Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing submitted this remembrance of Neil Shafer. Thank you.
"Every collector, dealer, and researcher in the field of U.S./Philippine numismatics owes Neil Shafer a debt of gratitude. Beyond that realm his influence stretched into tokens and medals; the entirety of U.S. and world paper currency; and, using a term he coined,
exographica (the paper version of exonumia). At the time of his passing Neil was wrapping up work, assisted by Matthias Voigt, on an impressive update of his 1974 masterwork, Philippine Emergency and Guerrilla Currency of World War II. Neil recounted to me how the first edition came to be. He'd been doing research in Washington DC in the 1950s. At the Smithsonian he met Stuart Mosher and, later, Vladimir and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, who curated the National Numismatic Collection. The latter became good personal friends of his, and helped him with his research whenever they could. He recalled them showing him some small, crude paper notes issued in 1944 in the Philippines, Province of Iloilo. He'd never seen this kind of money before, and at first he assumed they were Japanese occupation notes of some sort. They were actually the first Philippine guerrilla currency notes Neil ever saw, and they were his introduction to that important field of World War II numismatics.
"Neil was fascinated by what he called the
intrigue and heartbreak of wartime emergency and guerrilla currency, and he started to seriously research it. Maurice Gould of Boston had been studying the Allan Forbes Collection of Philippine guerrilla notes, which Neil later described as
extensive but quite incomplete (many years later, around 2002, Neil would catalog it for an R.M Smythe auction). Gould planned to publish a book on this wartime money, and he asked Neil to assist him—but when he saw the extent of Neil's research, Gould ended up assisting him! Western Publishing Company released his book in 1974. In recent years Neil slowly updated and revised the book's contents in columns published in Bank Note Reporter. We talked about the project from time to time, and starting shortly before the COVID pandemic he kept me updated on his revisions with Matt Voigt. The new publication deserves wide distribution and study, and I hope to assist however I can.
"Even though Neil's formal employment with Whitman Publishing ended in the early 1980s, he continued to be a presence and, in my mind, something of a
minister without portfolio and a connection to the company's rich and storied past. We talked about various book projects over the years. He was always happy to share advice and ideas. He gave me insight on U.S./Philippine die varieties, and advised me when I expanded the Red Book and Mega Red coverage of Philippine coins. He never stopped working, thinking, researching, writing, sharing knowledge. Neil Shafer was the living embodiment of a good numismatist, and he's left us a treasure trove to learn from and enjoy.
"I'm attaching a photo from the Philippine Collectors Forum meeting, August 17, 2018, at the ANA World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia. I'd shown Neil the recently issued Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino veterans of World War II. At the annual PCF meetings he was always treated like a celebrity and elder statesman (and rightly so!), but he didn't just show up to be applauded. He was an active contributor to the group, answering questions, reporting on his latest research, and encouraging others in their work. We should all strive to match his legacy if we can."
WORKMAN GOES HERE
ALBUM/SARC GOES HERE
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2023 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster