WOODWARD, WILLIAM ELLIOT

WOODWARD, WILLIAM ELLIOT,

Copyright © 2011-2016 John N. Lupia III


Woodward, William Elliot (1825-1892), He was born October 29, 1825 in Oxford, Maine, son of Captain Caleb Woodward and his second wife, Hannah Cary. During his early career he lived in Middletown, Connecticut, 16 miles south of Hartford where he was engaged in the insurance business. He married Clarissa Eliza Roys on June 26, 1848 while in Norfolk, Connecticut. That same year he moved opening the Mount Pleasant Apothecary Shop at 258-260 Dudley St. corner of Dearborn, Roxbury, Boston Highlands, Massachusetts. A pharmacist by trade he began collecting coins and other curios early on.  In 1851 they had a son born on April 12th whom they named Harlow Elliot Woodward. September 1856 they had a second son, Clarence Elliot Woodward. On February 3, 1858, W. Elliot Woodward became a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Their third child Claribel only lived about 12 to 18 months and was buried on July 22, 1861. 


Fig. 1. One of several letters of correspondence of W. E. Woodward in the Lupia Collection. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic Library, W. E. Woodward File.

Fig. 2. Another of several letters of correspondence of W. E. Woodward in the Lupia Collection. This postal stationery is a rare Nesbitt Envelope, Second Issue of 1860,  Thorp-Bartels #43 
on light-orange paper, die 12, period after POSTAGE. Note that Woodward wrote the word Masonic underlined as a notation along the left edge on the front cover. 
Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic Library, W. E. Woodward File.


    In the Fall of 1862 Woodward had his first semi-annual coin auction. In the summer of 1863, twenty-seven Oak and Pine Tree coins were unearthed in Roxbury. These came into the possession of J.N.T. Levick, and would appear at W. Elliot's auction the following year. In 1864 he purchased the coin collection of John R. McCoy, of Pittsburgh. This collection included the famous 1787 Brasher Doubloon.
    He was not only a collector and a dealer but also sold stamps, books, antiques and other collectibles and was a real-estate developer. His interest in books included reprinting antique documents and publication. In 1864 he reprinted Records of Salem Witchcraft, copied from the original documents, in two volumes. Also in 1864, he issued a Catalogue of a Choice Collection of American and English Books. In October 1864 he held his Fifth Semi Annual Sale. In 1865, W. Elliot had printed two volumes by Franklin Benjamin Hough (1822-1885). One was "Washingtoniana or, Memorials of the death of George Washington, giving an account of the funeral honors paid to his memory, with a list of tracts and volumes printed upon the occasion, and a catalogue of medals commemorating the event." The other was "Bibliographical list of books and pamphlets, containing eulogies, orations, poems or other papers, relating to the death of General Washington, or to the honors paid to his memory." Also in 1865, he had published works edited by Samuel Gardner Drake (1798-1875). One was "Annals of Witchcraft in New England and Elsewhere in the United States, From Their First Settlement." Another was "The History of the Indian Wars in New England from the First Settlement to the Termination of the War with King Philip, in 1677."From the Original Work, by the Rev. William Hubbard, Carefully revisited, and accompanied with an historical preface, life and pedigree of the author, and extensive notes." In 1869 he published Bibliotheca Americana. In 1870 he published Henry Phillips, Historical Sketches of Paper Currency of the American Colonies Prior to the Adoption of the Federal Constitution.
    In 1867 he purchased the estate of Governor Eustis for $410.00 personally overseeing the restoration of the mansion and the Lafayette chamber.
    In November 1868 (81d) . Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr. claims he never knew Woodward was a coin dealer. In 1867 he was the purchaser of the entire Mickley Collection at $14,000.00. Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr. visited him on Christmas Day 1871. Around 1880 he discovered a hoard of 100 or so uncirculated Flowing Hair half dimes dated 1794. Woodward’s collection was sold by his company on October 13-18, 1884. On May 5th, 1885, W. Elliot's wife Clarissa was buried in the family plot. She was 56. Apparently, sometime within the next year, W. Elliot married Alice B., who was also buried in the family plot on July 4th, 1886.

Fig.3. Letter of correspondence of W. E. Woodward to the Chapman Brothers, postmarked Dorchester Station, March 20, 1889, 3 P. M. (looks like 1888 but is really 1889), Blake-Davis No. 2605.  This is the earliest known use of the Blake-Davis No. 2605 establishing a new earliest use record for CDS (Circular Date Stamp). Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

    On Sunday, January 3rd, 1892, W. Elliot contracted pneumonia. It plagued him for two days until culminating in cerebral paralysis. He died on Tuesday afternoon, January 5th, at his residence at 38 Harlow St, one block away from Woodward Park Street. His obituary stated that he is said to have been the best known coin dealer in the country and his “series of coin catalogues is to be found in every large public library.” He was a corresponding member of the ANS and his death was cited in the report of the annual meeting on March 21, 1892.
“Obituary,” Oswego Palladium, Wednesday, January 6, 1892; and in The Numismatist, No. 2, February (1892) on page 25. The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 6, June (1892) : 93; He died on the 5th of January, 1892 at his home in Roxbury, Massachusetts, at the age of 61. 
    His sons continued running his business after his death titled, W. Elliot Woodward Company, 40 Broomfield Street, Boston, Massachusetts, Buys and Sells Postage, Despatch, and Revenue Stamps. Coins, Medals, and Tokens. Rare Books, Pamphlets, and Newspapers; Autographs and Engravings; Historical Crockery; and Bric-A Brac and Curiosities of All Kinds. 
The 1870 census valued his estate at $330,000.00. He cataloged 108 coin auctions in his career as a coin dealer from 1862 to 1890. A donor, in 1878, to the ANS library.

