Currency has been around for centuries in the form of silver, gold, paper, and other various objects. Coins have artistic, historical, and cultural value. There have been many famous numismatists, or coin collectors, throughout history. From kings to businessmen, coin collecting has a rich history. Coin collectors are have claimed fame through their coin collections; these coin collectors include Francesco Petrarch, King Louis XIV of France, King Farouk of Egypt, King Emmanuel of Italy, John Quincy Adams, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John J. Ford, Wayne Gretzky, Eric Newman, and many others.
Coin collecting can be traced back to as far as Julius Augustus. However, Francesco Petrarch, an Italian poet, and scholar, is often referred to as the father of numismatics. He lived during the Italian Renaissance in the 1300s. Not only did he collect coins, he studied them as well for their historical value. Since Francesco Petrarch, there have been countless others who have collected coins.
Both individuals and museums have procured famous coin collections in recent modern day. Notable coin collectors are the ones that have impacted and contributed to the numismatic community. Among those famed for their coin collections is Louis E. Eliasburg. Eliasburg collected coins from 1925 to 1975; he had the ambitious goal of collecting all of the United States coins. His extensive and complete collection of U.S. coins is one that no other person had accomplished; even today, there is no collection that comes close. The famous collection was completed in 1950. It was split between his children before his death in 1976. Later, his collection was sold in three auctions. The first auction was in 1982 at Bowers and Rudy. The other two were in 1996 and 1997 at Bowers and Marena. The grand total of sales in these auctions came to over $40 million.
John J. Ford had a collection of coins and is famed for the catalogs he wrote that described coins in great detail. His career in numismatics began when he decided to be a delivery boy for a coin dealer, Harvey Stack. Later, he became a coin dealer himself. However, he was drafted into the Army and worked various other jobs until he returned to the numismatic business. He began publishing coin catalogs, which described the coin’s history, grade, color, quality, etc. This gave viewers information that helped in the decision process of purchasing coins. Ford’s coin collection was sold in auctions, which generated over $50 million.
Eric Newman is another famous coin collector; today, he is alive at the age of 103. He was born on May 25, 1911. His interest for coins began at the young age of 11. A local coin dealer, Burdette G. Johnson, from the St. Louis Stamp & Coin company too Newman under his wing. Soon enough, Newman knew the ins and outs of coin dealing. His passion and thirst for knowledge of numismatics fueled his success. While coin collecting, he also became a lawyer after graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became a philanthropist and traveled the world with his wife. His travels gave him a diverse collection. With his knowledge and years of numismatic research, he opened the Newman Money Museum, which displays his collection, and founded the Central States Numismatic Society. Eric P. Newman Collections have sold for millions of dollars. One even sold at auctions for over $23 million dollars.
The numismatic community is one that has cultivated a community of enthusiasts with a hunger for coin collecting. While only a few numismatists are mentioned above, there are many other coin collectors who became famous for their extensive coin collections. The numismatic community continues to have enthusiasm and respect for great coin collectors.