The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 7, February 12, 2023, Article 17


E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on author D. W. Valentine. Thank you! -Editor

  Daniel Webster Valentine (1863-1932)
Part I - Biography

Daniel Webster Valentine.01 This week, as Valentine's Day approaches, our subject is a numismatist named Valentine.

Daniel Webster Valentine was born in New York City on March 7, 1863, the son of real estate dealer and hardware merchant, Charles Wesley Valentine (1834-1905) and Sarah Eliza Fleetwood Valentine (1834-1885). When Daniel was four years old in 1867, the family moved to Englewood, New Jersey. Before going to college, Daniel worked in the family store.

Daniel was married on October 28, 1896, to Ada Belle Colwell (1863-1941) at the Presbyterian Church in her home town of Harrisville, Michigan. She graduated from Elmira Female College in 1884 and worked as a teacher. They had two daughters. Marion and Margaret, and both got married but neither of them had children.

As a young man, Valentine played baseball with the Englewood Pioneers.

Daniel attended the New York College of Dentistry and received a D.D.S. on March 9, 1887. Fresh out of college, he spent a year in Vienna learning of dental practice on the continent. His practice was in New York City during 1888 to 1896. After his marriage, he moved to Englewood, New Jersey, and practiced there for thirty-five years until his death.

Valentine Joined the New York Numismatic club in 1910. He joined the ANA as member #1484 effective March 25, 1911. His name was listed as Dr. D. W. Valentine.

In 1914 the American Numismatic Society conducted an Exhibition of United States and Colonial Coins and published a photo illustrated catalog. Dr. Valentine contributed a small group of 43 half dimes to the exhibition.

Valentine Medal.01 Valentine was an active member of the New York Numismatic Club (NYNC) and served two non-consecutive terms as president in 1918 and 1920. He was honored with a club presidential medal designed by Jonathan M. Swanson with fifty struck in bronze and eight in silver.

The Valentine medal is one of the tougher ones in the series to acquire. At the sale of the Dr, Jay Galst collection on May 26, 2021, a bronze medal sold for $780 and the silver medal sold for $1560. Prices at the sale were very strong.

Valentine chaired a committee of the NYNC in 1913 to make a listing of postage and fractional currency and is credited as the author of Fractional Currency of the United States published in 1924. His collection of fractional currency is untraced. It may have been acquired by F. C. C. Boyd but that is still speculation.

Valentine had an extensive collection of half dimes. His second book was The United States Half Dimes published in 1931 as ANS Monograph #48. It was published with tan card covers. It listed 257 die varieties of half dimes.

Most of his collection was sold at auction by Thomas Elder in 1927. It was a broad collection of United States and world coins and medals. Noted was a complete set of gold dollars for all dates and mints. His half dimes were not included. It was not known what happened to his collection of half dismes, for most of the pattern varieties outlined in his book have not been seen since per Stephen Crain.

Dr. Valentine was a member of the Elks and the Masons. He was ill for two years prior to his death. He died of apoplexy (stroke) at home in Englewood, New Jersey, on January 24, 1932. He is buried with his parents at Brookside Cemetery in Englewood.

One obituary stated, Formerly owned 750 B. C. gold-piece, a half stater of Lydia, said to be the oldest gold coin in existence. It realized $128 in the 1927 Elder sale.

Valentine was inducted into John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS) Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) Hall of Fame in 2017.

Researcher Jerry Fochtman had been unable to find a quality photo of Valentine. Since both daughters died without children, there were no archives with descendants. Eventually he found the studio photo that illustrates this article through a cousin of Margaret Valentine Beatte in California. He related the story in a Money Talks presentation at the ANA World's Fair of Money.

  Part II – Personal Connections

In recent years I compiled a census of known examples of the 1792 half disme. This included the plate coin for the Valentine book on half dimes. It is noted for a partial piercing at the Y of LIBERTY on the obverse. It has a special significance to me as the coin owned by the author of the reference book on the topic.

The NYNC presidential medal for Valentine is considered the key to the series. I recall Stephen Crain writing about his long quest for an example and his joy at finally getting one.

In 2013 I served as a judge for the numismatic literature exhibit class at the ANA World's Fair of Money. An exhibit on Dr. Daniel W. Valentine: Profile of a Numismatic Pioneer, included photos acquired from his family as well as a bronze and silver medal. The exhibit placed by Jerry Fochtman was very deserving of first place.

Fochtman also wrote in The E-Sylum that he was attempting to compile a list of known examples of the Valentine medal. He asked people to check for the edge number and report them to him.

Mark Anderson sold current club medals and recorded their serial numbers. I learned that he was also recording the serial numbers for the Valentine medals. When I acquired a bronze example at an ANA WFM, I brought it to Mark so I could show off what I had acquired.

The medal is strongly held for a variety of reasons. Mark Anderson wanted one since he collects the NYNC series. Jerry Fochtman collected them because of his interest in fractional currency. Steve Crain wanted the medal because of his interest in half dimes. I wanted it because I collect medals for numismatists.

There may be competition, but sharing a common interest like this can bring collectors together. I learned much about Valentine this past week through contact with Jerry Fochtman.

On February 9, 2023, my local coin club sold books from the club library in a silent auction. I bought a Durst reprint of the Valentine half dime book for $1.

  Part III

Jerry Fochtman commented on the Valentine Fractional Currency book and medals:

Per a letter written by FCCB (Boyd), he produced 25 leather-bound editions and 225 copies of the red/back cover editions.  There were other, not-covered printer over-run copies that were eventually sold to Max Mehl, who put a blue/green-toned card cover on them and changed the wording on the cover slightly, removing FCCB as the publisher and using his name, but as "Published for B. Max Mehl."

The 25 leather-bound editions were sometimes embossed on the cover as to the name of the individual receiving them.  Mine is embossed in gold to Julius Guttag.  There are only 3 other copies that have been found, making 4 out of the original 25.  Each copy is hand numbered and signed by Daniel W. Valentine (mine is #4)

  The 225 copies of the red/back cover edition were hand-numbered, but not signed by Valentine. There are, however, copies signed by F. C. C. Boyd.  I've located 37 of these books, with one person having 8 copies.

For collectors of the NYNC medals the Valentine medal has been deemed as the key to building a set.  It was the change-over medal from the original reverse designed by member Victor D. Brenner (designer of the Lincoln cent obverse). The new reverse and all subsequent medals was designed by Jonathan M. Swanson, who was also a personal friend of DWV.   

On 2/10/1922 the club ordered 50 bronze and 8 silver versions of the newly designed medal that depicted DWV on the face.  I've tracked them using their serial numbers, locating only 13 of the bronze medals.  Mr. Swanson's unnumbered medal is in the ANS collection, as is a numbered one as well.  I sorta wondered what happened with the one that I understood that Stephen Crain (Mr. Half-Dime) finally got after years of searching.  Of the 8 silvers that were produced, I've only uncovered 2.  

Should anyone have a Valentine medal or an original copy of his book, I would appreciate their letting me know and sharing the serial number of the one(s) that they have for the purpose of maintaining my census.  Obviously, I will honor their requests for confidentiality.

  Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2023-01-29 Precious Metals

Wayne Homren, Editor

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