NEW YORK NUMISMATIC SOCIETY

                Copyright 2022 John N. Lupia, III
               


This essay is dedicated to John W. and Regina Adams, Dave Bowers, Joel Orosz, and David Hill, and fond memory of the late Eric P. Newman.


       What follows is part of an over all work on the history of collecting in America. It is interesting to note that there are two distinct personalities regarding collecting. First, is the collector of one degree or another, from the light collector to the hoarder. Second, the opposite personality that can't wait to dispose of things. The curious thing is they frequently marry.

        


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"What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


        American numismatic history may have had five organizations by the 1850's named American or New York. I say "may have had" since two organizational names that might be more aptly ascribed to the 1860's are without any documentation that can narrow down a specific date of their origin. This is the current open question. 


Below in bold blue are the titles of the five organizations as they appear in antique printed texts. The third one cited is the monkey wrench in the works. The fourth one is odd since in the American Journal of Numismatics (AJN) it is referred to as the organization that publishes the Journal at a loss. Later on the AJN office moved to Boston and their numismatic society is cited as the publisher. It is possible the last two below are organizations belonging to the last half of the 1860's. So far the bulk of the evidence would suggest the that but no certain documentation has surfaced as yet that can definitively reveal the dates of their initiation. Yet one never knows for certain about such things until New York State Archive records of their incorporation can be found to settle any questions once and for all. I have contacted the New York State Archives requesting various records and await further communication from them. The fifth is not affiliated with New York but with Philadelphia, and does not contribute to the scope of this essay on New York.


- New York Numismatic Society, 1852?/1853-1855?


Above : The oldest known publication recording the New York Numismatic Society in Fred Lincoln's 1853 American edition of his Fixed Price List (FPL) on Greek, Roman and English coins. This copy Ex-Fisk P. Brewer, the numismatist at Yale University who donated this to the library. Now deaccessioned.   For sale $1,250 + $45 S&H + Insurance. write john@numismaticmall.com. 


        Frederick Lincoln (1830-1909) is the eldest son of William Simpson Lincoln, Sr. (1803- 1872), and brother of  William Simpson Lincoln, Jr. (1844-1922), and Edgar Lincoln (1851-1916) all of them renown English numismatists, stamp and coin dealers with correspondents in America. The Lincolns came from Lambeth, Surrey, England where William Sr., began as a bookseller in the 1840's and eventually dealt in foreign postage stamps beginning in 1853. Fred and Edgar specialized in Roman coins. 




Above: An enlargement of the title page of Lincoln's 1853 FPL. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections. 


    The fact that Fred Lincoln was a corresponding member of the New York Numismatic Society tells us that among the literature in England at least by 1853 one learned of it and wrote to an address, was elected a corresponding member, and received correspondence and perhaps its literature all prior to Lincoln's publication of his 1853 FPL. We do not know the month this was published which could clue us in if the New York Numismatic Society was formed sometime in 1852 or earlier. Coin dealers are known to typically publish a FPL at the beginning of the year. If this is the case here then we must concede that the New York Numismatic Society must necessarily date to at least the last half of 1852. I have searched but not found a notice in the 1853 Numismatic Chronicle, or perhaps I was negligent and missed it. Yet somewhere in the literature or newspapers read by members of the English numismatic community some notice or notices existed either in 1852 or 1853. 



    Fred Lincoln mentions on the cover of his FPL of ancient coins that he is a corresponding member of the New York Numismatic Society. We're glad he published this fact since his mention of it in his 1853 publication assists us in dating this organization which seems to have become obscured and lost in the shadows of the monolithic and monumental American Numismatic and Archaeological Society founded several years later by some of its membership. It is very possible that something of that Society will surface soon and be discussed by its owner or discoverer. It is even possible that something of that Society is within my own collection that has become forgotten, neglected, or simply buried in any of over 600 binders and several large bins of material plus a very large and extensive library. So dear reader take heed and look about your own collections to see if anything there might contribute to this early American numismatic history and the founding of the first New York Numismatic Society. I've always suspected that throughout earlier American history there were such strong ties among some collectors in different places that formed circles, perhaps called a brotherhood, committee, association, society, or some other sort of group name other than society which were a bit more informal and on a more social basis. After all their friendships were within learned societies. They were already members of societies though as yet had not attained self consciousness of themselves as a united entity distinct as a specialized numismatic group from within their own societies. It was from these earlier formed associations among collectors that the formal Society emerged.



        The citation of the New York Numismatic Society in Livingstone's Law Register (1854) : 458 reads: "[Founded] for the collection and preservation of Coins". Nearly every entry in the book gives the year the organization was founded. The New York Numismatic Society is one of the few exceptions to this rule and is without any date of the organization. From the description of the purpose of the Society it seems like they were establishing  a state or city numismatic society as a repository for a vast collection. It apparently existed for at least about three years or perhaps more. But to keep a physical collection one needs real estate. They must have had a property given or purchased for this purpose and should be listed in a city directory, but no such entry has been found. Perhaps it did not have its own building but was housed in the Astor Library, for example, which opened its doors to the public in 1854. The building was nearly completed in February 1851 and had  at that time 28,364 volumes. Were the founders of the first New York Numismatic Societies trustees and board members of the Astor Library? Is there any evidence in the Astor Library Annual Reports? Or, were the founders of the Society an offshoot of the New York Historical Society? So far none of this is known or the collections whereabouts. Whatever collection existed cannot be traced so far through a sale of any kind and one wonders if it was absorbed by the ANS on its founding in 1858? Or, was it the coin collection of the New York State Library catalogued by Richard Wistar Davids, known primarily for having edited the Catalogue of the Coins and Medals, Ancient and Modern, New York State Library, published in 1853? It makes sense putting the thin piece of evidence in  Livingstone's Law Register that the New York Numismatic Society was a Society of New York State collecting coins for the State Library.





Above : The Times and Messenger, June 25, 1855, newspaper clipping citing members of the New York Numismatic Society that were present at the coin auction sale held at Bangs, Brother & Co. Formerly of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections., now in the Joel Orosz collection.


