In Honor of Carl Subak’s 100th Birthday

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by Shanna Schmidt

January 31, 2019 – Is it any coincidence that my 100th newsletter (January 19, 2019, Ed.) falls at the same time as the 100th birthday of my dear friend, mentor and fellow numismatist Carl Subak. Carl is nothing short of amazing. Born in Austria in 1919, he left sometime during or after the war (I can’t remember exactly when). He endured some horrific events in his life like losing his beloved parents to the Nazis but he persevered. 

Carl Subak and Shanna Schmidt

He met my father in the 1960’s and showed him the proverbial “ropes” of the numismatic world. I remember him taking me out to lunch when I worked in London for a short time in the late 1990’s. He was always a charmer and continues to be. Once I started working at HJB Ltd., Carl and I quickly refreshed our friendship and started to meet regularly for lunch at Italian Village. Carl always insisted on two things: a “Viertel” of red for he and I and spumoni for desert. Carl had his own table in a little nook and we would talk about what auctions were happening and who the big players were. 

He also told me of the days of long before my time when some of the big names in numismatics like Jacob Hirsch, Ratto and others were actively buying. I spoke recently to his son Jon, also an accomplished numismatist, that he might actually be the first IAPN member to reach 100 years old. I am in awe of Carl. I’ll see him on Sunday where we will celebrate his birthday in a small gathering of family and friends. Next week’s newsletter will feature a nice photo of him. Oh, and by the way, Carl was still actively collecting Roman quinarii until about 1 year ago. I’m thankful for his friendship and wish him the happiest of all birthdays.

More information about author Shanna Schmidt is available on her website and our CoinsWeekly Who’s Who section.