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Meet F.C.C. Boyd

We invite you to meet Frederick C.C. Boyd, known to his friends as “Fred” Boyd.
F.C.C. Boyd, as his name often appeared in print, was one of the most familiar faces in numismatics during the second decade of the 20th century. In 1945 and 1946 parts of his cabinet were sold under the title of “The World’s Greatest Collection of United States Silver Coins” and “The World’s Greatest Collection of United States Gold Coins” by the Numismatic Gallery (Abe Kosoff and Abner Kreisberg), in catalogues that are classics today.
Well, these collections were not particularly “the world’s greatest,” and lacked many rarities, but nearly all of the coins offered were of superb quality. By that time Boyd’s attention had turned to other series including colonial and other early paper money, tokens, and medals.
F.C.C. Boyd was an avid coin collector by the early 20th century. He never wrote much about himself, so some of his early preferences can only be guessed at today. However, from an early time he had an eye for rarity and quality. In July 1912 he signed on as a member of the American Numismatic Association, although the never became prominent in the politics of that organization. Closer to his heart seems to have been the New York Numismatic Club, a particularly dynamic enclave formed in December 1909. He served as president of that group in 1916 and 1917 and again in 1923.
In the meantime he followed two careers—one as a rare coin dealer and the other as an employee, later an officer of the Union News Company, the last a subsidiary of the American News Company, and prominent for the ubiquitous presence of its newsstands and kiosks in railroad stations and other public places.
As a professional numismatist he held what is believed to have been his first mail auction, on September 19, 1913. The editor of The Numismatist noted warmly, “We wish Mr. Boyd great success in his undertaking in the numismatic field.” This initial effort featured quite a few pattern coins, a listing of paper money, choice silver, and numismatic books.
On January 17, 1914, he joined the American Numismatic Society, New York City, and immediately thereafter loaned coins from his private collection to a special exhibition mounted at the Society’s impressive headquarters on Broadway between 155th and 156th streets.
In August 1922 the annual convention of the American Numismatic Association was held at the Great Northern Hotel in New York City (rooms cost $3 up per night), and Boyd conducted the official convention auction.
For a long time afterward he was a prominent advertiser in The Numismatist, in the meantime building his own private collection. As he climbed the corporate ladder at Union News he also devoted time to public service, and was on the board of the National Recovery Association (NRA), one of the entries in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “alphabet soup” list of agencies in the 1930s.
After the death of Col. E.H.R. Green in 1936, Boyd appraised the numismatic portion of the $40 million estate, the coins and paper money amounting to the then-impressive total of $1,240,299. Included were all five of the known 1913 Liberty Head nickels. In the same decade Boyd acquired a 1933 double eagle, which he proudly exhibited at one of the ANA conventions—this being in the era before the 1944 “witch hunt” that resulted in the confiscation of such pieces.
During World War II Boyd served with the Office of Price Administration (OPA), a division headed by Michael V. DiSalle (who years later served as governor of the state of Ohio, and, later, as a founder of the Paramount International Coin Corporation, the first publicly traded coin firm).
In the 1940s Boyd had a close personal friendship with young dealer Abe Kosoff, and over a period of time sold most of his federal coins through him, including the “World’s Greatest Collection” offerings mentioned earlier. Boyd’s patterns never appeared on the auction block and were sold directly to King Farouk of Egypt. Similarly, Boyd’s collection of territorial gold was handled privately by Kosoff.
In the 1950s Boyd was a close friend of John J. Ford, Jr., a partner in the New Netherlands Coin Co. Ford acquired most of Boyd’s vast holdings of tokens, medals, and paper money, some during Boyd’s lifetime and others after Boyd’s passing in 1958. Over the years many of these items have come on the market, and the core pieces were dispersed in our series of sales offering the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. It is an interesting and remarkable feature of our hobby that fine specimens tend to recycle and go from one fine collection to another.
From what we know and have seen of Boyd’s collection he certainly ranks as one the most prominent connoisseurs in our hobby. Boyd read widely, studied his coins carefully, appreciated them immensely, and shared his knowledge with others.
In 1978 F.C.C. Boyd was elected to the ANA Hall of Fame at the American Numismatic Association headquarters in Colorado Springs.

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