MOREY, HERBERT ELLIS
Copyright 2011-2017 John N. Lupia, III
Fig. 1. Photograph of Herbert Ellis Morey in the October 1892 issue of The Numismatist. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Herbert Ellis Morey (1848-1925), was born April 21, 1848 to the most affluent family at “Morey House,” Malden, Massachusetts. His parents were very active abolitionists working with William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Philips, and they used their home as one of the stations of the Underground Railroad affording slaves safe passage to Canada. Many slaves were secreted from the Morey home to that of Harriet Beecher Stowe at Andover. His maternal grandfather, Timothy Bailey was the president of Malden Bank. He graduated Malden High School in 1866. He then graduated from the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1872. He was the first baseball captain of the first baseball team ever at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Later on in life his son David Beale Morey will be a famous baseball player at Dartmouth College, at Worcester for the New England League and Middlebury. If Morey had been born a a few years earlier he might have been one of the first professional baseball players in the National League rather than a businessman and coin dealer.
He was employed at Morey, Smith & Co., merchants, at Boston, 1872-1881.
On August 11, 1874 he married Ellen "Nellie" A. Beale (1850-1931), an accomplished musician and music composer and neighbor at Malden, Massachusetts, at the Congregational Church at Orfordville, New Hampshire. Years after their marriage his wife became a cause célèbre in music and was known as Mme. Beale-Morey. She gave recital tours throughout Europe for several years.
Fig. 2. Madame Beale-Morey, photograph published in the Boston Journal, October 11, 1906 on return to Malden after a European concert tour.
In 1881 he became a member of the firm at Morey, Smith & Co. They had one son and two daughters. His residences : 49 Haverhill Street, Boston, Massachusetts, and 34 Hillside Avenue, Malden. Business : Room 1, 31 Exchange Street, Boston, Massachusetts, formerly of Malden, Massachusetts. Moved to 41 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts. He styled himself as a numismatist and philatelist dealing in ancient Roman, foreign and American coins, medals, paper money and postage stamps. At one time he was offered the position of the curator of the U. S. Mint at Philadelphia but refused it due to increasing deafness and not willing to leave his home state.
He became a collector as a schoolboy of about eight or nine circa 1857, though his obituary claims since the age of 10, i.e., 1858. Regardless, about thirty-two years later he began as a part-time coin and stamp dealer in 1889. He was married and worked as a bookkeeper until 1890 when he became a full-time coin dealer issuing his first fixed price catalogue serving also as his numismatic auction mail bids catalogue and published ads in The Numismatist. He applied for membership to the ANA in 1891 and is ANA charter member No. 61.
Fig. 3. Morey correspondence with the Chapman Brothers postmarked January 19, 1891, Boston Massachusetts. There are numerous correspondence between Morey and the Chapman Brothers in the Lupia Numismatic Library. The logo design found on Morey's business stationery is the same found on Ebenezer Locke Mason's stationery since the 1880's while at Boston. This was adopted also by Francis R. Kimball at Waltham, Massachusetts in 1890, and the same printer must have printed these for Morey as well since the layout is nearly identical and the Pine Tree shilling is exactly the same. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.
In the December 1891 issue of The Numismatist it is reported that he just returned from a trip to Europe and brought back many coins for sale.
He ran half page advertisements in the first half section of July, September, Philatelic West in 1902 with the caption “A dealer since 1889”.
“H. E. Morey, 31 Exchange St, Boston, Mass., in some inexplicable manner got himself lost in the Convention shuffle. The Secretary has hung him up on peg 61 among the Charter Members, and when Gabriel blows his horn, no. 61 will find himself in good company, providing he remains faithful.” The Numismatist, January, 1892.
