Born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Received B.S. from Pennsylvania State University in 1960. Married Mary Masters June 4, 1960. They had two children and were divorced in 1973. Married to Christine Valentine March 11, 1978.
Bowers served on the board of the PNG, as vice president 1975 to 1977 and as president PNG 1977 to 1979. The PNG awarded him the Abe Kosoff Founders Award in 1974. He was on the ANA board of governors 1979 to 1981, vice president 1981 to 1983 and 43rd President of the ANA from 1983 to 1985. Bowers was the youngest person to have a table when he attended the ANA convention in Omaha in 1955. He has attended every year since then. He received the ANA Medal of Merit in 1987. In 1991 he was awarded the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award. Inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1995 he was named “Numismatist of the Year” by the ANA. The award was presented at a $250 per plate fund raising dinner. Received the Burnett Anderson Memorial Award in 2000, Exemplary Service Award in 2003 and Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He is a member of the Rittenhouse Society.
Bowers has been affiliated with several dealerships. Following is a summary of names, locations, dates, sales and publications:
Q. David Bowers, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1953-1956. He ran an ad in Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine April 20, 1955. His mailing address was his father's business. A fixed price list No. 1 was issued September-October 1955. A second was issued in 1956.
Penn-New York Auction Co. Johnson City, New York, 1957 with James Ruddy. They conducted one mail bid sale on July 29, 1957.
Bowers Coin Company, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The name was used briefly between December 1957 and April 1, 1958. The company issued one Catalogue of Rare United States Coins.
Empire Coin Company, Johnson City, New York, April 1, 1958 to July 20, 1960, with James Ruddy. They conducted three auctions. They published a periodical and fixed price list, Empire Topics No. 1 May-June 1958 through No. 11 October-November 1960. Endwell-Union Company, Inc., Endwell and Kirkwood, New York, 1959-60. Bowers Coin Company Inc., Binghamton, New York, 1960-1961, published The Bowers Review November-December 1960 and March-April 1961. These would be numbers 12 and 13 in the Empire series. Empire Coin Company, Binghamton, New York, 1961-1965. Published The Empire Review No. 14 August-September 1961 through No. 19 April-May 1964. They also produced Empire Investors Report. It ran for 62 issues from 1963 through 1965.
Paramount International Coin Corporation with James Ruddy, James Kelly, Michael DiSalle and Max Humbert 1964-1966. They conducted auctions beginning in 1965. Bowers cataloged only the "Century" collection sale. He was not initially listed as one of the officers of the corporation. Paramount bought out Empire in 1966.
Bowers was not affiliated with a numismatic firm 1967 to 1969 because of a non competition agreement with Paramount. He continued to write, catalog and do numismatic research. During that period he was in the nickelodeon business.
Hathaway and Bowers, Santa Fe Springs, California, with Terry Hathaway, 1969-1971. Their price list was called Rare Coins with 9 issues. They published Choice and Desirable Coins through Vol. III No. 9 for January- February 1971.
American International Galleries, Inc., Santa Monica, California, November 28, 1975, to 1978 with Hathaway and others. In the musical instrument business, not numismatics. They published at least five issues of Automatic Musical Instruments. Bowers was also part owner with Claes O. Friberg of Mekanisk Music Museum in Copenhagen.
Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Inc., Hollywood, California, 1971-1982 with James Ruddy. Early auctions were conducted under the name of American Auction Association. They conducted 63 auctions and published the Rare Coin Review issues No. 10 dated March-April 1971 to No 46. They also issued Nummis Mundi with five issues 1979 to 1981. From 1974 through 1982 the company was a division of General Mills, Incorporated.
Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc. and Auctions by Bowers and Merena, Inc., Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, since 1983 with Ray Merena. A division of the firm conducts bail bid sales under the name of Kingswood Galleries. The Rare Coin Review resumed with issue No. 47. They have published a number of numismatic books by authors on their staff as well as others not on staff.
In 1996 Bowers purchased partial ownership of PCGS. Collector’s Universe sold the Bowers and Mereena firm and Q. David Bowers became affiliated with American Numismatic Rarities. They merged with Stack’s in 2006. On July 1, 2009, Bowers became chairman of the board at Stack’s. He also serves as numismatic director for Whitman Publishing.
