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    Aug 07 2022

    Original Hobo Nickel Society Publications on Newman Portal

    A selection of publications from the Original Hobo Nickel Society are now available on Newman Portal, including issues of their newsletter (Bo Tales) and early auction catalogs of this specialty organization.  The Original Hobo Nickel Society was founded in 1992 and encourages the research, collecting, and creation of “hobo nickels,” which are post-Mint carved Buffalo nickels. Newman Portal acknowledges Ralph Winter, Bo Tales editor, for his assistance with this title.

    Link to Original Hobo Nickel Society home page: http://www.hobonickels.org/
    Link to Bo Tales on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/546873
    Link to Original Hobo Nickel Society auction sale catalogs on NNP: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/514437
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    Jul 16 2022

    The Carnegie Library Copy of the First Six Volumes of The Numismatist

    Newman Portal recently processed a group of three photo albums, loaned by Wayne Homren, capturing Pittsburgh numismatic events, c. 1989-1990. Included were the “Invasion of Pittsburgh,” which was a visit to the Carnegie Library during the 1989 Pittsburgh ANA convention. Homren also photo-documented tours of the Frank & Laurese Katen and Dave Hirt libraries, and further captured numerous images related to the 1989 ANA convention. NNP Intern Kellen Hoard compiled metadata for these photo albums, which are now posted.


    The highlight of the Carnegie Library tour was the Carnegie copy of the first six volumes of The Numismatist. Ken Lowe mentioned this set in the Money Tree auction sale no. 7 (11/1989), noting “In our [March 1989] commentary, we accounted for 13 complete sets of The Numismatist….Another set has since surfaced. This August at the [Pittsburgh] ANA Convention, we were fortunate to be invited to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh to see George Clapp’s numismatic library which he bequeathed to them. In the museum holdings was another complete set from 1888 through 1950, which apparently had been forgotten by the collecting fraternity (but not by P. Scott Rubin).” Champa, apparently as a result of this tour, donated rebinding services to the Carnegie, as mentioned by Lowe in the Money Tree sale no. 23 (6/1995, lot 1), “…the George Clapp set, one leaf in photocopy, rebound by Alan Grace courtesy of Armand Champa.”


    Links to Wayne Homren Photo Albums: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/517293https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/517294, https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/517295
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    Jul 10 2022

    Newman Portal Adds Bill Rau’s Pattern Database

    NNP intern Kellen Hoard reported on a massive database of U.S. pattern coin auction appearances, most of them from the pre-Internet era.


    In the course of my internship work for the Newman Numismatic Portal this summer, I had the opportunity to work on, without a doubt, one of the most impressive numismatic projects I have encountered.  Few other words are needed to describe it, both because the above description is complete and because readers ought to spend less time reading this update so that they might spend more time exploring it.


    The project I speak of is Bill Rau’s essentially complete dataset of prices realized at auction for U.S. patterns between 1851-2001.  It is a genuinely staggering document to behold; over 70,000 lots are listed, with detailed information on each.  Even for a non-collector such as myself, it is simply interesting to explore by virtue of its scale.  The spreadsheet which contains this meticulously assembled information spanning centuries is available on the Newman Numismatic Portal at the link below, and contains 12 different tabs with varying data.


    Tab 1 includes a general list of the patterns included in Pollock and Judd.  The following information is provided for each pattern listed: Pollock number, Judd number, A-W number, Taxay number, Davis number, year struck, denomination, metal, Pollock rarity, Judd rarity, A-W rarity, and whether Bill Rau had personally owned an example at the time of this list’s creation.  Tabs 2-6 contain information on nearly every pattern sold at auction in a 150-year time period, with information on Pollock number, Judd number, year struck, denomination, metal, grade, Pollock rarity, winning bid, auctioneer, auction date, certification, lot number, and total price with buyers fee.  Also included for many listings is the consignor (e.g. “Benson Collection”).


    Also notable are Tab 10, which contains information on over 10,000 lots of patterns sold via fixed price list from the late 1800s to 2001 and Tab 12, which contains an inventory of the Connecticut State Library pattern collection as of 1975.


