ROMANO, DON CORRADO
Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III
Fig. 1. Portrait of Don Corrado Romano published in his dealer collateral.
Don Corrado Romano, usually called "Corrado" was a dealer in coins and stamps in his early years at 25 Harrison Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts. For some he is known as the owner of a 1776 Continental Silver Dollar,1792 XF Silver Center Cent, he acquired in 1958, and of the 13 Silver Dollars he owned struck before 1800 is the 1794 B-1, BB-1, XF-40 Silver Dollar, he acquired in 1957, and an 1836 Gobrecht Dollar.
Don Corrado Romano (1903-1984), was born the seventh of eight children on January 21, 1903, in Salerno, Italy, son of Andrea "Andrew" Romano (1863-1960), a bank president, and Raffaella Cerrato Romano (1869-1931), both natives of Salerno, Italy. His family came to America in 1915, when he was an adolescent of twelve. He had already acquired coins from his father who was a banker at an early age. They lived at 29 Locust Street, Springfield, Massachusetts. By 1918, at age 15, like Henry Chapman, Jr., before him, he was already buying and selling coins. However, in later years his ads in Numismatic Scrapbook said : "Dealer Since 1923", i.e., when he was twenty.
Fig. 2. On 9 April 1921 his father reported him as a missing person that started a police search for his whereabouts. Springfield Republican, Saturday, 9 April, 1921, page 4
In 1924 he married an Italian immigrant, Alice E. (1909-), at Holyoke, Massachusetts. No mention of her is found afterward.
Fig. 3. Romano busted for selling illegal fireworks and fined $15. Springfield Republican, Tuesday, 7 July, 1925, page 5
In April 1926 he and his brother-in-law Fred Fopiano incorporated F & R Candy Manufacturing Company, 939 Main Street, Springfield, Massachusetts.
From 1927 -1929 Springfield City Directories he and his wife Alice E. V., are listed as living at 935 Main Street. In 1927 he was working as an insurance agent for Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1929, he is listed as a clerk in his father's bank.
Fig. 4. Romano busted for stealing $300 from his father nine years earlier when he ran off and was a missing person. His father dropped the charges than to see his son in prison. Springfield Republican, Friday, 5 December, 1930, page 4
In the March 1930 issue of The Numismatist, page 149, he published a poem titled : My Shop
Though in my shop I sit and wait
From break of dawn till time of late
My anguished heart doth have a sigh,
For people laughing, passing by.
They first look at my window, neat,
And then at me upon my seat,
And on their face their thoughts to me,
Show wonder if I'm crazy
With all those coins upon my brain
They really think that I'm insane,
And every now and then I see
Some gray haired mother come to me,
With purse of coins, as if of gold,
In trembling voice wish to be told.
But I explain all that I can
And show them coins from every land,
Still some do think that I'm a nut
While others praise and thank me lot
I try my best to let them see,
It's not the age, but scarcity.
As ceaseless years and months roll by,
And I sit there and wonder why
All people that do pass me by,
Do not collect, as you and I.
From February to July 1931 he held five coin auctions under the name Romano's Coin Shop.
In the May 1932 issue of The Numismatist, Romano took issue with his competitors who claimed to work on a 10% margin. "In the last five years that I have been in the numismatic business I have found that it is impossible for any dealer to sell coins at less than 25% profit if he wants to make a legitimate profit."
"Out with the 10% dealer, unless he wants to work on a legitimate profit. I am listing for sale below, coins at less than 10% profit, or practically cost, and will keep on doing it if it takes every dollar that I have, in the hopes of getting ... a small dealer to sell at a better profit, so that we can all make a living. As soon as I see coins selling at normal prices, I will do likewise. In the meantime, while the War on low prices is on, the collector will benefit, so come on collectors, and send some orders, for coins won't be given away for very long at these prices. "
Fig. 5. There are many other auctions not listed in Gengerke.
In the 1933 Springfield City Directory he is listed as a Numismatist located at 25 Harrison Street.
In 1937 he moved to Nantasket, Massachusetts.
Fig. 6. W. H. McCormick of Tucson, Arizona has his correspondence with Don Corrado Romano returned stamped FRAUDULENT Mail to this address returned by order of Postmaster General. Postmarked July, 9, 1938, Tucson, Arizona. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. Planning to publish an article about this in philatelic literature. Rare for sale. Write firstname.lastname@example.org
Fig. 7. Romano filed a motion with the Federal District Court asking for an injunction on mail fraud charges by Postmaster General James Aloysius Farley (1888-1976), who served as Postmaster 1933-1940, claiming he was innocent and a legitimate dealer since 1918. Boston Globe, Wednesday, March 9, 1938, page 19.
Apparently Romano being thwarted by Postmaster Farley from conducting business through the mail changed his company name and address probably late 1938. We find a Worthy Coin Corporation advertisement, located at 184 Summer Street, Dept. 35, Boston, Massachusetts, Popular Mechanics, Vol. 71, No. 5, May (1939) : 38A 1st Column bas de page. The creation of Worthy Coin Corporation late 1938 does not find its way into mainstream numismatic publications until the 1940's.
