Business As Usual

Society meetings continued uneventfully through January. The Society continued about its business of exhibiting and discussing coins at each meeting. Further additions were made to the Society Library and Coin Cabinet. George Rode donated a copy of the Director of the Mint's Report for 1878. Frank Kirk donated "a priced catalogue of his sale of Dec 30th 1878." (This is a mystery - John Adams does not list any auction catalog dated Dec 30th, 1878, although there is a Haseltine sale on Oct 30, 1878). On January 17th, 1879 the Society elected to subscribe to the Coin Collector's Journal. On January 24th the Society voted to purchase a priced catalog of the Mickley sale.

On March 7th, attempting to fill the hole in its proof set, the Society resolved "to bid $4.50 on the 20 cent piece (lot 622) of 1878 in the sale of March 14th." (This probably refers to the S. K. Harzfeld sale held on that date. A copy exists in the Carnegie Library collection). Mr. Kelley placed the bid on the Society's behalf. On March 21st, Secretary Rode reported that the lot had been won at the price of $4.25.

On May 23rd, the Society voted "to bid $9.00 on Crosby's Early Coins of America, to be sold at auction in Harzfeld's sale of June 5th and 6th." President Morgan reported at the June 13th meeting that the bid had not been successful. On July 2nd Secretary Rode was authorized to purchase a copy of Crosby for $9.00. On July 11th a warrant for $9.30 was drawn to pay for it (this amount apparently included postage). "The Curator was instructed to have the above copy of Crosby Early Coins of America bound."

The Notorious Jonas Adler and the Black Ball Rule

On February 21st, 1879, Mr. Jonas Adler was proposed as a member of the Society. Adler was a part-time coin dealer who would later catalog an auction sale at the D.F. Henry auction house on April 30, 1879.

"The President appointed Mr. J.E.H. Kelley as teller - a vote then being taken and Mr. Kelley announced that more than three (3) votes had been cast in the negative." Members Morgan, McKnight, Kelley, Gies, Sermin, Shipman, Kirk, Comingo, and Rode were present. Article VII of the Society Bylaws states that three negative votes shall prevent the election of a prospective member.

Apparently Mr. Adler had already developed a reputation for himself. His coin sale of April 1879 would be his first and last auction. Ed Frossard wrote in the July 1879 issue of Numisma:

Dealers sending coins on approval to Mr. Jonas Adler, Pittsburgh, PA., will do well, if they wish to assure a safe delivery, to address the distinguished coin dealer in care of one of the Town Justices, or of the Sheriff of the County.

The September 1879 issue of Mason's Coin Collectors' Herald included an open letter to Adler:

You seem to be doing a wholesale coin business on credit; but in reply to your many solicitations we say patronize those who give 30 days and send us cash at half price you pay on credit. Perhaps the credit system pays you best.

The November 1884 issue of Numisma states:

Jonas Adler, Pittsburgh, PA., has been rusticating at Claremont Springs, at municipal expenses for swindling a Fifth Ave., cigar dealer in a transaction of old coins. A.A.A. No. 1, first-class prefered petty swindler. Coin collectors, beware of Jonas!

The Ramsden Matter

Another debate over membership began on March 21st, when Thomas Ramsden was proposed for membership. Ramsden was probably in middle age, having been listed in the 1860 Pittsbugh City directory as a gas fitter, living on Federal Street near Lacock in Allegheny City. The 1878 directory listed him as a plumber. No action on Ramsden's membership application was taken at that meeting.

At the following meeting (March 28, 1879) a committee consisting of Kirk, Shipman, and Gies was appointed "to report on the advisability of admitting Mr. T. Ramsden as a member." On April 18th the committee "reported adversely." Still, no action on Ramsden membership application was taken, although Albert Glockner was elected at the same meeting.

During the same time period the name of J. R. Bingler was proposed and later withdrawn (by Mr. Sermin).

More New Faces

Despite the problems with other proposed members, the second quarter of 1879 saw four men added to the membership rolls. This batch included a liquor dealer, another clerk, and another coin dealer.

