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mrbrklyn's Blog

29 Jan 2022

Remembering Stevie Halfon - Loved by all

| mrbrklyn

Liberty Coins was a typical small time coin dealer operations located not far from the F train on Kings Highway, in Brooklyn, NY. The surrounding community is largely Jewish with transient communities of Latin Americans and Eastern Europeans surround the 2nd floor store front that could only be accessed by appointment. It was run by a reputable dealer with decades of experience, in Steve Halfon, who, as many other coin dealers, dealt in a lot of cash, and tried to keep client transactions anonymous, while dealing with many gold and silver coins. Much of his client base consisted of communities that have experienced tragic repression by government, and is inherently secretive and private, in both the Orthodox Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, Sephardic Jews from repressive middle eastern regimes, and Russian Jewish Emigres of the former Soviet Union. In addition, the area has deep links to New York's diamond and jewelry traded. Steve was a beloved family man, married to Terri Ballenberg Halfon, whose heart was all but broken by the murder. He also had a daughter, and was known as a strong family man by his entire extended family. He had tied to Rabbi Mordechai German of the Beer Hagadol Yeshiva, a Yeshiva founded in 1979 by some of the most prominent rabbis of the generation. to meet the educational, social, and spiritual needs of the flood of Jewish children from the former Soviet Union. In regard all these wonderful connections, he was blessed more than most. On August 23rd, 2011, more than 10 years ago, he was kidnapped outside his coin shop after work by an organized mob and beaten to death. He was stuffed into a blue/black Volvo which was later abandoned. He died because he was a coin dealer, and he was targeted.

At 5:10PM on that Tuesday evening, Halfon was dragged out of his car by the mob, and threw him in a black Volvo where they beat him to death and then dropped his body less than mile away on East 7th Street and Avenue N. The New York Daily News reported: “One guy gets out, covered in blood, and walks down the street like nothing happened," said a witness. The suspect threw his bloody T-shirt, a Yankees hat and a gray hoodie in a sewer before running away with the two others, the witness said.” A driver then noticed the beaten body and rushed him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Witnesses reported that on a block away on Avenue O, the three men dumped a blue/black Volvo, ditched their bloody clothes and fled. In the end, it has been reported that, three suspects, including a Mr Andrew Jackson of Staten Island, were arrested for the murder. I am not certain if there was a trail or what the outcomes were, and I will investigate this further.
When this happened, it was reported about the news, and discussed, here, on cointalk, with much banter back and forth blaming the victim, and speculating if he was armed it would have had a better chance. That is not entirely surprising. Every coin related crime is excused away by some portion of the community. The proposition that this problem can be brought under control with more and bigger guns and bigger dogs is laughable, if not just sad. What really fuels this kind of crime is the ease in which stolen property can be fenced and resold throughout the numismatics community, and the deep reluctance that police departments country wide, but especially in urban centers, have in pursuing these crimes aggressively. Not enough people take this seriously and that is why these things happen. Steve Halfon and his wife deserve better. Steve’s family survived and escaped the brutality of Soviet Union antisemitism and repression, only for Steve to be brutally beaten to death not more than a few blocks from his home for the crime of being a coin dealer. And that is the uncomfortable truth. (Cited from:https://www.cointalk.com/threads/remembering-stevie-halfon-loved-by-all.387483/)

Comments

Kepi

Level 6

Very sad story. So sorry for his family. Thank you for your blog.

Long Beard

Level 5

We read about numismatic crimes in what seems to be a growing frequency, but rarely one such a this. Senseless. For what? A few coins? Or perhaps there's more to this than we know. What ever the case may be, sad. Very sad.

mrbrklyn

Level 4

The police have spent more than a decade working in this murder and found some suspects. It was never reported what happened to them. But the motivation was apparent, it was to steal his coins. The fact that he was a coin dealer that worked with gold coins made him a target and cost him his life.

Mike

Level 7

Sorry to here all that went on. On this site if you go to community. Go to the bottom it has Numismatic Crime. You would not believe the danger some people are in. One dealer was killed after a show. They followed him in his car. Eleven million in sugar bars. Gold. They have a whole.list of stories. Its sad were targets. I tear my name of the coin magazines. I don't tell anyone what I do.

mrbrklyn

Level 4

Coin dealers are at risk and there is a long history of violence against dealers and collectors. My son did more research on this, and I am not sure what he uncovered, but he got a lot of blowback discussing this. The nature of collectable coins makes dealers honeypots for criminals. We tend to blame the dealers and the collectors, but the real onerous is on the criminals and those that enable them

Longstrider

Level 6

That is a sad state of our nation. Great history of him. I really like the thoughts on the card. Personally I get the Numismatic crime Info in my email. There is a link on this website. I read them and watch out for them. My dealer was also hit. Luckily he was on holiday so he wasn't at his store. He did get the pleasure of watching on line as his store was robbed. he is armed and I agree with that. My opinion. Cops out here only fill out forms. I wish this man was still alive. It sounds like he was a great man with a lot to teach us. Thank you. May he rest in peace. May his family and friends find peace.

mrbrklyn

Level 4

The card was from his wife - who still suffers from the loss.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

This quite a tragic story. Thank you for educating us about issues that exist in our hobby and profession

AC coin$

Level 6

Impressive reading. Your expressions unfold like a movie yet, it is the movie of reality for many. I sense the feelings of having met that man and then, I never did. Thank you for your coin-collecting related story. May the Eternal Light shine upon all those gone.

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