After 38 years as president of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club
and editor of The Gobrecht Journal, John W. McCloskey will be “retiring.”
McCloskey, 75, made the announcement Aug. 15 to LSCC members
attending the annual club meeting held in conjunction with the
American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont,
McCloskey informed LSCC members that he will step down
from the elected presidency and volunteer editorship, positions he has
held since 1975. He decided to retire to allow time to complete his
book manuscripts on Classic Head gold $2.50 quarter eagles and $5 half eagles.
McCloskey had quietly informed some LSCC members attending the
Aug. 14 annual meeting of the John Reich Collectors Society of his
plans to announce his retirement at the LSCC meeting. McCloskey, and a
number of JRCS members, are members of both specialty clubs.
McCloskey was a co-founder in 1984 of JRCS.
McCloskey’s retirement from the two LSCC positions becomes
effective in September 2014.
McCloskey’s elected term as president ends Aug. 31, 2014. His
final issue of The Gobrecht Journal as editor will be the
While McCloskey will be walking away from the presidency and
editorship, both roles he found demanding but fulfilling, he says he
will continue as an active LSCC member and continue to write articles
for the journal.
The remaining LSCC leadership has already begun the process of
finding replacements to fill both positions.
The LSCC has known only one other president/journal editor in its
history — Kamal M. Ahwash, the key founding member of LSCC, who in
1973, along with McCloskey and a handful of other collectors attending
the ANA convention in Bal Harbour, Fla., founded LSCC.
McCloskey said Ahwash, a dealer known to be the premier authority
on Seated Liberty coinage in the 1960s and 1970s, had an extensive
inventory of Seated Liberty silver coinage from half dimes through dollars.
Collectors and dealers would bring their Seated Liberty coins to
Ahwash for sale or to seek his knowledge.
Until the publication in 1977 of Ahwash’s Encyclopedia of United
States Liberty Seated Dimes 1837-1891 with McCloskey’s collaboration,
the hobby had no reference on the series.
McCloskey said that during the 1973 ANA, he, Ahwash and a handful
of like-minded Seated Liberty coin aficionados formed the foundation
for the LSCC. Ahwash used his own customer mailing list to ship the
first three issues of the club’s journal in 1974 to interested hobbyists.
In 1975, Ahwash turned over the presidency of LSCC and editorship
of the journal to McCloskey after realizing he did not have the time
to do the work required to run the organization, publish the journal
and operate his own coin business. Ahwash left both volunteer posts in
more than capable hands.
A numismatic researcher and prolific writer, McCloskey has written
extensively for both The Gobrecht Journal and the John
Reich Journal, as well as other numismatic publications,
including Coin World.
McCloskey is a co-author with Russell J. Logan of Federal Half
Dimes 1792-1837, and with Logan, David J. Davis, Allen F.
Lovejoy and William L. Subjack of Early United States Dimes 1796
– 1837, a book describing die marriages for dimes of several
As editor of The Gobrecht Journal, McCloskey has overseen
the publication of three journals annually. By the time of his
retirement as journal editor, McCloskey will have handled the
publication of more than 110 52-page journals, approaching a total of
nearly 6,000 printed pages. In that achievement, McCloskey has edited
and polished countless articles during his tenure.
McCloskey said he has also overseen the printing of the journal,
to ensure each of the nearly 600 dues-paying LSCC members has a clean
copy of the journal, devoid of ink stains, miscollated and improperly
trimmed or missing pages.
For the March 2014 journal, McCloskey said he plans to contribute
an article detailing how he produced and shipped each issue.
When article submissions from the membership have fallen short of
filling the journal’s page count, McCloskey often filled those pages
with his own original research and observations on die production,
coin production and more.
McCloskey, a retired professor of mathematics at the University of
Dayton in Ohio, is planning to devote more time to his own writing
projects on U.S. gold coins that have taken a back seat to his other
hobby duties for years.
However, McCloskey said he has enjoyed the challenge for nearly
In recognition of McCloskey’s tireless contributions to the LSCC
and the hobby, LSCC Vice President Bill Bugert, on behalf of the
membership, presented McCloskey during the Aug. 15 LSCC meeting with a
complete four-piece set of LSCC 40th anniversary medals.
The set contains a Proof 1-ounce gold medal, a copper trial
strike, a Proof 1-ounce silver medal and Satin Finish 1-ounce silver
medal, all housed in a custom Capital Plastics holder.
The obverse of the medals bears Christian Gobrecht’s Seated
Liberty design, with the reverse depicting the flying eagle as seen on
The four club medals were struck by Daniel Carr at his private
Moonlight Mint in Colorado.
Details about the medals (and about
Liberty Seated Collectors Club membership) can be found at www.lsccweb.org.
Soon after the presentation of the set of medals, McCloskey was
recognized with the Kamal M. Ahwash Literary Award for 2012 for his
article in The Gobrecht Journal titled “The Magnificent Dick
Osburn Collection of Liberty Seated Half Dollars.”
McCloskey said that on many occasions over the years he removed
himself from contention for the Ahwash literary award because he
thought his position as journal editor and as the person who selected
the candidates for best journal article might provide him an unfair
advantage to receive the accolade.
On Aug. 14, during the JRCS annual ANA meeting, McCloskey was
recognized by being inducted into the JRCS Hall of Fame.
Filling the void
The LSCC leadership is not waiting until McCloskey’s retirement
becomes effective in 2014 before it fills the void. Steps are already
being taken to provide for a smooth transition.
Bugert said he will likely take over editorship of The
Gobrecht Journal with McCloskey’s September 2014 departure.
The club president’s position is elected from the LSCC membership.
“We are already aggressively working on a plan for a seamless
transition to the new club leadership and membership support,” Bugert
said. LSCC IT/Marketing Director Gerry Fortin is leading the
transition team, assisted by Bugert, Craig Eberhart and LSCC
Secretary-Treasurer Len Augsburger.
“We are in the process of drafting a transition schedule with a
target for new officer nominations by Jan. 1,” Fortin said. ■