Albert Glockner, Jr. (April 18, 1879)

Albert Glockner Jr. was a liquor dealer, operating at 32 Sixth Street. Glockner apparently inherited the family business from his father (Albert Sr.) and uncle Leopold, who were listed in the 1860 Pittsburgh City Directory as A. Glockner & Bro., wholesale importers of wines and liquor at 32 St. Clair Street. (this is the same address - the name of the street was changed in the meantime).

A. J. Rogers (May 2, 1879)

A. J. Rodgers was listed as a clerk at 169 Irwin Avenue, Alllegheny, in the 1878 Pittsburgh City Directory. An Alfred J. Rodgers, also a clerk (for the Union Line) was listed in the 1890 directory. It is not known whether Alfred is the A. J. Rogers who belonged to WPNS. Rodgers acted as an agent for buyers at Morgan's auction sales. His name is listed on the covers of the 10/16/1879 and 12/23/1879 sale catalogs.

Robert D. Book (May 16, 1879)

The 1878 Pittsburgh City Directory lists Book's occupation as coin dealer, at 71 Beech Avenue, Allegheny. By 1890 he is listed as a teller for the First National Bank, living at 5 Lincoln Avenue in Allegheny.

David J. White (June 13, 1879)

Nothing is yet known of David J. White. There are four David Whites listed in the 1878 Directory. One is an engineer, but there is no way of knowning which White belonged to WPNS.

The Rogers/Shipman Affair

On May 23rd, just three weeks after his election as a member, A. J. Rogers submitted a letter "preferring charges against Mr. R. W. Shipman." At the following meeting Mr. Comingo offered the following resolution, which after a long debate, was adopted:

Whereas, by a letter presented in open meeting of this Society on May 23rd, 1879, Mr. A. J. Rogers preferred certain charges against Mr. R. W. Shipman; both of whom being members of this Society; and

Whereas, the acts charges are not denied by Mr. Shipman in any material point, either in matter or form; and

Whereas, said R. W. Shipman refuses to make any adequate settlement of this matter, or to submit the same to be arbitrated by this Society or by a commitee selected impartially by its members; and

Whereas, the charges being swindling and other conduct unbecoming a gentleman or member of this Society, therefore

Resolved, that if said R. W. Shipman persists in his determination to refuse to arrange this matter with Mr. Rogers, to his satisfaction, or submit it to arbitration in this Society, that his name be stricken from the roll of the members at its next regular meeting.

At the following meeting, however (June 13th) it was resolved "to take no action in the Shipman affair until some future meeting". Both Shipman and Rogers continued to attend subsequent meetings. No further action on the matter was ever taken, and Rogers resigned his membership in the Society on March 19, 1880.

Summer, 1879

The third quarter of 1879 saw three new members added to the rolls: the controversial plumber, a manufacturer, and a railroad superintendent.

Thomas Ramsden (July 25, 1879)

The outstanding matter of the membership of Thomas Ramsden was finally resolved at the July 25th meeting, four months after the plumber was first proposed for membership. Secretary Rode read a letter from Ramsden regarding his membership application. Robert Book was appointed teller, and a vote was taken. The vote was eight to two in favor of admission. Members Morgan, Maynard, Kelley, Book, Gies, Glockner, McKnight, Shipman, White, and Rode were in attendance.

(Since Shipman and Gies were the only members of the committee which recommeded against Mr. Ramsden, it is likely that these two gentlemen represented the dissenting votes. Of course, we will probably never know for sure). Shipman, Ramsden, and Gies were all present at the following meeting on August 1st.

Henry A. Breed (August 22, 1879)

Henry A. Breed was listed in the the 1878 Pittsburgh City Directory as the president and treasurer of the Culmer Spring Company at 26th and Liberty. He made his home at Fifth Avenue and Neville Streets, in Oakland. By 1890 he had become a real estate and insurance agent at 516 Market Street. He still resided at the same address.

Jesse Hildebrand (August 29, 1879)

In 1860 Jesse Hildebrand worked as a paper carrier, living at the corner of Hamilton and Sedgwick in Allegheny. At the same address lived Solomon Hildebrand, a mill wright (apparently Jesse's father). By 1878 Jesse had become a superintendant at the "P & A Pass Ry" (?? Passenger Railway), living on Shady Avenue in Allegheny. He was still listed as a superintendant in 1890, living at 163 High Street in Allegheny.

