GROUX, EDOUARD DANIEL JACQUES

Copyright 2011-2019 John N. Lupia, III

Edouard Daniel Jacques Groux (1807-1871) AKA Daniel E. Groux, "the fond old dreamer," was born in France. In 1814, his father was an officer in the household of the Emperor at Hamburg, Germany. In 1819, Groux had studied and mastered Latin and Greek. Due to a reversal in his father's career he joined him as a cook and pastry chef for the Russian Ambassador, Count Suchtelen, at the Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. The Count bequeathed Groux his coin collection.

His first marriage was on August 28, 1825, to Pauline Josephine Adele Deschamps, at Westminster, England. They had a daughter Desiree C. Groux, and a son Daniel Edward Groux.

In 1831, so it seems Groux went out into the world seeking his fortune with the plan or scheme of selling Ancient Greek and Roman coins to either the American government or Institution. According to W. E. Woodward, when Groux arrived in New York he immediately befriended coin and medal counterfeiter Thomas Wyatt.

Coin Cabinet Sale - Attributed to Daniel E. Groux by Lupia, American Numismatic Auctions, 88. Daily National Intelligencer, Thursday, December 22, 1831.

In 1839, Groux acquired a second coin collection of 2,800 pieces collected over a period of 40 years by Dr. Lemner, Librarian of the Ambrosian Museum, Innsbruck. Groux bought the collection from Lemner's son who inherited it.

1840, W. E. Woodward testified in his coin auction catalogue dated February 1-2, 1887, lot 864, that Groux was known to American numismatist "as early as 1840". Earlier Woodward revealed to his clients and friends in a previous saleOctober 25-27, 1886, lot 1310, that during the 1840's Groux schemed or at least attempted to flimflam several notable American numismatists naming only five : Abbott Lawrence, Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, Winslow Lewis, and Charles Francis Adams.

In 1841, at Marseilles, Groux had amassed a collection of over 8,000 coins and medals. The American Consul ill advised him to sell the collection to the American government.

In 1844, Groux arrived in America settling at Boston, Massachusetts. French pastry chef, numismatist, adventurer, and pretensive opportunist who moved to Boston, and later on to Washington, D.C. Fluent in four languages he translated several works into English and offered his services as a language instructor. 

In a letter written to President Lincoln in 1863 he says he became a naturalized citizen 19 years earlier, i.e., 1844. However, a Washington, D. C. record of naturalization for Daniel Jacob Groux, was issued June 6, 1853.

The 1845 and 1846 correspondence of D.E. Groux, a noted collector of the time, offered his "valuable cabinet of coins and medals", numbering 8,272 pieces, for sale "at a low price" to the Institute. Unfortunately, the Institute, as well as its successor, the Smithsonian Institute, did not have the necessary funds to take advantage of this favorable offer.



Charles Francis Adams photograph.

In August 1846, Groux pawned his coin collection in New York. He asked Charles Francis Adams of Boston for a loan to redeem his collection. Adams made seven loans from September 1846 to June 1847 totaling $233. Adams kept hundreds of coins as collateral on the loan. He discovered over time many of these coins were scarce and rare and unavailable in America.

Allen C. Cooper, a Boston attorney loaned Groux $155 using a wooden box filled with 1,620 silver coins, and an additional 2,626 in copper and brass.

Groux opens his Boston Museum. Christian Alliance and Family Visitor, Friday, April 30, 1847, page 3

Beginning in 1848 he held a number of coin auctions that realized very little money.


On February 23, 1848, John Quincy Adams died, father of Charles Francis Adams.


In 1851, he entered his second marriage to Mary Ann Johnson (1833-) at Massachusetts. This was later charged as bigamy.


He is listed in the 1849 Boston City Directory as a teacher of German and French residing at 2-1/2 Green Street.

According to his son's court testimony in 1860, his father told his mother they were moving to New Orleans on business and sent her there while he took his son to Washington, D. C. Afterwards they went back to Boston where he met his second wife and they married at Philadelphia. The son was a bit mixed up since the records show he was married at Boston and then went to Philadelphia.

In 1850, he moved to Washington, D.C. 

In 1851, Groux persuaded Rep. John L. Conger of Michigan to introduce a bill into the House a petition by Daniel E. Groux asking Congress to buy his coin collection of 6,537 pieces for the Library of Congress. 

In 1851, Groux catalogued the coin collection of General Nathan Towson : The Towson Cabinet of Medals and Coinswhich the following year was donated to the Maryland Historical Society.


Daniel E. Groux's business card or trading label.

Author of Numismatic History of the United States (unpublished planned as 3 volumes, and believed to be incomplete), whose collection sold by lottery on February 15, 1856 sale by Bangs. 


Groux medal of Unveiling of the Statue of Benjamin Franklin, Boston, 1856. Courtesy ANS.


He issued a 16-page catalog of coins for sale on December 1, 1855, not cited by Attinelli as a real coin auction catalogue, but as a catalogue of coins. This sale was by lottery dividing the coins into sections or groupings where each lottery ticket holder had a chance to win one section. 


