Copyright © 2011-2018 John N. Lupia III
Ed Frossard business card printed c. 1877 on blank side of 50 sols note engraved by French medallist Nicolas-Marie Gatteaux (1751-1832),
issued in the 2d year of the Republic, 1793, Series 3520, one of the later series banknotes, signed by one of the unknown signatories Saussay.
(See Richard Taws, Currencies: Circulation and Spectatorship in the Print Culture of the French Revolution, PhD dissertation, University of
London, 2005) Frossard printed in cadmium red-orange ink Mort aux Tyrans, the famous paraphrase of Marcus Junius Brutus "Sic semper
evello mortem Tyrannis," (It is always thus that death comes to tyrants), a phrase used in the American Revolutionary War and in the French
Revolution. It was declared the state motto of Virginia in 1776. Below is the French quote "Tous les hommes sont egaux devant la loi"
(Everyone is equal under the law). However, this advertising gimmick must have surely backfired on Frossard since it was only a dozen
years after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and these words were remembered spoken, not by Brutus, but rather, by John Wilkes Booth,
the notorious assassin. Excessively rare only 3 known with one apiece owned by John N. Lupia, II, David Fanning, and Pete Smith. Ex-Kolbe-
Fanning Fixed Price Catalogue February 2017, item No. 12, $250. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. Photograph of Edouard Frossard published in the March 1892 issue of The Numismatist.
Copyright 2011- 2017 John N. Lupia, III
Frossard, Édouard (1837/8-1899), 53 Prospect Place, NY. 787-789 Broadway, NYC, NY. Irivington-on-the-Hudson.
Early Life and Career:
Photo published on the frontispiece of the March 1892 issue of the The Numismatist (see above). ANA member no. 14. He was born near
Lake Leman, better known as Lake Geneva, Switzerland. He probably came from the southeast shore around Canton Vaud since records of
a family of the name Frossard are found there. He and his brothers Adolph and Eugene came to America in 1857/8 and moved to Brooklyn,
New York. In 1861, he taught languages at the French and classical school of A. Boursand, Brooklyn, New York. One of his students at that
time was Richard Despard Dodge, who became a prominent businessman in New Jersey and New York.
During the Civil War he and his brothers joined the volunteer services. Adolph died during the Battle of Shenandoah Valley. Eugene
became an officer in the regular army. Edourad joined as a Sergeant Major and became Colonel of Co. I. 31 Regt. U.S.V. He was several times
named for distinction for bravery on the battlefield. He also served for six months at Fort McHenry, Baltimore as a Judge Advocate of a General
Court Martial. He was crippled at the Battle of Mary’s Heights. “Having been badly crippled in the field, he was obliged to relinquish military life,
for which he had decided taste and returned to New York State, where he has since resided.”--The Numismatist, March, 1892, page 32.
After the war he established a school for French at Irvington-on-the-Hudson, New York. And, also taught French at the Young Mens’
Christian Association (YMCA) in Brooklyn, New York.
Numismatic Career :
The Red Skull and Crossbones found on Frossard's card were formed into a die and was a stock item among American 19th century printers.
This label above of druggist R. C. Mathewson, Boonville, Indiana dates to 1867, and serves as a good example to demonstrate this point.
In 1872 he began collecting Large Cents for himself and George W. Merritt, the son of the wealthy owner of the palace at Irvington, New York.
In 1875 he became the editor of the Scott & Co. publication Coin Collector Journal, a position he held from December 1875-December 1877.
David Proskey was hired by John Walter Scott to replace Ed Frossard as editor of the Coin Collector Journal, and cataloguer of the coin auction
sales. By January 1878 Frossard became an independent full time coin dealer, editor publisher. A donor, in 1878,to the ANS library. Between
1877 and 1892 he conducted over 100 coin auction sales and compiled catalogues for W. E. Woodward, Bangs & Co., H. G. Sampson, and others.
He cataloged the Montayne collection of 1,200 lots for H. G. Sampson in the course of only forty-eight hours.
He began publishing Numisma in 1877 after leaving the firm of Scott & Co. as editor of the Coin Collector Journal, and completing the first
13 issues of volume 1. Charles Davis described this publication as:
"An often acid, often scholarly, always entertaining journal with important, although sometimes axe-grinding observations on the business
practices of his competitors, and invaluable for reports on contemporary auctions with notices of over-grading and counterfeits liberally sprinkled
in. Arrows were shot at, among others, Doctor Woodward (the apothecary unable to sell the false talisman to the children of Knicker), Charley
Steigerwalt (the plagiarist with his big journal), Brother Mason (the only original Moses in the coin trade), J.W. Scott (the Fulton Street octopod),
the Chapmans (who produce quarto catalogues with margins sufficiently large for corrections), and David U. Proskey (with a level head and an
India rubber conscience)."
In 1879 he authored the Monograph of the United States Cents and Half Cents 1793-1857 illustrated by coins from the collections of his
long-time associates and patrons Merritt and Parmelee.
