The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 4, January 28, 2024, Article 9

IRA S. STEIN (1940 - 2023)

Pete Smith alerted me to the passing of dealer Ira Stein, "a familiar face on the show circuit". Thanks. -Editor

Ira Stein Ira S. Stein
Born: 3/14/1940
Died: 7/30/2023

Ira is a 1963 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, with a degree in photography. Over the course of his life he had many different careers. He began his entrepreneurial endeavors when he formed his own company, Starlight Studios, while still in high school. He traveled Long Island taking baby pictures for new parents Later, after graduating from RIT, he began a career as a chemist with Xerox Corporation. He quickly realized that life in the lab was not for him, and decided to pursue a career in real estate sales. He found success on this path and ultimately owned his own real estate company. After many years in real estate, he decided to turn his childhood passion for collecting coins into a third career. Ira bought and sold rare coins on the internet, and traveled the country in pursuit of inventory. In this final career, Ira found the perfect opportunity to use his skills as a photographer, salesman, and master of technology.

Ira was a lifetime member of the American Numismatic Association, and a member of the Rochester Numismatic Association since 1987. He also served as the 86th president of that club in 1998. His knowledge and helpful nature were appreciated by club members, and he was a mentor to new collectors.

Ira was a survivor of several different types of cancer, and he would offer to talk with newly diagnosed individuals. His fighting spirit and ability to overcome the odds offered hope and inspiration to many.

Ira Stein Medal Ira had many interests. He was great a animal lover, having a long series of pets whom he doted upon. He was a first adopter of computer technology, beginning with owning the first Apple computer made for the public, and subsequently many later models. He delighted in performing magic tricks for his friends and grandchildren. He was well known for his comedic skills - no one could tell a joke like Ira. He was a dedicated collector of his three Cs; cameras, coins and cars. He was an influencer before that was a term, accompanying family members and friends when they were buying cars or houses. He had very strong opinions on these matters! He was a photographer in high demand at all family and friend events, even though he could exasperate his subjects as he fussed over every detail of the picture. He was quite interested in politics and the news, loving to converse about these matters.

Ira's last year of life was spent at The Friendly Home due to needing a great deal of care because of Parkinson's Disease. He was popular with the nurses, aides and all staff. He spent time there mostly watching or listening to 1950s music on TV. The family is very grateful for the attentive and loving care he received there, especially in the last week of his life.

I reached out to Nick Graver of the Rochester Numismatic Association, who put me in touch with John Zabel. -Editor

John writes:

"Ira was originally a real estate agent, then a real estate manager. Around the 1990's he decided to become an on-line coin dealer. He put together a financial package of about $3000 and went to an ANA coin show to buy coins for resale. He only bought PCGS graded coins in high grades. In his first round of purchases he told me he probably paid too much, but as he started building his business he became very adept at negotiating good prices so he could make a decent profit when he sold the coin.

"He also did commission purchases for buyers where he would find a requested coin for a purchaser, negotiate a dealer price and charge a decent retail price so he made money without using any of his own. After a few years he was asked to join the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). He did become well known in the dealer circle and went to many coin shows to buy coins with most of them being sold on-line.

"He used to bring some of his best purchases to the club and talk about them. He was very knowledgeable and did a lot of numismatic reading."

Thanks, everyone. Pete Smith submitted the image of Stein's Rochester Numismatic Association President's medal. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Ira S Stein 1940 - 2023 (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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