ROBERTS, CHARLES GIBSON

Copyright 2000-2019 John N. Lupia, T.O.C.

Charles Gibson Roberts (1853-1905), was born on September 30, 1853, in Baltimore, Maryland, son of William H. Roberts, and Elizabeth D. Roberts.

Outside of an old postal card laying in heaps among the Chapman Archive material I found this one of an unknown gentleman who held a small collection of gold pieces. Yet the few items he held included a $3 gold piece and a 1795 Eagle! We cannot know if it was the rare 9 leaves Capped Bust small Eagle type since that data variety was not yet known as a variety before the 1930's. I have searched high and low looking for Mr. Roberts! He evidently was a man who knew the coins he held had premium values for collectors and he very probably held them a long time until late in life when he probably needed the income from them more than his joy of holding them.

There was a Dr. John B. Roberts at Philadelphia, a client of the Chapmans, but that appears to be mere coincidence and no relation.

Curiously, he writes to Chapman & Sons. As I have already shown a long time ago  it was Henry Chapman, Sr., the father of the two famous coin dealers who was a tea merchant and was the first in the family to enter into the field of monetary exchange in the 1870's.  He was shrewd and placed his sons with John White Haseltine to learn the coin trade since he saw a bright future in it for his sons. Contacting a relative who designed a working cabinet for typographic type and matrices Henry Sr., saw a practical application for it in the coin business.The family built these to sell to others advertising them in 1878. It is possible that Mr. Roberts may have been involved somehow with their manufacture. That is purely speculative and a basic logical exercise since that so far is the only common thread besides coins that could link Roberts to Chapman & Sons appealing to them as established dealers to help him liquidate his small cache.

The 1880 U.S. Census lists him as single living in a boarding house at 36 North Exeter Street, Baltimore, Maryland, working as a carpenter.


Roberts correspondence with the Chapman Brothers feeling him out about consigning his gold and other coins to them for their next coin auction which was held on February15-16, 1904. Note the form of address on the postal card Chapman & Sons, suggesting he was more acquainted with Henry Chapman, Sr., than Henry, Jr., or his older brother Sam. We do also note that the next Chapman auction did sell an 1873 $3 gold piece possibly that one mentioned by Roberts to the Chapman Brothers expressing to them his wishes to sell. Three consignors were named in that sale leaving us to wonder if Roberts is the source of any of the items. It seems very tenable that the Chapmans took the opportunity to acquire the gold pieces and certainly if any were purchased without doubt the 1795 Eagle was acquired. Roberts it is "fine". In 1903 a VF coin frequently was simply called fine by many. The NGC has a population report for the 13 leaves below Eagle type with 11 registered in VF condition, and CAC reports only 1 specimen VF-35, and 2 EF-40, either of which grade most probably was the condition of his piece. "What are you paying for Gold Dollars. Also 3 Dollar Gold piece, also Gold quarter and half Dollar?  Gold pieces all in fine Order. Perhaps have you in stock a 1798 or a 1799 Silver Dollar? If it has a small hole in it that doesn't make any difference. What do you charge for selling at coins? I am to catalogue them and offer them at public sale. I have some stuff I was thinking of selling. When do you have your next sale? I have a fine 1795 10 Dollar Gold piece 23 Dollars. I have been offered $1.80 for my Gold Dollar. Yours truly, Charles G. Roberts, 1602 Patterson Ave., Baltimore, Md." Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

His last will and testament was dated March 30, 1899.

He was issued a passport on October 14, 1899, and requested it be sent to Arthur W. Robson, 133 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland. A. J. Marshall, 314 East Lafayette Street,  Baltimore, Maryland, signed as his witness

He died on April 24, 1905.

Bibliography :

1880 U.S. Census
The Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, April 25, 1905, page 4
The Baltimore Sun, Thursday, June 8, 1905, page 9
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