COLBURN, JEREMIAH

Copyright 2011-2018, John N. Lupia, III

Jeremiah Colburn (1815-1891)
, was born January 15, 1815, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, the eighth of ten children, the sixth of seven sons of Calvin Colburn (1773-1834) and Catherine Sybil Lakin (1770-1858).  His grandfather served in the American Revolution. 
            In his youth he worked as a clerk for Colonel Seth J. Thomas selling men's haberdashery. He took over the business in 1840.
Fig. 1. Boston Post, Thursday, January 16, 1840, page 3

            According to his obituary published in the Boston Journal, Thursday, December 31, 1891, page 7, he began collecting coins at age 15, i.e., in 1830. Additionally, the obituary reports he collected minerals, natural history, books, autographs, manuscripts, engravings and other items chiefly regarding American colonial history.        

            In 1840, he became a collector of bank notes.
            On April 30, 1846, he married Eliza Ann Blackman (1820-1897), and they had a son John Blackman Colburn (1849-1849), who died in infancy.
            He was elected to the board of directors of the Granite Club, No. 1, on July 21, 1852.
 
Fig. 3. Jeremiah Colburn disappears on January 27, 1853. Boston Herald, Saturday, February 12, 1853, page 2

            The Daily Pennsylvanian, Saturday, March 12, 1853, published the report that at Washington, D. C., Jeremiah Colburn was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury, assistant appraiser for the port of Boston.
            He was elected one of the directors of Boston's Keystone Club, No. 1, on June 28, 1856. 
            In February 1857, he served on the "Committee of Arrangements" for the Inaugural Ball for President Buchanan set for March 4th. 
            He was elected a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society on Thursday, November 5, 1857, and worked for them at their office located at 18 Somerset Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
            Beginning in 1857, he was a frequent contributor to the Historical Magazine.
            In 1858, he was one of the founders of the Prince Society, an organization devoted to printing historical works.
            On March 3, 1860, he was one of the founding member of the Boston Numismatic Society. They met at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. 13 Broomfield Street, Boston. Dr. Winslow Lewis was elected the first president; Jeremiah Colburn, Vice-president and Curator; Henry Davenport, Treasurer; William Sumner Appleton, Secretary. Colburn was one of the principal driving forces of the Boston Numismatic Society seven years after his death the Society gave its holdings of coins and books to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Boston Public Library received the books, undoubtedly numbered among the tomes was the extra large folio edition of Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli, Numisgraphics (1875), first discovered there by John N. Lupia, III, and published in his American Numismatic Auctions (2013).
            According to the 1860 U. S. Census he lived at Norfolk House, Boston, and worked as a United States appraiser. 
            Augustus B. Sage had a portrait of him struck on a medal in bronze in 1860, as Sage's Numismatic Gallery, No. 3.

Fig. 3. Correspondence to Jeremiah Colburn at 17 Broomfield Street, Boston, postmarked Galesburg, Illinois, December 2, 1860, with geometric grid killer. 
Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library.

            His known addresses include 17 Broom Street, Boston, 18 Somerset Street, Boston. 

            His collection was sold by Woodward in 1863. Mason mentions him in connection with the McCoy Sale, Colburn, Jeremiah – Colburn’s coins were purchased by W. Elliot Woodward and subsequently sold at auction. The first sale took place on April 28-May 1, 1862; the second followed on October 24, 1863. Several others collectors' coins were included in the first sale. Each sale contained large cents. The catalogues are scanned and available online at the [Eric P.] Newman Numismatic Portal.

            He published, Signers of the Declaration of Independence (Boston : W. K. Wiggin, 1863).

            He was elected an honorary member of the ANS on December 23, 1867.    

            In 1869, he was granted an honorary Masters degree from Williams College.   

            Beginning in 1870, he was an editor of the American Journal of Numismatics.  

            He published, Bibliography of the Local History of Massachusetts. (Boston : W. P. Lunt, 1871)


Fig. 4. Correspondence from Chapin, using business stationery of Sage & Sons Co., to Benson J. Lossing at Dover, New York, postmarked Buffalo, New York, May 29, 1871. Letter below found inside this envelope and purchased  ex-Charles R. Searle, June 30, 2007. Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library.

Fig. 5. Correspondence on New England Historical and Genealogical Society letterhead from Jeremiah Colburn at 18 Somerset Street, Boston, December 19, 1871, to Benson J. LossingEx-Charles R. Searle, June 30, 2007. Note : includes a genuine autograph of Jeremiah Colburn. Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library.

