The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a nice group of Thomas Elder items. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided
the following report. Thanks! -Editor
Thomas Lindsay Elder (1874-1948), one of the most prolific numismatic catalogers of all time, left a legacy of 292 auction sales in
addition to a mélange of other written works. Dan Hamelberg has generously loaned his plated Elder sales to the Newman Portal for scanning,
and these are now available in the Newman Collection on Internet Archive.
Among the more important sales are Gschwend for colonials, Gilbert for large cents (1910), and Gehring for federal and pioneer gold (1921).
Hamelberg also loaned manuscript material, including correspondence related to the sale of the Lawrence collection (1929), which contained important
territorial gold. These papers offer an inside look at the auction business in the 1920s, revealing that Elder’s “rack rate” for commissions was 25%.
Another manuscript item is a veritable treasure map of Elder’s house, apparently written shortly before Elder’s death or during a serious illness,
which details locations of various desiderata. “Look out for an envelope [of] 1877…Indian Head cents,” Elder advised, suggesting that Elder’s office,
like many today, was not the most organized.
Finally, this group includes ephemeral publications of Elder such as Elder’s “Illustrated Bargain Retail List for 1929,” featuring a
wide array of ancient, foreign, and American coinage. The U.S. coins are offered on a “type” basis, such as California gold quarter dollars
at $1.75 each, “not to be confused with the numerous counterfeits being advertised by ‘coin dealers,’ bearing old dates, but a modern
manufacture and made by the thousands to sell to suckers.” The source material here is easily enough to fuel several articles, and is now
available to all.
Elder material on Internet Archive
George A. Lawrence collection sale correspondence:
George A. Lawrence plated sale:
Elder’s “treasure map”:
Elder's Illustrated Bargain Retail List for 1929:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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