The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 24, June 11, 2023, Article 20


E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on women coin dealers of the U.S. Thanks! -Editor

  Women Coin Dealers

This is a listing of fourteen women of some prominence as coin dealers. They include three women who continued a business after the death of their husbands and two secretaries who continued after the death of their boss.

Catherine Bullowa-Moore (1919-2017) was the widow of David Bullowa. She was profiled in the June 4 issue of The E-Sylum.

Helen Chapman (1873-1958) was born as Helen Collins. Her engagement to Henry Chapman was announced in The Numismatist in 1906. She married Henry Chapman and regularly attended ANA conventions with him. With Ella B. Wright, they ran the Chapman business after his death until Helen closed the shop in 1948. Although Helen was the owner, Ella was more of a dealer. Helen is buried with Henry at the Friends Southwest Burial Ground at Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Mary Ellen Ferguson was born in Dallas as Mary Ellen Berry. She was married to Portwood Young Ferguson (1890-1963) and divorced. She was Executive Secretary to B. Max Mehl (1957- 1961) for forty years and continued in business after his death. She joined the ANA in 1958 as member # 30203.

Dorothy Gershenson (1917-2010) was the sister of dealer Bernard Gimelson. She joined the ANA in 1961 as member #43327 while living in Philadelphia. She was affiliated with Coins & Currency Inc, until 1977 when she began under the name of Dorothy Gershenson, Inc. of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. She was honored as an ANA 50-year member a year after her death.

Ruth Green (1898-1979) was born as Ruth Scrivner. She married Charles Elmore Green (1894- 1955) in 1926. She joined the ANA in 1938.They did business under the name of R. Green leading some to believe she was the dealer. After the 1955 death of Charles, she continued the business until 1959.

Charmy Harker is married with two sons. Her interest in coins was sparked when she inherited a collection from an aunt. She does business as The Penny Lady from Irvine, California. She is known for an exhibit she prepared, Penny Potpourri - a Collection of Penny Creations with unusual items made from one-cent coins. She joined the ANA in 2000 and served as president of WIN from 2013 to 2022.

Cynthia Lee Mohon was a partner in P&M Rare Coins after 1986. She joined the ANA in 1988, sponsored by Gloria Peters and was a 1992 member of WIN. She was a co-author with Gloria Peters of The Complete Guide to Liberty Shield Nickels. She is living at South Redlands, California.

Ingrid O'Neal has been proprietor of Ingrid O'Neal Sports and Olympic Memorabilia since 1986. In the same time, she has conducted Ingrid O'Neal Auctions, Inc. She is not technically a coin dealer but deals in Olympic medals and all types of Olympic memorabilia.

Gloria Elizabeth Peters (1929-2004) joined the ANA in 1980 as member #102942. She was a partner in P&M Rare Coins after 1986. A founding member of WIN in 1992, she served as editor of their newsletter for ten years. She and Cindy Mohon wrote The Complete Guide to Liberty Shield Nickels which may be the only numismatic book with women co-authors.

Mary E. Sauvain was born as Mary Ellen Foutch. She married Richard Sauvain in 1964. She was employed with Kagin's in 1979 to 1984 and joined the ANA in 1982. An authenticater/grader with the original ANACS from 1984 to 1990, this was followed by a period of self-employment 1990 to 1995. She was employed with various companies including Numismatic Services, Inc, Mary was one of the founders of Women in Numismatics (WIN) in 1992. She has taught grading and authentication at coin shows and the ANA summer Seminars.

Shanna Schmidt is the daughter of Chicago dealer Harlan J. Berk. She is married with children and has worked as a dealer since 2005. She served on the board of International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) and on the board of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) 2019 to 2013. She is not running for re-election. She is ANA member #3130326.

Christina M. Smith is the daughter of Canadian dealer Ingrid Smith. She joined the ANA in 1986 while living in Toronto. She was originally a Canadian Dollar specialist. She was a member of WIN in 1992 listed in Winter Park, Florida.

Laura Sperber joined the ANA in 1974 as a junior member #J77671 and is currently life member LM 4366. Her first firm was LSS RCI Inc. around 1990. She was a 1992 member of WIN affiliated with Keystone Rare Coin Gallery. Later she was a partner with Bruce Morlan in Legend Numismatics specializing in high end numismatics. She served one term on the ANA Board 2013 to 2015. She was named by Coin World as one of the most influential people in numismatics three times.

Ella B. Wright (1877-1952) served as Henry Chapman's secretary. She and Helen Chapman ran the Chapman business after the January 4, 1935, death of Henry Chapman and continued until 1948. On January 28, 1941, three armed men came into the Chapman store. and took $20,000 in coins. She died of pneumonia on July 13, 1952, and is buried in the Philadelphia Northwood Cemetery.

  Auction Companies

Auctions are an important part of the numismatic market. Several women have held important positions with auction firms.

Catherine Bullowa-Moore ran Coinhunter auctions. Dorothy Gersenson ran sales under the name of Coins & Currency Inc. Ingrid O'Neal conducts auctions of Olympic memorabilia.

Julie Abrams was president of Legend Rare Coin Auctions until 2022. She made the Coin World list of the most influential people in numismatic in 2020.

Jessica Berkman succeeded Julia Abrams as President of Legend Rare Coin Auctions. She also rose to the Coin World list of most influential people in numismatics in 2023.

Christine Karstedt is executive vice president for Stack's Bowers Galleries. She was on the 2022 and 2023 Coin World list of most influential people in numismatics.


I am aware of women who were part-time dealers in my local market. There are probably many others. There is not much information on dealers who have not made it into the Newman Numismatic Portal.

Thanks! Great list. Who are we missing? -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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