The 1879 Exposition Ultimatum

At the June 6, 1879 meeting a new committee, consisting of members Kelley, Book, Kirk, and Morgan was appointed to begin the process of applying for exhibit space at the 1879 Pittsburgh Exposition. The committee reported progress at future meetings, but no details were recorded in the minutes.

On July 6th the committee reported that exhibit space could be reserved for $5.00, and that the Exposition Society would provide six entrance tickets for Society members. At the following meeting the committee was instructed to apply for the exhibit space, but only if all Society members were provided with "a season ticket for the exposition." On July 11th the committee reported that the best offer they could get from the Exposition Society was for eight tickets. The other eight Society members would have to purchase their tickets. The Society stuck to its guns; Mr. Maynard was instructed to tell the Exposition Society that nothing less than tickets for all members would be acceptable. On July 25th Maynard reported back that the Exposition Society had given in to the WPNS demand: all members would be given free tickets.

The 1879 Exposition Coin Exhibit

At the July 25, 1879 meeting a committee "to make arrangements to place a collection of coins on exhibition at the coming Exposition" was appointed. The committee included members Kelley, Book, Kirk, Morgan, Maynard, Rode, and Shipman. At the following meeting (August 1st) a resolution was passed assessing each member of the Society $5.00 "to meet the expenses incurred in making the display at the Exposition - $2.50 to be paid now, and the balance when required by the committee."

A letter written by R. W. Shipman on July 28th was published (belatedly) in the September 1879 issue of Mason's Coin Collector's Herald.

Dear Sirs: - The Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society will make a numismatic display at the coming Pittsburgh Exposition valued at $8,000, with one of more of our members in constant attendance. Our object is to foster and increase the interest in the science. The Society will sell a medal size 22 (by Lovett,) commemorating the event. The entire collection will be catalogued in good style, and distributed to the extent of 2,000 copies to our patrons. A limited number of Coin dealer's advertisements will be recieved, to assist in covering expenses, at the following low rates: One page, $8.00; half page, $5.00; quarter page, $3.00. Reaching as it will a large number of amature collectors who will never see a coin paper, its advantage as an advertising meduim will be apparent. Hoping you will favor us with an insertion of this letter, I remain, respectfully yours, R. W. Shipman, Sec. Finance Committee, 79 Wilkins Street, Allegheny City, PA (We call the attention of all Coin dealers to this grand opportunity for increasing their sales in the West. -- Editor).

On August 22nd Mr. Morgan was again "elected to take charge of the display at the Exposition," being paid $1.00 per day. Morgan and Rogers were appointed a committee "to arrange the coins for the Exposition." It is not clear how the duties of the smaller committee of Morgan and Rogers differed from the duties of the larger July 25th committee. Perhaps the larger group contributed items from their collections for the exhibit, and Morgan and Rogers handled the actual setting up of the exhibit.

It is not known if the exhibit catalogue described by Shipman was ever produced. No copy has been found in the Society archives, nor has it been referenced by writers on numismatic literature. There is no explicit record of payment for printing costs during this period.

As they had done in 1878, the Society held a special meeting at the Exposition building on September 3rd, 1879. It was again decided to hold no regular meetings of the Society during the course of the Exposition. Present that night were members Morgan, Kirk, Maynard, Kelley, Book, Gies, Glockner, McKnight, Ramsden, Rogers, Sermin, and Rode.

The 1879 Exposition Medal

The 1879 version of the Exposition medal was recieved by the August 29th, 1879 meeting. It was resolved to send

one of our medals to each of the following:

Letters ackowledging the gift of the medals were sent by most of the recipients. The letters were read by Secretary Rode at the first meeting following the Exposition (October 17, 1879). J.W. Scott chose to pan the efforts of the Society in the November 1879 issue of his Coin Collector's Journal.

The Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society have issued a white metal medal for the Pittsburgh Exposition, which is similar in many respects to that issued in 1878; on the obverse is a view of the Exposition building. The design is not what we should expect from the numismatically educated members of the Pittsburgh Society; as such an engraving is of an age long since past, the collector's of to-day see so many beautiful medals that an inferior work is but little treasured.

