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 Illinois collector,
Large Cent maven and numismatic bibliophile Henry Sternberg. The photo is cropped from the August 21-27, 1925 ANA Convention Group Photo in The
Numismatist, October 1925. -Editor
Henry August Sternberg (1875-1955), was born on September 27, 1875, in Illinois of German immigrant parents from Mecklenburg, Charles and Fredericka
He was a resident of Dundee, Kane County, Illinois. Sternberg had a general store carrying a wide variety of merchandise from clothing, shoes, boots, hats,
to hardware items like window shades, and linoleum. He retired in 1923 from his firm : H. A. Sternberg & Co., 123 West Main Street, Dundee, Illinois.
Henry, his wife and two children were all involved in coin collecting and in ANA as well as local coin club events. Henry is known for having one of the
best early U.S. gold coin collections as well as early American copper cents with famous red uncirculated 1793 specimens.
In May 26, 1897, he married Lora Bumstead, daughter of James H. Bumstead and Annie Masters Bumstead. They had a son Earle (1898-1991).
On August 11, 1902, he married Alice Wilcox Hill (1876-1964), at Dundee, Kane, Illinois. They had a daughter Ellen Belle (1913-1988).
In the 1910 U. S. Census he is listed as a retail dry goods merchant living at 25 Oregon Avenue, Dundee, Kane, Illinois. Sternberg began collecting prize
change over the counter and studied coins received in his store. Over time he would assemble several fine collections that have attained fame with many
specimens today some of the rarest and finest known.
When a passenger elevator was installed in his store in February 1914 notice ran in The McHenry Plaindealer, Thursday, February 26, 1914, page 1.
He began buying coins from Henry Chapman in March, 1917.
He applied for membership in the ANA in January 1918. He became ANA Member No. 1960.
The 1920 U. S. Census lists him as the owner of a department store and his son Erle working for him living at 232 Third Street, Dundee, Kane, Illinois.
In 1920 he and his wife attended the ANA Convention in Chicago.
His wife also joined the Chicago Coin Club with him.
In January 1925 he and his wife and daughter Ellen Belle announced the forming of the Dundee Numismatic Club, with three charter members. Erle joined
Henry Sternberg was a member of the Board of Education not long after his retirement and stayed on for 13 years.
The 1930 U.S. Census lists him as retired living at 143 4th Street, West Dundee, Kane, Illinois.
In 1930 he bought some of the French collection.
The 1940 U.S. Census lists him as retired living at 212 North 4th Street, Dundee, Kane, Illinois.
He consigned coins to the J. C. Morganthau Sale #305 held April 7-8, 1933. The sale included coins from the Beckwith and French collections. And Sternberg
had some of the rarest and best known early Cents. His reputation preceded him : "Sternberg bought 9 1793's, the 1797's and 1798's, 1 1799,
10 1800's, 7 1801's, as well as some of the dates of 1821 to 1829."
Morganthau's Preface to the sale read :
THE STERNBERG COLLECTION
We offer in this catalogue some of the finest and rarest coins it was ever any cataloguer’s privilege to describe. They form the residue of the wonderful
collection formerly owned by Mr. H. A. Sternberg of Dundee, 111., who has been gradually disposing of his coins for several years. Singularly, many of his
finest and rarest coins remain until last and are offered in this catalogue. We disposed of part of his collection of Cents in our sale of April 26, 1932,
which accounts for the missing dates in this present offering.
An opportunity is here offered Cent Collectors to secure some of the finest and most famous Cents in existence, Cents . which have been in the great
Collections of the past. This pedigree of past ownership, if it doesn’t mean anything else, certainly does mean that the coins were the finest obtainable to a
long line of earnest collectors who were willing to spend lavishly of their time and money to secure the best.
On August 11, 1952, Henry and Alice celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
He died at his home on November 4, 1955.
His numismatic library and the remainder of his coins were sold posthumously at auction by Bolender on March 2, 1956 including as is often cited 133 large
cents, 40 of which were 1794's.
The catalogue for his library :
NUMISMATIC BOOKS & LITERATURE
Collectors of U.S. Large Copper Cents will find here the best books on that series of American numismatics. These books are from the library of the late H.
A. Sternberg, who was one of our greatest collectors of this series, for almost 50 years.
633. Crosby, S.S. The United States Coinage of 1793 Cents and Half-cents. Boston 1897. 36 pp. plus 3 pages of plates. Original, with additional article by
Geo. H. Clapp on the subject. Brown cloth. Fine. Rare. $10.
634. Hays, W.W. Varieties of U.S. Cents of 1794. New York 1893. Edited by Ed Frossard. Original with plates. Red cloth. Fine &rare book. $15.
635. Chapman, S. H. The United States Cents of the Year 1794. Phila. 1926. Large ..., blue cloth, with 4 pages of plates. Very good. $10.
636. Clapp, George H. The U.S. Cents of the Years 1795, 1796, 1797, and 1800. Howard R. Newcomb assisted in this work. Splendid treatise with fine plates.
Blue cloth bound. Very fine. $20.
637. Gilbert & Elder. The U.S. Cents of 1796, published in 1909. With plates. Also U.S. Cents 1804 to 1814, by Geo. H. Clapp, pub. 1941 in Coin
collector series booklet, illust. Fine. Sold as one. $6.
638. Clapp, George H. The United States Cents of the Years 1798 and 1799. Published in 1931. Excellent work with plates of the best. Leather bound. V. fine.
639. Newcomb, Howard R... The U.S. Cents of the Years 1801, 1802, 1803. Detroit 1925. With finest plates. Large size, brown cloth. V. fine. $12.50.
640. Doughty, F. W. The Cents of the United States, 1793 to 1814. Reprint from original pub. in 1890. Cloth. V. fine. $5.
641. Sheldon, William H. Early American Cents 1793-1814. Published in New York 1949. Excellent work, 339 pp. plus plates V. fine. $7. F
642. Howard R. Newcomb, UNITED STATES COPPER CENTS 1816-1857. 284 large pages 9x12 in. plus 11 pp. of fine plates. Also catalogue of the sale of Newcomb’s
great collection of large cents, from 1816-1857. Sold as one. V. fine. $15.
643. Beckwith, Dr. Henry W. Priced auction sale catalogue, with plates, sold by S. H. Chapman 1923. The quality of the large cents in this sale was of the
very finest. $15.
644. The Dr. Geo. P. French Collection. 1930 catalogue by B. M. Mehl. Descriptions of over 800 large cents in the great French coll’n. Flexible leather
cover. V. fine. $10.
645. Famous Collections of Large Cents. Catalogues of several great collections including Major Richard Lambert (1910) with plates &prices; Fred B. King
(1927) priced; Dr. J. M. Henderson (1921) priced; T. James Clarke (1929) priced; Dupont sale priced with plates (1949); Wm. Schleicher (1919) priced; Jascha
Heifetz (1938) priced with plates; Homer K. Downing (1952) priced with plates; Allison W. Jackman (1918) partly hand-priced, and several others. Sold as one
646. Lot of 17 auction sales catalogues from 1917 to 1941, mostly priced, some with plates. Includes some great or famous collections, incl. the great Jenks
sale of 1921 partly priced with names of some buyers. One lot. $20.
647. Adams &Woodin. UNITED STATES PATTERN, TRIAL, and EXPERIMENTAL PIECES. Original of this fine illustrated book, the authority on pattern coins. 195
pp. Blue cloth, pub. in New York in 1913. V. good, some prices penned in. $7.50.
648. Gilbert, E. U.S. Half-Cents. Accepted authority. Not bound and no plates, but all half-cents can be properly attributed. Also a priced plate catalogue
of famous Hillyer Ryder coll’n. of half-cents. Sold as one. $5.
649. Andrews on U.S. Cents 1816-1857, paper cover reprint. New York Store Cards by Edgar H. Adams 1913. Coins & Tokens of Canada by Raymond 1937.
Dunham's Easy Finding List. Early N.Y. Merchants’ Tokens by Raymond 1936. Annual Report of Director of Mint for year 1917. Only the last bound, others
paper covers. One lot. $10.
650. Haseltine, John W. U.S. Early Silver quarters, half-dollars and dollars. 1927 reprint. Good. $7.50.
651. Browning, A. W. The EARLY QUARTER DOLLARS OF THE UNITED STATES FROM 1796 to 1838. Pub. in New York in 1925. With 8 pages of plates. The authority on
quarters. Red cloth. Fine. $15.
652. U.S. Early Silver Dollars, by M. H. Bolender 1950. Large size 9x12 inches, with plates to show 156 illustrations. Blue cloth, about as new. The
standard authority on the subject. Autographed by the author. $9.
653. A Table of English Silver Coins, by Martin Folkes. A very old large book printed in London in 1745. About 9x12 in. boards. Covers English coins from
the Norman conquest to 1745. Interesting thing. Covers poor, contents fine. $5.
To read the complete article, see:
* * * * *
STERNBERG, HENRY AUGUST
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