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    Jun 10 2024

    Greg Bennick Interviews Stan Kesselman

    Stan Kesselman, a NY coin dealer, worked parttime in numismatics without a store front, quietly trading between the leading dealers and collectors of the day, beginning around 1960. Among his clients were the well-known collectors Harry W. Bass, Jr., R. L. Miles, Ted Naftzger and others. Kesselman specialized in rare date U.S. gold and was involved in transactions such as the purchase of the Naftzger $20 Liberty set, complete from 1850-1907.

    Greg Bennick has interviewed a number of numismatic personalities for Newman Portal, capturing stories to inspire the next generation of numismatists.

    Link to Stan Kesselman interview on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/638521
    Link to Kessleman interview transcript: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/638520
    Link to Kesselman papers: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/552738


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    Jun 07 2024

    Julius Guttag Latin American Catalog

    The 1929 publication of Catalogue of the Collection of Juilus Guttag: Comprising the Coinage of Mexico, Central America, South America and the West Indies described nearly 5,000 types of Latin American coins and effectively served as a forerunner of the well-known Standard Catalog of World Coins. Although serving a catalog of the Guttag collection, the work is properly credited to Edgar H. Adams, of whom Guttag writes “Mr. Adams has done all the work of preparing the catalogue…I cannot thank [him] sufficiently….”

    Among the many treasures of the American Numismatic Society Library is a five-volume set containing the individual pages of the Guttag Catalogue along with the pasteups of the original photographs. The quality of these images is generally much better than the halftone reproductions in the published version. This five-volume set has recently been scanned and is now accessible via Newman Portal.

    The Guttag Latin American collection was sold in parts, with the first installment appearing in Kosoff’s December 10, 1941 sale. Part X, apparently the last, was featured in the Kosoff October 24, 1942 sale. Kosoff references individual coins by the Guttag number, allowing for comparison with the published reference. Kosoff further sold the Guttag library (August 6, 1940), but these five manuscript volumes do not appear in auction sale catalog.

    Link to Edgar H. Adams publications on Newman Portal, including the Guttag Catalogue manuscript volumes: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/104
    Link to Abe Kosoff auction sale catalogs on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/511107
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    May 30 2024

    Newman Portal Connects Metal Detectorist to Coin Tester Expert

    Terry Amburgey, metal detectorist, recently wrote to Newman Portal “I was metal detecting at a city park. I dug up a piece of brass and threw [it] in my pouch. Took it home and cleaned it up. I saw some writing and numbers. My wife did some research and came across this paper.” The paper Amburgey refers to is “1860 Maranville Improved Pocket Coin Tester,” contributed to Newman Portal by Malcolm Mathias in 2019. We reported Amburgey’s find to Mathias, who responded enthusiastically.

    “I’m excited to see the sixth known example of an 1860 Maranville Improved Pocket Coin Tester,” Mathias writes. “Maranville appointed an agent [in Philadelphia], Charles G. Imley, to help sell the new Coin Testers to the public.  Two of the previously known examples have ‘Charles G. Imley’ engraved on the face. Three of the previously known examples do not have the Imley engraving – they are blank in that rectangular area on the face of the coin tester, like yours, now the fourth known example of this type – making a total of six now known.”

    These devices allowed users to verify the diameter, thickness, and weight of suspect U.S. and foreign coins. They are now collectible in themselves, and the rare 1860 Maranville detector is highly prized. A group lot in the 2018 Newman sale of counterfeit coin detectors, including an example of the 1860 Maranville device, realized $12,000.

    Link to Malcolm Mathias’s publications on Maranville Coin Testers: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/534837
    Link to Eric P. Newman example of the 1860 Maranville Coin Tester: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagedetail/607680


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    May 24 2024

    Newman Portal Symposium Video Available

    Presentations from the Newman Portal Symposium held May 2-4, 2024 are now available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDk2lseZ-iyp_VWe9xObGonZUMs9kghMU. Our feature video for this event, produced by Numismatic Marketing, is "Benjamin Franklin and Numismatics." This piece explores Franklin's connections with early American coins, medals, and paper money. The video concludes with an appearance by Franklin himself, in the person of Patrick McBride. Additional presentations, by Farley Grubb and Khachatur Manykyan, further explore Franklin's numismatic contributions during the formative years of the United States. A total of eighteen sessions from this event, held in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society 2024 convention, are now posted at the link above.

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    May 16 2024

    Eric Brothers on the Sacajawea Dollar

    The journal of the Museum of American Finance, Financial History often contains articles of numismatic interest. The recent spring 2024 issue includes a contribution from Eric Brothers on the Sacajawea dollar, first issued by the U.S. Mint in 2000. This coin attracts little attention in the U.S. but is widely circulated in Ecuador, as Brothers explains. This writer can attest to receiving in change a well-worn “golden dollar” during a recent trip to that country.

    Brothers covers the legislative history of the coin and the development of the coin design. The “golden” description created confusion among the public, which in some cases truly believed their examples contained gold, while the Cheerios and Walmart promotions created their own controversies.

    The Ecaudorian economic crisis in 1998-1999 led to their adoption of the U.S. dollar in 2000, and the overflowing stock of Sacajawea coins in the U.S. Treasury vaults created a natural opportunity for the coins in circulate. Today they are widely used in the “country of four worlds.” As for the U.S., their attitude is best summed up by Marge Simpson, who being asked “What is that? A quarter? A Chuck E. Cheese token?” explained “No! It's a Sacajawea dollar. You can trade it in at the bank for a real dollar!”

