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 early American collector Benjamin Watkins. I've added illustrations of the Watkins auction broadside from an earlier
E-Sylum article. -Editor
Watkins, Benjamin H. (1752-1828), was born on April 28, 1752 at New Castle, Rockingham, New Hampshire, son of Captain Andrew Watkins
(1722-?) and Jane Frost (1725-1790). Like his father he was a seaman from his youth and later in life became a dry goods merchant at Salem. It seems
highly tenable that the young Watkins or his father Captain Andrew Watkins purveyed coins from distant lands for Rev. Bentley (q.v.), the Unitarian
Minister at Salem. He was an antiquary and collector of books, coins, engravings and curiosities. He died in January 25, 1828 at his home on
Marlborough Street, Salem, Massachusetts. His goods sold at auction about six months after his demise by the estate administrator Thomas Odell. His
collection sold for about $1,000.00 on June 12, 1828 at auction by George Nichols, and is the first listed in E. J. Attinelli's
Numisgraphics (New York, 1876).
At the time of his death his coin collection consisted of 350 ancient coins, two Massachusetts NE shillings, two Massachusetts twopence
pieces, and one Massachusetts threepence.
The catalog was drawn up by John H. Nichols, the seventeen-year-old son of the auctioneer. Young Mr. Nichols purchased some of the coins
himself forming a collection which he retained into the late 1870’s. Attinelli was assisted in gathering this information from Dr.
Wheatland and young Mr. Nichols, now an elderly man in his mid to late 60’s.
To read the complete article, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
REPRODUCTIONS OF THE WATKINS BROADSIDE OFFERED
Wayne Homren, Editor
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