79 records found.
John Reich Journal on Newman Portal
The John Reich Journal, published by the John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS), is now accessible on the Newman Portal for the years 1986-2014. Launched by David Davis in 1986, the Journal focuses on early United silver (and to a lesser extent gold) coinage bearing the Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, and Capped Bust designs. Davis served as club president until 2011, and Brad Karoleff has capably served in the same position since. Karoleff is also the current Journal editor. Authors in the Journal include John McCloskey, Russell Logan, Steve Crain, Jules Reiver, and many others. More recently, David Finkelstein and Garrett Ziss have contributed important articles. Many thanks to JRCS president Brad Karoleff for assistance with this project.
Link to John Reich Journal on the Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/518721.
Bill Bugert Seated Half Dollar Encyclopedia
Bill Bugert's A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollar Varieties has been released to the Newman Portal. This ongoing series (with five volumes published to date) documents each individual die marriage in the Seated half dollar series (1839-1891). San Francisco coins were covered in volume 1, Carson City in volume 2, and New Orleans in volumes 3 and 4. Bugert is currently working through the Philadelphia pieces, which will be split into several subsequent volumes. Volumes 1-4 are listed in the NNP books section, https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/books?searchLetter=R. Volume 5, covering Philadelphia half dollars from 1839-1852, is recently published and in print - it may be ordered from the author at email@example.com.
Bugert discussed his rationale for freely opening this series: "For many years, I found that carting my notes, diagrams, and/or these heavy books (Volumes III and IV each weigh over 5 pounds) around shows was impossibly cumbersome. If I ever wanted to increase interest in the Liberty seated half dollar series, this situation would have to be simplified for others. Loading these Registers onto a lightweight computer tablet facilitates easy use and quick research of die marriages at locations away from my home library such as coin shows. I have tested this technique; it works very well and saves frustration and neck and shoulder pain."
New Netherlands Coin Company Records
The New Netherlands coin company archives, in the collection of the American Numismatic Society, are being processed. The first group, covering auction sales #11-#17 (1943-1944) are posted at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/518267. These contain buyers names for each sale along with other pertinent data.
Bob Merchant Post Card Collection
The Merchant postcard collection, over one thousand pieces, has been added to NNP at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/517956. This collection focuses on Mint facilities through the world.
One Million Pages
Mint Mark Mania
Many collectors today will be surprised to learn that 19th century American numismatists generally paid little attention to mint marks. The typical collectors put together date runs, often proofs, and an 1873 proof Seated dollar was just as good as an uncirculated example of the same year from the Carson City Mint. This all changed in 1893 with the publication of Augustus Heaton’s A Treatise on the Coinage of the United States Branch Mints (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/512404).
Heaton’s motivation to delve into mint marks is explained in the preface of the work – “The writer, a few years since, after enriching his almost complete collection of silver and minor issues of the parent institution [Philadelphia Mint] with all attainable varieties, became much interested in gathering United States coinage bearing the letters to which he has referred. The attraction of his pursuit grew with each piece acquired, each series completed, and each unknown variety found, until his modern dates quite divided his consideration with the old.” Here we see the timeless quality of a numismatist – the desire to explore the unknown and to document the findings. Not to mention that an interesting collection can be assembled in the course of the work! These characteristics are all operative today, and any number of authors are systematically researching die varieties and documenting discoveries in a variety of formats.
Heaton’s work was first announced in the Numismatist in May, 1893 (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/512969, p. 90). A book on a new collecting topic is a fine thing, but the corresponding market won’t gain traction without collectors and dealers rallying around the concept. Edouard Frossard’s sale of the Friesner collection in June 1894 (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=510789&AuctionId=511389) was well-timed in this regard. The cataloger remarked in the preface “Mr. Friesner made the collecting of the Silver Coins of the Branch Mints of New Orleans, San Francisco, and Carson City a specialty. His arrangement of the Coins under these sub-heads has been preserved , and forms a happy innovation in classification, which will no doubt be appreciated by the many Collectors interested in the subject.” In creating the catalog, Frossard arranged offerings by mint mark rather than strictly by denomination as is the custom today. Frossard’s novel approach was copied by other catalogers well into the 20th century.
