Frederick David New was a mineral dealer for over 50 years, specializing in geological study specimens and fine crystals for collectors, museums and universities. He was born in San Diego, California on May 23, 1933, the son of Jessica Marie Brock and Frederick Leroy "Tod" New (q.v.). The family moved from San Diego to Kansas City, Missouri in 1937 and from Kansas City to Denver, Colorado in 1948. David graduated from Lakewood High School in 1952 and began working in the greenhouse business, raising carnations in Wheat Ridge, a suburb of Denver.
David's father Tod was a salesman and businessman who saw the need for Geiger counters in the early days of the uranium mining boom in the western U. S. This led to opening a small business Tod called “Uranium Corner,” located at 2153 Broadway in downtown Denver. Business became so brisk that by March of 1954 he asked David to leave his job and come to work with him. Denver proved to be an ideal location where prospectors, small exploration companies and early-day rockhounds came to buy equipment. In time the business evolved into “Denver's Lapidary Center” at the same address. In the course of that work David, at age 21, developed into a mineral collector and mineral dealer, making his first specimen sales to Denver collectors. In 1957, when he was just 24, the first big opportunity came along when the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies Mineral Show was held in Denver. David and several collector friends operated a booth at the show (his father had been taken ill and could not run the booth).
It was at this show that David first met Scott Williams and other dealers who were to broaden his interest in the field of mineralogy. The best result of the show was an invitation from Mr. Hammond, a member of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, to come to the Tucson Show in Feb 1958. And so, the following spring, David attended the fourth annual Tucson Show held in the big tin quonset shed at the old Tucson Fair Grounds.
During these travels David visited Scott Williams, who had a very fine shop in Scottsdale, Arizona, and spent more time with other dealers in the Phoenix-Tucson area. This led to a major change when Scott offered David a job to come work with him in Scottsdale. David left Uranium Corner and moved to Scottsdale in September 1958 to assist Scott in developing a large line of study minerals for university geology departments.
Scott had been running his own mineral business, the Scott Williams Mineral Company, in Scottsdale since 1953, after having moved from Berkeley, California. The mineral business developed well, and in early 1961 Scott announced a company name change and reorganization. The business was incorporated as the “Southwest Scientific Company.” Scott Williams served as president, David as vice president and Scott's wife Margaret as secretary-treasurer. During this period the company built a large building at 319 Indian Plaza to house its growing inventory of study minerals and fine crystals. David managed the business side of things and was generally the man up front in the shop and at mineral shows.
Eventually, as Scott developed other interests, the corporation was dissolved, and the inventory and fixtures were sold to David in February 1963. David had been a collector of thumbnail-size specimens up to that time, but now as a mineral business owner himself, he finally decided in 1965 to give up his personal collecting so as not to be in competition with his customers. Southwest Scientific Company remained in Scottsdale until July 1966, when David moved to Sedona, Arizona.
The move to Sedona was the first of many moves to interesting locations. In October 1967 he moved to Hamilton, in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, changing his company name to "David New Minerals." In August 1971 he relocated to Providence in Cache County, Utah. In October 1974 he moved back to Montana and settled in Stevensville where he lived until November 1977. That year he made his first trip to Europe, visiting London, and the Zurich and Munich Shows. He then spent the winter of 1977-1978 in sunny Scottsdale. He moved back north to Salt Lake City from March 1978 to July 1979, but found the weather disagreeable (smoggy and varying from too hot to too cold).
A lucky break came in 1979 when David was cleaning out some old business receipts and found one for platinum nuggets he had purchased from the Goodnews Bay Mining Company in Seattle some years earlier. He phoned the company office and received an invitation to come have a look. It turned out that they were preparing to close out their entire inventory and had many big nuggets saved over the years, some weighing 1 to 2 ounces and one large one at 4 ounces. David flew to Seattle and purchased a large number of fine specimens, eventually returning to purchase the rest of their inventory.
The Pacific Northwest area was much to his liking, and he and his wife moved there in the July of 1979; they found a nice home to lease on the harbor at Shelter Bay in La Conner. When their lease on the house expired in September 1981, David and his wife bought a house in nearby Anacortes (a small town halfway between Vancouver and Seattle). Business was very good during those years, with expanding sales of meteorites and minerals.
"Yes, I have moved around a lot," he says, "but that was the beauty of dealing in mail order minerals. I could always live in a nice small town with a good, friendly post office."
The 1993 Tucson Show provided another lucky opportunity when a gentlemen from Brussels invited him to visit the Diamond Center in Antwerp. This was by far the most exciting venture in his entire 50 years. The opportunity to buy diamonds from known localities had great appeal to collectors and museums. During his last ten years in business David made 20 buying trips to Antwerp, visiting many import dealers who found his interest in crystal forms and locations very unusual. By 2006 his inventory consisted entirely of diamonds in many colors and forms from five continents and over 100 localities.
David decided that it was time to retire at age 73, and the inventory proved easy to sell. He still enjoys life today in Anacortes, with vacation travel and various hobbies including book collecting, working on an oriental garden, and building a collection of rare Western Postal History featuring Colorado Territory, Missouri Territory and letters written by soldiers who served in Mexican War.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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