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The Philatelic and Numismatic Sherlock Holmes by Benton Woods

The Philatelic and Numismatic Sherlock Holmes by Benton Woods

“… such a dear, kind old clergyman.”

– A Scandal in Bohemia (SCAN)

First edition of The Philatelic & Numismatic Holmes by Benton Wood – 1990

In the November 1989 edition of Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, Peter E. Blau published this nugget: Jan. 6 (appropriately) will be the publication date of Ben Wood’s new THE PHILATELIC & NUMISMATIC HOLMES (40 pp., $5.00 postpaid pre-publication and $6.00 afterward). 

The following month, Blau would publish this update: Ben Wood’s new THE PHILATELIC & NUMISMATIC HOLMES is nicely done: 40 pages of illustrations and notes on stamps showing Holmes, Conan Doyle, and many Canonical items, plus a reprint of Arthur Pierce’s “Was Sherlock Holmes a Stamp Collector?” (D4217a), and more illustrations and notes on Canonical coins. The cost is $5.00 postpaid until Jan. 6.

Second edition of The Philatelic & Numismatic Holmes by Benton Wood – 1993

It appeared the first edition sold out and after a few years a new edition was needed. In the November 1992 Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, Blau had this to report: Ben Wood is preparing a new and revised edition of his guide to Sherlockian stamps and coins (THE PHILATELIC & NUMISMATIC HOLMES); the postpaid cost is $5.00 through Dec. 31 (and $6.00 thereafter). Blau would report in the December edition that “And Ben Wood’s newly revised and expanded edition of his illustrated PHILATELIC & NUMISMATIC HOLMES (28 pp.) is now available ($6.00 postpaid from the same address).”

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Third, and final, edition of The Philatelic & Numismatic Holmes by Benton Wood – 1995

The release of the 8 coin designs by Gibraltar and the Pobjoy Mint in 1994 would cause the need for another edition. Peter Blau shared this item in the December 1994 version of Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press: Benton Wood’s PHILATELIC AND NUMISMATIC HOLMES, first published five years ago, has been up-dated (through the new commemorative crowns of Gibraltar) and is now illustrated in color; 33 pp., $10.00 postpaid from Benton Wood.

Dr. Benton Wood 1993 Card OBV     Dr. Benton Wood 1993 Card REV

Dr. Benton Wood’s 1993 Sherlockian Baseball Card

Benton Wood passed away on December 8, 2010. Scott Monty, of the I Hear of Sherlock Holmes Everywhere podcast, offered up his memories of Benton Wood:

Once again, it is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen to write of the passing of another member of the Baker Street Irregulars. Benton Wood, BSI (“A Scandal in Bohemia”) passed away in Florida on Saturday, December 8. Ben had been in failing health for years and passed away very peacefully, according to his wife Joan.

For many years, Ben was the official chaplain of the Baker Street Irregulars, presiding over the dinner’s blessing. By trade, he was a headmaster of an Episcopal school, which made his local investiture in the Pleasant Places of Florida – Dr. Thorneycroft Huxtable – all the more appropriate. His accomplishments include the publication of The Philatelic and Numismatic Holmes (that’s stamp & coin collecting). Ben received his investiture in the BSI in 1979; his wife Joan was honored as ‘The Woman’ at the 1991 dinner.

While I didn’t know Ben personally (I only met him a couple of times), fellow Floridian David McCallister, over at the Sherlock Holmes Social Network, writes: “Ben was the second invested “Scandal in Bohemia” of the BSI, and its chaplain. He followed Leslie Marshall in this investiture and role, and also as the long-time head of the Pleasant Places of Florida scion. He was given the Two Shilling award by Tom Stix, and will be remembered by his many proteges and friends as an indefatigable apostle for Sherlockiana. His wife Joan, is one of The Women, to whom our condolences are expressed.”

I join other Sherlockians around the world in remembering Ben and wishing Joan and their family my heartfelt condolences.

The January 2008 edition of Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, Blau reported on Wood’s death: Benton Wood (“A Scandal in Bohemia”) died on Dec. 8, 2007. He was an educator, chaplain, philatelist, and numismatist, and for many years the Recorder of The Pleasant Places of Florida. He received his Investiture from The Baker Street Irregulars in 1979, succeeded the Rev. Leslie Marshall as the Chaplain of the BSI; and received the BSI’s Two-Shilling Award in 1997.

For his first edition in 1990, Wood printed 100 copies of the booklet. Only 10 of the 40 pages deal with coins; the circulating coinage of the Victorian London era are pictured and briefly described. Quotes from the Canon, mentioning a specific coin, are also included with the descriptions. By the third and final edition in 1995, 11 of the 33 pages dealt with coins.

The book is out of print. So many Sherlockian stamps have been issued since 1995, that this book is no longer a handy guide to the philatelic Holmes. Since Wood only focused on the circulating coins of the Canon, this booklet still serves as a handy guide in that regard.

In late 1992, the good Reverend ordered an design of Sherlock Holmes to be used on some elongated coins, mostly cents. You can read about this on our other post.


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