The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 37, September 10, 2023, Article 9


The hobby continues to honor the memory of author and researcher Neil Shafer, who passed away on Friday, August 25. First, here's a tribute from the Philippine Collectors Forum by John Riley, as shared by Ray Czahor. -Editor

Neil Shafer As the Philippine Collectors Forum (P.C.F.) celebrates 20 years as an American Numismatic Association Member Club and an annual gathering at the ANA's summer convention (World's Fair of Money), we are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Shafer, a Giant in the world of Coins and Paper Money research and collecting. Among many areas, issues of the U.S Philippines 1903-45 was a particular passion.

Neil Shafer's name was synonymous with the PCF as he attended and participated in nearly every gathering over the years from 2003 onward, including a meeting at the old International Paper Money Expo in Memphis (the 2012 auction of the Greg Pineda collection) and at separate smaller specialized sessions at the yearly Military Payment Certificate fests (MPC Fest) in Port Clinton, Ohio). Neil was frequently the Featured Speaker at these meetings and it was a regular occurrence that new attendees would seek out Neil for an inscription and signature on their treasured copies of UNITED STATES TERRITORIAL COINAGE FOR THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS (1961), A GUIDE BOOK OF PHILIPPINE MONEY (1964) and PHILIPPINE EMERGENCY AND GUERRILLA CURRENCY OF WORLD WAR II (1974). Neil was unquestionably the pioneer in this research and publishing: his knowledge and experience was recognized, respected and sought by everyone who attended our meetings over the years.

Although he admitted that early on he had no real, personal connection through military service, etc to the Philippine Islands, he was fascinated by U.S. Federal coin and paper money connections to those of the Islands and was the first person in the United States to recognize and appreciate the unique series of coins, tokens and paper money as bona fide regular U.S. issues. Most importantly for us now, he actually DID something tangible about it while working for Whitman Publishing - namely, he produced the seminal collector references.

In later years, Neil continued to regularly present topics of interest to the PCF and unfailingly would pull some amazing artifact out of his battered brown briefcase to delight and captivate us! Neil embraced modern technology, no small feat for members a fraction of his age, and it would be a boon to keeping the numismatic conversation going in the age of COVId-19. We conducted two virtual meetings via the ZOOM application during the Pandemic and Neil expertly provided video interaction on financial instruments made of paper - Manila's Santo Tomas Internment Camp meal chits, early U.S. Army Camp Exchange tokens and other similar items in paper - all quite rare. Neil even invented a new word - Exographica - for the topic (a nod to Russell Rulau's now-standard term of exonumia for tokens). Neil kept us in touch with ongoing publishing and encouraged us all along the way to participate in his latest co-written effort, with co-author Matthias Voight, to be published on Volume II of Philippine Emergency Guerrilla paper issues.

But, larger than all else, was that he WELCOMED all at every collecting level and he truly ENCOURAGED everyone he encountered in this wonderful community of ours. That simple kindness and skill in taking time to listen and graciously sharing what he had learned over the years is the shining model of what it means to be a MENTOR. We take away now this vital lesson to do our best in living up to Neil's example.

The PCF has donated $100 to the American Alzheimer's Association in Neil's name.

Here is an excerpt from Nancy and John Wilson's lengthy nomination for Neil's 2014 Farran Zerbe Award from the American Numismatic Association, republished with permission from MPCGram Series 24 No. 2586 2 Sep 2023. -Editor

  Neil Shafer photo age 2 Neil Shafer High School Graduation photo

Neil's collecting began in Chicago (the site of the 2014 WFOM) around 1943 or 1944. Talking to him some years back while trying to get a history of this interesting person we found out that his collecting interests gradually kept widening and went approximately as follows: U. S. coins out of circulation by date, then by purchase, then world coins with concentration on Philippines and Latin America but including much of the rest of the world, some ancients and medals, Civil War and Hard Times tokens, then into U. S., Confederate and world paper currency, then into U. S. and world local paper issues, Depression and Panic scrip, checks, stocks and bonds. In other words, Neil Shafer's interests covered just about the entire numismatic field.

We have known Neil since the days he worked in Racine, WI for Western Publishing Co. Neil is a coin club officer (and founder of at least one coin club), collector, teacher, author, speaker, researcher, exhibitor and judge. He has spent an entire lifetime working for the advancement of the numismatic hobby in the area of syngraphics, as well as other specialties. His study, research and references in the field of world paper money, modern U. S. paper money, U. S. College currency (as editor), Depression and Panic scrip, Philippine and Guerrilla paper money have helped our numismatic hobby immeasurably. These award winning references assist numismatists worldwide with their collecting and dealing of paper money. His current series of articles for Bank Note Reporter goes back to 1987; in these writings Neil is always trying to expand collectors' horizons.

In about 1975 one of the most important references to come onto the market place was the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Though Albert Pick's name appears on the cover, over three decades, from 1975 to 2005, Neil Shafer has contributed greatly to making this one of the most important references in our hobby. Today, it is split into several different volumes with a different editor. Neil also worked for Western Publishing Co (Whitman) from 1962 to 1975 as numismatic editor and senior editor 1976 to 1981. Neil worked for Krause Publications from 1981 to 1985. Please see the references below to the numismatic books that Neil Shafer authored. His name will also be found in numerous other references including the most sold coin book in the world, A Guide Book of U. S. Coins Edited by Kenneth Bressett. Numerous other numismatic references also have his name as a contributor, be they about coins, tokens & medals or paper money. Neil always shares his knowledge with anyone who asks.

