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    Jul 09 2020

    Bugert 1878-S Half Dollar Census Available on Newman Portal

    Bill Bugert, working with Randy Wiley, has been a dedicated researcher of the Liberty Seated half dollar (1839-1891) series for over thirty years and has produced a number of works related to these workhorses of American commerce. His ongoing series, A Register of Liberty Seated Half Dollars, consists of five volumes to date, covering all the branch Mint pieces and the Philadelphia coins from 1839-1852. He is currently working on the remainder of the Philadelphia series and will document these in future volumes. In the meantime, he has released two other works, including a census of 1878-S half dollars. Bill has meticulously followed auction and fixed price listings of these rare coins, and produced a guide which provides illustrations and detailed pedigree data for 51 separate examples. 

    Bill details a bit of the research process in the introduction: “I was fortunate to have many what I called ‘spies’ helping me; these were collectors of the series that reported sightings of 1878-S half dollars. Chief among those was LSCC member Bob Hamby who scouted the southern shows. He would often call me from a coin show bourse floor with details and then send me images. Dennis Fortier and John Frost were also key to helping me. To them and others, I am grateful.” Bill welcomes additional reports as this work is ongoing. 

    Link to Bill Bugert works on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/361
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    Jul 09 2020

    NNP Symposium Adds Third Day

    In response to strong demand, the NNP Symposium has added a third day with additional presentations. Now scheduled for August 28 – 30, the NNP Symposium is a Zoom-based online numismatic gathering featuring presentations on a wide variety of numismatic subjects. Scheduled speakers include John Brush, speaking on the D. L. Hansen collection, Greg Rohan, who will discuss the current state of the numismatic market, and a host of others. Participants may also present virtual exhibits on any topic through submitted images and text. 

    In the last few weeks we’ve seen strong uptake in the use of Zoom and other conferencing platforms for numismatic meetings. Coin clubs are generally seeing larger audiences than with in-person meetings, as the logistics of attending are greatly simplified. Hosts and attendees are learning Zoom, and, anecdotally, meetings are running more smoothly as users become comfortable with the technology. While many industries have been negatively impacted by the epidemic, numismatics seems to be holding its own – the demand for interesting items hasn’t changed, even while the ways we interact with each other are evolving quickly. The NNP Symposium is part of this evolution, freely providing facilitated meeting services. 

    NNP Symposium attendees should register at the link below, in order to receive the specific meeting notices. There are a small number of presentation timeslots still open, and those wishing to present or host a club meeting may apply on the same page.

    Link to NNP Symposium registration: https://nnpsymposium.org/register
    Link to NNP Symposium speaker list: https://nnpsymposium.org/schedule
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    Jul 05 2020

    Newman Portal Adds Money of the United States

    While our scanning machines are inactive due to the epidemic, Newman Portal continues to build a curated numismatic library from various electronic sources. A recent addition is Money of the United States (1942), a 31-page overview of the Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, published by the Washington Service Bureau. The work is clearly compiled from secondary sources and includes a reproduction of Edwin Lamasure’s iconic image of the first United States Mint, here presented as “Ye Old Mint.”
     
    A Google search locates a description of the Bureau in May 1918, noting it’s charter “…to direct the thousands of persons who arrive daily in Washington…to get to the proper Government department. The bureau will also give information concerning Government activities….” The “information” apparently included publications providing overviews of various government operations, in this case the Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If this is the case, this publication acted as somewhat of a visitor’s guide, similar to the popular Evans guides sold by the thousands to Mint visitors in the late 19th century.  

    Link to Money of the United States on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/585633
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    Jun 24 2020

    Davissons Ltd. Auction Sale Catalogs Added to Newman Portal

    Davissons, a Cold Spring, MN auction firm, specializes in ancient Greek and Roman coins, in addition to coins, tokens and medals of Great Britain, as well as historic United States and world coins and medals. Allan Davisson is a veteran in the numismatic business, with sales dating back to 1975. Auction sale catalogs of this firm have been added to Newman Portal for the years 2012-2020.  Their most recent sale (E-Auction 35) included ancient coins, British trade tokens, Civil War patriotic tokens, and U.S. type coins.

