CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 127
TitleWilliam Fraser of Fraserfield, numismatist: 'Notes concerning the silver coins of Scotland...', correspondence and papers
Date1771 - 1786
Extent1 volume and 2 files (0.03 linear metres)
Creator NameFraser; William (1752-1789); of Fraserfield, numismatist
Administrative HistoryWilliam Fraser was the son of William Fraser senior (1725-1788) and Rachel Kennedy. Following the death of his father Fraser became master of Fraserfield for a short time. The estate then passed to his brother Alexander and thereafter to Alexander's daughter, Margaret. Margaret Fraser married Henry David Forbes and the estate, renamed Balgownie (1), remained with the Forbes family (2).

Fraser studied at Marischal College from 1765-1769 and graduated as A.M. (3). From the 1770s at least, he was a keen numismatist. He bought coins regularly from Henry Young, a coin-dealer in London, and, as his papers show, was in contact with other Scottish numismatists such as Adam Cardonnel, Gilbert Hamilton and George Paton. Other correspondents include James Cummyng, the antiquary, and the 11th Earl of Buchan who married Fraser's sister, Margaret (4). It was Buchan who founded the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland in 1780 (5) and in February 1781 Fraser became a corresponding member (6). Four years later, he presented to the society a collection of 'marbles, ores ... and other mineral substances' (7). There is a reference to Fraser's collection of coins in Cardonnel's 'Numismata Scotiae' (1786) (8) and Fraser's notes on numismatic subjects also seem to have been used by the author. The present location of Fraser's coin collection has not been traced.

(1) 'Some Account of the Family of Fraserfield, or Balgownie ...' [1869-70], passim. (2) Post Office Directory, Aberdeen (1899-1900), 654. (3) P. J. Anderson, 'Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae ...', ii. 336 (4) 'Some Account of the Family of Fraserfield, or Balgownie', 24 n.5 (5) 'Transactions of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland', i. p.v. (6) Ibid. i. p. xxvii (7) Ibid. iii. List of donations, 36. (8) See p.14.
SourceLittle is known of the provenance of the Fraser papers. They had entered the custody of the University Library and were shelved with other manuscripts by 1873. There is no reference to the acquisition of the papers by the University between 1860 and 1873 and it may be assumed that they were inherited from the library of King's College or Marischal College. Since they have no college library press-marks or inscriptions, it is impossible to assign them with certainty to either college, although Fraser's connection with Marischal College suggests that they might have been deposited there.
DescriptionPapers and correspondence of William Fraser regarding coins and coin collections including volume entitled 'Notes concerning the silver coins of Scotland...' (1783) and lists of Scottish and English coins.
AppraisalThis material has been appraised in line with normal procedures.
AccrualsNone expected.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionMS 127/1 is made up from papers of varying sizes and weights, bound in paper covers. Inside the cover are pasted notes and cuttings. MS 127/1 is in fair condition.
Related MaterialMS 124; MS 126.
Publication NoteLetters and Papers of William Fraser of Fraserfield, 1771-1786. Northern Scotland, Volume 2, No. 1 (1974-75), pp.85-6.
Related RecordMS 124
MS 126
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