Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Samuel Bowlby is one of many Americans yet unrecorded to American numismatic history whose coin collection was sold after his demise leaving only a clerk's record of the account.

Samuel Barker Bowlby (1804-1864), was born on November 27, 1804 at Sussex, New Jersey, son of Samuel Barker Bowlby, Sr. (1782-1846), and Hulda Messene Bowlby (1784-1844).

In 1830 he married Abigail Bowlby (1812-1870), of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, were married in Ohio.

Fig. Tombstone of Samuel Bowlby, Halladay Farm Cemetery, Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois.

About 1857, Bowlby moved to from Ohio to Illinois.

In 1860, he is recorded as a farmer in Somerset Township, Illinois.

He died nine days before his 60th birthday on November 18, 1864, at Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois.

His significance in American numismatic history lay in what appears to be a coin auction sale in order to settle the estate of the deceased who was either a collector with a collection of gold and silver coins, or a hoarder of hard cash. How they were as a collection is not clear. It may have been simply a hoard of specie kept over the years, but the fact it was sold rather than merely deposited or spent at face value implies the coins in the hoard or collection were known to bear a premium above face value. This aspect provides evidence but insufficient to suggest exclusively that it was a coin collection. A large hoard amassed by a prosperous farmer over decades could simply have appreciated as Old Tenor and would have had greater intrinsic value as bullion by weight. Either way this is of value to numismatic historians. This is the sort of item historians of coin auctions are looking for in order to expand our knowledge of nineteenth century numismatic coin sales. One would think coin dealers, jewelers, brokers, and collectors would have attend these.

Fig. An original of the Clerk's file record of the sale of coins of the late Samuel Bowlby. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For Sale $550. Write

Murphysboro, Illinois

January 20th 1865

Received of Peter Bowlby Administrator of the Estate of Samuel Bowlby Dec'd the sum of one hundred and forty Eight Dollars being the proceeds of the Sale of Gold and Silver Coin belonging to the Established. of Samuel Bowlby Dec'd.

Abigale Bowlby X [her mark] Robt. M. Cord