MICHIGAN COIN COMPANY

Copyright 2000-2019 John N. Lupia, III



Michigan Coin Company, 176 Cass Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1888-1889), was a coin, stamp, and curio dealership initially formed by the partnership of two teens :  George Barnett Ward (1873-1935), manager, and Louis B. Bentley, a native of Missouri, secretary and treasurer. Later on Wilbur M. Miller (1871-1958) became associated with them in business. Ward was the principal character of Michigan Coin Company, who continued his numismatic career lifelong.  Louis B. Bentley, worked as a secretary for the Peninsular Electric Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. From 1889 to 1890, he lived at 353 South Lafayette Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nothing more is heard of him in numismatic circles.

Michigan Coin Co., to noted oologist, R. W. Wood, Bristol, Connecticut. This cover and coin company are coetaneous with fellow Michigander Dr. Heath's American Numismatist and were most probably inspired by them. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.


Michigan Coin Company advertisement in The Exchangers' Monthly, April, 1889.

Catalogue of the Michigan Coin Co., in 1888.

George Barnett Ward (1873-1935), was born on April 30, 1873, in Spring Lake, Ottawa County, Michigan, youngest of three sons of Alfred Ward (1829-1893), a Gardner from Vermont, and Mary Elizabeth Burnapp Ward (1838-1897). 
In the fall or winter of 1888 he traded as Michigan Coin Company from his parents home. Dr. George Heath, M.D., began his American Numismatist magazine in August 1888, just 140 miles southeast of Grand Rapids, which served as a catalyst inspiring young Ward to form his fledgling company. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that Ward was a charter member of the ANA. Also, one wonders if Heath refers to George Ward or his father Alfred who was from Vermont when he mentions "Brother Ward, of Vermont, lately bought a box of over 200 copper coins for $4.50. Inside of twenty-four hours he was offered $25 for his bargain, and later was offered $5 each for some of them singly." George Heath, "With the Editor," The Numismatist, Vol. IX, No. 1, January (1896) : 28
He lived with his parents at 176 Cass Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 
He was an officer of the Templars, South Enterprise Lodge, No. 20, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 
On February 23, 1892, he married Bertie E. Lamoraux of New York.  They had a daughter Gladys (1892-1963), and a son Franklin William Ward (1896-). They were divorced April 3, 1900. 
In 1892, he was a charter member of the ANA being ANA Member No. 33.

Ward's advertisement in a stamp collectors magazine selling collectible photographic items. The Evergreen State Philatelist, Vol. 8, No. 1, July (1897) : 8

By 1897, he worked as a photographer and sold photograph equipment and supplies living and working in Chicago. 

Ward's advertisement selling souvenir photographs of the Jubilee Parade and President's Carriage from his office on 208 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, November 9, 1898, page 11

On April 28, 1900, 3-1/2 weeks after his divorce he remarried to Lillian May Witwer (1866-1951). 

Ward's advertisement selling or renting optical department.  Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, June 26, 1907, page 13.

He reapplied for membership to the ANA in September 1907.

He moved to 1725 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, Illinois and again reapplied for ANA membership in August 1913, becoming ANA Member No. 1720 in September. 

He remarried to Evelyn M. Hart (1876-). They had a son William Richard Ward (1918-1997). 

Ward was elected an associate member of the ANS in April 1914. 

He was a member of the Evanston Country Club. 

Ward's advertisement hiring a photographer at $12 per week to start. Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, January 20, 1920, page 28.

In 1920, he lived in Palos, Illinois.

The 1930 U. S . Census lists him as the owner of a restaurant in Palos Park, Cook County, Illinois. 

He died on April 10, 1935, Palos Park, Cook County, Illinois.



Bibliography :


The Exchangers' Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 6, April (1889) : ii
Chicago Tribune, March 5, 1903, page 9, notice of marriage license.
The Numismatist, (1907)
The Numismatist, September (1913) : 467
American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. XLVIII (1914)
The Numismatist, May (1914) : 275
Remy Bourne, Fixed Price Lists & Premium Paid for Lists of United States Coin Dealers 1822-1900, Vol. 1, Bourne dates it to 1895.



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