David L. Ganz submitted these thoughts on Franklin Mint founder Joseph Segel. Thanks!
The item about Joe Segel is the cause of my writing this email late on Sunday night. To say that his actions with Franklin Mint ignore serious numismatics (relegating him to the medal man) just doesn’t begin to reflect how intense a person he was and how he influences modern numismatics even today.
Joe was born in 1931 and by a remarkable coincidence, went to high school in suburban Philadelphia with my ex-wife’s mother, Irene Lamnin. I was looking one day (casually) at her year book and found Joe’s picture labelled “Most Like to Succeed”. Wow, did he.
Joe figured out that you could take a lump of precious metal (first silver, later gold) invest in die charges and striking (minting) charges, and then triple his money after expenses.
Joe was a marketing genius (he also founded QVC) and hired top talent like GIlroy Roberts, then Chief Engraver of the US Mint (Joe hired him away), and strongly promoted the Token & Medal Society and the American Numismatic Association.
Segel opposed bicentennial medals, not coins but ultimately accepted the Bicentennial Commission's recommendation to do both.
My untold story about Joe Segal is that in 1969, just after I started college at Georgetown University, I was already well-known in the hobby as a writer. (My column “Under the Glass” was running in Numismatic News Weekly in addition to spot news items). So imagine my surprise when a letter from Franklin Mint arrived offering me a job with all of three weeks of college under my belt. (The salary was around $19,000 as I remember, stock options, and a whole lot more.)
I never calculated what that would have been worth (and didn't become a Franklin Mint stockholder until the following year), but the stock went from $1.42 (in 1967) to over $42 a share by 1969 and then kept splitting. Eventually it became part of Time Warner and America on Line (AOL). But I am getting ahead of myself.
All I ever wanted to be was a lawyer, so I said no., stayed the course, and as you know from my comment a couple of weeks ago, almost went to work for FAO (the oldest independent UN agency) after graduating Georgetown and going to work at Krause in Iola.
Anyway Joe Segel not only made medals but Franklin pioneered private mints striking foreign coinage - not only circulation strikes but proof versions for collectors.
Joe Segel is 84 or so now and I haven’t seen or heard from him in years, but, wow, did his action have an impact on my life!
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FRANKLIN MINT
Wayne Homren, Editor
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