DEITRICK, ROBERT LEE

Copyright 2000-2019  John N. Lupia, III

Robert Lee Deitrick (1870-1938), was born on February 11, 1870, in Goochland County, Virginia, the fourth child of six, son of Dr. Thomas Marion Deitrick, M.D. (1840-1912), and Frances Etta Pollard Deitrick (1841-1925). 

Deitrick never married and worked at various trades : a telegraph operator, boarding house owner, paint and hardware merchant, and dealer in old newspapers, Civil War relics, paper money, stamps, and coins. He was deeply interested, knowledgeable, and active in all aspects of collecting despite some remarks made by modern numismatic historians who characterize him as mainly a stamp dealer. He lived and worked for the most part in the family home in Tuckahoe, Virginia, and used a mailing address at Lorraine, Virginia.

In 1890, he began selling Confederate paper money publishing his first annual edition of Deitrick's Paper Money Catalogue. 

He also published a semiannual List of Rare Coins and Fractional Currency, Bought and Sold (1890).

On February 14, 1891, he was appointed Postmaster of Lorraine, Virginia.

Deitrick ran his numismatic business on a shoestring budget. His early correspondence is usually found on recycled paper and other company's defunct unused postal stationery envelopes bought by the box at a fraction of the postage value.


In 1896, he published on the back cover of his List No. 12, that he was a member of the Sons of Philately  No.1395, and philatelic Society of America, No. 984. 


Wanted for cash Confederate stamps used 
or unused confederate and busted bank notes 
all kinds small or large quantities. Dealers 
send lowest wholesale quotations. Send 8c 
for my catalogue of old paper money. R. L. 
Deitrick, Lorraine, Va. 

Deitrick advertisement published in the Evergreen Philatelist, Vol. 9, No. 4, April (1898) : 75


Deitrick's Confederate Paper Money advertisement published in The Numismatist, January (1899) : 27

In May 1899 the Virginia Philatelist reported how a stamp dealer named Bailey who advertised in the Michigan Philatelist sold Deitrick fake Confederate stamps.



Top: Deitrick correspondence with the Chapman Brothers, postmarked September 8, 1899, Lorraine, Virginia. Deitrick pasted a sip of paper over a postal stationery envelope pre-printed return address Croft & Allen Co., Philadelphia, probably bought two or three for one cent from defunct business. Bottom : Deitrick correspondence with the Chapman Brothers, postmarked September 30, 1899, Lorraine, Virginia, target or bull's eye cancel. Deitrick pasted a sip of paper over a printed address salvaging a cheap paper envelope which he franked with a Scott #267c Rose carmine 2c Washington. Both for sale.


 The 1900 U. S. Census reports him living at the family home at 322 Libby Avenue, Tuckahoe, Virginia, and working as a telegraph operator.



Deitrick's advertisement in Philatelic Chronicle, April (1901) : 156

He ran a half page ad in the July 1902 Philatelic West, 9th leaf recto from the front, which says "Established 1890, Largest Dealer in U.S.A.". The claim of being the largest dealer in old Confederate paper money although John W. Haseltine, T. S. Crayton, Jr., Luther Brown Tuthill (q. v.), George L. Fancher, W. B. Burke, R. W. Mercer, W. F. Greany, and George H. Anders were all significant dealers in Confederate paper money. 



Deitrick advertisement selling his ten cent fixed price list of Civil War newspapers, Confederate stamps, Bonds, Money and War Relics, United States Fractional Currency, Broken Bank Bills, Continental Money, in the Canada Stamp Sheet, June 1 (1903) : 242


The editor of the Universal Exchange Magazine, Volume 1, Number 2, 1905, page 12 makes note of receiving the latest copy of Deitrick's Paper Money Catalogue now in its fifteenth edition.


Deitrick correspondence with Henry Chapman, Jr., postmarked October 28, 1906. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive. For sale.

Deitrick's 1908 Paper Money Catalogue.  - He published his semiannual fixed price list in booklet form containing a Black List of buyers who did not pay. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For sale.

In 1909, he sold the Wisconsin Historical Society a stamped Confederate soldiers letter addressed to Mr. Ivy Duggan, Q. M Sergt., 49 Georgia Regiment, Thomas' Brigade, Hill's Division.

He applied to the ANA in July and joined the ANA in November 1909. 


The 1910 U. S. Census reports Deitrick as a boarding house owner.


His March 1910 advertisement for Deitrick's Standard Paper Money Catalogue and buying list of United States coins and fractional currency (20th edition) published in The Numismatist was offered at 15 cents.


