Fig. 1. Photo of Joseph Hooper (a Robert Ryan (1909-1973) lookalike), frontispiece of the April 1892 issue of The Numismatist. Photo Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic Library.

Copyright © 2011-2018 John N. Lupia III

Joseph Hooper (1833-1919) 91 Emerson Street, Rochester, New York; Box 145, and Box 105, “Park View” Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. ANA member no. 25. First Vice-President of the ANA in 1891.

He was born at Plymouth, Devon, England on February 19, 1833, son of John Hooper (1796-) and Elizabeth Hooper (1786-1851). He was a direct descent of the Bishop of Gloucester, England. He worked as an apprentice marble cutter in England. After the death of his mother Elizabeth his family moved to America in September 1851 migrating to Detroit, Michigan. A few years later, in 1853, he settled in Port Hope, Northumberland, Ontario, Canada, where he lived with his new American wife Annie Maria Pratt (1828-1901). They had six children : Joseph (1857-), John Reginald (1859-1944), Henry "Harry" (1861-), Grace Valerie (1864-), Catherine Ruth "Katie" (1866-1942), and William Henry "Willie" (1869-1930). Both Joseph, Jr., and Henry followed their father's profession as a marble-cutter. From his earlier work he became a marble-cutter, monument builder, and dealer in Italian marble and Scottish granite. In the 1871 Ontario Census he is listed as a 38 year-old white male, English Methodist, married working as a marble-cutter. His wife Annie is listed as an American age 42.

Fig. 2. Business Stationery of Joseph Hooper sent to the Chapman Brothers franked with a Canada Scott #41 (39) 3 cent vermillion, postmarked November 29, 1888, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. Photo Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1861 he sold horses to the Calvary of the United States Army during the Civil War.

Numismatic Career :

He probably collected coins in England and amassed a substantial collection and developed knowledge of coins and collectors. He was a buyer at the Lorin Parmelee sale and won the Canadian, English and Roman coins.

For two years he was in charge of the numismatic department of The Toronto Philatelic Journal, and one year for a Whitby, Ontario newspaper. He was a merchant in Port Hope, Ontario and began coin collecting about 1870 as told by him in his first published letter to George Heath in January 1891.

After his winning bids at the Parmelee sale in 1891 his coin collection was estimated to be valued at $10,000.00.

In 1891, Hooper was one of seven Canadian charter members of the American Numismatic Association, and the first Vice-President from 1891-1898. His original ANA Member No. was 25. He also served as editor of The Numismatist. The following year his collection, valued at over $15,000, was primarily sold at auction in New York by Edouard Frossard on July 21-22, and October 6, 1892.

Fig. 3. Store Card of Joseph Hooper.

He issued a 28 mm copper store card struck by Pritchard & Andrews of Port Hope, Ottawa, Canada, Canada, with beaded borders on both sides with the obverse legend around the rim reading : J. HOOPER, PT. HOPE, ONT. and in the center of a circular repeated sunset patterns : NUMISMATIST, seven sunset patterns arcuated above and seven below. Reverse, around the beaded rim reading : COINS (top), TOKENS (bottom) and below the word COINS a device of a central six pointed star flanked on both sides by three leaves, and below MEDALS AND, (bottom) TOKENS.

Fig. 4. Hooper's Drawing of the ANA Medal.

The ANA medal reverse designed in 1892 by Joseph Hooper. The reverse legend : TYPES OF EXTINCT CIVILIZATION. MORE HISTORIC THAN WRITTEN HISTORY. The obverse has the book, oil lamp and legend DE PROFUNDIS, a pun on excavated coins. Around the obverse face is the legend : AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION ORG. 1891. The original drawing was presented to the ANA in 1933 by a son of Joseph Hooper.

From October 1891 - December 1892 Hooper wrote a column for The Numismatist titled : “Numismatic Foundation Stones.” These were also printed separately as offprints or reprints in yellow wrappers from 1892-1893. Afterwards another column published by Hooper for The Numismatist was titled "Hooper's Restrikes". Besides these two regular columns Hooper published over two dozen articles for The Numismatist.

In February 1892 Hooper proposed numerical grading for a coin's condition.

In The Numismatist (1892) : “ Mr. Hooper is the type of the true numismatist; one who loves the science for the science. His greatest delight is the study and arrangement of his fine cabinet of coins and medals, and he is ever anxious, that, that which gives him so much pleasure should be shared by others. He has given several highly successful numismatic exhibitions for charitable purposes, and does much to awaken an interest in the science with the young and old. Painstaking and methodical, he is filled to the brim with enthusiasm in the study.”

In September 1893 his son Lt. John Reginald Hooper (1859-1944), a famed stamp collector who sold his collection at auction, poisoned and attempted to drown his wife Georgiana Leblanc (1863-1893), who died at Terrebonne train station as a result. In June 1894 he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison at Kingston.

In 1897 or 1898 he donated fifteen electrotypes of rare Greek coins to the Detroit Museum of Art.