He traveled to England in 1880 reporting it in Numisma, September (1880). Mason says that others tell him that “he talks, writes and reads
modern languages in New York city in the day time, juggles coins in the evening, and snores to the happy midnight hours away at his delightful
Frossard and William Elliot Woodward did not get along and feuding between these two mammoth dealers was fierce from 1880 to 1881.
(See bibliography below for several articles)
In September of 1882 Mason is unsure what his first name is and guesses it is Edward or Edwin, or perhaps Ed signifies Editor. Frossard
refused ads in Numisma 1884. (See Mason's Coin Collectors Herald, II, No. 1, June (1880) :5a)
He often sat in coin auctions held in New York and Philadelphia as the agent for several important collectors and private buyers. By the mid
1880's he appears to have developed a reputation for cleaning and polishing coins in order to command higher prices. On that note we discover
that Harlan Page Smith in his coin auction catalogue dated June 4-5, 1885, of the Douglas Steward Collection, wrote an invective against Frossard
as a coin cleaner : “None of these cents…have been scoured with Irvingtononhudson brick, to make them bright red.”
Between 1887 and 1892 he purchased for one special buyer, a prominent millionaire New York Banker, over $15,000.00 in choice specimens
forming the finest collection in the country.
In June, and September 1888 he conducted auctions of stamps at Leavitt’s. The June 28th sale, which was Frossard’s 84th sale, included
part V of the Sterling collection and also that of F. R. Richardson of Salem, Massachusetts. The September sale, which inaugurates the 1888-1889
On December 29, 1888 he sold the coin collection of Gerald E. Hart which three-day sale realized a total of $4,275.94. He claimed the sale
fetched $700.00 more than he predicted. Although the collection cost Hart more than $10,000.00. Heavy buyers at this sale were the coin dealers
Chapman brothers, Scott & Co., William P. Brown, Harlan Page Smith, Mr. Jenkins of Albany and private collectors Dr. Weiner, Mr. Barlow,
and C. L. Podhaiski.
Fig. Frossard's 104th Sale Circular, postmarked November 25, 1890, sent to stamp and coin dealer Luther Brown Tuthill,
South Creek, North Carolina. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
On December 22, 1891 he held his 109th coin sale, the F. B. Bennell collection.
He served as the first Counterfeit Dectector to the ANA. In the May 1892 issue of The Numismatist Heath humorously asked the ribald
question : “Brother Tatman to please make our friend Frossard, Counterfeit Detector, instead of Counterfeit Director.
In 1893 he, along with W. W. Hays, authored Varieties of United States Cents of the year 1794 which was reprinted by Thomas Elder in
1910. His collection of 1794 cents was sold in his auction of October 2-3, 1884.
On April 13th, 1892 he sold the collection of A. H. Saltmarsh of Haverhill, Massachusetts. The 1803/04 silver dollar in lot 290 was
withdrawn prior to the sale as an altered date.
On September 9, 1894 The New York Times ran the story on Frossard’s ownership of 160 pen and ink drawing purporting to be by
John Trumball, the famous American artist and painter. He claimed to have bought them from a gentleman of Virginia who inherited them.
Frossard was offering them for sale for $8,000.00.
In The Numismatist 1895 we read :
"Not far away along 14th Street is found a well known expert, Mr. Ed. Frossard, who, though of French origin, has an Anglo-Saxon stability
of temperament. He is a rather large middle aged man of smooth shaven, pleasant face. He has merely a desk and small fireproof in the office of
an insurance company and carries little stock, but generally has some choice pieces to show and often more or less of some collection entrusted to
him to be catalogued and sold. He issues at intervals a sheet entitled Numisma and has a wide correspondence regarding coins, curios, and objects
of historic interest.”
On Friday, January 24, 1896 he auctioned the collection of E. B. Crane of Worcester, Massachusetts, 530 lots.
His collection was cataloged in 37 pages contained 416 lots and auctioned off by the American Art Association, March 19, 1896.
Fig. Postal card sent by Ed Frossard, Jr. to the Chapman Brothers regarding the sales of Dr. Maris of Philadelphia. Note the date of this postcard is
exactly one month after Frossard, Sr.'s death. The Chapman auction took place when Ed Frossard, Sr., fell ill and suddenly died on April 12th. His
son apparently covered for him at auction acting as the agent for at least Dr. Maris, whom young Frossard immediately got paid as bidding agent
telling the Chapmans to collect their payment from him. The Chapman Brothers made it well-known that young Frossard stuck them for at least
$800. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive. Excessively rare -unique specimen,
and far more precious than the business card.
There are thirty-four pieces of correspondence from Ed Frossard in the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family
Correspondence Archive. There are an additional nine pieces of correspondence from Ed Frossard, Jr., in the Lupia Numismatic Library,
Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.
He died on Wednesday, April 12, 1899 at his home at 221 Lexington Avenue, New York. In a letter sent to the Chapman brothers by Charles
Steigerwalt he commented how Frossard's death was sudden and unexpected. The funeral service took place at his home on Thursday, April 14th.
