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 Virginia dealer George W. Robinette.
The first image is "George and Sidney Robinette with their Exhibition Cabinet of their Indian Relic Collection." -Editor
George William Robinette (1851-1916), was born on May 19, 1851, in Russell County, Virginia.
On April 27, 1872, he married Sidney Jane McReynolds (1853-1937). They had twelve children of which three were sons, one died at birth.
Like most American farmers from the beginning of American farming history men enjoyed antiquarian studies and in the process acquired stamps, curios, coins, and other
collectibles and George W. Robinette was no different. What makes him stand out in American numismatic history is not his coin collection which was probably a trifle. But, we must
be objective and come to the realization that many of these insignificant collections often contained what are todays coveted rare gems selling at auction for small fortunes. What
numismatic gems or trite pieces graced the drawers of his cabinet have not been recorded, or at least such record is not known to have survived. What significance G. W. Robinette
has in American numismatic history is the jeopardy he placed the Chapman Brothers in, particularly Henry Chapman, Jr., the resident Indian relic expert, who sold many of
Robinettes fakes. A nation wide scandal and investigation into the fake Indian relic industry was being systematically exposed in a series of articles in The Archaeologist
in 1898. Henry Chapman's name surfaced since so many purchased these from him, he was a national suspect.
Robinette letter selling and trading his Indian relics to the Chapman Brothers, postmarked October 1, 1897, Flag Pond, Virginia.
The American Archaeologist, ran a very lengthy series of articles on counterfeit American Indian relics in 1898. In the course of publication and replies from readers a
very intriguing story began to unfold focusing on different kinds of fake relics but also their geographic regions and names of known sources. Among them were a certain class of
Indian relics traceable to G. W. Robinette, Flag Pond, Virginia. He in turn was the supplier to Henry Chapman, Jr., who now needed to be exonerated since Chapman sold a great
number of Robinettes fakes to his clients and his innocence needed to be attested to. Fortunately, a Philadelphian aware of the situation who knew Henry and the bad press stories
in which he could easily have been caught in the crossfire, came to his rescue with an editorial.
Once these stories ran in the press other editors soon chimed in. The editor of the Virginia Philatelist wrote "G. W. Robinette, Flag Pond, Va. "Is a
fraud," says Mr. A. F. Berlin associate editor of The Archaeologist, who had defended this "crook" for several years--during all of which time he practiced his
nefarious business. We're sorry we carried his ad, and hope none of our friends fell into Flag Pond."
To read the complete article, see:
* * * * *
ROBINETTE, GEORGE WILLIAM
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 NumismaticMall.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster