PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame

“If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Sir Isaac Newton

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. Starting in 2010 with the induction of the first six “all-time greats”; Q. David Bowers, S. Hudson Chapman, Henry Chapman, B. Max Mehl, Wayte Raymond, and W. Elliot Woodward, each year at the annual summer American Numismatic Convention, additional numismatic “giants” are added to the PCGS CoinFacts Hall of Fame. New members are determined by a vote of the PCGS CoinFacts Board of Experts and all living members of the PCGS CoinFacts Hall of Fame.

2013 Inductees

Thomas Elder (1874-1948, dealer career 1905-1948), HOF: 2013) Thomas Elder (1874-1948, dealer career 1896-1948), HOF: 2013). Thomas Elder was one of the most important dealers of the early 20th century. He developed an interest in coins at a young age, entered the profession part time in 1896, and joined the American Numismatic Association in 1899 at age 25 and advertised in The Numismatist at the time. While working part time as a coin dealer he was employed as a court stenographer and a telegrapher. In 1901, while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, where President McKinley was shot, Elder telegraphed updates on the president’s condition. Soon after, the lure of being a coin dealer won him over. Active in the New York numismatic scene, Elder joined the American Numismatic Society and became a founder of the New York Numismatic Club. Beginning in 1905, Elder conducted hundreds of coin auctions and self-published sporadically the Elder Rare Coin Book, the Elder Monthly, and The Elder Magazine; in addition, he wrote articles for The Numismatist. He is credited with coining the term “So-Called Dollars,” of which he produced numerous pieces, including copies and unusual mulings of the 1776 Continental dollars. Elder is also responsible for numerous medals and tokens, many of which he used to promote his coin business. Though at times cantankerous, Thomas Elder left a rich and prodigious numismatic legacy.

Jim Halperin (1952-, dealer career 1968-date, HOF: 2013) Jim Halperin dropped out of Harvard University to become a full-time coin dealer in 1971 and he has not looked back since. In the 1970’s, his firm, The Boston based New England Rare Coin Galleries, was one of the largest and most influential coin companies in America. In 1982, he joined forces with his one time rival Steve Ivy to form the Dallas based, Heritage Auctions. Today, Heritage is the third largest auction house and the largest collectibles auctioneer in the world with annual sales approaching ten figures. In the earliest days of computers and the Internet, Jim embraced the new technologies and wisely integrated them into Heritage’s business model, more quickly and to a greater extent than most other companies. Jim Halperin is a true rare coin expert and is considered one of the greatest coin graders and coin traders of all-time. His book, How to Grade U.S. Coins, remains a standard today. Jim Halperin has been a major force in the rare coin market for four decades and his efforts have been a major contributor to making the market what it is today.

Art Kagin (1919-2005, dealer career 1933-2005, HOF: 2013) In his more than seventy year career in the coin business, Art Kagin became known as one of the elder statesmen of numismatics. Art started out at the Minneapolis firm of Hollinbeck Stamp and Coin Company in 1933. When Hollinbeck decided to expand the business, Art was tasked with running a branch store in Omaha. Later he opened another Hollinbeck store in Des Moines, where he stayed for the rest of his life. Eventually, Art and his brother, Paul, took over the business. Over the ensuing decades, Kagin and his family conducted upwards of 350 rare coin mail bid sales. As experts on Pioneer and Territorial gold coinage, Art and his son, Don, helped build some of the most significant collection of the genre, including the famous Clifford-Kagin collection. Art was knowledgeable in virtually every aspect of the coin business, including currency and obscure areas such as encased postage. Art is remembered as a friendly dealer who had time for everyone, no matter their economic status or whether or not his time would result in a sale.