Fig. 4. Morey Mail Bid Auction Catalogue, Sale No. 4, April 1892. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. 5. Morey correspondence with ANA member Professor Oettinger on his own printed postal stationery with postal stationery indicia Scott #U348 Columbian 1c in blue. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
"Mr. H. E. Morey was found by us when last in Boston in a narrow winding street of that city's busiest and most labyrinthine section, in an office on the second floor. A counter and showcase full of coins protected him from the class of people who want to know the premium on V nickels and '53 quarters with rays, and a big fireproof contained stock for a higher class of visitors. There was a little inner room also for retreat and possibly editorial labor, as Mr. Morey issues a little sheet called the Numismatic Quarterly and Catalogue. He is a middle-aged rather quiet man wearing spectacles and has the air of a schoolmaster.”
Fig. 6. Morey correspondence with the Chapman Brothers reusing Albert Thompson's Blackwater Boom & Lumber Company's postal stationery business envelope striking out his name and hand-stamping in red ink H. E. Morey Coins and Stamps with his standard logo, the Pine Tree Shilling illustration, postmarked with postal stationery indicia, May 3, 1893, Boston, Massachusetts. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.
In 1901 he was trading issues and complete years of The Numismatist 1891 to 1899 for half cents.
Fig. 7. Morey mailing coins from winning bids on the January 25, 1901 mail bid sale with noted collector George A. Strauss, member of the American Society of Curio Collectors, registered mail, franked with scarce Scott #282C Daniel Webster 10c brown, postmarked January 28, 1901, Boston. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. 8. Morey correspondence with ANA member Dr. R. M. Bateman, Pickering, Ontario, Canada, with postal stationery indicia, 1902. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
In 1903 he held 13 mail bid coin auction sales, with February and December each having two sales, making that year the largest number of mail bid sales held in a single year in his career only tying with 1913 which held the same number.
Fig. 9. Morey correspondence with ANA member George A. Katzenberger, Greenville, Ohio, postmarked with postal stationery indicia 1903 . Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. 10. Morey correspondence with ANA member and contributor to The Numismatist, James H. Reddin, Charlottetown, P. E. I., postmarked 1903 . Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Figs. 11 & 12. Morey correspondence dated April 18, 1903 to a coin dealer J. G. Laidacker. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
In 1904 he held 14 mail bid coin auction sales, with April having two sales, making that year the second largest number of mail bid sales held in a single year in his career.
Figs. 13, 14 & 15. Morey correspondence with Morey correspondence with ANA member William F. Schulz, Urbana, Illinois, postmarked with postal stationery indicia, March 7, 1904, and two mute on month and day, Boston. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
Fig. 16. Morey correspondence with coin dealer Maud Charlotte Bingham, daughter of coin dealer John Gideon Bingham, regarding mail bids, postmarked with uprated postal stationery indicia, March 8, 1904, Boston. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.
In 1905 he held 12 mail bid coin auction sales, with May having two sales, since there was no sale in February, making that year his fourth largest number of mail bid sales held in a single year in his career.
He was a member of the British Numismatic Society in 1903.
In the March 1907 issue of Philatelic West (6th leaf recto from back) he began to publish “Morey’s “Snaps No. 1”. These were short lists of packets of coins sold at bargain prices. The ads usually ended with a solicitation to send for his monthly auction list.
Fig. 17. Morey is robbed! Washington Post, Wednesday, October 30, 1907, page 3
On October 28, 1907, his office was robbed, the safe blown open, and $1,000 in rare coins and stamps stolen. However, the finsl report has the loot valued at $30,000.
Fig. 18. Boston Herald, December 26, 1907.
Fig. 19. Morey was struck by an electric train car in a similar way to that of several mother coin dealers found on this website. Boston Daily Globe, Wednesday, May 12, 1915, page 22.
Fig. 20. Morey correspondence with Henry Chapman, Jr., about bids on his last mail bid sale. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.
Morey's last mail bid auction August 28, 1922, marked the beginning of his retirement. He died two and a half years later.
He died on Sunday evening on March 22, 1925 at his home. He never missed a National League baseball game held at Boston. Oddly enough the June 1925 issue of The Numismatist listed Herbert E. Morey as an advertised coin dealer three months after his demise.
