John Highfill

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John Highfill
John Highfill.png
Born (1943-05-26) May 26, 1943 (age 80)
San Pedro, California
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materMuskogee High School
Bacone College
Known forFounder of the National Silver Dollar Roundtable (NSDR)
Spouse(s)Marlene Jagger
  • Raymond Francis Highfill (father)
  • Vineta Mae Miller (mother)
  • American Numismatic Association President’s Award

John Highfill (born May 26, 1943) founder NSDR (National Silver Dollar Roundtable), a non-profit numismatic organization that educates its members and the greater community about United States silver dollars, with a focus on Morgan dollars and Peace dollars.[1] Highfill is also a published author, having written a work known as The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia in 1990. Since 2018, an annually updated virtual two-volume 2,000-page expanded version has been offered online.[2]

Early life

Highfill was born to Raymond Francis Highfill and Vineta Mae Miller on May 26, 1943 in San Pedro, California. While young, his family moved to Oklahoma. Highfill developed a love for coins and was actively collecting Lincoln cents and Indian Head cents by the age of five.[3] As a teenager, he was an avid bowler, holding an average score of 215 over multiple years. His highest score was an 826 series in 1965 at a national Brunswick International Tournament.

On June 11, 1961, shortly after graduating from Muskogee High School, Oklahoma, he enlisted with the United States Air Force. He was stationed at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina for four years, then moved back to Muskogee. Then he enrolled and attended Bacone College. He majored in economics and math and was a member of Phi Kappa Theta, Lambda Delta Chapter fraternity.[3] While attending Bacone College, by using free college aid that he received for serving his country during the Vietnam War era, he moved to Tucson, Arizona. It was there that Highfill became a rack jobber (also known as a rack merchandiser) for music records, before being promoted to a job based out of Las Vegas. While there, he served as a coordinator of autograph sessions for ABC Records from 1969 through 1973. Over several years, he worked with many major artists of the time, including Kenny Rogers, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Karen Carpenter, Bobby Vinton, Roy Orbison, and Glen Campbell.


By the late 1970s, Highfill founded Oklahoma Coin Exchange, Inc., and settled in Memphis, Tennessee. He became involved with the coin show circuit, working with the likes of notable coin dealers Harrison and Tom Phillips, John Dannreuther, and Jack Lee. Silver had increased from a low of $4 to a high $50 from early 1979 to nearly $50 an ounce by January 1980.[4] Over that same time, silver dollars increased tenfold in value from about $5 to $50. Highfill focused his numismatic dealings around silver dollars, profiting nicely from the boom in silver prices. From 1980 to 1990, Highfill and his companies saw at least $10 million in silver dollar sales each year.[3]

He founded the National Silver Dollar Roundtable on November 12, 1982 at Astro Village Hotel in Houston, Texas, during the third annual National Silver Dollar Convention.[3] As of 2020, NSDR is among the top four of non-profit organizations in all of numismatics, a group that also includes the American Numismatic Association, Professional Numismatic Guild, and the Industry Council of Tangible Assets. From the quick success of the National Silver Dollar Roundtable came the establishment of both the National Silver Dollar Conventions and National Gold Conventions. The 1989 National Silver Dollar Convention holds the claim as the largest coin show ever with 1,243 coin dealer tables that year.[5]

Highfill served as the NSDR five-time president from 1982 until 2020. That was one of many numismatic leadership positions he went on to hold, including roles as a governor of the American Numismatic Association (2017-2019) and the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (1983-2020).[6]

In 1989, he sold the first coin to break the $1 million threshold. It was the 1852/1 $20 territorial gold coin owned by United States Mint assayer Augustus Humbert. The coin was graded Proof-65 by Professional Coin Grading Service and sold for $1,350,000.[7]

Highfill is a grading consultant to the American Numismatic Association and other numismatic organizations. In 1990, Highfill published the first edition of The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, a two-volume book that includes many chapters written by various numismatic luminaries, including silver dollar expert John Love, silver dollar dealer Wayne Miller, coin dealer W. David Perkins, silver dollar collector Jack R. Lee, error coin and variety expert Bill Fivaz, silver dollar variety expert Leroy Van Allen, numismatic author and personality Scott Travers, and Certified Acceptance Corporation founder John Albanese. In the early 2000s, Highfill served on the Oklahoma State Quarter Design & First Strike Commission during preparations for the release of the 50 State Quarters issue honoring his home state.

