I continue my reminiscences of Margo Russell, who served as editor of
Coin World for 23 years.
Margo led Coin World to more than 170,000 subscribers.
Before Margo’s editorship, in 1960 with the magazine’s launch and
the excitement of the “rare” 1960 Lincoln, Small Date cents, the
number of coin collectors and dealers began expanding.
By the height in 1964, probably there were 10 times more collectors
and dealers than there were in the mid-1950s. Chet Krause of
Numismatic News told me that he thought there were at least
6,000 dealers in America, many if not most of which had shops.
In November 1962 we were all surprised, shocked, and delighted when
the great Treasury Hoard of silver dollars was revealed as long-sealed
federal vaults were opened.
The most expensive Morgan dollar then in A Guide Book of United
States Coins was the 1903-O dollar at $1,500 in Uncirculated. I
had never seen one nor had most other dealers.
Then all of a sudden, hundreds of thousands came on the market and
the price dropped to $14,000 for a bag of 1,000 coins!
I also remember going through thousands of Seated Liberty dollars in
long-hidden bags; these were circulated coins.
Margo Russell was in the front of reporting all of this.
Coin investment was the name of the game. In the early 1960s at
least three Teletype systems linked coin dealers. The Coin Dealer
Newsletter was launched in 1963, and books and guides sprouted
like mushrooms after a spring rain.
“Experts” arose and gave talks and seminars to share their
investment secrets. Some of them became heroes to numismatists who
seemingly lost their power of reason.
President Kennedy was assassinated in November, and in early 1964
the production of a new half dollar design to honor him created
worldwide attention. Some of the first coins released sold for $5
each. How exciting!
Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts, who designed the obverse, left the
Mint and became a millionaire.
Again, Margo followed this action week by week, month by month and
was front row center, with her now-large staff, in reporting the news
as it developed. In reading this you might think it was time for
things to quiet down.
More from CoinWorld.com:
gold prospector unearths 87-ounce nugget worth more than $100,000 in
Royal Mint unveils fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II:
much gold and silver has the U.S. Mint sold so far in 2015? [INFOGRAPHIC]
of Canada says not illegal to 'Spock' its $5 notes in homage to the
token honors independence hero William Wallace
to share your thoughts on this story.
Keep up with all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by
signing up for our free eNewsletters
liking us on Facebook
following us on Twitter
. We're also on