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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: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/532241

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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: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/513468
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    Jun 06 2019

    Lianna Spurrier Creates “Odd Denominations” Video

    Fourth in a series of videos aimed at young numismatists, Lianna Spurrier’s latest installment discusses odd denominations in the U.S. series, including two-cent, three-cent, and twenty-cent pieces. Spurrier examines the origin of each issue and explores its use in commerce. The themes explored represent a microcosm of 19th century U.S. economics, touching on the financial balance between gold and silver, Washington politics, and the impact of the Civil War on U.S. coinage. Lianna’s work is graphically rich, authoritatively written, and will appeal to numismatists young and old alike.

    Link to Lianna Spurrier videos on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/529486
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    Jun 04 2019

    Steve Crain Liberty Seated Half Dime Die Variety Reference Collection on Newman Portal

    Steve Crain, a half dime collector from Maine, has been carefully collecting Liberty Seated half dimes since the 1980s and over that time has formed the most comprehensive die variety reference collection ever built. Heretofore the Daniel Valentine reference (The United States Half Dimes, published in 1931 by the American Numismatic Society as Numismatic Notes and Monographs, no. 48) has been the best variety guide, but the plates, while acceptable for the era, are far eclipsed by today’s digital photography. 

    Steve Herrman, working under a 2019 Newman Grant, has delivered approximately 4,000 images that serve to thoroughly document the Crain collection. Included are high-resolution images of each coin, as well as the 2x2 holders that Crain used for annotations. This is the best available photographic guide to the Valentine series and will enable collectors to more readily identify these sometimes ambiguous varieties. Independently, Clint Cummins is building an online attribution guide for half dime varieties that is also worthy of mention. The Cummins site will incorporate the Crain photographs over time.

    Newman Portal acknowledges the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society for awarding a Newman Grant for this project, as well as W. Dave Perkins and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club for their support of the project. 

    Link to Steve Crain Liberty Seated half dime image collection on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/514182
    Link to Clint Cummins’ Liberty Seated half dime attribution guide: https://web.stanford.edu/~clint/hdag/
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    May 28 2019

    Medals of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University

    The plethora of medal issues in the 1960s and 1970s, created by the Franklin Mint and others, oversaturated an exhausted collector base with the result that the more artistically worthy works never received their full due. Alexander brings a penetrating light aimed at sorting the wheat from the chaff, and in this case honors the series of medals honoring inductees of the Hall of Frame for Great Americans at New York University. Issued by Medallic Art Company from 1962 until the mid-1970s, the series consists of 94 medals sculpted by some of the best known engravers of the period. Many of these can today be easily acquired on ebay (a quick search reveals 20 “hits”) and other sources for nominal prices. The approach taken by Alexander is similar to his treatment of early 20th century American art medals (American Art Medals, 1909-1995, published by the American Numismatic Society), including metrology, historical context, and critical assessments of each medal.

    For this project, Alexander contributed text and images to Newman Portal, which were then formatted under NNP sponsorship to accomplish a professional result worthy of the subject matter. Newman Portal invites other authors to similarly collaborate. Newman Portal NNP acknowledges Doug Plasencia and Pat Alexander for photography, and Lianna Spurrier for graphics layout and design.

    Link to Medals of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/130.
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    May 13 2019

    Records of Ingle-Schierloh, Token Manufacturer, on Newman Portal

    The Ingle-Schierloh Company, a Dayton, OH token manufacturing concern, did business with hundreds of coal mining (and other) companies in the early 20th century. Collector Billy Campbell acquired unique, old records of Ingle-Schierloh and has made these available to Newman Portal. The series consists of a main ledger, followed by 11 notebooks which arrange company correspondence alphabetically, by the city of the token-issuing company. Combined with the comprehensive token cataloging provided by the site tokencatalog.com, collectors of these pieces can now access, online, images of the tokens in addition to the correspondence related to their manufacture. This provides a heretofore unavailable end-to-end view of these numismatic objects and enables further research on the subject. The community aspect of Newman Portal allows individuals to contribute such content to a centralized repository, and Newman Portal acknowledges Billy Campbell for sharing these records with the wider numismatic community.

    Link to Ingle-Schierloh archives on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/531624
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    May 07 2019

    Florence Nightingale on Obsolete Paper Money

    May 12 is International Nurses Day and marks the 199th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing and today acknowledged for elevating the occupation to a professional level.  British by birth, she rose to prominence through her medical service during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Among her greatest contributions was the use of statistical methods as a tool to manage public health. It is no surprise that Nightingale has been the subject of engravers ever since, such as this $2 Western Bank of Missouri note from the Eric P. Newman collection. A second example comes from Minnesota, a Winona County Bank $1 from 1858. A final example reminds us of the ever present paper money counterfeiters, this an 1859 $20 counterfeit note from the Farmers Bank of Missouri. The last was acquired by Newman from D.C. Wismer, the dealer who tipped off Newman to the existence of Missouri paper money in the Col. Green estate – Newman followed up with Chase Bank (the estate administrator) in New York, and the rest is history. This particular note sold for only $132, a lot of provenance for a little currency.

