John Lupia submitted the following information from his Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies for this
week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This
week's subject is Randolph Laughlin. -Editor
Randolph Laughlin (1875-1933), was born on March 21, 1875, to Ella “Nellie” Haynes (1853-), and Judge Henry David Laughlin (1848-1931),
both natives of Kentucky. His parents were divorced in 1900. He was an attorney in St. Louis beginning in 1897. He was also an ancient coin
collector, who, over the years purchased many fine gold, silver and bronze Greek and Roman coins from the Chapman brothers.
On June 21, 1898, he married an English woman named Marie Highley (1875-) and they had a son Robert Randolph Laughlin. In the summer of
1899 he invented the sport "Archery-Golf" where one shoots an arrow to a mound and golfs there.
In 1910, he loaned his Greek and Roman coin collection to the St. Louis City Art Museum. In 1911, he with his father Judge Henry David
Laughlin and Robert H. H. Hern, all of St. Louis were to share $1 Million fee for winning the case in the Cherokee land suits that was held
up in the courts for twenty years. The lawsuit gave large tracts of land in Oklahoma and elsewhere to freed negro slaves who were enslaved
by the Cherokee Indians. Oil was discovered in these fields which amounted to many millions of dollars. The account of the litigation began
with Milton Turner, a former slave who was born a royal prince of Morocco but was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He became the personal
attendant to President U.S.S. Grant, who appointed him the U.S. Minister to Liberia.
In 1922 he had contact with Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941), purchasing thirty-two ancient Roman gold coins which Evans discovered at the
Suez Canal, Egypt. After his death his extensive Greek and Roman coin collection amounting to over a thousand pieces was sent to
He was also the attorney in the famous Charles R. Forbes and John W. Thompson Veteran's Bureau Conspiracy trial from 1924-1926,
representing Thompson. He was also the attorney in the annulment lawsuit of the famous St. Louis millionaire, 70-year old Hugh W.
Thomasson, from his pretty 30-year young wife Grace Caroline Mahood Thomasson. In that suit Randolph Laughlin also represented his niece
Elizabeth Strock Laughlin in a lawsuit for $20,000 for the loss of her eye in a fishing accident (ouch!!).
The 1930 U. S. Census lists his residence at Washington Street, University, Missouri.
He died on February 23, 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri. His obituary read:
"At his St. Louis County home, a $100,000 residence, hand carvings of the woodwork and beams and the interior plastering, in the
old style known as pargetry, are Laughlin's own work. Randolph Laughlin was a collector of furniture and various antique objects, and
had one of the world's most complete collections of portrait coins of the Roman emperors. This collection is now in
Business envelope of Randolph Laughlin sent to the Chapman Brothers to purchase Roman silver and gold coins postmarked February 17,
To read the complete article, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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