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Lawrence H. Conklin

Lawrence Henry Conklin, Jr. was born in New York City during the height of the Great Depression, on December 28, 1933. His father, Lawrence Sr., was a descendant of John Conklin, who was born in England in 1598, emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts in 1639, and founded the first glass-works in America. As a child Larry was a museum-addict. While other children struggled mightily to avoid field trips and family outings to the purportedly dusty and boring catacombs of the museum world, Larry took himself whenever he could. He frequented especially the American Museum of Natural History, where the minerals were his principal fascination. This interest in minerals had started at a very early age. When he was only four or five years old his uncle, Anthony Schumacher (1894-1965), a mineral collector (whose sophisticated collection was excellent even by today's standards), had given him a small mineral specimen as a Christmas present.

Amazingly, although it was New York City, one could still field-collect minerals on Manhattan Island in the 1940's, and Larry would often take the bus to collect at various localities. By the time he was 14 years old he had assembled a substantial mineral collection, When it came time for Larry to enroll at City College of New York, his A average at Brooklyn Tech meant that he was exempt from having to take qualifying tests for the electrical engineering major. He soon switched to Geology, though. Larry left college in 1955 with top grades, just a few credits short of a degree in Geology, and immediately joined the ranks of the full-time mineral dealers. He married another collector, Halina Aldona Zychlinski (1934-1997), and they settled in New Canaan, Connecticut for most of his career (they have two children: Sarah and Charles). He commuted every day to his Manhattan showroom on the train (nowadays he lives in an apartment in Manhattan).

From 1955 to 1957 he worked for Ron Romanella (q.v.) and his Commercial Mineral Corporation at 22 West 48th Street; Larry received $100/month salary plus a 10% commission on sales. He then left to form his own company (called Commercial Gem Corporaton of America, even though he sold more minerals than gems) with a partner, Eric A. Engel. Engel had himself formerly been associated with Romanella, as "E & R Trading Company," and had great connections for mineral specimens in Brazil. Taking Larry's place as Romanella's protégé was another young mineral dealer, Herb Obodda (q.v.).

Larry advertised his Commercial Gem Corporation of America (located at 15 West 47th Street) in Lapiday Journal from 1957 to 1959, then split with Engel and thereafter operated under his own name from an office just down the street. His earliest labels thereafter (1960-1964) give his office address as 31 West 47th Street in New York. From there he moved to 576 Fifth Avenue in 1964, and finally to 2 West 46th Street in 1969. He shifted much of his operation from his New York office to his home in New Canaan, Connecticut in 1976, but retained his New York showroom at 2 West 46th Street, and had a grand re-opening there in 1987; he's been there ever since. Coincidentally, this is exactly the same address that used to be occupied by the mineral and gem dealer Allan Caplan in the 1940's and 1950's.

Over the years Larry has handled the sale of numerous important mineral collections, including those of Rocks & Minerals founder Peter Zodac, jade expert Louis Zara, Doris Biggs, Francon quarry specialist Don Doell, mineral dealer Hugh Ford, Fred Cassirer, Helen Snider, Harold Bucklew, Santiago Wong, Anthony Lizzul and others. In 1988 he founded, with partner Jay Lininger, a publication called Matrix, "a journal of the history of minerals." They published it together until 1994, when Jay took over sole management. Larry has also written a number of articles and columns for The Mineralogical Record.

WILSON, W.E. (2006) Lawrence H. Conklin, a half-century of dealing in minerals. Mineralogical Record.
WILSON, W. E. (2016) Died, Lawrence H. Conklin, 82. Mineralogical Record, 47: 248-249.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2020)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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Number of labels found: 8 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 8

The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin Lawrence H. Conklin, 1972
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin Conklin's first ad, in the October 1957 issue of Lapidary Journal
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin Conklin's ad in the March-April 1960 issue of Rocks & Minerals
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin 49 x 68 mm,
A label with the 31 West 47th Street address (1960-1964)
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin 46 x 67 mm,
A label with the 576 Fifth Avenue address (1964-1969), for a specimen from the collection of Clarence S. Bement.
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin 47 x 70 mm,
A label with the 2 West 46th Street address (1969-2006), for a specimen from the Peter Zodac collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin 25 x 30 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Lawrence H. Conklin 44 x 64 mm,
A label with the 2 West 46th Street address (1969-2006), for a specimen from the collection of the New York State Museum.
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