Born in Boston in 1952, Jim formed a part-time rare stamp and coin business at age 16. The same year, he received early acceptance to Harvard College. But by his third semester, Jim was enjoying the coin business more than his studies, so he took a permanent leave of absence to pursue a full-time numismatic career. In 1975, Jim supervised the protocols for the first mainframe computer system in the numismatic business, which would help catapult his firm to the top of the industry within four years. In 1982, Jim's business merged with that of his friend and former archrival Steve Ivy to form Heritage. In 1984, Jim wrote a book later re-titled "How to Grade U.S. Coins", which outlined the grading standards upon which NGC and PCGS would later be based. Jim is also a well-known futurist, an active collector of rare comic books, comic art and early 20th-century American art (view parts of his collection www.jhalpe.com), venture capital investor, philanthropist (he endows a multimillion-dollar health education foundation), and part-time novelist. His first fiction book, The Truth Machine, was published in 1996, became an international science fiction bestseller, was optioned as a feature film by Warner Brothers and Lions Gate. Jim's second novel, The First Immortal, was published in early 1998 and optioned as a Hallmark Hall of Fame television miniseries. Both are now under development as feature films by Morgan Freeman at Revelations Entertainment. All of Jim's royalties are donated to health and education charities.