Stephen L. Tanenbaum was born August 16, 1948, in the Bronx, NY. When he was four, his family left their apartment building which was about to be demolished to build the Cross Bronx Expressway. They moved to White Plains, in nearby Westchester County, where Steve lived until he went to college.

For grades K-6, Steve went to Mamaroneck Avenue Elementary School not far from his house. He attended Post Road Junior High School and later, White Plains High School.

Steve’s major hobby as a child was, unsurprisingly, numismatics and from an early age he had an entrepreneurial bent. His brother Andy remembers, “One time when he was about 10, he asked our father to loan him $100, which he did. He then went to a local bank and asked for 2000 nickels, which the bank gave him. He tediously went through all 2000 nickels looking for rare or interesting ones. He might have found 4 or 5, perhaps a dozen at most. He then replaced these with ordinary, boring nickels, went back to the bank, and asked for 1000 dimes. Similarly, he went through the dimes one at a time and replaced a few worthwhile specimens with more garden-variety dimes. When he brought these back to the bank, he asked for and got 400 quarters, which he also processed one at a time. When he was all done, he got his $100 back. Well, let’s just say there are a lot of banks in White Plains.” Steve’s love of numismatics was evident even at the age of ten.

Yet Steve was also practical and wasn’t sure he could make a living searching bank rolled coins, so after high school he applied to and was accepted at Cornell University where he studied industrial engineering, earning a bachelors degree in 1970 and a masters in 1971. Steve enjoyed school and was an excellent student and after earning his masters from Cornell, he attended the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. There he earned a masters of science and management in 1973.

Upon graduating, Steve headed back to New York State where he landed a job as a financial analyst at Xerox Corporation, then one of the hottest tech firms in the country. He worked at Xerox for a few years, but ultimately decided he liked physical money better than virtual money. When Xerox lost some of its luster and began to downsize, he took the “early retirement” package they offered (even though he was still in his 20s). Steve then struck out on his own, hoping to make it in the world of numismatics.

In 1978, he formed a partnership with Richard Rossa, known in the trade as RAT (Rossa And Tanenbaum), with an elegant rat playing a piano as their company logo. Steve eventually moved to Brooklyn, NY, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Steve was especially interested in exonumia, the branch of numismatics that deals with items other than coins and paper money. His real love was Civil War tokens which were produced by stores during the civil war when there were few coins in circulation, the metal having been melted down for military purposes. Each token (similar to a coin though technically different) thus belongs to a particular store and was issued and used during a fairly short time span. RAT was a dealer in these and other antique collectibles.

Steve was extremely modest and never spoke of his many accomplishment in the field of numismatics. He was elected eight times to the Board of Governors of the Civil War Token Society and was recognized by his peers as one of the most knowledgeable people in the country in the area of Civil War tokens. Working with collectors, he helped build many of the great modern collections.

Steve never married, but doted on his two nieces and two nephews, seeing them whenever possible. He was selfless with his time and resources and he seemed happiest when with them. When he visited, they would spend hours playing baseball or going to baseball games, playing chess, or working on their own quarter collections. He even made a game they loved, much like the game Concentration, but with what else, quarters and of course he made sure they won and kept the quarters for their collections.

Steve was a vegetarian and loved desserts since they rarely have meat in them. He made sure that his relatives were well supplied with desserts, often bringing them from far-off Brooklyn when visiting them. He was a loveable bagel and pizza snob, and would grumble good-naturedly about the superior quality of the New York versions when he would visit.

Another passion of his was major league baseball and he could watch baseball games nonstop for hours on end. He also had an enormous recall of players’ statistics and could recite current batting averages, E.R.A.s, and similar items from memory. Baseball is sort of like numismatics: there are a lot of detail to be absorbed and Steve loved it. He introduced his nieces and nephews to the American pastime and loved to play catch with them in the driveway.

All of these details are only snippets of who Steve was, and such descriptions can’t show the true man. Steve was loving, generous, kind, and devoted to his family, and he will truly, truly be missed. He brought so much to the lives of those he knew. We will always remember you Steve. Rest in peace.