    No matter your collecting niche, take a moment (or many) out of your day to explore this document and appreciate the sheer effort it took to assemble such a valuable resource.  Our hobby thrives and grows on research such as this, and it is important that we highlight such a monumental effort as a guide for what we all might hope to achieve within numismatics.


    Newman Portal thanks Michael Bourne for his assistance with this content. Michael appreciated the significance of Rau’s work and thankfully sought to make it available to a wider audience.


    Link to Bill Rau patterns database on NNP: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/616032
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    Jul 03 2022

    The Franklin Mint’s Medallic History of the United States

    NNP intern Kellen Hoard reports on the Franklin Mint’s Medallic History of the United States medal series:

    As I arrived home in Seattle on Thursday from the ANA Summer Seminar, I was greeted by fireworks being set off throughout my neighborhood—five days early—by those eager to celebrate Independence Day and show birds who is boss.  This premature celebration occurs every year, and though some near me welcome it and some despise it, I take it as an opportunity to begin my reflection on the state of the nation a few days early.  Amidst the celebration, I look to consider what I feel the values of the United States should be, whether we are collectively living up those values, and how I can play a better role in contributing to the country moving in the direction I believe it should.


    But for numismatists such as ourselves, the booming of fireworks are not the sole catalysts for reflection on subjects such as these.  While collecting, I find myself continually encountering tangible manifestations of how this country and its citizens wished to represent themselves over the centuries.  From early American paper money to Civil War tokens to Congressional medals modern commemorative coins, it is possible to see how different Americans through time viewed their own country and what its ideals should be.  We seem to be particularly honest about our perspectives on and values for our nation when it is on our money and exonumia.  I find it, personally, fascinating.


    In the course of my work with the Newman Numismatic Portal this summer, I came across an interesting photo which returned my attention to this idea of sharing our American values through numismatic objects.  The image was of a Franklin Mint set titled “Medallic History of the United States,” which contained 200 silver medals that purportedly featured the major events of each year between the Declaration of Independence and the Bicentennial on their obverse and reverse.  Immediately, my curiosity was piqued by which events were deemed worthy by the Franklin Mint for these medals, and how the definition of “major event” could vary wildly depending on the Mint’s perspective on American progress.  


    The events featured vary wildly, from the 1777 adoption of the Articles of Confederation to the 1869 “Black Friday” panic to the 1904 first pitch of Cy Young to the 1965 Northeastern blackouts to the 1973 Vietnam War ceasefire.  At first glance, there seems to be almost no pattern.  But when observing the hundreds of events listed, it became clear that a trend did exist.  It was a trend of consistent setbacks for our nation—British invasions, slave importations, ill-advised conflicts, terrible laws—paired with instances of genuine American dedication to overcome those setbacks, including American international cooperation, the Emancipation Proclamation, the organization of movement against war, and the passage of superceding and progressive legislation. 

    The Franklin Mint series did not hold back on including some of the worst, most embarrassing, most devastating moments in our country’s history.  But the Mint also demonstrated the power of Americans to address those flaws and those mistakes when there is the willpower to do so.  It drew a 200-year picture, numismatically, of the progress we have made—and room for progress we can still make.  As we approach July 4, I think it is worth it for us to take a lesson (for probably the only time) from the Franklin Mint, and reflect on the history our nation, good and bad, so that we might determine a path forward that addresses its flaws, celebrates its achievements, and improves our path forward in perpetuity.  



    Link to Eric P. Newman’s set of the Medallic History of the United States series: https://coins.ha.com/itm/20th-century-tokens-and-medals/franklin-mint-s-sterling-silver-medallic-history-of-the-united-states/a/1283-15057.s

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    Jun 23 2022

    Washington University Opens Stories from WWII Exhibit

    Anchored by the Walter Goldschmidt letters, Olin Library at Washington University in St. Louis has opened a new exhibit in the Newman Tower library gallery. Born in Germany in 1922, Goldschmidt came to the United States in 1936 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He returned to Europe as a translator in this capacity, including Germany and other countries. Numismatics is not far behind, and this exhibit also includes concentration and internment camp money from Steve and Ray Feller, in addition to war bonds from the collection of Joe Boling. Visitors may also view the Newman copy of the Declaration of Independence, a rare, early broadside example from Rhode Island, which is on permanent display at the library.

