We were all shocked and saddened to learn this week of the passing of researcher, author and longtime E-Sylum contributor David Lange.
E-Sylum Feature Writer and
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this bio/obituary.
Thank you. Elsewhere in this issue we have Pete's second, more personal article, as well as one by Dennis Tucker.
David W. Lange (1958-2023) Just the Facts
David W. Lange was a popular writer and friendly face at the NGC table during the ANA
conventions. He was born in San Francisco on August 29. 1958. He graduated from San Mateo
College and was employed as a senior design drafter for Pacific Gas and Electric from 1980 to
Dave began collecting coins in 1965 and was active with numismatic organizations in the Bay
Area. He served as president of the Liberty Numismatic Society and the Pacific Coast
Numismatic Society in 1988 to 1989. Later he was president of the California State Numismatic
Society 1993 to 1994. In 1994 he served on
M.I.N.T. (Maintain and Improve a Numismatic
Treasure) which was a mayor's committee to save the old San Francisco Mint Museum. In
addition to collecting U.S. coins series, he collected coinage of the Philippines and wrote that
chapter for the Red Book.
He wrote articles for the local clubs and was editor for The Bulletin of the Pacific Coast
Numismatic Society for 1984 to 1986 and editor for The Journal of the Pacific Coast Numismatic
Society 1986 to 1988. He contributed a column on
The Bookworm during 1984 to 1992.
In 1994 he moved to New Jersey to take a position as director of research for NGC. He served as
president of the New Jersey Numismatic Society during 2000 to 2001. He moved with the
company to Sarasota, Florida.
He married Alba Iris Acosta on August 18, 2001. They issued a commemorative token stating
that they were married in Parsippany, New Jersey. The actual location was Mountain Lake, New
Jersey. The Patrick Mint struck 1000 of the tokens. Later 99 remainders were slabbed by NGC.
The couple was divorced in 2012.
Articles in The Numismatist caught the attention of editor Barbara Gregory who recruited Lange
to write a regular column for The Numismatist, His column
Back to Basics ran from February
1988 to December 1989, followed by
No Worse for Wear January 1990 to December 1992.
After a break he returned with
From One to 70 during April 1996 to June 2002 and
Album from July 2002 until August 2022. He also contributed occasionally to the
Dave was an instructor at the ANA Summer Seminar for several years teaching a course on
Collecting U. S. Type Coins.
Lange wrote ten books on numismatic topics.
The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels (DLRC Press 1992).
The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes (DLRC Press 1993).
The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents (DLRC Press 1996).
History of the United States Mint and its Coinage (Whitman 2005).
A Guide Book of Modern U. S. Proof Sets (Whitman 2005).
He collaborated with Richard S. Montgomery on Grading Guide for Modern U. S. Coins (2004).
Lange's special interest was in coin boards, folders and albums and the people who produced
them. He formed a publishing company, PennyBoard Press™ to publish a series of books.
Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930's & 1940's (2007).
Coin Collecting Albums – A Complete History and Catalog Volume One: The National Coin
Album & Related Products of Beistle, Raymond & Meghrig (2013).
Coin Collecting Albums – A Complete History and Catalog Volume Two: Library of Coins
Treasury of Coins (2016).
Coin Collecting Albums – A Complete History and Catalog Volume Three: Whitman Publishing
Company Folders and Albums 1940-1978 (2020).
He also published a quarterly newsletter, Coin Board News.
Lange received honors from several numismatic organizations. He was named a Numismatic
News Numismatic Ambassador in 1994. The ANA presented their Lifetime Achievement Award to him in 2009. He was named the ANA Numismatist of the Year in 2017. In 2017 NGC issued a sample slab congratulating David on the award. The Numismatic Literary Guild awarded him their highest honor, The Clemy Award in 2018.
He was on the Coin World list of The Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020 and again in 2022. He was a member of The Rittenhouse Society and Mensa.
Lange had a bout with cancer that he survived but was unable to survive a reoccurrence. He was
in hospice care and died at home in Bradenton, Florida, on January 16, 2023.
I always looked forward to Dave's emails and seeing him at shows like the Baltimore Whitman Expos. His Coin Board News was a great source of interesting hobby facts which he gladly shared with E-Sylum readers. I knew about his remission and recurrence. His correspondence got fewer and farther between, but he was looking forward to being able to resume visiting shows in the spring. I'd sent him a "How ya Doin'" note just about a week ago, and feared the worst when I didn't hear back. We'll miss you, Dave. Thanks for your hefty contributions to the hobby.
Here's an excerpt from an article posted on the NGC website.
Lange was one of the world's leading coin experts, an author of numerous books, a recipient of some of the highest honors in numismatics and an integral member of the NGC team.
Numismatic Guaranty Company® (NGC®) is deeply saddened by the passing of its longtime Research Director, David W. Lange. One of the world's leading experts on coinage, he passed away on Monday, January 16, 2023, following a battle with cancer.
"Dave was a talented numismatic researcher and writer, with a great wit," said Mark Salzberg, Chairman of the Certified Collectibles Group. "There aren't many who could stand next to him in his field, and we are endlessly fortunate that he chose to work at NGC. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy that not only touches the NGC family but the entire numismatic community."
