Inspired by last week's mention of the Deluxe Leatherbound edition of THE OUTSTANDING COLLECTION OF UNITED STATES LARGE CENTS
FORMED BY MR. OSCAR J. PEARL, Paul Bosco submitted these remembrances of numismatic personalities Oscar Pearl and Abe Kosoff. Thanks!
When I worked at Schulman Coin and Mint, mid-1975 (after Hans had left the USA, following his "heart
attack") to January '77 (when the company, in Chapter 11, finally gave up the ghost), an occasional numismatic luminary would stop by. One
was Oscar Pearl. He said he and Kosoff wanted to include a reprint of a catalog of 1793 cents, because it was seldom available. If I'm correct,
Penny Whimsy had not yet appeared, so info on large cents was scarcer, back then. I think Pearl, one way or another, bore the cost of the
extra pages and pictures, as a gift to his fellow collectors. Kosoff, for his part, knew a good deed was often rewarded.
Kosoff certainly was the "friend of widows". He was quoted as telling a colleague:
"You learn the coins. I'll learn the customers." Most of whom had wives, and most of whom were going to have widows.
I recall him dropping in on us at the 57th Street store, graciously visiting an operation that was barely a shadow of its former self. He sat at
the counter, sifting in his fingers the coins in a junk box, while chatting with the manager, Gerry Baumann. Gerry liked to joke that Abe pocketed a
few worn foreign coppers, but we felt we had been visited by royalty.
Saying goodbye to Abe was a profitable pleasure. After his passing, Bowers & Merena auctioned off his left-over foreign coins, sometimes in
large lots that contained the proverbial "junk to gems". I bought my share.
Abe's daughter, Sonny Kliman, sat in the back of the room. Someone we didn't recognize sat across the aisle from her, bidding without
apparent knowledge on various lots that opened low. When he was caught with his hand up too long, paying well over $100 each for a lot of restrike
Maria Theresia thalers --dated 1780, but brand +new-- Sonny glared at him. So we figured out he was her husband, shill bidding on Abe's coins
(her inheritance). No one much minded. The buying was good, if not insanely good, and it felt like we had been transported to a coin auction in the
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
SELECTIONS FROM THE KOLBE & FANNING 2015 NEW YORK AUCTION : A Consequential
Wayne Homren, Editor
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