American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

Detail from Chautauqua County Coin, Stamp, and Curio Club letterhead

John F. Jones correspondence and notes, 1879-1965
1.3 cubic feet (2 boxes)

Biographical note
City engineer John F. Jones (1864 or 5-1961) of Jamestown, New York, was a founding member of the Chautauqua County Coin, Stamp, and Curio Club in 1930 and is listed as member number six of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), which was officially organized in 1891 and reorganized in 1899. He was also a member of the Chautauqua Historical Society. Born in Sweden, he came to the United States when he was one year old. In 1941 he sold over 5,000 coins from his collections, which he had been accumulating for nearly fifty years, to the American Numismatic Society. Jones collected coins from all over the world and built his holdings through his dealings with other collectors, such as Henry H. Howorth, C. Wyllys Betts, J.W. Bastow, and Julius Meili. In the 1930s and 1940s he wrote articles in the ANA magazine The Numismatist on topics pertaining to United States collecting, such as the 1804 dollar, postage stamps, fractional currency, and the 1856 flying eagle cent.

Contains mostly letters received by Jones, sometimes with handwritten drafts of outgoing letters, relating to coin collecting and personal matters. Includes correspondence with the ANA publication The Numismatist, some pertaining to an article on early ANA members written by Jack W. Ogilvie (published in vol. 61, no. 8, August 1948, p. 505); correspondence with American Numismatic Society curator Sydney P. Noe regarding issues such as the selling of coins and Jones’s concern that T. James Clarke’s collection of U.S. coins would leave the country (1944); and correspondence on various matters pertaining to the Chautauqua Coin, Stamp, and Curio Club. Jones was an active buyer and seller of coins and maintained intimate correspondence with individuals that shared his interest, such as Ole P. Eklund of Spokane, Washington, S.S. Heal of Toronto, and Chautauqua club member John C. Engstrom. Included is a copy of a letter sent to Engstom’s wife regarding the sale of his collection and Jones’s advice to keep it intact (1920). Numerous coin dealers are also represented, including B. Max Mehl and Wayte Raymond. There are letters and receipts from Henry Chapman having to do with Jones’s purchase from the John Story Jenks collection and a disagreement arising from Jones’s questioning of the accuracy of Chapman’s catalogs (1922); letters from Hans Schulman regarding a dispute over payment for coins; and a letter from Farran Zerbe pronouncing himself out of the market for coins (1941). Collector Max M. Schwartz of New York is another correspondent. There are personal letters from Jones’s children and grandchildren, including one from his son Allen regarding the cleaning of coins. Other topics include local Jamestown issues such as Jones’s speaking out against an individual in a court case involving the Lake Shore Seed Company (1945), local library taxes (1957), and the relocation of the local gas company (undated). Also present is an inventory of the Charles S. Bishop coin collection that was bought by Jones together with a letter from G.L. Gifford to Bishop regarding a collection of U.S. copper cents (1883). There is a small bundle of lists of coins sold, possibly by Jones, for the years 1899 to 1929. There is also a copy of the book Las Monedas Coloniales Hispano-Americanas (1919) by J.T. Medina, and sample formats from Jones’s grandson Ralph’s proposed book Central American and Caribbean Coin Facts and Figures (1965).

