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Roy Plummer

Royal Ogden "Roy" Plummer was born in Missouri on December 31, 1905, the son of Marjorie Farthing and Harry Lee Plummer, an electrical engineer for Western Union. Beginning in 1946, Roy (and his wife Winnifred Line, born 1911 and still alive at the age of 96, living in El Cajone, California) were the proprietors of Plummer's Minerals, advertising "choice crystallized specimens for advanced collectors." They sold worldwide minerals, and especially San Diego County pegmatite minerals, but also carried lapidary rough, fossils and pre-Columbian artifacts from the Colima, Nyarit, Jalisco, Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec cultures.

The Plummers' shop (originally located in their home, and later in a converted garage adjacent to their house, and then finally in a specially constructed building adjacent to their house on Point Loma Avenue) was open daily except Sundays, and they did the majority of their business by mail-order. Beginning in 1957 Plummer sold small, carefully selected, styrofoam-mounted crystals and crystal groups measuring a half-inch square--what we would call small thumbnails today, but they called them "miniatures." They charged 25 to 45 cents each thumbnail, and found a ready market for them. During the early 1970s most of their miniatures (today's definition) and small cabinet specimens were priced at $12 to $22.

Roy would often purchase specimens wholesale from other local dealers such as George Burnam (q.v.) and Russell Filer (q.v.), and also from local collectors such as Bob Winstead. Roy was an eloquent describer of the specimens on his published lists. Winstead once received one of Roy's lists and became excited over the description of a fine tourmaline crystal; rushing over to Roy's shop to buy it, Winstead was disappointed to find that it was one of his own specimens which he had sold to Roy a few days before. "Roy can take a ten dollar mineral and describe it into a hundred dollar mineral," he complained!

The Plummers operated from four different addresses in San Diego over the years. The following dates have been established based on their ads in Rocks & Minerals:

5068 Brighton Ave.(1948-1949)
2177 Bacon St.(Mar.-Oct. 1949)
2183 Bacon St.(1949-1952)
4720 Point Loma Ave.(1952-1961)

The 4720 address appears in the 1959 San Diego City Directory, and also as the address for Roy given in his 1953 article in Rocks & Minerals entitled "A trip through the Mother Lode Country of California." He also wrote "Who says the price is right?" in 1959 (p.510). The last ad for Plummer's Minerals in Rocks & Minerals appeared in the September-October 1961 issue, but they continued in business at their Point Loma Avenue address for at least another ten years.

Roy Plummer died in San Diego, California on February 23, 1985.

PLUMMER, R. (1957) Mineral dealer makes good! Rocks & Minerals, 33 (11-12), 516-517.
FILER, R. (2007) Personal communication.
California Death Index
Social Security Death Index
See also Plummer, Roy O., Annals of Wyoming, v. 21, no. 1, p. 101.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 39 x 77 mm,
Brighton Avenue address (1947-Feb.1949)
The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 38 x 75 mm,
2177 Bacon Street address (Mar.1949-Oct.1949)
The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 39 x 73 mm,
2183 Bacon Street address (Nov.1949-Apr.1952)
The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 41 x 77 mm,
2183 Bacon Street address (Nov.1949-Apr.1952)
The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 32 x 65 mm,
4720 Point Loma address (May 1952- )
The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 35 x 63 mm,
4720 Point Loma address (May 1952- )
The Mineralogical Record - Roy Plummer 41 x 76 mm,
4720 Point Loma address (May 1952- )
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