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Mar 16 2019

Who Cut The Auction Catalog Plates?

Recently scanned at the American Numismatic Society under the sponsorship of Newman Portal are the Worthington Bitler (1900-1987) notebooks on U.S. large cents. These notebooks, c. 1945-1960, document a large cent collector’s quest to categorize information in a specialized area. Arranged in scrapbook style, the collector included clips from published sources, personal notes, and plates cut from auction sale catalogs. The last represent a bibliophilic crime of high proportion, but one should remember such plates were not especially prized at the time. Bitler was simply trying to put order to the universe, organizing notes and photographs for each Sheldon variety. Volume no. 4 includes purchase records for the Bitler collection, which was comprehensive by Sheldon variety. Bitler’s prices paid were coded in Greek letters – here is a challenge for the numismatic linguist. The Bitler notebooks were no doubt carefully studied by Del Bland during his many visits to the ANS, and remain ripe for investigation by early U.S. copper researchers.

Link to Worthington Bitler notebook for U.S. large cents, vol. 1, 1793-1794:
Link to Worthington Bitler notebook for U.S. large cents, vol. 2, 1795-1814:
Link to Worthington Bitler notebook for U.S. large cents, vol. 3, 1815-1857:
Link to Worthington Bitler notebook for U.S. large cents, vol. 4, purchase records:
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Mar 12 2019

Newman Portal Adds Lianna Spurrier Video: “The Cent”

Lianna Spurrier continues her series of videos aimed at young numismatists, and the latest entry “The Cent,” has been added to Newman Portal. This video traces the evolution of the U.S. cent from its inception to the present day. You won’t learn about the vagaries of Sheldon varieties here, but you will become familiarized with the major design types over the years, and hopefully be encouraged to dig further. Spurrier, a National Merit Scholar, is currently a senior at Morehead State in Kentucky, majoring in convergent media. She brings a fresh and welcome eye to the subject, and we look forward to her continued contributions to the field.

Link to Lianna Spurrier videos on Newman Portal:
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Mar 03 2019

Doug Winter Books Available on Newman Portal

Courtesy of Doug Winter, a number of volumes on U.S. gold coins are now available on Newman Portal. Winter has done much to popularize collecting of rare and better-date 19th century U.S. gold, and a good deal of his knowledge has been distilled into these books. While an Eliasberg-like quest of collecting the entire series is out of reach of most, there are many approaches to collecting gold coins that need not require filling every hole in one’s double eagle album. Collecting by branch mint is one popular approach, and indeed, this is a notion that Winter reinforces by publishing texts on a branch mint basis. New Orleans Gold Coins, 1839-1909, for example, discusses the New Orleans series on a date and mintmark basis, exploring rarity profiles, striking characteristics, and die varieties for each issue. Anyone interested in beginning a collection of similar coins will do well to consult these works.

Link to Doug Winter books on Newman Portal:
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