The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 48, November 29, 2020, Article 17


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 collector and author Frank D. Andrews. I added an image and link to Andrews' classic 1881 work. -Editor

Andrews, Frank Dewette Andrews, Frank DeWette (1847-1937), was born on August 1, 1847 in Southington, Hartford County, Connecticut, the son of Bennet Josiah Andrews (1806-1860) and Lavinia Frost (1817-1899).

He was a descendant of John Andrews an original proprietor of Farmington in 1640. As a young boy Andrews developed what would grow into a life-long avid interest in geology, genealogy, numismatics, philatelics, antiquarian history and Indian relics.

According to the 1870 U. S. Census the family owned and worked a prosperous estate farm and Andrews personal estate was valued at $4,000. While farming in Southington, Andrews married Kittie Gallup (1842-1880) on December 16, 1868. In 1869 he and his family moved to South 7th Street, in what was then called Landis Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey.

His wife having died sometime prior to June 1880, led him to occupy his mind by writing his book, A Description of 268 Varieties of United States Cents, 1816-1857 in the Collection of Frank D. Andrews (1881). He tells us about this in his own words :

"I will say here, that, for the want of something to closely occupy and engage the mind, I attempted the work upon the United States cents 1816-57 . . . There is nothing . . . to enable one to endure sorrow as constant occupation, which shall keep the mind from dwelling upon its loss."

Andrews 1881 title page Andrews self-published the book in only forty copies. He explains this in his author's preface in the fifty-four page pamphlet :

Believing this pamphlet to be of value for reference to others as well as myself, I have issued a small edition, forty copies, part of which I intend distributing among my coin collecting friends, for the remainder, should anyone desire a copy, the price will be twenty-five cents each. FDA February 10, 1881."

The scarcity of copies drove up the price of this fifty-four page pamphlet and by 1884 we find a record that it realized a price of $4.00 at public auction.

His numismatic interests also led him to become a corresponding member of the ANS since June 12, 1883. During this time he lived with his twice-widowed mother Lavinia A. Norton and his elder widowed sister Emma Belinda Gridley at his home in Vineland, New Jersey.

It was at his home in Vineland that Andrews found himself publishing a revised edition of his original 1881 pamphlet on United States cents. Andrews' second book on Large Cents, An Arrangement of United States Copper Cents 1816-1857, for the Assistance of Collectors (Vineland, N. J., 1883), printed in forty-two pages is given its first public notice in March 1883.

An Arrangement of United States Copper Cents 1816-1857, for the Assistance of Collectors, by Frank D. Andrews, Vineland, N.J. The work, a 42 page pamphlet, published by Mr. Andrews at 50 cts. Per copy, describes the minute variations in dies of over 400 copper cents, beginning with 1816, and continuing until the end of the coinage, in 1857. Each date, obverse and reverse, is under a separate heading, with a numerical arrangement for the obverses and an alphabetical one for the reverses, also a short, concise, and easily understood system of definitions, occupying not over one line for each variation, tabulated, and referring to the position of curl to date, of star to coronet, points of leaves to legend, etc. Striking peculiarities in date, cracked dies, etc., are also enumerated, and in its present shape the work of Mr. Andrews will prove of positive interest and usefulness to collectors of the cents issued from 1816 to 1857, decidedly superior in every particular to his former work on the subject. Twenty-five copies are printed on thick paper, with blank leaves inserted.

Several years later, he became a Trustee of the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society in 1888. Two years later, he married Rebecca "Bessie" Graham Ayars (1849-1921) on April 10, 1890 at Greenwich, New Jersey. About this time he began to assist in land acquisition for the Library building of the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, which he endowed. By July 1894 the small building housed a collection of curiosities and relics as well as books and documents.

In 1931 an addition was built onto the Vineland Historical Society Library containing "Andrews Room". In 1932 a stately portrait of Andrews was painted by August Franceschi. He continued as Editor-in-Chief of the Vineland Historical Magazine up until his death at Philadelphia on January 28, 1937.

To read the 1881 Andrews work on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
A description of 268 varieties of U.S. cents, 1816-57, in the collection of Frank D. Andrews, 1881. (

To read the complete article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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