195 records found.
The 1991 EAC Midnight Sale
What happens when numismatists and bibliophiles have an informal gathering? Compelled to memorialize minutiae – what the American Numismatic Society (ANS) motto calls “the little things” – we occasionally see works created that seem disproportionate to the import of the actual event. We’ll see why that’s not actually true, case in point being the 1991 EAC “Midnight Sale,” a work recently scanned at the ANS under the sponsorship of Newman Portal. Ostensibly an auction catalog, but in reality a lovingly produced paean to the fellowship of colonial coin collectors, this document well conveys the convivial conclave that occurred in a hotel room in the early hours of April 28, 1991, during the Early American Coppers annual convention.
Billed as “worth getting out of bed for,” the 24½ lot sale catalog (24 lots of Connecticut cents, the lone Vermont copper meriting only “half” a lot) features at least one page per lot with several full page photographs. Walter Breen was enlisted for the technical descriptions, and, whatever you think of Breen, there is no question that the man knew his Connecticut coppers. These descriptions were presented in Walter’s familiar handwriting on “Howard Johnson” lot tickets, just the first sign of a low-brow affair. The “terms and conditions” of the sale only reinforce the jocular mood, representing what every auction house wishes they could put in their boilerplate, but are prevented from doing so by the attorneys. “Under no condition shall bidding proceed in chronological order,” or “This is a clean auction. No smoking, no drinking, no drugs, no….never mind, the cops are gone. Do what you want.” In contrast to standard practice, the catalog itself was produced only after the sale, and even then distanced by several years. Most of the lots sold for under $100.
This document, though farcical on its face, well relates the spirit of the era. These collectors enjoyed coins, they enjoyed spending time with each other, and they were clever authors who could recreate the repartee in writing. Next to a time machine, this auction catalog is about the closest one can get to what must have been a rip roarin’ good time. Lot commentary, following the technical notes, well conveys the mood. “We don’t know how this Vermont slipped in, and we do apologize for it. However, we note that researcher Gary Trudgen has not written an article on this variety which makes us suspect that it is even less interesting that we originally thought.” All in all the work is a message to present collectors, that scholarship and stoogery (to “coin” a word) need not be mutually exclusive.
Link to The Midnight Sale: https://archive.org/details/midnightsalepriv00ring/page/2
All Scanned Copies are Not Equal
In 1846 William E. DuBois authored the first substantial history of the U.S. Mint Cabinet, today held by the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and known as the National Numismatic Collection. The summer 2008 issue of The Asylum described this book:
Davis 325. 1 plate, medal-ruled. A table summarizes the Mint cabinet at the time, some 3800 pieces, of which approximately 10% were U.S. issues. There is no specific cataloguing of the U.S. coinage, but this important work describes the genesis of the collection: “The collection was commenced in June, 1838. Long before that date, however, Mr. Adam Eckfeldt, formerly Chief Coiner, led as well by his own taste as by the expectation that a conservatory would some day be established took pains to preserve master-coins of the different annual issues of the Mint, and to retain some of the hnest foreign specimens, as they appeared in deposit for recoinage. As soon as a special annual appropriation was instituted for this object, by Congress (which was as soon as it was asked), the collection took a permanent form, and from the nucleus above mentioned, has gone on in a continual course of augmentation since. It is now nearly as large as we expect or wish to have it, excepting, however, that specimens of new coinage, domestic or foreign, must be added as they appear.”
DuBois presumably inquired directly with his father-in-law Adam Eckfeldt in reference to the origin of the Mint Cabinet. The Google Books copy of Pledges, scanned in 2015 at the British library, is a desultory black and white affair conveying little charm of the original. While the content is faithfully preserved for the purposes of text search, researchers working from this copy will find little in the way of historical inspiration. The Newman Portal copy is a full-color reproduction taken from the Eric P. Newman library. Warts and all, the damp stained copy more effectively transports the reader back to the time of issue. Quirks such as the odd insertion of a color plate depicting “the pearl of great price” (was this a leftover from some other project?) ask the user to critically assess the physical copy within the context of the era. While physical copies are ideal, not all scans are equal, and, like collectors of physical books, researchers will do well to search out the best virtual copies.
Link to Pledges of History on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/523984
Link to Pledges of History on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=vCVkAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA30&dq=pledges+of+history&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNs-b42p3gAhXB6IMKHU1cDS0Q6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=pledges%20of%20history&f=false
Image: cover of Eric P. Newman copy of Pledges of History
Newman Portal Adds the New England Numismatic Association (NENA) News
“I recently picked up an 1861 half-dollar which was beautifully engraved ‘Taken from the ruins of the Masonic Temple, April 6,1865’ and on the reverse is engraved ’’Boston Encampment K.T.’ and the name of the party to whom it was issued. I dropped into the Masonic Museum, which is on the second floor of the Masonic Temple in Boston, and the Curator told me that they had four or five of these pieces in the Museum, which he showed me. These were donated by one of the members in Boston. The half-dollars are all dated 1865. and are in very fine to uncirculated condition. The Masonic Temple of Boston was destroyed by fire on April 6, 1864. Some U.S. half-dollars were found in the ruins of the fire and were engraved and issued as souvenirs by the Boston Encampment, Knights Templars, to some of its members whose names appear on the various coins.”
