GILHOUSEN, CHARLES ELLSWORTH

Copyright 2000-2019 John N. Lupia, III


Charles Ellsworth Gilhousen circa 1889.

C. E. Gilhousen photo published in The Numismatist, September (1973) : 1653

C. E. Gilhousen is famous for his outstanding gold coin collection. He was a photographer, real estate agent, miner, and auto dealer who amassed one of the most prestigious collections in American numismatic history.

Charles "Clarke" Ellsworth Gilhousen (1869-1952), was born on December 13, 1869, Kahoka, Clark, Missouri, son of William Henry Gilhousen (1841-1932), and Sarah Ellen Clarke Gilhousen (1843-1938).

He was educated at The Dalles, Oregon.

Gilhousen worked as a professional photographer until 1899.

On June 1, 1892, he married Laura "Lulu" Pollock (1873-1918), at Kahoka, Clark, Missouri. They had a son Howard "Holly" Clarke Gilhousen (1895-1969). 

Trick photo by C. E. Gilhousen of himself posed both grinding the the axe and cranking the grindstone circa 1898 at Kahoka, Clark, Missouri.

In 1900, he lived in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois.

In 1901, the Los Angeles City Directory lists him living at 1031 East 27th Street. He was in the real-estate firm of Jordan & Gilhousen 2603 Central Avenue, having formed a partnership with Paul Jordan.

Gilhousen began to expand the real estate business to include mining.

In 1905 Gilhousen bought out Jordan and renamed the company C. E. Gilhousen & Co.

The 1905 -1910 Los Angeles City Directory on page 2241 lists him at 2603 South Central Avenue under Notaries Public.

In 1910, he entered the automobile business trading as Gilhousen Bros. Co.

November 1917 Washoe Lake, Nevada.

In 1918 he married Jeanette S. Duckett Amsbary (1868-1962), at Los Angeles, California.


He was a member of the California Coin Club, and became president.

The 1930 U. S. Census lists him as a gold miner dredging for gold.

We learn from the Lupin Numismatic Library, that the coin collecting king obtained gold coins from Henry Chapman, Jr., without paying for them.

Gilhousen to  Henry Chapman, Jr. with a lengthy letter from Henry Chapman, Jr., complaining not being paid for gold coins sent to Gilhousen and urged him to pay up especially since he is in need having been ill a few months, postmarked July 11, 1932. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

He died on January 26, 1952 at Ventura, California.

In 1973  Superior Stamp and Coin published in a few sentences a fictitious biography of Gilhousen in The Numismatist which claimed he was a famous collector of the last century and early nineteen hundreds and pioneer auto dealer [sic 1890's]. In the December 1972 issue of The Numismatist  the article in the Tribune  Sunday MagazineLos Angeles July 9, 1911 with the auto dealer story was published. If you do the math he's have to be over 100 as a new car dealer! Besides this two-penny bio hype they pitch a romantic childhood story of a first coin acquisition into a collection of imperial proportions built by the magnate of coin collecting. "Mr. Gilhousen acquired his first coin (a coin of Frederick the Great) in exchange for some marbles when he was but 12 years old. Thus, from post-Civil War days to the early nineteen hundreds, he devotedly added to his holdings until he had over 2500 gold coins and nearly every United States silver coin" Enough to make you weep.

From February 19-21, 1973, Superior Stamp and Coin auctioned Part 1 of the Gilhousen Collection realizing $875,000.

From June 11-14, 1973,  Superior Stamp and Coin auctioned Part 2 of the Gilhousen Collection realizing $840,000.

From October 1-4, 1973, Superior Stamp and Coin auctioned Part 2 of the Gilhousen Collection realizing 


Bibliography :

Who's Who in the Pacific Southwest (Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Print. & Binding House, 1913) : 157
The Numismatist, September (1973) : 1652-1654


Comments