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The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 4, January 23, 2022, Article 16

WHO WAS J. M. WALKER?

J. M. Walker's $1 and $3 Gold Buying Guide

Knowing that we enjoy numismatic ephemera, Roger Burdette passed along his January 23, 2020 post on the NGC Forum about an unusual circa 1900 gold coin buying guide. -Editor

Enterprising coin dealer J. M. Walker had the idea to distribute a card & envelope combination soliciting purchase of $1 and $3 gold coins from merchants and bankers. In early 1900 he wrote to the Mint Bureau requesting permission to quote mintage quantities for both coins on his promotional card. He was told it was OK to do, and when printing was complete he sent the mint a sample. The 3x5 card is two-sided and intended to be attached to a similar sized envelope. Merchants could put any gold they found in the envelope and send it to Mr. Walker for his "good premium" offer.

  Walker One Dollar gold coin mintages Walker Three Dollar gold coin mintages

Interesting. I wondered if anyone could tell us more about Walker. Did he produce other coin buying guides? Fixed price lists? So I reached out to regular contributor Pete Smith, author of American Numismatic Biographies. Here's what he found. -Editor

  Who Was J. M. Walker?

The 1900 Census shows Joshua Walker living at 223 Railroad Street in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Today that street is adjacent to an abandoned railroad line that also runs along Arch Street. Perhaps the name changed or perhaps the census taker was confused.

The Census shows that Joshua was born in April 1851, and married Lucy in 1873. His occupation was listed as foreman at a saw mill. The 1880 Census gives his occupation as carpenter. The 1910 Census gives his name as J. Marlin Walker, now on Arch Street and working as a foreman in a planing shop.

  Frank Leslie Joshua Walker ad Chautauquan Joshua Walker ad

In 1895, Walker placed an ad in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, offering Fossil Fish and indicating that he was a dealer in minerals. The address at 223 Arch Street indicates that name was in use before the 1900 Census.

That same year he placed an ad in The Chatauquan offering free samples as a dealer in minerals. Based on his Census records, this was a side hustle and not his regular job.

There are other scattered records that add little to his story. He was not a significant coin dealer.

Thanks, everyone. Interesting numismatic sidelight. -Editor

To read the complete discussion thread, see:
J. M. Walker - Buying $1 and $3 Gold (https://boards.ngccoin.com/topic/419199-j-m-walker-buying-1-and-3-gold/)

E-Sylum Leidman ad03 coin



Wayne Homren, Editor

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