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Fig. 1 William Walter Coulthard Wilson. Photo The Numismatist, Vol. XXIII, No. 8, November 1910.

William Walter Coulthard Wilson (1870-1924), "the Virgil Michael Brand of Canada". He was the president of J. C. Wilson, Limited, a paper manufacturer.

He was born in November 1870, the son of an Irish Presbyterian immigrant to Canada, James Crockett Wilson (1841-1899), and Jeanne Kilgour Wilson (1840-1897), at Montréal, Québec, Canada. His father established the paper manufacturing company in 1870 at Montréal.

On April 5, 1911, he married Mellie Z. Marx (1873-1947), a bookkeeper at the Broadway Congregational Church, Norwich, Connecticut.

He was a member of the Albert Lodge, No. 25, Free and Accepted Masons; the St. Jervis Club, and the ANA.

He died at his Crescent Street home in Montreal on March 16, 1924 and is buried at Mount Royal Cemetery. He is often cited as being age 55 at his death including his interment certificate. However, his Canadian Census reports state he was born in November 1870, making him 53 and 4 months of age.

Numismatic Career :

In October 1907 he joined the A.N.A. and is member No. 899. He joined the ANS on June 11, 1908. About this time he purchased en mass the collection of Louis Joseph Casault upon his retirement from the Library of the Canadian Parliament. Casault owned one of the finest collections of Canadian coins. Pierre N. Breton acted as the purchasing agent for Wilson of the entire collection. He was a charter member of the New York Numismatic Club in 1909. He attended the August 1909 ANA convention held at Montreal. In 1909 he joined the British Numismatic Society.

He was the First-Vice President of the ANA in 1910. He purchased The Numismatist from Farran Zerbe on October 12, 1910 with a deposit of one cent paying the balance of $500.00 no later than December 31, 1910. Wilson entrusted the conveyance of The Numismatist to the ANA to Howland Wood in a document drafted and signed on letterhead of the Hotel Thorndike, Boston, Massachusetts, on October 27, 1910. He donated the magazine to the ANA as its official bulletin. The first official issue of the magazine as the property of the ANA was January 1911. Albert Romer Frey was the first Editor, Edgar Holmes Adams and George H. Blake the Associate Editors.

Farran Zerbe, " In doing this Mr. Wilson renders a valuable service to numismatics, and the American Numismatic Association acquires the most essential factor for it's successful existance-ownership of it's official organ. Mr. Wilson is an enthusiastic collector, has an extensive numismatic library, and by recent purchases, is believed to have the finest collection of Canadian specimens on this continent. As he has become one of the association's benefactors, it is hoped that he will have every reason to know his gift is appreciated, that it will ever to continue to serve a good cause, and that his interest in the A.N.A. will be long in evidence." The Numismatist (1911)

Fig. 3. Howland Wood political cartoon created sometime circa fall of 1909 to about October 1910 depicting the tumultuous A.N.A. presidential elections. This cartoon lampoons the election of Dr. John M. Henderson who was elected president of the A. N. A. at the convention of 1909. The shoe beneath Henry Chapman's hand is labeled on the cuff of the pants W.W.C.W[ilson] (the new owner of The Numismatist) who appears to be kicking Farran Zerbe's butt caricatured as the weeping pusillanimous King of Armenia (the former owner of The Numismatist). Wilson attended the 1909 ANA convention held at his hometown, Montréal, Québec, Canada. He was elected First Vice-President. Courtesy of the American Numismatic Society, New York.

On August 28, 1912 he was awarded an Honorary Life Member Certificate in the ANA. In 1913, he published an article inThe Numismatist, "A Rare Hard Times Tokens" illustrated with a plate of Low No. 146. (433)

In 1918 he became a Life Member of the New York Numismatic Club.

In 1919, he purchased the collection of the late Thomas Wilson of Quebec.

His coin collection was one of the finest of Canadian coins known and was cataloged by Wayte Raymond and sold posthumously by the Anderson Galleries on November 16-18th, 1925.

Fig. 4. Wilson sale catalogue by Wayte Raymond. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

His rare book collection was sold by the American Art Association on November 27, 1925.

Fig. 6. Catalogue of the W. W. C. Wilson Library, American Art Association sale beginning on November 27, 1925, lasted nine days.

Wilson was inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame in 2012.


Americana and Canadiana. Mainly the Library of the Late W. W. C. Wilson of Montreal Canada. Sold by Order of Mrs. Wilson. To be sold on the afternoon and evening of Friday, November 27, 1925. American Art Association Inc.

The Important Numismatic Collection Formed by the Late W.W.C. Wilson, Montreal, Canada: United States & Canadian Coins; Early American & Canadian Historical Medals; Medals Presented to North American Indian Chiefs; Foreign Coins and Medals. To be Sold by Order of the Cataloguer, Wayte Raymond, To Be Sold At Auction Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday Afternoons November sixteenth, Seventeenth & Eighteenth At Two O'Clock. The Anderson Galleries (Mitchell Kennedy, Pres.) 489 Park Ave. At Fifty-Ninth Street, New York 1925

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Bibliography :

The Numismatist, Vol. XX, No. 9, September (1907) : 264 and October (1907) : 295

The Numismatist, Vol. XXIII, No. 8, November (1910) : 225-226 (Photo)

The Numismatist, Vol. XXIV, No. 4, April (1911) : 131 marriage announcement

“The Numismatist Passes To The A. N. A.”, The Numismatist, Vol. XXIII, No. 9, December (1910) : 274

“The “Numismatist” Problem Solved,” Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly, Vol. III, No. 11, November (1910) : 173

“The New York Numismatic Club,” Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly, Vol. III, No. 11, November (1910) : 174

The Numismatist, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, February (1913) : 98 facsimile of Honorary Life Member Certificate

The Numismatist, Vol. XXVI, No. 8, August (1913) : 433 (Plate Low 146)

British Numismatic Journal Vol. 12 (1918) : 312

Eugene G. Courteau, "Addendum to the Coins and Tokens of Nova Scotia," The Numismatist, Vol. XXXV, No. 2, February (1922) : 68, see No. 363

The Numismatist, Vol. XXXVII, No. 5, May (1924) : 371-2 (obit)

"Good Prices Realized at the Wilson Collection Sale," The Numismatist, Vol. XXXIX, No. 1, January (1926) : 21

"Sale of the Second Part of the Wilson Collection Sale," The Numismatist, Vol. XXXIX, No. 12, December (1926) : 661

Fred Bowman, "The W.W.C. Wilson Collection," Canadian Numismatic Journal, September (1956) : 178

The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 10, March 4, 2012, Article 19