US Coins

Former Trends editor Keith Zaner, 69, dies

Former Coin World Trends editor Keith Zaner, who spent nearly four decades as a professional coin and paper money pricing analyst, passed away Aug. 3 in Arizona at the age of 69.

Original image courtesy of the Zaner family.

Former Coin World Trends editor Keith Zaner, who served the numismatic hobby for nearly four decades as a professional coin and paper money pricing analyst, passed away Aug. 3 in Arizona, after an extended illness. Mr. Zaner was 69.

A native of Deer Park on New York’s Long Island, Mr. Zaner acquainted himself with coin collecting as a youth, according to his brother Rick. Rick notes Mr. Zaner educated their late father, Gene, on coin collecting, convincing his father in the 1970s to invest in an example of an 1879 Flowing Hair $4 Stella and a Proof 1869 Indian Head gold $3 coin while building his collection.

“When we went around the country on our family vacations, Keith would have our Dad stop at banks in Canada because he knew that they still were minting silver after the United States stopped, and we collected all the silver coins we could,” Rick Zaner said.

In his later youth, Mr. Zaner worked as a lifeguard, as he was an expert swimmer.

He earned a bachelor of science degree from Indiana State University in 1975, majoring in economics and geography, and in 1977, a master’s degree in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Early in 1982, Mr. Zaner worked at New England Rare Coin Galleries, in Massachusetts.

Mr. Zaner joined the staff of Coin World as Trends editor in June 1982 and remained in that position until May 1997 when he left the publication to join the Coin Dealer Newsletter family of numismatic pricing publications, contributing wholesale prices for U.S. coins and paper money. Mr. Zaner was soon elevated to CDN editor and served in that post until November 2008.

Mr. Zaner went to work in 2009 for Whitman Publishing LLC, where he contributed pricing information for A Guide Book of United States Coins, the “Red Book”; A Handbook of United States Coins, the “Blue Book”; and other Whitman titles, including Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties.

During his tenure at Whitman, publisher Dennis Tucker said Keith Zaner built a strong reputation for honesty, integrity and accuracy.

“He didn’t just price Lincoln cents and Morgan dollars and other common coins, but also the more rarefied series like half cents and large cents (by Sheldon variety), Capped Bust half dollars (by Overton variety), all manner of Cherrypicker die varieties, all kinds of U.S. paper money, and the gamut of Canadian coins and tokens,” Tucker said.

Added Tucker, “Here at Whitman, we remember Keith’s good-natured humor; his willingness to learn and also to share his knowledge; and his love of family, friends, and his pets. He did yeoman work and was the consummate team player. We treasure his memory and are grateful for the time we had with him.”

Mr. Zaner was a lover of all animals, especially cats, which he notably took in as strays to give them a good home and provide them with the necessary medical care.

“One humorous thing I want you to know was I always remember coming home from school and Keith had this little machine with a light in a magnifying glass, and he was always looking at the dates of Buffalo nickels; and as you know most of them never had dates, and Keith would use the date restore acid to try and restore the date and then regretted every one of those drops he put on every coin, later on when he knew better,” said Rick Zaner.

Mr. Zaner left Whitman Publishing in May 2013 to join, as a pricing analyst, the staff at Numismatic Guaranty Corp. from which he retired to Arizona several years later because of declining health.

Mr. Zaner updated values for the NGC U.S. Coin Price Guide based on actual, documented transactions provided to NGC by a number of sources throughout the numismatic community. Mr. Zaner  also served as a liaison between NGC and its collector and dealer members on price guide matters.

In addition to his extensive numismatic knowledge, Mr. Zaner was also well-versed in rocks and minerals and was an expert on early tin-type model trains of the 1920s and 1930s.

Keith Zaner is survived by his older sister, Starlet Tobin (Jeff); younger brothers Robert Zaner (Debra); and Rick Zaner (Roseann); and; many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Zaner was buried in the Jewish tradition Aug. 5 near his parents in Mt. Ararat Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.

Because of COVID-19, Rick Zaner said, no public service would be held at this time.

Gutterman’s funeral homes in Woodbury, Long Island, New York, was in charge of arrangements.

Donations may be made in Keith Zaner’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association in his memory.

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