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    Jun 21 2022

    Newman Portal Digitizes ANS Member Correspondence

    Newman Portal is currently digitizing ANS member correspondence from inception to the 1930s. Kellen Hoard reports on the file for Gutzon Borglum that was recently scanned.


    Gutzon Borglum—progeny of Mormon Danish immigrants, product of Parisian art schools, KKK member, friend of Theodore Roosevelt—was a sculptor in many mediums.  His most famous work was in stone; it was he who oversaw the creation of Mount Rushmore, and he who launched the work on the Stone Mountain memorial before being fired.  But he was also a capable artist in marble and bronze, including a numismatically-relevant statue of John William Mackay, a Bonanza King of the Comstock lode.  


    One medium he was less talented in was that of coinage.  Borglum was charged with designing the 1925 Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar (after being a driving force behind its authorization), but his plaster models were rejected nine separate times by the Commission of Fine Arts, led by James Earle Fraser. The Commission generally considered his designs “inartistic.” His case was not helped by the fact that, in the words of numismatists William D. Hyder and R.W. Colbert, “Borglum, to put it mildly, was a temperamental artist who managed to offend most everyone with whom he worked.”


    Borglum was a member of the American Numismatic Society between 1908 and 1916, according to correspondence digitized by the Newman Numismatic Portal.  In that time, perhaps his most notable contribution to the Society was that of a 1910 membership metal he designed, with dies created by Tiffany & Co.. A letter on the NNP from Bauman L. Belden, Director of the ANS at that time, dictates to Borglum which medals should be struck in advance of offering to the general membership.  Included are two gold pieces to Archer M. Huntington and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and 14 silver pieces to collectors such as soon-to-be-deposed President of Mexico Porfirio Diaz.


    A glimpse into Borglum’s personality is possible through the archived correspondence.  When asked by Belden about what his membership medal represents, Borglum replied simply by restating the literal design on the medal and noting that “it does not seem to me that it is anything one need write very much about.”


    Link to Gutzon Borglum / ANS correspondence: https://archive.org/details/borglumgutzon19000amer/page/19/mode/1up
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    Jun 17 2022

    Eric Newman Speaks on “Am I Not a Woman and a Sister”

    In 1994, Eric P. Newman presented at the ANS Coinage of the Americas conference on “The Promotion and Suppression of Hard Times Tokens.” Newman explored one particular token, AM I NOT A WOMAN AND SISTER (Low-54), within the greater context of token substitutes that resulted from a shortage of federal coinage. Newman was able to uncover the origin of this piece through a tedious search of contemporary anti-slavery newspapers. Many of these were religious in nature, which led Newman to comment “I read so many newspapers I nearly went fundamentalist.” Newman connected the Low-54 token to an 1837 advertisement in The Emancipator, published by the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York. While the Low-54 token is today relatively available, the Low 54a variant (AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER) is a well-known rarity, with only four examples known. The Newman example of the Low-54a, previously from Charles Ricard and sold to Newman by Q. David Bowers, c. 1993, was offered by Heritage Auctions in June 2016 (lot 98916).


    Link to Eric P. Newman 1989 video, “Promotion & Suppression of Hard Times Tokens”:  https://archive.org/details/ANA89027PromotionandSuppressionofHardTimesTokens
    Link to Lianna Spurrier 2020 video on “Am I not a Man and a Brother”: https://archive.org/details/aminotamanandbrother
    Link to ANS Coinage of the Americas Conference proceedings, The Token in Americahttps://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/512500

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    Jun 17 2022

    John J. Ford, Jr., Speaks on the Browning Reprint


    Though meticulously researched, largely accurate, and notably expansive—none of which are necessarily guaranteed in the world of numismatic literature—A.W. Browning’s 1925 Early Quarter Dollars had a print run of just 55, including 5 in deluxe format.  In the words of Walter Breen, it was “the most perfect numismatic book written on the first try.”  But with such quality and undeserved low production, the book quickly became a sought-after rarity (as numismatic bibliophiles know, this is not a problem unique to Browning, much to our frustration).    