Newman Portal acknowledges NENA Vice President Yale Lansky for his assistance with this project.
Link to NENA News on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/529533
Link to American Numismatic Biographies entry on Maurice Gould on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/PersonDetail/848
St. Louis Stamp & Coin Company Fixed Price Lists Scanned
Fixed price lists are among the most bibliographically challenging of numismatic literature as they often come undated, and without regular titles or sequencing. Charles Steigerwalt, the 19th century Pennsylvania dealer, is especially noteworthy (notorious?) in this regard. The situation is somewhat better for the St. Louis Stamp & Coin fixed price lists. Although published without dates, most are numbered and can be attributed within a year or two of publication. There are three distinct series, beginning with the “Special stock reduction circular” (c. 1903-1905), followed by the “Special bargain list” (c. 1903-1908), and then the better-known “Fixed price list” (c. 1905-1930). Also included in the series are unnumbered and undated items such as the “Great Snaps (Not Ginger)” edition.
Link to St. Louis Stamp & Coin Fixed Price Lists on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/528772.
Idaho Trade Token Newsletter on Newman Portal
Thanks to John Mutch for granting permission and loaning physical copies for scanning.
Link to Idaho Trade Token Newsletter on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/529431
Link to J. Farrin & Co. token on tokencatalog.com: http://tokencatalog.com/token_record_forms.php?action=DisplayTokenRecord&td_id=366157&inventory_id=351887&td_image_id=196850&attribution_id=374739&record_offset=1
American Numismatic Society Library Catalog Linked to Internet Archive Scans
Mormon Currency, 1837-1937 and Updates & Short Stories Added to Newman Portal
Doug Nyholm has also released a companion volume, Updates & Short Stroies About Mormon Currency (2018). This work contains a variety of supplementary material including historical essays, grading, trial strikes, and a review of the Eric P. Newman collection of Mormon scrip, several examples of which sold at the 5-figure level. The Bishop’s General Storehouse $10, pictured here, sold for an astounding $25,850 (Newman VII, 10/2015, lot 18616). Prior to the Newman sale, Nyholm speculated the Bob & Carol Campbell example was the only such piece held privately.
Link to Mormon Currency (2nd edition, 2015) on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/556921
Link to Updates & Short Stories About Mormon Currency (2018) on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/556922
Book About 50 Years of Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals
Published on the Newman Numismatic Portal
Medal collectors, American history buffs and those interested in Judaica can now read Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 1969-2019 by Mel Wacks, newly published on the Newman Numismatic Portal at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/556056. Mel is uniquely qualified to write this compendium of what currently is the longest continuing series of art medals in America, since he initiated the project and has overseen it for its 50 year history.
Mel says in the Introduction, “The goal [of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals] was not only to raise funds for the Magnes Museum, but to raise awareness in Jews and non-Jews alike in the substantial contributions made to America—and the world—by American Jews.” The project was under the auspices of the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley from 1969 through 2001, when it became a division of the American Jewish Historical Society in New York. The sale of the medals has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for these two educational organizations, along with the American Numismatic Society, and other non-profits.
The new book features biographies of more than 50 Jewish-American Hall of Fame inductees, taken from their web site www.amuseum.org/jahf; back stories about the creation of the medal designs; medal specifications (size, mintages and mints); and short biographies of the more than dozen medalists and calligraphers who created the medals. In addition, there are two appendices—one describing the Wooden Shekels issued by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame intermittently from 1968-2009, and the other listing, for the first time, all 35 Special Commemorative Medals Issued by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame--from the counterstamped Camp David Peace Dollar in 1978 through the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award (for the American Jewish Historical Society) in 2018.
Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 1969-2019 is an indispensable guide to a series that offers collectors a real challenge. As Mel Wacks concludes in the Preface: “It is not easy [to assemble a complete collection], since mintages are very low—as few as 100 bronze, 55 pure silver, and a minuscule 11 gold. Remember—the fun is in the hunt!” And the fun is also in reading this book, offered free to all on the Newman Numismatic Portal.
To learn more about the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, visit http://www.amuseum.org/jahf.
Seaby’s Coin and Medal Bulletin on Newman Portal
Link to Seaby’s Coin and Medal Bulletin on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/528776
Link to Classical Numismatic Group: https://www.cngcoins.com
Heritage Auctions Predecessor Firms on NNP
Link to New England Rare Coin Auctions: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/511382
Link to Steve Ivy Numismatic Auctions: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/511017