Photographs, documents point to silver dollar collector

Author examines collection once owned by Joseph Presley
Published : 02/09/12
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The acquisition in 1995 at public auction of a lot whose contents were mistakenly believed to once have been the property of noted early silver dollar researcher M.H. Bolender turned out to still be a treasure trove of numismatic information, according to W. David Perkins, a collector and researcher himself of early U.S. silver dollars.

In the December issue of the John Reich Journal, publication of the John Reich Collectors Society, Perkins recounts his purchase from the Sept. 12, 1995, auction by Auctions by Bowers and Merena of the Armand Champa Library Sale, Part III, of a miscellaneous lot of numismatic photographs, documents and correspondence. When he made the purchase, Perkins believed the items were once the property of Bolender, author of The United Stated Early Silver Dollars from 1794 to 1803, first published in 1950.

Upon obtaining the lot, Perkins found that the contents instead were once owned by Dr. Joseph A. Presley, a Baton Rouge, La., collector. Perkins wrote to Presley at addresses found on the some of the materials, and once contacting him, established a correspondence relationship that he maintained until Presley’s death in 2002.

The auction lot’s contents, coupled with his correspondence with Presley, provided Perkins with invaluable research information involving the collection of early dollar specialist Frank Stirling from Baton Rouge. Perkins’ subsequent research led him to collector and former Louisiana congressman Jimmy Hayes, who had acquired Presley’s numismatic library.

Among the items that Hayes acquired from Presley’s library and bestowed upon Perkins were a set of negatives for many of the early dollars in Bolender’s collection that Bolender plated in his book. Perkins writes he believe the negatives came from Stirling, a photographer by profession, who worked in concert with Bolender on his numismatic research.

In a separate article, David Quint contributes information on a recently completed census of Bust dimes and new discoveries reported since the 1984 publication of Early United States Dimes 1796-1837 by David J. Davis, Russell J. Logan, Allen F. Lovejoy, John W. McCloskey and William L. Subjack.

Gabriela Luschei and Jim Mathews collaborate on “Kitchen Wisdom and the American Heraldic Eagle as a Symbol of War and Peace.” David Finkelstein examines the design characteristics of dies used to strike Capped Bust, Heraldic Eagle gold $2.50 quarter eagles, $5 half eagles and $10 eagles.

Annual JRCS dues are $25. For general membership information, write the JRCS secretary, Steve Crain, at Box 1680, Windham, ME 04062, or email him at

Contact the editor, Bradley S. Karoleff, about articles to be published in the journal by writing him at 225 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, or emailing him at

The JRCS website may be accessed at ■

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