In 1899 he was one of a few who had the complete set of The Numismatist bound. Hooper became its 4th president of the ANA 1899-1902. During his term ANA Membership Numbers were reassigned, and Hopper went from ANA Member No. 25 to 11. Former members rejoined and a battle for low ANA Membership numbers ensued. The battle, apparently was bloody. Charles Steigerwalt wound up having a higher ANA member number at 98 than that given him originally at a low 74, hence having gone up 24 in the count.

In 1901 Hooper played the role of organizer of the Port Hope Old Boys Reunion and compiled a History and Description of the Town as well as a list of 2,500 names and addresses of Old Boys. On October 11, 1901 his wife Annie died. She was buried at the Welcome United Church Cemetery. He then moved to Rochester, New York.

He donated part of his Greek coin collection to the Detroit Central Library, and another portion sold to the Dominion Government Museum. The remainder was divided among dealers and some were bequeathed to his children.

He changed his address in April 1905.

He changed his address in April 1908 to 80 Emerson Street, Rochester, New York.

In 1912 he was nominated chairman of the Detroit Convention.

March 5, 1912 he read a paper at the Rochester Numismatic Association, "Coins, Their Origin and Aid in Historic Research," when he was made an honorary member.

July 16, 1912, he prepared plans for exhibits for Canadian Coins at the ANA Annual Convention to be held at Rochester, New York.

Fig. 5. Rochester Numismatic Association Dinner, Hotel Rochester. Hooper is the old bearded gentleman sitting in profile being the sixth from the right.

During the Annual Dinner of the Rochester Numismatic Association, January 18, 1916, Hooper is hailed as the "Grand Old Man" and referred to as the "oldest living numismatist" celebrating his 83d birthday the following month.

He died at the age of 86 on February 16, 1919, just three days prior to his 87th birthday at his home on 80 Emerson Street, Rochester, New York. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York.

Joseph Hooper was inducted into the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1974, fifty-five years after his demise. For the diamond jubilee of the ANA a medal was struck with the portraits of Hooper, Heath, and Jerrems, by Frank Gasparro.

Work: (only partial)

Besides his two columns, "Hoopers Numismatic Foundations" and "Hooper's Restrikes" he published about 27 articles in The Numismatist.

Port Hope Old Boys Reunion Souvenir. History and Description of the Town, with 25 Pages of Illustrations. 2,500 Names and Addresses of Old Boys compiled by Joseph Hooper. (Port Hope, 1901)

"Ancient Versus Modern Coinage," The Numismatist, Vol. 4 (1891) : 92

“Coins, Their Origin and Aid in Historic Research, The Numismatist, Vol. 7, No. 6, June (1894) : 101-105; 127

“The Coinage of the Jews,” The Numismatist, Vol. 7, No. 6, June (1894) : 123; The Numismatist, Vol. 8, No. 1, January (1895) : 1-4, 1 plate;

Bibliography :

“Notes by the Way,” The Numismatist, Vol. 3, Nos. 15 & 16, August (1891) : 62

The Numismatist, Vol. 3, No. 1, January (1891) : 3, 6

Plain Talk, August (1891)

The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 4, April (1892) : 48-51, 58-59, 60; The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, (1892) : 15; No. 4, April (1892) : 49-51 (bio); Vol. VII, No. 1, January (1894) : ad inside back cover; Vol. 8, No. 1, January (1895) : 26; Vol. XV, No. 1, January (1902): 31 (advertisement); No. 3, March (1902) : 96 [advertisement]; No. 4, April (1902) : 128 (one-inch ad); No. 5, May (1902) : 160 (ad);

The Stamp World, Vol. VI, No. 45, November (1889) : VI, ad

The Ottawa Journal, Friday, October 6, 1893, page 7 - murder of wife by poison and drowning.

The Ottawa Journal, Tuesday, January 16, 1894, page 7 - trial for the murder of wife by poison and attempted drowning.

The Winnepeg Tribune, Wednesday, January 17, 1894, page 1 - trial for the murder of wife by poison and attempted drowning.

Manitoba Free Press, Thursday, January 18, 1894, page 1 - trial for the murder of wife by poison and attempted drowning.

The Winnepeg Tribune, Monday, April 2, 1894, page 1 - trial for the murder of wife by poison and attempted drowning.

Detroit Museum of Art Annual Report (1898) : 20.

The Numismatist, Volume XIV, No. 1, January (1901) : 29

The Numismatist, Vol. XVIII, No. 4 April (1905) : 121

The Numismatist, Vol. 28, No. 3 (1915) : 97

The Numismatist, Vol. 29, No. 3 (1916) : 137 photo

Jack W Ogilvie, "Joseph Hooper, the Fourth President," The Numismatist' Vol. 74, No. 4, April (1961) : 453-454

John Weston Adams, United Sates Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1, 76

Pete Smith-American Numismatic Biographies : 121