Born in New York City. Resident of Springfield, Massachusetts. Married with a son. Bolen was a member of the Springfield Antiquarian Society and a corresponding member of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society. He was a respected numismatist.
Bolen issued a number of store cards between 1862 and 1869. Several include his image on the obverse. Author of An Accurate and Descriptive Catalogue of the Medals and Facsimiles Struck From Dies Made by J. A. Bolen in 1905.
He died in Springfield, Massachusetts.
He issued a number of copies of early American coins:
Bar Cent struck in 1862
Carolina Token struck in 1867
Confederato Cent struck in 1863
George Clinton Cent struck in 1869
Higley Copper struck in 1864
New York Cent struck in 1869
portrait: NUM 27 Oct 1914 page 476
bio: CW/NM 4/14/76
see: Kenney; Struck Copies of Early American Coins
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[ p. ; 14 x 10 cm,"Contemporary quarter calf and boards notebook, completed in the hands of two individuals, binding worn, content loose, housed in a Alan Grace tan half calf, decorative borad solander box. Very fine."]. American Numismatic Society library rare book room.John Adams Bolen (1826-1906), diesinker of Springfield, MA, issued a number of medals in the 19th century variously related to numismatic, civic, commercial, and patriotic subjects. His work has been thoroughly and capably cataloged in Neil Musante’s The Medallic Works of John Adams Bolen (2002). Bolen’s oeuvre was exceptionally documented for the era, and the 1866 manuscript of his die register is now available on Newman Portal. Scanned from the American Numismatic Society (ANS) Rare Book Room, this document (mostly in Bolen’s hand) was donated by Tony Terranova to the ANS in 1995 and prior to that appeared in the Armand Champa library sale (part 2, Bowers & Merena 3/1995, lot 1074).
The Bolen manuscript was published in the American Journal of Numismatics (August 1866) and has been well-known since, but the images of Bolen’s own handwriting, as presented here, convey a historicity and sentiment not necessarily acquired from the heretofore published version. Apart from Musante’s comprehensive treatment of the subject, the Stack’s March 2011 Americana auction sale catalog, presenting the Q. David Bowers collection of Bolen medals, is an essential reference for the Bolen collector.