Mr. Coffee was said to have the largest collection of transportation tokens in the world and was a founding member of the American Vecturist Association, the national token collecting group.
Most noteworthy of his many contributions to organized numismatics was that he spent 63 years as editor of the Fare Box, the monthly publication of the AVA.
The Ambassador Award was conferred on him Aug. 8, 1997, by Krause Publications President Clifford Mishler at the AVA annual dinner at the Connecticut Railway Museum in Enfield, Conn.
“John’s dedication to the AVA is an unprecedented achievement in numismatics,” Mishler said. Mishler also recalled Mr. Coffee welcoming him into the organization more than 40 years earlier.
Mr. Coffee was also editor of the Atwood-Coffee Catalogue of United States and Canadian Transportation Tokens.
Like many collectors, he began collecting coins as a child at the age of 11.
In his career he was a Unitarian minister and then a history professor at Emerson College.
He retired from teaching at the age of 76 in 2005 and was given the title of Professor Emeritus.