    Included in this sale (lot 231) was an Abraham Lincoln medal from the Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. The Robert P. King catalog of Lincolniana appeared in the February 1924 Numismatist, where this medal, engraved by Henry H. Zearing, is cataloged as no. 504. The reverse of this medal quotes from Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which is today inscribed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Lincoln’s address was equally brief and substantial and well worth contemplating anew in the present time.

    Link to Davissons home page: https://davcoin.com/
    Link to Davissons auction sale catalogs on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/510614
    Link to The Numismatist on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/510969

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    Jun 20 2020

    NNP Symposium Attracts Additional Speakers

    The NNP Symposium, an online numismatic gathering scheduled for August 28-29, continues to increase its offering of presentations. Speakers added this week include Rob Rodriguez, whose topic is “The Morris 1792 So-Called Silver Center Cent,”  Pierre Fricke, who will speak on collecting Confederate paper money, Charles Morgan, speaking on ways to modernize the current numismatic market, and many others. Symposium attendees will enjoy a wide variety of content on many aspects of numismatics, and, as this is a virtual event, are free to come and go as they please while following their favorite speakers. The NNP Symposium is free, but attendees and speakers must register in order to receive the meeting access codes. We hope to “see” you there!

    Link to NNP Symposium registration: https://nnpsymposium.org/
    Link to NNP Symposium presentations list: https://nnpsymposium.org/schedule

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    Jun 08 2020

    More on the Golden Biscuit

    In the 6/7/2020 E-Sylum Ron Guth mentioned the “golden biscuit,” referring to an 1816 N-1 large cent presented by Doug Smith in an 1976 EAC whist match with Ted Naftzger. Newman Portal results for “golden biscuit” provide additional context on the use of this term. The earliest mention found is the February 1976 Stack’s sale in which the cataloguer (probably Smith) describes an 1827 N-1 cent, in part: “the obverse brings to mind a golden biscuit fresh from the oven.” The usage of the term evolves to silver coins, such as in Goldberg’s Kardatzke I (February 2002, lot 1165) where an 1894-S 50c is cataloged as “a golden biscuit from the mint’s oven. Lovely and delicious.” Still, “golden biscuit” is used primarily with copper and more specifically with the Smith 1816 N-1, which reappears in in the Stack’s Halpern sale (March 1988, lot 286). 

    Good coins need good names, such as the “ice cream” specimen of the 1894-S dime, or the “Martha Washington” 1792 half disme. This is a longstanding tradition within American numismatics, well-established with the publication of the Dr. Maris 1869 work on 1794 cent varieties. Maris proposed descriptive terms for various 1794 large cent varieties, such as the “scarred head,” “pyramidal head,” “patagonian,” etc. The sheer quantity of coin varieties demands the use of numbers at some point, but the use of descriptive terms for more memorable pieces lends color to what might otherwise be tedious technical studies.

    Link to NNP search results for “golden biscuit”: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/searchwithterms?searchterm=golden%20biscuit
    Link to Edward Maris’s Varieties of Copper Issues of the United State Mint in the Year 1794: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/523977
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    Jun 05 2020

    Treasures in a 19th Century Antiquarian Sale

    Dave Hirt commented this week about his scanned copy of the John Allan (1864) sale catalog on Newman Portal. As a result we more closely examined the catalog, which contains a few items of note. Newman Portal has two copies of this catalog, one from the Hirt library and the other from the ANS. The ANS copy traces to Allan’s daughter, Margaret Stewart, and includes rich annotations as well as a signed letter from John Allan. The handwritten annotations further refer to numismatic luminaries Lyman Low and Isaac F. Wood. Additionally, someone has marked all of the numismatic portions in blue pencil, which, while perhaps disrespecting the artifact, increases its utility. Several lots are noteworthy:

    Lot 1426: Hart’s 1851 History of Issues of Paper Money in the American Colonies. This is a legendary rarity of American numismatic literature, with only three plated copies known. The Newman copy (Heritage Auctions, Newman XI, 11/2018, lot 15236) sold for $19,200. This lot description contains the enigmatic clue “The present copy contains a large number of Specimens of Paper Money, issued before and during the Revolutionary war.” So, was it a plated copy, an interleaved copy with mounted examples of currency (similar to the Hamelberg copy of Phillips’ Historical Sketches of Paper Currency of the American Colonies), or simply an unplated copy with a few worn colonial notes laid it? The price realized ($16.00) was strong money for a secondhand book in 1864.

