The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 52, December 26, 2021, Article 14

LEE F. HEWITT (1911-1987)

American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on Lee Hewitt, founder of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. Thanks! I added images from a David Alexander CoinWeek piece about the Scrapbook. -Editor

  Is there a Santa Clause in Numismatics?
Lee F. Hewitt (1911-1987)

Lee Hewitt Lee Hewitt was the founder of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine and identified with the phrase,There is no Santa Claus in Numismatics. In this holiday season, here is his story.

Lee Francis Hewitt was born in Keokuk, Iowa, on January 1, 1911. His parents were a dentist, Harry Wallace Hewitt (1879-1924) and Bessie Edith Morriss Hewitt (1884-1925). His parents died when he was a young teen-ager. His 1920 Census listing was under the name of Francis Hewitt suggesting that may be what he was called as a child. His father's obituary lists survivors as including Clifford and Francis, again an indication that he was known by that name.

His wives included Ruth, Dolores, Virginia and Bernice. He married Ruth Alzada Cadwell on March 18, 1932. They were divorced in June 1962. Dolores Eileen Annel Hewitt died August 15, 1966. Virginia died June 26, 1979. Bernice outlived him.

He had an early career in show business and travelled with a circus band for a year. In 1943 he was drafted for military service and served with the military police until 1946. After service during WWII, he joined his brother Clifford in the printing business in Chicago.

Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine 1947-07-20 The first issue of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine was published in January 1935. It was originally intended to republish articles from the past but evolved to reflect the current numismatic market. The publication was sold to Amos Press in 1968 and was discontinued in 1976.

He was an active member of the Chicago Coin Club, joining as member 215. He was presented with their Medal of Merit in 1957 and served as club president in 1971. He was inducted into the Chicago Coin Club Hall of Fame in 2019.

Hewitt stepped in as editor of The Numismatist following the resignation of Frank Duffield. He received an ANA Medal of Merit in 1950, the Farran Zerbe Award in 1962 and was inducted into the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1978.

There were occasional errors in Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine that caused subscribers to flood advertisers with orders. Hewitt asked readers to use some common sense. He wrote,It is impossible to guarantee reader's satisfaction with the advertiser's manner of doing business and the reader is reminded to exercise common sense in responding to any advertiser. Remember there is no Santa Claus in numismatics. The quote has also been attributed to Virgil Hancock.

He died in Boynton Beach, Florida, on April 15, 1987. The Social Security Death Index shows his place of death as Palm Beach, Florida. Boynton Beach is in Palm Beach County.

The Familysearch site has a public record indicating that he was living in Niles, Illinois, from January 1, 1998, to January 1, 1999. Perhaps that is a story to tell at Easter.

Of course, there is a Santa Claus in numismatics. The Santa Clause vignette is a popular feature on bank notes. The jolly old guy can be found on vintage tokens and medals. Many modern silver rounds show Santa and new ones may be produced each year.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
The Rise and Fall of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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