NEGREEN, JOSEPH FRANCIS, Jr.

Copyright 2011-2019 John N. Lupia, III


Joseph Francis Negreen, Jr., was a popular  "Coin and Stamp Dealer," operating at various offices along East 23rdStreet, New York City, New York, the same blocks where we also find Scott Stamp & Coin, Ltd., Thomas L. Elder, and Lyman Haynes Low. Negreen also traded there as the Greater New York Stamp & Coin Company.


Researching Negreen opened Pandora's box. Three J. F. Negreen's working as stamp dealers were known living around the same period. However, it is unclear if the first two are different people.  One from Omaha, Nebraska, was reported to be James Francis Negreen, or, perhaps as another newspaper names him Joseph F. Negreen , which brings about confusion and leaves the early life of our subject in a fuzzy cloud. Whereas, our subject, Joseph Francis Negreen, Jr.,  was a resident of New York, who could have come from Omaha. A third Joseph F. Negreen (1922-1983), of the New England States, also published on stamps.


Joseph Francis Negreen, Jr. (1881-1924)was born on March 7, 1881 in New York City [some records report born in Bohemia, i.e., Austria], son of Joseph Francis Negreen, Sr. (1857-1909) and Katherine (1858-) were Bohemian - Austrian immigrants. 


One newspaper reported a James Frank Negreen was a stamp dealer in Omaha, Nebraska. So far no connection has been made between these two men. However, the newspaper may have made a mistake. A news report in the Omaha-World Herald, June 11, 1902, page 2, names a Joseph F. Negreen as the auction manager of the Omaha Philatelic Society. This strengthens the possibility that our subject could have been a stamp dealer at one time in his teens in Omaha, Nebraska and late 1902 moved to New York. Our subject began publishing his stamp and coin paper in New York in December 1902, six months after we hear of Joseph F. Negreen auction manager in Omaha. Could these two have been the same person? So far this has not be clarified and cannot be asserted either way without additional concrete information.


A different Negreen? arrested for mailing with used stamps. Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, July 10, 1900, page 5


First appearance of James Frank Negreen? in east coast newspapers reports him as a stamp dealer from Omaha, Nebraska, arrested in New York for mailing letters with used stamps. The News, Thursday, July 12, 1900, page 2


According to Bibliotheca Lindesiana, column 655, from 1902-1903, Negreen published the New York Stamp and Coin News, in octavo.,  Nos. 1-5, Dec, 1902 Jan., 1903, Feb. and Mar., April. and

May, Aug. and Sept., Nov. and Dec, 1903. Each number has a colored paper wrapper and nos. 2-5 were published by the Greater New York Stamp and Coin Co., otherwise
J. F. Negreen. No. 2 is dated inside " March 20, 1903 " and no. 5 " November 20, 1903 ". Six numbers in all. The last number contains only advertisements. Only 200 copies of each number are said to have been
printed. Remy Bourne does not name Negreen as publisher or editor.


Negreen's 1903 Coin Book, With Prices I Pay for Rare American and Colonial Gold, Silver, Copper and Nickel Coins. The title and any copy are quite rare in the market. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library. 


In the May 15, 1904 issue of the American Journal of Philately, page 115, "The Case of R. P. H. Wolle," we read that Joseph Negreen was one of the key witnesses in this unprecedented forgery case. It is unprecedented since there were neither previous court cases of philatelic forgeries nor any previous court case involving any stamp dealers in the annals of the New York judiciary. It was Negreen who brought about New York's first trial case involving philatelic forgeries. Apparently he was swindled out of $300 in bogus stamps by the counterfeiter Richard P. W. Wolle. Note that Wolle's name appears variably as R. P. H., or R. P. W.


The 1905 NY Census lists him as a Bohemian, as single, and working as a Coin Dealer. 


Dealing in both coins and stamps allows them to be a bit creative. His numismatic mind developed a plan to use his stamps for profit and a means to acquire new coin stock at the same time. He priced the coins in such a way that he would collect dimes and nickels for payment providing the opportunity to cherrypick scarce and rare specimens.  


