David Sundman dug through his archives and unearthed the original photo purportedly of numismatic author Montroville Dickeson posing with
an American Indian. Thanks! -Editor
As promised, I am sending you the attached “bi-chromate” image of "Montroville W.
Dickeson, which was lot 1175 in Part II of The Armand Champa Library sale of March 23, 1995, which I purchased at the sale. I attach the
auction ticket and lot description, together with an image of the Robert Wester letter stating that “This photograph was laid in an 1859
copy of Dr. Montroville W. Dickeson’s American Numismatical Manual which belonged to the noted Pharmacist-Numismatist Robert Coulton Davis
of Philadelphia, Pa.”
The engraved portrait of Dickeson is from the 1859 edition of his work, The American
Numismatical Manual of the Currency or Money of the Aborigines, Colonial, State and United States Coins. You’ve run this image
previously as part of Pete Smith’s 2011 submission to The E-Sylum concerning Dickeson, (Volume 14, Number 45, October 30, 2011,
After reading recent issues of The E-Sylum, and looking at the earlier 1859 engraving and the one in Volume 18, Number 13, March
29, 2015, Article 10, in my opinion the hairline of Dickeson does not match that of the gentleman photographed with the Native
I wonder if Bob Wester’s account was correct, and Robert Coulton Davis really put the photo in his copy of Dickeson’s book, as the
Wester letter would seem to indicate? Note that this letter by Wester which accompanied the photo in the Champa library sale, differs a bit
in description of the Wester attribution by brother Joel Orosz, who reports that “In my library I have a print of that very picture made
years ago by Bob Wester. It was prepared by Bob Wester in February of 1984. Notes on the back suggest that Wester found the original print
of this photo laid in to a copy of the New York Stamp and Coin sale of the Robert Coulton Davis collection (1890).” (The E-Sylum: Volume
18, Number 13, March 29, 2015, Article 10,)
Although I bought the photo as an early image of an influential, if controversial American numismatist, who published one of the
earliest guidebooks of American coinage, I find the "Montroville W. Dickeson"/Perrin Whitman photograph is historic and
interesting, if a bit of a mystery.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
MONTROVILLE WILSON DICKESON (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n45a11.html)
MORE ON MONTROVILLE DICKESON (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v15n30a07.html)
QUERY: IS IT REALLY MONTROVILLE DICKESON IN THIS PHOTO?
MORE ON THE MONTROVILLE DICKESON PHOTO
Wayne Homren, Editor
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