Deitrick's 1910 letterhead with the Dutch spelling Neumismatist. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For sale.




Dietrich advertisement selling Confederate items, World's Fair souvenirs, post cards, Grant Mourning Badge, Confederate sheet music, &c., in The Curio Collector, April (1911).

Deitrick correspondence dated November 27, 1912, with stamp collecting attorney Richard V. Carpenter, Belvidere, Illinois. The letter explains the transaction of selling 29 year old sheets of stamps. He is sending 2 blocks of 15 stamps each : one of Scott #210 red brown 2c Washington; and one of Scott #211 blue green 4c Jackson. He emphasizes the second sheet has a current catalogue value of $6. Today it is worth more than $6,000. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For sale.

His May 1914 advertisement in Popular Mechanics offered a Cancelled Confederate 10 cent stamp on a cover for 25 cents.

Deitrick's incredible give away stamp advertisement in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, March 2 (1918) : 73. Deitrick was selling a group lot of 100 covers for $5.00 or a nickel apiece. Today a group lot of 100 mixed 1851-1856 3c postmarked covers would be valued at a minimum of $2,000 and could be worth ten times that amount or more depending on the rarity of the stamps, postmarks, advertising covers if any, seals, condition, special markings, and personalities of senders and recipients if historically significant.


Unique $500 Virginia Treasury Note essay proof on pinkish buff India card stock engraved and printed by Hoyer & Ludwig, Richmond, Virginia. The vignette appeared on the 1862 issue of $50. The medallion portrait of Washington appeared on two other Virginia State Treasury Notes. Photo courtesy Heritage Auctions.

           On May 10, 1918, he discovered a rare $500 Virginia Treasury note dated October 15, 1864, writing his discovery in pencil on the blank verso of the uniface note. Abraham Atlas Leve, Syracuse, New York, (q. v.), published it for sale for $50 on consignment in The Numismatist, September (1918), page 399. Apparently, Deitrick made a deal with Leve to sell it since he was an established paper money authority in the ANA, and then split the money. Afterwards Deitrick listed it in his Fixed Price Lists for sale. The 1923 Fixed Price List offered it for $25.00. The note was purchased by Colonel Green and afterwards Eric Newman. The note was never official or authorized. Spain was the first known expert to point out that the note's serial number 1002 and signatures are bogus. Also, all red and black Virginia notes are dated August 13, 1861, not October 15. The bank note was sold by Heritage on April 22, 2015, lot 19378.


The 1920 U. S. Census reports him living with his mother and brother Frank on the family farm in Tuckahoe, Henrico County, Virginia.


Deitrick's correspondence with Henry Chapman, Jr., postmarked May 1, 1922, 4-bar cancel. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.


In the 1930 U. S. Census he is listed as the owner of Westhampton Paint and Hardware Company, Richmond, Virginia. His residence was at 322 Libby Avenue, Westhampton, Virginia.


He died on Saturday morning at 5:50 A.M., May 28, 1938, from chronic myocarditis.  According to his obituary published in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Sunday, May 29, 1938, page 4, he died "yesterday", i.e., on May 28, 1938, in his home at Westhampton. However, his tombstone is dated the day he was buried. 

He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

Work :


List No. 12, Price List of Confederate Money, Stamps and Old U. S. Coins, For Sale By R. L. Deitrick, Lorraine, Virginia(1896)

Deitrick’s Paper Money Catalogue. 17thedition. (Lorraine, Virginia : R. L. Dietrick, 1908)



Bibliography :

The Numismatist, January (1899) : 27, advertisement
"Birds of a Feather," Virginia Philatelist, May (1899) : 189
The Numismatist, July (1899) : 179, advertisement

Philatelic West 1899 half page ad page 38 

Philatelic West, January 1900, page 5

Philatelic Chronicle, April (1900) : 93, small line ad Cuban machete trade for broken bank notes.

Gnecchi, Ercole and Francesco, eds., Guida Numismatica 4thedition. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1903. Edition) : 545, No. 5612

Philatelic West, December (1904) : 92 display ad

The Numismatist, Vol. XXII, No. 5, May (1909) : 158; Vol. XXII, No. 7, July (1909) :214; No. 10, September-October (1909) : 287

Hobbies Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1918) : back cover ad

The Philatelic West, September (1924)  ¼ page ad back of book

Hobbies, September (1935) : 81

Howard E. Spain, "Debut of Rare Virginia Treasury Note," The Virginia Numismatist, April (1967): 5-6

Remy Bourne, Fixed Price Lists & Prices Paid Lists of United States Dealers 1850-1900 Volume 1 Addendum, see Deitrick entry







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