Colonial America column from July 27, 2015, issue of Coin World:
One of the chief distinguishing characteristics of the Colonial coin
specialty is the sense of community it engenders. Led by the Colonial
Coin Collectors Club, collectors of all stripes who enjoy early
American coins find that socializing and sharing their enthusiasm with
other like-minded folks is even more enjoyable than owning the coins themselves.
The Colonial coin community lost one of its unsung heroes last
month. Henry “Hank” Schab passed away in June, just a day shy of his
He was among the founders of perhaps the first ever coin club with
“Colonial” in its name, the Colonial Coin Club of Annapolis, Md., the local
club in the hometown he adopted just after his service in World War II.
Hank was well-known around Annapolis for his love of the history of
the bayside town. He could often be seen, well past the age when other
people preferred an easy chair, dressed in Colonial garb giving tours
around the historic downtown. His love for Annapolis inspired his
greatest contribution to the world of numismatics, publication of “The
Life and Coins of John Chalmers” in
Numismatist in April 1984.
Chasing down research avenues that no numismatist had ever pursued,
Hank brought John Chalmers to life, animating a name known to all but
a personality known to none.
For the rest of his days, Hank kept careful track of the auction
appearance of every Chalmers shilling, sixpence, and threepence he
could find, bringing a naval officer and engineer’s sense of order and
discipline and a hobbyist’s passion to his studies.
The coins Chalmers struck in 1783 remain the best known products of
the picturesque town to this day. Inspired by my surroundings after I
moved to Annapolis over a decade ago, I started pursuing research on
John Chalmers and discovered that every publication owed their facts
to Schab’s research. I looked Hank up in the phone book and called him
out of the blue. He generously invited me to his home to look at his
research materials and coins.
We pored over his notes, still lovingly maintained despite
publication some 20 years earlier, and we became friends.
After moving out of Annapolis, I’d still occasionally see Hank at
At one of the shows, fellow Colonial dealer Tony Terranova put the only type of Chalmers
coin Hank never owned in his 97-year-old hands, the 1783 Rings
shilling, one of five known.
His hands may have shown his age, but the look on his face showed
the childlike love of these coins that begat the research work that
will long outlive us all.
More from CoinWorld.com:
seeks 1933 gold double eagle rehearing involving coins from 'the
family of a thief'
of 1922 Peace dollar multiplies thanks to NGC sample slab: Market Analysis
releases technical details for 2015-W American Liberty, High
Relief gold coin
States Mint nixes American Liberty, High Relief silver medal for 2015
to diminish Alexander Hamilton appalls former Federal Reserve chairman
Keep up with all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by signing
up for our free eNewsletters, liking
us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!