Born in Chestnut Ridge, Pennsylvania. Attended St. Vincent's College at Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Married with a daughter. He operated the John A. Beck Salt Company founded by his father. Later he was successful in the oil business.
The Beck collection included an important group of pioneer territorial gold. Beck also acquired hoards of some rare items including 102 Humbert $20 gold pieces, 931 $3 gold pieces, and 571 1856 Flying Eagle cents.
Beck assembled a major collection of Indian relics that was donated to the Carnegie Museum. The coin collection remained in the vaults of the Pittsburgh National Bank and Trust Company for 50 years after his death. It was sold at auction in three sales conducted by Abner Kreisberg January 27-29, 1975; February 12-13, 1976; and February 14, 1977. A proof Kellogg $50 gold piece realized $120,000.
bio: CAT Kreisberg (photo); NUM 105 Nov 92 pp 1549-1556
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Correspondence related to the disposition of the John A. Beck numismatic collection. Correspondents include Abner Kreisberg, New Netherlands (Charles Wormser), Stack’s (Harvey G. Stack), and Ray Byrne. Courtesy Wayne K. Homren.