US Coins

Bowers remembers Chet Krause's numismatic legacy

Chet Krause is shown with a World War II vehicle during a visit to Wolfeboro, N.H., on June 27, 2000. Also shown is the cover of the late publisher's autobiography.

Original images courtesy of Q. David Bowers.

The Joys of Collecting column from the Aug. 08, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:

Chet Krause, notable ‘people person.’

The feeling spread all over numismatics as tributes were given in print, in person in conversations at conventions and elsewhere, and on the Internet. Chet was a “people person” par excellence, modest, and always willing to share his intelligence, wisdom and knowledge.

He started Numismatic News as a monthly newspaper in 1952, in 1963 Clifford Mishler joined the company and with Chet was instrumental in building the Krause Publications empire.

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Chet never married. He set up an Employee Stock Option Plan under which most of his company went to those who helped build it. Quite against his wishes, the employees sold the company to a Cincinnati firm. It had been his wish that ownership would remain in his home town of Iola, Wis.

Chet was super-generous in many other ways, including memorable cash contributions to the American Numismatic Association Headquarters, to setting up the Numismatic Ambassador program to honor people all across America who helped promote the hobby. He sponsored research, he testified in coinage legislation in Washington, and did so many other good things that it would take a long list to mention them all.

I don’t recall when I first met Chet, but it was sometime in the 1950s. On several occasions he came to Wolfeboro, N.H., to visit me and the coin company staff. One of his many hobby interests was World War II vehicles. Here in Wolfeboro the Wright Museum of World War II is a national attraction, and Chet visited it a couple of times while here.

Chet collected many other things as well. I recall in the 1950s when he said he bought a 1915-S Panama-Pacific commemorative set in a copper frame. Of deeper interest was paper money of Wisconsin, especially obsolete notes of the early 19th century; for many of them the history was unknown — until he wrote the standard reference book.

If anyone ever creates the Pantheon of Great American Numismatists to honor those who have made selfless contributions, Chet would be the most recent entry. 

When I say my life is much richer for his having passed my way, I know that many others could say the same thing.

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