I and more than 40 other friends created a memorial notice for Dr.
George J. Fuld that ran in the Nov. 11 Coin World. One thing
that George was not was a publicity hound. Try as I might, I could
find only two photographs of him in my files. George defined modesty.
I met George when I was a teenager in high school. I spent a lot
of time reading everything I could in back issues of The
Numismatist, The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, the
American Journal of Numismatics and in reference books. I
soon learned that if I had a question on just about anything, he could
either help or point me in the right direction.
In 1957, George, several others and I contemplated that most rare
coin dealers were interested only in sales and had no interest in
research. This was quite different from generations earlier when such
dealers as Sylvester S. Crosby, W.E. Woodward, Lyman H. Low, Wayte
Raymond, Edgar H. Adams and others contributed immensely to that area.
We were all youngsters, so to speak.
George was especially interested in the field of tokens and
medals. Civil War tokens were his first love. With virtually no
competition in the 1940s and 1950s he built an incredible collection
and acquired countless thousands of duplicates. No current reference
books existed as he collected, so he co-wrote them: one on store
cards, the other on patriotic tokens.
Washington tokens and medals were another focus. The most recent
reference was written by W.S. Baker in 1885. It was time for a new
one, so George wrote it. He retained Baker number attributions rather
than using his own name. The door swung both ways, and Russ Rulau and
I helped with recent editions. Not long ago, George’s book on
Washington tokens by Peter Getz was published.
Out-of-print catalogs and reference books were another love.
Should the Numismatic Bibliomania Society create a Hall of Fame,
George’s name would be high on the list.
Last summer, he wrote a fascinating reminiscence of his life for
the recently published Whitman Guide Book of Civil War
Tokens. We had many conversations in the course of finessing it.
In a more recent conversation, I asked him if he was going to
attend the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Expo in Philadelphia in
September. He said that his retirement home, with wife, Doris, was
very comfortable, but his range now, with a walker, was limited to
about a hundred feet.
George will always be a fond part of my memories.
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, email@example.com,
or at Q. David Bowers LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.