DON BAILEY'S NUMISMATIC BACKGROUND
I was born and raised in south central Michigan. Born in Marshall, and raised in Jackson. Left to join the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Retired out of the Marines at Yuma, Arizona, where I lived for seventeen years. While there I acquired an interest in Mexico and its history. I started collecting US coins in the early 1960s, but quickly turned to just Mexican numismatics because of it's vastly interesting history, and its relationship to the history of the United States. I disposed of all the US inventory, and jumped into Mexico with a passion.  

I started serious studies of Mexican numismatics, writing articles on various areas of Mexican numismatics. My first article was published in June 1967. In my early years I concentrated on Emperor Maximilian and the French Intervention period, specializing in all aspects of that period.

Over the years my numismatic activities included serving in many numismatic organizations as an organization officer. I have been a member of the Sociedad Numismatica de Mexico for over thirty years. A life member of the American Numismatic Association, (LM1050). I served for a number of years as the official representative for the Sociedad in the United States. A few years ago I was appointed by the Banco de Mexico to serve as it's liaison with the numismatic press.

Over the years I have written numerous articles on mainly Mexican historical, or numismatic subjects, but have written on other areas as well. The best and most notable was the Front page Coin World article on "Mark Hoffman", the Mormon forger and murderer back in the 1980s. My articles have appeared at one time or another in all of the numismatic publications, deceased, and still in operations. Some of these have received literary awards. I have the past few years served as the "Mexican Trends" Analyst for Coin World. This is the listing and pricing of all Mexican coinage, from the 1905 coinage reform to date. I have been a contributor to all of Krause Publications numismatic references pertaining to Mexico since day one, such as; Standard Catalog of Mexican Coins, Standard Catalog of World Coins, and Tokens of Latin America. Other contributions were made to all three of Frank Grove's Medals and Decoration books, his Token book, The Guide Book of Mexican Coins, by Buttrey and Hubbard to name a few..

For over the past year I have written a monthly column for World Coin News, called "Mexican Numismatic Potpourri" or "Mexican Potpourri" for short. Over this period the readers have been taken a trip through the numismatic history of Mexico, and by the time the series is over all areas of Mexican Numismatics will have been covered.

In 1967 I started what was known as the Maximilian Numismatic and Historical Society, which prospered for several years until burnout set in, as well as the waning interest in specialty organizations.

In June of 1997, with the aid and encouragement of two dear friends, Joe Flores and Sal Falcone, we organized the United States Mexican Numismatic Association, I currently serve as it's Executive director and Editor of it's quarterly publication, The Mexican Numismatic Journal. The Association is an attempt to reach a broad collector base in the United states and abroad that have not yet been brought into the Collector field. This organization has grown in two and one-half years to a 330 member organization, and the Association was just honored by the Sociedad Numismatica de Mexico by being awarded the "Dr. Alberto Francisco Pradeau" award for promoting Mexican numismatics. I was appointed to the United States Annual Assay Commission, by then President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, have been honored with several local, regional and international awards, such as the "Numismatic Ambassador" award in 1980, The Sociedad Numismatica de Mexico's "Jose Tamborrel Jr" award in 1985, and the "Alberto Francisco Pradeau" award in 1993. In 2002  I was again awarded the "Jose Tamborrel Jr" award as well as the "President's Award.

Since 1979 I have been very active in the Mexican numismatic field as a full time dealer, attending most major coin shows around the country, and in Mexico. Our travels take us to all regions of the United States.

I have worked with the Banco de Mexico and the Casa De Moneda de Mexico promoting their products and numismatic materials, and have served as a distributor for the Banco de Mexico in the Libertad, and Pre-Columbian series.

Lois and I have been the sole distributor for Bancomer for the Mexican State Commemorative Program started in late 2003 that will run through the end of 2005.

These forty years have been a ball. Forty years of working, if one can use that term, in a field that one really enjoys is all that one can ask.

The last twenty years, my wife Lois, has worked with me. She is a very vital part of the operation. Without her assistance and encouragement the goals we have achieved would have been impossible to reach.

