Copyright © 2011-2018 John N. Lupia III

Bolender, Milford Henry, Orangeville, Stephenson County, Illinois, Coin dealer who held 197 mail coin auction sales from 1925 to 1960, and published at least 55 special fixed price lists by April 1934.

He was born on August 23, 1894, at Orangeville, Illinois, the son of Stewart E. (1861-) and Clara A. (1865-) Bolender. He was the third of six children. His father was born in Illinois and worked as a stone-mason. His mother was born in Wisconsin.

He began collecting coins as a schoolboy receiving collectible coins as a reward for good grades and good schoolwork.

He served in the U.S. Army 14th Infantry 19th Division during WWI and enlisted on May 20, 1918 at Freeport, Illinois, where he was made Corporal. He was discharged on January 27, 1919 at Camp Dodge, Iowa.

In 1922, he was a high school principal at Rock City, Stephenson County, Illinois, with an annual salary of $1,800 per year.[1]

His application for ANA membership is dated October 16, 1924 and gives his occupation as school principal.[2] He is ANA member No. 2776.

His first commercial advertisement as a coin dealer that ran in The Numismatist was in the November 1924 issue. He announced “Public Mail Auctions Held Every Month”.

According to the 1930 U.S. Census, Bolender was a bachelor still living with his parents and was a self-employed numismatist. His father was now the proprietor of a hotel.

His mail coin auction business thrived and was highly successful attracting several important numismatic collections.

On October 15, 1935, for example, he ran Part III of the Famous Collection Formed by A. M. Smith of Minneapolis, Minnesota.


In 1937, he married Lily Hillquist, a Nebraska schoolteacher, whom he had met on a trip to Europe.

In November 1939, Bolender and his wife moved into their new home which they had built at 1126 Benson Boulevard, Freeport, Illinois, and conducted there Sale No. 127.

On July 28, 1950 he was issued his copyright and published The United States Early Silver Dollars From 1794 to 1803 (Freeport, Illinois, 1950), hardbound in blue cloth with gilt lettering, contains 9 collotype plates.

On Christmas-Eve 1951, Bolender suffered a heart attack.

About March 1952, he moved to San Marino, California as a semi-retired dealer after Sale No. 183 held that February.

His 197th Sale was held in the Fall of 1960.

From 1961 to 1963 he contributed a column in Numismatic News, titled, “M/ H. Bolender Writes”.

In 1969 at the 78th ANA Anniversary Convention he was nominated as a candidate for election to the ANA Hall of Fame.[3]

In 1975, he was awarded the ANA 50-year gold membership at the ANA Los Angeles Convention.

He died at age 83 on November 15, 1977, at Mount Miguel Covenant Village, Spring Valley, where he moved since late 1970. His wife, his older brother Glen, and two younger sisters survived him.

In 2009 the Numismatic Bibliomania Society conducted a survey of the 100 Greatest Items of United States Numismatic Literature and placed The United States Early Silver Dollars From 1794 to 1803 as No. 31 on the list.

Bibliography :

Remy Bourne, Fixed Price List & Prices Paid For List’s of United States Coin Dealers 1900-1929. (Minneapolis, Minnesota : Ramm Communications, 1988) Vol. II : 22-25

Hobbies : The Magazine for Collectors, December (1934) : 3

[1] Illinois School Directory 1922-1923, Circular, Isssue 166, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1922) : 51

[2] From his obituary in The Numismatist, Volume 91, No. 1, January (1978) : 71; See also Q. David Bowers, American Numismatic Association Centennial (Colorado Springs, Colorado : American Numismatic Association, 1991) Volume II : 1270

[3] The Numismatist, Vol. 82, No. 4, April (1969) : 435-436