Copyright © 2011-2017 John N. Lupia III

Fig. 1. Harry Wyman Tapley (1863-1939), photo 1888 wearing a Harrison/Morton Campaign Badge.

Harry Wyman Tapley (1863-1939), was born on June 9, 1863 at North Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the son of William Hunnewell Tapley (1837-1918) and Hannah Eliza Allen Tapley (1840-1926). He is a relative of Henry F. Tapley of Boston, a noted numismatist.

In the 1880's Tapley was a poultry farmer and breeder of American Seabright Cockerels, White Langshans and Cornish Indian hens, who also served as a judge at fairs for birds eventually became a billiard hall owner and dealer in old United States coins.

He began collecting coins, sometime before 1900, since he joined the ANA that year and the following year 1901 loaned a collection of 440 silver and copper coins for an exhibit in the Iowa State Historical Society. Most likely he began collecting in his youth while on the farm in the 1880's.

In 1870 the family moved from Massachusetts to Iowa settling at Lincoln, Iowa. In the U. S. Census of 1880, we find him a young man of 16 years old living and working with his brothers Everett and Warren on his father's farm at Lincoln Township, Madison County, Iowa.

He was an avid Republican voting for Benjamin Harrison and Levy Morton wearing their Campaign Badge in a photograph from 1888.

On May 5, 1889, he married Emma Francis Shannon (1870-1936), daughter of W. J. Shannon and Sarah A Shannon at Des Moines, Iowa. The couple had four children : Laura B. Tapley Hoffman (1889-1943), Chester Tapley (1892-1893), Ruth Hazel Tapley Bentley (1895-1959), Infant Tapley (1902-1902)

In 1900 he lived at 915 Sherman Street, Des Moines, Iowa. At the time he owned a Billiard Hall in Des Moines. Some months later he moved and lived at 202 5th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa when he joined the American Numismatic Association in December 1900 and is ANA Member No. 230.

He moved to Harlan, Iowa in 1901 from Des Moines planning on opening a billiard hall. The U. S. Census of 1930 lists him as the proprietor of a Billiard Hall.

Figs. 3 & 4. Harry W. Tapley correspondence to his father staying at the Woods Hotel, Iowa Falls, Iowa in November 1903. Note his rubber stamp in purple ink "H. W. Tapley, Dealer in Old U. S. Coins, Harlan, Iowa." Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

On April 5, 1906 he won a lawsuit and was awarded $852 against the State of Iowa when a large and valuable collection of 440 rare silver and copper coins he had on display in July 1901 for an exhibit in the historical property, the State Library of Iowa, owned by the state were partially stolen by an employee.

In 1910, he lived at 2110 South 7th Street, Harlan, Iowa. At the time of the 1910 U. S. census he worked as a painter.

On January 26, 1924 his daughter Ruth Hazel Tapley married John Thomas Goble, a bookkeeper, at Trinity Lutheran Church. She died as Mrs. Bentley in 1959.

He is listed in the 1930 American Numismatic Association Directory as ANA Member No. 3007, living at 848 31st Street, Des Moines Iowa, and collecting U. S. coins.

He was an active member of the Des Moines Coin Club.

He died on March 31, 1939. His death was reported at the 37th Meeting of the Des Moines Coin Club on April 13, 1939, by Mr. Chenoweth. He is buried at Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.

Fig. 2. Humeston New Era, Wednesday, 3 September, 1902, page 2. Apparently 243 coins Tapley loaned to the State Historical Society were stolen. The initial report claims they were valued at over $500. He finally settled for $852 five years later.

In 1901 he loaned 440 silver and copper coins to the Iowa State Historical Department for an exhibition in the State Library. Unfortunately, an employee stole the entire collection. A lawsuit followed over the next five years to be reimbursed for his loss.

In the March and April 1902 issues of The Numismatist he advertised to sell or exchange several Scott catalogues and duplicate U. S. Coins.

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Des Moines Register, Thursday, January 25, 1883, page 3 about the sale of his chickens

The Numismatist Vol. 13, No. 12, December (1900) : 333

Charles Aldrich, Curator, Fifth Biennial Report of the Historical Department of Iowa (Des Moines: Bernard Murphy, 1901) : 60

The Numismatist Vol. 15, No. 3, March (1902) : 80

The Numismatist Vol. 15, No. 4, April (1902) : 120

Humeston New Era, Wednesday, 3 September, 1902, page 2.

Acts, Resolutions and Memorials Passed at the Regular Session of the 31st General Assembly of the State of Iowa

(Des Moines: Bernard Murphy, 1906) : Chapter 205, page 156

Iowa City Press-Citizen, Friday, January 26, 1906, page 6

Des Moines Register, Friday, February 2, 1906

American Poultry Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1-2, January-February (1907) : 93

The Numismatist , Vol. XX, Nos. 5-6, May-June (1907) : 155

American Poultry Journal, Vol. 39, No. 4, April (1908) : 391

Des Moines Register, Thursday, 8 December, 1921, page 14

American Numismatic Association Directory (1930) : 71

The Numismatist Vol. 52, No. 6, June (1939) : 499

"Memory Lane : 50 Years Ago" Harlan Tribune, Friday, October 25, 1951, page 2