In 1939, he married Mildred K. Grammont (d. 1968), at Hull, Massachusetts. They had a son Don Corrado Alconart Romano, Jr. (1945-2011), and two daughters : Ella "Penny" Louise Romano (1947-), and Corradina Romano (1944-). There is an interesting story surrounding the birth of Ella Romano that was reported by the coin columnist Maurice M. Gould for the Boston Herald in an article "Flying Eagle Cent Lucky," published Sunday, November 29, 1964, on page 260. Gould relates the story of Corrado Romano late in the day about to close his coin and stamp shop when a man walked in wanting to sell him two 1856 Flying Eagle Cents, one for $45 and the second in better condition for $75. Romano, Sr., did not have enough cash on hand to buy both so he opted to buy the better grade for $75. When he got home he discovered his wife Mildred had just been rushed to the hospital to have her baby. When he saw her he told her the story about the coin purchase and they both wanted to call their new daughter "Penny", since she sure brought luck in a good investment. When Ella was married to James Powell her father gave her and her husband the 1856 Flying Eagle as a wedding present. Romano told Gould he is looking for another to give his grandchild. The Romano's lived at 155 Downer Avenue, Crow Point Section of Hingham, Massachusetts.
Fig. 8. Romano's Coin Shop, Springfield, Massachusetts, graphic illustrated mailer envelope franked with a pre-cancelled postage stamp. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. 9. Romano's Coin Shop, Springfield, Massachusetts, circular 1935. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. 10. 1935 Circular of Romano's Coin Shop, Springfield, Massachusetts. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Don Corrado Romano, Jr. (1945-2011), was born on December 28, 1945, at Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Romano, Jr., followed in his father's footsteps and also became a coin dealer.
In 1943, he openly advertised in numismatic publications under his late 1938 company name Worthy Coin Company, 23 Cornhill, Boston, Massachusetts, and published and sold coin premium catalogues.
Fig. 11. Romano, Sr., holding his 1794 Silver Dollar purchased for $6.500. Boston Globe, Sunday, 1 December, 1957, page 75.
During the 1950s and early 1960s Romano, Sr., hoarded a few hundred or more Proof 1878 trade dollars.
In 1968, Romano, Sr., was robbed of $110,000 in his personal coins and the Worthy Coin Shop lost $140,000 in inventory.
Fig. 12. Romano, Jr., reporting the theft 0f $68,000. Three arrested and one at large in a coin and stamp burglary at the Romano home in Hingham, Massachusetts. The mastermind behind the heist was a competitor, coin dealer Michael R. Kirzner. The bulk of the value were coin belonging to Romano, Sr., valued at $56,720. From the Worthy Coin Shop inventory $11,280 value in coins were missing Boston Globe, Monday, 31 January, 1972, page 3, and a fuller article on page 15. The Boston Record reported the heist as having taken $91,850 in rare coins.
On January 7, 1984, two weeks before his 81st birthday Don Corrado Romano died at Hingham, Massachusetts.
On June 16, 1987, Stack's sold his coin collection comprising 1,625 lots, including : a 1776 Continental Dollar, Lot 24; and a 1792 Silver Center Cent Lot 143;
In 1988, Don Corrado Romano, Jr., had a store card made in various metals celebrating the 50th anniversary of Worthy Coin.
Don Romano, Jr., passed away at Radius Specialty Hospital in Quincy, March 31,2011 after a long illness. He was 65 years old. Don was born in Weymouth and lived many years in Hingham. He was a graduate of Hingham High School and also attended Boston University. Don was a Numismatist (coin dealer) and late member of the American Numismatic Assoc. He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-granddaughter. He also enjoyed sailing his Hobie Cat. Beloved husband of Susan (Ridpath) [1946-2014] Romano. Father of Hope Kessener married to Robert of Hingham and Tiffany Parker married to Jeff of Bradenton, FL. Brother of Ella Powell married to Jim of CA and Corradina Romano of Weymouth. Grandfather of Kyla and Brianna Kessener and Ashlee and Jeff Parker Jr. Great-grandfather of Savannah Ford. The Hingham Journal April 5 - April 13, 2011
Special thanks to James McMorrow of Newburyport, Massachusetts, who helped with the biography of Don C. Romano, Jr. Also, special thanks to Michael Greenspan for pointing out the 50th anniversary store card of Worthy Coin, something that had slipped my memory of long ago.
Springfield City Directory 1926, page 1095
Numismatic News (1952) : 104
The Numismatist, July (1943) : 556
Numismatic Scrapbook (1969)
Boston City Directory 1981 : 719
Martin T. Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions
The Numismatist (1990) : 113
The Numismatist (2002) : 54
The Hingham Journal April 5 - April 13, 2011