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William Peters

William Peters was born in St. Austell, Cornwall, England on July 17, 1830. He operated a hairdresser's shop in Redruth, Cornwall from at least 1852. His shop was converted to includde a "fancy repository" by 1862, selling a wide variety of goods. By 1863, and perhaps earlier, he was dealing in mineral specimens in addition to his hairdressing business, and he continued to do so for the rest of his life. Peters supplied specimens to many important collections, including museums and universities. Many Peters specimens, with his characteristic handwritten labels, are in the Cambridge University collection. He also sold specimens to Henry Ludlam and King Gustaf IV Adolf of Sweden. Peters dealt primarily in minerals from the mines of Redruth and Camborne, though he also sold worldwide minerals. In 1884 he offered chalcopyrite from Chile, and in 1895-1897 minerals from Tasmania and Broken Hill, New South Wales. In 1897 he had "been getting a lot of fine things from the north of England, which I can sell at very low prices & they are very beautiful." In 1905 he described himself as "the only Mineral dealer in Cornwall, and the Miners know me so well, that, no doubt I get many specimens, that, if I did not get them would be destroyed."

According to Sir Arthur Russell, Peters handled "the remarkable specimens of connellite from South Tolcarne Mine, Camborne, found in 1885; the fine siderites found in such abundance in Carn Brea and Tincroft mines, Illogan between the years 1887 and 1901; the fine fluorites and the remarkable crystals of chalcopyrite from Carn Brea and East Pool mines raised at the same period." Russell said of Peters that "he had a fair working knowledge of local minerals and priced his specimens very moderately." With the closing of nearly all of the Cornish mines Peters' business dwindled during his last years. He was, with the exception of Jehu Richards, the last of the important Cornish dealers.

Peters used both plain and address-printed labels (sometimes with the address altered by hand). Peters also occasionally used rubber-stamped labels, some of them on colored paper. The fate of his stock of minerals following his death on March 27, 1913 is unknown. However, a large number of Peters specimens and labels are still in the stock of Krantz of Bonn today--probably purchased by Freidrich Krantz when he visited Redruth in 1904. Addresses:

Berlin House, West End (1866)
Fore Street (1873-1876)
Berlin House, Redruth (1876)
12, Penventon Terrace (1876-1886)
14, Penventon Terrace (1886-1905)

COOPER, M.P. (2006) Robbing the Sparry Garniture; A 200-Year History of British Mineral Dealers 1750-1950. Mineralogical Record, Tucson, p. 221-223.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - William Peters 30 x 60 mm
The Mineralogical Record - William Peters 33 x 68 mm,
Fore Street address (1873-1876)
The Mineralogical Record - William Peters 41 x 64 mm,
12 Penventon Terrace address (1876-1886)
The Mineralogical Record - William Peters 41 x 69 mm,
12 Penventon Terrace address (1876-1886)
The Mineralogical Record - William Peters 1866 ad in the Redruth City Directory
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