The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 51, December 20, 2015, Article 15


John Lupia submitted the following information from his Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies‎ for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is Hershel Thomas Daniel, "last of the coin dealers who dealt in the classic curiosity cabinet items including coins and paper money." -Editor

Hershel Thomas Daniel (1905-1973), was born May 15, 1905, son of James L. Daniel, and Chlora Daniel, at Pittsburg, Johnson County, Arkansas. He married Rachel Stilley on October 3, 1924. They had a son Daniel Barton Daniel (1928-), and a daughter Barbara (1935-).

He was an amateur archaeologist who, like the coin dealer, Robert Wood Mercer of Ohio, became prominent among Indian relic dealers but also dealt in coins, medals, paper money, wampum, curios, minerals, fossils, etc., trading out of Dardanelle, Arkansas. G. E. Pilquist, another Indian relic dealer from Arkansas proceeded him dealing as early as 1907. Daniel was one of the last of the classic curio cabinet dealers who traded in natural and artificial curiosities as well as coins. "American numismatics antiseptically isolated from curiosities as a specialized field of collecting started to trend during the 1940's, something colonial British North American numismatists would hardly be able to understand or appreciate since the notion was inconceivable to them."

DANIEL 1937 Catalog H. T. Daniel began dealing in the 1920's and continued at different cities in Arkansas into the 1960's. He advertised regularly in Hobbies Magazine. He operated a store under various names and in 1940 after moving from Dardanelle it was called like Mercer's Ohio shop, the Curio Store, located at Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Many of the top American coin dealers dealt with Indian relics, especially Henry Chapman magnate of the coin dealing dynasty from 1875-1934. Perhaps one of the main contributing factors after the death of Henry Chapman during the 1940's that removed coins and coin dealing from the classic curiosity cabinet items, especially Indian artifacts was the fact that fakes began to circulate more frequently than the authentic bona fide item.

Although fake or counterfeit coins had always been in circulation among coin dealers since the 18th century the majority of coins sold in the market were and are authentic. This was not the case with other artifacts of the curiosity cabinet, especially the notorious fake Indian relics. "Daniel began dealing in “fake” artifacts “when collectors began expecting artifacts more exotic and rare than existed prehistorically”

Being a regular advertiser in Hobbies Magazine he took umbrage with editorials published in that magazine that criticized many of the Indian artifacts circulating among the dealers as fakes. "In a letter to the editor in the December 1935 edition, Daniel wrote thatHobbies' sky-is-falling attitude toward fakes only scared people off from buying authentic artifacts from reputable dealers.

Daniel's letter was the height of hypocrisy because Daniel himself was the source of many forgeries.

He died at the age of 68 years, 4 months, and 11 days, on September 4, 1973 at Lamar, Arkansas.

Daniel, Hershel envelope

Business envelope of Hershel T. Daniel postmarked with Scott No. 552 (1922-1925) Precancel "Farmington, Arkansas" c. 1925. Courtesy the Lupia Numismatic Library. It is curious that he used a precanceled postage stamp from Farmington in Washington County 120 miles northwest of Dardanelle, along Lake Dardanelle, Yell County.

To read the complete article, see:

On a related note Dave Hirt writes:

Regarding the item on R. W. Mercer, I own several of his publications: his one auction sale of May, 5, 1879 (I have a priced copy) , and his Numismatic Directory (I have an 1884 edition).

The posted notice of him listing dealers who were selling fake American Indian material was quite interesting to me, because some time later W. E. Woodward said the same thing about Mercer, warning collectors against buying Indian material from a man in Cincinnati.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ROBERT WOOD MERCER (1840-1894) (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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