Joe Boling writes:
My understanding is that Ruth Hill's collection went to a bank in St Louis to be used as a museum asset - and the bank eventually got tired of it and disposed of it. The last I heard of it was at least ten years ago.
Eric Schena writes:
Although I specialize in numismatic items from the Mid-Atlantic, I also have a side interest in world paper money, especially those issues directly related to World War II. Many years ago, I built up a moderate collection of Philippine guerrilla notes, which I still have, including two pieces from Ruth Hill's collection - a pair of KKKK notes from Masbate. Not only that, I had Mrs. Hill's tattered and heavily annotated copy of Neil Shafer's classic work, Philippine Emergency and Guerrilla Currency of World War II. I got the notes and the book from a gentleman in the Mid-West. I may not know where the bulk of her collection of world notes may be, but I do know that at least some of her guerrilla notes were dispersed sometime before 1997, when I got the examples in my collection. I no longer have the book, but I still have a 1964 receipt for some guerrilla notes in my library.
Neil Shafer writes:
Regarding Ruth Hill's collection, which I was familiar with as I visited her a number of times on IBNS and catalog business, she was unalterably poised to bequeath the entire collection to her favorite local bank (I think it was Merchants, not sure) and try though I might, I could not convince her to do otherwise. Title did pass to the bank but I was not in on any of the preparations for moving it. I do know that the collection was not held intact but again I was not in on its partial dispersal.
The last I knew the bank (whatever its name is now as I believe there was some sort of merger) is supposed to be holding what is probably a skeletal type collection of world notes that is most likely unavailable for examination (though I have not tried to see it). I doubt that there is anyone in the bank that knows very much about it. Perhaps 'Dusty' Royer knows more at this point.
Dusty Royer writes:
Neil ask me to contact you regarding Ruth Hill's collection. I had the honor and pleasure of doing the probate valuation for her estate and was then hired by the bank to do a complete inventory. It took myself and Norm Athy about 2 and 1/2 years to complete the cataloging, placing each note in new holders, labeling same, then putting the collection in boxes.
The last time I saw the collection, several years ago, it was intact. If I remember right, there are about 21 of the type boxes used by many dealers. They are sitting on shelves deep in one of the basement vaults of the bank. As far as what's sold, the bank became impatient and decided to sell what they called unimportant parts of the collection. This included all of the notgeld, propaganda, some of the military and the library.
Since I was the cataloger, I was not allowed to bid but did end up with a few items from 3rd parties. I know that when I made my last visit to the bank, the actual collection was still intact. I also know that numerous items had been loaned to several museums prior to her death, but she never kept a record of what and where. I know this because we did see some correspondence referring to loans but without any details.
The collection of books was offered to several numismatic book dealers but their offers were less than an offer from a regular book store here in St. Louis. They bought the books and subsequently, a lot of the books were purchased by the Missouri Numismatic Society. I was given the chance to take whatever books I wanted but since I had the majority of them in my own library, I declined.
The bank has changed hands three times since I was there. I know that the bank doesn't want to do anything with the collection but may at some time in the future. She had no close relatives and the bank is making money on the trust so I don't see it being available anytime in the near future. I would be very surprised if anyone would be allowed access to the collection. While we were working on the collection, several people from the bank were always with us and of course, we could only be there during banking hours which greatly prolonged the process. I hope this helps.
Thanks, everyone! E-Sylum readers are the best.
Editor, IBNS Journal adds:
As an aside to Bruce Smith's question about the whereabouts of the Ruth Hill world paper money collection, his mention that Ruth Hill "was one of the founding members of the International Bank Note Society" is not actually correct. Mrs Hill was an early paper money collector, a very generous benefactor of IBNS and did great work in support of the Society, but she was not one of the 169 "founding" or Charter members. A full list of Charter members appeared in Vol. 50, No. 4 of the IBNS Journal in December 2011..
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: WHERE IS THE RUTH HILL WORLD PAPER MONEY COLLECTION?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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