WISMER, DAVID CASSEL

Copyright © 2011-2017 John N. Lupia III
Fig. 1. Photograph of the David Cassel Wismer (1857-1949) and his wife Anna Roberts Wismer celebrating their Fifty-Second Anniversary on September 19, 1930, published in Hobbies, March, 1936, page 82. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

David Cassel Wismer (1857-1949), was a second generation American, born at Hilltown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on March 25, 1857, son of Christian Wismer, Jr. (1817-1902), and Mary Cassel Wismer (1814-1903). His great-grandfather Jacob Wiesner Wismer (1684-1787) was born in Germany, came to America with his wife and son Christian Wismer (1771-1852), and died in 1787 at the age of 103 years at Deep Run [Bedminster Township], Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 

            D. C. Wismer was known as the "Dean of American Numismatists". 

            On September 19, 1878, he married Annie Roberts (1859-1951). They lived at Gwynedd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.


Fig. 2. Wismer's advertisement selling Continental Currency and Old Copper Coins in The Numismatist, May 1892, page 86. 
Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

He applied for membership in the ANA in November 1892, and was ANA Member No. 127 in December 1892.

Fig. 3.  Wismer's advertisement selling sets of Large Cents 1824-1856 for only five cents for each set!  He must have gotten a flurry of mail on that typo. Thirty-three cents for only a nickel. Dr. Heath must have been dreaming when he typed that ad. Regardless, the ad ran with that wording for June and July in The Numismatist. 1893. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            In the August 1895 issue of The Numismatist his advertisement was for a free copy of List of Priced Sale Catalogs and his sale of all kinds of U. S. coins.

Fig. 4. 
David Cassel Wismer to the Chapman Brothers postmarked February 4, 1896, Richland Centre, Pennsylvania, franked with Scott #220, 3-bar grid killer. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

            Ben G Green auctioned some of the D. C. Wismer collection in his 7th mail auction on October 24, 1903.

            From June 1922  to November 1936  he wrote an extensive series of articles "Descriptive List of  Obsolete Paper Money," spanning between 1,000 to 1,200 pages, describing 18,721 notes and approximately 700 illustrations of bank notes.

Fig. 5. Original letter sent by David Cassel Wismer to David Proskey with complimentary copy of Dix Tokens booklet and offer to sell duplicate bank notes, dated October 12, 1925. Ex-Kolbe & Fanning. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            From April 1929 to May 1931, he published a series of articles on New York obsolete paper money in The Numismatist.

Fig. 6. Wismer's Pennsylvania Descriptive List of Obsolete Bank Notes 1782-1866. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 7. Wismer's advertisement for unsigned bank notes of the State Bank of Michigan in Hobbies June 1933, page 106. Throughout all of 1933 and over time, he ran several similar ads for other state banks as well in HobbiesCourtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig.8. Photograph at a recent meeting of the Philadelphia Coin Club," The Numismatist, Vol. 52, May (1939) : 379. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            In 1948 he was awarded the ANA 50 Year Gold Medal and was awarded Honorary Regular member No. 36. 
            He was Honorary Life Member No. 26 of the Philadelphia Coin Club, and Fellow No. F-10 of the Pacific Coast Numismatic Society.

            He died of heart failure on May 31, 1949. He was found dead in bed at his home 23 East Broad Street, Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He was ninety-two years of age. He was survived by his wife Anna and four of their children :  Horace Roberts Wismer (1884-1949) of Quakertown; Leroy of Lansdale; Walter Roberts Wismer (1890-1950) of Norristown; and Mrs. Edward Osmun. He was cremated on June 3, 1949, at Chelten Hills Crematory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Fig. 9. Wismer Family Plot, Gwynedd Friends Cemetery, Gwynedd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

            The Wismer Estate sold his collection at auction through New Netherlands 33rd - 36th auction sales, April 13, 1951 - January 26, 1952.

            In 1969, D. C. Wismer was elected to the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame.  

Incomplete List of Works :

Varieties of Dix Civil War Tokens of the Year 1863 (Hatfield: D. C. Wismer, 1922)

Descriptive List of Obsolete Paper Money Issued in New Jersey (Federalsburg : J. W. Stowell, 1928).

Price List of Paper Money : Including Continental and Colonial Currency, State Bank Notes, Confederate Currency, Notes issued by states, cities, towns, counties, railroad companies, storekeepers, merchants, etc. (Hatfield: D. C. Wismer, 1929)

New York Descriptive List of Obsolete Paper Money (Federalsburg : J. W. Stowell, 1931). 
Ohio Descriptive List of Obsolete Paper Money : A List of Early Notes in Circulation Prior to 1866 (Federalsburg : J. W. Stowell, 1932).
Pennsylvania Descriptive List of Obsolete Bank Notes 1782-1866 (Federalsburg : J. W. Stowell, 1933).
"My Collecting Experience : An Address at a recent meeting of the Philadelphia Coin Club," The Numismatist, Vol. 52, May (1939) : 378-380
"Scrip Issued by Railroad, Canal and Bridge Companies and Others in Transportation Service Prior to 1900, Similar to Bank Notes," Coin Collectors Journal, Vol. 8 (1941) : 47
The Obsolete Bank Notes of New England (Quarterman Publications, 1972)

Bibliography :

The Numismatist, May (1892) : 86
Rev. A. J. Fretz, A Brief History of Jacob Wismer and a Complete Genealogical Family Register (1893)
William W. H. Davis, History of Bucks County Pennsylvania : From the Discovery of the Delaware to the Present Time 2d edition. (New York : Lewis Pub. Co., 1905) Vol. II : 53, on Jacob Wismer. citation Columbian Magazine 1787
Hobbies, June (1933) : 106. 
Hobbies, March (1936) : 82
The Numismatist, Vol. 62, August (1949) : 415, 476-477
Hobbies, Vol. 54, No. 6, August (1949) : 137
Numismatic Scrapbook, Vol. 38 (1972) : 342-344, 466
Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies.


Comments