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Does anyone know if Lew Begley from Texas is still in the business of selling National Geographics? If so, does anyone have his contact information? Also, I thought I read on this board somewhere that dealer Don Smith had passed away. I would like to know if this true or not.


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You will note that neither of these individuals are listed in the dealer directory (linked at the top left corner of the main page) - though Don Smith used to be listed.

The first and last time I heard of Lew Begley was as a wealthy "collector" - not as a dealer, who specialized in collecting "Shiras' " work. This was a discussion by a well known collector (now deceased) named Paul Crist.

Don Smith gave the last Revision of his "National Geographic Magazine: For Collectors" to a fellow by the name of Jeffry Person around the year of 2000, give or take a couple of years. Jeffry stated there was actually a Vol II, No. 2 publication by Don Smith - but I have never seen a copy. The Volume II, No. 1 was published in 1996. I have not heard from Don Smith since I first joined this forum back around 2008/2009. Jeffry Person passed away this past March.

Perhaps Tome Wilson, Scott Shier or Richard Kennedy could provide a more definitive answer.

As long-winded as I'm getting with writing my articles, "Tome" is probably a good moniker for me.

As to the two gentlemen in question, this post was the first I've ever heard of Lew Begley.  I only have one of Don Smith's book's.  I am searching for an article he wrote about collecting that Jeff told me about.  As to Don's death, I remember hearing about it, but have no info on it.

Tom Wilson


Lew Begley did have a business called Geographic Enterprises. I remember reading somewhere that he supposedly had as many as 500,000 copies of the magazine in storage. There was another dealer mentioned on this board named Bob Finch who like Don Smith supposedly produced catalogs as well. That is interesting that Don Smith gave a revision to Jeffry Persons. It was just like how Roger Nathan had given a revision of his work to him as well.

Dr. Lew M. Begley is still listed online. He is now 86 and still living in Mesquite, Texas. The number listed online is: 972.288.5474. I agree with Melvin. Begley was always just a collector with enough money to purchase whatever he desired. He was one of the biggest purchaser of items from the NGS Archives sale. 


Does Lew Begley have a home address or an E-Mail address? What year did National Geographic have an archive sale and what things were sold?


Just Google Dr. Lew M. Begley, Mesquite, TX. I don't see an email address, but there is a street address and and a different phone number. 

If memory serves, the archive sale was in the late 80's or early 90's. The sale included mags, books, technical pubs, etc. from the early days of the Society.

I believe the archival sale was the early to mid '90's. I was having a tremendous amount of medical problems from '93 through '98 - lots of major surgeries. We lived in Maryland and most of my surgeries were at Walter Reed then after I retired from the service at John's Hopkins.

During this time, when I could really think and do nothing else but try to take care of myself, two major events occurred: the NGS archival sale in D.C. and the "national" DeVilbiss family reunion just 45 minutes from our home in the county we lived in - but could not attend due to my medical condition (I'm an amateur genealogist researching our family lineage).

I believe that sale was when Dale Murphy, from Australia, purchased Grosvenor's desk and had it shipped to his home. That's when I realized I could never outbid him on something he wanted :)

1997.  I bought a number of the late 1880 - 1890’s offerings.

Thanks Ron - makes sense now. I had two surgeries that year and my in-laws, who lived with us, died in a car accident. The mid 90's was a very difficult time for us.



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