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Farewell M.R. "Bob" Roberts

By Richard Lobel, Founder of Coincraft, London, England

Today I received the very sad news that M. R. ‘Bob’ Roberts of Sydney, Australia has passed away after a very long illness. His real name was Robert Malcolm but the signwriter got it wrong and he became M. R. Roberts instead of Mr. Robert’s Coin Shop. He was a great friend of mine for many years, and in 1982 when my business got into trouble, he was one of the first people to come to my rescue.

Many of today’s coin dealers in Australia had either worked for Bob at one time or were helped by him when they started up a business. Wynyard Coin Center is one of the oldest and largest in Australia and will be carried on by his protégé Joe Dettling. At one time Bob wrote a coin column for both of Australia’s largest national newspapers, although under different names.

He had great knowledge and was always willing to share that knowledge, without asking anything in return. Bob, in an earlier life, brought rock ‘n roll to Australia, touring the outback with musicians and dancers. He had studied ballet and because of that, he also became quite an accomplished boxer. Being a ballet dancer in Australia, you had to learn to protect yourself.

He was a tall man who had a presence by just from being somewhere. He used to drive all over the country giving talks to the locals and trying to spread the gospel of coin collecting. He was known and well respected all over the world and those of us who really knew him will greatly miss him. Many collectors have fine collections due to the hard work and knowledge he had and shared.

I will greatly miss him and the next time I am having a bottle of very fine wine I will toast the dean of Australian numismatics. Good on you, Bob!