At the end of the Exposition the Society had 113 medals in white metal on hand. It is not known how many were produced. At the October 17th meeting the Society resolved to "order 25 Copper and 25 Brass medals, and a number of Silver medals equal in number to those members who subscribe for them" At the following meeting (October 24th) it was decided to purchase a silver medal for the Society cabinet. In all, 17 silver medals were made. The medals were recieved from Mr. Lovett by December 19th, and were sold at the following prices: $1.00 for the silver medals, $.25 for the copper and brass medals (for members admitted prior to October 1st, 1879), and $.50 for members admitted thereafter. At the January 16, 1880 meetiong it was decided to sell the remaining 1879 white metal medals for $.20 each.

The October 24th meeting was eventful in other respects. Three new members were added to the rolls, presumably having been recruited through the Pittsburgh Exposition. A committee consisting of Marnard, Morgan, and Kelly was appointed to frame a new Constitution. Also, a motion regarding the 1879 medals was passed which would later lead to further controversy:

On Motion, it was resolved, that the medals of 1879 in Silver, Copper, and Brass shall not be transfered to any person who is not a member of the Society.

Fall, 1879

The fall crop of new members included a publisher, a painter, a clerk, and a music agent.

B. B. Coursin (October 24, 1879)

B. B. Coursin resided in McKeesport, and this probably accounts for his absence from the Pittsburgh City Directories. His collection was sold at auction by Ed Frossard on September 21, 1883. The collection consisted of Large Cents, Proofs, early silver, and Literature.

Descendant [Laurel Black Morris provided the following update.] -from 'History of Allegheny County', page a-305: "Benjamin B. Coursin, McKeesport, was born in East Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Pa., Feb. 22, 1837, a son of Benjamin and Christina Rhodes Coursin. His paternal grandparents were Peter and Hannah (Wynn) Coursin. The former was a native of New Jersey, and with his parents came to this county shortly after the Revolution. Benjamin B. removed with his parents to Reynoldton, opposite McKeesport, in 1849. He received a common-school education and spent two terms at Waynesburg College. After leaving college he served two years' apprenticeship at the printing trade and for four years thereafter followed the occupation of a steamboat engineer on eastern rivers. He then embarked in the coal business, and was the proprietor of and operated the Alliquippa mines for five years.

In 1864 he located in McKeesport, after disposing of his coal interests, and for the succeeding seven years was engaged in buying and improving property within the borough and building dwelling-houses. For several years he was proprietor of a stem job-printing office, the best appointed job-printing office ever in McKeesport, furnishing all the jobwork for Allegheny county for three years in addition to the local work for the borough. He was the founder of the McKeesport Times, which for a time he successfully conducted. In 1875 he was appointed one of the commissioners on the enlargement of McKeesport borough, to establish lines and procure a charter from the legislature for and to extend the borough limits to the present boundaries.

He was a charter member and procured the charter at Harrisburg for the P.V. & C. R. R. Co., and has always taken an active part in everything tending to promote the growth and development of McKeesport. In 1886 he formed the McKeesport & Youghiogheny Ice company, of which he was manager the fist year. In the fall of 1887 he erected the Crystal Ice-House, with a capacity of 4,500 tons, which he is a present managing. He has erected over one hundred dwelling-houses and three business blocks in McKeesport.

June 1, 1859, Mr. Coursin married Sarah P., daughter of John and Sarah (Lewis) Haney, of McKeesport, and by her has seven children living: Virginia M., Benjamin, Edward S., Charles E., Blanche, Clyde C. and Nellie. Mr. Coursin deserves much credit for his assistance in securing the borough waterworks as a borough investment at a time when a private company had secured a charter and was attempting to supersede the borough in owning and erecting the waterworks. He has served two terms as councilman of the borough, and two terms as burgess. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a member of the I.O.O.F., K of H. and Heptasophs. In politics he was a republican." [added September 3, 2001]

J. S. Murray (October 24, 1879)

While there are several "J. Murray" entries in the Pittsburgh City Directories, it is likely that the one who joined WPNS was John S. Murray, proprietor of the Legal Journal, who resided at 65 River Avenue in Allegheny. He published the Journal as late as 1890, when his office was listed at 409 Grant Street. The Pittsburgh Legal Journal is being published today from a Grant Street address, although it is not known if the two publications are connected.

