The following obituary was provided by collector Ray Williams on
behalf of his friend and fellow collector, Robert A. "Bob"
Vlack, who passed away Aug. 11 at the age of 88:
was born and raised in the South Bronx, N.Y., during the Depression
years. He moved to Connecticut, entered the military serving during
WWII in the Army as a medic, entered college under the GI Bill and did
his graduate studies at Northern University and MIT. Being the
proverbial (and literal) rocket scientist, Bob used his engineering
skills working in ground support for the Titan Missile program. Later
he was employed as a Project Engineer for Western Electric.
the age of 50, he retired from the 9:00 to 5:00 workforce and became a
coin dealer. It was at this time that he served in the New Hampshire
House of Representatives as a legislator.
started collecting shortly after WWII and later decided to specialize
in collecting and studying the coinage and paper money of our Colonial
times. In the 1950s, he started doing serious numismatic research, and
over several decades he constructed photographic plates of Colonial
coin images, assisting the collector in identifying die varieties.
Colonial coin die varieties are known by the Vlack numbering system,
including the coinage of Machin's Mill and St. Patrick Halfpence
(among others). He wrote articles in various numismatic publications,
including eighteen of them in the Colonial Newsletter.
first book, Early American Coins, was published in 1965. In
2001 he published Early North American Advertising Notes, and
in 2004 he published The French Billon Coinage in the Americas
(a C4 publication). This book won the Fred Bowman Literary Award from
the Canadian Numismatic Research Society in 2005. Bob also was
involved in the editing and rewriting of many numismatic books we
enjoy today. In 2007, the Colonial Coin Collectors Club awarded him
its Lifetime Achievement Award.
was active in, and a member of, many numismatic organizations. He was
president of the Collectors Club of New England and La Societe
Americaine. In addition to his writings, he gave educational
presentations as the featured speaker for many clubs and numismatic organizations.
is survived by six children, thirteen grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
a personal note, Bob was always willing to help collectors, from the
novice to the expert. On the bourse floor, his table was never
empty — he was always to be found helping customers (with an inventory
that had something for everyone), or assisting a researcher, or
educating a collector. Bob always had a smile on his face and a
welcoming demeanor. His passion for numismatics was addictive. He
will be missed by many and remembered through the ages for his
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