Harvey Stack has begun a new series in his Stack's Bowers blog. This time his focus is on growing up in a numismatic family. Part 1 was published on September 20, 2017. With
permission, we're republishing it here. -Editor
For close to 10 years, I have had the pleasure of writing some of my thoughts and having them published. I am now 89 years old and love to tell stories about growing up at Stack's, and my
experiences working there for over 70 years as a full time professional numismatist.
I was born in 1928 into a numismatic family, the Stack family. My father, Morton, and my uncle, Joseph, were brothers who formed a business in the early 1930s that became primarily devoted to
numismatics. They established Stack's in what was a midtown location in New York City, after originally being located in the Bowery section in lower Manhattan. Also on the Stack's staff was
Shirley Stack, Morton and Joe's sister, who was the bookkeeper and stock filler. It was a difficult period as the Great Depression was still going strong.
Morton and Joseph saw that businesses were moving uptown, and they found a great location at 690 Sixth Ave, near 23rd Street -- a growing retail area. A major elevated train was overhead and there
was a stop at 23rd Street, making it easy for collectors to visit our new Midtown location. (For anyone who does not remember 6th Avenue, it is just west of 5th Avenue, and is now called the Avenue
of the Americas.)
So the move took place when I was five years old, but I do remember it well. Stack's was the first New York coin storefront to have sit down counters for visitors to come in, make themselves
comfortable and discuss buying or selling coins. Most, if not all, coin shops around New York had "jeweler type" stand up cases, which were not as comfortable for visitors.
The showcases were made of wood with glass tops, so the displays could be easily seen. The show windows were always filled with coins from ancient to modern times. People would stop outside and
look at what was in the windows, and many times they would come in to buy a coin or two. Sometimes it was just for the fun of it, other times they were working on collections. The displays also let
people who wanted to sell their coins know that this was the place to visit.
New York at that time, 1933, had a number of dealers, however most were upstairs in offices, not down by the street. For many people it was preferable to not have to climb stairs or use dark
elevators to take their valuables to the experts. So with its enticing displays and convenient "right on the street" location, Stack's attracted many to the store.
As a member of the Stack family, even as a child I was part of the business. Of course, I had to go to school and do my homework, as well as other "kid activities." But, on Saturdays and
holidays it was pretty typical to find me in the store, doing chores assigned to me by my father. In my next article I will give my memories of my earliest days in the New York numismatic scene, when
I was just a kid in the 1930s.
As someone who was a kid in the 1960s, my own kids think I'm really old. But I can point to Harvey and think I'm young. I enjoy reading his reminiscences, and I know many
E-Sylum readers do too. We'll look forward to future installments. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 1 (http://www.stacksbowers.com/News/Pages/Blogs.aspx?ArticleID=2687)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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