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
not a person but a business - the Michigan Coin Company. -Editor
Michigan Coin Company, 176 Cass Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1888-1889), was a coin, stamp, and curio dealership initially formed
by the partnership of two teens : George Barnett Ward (1873-1935), manager, and Louis B. Bentley, a native of Missouri, secretary and treasurer.
Later on Wilbur M. Miller (1871-1958) became associated with them in business. Ward was the principal character of Michigan Coin Company, who
continued his numismatic career lifelong. Louis B. Bentley, worked as a secretary for the Peninsular Electric Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. From
1889 to 1890, he lived at 353 South Lafayette Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nothing more is heard of him in numismatic circles.
George Barnett Ward (1873-1935), was born on April 30, 1873, in Spring Lake, Ottawa County, Michigan, youngest of three sons of Alfred Ward
(1829-1893), a Gardner from Vermont, and Mary Elizabeth Burnapp Ward (1838-1897).
In the fall or winter of 1888 he traded as Michigan Coin Company from his parents home. Dr. George Heath, M.D., began his American
Numismatist magazine in August 1888, just 140 miles south west of Grand Rapids, which served as a catalyst inspiring young Ward to form his
fledgling company. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that Ward was a charter member of the ANA. Also, one wonders if Heath refers to George Ward
or his father Alfred who was from Vermont when he mentions "Brother Ward, of Vermont, lately bought a box of over 200 copper coins for $4.50.
Inside of twenty-four hours he was offered $25 for his bargain, and later was offered $5 each for some of them singly." George Heath, "With
the Editor," The Numismatist, Vol. IX, No. 1, January (1896) : 28
He lived with his parents at 176 Cass Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He was an officer of the Templars, South Enterprise Lodge, No. 20, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
On February 23, 1892, he married Bertie E. Lamoraux of New York. They had a daughter Gladys (1892-1963), and a son Franklin William Ward (1896-).
They were divorced April 3, 1900.
In 1892, he was a charter member of the ANA being ANA Member No. 33.
By 1897, he worked as a photographer and sold photograph equipment and supplies living and working in Chicago.
On April 28, 1900, 3-1/2 weeks after his divorce he remarried to Lillian May Witwer (1866-1951).
He reapplied for membership to the ANA in September 1907.
He moved to 1725 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, Illinois and again reapplied for ANA membership in August 1913, becoming ANA Member No. 1720 in
He remarried to Evelyn M. Hart (1876-). They had a son William Richard Ward (1918-1997).
Ward was elected an associate member of the ANS in April 1914.
He was a member of the Evanston Country Club.
In 1920, he lived in Palos, Illinois.
The 1930 U. S . Census lists him as the owner of a restaurant in Palos Park, Cook County, Illinois.
He died on April 10, 1935, Palos Park, Cook County, Illinois.
To read the complete article, see:
* * * * *
MICHIGAN COIN COMPANY
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All inquiries will be given prompt and courteous attention. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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