        Perhaps the reason why the historical origins of the New York Numismatic Society are so obscured is because it was an institution in a divided society in Antebellum America. Not only was America pregnant with the spirit of forming numismatic societies it was pregnant and rife with civil war, an ideological division between Pro-Slavery numismatists and the Abolitionist numismatists. The Catholic Jesuit Francisco Suárez, S.J. (1548-1617), the founder of "International Law" advocated the natural rights of the human individual to life, liberty, and property, rejecteing the Aristotelian notion of slavery as the natural condition of certain men. This Pro-Slavery opposition was already evident in the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia that broke out late spring and through the summer of 1844. The "Underground Railroad" was turning over the money changers tables. Smoke was rising from a fissure within American soil. The Abolitionists were pushing for a "paradigm shift" from an economic base built on slavery to one where all workers were free citizens, paid fair wages, equal rights for all and for justice to reign in the minds and hearts of its citizens, essentially, the sentiments of authentic freedom of mankind's inalienable rights endowed by our CreatorDavid Fanning in his cogent essay: "Collectors Who Served in the Civil War," The Numismatist, Vol. 117, No. 11 (November 2004), pp. 44-48, touches on the pulse of these times: "Coin collecting in the United States was seriously threatened almost as soon as it began to grow in popularity. While great strides were made in the hobby in the 1850s, political tension between the states was building. Disputes regarding federal power and states’ rights became increasingly hostile, and the already-bitter social and economic conflicts over the issue of slavery intensified." 



John Alburtis's February 14, 1832 letter composed on Henry Hudson Paper Mill stationery to his brother William at Martinsburg, Virginia. The soiling on the letter is most probably from the Virginia Republican printing press room in Martinsburg. Correspondence of this historic nature are not only appropriate but befitting a national museum collection and should be preserved as national heirlooms. Letter is professionally conserved with acid free archival document repair tape. For sale $1,250 + $45 S&H + Insurance. write john@numismaticmall.com. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections. 


Detail enlargements of the above letter : Henry Hudson's Paper Mill at East Hartford Connecticut - Ship watermark with monogram U S to Americanize his paper distinguishing it from English imports. This unique watermark is one of the earliest American brand marks in paper. Moreover, this paper was manufactured on one of the very first Fourdrinier machines in America installed in Hartford in 1829.  Louis Robert Fourdrinier invented his machine in France in 1799. Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier improved the design in England. The machines brought to America from England had wires that left a distinctively English watermark causing Henry Hudson to change them into American rather than British emblems. This is perhaps the first type of its kind.  Courtesy Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections. 


        The division between the states is clear from the 18th century on. In a letter in the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections from John Alburtis (1800-1870). Alburtis just sold the Martinsburg Gazette to Washington Evans in order for his brother William to start a new newspaper in partnership with William W. Holliday titled the Virginia Republican, which was first issued in May 10, 1832. In the letter John Alburtis writes to his brother then Lieutenant William Alburtis (1806-1847) in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia, dated February 14th 1832 written at Washington, D.C. He mentions William Holliday was on a buying trip purchasing type for the Virginia Republican, and that he urges his brother to be diligent getting subscribers to the planned newspaper. Alburtis and Holliday were allied to Henry Clay and published the abolitionist viewpoint.


Washington February 14th 1832



Dear Bill


Received yours this morning date’d 

8th being absent yesterday from the office 

with an old acquaintance of ours who I 

had not seen for eight years. It is not ma-

terial about his name as he is desirous 

that it should be kept secret.

W. Holliday left here last week for

Baltimore for to purchase type  for 

your paper, and will be in Mar-

tinsburg in a few days at farthest. 

He is anxious that you should 

be diligent in seeking patrons 

to the paper.

The 22nd of the present month being 

the centennial anniversary of Washington 

it was almost unanimously resolved 

by both houses of Congress that he should 


(Verso)


be removed from Mount Vernon to 

this place and placed in the Cap-

ital. There will be a grand reception 

on that day. I will attend to your business 

with the Black major. With love to 

mother and the family I remain with 

Brotherly affection, 

yours &c., Jon Alburtis


W. Alburtis 


P.S. I received a letter from mother a 

few days ago but as it was concerning 

this establishment I did not answer

 it as shortly you would be at home.


yours &c.

Jn Alburtis


The division of pro-slavery and abolitionists became evident even over the tomb of George Washington since the pro-slavery parties hailed him as a slave owner and model citizen and Washington's heir refused to move the body to Washington, D.C.


The Berkeley County Historical Society published the following :


       "During the Civil War, Martinsburg and Berkeley County, still a part of Virginia, experienced conflict and much destruction. Many families had divided allegiances. In June 1861 Stonewall Jackson destroyed the railroad cars at the Martinsburg B&O Railroad complex and commandeered the engines, dragging them through Winchester to Strasburg. The Roundhouse and machine shops were completely stripped. The first major conflict in the area occurred on July 2, 1861, when the North's General Robert Patterson crossed the Potomac River at Williamsport and defeated the South's General Joseph E. Johnston and General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. On October 18 and 19, 1862 the Martinsburg B&O Railroad complex and Roundhouses were burned. After November 1863, Berkeley County became a part of the new state of West Virginia that supported the North."


        This thirty year snapshot of Martinsburg from 1832 to 1862, now West Virginia reveals to us the divisions that resulted in massive destruction, loss of life, and reorganization of state maps and boundaries due to the ideological conflict over human rights.


        Fred Lincoln was a corresponding member which might tell us something more. England in 1787 established The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded  by Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson. England outlawed and abolished slavery many decades before it became the law of the land in America. In America we find on 6 April 1786 an Abolitionists manifesto published in the Poughkeepsie JournalPoughkeepsie, New York. This conflict between Pro-Slavery and the Abolitionists ran through the veins of the soldiers of the Revolutionary War. The bad blood between brothers had to eventually end and be resolved. Did Fred Lincoln's membership in the New York Numismatic Society reflect its Abolitionists view? It was a very ancient sentiment and ideology of the Abolitionists that finally was published in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 "“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”


    The Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on 6 March 1857, that any slave having lived in a free state and territory did not entitle an enslaved person, [Dred Scott] to his freedom. The Underground Railroad was hoping for a different ruling and this decision sparked the flames of Civil War just as the Numismatic Society of Philadelphia was being formed. 

