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Continental & Colonial Currency Dealer Robert Kelley Idler of Philadelphia “Unique” Advertising Note Currency

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“SERIES OF 1876” Dated, R. (Robert Kelley) Idler (1851-1921), Successor to Numismatic Dealer William Idler, Philadelphia, PA., “Old American Cents and Half Cents, Continental and Colonial Paper Money, Bought and Sold by R. Idler.” Advertising Note, Printed in Black and Green, Fine.

A fascinating and historic Numismatic Advertising note of R. (Robert Kelley) Idler of Philadelphia. This note is the only example we have ever seen and/or is known to exist, being likely unique. Its Face side printed in black with American Eagle with Flag in its talons at center. Impressive exceptional vignette of a Native American Indian in oval at lower right. Two Sailors stand with an anchor and barrels of cargo with Sailing Ship in background at left. Text reads: “This Note Is Not A Legal Tender For 25 Dollars. / The United States Will Pay to the Bearer - Twenty-Five Dollars. - If Compelled To." At bottom is Imprint of: “Philadelphia Printing House, S.W. Cor. 11th & Market Sts.” with “Series of 1876 25” within the vignette at left. The back is printed completely in Green and reads:

“Old American Cents and Half Cents, Continental and Colonial Paper Money, Bought and Sold by R. Idler. No. 109 South 11th Street. Philad'a.”

Small varmint chew holes touch the "M and ER" in "American" in the green banner, corresponding with “ED and A” on the black printed face. Several small sealed splits with a small stamp hinge reinforcement at bottom center. Robert Idler of Philadelphia, PA, was the son of famed Philadelphia collector-dealer William K. Idler and related to his son-in-law, Capt. John W. Haseltine, are two seminal figures in 19th century American numismatics. Like many other professional coin dealers of the era, his business pursuits included other specialties; in addition to numismatics, Idler was also a stationer and a dealer in jewelry and minerals. Idler died on July 16, 1901. Like the Idlers, this advertising note appears to be unique and irreplaceable.
From “American Numismatic Biographies” and this articles author Pete Smith, who submitted this article on dealer William Idler and his son Robert. Thanks! - E-Sylum / Numismatic Bibliomania Society Editor - V24, Number 44, October 31, 2021

Robert Kelley Idler (1851-1921): Son of William Idler & Partner with John W. Haseltine

I was not aware of Robert Idler prior to October 28, 2021, as I was researching his father. Constructing his biography has been quite a challenge and I thank Julia Casey for her assistance in trying to solve the puzzles.

He was born in North Carolina. No date of birth has been found.

In the 1870 and 1880 Census, he was listed as a clerk in the Post Office. In the 1893-96 era, he owned a liquor store at 12 South Delaware. A 1901 newspaper article shows him as a real estate appraiser. In 1910 and 1920, he was listed as a coin dealer.

On May 23, 1871, he married Ida Stearly. In early 1880, he was living with his parents. Later in 1880 he had a brief marriage to Emily Gross who died of Typhoid Fever in November of 1880 at age 19. On September 3, 1882, he married Maggie Norris. Around 1890, Margaret Idler shows up in city directories as the widow of Robert K. Idler.

Then for several years, city directories show Robert K. Idler at one address and Margaret, widow of Robert K. at another. This is the kind of anomaly that can cause great distress to a biographer.

Robert moved around. In 1901 he lived at 1504 Sansom Street. In 1903 his residence was at 265 South 11th Street. In 1904 he moved to 241 South 15th Street in Philadelphia. He ran simple ads in The Numismatist for April 1906 through November 1906. In 1910 he was at 4227 Brown Street. In 1916 he lived at 3012 Gordon. In 1920 he lived on Delaware River Road in Salem, New Jersey.

The 1920 Census has Robert K. Idler, age 69, living on Delaware River Road, Salem, New Jersey, and employed as a coin dealer. The 1920 Census also has Robert Idler, age 55, living at 3012 Gordon Street, Philadelphia and employed as Dealer / Old Coins. Apparently, he was counted twice.

He died on December 21, 1921, at Jumbo, New Jersey. He is buried with the family at Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Idler ran an ad in the back (page 94) of United States Mint at Philadelphia by James Rankin Young, His 265 South 11th address appears on the first 1903 printing. The 241 South 15th address appears on a later 1904 printing. Following page 87 is a new page Coins Bearing a Premium. Subsequent pages are reprinted without page numbers.

Idler was soliciting auction consignments five years after John Haseltine ran his last sale. It appears that Robert Idler was trying to benefit from the reputation of his father, William Idler, as well as the reputation of his current partner, the well regarded Capt. John W. Haseltine. Without his father's name, he would be a minor player not worthy of mention.
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