"Dave was the quintessential numismatist, and he was one of those rare individuals who could express his incredibly vast and comprehensive knowledge eloquently via the spoken or written word," commented Rick Montgomery, NGC President and Finalizer. "His body of work will be referenced for years to come, and his legacy will be found in the dedication and passion discovered in those works. His was a talent that will be sorely missed in numismatics."
"Fortunately, Dave gave us a large corpus of articles and books both to remember him and to learn from. Even when writing about technical matters, his writing is so elegant and fluid as to seem effortless. This was due to a combination of his natural talent and his true mastery of the subject," said Scott Schechter, NGC Chief Numismatist and Finalizer. "When re-reading his works, those of us who knew him personally get the extra benefit of hearing, in his own voice, snippets of his sharp wit and clever humor judiciously peppered throughout. He made a great contribution to US numismatics and left a legacy that will surely grow."
"I had the good fortune of working with Dave for over 20 years. He loved good conversation, and we all loved his stories and witty humor — Yes, he could be very funny!," said David Camire, NCS President and NGC Finalizer. "Professionally, he was in a league of his own, an extremely knowledgeable and prolific writer who contributed greatly to numismatics. Dave was a good friend, whom I will miss."
"Though he was a towering figure in numismatics, I especially cherished Dave Lange as a person," shared David Vagi, NGC Ancients Director and Finalizer. "He was caring, honest, generous, hard-working and fun. His sense of humor was tremendous and will be sorely missed. We are fortunate that Dave loved coins and that he dedicated his professional life to them, for our field is greatly enriched by his many and lasting contributions."
To read the complete article, see:
In Memoriam: David W. Lange, NGC Research Director
George Kolbe writes:
"Dave Lange was one of the good guys. He was one of the best of the good guys. Dave will be sorely missed. It was an honor to know him."
Bob Van Ryzin writes:
"Sorry to hear of David Lange's passing. The hobby has lost one its greats."
American Numismatic Association Executive Director Kim Kiick writes:
"So very sad. I thought very highly of David and have been in touch with him briefly this year. "
Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger writes:
"David Lange was a frequent NNP user and contributor, who I worked with on titles ranging from Hobbies to the little-known Whitman Coin Supply Merchandiser. He was of course most recently known for his indefatigable work on coin boards, documenting known varieties, building a definitive reference collection, and trading examples via ebay.com and other forums. More broadly, Lange was an expert on the history of the hobby, and his institutional knowledge will be sorely missed."
John and Nancy Wilson write:
"Once again, our numismatic hobby has lost one of our hobbies' greatest numismatists. David Lange (1958-2023) was a tremendous asset to all hobbyist when he worked for Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) as the Director of Research. Because of his health problems it wasn't long ago that he left NGC. David was the Awards Coordinator for the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) in 2022. He was also the author of more than nine books on United States coins and related subjects. David also wrote numerous articles for all kinds of numismatic publications including The Numismatist. He also was an instructor at the annual ANA Summer Seminar 'Coin Camp'. His reference on Coin Boards helped collectors and dealers all over the world know exactly when these Coin Boards started right up to today. Over the years David was the recipient of several NLG Awards. We remember finding Coin Boards that he didn't have and at times just gave them to him. Besides the early coin folders (boards) he also loved the early business coin folders that had coins included in them. Besides his great love for Coin Boards and folders, he was also an expert on Die Varieties.
"It was also very nice to see David at many of the conventions our paths crossed and say "hello" to each other. For all his many years of service working to make our hobby better he received numerous awards. He received the coveted Krause Publications Numismatic Ambassador Award in 1994. For David's dedicated service to ANA David was awarded two Presidents Awards, in August 1994 and April 2008. In 2009, the ANA awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award. We will always remember when he received that award saying,
I am too young to get this award, and we say to that,
was he too young? In 2017, David received the Numismatist of the Year Award. Though he is gone he will never be forgotten for his many and countless contributions to our great numismatic hobby. All our prayers, sympathies, and thoughts to his family at this very sad and great loss."
Here are additional comments from the numismatic press. First, CoinWeek.
Numismatist David McCarthy said,
David was one of the first people in the business who was a serious numismatist that I met. I met him the first time I went to Summer Seminar. He was so open and respectful… and he treated me as if I were a peer almost immediately… that made me feel like I was truly a part of this community. With David, there was no ego. He had nothing to prove. He just really, really loved coins… and loved people.
Doug Plasencia has worked alongside David at NGC since 2011. He looks back at his friend with great fondness.
It was an honor to me back in early 2011 when Dave sought me out to come to NGC to be their lead photographer. Over the years of working with Dave, it always amazed me at the amount of knowledge Dave had about all aspects of coin collecting, as well as his love of coin boards. It was another honor of mine to photograph his collection of coin boards for the books he wrote. I will truly miss Dave and I will always be thankful for the opportunity he gave me.
CoinWeek Editor Charles Morgan worked with David on a number of issues, including the Numismatic Literary Guild's (NLG) annual writer's competition. Charles remembers that David was someone whose work mostly flew under the radar.
At NGC, much of his research and writing did not receive a Lange byline. For the most part, if you learned about something from an article published by NGC, you were learning from David. But throughout all of his professional work, he retained his passion for what brought him into coins in the first place. Those of us in the hobby hold special respect for people like David, Charles said.
We have lost a great one.
To read a CoinWeek article, see:
Numismatist David W. Lange Has Passed Away
To read a COIN World article, see:
David W. Lange, 64, dies following struggle with cancer
Wayne Homren, Editor
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