    



- American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, 1858 to present


The ANS was apparently the second, or perhaps, third or fourth numismatic society in America by 1858. Though this might be a sobering or somber fact to some it in no way diminishes the preeminence and prestige of the inestimable ANS which is the longest active numismatic society in America. Besides in 1958 the ANS historian Howard Adelson had to concede that the Numismatic Society of Philadelphia predated the ANS by several months.



- Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, circa 1840's, 1850's, or 1860's?



Above : DePeyster says he's a Life Member of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, bookplate in  G. Auchinleck's, The War of 1812. A History of the War Between Great Britain and the United States of America (Toronto, 1852). The latest date cited among the honoraria is April, 1866. Though he is not yet a member of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society according to their own records he does boast of the other New York society which amply demonstrates these are two separate and distinct organizations. Of course, though the latest date on the bookplate is 1866 it does not preclude that some of the societies listed are not more recent in the late 1860's or even 1870's. But we shall follow the wisdom of Occam's razor and stick to the facts as they are evident in the document since it is supported by subsequent editions of his bookplate in 1869, and 1883. The DePeyster family were Abolitionists. In his 1883 bookplate DePeyster proudly advertises that he is a Patron for the Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans.



- American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, occurs variously in the American Journal of Numismatics.


        Apparently what we now call the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society (ANS), may have been initially called the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, a name and title that can still be found in its house organ the AJN, with the prefix American added. The citation by John Watts DePeyster in 1866 that he is a Life Member of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York and fourteen years later adding on that bookplate he is a also a member of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society opens the question of the original date of that organization. Could it have been organized before 1858 or earlier? The clear distinction between the two names is that the ANS is a national organization, whereas the latter was either intended as a New York State organization, or a local one for the city. Could it have been a city or state society from which the ANS had sprung into being?


        So it appears that the ANS was the national society whereas it seems the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York was clearly a city or state society that appears to have been formed to support the ANS and its activities but also used the AJN as their house organ together with the ANS, and for sharing that they paid for its publication. The last public use of the name "American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York" appears in March 1907 in Frank Sherman Benson's (1853-1907), obituary. The last corporate use of the name American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York appears to be 1901. In 1902 we see "American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, New York" as an inscription of a medal honoring Prince Henry by Victor David Brenner with an inscription that reads: "Issued by the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, New York. Feb. 22, 1902" We see these names so frequently reading the period literature we are jaded by them and do not recognize the forest for the trees. Yet on scrutiny these are clearly two different entities in print and coinages acting as one. The social elite formed the ANS and its membership was the same for the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York since as a city collectors club they paid the bills. It seems that the ANS as a national society was the birth child of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York which created in those meetings held at the home of seventeen year-old Augustus B. Sage (1841-1874), at 121 Essex Street on March 15, 1858 with Henry O. Hart, James D. Foskett, James Oliver, and Edward Groh, to for the ANS to become the national repository of their collections of numismatic items, literature, correspondence and served as their business office. Theophilus W. Lawrence, Isaac Hand Gibbs, Ezra Hill and Henry Whitmore joined in. The coin collectors club got together and devised the By-Laws and presented them at the meeting of March 29, 1858. Its creation placed more control over the new national collections to the board of directors and membership than any they might have had say with the U.S. Mint collection, or the Smithsonian's, both national numismatic collections. Curiously Attinelli never mentions the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York. Yet we know Charles Anthon became a member in 1866, and its president in 1869, not 1868-1870 in his obituary in the AJN (July 1883): 23. Anthon was not ANS president in 1869 per se, he was president of the ANS 26 March 1868 to March 24, 1870. Apparent president of both during the year 1869. The obituary says he was president 1869 until his death, 1883, which he had a similar presidency in the ANS from 1867-1867 to 1868-1870, and 1873-1883.


The Lincoln Memorial medal of 1866   (ANS 1915.82.1) bears the inscription or legend The American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York. These two organizations have been deemed as one and the same by the ANS, but why two names that are distinctly corporately separate? Currently, research is awaiting a reply from the New York State Archives for records of incorporation.


Above : American Journal of Numismatics (AJN)  reporting about the Annual Meeting of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York.



The Second New York Numismatic Society that dissolved and merged with the ANS in 1866 was formed in 1864.  It is possible that the older New York Numismatic Society dating to at least 1853, or possibly 1852, already had its roots formed a few years earlier in the 1840's called by an earlier name the: "Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York", and is cited in John Watts De Peyster's various bookplates as we find them in the following three books that once formed a small part of his vast library  : Dossabhaee  Sorabjee, Idiomatically Sentences in the English, Hindostanee, Goozratee, and Persian Languages (Bombay, 1843); Tom Owen's, Anecdotes and Letters of Zachary Taylor (NY: Appleton, 1848), and later on in G. Auchinleck's, The War of 1812. A History of the War Between Great Britain and the United States of America (Toronto, 1852). 


        The atmosphere was electric with the zeitgeist of national societies and institutes. On 27 September 1842, John P. Brown, First Dragoman of the American Delegation at Constantinople published his letter of that date as a public notice in the Commercial Advertiser and Journal, Buffalo, New York, 28 November 1842, bequeathing his vast collection of coins gathered in his travels in the East to the National Institute, Washington, D.C. This was the national repository for coin collections at that time. Certainly, this sparked ideas in the numismatic community to think about state and local collections that already existed for many years within their learned societies that one society should be formed exclusive to numismatics respectively as a national numismatic society.  

        John Watts DePeyster would have been twenty years old in 1841, and apparently active as a numismatist from boyhood as all were from their classics classes at school. He was an old blue-blood of New York with great-great grandfather, and great-great-great grandfather who were mayors of the city. 

He introduces himself in his 1866 and 1869 bookplate as a Life Member of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York leaving us wondering if it might refer to an earlier appellation for the first New York Numismatic Society?   It is curious that his second bookplate dating from 1869 never refers to the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society though their records indicate he was a member in 1867, but rather, he only lists the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, to which he proudly announces himself as a Life Member. This status of memberships changes on his later bookplate of 1883 when he mentions both the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, and  Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, and the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia clearly as three separate and distinct organizations. In 1875 DePeyster declined the office of Vice-President of the ANS deferring to his nephew Frederick. Say 1883 he no longer concealed his membership in the ANA but acknowledged it. Consequently the individual Society called the  Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York is separate and apart from the ANS. There is no evidence so far to attribute this organization to an alternative name for the second New York Numismatic Society or as a referent to the ANS. 


-The Numismatic  Society of Philadelphia of 1857 renamed The Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia , 1865


- Second New York Numismatic Society, 1864 to 1866


Above :The second New York Numismatic Society formed in 1864 published its dissolution notice and merger with the ANS, The Daily Memphis Avalanche, Friday 23 November 1866.


 Robert Hewitt, held a meeting of numismatist in his residence on January 23, 1864 forming the second New York Numismatic Society.

   Howard L. Adelson, The American Numismatic Society 1858-1958, pages 41-43; and Dave Bowers cites this more precisely in his American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860, page 129, footnote 2 "the "majority of the members" who signed a resolution to dissolve the New York Numismatic Society effective July 31, 1866 included these names: William Anderson, Charles DeF Burns, James Earle, Joseph E. Gay, Robert Hewitt, Jr., Joseph N. T. Levick, John F. McCoy, John A. Nexsen, W. C. Prime, William H. Strobridge, and Loring Watson none of whom had been associated with the American Numismatic Society during the 1858-1859 era of Augustine B. Sage's involvement."  This could be supporting evidence that these men upon dissolution formed a new society, the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York. This has yet to find supporting documentation.



 Above: John Watts De Peyster (1821-1907), a Life Member of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, and Life Member of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society. 


This leaves open the question, "Was the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York the predecessor of the first New York Numismatic Society?" On the other hand it could mean that upon the dissolution of the second New York Numismatic Society in 1866, that some of the membership wished to retain a separate organization from the ANS and became the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York after the second New York Numismatic Society dissolved. If this were the case then John Watts De Peyster the following year joined the ANS and was members of both organizations since that time. His bookplate in  G. Auchinleck's, The War of 1812. A History of the War Between Great Britain and the United States of America (Toronto, 1852) shows a late date of April 1866. This bookplate reports in his list of honoraria that he's a Life Member of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York. If he wished to not merge with the ANS that year and had been a member of the second New York Numismatic Society who did not sign the resolution to dissolve then he may have been not only a charter member of this organization but a "Life Member" indicating that it was formed sometime subsequent to the dissolution’s effective date of July 31, 1866. I have never seen the records of the second New York Numismatic Society and do not know if DePeyster was ever a member. Was he one of the "prominent citizens among them"? Howard L. Adelson, The American Numismatic Society 1858-1958, page 42: "The new society had started its career with larger number of members than the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, and with several prominent citizens among them, but after the first five meetings it appears to have been unable to maintain its momentum." He also says on page 72, " The De Peysters were a very prominent New York family . . ." Consequently, this is all speculation and so documentation is necessary before any concrete conclusions can be properly drawn.




 

Above : Bookplate in Tom Owen's, Anecdotes and Letters of Zachary Taylor (NY: Appleton, 1848) The latest date cited among the honoraria is June 15, 1869.



John Watts De Peyster bookplates dated 1866 and 1869 never mention the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, only the Life Membership of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, and the second one of 1869 even cites membership in the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia. What makes this very curious is that according to David Hill the ANS records show his membership from April 25, 1867, and was until his death on May 20, 1907. This might be explained by simply dismissing the entry documenting a different numismatic society by assuming it merely to be a turned phrase that really refers to the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, rather than a distinctly different and separate Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York. But, this is a very problematic solution since assumptions must be made and changes must be made to the title of the organization. Moreover, as we have already seen in his 1866 bookplate stating his Life Membership in the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York predates his membership of record at the ANS.



Above : John Watts De Peyster (1821-1907),  Bookplate in Dossabhaee  Sorabjee, Idiomatically Sentences in the English, Hindostanee, Goozratee, and Persian Languages (Bombay, 1843). The latest date cited among the honoraria is 1883.


  The third paragraph from the bottom of his bookplate reads Life Member of the  American Numismatic and Archaeological Society; in the second paragraph from the bottom Life member in the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York; in a bookplate in Dossabhaee  Sorabjee, Idiomatically Sentences in the English, Hindostanee, Goozratee, and Persian Languages (Bombay, 1843), and  Tom Owen's, Anecdotes and Letters of Zachary Taylor (NY: Appleton, 1848). Clearly these are two organization, not one.




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        From a wilderness frontier through over two centuries of development, America had built sufficient infrastructures of society and government, institutes of learning, and cultural arts by 1850 to support the emergence of a numismatic society. The Industrial Revolution 1750-1850 produced jackhammers, electric arc lamps, photography, trolleys, hot air balloons, electric motors, telegraph wires, printing telegraph, truss bridges, canals, railroads, advanced machinery and tooling technology yielding greater production and prosperity as a new modern world and society emerged. The population of America in 1850 was 23,191,876 and the top five populated cities were New York 515,547, far in the lead with more than three times the population of Baltimore's 169, 054. These two densely populated cities were followed by Boston 136,181, Philadelphia 121,376, and New Orleans 116, 375. These were the rich cultural centers of learning and the arts. New York outnumbered any other city in the nation and it was here that numismatic history was favored to be made by our contemplating numismatists. 


        As Josef Pieper aptly puts it "Leisure is the basis of culture." The social elite of early American history used their leisure contemplating. This activity is our noblest drive behind our pursuit of art history, archaeology, numismatic and philatelic collecting and studies since it comes from our inner desire for the contemplation of beauty. Not the mere fleeting exhilaration of appreciating its illusory powers or its ornamental character and style, but rather, for its ontological nature as a vehicle or window allowing us to see and to touch reality in a sacred and intimate way - allowing us to see its inherent intrinsic nature of goodness, truth, justice, honor and glory of oneness of being. Nature provides us with its perfect exemplar: a diamond, who, by its prismatic sparkling radiance of its shimmering geometrically shaped facets is its mirror. In short, these subjects are spiritual oases for us to muse, that is, to contemplate reality and our very nature and purpose of existence. The deepest desires of the human heart are these spiritual energies, the very driving forces within us constantly aching and groaning for fulfillment. These studies hope to help in fulfilling our inner longings teaching us about our humanity. For this reason we pursue the study of our common global human heritage enabling us to more readily enter into dialogue with our fellowman enriching one another with mutual respect and dignity which defines us as human beings. In sum, we are here to learn to be people of honorable character, peace, and joy. 



