SIX QUALITIES OF HALL OF FAMERS

Posted on August 4, 2017 by

On August 4, 2017, the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) announced two new inductees into the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame: Kevin Lipton and David Proskey. Kevin is someone we’ve known since he was a teenager and who has made a significant impact on our hobby as a dealer and a friend. David Proskey is a little bit older than most of us, seeing as he was born in 1853. I call him “one of the unsung heroes of numismatics.”

In 2010, PCGS began inducting individual coin dealers into the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame at the rate of at least two a year: one from the pre-World War II era and another from the “modern” post-WWII era. Currently, there are twenty-eight member of the Hall of Fame (you can see all of them at http://www.pcgs.com/pcgscoinfacts/coindealerhof).
What does it take to make it into the Hall of Fame? What can you do to make yourself an attractive candidate?

The introduction to the Hall of Fame states: “The purpose of the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame is to honor the coin dealers past and present who have made the coin market/hobby what it is today. Their dedication, expertise, innovations, and commitments to numismatics have made “the hobby of kings” something millions of people in all walks of life can enjoy.” But, what are some of the characteristics of a Hall-of-Famer?


Harvey Stack, the winner for longevity

1. Longevity. Most of the old-time dealers in the Hall of Fame were active in the business for many years, usually for decades, an often until their death. The same is true of the current, living members. The late Art Kagin’s career spanned 72 years. Q. David Bowers has been active in numismatics for 64 years. The winner for longevity goes to Harvey Stack, who started his career in 1935 (82 years ago). Throughout those years of service, our members have “seen it all” and, in many cases, been the people who participated in significant events and, sometimes, were the catalysts and innovators that made those events happen.

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Kevin Lipton received an award in 2002 for his work in stamping out fraud in numismatics

2. Consumer Protection. Many Hall of Fame members have spent much of their time, often gratis, in efforts to provide protection for consumers. Abe Kosoff was a founder of the Professional Numismatists Guild and a driving force behind the adoption of uniform grading standards. Our most recent inductee, Kevin Lipton, received an award in 2000 for his work in stamping out fraud in numismatics. James Ruddy published Photograde, the first grading guide to use actual coins to illustrate the various grades. Others have published informative guides to help the collector navigate through the sometimes confusing areas of die varieties, coin types, auction prices realized, and price guides.


Q. David Bowers has worked for decades to popularize numismatics

3. Promotion of Numismatics. In a sense, all of the Hall of Famers have been promoters of numismatics to some degree – after all, that’s their business. However, some have been more visible as promoters than others. B. Max Mehl, with his Star Magazine and ads in non-numismatic publications was one of the biggest. Q. David Bowers, on the dint of his publications alone, has probably reached more collectors than any other individual in history. Jim Halperin and Steve Ivy of Heritage have utilized the power of the Internet and related technologies to reach one of the largest audiences of any modern firm.

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David Proskey edited the Coin Collectors Journal in the late 1800’s

4. Significant contributions. Many Hall of Fame members are authors who have penned ground-breaking articles and published important research works. David Proskey, one of this year’s inductees, edited the Coin Collectors Journal for several years in the late 1800’s (the Coin Collectors Journal was an amazing series that is still a fascinating read today). David Akers’ analysis of auction prices realized for U.S. gold coins, and the notes he published about them, remain relevant today and have rarely been superseded. While we’re talking about books, what about Q. David Bowers, the most prolific numismatic author of all time?


David Hall – what numismatists doesn’t know this man?

5. Visibility. It’s likely that you will recognize most of the names of the members of the Hall of Fame. This is because they were all highly visible at the forefront of numismatics. They advertised heavily in coin publications, they attended all of the big coin shows and auctions, or they were involved in highly publicized coin purchases or sales.


David Akers handled some of the biggest coin deals during the 1970’s and 1980’s

6. Big deals. Many of the Hall of Fame dealers were involved in big deals. Harvey Stack has been blogging recently about the Josiah K. Lilly Collection of gold coins, how his firm helped build it, and how the collection made its way to become the centerpiece of the National Numismatic Museum the Smithsonian Institution. John Albanese was a founder of PCGS, NGC, and CAC. Without David Hall, there would be no PCGS. It’s hard to name a collection, a deal, an organization, or an event that wasn’t touched in some way or another by our Hall of Famers.

Now you know some of what it takes to become a member of the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame. Pay your dues, do your time, and I look forward to inducting YOU in the future.

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