Organized into two series. Series 1, Correspondence, is further subdivided into two sub-series: Professional Correspondence and Personal Correspondence. Correspondence is organized alphabetically by correspondent. Letters from individuals not listed alphabetically are foldered by date, arranged alphabetically by correspondent in those folders. The exceptions to this schema are the folders containing correspondence regarding the Pennsylvania Gas Company and the James Prendergast Free Library; these are foldered chronologically. Series 2, Accounts, is organized to reflect the business and personal accounts John F. Jones kept for both his numismatic endeavors and his personal finances. The folders are arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Correspondence
This series comprises the bulk of the collection and contains John F. Jones’s professional and personal correspondence. His professional correspondence includes contact with three generations of the Schulman family, Jacob, Max and Hans, both before and after the correspondence documenting payment dispute. He also corresponded extensively with various editors of The Numismatist, including Burton Saxton and Stuart Mosher. A group of letters regarding John Engstroms’s collection includes correspondence with Engstrom’s widow, Nellie, regarding the disposition of the collection, as well as letters sent to other collectors interested in this collection, including B. Max Mehl and B. G. Johnson of St. Louis Coins and Stamps (Folder 17). There are also a group of letters regarding Jones’s possession of an U.S. 1841 Gold $2 ½, in which he attempts to value and sell the coin (Folder 18). Included as enclosures in many pieces of correspondence are lists of coins sent by Jones for sale or exchange, rubbings of coins that he was researching, and catalogs of coin sales from various dealers. Correspondence regarding the Pennsylvania Gas Company and the James Prendergast Free Library contain newspaper clippings as enclosures. Additional enclosures to the correspondence include a group of transportation tokens sent to Jones by Robert Lloyd of the Buffalo Numismatic Society (removed, Folder 18), and a 1947 reprint of the 1847 $.10 George Washington Postage Stamp mounted by Max Schwartz (removed, Folder 15).

Box 1

Bowman, John, March 1935 – March 1958
Brand, H. A. May, 1925 – April 1926
Carey, M. P. March, 1921 –April 1921
Eklund, O. P., Sept. 1943 – April 1949
Gibbs, Howard D., Dec. 1930 – March 1955
Gillette, George, Nov. 1931 – June 1934
Heal, S. S., May 1923 – April 1926
Hopkins, N. S., July 1930 – August 1935
Howorth, Daniel, March 1905 – May 1919
Mosher, Stuart, July 1933 – Jan. 1947
Noe, Sydney, Nov. 1941 – Nov. 1944
Ogilvie, Jack, Nov. 1947 – June 1960
Saxton, Burton, March 1943 – July 1944
Schulman Family [Jacob, Max, & Hans] July 1905 – Nov. 1958
Schwartz, Max, Jan. 1947 – Dec. 1948
Zander, Randolph Dec. 1955 – Nov. 1958
Professional Correspondence, 1915 – 1929, n.d.
Professional Correspondence, 1930 – 1939
Professional Correspondence, 1940 – 1944
Professional Correspondence, 1945 – 1949
Professional Correspondence, 1950 – 1960
Professional Correspondence, n.d.
Correspondence re James Prendergast Free Library, Sept. 1956 – June 1959, n.d.
Correspondence re The Pennsylvania Gas Co., Sept. 1951 – Sept. 1959, n.d.
Jones, Allen (son), May 1926 – Nov. 1939, n.d.
Jones, R. Elizabeth “Petey” (daughter), Sept. 1928 – March 1937
Jones, Rose (wife), July 1930 – August 1940
Personal Correspondence (includes photo), 1908 - 1960
Sympathy Cards and Ephemera re the death of John F. Jones, 1961

Series 2: Accounts
The Account Book marks the earliest records of Jones’s numismatic sales, and also includes notes regarding coins needed for his personal collection. Also located in the Account Book were a ticket to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and a New Jersey One Shilling Note, dated 1776 (removed, Folder 30). The Charles S. Bishop Collection, and the sale of coins from that collection (Folders 32 – 43), are foldered separately, although coins from collections, notably the F. C. Brown Estate coins, are also occasionally included in those transactions. Other numismatic transactions, as well Jones’s personal accounts, are also recorded.

Box 2

Account Book , 1879 – 1906
Charles S. Bishop Collection, 1883 – 1902
Coins Sold, 1899 – 1900
Coins Sold, 1901 – 1911
Coins Sold, 1912
Coins Sold, 1913
Coins Sold, 1914 – 1916
Coins Sold, 1917 – 1919
Coins Sold, 1920

Archival Collections