This week's Featured Web Page is a great story by Harvey Stack about a practical joke played on another coin dealer at the 1960 American Numismatic Association convention.
'Harvey Stack Remembers' is a series that he wrote during his later days at Stack's to help people see how numismatics was conducted
through the years.
On the second day, Earl Parker, the popular San Francisco dealer and friend, who was well known for having little or no patience, virtually threw his keys to Abner Kreisberg. “I ain't doing anything here. I'm hungry and I am going out to eat. I hope you can give my table some life.” Apparently, he had no sales at all to this point.
Abner accepted the keys, and Earl left the floor. Abner was a great guy and also a prankster. He gathered the rest of us together and said, “Let's see if we can make a sale for Earl.” After about 45 minutes Earl didn't return. Abner got an idea. He opened Earl's cases and picked up about 10 coins valued from $500 to $5,000 each, and left the empty places in the case. He put the group in an envelope and hid it in his case.
To make the incident climactic he asked me to make two signs, one for each case, stating “50% OFF ANY COIN IN THIS CASE.” When we saw Earl coming back we quickly placed one sign in each case, and then sat back looking at the ceiling.
As Earl approached his case he quickly noticed the empty spaces. He cried out “Abner, you're a super salesman. How did you do it? What did you sell?”
Before Abner could respond, because he began to laugh as hard as we all did, Earl saw the two signs.
Earl screamed out –“Abner are you crazy? Did you lose your mind? I paid within 15-20% below what I priced the coins for. I'm going to lose a fortune.”
By this time all of us were laughing so hard, enjoying watching Earl's face turn bright red, that no one could answer him.
Abner played along with the prank for at least another 5 minutes and finally took the coins out of his case and gave them to Earl. Earl fell into a chair and after calming down, turned to Abner and said, “Abner, I know it had to be you, this is the best prank ever! My only regret is I didn't do it to you!”