    Copies remained scarce and largely inaccessible until 1950, when John J. Ford, Jr. helped ease the shortage a little.  In an audio recording of the 1991 Numismatic Bibliomania Society Symposium recently uploaded to the Newman Numismatic Portal, Ford described how he facilitated the production of 25-35 additional copies using the original 1925 glass negatives. (Note: The Symposium as a whole features Ford, John Adams, George Kolbe, Armand Champa, and P. Scott Rubin speaking for a shockingly concise 2 hours about numismatic literature).  After gaining access to the original Browning negatives, Ford approached a firm on 45th Street in New York that he had encountered while “schlepping coins from one dealer to another” to help him make 100 new prints from each glass plate.  He then had the new plates trimmed and bound to the text elsewhere.


    Ford himself in recollection was uncertain on the number of copies made, but knew there were 5 interleaved copies made in a crimson three-quarter morocco grained cloth with French marbled-paper sides.  The other traditional reprints—of which 25-30 were issued, Ford didn’t remember—were bound in a crimson cloth.  Some deluxe interleaved copies were produced in full red calf, but it is unknown how many were made.  Notably, all of the reprinted plates are considered higher-quality than the first edition.


    Ford advertised the new copies in January and February of 1951, and sold out.  He distributed the copies on the day he started at New Netherlands Coin Company.  Of course, Ford’s copies did not satiate demand; later, larger reprints by Durst and Bowers & Merena mostly filled that gap.  But Ford’s reprints remain in demand today for their quality and, just a little, because Ford made them.  


    Link to 1991 Numismatic Bibliomania Society Symposium: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/515004
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    Jun 12 2022

    Newman Portal Welcomes Kellen Hoard

    Newman Portal is pleased to announce that Kellen Hoard has accepted a summer internship with the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Kellen Hoard is a recently graduated high school student from Kirkland, Washington, who has been collecting since he was 9 years old. Named Young Numismatist of the Year by the American Numismatic Association in 2021, Hoard has written widely for hobby publications, including The Numismatist, and is a board member of the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association.


    Hoard is politically active and has worked with the Washington State Legislature and in varying campaign roles. He served as Chair of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, the official youth advisory body to the state legislature, where he spearheaded the writing and passage of HB 1373, which expanded mental health support access to 1.1 million Washington students. For his work in politics and advocacy, he was recognized as the Washington State Parent Teacher Association Outstanding Student Advocate of the Year, was selected as one of seven emerging national leaders by the Harvard Institute of Politics, and was chosen as a Cameron Impact Scholar, for which he received a full scholarship to any college of his choice. Hoard will be attending George Washington University in the fall. 
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    Jun 01 2022

    First Mint Genealogy

    Edward “Ned” Barnsley and Eric P. Newman conducted an active correspondence for many years, focused on colonial numismatics and including early paper money and Connecticut coppers. In a letter dated January 8, 1961, Barnsley related that a cousin of his great-grandfather, Isaac Hough, served as chief clerk in the U.S. Mint from 1792 until his death in 1801. Pete Smith accepted our challenge to validate (or refute) Barnsley’s claim and provided the following analysis. Barnsley’s line is:


    Edward Barnsley (1906-1989)
    [Father] John Herman Barnsley (1854-1932)
    [Grandmother] Mary Hough Barnsley (1814-1895)
    [1gr-grandfather] Benjamin Hough (1770-1848)
    [2gr-grandfather] Joseph Hough, Jr. (1730-1818)
    [3gr-grandfather] Joseph Hough, Sr. (1695-1773)
    [4gr-grandfather] Richard Hough (?-?)


    Isaac Hough’s line is:
    Isaac Hough, Jr. (1759-1801)
    [Father] Isaac Hough, Sr. (1726-1786)
    [Grandfather] John Hough (1693-1761)
    [1gr-grandfather] Richard Hough (?-?)


    “Ned” Barnsley was close but not quite – his great-grandfather was more precisely a second cousin, not first cousin, of the Mint clerk Isaac Hough. Barnsley added that “Unfortunately, my branch of the Hough’s acquired little of the product of their place of employment. They were all nice people though, and left perhaps some form of numismatics in their transmitted genes, even if they did forget to put aside a roll or two of Strawberry leaf coppers for posterity.”


    Link to Newman/Barnsley correspondence on NNP: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/561116
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