He is buried in the White Plains Rural Cemetery, White Plains, NY.
He was a member of the Solomon’s Masonic Lodge No. 196 of Tarrytown; U. S. Grant Post, G.A.R., the ANS, and charter member of the ANA.
He conducted 159 auction sales before his death on April 12th, 1899. The final catalog of the R. S. Robertson collection, sale no. 160, was held
on April 14, 1899 two days after his death. His son Edouard, Jr. took over his father’s business and conducted his first sale on June 27, 1899 with
sale no. 161. Among the notable collectors for whom Frossard acted as a personal agent was T. Harrison Garrett, the railroad and banking tycoon
He was survived by his wife Anna Amanada Phillips Frossard and their daughter Edith, and a son Edward, Jr. Ed junior was a notorious thief
and owed many dealers hundreds of dollars totaling in the thousands.
Fig. Letter sent by Ed Frossard, Jr. to Henry Frederick Wickham (1866-1933), Associate Professor of Zoology, University of Iowa, registered
mail postmarked, New York, September 17, 1901. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. Estimate $250-$300. The catalogue value of the postage
stamps alone exceeds $170. Write email@example.com
Winner, The Coin and Stamp Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, February (1875) : 8
Proceedings of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, of New York At the Annual Meeting, March 18, 1879: page 13
Mason's Coin Collectors Magazine : I, No. 1, April (1880) : 2b; (Buyer at the Searing sale) B-I, No. 2, July (1880) : 5c, 6d; B-I, No. 3, October (1880) : 12a-b; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 3d; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 7d; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 8b, 8c; H-II, No. 1, June (1880) :5a; H-II, No. 1, June (1880) :7a; H-II, No. 2, September (1880) :11a; H-II, No. 2, September (1880) : 15b; H-II, No. 3, December (1880) : 19b, 20d, 23d; H-III, No. 2, September (1881) : 42b; H-III, No. 3, December (1881) : 52b-d; H-III, No. 4, March (1882) : 66b; C-VI, No. 1, June (1882) : 20B ad page; C-VI, No. 2, September (1882) : 27, 31, 34, 38; C-VI, No. 2, September (1882) : 40B ad page; M-I, No. 1, June (1884) : 7, 12; M-I, No. 2, July (1884) : 20; M-I, No. 3, August (1884) : 39; M-I, No. 4, September (1884) : 48; (37th sale) M-1, No. 5, October (1884) : 57; M-I, No. 6, November (1884) : 67-68, 71
The Stamp Collector, Vol. 1, No. 2, August (1888) : 27-29
"In and About the City : Canadian Coins and Tokens. Close of the Sale of the Hart Historical Collection,” The New York Times, December 29, 1888
Plain Talk, August (1891)
The Numismatist (1891-1896) : The Numismatist, Vol. 3, No. 2, January (1891) : 7“Our Numismatic Directory” List No. 3, No. 42, The Numismatist, Vol. 3, No. 3 & 4, February (1891) : 17; The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, (1892) : 7, 12, 15, 17 (ad); No. 2, February (1892) : 29 (ad); No. 3, March (1892) : frontispiece photo, 32-34 (bio), 38, 45; No. 4, April (1892) : 65; No. 5, May (1892) : 76, 84; The Numismatist, Vol. VII, No. 1, January (1894) : end paper ad after page 16; The Numismatist, Vol. 7, No. 2, February (1894) : ad in end papers. The Numismatist, January (1895); Vol. 8 (1895) : Table of Contents 1895, last ad page after the Exchange Department, column two; Vol. IX, No. 1, January (1896) : 27; “Dealer Directory”
Carl W. A. Carlson, “Frossard and Garrett : a historical study of the relationship between a semi-professional dealer and a major collector of the 1880’s,” The Numismatist, Vol. 91, No. 2 February (1978) : 257-267; No. 3, March (1978) : 469-489
Adams, John W, “Woodward vs. Frossard,” The Asylum, Vol. 1, Nos. 2 & 3 (Fall/Winter, 1980) : 27-32
Adams, United States Numismatic Literature, (1982) Vol. 1, 25, 30, 31, 37, 55, 58, 59, 68-80, 106, 119, 125, 184-194;
Carl W. A. Carlson, “The Frossard-Woodward Feud of 1880-1881,” The Numismatist, Vol. 96, No. 6, June (1983) : 1138-1149
Cal Wilson, “Frossard and Woodward, the Great Feud,” Rare Coin Review, No. 57 (1985) : 52-54; reprinted in The Numismatists Fireside Companion (1988) : 75-86
Smith, Pete, The Asylum, 93-94
Charles E. Davis, American Numismatic Literature (Lincoln, Massachusetts : Quertman, 1992)
Smith, Pete, “Edouard Frossard : a “colorful” dealer,” The Numismatist, Vol. 108, No. 1, January (1995) : 71-74