their
niche and community, and work hard to rebuild sustainable businesses.
The comment from one of F + W's managers ("I built the NY Times website, I know what I'm doing.") came to mind this week as I was reading
about systems theorist John Gall. -Editor
Gall spent forty years pediatrizing in private practice. Along the way, he published several books about systems: what makes them work and why they fail. I
learned about Gall through the Law he coined:
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and
cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.
Gall's Law explains why imitating winners is a trap. The complex systems that work for someone at the peak of their productivity and success evolved
from simple ones over time. Adopting these methods at the beginning of your own journey "never works and cannot be patched up to make it work."
Shun complexity. If you're writing your first or second book, you need "a working simple system" for organizing your ideas and getting words
on the page. If you're starting a podcast, buying the same high-end rig some NPR alum uses in their home studio is just going to slow you down. In the
words of computer scientist Donald Knuth, "premature optimization is the root of all evil." This applies just as much to book outlines as it does to
To succeed, start with the simplest possible system: butt in chair. Let it evolve from there.
To read the complete article, see:
the only system that works
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS PARENT FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Wayne Homren, Editor
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