By Q. David Bowers
We are saddened to report that Raymond N. Merena passed away this evening in Massachusetts. In 1982 he was co-founder with Dave Bowers of Bowers and Merena Galleries and participated in the firm’s many accomplishments before retiring in 2000. After then he and his wife Patricia traveled extensively, set up homes in Alexandria (Virginia) and then Vero Beach (Florida), and enjoyed their leisure. A few years ago he was stricken with Alzheimer’s, and toward the end of his life he was hospitalized. He died peacefully, survived by wife Patricia, daughters Caroline and Sara, son Mark, and several grandchildren.
A graduate of Cornell University, born in Binghamton, NY, in 1937, Ray became part of the numismatic world in 1961 when he was hired by Jim Ruddy and Dave Bowers to be general manager of Empire Coin Co., Inc. He later moved to Ohio in 1966 to join Paramount International Coin Company, where in 1971 he was named vice-president and general manager. While there he hired David W. Akers, who later became prominent in his own right.
In 1975 Ray was an invited participant when the first ANA Roundtable was held under the direction of President Virginia Culver and was titled “Problems-Projects-Priorities.” In the meantime he supervised the production of auction catalogs and for a time served as “Trends” editor for Coin World. In 1982 when Dave Bowers organized a new company he became a partner in Bowers & Merena Galleries, Inc., as noted. The firm handed many rarities and “name” collections and was the largest-volume auction house in the world. He taught at the ANA Summer Seminar, rendered long-time service to the Professional Numismatists Guild (including serving as president 1995-1997), and was active in many other numismatic organizations and activities.
Ray lived a fine life, had many friends inside and outside of numismatics, and will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.