Abner Kreisberg (1904-1997, dealer career 1940s-1990s, HOF: 2013) Abner Kreisberg is best known for his associations with Abe Kosoff, Hans M.F. Schulman, and Jerry Cohen and the great coins they handled. In 1944, Abner joined Abe Kosoff as a partner in the Numismatic Gallery in New York. One of the biggest deals they handled was the F.C.C. Boyd collection, recognized today as one of the largest, most impressive, and extensive collections ever assembled of U.S. pattern, colonial and regular issue coins. Upon the dissolution of their partnership in 1954, Kreisberg continued to operate a store in Beverly Hills, then joined with Schulman in 1957 to conduct a yearly auction at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Kreisberg partnered with Jerry Cohen in 1959 to form the Quality Sales Corp. One of the most significant coins in which Kreisberg had a hand was the gem 1794 silver dollar which sold recently for over $10 million. And Kreisberg and Cohen also handed the famous John Beck estate, which included over 500 1856 Flying Eagle cents.

Steve Markoff (1943-, dealer career 1954-2005, HOF: 2013) Steve Markoff was a force in both the rare coin and the gold and silver bullion coin markets for four decades. In 1965, he founded A-Mark Coin Company, a financial services company specializing in precious metals (today A-Mark is part of the Spectrum International Group). A-Mark was one of the first companies to specialize in the gold and silver coin bullion coin markets and today remains one of the world’s largest. But Markoff was much more than a bullion dealer. He handled many significant rare coins and several of the largest “deals” ever. In 1975, Steve (via A-Mark) stunned the numismatic world by capturing the Redfield hoard of over 400,000 U.S. silver dollars for $7.3 million, at the time the largest transaction in numismatic history. In 1974, A-Mark traded many of the Redfield silver dollars for the John Wilkinson collection of gold pattern coins, the most complete collection ever assembled.

Lester Merkin (1916-1992, dealer career 1956-1974, HOF: 2013) Lester Merkin was a New York City professional musician, a saxophonist, who was a passionate collector of quality coins beginning in the 1940s. In 1956 he became a professional dealer with an office in New York City, were friends, customers and young numismatists were always welcome. He is fondly remembered as a true gentleman—always with a kind word. He enlisted Walter Breen to write the majority of the catalogs for the 32 auctions he conducted from 1956 to 1976. In 1964 he conducted the Louis Helfenstein Collection sale of large cents. The catalogue bore a beautiful full-color illustration of a cabinet of cents and was photographed by Marty Bauman, himself a numismatist, and with the assistance of Charles Jay, also a numismatist. Many of this other catalogs were memorable and attracted wide attention at the time. Later he continued business for a number of years, including the 1979 presentation of the famous “King of Siam” Proof set with an 1804-dated silver dollar, this by special arrangement with David Spink of London. Among the more unusual items he handled were the Special Mint Set versions of 1964 coins, acquired from the estate of the former Mint Director, Eva Adams. He reported seeing two 1964 Franklin half dollars and examining them carefully, but was not able to purchase them. Today these are unknown to the numismatic community. In 1994 his estate collection was auctioned by Stack’s.

Ed Milas (1940-2011, dealer career 1959-2009, HOF: 2013) Ed Milas, thru his Chicago based company, Rare Coin Company of America (popularly known as RARCOA), was a major force in the rare coin market for over three decades. Milas was also quite a visionary and in the late 1960’s he was possibly the first major dealer to marry ultra high quality and rarity as a market concept. In 1972, Milas became owner of RARCOA. In the following three decades, he handled many important rarities and several of the most significant “deals” of the era, including the Continental-Illinois Bank hoard of silver dollars, which was actually larger than the famous Redfield dollar hoard. Milas was a world class coin expert with an incredible breadth of expertise, encompassing all U.S. coins, world coins, ancients, and currency. Milas’ company, RARCOA, was a partner in the so-called Apostrophe auctions from 1979-1990. Under Milas’ tenure, the company handled such great rarities as the 1825/4 $5, the Dexter 1804 Silver Dollar, the unique 1870-S Half Dime, and a 1787 Brasher Doubloon.

Norman Stack (1928-1992, dealer career 1945-1992, HOF:2013) Norman Stack was a member of Stack’s Rare Coins, one of the most important and longest-lived coin firms in America. A brilliant numismatist, Norman was involved as the primary cataloger in almost 400 auction sales, including those of the Amon Carter Collection, Yale University’s Brasher doubloon, and many more “name” collections. Stack’s was instrumental in building many important collections including those of Louis Eliasberg and Josiah K. Lilly. Norman was both a collector and a dealer. His personal collection formed the basis for his book, United States Type Coins: An Illustrated History of the Federal Coinage. His popular, U.S. Coins of Value went through twenty-eight editions.


