The merger of Stack?s with American Numismatic Rarities first announced Sept. 6 is not just any deal, according to Lawrence R. Stack. ?It is well thought out, two to three years in planning,? he said Sept. 7 in a joint telephone interview conducted by him and Christine Karstedt of ANR with Numismatic News.
As the combined firm will be known as Stack?s going forward, retention of the venerable name was an important factor for Stack, who has been with the firm since 1973. Stack?s was founded in 1935 and today stands as the longest-surviving professional numismatic firm.
In the intervening years, Stack?s has handled many of the important collections to come on the market and has distinguished itself by serving collectors in other ways, including its retail operation in New York City.
American Numismatic Rarities, combining the talents of many well-known experts and researchers, including Q. David Bowers, has had its own share of laurels in recent years, including landmark auctions. The forthcoming sale of rarities from the Norweb Collection of early American coins, the 2005 auction of the Eliasberg Collection of world coins and others can be mentioned.
The CEO and director of numismatics (Stack) and the president of the new combined firm (Karstedt) were together in New York City planning for the future. Their schedule was so busy that the interview was postponed once before being accomplished in the late afternoon.
It is hard to tell who is the more enthusiastic about the merger. Stack said, ?Everything just meshes perfectly,? and he then offered a detailed explanation as to how the ages of the two staffs make a sound continuum. He said, ?ANR has a fabulous staff.? In particular, Stack singled out Karstedt. ?It is amazing what she has done (with ANR). Today she stands as one of the most admired figures in numismatics.?
Karstedt focused her comments on the benefits to the two firms? clients and the wider numismatic marketplace.
?I think it?s going to be great for the marketplace," she said. "Sellers and buyers alike will certainly benefit by the combined expertise of these two organizations.?
First and foremost among the benefits was the marriage of ANR online technology with Stack?s longtime presence in New York City. Karstedt also said that ?ANR online bidding technology will be rolled out for Stack?s auctions.?
Stack concurred in the view of the importance of the online technology. He called ANR?s ?sophisticated.? He added, ?Anyone out there looking to sell their coins will have the best of all worlds at their fingertips.?
The magnitude of the task of merging operations was on Karstedt?s mind when she was asked when the merger would be complete. She replied that it would occur methodically over the next few months and be complete when the last task is done.
Even though Stack pointed out that they were doing their third auction together in October, the firms also are still doing auctions under their individual names as previously scheduled.
When asked what kind of sales numbers might be achieved by the combined company, Karstedt replied that in 2007 several big collections were already on tap for future auctions and John J. Ford sales would continue. This would make for a ?very fine year.?
Karstedt perhaps summed up the historical significance of the merger to the hobby when she said, ?For the first time in 50 years, a person can pick up the phone and reach Harvey Stack and Dave Bowers at the same company.?
Both companies focus on the collector, helping to build and sell collections ranging from modest size to the greatest ever formed. The catalogs of each stand high for their scholarship and expertise, and today are prized in any numismatic library.