 
 

A biography of Don and his Incomparable Contributions to Mexican Numismatics
by Louis Golino

Don Bailey: Dean of Mexican Numismatics

Don Bailey is one of the most well-known American specialists in the coinage of Mexico, whose interest in Mexican coins began in the 1960s. Since then he has developed a reputation as an internationally-recognized expert in his field and has done more than any other American coin dealer to promote interest in Mexican coins and make those numismatic items available to collectors in this country.

Born and raised in Michigan, Don left the state during the Korean War to join the U.S. Marine Corps. When he retired from the Marines, he was living in Yuma, Arizona, a state that borders Mexico, where he resided for seventeen years. It was in Arizona that Don began his love affair with Mexican coins and the history behind them.

To truly appreciate and understand the coins of a country, it is essential to study them and the country’s history in depth and to interact frequently with others who share your interests. This is exactly what Don and his wife Lois have done for almost sixty years in the field of Mexican numismatics.

Don first started collecting U.S. coins in the early 1960s but soon developed a real passion for Mexican coins. He initially concentrated on the coinage Maximillian and French Intervention periods in the 19th century when French emperor Napoleon III installed the Archduke Ferdinand Maximillian of Austria to rule Mexico.

Research and writing

Don’s deep interest in Mexican history and coinage led him to study and write about them with his first article appearing in 1967. These articles have focused mainly on Mexican historical and numismatic subjects and have appeared in every major numismatic publication, including some that no longer exist. They have ranged from articles about new issues and the state of the market for Mexican coins to more scholarly examinations of Mexican coinage since its origins in the Aztec period.

Don served as “Mexican Trends” analyst for Coin World magazine’s coin pricing section, more recently called “Mexican Market Analysis,” providing for over twenty years updated retail values for all Mexican coins issued since the coinage reform of 1905 and information the U.S. market for Mexican coins.

He also wrote many news stories and feature articles for Coin World, including a cover story on Mark Hoffman, a Mormon forger and murderer, that appeared in the 1980s and a cover story for the world coins section in November 1987 called “The Numismatics of Spanish Colonial Mexico” (http://www.moneta-coins.com/library/Spanish%20Colonial%20Mexico%20-%20Bailey.pdf).

In fact, Coin World’s coverage of Mexican coins was expanded considerably as a result of the partnership between Don and the magazine’s longtime former editor Beth Deisher. Desisher noted in 2014 that when she became editor in 1985 and sought to expand the publication’s coverage of Mexican coins, she found it difficult to communicate directly with Mexican officials. Don suggested she travel there to attend conventions of the Sociedad Numismatica de Mexico, which she did with Don’s help and encouragement.

In addition, Don has served as a contributor to the numerous Krause Publications world coin references, such as the Standard Catalog of Mexican Coins and Standard Catalog of World Coins, and similar books from other publishers.

Don also wrote a monthly column for World Coin News (sister publication of Numismatic News) called “Mexican Numismatic Potpourri,” which eventually covered all areas of Mexican numismatics.

In recognition of his many contributions to the study of Mexican coins, he has received numerous literary and distinguished service awards. These include, for example, the American Numismatic Association’s Presidential Award, being named a Numismatic Ambassador by Numismatic News, and several awards from Mexico, including in 2001 the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor the Mexican government can bestow on a foreigner. He also received the Tidwell literary award from the Texas Numismatic Association and many awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild over an extended period for his articles and books.

Numismatic associations

Like many serious collectors, Don has also been active since the early days of his numismatic career in various numismatic associations. He has served as an officer in several of them and started some of his own groups.

In 1967 he started the Maximillian Numismatic and Historical Society, and in 1997 he organized the United States Mexican Numismatic Association (www.usmex.org), whose over 300 members collect Mexican coins and help promote interest in them within the U.S. He is currently the Honorary Director and the former Executive Director of this group. He is also a past editor of the organization’s journal, The Mexican Numismatic Journal.

In addition, he is a lifetime member of the ANA and a member of the Sociedad Numismatica de Mexico for more than 40 years, serving for a long period as the organization’s official U.S. representative.

