Colin R. Bruce II, longtime editor and author at Krause Publications, succumbed to cancer on Sept. 3, 2017, at Iola Living Assistance following an extended fight with the disease. He was 77 years old. Raised in the Buffalo area of upstate New York, he had been a resident of Iola, Wis., since 1974, having served as a member of the world coin and paper money cataloging staff from then until his retirement in 2007.
Bruce was especially interested in and knowledgeable of the numismatic issues of Mexico, China, Japan and the Indian Princely States. Through the years he developed an international network of enthusiasts and experts in wide-ranging specialty areas, through both his staff and pre-Krause involvements as a part-time coin dealer operating out of North Tonawanda, N.Y., upon whose expertise he successfully built to grow and refine the “Standard Catalog” numismatic reference book line.
“Colin Bruce was an outstanding cataloger of world numismatic issues,” former Krause Publications president Clifford Mishler observed. “He was, in my opinion, in a global sense, the most outstanding numismatic cataloger of his era.
“Colin was to the world coin and paper money collecting disciplines what R.S. Yeoman was to the United States coin field a couple generations before,” Mishler continued.
“He was tirelessly dedicated to expanding the realm of knowledge available to collectors for fostering their development in, and resulting benefits realized from, pursuit of the world collecting realm.”
A major specialist contributor to the first and second editions of the Standard Catalog of World Coins (Krause-Mishler), published in 1972 and 1973, Bruce came on board at Krause Publications in 1974 and spearheaded publication of the third edition in 1975 as its editor. He was the lead cataloger and editor of all subsequent editions published annually through the 35th published in 2007, during which time it expanded from a single-volume reference of about 1,000 pages to a massive five-volume set comprising a combined 6,000-plus pages, covering all issues from the early 17th century to the early 21st century.
Bruce similarly served as the lead cataloger and founding editor of the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (Pick), the first edition of which appeared in 1975, and of the ongoing editions that appeared prior to his retirement. That original 720-page reference grew to become a three-volume set – dedicated to General Issues, Modern Issues, and Specialized Issues – that embraced some 4,000 total pages.
He was also responsible for the content and appearance of several specialized country and regional catalogs, drawn from consultant relationships, and the Standard Catalog coin and paper money databases, which were published in the intervening years. Multitudes of varieties and dates of known coinage types, generally unrecognized except by specialized scholars, were first chronicled for the collecting universe as a result of his digging.
Bruce also found time to assemble and organize the diverse universe of non-governmental “coin” issues for publication of the popular Unusual World Coins, a title first published in 1987. He also authored numerous specialized articles and features published from time to time in World Coin News and Bank Note Reporter over the years.
“From the mid-1970s onward, the materials compiled and published under Colin’s direction were a major contributor to the great expansion of collecting interest, pursuit, and satisfaction in the world coin collecting realm from the early 1600s onward into the 21st century,” Mishler observed.
“His capabilities in unraveling the often mysterious and challenging issues of Southeast Asia, which were of particular merit for the first two editions of the SCWC, first connected Chet Krause and myself with him.”
A lifelong coin collector, Bruce had first become an aficionado of the coins of Mexico while serving in the United States Army (1962-1965) based in El Paso, Texas.
He subsequently became enamored with the challenge of understanding and gathering the coins and paper money issues of Japan and China, along with the offerings of other Asian countries. His appreciation and understanding of all world numismatic issues spread much broader afield.
“With Colin’s passing, he will certainly be missed by all who made his acquaintance along the line, but particularly so by those of us who worked beside and with him in pursuing enlightenment of the world numismatic realm,” Mishler concluded.
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