Serial entrepreneur and Franklin Mint founder Joe Segel has passed. Here's an excerpt from a Philadelphia Enquirer article published December 22, 2019. -Editor
Joseph M. Segel, 88, a prolific entrepreneur who founded home-shopping network QVC and collectibles maker Franklin Mint, along with nearly two dozen other businesses,
died Saturday in Gladwyne of congestive heart failure.
Mr. Segel started his first business at age 12, ran four before he graduated college, and never stopped trying new ideas even if his concepts sometimes failed. He was most
successful in publishing, marketing, and minting, but he also created photography, aviation, and software companies, and he turned an old retirement home into a top-rated luxury
hotel in the Swiss Alps. His most recent business venture, HairRx, a hair care system, was launched in 2018.
"He was universally admired and respected in every industry he touched," his son Alan said. "He only left a trail of happiness, wealth and success for others. That's his
Mr. Segel was born and raised in West Philadelphia, the oldest of Albert and Fannie Segel's two children. His father was a partner at a small real estate firm, his mother an
active figure in the community.
After his 1947 high school graduation, Mr. Segel enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. But he kept up with his businesses, developing a personalized desk sign business
and then the Advertising Specialty Institute, a trade association of sorts that also printed a directory of advertisers.
After graduating from Penn in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree, Mr. Segel enrolled at the Wharton School to get an MBA but, according to Alan Segel, he was too distracted
with his business endeavors to focus on class. He dropped out, a decision that certainly didn't impede his future success.
A year after marrying his second wife, Doris Greenstein in 1964 (Renee was his first wife), Mr. Segel saw pictures of people lined up around the Treasury Department to buy the
last silver dollars minted by the U.S. government. That would inspire a new business venture. The National Commemorative Society made and sold sterling silver commemorative medals
honoring American history events and people. The first medal commemorated five-star Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
But Mr. Segel was disappointed with the quality of work from his subcontractor. So, he created his production company for coins and other collectibles, General Numismatics
Corp., which later became the Franklin Mint, which was based in Wawa, Delaware County, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The brand name is currently owned by New
York-based Sequential Brands Group.
"QVC was his biggest accomplishment but his pride was Franklin Mint because Franklin Mint was so his baby. He built it from zero," Alan Segel said. "Franklin Mint started
with making a few coins literally and he bought a few presses and he minted coins and he looked for a better way to do it. … It evolved totally from the seed of his creative mind
and it became quite large, a publicly traded, largest private mint in the world at one point."
Mr. Segel's travels around the world on behalf of Franklin Mint and as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly spurred two other businesses: one
successful, the other not so much.
Mr. Segel attempted to retire in 1983 after developing a PC software testing business, which was subsequently bought by McGraw-Hill. Restless by 1986, he decided to improve
upon the Florida-based Home Shopping Network by shipping products within days instead of weeks and disclosing shipping fees up-front. He called the new business QVC Network, the
initials for Quality Value Convenience.
He recruited several of the vice presidents he had hired at Franklin Mint to help launch and later manage QVC, based in West Chester. The channel now reaches more than 23
million customers worldwide and is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world.
Mr. Segel retired as chairman of QVC in 1993 but continued to serve as an executive consultant to management for another 20 years.
At the time of his death, Mr. Segel was in hospice care at Waverly Heights.
To read the complete article, see:
Joseph M. Segel, 88, founder of QVC and Franklin Mint, dies
For much more information on Mr. Segel and the Franklin Mint, see the earlier E-Sylum articles, linked below. -Editor
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
INTERVIEWS WITH JOE SEGEL AND CHARLES ANDES OF THE FRANKLIN MINT (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v11n08a21.html)
MORE ON FRANKLINIUM (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n13a25.html)
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FRANKLIN MINT (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v18n13a14.html)
DAVID GANZ ON FRANKLIN MINT FOUNDER JOSEPH SEGEL (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v18n14a06.html)
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE FRANKLIN MINT (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n01a20.html)
MORE ON JULIAN'S MEDALS OF THE U.S. MINT (https://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n02a11.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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