C. W. Kirk (October 24, 1879)

Little is known about C.W. Kirk. He may be a family member of Frank Kirk, the painter. There is a Chas. Kirk listed as a painter in the 1878 City Directory, on Bedford Avenue. In 1890 C. W. Kirk is listed as a grocer at 259 Fifth Avenue. Kirk later became a charter member of the American Numismatic Association (member number 44).

J. C. Cotton (November 7, 1879)

J. C. Cotton is listed as a receiver at 49 Sedgwick in Allegheny. He apparently lived there with a large family. Residing at the same address were Emmett E. Cotton, an attorney, and C.M. and John W. Cotton, both laborers. By 1890 C.W. Cotton is listed as a superintendent at the "P. A. & M. Pass Ry" This may be the same company Jesse Hildebrand worked for in 1878.

W. L. Buettler (November 14, 1879)

William L. Buetler is listed in the 1878 Pittsburgh City Directory as a music agent at 241 Webset. His name is spelled with just one "t", although this may be a typo. There are no other W.L. Buettlers listed.

The New Constitution

A special meeting to discuss the new constitution was held on November 17, 1879. The new constitution was largely the same as the original constitution, with some additions and minor changes. One new feature was contained in Article V: "the Society shall possess a Medal, and a Certificate of Membership." Explicit procedures for amending the Constitution and nominating new members were spelled out. In addition, Resident, Corresponding, and Honorary Membership classifications were established.

At the following meeting (November 21st) a new set of Bylaws was presented. The number of members required for a quorum was raised from five to seven. The initiation fee was raised from $1.00 to $5.00, and the dues were reduced to $4.00 a year, payable quarterly, in advance). The previous Bylaws had called for the collection of $.25 per week, which could amount to over $10.00 in the course of a year. The new Bylaws also stated that "the names of the eight (8) founders of this Society, and of the Honorary members, (whether living or dead,) shall be published in every printed list of the members of this Society."

The new Constitution and Bylaws were adopted, and the Committee was discharged. At the following meeting (November 28th) it was decided that dues would commence under the new structure beginning on the 1st of January, 1880.

At the February 6th, 1880 meeting "it was resolved to have 150 copies of the Constitution printed and that 25 of these be bound in Muslin." The twelve-page pamphlet was titled Constitution and By-Laws of the Western Penna. Numismatic Society. It was printed by W.W. Lewis & Co., 48 Fifth Avenue (across the street from George Rode's office) at a total cost of $10.50 (paid on March 5th, 1880).

The pamphlets were available by the February 27th, 1880 meeting, where it was resolved that each member be given two copies. The ANS Library has a copy of the pamphlet, inscribed "from Geo. W. Rode, Secy, May 21/80." A copy of the pamphlet was also sent to J.W. Scott, who printed in his July 1880 Coin Collector's Journal:

We acknowledge the receipt of a copy of the "Constitution and By-Laws of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society," of Pittsburgh. From the list of resident members they appear to be more alive to the interest of their new society than are those of the more antiquated association of this city. By way of wishing them success, we would warn them never to permit a numismatic spider (or dealer) induce them to make their headquarters in his webbed parlors, or the unwary flies may rue it; vide Am. Num. and Arch. Soc. of N.Y.

The Library Rules

At the same meeting that the new Constitution was adopted (November 28, 1879), curator Kelley presented a set of rules pertaining to the borrowing of items from the Society Library and Cabinet. At the following meeting (December 5, 1879) the rules "were adopted and ordered to be printed." These printed rules were apparently then affixed to the inside covers of books and catalogues in the Society library.

I. Books &c., will be delivered at the regular meetings at 8 o'clock, P.M. (to members in alphabetical order.) If a member is not present when his name is called, the choice will be given to the next in order.

II. Members are entitled to Books &c., for one (1) week; a fine of ten cents per week will be charged if retained longer than that time.

III. Any member losing Books &c., will be charged the original price of the same, or will be required to replace the same, as the Society may direct.