    Link to Financial History on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/519588
    Link to Simpson’s clip on the Sacajawea dollar, Season 15, Episode 11 (February 8, 2004): https://comb.io/6O77Sw
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    May 07 2024

    Stan Kesselman Papers on Newman Portal

    In between the mass of public advertisements and named auction catalogs, a few dealers operate quietly, facilitating the placement of important numismatic items into equally important collections. One of these dealers was the New York numismatist Stan Kesselman. Among others, Kesselman worked with Harry W. Bass, Jr. to build a historic collection of U.S. gold coinage, which was ultimately featured in auction sales by Bowers & Merena (1999-2000) and Heritage Auctions (2022-2023). Other clients included the large cent collector Roy Naftzger.

    Business records of Kesselman, primarily invoices with an emphasis on gold coins, are currently being digitized by Newman Portal. Occasional correspondence is also present, such as a letter from Bass to Kesselman, January 19, 1968, which alludes to the never-ending negotiation between dealer and client: “I agree - once you pay too much, it sets you up for life. With you by now I must have set myself up for a hundred lifetimes. Since I have paid you too much so many times in the past, why shouldn't I continue so doing in the future? My problem with you is that you now know how much you can get away with. I don't need salt for my wounds but rather balm as well as a solution to my problem.”

    Newman Portal acknowledges Stan Kesselman for making this material available, and Julian Leidman for coordinating delivery to Newman Portal. Following digitization, the material will be presented to the ANA Library.

    Link to Stan Kesselman papers on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/552738
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    May 07 2024

    Newman Portal Search Hints

    Newman Portal searches from the home page are exact text only. If you enter multiple words, it will search for that entire phrase.

    If you wish to search for multiple terms all one page, but not in exact order, use the search form at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/powersearchform. For example, if you wish to locate pages containing the words "Washington," "medal," "birth," and "centennial," enter the search:

    ItemContent:Washington AND ItemContent:medal AND ItemContent:birth AND ItemContent:centennial

    You can also use Google to search the Newman Portal site. From Google, enter, for example:

    "washington medals" site:nnp.wustl.edu

    Finally, you can search the Newman Portal document repository directly (https://archive.org/details/newmannumismatic), which, in some cases, will deliver additional results. On this page, check the box "Select text contents" before searching.

    For additional assistance, please email us at NNPCurator@wustl.edu.

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    May 02 2024

    Robert Rodriguez and Tony Lopez Release “History Recovered: Saga of the 1792 Silver Disme”

    Late in 2015, Rob Rodriguez examined a 1792 Judd-9 silver disme, to be offered by Heritage Auctions in their January 2016 FUN sale. The piece was long dismissed as an impaired example, as early as 1864, when the dealer Edward Cogan noted “It is but right to state, that when I purchased it there were several scratches upon it, which have been very carefully removed...” Rodriguez, at the time a relative newcomer to the world of numismatics, looked at the coin with fresh eyes and somehow sensed there was more to be learned. Nearly a decade later, the circle is complete, and the whole story can now be told.

    In the paper “History Recovered: Saga of the 1792 Silver Disme,” Rodriguez and Tony Lopez put forth a convincing case that this ostensibly damaged example served not only as ten-cent pattern but also as a design template for the 1793 half cent. Their most powerful evidence derives from the coin itself, which gave up its secrets when subjected to X-ray micro diffraction via the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL. Imperfections in the underlying crystalline lattice, imparted long ago by surface tooling, are visually translated, and startlingly so. Even readers who disagree with the conclusion reached by the paper will ignore the groundbreaking methodology at their own academic peril.

    Rodriguez presented this research at the September 22, 2023 Coinage of Americas Conference (COAC) at the American Numismatic Society, and this paper will additionally appear in the COAC proceedings when they are published.

    Link to “History Recovered: Saga of the 1792 Silver Disme” on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/637653
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    Apr 24 2024

    Wayne Homren Speaks on J. S. G. Boggs

    The E-Sylum editor Wayne Homren recently presented at Washington University in St. Louis on the performance artist J. S. G. Boggs (1955-2017). Boggs was well known for exchanging obvious imitations of paper money for goods and services. His work was equally pursued by collectors and law enforcement, which remained perpetually vexed in its effort to convict an artist who never represented his work as legal tender. Wayne’s talk was held in conjunction with the current numismatic exhibit at Washington University, Coins Across Time: Ancient to American Numismatics. This exhibit, in the Newman Tower portion of Olin Library, runs through July 7.

    Link to Wayne Homren video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxORG48J1N0
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    Apr 19 2024

    St. Louis Ancient Coin Study Group Videos on Newman Portal

    The Newman Portal has added videos of meetings of the St. Louis Ancient Coin Study Group, covering the years 2021-2024. Presentation topics range from ancient to medieval coinage and include a wide variety of speakers. A recent presentation, by Chip Vaughn, focused on coinage under Marcus Aurelius and illuminates ancient Roman history using the numismatics of the period. This group meets monthly in St. Louis, on the third Thursday.

    Link to St. Louis Ancient Coin Study Group meeting presentations on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/552485
    Link to St. Louis Ancient Coin Study Group Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1429818327056327
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