In addition to writing The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, Highfill has contributed various content and many articles to a variety of numismatic books, journals, and periodicals, including Coin Dealer Newsletter (now known as The CDN Monthly Greysheet), Coin World, Numismatic News, and NSDR Journal, and he is a pricing contributor for A Guide Book of United States Coins (popularly known as “The Red Book”) and Handbook of United States Coins (“The Blue Book”).

Highfill has won multiple awards for his contributions to the hobby, including two times by the Numismatic Literary Guild for both volumes of The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, the American Numismatic Association President’s Award, and the National Silver Dollar Roundtable John W. Highfill Lifetime Achievement Award. In the late 1980s, he assembled the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Finest-Known Morgan & Peace Silver Dollar Collection.

His numismatic memberships include the Alabama Numismatic Society, American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Association 1891 Club, ANACS, Arkansas Numismatic Society, California State Numismatic Association, Central States Numismatic Society, Certified Acceptance Corporation, Certified Coin Exchange, Clearwater Coin Club, Florida United Numismatists, Garden State Numismatic Association, Greater Houston Coin Club, Indiana State Numismatic Association, Love Token Society, Michigan State Numismatic Association, National Silver Dollar Roundtable, Numismatic Association of Southern California, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, Numismatic Literary Guild, Oklahoma Numismatic Association, Professional Coin Grading Service, Professional Numismatic Guild, Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, Society for United States Commemorative Coins, Tennessee State Numismatic Society, and United States Columbia Club.[3][8][9]

Other endeavors

In addition to numismatics, Highfill has been successful in various other collectibles ventures, including serving as a promoter for Beanie Babies plush dolls in the 1990s and early 2000s and later selling Pokémon memorabilia.[10] He has also built an extensive collection of baseball cards and an assemblage of more than 20,000 mint-condition, unopened LP records, and Recording Industry Association of America Gold Records by John Lennon of The Beatles for the band’s 1970 album Let It Be.

Personal life

On May 26, 1984, Highfill met Marlene Jagger and were married less than six months later, on November 4, 1984. Together they had one daughter. Highfill is an active and practicing Lutheran and presently resides in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.[11] John and Marlene Highfill traveled as a couple around the United States and the world to coin conventions and various trade shows and collector events for Beanie Babies and Pokémon.

External Links


  1. Highfill, John. "John Highfill Seeks Term on ANA Board of Governors". Coin World. Coin World. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  2. "About". National Silver Dollar Roundtable. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Highfill, John (1990). The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia (2 ed.). Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: Highfill Press. p. xxvi. ISBN 978-0998281407.
  4. "Silver: 1979-1980". The Silver Institute. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  5. Harper, Dave. "Highfill's Silver Dollar Book at Triumph". Numismatic News. Numismatic News. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  6. "John W. Highfill - Governor". National Silver Dollar Roundtable. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  7. Stevenson, Jed. "Pastimes: Numismatics". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  8. "John W. Highfill - Governor". National Silver Dollar Roundtable. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  9. Highfill, John. "John Highfill Seeks Term on ANA Board of Governors". Coin World. Coin World. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  10. McMorrow-Hernandez, Joshua. "The Kaleidoscopic Career of John Highfill". Greysheet Daily News. CDN Publishing. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  11. Harper, Dave. "Silver Dollar Gets its Due at FUN". Numismatic News. Numismatic News. Retrieved 16 March 2020.

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