Coin Auction Sales (310 sales) :
Twenty-five of the first twenty-seven Morey sales were Fixed Price Lists open to bids by mail also known as a private sale. Martin Gengerke lists only the traditional format coin auction catalogues. From July 25, 1899 until August 28, 1922 there are 105 Fixed Price Lists open to bids by mail also known as a private sale not included in Gengerke's list.
1899 = 3 sales
1900 = 6 sales
1901 = 11 sales
1902 = 11 sales
On January 25th 1902 Morey held a coin auction of the collection of George C. Wing of Auburn, Maine comprising 200 lots.
He held his 56th Mail Auction Sale on March 25th, 1902 consisting of the collections of F. A. Hartshorne and others in 174 lots.
His 57th Mail Auction Sale on April 25th, 1902, which included 200 lots of ancient Greek and Roman coins, US coins, Colonials, Hard Times tokens, etc.
His 58th Mail Auction Sale on May 25th 1902, of 211 lots of coins, paper money, autographs, etc.
His 61st auction of 219 lots was held on August 25th, 1902.
1903 = 13 sales
1904 = 14 sales
1905 = 12 sales
1906 = 9 sales
1907 = 9 sales
1908 = 10 sales
1909 = 6 sales
1910 = 8 sales
1911 = 11 sales
1912 = 11 sales
1913 = 13 sales
1914 = 7 sales
1915 = 8 sales
1916 = 7 sales
1917 = 5 sales
1918 = 0 sales
1919 = 1 sale
1922 = 1 sale
Numismatic Quarterly and Catalogue. Published from 1895-1899.
He was the publisher of a 40-page catalogue, which he sold for twenty-five cents. He also published Morey’s Old Reliable Premium-list, sold for ten cents.
Price List for U. S. Coins For 1901
Bradford Opinion, August 15, 1874, wedding notice
Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Catalogue of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, January 1885 (Boston, 1885) : 45, 59
General Catalogue of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (Amherst, Massachusetts, 1886) : 33
The Numismatist, Vol. 14, No. 1, January (1901) : 23, 27
British Numismatic Journal (1903) :461
“Our Numismatic Directory,” List No. 8, No. 157, The Numismatist, Vol. 3, Nos. 15 & 16, August (1891) : 65
The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, (1892) : 15, 16 (ad); No. 2, February (1892) : 30 (ad); No. 3, March (1892) : 44; No. 4, April (1892) : 66; No. 5, May (1892) : 83; Vol. VII, No. 1, January (1894) : end paper ad after page 16; The Numismatist, Vol. 7, No. 2, February (1894) : ad in end papers. Numismatist, Vol. 8, No. 1, January (1895) :  column two top display ad; The Numismatist, Vol. X, No. 1, January (1897) : 20; Vol. XV, No. 1, January (1902): 27, 30; No. 3, March (1902) : 91; No. 4, April (1902) : 107, 123 (ad); No. 5, May (1902) : 152, 160 (ad); No. 6, June (1902) : 183, 188; No. 7 July (1902) : 221 (ad); No. 8, August (1902) : 255; No. 9, September (1902) : 279; No. 9, September (1902) : 285; December (1907) ; Vol. 38, No. 5, May (1925) : 274
Philatelic West, Vol. 24, No. 2, September (1903) : 4, ¼ page ad
Gnecchi, Ercole and Francesco, eds., Guida Numismatica 4th edition. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1903. Edition) : 528, No. 5325
Philatelic West, December (1904) : page 12 display ad
Philatelic West, Vol. 31, No. 1, September (1905)
Philatelic West, Vol. 35, No. 2, February (1907) : ad on verso 63rd leaf, or 3rd from back end of the magazine.
Hartford Daily Current, Wednesday, March 25, 1925, page 17. Obit.
Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies, 167
Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 296;
Martin Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions