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The E-Sylum (4/9/2017)

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The Newman Numismatic Portal's not resting on its laurels. Growth continues apace. The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

Newman Portal and D. Wayne Johnson Collaborate on Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

Newman Numismatic Portal eye logo The Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) and D. Wayne Johnson are pleased to announce the Newman Portal has been selected as the online platform for Johnson’s Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology. Content from Johnson’s Encyclopedia has been integrated into the NNP Dictionary, introducing authoritative and concise entries of nearly two thousand terms related to the design, manufacture, collecting and curating of coins and medals. Johnson will continue to oversee the Encyclopedia content in its online form, adding additional entries and developing illustrative material necessary to clarify technical aspects of medallic development.

Johnson said “I envision this project as a living thing. It has the advantage of being easily modified and brought up-to-date as new technology becomes apparent in the minting field, or when numismatists originate new terms in describing specimens.” Len Augsburger, Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator, added “We are excited to host the Encyclopedia on the Newman Portal. Johnson has been an enthusiastic scholar in the field since the 1950s and we are privileged to share his work with the greater public.”

Dick Johnson The first editor of Coin World, D. Wayne Johnson is a recognized authority on medallic technology and former Director of Research at the Medallic Art Company. He has published two books and more than 1,500 articles in the field and overseen the development of numerous privately-struck medals, including the Eric P. Newman Centennial Medal. Johnson is a founding member of the Rittenhouse Society, a group created in the late 1950s in response to a growing need for original research in American numismatics.

In addition to collectors, the Encyclopedia will serve researchers, writers, and particularly catalogers who will find the exact term to describe die-struck numismatic items, including coins, medals and tokens. Each entry defines the term followed by a paragraph or more of basic information in the development of the term; 55 entries are more than a thousand words in length.

The Newman Numismatic Portal ( was launched in November 2014 by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES) with the purpose of making numismatic literature and images available on a free and forever basis to numismatic and other communities. The Portal’s collection of over 13,000 documents now represents the largest online American numismatic library. The Newman Portal is administered by Washington University in St. Louis through a grant from EPNNES. Newman, Johnson, and Augsburger are all graduates of Washington University.

Link to sample entry (“modeling”) from the Johnson Encyclopedia on the Newman Portal:

Dick Johnson is visionary organizer, responsible for some important firsts in the American numismatic sphere. When he became the first editor of Coin World, advertising in coin publications was typically in plain text, usually just listing coins for sale. He encouraged graphic images in Coin World ads, for a time even giving discounts for graphics to encourage more visually attractive display ads.

There were typically only three categories of classified ads in prior publications: Coins for sale, Wanted and For Trade. Dick created a system of more than fifty classifications that still exist in the publication today, although some have dropped out and others have been added, such as Bullion Coins.

He was the first director of research for Medallic Art Company and created a system for cataloging medals. His concept was a photograph of the medal on a 3 x 5 card, along with basic data. Previously the company had four numbering systems. He unified this to one system incorporating the year and a serial number. Thus all the company files – shop records and correspondence were filed with this number. The dies, die shells, models and archive medals were all given this same catalog number.

This was all back before personal computers. The data on his 3 x 5 cards were digitized by new management and his system is still in use today. His penchant for gathering and organizing numismatic data has been a constant through the decades, and his massive Encyclopedia is only his latest product. -Editor

Dick adds:

The Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology is the core of a larger concept. I envision a "Wikipedia of Numismatics", where entries for single words or terms cover all aspects of numismatics. These would include: people’s names, denominations, mints, issuing countries, types of numismatic items and much more, with illustrations.

This can all be on the internet for easy access by anyone to answer most any question without cost. The Newman Portal is the ideal platform for such a massive collection of data.

My Encyclopedia is the first step for achieving such a useful databank. Like its model, Wikipedia, it will be a living thing, with new data added constantly.

Scalability is at the heart of the Newman Numismatic portal. Its databases of people, terms, books, periodicals, etc. will continue to grow, and contributions from the community are always welcome. Many, many thanks to Dick Johnson for making this portion of his life's work a part of the portal for the entire numismatic community present and future to enjoy. -Editor
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