The 2012 PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame inductees.
At the August 2012 ANA World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia, Q. David Bowers with Scott Travers and Harvey Stack induct David Hall, Leon Hendrickson and Abe Kosoff into the Hall of Fame.
Meet the 2011 PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame inductees.
David Akers, John Love and Harvey Stack are inducted into the Hall of Fame at the PCGS Set Registry luncheon in Chicago. Q. David Bowers, John Dannreuther and David Hall presided.
PCGS CoinFacts™ unveils the Coin Dealer Hall of Fame at the Summer ANA in Boston.
PCGS CoinFacts™ unveils the inaugural class of the Coin Dealer Hall of Fame at the Summer ANA in Boston. Q. David Bowers, the only living member, provides the keynote address.
Honored Members

David Akers (1941-2012, dealer career: 1971-2012, HOF: 2011) David Akers started collecting coins in 1949. After graduating from Notre Dame, obtaining a Masters degree in mathematics from Oregon State, and serving as a U.S. Army combat artillery officer in Viet Nam, David became a full time coin dealer in 1971. He was President of Paramount International Coin Corp., one of the largest and most influential dealerships of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1973, David was instrumental in Paramount's purchase and sale of the Dr. John E. Wilkinson collection of gold U.S. patterns and produced the definitive book on those legendary rarities. Between 1975 and 1982, David Akers published a six volume analysis of U.S. gold coins that is considered one of the key references for the market. He conducted numerous important auctions, including the three part 1997-99 sale of the legendary John J. Pittman collection. He is one of only two dealers to ever receive all three of the Professional Numismatists Guild's three top honors: the Robert Friedberg Literary award, the Abe Kosoff Founders award, and the PNG Lifetime Achievement award. David Akers is considered one of the top rare gold experts of all-time.

(Quentin) David Bowers (1938-, dealer career: 1953 to date, HOF: 2010) Chairman of Stack's in New York and New Hampshire, Q. David Bowers is a prolific author of over 50 books and monographs, and is the only person to ever serve as President of both the Professional Numismatists Guild (1977 - 1979) and the American Numismatic Association (1983 - 1985). He is a Trustee of the New Hampshire Historical Society, Fellow of the American Antiquarian Society, Massachusetts Historical Society and American Numismatic Society and an annual lecturer at Harvard University. Bowers began buying and selling coins at the age of 14 while still in high school. He has cataloged and sold at public auction some of the most important numismatic collections ever assembled including the collections of Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., Harry W. Bass Jr., Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb and the John Work Garrett Collection sold by order of The Johns Hopkins University. In addition to his own writings, Bowers now is helping to expand numismatic knowledge in his role as Numismatic Director of Whitman Publishing, LLC. Numismatic Literary Guild Executive Director Ed Reiter has described him as "A one-man library." Bowers is one of the most revered and honored numismatists in the world.

S. Hudson Chapman (1857-1931, dealer career: 1876-1829, HOF: 2010) and Henry Hudson Chapman (1859-1935, dealer career: 1876-1935, HOF: 2010) The Chapmans were both young men (21 and 19, respectively), when the brothers formed their numismatic partnership in 1878. Their first auction catalog, issued in 1879, set a new standard for the industry with the introduction of phototype plates; all of their sales are characterized by a level of scholarship and quality that had not been seen before. This helped the brothers land the coup of their career, the sale at auction in 1882 of the collection of Charles I. Bushnell. Today, all of the auction catalogs produced by the Chapman brothers are highly prized, especially the small version formats with plates. In 1906, the bothers each formed his own firm, but continued the same level of professionalism and scholarship that characterized their joint partnership. Much of the style of cataloguing and presentation seen in today’s auction catalogs was influenced by the works of the Chapman brothers. (Image courtesy of George Frederick Kolbe.)