Among the Liberty Seated delicacies in the Carson City group (p. 29) were an 1873-CC dollar (realized $9.25), 1870-CC quarter (realized $4.00) and an 1872-CC dime (realized $0.60). An 1838-O half dollar, by this time more appreciated than the relatively recent Carson City coinage, hammered at $113. (Lest the reader consider this is a “bargain,” a few strokes on the calculator reveal a 7% annual return on the investment, assuming a value of $500,000 today. This is substantially lower than the return on the stock market over the same period.)
While Frossard the dealer did his part to promote the branch mint concept, two collectors fueled the fire. One was Heaton himself. The July 1894 Numismatist commented “the mint marks of the Friesner collection formed the most profitable part of the sale. Heaton’s Treatise on the Coinage of the Branch Mints is the only guide to this line of coin study and indispensable to American collections.….[Heaton] obtained at the Friesner sale the 1838-O mint half-dollar and the 1842-O quarter-dollar, paying for the former $113.00. He only needs now, we believe, the 1873-S dollar and C.C. 1873 dime without arrows to complete his series of mint marks.” The Numismatist also printed this tidbit – “J. M. Clapp also obtained a long line of prizes at the Friesner sale. He has lately taken up the collection of gold as well as silver mint marks.” The Clapp name needs little introduction, as advanced collectors all know that the Clapp coins formed the lion’s share of the spectacular branch Mint silver in the Eliasberg collection, sold by Bowers & Merena in 1996 and 1997.
With two high-powered collectors and a prominent dealer on board, the stage was set, and today we can hardly imagine collecting U.S. coins without serious consideration of mint marks. The only mystery remaining is the disposition of the Heaton coins. Heaton was a president of the New York Numismatic Club, a position generally associated with significant collections. Two Heaton consignments are found in Thomas Elder sales of February and June 1926 (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=23&AuctionId=513413 and https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=23&AuctionId=513415) but the material is minimal and not pertinent to this discussion. David Stone and Mark Van Winkle note in their recent monograph on the 1838-O half dollar that the Heaton collection sold intact to the Baltimore collection Waldo Newcomer. While a few coins survive with the Heaton pedigree (the 1838-O half dollar sold at the 2008 Central States sale), it is a pity that today’s market lacks a more available supply of branch Mint coins that can be traced to this foundational collection.
The Rare Showers (1969) Catalog
The catalog of the Philip M. Showers Collection of United States Half Cents (Stack’s, 1969) is one of the most prized items of modern United States numismatic literature. Placed privately en bloc by Stack’s in 1969 with Willis H. duPont, the collection represented nearly every half cent variety, mostly in uncirculated or proof condition. R. Tettenhorst, well-known Missouri collector, acquired the Showers/duPont half cents in 1976, and many of these reappeared in the Goldberg sale of the Missouri Collection, January 2014. Tettenhorst’s purchase is described in Penny-Wise, January 2006, in which he recalled how Ben Stack confidentially related duPont’s identity:
“I can’t tell you his name, but I can tell you his last initial and the state he lives in.’’ And I said, “I don’t know how that could help me, but go ahead.’’ Ben said, “His last name begins with D and he lives in Delaware.’’ I thought that it was quite a cachet that the gentleman’s initial and state of residence would be enough to identify him.
The Stack’s record of this collection is technically neither a fixed price list nor an auction sale catalog. It is best described as a group of photographic plates, accompanied by brief descriptions, of the Showers half cents. Twelve copies were produced. Later, c. 2005, Stack’s produced a reprint with good quality halftones that was sold at $75.
The Hamelberg copy, one of the originals, was the first document scanned at the Newman Portal with recently upgraded cameras, now at 36 megapixel resolution. While there is no substitute for a photograph and a magnifying glass in hand, these images can be digitally expanded with sufficient quality to allow plate matching in most cases. The Newman Portal acknowledges Dan Hamelberg for loaning this copy and Stack’s Bowers for granting permission to scan their publications.
