US Coins

Missouri numismatist Michael Pfefferkorn dies at 77

Michael Gene Pfefferkorn Sr., a well-known collector of Roman coins, Missouri tokens and tax tokens, passed away May 11 in St. Louis at age 77.

An active member and officer of the Missouri Numismatic Society, Mr. Pfefferkorn served as MNS president from 1976 to 1978, and also served the association as a member of the board of directors, librarian and editor of the Missouri Journal of Numismatics, which he founded in 1976.

Mr. Pfefferkorn was one of the founders of the Missouri Numismatic Society Library — once a significant stand-alone numismatic library, now incorporated into the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society Library at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mr. Pfefferkorn was co-founder of the American Tax Token Society and published the Tax Token Tally during 1970 to 1972. He served as Young Numismatists and Pages coordinator for the American Numismatic Association Anniversary Convention in St. Louis in 1979.

Among Mr. Pfefferkorn's numismatic writings, he was co-author with Jerry Schimmel of the standard book on tax tokens, Chits, Chiselers and Funny Money, published in 1976. Mr. Pfefferkorn wrote articles for the Missouri Journal of Numismatics, The Token and Medal Society Journal, Coin World, and other publications.

Mr. Pfefferkorn was born in Delano, Calif., but had extended family from the Chaffee, Mo. As a result, Mr. Pfefferkorn extensively traveled through southeast Missouri looking for tokens.

Circa 1970, Mr. Pfefferkorn lost much of his collection in a burglary. 

Mr. Pfefferkorn received bachelors of art and science degrees from Southeast Missouri State College in 1961 and a master of arts degree from the University of Missouri in 1963.

Mr. Pfefferkorn also taught history for four decades in the St. Louis public schools system.

During his years of teaching, Mr. Pfefferkorn had his students comb through directories to compile a listing of saloons in St. Louis; the findings from this work remain unpublished. Mr. Pfefferkorn was one of the first to research the part-incuse tokens made in St. Louis, and published an introduction to the series in the July 1999 issue of Talkin' Tokens.

According to friend and fellow numismatist Bruce Smith: “The last time I visited Mike, a year or two ago, he took me around the corner from his house, to a second floor apartment above some retail shop. This apartment was not for living in, but instead housed Mike's numismatic library, including many Missouri business directories. For decades, Mike was a fixture at coin shows and coin club meetings in the St. Louis area. Easy to recognize by his bushy moustache, he will be missed.”

Mr. Pfefferkorn is survived by his wife, Sandra; son, Michael G. Pfefferkorn Jr.; a daughter, Patricia Hutchison; and four grandchildren.

Funeral services were held May 16 at Kutis Funeral Home Inc.'s Affton Chapel, in St. Louis, followed by interment at Park Lawn Cemetery. Memorials may be made to National Epilepsy FoundationAmerican Diabetes AssociationAmerican Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.

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