Irish Coins from the Collection of the Late Jim Sazama

Irish Coins from the Collection of the Late Jim Sazama

James Francis Sazama (1946 - 2011)

James Sazama, known to all his friends and associates in numismatics as Jim, passed away at his home in Southern Pines, North Carolina, on 18 February 2011 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 64 years old.

One of nine children, Jim was born on 30 October 1946 in San Francisco. He graduated from St Francis High School and Foothill College in California, then earned a bachelor's degree in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict, and after demobilisation opened the Wooden Nickel Coin Shop in Los Altos, California, in 1974. Married to Charlene in November 1979, the Sazamas moved to Mountain View, California, where Jim opened the Double Eagle Coin and Art Gallery.

In 1982 the family relocated to Southern Pines, NC, where, along with his brother Shawn, he established the American Nursery & Landscaping Co in Pinehurst. Landscaping may have been the day job, but Jim was keen to continue his involvement with numismatics, which he readily admitted was his first love, for the rest of his life. He was a well-respected member of the coin collecting community in the Carolinas, contributing articles to numismatic publications. He particularly enjoyed his Wednesday morning radio appearances at Star 102.5 FM, talking about the gold and silver market with chat show hosts Rich Rushforth and Kristen Palmer. He was a charter member of the Professional Currency Dealers of America, the North Carolina Numismatic Association and the Moore Numismatic Association.

In addition to being a professional numismatist, Jim had recently entered into partnership with Scott Arney to form a new company, Amazon Tropical Fish, and for this new venture Jim had travelled to Peru and Uruguay to collect specimens. In Southern Pines he was an active member of the Lutheran Church community, serving on its congregational council.

In recent years Jim became well known in England for his avid pursuit of small denomination hammered coins -pennies, halfpence and farthings -from England, Scotland, Ireland and their equivalents on the nearby continent. He visited London on several occasions, acquiring a significant tranche of the important collection formed by the late Jeffrey Mass, sold by DNW in four annual dispersals beginning in 2004. A glance at this catalogue will show the breadth of the Sazama collection, which it is intended will be sold in four annual parts at the time of COINEX, concluding in 2014.

Jim is survived by Charlene, his wife of 31 years, their children Ben, Cassandra and Nicole, his parents F. James and Susan Sazama, his four brothers and four sisters, two grandchildren, Clarise and Ryan, and many nieces and nephews.