Negreen's stamp advertisement in Youth, Vol. 5, January (1906) : 118


Negreen's stamp advertisement in St. Nicholas, Vol. 35, December (1907) : 194

Negreen's store robbed of many coins. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, June 10, 1908, page 18


In the Los Angeles Herald, Saturday Morning edition, July 18, 1908, "Rare Coins Stolen From Numismatist," relates how Lyman H. Low visited Negreen after having been robbed of $5,000 worth of  ancient coins and paper money. Low is reported to return to his shop finding the sidewalk display case was smashed open and $500 in coins were reported stolen. The replicas that were stolen were of Jewish shekels, Ptolemaic, Greek, and Roman coins.

In the August 1908 issue of The Numismatist, page 238, Negreen's stamp and coin shop is reported to have been robbed on the night of June 9th of both coins and stamps worth $5,000, a considerable amount. Fortunately, they, for some unaccountable reason, probably hurried off when Negreen was coming back, did not steal the gold coins leaving that case untouched. Lyman H. Low, who also was also robbed had been fortunate enough to have them steal his replicas in the sidewalk display case, apparently thinking they were real.

The 1910 US Census lists him as a "Dealer in Stamps and Coins", and lists his birthplace as Austria. directly implying that he came to America with his parents.

The Sun & New York Press, Tuesday, January 18, 1910, page 13

He sold his library in 170 lots at auction on January 20, 1910, at James P. Silo, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York.


Negreen's coin advertisement in Percy McGraw Mann's Philadelphia Stamp News, Vol. 2, No. 1, April 1 (1911) : 12


In 1912, he received much publicity in the purchase of Mrs. Parkhurst's collection of 10 Million stamps arranged in 100K packets.


NY 1915 Census he is listed as a Stamp Broker, age 32 years old married to a 26 year old Scottish immigrant Anna M. Negreen and a one year old daughter Madeline. 


In 1916, he was president of the East Forest Hills Realty Company.


Negreen's correspondence with his corner card label, franked with mixed postage including Scott #527 Type V issued March 20, 1920, as uprated postage on an antique 1870 issue postal stationery envelope unlisted in Scott embossed on blue watermarked paper. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic & Philatelic Library.


He was the president of East Forest Hills Realty Company and owned various properties and managed buildings.


Advertisement down south in Marietta, Georgia in the Cobb County Times, Thursday, May 17, 1923, page 8



Negreen was robbed of coins in October 1923. Daily News, Friday, October 19, 1923, page 4



Alvin Fay Harlow, Paper Chase the Amenities of Stamp Collecting (NY : Henry Holt, 1940)  : 132, refers to an episode in the life of Negreen in the early part of the 20th century when he was duped paying $800.00 for fake Pan-American inverted stamps issued in 1901. He refers to Negreen as now dead. 


We find a Joseph F. Negreen (about 1882-1924), had died at Queens, New York City, New York, on June 6, 1924. His estate was probated June 27, 1924, with Anna M. Negreen, his widow, Executrix. She inherited about $130K. These papers clearly identify our subject Joseph Francis Negreen a stamp and coin dealer at his well published address. His estate papers shows he was a real estate investor and developer. 


Apparently a second Joseph F. Negreen (1922-1983), stamp dealer is very active in the New England States region in Massachusetts. So far no connection has been made between these two men.



Bibliography :


American Journal of Philately(May 15, 1904) : 115, "The Case of R. P. H. Wolle,"

NY 1905 Census

The Numismatist, August (1906) : 272 new location

Philatelic West, Vol. 41, No. 2, August (1908) 7thleaf after the center photo section.

The Numismatist, August (1908) : 238, Negreen robbed

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York), Saturday, September 17, 1910 

Polk's New York City Directory (1910) : 332

Philadelphia Stamp News, Vol. 2, No. 1, April 1 (1911) : 12

NY 1915 Census

1917 Draft Card

Philatelic West, Vol. 75, No. 2, January-February (1919) : 8, full page ad

New York Times Sunday, December 24, 1916, page 30

George L. McKay, American Book Auction Catalogues 1713-1934 (NYPL, 1937) : 322,  January 20, 1910, No. 6775

J. L. L. Earl of Crawford, Bibliotheca Lindesiana, column 655

Remy Bourne, American Numismatic Periodicals 1860-1960. Vol. 1 : 1900-9

 

 

Comments