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Hanebuth, Stuart

Creator of a topical index to the John J. Ford, Jr. collection (


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    Ford Collection Topical Index 6/16/2017

    Ford Collection Topical Index

    John J. Ford would undoubtedly be pleased to know that the twenty-four auction catalogs of his collections have become one of the most important references in many numismatists library. The decade long Stack’s, and eventually Stack’s-Bowers, auction event ran from 2003 to 2013.   Ford was known for his thorough research and encyclopaedic knowledge of everything from stamps to handguns, and of course numismatics.   So thorough was Ford’s research, the staff at Stack’s would say, of the then teenage employee, “If John wanted the ashtray on his desk, there had to be some previously undiscovered value in it”.

    The Stack’s Ford catalogs frequently trade online for $10 to $20 each, with the hard cover editions selling in the $50 range, making a full set a $250 to $1,000 investment.  Recently, thanks to the Newman Numismatic Portal, the entire set has been digitized and made available at no cost to collectors and researchers.  The catalogs can also be downloaded as “Portable Document Format” (PDF) files for offline use.

    His collections included U.S. colonial coins, U.S. colonial medals (Betts medals), American historical medals issued prior to World War II, Indian peace medals, pioneer and territorial gold, assay ingots, territorial tokens, Hard Times and merchant tokens, post trader tokens, sutler tokens, U.S. counterstamps, fractional currency, encased postage, colonial and continental currency, western obsolete currency, U.S. obsolete currency and federal notes issued prior to 1861.

    The catalogs contain a wealth of information and are worthy of a Sunday morning read, or as a source for academic researchers.  To enable both leisurely perusal and targeted research the catalogs have been arranged into two tables.   The first table provides a link to each auction by auction number.  (Note: The Ford auctions are often referenced by Roman Numbers, for ease of use the Arabic conversion is also supplied in the table).  Because of the vastness of the collection specific collecting areas may appear in more than one auction catalog.  To make finding materials easier across the auctions the second table provides a basic index of subject areas and the related catalogs.  Perhaps in the future a complete and searchable datafile will be available to researchers to gain even deeper insights into this once-in-a-generation collection. (Stuart Hanebuth)

    NOTE: For optimal use of the index, we recommend that you download and use the .pdf version at The .pdf version of the document contains hyperlinks that connect directly to the various Ford catalogs.

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