    Lot 489: Bushnell’s Historical Account of the First Three Business Tokens issued in the City of New York (1859). Number 22 of 50 plated, large-paper copies, this is a rare if little-known work. The Bass IV copy (Kolbe, June 2010, lot 103) sold for $1,800.

    Lot 959: William E. Du Bois’ Pledges of History (1846). One of 140 copies, this is the earliest attempt at a catalog of Mint Cabinet, today the National Numismatic Collection. The Newman copy (Heritage, Newman XI, 11/2018, lot 15205) sold for $600.

    Lot 3442: An autograph letter signed by George Washington, cataloged as “General Washington’s Answer to the Address of the Corporation of New York, conferring upon him the Freedom of the City, dated May 2d, 1785.” This sold for an astonishing $2,050, and the City of New York quickly sued the estate. An annotation in the ANS copy of the catalog summarizes “A suit by the corporation of New York to recover possession of this letter, or its value, Feb. 14th 1866. Jury rendered a verdict in favor of plaintiffs for $2050.” An unattributed clip pasted into the ANS copy of this catalog gives further detail on the suit, including that the defendant cited the statute of limitations, as more than six years had elapsed since the cause of action arose, and that Allan had possession of the letter since at least 1834. Complicating matters was the winning bidder of the lot, De Witt C. Lent, who apparently caught wind of the litigation and refused to pay for the lot. Many parallels with situations of our own time could be cited.

    Lot 4300: Silver medal, “COLUMBIAN ORDER. Instituted 1789.” This medal, engraved by John Pearson, reappears in the 1925 W.W.C. Wilson sale, lot 819 (realized $300), there catalogued by Wayte Raymond as “White man, holding flag, clasps hands with Indian smoking calumet, WHERE LIBERTY STANDS THERE IS MY COUNTRY….Snake coiled in foreground….silver shell…” A halftone plate is included, which may explain its absence in the 44 photographic plates present in the Hamelberg copy of this sale. This is an important, early American medal that would be far more popular if only a few additional examples had been struck.

    Vicken Yegparian notes that ANS acquired the Allan/Bushnell/Wilson piece (illustrated in the Summer 2009 ANS Magazine), also has an electrotype copy, and further notes the Massachusetts Historical Society has the Appleton piece. Finally, Vicken points to a uniface lead die trial of the Columbus (obverse?) side, from Ford XVI (Stack’s 10/2006, lot 189, ex. F.C.C. Boyd). Yegparian’s research revealed that “Columbian Order” was an alternate name for the Tammany Society, and that this medal served as the members badge of this organization (as did other medals).

    Link to Dave Hirt copy of the John Allan (1864) sale: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=510292&AuctionId=512856
    Link to ANS copy of the Allan sale: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=510292&AuctionId=511736
    Link to Wayte Raymond’s sale of the W.W.C. Wilson collection: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=511546&AuctionId=514190
    Link to Hamelberg copy of the W.W.C. Wilson catalog (with 44 photographic plates): https://archive.org/details/wwcwilsoncollect0000wayt/mode/2up

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    Jun 02 2020

    NNP Encyclopedia Active

    The NNP Encyclopedia (https://nnp.wustl.edu/encyclopedia/catalog?catalogId=1) supplies overviews, values, and auction prices realized for U.S. coins. Auctions prices realized, in particular, are quite useful for evaluating thinly traded issues. Auction results further reflect actual market trades, rather than guide book estimates. Data is aggregated from the largest U.S. auction houses and presented in an easy-to-access tabular format. 
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    May 27 2020

    Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society Announces Newman Grants

    The Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES) announces its second set of Newman Grants, created to financially assist numismatic authors and organizations pursuing original research in American numismatics. Newman Grants are awarded annually on the late Eric P. Newman’s birthday and assist with direct costs of numismatic research such as travel, photography, and graphic arts services.

