The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 3, January 17, 2021, Article 8


London dealer Richard Lobel submitted these remembrances of fellow dealers Hans and Jacques Schulman. Thank you! -Editor

Hans and Jacques Schulman

As I knew both of them quite well, I would like to submit my memories of both of them. Perhaps your readers might enjoy a trip in the past.

Yes, they were related but they were as they say in Britain, like chalk and cheese. But then again if you have 200 dealers in a room, they will do things in 200 different ways. Each will think they are correct and most will earn a living. Coin dealers are different from real people.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Richard Lobel, I was born in Boston, Mass but moved to London, England 52 years ago. I founded and own Coincraft – Britain’s Coin Shop. I have travelled all over the world in pursuit of coins and banknotes and used to average 250,000 kilometres a year in the air. I have been listed 14 times in the Guinness Book of World Records. I own one of Britain’s oldest and largest coin dealers, which only deals with collectors and we sell nothing as an investment. We publish The Phoenix every three weeks, as well as The BlueCard Flyer. Each year we publish in excess of 40 numismatic catalogues all in full colour for collectors. I have been privileged over the years to know and even call friends some of the most interesting dealers in coins and banknotes from all over the world. I saw in E-Sylum a note about the Schulmans and wanted to add my remembrances.

Jacques ran an old fashioned numismatic company which reflected the history of the firm and its handsome location. It is still my ideal of a coin dealer, what a real coin dealer should look like. I would get off at the airport, jump into a taxi and ask for number 448. As I would usually try to visit two or three countries in as many days, speed was of the essence. Once I became known to Schulman, by making repeated visits, I was given free reign of the safes, including the medallion cabinets in the hallway. Mrs. Schulman would come up to say hello from downstairs, where she ran the antiquities department. I would then go from safe to safe, hoping to find something special or even a bargain.

Being allowed to go through the safes I often found interesting coins that I wouldn’t have known to ask for. They used circular tickets to write up their coins and every time they raised a price, they would clip off the old price. Some of their tickets looked like cog wheels with all their price changes. Personally I would have used a pencil. When they had a new group or hoard, they would allow you to buy one or perhaps two pieces, but that was the limit. On a personal basis, I loved the long wall of medallion cabinets in the hallway, stacked up so high that some were difficult to look in. I love medallions, because the engraver has so much more space and scale to work with. And they commemorate current events even when those events were hundreds of years old. Like a kid in a candy shop I was.

Their auctions were legendary and in true European fashion the bidders were extremely well looked after. The tables in the auction room, no single chairs for them, were stacked with bottles of water and other drinks. They held dinners to entertain the bidders in the evenings. The younger dealers, such as myself, were taken out to where the younger people met. After all, they realised that today’s young dealer is tomorrow's established dealer. They were old fashioned but they always did it with class and style. I will always remember Jacques smoking his small cigars and the ash falling on his vest, smiling as a deal was agreed. He was my ideal coin dealer.

I loved Hans, although I only got to really know him and his wife Zita when they moved to Spain. I had met and knew him, but we had never done that much business. Whenever they would come to London, we would always have dinner together. It was something I looked forward to. Anyone who knew Hans was aware of what a great storyteller he was, making those dinners an event. He was always so cheerful, the glass was always half full, even when things were not at their best. I never knew his New York business, but believe that it was based on both an office and auctions. The auctions were famous or infamous for their freedom of descriptions. He had a way with words. One auction that I will always remember had this very long paragraph describing a rare coin, ending the description with the word ‘Unique’. The next lot read ‘another the same’ ‘Unique’ as did the two following lots.

He had a number of ex-wives to whom he was paying alimony. His auctions were a delight not only because of their content but also because of the deals he did with the owners. He did some fantastic auctions of odd and curious money as well as ancient coins for collectors, they were classics. The question was asked about why he left America, I think I can answer that.

Hans, because of his constant need for money to pay his ex-wives, got conned by a con man. There is a book out that covers most of this, with Han’s identity lightly hidden. His being conned took just one chapter, but put an end to his business. The con man took over the company, promising Hans a chance to make real money. He re-named it Schulman Coin and Mint and then sold shares to the public, playing on The Franklin Mint success. From what I understand they were using Han’s knowledge to write the coins up and then the con man would greatly enhance the retail prices and use the newly priced coins for collateral at the bank. They were able to borrow a fixed percentage of the retail price from the bank. I am not sure that they were even interested in selling coins. More money was to be made from selling shares and borrowing money from the bank. When it all went wrong, within a year or two, they found out that the inventory was greatly and I do mean greatly inflated. I know someone who bought some of the inventory from the auction. I believe he paid 5% of the so-called ‘retail’, even then he paid too much.

Everyone lost money and Hans, while not guilty of any wrongdoing, felt it was easier to retire to Spain. After all as a European, even after that many years in America he was still a European. Spain was chosen because of the nice weather, inexpensive cost of living and the freedom it provided. Hans is of course best known for his being King Farouk of Egypt’s coin dealer. I never knew him at that time, but many years later I bought some of the dies from him that he had used to strike coins for Farouk. But that as they say is another story.

He once saved my hide when I made a serious error. I had bought a group of the crown-sized German patterns struck by Goetz. There were I think, six pieces but they were piedforts in gold and as such extremely rare. Without checking I assumed that they were ex-King Farouk. I sold them to an overseas collector, telling him that they were ex-Farouk. Later he got a copy of the famous Farouk auction catalogue and these pieces were not listed. The sale I had made was for $20,000 which was a hell of a lot of money at the time. Being young I had already flittered the money away. Making a refund very difficult. Hans got me out of that problem, but that again is another story as they say.

I am both proud and honoured to have known both Schulmans. Both were an important part of our numismatic history and both were gentlemen. Today’s dealers are so boring compared to the old school…

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 10, 2021 : Jeff Zarit on Hans and Jacques Schulman (

To visit the website of Richard's CoinCraft, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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