        He published, American Independence (Boston : D. Clapp & Son, 1876)

Fig. 6. Jeremiah Colburn correspondence with the Chapman Brothers requesting them to send a money order for $7.00, postmarked June 28, 1878, Boston Station. Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

            He began corresponding with the Chapman Brothers a six months after they began dealing in coins in January 1878. There are fourteen pieces of correspondence from Jeremiah Colburn catalogued in the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive. Also, there are several additional pieces of correspondence to and from Jeremiah Colburn in a separate file in the Lupia Numismatic Library.

            He was a donor, in 1878, to the ANS library.

            In 1879, he was a founding member of the Boston Antiquarian Club.

Correspondence from Grand Rapids, Michigan, with an address of the Grand Art Studio, postmarked registered mail October 10, 1879. Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library

            In 1881, he was a founding member of the Bostonian Society.

Fig. Gaston L. Feuardent correspondence with Jeremiah Colburn sending his 21-page catalogue listing the items of antiquities, coins, and gems for sale in his collection. The Catalogue and his matching mailer envelope depict the Greek Calabrian silver diobol of Taras (Tarentum) bearing Herakles (Hercules) wrestling the Nemean lion,  with the caption below in Greek PANARCHAION, which literally means old-fashioned.  Thomas L. Elder discovering this early 1906 during his early career copied the photograveur of the silver diobol using it on his own stationery. Very scarce backstamp Boston Carrier. The receiving backstamp on front. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 7. Correspondence to Jeremiah Colburn at 18 Somerset Street, Boston, postmarked Boston, October 3, 1886. Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library.

Fig. 8. Jeremiah Colburn correspondence with the Chapman Brothers on stationary of the Boston Numismatic Society requesting them to send a copy of the E. Shorthouse coin auction catalogue, postmarked December 9, 1889, Boston. Courtesy Lupia, Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

            He died of pneumonia on Wednesday morning, December 30, 1891, at Boston, Massachusetts.


Bibliography :

Campaign Post, Saturday, July 31, 1852, page 3

Boston Herald, Saturday, February 12, 1853, page 2

Campaign Times, Saturday, June 28, 1856, page 5

Boston Herald, Wednesday, February 18, 1857, page 2

Boston Herald, Wednesday, February 25, 1857, page 2

Boston Traveler, Thursday, November 5, 1857, page 2

Boston Daily Advertiser, Monday, March 5, 1860, page 2

Proceedings of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, of New York At the Annual Meeting, March 18, 1879: page 13

Mason's Coin and Stamp Collector's Magazine, I, No. 12, March (1868) : 118d; III, No. 8, August (1869) : 83d; IV, No. 8, August (1870) : 130; IV, No. 9, September (1870) : 142; IV, No. 12, December (1870) : 192; V, No. 1, January (1871) : 14; VI, No. 5, July (1872) : 69; B-I, No. 3, October (1880) : 1c; B-I, No. 4, January (1881) : 22c-d; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 8c; H-I, No. 2, September (1879) : 13c; H-I, No. 2, September (1879) : 16c; H-I, No. 2, September (1879) : 19a; H-I, No. 3, December (1879) : 27b; H-I, No. 4, March (1880) : 35d; H-II, No. 1, June (1880) :8d; H-II, No. 3, December (1880) : 23d; H-II, No. 4, March (1881) : 32b; H-III, No. 2, September (1881) : 48b; H-III, No. 3, December (1881) : 56b; H-III, No. 4, March (1882) : 67d; C-VI, No. 1, June (1882) : 20A ad page; C-VI, No. 2, September (1882) : 37; M-I, No. 4, September (1884) : 42;

Numisma, Vol. 7, No. 1.

The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 6, June (1892) : 93;

                Sylvester Sage Crosby, The Early Coins of America; and the laws governing their issue. Comprising also descriptions of the Washington pieces, the Anglo-American tokens, many pieces of unknown origin, of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the first patterns of the United States mint. By Sylvester S. Crosby. (Boston, 1875);

                Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli, Numisgraphics (1875)

                Boston Journal, Thursday, December 31, 1891, page 7 Obit

                American Journal of Numismatics January 26 (1892) : 49-50

                Appleton's Cyclopeadia of American Biography (1900)

                Adelson, Howard L., The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1959. (New York, ANS, 1958);

                Gengerke, Martin, American Numismatic Auctions, Vol. 3 (1987)

John W. Adams, United States Numismatic Literature (1992) Vol. 1, 26, 28, 29.

Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies, 60





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