The Membership Medal

At the December 14, 1879 meeting, "it was resolved that a committee of three (3) be appointed to prepare designs for a medal of membership. The chair named Mess. Rode, Kelley, and Gies." The committee reported progress at subsequent meetings, but no details were recorded in the minutes. The committee prepared a report presented at the February 6th, 1880 meeting. The report has not been found in the Society archives, but the committee was authorized to have the medals struck. At the following meeting (February 13th) it was decided to strike the medals only in silver.


Tough Times

The year 1880 was largely uneventful. The meetings continued weekly as scheduled, with relatively little Society business recorded in the minutes. In some sense, the Society had come of age: its Constitution adopted and printed, its Library and Cabinet under construction, two important exhibitions mounted, two official medals produced, and plans for a membership medal underway. It had survived its formative stage, and despite disagreements among members had managed to grow into a mature and respected numismatic Society of national stature.

Still, the disagreements had taken their toll, and perhaps the youthful enthusiasm of a new organization had given way to the comfort and weariness of middle age. 1880 and subsequent years were notable more for the absence of many of the activities and events that marked the Society's hectic first two years. Tellingly, the Society's planned Membership medal would never be struck.

The Society's changes began early in 1880, beginning with the need to find a new location to hold the meetings. On April 30, 1880 it was decided to hold the meetings at the Home Hotel, Duquesne Way (Mr. Kelley's place of business) until further notice. J.C. Cotton inquired about the use of his brother E.E. Cotton's office at 91 Diamond Street. On June 18th (in the absence of J.C. Cotton), Curator Kelley reported that E.E. Cotton's office could be rented for $.50 a meeting. He also offered the use of rooms in his Hotel free of charge. "On Motion, the report was recieved and filed, and a vote of thanks tendered Mr. Kelley - the committee was then discharged.

On October 29th, George Rode resigned his position as Secretary "owing to want of time to properly attend the office." Owing to the want of a volunteer to fill the position, Rode continued taking the minutes as usual.

In addition to losing its original meeting place, the Society lost several members in 1880: Rogers, Murray, Comingo, Cotton, White, and founder F. J. Kirk all resigned at various times. The Society would not add a new Resident member for another five years. A quorum not being present, several meetings could not be held. In the face of declining attendance, the Society voted on November 19, 1880 to reduce the frequency of meetings to two per month. "Article I of the By-Laws was amended to read The regular meetings shall be held on the first and third Friday's of every month at 8 P.M."

1880 Members

Benjamin T. Schmauk (January 16, 1880)

Nothing is known about Schmauk; he is not listed in the Pittsburgh City Directories reviewed so far.

First Corresponding Members

Facing a dearth of new resident members, the Society began filling its rolls with Corresponding members.

William Poillon (June 18, 1880)

William Poillon was a steadfast member of the American Numismatic and Archeological Society of New York. He and a small band of fellow numismatists had held the organization together through a period of low interest before 1873. Being named the Society's recording secretary in that year, Poillon kept the books in superlative shape. Poillon's coins were sold by Ed Frossard on December 12, 1883 and October 10, 1893, by Lyman Low on January 26, 1904, and by Thomas Elder on January 6, 1918.

W. E. Woodward (July 16, 1880)

William Elliot Woodward was an apothecary from Roxbury, MA, near Boston. He had moved to that city in 1848. He entered the coin trade in 1860, issuing 110 auction catalogs by 1890.

Thomas Cunningham (November 19, 1880)

Thomas Cunningham of Mohawk, NY, was a noted collector of Fractional Currency. He was a neighbor and personal friend of General Francis Ellis Spinner, Treasurer of the U.S. from 1861 to 1875. Matt Rothert called Spinner "the Father of United States Postage and Fractional Currency." Being a collector well positioned to obtain first-hand information on the series, Cunningham published the first comprehensive listing of Fractional Currency in an 1893 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics. Cunningham's collection included the unique original paste-up patterns created by Spinner as models for the first issue of postage currency in 1862. Cunningham's collection later passed into the famous Herman Crofoot collection.

G.P. Nichols (March 4, 1881)

Nothing is known about G.P. Nichols, other than his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts.


