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    Aug 18 2019

    Lianna Spurrier Offers Daily Video Reports from the ANA Convention

    This week Newman Portal sponsored the creation of a series of daily video reports from the ANA convention, produced by Lianna Spurrier. Starting with the ribbon cutting on day 1 (Tuesday), Spurrier covers all aspects of the show from exhibits to auctions to bourse personalities and, of course, coins. Dealer Shanna Schmidt, recently elected to the ANA board, appears on the day 2 video (Wednesday), while day 3 (Thursday) brings coverage of the sale of the 1894-S dime at the Stack’s Bowers auction. In the day 4 video, Benjamin Franklin (aka Pat McBride) makes a surprise appearance and notes that the colonial paper money he printed 300 years ago has held up surprisingly well. This was the first large show Spurrier has attended and she brings a new and refreshing perspective to the convention experience.

    Link to Lianna Spurrier ANA convention videos on Newman Portal:
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    Aug 03 2019

    Eric P. Newman Notes on Virginia Coinage added to Newman Portal

    Recently added to Newman Portal are Eric Newman’s research files on Virginia coinage. Newman, as usual, casts a wide net, corresponding with institutions and individuals including the Royal Mint, the U.S. National Archives, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Historical Society, Morton Stack, and others. Correspondence with the American Numismatic Society regarding Newman’s publication on the subject, Coinage for Colonial Virginia (Numismatic Notes and Monographs, no. 135, 1956) is included here. This reveals an interesting tidbit regarding the dedication of this work to Newman’s wife Evelyn (“Dedicated / to / my wife Evelyn / who, prophetically, was wearing / a necklace of coins / when we first met”). The ANS was reluctant to publish this but Eric was insistent, as noted in correspondence to the ANS on November 2, 1956. This file also includes the photographic pasteups used for the ANS article.

    Link to Eric P. Newman research files on Virginia coinage:
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    Jul 24 2019

    An 1836 Gobrecht Dollar With (Mostly) Unbroken Provenance

    A recent addition of the Newman Portal is a video produced by David Lisot, The Andrew Jackson / Earl / Sevier Flying Eagle Gobrecht Dollar, which traces the path of an 1836 Gobrecht dollar from President Andrew Jackson to Ralph Earl (the “court painter” during Jackson’s White House years) to the Sevier clan, an important Tennessee family. The coin remained in the family for many years until several years ago when it was sold to a well-known dealer of Liberty Seated coinage. Soon after selling the coin, the Sevier descendant discovered a letter in an old family bible detailing the coin’s provenance. Alas, the coin had already disappeared into the channels of numismatic commerce. Could the coin be reunited with the documentation? LSCC Education Director John Frost tells the story in a presentation from the March 2019 Whitman Baltimore Expo.

    Link to The Andrew Jackson / Earl / Sevier Flying Eagle Gobrecht Dollar video on Newman Portal:
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    Jul 17 2019

    Colonial Newsletter Update on Newman Portal

    With the kind permission of the American Numismatic Society (ANS), The Colonial Newsletter has been updated on Newman Portal through the 2017 publication year. The completes the digitization of the “old format” Colonial Newsletter, which was succeeded by the Journal of Early American Numismatics in 2018. The Journal of Early American Numismatics is capably edited by Chris McDowell and is available from the ANS on a subscription basis. The most recent issue continues the long running debate on the origin of the Continental dollar, one of the more enduring and enigmatic questions in American numismatics. 

    Link to The Colonial Newsletter on Newman Portal:
    Link to subscribe to the Journal of Early American Numismatics
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    Jul 08 2019

    The Story of Nero Through His Coins

    Lianna Spurrier is back at it again, with a video entitled “The Story of Nero Through His Coins.” Nero is remembered as a bloodthirsty, ruthless, and immoral ruler. But was he really that bad? His coins indicate there is more to the story than the stereotypical narrative. While there is good reason for his barbaric reputation, Nero was surprisingly interested in the arts and the enrichment of cultural life. Ms. Spurrier digs in further in this well-produced video.

    Link to “The Story of Nero and His Coins” on Newman Portal:
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    Jul 01 2019

    Chapman Brothers Correspondence at the American Numismatic Society

    The ANS acquired a sizable group (19 boxes) of Chapman brothers archives, c. 2000, related to business activities of this Philadelphia rare coin firm at the turn of the 20th century. Handling some of the most important collections of the period, beginning with the Bushnell sale in 1882, the Chapmans did much to define the practice of auction cataloging. Descriptions grew less terse, and the usage of photography increased. “Deluxe” editions signaled the numismatic community that it was perfectly acceptable to collect books. Today their sale catalogs are avidly collected. The Chapman archives at the ANS include correspondence with the most advanced collectors of the day, and reveal tidbits found nowhere else. 

