By Harvey Stack – Founder, Stack’s Bowers ……
It was with great sadness and a feeling of personal loss that I learned of the recent passing of my dear friend Chet Krause. I remember first meeting him when he visited Stack’s in New York City. He was there to sit down and talk to my Uncle J.B. (Joe) to discuss his idea of publishing a coin newspaper.
Chet and J.B. were friends for years and enjoyed each other’s company. They would meet at various shows around the country. I was pleased to be introduced to him and I found him to be a warm and friendly person who loved numismatics as I did.
During his conversation with Chet, my uncle was encouraging about the coin newspaper, a weekly that Chet was entitling Numismatic News. J.B. agreed that a source of weekly news was really needed to encourage and inform collectors about their hobby. While The Numismatist and Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine were published regularly, they were both monthly and the news could be quite old. The other major sources for the general public were the Guide Book and the Standard Catalog (which was sporadically issued). Some weekly editions of the New York Times, the Sun, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post would have a small insert article on a hobby page. Auction results were hardly ever published. There was definitely a need to keep collectors more informed. Chet had hit upon a great idea and Numismatic News was born.
Chet was a wonderful numismatist and person and he would often come by Stack’s when he was in New York, to visit the shop and chat with J.B. and the rest of the staff. At shows around the country he always came over to our table to say “Hello” and inquire about the family.
As years went by we talked extensively about the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and how the organization could do more to encourage coin collecting. Chet served on the board and was a proponent for the growth of the hobby and worked toward this goal. But he also had a growing business to run in Iola and couldn’t give all his time to the ANA. He supported Cliff Mishler for the ANA Board and encouraged him to work toward growth of the hobby and the association.
He was a great influence in the hobby, thinking of the collector and not himself.
On a selfish note, Chet supported me when I worked to lift the Gold Importation Regulation in force from 1961-67 and to encourage the Hobby Protection Act of 1973. He was also a supporter of the PNG Board and of me when I was president. He was a staunch supporter of my idea submitted to Congress in 1995 to make a circulating commemorative coin, the 50 States Quarters series. I was lucky to participate with Chet in many other activities to improve our hobby.
I hope that others will take on the leadership Chet provided so that interest in numismatics as a hobby — not just an investment — will be revived.
As both Chet and I grew older I would see him at conventions and shows and say to myself, “There goes a “hero” for coin collecting.” I always was thankful that he retained his sharp mind and sense of humor. Chet was four years older than me, but he always made me feel young. We should all aspire to live up to the example set by this giant of numismatics.
I will miss this wonderful Midwesterner, who taught so many and listened to all. Those who had the pleasure of knowing him will dearly miss him.