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    Nov 20 2019

    Andrew Pollock’s New Publications on United States National Banks, 1863-1935

    Andrew Pollock III continues his research of U.S. National Banks with a five-volume series, Tqbular Guide to United States National Banks. The first three volumes are now available on Newman Portal and will be indispensable to anyone studying the currency emissions of these institutions. The first volume includes a bibliography for the series, to which Peter Huntoon contributed. The term “Bibliography” does not do the content justice, as this is actually a comprehensive and descriptive overview of the related literature. Volumes two (Alabama to Montana) and three (Nebraska to Wyoming) provide a listing of the largest National Banks on a state and year-by-year basis. For each entry, Pollock cites the source, a welcome bit of information for readers who wish to dig more deeply into the subject. Pollock previously contributed datasets containing summary data for over 14,000 National Banks, and his work will no doubt be the standard reference for the foreseeable future.

    Link to Andrew Pollock publications on Newman Portal:
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    Nov 12 2019

    The Mint Master on Newman Portal

    Recently added to the Newman Portal is The Mint Master, journal of the Utah Numismatic Society, for the years 2009-2019. State publications typically have a focus on local numismatic emissions, and the Mint Master is no exception, with extensive coverage of 19th century Mormon issues as well as Utah obsolete currency. Local events, not always covered by the national numismatic media, are also featured. The November 2016 issue includes an article by Tom Davis covering the opening of a hundred-year old time capsule at the State Capitol Building. Newman Portal acknowledges editor Doug Nyholm, who is also a frequent Mint Master author, for his assistance with this title.

    Link to The Mint Master on Newman Portal:

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    Nov 05 2019

    Getting to Know Eric P. Newman, Part 1

    Lianna Spurrier is well-known to NNP users and has completed two video series for Newman Portal, including same-day coverage of the 2019 World’s Fair of Money and a group of videos aimed at young numismatists. Spurrier now starts a new video series focused on publications of Eric P. Newman. The first entry focuses on Newman’s 1959 work The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling. One of the most notorious fabrications in American numismatics, this piece sold for $650 in the Bushnell (1882) sale. By way of comparison a Birch cent from the same collection sold at $290. Newman demonstrated that the Good Samaritan counterstamp on a Pine Tree shilling was not contemporary, and hoped that he would be a “Good Samaritan” in having set the record straight. The work combined Newman’s interest in colonial numismatics and expertise in counterfeit detection, and is neatly explicated in this new video by Spurrier.

    Link to Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling video on NNP:
    Link to Ford/Hamelberg copy of the Bushnell sale on NNP:
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    Oct 25 2019

    Newman Numismatic Portal Adds Gerry Fortin Rare Coins Daily Blog

    Recently added to the Newman Portal is the Daily Blog from Gerry Fortin Rare Coins (GFRC). After retiring from the semiconductor industry, Fortin launched GFRC in 2014 as a specialty dealer of Bust, Liberty Seated, and U.S. gold coinage. Fortin challenged himself to create fresh content on a daily basis, and the result today is essentially the business diary of a specialized, Internet-based coin dealer. Today’s culture is less  formal than that of fifty years ago, and the ubiquity of information has created an expectation of transparency. Professional secrets, once closely guarded by practitioners of any specific craft, are fewer are far between, and the occupational mysteries of nearly any profession can be uncovered with a simple Google query. Fortin embraces all of this and opens his business to daily scrutiny – consignments come in, clients are served, and the challenges of travel, IT, photography, accounting, and inventory control are on full view to the reader. Given such an approach, it is no surprise that Fortin agreed to contribute his archive to the Newman Portal repository. This is a unique view of a particular coin business in a numismatic market that is becoming more and more defined by the Internet Age.

    Link to Gerry Fortin Rare Coins Daily Blog archive on Newman Portal:
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    Oct 15 2019

    Eric P. Newman Research Notes for Vermont Coinage Article Digitized

    In 1958 Eric P. Newman published “A Recently Discovered Coin Solves a Vermont Numismatic Enigma” in the American Numismatic Society (ANS) centennial anthology. Joel Orosz summarized this work in the Newman biography:

    “Detective Newman is again on the case, describing a heretofore unknown coin that explains why the series 1787 and 1788 Vermont coppers with bust facing right display the distinctively British insignia of the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George in the shield on the reverse, and not the emblem of Vermont. After a thorough review of the literature regarding this phenomenon, Newman describes a counterfeit British halfpence excavated in Stepney, Connecticut, which can be punch-linked to the Vermont coppers, and demonstrates how the punches originally used to counterfeit the halfpence were later diverted to Vermont copper production after the June 7, 1787 Machin’s Mills agreement was signed. This finding settled a century-old scholarly debate.”

    Newman’s research file for this article is now online, most notably including the original paste-ups with photographic plates. Also included here are related correspondence and research notes in Newman’s hand.

