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DuBois, William

Born Doylestown, Pennsylvania. His mother was Martha (Patterson) DuBois, daughter of Robert Patterson, Director of the Mint. He studied law and was admitted to the bar at age 22. He is described as having a weak voice unsuited to the practice of law. As a result he prefered to communicate in writing.

In 1833 he became director's clerk at the mint working for his uncle, Samuel Moore. In 1835 he went to the assay department working under Jacob R. Eckfeldt. In 1841 he married Susanna Eckfeldt, sister of Jacob. He and Eckfeldt were long time friends.

In 1838 Robert Maskell Patterson, another uncle, authorized the formation of a Mint collection of coins. Many foreign gold and silver coins were submitted to the mint at their bullion value for melting, refinement and reissue. Many of these had a numismatic value but could be added to the collection for their intrinsic value. DuBois became the first curator of the collection and remained curator until his death.

In 1842 DuBois and Eckfelt published their Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations. Author of Pledges of History: A Brief Account of the Collection of Coins Belonging to the Mint of the United States. One hundred fifty copies were published in 1846. In 1850 Eckfeldt and DuBois published New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins. When Eckfeldt died in September 1872, DuBois succeeded him as chief assayer.

DuBois published three books alone including On The Natural Dissemination of Gold in 1861, Propositions for a Revised System of Weights in 1869 and A Brief Sketch of Jacob R. Eckfeldt in 1872.

DuBois died in Philadelphia in 1881. He completed nearly 48 years service to the Mint. He was an honorary member of the Boston Numismatic Society. His collection was sold at auction by Elder October 15, 1918.

Inducted into the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame in 2002.

bio: ApCAB; CW/NM 5/26/76; DAB; WWWA-H obit: AJN 16 Oct 1881 page 44-46; New England Historical & Genealogical Register 35 Oct 1881 p 394

 



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    Pledges of History: A brief of account of the collection of coins belonging to the Mint of the United States, more particularly of the antique specimens 1846

    Pledges of History: A brief of account of the collection of coins belonging to the Mint of the United States, more particularly of the antique specimens

    Davis 325. 1 plate, medal-ruled. A table summarizes the Mint cabinet at the time, some 3800 pieces, of which approximately 10% were U.S. issues. There is no specific cataloguing of the U.S. coinage, but this important work describes the genesis of the collection: “The collection was commenced in June, 1838. Long before that date, however, Mr. Adam Eckfeldt, formerly Chief Coiner, led as well by his own taste as by the expectation that a conservatory would some day be established took pains to preserve master-coins of the different annual issues of the Mint, and to retain some of the hnest foreign specimens, as they appeared in deposit for recoinage. As soon as a special annual appropriation was instituted for this object, by Congress (which was as soon as it was asked), the collection took a permanent form, and from the nucleus above mentioned, has gone on in a continual course of augmentation since. It is now nearly as large as we expect or wish to have it, excepting, however, that specimens of new coinage, domestic or foreign, must be added as they appear.” 


    New Varieties of Gold and Silver coins (1850) 1/1/1850

    New Varieties of Gold and Silver coins (1850)

    A followup volume to the 1842 work by the same authors (A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of all Nations), this book describes developments in gold and silver coinage in the preceding decade, including California discoveries, Mormon gold, and various foreign pieces. The most valuable copies retain the California gold samples that were mounted on p. 45.

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