David Hall (1947-, dealer career: 1966 to date, HOF: 2012) David Hall is one of the most influential personalities in the collectibles market, not just in numismatics, but in other popular areas such as baseball cards, stamps, currency, rock-and-roll records, and sports memorabilia. He is best known as the driving force behind the certified coin grading revolution and the founding of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in 1986. But Hall has also been a major dealer in very rare and high quality coins for over three decades, handling many of the finest United States coins and helping build many fine collections. Hall is considered one of the coin market's greatest innovators and was called "the man who changed the rare coin market forever" in the February 20, 1996 issue of Numismatic News.   Hall's innovations include guaranteed buy/sell markets and electronic trading, and he developed the Set Registry concept, allowing collectors to compare collections and compete online.  The July, 1999 issue of Coinage Magazine named David Hall one of the top "Numismatists of the Century."  Hall continues to innovate, focusing much of his attention on information technology as a way of recording and disseminating essential data about collectibles.

Leon Hendrickson (1926-, dealer career: 1949 to date, HOF: 2012) Leon Hendrickson has perhaps sold more coins by dollar volume than any dealer in history. He became a full-time dealer in 1967, when he established SilverTowne, a business that now employs over 100 people today in the small town of Winchester, Indiana. Leon was a big player in the silver certificate redemption of the 1960s, one of the pioneers of importing gold coins out of European hoards, and his firm was one of the biggest bullion dealers in the gold and silver run-up of 1979-1980 (in 1980, SilverTowne’s revenues reached $400 million. Leon was a partner in the legendary Continental Illinois Hoard of Morgan Silver Dollars, and was a major distributor of silver dollars from the LaVere Redfield hoard. He served as President of the Professional Numismatists Guild, the Central States Numismatic Society, and the Indiana State Numismatic Association.  His awards are numerous and well-deserved: President’s Award, National Silver Dollar Roundtable (1978); Lifetime Achievement Award, Professional Numismatists Guild (2003); Presidential Award, American Numismatic Association (2003); and Numismatist of the Year, American Numismatic Association (2008), to name but a few.

Abraham "Abe" Kosoff (1912-1983, dealer career: 1937-1983, HOF: 2012) Abraham "Abe" Kosoff was one of the most influential coin dealers of the 20th century.  He has been called the “Dean of Numismatics” (the apt title of a biography by fellow Hall of Famer, Q. David Bowers) because of his many contributions to the hobby.  Ironically, Abe started his coin business in September 1929, just before the stock market crash of October 1929.  Nonetheless, Kosoff “coined” his way through the Depression and eventually went on to become one of the biggest dealers and auctioneers of his time, conducting more than 90 auction sales spanning the years from 1940 to 1971.  Kosoff supplied many coins to the Egyptian King Farouk, and was a big buyer in the auction sale after the King was deposed.  In 1950, Kosoff and others founded the Professional Numismatists Guild, still the most prestigious dealer organization today.  Kosoff was instrumental in the fight against coin forgeries in the 1960’s. Kosoff was instrumental in the formation of the American Numismatic Association Certification Service and the development of the Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins, important pioneer efforts in third-party, independent, certification of coins.  His contributions of decades ago continue to influence the field of numismatics today.

John Love (1936-, dealer career: 1962 to date, HOF: 2011) John Love has handled more Morgan and Peace dollars than anyone in the world. He is quite simply “Mr. Silver Dollar.” John began selling silver dollars from his shop in Cut Bank, Montana in 1962. By 1964, he was attending national coin shows and soon became one of the biggest buyers and sellers of silver dollars. He was one of the country’s major silver dollar mail order dealers thru the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. In his career, he was involved in most of the most famous silver dollar deals, including the two largest ever, the LaVere Redfield estate (484,000 coins) and the Continental Illinois Bank hoard (about 1.5 million coins). John is famous for two things, his handling of extremely high quality silver dollars (including some of the most famous individual coins in the series) and his over five decades as one of the market’s most prominent silver dollar market-makers. He has literally had a fifty year run of being the “go to guy” for uncirculated Morgan and Peace dollars.