    Link to Eric P. Newman research file for A Recently Discovered Coin Solves a Vermont Numismatic Enigma:

    Link to Centennial Publication of the American Numismatic Society on Newman Portal:
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    Oct 13 2019
    Numismatic Literature

    Kolbe & Fanning Auction Sale Catalogs on Newman Portal

    As previously announced by Kolbe & Fanning, in conjunction with the sale of the George F. Kolbe library on October 26, the firm is making their historic auction sale catalogs available on Newman Portal. The majority of these have now been posted on Newman Portal, with the remainder coming soon. After a modest beginning in 1976, the firm was running full tilt by its ninth sale in 1981, which featured consignments from Armand Champa, the estate of Kenneth Lee, and the Essex Institute. Harry W. Bass, Jr. John W. Adams, Jack Collins and many others competed to drive prices up to record levels, and the pursuit of collecting numismatic literature fully came into its own. The formation of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society complemented the commercial activity, and since then Kolbe & Fanning have handled many important libraries, including those of Adams, Bass, Stack’s, Ford, and others.

    This catalog set as a whole describes over 100,000 items of numismatic literature, and, while there is naturally some lot duplication, it is clear that this represents a monumental effort, comparable in scope to the ANS library catalog. This copious record has, and will continue, to serve as a premier bibliographic resource for numismatic literature, with detailed and authoritative descriptions of nearly every important work in the field.

    Kolbe and Fanning have cataloged even the most esoteric items with an eye toward putting them into greater context and giving the reader a well-formed idea of their place in the numismatic universe, often more substantive than might first appear. Some works are by definition more mundane than others, but all are given careful consideration in these thoughtfully prepared catalogs.

    Link to Kolbe & Fanning auction sale catalogs on Newman Portal:

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    Oct 13 2019

    Newman Portal Adds The Check Collector

    With the gracious permission of the American Society of Check Collectors, The Check Collector has recently been added to Newman Portal. Vintage checks are a launching pad for the study of banking histories, financial printing, and related commercial matters. Newman Portal acknowledges Bob Hohertz for his assistance with this journal, which sadly ceased publication in December, 2018. Fortunately, back issues are now archived on Newman Portal, preserving this slice of numismatic collecting history for future generations.

    Link to The Check Collector on Newman Portal:
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    Sep 29 2019

    Scouts BSA Coin Collecting Merit Badge Crash Course

    Recently added to Newman Portal is a video from Lianna Spurrier aimed at Scouts BSA members looking to acquire the coin collecting merit badge. There are ten requirements in the current manual (which George Cuhaj informs us is being reworked) covering numismatic basics, with a emphasis on U.S. issues. The BSA merit badge doesn’t aim to turn kids into large cent attribution experts but rather provides a beginning exposure to the hobby and hopefully delivers a few tools to help more interested members move along further as enthusiasm warrants. 

    Link to BSA coin collecting merit badge on Newman Portal:
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    Sep 23 2019
    Colonial Numismatics

    Christopher McDowell Publishes Census of Pitt Farthings

    The Pitt tokens are yet another enigmatic entry in the American colonial coin catalog. Nothing is known of their manufacture, which might have occurred in England or in America, nor is the engraver known. What is certain is that they commemorative William Pitt’s involvement in the repeal of the Stamp Act (1766). The Act required a stamp on every official document in the colonies, the proceeds of which were intended to support a standing British army in America, whose primary duty would be of course to enforce the collection of even more taxes from the colonists. The Act was repealed in 1766 due to the influence of William Pitt and others, including Benjamin Franklin.

    With little in the way of a documentary record, the pieces themselves tell the story. They were issued in two sizes, historically referred to as “farthings” or “halfpennies” even though no coining authority has been identified. They did circulate in the colonies, and have been found by detectorists. The small format “farthing” pieces are substantially more scarce than the large format “halfpenny,” with values in Fine-12 of $15,000 and $1,200, respectively. Under sponsorship of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, Chris McDowell has prepared a census of all 24 known examples of the Pitt farthing. With such a low population, detailed investigation into each example is greatly facilitated, and McDowell’s paper will be the last word on the subject absent the discovery of a hoard.

    One of the more interesting pieces is the Anton brass specimen, said to include presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Lyndon Johnson in its provenance. It was offered by Bill Anton, Jr. in the February 2005 Numismatist and there described as gem uncirculated. Anton corresponded with Eric P. Newman regarding this piece in 1971, forwarding X-rays that Newman used to verify the absence of a casting port. McDowell was able to track down images for this piece, and for all others, except in a single case. With the images, this paper will serve as the “go to” guide for anyone wishing to acquire or catalog an example.

    Link to Pitt Farthing census on Newman Portal:
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    Sep 15 2019

    Emperor Norton Biography

    Recently added to Newman Portal is Albert Dressler’s biography of “Emperor Norton,” the colorful self-proclaimed California king, who issued a number of 19th century bonds or scrip in the name of “The Imperial Government of Norton I.” Joshua Abraham Norton (1818-1880) was born in England, and came to San Francisco in 1849. Norton was unsuccessful in business but apparently a compelling personality, one that might have been more richly rewarded in today’s culture, an environment more willing to support the eccentric celebrity. He paraded about San Francisco in full regalia and issued various and sundry edicts abolishing the U.S. Constitution, demanding that church leaders officially recognize him as “Empower,” etc. His scrip was accepted in local restaurants, akin to the modern artist J.S.G. Boggs, whose stylized adaptations of U.S. money were originally passed as “money.” Today both Norton and Boggs notes are highly collectible and usually worth much more than face value.

    Link to Emperor Norton of United States
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