The year 1881 opening with the Society still in search of a new meeting location. On February 4th, "Mr. Wooddridge's offer to let the Society have his office for their meetings at $5.00 per quarter year was accepted."

The Society lost more members during the year. Benjamin T. Schmauk sent in a letter of resignation, but this was not accepted since he owed back dues. Henry Breed resigned on June 17, 1881. At the same meeting it was decided to meet only on the first Friday of the month during July and August.

Seven members attended the July meeting, but only six appeared at the following four meetings. No quorum being reached, no business was conducted. Active members during this period were only Book, Gies, Kelley, McKnight, Morgan, Ramsden, Rode, and Shipman.

In September, President Morgan moved out of town. On October 21st, the By-Laws were further amended again, this time returning the frequency of meetings to weekly. Apparently the members hoped that this would invigorate interest in the Society, but it was not to be. A quorum could not be reached at the next five meetings. On November 11th, only Ramsden, Gies, and Rode appeared.


On January 13th, 1882 the membership voted to reduce the initiation fee to $3.00, over Mr. Ramsden's objection. Ramsden introduced a motion to repeal the reduction at the January 27th meeting, but was overruled.

On February 10th, the office of the President was declared vacant. Morgan had moved to Louisville, and had been suspended on January 6th for nonpayment of dues. At an election on February 24th, Thomas Ramsden was elected President.

Morgan's Expulsion

At the April 7th, 1881 meeting (Ramsden, Gies, Book, Shipman, and Rode present) the Society severed its ties with founder Morgan completely:

Resolved that Mr. S. H. Morgan, (ex president) be expelled for non-payment of dues, and that a vote of censure be passed for gross breach of faith to this society in offering for sale, at public auction, the Society's Medals of 1879 in Silver, Copper, and Brass which were issued with the express condition that they should never be transferred to any person who is not a member of this Society.

Resolved, that the various numismatic journals be requested to publish this part of the minutes of the meeting.

Morgan had been present on October 24, 1879 when the resolution regarding the medals was passed, so he was certainly aware of the odd restriction.

On April 28th Ramsden appointed a committee of three (Book, Gies, and McKnight) to carry out the resolution. On May 19th the committee reported that they had sent copies of the Society's resolution to the American Journal of Numismatics, Numisma, and the Coin Collector's Journal.

As of the September 1, 1882 meeting, none of the publications contacted had published the resolution. Secretary Rode was instructed to write to the editors to find out why nothing had appeared. Correspondence from three of the publications was read at the October 6th meeting, but has not been located in the Society archives.

Further Decline

On May 19th, 1882, the Membership Medal committee was officially dissolved. "This committee reported that at the time of appointment they could not agree upon a design that was satisfactory to all the members, and that since that time, they did not deem it advisable to prepare designs and have the dies cut owing to the decreasing membership in the Society."

On June 16th, 1882 the Society officially expelled six members who had been suspended for some time due to nonpayment of dues: Buettler, Haslett, C.W. Kirk, Murphy, Schmauk, and Sermin.

Murphy sent a letter (read at the June 30, 1882 meeting) declining to resume his membership, and offered his coin collection for sale. "The Secretary was instructed to thank Mr. Murphy for his offer to sell his collection to the Society, and inform him that we do not desire to purchase them at this time."

On October 1, 1882, the resignation of founder George Clapp was accepted. Out of the eighteen scheduled meetings held between September 1 and December 29, 1882, only five had a quorum. On two occasions, only one member besides President Ramsden showed up. On December 29th, the members voted another change to the Bylaws: the meeting would be held just once a month, on the first Friday at 8 P.M. The Society attempted to hold weekly meetings for the first part of 1883, but with little success. On May 11th the Society voted to put the new meeting schedule into effect as of July 1, 1883, with the meetings to be held at the residence of a member.

Meetings were held in August, September, and December 1883. It was not until June 7th, 1884 that the Society would again have a quorum. At that meeting members Maynard, Book, Shipman, and Glockner were expelled for nonpayment of dues (however, Book would be renominated and re-elected as a member on September 5th). The By-Laws were once again amended, reducing a quorum to three members.

Next: New Recruits