Link to Showers catalog on NNP:
Link to January 2006 Penny-Wise on NNP:
ANS Garrett Papers on NNP
The Garrett collection was largely formed around the turn of the 20th century and featured in a series of blockbuster sales by Bowers & Ruddy from 1979 to 1981. The family preserved many records related to the collection, and these in time came to the American Numismatic Society in New York. Today housed in 20 archival boxes, these records include correspondence, inventories, and other papers related to the development of this important American collection. The contents of these boxes have been scanned and are now available in our Archive section at https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/Archives?searchLetter=G.
David Sklow U.S. Mint Postcard Collection
The David Sklow collection of Philadelphia Mint postcards is posted in our Archive section at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/526626. This collection contains over 100 different postcards depicting the first through fourth Philadelphia Mints. The heydey of card production was clearly in the early 1900s, when the newly built 3rd Mint showcased the Mint Cabinet to full effect, attracting thousands of souvenir-hungry visitors. These recollections survive to the present day in the form of these vintage and often colorful images of the various Mints.
Hans M. F. Schulman Catalogs on NNP
Hans M. F. Schulman (son of Maurits, grandson of Jacques) was born in Holland in 1913 to a long line of coin dealers. He came to New York in 1939, apprenticed with Wayte Raymond, and soon went into business on his own. With a total of over 100 sales from 1940 to 1975, Schulman focused on world numismatics in a market dominated by collectors of American material. John Adams in United States Numismatic Literature, vol. 2, gives Schulman high marks for his facility with non-American materials, not surprising for a numismatist raised in European surroundings.
The Newman Portal has posted 24 of 102 catalogs in the Schulman series, which are being scanned at the American Numismatic Society under the direction of ANS Librarian David Hill and Internet Archive Associate John Graffeo.
More Stack's Auction Sale Catalogs on NNP
Stack's auction sale catalogs are posted through 1987. This is an extensive group, numbering over 700 titles beginning in 1935. Complete sets are rare, and it is challenging even to borrow all the catalogs for scanning purposes. The Newman library contains several hundred, and we will be checking in with other libraries to help fill gaps. Currently over 300 are posted, and the scanning will continue until the set is complete!
19th Century Coin Chart Manuals
Prior to the ubiquitous federal currency of today, the 19th century saw a host of paper money issued by banks across the land. Today, many collectors acquire obsolete bank notes on a state-by-state basis, with Whitman’s Encyclopedia of Obsolete Paper Money (seven volumes published and counting) leading the way as the collector’s standard guide. The vast assortment of different designs on paper money is great for today’s collectors but was even better for 19th century ne’er-do-wells, as passing a spurious note was a more manageable task with so many types in circulation. Into this mess of paper money stepped the 19th century counterfeit detectors, publications intended to help the public sort the good from the bad. These publications listed sound (and unsound) banks, offered tips for identifying counterfeit items, and illustrative plates of varying quality. Readers may recall an analogous situation in the 20th century – in the 1970s one occasionally saw merchants referencing publications that listed fraudulent credit card numbers.
Along the way, someone got the idea that in addition to currency, one might also list coins, thus birthing the 19th century coin chart manuals. Although the U.S. Mint began striking coins in the 1792, a wide array of foreign coinage continued to circulate in the U.S. well into the 1850s. The coin chart manuals helped the money handlers identify the pieces passing through their hands, and thus provide us a glimpse into 19th century circulation patterns. Thompson’s Coin Chart Manual, 1848 (online at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/525250) is a typical example. It provides line engravings of American, European, and Latin American gold and silver coinage, and the omission of copper coinage tells us something immediately – American coppers were struck in large quantities since the 1790s and by this time readily known. Precious metal coins were another story.
