Bill Bugert submitted the following background information on the Raymond-Beistle Christmas Tree coin holder pictured in last week's issue. He attached a photo of "Unique Coin Holder No. 1" invented by Beistle and a scan of a copy of a congratulatory letter from Wayte Raymond to Beistle. Thanks!
I found the Raymond-Beistle Christmas Tree coin holder article in the December 25th issue of The E-Sylum very interesting. Besides my half dollar interests, I delight in researching and writing about Martin Luther Beistle whose accomplishments include the 1929 book The Registry of Half Dollar Varieties and Sub-Varieties.
I haven’t seen the depicted Christmas Tree coin holder but am not surprised by its existence. It appears to be a logical by-product of a long standing business arrangement between the Beistle Company and Wayte Raymond. Some grossly simplified background information will help explain this.
ML Beistle, a paper novelties and party goods manufacturer and advanced half dollar collector, invented the “Unique Coin Holder” in 1927; he filed for and was granted a patent in 1929 under number 1,719,962 (hence, the 1927 beginning anniversary date seen on the Christmas Tree coin holder). The original “Unique Coin Holder” (I’ve included a photo of an early model - there were many later variations and improvements) was a heavy white cover cardboard stapled and holed with white cloth tape on the edges, with transparent celluloid slides on both sides of the coin slots for each row of coins.
ML, thru the Beistle Company which he founded in 1900, invented the holders for handling his own collection of half dollars but eventually manufactured them on order for various individuals including Col E.H.R. Green before marketing and distributing them to the general public thru various agents including Scott’s Stamp and Coin Company then almost exclusively thru Wayte Raymond. Much later, Wayte Raymond used various agents such as Alan and Dorothy Faxon to distribute the holders. The patent for the “Unique Coin Holder” was eventually sold to Wayte Raymond.
The Beistle Company, Shippensburg, PA, still exists and ML’s great-granddaughter is now the President. In 2006-2007, I spent many enjoyable weeks combing thru the Beistle Company archives deriving much information on him, his coin holders, his half dollar collection, his half dollar book, and his other interests (I’ve written on him for various publications – for example, see The Asylum Volume 26, No. 1). Included in the archives were examples of the various holders with Wayte Raymond’s initials of approval and copies of individual and bulk sales invoices for the holders.
ML Beistle died unexpectedly while home from work for lunch at the age of 59 on January 11, 1935. Shortly thereafter, his son-in-law Henry E. Luhrs (also a prominent early half dollar collector; his collection remnants were sold by Heritage Auctions in 2006) became President of the Beistle Company and his name is also listed on the Christmas Tree coin holder.
Other information found on the Christmas Tree coin holder is easily explained and understood from this background. Thanks, Michael Sullivan, for sharing information on your coin holder. It is a wonderful piece of Beistle related memorabilia.
Dave Lange responded directly to Michael Sullivan, but copied us for inclusion in The E-Sylum. Here is the relevant excerpt.
I'm writing in response to your illustration of the Raymond Christmas Tree in The E-Sylum.
I've seen this item once or twice before, though I've not been able to secure an example for my own collection. As you probably know, I'm writing a definitive history and catalog of coin albums, Volume One of which covers the products of Beistle, Raymond and Meghrig.
M. L. Beistle, in addition to writing his half dollar book, was the inventor of the Unique Coin Holder, manufactured by his own Beistle Company. The family-owned firm is still in business today, though it has not produced coin albums for more than 40 years. The Unique Coin Holder was a somewhat cruder version of what we know today as Wayte Raymond's National Coin Album.
Raymond acquired the rights from Beistle late in 1930, and he marketed them under the National brand for the next 40 years or so. Alan W. Faxon was his manager starting in the mid 1940s and carried on after Raymond's death, though Faxon himself lived just four years longer than Raymond. Faxon's widow then continued the business for the next ten years.
Henry E. Luhrs was Martin Beistle's son-in-law, having married Pearl Beistle in 1927. He succeeded Martin as president after the latter's death in 1935. Lurhs' grand-daughter Tricia Lacy is the company's current president, and I've been working with her in the preparation of my book.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
RAYMOND-BEISTLE CHRISTMAS TREE COIN HOLDER
Wayne Homren, Editor
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