The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 46, November 6, 2011, Article 6

DAVID J. DAVIS, 1938-2011

Past NBS President Michael J. Sullivan submitted the following report. Sorry to hear the news! We've lost another of our great numismatic researchers and authors. -Editor

David J. Davis On November 1, the numismatic community lost a highly respected member - David Davis. I started corresponding with David more than 15 years ago when he resided in Ypsilanti, Michigan. When I was introduced to David as a collector of counterfeit detectors, I quickly realized his breadth of interests and depth of knowledge to include bust coinage, national bank notes, and Michigan tokens, among many other areas.

The Davis - Logan - Lovejoy - McCloskey - Subjack work titled Early United States Dimes, 1796-1837: a Reference Book of Their Type, Varieties and Rarity, 1984 set a new standard for subsequent bust coinage research. The quality of the work stands on its own merit as, 27 years later, no title has superseded this work. Only a single new bust dime variety has been discovered since the book was published. He made numerous contributions to the John Reich Society including holding the position of past president.

I met David in Cincinnati in early 2011 at which time he was doing quite well with cancer therapy - even plowing his own snow in the harsh Michigan winter. Last week, I was fortunate to meet David again at his home on the lake in Manchester, Michigan. Although he was clearly in immense discomfort, his mind was as sharp as an arrow and he shared with me many stories from his collecting days.

I also learned a new term: FROG - Finished Room Over Garage. When David constructed his new home on the lake in Manchester, he built the FROG as his "collecting cave." The room, fittingly painted green, must have a massive support structure as it was full of banker book cases, research material, and many modern heavy coated paper auction catalogs. Yet, there was zero settling in the floor !!! He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.

The following is a summary from his family.

David Jerome Davis 8-3-38 to 11-2-11

David Jerome Davis lost his 2 1/2 year battle with cancer on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. David, 73, is survived by his loving wife Janet, daughters Ellen & Martha Waara (husband Charles Busha), grandson Joshua Waara, sisters Madonna (Herb) Duval, CHristine (Richard) RUssell of Cincinnati, OH and brother Darryl Davis of Pittsburgh, PA. Neices Verya Lyn, John, Kevin, Karen, Stephen, Eric, Jessica, Matthew and Alexder. Great uncle ot Caroline, Grethcen, Olivia, Colton and Rachel. David is preceded in death by his parents and sister, Paula (1999).

David retired from Ford Motor Company. He was an engineer there for 33 years. Following retirement, when he wasn't spending time on his numerous collections, he designed and build his uniquely beautiful, peaceful, energy efficient home on Pleasant Lake, Manchester, MI.

David interrupted his first job as draftsman at Owens Corning to spend four years in the Navy, mostly aboard the USS Independence during the Bay of Pigs invasion. He returned to Dearborn after the Navy, and stayed there until moving to Ford.

After his family, David's real passion was his collections starting with slide photos of covered bridges across America, but quickly moving to rare coins and paper money issued by the first 200 US banks.. David and two fellow collectors authored a book on dimes. He also collected antique maps, clocks, miniature globes, cast iron banks, books on counterfeiting, knives, post cards of Michigan depots and more.

Before his illness, David was the self-appointed ambassador for Pleasant Lake, walking its four mile perimeter daily on litter patrol, visiting with neighbors.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, November 6 at 4PM at the Unitarian Universalist of Ann Arbor. 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Road Ann Arbor, MI Please visit David's personal webpage at to read further and/or leave a memory.

Here is an excerpt from a note from Stephen A. Crain, published in today's issue of the JR News, the electronic newsletter of the John Reich Collectors Society:

Although I have known David for a quarter century, I only came to know him well in recent years. He always had time to share stories with me during our annual visits at the ANA, and JRCS annual meetings. When the Logan/McCloskey half dime reference was being written and researched, David volunteered to retrace the 1883 research of Harold P. Newlin ("A Classification of the Early Half Dimes of the United States"), researching the auction appearances of the 1802 half dime.

Newlin accounted for sixteen confirmed examples in 1883, and it was widely believed that the number had increased to approximately twice that figure by 1998, when the half dime reference was written. I spoke with David after his research had been completed, but before the half dime book was published, and asked him how many 1802 half dimes had been accounted for.

I will never forget his fascinating response, when he replied, "Do you mean real ones?" He told of being the bearer of bad news when he identified that the 1802 half dimes in the collections of two of the country's leading numismatic organizations were deemed to be counterfeit, and he was simultaneously deemed persona non grata in those institutions.

For more information on JRCS, see:

I met Dave several times, usually at Numismatic Bibliomania Society events at ANA conventions. I also corresponded with him from time to time for The E-Sylum. He will be missed. Readers are invited to share their recollections of Dave in subsequent E-Sylum issues. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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