In the past, Neil has assisted ANA as a Committee Chairman. At the 1986 ANA coin convention he served as Program Chair. He also is an ANA Summer Seminar instructor and continues to help ANA whenever he is called to do so. Neil has probably written thousands of articles for local coin clubs, state, regional and national organizations. We think many dozens of organizations have benefited from Neil's research and writings. He continues to have a column for Krause (F+W) Publications Bank Note Reporter. Neil also exhibits at the local, state, regional and national level – including ANA. He is a certified ANA Exhibit Judge and he can always be seen at our conventions judging exhibits. Over many years he has literally given probably hundreds of talks at all levels of the hobby including the ANA Numismatic Theater. He has also given numismatic presentations in several different countries.

Numismatic Accomplishments:

Over the past 60 plus years Neil Shafer has accomplished very much in the numismatic hobby- probably two lifetimes worth of numismatic achievements, and his work isn't done yet. He proudly received his 50 year ANA medal in 2002. His knowledge covers many of the world's more obscure bank notes as well as specialized issues from the United States. He will be a 62 year member of ANA in 2014. A resume of Neil Shafer would read: Collector, Author, Researcher, Speaker (Lecturer), Club Officer, Educator, Teacher, Exhibitor and Judge (of exhibits). He is also considered one of the worlds' top authors and researchers for world paper money. Neil also speaks and writes Spanish; he has helped many in and out of the hobby with translations. With few exceptions, very few numismatists have been involved in our hobby for over six decades. One of his greatest accomplishments is his work in the syngraphic field. Since The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (includes U. S. issues) was released in 1975, Neil went from a Special Consultant to a Co-Editor in 1981, which title he held up to 2005. Neil's many other references and articles are listed in this biography.

Neil has been an instructor at the ANA Summer Seminar numerous times. He has given many hundreds of talks at conventions and coin clubs. Whether it is a local or national coin club or a small coin show to a large one he will probably be on the program to give an educational program. It is likewise with exhibits and judging. He has exhibited at all size coin shows as well as served as an ANA certified judge. He has assisted at Boy Scout coin clinics as well as YN programs. In past NCW events Neil has given talks and/or exhibited. Neil has served at the 1986 Milwaukee ANA convention as the Committee Program Chair. He has received numerous awards for his many contributions, dedication and hard work in the hobby he loves so much.

Published numismatic works:

Panic Scrip of 1893, 1907 and 1914, An Illustrated Catalog of Emergency Monetary Issues, 2013, Co-authors Neil Shafer and Tom Sheehan. This first ever reference on Panic Notes was decades in the making.

Standard Catalog of World Paper Money by Albert Pick, Krause Publications, Special Consultant 1975-81; Co-Editor 1981-2005.

A Guide Book of Modern United States Currency. Eight Editions, Western Publishing Co., Racine, WI 1965 to 1979 (eight editions published).

United States Territorial Coinage for the Philippine Islands. Whitman Publishing Co., 1961.

A Guide Book of Philippine Paper Money, Whitman Publishing Co., 1964. This was a landmark publication 30 years ahead of its time.

Philippine Emergency and Guerrilla Currency of WW II, Whitman Publishing Co., 1974.

Let's Collect Paper Money, Whitman Publishing Co., 1976.

Standard Catalog of Depression Scrip of the United States the 1930s including Canada and Mexico, with some date from Ralph A. Mitchell), Krause Publications, Iola, WI. 1985.

Banknotes, Scrip and Paper Ephemera of Milwaukee, Editor, 1990, Olympic Speed Printing, Milwaukee, WI.

College Currency – Money for Business Training, Editor, Port Clinton, OH. 1992 (Editor)

New England Journal of Numismatics, Editor-in-Chief 1986-87.

Writes a monthly column for Krause Publications (F+W), Paper Money News & Views for Bank Note Reporter (since 1987).

Wrote a column on Paper View for Krause Publications (F+W), in Numismatic News 1996-2001.

Paper Money booklets for the SPMC and PCDA, Wonderful World of Paper Money and Collecting Fractional Currency

MANA Journal on Canadian Large Cents ‘Aging' Varieties, 1957.

Helped pioneer the study of Morgan Die varieties in 1964 through Whitman Numismatic Journal.

Neil also wrote several important articles for numismatic publications on Cuban and Guatemala paper money.

Neil Shafer joined Whitman Publishing in 1962 and wrote many articles for Whitman Numismatic Journal. A major article written with Ken Bressett on Allied Military Currency was published in 1968. He also edited a number of books and other standard references while at Whitman.

The MPC Gram is an email newsletter for collectors of Military Payment Certificates and other military numismatica. To subscribe to the MPC Gram, see: . -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NEIL SHAFER (1933-2023) (

Shevlin E-Sylum ad 2023-03-26 So-Called Dollars Vol 1

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2023 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster