STROBRIDGE, WILLIAM HARVEY

Copyright 2011-2019 John N. Lupia, III



Drawn portrait of William Harvey Strobridge published in John W. Adams, United States Numismatic Literature Vol. 1. ( Crestline :George Frederick Kolbe Pubs.,  2001) : flyleaf post 36 


The Strobridge stamp, coin, book, curio and antique dealership from 1862 to 1879 was a father and son family run business. From 1871-1878 he worked as a cataloguer for the George A. Leavitt & Company, auction house. Strobridge catalogued 29 sales of coins, and his son Timothy catalogued  8 coin sales. In his later years while suffering blindness his renown as an archaeologist, philosopher, and poet spread.

William Harvey Strobridge (1822-1898), was born on January 9, 1822 at Barnet, Caledonia County, Vermont, son of Ebenezer Hinds Strobridge (1785-1878), and Elizabeth Kerr Harvey Strobridge (1787-1847).

He grew up with Henry Stevens who later became a renowned London collector.

On Christmas Day 1847, he married Margaret Lucretia Rix (1829-1855).  They had three children : Harriet Elizabeth Strobridge (1848-1938), William Arthur Strobridge (1850-1860), and Timothy Rix Strobridge (1852-). Some report that they moved to New York in 1851 and others say 1853. He worked as a salesman for Fairbanks scale company.

Strobridge began to acquire Pompeian frescoes, including the terra cotta painted portrait of Hebe, that had gone into a Boston Exhibition in 1855.

On June 12, 1858, he married Sarah Janette Wilcox (1829-1906). They had a daughter Minnie E. Strobridge (1863-)

They briefly relocated to Baltimore, Maryland for Fairbanks scales. He also brought his collection of carved gems.

On Christmas Day 1860, visiting in-laws at Barnet, Vermont, the eldest son William Arthur Strobridge died at the home of Walter Harvey.

Tim Strobridge grew up during his father's business days as a dealer and learned the trade from him. However, he lacked his father's talent as a cataloguer.


He catalogued the 1230 lots of the William A. Lilliendahl collection and sold it at Bangs, Merwin & Company, New York, on May 26-28, 1862. The collection contained 170 Large Cents.

In June 1863 he was registered in the Army under Captain Samuel Maddox, Provost Marshall. Apparently never served in active duty.

In 1870 Henry Stevens returned to Vermont to visit his mother who remained there. Strobridge was the first to be invited to meet him.

In January 1871 Harper's Magazine published his article, "A Chapter on Gems"



Professor J. M. MacAllister, September 24-27, 1873, at 
Leavitt's auction house.




Strobridge catalogued and sold at auction the Edward Middleton collection at Leavitt's auction house on October 6-9, 1874. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, October 6, 1874, page 2.

George Stenz, May 17, 1875.

On June 21, 1875, Strobridge catalogued an Orientalia collection,  comprising 534 lots of Chinese and Japanese antiques and bric-a-brac, to be sold at Leavitt's auction rooms.

Strobridge catalogued the E. J. Snow collection after recovering his sight. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday, March 17, 1878, page 2. Wow, what a coincidence!



In the spring of 1878 he retired due to blindness necessarily handing the business over to his only surviving son Timothy Rix Strobridge (1852-1881), commonly known simply as T. R. Strobridge.

The 1880 U.S. Census lists him as a dealer in coins.

In July 1886,  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday edition ran a story on W. H. Strobridge and his Curiosity Shop. The article tells us that Strobridge lost his eyesight several years ago costing him loss of employment. Moreover, his loss of sight did not interfere with his poetic compositions. Two of his poems : "New England," and "The Postman's Bell," were publicly read in April 1888, at a Masonic Society Meeting, Cecilia's Council of the A. L. of H. He kept a curiosity shop in his sitting room at his residence. His  collections included gems, terra cotta paintings, snuff boxes, Egyptian scarabs, seal rings, coins, medals, and tokens.

In 1897, he suffered a severe debilitating stroke leaving him paralyzed.

He died on Saturday, December 17, 1898, at his home 347 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.

An article in  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday March 12, 1899, ran the story attributing Strobridge's blindness to cataloguing the Stenz Collection. The eye strain using a magnifying glass on some many small coins resulted in a detached retina in November 1876. Two other poems "Post Tenebra Lux," and "After  Darkness, Light," were autobiographical.

Coin Auction Sales (29)

[01] May 26-28, 1862 William A. Lilliendahl
[02] March 24-25, 1863 Henry A. Smith
[03] June 9, 1863 Henry Muhlenberg
[04] September 23, 1863 George Francis Seavey
[05] October 7, 1863 Bangs addendum
[06] December 15-17, 1863 William A. Lilliendahl
[07] December 28-29, 1863 J. A. Wright, F. S. Edwards
[08] June 21-22, 1864 George Francis Seavey
[09] December 5-7, 1871 Dr. Charles Clay of Manchester, England
[10] April 11, 1872 Benjamin Haines
[11] December 12-14, 1872 Furman, Grans and Gersten
[12] February 5-8, 1873 T. P. Rossiter
[13] June 18-20, 1873 Lorin Gilbert Parmelee
[14] 1873 * * George Francis Seavey, & Descriptive catalogue
[15] September 24-27, 1873 J. M. Mcallister
[16] March 18-21, 1874 E. McK Holley
[17] April 7-9, 1874 Professor Daniel Groux
[18] June 18-23, 1874 E. McK Holley
[19] October 6-9, 1874 Edward Middleton
[20] December 21-23, 1874 Charles Lathrop et alia, "Coins & Bric-a-Brac"
[21] April 28, 1875 Joseph E. Gay et alia
[22] May 17, 1875 George Stenz
[23] November 16, 1875 James H. Taylor of Charleston, South Carolina
[24] December 17-23, 1875
[25] February 10-11, 1876 Ferdinand Ilsley
[26] June 12, 1876 Lorin Gilbert Parmelee
[27] October 17-20, 1876 Havanna Collection, Ferguson Haines
[28] March 8-9, 1877 William Anderson, Stenz et akia
[29] March 19-21, 1878 E. J. Snow



Bibliography :

The Saint Johnsbury Caledonian, Friday, December 28, 1860, obit of son
The New York Times, Sunday, December 11, 1870, page 2
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, October 6, 1874, page 2.
The New York Tribune, Friday, June 18, 1875, page 6
Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli, Numisgraphics (NY : Author, 1875) : 25 biographical sketch.
The Brooklyn Daily EagleSunday, March 17, 1878, page 2
"Mr. W. H. Strobridge and His Curiosity Shop," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday, July 25, 1886, page 11.
Proceedings of the American Numismatic Society (1899) : 15 obit
John W. Adams, United States Numismatic Literature Vol. 1. ( Crestline :George Frederick Kolbe Pubs.,  2001) : flyleaf post 36 
David Fanning, "Collectors Who Served in the Civil War," The Numismatist (2004)
David Fanning, "Early U. S. Auction Sales Containing Colonial Coins : Part 3 - The Early Civil War Years," C4 Newsletter (2007)

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