Ray Jewell was foundation President of the Numismatic Association of Australia and a life-long passionate collector. He was born in Elsternwick in 1927 and attended Scotch College, where he was a Prefect, Captain of boarders, school magazine editor and keen participant in sports. After leaving school he followed his parents into the business of hotel management. During World War II he worked in the hotel trade in St Kilda, serving American servicemen stationed in the area. In 1949 Jewell married Nancy (Nan), a teenage sweetheart, and they had a son and daughter, and later five grandchildren.
Jewell and his wife initially managed a hotel in Middle Park, then took on a newsagency in Prahran, in partnership with his brother. Jewell's interest in collecting coins and stamps developed further during this time, and he became an active member of the Numismatic Association of Victoria. He began collecting large numbers of duplicate EF and uncirculated Australian Commonwealth coins, as well as trade union badges, unpopular as collectors' items at the time but later of considerable interest. He joined the business of Melbourne dealer Max Stern & Co in 1965, then in 1981 moved on to become director of Spink & Son (Aust) Pty Ltd.
Jewell's numismatic knowledge enabled him to alert the National Gallery of Victoria to thefts in the early 1960s, when he recognized items appearing on the numismatic market. He subsequently realised that thefts were also occurring from the Natural History and Science and Technology Collections of what is now Museum Victoria. The responsible person was tried and imprisoned. Ten years later he uncovered a major theft in Sydney. Ray became known as the doyen of Australian numismatics, renowned for his knowledge and experience.
Jewell eventually moved out of stamp and coin-collecting, and began to collect other areas, from 'Phantom' comics to Worcester porcelain. He and his wife moved to Warragul in their retirement, to be closer to their family, and he died suddenly in 1992, at the age of 65.
(1993). Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia Vol.7, December.