E-Sylum Feature Writer and
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this
article on dealer Barney Bluestone. Thanks!
What About Barney Bluestone?
Some weeks I have difficulty coming up with the concept for a story. Some weeks the idea
comes from someone else. The idea this week comes from Mark Borckardt who suggested I look
at the 1930 Census for Barney Bluestone. There are two listings that might be confused.
The first Barney Bluestone in the 1930 Census was married to Harriet R., age 37, with no
children. His age was 41 and born in New York with parents born in Russia. His profession was
listed as numismatist. They had a servant, Stella Simienysk, age 18. The Census was taken in
Syracuse, New York.
The second Barney Bluestone in the 1930 Census was married to Rebecca with son Leon and
daughters Dinah and Natalie. His age was 37 and born in Russia. His profession was proprietor
of a hardware store. The Census was taken on Bath Avenue in Brooklyn.
The Social Security Death Index notes that Brooklyn Barney Bluestone was born on July 31,
1893, and died in December 1967.
Mark pointed out that the listing for Bluestone in the Newman Numismatic Portal had
information for the Brooklyn Bluestone mixed with that of the Syracuse Bluestone. His
observation was correct.
The records I found have many variations with the names and ages. This is a common problem
with Census research. Census takers make mistakes in spelling and people lie about their age.
The problem is compounded when information is provided by neighbors.
In the 1892 New York State Census. Bernard Blueston, age 3, was living in Syracuse with his
father Aaron 38, mother Villa 34, and sisters Ella 5 and Bessie 1.
In the 1900 Census, Barnet Bluestone, age 11, was living with his father Aaron 44, mother Vella
38, and sisters Ella 14, Bessie 9, Rosa 8. Rae 4 and Eva 1. His birth was listed as Jan 1889.
In the 1905 New York State Census, Barney Blueston, age 16, was living in Syracuse with his
father, Abraham 48 and mother, Sarah 38, and five siblings Oda 17, Beattie 14, Rose 10. Hilda 8
and Ionia 6.
In the 1910 Census, Bernard Bluestone, age 21, was living with his father, Abraham 52, a
Hebrew Minister, his mother, Vera 48, and siblings Ella 23, Bessie 19, Rose 16, Rachel 14 and
Lena 12. His occupation was steamfitter.
Barney William Bluestone registered for the draft in 1917. He was born in Syracuse, New York,
on January 25, 1888. At the time he was unmarried and living at 613 Jackson. His profession was
merchant with his store at 1024 S. Salina Street. By the 1920 Census, at age 31, he was married
to Harriet, age 28, and proprietor of a restaurant.
Barney Bluestone was admitted to the ANA as member 2673 on May 1, 1924. His address was
711 Harrison Street in Syracuse, New York. He waited until June 1924 to change his address to
624 Madison Street in Syracuse.
In November 1926 he placed an ad in The Numismatist from 117 Cumberland Avenue, Syracuse.
Such ads continued until June 1931.
The Syracuse Journal published this obituary on January 23, 1929.
Rev. Aaron Bluestone, 61,
died last night at his home, 104 Van Buren St., after three years' illness. He was born in Russia
but had lived in this city several years. Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Vellie Bluestone, a son,
Barney William Bluestone and five daughters, Mrs. Henry Anderson of Brooklyn, Mrs. Harry
Barlow of New York, and Mrs. Helen Tanner, and the misses Bettie and Evelyn Bluestone of
Mrs. Harry Barlow was Rose.
As mentioned earlier, in 1930 he was at 117 Cumberland in Syracuse.
In July 1930 he offered The Salt City Coin Book, first edition. Price was thirty-five cents.
Syracuse was known as
Salt City because of salt springs that were harvested commercially for
In September 1931 he announced his first coin auction coming up in October or November.
Auction business was conducted from 119 Cumberland Avenue.
During 1935-36, the Salt City Coin Co. operated at 167 E. Onondaga Street in partnership with
Frank G. Brown.
Barney/Bernard or Harriet/Ida may have been listed in the 1940 Census, but I did not find them.
On April 25, 1942, Bernard William Bluestone registered again for the draft. He had gotten
younger with his birthdate as January 25, 1889.
Ads in The Numismatist went quiet for a while but returned with the Albert Grinnell sale of
November 1945. During that time he conducted more than 80 auctions. In 1945 he operated at
224 Harrison Street.
Bluestone's 109th auction was dated February 18, 1950. His offering of fixed pricelists ended in
May 1950. It was about that time that he retired to Miami.
In the 1950 Census, Barney Bluestone, age 61, was living at the Mayflower Apartments in
Syracuse with his wife Harriet A. age 55.
The Miami Herald of April 27, 1956, had his obituary.
Bernard Bluestone, a retired coin
collector, died Wednesday at the age of 66. He came here six years ago from Syracuse, N. Y. and
lived at 1644 SW Fourth Street. His wife, Ida, and five sisters survive.
Ida Bluestone was born on October 19, 1893, and died in Dade County Florida on July 2, 1981.
The listing for Bluestone in the Newman Numismatic Portal has been revised based on this
Numismatic research is hard to do right, and like the output of AI chat bots, it's hard to know whether any published conclusion is right or wrong - they all look authoritative even if the author is drawing conclusions from bad or incomplete data, or just making stuff up. It takes a fact bloodhound like Pete Smith or Roger Burdette to sift through the evidence, sort wheat from chaff, and make sense out of often conflicting evidence. Thanks, Pete! Thanks also to Tom Kays, who provided the Salt City Coin Book image for an earlier article.
To read the NNP biography entry, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
TOM KAYS NUMISMATIC DIARY: OCTOBER 23, 2022
Wayne Homren, Editor
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