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Harry X Boosel Honored by Chicago Coin Club

Harry X Boosel

Harry X Boosel is the seventh person to be inducted into the Chicago Coin Club’s Hall of Fame. (Image courtesy of Central States Numismatic Society)

The Chicago Coin Club has announced that the seventh person to be inducted into its Hall of Fame is former author and hobby leader Harry X Boosel, “Mr. 1873.”

Harry X Boosel joined the Chicago Coin Club on March 7, 1934 as member No. 239. During his 60-year membership, he served as President from 1951 to 1952 and was Chairman of the 1937 ANA Convention in Washington, D.C., while living there temporarily. He also served as General Chairman of the 1966 Chicago ANA Convention. He received the club’s Medal of Merit in 1962 and its Literary Award in 1972. A frequent exhibitor, he was honored with eight Cabeen Exhibit Awards and spoke before the club many times.

Mr. Boosel (August 17, 1912 – August 18, 1994) had a long career with the U.S. Government, starting as a file clerk in 1936 and retiring in 1972 as Chief, Office of Industrial Security, Defense Supply Agency. During World War II, he spent four years in the military, serving in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps and the Office of Strategic Services. His father had a good income and he lived at home for many years, enabling him to collect early U.S. proof sets at the age of 21.

His Writing Accomplishments

Fellow club member Lee Hewitt (Hall of Fame No. 6) suggested that he collect the coinage of 1873 because of the many types produced that year. Rising to the challenge, Mr. Boosel wrote a series of articles on them for the Numismatic Scrapbook, March 1957 - December 1958, discovering that there were two varieties of the date: Closed 3 (original) and Open 3 (improved). These articles were reprinted as 1873-1873 (with the two date fonts) and the varieties added to the 13th edition of the Guide Book. He also shared his knowledge of 1873 issues at the 1986 ANS Coinage of the Americas Conference. And in 1959 he published the results of his study of Saudi Arabian gold discs, giving the reason for their issue and exposing recent counterfeits.

In 1943, while serving in the Army in Marquette, Michigan, Mr. Boosel came across the important 19th-century collection of Nathan M. Kaufman. The collection was on display in the First National Bank & Trust Company in a special room built specifically to house it. The most valuable pieces were held in two safes, which remained closed during the war. In 1970 he returned and was able to inventory and appraise the whole collection, which was finally sold at auction in 1978.

Over the years Mr. Boosel gave a great deal back to the hobby, serving as Governor of the ANA (in 1937, the youngest ever elected) in the 1930s and 1980s; Chairman, National Coin Week; and Governor and President, Central States Numismatic Society. He placed award-winning exhibits. The ANA presented him with its highest honor, the Farran Zerbe Award, in 1989. He was appointed to the Assay Commission in 1964 and elected a Fellow of the American Numismatic Society in 1987.

Mr. Boosel wanted to be called “Mr. 1873” because of his extensive study of the coinage of that year, to the eventual exclusion of almost everything else. He made a point of insisting that his middle name was “X” (no period), and refused to accept a Chicago Coin Club Cabeen Exhibit Award medal on which the engraver had added one; the club had another made, with careful instructions.

Prior Inductees

Twelve Hall of Fame inductees have been selected. In addition to Boosel, Lee F. Hewitt, J. Henri Ripstra, Dr. Alexander Michaels Rackus, William Forrester Dunham, Virgil Michael Brand, and M. Vernon Sheldon have already been inducted. The remaining five will be announced at the rate of one per month, August through December, during the Chicago Coin Club’s centennial year, 2019.

About the Chicago Coin Club

The Chicago Coin Club was organized in 1912 as American Numismatic Association Branch No. 1, and reorganized under its present name in 1919. All are invited to join. To become a member you must attend a meeting and submit an application along with a membership fee of $20 ($10 for Junior membership). The first reading of your application will be held at this meeting. A second reading at the next monthly meeting, following publication of your name in the club newsletter. You are not required to be present for the second reading. Upon membership approval, you will become a member.

The Chicago Coin Club holds monthly meetings in downtown Chicago, plus at major numismatic conventions such as Central States. There is a featured speaker at every meeting except the annual auction, held at the November meeting.