Pete Smith submitted this article about National Currency researcher and author Robert M. Ramsay. Thank you!
This week I get to correct an error in numismatic literature that has existed for 45 years. The co-authors and compilers of National Banks of the United States, 1863-1935 are always listed as
Robert M. Ramsey and Robert V. Polito. The first author was actually Robert M. Ramsay.
Robert Ramsay was born on May 27, 1913, in Columbia, Missouri. His parents were an English
professor Dr. Robert Lee Ramsay (1880-1953) and Margaret Whitehead Prentis Ramsay (1877-1959. The father published references on Missouri place names.
The son graduated from the University of Missouri. During the Second World War, he served in
Alaska with the U. S. Army Air Corps. He married Elsie Irene Bower Ramsay (1917-1990).
They had a son and a daughter. He worked for Armstrong Cork Co, first in Camden, New Jersey
and later in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The ANA was confused about his name. He is listed twenty times in The Numismatist as Ramsay
and six times as Ramsey. Ramsay joined the ANA as member 18364 in 1950, living at the time
in Paradise, Pennsylvania. In 1954 he was secretary for the Cloister Coin Club. In 1954, The
Numismatist published a letter from Robert M Ramsey of Paradise, PA. In 1981, the ANA
Library received a copy of National Banks of the United States, 1863-1935, by Robert M.
Ramsey and published by Steinmetz Coins and Currency.
In 1975, Ramsey was recognized as a 25-year member. It was Ramsay who was recognized as an
ANA 40-Year member in 1990 and in 2000 as a 50-year member, four years after his death. In
the June 2011 issue of The Numismatist, Ramsay was listed in the
In Memoriam section
without his date of death. By then he had been dead for fifteen years.
Around 1971 he compiled A Tentative Checklist of Spanish-American Bust-Type Silver, published by Hewitt Bros. He was listed as one of many contributors to the Rulau Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900.
In 1971-72, he conducted auction sales with his mailing address as 253 Paradise Road in
Lancaster. I suspect these catalogs are now scarce.
By 1974 he had compiled a list of Pennsylvania national banks sorted by county. This was not
broadly distributed but offered by request.
Ramsay died on February 29, 1996, at Whitehall-Leader Nursing Center in Lancaster. He is
buried at Leacock Presbyterian Cemetery in Lancaster. Dennis E. Steinmetz was executor of the
An estate auction for Robert M. Ramsay was held at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center on
June 29, 1996. Coins began at 9:00 AM with currency setting off at 3:00 PM. Robert V. Polito
was the auctioneer. I wonder how many copies of the catalog remain in collector's hands.
Smarty Pants Question of the Week
What was the first name of the first woman to serve as ANA Librarian?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2021 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster