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The E-Sylum (2/16/2014)

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Howard Daniel writes:

I went to the Heritage website and looked at the Ruth Hill lots. I found several old French Indochina notes that are illustrated in my old first and second editions of my catalogs for them which I did not remember the sources. Now I have added Ruth Hill to them in my database so she is recognized in the third edition. I know there must be more notes so I will keep my eyes open for them.

Back in the late 1970s and into the 1980s she kept sending me an updated book want list. Some of the items were "any book" on a particular subject! I must have found about twenty-five books for her over those years, and she was elated to receive each one of them. I am not sure I remember what happened to her library, but I know it was a treasure trove for numismatists!

Ruth was a great old lady and I loved to be in her company. She was a big supporter of the International Bank Note Society and when she passed, most of the members were heartbroken.....I know I was!

Howard also responded to Ron Richardson's earlier comments that "Mrs Hill ... was not one of the 169 "founding" or Charter members" of IBNS. -Editor

Howard sent the following from the IBNS web site, which does refer to her as a founding member:

Ruth Hill, or Mrs. Adolf B. Hill Jr. III as she liked her letters to be addressed, was the grand old lady of paper money collecting in North America.

Born in 1898, she remained an active collector all her life and a visitor to shows until a few years before her death at the age of 96. Ruth Hill became interested in banknote collecting in the 1950s, about the time of the death of her husband whose company sold specialty inks. Over more than 30 years she built a vast collection of notes from almost every country of the world and, at the same time, encouraged numerous new collectors.

She was a founding member of IBNS and in 1966 she rescued the young society from collapse when it ran into severe financial difficulties and its survival was in doubt. She was later a board member and then president from 1979-81. Ruth Hill was appointed an Honorary Life Member and an honorary director for life in recognition of her long and vital support for the IBNS as an institution.

To read the complete article, see: Ruth Hill (2010) (

Howard also pointed me to the March - April 1995 issue of Paper Money, which has a feature article by Gene Hessler on Mrs. Hill. I was unable to access it online, however. I'm a member of the Society of Paper Money Collectors and have a login for their site, but the issue had errors loading. Howard kindly forwarded me an image of the article, and I've excerpted a section below. Thanks! -Editor

Ruth Hill was a native of Texas. She also lived in Georgia and Florida before setting to St. Louis. Ruth ... became interested in collecting bank notes in the 1950s, about the time of her husband's death. Her husband, Adolph, was a representative for a company that sold ink made to specification. It was through his dealings with the Banco de Mexico that she caught the bank note collecting virus. When she attended her first coin show, she often said, she felt out of place as one of the few women there. She also said it was necessary to ask for bank notes, since most dealers did not bother displaying the few pieces they might have. With few exceptions Ruth Hill collected bank notes from every country.

Finally, Howard adds:

I first met her when I attended my first ANA Convention, which was in St. Louis, and think was in 1976. She quickly latched onto me and we were friends for the rest of her life. I only saw her once or twice more, but we often corresponded by letter (remember those?) and we helped each other with our wants for notes and books. She was one of my early mentors in numismatics.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: QUERY: WHERE IS THE RUTH HILL WORLD PAPER MONEY COLLECTION? (

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