The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 36, September 6, 2015, Article 15

CHARLES N. BODEY (1834-1904)

John Lupia submitted the following information from his Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies‎ for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! -Editor

Charles N. Bodey (1834-1904), was born of a prominent family, son of Benjamin (1799-1849), and Mary Magdalena Heffley Bodey (1800-1877), on September 16, 1834 in either Norwegian or Manheim, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He lived his adult life in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. In 1855 he was awarded a diploma from the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society for manufacturing a cushioned rocking chair. In 1857 he married to Nydia E. Bodey (1836-1914) and they had two children, Preston M. (1859-), and Grace E. (1862-).

He served for the Union Army Company C-138th Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War.

Sometime prior to 1871 he was cured of a rupture by a famous traveling medicine man named Dr. Ferrard, heralded as the “Old Rocky Mountain Cancer King”.

Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr., went with William Fewsmith, and Warner to buy his coin collection in 1867 but Bodey refused to sell. Mason was thrown from the wagon as they were departing and was seriously injured. Five years later he sold his coin collection at auction through John W. Haseltine (5th sale) on October 29-30, 1872.

In 1874, a notice ran in the Harrisburg Telegraph that he owned a silver Jewish shekel minted in 335 and worth 62 cents.

He was a cabinet and piano maker by profession. A small notice published in the Pittsburg Commercial, Wednesday, March 15, 1876 reported that the editor of the Orwigsburg Times had seen a miniature piano made by Bodey out of walnut shells.

In 1880, he was reported to own a Bible printed in 1755. Beginning in 1895 his business collateral describes him as an Undertaker, Grandfather Clock Dealer, and all kinds of Indian Relics. But, he also dealt in coins. He was an active client of the Chapman Brothers buying coins and curiosities.

In 1888, Robert W. Mercer, the coin and curio dealer in Cincinnati, Ohio, accused him of selling fake Indian relics, particularly flint arrowheads.

In the 1890’s he was the chief burgess of Orwigsburg and refused to sign the rules and regulations of the Board of Health. The town took him to court to force him to sign.

That's an interesting parallel to current events. This week a county clerk in Kentucky was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses. But Bodey's story gets more interesting. -Editor

He was murdered by his son Preston, a rural mail carrier, during an argument over his last will and testament dated October 8, 1904, in which he left his son only $5. His son hit him over the head with a coal bucket causing a fatal wound and blood poisoning on December 30, 1904. The son was acquitted after a three-day trial by the testimony of his mother, who attested that his father struck him first with a shovel. His daughter Grace was left the entire collection of coins and curiosities.

William Clifford post card

William G. Clifford's (1863-1907) postal card to the Chapman Brothers, postmarked January 21, 1905.

"Gentlemen : Mr. Ben Jones, Tyrone, Pa. wants an 1804 Dollar, if you have one, I think he will give a good price. If you sell it I would appreciate a commission.

"Mr. Bodey the old relic, and coin dealer of Orwigsburg, Pa. died a few weeks ago, and I think he left a large stock of coins, & relics. If you write to his daughter, Miss Grace Bodey, Orwigsburg, Pa. she will tell you what he had on hand.

"Yours truly, W. G. Clifford."

Thanks again to John Lupia for making these biographies available to   E-Sylum readers. There is more about Bodey on the Encyclopedic Dictionary web page. -Editor

John Lupia adds:

The death announcement by a postal card sent to the Chapman Brothers is fascinating since it begins with a client feeling out if they have an 1804 Dollar for sale and if they do he has a buyer and would like a piece of the pie.

To read the complete article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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