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Apr 04 2021

NNP Symposium Video Posted

Videos from the recently concluded NNP Symposium (March 19-21) are now posted on Newman Portal. Produced by Lianna Spurrier of Numismatic Marketing, this event featured a total of 37 speakers presenting on a wide variety of numismatic topics, including United States, ancient, and world numismatics. Among the presenters was John Brush, who provided a overview of the formation and evolution of the D. L. Hansen collection. This session included a lively question & answer exchange with the audience. Ken Bressett discussed his storied numismatic career, most notably covering the development of the Guide Book over the years. Shanna Schmidt delivered an overview of the ancient coin auction marketplace, noting a number of differences for those us more familiar with the largest U.S. auction firms. These are a just a few of the highlights, with the full list available on Newman Portal.

Link to NNP Symposium videos, March 19-21: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/539070?Year=2021&take=50
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Jul 01 2021

Numismatic Notables: Ken Bressett

In honor of July 4, one of Ken Bressett’s favorite holidays, Newman Portal announces the second installment in its Numismatic Notables series. Bressett was interviewed by Len Augsburger and Joel Orosz on March 19, 2021 and this video is now available on Newman Portal. Bressett covers his early days as a collector, his extensive photo archive that he started in the 1940s, and his first contacts with Richard Yeoman, Guide Book of United States Coins founder. Bressett began submitting edits to the Guide Book in the 1950s and was soon hired by Whitman Publishing on a full-time basis. Later, Bressett worked for the American Numismatic Association in a variety of capacities. He continues today as Guide Book Editor Emeritus. This interview covers little-known aspects of Bressett’s career, including a number of important coins he handled from the Anderson DuPont collection. Bressett further summarizes important changes in the coin industry since his beginnings as a collector in the 1930s. With video production by Lianna Spurrier, this is a pleasant hour well-spent.

Link to Numismatic Notables: Ken Bressett on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/601239
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Jun 20 2021

19th Century Teachers and Students Write to U.S. Mint Director

At an age when many people are ready to retire, 66-year-old Daniel M. Fox was appointed Superintendent of the United States Mint by President Grover Cleveland on June 19, 1885. His prior tenure as the Mayor of Philadelphia gave him valuable experience for this demanding position. He oversaw operations at the Mint until November 1, 1889 and also fielded questions and requests from the public during this period.   

The National Archives include correspondence with Superintendent Fox on a wide range of topics. Several of these letters, recently transcribed by the Newman Portal, reveal the interest that teachers and students had in U.S. coinage at that time. For example, Principal James Jenkins of the Six Street School is Worcester, Massachusetts, questioned whether “copper, silver and gold expand in passing from the liquid to the solid state; and will the solid metal, when cast, float in the liquid metal?”  Other educators were more curious about the specific denominations produced at each U.S. Mint branch and also how the coins were distributed once they left the Mint.   

Late 19th century students were just as inquisitive as their teachers.  W.G. Welsh, a high school chemistry student in York, Pennsylvania, asked Fox whether “the difference in the color of Gold Coins” is caused by the “[copper-gold] alloy or is it in the metal itself?”  William J. German, a young coin and autograph collector from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, respectfully requested the Superintendent’s autograph after reading a book on the history of the U.S. Mint. Fox also allowed at least one group of enthusiastic students to tour the Mint.  An April 25, 1889 letter reports that Fox permitted “a party of young ladies from the Langhorne [PA] Friends Institute… to visit the gold vaults and filing rooms.”  What an experience that must have been! 

Link to Worcester, MA letter: https://archive.org/details/doesgoldexpandorcontractwhenheated18880309/page/n3/mode/2up

Link to York, PA letter: https://archive.org/details/whatcausesdifferentcoloredgoldc oins18871207/page/n1/mode/2up

Link to McKeesport, PA letter: https://archive.org/details/wantssuperintendentautograph18871118/mode/2up

Link to Langhorne, PA letter: https://archive.org/details/wantstohaveschoolgirlsvisitmint18890425/page/n1/mode/2up


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