Copyright 2000-2019 John N. Lupia, III

Photograph published in The Numismatist Vol. 65, Sep (1952) : 900

Thomas James Clarke (1875-1952), was born on May 7, 1875, at Hastings, Trent Hills, Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada, son of Thomas Borman Clarke (1834-1913), a carpenter, and Clarissa Sweet Clarke (1840-1916).

His birth information is incorrect published in The Numismatist since the above is taken directly from the original sources in Ontario.

In 1894, twenty-one year old Clarke moved to Batavia, New York, where he worked temporarily as a wheelwright for his uncle John M. Sweet in order to establish himself in America.

The following year in 1895, he began to work as a salesman for E. N. Rowell Paper Box Company until 1900.

In 1900, he founded Clarke-Dorman Drug Box Company. He sold his share of ownership in 1902 to William Koehl. Clarke remained with the William Koehl company until 1916.

On June 26, 1912, he married Hazel Clarabel Johnson (1883-1974), daughter of Olaf Johnson, a tailor, at Chautauqua, New York. They had no issue.

In 1916, he started T. James Clarke Box and Label Works, Inc.

He also served as the Director of the National Chautauqua County Bank, and also for a few other corporations.

Clarke was also quite inventive and held patents on two cabinets marketed to druggists.

T. J. Clarke was an old time traditional collector, i.e., he collected all the wide variety of items and objects typically found in curiosity cabinets. These cabinets were like the Italian use of the word, a whole room. There he kept and arranged autographs, glassware, Indian relics, postage stamps, coins, paper money, and weapons. Clarke is remembered today among the EAC'ers as a buyer of the French collection of large cents. However, colonial notes, old bank notes, and obsolete paper money are also areas from which collectors today trace provenance on many prized pieces.

Clarke correspondence with Henry Chapman, Jr., postmarked October 6, 1932. There are several items of correspondence in the Lupia Numismatic Library. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

He was ANA Life Member No. 37. He served as 20th President of the ANA from August 29, 1935, to August 26, 1937.

He sold his entire collection of silver coins to B. Max Mehl in 1939.

In 1944, he exhibited more than 1,000 Lincoln medals.

He died at home in Jamestown, New York, on July 20, 1952.

Clarke tomb, Lake View Cemetery, Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York.

His paper money collection was sold posthumously at auction by Abe Kosoff November 8, 1955.

Clarke's massive collection of coins were sold in four separate auctions prior to his death, and seven posthumously.

Bibliography :

The Numismatist Vol. 48 Oct (1935) : 708-9, photo 708

The Numismatist Vol. 65, Sep (1952) : 900, Obit with photograph

National Cyclopedia of American Biography (1958) : 153

Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies