The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 11, March 17, 2019, Article 11


Web site visitor Timothy M. Bachman of Kalamazoo, MI writes:

I have an old coin that has engraving on it similar to a coin I found in an article you posted. I'm trying to get some info on this coin. It is an 1893 Columbian Exposition half dollar, it is engraved 4.5.93. and A.W. Shaw. The engraving is on the obverse side of the coin. Any info would be helpful and much appreciated. My coin is in excellent condition, looks to be uncirculated. I've had it for years, and I've never been able to find much out about it.

1893 Columbian expo Half Dollar engraved A.W. Shaw obverse 1893 Columbian expo Half Dollar engraved A.W. Shaw reverse

The article Tim found is about the engraved 1864 half Dollars made from silver recovered from the burned Masonic Temple in Boston. I offered to publish his piece here for reader comment, but Tim has already done some additional research. -Editor

Tim writes:

I did find out some info on A. W. Shaw, there is a Wikipedia article about him, and several other articles I've found. He was an entrepreneur from Jackson Michigan. I found the coin while coin roll hunting back in 2010. It was in a roll of half dollars that was all proof Kennedy halves, like someone had dropped off a coin collection at a bank. I was 28 when I came across the coin. I've kept it safe for almost a decade.

I am attaching the Wikipedia on Shaw, definitely worth reading. Turns out he is quite an interesting fellow. The company he started was very successful, and then baught by the McGraw-hill company in the 1920s, later they sold it.

Shaw would have been 17 years old when the coin was engraved, I'm wondering if it was a high school graduation gift. I'm wondering if there's any way anyone would be able tell who engraved it.

Arch Wilkinson Shaw (August 4, 1876 - March 9, 1962) was an American entrepreneur, publisher, editor and management theorist who applied the ideas of scientific management in the areas of offices and the tertiary sector.

During the First World War, Shaw served as Secretary of Commercial Economy Board, and later served as member of the board of directors of the Harvard Business School.

Shaw was born in 1876 in Jackson, Michigan, son of James Franklin Shaw and Estelle Jane (Fenn) Shaw. After attending public school, he quit his studies at Olivet College. He would eventually obtained his AM degree from Olivet College in 1914, and would obtain his doctor of laws from Northwestern University in 1927.

Shaw broke off his studies at the Olivet College before graduating in 1899, at the age of 23, and founded, with Louis C. Walker, the Shaw-Walker Company in Muskegon Michigan,specializing in office supplies and plugs and files.

Four years later, in 1903, while still in the board of directors of the firm, he founded the Shaw Company, which published the reviews System, The Magazine of Business, specializing in the service and offices (typing, office furniture, etc.), and Factory. The firm also published books on management. Shaw sold it in 1928 to the McGraw-Hill Company.

Turns out he was good friends with Herbert Hoover, and even an advisor to him. It was also him who funded the Harvard business school, and the first to teach business at Harvard. I also found that he was co-founder of the Kellogg company.

To read the complete Wikipedia article, see:
Arch Wilkinson Shaw (

To read shaw's New York Times obituary (subscription required), see:
ARCH SHAW DIES; EX-PUBLISHER, 85; Business Magazine Leader Was Adviser to Hoover (

So is this the A.W. Shaw associated with this coin? The circumstantial evidence is strong, but there's no proof. On a whim I searched the Newman Numismatic Portal for A.W. Shaw which led me to a 1994 Coin World article mentioning an "A W. Shaw" in The Numismatist in 1891. So I logged on to my American Numismatic Association account and repeated my search there.

In the July 1891 issue I found this (referencing the proposed founding of the American Numismatic Association):

The A.N.A., is O.K. A. W. Shaw, Jackson Mich.

In the August 1891 issue I found this:

"The Collectors Journal of Jackson Mich., wants an editor for its numismatic department. We should be pleased to see this want filled by some of our numismatic frends. Address; A. W. Shaw, Jackson, Mich." -Editor

So this A. W. Shaw was a an early subscriber to The Numismatist before the founding of the ANA, and published his own collector magazine. He would have been 15 at the time. What do readers think? Did the engraved Columbian Half belong to him? I reached out to NBS Historian Joel Orosz, also of Kalamazoo.

Joel writes:

I was for several years a Program Director at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek. I was quite interested in the biography of the man-Will Keith Kellogg-who was the founder of both the Kellogg Company and the Kellogg Foundation.

In the early years of the Kellogg Company (founded 1906), Arch Shaw was a close adviser to Mr. Kellogg. He remains a respected figure in the history of business.

I think it is likely both that the engraved Columbian half belonged to Shaw, and that he was associated with the short-lived Collector's Journal in Jackson.

However, it appears that Shaw's interest in numismatics did not extend into the 20th century, for he seems to go quiet after getting the half engraved.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Holabird E-Sylum ad 2019-03-10 WESTS sale

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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