Token authority and retired numismatic editor Russell Rulau died Nov. 12 in his home in Iola, Wis., at the age of 86. He had long battled complications from a failing heart.
Mr. Rulau was working on updating his crowning work, the Standard Catalog of U.S. Tokens, 1700-1900.
Mr. Rulau held a lifelong interest in numismatics that began in 1939 and eventually propelled him into a career in the field after 18 years in the military that had begun when he voluteered for Army service in 1944 during World War II.
He joined the staff of Coin World in December 1962 in Sidney, Ohio, and shortly thereafter became founding editor of sister product, World Coins magazine 1964-1974.
When World Coin News was started by Krause Publications, parent firm of Numismatic News, in 1974 to regularly augment its Standard Catalog of World Coins, Mr. Rulau moved to Iola to join it after just one full issue had been published. As editor, managing editor and then editor-in-chief, he guided it over 10 years during a period of rapid growth. The paper went from quarterly to monthly to weekly under his leaderhip, and it became the premier publication in the field of collecting world coins.
His interest in tokens was a longstanding one. He said he coined the term “exonumia” to describe the field of tokens, medals and basically non-coin, non-paper money numismatics in 1960.
The comprehensive token book grew from his earlier books in the fields of Hard Times and Trade tokens. He also wrote a book about Latin American tokens. In all, he there are 17 books to his credit.
He left World Coin News in 1984 and not long afterward became vice president of U.S. sales for England’s Pobjoy Mint, 1985-1998.
In the year 2000 the American Numismatic Association recognized him by inducting him into the ANA Hall of Fame.
He is survived by nine children, 20 grandchildrena and four great-grandchildren.
His funeral was to be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Nov. 16 in Iola.
Interment of Cremains was to follow with full Military Rites at the Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in King.