    Six awards are being made this year, touching on varied aspects of numismatics including colonial and obsolete paper money, colonial coinage, medallic art, and black numismatics. The 2020 Newman Grant awardees are:

    James Ehrhardt will trace Iowa obsolete currency as it flowed between central and branch banks and develop quantitative analysis of surviving examples. Ehrhardt, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa, co-authored Iowa National Bank Notes (2006, with Steven J. Sweeney), based on the Higgins Museum collection in Okoboji, IA.

    Harcourt Fuller, Fulbright Global Scholar, will produce a documentary on black money focusing on world currencies that feature themes of Africa and its related diaspora. Fuller, associate professor at Georgia State University, created the Black Money Exhibit (https://www.blackmoneyexhibit.com), a traveling display that uses paper money to examine history and culture of people of African descent.

    Chris McDowell will continue his investigation of the Fugio cent series, with travel to the Birmingham Library (UK) to work with the Matthew Boulton papers, and to New York to research the C. Wyllys Betts archive. This builds upon McDowell’s existing work on Fugio cent restrikes, recently published in the Journal of Early American Numismatics.

    Ángel Navarro Zayas will explore the General Archive of the Indies, located in Spain, for legislative documents related to Spanish paper money that circulated in colonial Louisiana. Navarro Zayas previously published research on this topic in The Numismatist.

    William Nyberg will study the United States Mint involvement in the production of early 19th century revenue stamps. Nyberg will be traveling to the National Archives and Records Administration facility in College Park, MD, to examine Mint documents from this period. Nyberg first explored this subject in Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty (2015).

    Steve Roach, former Coin World Editor-in-Chief, will study the relationship between numismatic works and other commissions received by early 20th century U.S. Mint engravers, including Anthony De Francisci, James Earle Fraser, Adolph Weinman, and Daniel Chester French. Roach will work with the French papers at Williams College (Williamstown, MA), and the Saint-Gaudens archive at Dartmouth (Hanover, NH).

    It is the hope of EPNNES that this program will continue the legacy of Eric P. Newman in a way that would reflect his high standards for numismatic research.

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    May 26 2020

    Irish Political Counterstamps on Newman Portal

    The “collector bug” launches most numismatists, but for many, commercial concerns quickly overwhelm other considerations. It is thus refreshing when an important collection of little monetary value emerges – a reminder that we need not be slaves to price guides and ever-finer technical grades. Bruce R. Mosher has been forming such a collection for a number of years, one that captures public sentiments in reaction to the Irish Troubles beginning in the late-1960s and lasting until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Mosher sought out counterstamped Irish and UK coins that reflect various political points of view. The first two sections, covering Loyalist and Pre-Irish Independence, are now posted on Newman Portal as image collections. 

    A representative example is Mosher L-89, a 1969 Irish 10p with a NO / POPE / HERE counterstamp. Mosher comments “Coin found in auction lot by seller's father, Mark Bowman, at his Antiques / Jewelery store in Greyabbey, Newtownards. It was in an old toolbox from Mackie's Engineering Works on the Springfield Rd. in Belfast, so must have been struck there. Mackie's had a predominately Loyalist work force, and was known to stamp large numbers of coins with Loyalist slogans. Apparently, this is one of them. Purchased from Niki Purce / Newtownards, Co. Down, N. Ireland.” Mosher has carefully recorded provenance for every coin in the collection, a valuable record as many pieces were set aside shortly after the time of creation.

    Link to Bruce Mosher Irish Political Token collection on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollections?searchLetter=I
    Link to Bruce Mosher collection inventory on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/537948
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