The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 52, December 24, 2023, Article 6


Political Americana dealer Rex Stark passed away on December 14th. Alan Weinberg submitted this remembrance. -Editor

Rex Stark Ask Rex was a phrase widely used in the Americana collectibles and political ephemera field for many years. Rex Stark died in mid-December while hospitalized in Massachusetts for a multi years-long battle with cancer.

He'd been seen in recent years at major shows experiencing discomfort from medical treatments for cancer, all to little avail. Despite this, Rex was scheduled to attend FUN Orlando early January but fate intervened.

Rex lived for many decades with his wife Patti in Gardner, Massachusetts although they recently bought a second home in Tennessee.

Rex started his dealing / collecting in American smalls while working for and under the tutelage of Ben Corning who back in the 1970's issued fixed price catalogues. Rex went on to be super-knowledgeable in scrimshaw, American historical porcelain, political memorabilia and really rare American coinage, and widely encouraged and contributed to specialized book references in these fields.

Realizing a dealer cannot collect fields that compete with his clients, Rex built a world class collection of ceramics and related items pertaining to John Brown, the Civil War era abolitionist and insurrectionist hanged by the federal government in 1860 - a person and related events made famous in more than one Hollywood movie, most notably one where Brown was played by noted actor Raymond Massey.

When I first met Rex at a Cherry Hill NJ show in the early 1980's, I was put off by his know-it-all persona and big booming John Ford-like voice. Perhaps this was because he'd once been a Palo Alto, CA police officer, an occupation requiring such a command presence personality. I know that well.

But I soon got to like him, perhaps because he was so much like me and he did know it all. He was a fount of knowledge in early American history, rarity, authenticity and value. Rex's prices were always strong in his 2-3 annual fixed price catalogues but everything, much esoterica, was genuine and usually an opportunity only purchase. He'd also list several rare early US coins and many rare medals.

He will be missed by many who knew, talked and dealt with him. There is a hole in the heart of many collectors who knew him but many knew this was coming as Rex was not hesitant to discuss his health problems which became increasingly apparent.

Civil War presentation badge Alan adds:

"This is one of the last items Rex sold at a major coin show - to me at $4,750. A unique gold fully intact Civil War presentation badge, hand engraved with each battle on the bars approx 6 Ex Ulbrich collection, a major sophisticated collection Rex helped build over decades."

Tony Terranova writes:

"GREAT DEALER!!!!!. Mostly historical ceramics, political everything,, medals, coins,, paper money. Mostly at high to very high, but fair prices. Very knowledgeable on every single item he offered and sold. More importantly, a very dear friend and colleague!!! The numismatic cognoscenti will miss him greatly!!!!!"

Researcher Pete Smith writes:

"He was born on August 30, 1947, the son of civil engineer Donald R.Stark and Dorothy J. Stark."

Rex's wife Patti confirms Pete's added details. Thanks, everyone. I never had the chance to meet Rex, but got his catalogs for years and purchased some items for my collections. He was also a reader and occasional contributor to The E-Sylum. He will be missed. -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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