BIRCH, THOMAS KING

Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Thomas King Birch, Jr. (1812-1883),
was born on May 1, 1812 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of the famous English born artist, Thomas Birch (1779-1851). His grandfather was William Russell Birch (1755-1834), of Warwickshire, England, who published, Birch's Views of Philadelphia (1800), and who is attributed by some as the engraver of the so-called Birch Cent of 1792. William first came to Philadelphia in 1772. Currently, no documentary evidence supports the attribution of his engraving the Birch Cent, though some American numismatists still argue in its favor.  William Russell Birch was born the son of Thomas Birch (1715-1798?) and Anne Russell (1713-1804). The engraver of the Birch Cent might be William's father, not his son.
            On October 27, 1831, he married Elizabeth Steinmetz (1810-1873), and they had fourteen children.
            In 1845 he opened an auction house at 173 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia calling the firm Thomas Birch, Jr.
            In 1864, taking his son Edwin King Thomas (1839-1898), as a partner he renamed the firm Thomas Birch & Son. The firm remained with this name until 1878.
            From 1887-1890 the firm of Thomas Birch's Sons had an arrangement with Stanislaus Vincent Henkels as the book cataloguer.


            He died on February 21, 1883 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

            Perhaps the most significant auction of the firm took place for the Estate, Lawrence Lewis (Washington's Executor) ; Estate, Lorenzo Lewis (Lawrence Lewis' Executor) ; by Order of H. L. D. Lewis (administrator to Estate Mrs. Lorenzo Lewis) ; Thomas Birch's SonsAuctioneers Stanislaus Vincent Henkels

Bibliography :

American Journal of Numismatics, XLVIII, xxxv
Louis Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, Vol. VII Supplement A-L, page 83
George L. McKay, American Book Auctions 1713-1934 (New York Public Library, 1937)
Carl W. A. Carlson, "Birch and the Patterns of '92," The Numismatist, March (1982)



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