         During the fifth and sixth wave of coin collectors in America in the first and second quarter of the 19th century we find among them and their cabinets men like Robert E. Bache (d.1834), of Brooklyn, Adam Eckfeldt (1769-1852), of Philadelphia, Lt. Col. Aaron Levy (1771-1852), of New York, Robert Gilmor, Jr., (1774-1848), of Baltimore, Isaiah Quimby Lukens (1775-1846), of Philadelphia, John Allan (1777-1863), of New York, George Nichols (1778-1865), of Salem, David Bailie Warden (1778-1845), Philip Hone (1780-1851), the mayor of New York, Dr. Tobias Watkins (1780-1855), of Washington, D.C., Pierre Flandin (1781-1863), of New York, Joseph Green Cogswell (1786-1871), of Ipswich, and that still of Reuben Haines III (1786-1831) of Wyck in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Christian Jacob Wolle (1788-1863), of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mahlon Day (1790-1854), of New York, James Thornton (c. 1791-1864), of New York, Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright (1792-1854), of New York,  James Scrymgeour (1792-1851), of New York, Judge Edward D. Ingraham (1793-1854), of Philadelphia, John Mumford Woolsey (1794-1870), Cleveland, Ohio, Adam Fickes (1795-1895), of Warrensburg, Missouri, Colonel Mendes Israel Cohen (1796-1879), of Baltimore, Maryland, Charles Cushing Wright (1796-1854), of New York, William Wilson Corcoran (1798-1888), of Georgetown,Aaron White (1798-1886), of Thompson, Connecticut, Joseph Jacob Mickley (1799-1878), of Philadelphia, Judge Gabriel Furman (1800-1854), of Brooklyn, Henry Giles  Morris (1800-1854), of Philadelphia, Edward D. Cogan (1803-1884), of Philadelphia, William G. Stearns (1804-1872), of Boston, Alonzo J. Wheeler (1805-1867), of  Poughkeepsie, New York, Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger (1805-1876), of New York, Dr. Lewis Roper (c. 1806 -1850), of Philadelphia, Professor Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867), of Philadelphia, Joshua Francis Fisher (1807-1873), of Philadelphia, Samuel Portland Chase (1808-1873), of Ohio, Thomas Cleneay (1809-1887), of Cincinnati, Ohio, John Doggett, Jr., (1809-1852), of New York, Louis Borg (1812-1868), of New York, Montroville Wilson Dickeson (1812-1882), of Philadelphia, Benson John Lossing (1813-1891), Poughkeepsie, New York, Jeremiah Colburn (1815-1891), of Boston, Massachusetts, Rev. Jonathan M. Wainwright, D.D., (1816-1854), Rector Grace Church, New York, John W. Wyman, Jr. (1816-1881) of Burlington, New Jersey, Edward August Crowninshield (1817-1859), of Boston, Massachusetts, Rev. Joseph M. Finotti, S.J., (1817-1879), of Virginia, Massachusetts and Colorado, Gustavus A. Nicolls (1817-1886), of Reading, Pennsylvania, Lewis Jacob Cist (1818-1885), of Cincinnati, Ohio, Henry Austin Brady (d. 1854), of New York, Loring Watson (1818-1858), of New York, Robert Lovett, Jr. (1818-1879), of Philadelphia, Matthew T. Miller (1819-1892), of Philadelphia, et alia were among the very first known documented coin collectors in 19th century America.   

       

Above : 1800 Rev. John Kunze's article narrating the inventory of his coin cabinet.  For sale $1,250 + $45 S&H + Insurance. write john@numismaticmall.com. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.



        Among the earliest American numismatic writers we have the great Kunze.  Rev. Johann Christoph Kunze (1744-1807), sometimes Anglicized and spelled in the literature as John Christopher Kunze. He is among the earliest known numismatists in 18th century America and a contemporary of Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere (q.v.).

A German scholar of Hebrew. Kunze came to America in 1770 from England where he sailed from Halle, Germany. He was a Lutheran pastor at the Friesburg Emanuel Lutheran Church, Philadelphia. In 1773 he founded and established a German secondary school (Seminarium). In 1780 the school became the German language department of the infant Pennsylvania University. Hebrew was added to the curriculum but no students enrolled for either language. Kunze’s language institute disbanded and was superseded by Franklin College in Lancaster.

Kunze’s 1781 edition of the Lutheran Catechism together with that of Henrich Miller’s edition of 1774 laid the foundation for the first edition of the authorized version of the Pennsylvania Ministerium catechism.

He went to New York in 1784 to teach at Columbia College. In 1786 Johann Samuel Schwerdtfeger assisted Kunze and Heinrich Moller in organizing the New York Ministerium, the second Lutheran synod in the United States. As a New York coin collector he donated to the New York Historical Society. Unfortunately, according to Kelby in 1905, his coin collection was stolen from the New York Historical Society.

His coin cabinet contained 905 coins of which 30 are gold, 400 silver, 475 copper and bronze. Among his coins are included ancient Roman, medieval and modern European and various pieces of Early American colonial New England Bay Colony silver coinage of 1652, a St. Patrick farthing, a Rosa Americana, and a Voce Populi.

Kunze had a policy where he put his duplicate coins in a chest allowing anyone to take what they pleased as long as they replaced the coin with one not in his collection. From these facts it is clear that there were many active numismatists before 1800 in America.

As a writer he is credited in Dr. Morris’ Bibliotheca Lutherana with eight books of which he was the author or editor, from Hymns and Poems to A History of the Lutheran Church and A New Method of Calculating the Great Eclipse of 1806.


        About a decade later we an ever growing community of numismatists with their ancient and early modern coinages and collect and study American colonial and U. S. Mint issues.


        In brief we find Dr. James Mease being one of the early writers on early American numismatic specimens since the early 1820’s. More widely known are his works in the 1830’s published from 1834 on in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.


