The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 27, July 3, 2022, Article 16

JACK H. ROBINSON (1941-2021)

American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on Large Cent specialist Jack Robinson. Thanks! -Editor

Robinson Jack H.01 The July issue of The Numismatist notes the death of Jack Robinson. There was also a notice in Penny-Wise last year but his death was not noted in The E-Sylum. Here are a few of my comments and recollections.

His name may have been John Harold Robinson, born in San Diego on December 11, 1941. He was the son of a naval officer and moved frequently during his childhood. Jack graduated from Benjamin Franklin University with a B.C.S. degree and became a Certified Public Accountant. He applied his interest in computers to develop a successful business providing accounting software to clients around the world.

Jack was married to Linda and had two daughters. A second marriage was to Hue To Robinson.

Jack joined Early American Coppers (EAC) as member 1308 in 1981. I met him when he joined a group of us for dinner at the EAC convention in Cincinnati in 1982. He made an immediate impression as a strong buyer at the 1982 EAC sale. By that fall he had become a player in the auction market and Denis Loring referred to him as Mr. X in his report of an October sale at Stack's.

At the EAC convention in 1983, Jack acquired Denis Loring's set of the cents of 1794. Mr. X became known as a major force in the market.

I had an intention to compile a price guide for early large cents and submitted my first article on Large Cent Auction Results in 1982. Jack had similar goals. In the September 15, 1983, issue of Penny-Wise, he announced publication of Copper Quotes by Robinson. I deferred to Jack and let him produce the price guides. That was a wise decision.

Jack joined Richard E. McLaughlin to conduct sales under the company name of McLaughlin and Robinson. Their first sale was in May of 1983. The company faded after Jack sold his collection in 1989.

Jack joined Del Bland and Denis Loring to form the EAC Grading Committee to offer opinions on the grades of early copper coins. This had the casual approval of the club but had no official status.

Doctor Sheldon created the 70-point grading system, the condition census and a system for establishing the value of cents. This reflected the market for the generation of collectors that operated prior to publication of the book. The system became obsolete shortly after publication.

Robinson's CQR with frequent updates educated collectors on the importance of condition and influenced the generation of collectors that followed his publication. It also allowed dealers to apply CQR prices to coins that were optimistically graded. CQR was only intended to apply to coins that were graded according to conservative EAC standards.

My friend and mentor, Dick Punchard, had a nice set of the cents of 1793, but never got a Sheldon-7. None had appeared at auction in about twenty years. Then three came to auction in the Floyd Starr sale of June 13, 1984. Jack acquired the F-15 example from the Starr sale. This gave Jack a duplicate that I was able to acquire in 1986.

The key to completing a collection of early cents is the Sheldon-79 variety. When one comes up for sale, the community probably has an idea who is likely to be the next owner. Jack's turn came at the 1986 sale of the Robinson S. Brown collection. Jack became the seventh known collector to form a complete collection of Sheldon varieties. In turn, with the sale of his collection, the coin was passed to G. Lee Kuntz.

Jack was owner of Nutech providing commercial laundry services to large hotels. They used a computerized system to track workflow and manage inventory. With his early cent collection completed, he offered his collection for sale to raise finds to expand the laundry business. This was one of the big event sales conducted by Superior in the 1980's with pre-sale parties and excited participation from EAC members.

I have given talks with the topic of I Collect Weird Stuff. An example is a lot I acquired at the Robinson sale. The 1794 Sheldon-33 is known as the wheel-spoke variety. Lot 54 was an early die state S-33 that does not show the wheel spokes. That's the one I bought at the sale.

  NuTech Round.01

The last time I saw Jack was at the 2012 EAC/JRCS convention in Buffalo. I had dinner one evening with Jack and his wife. They talked about Jack's current business venture that involved sterilizing water in ships ballast tanks with ozone. There is a saying that invention is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. The impression I got from Jack is that ninety percent was dealing with government regulation.

Jack H. Robinson died at home on February 18, 2021. I could not find a published obituary on the web. His date of death was not in Penny-Wise or The Numismatist. I got his date of death in an email exchange with his widow.

The hobby owes a great deal to Pete for his longstanding efforts to locate, compile and publish all manner of important numismatic information, from coin auction appearances and ownership chains, to collector biographies like this. Many thanks for submitting these for publication here in The E-Sylum. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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