EXCELL, ISAAC

Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Isaac Excell collected, sold, bought and traded U. S. colonial coins, and U. S. regular issue coins. He was a numismatist and collector of medical medals and tokens.


Isaac Excell (1846-1925), was born the eldest of eight children, in August 1846, at New York City, son of English immigrants, Robert Excell (1824-1899), a carpenter by trade, and Emily Kirkby (1827-1872).
Fig. 1. Photograph of Robert Excell circa 1885-1890, father of Isaac Excell.
Fig. 2. Photograph of Emily Kirkby Excell circa 1865, mother of Isaac Excell.

His family to moved to Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, about 1857.

In 1863, his father became the owner of a saloon, and Isaac worked for him there as a barkeeper.

In 1872, at Shopiere, Wisconsin, he married Geneva A. Palmiter (1846-1913), a native of New York.

He was a commission produce merchant who operated variously with different partners. Butts & Excell operated on South Water Street from 1875-1876. In 1876 he was reported to have sold bad eggs to Isaac Turrowsky. Excell claimed they switched the eggs insisting he sold them fresh eggs. A fist fight broke out and Excell was arrested and fined. In 1877, his new partner was James L. Ford. He and Ford were brought up on charges to defraud a Mr. Todd. The judgment was set against Excell and Ford to pay $50.94.

In the 1880 U. S. Census he is listed working as a bookkeeper married to Geneva and their four children ; Fred Oliver (1873-1956), Jennie, Irene Claudia (1877-1949), and Robert.

Isaac Excell is ANA Member No. 95.
Fig. 3. Isaac Excell correspondence with the Chapman Brothers purchasing at the last possible moment, or too late, a plain copy of the Richard Boswell Winsor sale December 16-17, 1895. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, 
Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

Beginning in 1895 he became a client of the Chapman Brothers buying coins. There are several pieces of correspondence with the Chapman Brothers in the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive. However, since the loss of the Lupia Numismatic Library database on the archive there is no way of knowing how many pieces of mail exist without manually hunting for them. Consequently we provide a few scans to illustrate the sort of dealings he had with the Chapman Brothers.

Fig. 4. Isaac Excell correspondence with the Chapman Brothers purchasing a printed priced catalogue of the Hayes, Disbrow, Wood sale February 17-18, 1896, and envelopes, franked with a booklet pane stamp, left edge, Scott #252-A88, postmarked February 16, 1896, Chicago, Station M. Note the incorrect initials of S. H. & H. Chapman given as C. H. & H. Chapman. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

He is listed as ANA dues paid in 1897.

Fig. 5. Isaac Excell correspondence with the Chapman Brothers, purchasing a printed priced catalogue of the M. A. Brown April 16-17, 1897, franked with a booklet pane stamp, bottom edge, Scott #252-A88,  postmarked April 16, 1897. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

In March 1899, he inherited a large sum of money from his father's estate valued at $91,000.

In the 1900 U. S. Census he is listed working as a cashier for the Chicago Central Railway.

In April 1902 he advertised to trade a nearly complete set of US silver coins all mint marks  and denominations , a fine lot of cents and half cents and over 50 varieties of Hard Times tokens and Hawaiian cents for 1801 and 1802 half dollar; 1824 Quarter-dollar; Dimes of 1797, 1798, 1801-1804, Hard Times Tokens, etc.

On July 18, 1903, he consigned coins to be sold at auction by Ben G. Green's Sale No. 6.


In August 1905, he privately sold John H. Clapp the Eliasberg 1872-CC Arrows, VG8, Liberty Seated Dime, May 4-5, 1999, Stack's Sale of Herman Halpern, lot 2128, and per Leonard Augsburger also found in the Stack's August 9, 2012, Battle Born Collection, an MS66 1872-CC quarter, which if the case it would seem that he most probably purchased it from the Chapman Brothers since Mehl did not deal in that sort of stock so early in his career. 

About 1905 Excell begins as an early client of B. Max Mehl.

On November 11, 1905, he consigned coins to be sold at auction by Ben G. Green's Sale No. 19.

Figs. 6 & 7. Isaac Excell correspondence with the Chapman Brothers, both are for payments for purchases. For the shift hunter, the Scott#319-Type I, the stamp sheet was misfed misaligning the perforator. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.


In the 1910 U. S. Census he is listed as the owner of a merchant business.

A member of the Chicago Coin Club founded in 1919.

In 1920 he was a widower, retiree, living with his daughter Irene Claudia Wallace and son-in-law, John Foster Wallace, a real estate broker at 5112 Dorchester Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

He died on May 3, 1925, and is buried with his wife at Milton Junction, Rock County, Wisconsin.

Excell's son-in-law John Foster Wallace was executor of his estate and finding some Mehl invoices wrote to Mehl, visited him and then shipped his late father-in-laws coin collection intact to him by American Express.

His coin collection was sold posthumously by B. Max Mehl Sale No. 75, April 12, 1927.


Bibliography :

The Numismatist, Vol. X, No. 1, January (1897) : 20;Vol. XIV, No. 1, January (1901) : 27;  Vol. XV, No. 1, January (1902): 23; No. 2, February (1901) : 52; No. 3, March (1902) : 89-90; No. 4, April (1902) : 122; Vol. XVIII, No. 1, January (1905) : 32; No. 2, February (1905) : 62; No. 3 March (1905) : 94
Inter Ocean, Thursday,  July 13, 1876, page 8
Inter Ocean, Tuesday, July 17, 1877, page 3
Inter Ocean, Thursday, March 30, 1899, page 5
Gnecchi, Ercole and Francesco, eds., Guida Numismatica 4th edition. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1903. Edition) : 532, No. 5392.
Sabbath Recorder Vol. 75 (1913) : 319, obit of Geneva
Mehl’s Coin Circular, No. 11, March (1927) : 38
Martin Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions (2009)

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