The World’s Most Famous Coin Collectors
Coin collecting, known as numismatics, is one of the oldest hobbies in the world. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, coin collecting traces its roots to the Roman Empire. Emperor Caesar Augustus reportedly treasured old and foreign coins and regularly gifted them to friends. Over the centuries, coin collecting and coin buying have enjoyed tremendous growth.
The American Numismatic Association (ANA) reports that it has 25,000 coin collectors and hobbyists worldwide. History has recorded the names of notable coin collectors and their prized pieces. Learn more about these individuals and their collections from our team at Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyers in Westmont, Illinois.
Former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss dedicated his career to developing the athleticism of the Los Angeles Lakers players. As passionate as he was about basketball, Buss was equally devoted to creating one of contemporary history’s most desirable coin collections.
Buss owned some rare coins within his collection, including an 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar and a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, for which he paid $200,000 at auction. Inspired by the idea of collecting rare pennies in circulation, Buss eventually assembled three original sets of Lincoln cents, Buffalo nickels, and Mercury dimes, perfectly completed except for the 1909-S VDB (A San Francisco coin designed by and marked with the initials of Victor David Brenner).
At his death, Buss still owned his original penny board, his first worn-out Red Book, and his original collections of coins that he had set aside from his pocket change.
Justin Couch is a northern Kentucky man who’s quickly making a name for himself in the numismatic world. Inspired by his grandmother, who first introduced him to coin collecting, Couch recognized a void on YouTube for quality content related to coin collecting. Today, his channel, Couch Collectibles, has more than 500,000 subscribers. In each episode, Couch talks about coins worth hundreds and thousands of dollars and often profiles coins from his collection.
Couch’s coins include a 1909-S VDB, graded as F12 and certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company. Couch also possesses a 1916-D (Denver) Mercury dime, a rare coin, given that only 264,000 coins of this type were minted. He also owns an anomaly in his collection, a 1942 Mercury error coin, which, according to Couch, is worth between $300 and $400.
Couch estimates his collection’s value at approximately $20,000. In an interview with The Sun, Couch explained that he doesn’t intend to profit from his coin collection. “I just really want to fill up all my books and get all the common data coins and then focus on getting all the rare dates for those different coins,” he said.
Louis E. Eliasberg Sr.
Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. was a Baltimore businessman who was highly engaged in the numismatic community during the 20th century. Eliasberg achieved recognition among numismatists as being the first and only individual to assemble a collection of circulating U.S. coins by their date and mint mark. Unlike numismatists focusing on business and proof strikes, mint errors, or die varieties, Eliasberg wanted to collect every type of U.S. coin intended for circulation.
Eliasberg’s collection contained several valuable pieces that included the 1873 Liberty Seated dime subtypes, a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, an 1804 silver dollar, and one of the few known 1933 gold $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles. The collection was eventually sold at auction, and auction prices estimated the collection’s value at $60 million.
John J. Ford Jr.
Very few numismatists garner the respect afforded to John J. Ford Jr. During the 2005 ANA meeting in San Francisco, the convention floor observed a moment of silence at the announcement of Ford’s death.
Ford maintained high regard in the numismatic world for his tireless work that elevated the appeal of coin collecting. One only needs to look at his catalogs for the New Netherlands Coin Company as an example of his impact on the field. According to a 2005 New York Times report, Ford’s catalogs represented some of the highest numismatic scholarship in the U.S., filled with meticulous details about coin grades, colors, and quality.
Ford relished collecting examples of American colonial coins, pioneer gold, and African chiefs’ medals. According to a column by Dr. Sol Taylor, president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors, multiyear sales from Ford’s extensive holdings exceeded $56 million.
King Farouk I
King Farouk I ruled Egypt from 1936 to 1952. While history details the nuances of this controversial Egyptian ruler, King Farouk’s coin collection was legendary for its scale. He amassed more than 8,500 gold coins and medals, most of which he purchased during the 1940s when the Egyptian pound was at its highest.
King Farouk’s collection included the rare 1933 version of the $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. After Farouk abdicated the Egyptian throne in 1952, the new Egyptian government organized auctions to sell his massive collection. Collectors worldwide journeyed to Cairo to stake their claim on the rare coins. Even during the 21st century, pieces from King Farouk’s original holdings still come up for auction. For example, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was sold for close to $7.6 million at a 2002 auction.
Joseph J. Mickley
Numismatist Joseph J. Mickley took credit for pioneering the work of coin collecting in America. After moving to Philadelphia from his birthplace in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, Mickley regularly visited the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, where he became close friends with curator William E. Dubois. Mickley attended the meeting that developed America’s first organization of coin collectors, the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, in 1857.
Mickley was among the first to apply a scholarly approach to coin collecting. His “Dates of United States Coins and Their Degrees of Rarity” was one of the early reference books for coin collectors. Before his death, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, gathering coins from different countries to add to the U.S. Mint’s collection.
If you think you have a valuable coin in your collection, Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyers is here to help you identify its worth. Please call us at 630-296-9639, send us a message, or visit our showroom at 16 W. Ogden Ave. in Westmont, Illinois.
Buffalo Nickel by Stephanie Bader is licensed with CC BY 2.0
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