Burton S. “Burt” Blumert, who led coin dealers into the Teletype age and later founded the National Association of Coin and Precious Metals Dealers organization in 1981 to meet dealer’s lobbying needs, died March 30, a month after celebrating his 80th birthday and a long battle with cancer.
At the time of his death, he had been retired for a year from Camino Coin in Burlingame, Calif., and was active in charity work and in the political arena as chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a libertarian think tank, and a supporter of political causes, notably Rep. Ron Paul’s failed presidential campaign.
Blumert was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 11, 1929, attended New York University and NYU law school, and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. A blog on LewRockwell.com bearing Blumert’s signature says that “Blumert, wearing Air Force Blue, almost won $16,000 on a popular TV Quiz Show.”
Paul, a member of Congress, reflected on Blumert’s passing in an April 2 talk to the House of Representatives: “After I stepped down from Congress in 1984, I partnered with Burt in the coin business, a partnership which lasted until I returned to Congress in 1996.”
Paul reflected that, “Our partnership was based on nothing more than our words. As anyone who ever dealt with Burt could testify, that was all that was needed, because Burt’s word was truly his bond. I am unaware of anyone who dealt with Burt who questioned his integrity or his commitment to his customers.”
From 1959 until 2008, Blumert ran Camino Coin, and had an active presence in the precious metal business, and in building up coin dealers from a loose connection of colleagues into one linked by Teletype. He later sold that end of his business to Xerox corporation.
Gary North, the hard money advocate, knew Blumert from the mid-1960s when North was a graduate student developing his own monetary theories. He recalls, “Burt and I hit it off from the beginning. That was true of everyone who knew Burt, as far as I ever knew. He was truly gregarious. He was not a high-pressure salesman. He always had a new joke to tell. They were clean jokes. They weren’t great jokes, but they were in endless supply.”
A high complement from North: “He knew more about the day-to-day coin markets than anyone I ever met. He had no grandiose theory of why metals prices went down or up on any given day or month. But he believed that the Federal Reserve would eventually resort to inflation to keep the system going. He was amazed at the longevity of the fiat money system.”
In a Feb. 28, 2009, interview published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Blumert talked about his lifelong passion for gold and gold coinage: “If you buy an ounce of gold, you’re saying no (to the system). If you buy a share of Microsoft, you’re a patriot – you’re participating, you’re part of it.”
“That was the prevailing view” for most of his tenure in the gold and coin business, Blumert says. “And it still is, although to a lesser extent.”
In 1981, he brought to Indianapolis a gathering of national coin leaders and formed the National Association of Coin & Precious Metals Dealers, predating ICTA by several years. As NAC+PMD executive director, he orchestrated an attack on Treasury Regulation 6045 and testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Dec. 4, 1981.
In later years, he bought a pied a terre in New York City at 9 E. 64th Street, a four-story townhouse next to the Wildenstein Gallery. He had a salon of interesting people who talked hard money, gold, coins and philosophy.
As part of a Dec. 28, 2008, valedictory address, Blumert lambasted an object: “2008 has been that sort of year: economic crash, wars, threats of wars, mad dollar printing, police state tactics, bailouts of the power elite, growth of the malignant D.C., not to speak of all the blabbing criminal politicians,” he said.
During his 80 years, he made a difference.