He was named a Numismatic News Numismatic Ambassador in 1994. In 2000 he was awaded the Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic Writing. In 2010 he was inducted into the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame and in 2014 the CWTS Hall of Fame. In 2021 he was on the Coin World list of The Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020. He made the list again in 2022 and 2023.
Bowers is one of the most prolific writers in the numismatic field. He has written over a thousand articles in various periodicals. His column "Numismatic Depth Study" appeared regularly in Coin World 1960 to 1992. “The Joys of Collecting” began in Coin World November 17, 1976. In 1993 the column was shortened and renamed "Numismatic Nuggets." His last column ran in the issue of December 27, 2021. This column earned Bowers several awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. He received the NLG Clemy Award in 1989. He also writes a regular column for The Numismatist.
Bowers has written, edited or collaborated on the following books in the numismatic field:
United States Half Cents 1793-1857 with James Ruddy (1963),
Coins and Collectors (1964) with later reprints,
How to Start a Coin Collection (1973),
High Profits from Rare Coin Investment (1974), now 12th edition,
A Tune for a Token: A Catalogue of Tokens and Medals Relating to Automatic Musical Instruments, Circa 1850-1930 (1975),
Collecting Rare Coins for Profit (1975),
Adventures with Rare Coins (1979),
The History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection (1979),
Common Sense Coin Investment (1982),
Virgil Brand, The Man and His Era (1983),
United States Copper Coins An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor (1984),
An Inside View of the Coin Hobby in the 1930s: The Walter P. Nichols File edited by Bowers (1984),
United States Three-Cent and Five-Cent Pieces An Action guide for the Collector and Investor (1985),
The Compleat Collector (1985),
Abe Kosoff: Dean of Numismatics (1985),
United States Coins by Design Types (1986),
The Strange Career of Dr. Wilkins: A Numismatic Inquiry (1987),
The Norweb Collection: An American Legacy, with Michael Hodder (1987),
The Standard Catalogue of Encased Postage Stamps, with Hodder,
How to Be a Successful Coin Dealer, reprinted from articles in CW, Buyer's Guide to United States Gold Coins (1989), United States Dimes, Quarters and Half Dollars:
An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor,
A Buyer's Guide to the Rare Coin Market (1990), The Numismatist's Bedside Companion (ed.) (1988),
The Numismatist's Fireside Companion (ed.) (1988),
The Numismatist's Lakeside Companion (ed.),
United States Coin Price Trends (1991), with Ken Bressett ,
The ANA Centennial History in two volumes (1991),
Commemorative Coins of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia (1991),
The Numismatist's Weekend Companion (ed.) (1992), Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States
A Complete Encyclopedia, in two volumes (1993),
A Buyer’s and Enthusiast’s Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents (1996),
Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts (1999),
Treasure Ship S. S. Jonathan: Her Life and Loss (1999),
California Gold Rush History (2002),
Guide Book of United States Paper Money (2003),
Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins (2004),
Official Red Book of Morgan Silver Dollars (2004),
Guide Book of United States Type Coins (2005),
Expert’s Guide to Collecting and Investing in Rare Coins (2005),
100 Greatest Currency Notes (2006).
Guide Book of Civil War Tokens: Patriotic Tokens and Store Cards 1861-1965 (2013).
1822 Gold Half Eagle: Story of a Rarity (2014)
Bowers has also written or edited books in fields outside numismatics. These are frequently collected by numismatic book collectors. They include the following titles:
Put Another Nickel In (1966),
A Guide Book of Automatic Musical Instruments, in two volumes (1966),
American Car Advertisements (1974),
The Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments (1972), Value Guide of Automatic Musical Instruments,
The Postcards of Alphone Mucha (1980), with Mary L. Martin,
Robert Robinson: American Illustrator (1981), with Christie Bowers,
Treasures of Mechanical Music (1981),
The Moxie Encyclopedia (1985),
Nickelodeon Theatres and Their Music (1986),
Muriel Ostriche: Princess of Silent Films (1987).
Bio: ConAut; WWWest 80; WWEast 81, correspondence, 1991, profile NN/WWH 3/13/73.
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Brochure for Q. David Bowers' Coins and Collectors book. Courtesy of Wayne K. Homren.