The two plates with American silver depict everything that Thompson’s conveyed in relation to American silver coinage in 1848. Note first that of 29 plates dedicated to silver coinage, only these two illustrate American pieces. Clearly, a large variety of world silver also circulated. Both obverse and reverse of the new Liberty Seated designs are shown, while for Flowing Hair and Bust coinage only the reverses are illustrated. The publisher apparently felt that the public was sufficiently familiar with the Bust and Flowing Hair obverses. We also see the reverse of a Gobrecht dollar – indicating that these coins were somewhat known and might occasionally be seen in circulation. While the currency detectors for this period vastly outnumber the coin chart manuals, these ephemeral publications remain one of the few windows into the circulating coinage of the 19th century.
Stack's Catalogs on NNP
The Stack's catalogs for the period 1960-1974 are now posted. We are feverishly working on the remainder! The Stack's series covers over 700 sales from 1935 to date and includes reference catalogs representing any number of specialty areas in American numismatics. See more at: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/3. The Newman Portal acknowledges Stack's/Bowers for making this content available to NNP.
Virgil Brand Ledgers at ANS Scanned by Newman Numismatic Portal
One of the most frequently consulted references at the ANS Library is the massive inventory record of the Virgil Brand collection. Brand, a Chicago beer magnate, was an active collector at the turn of the 20th century, and these ledgers detail over 100,000 items purchased between 1889 and 1925. Brand was clearly disciplined in maintaining these records – indeed, most collectors much prefer buying over bookkeeping. The 23 folio ledgers were Brand’s gift to future collectors, invaluable for pedigree research and containing information found nowhere else. Fifteen of these are now posted on the Newman Portal and the remainder will be added in the near future. The Newman Portal acknowledges ANS Librarian David Hill coordinating logistics with Internet Archive, and Internet Archive Associate John Graffeo for working through scanning issues related to oversized material.
Link to Brand secondary ledgers on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/513927
Link to ANS ARCHER catalog entry for the Brand ledgers: http://numismatics.org/archives/ark:/53695/nnan0034
UPDATE (3/2017): This series is now complete on the Newman Portal.
R. W. Julian Scans Mint Records at U.S. National Archives
Operating under a grant from the Central States Numismatic Society, researcher R. W. Julian has directed the scanning of over 39,000 pages of material from the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration (NARA). The Mint material is primarily in record group 104, and this record group is further divided into various entries. Many of these entries are now posted in Archive section on the Newman Portal, listed under the U.S. National Archives. This material is generally handwritten within ledgers, and while not transcribed, is now accessible to readers without the necessity of physically visiting an archival repository.
The Newman Portal acknowledges R. W. Julian for sharing this material.
Update 1/21/2017: the entire Julian group is now posted, see https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/Archives?searchLetter=U.
Frank Causey Wilson’s Monthly Rare Coin Bulletin on the Newman Portal
A recent addition to the Newman Portal is Frank Causey Wilson’s Monthly Rare Coin Bulletin. Ken Lowe provided an overview in Remy Bourne’s American Numismatic Periodicals: “Another periodical worthy of comment was Frank Causey Wilson’s Monthly Coin Bulletin for which Bourne lists 12 monthly issues from April 1945 to March 1946. It consisted primarily of display ads for many mail order dealers including Raymond, Federal Coin Exchange, Kenneth Lee, Clint Hester, M. Powills and others not so prominent. Its special feature was that each issue contained a biography of a different numismatist such as Lee, Frank Katen, Hans Schulman, and also of Whitman Publishing. Even individual issues of this Chicago based periodical are scarce.” Causey himself was an advertiser, so this periodical falls somewhere between a house organ and a general interest numismatic publication. The ANA obviously did not consider it a competitive situation and included their own ads for the The Numismatist. The Newman Portal acknowledges Wayne Homren for loaning this interesting, short-lived publication from the mid-1940s.
U. S. Mint Fixed Price Lists in the 19th Century
Follow what the U.S. Mint sold to the public, and when, in this series of fixed price lists beginning in 1866: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/512757.
Abe Kosoff Auction Sale Catalogs Posted
Abe Kosoff operated out New York, and later California, and conducted 108 sales as numbered in Gengerke, between 1940 and 1971. Nearly all of these are now posted on NNP.
