VENN, THEODORE JOSEPH

Copyright 200-2019 John N. Lupia, III

Photograph of Theodore Joseph Venn published in Philatelic West Vol. 69, No. 2, April (1916) photo section. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.


Theodore Joseph Venn (1860-1936), was born on October 1, 1860, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third of six children, son of German immigrants : Dr. Ferdinand J. Venn (1824-1896) of Prussia, and Margaretha "Maggie" Oerke (1835-), of Baden.

Chicago printer, proofreader, and numismatic author, Theodore J. Venn was a prolific writer on American numismatic subjects publishing dozens of books, pamphlets, and articles on large and half cents, $3 gold pieces, Two Cent pieces, and Liberty Nickels, and many more. Only a small list is found here.

In 1870, he lived with his family in Kilbuck, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The 1870 U. S. Census reports him born in Germany.

In 1880, he worked in  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a printer.

In 1885, he began assembling a complete set of U. S. Large Cents which, he published in 1915.

In 1889, the Chicago City Directory lists him living at 172 North Clark Street, Chicago.

In 1900, he lived with his brother Clement and his family at 423 Center Street, Chicago, Illinois, where he worked as a proofreader in charge at Inter-Ocean, an old Chicago newspaper.

On December 14, 1904, he married Anna Weirich (1868-1934), a native of Wisconsin also born of German immigrant parents, at Milwaukee. They had a daughter Theodora Ferdinanda Venn (1906-).

In December 1911, he was elected a member of the Chicago Numismatic Society.

In 1913, he lived at 2034 Lane Court, Chicago.

In August 1913, Ben Green assisted him in applying for membership in the ANA.

In September 1913,  he became ANA Member No. 1718.

Venn's advertisement for his monograph on Large U. S. Cents, in The Numismatist, April (1915) : 164

Zerbe's write-up about Venn's 
Large U. S. Cents. The book contains 31 pages of all varieties of Large Cents and their values.  The Numismatist, May (1915) : 183

Venn's hyped advertisement for his monograph on Large U. S. Cents, in The Numismatist, June (1915) : 231. Gems like these aid bibliographers.


Venn's advertisement for his monograph on U. S. Half Cents, in The Numismatist, February (1916) : 99. Only 200 copies printed at 50 Cents or 100 Half Cents each. Venn mentions only 11 copies of the Large Cent book are left. In the March ad he reports that only six copies are left. In the April ad he says over 2/3 of the copies are already sold.

Zerbe's write-up about Venn's  U. S. Half Cents.  The Numismatist, March (1916) : 143


In May 1916, he published Life Insurance Catechism, citing himself as the author on Large Cents and Half Cents.

Venn's, A Series of Four Monographs Under One Cover (Chicago : Thomas, October 1919). A. Atlas 
Live advertised selling this book for $0.75 in the January 1922 issue of The Numismatist.

Zerbe's write-up about Venn's  Four Monographs.  The Numismatist, October (1919) : 383


Venn correspondence with Henry Chapman, Jr., postmarked Chicago, Illinois, August 30, 1919, 8 PM. 
Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

In December 1920, he read a paper titled : "On Creating a Permanent Interest in Numismatics." before the Chicago Numismatic Society at their meeting.

Venn's advertisement for his book, the precursor of the Red Book, United States Coins. The Numismatist, February (1921) : 78. The publisher is coin and stamp dealer Norman Shultz.

Venn published his article, "Coinage and Survivorship," The Numismatist, July (1921) : 290, which points out that gold coins, for example, may be much scarcer than the U. S. Mint records show due to melt downs when the market value of gold excels that of face value.

Venn published his article, "What Are Most of the New Coin Collectors Collecting," The Numismatist, August (1921) : 334-335, perhaps the earliest demographic study on coin collecting,

Venn published his article, "Are the "Daddy Dollars" Again Coming Into Their Own," The Numismatist, November (1921) : 516-517, on collecting old U. S. silver dollars.

In the November 1923 issue of The Numismatist, on page 546, it was reported that Venn published an article, "Great Rarities Among American Coins," The Bulletin (a Bankers periodical).

In the November issue of the Banker's Equipment-Service Bulletin, Venn published two articles, "Interesting Old Coins Bring Good Prices," about numismatic auction market prices; and "Coppers Worth Their Weight in Gold". In the January 1924 issue he published "Tracing the History of the U. S. Mint Over 130 Years."

In July 1924, he published in  Banker's Equipment-Service Bulletin, "Old U. S. Gold Coins Bring More Than Face Value."

In August 1925, he published in The Numismatist, on page 413 "Coins of Our Youth".

In August 1925, he published in  Banker's Equipment-Service Bulletin, "If a Customer Should Hand You a Beaver Coin." He describes these gold issues and those of Clark, Gruber & Co.

In 1930, he worked as a proofreader for the Chicago Tribune and lived at 38 North Lincoln Street, Chicago, Illinois.

He read a paper,"A Few Hints On Coin Collecting," at the ANA Convention at Pittsburgh, his native city. The article was published in The Numismatist, February 1936.


He died of apoplexy on February 4, 1936, at Grant Hospital. He had lived at 4647 North Lincoln Street, Chicago.

Bibliography:

The Numismatist, January (1912) : 18
The Numismatist, August (1913) : 425
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