Coin business

Starting in 1979 Don worked full-time as a dealer concentrating on Mexican coins, working closely with his wife, Lois Bailey, who has been integral to both his business and research pursuits. The two of them attended major coin shows in the U.S. and Mexico for decades.

The firm carries Mexican coins from the pre-Columbian period to the present as well as medals, tokens, and other historic materials from Mexico.

The Baileys have also worked closely with the Banco de Mexico and Casa de Moneda de Mexico (which has authority for the country’s numismatic programs) in an advisory capacity to promote Mexican numismatic products in the U.S. and their company, Lois and Don Bailey and Son Numismatic Services based in Houston, is today a principal distributor of modern Mexican coins to the U.S. market.

Now that Don and Lois are retired from the coin business, their son, Pat Stovall, runs the company.

Because of the company’s longstanding relationship with Mexican national bank and mint officials and the company’s location in Texas, they have been able to import new products, including the seven-coin silver Proof sets issued since 2014, which have been called “The Magnificent Seven.” These sets include all seven sizes of silver Proof coins issued annually housed in a compact wooden box with a certificate of authenticity. Only 250 sets are released each year.

Similarly, the company was the sole distributor for the Mexican State Commemorative Program issued between 2003 and 2005.

In addition, the company’s collaboration with Mexico has enabled it to become a reliable source of mintage information for American collectors, who eagerly anticipate finding out how many of each coin were made each year.

Mexican Money series

In 2014 the first volume of The Whitman Encyclopedia of Mexican Money by Lois and Don Bailey, which provides an illustrated history of Mexican coins and currency from the pre-Columbian period all the way through to present-day coins, bullion, and commemoratives, was published. It received an award from the Numismatic Literary Guild in 2015 as one of the best books of the year.

This book and the others in the series have received very positive reviews in the numismatic press.

This series, a unique four-part set of numismatic reference books, provides a richly detailed history of Mexican coinage. It draws on the more than half century that the authors have collected, studied, and bought and sold Mexican coins as well as their ties to everyone from Mexican government officials to museum curators, other collectors, dealers, and other experts in the field.

This series, whose fourth volume has not yet been published, is the fruit of the Bailey’s decades of experience in the Mexican coin field. It is one that could only have been written by the Baileys, who have been such integral participants in the U.S.-Mexican coin market for decades. As Jeff Starck, Coin World’s senior editor for world coins said, “Truth be told, the volumes represent a life’s work, encapsulated in print.”

The second volume, which former Coin World editor Beth Deisher calls “a must-have reference for anyone interested in collecting or investing in modern Mexican coins,” was named one of the best books of the year in 2016 by the Numismatic Literary Guild.

This volume deals with modern Mexican coins issued since 1905 such as the coins issued as a result of the coinage reforms of 1905 and 1992, commemoratives, mint and proof sets, and of course silver, gold, and platinum Libertads.

The third volume covers early Mexican coinage from the 1500s to the 1900s, including Carlos and Johanna issues, cob silver and gold coinage, milled coins, coinage of the War of Independence, coins of Agustin de Iturbide, Republic reales coinage, state and federal coppers, the coins of Emperor Maximilian, and pre-Revolutionary Republic decimal coinage.

Previous books by Don include Viva la Revolucion! The Money of the Mexican Revolution coauthored with Joe Flores (https://worldnumismatics.com/product/viva-la-revolucion-the-money-of-the-mexican-revolution-by-don-bailey-joe-flores/), which was the 2006 Best Specialized Museum and Exhibition Catalog according to the Numismatic Literary Guild, and a book on copper and brass coinage from Mexico.

It is impossible to summarize the full breadth of the wide-ranging contributions of Don Bailey to Mexican numismatics over the past half century, which have received widespread recognition within the U.S. and Mexico. But perhaps Beth Deisher put it best when she said in her foreword to the second volume of Mexican Money: “Don’s driving vision for the last 40 years has been to share his knowledge and to entice others to become as smitten with Mexican numismatics as he was. Don and Lois (his wife and numismatic research partner) can take pride in knowing they’ve succeeded.”

 
   
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