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The E-Sylum (4/30/2017)

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John Lupia submitted the following information from the draft of his   Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full draft article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is collector, dealer, and ANA President L. W. Hoffecker. -Editor

Lyman William Hoffecker NUM Nov 1939, 940 Lyman William Hoffecker (1868-1955), was born the eldest of five children on September 27, 1868, son of Hiram H. Hoffecker (1839-1912), a wheelwright and carriage maker, and Hannah E. Mack Hoffecker (1836-1906), at Tunkkannock, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania.

In 1886, at eighteen he began collecting coins while working at the Dalton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Post Office as a letter carrier.

In 1900, he and his wife Cora and daughter Merle moved to El Paso, Texas, at 1110 Texas Street, and worked as a carpenter and in the wholesale glass and building materials business. Learning the business he opened L. W. Hoffecker Door & Sash Company in the building materials trade. In November 1918, he went to Belgium purchasing glass for retail sale in America. Also, in 1918 he went to Mexico as a building contractor.

In 1910, he and his family and his father Hiram lived at 1514 Montana Street, El Paso, Texas, working in the Plate Glass business.

On July 4, 1915 Cora Hoffecker died of stomach cancer, and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery, El Paso, Texas...

About 1919, he married Sarah Jane Jennie Watkins (1889-1954), a native of Kentucky...

In 1922, he retired from the building materials trade business. After retirement Hoffecker devoted his time to world travels and coin collecting and dealing. He visited 72 foreign countries and brought back home many numismatic specimens for his collection and for his inventory for sales. In 1924, he joined the ANA and became Member No. 2610. In 1929, Hoffecker had his first volley into the initiation of U. S. Commemorative coins was his plan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, ratified in 1854. He erected a Commission at El Paso, headed by himself to plan the design and promote its advocacy among the appropriate Congressional Committee members. It was approved. However, President ... Hoover vetoed it...

1935_OldSpanishTrailMemorial_HalfDollar Both Hoffecker and Thomas L. Elder worked to influence the U. S. legislation on commemorative coinage, which looked very bleak in the first months of 1935. It was widely thought at that time that U. S. Commemorative coins would be entirely discontinued. Elder wrote aggressively on the subject appealing to continue and promoted U. S. Commemorative coinages. Hoffecker worked with his local historical society and museum. He became the chairman of the El Paso Museum Coin Committee. And, in 1935, he designed the Old Spanish Trail Commemorative Half Dollar engraved by sculptor Edmund Senn, and became the distributer for the Museum. The profits made in sales were for funding the Museum.

Hoffecker and his wife Sarah opened Watkins Coin Co. in El Paso, Texas, so-called after her maiden name. They advertised in Hobbies : The Magazine For Collectors.

From 1936 - 1939 he served on the ANA Board of Governors. In 1939, he was elected the 22nd President of the ANA. In 1942, he became ANA Life Member No. 68.

HOFFECKER TOMB His collection was sold together with that of Joseph C. Rovensky at auction by B. Max Mehl, Sale #115, on November 30, 1954.

He died of arteriosclerotic heart disease on January 13, 1955. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, El Paso, Texas.

To read the complete article, see:

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