The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 21, May 26, 2019, Article 21


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 dealer C. F. Clarke. -Editor

C. F. Clarke Eureka Money Manual C. F. Clarke & Company was established about the end of 1906 or the beginning of 1907 by Calvin F. Clarke and either his finance or wife Bernice. The Clarke's developed perhaps the largest mail order coin dealerships in the country. His son Wilfred continued the company for at least eight more years until around 1960.

Calvin Frank Clarke (1872-1952), was born on October 31, 1872, at Le Roy, Genesee County, New York, the eldest of three children born to Harrison Clarke (1841-1925), a native of Connecticut, and Lucinda Mahala Clarke (1845-1914), a native of New York.

Calvin F. Clarke graduated elementary school at Le Roy, New York, and from there worked on a farm.

He is listed in both the 1900 U.S. Census and 1905 New York Census as a farmer.

Around 1887, he began a sideline from his farming work as a philatelic dealer selling stamps, photo post cards, and comic post cards. He mainly dealt in stamps exclusively from 1887 to 1906/7. During that period he compiled The Philatelic Stamp Value Book, circa 1889-1890, 16-pages.

Noticeable increases in premiums in the coin market caused Clarke to increase his focus on the buying and selling of coins, which seems to have been influenced by the aggressive advertising of B. Max Mehl and undoubtedly by the loving guidance of his future father-in-law Wilfred F. Brand (1862-1939), publisher of the Le Roy News. Among Clarke's coin clients was numismatic notable John A. Beck "The Salt King" of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.

Clarke's first known numismatic publication circa 1906/7 was the then stylish art nouveau designed The Eureka Money Manual.

C. F. Clarke Reliable Coin Book No. 10 C. F. Clarke 1914 Premium catalog

Beginning in August 1909, his newspaper coin advertisements were published regularly in area newspapers. Note C. F. Clarke & Co., originally incorporated both his initials and his wife Bernice as C. F. B. Clarke & Co., coin dealers. Right after Valentine's Day 1910 the B. was dropped, which is most probably just a coincidence and does not necessitate reading into it any marital strife or Bernice's no longer being part of the company. Also, the caveat to not spend but save all old coins before 1880 was changed in October 1910 to read "coined before 1884" instead of 1880, and in 1913 it was changed to "before 1895".

C. F. Clarke Gold pieces article Clarke's new format for his Reliable Premium Coin Catalogue and Price List made its debut April 12, 1909, and cost 10 cents.

On August 26, 1912, he was a charter member of the Rochester Numismatic Association (RNA)

He applied for membership in the ANA in September 1912. In October 1912, he became ANA Member No. 1625.

He was one of the first great advertisers and kept the limelight in the news as a promoter similar to the style of B. Max Mehl. Above : "LeRoy Man Receives Shipment of One Dollar Gold Pieces" when Clarke received 570 gold dollars in the mail of the so-called Civil War Hoard. Ithaca Journal, Wednesday, January 16, 1924, page 11. The story ran in all the local papers.

He died at home November 24, 1952. John Pittman sent flowers on behalf of the RNA. George Bauer attended the funeral at the Clarke home 20 Union Street.

C. F. Clarke tomb Numismatic bibliophiles should definitely visit John's site and see the complete article - it's profusely illustrated with examples of Clarke's publications. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

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The entire inventory of the Lupia Numismatic Library is for sale. Individual items will be available before the remaining archives are broken up into parcels sold at philatelic auctions in the U. S. and Hong Kong. Check frequently as dozens of new items with estimates will be posted daily until everything is sold.

All inquiries will be given prompt and courteous attention. Write to: .

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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