The Newman Numismatic Portal is actively looking for opportunities to digitize content from the archives of numismatic organizations.
Already available are archives of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society and the Rochester Numismatic Association, With the new
scanning facility in place at the American Numismatic Associations, the ANS archives will be digitized in the coming months and years. If
your club has an archive, NNP will digitize some or all of it free of charge.
High on our list are the early archives of the Boston Numismatic Society. Do they exist? -Editor
Boston Numismatic Society
On February 11,1860, eight gentlemen met at the new England historic genealogical society to create a numismatic organization not unlike
those formed in Philadelphia and New York in 1858. Dr. Winslow Lewis was elected its first president, and William Sumner Appleton Sr.,
already internationally recognized for the breadth and quality of his collection, its secretary. The latter’s presence would dominate the
Boston Numismatic Society (BNS) for the next 43 years.
Over the decades, growing respect for the BNS brought it active “correspondent” members, among them Lea Ahlborn, Charles Anthon, Oscar
Dodson, W. E. Dubois, Henri Hoffmann, Abe Kosoff, Harold Mattingly, Joseph Mickley, M. Vernon Sheldon, George Tilden, and Moritz and
Charles Wormser. In March 1870, the BNS was incorporated by the Massachusetts legislature, and its library and cabinet of coins and medals
grew to include more than 1,000 significant rarities, which were available for use and study by its members. From the late 1880s, the BNS
contributed funds annually to support the learned and respected, but languishing, American Journal of Numismatics, which later
became an arm of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) in New York.
Monthly meetings were held of late afternoons in the comfortable surroundings of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, where
BNS members exhibited and discussed such treasures as gold staters, early pattern coins and even an 1804 dollar. Joining Appleton in this
pleasant exchange in later years would be Jeremiah Colburn, Henry Davenport, Joseph Finotti, Reverend Edmund Slafter, William T.R. Marvin
and Sylvester Sage Crosby (BNS treasurer for 24 years).
In 1873 Isaac Wood of New York struck the first BNS medals, in conjunction with the New England Historic Genealogical Society. A ready
contributor of medals to the cabinet, Wood became a BNS member and donated the canceled die for the medal.
In the late 1880s, membership in the BNS lagged, due in part to the aging of its members. Meetings became less frequent and, in the
latter part of the century, the society donated $300 and its impressive cabinet of numismatic items to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and
another $300 and its library to the Boston Public Library. Appleton’s death in 1903 left the BNS with but four of its original members.
In 1906 William T.R. Marvin, the society’s new secretary, promoted the membership applications of Horace L. Wheeler, James B. Chase Jr.,
Malcolm N. Jackson, Dr. Malcolm Storer and Howland Wood. New blood, revitalized intellectual exchanges and renewed enthusiasm—much
encouraged by Wheeler’s stimulating and inspiring presence over the next 30 years— all effected a renaissance of the Boston Numismatic
So... do any early records of the Boston Numismatic Society survive? If so, where are they? -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
A Brief History of the Boston Numismatic Society
Wayne Homren, Editor
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