        Rev. Joseph Barlow Felt (1789-1869)  a "Resident Member", and a member of the Standing Committee of the Massachusetts Historical Society delivered two papers on Massachusetts currency in 1838. His classic work An historical account of Massachusetts currency has in its opening pages a letter dated  July 1839 addressed to Thomas Winthrop published as a preface in which Felt refers to his two lectures on Massachusetts currency delivered to the Society of which this book is his final summary on the subject.


Above: Numismatic Chronicle notice of publication in The Morning Chronicle, London, 12 October 1840, page 1. Note item no. 6 On the Currency of North America referring to Mr. Stearns inquiry.


        William Gordon Stearns (1804-1872) was a correspondent of the Royal Numismatic Society of London. This was republished in the American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. VII, No. 2, October (1872) : 35-37. He sent to the editor of the Numismatic Chronicle, a copy of a letter dated 18 March 1840, Boston, apparently to Dr. Henry Ingersoll Bowditch (1808-1892), son of the late Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) regarding the early history of coinage of North America.  Though his letter betrays a dearth of knowledge regarding colonial coinages of North America it does reveal that the level of numismatic society in America in 1840 was through collegiality among gentlemen who met at learned society meetings, museums, libraries, universities, coffeehouses,  taverns, and one another 's homes, shared books and viewings of their coins and rubbings and kept correspondence to share and learn more. 


     In that letter Stearns mentions that Joshua Francis Fisher (1807-1873) of Philadelphia had purchased the best collection of early coinages a few years prior at a coin auction sale, apparently, that of the late William Bentham at Sotheby, London 30 April, 1-4 May 1838. Fisher had been for five years at that time a member of the American Philosophical Society serving as Secretary. Fisher had published in 1837 Description of American Medals. He was a member in the formative years of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and later became vice president of the organization.


        Matthew Theodore Miller (1819-1892), South Third Street, Philadelphia. Perhaps, one of the first full-time coin dealers in the United States, which during his day were called “exchange brokers”. He married Caroline Briggs (1817-1859), of Philadelphia. He and his wife Caroline had a son Alfred Theodore Miller born February 7, 1840, who died seven months later on September 8, 1840. 



       


Matthew T. MillerCoins of the World (Philadelphia : King & Baird, 1849). 74 pages. 15 pages of Tables, 12 colored plates of coins + title page litho. Cloth gilt, red panel on spine with gilt stamped title. Color Lithographs by Wagner & McGuigan. Perhaps one of the very earliest coin books by a full-time money broker and coin dealer at Philadelphia who flourished in the 1840's. For sale $1,250 + $45 S&H + Insurance. write john@numismaticmall.com.   Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.




Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.




Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.


From 1839-1866, Miller published Bicknell's counterfeit detector and bank note list, that was begun earlier in 1832 by Robert Thaxter Bicknell until his death in 1839. Miller was the owner of a banking house at Philadelphia, which was suspended in September, 1865.




        By 1850 we begin to find in American literature an interest in "Numismatic Archaeology" an article with that title published in the International Weekly Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, No. 9, 26 August 1850. 





Above : Barnum's American Museum, Gleason's Pictorial, January 9, 1853.  For sale $150 write john@numismaticmall.com.  Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.



        After the publication of Jacob Eckfeldt and William Du Bois, A Manual of Gold and Silver of All Nations Struck Within the Past Year (1842), followed some eight years later by New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins, Counterfeit Coins, Bullion With Mint Values (1850), great enthusiasm and fervor developed among American numismatists. Many of these gentlemen amassed very large collections buying and trading among themselves and attending all the auctions. Each of these collections were housed and stored in wooden cabinets sometimes lined with fabric of one sort or another for the coins and medals to rest on like jewels in a jewelers case. The items were carefully labeled on slips of paper which sometimes wrapped the item as a paper envelope. Some of these are extant in museums and can be still seen to today.


Above : The interior of Barnum's American Museum, Gleason's Pictorial, January 9, 1853.  Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.


        The coin industry up to 1850 is  a bit arcane to the modern mind. Collectors did then what many still do today, they get to be friendly with their banker and have them supply them with best specimens. Coin dealing was not a vocation for a gentleman in the first half of the 19th century outside of being either a goldsmith, silversmith, jeweler, or a banker or exchange broker.  Edmund Milne (1724-1822), was a goldsmith and early Philadelphia numismatic dealer, for example. Exchange brokers were our equivalent of a coin dealer today. They were always stocked with fresh items daily. Throughout this period of American economics currencies of all countries were exchanged through these brokers and so they amassed a glut of foreign specie constantly. 

        Gentlemen, at this period who were not educated and professionally trained to be men of finance in exchange brokerage business were expected to be in professional careers in fields of medicine, law, industry, and science. These are the professions of the great numismatic collectors who began collecting as schoolboys.  By 1815 enthusiastic gentlemen called numismatics the science of numismatology justifying its presence among themselves and giving them license to sell specimens without embarrassment. By the end of that decade numismatics and philatelics became popular avocations and the creation of clubs and societies and its literature production once begun has never ended. A hobby that was once fit for kings and the upper class was now flooded by all people without social class distinction beginning in the "Numismatic and Philatelic Explosion of 1858."




John Vaughan Merrick the collector of colonial paper money who gave his duplicates comprising nearly a complete set of 15 of the 16 then known varieties of notes, as a gift to John McAllister, Jr. He was certainly a collector since the mid to late 1840's. This gracious gesture of gifting numismatic items among friends was typical of gentlemen at this early historic period.





Correspondence of Merrick to John McAllister, Jr. For sale $1,250 + $45 S&H + Insurance. write john@numismaticmall.com. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.




Merrick's list of colonial paper money.  Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.



        

        The maturity of social development was ripe for a numismatic society calling itself such to be imminent in the 1840's and 1850's.  With the founding of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1836 by John Lee, America was being beckoned to follow suit. Unfortunately, the United States was in an economic crisis 1837-1893 with many bank failures particularly in New York and Boston. The myriad of American numismatists in the beginning of the 1840's saw several American numismatists as corresponding members of the Royal Numismatic Society, just as most of them were already engaged corresponding among themselves for a very long time within more than eighty various prominent North American institutions and learned societies established 1611 to 1850 including : 


17th Century (9)


Puritan-Anglican Academy (1611), Henricus Colledge. (1619), Boston Latin School (1635), Harvard University (1636), Hartford Public School  (1638),  Sturgis Library  (1644), Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (1648), Hopkins Academy (1664), William & Mary University (1693).


        Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) opened a Latin School, later called Hartford Public School, established in 1638 at Hartford Connecticut. Rev. Hooker assuredly brought his collection of ancient coins to America since they were always used as vehicles for learning to inspire young boys. 

Master Elijah Corlett (1609-1686) opened his  "Lattin Schoole"  later on called the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, established in 1648, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Corlett certainly must have brought his collection of ancient coins to America.

The Hopkins Academy, established in 1664 at Hadley, Massachusetts by a charitable trust fund bequeathed by Edward Hopkins (d. 1657), who died in England. Hopkins appointed in his will Rev. John Davenport (1597-1670), Theophilus Eaton (1590-1658), John Cullick (d. 1662) and William Goodwin (1591-1673) as trustees. In 1742, 

Josiah Pierce taught Latin and Greek at the Hopkins Academy.

There was a Puritan-Anglican Academy established in the Virginia Colony in 1611 and chartered in 1619 at Henricus, called Henricus Colledge.



18th Century (26)


Yale University (1701), The Library Company of Philadelphia (1731), American Philosophical Society (1743), Darby Free Library (1743), Tuesday Club (1745), Princeton University (1746), Redwood Library (1747), Washington and Lee University (1749),  University of Pennsylvania (1749), Columbia University (1754), Brown University (1764), Rutgers, State University of New Jersey (1766), Scoville Memorial Library (1771), the Charleston Museum (1773), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780), American Museum of Natural History (1782), Society of the Cincinnati (1783), Western University of Pennsylvania (1787), University of North Carolina (1789), The New York Society Library (1789), Massachusetts Historical Society (1791), University of Vermont (1791), Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society (1791), Union University (1795), Peabody Museum (1799), Connecticut Academy of the Arts (1799), 


In 1738 numismatic literature began to appear at auction.


In 1741, February the first and second American magazines were published, The American Magazine, or a Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies, by Andrew Bradford, and The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, for All the British Plantations in America, by Benjamin Franklin.

In 1746, Thomas, The Earl of Pembroke publishes Nummi Anglici et Scoti cum aliquot Numismatibus recentioribus, with early illustrations of American coins. I was privileged to handle this book in a private collection of a very illustrious colonial numismatist.

In 1758, William Proctor held the first known coin auction in America in New York City approximately where the ANS is headquartered today.


1761 Peter McTaggert sold George III Accession medals at his shop on the West End, New Boston district of Boston, Massachusetts.


1762 Green & Russell sold medals of George III and Queen Charlotte at Boston.


1762 Rivington & Brown sold coins and medals in their New York City, Curiosity Shop.


1763 Edmond Milne was selling medals in Philadelphia.


1785 Rev. William Bentley (1759-1819),  sold coins in Salem, Massachusetts.


In 1792, the term "numismatic" first appears in the English language on page 51 of The Gentlemen's Magazine, Volume LXII, No. 1, in a book review about the numismatic history of France. It eventually enters the American vocabulary.

In 1799, the term "numismatist" first appears in the English language on page 1172 of The Gentlemen's Magazine, Volume LXIX, No. 11. It eventually enters the American vocabulary. For half a century before the first numismatic society was formed Americans were using both terms "numismatic " and "numismatist" which were fairly new, and the phrase "numismatic society" even more recent..



19th Century (50)


Library of Congress (1800), Witherle Memorial Library (1801), Virginia University (1803), the New York Historical Society (1804), Bowdoin Museum (1811), American Antiquarian Society (1812), Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (1812), Peale Center (1814), New York Academy of Arts (1817), Portsmouth Athenaeum (1817), New York’s Rotunda (1818), George Washington University (1821), Maine Historical Society (1822), Rhode Island Historical Society (1822), Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Science (1823), New Hampshire Historical Society (1823), Pennsylvania Historical Society (1824), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1824),Connecticut Historical Society (1825),  Western Reserve University (1826), New-York State Colonization Society (1829), Haverford College (1830), Indiana Historical Society (1830), Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio (1831), Virginia Historical Society (1831), Denison University (1831), Delaware County Institute of Science (1833), Oberlin College (1833),  Historical Society of North Carolina (1833), Peterborough Library (1833), Mercantile Library (1835), Kentucky State Historical Society (1836), Louisiana Historical Society (1836), Vermont Historical Society (1838), Georgia Historical Society (1839), University of Missouri (1839), State Library of Iowa (1840), University of Michigan (1841), American Ethnological Society (1842), New York State Museum (1843), Portland Society of Natural History (1843), Maryland Historical Society (1844),  New Jersey Historical Society (1845), Smithsonian Institute (1846),  University of Wisconsin (1848), Essex Institute (1848), Boston Library (1848), Minnesota Historical Society (1849), Tennessee Historical Society (1849),  State Historical Society of Wisconsin (1849), and other like learned societies focusing on historical, antiquarian and archaeological subjects.


        Between 1825 and 1850 America had over 250 libraries and many of them had coin cabinets.

        Wherever one would find any of these institutions one would naturally find numismatic collectors and an interest in the subject of numismatics. As I have already shown in my book American Numismatic Auctions to 1875, Vol. 1, there was virtually an annual auction containing coins since 1820. It might have been only a decade or so after the founding of the Royal Numismatic Society we find the establishment of the Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, but documentation of its incorporation will tell us if this is indeed the case, or not.

        American numismatic history has its origin in England and other European countries whose families immigrated to colonial America bringing their numismatic culture with them. Since the Renaissance universities taught history and the classic languages using coins as part of their curriculum. Schoolboys for centuries had their collections of Greek and Roman coins from which they had learned and had fond memories enjoying them throughout life. All of this was brought to American from men who had studied at Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Rome, Heidelberg, or any of the great universities throughout Europe. Ezekiel Cheever (1614-1708) taught in New England Latin schools and as we have seen that used numismatics of Ancient Greek and Roman coins as part of the curriculum.

