The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 15, April 10, 2016, Article 16

BENJAMIN G. GREEN (1860-1914)

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 dealer Ben Green. -Editor

Green, Ben G Benjamin G. Green (1860-1914), was born at Franklin Township, Mercer County, Ohio on March 16, 1860, son of Thomas Green (1832-1919), and Sarah Jane Preston (1836-1926), both natives of Ohio. In his early youth his family moved to Piqua, Ohio. After completing his public school studies, in 1878, he entered the newly chartered (1849) private school organized by the Church of United Brethren in Christ outside Columbus founded by Philip William Otterbein, for whom the school was named, "The Otterbein University of Ohio", Westerville, Ohio. He taught school part-time while there. After graduation in 1882 he traveled throughout thirty states and territories in America until 1886. He began coin collecting as a child and before leaving Otterbein already amassed a fairly large collection of coins and stamps.

His religious upbringing and mild manner as a salesman formed him as being one of the most affable and congenial numismatists in the first two decades of the twentieth century, though his life was cut short in 1914.

On December 25, 1888, he married Minnie E. Nutt (1866-post 1930), at Dayton, Ohio. They lived at Cincinnati and had a daughter named Mabel (1892-). Green worked for Edward and Theodore Pape and Emil Kugemann in the Cincinnati firm of Pape Bros. & Kugemann selling art moldings, picture frames, and mirrors.

In 1890, he left the firm of the Pape Brothers & Kugemann and moved to Chicago where he continued to work as a salesman...

On February 20, 1902, he held his first coin auction sale. He held these sales of coin collections on a commission basis in what he called mail auctions conducted at his home in Edgewater, a lakefront community on the North side of Chicago. In all he held eighty-three auctions with the final sale sold posthumously on January 23, 1914. The first eighteen sales from February 1902 to September 1905 were mail bid auction sales printed in 16mo (5-3/4" - 6-3/4" in height).

The early catalogues were composed much like the catalogues Green was used to selling picture frame moldings and prosthetic devices that were rather bland and nondescript treating the coins much like merchandise to be sold as retail. The later auctions were all public auctions conducted by veteran Chicago auctioneer Dan Long at Green's office in the Masonic Temple Building. The gross take on his first twenty sales was $40,000.

Green, Ben ad August 1902 Earliest ad for his book Numismatist's Reference Check Book in the July and in the August 1902 issues of Philatelic West, Vol. XX, Nos. 1 and 2. The 1793 Liberty Cap Half Cent C-2 image used on all his corporate collateral was borrowed from Lyman Low's advertisements. Courtesy Lupia numismatic Library, Special Collection, Philatelic West.

The first edition was a flexible leather pocket edition with gilt edges, Numismatist's Reference and Check Book: Being A List of Coins Issued By The U. S. Mint And Branches, With Principal Varieties, Private Issues of Gold, Paper, Fractional Currency and Encased Postage Stamps, With Provisions For Checking and Recording The Pieces In A Collection. It was published in several editions, interleaved or not interleaved and in a cheaper binding. A few months after advertising in the Philatelic West he ran his first quarter page ad for the book in the December 1902 issue of The Numismatist and kept an ad running for several years.

On September 15, 1902 he opened his own office at the Masonic Temple... It was at the Masonic Temple that Green attracted several important collectors from the Chicago area that fall and winter, including Virgil Michael Brand, and about a year later they formed the Chicago Numismatic Society. In 1941 William G. Jerrems, Jr., the aged first president of the ANA wrote his reminiscences about meeting Ben Green in 1901 and their interest in forming a Chicago Society.

In 1904, he served as secretary and librarian of the Chicago Numismatic Society (CNS), which he help found... In the early years many meetings of the CNS were held in Ben Green's salesroom at the Masonic Temple.

During his attendance for his last three ANA Annual Conventions, i.e., from 1911 to 1913 he exhibited his collection of about one hundred varieties of encased postage stamps, which was appraised as the finest known. It included the rare Hunt & Nash of Irving House, New York, English Penny Red postage stamp in wide use 1864-1880.

In 1913, he was elected to the Board of Governors of the ANA by a vote of 381 in favor. That was pretty good considering Judson Brenner received 384 and Howard Rounds Newcomb 383. Ben Green was well liked and respected throughout his tenure in the field of numismatics.

He died on January 17, 1914 of typhoid pneumonia... He was buried on January 20, 1914, in the Rose Hill Cemetery.

To read the complete article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster