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Mar 24 2019

Bowers & Merena Rare Coin Review on Newman Portal

With the kind permission of PCGS president Brett Charville, Newman Portal is pleased to announce the availability of the Bowers & Merena house organ, Rare Coin Review, on Newman Portal. This publication ran from 1969 (them under the Hathaway & Bowers banner) until 2003, likely the longest such emission in American numismatic history (Stack’s Numismatic Review is also in the running). Rare Coin Review appeared bimonthly for most of its life, and contained feature articles, coin presented at fixed prices, auction previews, and copious commentary from Q. David Bowers on numismatic matters large and small. Sometimes, the small matters were the more interesting! On a personal note, this was the publication that drew the present writer back into numismatics after graduating from college. Rare Coin Review attracted some of the best writers in the field, as authors were simply more happy to write for Dave than for other editors. The coin offerings were of course the main draw for most readers, and one might find anything from a rare colonial to popular coins like Morgan dollars. There was always something for everyone, from the beginning collector to the specialist, and this was no doubt a great part of its appeal.

Link to Rare Coin Review on Newman Portal:

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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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