The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 34, August 23, 2015, Article 16


John Lupia has generously offered to continue providing information from his   Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies‎. Articles are often illustrated with postcards from a trove of correspondence to Philadelphia coin dealers S. H. & H. Chapman. Thanks! His "News from the Chapman Brothers Mailbox" will be a regular feature in The E-Sylum. -Editor

John Lupia writes:

Here is the first official installment that Early American Coppers (EAC) members will relish as well as American Numismatic Society historians, from William Raymond Weeks. He is discussing his bids for the Chapmans' 15th coin auction sale to be held commencing on the 15th of December, just 13 days from the date of the postal card. His discussion is in relation to his collection of 1839 Large Cent varieties, which he deems being the finest and largest in the country, and mentioning his 1814 UNC Large Cent in relation to the one listed in the auction catalogue. I am sure EACers will be amused to see his highest anticipated bid of $2 on the 1839/36 Large Cent that was purported to be finer than that in the Bushnell sale.

News from the Chapman Brothers Mailbox

Weeks, William Raymond, (1848-1919) 763 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey; 206 Claremont Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey; 315 West 106th Street, New York, New York. Lawyer and numismatist.

He was born at Newark, New Jersey on August 4, 1848, son of John Randel Weeks (d. 1879) and Mary Frances (Adriance) Weeks. He graduated from the Newark Academy in 1865. He served in the New Jersey militia during the Civil War.

He married Irene Le Messena in 1869. They had two daughters. He was admitted to the bar and practiced law in 1870. He was admitted to the Bar as counselor in 1876. He was an active life member of the ANS since May 16, 1882.

He was the historiographer of the ANS. He collected Early American Copper -Colonial coins, Large cents and medals. He also wrote to the Chapman Brothers on December 2, 1885 telling them he owned the finest collection of 1839 Large Cent varieties known.

William Weeks postcard 1839 cents

Postal Card discussing anticipated bids on the Chapman coin auction held December 15-16, 1885: "You may remember my buying the Bushnell 1839 over/36 Cent, said to be the best (as to condition) then known. I think I have the finest set of 1839 cents in any collection and the largest number of variations in die cutting of that year. If your /39 was finer than the Bushnell piece, I wanted it, but would not bid more than $2; without seeing it.

"My 1814 plain 4 is uncirculated, fine color, but has the usual failing of being a light impression; but in this case I do not wish to make any bid at all without seeing the piece. Yours truly Wm. R. Weeks." In smudged brown ink the Chapman notation "O 12/4/85" signifying they sent out a reply on that date.

In 1883 he organized the Bloomfield Volunteer Fire Department. In 1895 he was admitted to the New York bar and opened an office there at 50 Broadway, New York.

In 1885, he became a Life Member of the New Jersey Historical Society. He was elected recording Secretary from 1890 – 1894.

In 1892, he sent a copy of S. S. Crosby, The Early Coins of America (1873) to Francis Bazley Lee, Trenton, New Jersey to help him with his research on colonial coinage in the state of New Jersey.

In 1896 he became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The story gets more interesting after that. -Editor

He was arrested in December, 1901 for extortion and grand larceny of $37,986.16 from the Emma Plaut estate. After his arrest and investigation it was discovered he also stole money from the Edward Lister estate as well.

His wife Irene died in 1902 shortly after he was arrested and imprisoned.

In order to raise money to pay his debts from the court case following his arrest in December 1901, he had Stanley V. Henkels catalogue his library and sell it at Davis & Harvey, 1112 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 5-6, 1902. Afterwards, at New York, he sold his collection combined with the late Augustus Humbert a California Assayer, consisting of 1,392 lots through the Chapman brothers on May 1-2, 1902. Adams rating B. Prices realized of over fifty lots were published in the June issue of The Numismatist.

Later on he remarried Oriana M. Clearman in 1910. Also, in 1910 he was the ANS Librarian and the ANS published his manuscript: The American Numismatic Society. (;view=1up;seq=1)

He was a member of the New York Numismatic Club and appeared in the January 24, 1913 photo.

He died at his home in Montclair, New Jersey on October 29, 1919.

Does anyone have a copy of the Henkels sale? What did Weeks have in his numismatic library? Do any of our readers have books with his bookplate or signature? What else is known about Weeks? Thanks. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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