John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book 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 Samuel Bowlby of Illinois. -Editor
Samuel Bowlby is one of many Americans yet unrecorded to American numismatic history whose coin collection was sold after his demise leaving only a clerk's record of
Samuel Barker Bowlby (1804-1864), was born on November 27, 1804 at Sussex, New Jersey, son of Samuel Barker Bowlby, Sr. (1782-1846), and Hulda Messene Bowlby (1784-1844).
In 1830 he married Abigail Bowlby (1812-1870), of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, were married in Ohio. About 1857, Bowlby moved to from Ohio to Illinois. In 1860, he is recorded
as a farmer in Somerset Township, Illinois.
He died nine days before his 60th birthday on November 18, 1864, at Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois.
His significance in American numismatic history lay in what appears to be a coin auction sale in order to settle the estate of the deceased who was either a collector with a
collection of gold and silver coins, or a hoarder of hard cash. How they were as a collection is not clear. It may have been simply a hoard of specie kept over the years, but the
fact it was sold rather than merely deposited or spent at face value implies the coins in the hoard or collection were known to bear a premium above face value. This aspect
provides evidence but is insufficient to suggest exclusively that it was a coin collection.
A large hoard amassed by a prosperous farmer over decades could simply appreciated as Old Tenor and would have had greater intrinsic value as bullion by weight. Either way this
is of value to numismatic historians. This is the sort of item historians of coin auctions are looking for in order to expand our knowledge of nineteenth century numismatic coin
sales. One would think coin dealers, jewelers, brokers, and collectors would have attend these.
An original of the Clerk's file record of the sale of coins of the late Samuel Bowlby.
Interesting question. We may never know what the estate consisted of. Perhaps a future researcher will discover a notation about a coin purchased from the
Bowlby estate. What fun it would be for a modern numismatist to go back to 1865 and see the group! -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
* * * * *
BOWLBY, SAMUEL BARKER, Jr.
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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