Copyright © 2011-2018 John N. Lupia III

Demetrius T. Eaton (1855-1920), was born the eldest of eight children on January 22, 1855, in Marion County, Indiana, son of James Anderson Eaton (1833-1921) and Mary Ellen Davis Eaton (1836-1924). The Eaton family descended from the time of the American Revolution and their genealogy is published in Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Vol. 89 (1955) : 296.

Demetrius T. Eaton is of special interest to American numismatic historians and to the Numismatic Bibliomania Society since he was a stamp, coin and numismatic literature dealer active from the last decade of the nineteenth century to 1920. Although he specialized in philatelics, i.e., stamp collecting and dealing he also collected, bought and sold the more traditional numismatic material of coins and coin literature, though both stamps and coins and their respective literature are always to be correctly understood as part and parcel of the entire class of the field of numismatics.

He was one of a group of stamp and coin dealers in the 1890's at Muscatine, Iowa. Joe Beard was a stamp dealer there, and Doughty & Page were mainly philatelic literature dealers who also held auctions specializing in philatelic literature in the 1890's.

According to the 1880 U. S. Census he was living with his parents working as a clerk in a dry goods store.

On April 26, 1882, he married Jeannetta "Nettie" Smyth (1860-1950), of Pennsylvania, and they had a son Earl Arlo Eaton (1887-1968).

In July 1895 he joined the American Philatelic Association and was APA Member No. 1039.

He began advertising in The Philatelic West in Volume 7, No. 1, June-July, 1898, first exclusively as a stamp dealer.

Fig. 1. Eaton's first coin advertisement in The Philatelic West, Vol. 8, No. 1, November (1898) : Inside Front Cover. Courtesy the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Philatelic West. For sale. Write

He was a veteran of the Spanish American War.

When Eaton first emerges as a stamp and coin dealer in November 1898 he not only offers foreign copper coins but also numismatic literature for sale. His interests were in ancient Roman and foreign copper coins. Not atypical in 19th and early 20th century coin and stamp periodicals we find the list of books with several typographical errors. Among the coin books are : Cook's Medallic History of Imperial Rome (1781); Charles Wyllys Betts, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals (1894); James Ross Snowden, A Description of the Medals; of Washington of National and Miscellaneous Medals; and of Other Objects of Interest in the Museum of the Mint (1861); Noble's Dissertations upon the Mint and Coins of the Episcopal Palatines of Durham, 1780; Sir Charles Fellows, Coins of Ancient Lycia Before the Reign of Alexander. With an Essay on the Relative Dates of the Lycian Monuments in the British Museum. (1855).

In September 1900, he was elected as "Counterfeit Detector" in the Sons of Philately.

Figs. 2 & 3. Eaton's correspondence with Hilario Baramendi of Montevideo, Uruguay, postmarked June 29, 1900, Montevideo, Uruguay, franked with a strip of three Early Issue 1899-1900 one centesimo postage stamps. Baramendi is requesting Eaton to send him complete sets of the English Colonies series postage stamps and he will send him stamps of Uruguay at the low prices found in either Senf or Stanley Gibbons' catalogues. Below he gives his references as being a member of the International Phllatelisten Verein, Dresden; the Birmingham Philatelic Society; and the American Philatelic Association. His personal references are Vincent Gurdji of Rochester, New York, and the Scott Stamp & Coin Co., New York. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Demetrius T. Eaton file. For sale. Write

According to the 1900 and 1910 U. S. Census he lived on 618 East 10th Street, Muscatine, Iowa, and listed as a stamp dealer. He began corresponding with the Chapman Brothers by June 1901. There are several pieces of correspondence from Eaton to the Chapmans and when the digital cataloguing of the years 1909 to 1920 are completed the total shall be published.

Fig. 4. Eaton's correspondence with the Chapman Brothers postmarked June 22, 1901, Muscatine, Iowa. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive. For sale. Write

Figs. 5 & 6. Eaton's correspondence with C. W. Merritt postmarked Registered, November 21, 1901, Muscatine, Iowa, franked with a strip of two Scott #225, with dealer promotional cinderella. The orange on white paper cinderella depicts a letter carrier with mail sack on a bicycle, a person delivering a letter at the Post Office, and a postal train that delivered railroad cancelled mail or R.P.O.'s. Eaton had his personalized by having his name, city and state overprinted to have the letter returned if not delivered in seven days. The Art Nouveau designed letterhead presents Eaton exclusively as a stamp dealer, which was his main business with a specialty in postal stationery and cut squares. However, we know he also would deal in coins and numismatic literature. Even his client C. W. Merritt was a collector of both stamps and coins. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Demetrius T. Eaton file. For sale. Write

In 1903 he published his Fixed Price List of Unused United States Entire Envelopes.

On August 15, 1903, he was elected secretary of the American Philatelic Association.

Fig. 7. Eaton's correspondence with architect Robert A. McCulloch at Orange, New Jersey, postmarked flag canceled, June 5, 1905, Muscatine, Iowa, on postal stationery Thorp-Bartels No. 1613. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Demetrius T. Eaton file. For sale. Write

United States Sheet Letter, postmarked December 3, 1904 from Eaton to J. Arthur Wainright, Rollins, North Carolina. Wainright, a noted philatelist had been the Collecting Agent for the APS in 1895, when he was Justice of the Peace in Northampton, Massachusetts. A decade later he is found in North Carolina. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For sale. Write

At the 1906 American Philatelic Association convention he brought with him a very rare $5 Proprietary stamp of 1875 purchased from C. H. Griffith, probably for about $350.

Eaton mailing on postal stationery with his letterhead soliciting a steady client, Edward H. Greening (1889-1941), East Orange, New Jersey postmarked October 12, 1909, Muscatine, Iowa. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Demetrius T. Eaton file. For sale. Write

The 1920 U. S. Census lists him at 615 10th Street, Muscatine, Iowa, working as a stamp collector.

He died June 26, 1920.

Fig. 8. Tomb of Demetrius T. Eaton and his wife "Nettie" at Greenwood Cemetery, Muscatine, Iowa.

Bibliography :

Philatelic West, Vol. 7, No. 1, June-July, 1898, Inside Front Cover

Philatelic West, Vol. 8, No. 1, November, 1898, Inside Front Cover

1900 U. S. Census -Muscatine, Iowa

The Philatelic Chronicle and Michigan Philatelist, Vol. 2, No. 5 September (1900) : 62

Publishers Weekly, Vol. 61, January 18 (1902) : 66, listing under Books Wanted : Allibone's Dictionary of British and American Authors.

Mekeel's Stamp Collector, Vol. 16, No. 2, January 12 (1903) : 12

Mekeel's Stamp Collector, Vol. 16, No. 30, August 17 (1903) : 435

London Philatelist, Vol. 12 (1903) : 220

Des Moines Register, Wednesday, August 15, 1906, page 6

Boston Herald, Wednesday, August 15, 1906, page 4

1910 U. S. Census -Muscatine, Iowa

Philatelic Gazette, Vol. 1-2 (1910) : 9, ad selling postal stationery

American Philatelist and Year Book (1917) ; 103

American Philatelist, Vol. 33, No. 11, August (1920) 412-13 -Obituary

J. Murray Bartels, "Early Bureau Issues--Series of 1895," Stamps, A Weekly Magazine of Philately, Vols. 25-26 (1938) : 80

Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Vol. 89 (1955) : 296