B. Max Mehl (1884-1957, dealer career: 1900-1957, HOF: 2010) B. Max Mehl started his career as a part-time dealer circa 1900 while still a clerk in a shoe store, but went on to become one of the most prolific coin dealers of his time. His secrets: hard work, intense advertising campaigns, tireless self-promotion, and innovative marketing. He was the first to advertise in non-numismatic media. He published a small booklet and sold over a million of them for a dollar apiece. By the 1930s, when America was suffering through the great Depression, Mehl was spending upwards of a hundred thousand dollars a year in advertising. In a record day, he reportedly received 72,000 pieces of correspondence. He offered a reward for any example of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, causing people from all walks of life to examine their pocket change for elusive treasure. He handled incredible collections built by the likes of H.O. Granberg, Waldo Newcomer, William Forrester Dunham, William C. Atwater and many others. And he did this all from Fort Worth, Texas, far from the numismatic scenes in New York, Philadelphia, and California. One can only imagine the many ways that B. Max Mehl, called the "P.T. Barnum of numismatics" by fellow dealer Abe Kosoff, would have used today’s technology to popularize the hobby.

Wayte Raymond (1886-1956, dealer career: 1902-1956, HOF: 2010) Wayte Raymond was a prolific dealer and publisher whose legacy includes his still-useful National Coin Albums (first made in 1928) for which he secured the franchise and promoted them extensively in the 1930s, and the ground-breaking research he sponsored and promoted. From 1912 to 1918, Raymond was involved with Elmer Sears in the United States Coin Company; later, he was associated with James G. Macallister in J.C. Morgenthau & Co.; still later with the Scott Stamp and Coin Co. In 1952, Raymond hired a young man named Walter Breen to conduct research in the National Archives, a fresh approach that resulted in numerous publications and a rapid advancement in numismatic knowledge. Much of the data uncovered by Breen was incorporated into later editions of Raymond's The Standard Catalogue of United States Coins, a reference book introduced in 1934 that was the first comprehensive price guide with mintage figures of U.S. coins. Additional publications he launched over the years included the Coin and Medal Bulletin, the Coin Collectors Journal and Coin Topics. In honor of Raymond and his contributions to numismatic research, the American Numismatic Association instituted the Wayte and Olga Raymond Memorial Award for Distinguished Numismatic Achievement in the Field of United States Numismatics.

Harvey G. Stack (1928-, 1935 to date, HOF: 2011) Harvey Stack, whose family has been famous in the numismatic scene since the 1930s, is an industry leader whose contributions to the hobby and the profession have been profound. Many of the great "name" sales of the past 75 years were handled by Harvey and his family, including those of Anderson-Dupont, H.R. Lee (duplicates from the Louis Eliasberg collection), Floyd Starr, Harold Bareford, Jimmy Hayes, John Ford, and hundreds of others. Harvey has been an indefatigable supporter of numismatics, serving as an expert witness for governmental agencies, world banks, and law enforcement agencies around the world. He assisted in the development of the first American Numismatic Association Grading Guide, has been a member of that organization for over 50 years and a recipient of their Medal of Merit. Beneficiaries of his generosity over the years include the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, the American Numismatic Association, and the American Numismatic Society. He served as President of the Professional Numismatists Guild from 1990-1991 and was awarded their Founders Award (not once, but twice). In 2011, Harvey came out of retirement to join Stack's Bowers Galleries.

W. Elliot Woodward (1825-1892, dealer career: 1862-1890, HOF: 2010) W. Elliot Woodward was one of the first American coin dealers, entering the business on a part-time basis in 1860. Woodward issued auction catalogs from 1860 to 1890, eventually producing 111 in total. Scattered throughout his catalogs are interesting tidbits, including scholarly material, collector biographies, scathing criticisms of his competitors, and comments about other individuals that would probably lead to slander suits today. Woodward accused the U.S. Mint of questionable practices, when made-to-order rarities began appearing on the market or when certain individuals appeared to have an "in" with Mint officials. Highlights of his auction career include the sales of the collections of the Rev. J.M. Finotti, John F. McCoy, J.N.T. Levick and William Jenks (among others). Woodward is perhaps best remembered for his 1867 sale of the celebrated collection of Joseph J. Mickley. Woodward was a true numismatist, well-versed in many areas, thus adding to the breadth and depth of the offerings he brought to market.