US Coins

Former numismatic literature dealer Fred Lake dies

Former numismatic literature dealer Fred L. Lake, a longtime fixture for the Florida United Numismatists, died Dec. 25 at the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. Mr. Lake was 87.

According to FUN Convention Coordinator Cindy Wibker, Mr. Lake had served on the FUN board of directors for 18 years, but also served the organization in many other capacities.

“He was our head photographer, placed directional signage in the halls, and kept the educational programs running on schedule,” Wibker said. “He wore many hats and did a bang-up job for FUN. Mostly, he was fun to be around. He had a wonderful sense of humor, had a quick wit, and was very intelligent. I could always depend on him to be a voice of reason in board meetings. He was famous for making a motion that our board meetings adjourn, and we’ll all miss him greatly. I talked to him several weeks ago and he was very happy with his long and healthy life and had no regrets. Just an awesome man.”

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While Mr. Lake’s collecting habits centered on early American copper coins, his numismatic reputation became widespread on May 17, 1989, when he conducted his first mail-bid sale offering numismatic literature under the firm name Function Associates, based in Marshfield, Mass., before eventually moving to Florida. The firm’s name was changed to Lake Books in May 2000. Mr. Lake conducted a combined total of 125 sales.

Fellow numismatic bookseller Alan Workman recalls that Mr. Lake traveled extensively in search of consignments during his tenure as a numismatic literature dealer. Mr. Lake also frequently distributed books and catalogs for free at coin shows he attended.

In addition to FUN, Mr. Lake was a member of the American Numismatic Association, Numismatic Bibliomania Society and Early American Coppers.

A native of Boston, Mr. Lake earned a degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. His grandfather, also named Fred L. Lake, was the seventh manager of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team 1908 to 1909.

A U.S. Marine Corps reservist following World War II, Mr. Lake transferred to active duty with the 2nd Marine Division in 1952 following his college graduation. Mr. Lake completed his tour of duty in 1958, having advanced to the rank of captain and command of an infantry company.

Mr. Lake pursued a career in hospitality management and ownership in New England before venturing into the numismatic literature field.

Mr. Lake is survived by his wife, Joan, whom he married in 1977.

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