Dr. Sol Taylor

Gordon Z. Greene, Numismatic Ambassador

Gordon Greene
Surrounded by his Lincoln collectibles, Gordon Z. Greene holds a family Civil War diary. Click Photo to Enlarge

The Clemy award: Gordon Greene's lasting gift to the Numismatic Literary Guild. (Photo by Leon Worden) Click Photo to Enlarge
By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
Saturday, March 28, 2009

he term "Numismatic Ambassador" was created by the publication Numismatic News some years ago and conferred periodically on those persons who have made a significant achievement in numismatics. Gordon Z. Greene was so honored in 1976.
    Gordon was born in July 1902 to a Mormon family in Salt Lake City. His father was an elder in the church. His numismatic achievements started early in life with his fascination with all things related to Abraham Lincoln. He collected Lincoln cents, Lincoln medals and memorabilia, and items related to the Civil War.
    After he married Dorothy and moved to California, he became active in various coin-related groups. By the 1960s and early 1970s he and Dorothy were among the few couples touring the local coin clubs on a regular basis — Maurice and Jean Gould, Murray and Cyd Singer, Bill and Elizabeth Wisslead, and Nate and Esther Bromberg among them.
    At almost any coin club meeting during that period, one or more of these power couples would be present. At the various area conventions, Numismatic Association of Southern California being the prominent regional annual meeting, all of these couples would be present.
    Gordon founded the Galaxie Trophy Company in Anaheim in the 1960s and furnished most of the medals and trophies awarded in coin clubs and the NASC.
    I was the exhibits chairman for NASC in 1968 and Gordon was my assistant. He provided the plaques and medals for the exhibit winners and outgoing officers at the awards banquet. He also provided similar awards at other conventions.
    Gordon's honors include serving as president of NASC in 1974, and Numismatic Literary Guild life member and director in 1973-74.
    In 1968 he bought an old office manual typewriter and spray painted it gold and presented it as a gag gift at the NLG banquet. It has since been named the "Clemy" and is awarded each year to an outstanding numismatic author.
    As the trophy was too heavy to be easily transported by the lucky awardee, small lapel pins of the Clemy were made and later given to the annual winners. The original Clemy resides at the ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs.
    Gordon was active in the Lions Club and was Lion of the Year for 1959-1960 in El Monte. He received the Numismatic Ambassador award in 1974. He was a member of various southern California coin clubs — Whittier, The Elongated Club, San Gabriel Valley Coin Club (president in 1966), Token and Medals Society, Society of International Numismatics, and Convention of International Numismatics (president).
    For the 1975 ANA convention in Los Angeles, Gordon and I designed the official convention medal; he did the obverse, a view of downtown L.A., and I did the reverse, a California mission. These medals were sold at the convention — small bronze, large bronze, large silver, and for the first time in 40 years, a small gold medal. A gold 1975 medal recently sold at auction for more than $500. Gordon also provided various exhibit trophies at the awards banquet.
    Gordon't shop in Anaheim was a mini-museum of Lincolniana — including a stovepipe hat and beard which he wore on occasion as Mr. Lincoln; dozens of medals, photos, and other related materials.
    Gordon passed away Jan. 8, 1977. Hundreds attended the Jan. 12 funeral in Tustin.
    As with all other Numismatic Ambassadors, Gordon easily fit the title.