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Aug 21 2019
U.S. Mint

Early U.S. Mint Fixed Price Lists on Newman Portal

As part of his work on “clandestine” Mint practices in the 19th century, Roger W. Burdette contributed to Newman Portal an 1859 memo from Mint Director James Ross Snowden outlining the offering of “master-coins,” which Snowden defines as coming from “polished dies” with “extra labor and care.” Collectors seem to like arguing over “proof” status for certain early U.S. issues, and, while this document won’t settle the debate, it is a step in the right direction. In any case, Director Snowden set the price for gold proof sets at $43.00 while silver sets were priced at $3.00. Soon after, during the war, U.S.-issued greenbacks were no good at the Mint, and collectors wishing to purchase proof sets with currency paid a varying premium, depending on the latest fortune of the Union forces. Snowden further notes that the Mint will no longer trade pattern pieces in exchange for Washington medals needed for the Mint Cabinet, as most of the desired pieces had been acquired. Snowden’s book on Washington Medals, A Description of the Medals of Washington, was published shortly thereafter (1861).

Link to U.S. Mint Fixed Price Lists on Newman Portal:
Link to Snowden’s A Description of the Medals of Washington on Newman Portal:

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Aug 18 2019

Lianna Spurrier Offers Daily Video Reports from the ANA Convention

This week Newman Portal sponsored the creation of a series of daily video reports from the ANA convention, produced by Lianna Spurrier. Starting with the ribbon cutting on day 1 (Tuesday), Spurrier covers all aspects of the show from exhibits to auctions to bourse personalities and, of course, coins. Dealer Shanna Schmidt, recently elected to the ANA board, appears on the day 2 video (Wednesday), while day 3 (Thursday) brings coverage of the sale of the 1894-S dime at the Stack’s Bowers auction. In the day 4 video, Benjamin Franklin (aka Pat McBride) makes a surprise appearance and notes that the colonial paper money he printed 300 years ago has held up surprisingly well. This was the first large show Spurrier has attended and she brings a new and refreshing perspective to the convention experience.

Link to Lianna Spurrier ANA convention videos on Newman Portal:
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Aug 03 2019

Eric P. Newman Notes on Virginia Coinage added to Newman Portal

Recently added to Newman Portal are Eric Newman’s research files on Virginia coinage. Newman, as usual, casts a wide net, corresponding with institutions and individuals including the Royal Mint, the U.S. National Archives, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Historical Society, Morton Stack, and others. Correspondence with the American Numismatic Society regarding Newman’s publication on the subject, Coinage for Colonial Virginia (Numismatic Notes and Monographs, no. 135, 1956) is included here. This reveals an interesting tidbit regarding the dedication of this work to Newman’s wife Evelyn (“Dedicated / to / my wife Evelyn / who, prophetically, was wearing / a necklace of coins / when we first met”). The ANS was reluctant to publish this but Eric was insistent, as noted in correspondence to the ANS on November 2, 1956. This file also includes the photographic pasteups used for the ANS article.

Link to Eric P. Newman research files on Virginia coinage:
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