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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 46, November 5, 2000, Article 8

OLDEST COIN COLLECTION RECORDED IN THE U.S.? 

   On p18 of his current literature price list,  Karl Moulton 
   describes an article from the January, 1907 issue of The 
   Numismatist: "One of the more interesting passages in this 
   particular issue is titled, "Oldest Coin Collection Recorded 
   in the U.S."  It outlines extracts from the diary of Reverend 
   William Bentley who, it would appear, was the very first 
   coin dealer in this country.  His main customer was Judge 
   James Winthrop.  He sold Judge Winthrop Swedish Plate 
   Money on August 26th, 1787.  Later, on October 23, 
   1795, he created the earliest catalogue of coins of Mr. 
   Samuel Curwin's collection for Mr. Winthrop.  This 
   catalogue far outdistances the 1828 Watkin's broadside 
   listed by Attinelli.  As numismatic bibliophiles, we should 
   endeavor to obtain a copy of this significant milestone 
   publication." 

   [Editor's note:  Bentley's diary is quoted in Bowers' 
   "American Numismatics before the Civil War".  A web 
   search turned up one reference to Curwin - his unabridged 
   journals.  If this is the same Curwin, perhaps a reading of his 
   journals will yield further clues about his coin collection. 

     Oliver, Andrew (ed.). The Journal of Samuel Curwin, 
     Loyalist. Cambridge; published by the Harvard 
     University Press for the Essex Institute:1972. The 
     unabridged journals of the Salem merchant who fled 
     America after being harassed for his Loyalist activities. 
     2 volumes. 6.5"x9.5", 1083 pages, b&w illustrations] 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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