Newman Portal Posts Manuscripts on Connecticut Coinage
Through the generosity of researchers Randy Clark and Jay Knipe, and with permission of the New Haven Museum, two manuscripts related to Connecticut coinage, from the Whitney Library, have been posted in our Archive section under New Haven Museum.
Newman Portal Posts United States Coin Company Auction Catalogs
The U.S. Coin Company catalogs for the period 1912-1918 have been posted. These represent the beginning of Wayte Raymond's career. Raymond was later instrumental in encouraging a young Eric P. Newman to pursue and publish numismatic research.
Newman Portal Releases Newman Money Museum Videos
For those who have not had the opportunity to visit the Newman Money Museum at Washington University in St. Louis, a 12-minute overview video is now available on the Newman Portal. Brief remarks from Eric P. Newman are interspersed throughout and provide Eric’s rationale and thinking behind the museum project. Although the Newman Money Museum certainly contains any number of numismatic treasures, a closer look reveals the true challenge – to think more deeply about how societies physically interact with money, and how money conveys more than just monetary value. While the heyday of bank-based numismatic museums (the Chase Manhattan, the National Bank of Detroit, and others) is long gone, the Newman Money Museum continues on at Washington University in St. Louis, and this presentation provides an opportunity for anyone to make a virtual visit.
In addition to the overview video, individual videos of each separate exhibit in the museum have been posted, as well as the famous "talking Ben Franklin" animatron that greets museum visitors.
Link to Newman Money Museum videos on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/515508
Joseph Leonard Auction Sale Catalogs Added to NNP
Jospeh Leonard & Co. is one of the obscure 19th century auction houses that occasionally show up in American numismatic literature. A group of approximately 20 sale catalogs, from the ANS library, are now available in the NNP Auction section.
Lake Books Sale Catalogs Added to NNP
The Fred Lake sales, #60-125, have been added to NNP. The earlier numbers will be scanned and added in the near future. The Fred Lake series runs from 1989 to 2016 and represents a wide array of well cataloged, lower-valued items of numismatic literature.
Update (12/9/2016): This series is now complete, from #1 to #125. The Newman Portal acknowledges Fred Lake for contributing these auction catalogs to NNP.
Garrett Family Papers Posted on NNP
From the ANS Archives, the Garrett family papers are now being posted on NNP, beginning with the correspondence. These are in our archives section under "G." The Garrett collection was one of the most important in numismatics, and is well documented with related correspondence and collection inventories, 20 boxes in all held by the American Numismatic Society. This material, most of which is c. 1900, was scanned at the ANS under the direction of NNP.
New Netherlands Auction Catalogs
New Netherlands, a New York firm, produced 97 auction sale catalogs between 1940 and 1977. The first 29 have been installed on NNP, and the remainder will be posted soon.
J. N. T. Levick's Large Cent "Rubbings"
Jim Neiswinter, large cent researcher, asked if the Newman Portal could scan the Levick Book of Rubbings in the ANS Rare Book Room. This is a fascinating document, a handwritten manuscript originating from the dawn of U.S. large cent die variety research. Levick’s investigation of the 1793 large cent varieties is of course most well-known from the Levick plate of 1793 large cent varieties in volume 3 (1868-1869) of the American Journal of Numismatics. Lesser known is this volume of pencil rubbings extensively annotated by Levick and presenting his analysis of the die pairings for this date. While the Newman Portal is currently focused on American auction catalogs and archival material at the ANS, we will accept requests such as these and fit them in the scanning queue where possible.
Link to Levick’s Books of Rubbings: https://archive.org/details/jntlevicksbookof00levi
Link to Levick’s large cent plate in the American Journal of Numismatics: https://archive.org/stream/AJN1866Vols01to05#page/n223/mode/2up
Barney Bluestone Auction Catalogs on NNP
A run of Barney Bluestone auction sale catalogs from the ANS Library has been posted. Bluestone was active in the mid-20th century, with over a hundred catalogs listed in the Gengerke reference.