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    Sales : to end of 1879
    [00A] June 27-28, 1860
    [001] July 31, 1860
    [002] October 23-24,1860
    [003] January 8, 1861
    [004] November 11-14, 1862 
    [005] April 28-May 1, 1863
    [00B] March 24, 1863
    [006] October 20-24, 1863
    [007] December 23, 1863
    [008] March 30, 1864
    [009] May 17-21, 1864
    [010] October 18-22, 1864
    [011] March 20-25, 1865
    [012] December 19-23, 1865
    [013] February 27-March 1, 1866
    [014] April 24-27, 1866
    [015] December 10, 1866
    [016] April 18-20, 1867
    [017] October 28, 1867
    [C] December 5-7, 1871
    [018] February 23-26, 1874
    [019] November 11-16, 1878
    [020] November 8, 1878
    [021] March 31-April 2, 1879
    [022] June 10, 1879
    [023] September 29,-October 1, 1879
    [024] October 15-16, 1879
    [025] December 16-19, 1879
Bibliography : 
    Proceedings of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, of New York At the Annual Meeting, March 18, 1879: page 13
    The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, (1892) : 11, 15; No. 2, February, (1892) ; 25; 
    Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors' Magazine, Vol. I, No. 3, June (1867) : 22; No. 5, August (1867) : 44d; No. 6, September (1867) : 57a; No. 7, November (1867) : 60b, 61c, 62d, 66b; No. 8, November (1867) : 71b-c; II, No. 1, April (1868) : 5a; No. 3, June (1868) : 27a; No. 8, November (1868) : 81d; No. 9-12, December (1868) : 103c; (Woodward’s Sale 17-C, Dec 5-7, 1871 ) V, No. 11, November (1871) : 173; V, No. 12, December (1871) : 186, (Sale 17C) 191; VI, No. 1, January (1872) : 16; VI, No. 6, October (1872) : 77; (Buyer at the Searing sale) B-I, No. 2, July (1880) : 5c; B-I, No. 4, January (1881) : 20c; B-I, No. 4, January (1881) : 21c-d; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 3b; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 8a; H-I, No. 2, September (1879) : 16d; H-I, No. 3, December (1879) : 25a-b; H-I, No. 4, March (1880) : 32d; H-II, No. 1, June (1880) :2a; “Jenks Collection Sold, The,” (Mason), H-II, No. 1, June (1880) :5d; H-II, No. 1, June (1880) :7c; H-II, No. 2, September (1880) :10c, 11a, 12a, 15b, H-II, No. 3, December (1880) : 20c-d, 23b, 23d; H-II, No. 4, March (1881) : 27d; H-III, No. 2, September (1881) : 43b-d, 44a; ”Woodward in Luck,” H-III, No. 2, September (1881) : 44b, 45d; H-III, No. 3, December (1881) : 52b; H-III, No. 3, December (1881) : 54c; C-IV, No. 1, June (1882) : 13; C-VI, No. 1, June (1882) : 20B ad page; Coin Auction June 6-7, 1882, C-VI, No. 2, September (1882) : 27, 31, 36; C-VI, No. 2, September (1882) : 40B ad page; M-I, No. 1, June (1884) : 12; M-I, No. 1, June (1884) : 14E full page ad; M-I, No. 6, November (1884) : 71; M-XIII, No. 1, June (1890) : 14; M-XIII, No. 2, September (1890) : 5; M-XIII, No. 3, December (1890) : 5; 
    Numisma, Vol. 7, No. 1. 
    The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, (1892) : 11; Wright, B. P., “Unusual Numismatic Specimens,” (XX), The Numismatist, Vol. XV, No. 7, July (1902) : 193-198, illustrated, see LeGras Medal on page 198;
    Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 305; 
    Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli,  A Bibliography of American Numismatic Auction Catalogues 1828-1875
Maurice C. Blake & Wilbur W. Davis, Boston Postal Markings to 1890 (Portland, Maine : Severn-Wylie-Jewett Co., 1949) : 350
    Gengerke, Martin, American Numismatic Auctions, Vol. 3 (1987); 
    Bourne, Remy, Fixed Price Lists & Premium Paid For Lists of United States Coin Dealers 1822-1900 (Minneapolis, 1988); 
    Bowers, Q. David, The History of United States Coinage As Illustrated by the Garrett Collection. (Los Angeles, CA : Bowers & Ruddy Galleries, Inc., 1979) :21
    Q. David Bowers, American Numismatics before the Civil War 1760-1860 (Wolfeboro, 1998); 
    Sylvester Sage Crosby, The Early Coins of America; and the laws governing their issue. Comprising also descriptions of the Washington pieces, the Anglo-American tokens, many pieces of unknown origin, of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the first patterns of the United States mint. By Sylvester S. Crosby. (Boston, 1875); 
    Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies, (Rock River, 1992) : 246-247
    Adams, John Weston, United States Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1, vi, xii, 25-35, 37, 55, 68, 69, 105, 159-165


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