By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
I was just informed that my old friend Gary Carlson passed away and I wanted to share some thoughts and memories of him.
I met Gary in 1983 when I went to work for Steve Ivy at Steve Ivy Rare Cons in Dallas. Gary had come from the “real world” of business, working, if I recall correctly, for John Deere or some such solid Midwestern Fortune 500 company. Gary was always a true Midwesterner, with firm family values and a bluntness that would often put him at odds with The Man when it came to the daily coin business at SIRCO.
Gary and I hit it off immediately and formed a friendship which would last over three decades and which would see us both ultimately find our groove as West Coast residents.
Around 1984, Gary left Steve Ivy to run Numismatic Professionals of Dallas, along with Warren Mills and Jim DiGeorgia. I was more than a little bummed that my three friends left without me, but I decided to share in their new success vicariously. For much of 1984 and 1985, I would leave work early on Friday and make the drive up the Tollway to NPD’s office where the party would always be rocking. Gary, Jim, Bill Shamhart and I–plus a rotating cast of friends/floozies/fans–would have a good time while the ever-serious Warren Mills would sit in the coin room selling NPD’s material.
Gary and I had a common love outside of coins: basketball. We shared season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks during the Blackman/Harper/Aguirre/Tarpley era. The Mavs won a lot of games and were always entertaining as hell.
One Reunion Arena memory is indelible. Gary and I were on our way into the arena when a tall, good looking blond came up to us and handed us two laminated passes on neck clips. He said something to the effect of “Here, you guys look like you’ll enjoy these.”
We looked at each other and simultaneously exclaimed: “Holy S—, that was Troy Aikman!!”
Then we looked at what Troy had given us. They were all access passes which got us into any part of the arena we wanted to go. Even the locker room. I don’t remember much about the game but I can remember Gary and I spending most of the first half wandering around the recesses of Reunion, going into odd nooks and crannies that we would never enter again.
Gary and I also loved to play basketball. Back in the 1980s, Gary was quite the athlete and he was a true “Stretch 4” before the term was invented. Although he was a good six-foot-five, Gary could hit jumpers from 20-22 feet out and it was not common back then to have a big guy who could nail a jumper from three point range. Gary and I would often team up to play all comers at two-on-two (or be joined by Warren Mills for three-on-three) and although my memory is a little foggy, I can’t recall us ever losing very many games.
Gary left Dallas soon afterwards and after a few stops along the way, he went to work for Sil DiGenova at Tangible Investments. Gary stayed with Sil through thick and thin, and all told put in a good 25+ years.
Gary was a world-class expert on early type and knew more about early silver dollars then just about anyone else in the coin business. Our numismatic paths didn’t cross all that often but when they did, I found Gary to be fair and honest. In my dealings with collectors, Gary’s name would come up from time to time and I never heard anything bad attached to him. When someone told me they were a “Gary Carlson customer” I knew that their coins were nice and that they were being treated fairly.
Gary, I will miss you. I will always remember you the way you were in 1984: tall, blond, cynical, jumpshooting, proud of your two kids. You left us too young, Gary, and you will be fondly remembered by those of us you touched.
Gary’s profile from Tangible Investments
Some people have an almost infectious enthusiasm for what they do. Enter into their midst, and prepare to catch the fever! That’s the case with Tangible Investments Senior Numismatist and Buyer Gary Carlson, whose “true love” has always been rare coins. Though his specialization is early Bust coinage and early U.S. gold issues, Gary is well-versed in all areas of the numismatic marketplace. He has assisted many sophisticated collectors in building outstanding collections throughout his decades in the business.
Gary began his professional numismatic career in the early 1980s, when he represented Bower’s and Ruddy Auction Galleries in the sale of the famed Garrett and Eliasberg collections. His exceptional grading skills and talent for identifying premium rare coins led to positions as a guest grader for the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and as an expert witness in numismatic fraud cases involving various governmental agencies.
Gary has also contributed to several numismatic references for early U.S. silver dollars, including the renowned Martin A. Logies “The Flowing Hair Silver Dollars of 1794” published in 2010.
Gary holds an undergraduate degree in Business Finance from the University of Illinois and pursued graduate studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He’s had the privilege of working with Tangible Investments founder and CEO Silvano DiGenova since 1985.
Gary Carlson Obituary – Pekin, Illinois
Thank you for the Memoriam for Gary. I first met Gary in November 1998. After contacting him, he traveled to my home to review coins I had previously purchased. I was later in life to collecting coins and had been sold some items that I should never have purchased. Gary made a thorough review, mapped out a plan for dispersal and possible collecting strategies for the future. Gary brought a coin with him that day and I purchased it from him. That coin started a journey of working with Gary until his untimely passing.
During our 18 year relationship, Gary was always honest in our business transactions. He would give more than 100% to accommodate my “wish lists”, even though some are still waiting to be filled. Gary had an excellent “eye”, the experience and knowledge required to assemble my collection. Without him, I am uncertain if any of the collections would be as complete as it is today.
Many of the purchases made with Gary were completed via phone conversations and I only remember returning one coin I did not like. As it turned out, much later, that was a mistake on my part. I was able to spend some time with Gary at some shows/conventions and always enjoyed our coin conversations over dinner. There were always divergent cussings and discussing the Bears and the Broncos during football season. Gary also was ready to talk about his muscle cars and I enjoyed hearing about them.
I considered Gary a friend and will miss him greatly. I was definitely a “Gary Carlson customer.”