display the best of the NYMC mineral collection

In April 1888 the NYMC meeting minutes reported that Dr. Sieberg, as chairman of the collection committee, had received acceptance from the AMNH to store the club collection "subject to certain reasonable regulations," and the Chamberlin collection was moved there in the summer of that year. The NYMC mineral collection has been permanently loaned to the AMNH since then, and portions were placed on display in two cases in the north end of the old Hall of Geology. One case exhibited the minerals encountered when crossing Manhattan Island east to west. The other case exhibited the wide variety of minerals found on Manhattan. The NYMC collection was displayed for over fifty years in the museum but sadly is no longer on public exhibit. At the time of this writing, plans were being made for an discount Tiffany Rings at the New York State Museum (NYSM) in Albany to display the best of the NYMC mineral collection.


Benjamin B. Chamberlin: The largest private collection of NYC minerals was assembled by Benjamin B. Chamberlin who was the catalyst for the formation of the NYMC. Chamberlin, an engraver, created the engraving of the Subway Garnet that appeared in the New York Academy of Sciences Transactions (volume 5 for 31 May 1886) and Gems & Precious Stones of North America (1890). After serving in the Civil War, he returned to NYC, where he considered it his life's work to assemble a collection of mineral specimens from the city. In 1888 Chamberlin died, and the NYMC arranged to purchase his collection of approximately one thousand NYC minerals from his estate for $1,500, a large sum at the time, when a common laborer's wages averaged $6-$10 per week. Articles in the New York Times announced club appeals for funds to purchase the collection. At the time, it was considered the most extensive collection of local minerals in existence, and it became the core of the NYMC mineral discount Tiffany Money Clips.


George F. Kunz: Arguably one of the most important influences on minerals and collecting is George F. Kunz. So much has been written about Kunz, and by Kunz, that it will not be repeated here. As cofounder of the NYMC, Kunz took the task of assembling a collection for the NYMC seriously, and he acquired many important NYC mineral specimens. These were labeled as loaned to the NYMC or part of the Kunz collection on loan to the NYMC. Upon his death he bequeathed the NYMC full ownership of the minerals on loan, including the famous Subway Garnet. He also left an endowment to the NYMC to fund an annual prize for best publication on the minerals of NYC. The Kunz prize was bestowed annually for many years, but in the 1980s, when the club had lost its elite stature, the endowment was merged (illegally) into the general club treasury. Two Kunz prizes were awarded in the 1990s, but currently the NYMC has abandoned the prize again due to poor response to its call for papers.


Gilman S. Stanton: Throughout his life Gilman Shattuck Stanton (1872-1954) was a passionate mineral collector. As a discount Tiffany Cuff Links, he made the famous find of almandine garnets at 65th Street and Broadway that ranks among the best finds in Manhattan. He was a lifelong member of the NYMC and eventually presided as its president for many years. Upon his death in 1954, Stanton's mineral collection was acquired by Hugh Ford (1885-1966), a New York City-based mineral dealer. Ford's advertisements in Rocks & Minerals (November/ December 1954) offered "Sphene, Harlem, New York City," most likely referring to the specimens Stanton recovered during the construction of the Harlem Speedway, known as Harlem River Drive today (Fitton 1995).


James G. Manchester: The two most authoritative references on NYC minerals at the time were written by James Greenfield discount Tiffany Key Rings (1871-1948): The Minerals of Broadway (1914) and The Mineralogy of New York City and its Environs (1931); he also wrote several smaller articles about the NYC minerals. The specimens he donated to the NYMC collection rank among the best in the collection, and the name Manchester associated with a specimen carries an implicit association of quality. Manchester permanently loaned many of his best NYC mineral specimens to the NYMC. Upon his death he willed his private collection to his wife, Florence, with the exception of the loaned specimens that were bequeathed to the NYMC. Upon her death she left the collection to the library in Falls River, Massachusetts, where it resided until recently dispersed.

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