The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 43, October 16, 2011, Article 4


Last week Jeffrey P. LaPlante submitted this question about Dr. John E. Wilkison. -Editor

Jeff wrote:

I am doing some research on a Dr. John E. Wilkison and recently purchased at auction his copy of the 1953 Palace Collections Catalog inscribed to him by R. Green of Sotheby's. It has what I assume are his personal marks and notations probably written during the auction. I happened to notice David Akers either auctioned off his holdings or purchased them outright. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the Doctor.

As usual, E-Sylum readers came forth with some great information. But there was also some confusion. Many thanks to all who responded, and particularly to David Stone, who helped me clarify the situation. This article will summarize the responses relating to Dr. John E. Wilkison, the original subject of Jeff's query. The next following article covers a similarly-named numismatist. -Editor

David Stone writes:

Regarding Jeffrey LaPlante's question about Dr. John E. Wilkison, he was a collector from Springfield, Tennessee who amassed a fabulous gold pattern collection over a period of three decades, which was purchased by Paramount in September 1973.

David Akers, who worked at Paramount at that time, based his excellent reference United States Gold Patterns on Dr. Wilkison's collection. The collection was the most complete set of gold patterns ever acquired at that time, and it is doubtful that it will ever be equaled. I believe most of the coins were later purchased by A-Mark. It was probably Farouk's wonderful pattern collection that Wilkison was interested in.

Others are referring to the prominent Canadian collector Dr. John Wilkinson, with an "n" in his name. LaPlante was inquiring about Dr. John E. Wilkison, with no "n".

Some other items that may help:

1. R. Green was the business style of Chicago coin dealer Charles E. Green, after his wife Ruth. He started out as a dealer about 1935 and continued until his death in 1955, only a year or so after the Farouk sale. He published the booklet Mint Records of U.S. Coins 1793-1931 , Inclusive, which Louis Eliasberg used as a checklist to keep track of his collection. He never worked for Sotheby's as far as I know, so he must have sent Wilkison a copy of the sale that he obtained from somebody else, possibly just ordered the copy from Sotheby's.

2. Neither Wilkison nor Green actually attended the Farouk sale in Cairo. I believe the only Americans at the sale were John Jay Pittman, the Norwebs, Abe Kosoff and family, James Randal, Robert Schermerhorn, Gaston DiBello, Sol Kaplan and his wife, and Paul Wittlin.

Hans Schulman, who was born in Amsterdam but emigrated to America in 1939, was also there, and David Spink was on hand representing several clients, including the Norwebs.

The notes in the catalog must be observations Wilkison made at home, or perhaps he acquired a sales-room copy from someone who was actually there. MANY of the coins in his collection were pedigreed to Farouk, so he undoubtedly participated in the sale in a big way. Probably one of the American coin dealers acted as his agent.

David Akers book on gold patterns is a must for anyone interested in Wilkison or gold patterns in general. It was published in 1975 I think, and has been out of print for some time, but it is not very expensive and can often be found through the offerings of numismatic literature dealers or on eBay. I highly recommend it

Howard Cohen writes:

The following website will provide the history and the complete listing of Dr. Wilkison's unique collection of United States Gold Patterns:

Several of his patterns were obtained from the famous Palace (Farouk) Collection held in Cario in1954. The book by David Akers "United States Gold Patterns" published in 1975 is a complete listing, but more important is the photography showing the beauty in color of these gold coins.

Mike Paradis also provided references to several Kolbe numismatic literature sale auction lots related to Wilkison and his collection. I forwarded these to Jeff. These included lots containing photographs, newspaper clippings and correspondence.
  • Kolbe sale 31 lot 514
  • Kolbe sale 41 lot 800
  • Kolbe sale 77 lot 611
  • Kolbe sale 80 lots 11 and 586
  • Kolbe sale 83 lot 184
  • Kolbe sale 92 lot 106
  • Kolbe sale 96 lot 1108

Thanks! There is a ton of information out there. The problem is often just knowing where to find it. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: INFORMATION ON DR. JOHN E. WILKISON SOUGHT (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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