In 1856, Groux sued Charles Francis Adams for fraud by failing to return the coin collection when payment in full was made on the loan. Groux asserted the collection was worth $10,000. The trial of Groux v. Adams reads like a romantic fiction enthralling numismatic readers with amazing entertainment. The defense attorney brought in Boston coin dealer Henry Davenport as an expert witness testifying on the value of the collection. Davenport showed in specific examples of coins how over evaluated Groux assessed his own collection. Davenport stated, for example, he possessed a Cromwell crown superior in every way paying 2 pounds 5 shillings when in London recently. The inferior specimen owned by Groux was valued at $400, the same coin previously valued by Groux in 1851 for $50. Groux lost and was found guilty of perjury. 


Adams sold the collection to Winslow Lewis (1799-1875).



Groux's Prospectus with several pages representing his conceived plan for a splendid work that never seems to have been completed though Groux says he worked on it for twelve years. Courtesy University of Minnesota Library.


Groux hoped to become employed by the Director of the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry. Unfortunately, Henry was informed about the Boston lawsuit with Adams and did not hire him.


While at Baltimore, Maryland in December 1860, he was arrested on bigamy charges and brought to court in Philadelphia.


Groux bigamy case. Philadelphia Enquirer, Saturday, January 19, 1861, page 3.


In October 1860, his son Daniel E. Groux, Jr., filed bigamy charges in Boston Court against his father.


On March 17, 1863, Groux wrote to President Abraham Lincoln seeking endorsement for employment arguing his entitlement to compensation for lost income due to the Civil War.


On December 30, 1868, Charles Francis Adams, wrote in his diary on returning to his coin collection after many years he was amazed at how many rare and valuable coins he amassed and could not recall where he got them.


Groux died on May 25, 1871, heavily in debt. He appointed James E. Dexter of Washington, D. C. his Executor.  His estate only brought $1,452.00 in an auction in 1874.



Work:


The Towson Cabinet of Medals and Coins (1851) also known as the Descriptive Catalogue of Coins, Greek and Roman Medals Belonging to the Historical Society of Maryland by Daniel E. Groux (1851)

“On Numismatical Knowledge in the United States,” United States Postal Guide and Official Advertiser, Vol. II, No. 10, April (1852) : 311-312

“On Numismatics in the United States,” United States Postal Guide and Official Advertiser, June (1852) : 367-369 

 




Coin Auctions :

December 23, 1831, Douglas, Washington, D.C. possibly Groux in an earlier undocumented period.
May 24, 1848, Leonard, Boston
April 22, 1851, Leonard, Boston - realized $19.66
Slow Sale#10, Lot 679- Dan E. Groux Sale, Boston 1855. [Ex: Ken Lowe] $451. Check if this date 1855 is a typo?
February 15, 1856, Bangs, New York
July 29, 1861, Freeman, Philadelphia
April 7, 1874, Strobridge, Leavitt, New York


Epilogue

The facts presented in this biography were all based on the testimony of Groux. As Adams and the Boston Court had him pegged as a swindler it opens the possibility that not everything he said was necessarily true. Consequently, it opens the possibility that the 1831 public sale, which seems to have been either an auction or a lottery belonged to Groux. This conclusion that the sale was an auction or lottery is reached logically since ads like this as a retail sale were non existent and reading this as such would make it unique in this period newspaper advertising. As for the attribution to Groux the entire advertisement seems to repeat itself throughout Groux's numismatic career in America. Evidence mounts that he was a profligate and probably traveled extensively casting a wide net of attempts at making a killing from coin sales to fund his plans to live a posh lifestyle.


Bibliography :

Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli, Numisgraphics (1876)
R. W. McLachlan, "An Odd Way of Disposing of A Coin Collection," The Numismatist, September (1915) : 212-215
Marc Friedlaender, "Charles Francis Adams, Numismatist, Brought to the Bar : Groux v. Adams," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series, Vol. 86 (1974) : 3-27
Adams, John W., “Professor Daniel E. Groux,” CNL, June (1974) : 441

Clain-Stefanelli, Elvira, “Donors and Donations: The Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection,” Chicago Coin Club (1986)

Gengerke, Martin, American Numismatic Auctions, 8thedition (1990) : 9; 

Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies, (Rock River, 1992)

Joel Orosz, Printer's Devil, Asylum, Fall (1994) : 10-15, especially 13

Joel Orosz, Descriptive Catalogue of Coins, Greek and Roman Medals Belonging to the Historical Society of Maryland by Daniel E. Groux 

Q. David Bowers, American Numismatics before the Civil War 1760-1780 (Wolfeboro, 1998) : 44, 49-53, 111, 256, 298, 318

Adams, John W., United States Numismatic Literature Vol. 1, 32, 34, 37, 39

Elvira Clain-Stefanelli private correspondence (2000)

Summer (2004) : 281 

Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, 

John N. Lupia, III, American Numismatic Auctions to 1875, Vol. 1, 10, 88, 114

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