Born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was in poor health as a child and was home schooled. Graduated with A.B. from Johns Hopkins in 1889. Married Margaret Vanderpoel October 7, 1897. They had three children. Employed as a clerk with Baltimore Storage & Lighterage, later Atlantic Transport and became secretary of the company in 1894. He resigned in 1901 to join the Safe Deposit & Trust Co., later treasurer of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
Newcomer was president of the National Exchange Bank 1906 to 1924. In 1924 became chairman of the board of Atlantic Exchange Bank & Trust Co. and later Baltimore Trust Co. CEO of Baltimore Trust Company March 1929 to January 1933. He was vice president of the Atlantic Coast Line Co and Northern Central Railroad and served on the board of many corporations and institutions.
He was a benefactor of many local charities and was treasurer of the Maryland School for the Blind and the Mercantile Library.
The Newcomer collection suffered from a burglary in 1913. Various estimates of value were published but it was around $30,000. A burglar alarm had been installed shortly before the theft. One of the electricians, Frederick Holtz, rented a safety deposit box and paid for the box with a $50 California Territorial gold coin. The manager of safe deposit boxes, Stanley Walker, showed the coin to S. H. Chapman who recognized it as a coin he had sold to Newcomer. The coin was traced back to the electrician who was arrested. It was reported that about 1250 pieces were taken. Only 151 pieces were recovered from the safe deposit box but they represented 60% of the value of the collection. Holtz had difficulty disposing of the silver coins so he dumped $2,442 in face value into the Hudson River off Weehawken. At the time of his arrest Holtz was penniless and had to borrow an overcoat to protect himself on the trip back to Baltimore.
At the 1916 ANA convention he exhibited some of his collection including private gold. He showed his 1804 dollar and Gobrecht Dollars. He bought the Granberg collection and Heaton collection. In 1917 he sold about $20,000 worth of duplicates to B. Max Mehl.
His collection has been described as the greatest coin collection never to have appeared at auction. The Newcomer collection was sold to B. Max Mehl during the Depression in October 1931 for $250,000. The collection included an 1804 dollar sold to Colonel Green. He had the Trade Dollars of 1884 and 1885. He had an 1853 half without rays or arrows. There were 130 different Half Eagles including an 1854-S. His $3.00 and $2.50 gold sets were complete. He had 75 varieties of Massachusetts silver coins. One of his two Brasher Doubloons sold to Colonel Green. These were just part of his extensive run of private and territorial gold. He had 120 encased postage stamps. Mehl sold off the collection at fixed prices.
The Newcomer pattern collection was sold at auction by J. C. Morganthau.
He died in Honolulu and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetary in Baltimore.
bio: NCAB 30 (photo); WWWA-1; CW 8/21/1985
obit: NUM 47 Sep 1934 pages 569-570
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Eric Newman Clip File on Waldo Newcomer
Includes a Coin World article by Ron Guth (July 25, 2005), a Numismatist article by George Fuld (October 2007), and an article by Pete Smith from the Numismatist, June 2001.
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