Newman Portal Digitizes Harley Freeman correspondence
Harley Freeman, one of the foremost 20th century collectors of colonial currency, maintained an active correspondence with Eric Newman from 1943 to 1973. Newman initiated the relationship by correspondence on February 22, 1943, seeking to exchange duplicate notes, and Freeman returned an extensive response only five days later. Freeman summed up the collecting landscape of the day – he had purchased all the major collections, nothing this “leaves me without competition, but it also causes the dealers to forget the series because there are so few who collect the notes….” For this reason, Freeman offered that “I welcome each newcomer with open arms.” Freeman liked having the best collection, but clearly enjoyed the camaraderie as well. The two began actively trading, and Freeman represented Newman at auctions. Personal anecdotes are sprinkled throughout, and Eric’s tale of misplacing his Connecticut cents in a bathroom linen closet (November 22, 1950) is not to be missed. In Newman’s March 5, 1962 letter, he raises the topic of purchasing the Freeman collection and writing the definitive work on early American paper money. The transaction was completed in 1963 with payment extending into 1964. As for the standard work on paper money, Freeman explained it in his letter of December 7, 1959. Freeman himself wanted to write the book and described a visit to the Philadelphia dealer Henry Chapman, who had an important collection of colonial currency. It seems Chapman was also a would-be author and permitted Freeman to only examine the currency on the condition he not take notes. “I was so damn mad that I was tempted to walk out but I did examine his collection” Freeman wrote. Newman, of course, went on to author multiple editions of Early Paper Money of America and acknowledged to Freeman on February 28, 1967 the foundational nature of Freeman’s inventory.
Link to Harley Freeman correspondence on NNP: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/514688
Link to Harley Freeman inventory on NNP: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/514233?Year=1967&displayAmt=50
Extracts from The Casket
Atkinson's Casket was a Philadelphia literary magazine, c. 1830, with occasional numismatic content. Several of these articles have been extracted and are presented under The Casket in the periodicals section.
Sample Slab Update Newsletter
David Schrager publishes the Sample Slab Update Newsletter and has contributed the back issues to the Newman Portal. The popularity of third party grading has created a market for the slabs themselves, and a number of authors have worked on cataloging the various slab types and understanding the rarity of individual issues. The occasional oddity is also noted - the inaugural issue of Schrager's newsletter records a PCGS slab containing a chocolate Franklin half dollar.
William Hesslein Auction Catalogs on NNP
A nearly complete set of William Hesslein auction sale catalogs, scanned at the ANS, are now on NNP. The Hesslein series, per Martin Gengerke, consists of 53 sales from 1907 to 1931.
Geoffrey C. Adams Auction Sale Catalogs on NNP
Adams issued 30 catalogs between 1903 and 1906. A group of 26 has been scanned at the American Numismatic Society library. Four are missing in the set, for the dates 5/2/1903, 7/16/1904, 10/7/1904, and 1/31/ 1905. Contact the NNP if you wish to loan any of missing copies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Numismatics International on NNP
Numismatics International, a non-profit collector group formed in 1964, has produced a monthly bulletin since 1966. The first group of these, covering 1966-1969 and 2002-2015, has been posted in the NNP periodical section. The remainder will be scanned over the next 2-3 months.
Lyman Low Auction Catalogs (Henry Chapman bid books)
From the ANS library, NNP has posted 18 Henry Chapman bid books from various Lyman Low sales, covering the period 1908-1918, which follows the dissolution of the Chapman brothers partnership. These bid books indicate lots purchased by Henry Chapman out of the Low sales.
Bankers Magazine on NNP (1846-1922)
The Bankers Magazine, for the period 1846-1922, is now accessible on NNP. Although previously available piecemeal on various sites (HathiTrust, etc.) the NNP offering gathers these altogether into a single, searchable, location. Primarily distributed to the finance and banking industry, this periodical contains many items of numismatic interest. A sample of these, contributed by Roger W. Burdette, may be seen under the Bankers Magazine for the year 1874.
