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E. P.  Matteson
(1891-1985)

Edward P. "Matt" Matteson (often misspelled Mattison) was born in Athens, Ohio on March 3, 1891, the son of Sarah Frasure and Alfred Matteson, a farmer. He grew up helping on the farm, but by 1917 had married and taken a job as a tool dresser for the M.H. Lobaugh Company in El Dorado, Kansas. He later work selling mining equipment of all kinds throughout the southwestern states, and in the process made many contacts that later served him well in his retirement business as a mineral dealer. He started collecting minerals seriously in 1930, and was a regular vistor to the Mammoth-St.Anthony mine at Tiger, Arizona. During his career he supplied many prominent collectors and museums with fine material.

Matteson and his wife, Fern, started their first mineral and lapidary business in Phoenix around 1935, calling it the Copper State Gem Company. He claimed to have been the first mineral dealer in the State of Arizona. He began advertising Arizona minerals in Rocks & Minerals in December 1940 from his home on 12th Street (Route 12, Box 666). In November 1941 he announced the opening of his new retail mineral store located 1 mile east of Tempe (a Phoenix suburb), by which time he was getting minerals from Tiger, including diaboleite, leadhillite and matlockite. His June 1942 ad stated his status as a full-time minerals dealer: "This is not a part-time proposition with me, it is the way I make a living..." Later that year, however, his wife Fern advertised under her own name, saying that E.P. would be "busy for a while." But he was back in July of 1943.

In October 1943 Matteson annonced his move to 223 E. Elm Street in Brea, California. In 1944 he announced in his ad: "I Am Out of Business. I have recently sold 3,000 fine mineral specimens to Chuck Jordan, which definitely puts me out of the retail business; and gives Chuck Jordan a stock of rare beauties that will prove interesting to collectors. I do expect to do a limited amount of trading in order to add rare specimens to my private collection." In March 1945 Matteson announced: "I am starting a new mineral store at 130 Pomona Avenue, in Brea, California." In addition to minerals and gem material he planned to handle hand-made sterling silver jewelry.

By 1949 Matteson appears to have returned to Phoenix where he reopened Matt's (Mat's) Mineral Store, first at the Craftsman Building in Scottsdale, then at 1309 East Weldon, and finally at 5205 East Lincoln Drive. He continued to visit various mines for specimens, and did very well. On one occasion at Tiger he obtained an 80-pound block of diaboleite in crystals to 3 inches. He was sometimes able to cover several tables in his shop with large, well-crystallized leadhillite specimens from Tiger. On another occasion, at the Stevenson-Bennett mine in New Mexico, the mine manager gave him an entire ore car full of well-crystallized wulfenite.

In the early 1950's Matteson and his wife, Fern, established a shop called Matt's Rock Sop, Poverty Gulch,Arizona--Population 2 across the street from the Camelback Inn in northern Phoenix. They sold minerals and tourist merchandise to people visiting the 25 or more resorts in the area. They retired in September 1956, after selling the business to James and Christine Zito of Geneva, Ohio.

Most of Matteson's excellent private collection was offered at a special sale in 1964 by David New of Southwest Scientific Company (q.v.) in Scottsdale. A special label was printed for the sale indicating that Matteson (misspelled "Mattison") began his collection in 1930. The best pieces, about 60 in number, from this sale were acquired by J. Rukin Jelks, and subsequently donated to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. Matteson retained his high-quality thumbnail collection until the 1970's, when he sold it to Robert Drier, who sold it to Lee Bridges. Matt Matteson died in July 1985 in St. George, Utah.

Reference:
THOMPSON, Wayne (2007) Personal communication.
Social Security Death Index
BIDEAUX, R.A. (1980) Tiger, Arizona. Mineralogical Record, 11, 155-81.
MATTESON, E. & F. (1956) To our customers and friends. Rocks & Minerals, 31 (9-10), 475.
PANCZNER, W.D. (1980) The Congden Earth Science Center: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Mineralogical Record, 11, 234-8.
World War I Draft Registration, 1917-1918
U.S. Federal Census, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - E. P.  Matteson 39 x 70 mm,
Typed label (1964)
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