Harvey Stack, 93, Coin Icon


COSTA MESA, CALIF. – Stack’s Bowers founder Harvey G. Stack passed away on January 3. His leadership over the years has led the operations of Stack’s Bowers and his kindness and mentorship to staff, collectors, dealers, numismatic organizations and colleagues will never be forgotten.

Harvey was born in Manhattan on June 3, 1928, the son of Morton M. Stack and Muriel Stack. He grew up in the Bronx and Jamaica, NY, and attended NYU. His life revolved around his family and numismatics, as generations of the Stack family relied on the rare coin business founded in 1933 by Harvey’s father, Morton, and his uncle Joseph at 690 Sixth Avenue. in Manhattan. Having their first public auction in 1935, Stack’s quickly progressed to larger premises and a growing reputation. Although as a young Harvey worked after school and during the holidays at the company’s Manhattan coin store, it was not until 1947 that he went to work full time for Stack’s. Rare Coins, a career that will last more than 70 years. As the second generation of family members to join the company, Harvey worked alongside his father, uncle, and cousins ​​Norman and Benjamin, supported by a team of experts including many of the The most famous professional numismatists of the twentieth century.

In 1953, Stack’s moved to a gallery at 123 West 57th Street, a location that will house the company for over 60 years and become a popular destination, known as the “club house” for collectors around the world. As a member of the family, Harvey’s responsibilities were wide ranging, helping customers in the store, traveling to pick up collections and attending conventions and coin shows, cataloging auction lots, the auction and any other work that needed to be done. He has become an expert in many areas of numismatics and has been able to translate his warm and jovial personality into long-term relationships with the collectors and dealers with whom he has worked during his career.

The decades following World War II were a time of great growth for Stack’s. In addition to opening a new and improved location, they were asked to auction off many important collections, including Anderson-Dupont, Davis-Graves, Charles A. Cass (“Empire”), RL Miles, Massachusetts Historical Society, Samuel Wolfson and George Walton, as well as conducting public auctions in conjunction with major numismatic fairs including the American Numismatic Association and the New York Metropolitan Conventions. In the 1970s, Harvey’s son Larry and daughter Susan joined the business, bringing in a third generation.

Harvey and the Stack family were instrumental in building some of the greatest collections of their time, including the gold coin cabinet assembled by Josiah K. Lilly, president of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. After Lilly’s death in 1966, her collection of more than 6,000 coins became part of the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection, a process aided by Harvey and other members of the Stack family. Over the decades, Harvey and the Stack family also formed a relationship with Louis E. Eliasberg Sr, who amassed the only comprehensive collection of United States coins ever assembled. In 1976, as the country celebrated its bicentennial, Harvey and the company helped facilitate the exhibition of Eliasberg’s incomparable collection at the United States Mint in Philadelphia.

Harvey Stack’s role in numismatics was not purely commercial. He fought for clearer import regulations on overseas coins and testified before a Congressional subcommittee leading up to the Recreation Protection Act of 1973. He worked with the ‘American Numismatic Association and other professionals with the goal of developing a standardized grading system for coins. In 1996, he appeared before the United States House Banking Committee to propose the 50 State Quarters program, which attracted countless new collectors to the hobby. Harvey Stack served on the board of directors of the Professional Numismatists Guild for almost a decade and served as its chairman for two years starting in 1989. In 1993 he received the PNG Founder’s Award, their highest distinction, for his dedication to this hobby. Over the years, Harvey has been a great supporter of the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, and the Smithsonian Institution. He was a long-time member of the International Association of Professional Numismatists, as well as many other numismatic societies.

As the twentieth century turned to the twenty-first, Harvey Stack and Stack’s were as strong as ever, as Larry and Harvey auctioned off the incredible John J. Ford Jr collection and many other renowned cabinetry. In addition, they joined forces with Sotheby’s for the record sale of the first double Saint-Gaudens eagle of 1933 to pass the auction. In 2011, Stack’s merged with Bowers and Merena to create Stack’s Bowers Galleries, one of the nation’s leading numismatic auction companies and a company that continues the legacy of the Stack family by showcasing important numismatic cabinets and realizing record prices. Harvey stayed involved with the new business until the very end, telling the story of the company, mentoring the staff and nurturing his connections within the hobby. Most recently, he and Larry have worked with a succession of longtime friends and clients, Mark and Lottie Salton, to bring their exceptional collection of world and antique coins to market. It’s a shame Harvey isn’t here to see the fruits of his labor as this remarkable firm hits the auction block in 2022 and 2023.

Harvey was predeceased by his parents, his uncle Joseph, his cousins ​​Norman and Ben. He is survived by his wife Harriet, his children Larry (Loretta) and Susan (Larry), his grandchildren Rebecca (Jimmy) and Matthew (Tanya) and five great grandchildren: Bryce, Avery, Dylan, Brielle and James.

The services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Numismatic Society, or a charity of your choice. The family can be contacted at [email protected]

—Submitted by Stacks Bowers


About Author

Comments are closed.