Adelphi University Numismatics Course Digitized
In 1981, Adelphi University published a home study course in numismatics, with the content assembled by Stanley Apfelbaum, a rare coin dealer. Apfelbaum attracted some of the premier figures of the day, including John Ford, Harry Forman, Ed Rochette, Walter Breen and others. Adelphi issued the course as a syllabus that included twenty cassette tapes. These tapes have been digitized, a list is at Adelphi Course.
Ben Green Auction Catalogs Scanned
Ben Green operated in Chicago and issued 84 auction catalogs between 1902 and 1914. The Newman Portal has a near complete set, scanned at the American Numismatic Society.
NNP Releases John J. Ford, Jr. Correspondence Files
Between 1949 and 1966, St. Louis collector Eric P. Newman and New York dealer John J. Ford, Jr. carried on an active and lively correspondence covering the gamut of American numismatics, from little known colonial coins to politics of the national organizations. Their introduction was made by Wayte Raymond, best known today for the Standard Catalogue of United States Coins published in multiple editions from 1934 to 1958. Following Raymond’s suggestion, Ford wrote to Newman on September 7, 1949, requesting information on the 1785 Inimica Tyrannis America Confederatio cent, for a proposed article in The Numismatist. Newman responded quickly, noting he was “very interested” in Ford’s inquiry and offering to exchange coins in other colonial series. Newman concluded by saying “you may count on me” for assistance with Ford’s proposal.
The two correspondents quickly hit it off, sharing an intense passion for early American issues and an equal disdain for the speculation in current American coins that was taking root in the 1950s. Their common interest in colonial coinage led to the first substantial test in the relationship, as the brash New Yorker and the patrician Newman competed for the F. C. C. Boyd estate that was broken up following Boyd’s passing in 1958. Ford succeeded in placing the Boyd collection of Massachusetts silver (previously from T. James Clarke) with Emery Mae Norweb of Cleveland, much to Newman’s dismay, as he had had a gentlemen’s agreement with Boyd for first right of refusal if Boyd decided to sell.
The final rupture in the relationship came in 1966 as Newman believed Ford was knowingly selling forged copies of the 1853 United States Assay Office of Gold (USAOG) twenty-dollar gold pieces. Ford began selling these in the late 1950s, but it was not until the Professional Numismatist’s Guild (PNG) inquiry in 1966 that the situation came to a head. The PNG took the middle road, ruling that a buyer of one of the pieces was entitled to a refund, but stopping short of describing the pieces as forgeries. Newman disagreed, and the break between himself and Ford was complete. Further details, including the David McCarthy discovery of the host coin for the USAOG forgeries, may be in found in Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman, recently published by Ivy Press.
The Newman files contain both incoming and outgoing correspondence, the latter generally represented by carbon copies. In some cases, Newman’s original handwritten drafts survive and are accompanied by the typed versions. In between, the personalities of Newman and Ford are on full display in this 700-page archive. Newman measures words carefully, following his training as an attorney. Ford speaks informally and is clearly no stranger to colorful language. Both are intensely curious and determined to solve numismatic mysteries. The contrast and camaraderie make for compelling reading and completely detail an important chapter in the history of American numismatics.
The Newman-Ford correspondence is available on the Newman Numismatic Portal at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/513417. The Newman Portal, administered through Washington University in St. Louis, is sponsored by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society with the goal of delivering information on American numismatics on a free and forever basis to the collecting and research community. The Newman Portal currently contains over 7500 documents including books, periodicals, auction catalogs, and archival material.
Charles Steigerwalt Sale Catalogs on NNP
A group of Charles T. Steigerwalt auction catalogs, representing about 75% of the entire run, are now available. Steigerwalt held forth from Lancaster, PA in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, seemingly a desert in the numismatic world (with action centered in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia), but Steigerwalt somehow made it work. This set was scanned at the American Numismatic Society, and the remainder will be posted in the near future.
