US Coins

Noted numismatist John McCloskey dies at 80

John W. McCloskey, noted numismatist, author and a founding member of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, which he served nearing four decades as elected president and volunteer editor of its periodical, The Gobrecht Journal, died Dec. 15. Mr. McCloskey was 80.

Mr. McCloskey was deeply ensconced in many U.S. coin series, co-authoring several books currently recognized as seminal references for their respective series.

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Mr. McCloskey penned numerous extensively researched articles for The Gobrecht Journal, and for the John Reich Journal, the official publication for the John Reich Collectors Society of which he was also a founding member.

Mr. McCloskey was co-author with numismatist Russell J. Logan of Federal Half Dimes 1792–1837, published by JRCS in 1998. He was also a co-author 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 design types. Previously, Mr. McCloskey collaborated with numismatist Kamal Ahwash on the research for and publication of the Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Dimes 1837–1891.

Mr. McCloskey announced at the LSCC’s Aug. 15, 2013, meeting held in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois, that he would step down effective September 2014 from the two LSCC posts he had held since 1975, so that he could devote more of his time to separate manuscripts on books dedicated to early United States coins.

He was working on references dedicated to Classic Head gold $2.50 quarter eagles 1834 to 1839 and Classic Head gold $5 half eagles 1834 to 1838.

Bill Bugert, who took the reins of The Gobrecht Journal upon Mr. McCloskey’s retirement from the post, said Mr. McCloskey had also been conducting research dedicated to half eagles struck at the Carson City Mint in Nevada.

The manuscripts were unfinished at the time of his death.

When Mr. McCloskey relinquished his duties as journal editor, it was estimated he had handled the editing and publication of more than 110 52-page journals.

During the 2013 LSCC meeting at the ANA, McCloskey was recognized with a complete set of LSCC membership medals struck by the Moonlight Mint in Colorado.

Soon after Bugert, as then LSCC vice president, presented Mr. McCloskey with the four medals, Bugert also revealed that Mr. McCloskey was further 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.”

Mr. 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 provided him an unfair advantage to receive the accolade.

On Aug. 14, 2013, during the JRCS annual ANA meeting, Mr. McCloskey was inducted into the JRCS Hall of Fame.

Mr. McCloskey developed his love of numismatics, and golf, while growing up in Dayton, Ohio. So proficient did he become in golf that he recorded seven holes in one while pursuing the sport.

He graduated third in his class at Chaminade High School in Dayton. Mr. McCloskey went on to the University of Dayton where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Further academics took Mr. McCloskey to Michigan State University where he earned master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics.

He joined the teaching staff at the University of Dayton where he eventually headed the mathematics department in a career spanning more than 40 years.

Mr. McCloskey is survived by his high-school sweetheart and wife, Norma Jean (Monnin) and his four children Susan (Jim) Anderson, John T. (Marianne) McCloskey, Lisa (Todd) Johnson and Mark McCloskey, eight grandchildren, and brothers, Tom and Ed McCloskey. 

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