WHITT, LUTHER HERBERT

Copyright John N. Lupia III 2011-2017


Luther H. Whitt stamp and coin dealer in Dayton, Ohio from 1936-1969, who was a founding member of the Dayton Coin Club. He was a contemporary of fellow Dayton coin dealer Alvin John Fink (q.v.).


Luther Herbert Whitt (1903-1977),  was born in Kentucky on July 21, 1903, the eldest child and first son of Thomas Lee Whitt (1881-1941), and Maggie Combs Whitt (1884-1914), both parents Kentuckians.  His father remarried to Maude Hall (1898-1918), when he was a teenager. At that time he worked as a farm laborer on the family farm in Wellington, Manifee, Kentucky. Being a collector and native Kentuckian he became a life-long aficionado of Abraham Lincoln and collector of Lincolniana.

On June 5, 1926 he married Marie Marsh (1909-), in Indiana.

In the 1930 U. S. Census he is listed married with a one year old son Luther Whitt, Jr., living at 580 Othello Street, Harrison, Montgomery, Ohio employed as an assembler of auto parts.

In the July 1936 issue of Hobbies, page 83, he published an old recipe for safely cleaning coins.

He joined the A.N.A. in May 1937 and became Member No. 6197. On his A.N.A. application he reported that his area of collecting specialization was "Emergency Money" and United States coins. However, as we have seen, he was also a specialist in Lincolniana. 

In September 1937 he moved from 219 Irving Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, to 2015 Smithville Road, Dayton, Ohio.

Whitt played an active role in promoting the A.N.A. in Dayton, Ohio and was a founding member of the Dayton Coin Club. He became the first secretary of the Club, a post he held through 1954. Their activities were reported in the October 1937 issue of The Numismatist :

TO FORM COIN CLUB IN DAYTON, OHIO.

A meeting of coin collectors was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Luther H. Whitt, of Dayton, Ohio, Sunday September 5, in honor of their week-end guest, "Bill, The Coin Man" of Elkhart, Indiana.

Among those present were Bill, The Coin Man, Waldo C. Moore, H. G. Williamson, A. J. Fink, L. G. Granger, J. Kelly, Otis Smith, Mrs. C. A. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Silvey, Urban C. Thobe, Richard Reichart and Mr. and Mrs. Luther H. Whitt.

It was decided to organize a coin club for Dayton. The first meeting will be held at the home of Mr. Whitt. The date will be announced later.

Readers will note mention o"Bill, The Coin Man" of Elkhart, Indiana, and A. J. Fink whose biographies are published here on this website.

The Dayton Coin Club activities were regularly reported in the The Numismatist ; this from the November 1937 issue :

DAYTON COIN CLUB — Second meeting, November 7th, Urban C. Thobe, president, presiding. Eighteen members and two guests were present.

Discussion of by-laws and entertainment for the new club for the coming year was turned over to committees.

Exhibits were as follows: Waldo C. Moore: Store cards and transportation tokens of Dayton, Ohio. F. E. Thornton: Pattern flying eagle cents, 1854 and 1855. Urban C. Thobe: $2.50 and $5 gold. Clarence Cook: Liberty standing quarters. James Kelly: Complete set half cents (excepting 1796), all in extra fine and uncirculated condition. H. G. Williamson: Small cents. Luther H. Whitt: Wooden money and medals. The meeting adjourned and the rest of the evening was spent in trading duplicates.

Among the reports of the Dayton Coin Club meetings Luther Whitt is reported to have exhibited private minted silver dollars, Lincoln medals, foreign coins of Germany and Czechoslovakia, paper money, tokens, and script.

Figs. 1 2. In 1938 he had his business card printed on thin wood veneer as a script store card redeemable as a wooden nickel.


In November 1938 he donated coins and medals to the Heart of America Numismatic Association.


In May 1939 the Dayton Coin Club held a public exhibition and Whitt exhibited "Lincoln in Numismatics and Philately".

In November 1939 he moved from 127 McDaniel Street, Dayton, Ohio, to 1032 Wayne Avenue, Apt. 4, Dayton, Ohio.

In November 1939 he received only 228 votes to become a member the A.N.A. Board of Governors loosing to Dr. John M. Henderson, J. Henri Ripstra, Martin F. Kortjohn, Nelson T. Thorson, and Walter P. Nichols. 

In February 1940 the Dayton Coin Club no longer met in the home of Whitt but was transferred to that of F. E. Thornton.

On April 30, 1940 he held a coin auction sale with a four-page catalogue listing 414 lots.

In January 1945 Mrs. Marie E. Whitt became a charter member of the Hobby Collectors Group of Ohio.

About 1945 he had brass store cards made, obverse:  LUTHER H WHITT/OLD COINS/1250/U.B. BLDG/HE. 1612/ DAYTON 2, OHIO; reverse GOOD FOR/1c/IN TRADE. He also others valued at 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, and $1.


Fig. 3. Luther Whitt's 1947 United States Rare Coin Value Guide, which was a mass printed book available to dealers like Whitt to have their business name and address imprinted on the cover. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Figs. 4, 5, 6 & 7. [Above] In October 1948 Albert W. Ault of Cincinnati was selling encased postage stamp replicas of the first stamps issued in 1847 and placed a quarter page advertisement in The Numismatist listing Whitt as one of the stamp and coin dealers from whom they could be purchased. [Below] the obverse and reverse of the encased five and  ten cent stamp replica with Luther H. Whitt advertisement as a store card. Other encased stamps not shown here included the U. S. three cent violet of Lincoln, and the Canadian four cent blue of Queen Elizabeth. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In September 1950 he was elected a member of the Cincinnati Numismatic Association. 


In May 1954 he became the second Life Member of the Dayton Coin Club.

In September 1962, Whitt received a twenty-five year A.N.A. Silver Membership Award.

In 1968 he was elected Vic-president of the Ohio State Numismatic Society.

He died on June 22, 1977 at Arroyo Grande and is buried in the Arroyo Grande Cemetery, San Luis Obispo County, California.

Bibliography :

Journal News, Thursday, July 3, 1930, page 11
The Numismatist, April (1937) : 318
The Numismatist, September (1937) : 821
The Numismatist, October (1937) : 962
The Numismatist, December (1937) : 1135
The Numismatist, January (1939) : 40
The Numismatist, May (1939) : 415
American Philatelist (1944) : 475
Cincinnati Enquirer, Monday, January 29, 1945, page 6
Numismatic Scrapbook (1968) : 1401
Don T. Thrall, "Encased Postage Store Cards," TAMS, August (1978) : 153, 166
Martin Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions (2004)
Pete Smith, Personal Tokens and Medals of American Numismatists (As of 4/7/2017) : 58

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