April 2nd, 2009

In Memoriam

I recently learned that numismatic photographer Frank Larry Stevens passed away in February.

Larry’s pictures have been at the core of COINage since 1965. Thanks to Larry, the magazine’s archives include photos of the John Work Garrett collection at Johns Hopkins University, Josiah K. Lilly’s gold coins, items from the Smithsonian Institution’s collection and much more.

I didn’t know Larry very well. We exchanged Christmas cards. These last three years, he always asked about my daughter, and I always tried to update him. I fielded the occasional third-party request to use his photos for educational material or on a Web site.

But former Editor Kari Stone wrote an article about him in the August 1997 issue of COINage. Sadly, I don’t have easy access to that article, but Larry’s daughter Wendy said that he was very honored by it.

Ms. Stevens also said, “We miss him very much. In addition to being a great numismatic photographer, he was also a great father and all around good person. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone.

“My father didn’t have a tendency to brag about himself, but he certainly loved to hear that others appreciated and valued his work.”

His slides and prints of coins and people are simple. There aren’t any special effects or distracting backgrounds. (OK, some of his pictures’ backgrounds are reminiscent of the ’70s, but then, it was the ’70s.)

Personally, I still value and appreciate his work and I’m happy to share it with you.

Obituary