The collection documents Howard F. Bowker, a coin collector and expert in the coinage of East Asia.
The collection consists almost entirely of the subject files of Howard F. Bowker, a coin collector and expert in the coinage of East Asia. The files, arranged alphabetically by correspondent, primarily contain correspondence between Bowker and persons or organizations making inquiries about coins or numismatic books. Additionally, the files include articles on East Asian coinage, newsletters or other publications, bibliographies he created, and a few photographs and rubbings of coins. Also included is a card file containing the details of his collection.
Materials are arranged into one series in alphabetical order.
Biographical / Historical:
Howard F. Bowker was born January 3, 1889, in Winona, Minnesota, and he was a self-proclaimed and self-employed coin dealer in the Chicago area by 1910. He served in the U.S. Navy during both World War I and World War II, and it was while he was stationed in Hankow, China, between 1923 and 1924, that he became interested in collecting East Asian numismatic history as well as philatelic history. During and after his service in the Navy, Bowker was a fervent collector of East Asian coins, banknotes, coin molds, stamps, and rare books. He amassed a collection of more than 100,000 objects between the early 1920s and 1970. He engaged with an extensive network of East Asian researchers and collectors and was one of the most prominent American specialists on East Asian numismatics in American history. He provided consulting services to the Smithsonian Institution in the mid-1950s. In 1958, Smithsonian Secretary Leonard Carmichael officially appointed him a Consultant to the Museum of History and Technology, providing for him to travel from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to work with the National Numismatic Collection curator, Dr. Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli on organizing the George B. Glover collection. Bowker left his numismatic collection to the Smithsonian in his will. Howard F. Bowker died July 8, 1970.
Materials in the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History
Related objects and an audio file for an oral history interview (NMAH-AHB2017q000016) conducted by Ellen Feingold with Marilyn Dorman, Carolyn Bowker, and June Cornell for the Howard Fraklin Bowker Asian Coin Project United States, recorded November 14, 2016. See accessions: 2017.0035 and 2017.0116.
Collection donated by Nancy Bowker to the Archives Center in 2018.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.