Thomas Elder Auction Catalogs on NNP
Thomas Lindsay Elder was one of the most prolific cataloguers in American numismatics, with 292 numbered sales to his credit, per Martin Gengerke. His auction catalogs cover the period 1903-1940, and Elder’s torrid pace was matched only by his terse descriptions. Elder’s ecomony of words once reduced an otherwise desirable 1907 high-relief Saint to three words: “kind won’t stack.” Despite the brevity, John Adams gives the Elder catalogs high marks for breadth and quality of material. The Newman Portal has digitized the entire series, less a few stray issues. Many thanks to scanner John Graffeo (Internet Archive staff onsite at the American Numismatic Society) for patiently working through this extensive run. With the addition of a group of plated Elder catalogs, and Elder sale addenda previously loaned by Dan Hamelberg, this online collection will be a useful adjunct to the series descriptions by Martin Gengerke and John Adams.
Wayne Homren Prices Paid For Lists on Newman Portal
A number of Prices Paid For Lists from the Wayne Homren collection are posted. These lists indicated the prices dealers would pay for certain coins, thus popularizing coin collecting among the general public and providing a basic, if cursory, knowledge of the rare coin market. See the "Prices Paid For Lists" tag on the Periodical page -- https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/periodicals.
Harlan J. Berk catalogs on NNP
The Newman Portal has added auction catalogs from Harlan J, Berk, a Chicago firm specializing in ancient coins. Catalogs from 2005 and up are posted, and the earlier catalogs (1977-2005) will be scanned in the near future. UPDATE 7/13/2016: The entire Berk set is now available.
Search Capability on NNP
The Newman Portal has installed new search capability. Search results will now take you to the page containing the text in question, and you can also execute phrase searches. The search box is always at the top of the page - give it a try!
New Club Journals added
A number of club publications are now available on NNP, representing the following organizations - Medal Collectors of America, Women in Numismatics, Barber Coin Collectors Society, New Hampshire Numismatic Association, and the Civil War Token Society. Welcome one and all!
Auction Catalogs of W.H. and T. R. Strobridge
The auction catalogs are William H. and T. R. Strobridge are posted, spanning the years 1862 to 1879. Four volumes elude us - 2/5/1873, 2/10/1876, 10/9/1878, and 2/5/1879. Can any NNP users help?
The Shekel, the journal of the American Israel Numismatic Association, has been added for the years 1968-2011.
American Numismatic Society Museum Notes
Museum Notes, published in 33 volumes from 1946-1988, has been added to the Newman Portal. This series includes scholarly works on ancient, foreign, and American numismatics. Museum Notes was succeeded by the American Journal of Numismatics (second series), beginning in 1989.
Citizens Coin Advisory Commission
The Citizens Coin Advisory Commission (CCAC) reviews coin designs and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury. The annual reports for this committee, from 2003-2011, have been added to our periodical section.
Penny-Wise on NNP
Penny-Wise, the journal of Early American Coppers, Inc., (EAC) is now on NNP. Issues for 2005-2013 (vols. 39-47) have been posted and the remainder will appear over the next few weeks. EAC is among the foremost specialty clubs in American numismatics and focuses on the early copper issues of the U.S. Mint - cents and half-cents, with a smattering of other contemporary coinage thrown in. Large cents have been a popular collectible since the appearance of the first small cents in circulation (c. 1857), with EAC being the current torch-bearer of this longstanding numismatic tradition. The Newman Portal acknowledges EAC (www.eacs.org) for making this content available to Portal users.
B. Max Mehl Sale Catalogs Scanned
B. Max Mehl was one of the most important catalogers of the first half of the 20th century, with 116 numbered sales listed in Adams and Gengerke. The Newman Portal has digitized the entire set and these catalogs are now available online. Although considered more businessman than scholar, Mehl consistently attracted strong consignments and these catalogs rightfully belong in a core library of American numismatic literature. John Adams rated 29 of these sales, fully a quarter of the set, at the A- level or higher. The Newman Portal acknowledges a generous collector for loaning this series for scanning, which was performed in St. Louis at Washington University.