M. Goldman, president of Kenneth Goldman Inc. of Needham, Mass., has
been a rare coin dealer for nearly 50 years and started out attending
coin conventions back in 1962. He can be reached by email at:
I have been a coin dealer for over 50 years. I have attended all of
the American Numismatic Association conventions since 1968 as well as
over 95 percent of all major coin conventions since then. Back in the
1960s and 1970s, I really enjoyed the stories from Abe Kosoff, Art
Kagin, Abner Kriesberg, Jerry Cohen and others. To me, they were the
“old-timers” who had seen more than us “new kids.” Today, I am one of
the “old-timers” and, with the publishing of the recent article on the
1975 Roosevelt, No S dime, I am pleased to share many unpublished
details on this coin.
First, back in the 1970s, I attended one of the Metropolitan New
York conventions in the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. Business was
fine, but one thing stands out in my mind — something that has never
been repeated. A local man walked into the show and told me “I have
five 1802 half dimes with me for sale.” This seemed nearly impossible
so I, along with another dealer — Jim Leeuw — said, “Let’s see them.”
Sure enough — he produced five coins that he had bought from Stack’s
auctions over the years. They graded, at that time, from Fine down to
About Good. All had strong dates and were absolutely genuine. I bought
three of them from Jim, including the best one.
I sold the best one to a doctor on the East Coast. He was a client
and I sold him a few other coins over the years going forward. As time
went on, I lost contact with him, as happens so often.
I am a collector of many other items including mechanical musical
instruments (getting my start from Dave Bowers) as well as antique
slot machines. In the 1980s an auction company was selling a
collection of antiques. The owner’s name seemed familiar to me —
possibly, it was the same as the man who bought the 1802 half dime. I
contacted the auctioneer and asked him to call the consignor and ask
if he had a coin collection — with an 1802 half dime. Sure enough, it
was the same person, but the coins has been sold about five years earlier.
Again, going forward a few years more, I get a call from a longtime
dealer friend whom I have known since the 1960s. He tells me about a
longtime client who had a Proof set with a 1975 Roosevelt, No S dime
that he bought from Fred Vollmer back in 1980. He asked me on a
marketing plan for this coin since one had never been sold before.
This was of interest as very few coins listed in the “Red Book” have
never sold in public auction.
I thought auction was the best way to go, with a huge publicity
campaign extolling the virtues of this coin. After discussing this
with a couple of leading firms (as the owner requested) a mutual
decision was made that it would be sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries —
with much of the description being written by my longtime friend Dave
Bowers. The August 2011 sale is now history, but some of the
unpublished details may be of interest.
In 1978, a lady from California (a Mrs. Castello) contacted Fred
Vollmer about a 1975 “S less” Proof set. The old documents that I have
show that Vollmer purchased this set from Mrs. Castello shortly after.
Again, in January of 1979, Mrs. Castello contacted Mr. Vollmer
regarding another set that she had obtained from another collector at
that time, after ANACS verified the authenticity of this set. She
offered the second set to Mr. Vollmer as well.
Mrs. Castello also stated, “I realize that my asking price seems
exorbitantly high, however I am convinced that this is a rare and
scarce error, and I am therefore hesitant in selling this set at a
The deal was completed in February of 1979 with a final comment from
Mrs. Castello: “I think it would be very interesting and exciting to
be a coin dealer.”
Apparently Mr. Vollmer felt that he could pay the exorbitant price
for this set, as a deal was made to sell the set to my client on March
5, 1979, less than 30 days after the purchase.
When the set owned by my longtime client was sold in 2011, the
results were the talk of the ANA convention with the 1975 Proof set
bringing the sum of $349,600. I called the consignor of the set just
sold right after the auction — and he was in disbelief. He was
extremely pleased with the time and effort that was spent in bringing
this to market.