Born in Hollywood, California. Married to Joan M. MacDonald in November 1947. They have three daughters. Served with Army Signal Corps during World War II 1943 to 1946, at ETOUSA Headquarters August 1944 to October 1945, with U.S. Marine Corps Reserve 1948 to 1950, with Army Counter Intelligence 1950 to 1959.
Ford began to collect Lincoln cents in 1935. He went to work at Stack's in 1939 cataloging stamps. He worked for Stack's again from November 1941 to December 1941 afternoons and weekends. In 1942 he worked full time. He conducted at least eight auction sales under his own name 1941 to 1950. Associated with New Netherlands Coin Company 1951 to 1971. In 1958 Ford purchased the rights to Raymond's Standard Catalogue and other publications. Ford was a director of the PNG 1971 to 1975. Member of the I.A.P.N. after 1972. In 1977 he contributed funds to establish ANA’s Wayte and Olga Raymond memorial award.
Ford collected numismatic Americana except regular issue coinage. His collections include U.S. colonial coins, U.S. colonial medals (Betts medals), American historical medals issued prior to World War II, Indian peace medals, pioneer and territorial gold, assay ingots, territorial tokens, Hard Times and merchant tokens, post trader tokens, sutler tokens, U.S. counterstamps, fractional currency, encased postage, colonial and continental currency, western obsolete currency, U.S. obsolete currency and federal notes issued prior to 1861. Ford also has a large reference library.
His collection of Hitler medals was sold at auction by Bowers and Ruddy January 27, 1983. His assay medals were sold by Bowers and Merena as the Boyd-Ryder collection in 1985. Other consignments have been sold under the Boyd and Ryder names. His collection of West Indian counterstamps was sold at auction by Glendining's in London in October 1989.
He died in Phoenix, Arizona. His extensive collection was sold through a series of auctions conducted by Stack’s.
bio by interview 8/15/91 obit CW 7/25/05, NN 3/21/06, NYT 7/17/05
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Opinion, analysis and exhibits of John J. Ford, Jr., expert witness on behalf of Thomas Ryan, sustaining genuineness : typescript.
[113 leaves,  leaves ; 29 cm,Cover title: "The Franklin Hoard United States Assay Office of Gold Coins : An Answer to Eric P. Newman - by John J. Ford, Jr."
Further inside title: "Arbitration controversy between: Paul E. Garland and Thomas Ryan relative to the U.S.A.O.G. 1853 Double Eagle.",Photocopy] American Numismatic Society copy.