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The Ralph A. Edson Collection — Did You Know?

Did you know Stack’s Bowers Galleries is featuring the Ralph A. Edson collection in our official auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Summer Expo?  Mr. Edson has a large collection tokens and medals, with an emphasis on Civil War tokens and store cards, that will be sold over a series of auctions.  Contained in this auction are Mr. Edson’s collection of Washington medals. Future auctions will feature his collections of U.S. Civil War, merchant, trade and other tokens, U.S. political medals, and Canadian colonial tokens.

The Whitman Summer Expo takes place May 23-25, 2019, in Baltimore Maryland.  The auction is available for viewing on the Stack’s Bowers website.  For more information or to request a copy of the catalog call us at 800-458-4646 or email us at [email protected]. Continue reading to learn more about Ralph A. Edson.

Ralph A. Edson – A Collector of Collections

Ralph A. Edson, 88, passed away suddenly earlier this year.  He was the loving husband of Jean (Coulter) Edson to whom he was married for 61 years.  He was the father of Greg and Cassandra, the grandfather of Erik, Glenn, Ben, Josh and Sam and the great-grandfather of Aaron.

Ralph Edson was a proud veteran of the United States Navy. He was the co-owner of Molded Electric Products (MEP). After his retirement, Ralph enjoyed the outdoors, attracting birds to his yard and landscape gardening up until the time of his death.  He had an eye for beauty and the unusual, as well as  a memory like a steel trap.  His eye and his memory served him well as he searched for treasures at shops, shows and sales.

Ralph’s collecting story begins at the tender age of 4, standing in an antique shop beside his mother, Ralph was asked to empty his pockets.  He pulled out a few marbles, some pretty stones, a coin, a piece of string, and knowing him, a few more things as well.  The owner looked at his mother and said: "There is no doubt about it.  You have a collector on your hands."  The dealer had prophesied the truth.

Ralph Edson’s first coin collection began when he was seven.  Bed-ridden, he asked his understanding mother to bring home a roll of coins.  He went through these carefully, picking out the ones that were in some way different, the ones he thought might be more valuable than the others. He put these to the side, packed up the remaining coins and asked his mother for a new roll.  A collection was begun.

Good for a Scent 18631864 Monitor Token 

His main interest in numismatics came to be Civil War tokens and George Washington​ medals.  Ralph collected avidly and read widely.  Each item was carefully categorized and later re-categorized in relation to new lists and books.  Despite his intense interest at the time, few – if any – of today’s dealers and collectors will recognize his name.  That is because, true to his nature, about 50 years ago his interest was suddenly caught by a different collection, namely political items.  Today he is best remembered as a collector of ephemera, with his main focus on postcards.  As the family goes through each of what totaled over 40 collections, we realize that what best characterizes Ralph Edson is that he was, above all, a collector of collections.  ​

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