Arthur J. Fecht correspondence and coin collection inventories, 1934-1980, bulk 1934-1939, Archives, American Numismatic Society.
Collection open to all researchers.
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A petroleum geophysicist with the Houston firm McCollum Exploration Company, Arthur J. Fecht (d. 1945) of Kansas City, Kansas, and Mercedes, Texas, amassed a collection of over 3,000 coins, including hundreds of ancient, medieval, and modern gold pieces, with such notable items as a rare 1907 Saint-Gaudens double eagle and the first Paquet 1861-S double eagle to be photographed. He bequeathed the collection to the American Numismatic Society (ANS), but with the stipulation that it not formally pass to the ANS until after his sister Neoma’s death. After she died in 1979, the coins formally became part of the ANS’s collections, although the holdings had been housed there and made available for study for decades. Fecht joined the American Numismatic Association in the 1930s when he began collecting coins but did not join the ANS until 1941.
Correspondence collated and bound by Fecht into five yearly volumes (1934-1939), along with Fecht’s bound catalog of his coin collection and related inventories. The correspondence deals mostly with his buying of coins and the gathering of information about them. Correspondents include dealers Wayte Raymond, B. Max Mehl, John Zug, Scott Stamp and Coin, Art Trading Company, New Netherlands Coin Company, New Zealand Coin Exchange, Guttag Brothers, and Spink & Son. Correspondence with the American Numismatic Association (ANA) has to do with his becoming a member and with the use of their library. A letter to Frank G. Duffield, editor of the ANA magazine The Numismatist, mentions his 1861-S double eagle, which had been discovered in a barn in Hull, Texas (January 28, 1937). Scattered throughout the volumes are rubbings and photographs of coins, price lists, invoices, canceled checks, his ANA membership cards from 1934 to 1939, a certificate designating him ANA life member #38 (1936), and clippings relating to coin conventions and other numismatic matters. Four of the volumes begin with brief typed notes by Fecht. In the 1934 volume he gives his opinion on some of the dealers he has conducted business with: M.H. Bolender, Ambrose J. Brown, Henry Chapman, B. Max Mehl, Lynn R. Noyes, William Rabin, William J. Schultz, Scott Stamp and Coin, and John Zug. The volumes for 1936, 1937, and 1938/1939 each begin with a review of his numismatic activities for the year, including conventions, coin and library purchases, and the photographing of his collection. The catalog of Fecht’s collection includes coin photographs cut and pasted in.