    Image: Western Bank of Missouri $2 (1861), from Newman VII (Heritage Auctions, 10/2015, realized $6,462.50).

    Image: Winona (MN) County Bank $1 (1858), from Newman VII (Heritage Auctions, 10/2015, realized $2,115).

    Image: Farmer Bank of (Liberty) Missouri $20 (1859), counterfeit, from Newman VIII (Heritage Auctions, 11/2017, realized $132).

    Update: In the E-Sylum of 5/20/2019, paper money researcher Mark Tomasko demonstrated that the identification of Florence Nightingale on these notes is in error. See https://www.coinbooks.org/v22/esylum_v22n20a11.html.

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    May 04 2019

    J. A. Bolen Die Register on Newman Portal

    John Adams Bolen (1826-1906), diesinker of Springfield, MA, issued a number of medals in the 19th century variously related to numismatic, civic, commercial, and patriotic subjects. His work has been thoroughly and capably cataloged in Neil Musante’s The Medallic Works of John Adams Bolen (2002). Bolen’s oeuvre was exceptionally documented for the era, and the 1866 manuscript of his die register is now available on Newman Portal. Scanned from the American Numismatic Society (ANS) Rare Book Room, this document (mostly in Bolen’s hand) was donated by Tony Terranova to the ANS in 1995 and prior to that appeared in the Armand Champa library sale (part 2, Bowers & Merena 3/1995, lot 1074).

    The Bolen manuscript was published in the American Journal of Numismatics (August 1866) and has been well-known since, but the images of Bolen’s own handwriting, as presented here, convey a historicity and sentiment not necessarily acquired from the heretofore published version. Apart from Musante’s comprehensive treatment of the subject, the Stack’s March 2011 Americana auction sale catalog, presenting the Q. David Bowers collection of Bolen medals, is an essential reference for the Bolen collector.

    Link to Medal Dies Cut by J. A. Bolen: https://archive.org/details/medaldiescutbyja00bole
    Link to Q. David Bowers collection of Bolen medals (Stack’s, January 2011): https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=3&AuctionId=517032&page=281

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    Apr 27 2019

    Money Tree Numismatic Literature Sale Catalogs on Newman Portal

    The Money Tree (Ken Lowe and Myron Xenos) conducted 32 numismatic literature auction sales between 1987 and 1999, and these catalogs are now accessible on Newman Portal.  Opening remarks by Xenos in the initial catalog set the tone for the remainder of the series. “Both Ken Lowe and myself have tried to present this Sale to you in a humorous as well as educational vein. Ken has spent the few weeks pulling books and pamphlets out of the catacombs and cataloging them….Ken never finished rummaging through the dungeon….” The Money Tree never took themselves too seriously and the personalities of the writers are in full-view in all their unvarnished glory. The approach was a bit different than that of their competitor George Kolbe, himself not above the occasional snarky comment, which was expressed so subtly that only the most aware would catch on, and always in language artful enough to claim “plausible deniability.” The 1980s and 1990s were truly a golden age for the genre and these catalogs are a pleasure to read. Newman Portal is grateful to Myron Xenos for permission to scan these publications.

    Link to Money Tree sales on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/511339
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    Apr 20 2019

    U.S. Mint Coinage Die Records

    One of the fundamental questions in American numismatic research relates to coinage die production and usage within the U.S. series. Since the 1850s, collectors have avidly pursued U.S. coins by die marriage, beginning with the early copper coins and today more extensively. Most of this work has been done by examining the coins directly, as the Mint has never centralized the related records.  Imagine if this information had been cleanly preserved by the Mint – the Red Book might have listed die counts along with mintage records from the beginning, and the hunt would be on to find the coins.  As it is, researchers must ferret out the information from multiple locations within the National Archives & Records Administration, and even then our knowledge is not complete. To the rescue comes Roger Burdette, who has gathered together the known archival data, consolidating research from Bob Julian and others to do so. This is now available on Newman Portal. Although not 100% comprehensive, as much of the data was probably never recorded to begin with, die variety researchers of 19th century coinage in particular will find useful information to complement to their investigation of the actual coins.

    Link to U.S. Mint coinage die records on Newman Portal:  https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/562632.


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