With the passing of Arnold Margolis, the error coin hobby has lost one of the original pioneers of this segment of coin collecting. I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Arnie for almost 50 years – and I’ve always credited Arnie as being one of the three people who encouraged and motivated me to become a coin dealer, which has been my profession for 40 years.
Arnie was a former Senior Video Control Engineer for NBC for over 35 years and was proud of his decades of work there, and his contacts with history, including being on the NBC team that presented the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Arnie was a member of the Board of CONE (Collectors of Numismatic Errors), the first major national error club and was also the first president of it’s off-shoot, NECA (Numismatic Error Collectors of America). His participation in numismatics also included being past president of the Queens County Coin Club and of NECOLI (Numismatic Error Collectors of Long Island).
His list of authored books and publications include: How Error Coins Are Made in the U.S. Mints, The Error Collector’s handbook, Mint Errors on Carson City Dollars, The Error Coin Encyclopedia (4 editions), The Numismatic Error Primer, co-author of The Design Cud, and long-time publisher of NECA’s monthly Errorscope.
He won awards for his work and was a member of the Numismatic Literary Guild. In addition to numerous award-winning articles about error coins and the minting process that have been published in The Numismatist and other coin publications, he was active in producing error coin seminars for the American Numismatic Association annual conventions.
A tireless advocate for education and knowledge in the coin hobby, one of his proudest achievements was the continual publication, since 1968 Error Trends Coin Magazine, which was issued without interruption until early 2011. It was the first commercial error publication.
Arnie, along with Mort Goodman (deceased) were the face of the error hobby In the 1960s when Goodman got to New York and finally met Arnie, the two became fast friends, starting Mar-Good, a company that issued the very first coin boards to hold errors.
I had been writing back and forth with Arnie since about 1964, and met him for the first time at the inaugural “Error-A-Rama” coin show – the very first coin show dedicated to error coins, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the summer of 1967. Arnie, along with Mort Goodman and Syd Kass, let me help with the convention and show exhibits, and my enthusiasm and knowledge gained from it led me to a 40-year profession as a coin dealer.
At that show, without my knowledge, Arnie had invited my mother to attend the EAR Banquet, where he presented me, as a 17-year old, a special Award as EAR’s “Man Friday” for all of the help and time I had given the show. What was on the plaque, in addition to the words of thanks? An actual Comb – because, it being 1967, my hair was pretty long for a coin collector – and one of the few Young Numismatists who were so involved in error coins. We joked about that plaque ever since.
In 1973, Arnie and I were invited by the GSA (General Services Administration) to go up to the West Point Depository (not yet an official U.S. Mint), and examine the numerous mint error Carson City dollars that were found as the coins were being processed and packaged in the GSA plastic cases. Arnie wrote articles about our experiences.
It was my first time in New York. His hospitality, along with Joan, his beloved wife, left a memory of that trip that has lasted to this day.
Arnie was also proud to be one of the sponsors who literally pushed the ANA to recognize error coins in their own category of exhibits, at the 1977 ANA convention in Atlanta.
Arnie’s impact on my life, both professionally and personally, has been great. In addition to the motivation and education he gave me, he also was one of the first in the business to show me that honesty, integrity, and fellowship are important components of life, in every segment.
Although Arnie had been ill for just over a year, it was still a shock to me to hear of his passing this morning. One of the most important people to be part of most of my life is gone – but someone like Arnie will never be forgotten. His impact on the numismatic world at large, and specifically in our smaller community of error coins, will be felt forever.