SMITH & SON

Copyright John N. Lupia III 2011-2018


Smith & Son, a numismatic firm originating in 1938, at 2267-69 Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, formerly a furniture manufacturing factory owned by the firm's senior principal. In May 1946, the firm moved to Wheaton, Illinois. In 1953, the firm relocated to Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, known then as Smith & Son's. No notices regarding the firm or the principals are found after 1964.

The firm specialized in gold coins and paper money as a business venture following the  U. S.  paper money being taken off the gold standard on March 6, 1933.

Frank S. Smith (1891-1951), was born on December 16, 1891, at Edoraisce, Lithuania. According to his WWII draft card he was 5'-10" tall weighing 215 pounds. In 1911, he came to America as a young man of nineteen and lived for three years in Wisconsin. In 1914, he moved with his wife to Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Shortly afterwards Frank Jr., was born.

In the 1920's he opened a furniture manufactory and store at 2267 Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, called the Perfection Furniture Company, with F. S. Smith as president and Henry Fahn as superintendent. He specialized in walnut furniture manufacture keeping his walnut stock in the basement. He also ran a second furniture factory at Cullerton and Lincoln Streets, Chicago.

In 1939, Frank S. Smith sued the Fireman's Insurance Company for cancelling his fire insurance policy in April 1934. It was thrown out of court.

On June 29, 1940, the firm held its only known coin auction sale, a mail bid of the collection of Chicagoan Dr. August J. Lorenz (1881-1951).

Frank J. Smith (1914-1967?)was born in August, 1914, in Illinois, son of Frank S. Smith and Ana Smith. He graduated Garfield School, Chicago, in June 1920. At the time he was nearly 6' tall.

In 1950, Frank J. Smith  published a detailed article on Oregon Territorial Gold in Hobbies Magazine, "1849 Oregon Territory," Hobbies, May (1950) : 119

Frank J. Smith applied for membership to the American Numismatic Association in March 1938. He became ANA Member #6789 in April, 1938.

Fig. Frank Smith to George Andrews postmarked June 19, 1939. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Smith & Son Auction Catalogue June 29, 1940. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For Sale. Write john@numismaticmall.com

Fig. Frank Smith to Henry Chapman, Jr., postmarked March 7, 1945. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1946, Frank Smith moved to Wheaton, Illinois.

In 1948, Smith & Son published a broadside circular "Coins and Coiners of Colorado" with photographs of Milton E. and Austin M. Clark as well as Emmanuel Henry Gruber.

In November 1949, Frank Smith ran an ad in The Numismatist under the name Frank's.

Late 1950, before Thanksgiving, Frank S. Smith joined the Chicago Coin Club and became member R-541.

On January 26, 1951, Frank S. Smith died of congestive heart failure, days after the death of Dr. August J. Lorenz.

Following his death Frank Jr. changed the name to Smith & Son's.

Fig. Smith & Son's advertisement published in Numismatic Scrapbook, January 1952, page 63, with the possessive case changed into the plural.

In the summer of 1953 Frank J. Smith moved to Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. He advertised in The Numismatist that August.
Fig. Smith & Son's last known advertisement The Numismatist, August 1953, page 858

The Brasher Doubloon in the Smithsonian Institution was once owned by Frank Smith.

Bibliography :

"Perfection Furniture Co.'s Steady Upward Climb," Presto-Times, July 1, 1929, page 11
The Numismatist, March (1938) : 220
The Numismatist, April (1938) : 328
Frank J. Smith, "1849 Oregon Territory," Hobbies, May (1950) : 119
Numismatic Scrapbook, January 1952
Numismatic Scrapbook, January 1954
Q. David Bowers, An Inside View of the Coin Hobby in the 1930's.
Cory Gillilland, Sylloge of the United States Holdings in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution : Gold Coins (1993) : xvii
Martin Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions
William A. Burd, "Smith & Son," Chicago Coin Club Coin Chatter, February 1995
Remy Bourne, Public Auction #10, (October 1-2, 1999) : 117-118
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