    The Newman Numismatic Portal is sponsoring the scanning of the Chapman correspondence, which is expected to take several months. Scanning will proceed alphabetically by correspondent last name and appear online as it is scanned. “A” correspondents have started to populate, with one item of interest being the Appleton file. This contains 1904 correspondence between William Sumner Appleton, Jr. and the Chapmans, discussing the estate of Appleton, Sr. (1840-1903).  Some thought was given to consigning the material (15,000 pieces including 3,000 medals) to the Chapmans. In the end no arrangement was concluded with the two brothers, and the material went to the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS), and also appeared at other dealer sales (Steigerwalt 5/1907, 1/1910, Elder 5/1913, 10/1913, and finally from MHS to Stack’s 5/1973). One can only imagine that Appleton might today be more widely known had the Chapmans presented the entire collection in a unified group of sales.

    Link to Chapman Brothers correspondence on Internet Archive:
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    Jun 27 2019

    Misery in the Mint

    As summer heats up, it is worth recalling the plight of the women adjusters in the U.S. Mint during the Civil War. Recently scanned by Roger Burdette from the U.S. National Archives, this letter from Philadelphia doctor C. H. Porter to President Lincoln, August 29, 1861, says it all:

    “Do not I beg of you throw this aside without reading it through. The object of my addressing you is in regard to the employees in the adjusting room of the U.S. Mint in this city. They are ladies, all respectable Ladies of reduced means. The rules are that the Ladies  shall go to work at the early hour of 7AM, and shall work till 3:30[?] PM in a close room, without a breath of air and with a hot fire in the room, all the time, such weather as it has been here. Is it not an outrage that Ladies should be confined in such a manner, because they have the misfortune to be poor. Ladies are daily almost hourly taken sick and have to be carried home in carriages, and I consider it my duty as a medical man to protest against killing Ladies in such a manner. If you must employ females, do it under better rules, give the Ladies a change for recreation; let them have pure air and enough of it. Let me hear from you and believe me Respectfully Yours, C. H. Porter M.D.”

    The presence of the letter in the files of the Secretary of the Treasury suggests that it was not passed on to Lincoln. No reply is recorded here but may exist elsewhere in the National Archives. This letter is from record group 104 (U.S. Mint), entry 216 (Letters sent and received by the Secretary of the Treasury relating to the Mints), vol. 21, p. 317.

    Link to National Archives & Records Administration papers on Newman Portal:


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    Jun 26 2019

    John Reich Journal Updated on Newman Portal

    The John Reich Collectors Society has opened for access the John Reich Journals for 2015 and 2016, updating the run of this periodical on Newman Portal from 1986-2016. The Journal, edited by Brad Karoleff, is published 3 times annually and covers all aspects of Bust coinage, everything from die varieties to coverage of the latest auction sales.  

    The December 2016 issue features an article by YN Garrett Ziss discussing literature purchases at the 2016 ANA Summer Seminar book sale. Included in Garrett’s group was a deluxe copy of the Beistle half dollar variety reference, ex. Lester Merkin, a draft of a late-date large cent attribution guide sent from Jules Reiver to Armand Champa, and a copy of the Merkin auction sale catalog for September 1968 including significant bust coinage. All in all a nice group from the book sale. 

    The April 2015 issue features an important article by David Finkelstein discussing the workflow for handling gold and silver in the U.S. Mint in the 1793-1794 period. Several impediments prevented the coining of bullion in this period and Finkelstein’s research is a well-researched overview. 

    Other organizations wishing to similarly update their back issues on Newman Portal should contact Len Augsburger at

    Link to John Reich Journal on Newman Portal:
    Link to John Reich Collectors Society homepage:

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    Jun 22 2019

    Eric P. Newman Research Files on Missouri Paper Money

    Numismatic researchers tend to collect much more information than they will ever publish, and Eric Newman was no exception. Newman collected information on Missouri paper money beginning in the 1930s, and his files on the subject represent his first foray into original research. The papers show Newman working toward what would have been the standard work on the subject, but this was not to be, so busy was Newman making new discoveries in other areas of numismatics. 

    The Missouri files are particularly exciting in that they show Eric, only his in 20s, doing, exceptional work. He studies the legislative history, digs though old newspapers, and visits other collections, in this case preparing a catalog of the Chase National Bank collection in 1934. Newman’s extensive annotations to D. C. Wismer’s 1928 article in the Numismatist are here, as well as the draft of an article Newman never published, “Missouri Laws Regulating Circulating Money.”  One finds also the text of a radio address delivered by Newman on August 13, 1939 (Newman appeared on St. Louis local radio at least twice in the 1930s discussing matters numismatic).

    Link to Newman research files on Missouri paper money:

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    Jun 12 2019

    Early Paper Money of America on Newman Numismatic Portal

    Eric P. Newman published five editions Early Paper Money of America, the standard reference for colonial paper money, from 1967 to 2008. The NNP Edition of this work is now available on Newman Portal, and combines Newman’s fifth edition text with thousands of colonial paper money examples from the Newman collection. The web format allows for new features, such as hyperlinks in the Continental Currency section that link to the Journals of the Continental Congress and the legislation corresponding to each issue. Additionally, the sheer volume of images presented here would not be viable in a print format, as earlier editions contained representative images only. 

    Newman Portal intends to maintain Early Paper Money of America as a living document and invites edits and additional content from interested researchers and collectors.

    Link to Early Paper Money of America on Newman Portal:
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