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Past Editor Dies
July 24, 2008



One sad bit of news that came in this week was of the death July 18 of my first boss here. Arnold Jeffcoat was 72 years old when he passed on. He was editor of Numismatic News when I arrived 30 years ago to start my first professional job out of college.

He was irascible and smoked like a chimney. It was so bad that when he left in 1982, my first comment was that after five years my lungs would be like I had never smoked at all. This was a period before the dangers of second-hand smoke were well known.

His cubicle had higher walls around it and when he was at work it looked like a volcano throwing up a cloud of ash. His temper could erupt that way also.

Numismatic News, then as now, went to press on Thursday. He golfed Thursday afternoon.

Friday was the beginning of the next cycle.

"I'd rather eat a bug than read a Bailey," he would declare loudly that day.

This was the Coin Clinic column, then written by free-lancer Clem Bailey who still lived in Iola. Bailey later went on to be editor of CoinAge magazine.

Jeffcoat knew his stuff. If you could get by the off-putting qualities and pay attention, you came out the better by working with him.

Jeffcoat had a terrible cough even when I first met him. In his last years, he was married to an oxygen bottle. He often declared that trying to quit smoking would kill him faster than the cigarettes.

Until his passing, I believe, no former editor of Numismatic News has ever died.

Obviously that happy state of affairs could not last.

Rest in peace, Jeff.



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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News, Bank Note Reporter and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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