We lost another hobby stalwart this week - medal dealer Joe Levine. He was a member of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova, and will be greatly missed. Born April 15, 1940, he was 80 years old. Here's Pete Smith's entry for Joe on his American Numismatic Biographies book.
Born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Received B.S. from Lehigh University in 1962, LL.B. from George Washington University in 1965, LL.M. from Georgetown University in 1966 and MBA from American University in 1969. He taught as assistant professor of law at the American University in Washington, D. C. Married to Alice H. Hawes October 15, 1988. He has a daughter from a previous marriage.
Owner of Presidential Coin and Antique Company of Alexandria, Virginia, established in 1971. They joined with Bowers and Merena for the sale of the Julian Leidman and David Dreyfuss collections in 1986. Levine and Presidential conducted 83 auction sales 1969 through 2010.
Levine was on the board of directors of TAMS and president 1989 to 1990. He was honored by TAMS with one of their presidential medals. He served as vice president of the Civil War Token Society. He was a member of the 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005 Official Inaugural Medal Committees. He is a member of the ANA, ANS and other collector organizations. Received the Medal Collectors of America Carl W. A. Carlson Award in 2000.
He has contributed over 20 articles to The Numismatist. Co-author of "Exonumia Notebook," a monthly feature in The Numismatist. Author of Collectors Guide to Presidential Inaugural Medals and Memorabilia issued in 1981 at $8.95. He has also been a contributor to a number of books on tokens and medals.
To read the complete article, see:
Henry Joseph Levine
Joe's TAMS Medal (courtesy Pete Smith) and his book
Joe Levine examining a medal in a 2015 television report
Joe Levine reviewing medals at Neil Musante's table, Baltimore November 2016. Bruce Smith in foreground. Wayne Homren photo
Gene Brandenburg and Joe Levine, September 2016 Nummis Nova dinner
Joe Levine and Tom Kays, May 2015 Nummis Nova dinner
Charlie Davis writes:
"I took this photo in Baltimore at my table November 2015. Joe Levine, Charlie Wallace and Neil Musante."
David Menchell writes:
"Joe was the owner of Presidential Coin and Antique Company for many years and was known for his auctions of medals and tokens. He was a brilliant researcher; his catalogues contain a wealth of information and stand as models for in depth cataloguing. Joe was involved with the sale of Presidential Inaugural medals and served on the medal committees for several administrations. He also wrote an important reference on the subject.
Joe will be best remembered for his humor, intelligence and generosity. Whenever I called Joe with a question about a medal or token, he would always respond with a thoughtful, detailed answer. I always looked forward to his auctions held in conjunction with the Baltimore shows. They were low keyed affairs: most of the attendees knew each other, the personnel recording the results were often members of Joe's family and friends.
Joe would be fun to watch, commenting when he thought an item sold for a bargain price, encouraging someone to bid just one more turn to beat a book bid, and consoling a losing bidder not to feel badly since he would have had to go much higher to beat a strong book bid. I felt privileged to be included in Joe's inner circle when we would go to dinner at Morton's following the sales. As the saying goes, Joe was a gentleman and a scholar. He will be missed by all who were fortunate to have known him. "
Neil Musante writes:
"I was terribly saddened to learn of Joe’s passing. I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon with Joe and Alice this past October. He was struggling, but upbeat and at times it was like old times. Joe was a kind and good man and I enjoyed being in his company. Some of my fondest numismatic memories were attending his sales. They were always fun. He was always fun to be around and so knowledgable. I feel like I’ve lost a dear uncle. Deepest sympathy to his daughter, to Alice and to all those who knew and loved Joe."
Jimmy Hayes writes:
"Joe was a member of the official inaugural medals committee for Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and George Bush."
Jeff Rock writes:
"2021 was supposed to be better than this! I am saddened to hear of the loss of Joe; even though he had scaled back his involvement and those Presidential sales no longer arrived he was still everyone's go-to man when they had a question about a token or medal, and he shared his knowledge freely and fully. His auction catalogues are a treasure trove of information and I know many of us could barely wait to see what was in each one, ripping open the envelope the day it arrived and devoting a couple hours to joyful reading - and plotting our plan of attack, since we all knew who else was likely going to be interested in the same things we wanted. I'm glad these sales are on the Newman Numismatic Portal - they will be important references for centuries to come."
To read Joe's Presidential Coin & Antique catalogs on NNP, see:
Presidential Coin & Antique
Pete Smith writes:
"I am attaching the image of a medal produced by Levine and his first wife around 1977. There were 400 struck and sold at $3 for the benefit of the American Cancer Society."
At Nummis Nova we last saw Joe at our 2019 holiday dinner when he and his wife Alice joined us at Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, VA., which operated as a hotel and tavern from 1796 to 1808, twice hosting George Washington himself.
The room was candlelit and our servers were wearing late 1700s garb. It was a wonderful evening as chronicled in my earlier Numismatic Diary article.
Seated from left: Dee Homren, Julian Leidman, Wayne Herndon. Alice and Joe (back to camera) Levine. Standing: Joanne Schenkman. Photo by Wayne Homren
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: DECEMBER 22, 2019
Julian Leidman writes:
"I went back to the 1960's with Joe. While he was still studying, he was an active vest pocket dealer in the DC area. He used to take me to various PA shows and we spent many fun weekends together at these shows. I attended his admittance to the PA bar, as well. He was a very dear friend and will be sorely missed."
Chris Neuzil writes:
"I was saddened to hear about Joe. I was a coin collector beginning to notice medals in the mid 70s when a Boston dealer, Ralph Goldstone if I remember correctly, told me to look Joe up since I was moving to Virginia. How lucky for me that I did. Joe was incredibly knowledgeable, got me to buy Bob Julian's book, and encouraged my budding interest in early American medals. Thanks for everything, Joe."
Joe Esposito writes:
"I am deeply saddened to hear this. Joe was not only a great numismatist, but he was a very friendly person and a great storyteller."
Roger Burdette writes:
"Such a loss of a wonderful person."
Mike Packard writes:
"I enjoyed his stories at our dinners. He will be missed."
Howard Daniel writes:
"I never did any business with Joe but I did sit next him or across the Nummis Dinner table and we had some great conversations. He was always the gentleman and I cannot remember him ever treating anyone badly."
Eric Schena writes:
"I am so sorry to hear of Joe's passing. He was always great to talk to and hear his stories."
I had an additional opportunity to see Joe on November 3, 2020 when I
visited his home to pick up several boxes of auction catalogs and dealer pricelists from his library. I sorted through them, saved a number for the Newman Numismatic Portal and donated the rest to the local Fairfax Coin Club. Joe had been ill for a while, but he and Alice were doing well and were both in good spirits. I enjoyed the visit. Joe will be greatly missed.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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