American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this vignette of super-collector Waldo Newcomer. Thanks!
Newcomer, Waldo (Charles) Collector (b. 9/14/1867 d. 6/29/1934)
Born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was in poor health as a child and was home schooled. Graduated with
A.B. from Johns Hopkins in 1889. Married Margaret Vanderpoel October 7, 1897. They had three children.
Employed as a clerk with Baltimore Storage & Lighterage, later Atlantic Transport and became secretary of the
company in 1894. He resigned in 1901 to join the Safe Deposit & Trust Co., later treasurer of the Atlantic Coast
Newcomer was president of the National Exchange Bank 1906 to 1924. In 1924 became chairman of the
board of Atlantic Exchange Bank & Trust Co. and later Baltimore Trust Co. CEO of Baltimore Trust Company
March 1929 to January 1933. He was vice president of the Atlantic Coast Line Co and Northern Central Railroad
and served on the board of many corporations and institutions.
He was a benefactor of many local charities and was treasurer of the Maryland School for the Blind and the
The Newcomer collection suffered from a burglary in 1913. Various estimates of value were published but
it was around $30,000. A burglar alarm had been installed shortly before the theft. One of the electricians, Frederick
Holtz, rented a safety deposit box and paid for the box with a $50 California Territorial gold coin. The manager of
safe deposit boxes, Stanley Walker, showed the coin to S. H. Chapman who recognized it as a coin he had sold to
Newcomer. The coin was traced back to the electrician who was arrested. It was reported that about 1250 pieces
were taken. Only 151 pieces were recovered from the safe deposit box but they represented 60% of the value of the
collection. Holtz had difficulty disposing of the silver coins so he dumped $2,442 in face value into the Hudson
River off Weehawken. At the time of his arrest Holtz was penniless and had to borrow an overcoat to protect himself
on the trip back to Baltimore.
At the 1916 ANA convention he exhibited some of his collection including private gold. He showed his
1804 dollar and Gobrecht Dollars. He bought the Granberg collection and Heaton collection. In 1917 he sold about
$20,000 worth of duplicates to B. Max Mehl.
His collection has been described as the greatest coin collection never to have appeared at auction. The
Newcomer collection was sold to B. Max Mehl during the Depression in October 1931 for $250,000. The collection
included an 1804 dollar sold to Colonel Green. He had the Trade Dollars of 1884 and 1885. He had an 1853 half
without rays or arrows. There were 130 different Half Eagles including an 1854-S. His $3.00 and $2.50 gold sets
were complete. He had 75 varieties of Massachusetts silver coins. One of his two Brasher Doubloons sold to
Colonel Green. These were just part of his extensive run of private and territorial gold. He had 120 encased postage
stamps. Mehl sold off the collection at fixed prices.
The Newcomer pattern collection was sold at auction by J. C. Morganthau.
He died in Honolulu and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Baltimore.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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