The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 10, March 7, 2021, Article 10

ÉDOUARD FROSSARD (1837/8-1899)

Here's another entry from the online draft of John Lupia's book of numismatic biographies. Thanks! This is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is dealer Ed Frossard. NOTE: Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies gives a birth year of 1837. -Editor

FROSSARD, ED-March 1892 Frossard, Édouard (1837/8-1899), 53 Prospect Place, NY. 787-789 Broadway, NYC, NY. Irivington-on-the-Hudson.

ANA member no. 14. He was born near Lake Leman, better known as Lake Geneva, Switzerland. He probably came from the southeast shore around Canton Vaud since records of a family of the name Frossard are found there. He and his brothers Adolph and Eugene came to America in 1857/8 and moved to Brooklyn, New York. In 1861, he taught languages at the French and classical school of A. Boursand, Brooklyn, New York.

During the Civil War he and his brothers joined the volunteer services. Adolph died during the Battle of Shenandoah Valley. Eugene became an officer in the regular army. Edourad joined as a Sergeant Major and became Colonel of Co. I. 31 Regt. U.S.V. He was several times named for distinction for bravery on the battlefield. He also served for six months at Fort McHenry, Baltimore as a Judge Advocate of a General Court Martial. He was crippled at the Battle of Mary's Heights. "Having been badly crippled in the field, he was obliged to relinquish military life, for which he had decided taste and returned to New York State, where he has since resided."--The Numismatist, March, 1892, page 32.

After the war he established a school for French at Irvington-on-the-Hudson, New York. And, also taught French at the Young Mens' Christian Association (YMCA) in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1872 he began collecting Large Cents for himself and George W. Merritt, the son of the wealthy owner of the palace at Irvington, New York. In 1875 he became the editor of the Scott & Co. publication Coin Collector Journal, a position he held from December 1875-December 1877. David Proskey was hired by John Walter Scott to replace Ed Frossard as editor of the Coin Collector Journal, and cataloguer of the coin auction sales. By January 1878 Frossard became an independent full time coin dealer, editor publisher. A donor, in 1878,to the ANS library. Between 1877 and 1892 he conducted over 100 coin auction sales and compiled catalogues for W. E. Woodward, Bangs & Co., H. G. Sampson, and others. He cataloged the Montayne collection of 1,200 lots for H. G. Sampson in the course of only forty-eight hours.

He began publishing Numisma in 1877 after leaving the firm of Scott & Co. as editor of the Coin Collector Journal, and completing the first 13 issues of volume 1. Charles Davis described this publication as:

"An often acid, often scholarly, always entertaining journal with important, although sometimes axe-grinding observations on the business practices of his competitors, and invaluable for reports on contemporary auctions with notices of over-grading and counterfeits liberally sprinkled in. Arrows were shot at, among others, Doctor Woodward (the apothecary unable to sell the false talisman to the children of Knicker), Charley Steigerwalt (the plagiarist with his big journal), Brother Mason (the only original Moses in the coin trade), J.W. Scott (the Fulton Street octopod), the Chapmans (who produce quarto catalogues with margins sufficiently large for corrections), and David U. Proskey (with a level head and an India rubber conscience)."

In 1879 he authored the Monograph of the United States Cents and Half Cents 1793-1857 illustrated by coins from the collections of his long-time associates and patrons Merritt and Parmelee.

He traveled to England in 1880 reporting it in Numisma, September (1880). Mason says that others tell him that "he talks, writes and reads modern languages in New York city in the day time, juggles coins in the evening, and snores to the happy midnight hours away at his delightful retreat, "Irvington-on-the-Hudson."

Frossard and William Elliot Woodward did not get along and feuding between these two mammoth dealers was fierce from 1880 to 1881.

On December 22, 1891 he held his 109th coin sale, the F. B. Bennell collection.

FROSSARD Nov 25, 1890-Tuthill He served as the first Counterfeit Dectector to the ANA. In the May 1892 issue of The Numismatist Heath humorously asked the ribald question : "Brother Tatman to please make our friend Frossard, Counterfeit Detector, instead of Counterfeit Director.

In 1893 he, along with W. W. Hays, authored Varieties of United States Cents of the year 1794 which was reprinted by Thomas Elder in 1910. His collection of 1794 cents was sold in his auction of October 2-3, 1884.

He died on Wednesday, April 12, 1899 at his home at 221 Lexington Avenue, New York. In a letter sent to the Chapman brothers by Charles Steigerwalt he commented how Frossard's death was sudden and unexpected. The funeral service took place at his home on Thursday, April 14th. He is buried in the White Plains Rural Cemetery, White Plains, NY.

He conducted 159 auction sales before his death on April 12th, 1899. The final catalog of the R. S. Robertson collection, sale no. 160, was held on April 14, 1899 two days after his death. His son Edouard, Jr. took over his father's business and conducted his first sale on June 27, 1899 with sale no. 161. Among the notable collectors for whom Frossard acted as a personal agent was T. Harrison Garrett, the railroad and banking tycoon of Maryland.

To read the complete article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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