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Perkins D. Sams

Perkins Daugherty Sams was born in Deland City, Florida in September 1927, the third son of Genevive and Murray Sams, a successful attorney (the family employed two household servants in 1930). In the military, Sams served as a security guard at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1940s. He married Elizabeth Bradley Jones, and they had four children: Elizabeth Bradley Sams (born 1952; married David O'Daniel), Perkins Lourcey Sams (1953), Roe Smith Sams (1956) and Sarah Haskell Sams (1959). He then married Ann Shapio Bronston in 1979.

Sams began in the oil business in Midland, Texas around 1951, and rode the boom-and-bust cycles. He started his own oil exploration company, Banner Energy Inc., in 1972; the late 1970s and early 80s were profitable times in the oil industry, and Sams had plenty of money to spend. He acquired luxury cars, a penthouse office and expensive artworks.

He had also begun a crash four-year program around 1978 to build an elite mineral collection, which he did with the help of Smithsonian Curator Paul E. Desautels as his consultant and buyer, and Ronald E. Bentley, hired in 1981 as his assistant and personal curator. Sams invested over $6 million in high-quality mineral specimens, purchasing entire collections including those of Edward Swoboda, David Wilber, Rustam Kothavala and Miriam and Julius Zweibel. Specimens retained for the collection bore "P.D. & Ann Sams" labels, and duplicates were sold off for Sams by Desautels through the company name "Provenance Minerals."

The oil boom ended in 1982; by 1984 he had lost much of his personal wealth, and was straining to keep together his small oil exploration business. His company's revenue had dropped from $400,000 a month to about zero, and never fully recovered thereafter. In 1985 he sold his 600-specimen mineral collection to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where it was placed on exhibit in 1986 in a new display area entitled "The Perkins and Ann Sams Collection of Gems and Minerals."

At the age of 80, Sams was still President of Banner Energy; the small company had just four employees and an annual sales of about $350,000 in oil and gas. Perkins Sams died on January 3, 2010 in Midland, Texas at the age of 82. The Sams Collection remains the centerpiece of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

California Marriage Index, 1960-1985.
Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997.
U.S. Federal Census, 1930.
HAYES, C. (1986) West Texas oil men struggle to endure. The New York Times, March 18, 1986.
DUNN & BRADSTREET (2008) Banner Energy, Inc.
THOMSSEN, G. & R. (1986) Houston museum exhibit opens. Mineralogical Record, 17, 293-295.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Perkins D. Sams Ann and Perkins Sams at the gala opening of the Houston Museum of Natural Science exhibit of their collection in 1986.
The Mineralogical Record - Perkins D. Sams 45 x 73 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Perkins D. Sams 51 x 70 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Perkins D. Sams 44 x 71 mm,
Label for a Perkins Sams specimens sold off for him by Paul Desautels under the company name "Provenance Minerals"
The Mineralogical Record - Perkins D. Sams 44 x 74 mm,
Label for a Perkins Sams specimens sold off for him by Paul Desautels under the company name "Provenance Minerals"
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