        America was teeming with coins, medals, tokens, and enthusiastic collectors throughout its history from the time of Massachusetts Bay Colony coinages until the establishment of the earliest numismatic society. This is a sweeping two hundred year portrait from 1652 to 1852 and can only be given here in this brief essay as quick brushstrokes on a canvas.  It would be safe to say, however,  that the numismatic community was growing more self conscious each decade from 1820 to 1850 so that we are not surprised when a group of New Yorkers formed a Numismatic Society in either 1852 or 1853, or perhaps earlier, which by then already had been long over due. It was a generation of American numismatic enthusiasts after the founding of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1836 that aware of the delay took it upon themselves to establish one of their own. I suspect there was a bit of tension that comes with the spirit of competition between the various numismatic circles of New York, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Philadelphia vying to see which would be first. One can clearly see this rivalry remained in their writings in the 1860's, with smug remarks like those from Philadelphia, for example, referring to the Boston boys implying they were snobs.

        I have not been able to discover a record of incorporation for the New York Numismatic Society. One would think had they been they would have a corporate seal, logo, issued a medal and tokens to distribute to members and have a house organ publish the minutes of their meetings, by-laws, and other, notes, and literature. Bushnell in his book, An Arrangement of Tradesmen's Cards, Political Tokens and Election Medals, Medalist, &c. (1858) never mentions any. Perhaps this was the impetus behind Augustus B. Sage's Numismatic Gallery of medals of illustrious numismatists to make up for lost time. What manner this earliest New York Numismatic Society had is yet to be discovered and with such enthusiasts as we have today as we did then I'm sure these details are imminent. 

Of recent date we find such enthusiasts in Joel Orosz and David Hill who perhaps were poking at me to publish this brief introduction to the establishment of the first known numismatic society in America when they ran there brief articles in various publications December 2021. Apparently I needed the nudge since I had mistakenly thought this matter had already been known by one of the Deans of American numismatic history. Once I understood I was not stepping on anyone's toes I seized this opportunity to create this very brief introduction to the subject. This is but a thumbnail sketch for a fuller volume to be published as an ebook sometime in 2022. So check back here from time to time to catch the announcement.

        The beginning of the 1850's was pregnant with numismatic interest and enthusiasm and the first numismatic society was its child. 

Thomas Corwin, Secretary of the Treasury on March 31, 1852, signed Plans For A Mint At San Francisco, which caught the attention of collectors. With the various series of American coinages from the colonial period until the U. S. Mint in  1792 and the series that changed periodically sparked greater interest in U.S. coin collecting besides ancients and European numismatic items. 

        America like England saw the emergence of the typical shops that graced the cities including :  Antique, Jewelry, Curiosity, Art, Pawnbrokers, and Coin Dealers through the country by 1815, and these shops carried coins and medals among their inventories. These together with the auction houses and exchange broker houses were the primary sources one obtained new numismatic pieces for their collections or to trade or sell. The impetus was there and we know New York formed their Numismatic Society when the time was ready for this stage to take place within American culture and society. 

        Collecting American coins became more fervently researched. Collectors wanted to appreciate their coinages understanding the historical context of their mintage. This is very evident in the letter of  William Gordon Stearns seen above, who shows a dearth of this knowledge but wishes more. Banning together and pooling their knowledge together in discussions and essays was the key to this advancement. A formal Society was a mere heartbeat away. The infrastructure was there. Numismatists met at auction houses, museums, libraries, colleges and universities and within the meetings of the various learned societies, and of course in their homes. The universities in particular were the strongest force throughout  American numismatic history and culture. Latin and Greek classes included numismatics. Students were expected to own specimens and they were formally studied as they learned the history and grammar of the language. This had always been true. It was the educated middle and upper middle class that were the central core of collectors until the late 1850's when all classes of society including the common man participated in numismatics and philatelics from 1858 on. This was the numismatic and philatelic explosion of 1858 from whence we have come.


        



The Sixth Wave Numismatists in America second quarter of the 19th century.


This sixth generation of American numismatists were born into an already established numismatic culture where collectors met and shared their knowledge and love for the subject. These men were not isolated from the rest of the world but rather were very actively engaged in communication with European collectors and experts in numismatics, and buying from foreign dealers and at their auction houses when sales of coins and medals were offered.



Charles Ira Bushnell (1826-1883), the youngster of the New York numismatic circle of 1850, then a mere 24 years of age among men like John Allan then 73, and James Chilton, 42.



            Other members of the New York Numismatic Society besides corresponding member Freddy Lincoln were cited in the news wire regarding attendants at coin auctions held at Bangs, Brother & Co., New York. Charles Bushnell, was one of the greatest antiquarian luminaries in New York was evidently a founding charter member. 




Above : Dr. James R. Chilton, M.D. (1808-1863). From American Druggist Circular, January 1857.




Above : John Allan,  (1777-1863), Antiquarian medal, New York City, New York  coin dealer. Scottish born bookkeeper and antiquarian began collecting by 1820 wrote, On Coin and Medals (1839). 





Above : Graphic illustrated business cover of Leavitt & Co., 1857. For sale $400 write john@numismaticmall.com  Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.




Above : Detail, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper April 3, 1856.  Leavitt & Delissier's Sales Room, Broadway, New York. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.




Above : Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper April 3, 1856. Top drawing is Bangs, Brother & Co., Sales Room, Park Place, New York; the lower of Leavitt & Delissier's Sales Room, Broadway, New York. For sale $150 write john@numismaticmall.com.   Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.




Since antiquarian and archaeological studies previously published on numismatics together with the salient idea of manifest destiny and the ideology of nationalism it was just a matter of time before the numismatists established The American Numismatic and Archaeological Society in 1858. 


Perhaps echoes of the original name can still be found in phrases and titles like : "AMERICAN NUMISMATIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF NEW YORK" in American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. IV May 1860-April, 1870, cited as the publishers of AJN. The word AMERICAN was added to the earlier title NUMISMATIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF NEW YORK. It seems possible that both organizations Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York and  the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York both date to the last half of the 1860's.


After the Numismatic & Philatelic Explosion of 1858 several store cards of coin dealers emerge on the scene from that time on becoming very popular throughout numismatic history since.



Above: Robert Downing, Jr., trade token. Ex-Q.D. Bowers. For sale $1,500 + $45 S&H + Insurance. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library and Museum Collections.



John N. Lupia, III


Rarities for Museums and Collectors


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