Alexander Basok       


I've been a full time professional numismatist since 1976 and a coin dealer with my own business since 1980, but the process of shaking the rust off the Rusty Pennies is a family effort of me, Alexander Basok and my wife Esther.

We handle a wide scope of material from very inexpensive coins for beginners to some world renowned rarities, and our goal is not only to make coin collecting a source of education, but also to make sure that it is a lot of fun as well. I've sold coins to some major museums as well as to some little kids in the area. I am always available and willing to help. An assistant in building your collection is where I would like to see myself, or perhaps a "numismo-therapist".

My formal education was far from numismatics. However, the years in the First Pavlov Medical Institute in Leningrad, one of the most prestigious medical schools in the Soviet Union, proved to be good basic training for my memory (especially all the Latin names for every bump on every bone). I can’t tell you that I’ve been collecting coins since I was 2 years old because I have not, and my interest in coins during adolescence was a mild one and just one among many others. Sculpture, painting, and graphic and applicable art were my main interests. They kept me hanging around museums, especially the Hermitage, a good part of my free time.

I came to the United States in 1976. At the age of 22, young and free, I had a chance to follow my heart. When a position at the Coin and Currency Institute’s Chicago store opened up, I started my new profession. Seven months later, in June of 1977, after that store’s ownership changed hands, I went to work for the Rare Coin Company of America. Those years at Rarcoa provided me with an education that very few people in my profession are privileged to experience. The amount of material the company was handling at that time was greater than many in this business are likely to see and handle in their entire life. In addition, I was fortunate enough to be assigned to work on the research for Rarcoa’s auction catalogs with an unparalleled reference library at my disposal, which made me familiar with many serious numismatic works and made me an addict to serious research.

The silver boom and its effects on numismatics left many of us with a sense of emotional exhaustion. I felt a need to change my professional position and downscale to a one-man operation with more personal customer contact and more time for research. In November of 1980, I started a full-scale mail order business under the name of Arthur Webb Numismatics, Ltd.

In 1989 I offered my services as a consultant to Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., who at that time had just bought Rarcoa’s old store in Chicago, which was so familiar to me. Because of the company’s increased spectrum of interests, there was an urgent need to build non-ancient foreign coins and currency departments, which virtually did not exist before my arrival. I was actively buying at many auctions in the U.S. and abroad on behalf of the company. Soon after I started work at Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., modern foreign coins began to appear regularly in the firm’s catalogs. But the demands of such a big company were requiring my full attention, and after devoting four years to it I decided to go back to my own business. I left the company with one of its best inventories, a high volume of sales, a good listing of coins in every sale and several specialized bank note sales to my credit.

When I left in 1993, I realized that after 17 years in this business many people were still not familiar with my name, and since then I have conducted business under my own name. Over the past several years, I have issued 35 buy or bid catalogs, auctions, or fixed price lists. My catalogs have been praised by Jean-Paul Divo in the IAPN’s publications, the highest compliment I can hope for. I’ve written many articles that were published in the Journal of the Russian Numismatic Society, Celator and World Coin News. My achievements are especially high in the field of Russian numismatics. I am on close personal terms with the staffs of both major museums in Russia: The Hermitage in St. Petersburg and The State Historical Museum (GIM) in Moscow. I am in constant contact with many well known Russian numismatists. Several of my research projects are going to be published as definitive catalogs in the near future. I was an official Russian consultant to the American Numismatic Association’s Authentication Bureau.

I have been a Life Member of The American Numismatic Association since 1989.
[ANA logo] Alexander Basok
ANA LM 5834

For several years I was a member of International Association of Professional Numismatists. It was the highest honor and the highest degree of recognition by the colleagues to be accepted as a member.

There is an unconditional guarantee of the authenticity of all coins sold by us.