One sad bit of news that came in this week was of the death July 18 of my first boss here. Arnold Jeffcoat was 72 years old when he passed on. He was editor of Numismatic News when I arrived 30 years ago to start my first professional job out of college.
He was irascible and smoked like a chimney. It was so bad that when he left in 1982, my first comment was that after five years my lungs would be like I had never smoked at all. This was a period before the dangers of second-hand smoke were well known.
His cubicle had higher walls around it and when he was at work it looked like a volcano throwing up a cloud of ash. His temper could erupt that way also.
Numismatic News, then as now, went to press on Thursday. He golfed Thursday afternoon.
Friday was the beginning of the next cycle.
“I’d rather eat a bug than read a Bailey,” he would declare loudly that day.
This was the Coin Clinic column, then written by free-lancer Clem Bailey who still lived in Iola. Bailey later went on to be editor of CoinAge magazine.
Jeffcoat knew his stuff. If you could get by the off-putting qualities and pay attention, you came out the better by working with him.
Jeffcoat had a terrible cough even when I first met him. In his last years, he was married to an oxygen bottle. He often declared that trying to quit smoking would kill him faster than the cigarettes.
Until his passing, I believe, no former editor of Numismatic News has ever died.
Obviously that happy state of affairs could not last.
Rest in peace, Jeff.