181 records found.
Early U.S. Mint Research Sponsored by Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society
Finkelstein and Pilliod noted the shortcomings of XRF (X-ray fluorescence) testing, which supplies data that is only “skin deep” – about ten microns below the surface. Instead, they arranged for ICP-AES (inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy) testing of cut coinage samples. Quoting from Wikipedia, ICP-AES “is an analytical technique used for the detection of chemical elements. It is a type of emission spectroscopy that uses the inductively coupled plasma to produce excited atoms and ions that emit electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths characteristic of a particular element. It is a flame technique with a flame temperature in a range from 6000 to 10000 K. The intensity of this emission is indicative of the concentration of the element within the sample.”
Pilliod and Finkelstein tested eight silver pieces (one 1794 half dollar and seven 1795 half dollars). Due to the value of the coins, low grade and problem pieces were selected for destructive testing. The 1794 was particularly worn, what Sheldon would have called “basal state,” and was donated by the Terry Brand estate, which recently sold a large group of 1794 half dollars through Heritage Auctions. The Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES) sponsored the acquisition of other coins. Each piece was sliced into three sections and polished, resulting in small mirrorlike fragments that were then subjected to ICP-AES. Complete statistical analysis is not complete, but preliminary results suggest that, with a high degree of confidence, 1795 silver coinage was indeed struck to a higher standard than that required by law. Chris Pilliod and David Finkelstein will publish full results in due course, and we look forward to studying the complete findings. Mint Director David Rittenhouse was a careful, precise, and rigorous scientist, and, and David Finkelstein likes to say, “there are no coincidences” in numismatic research.
19th Century Records of the National Numismatic Collection
The document “Collection of United States and Foregin Coins in the Mint Cabinet at Philadelphia” (from NARA record group 104, entry 160) is a handwritten record, “prepared by the Curators of the Cabinet” in 1869. Interestingly, the catalog provides numismatic valuations of each piece, stating “The…value is an average of two principal and recent sales – the Seavey and Liliendahl collections at auction; with occasional reference to the Haines and Mickley sales.” The curators were thus somewhat familiar with the commercial conditions of the day. Two 1804 dollars are listed (a third was added to the collection later), valued at $500 and $100. The entire collection of several thousand pieces is appraised at “near $20,000.” Needless to say today’s statistics are substantially increased, on the order of a million pieces and a valuation of a billion dollars.
A second document, from 1887, represents correspondence from Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Daniel M. Fox to U.S. Mint Director James P. Kimball (NARA record group 104, entry 229). Fox writes to Kimball, transmitting a list of U.S. pattern coins from 1794 to date. Although not explicitly stated, this likely represents an inventory of the Mint Cabinet at the time. Fox was clearly aware the list was not comprehensive, stating that he identified 341 pieces, while the Robert Coulton Davis list (published about the same time in Coin Collector’s Journal) listed 479 examples. Today, all of this information is available with a quick glance at Whitman’s United States Pattern Coins, ably championed by Q. David Bowers and Saul Teichman. Numismatics builds on itself, and today’s knowledge is built on these early sources, which represented the best information available at the time.
Link to “Collection of United States and Foregin Coins in the Mint Cabinet at Philadeplhia” (1869) on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/553096
Link to 1887 listing of U.S. pattern coinage on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/553095
Link to NARA materials on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/Archives?searchLetter=U
American Numismatic Society announces gift from Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society
ANS Press Release (July 30) For over sixty years the American Numismatic Society (ANS) has offered an intense eight week long summer course in numismatics to select graduate students. Always interested in numismatic education, Eric P. Newman’s generous lifetime endowment of the ANS’s Summer Seminar has allowed the ANS to continue to train new generations of numismatists. Following Mr. Newman’s passing in November 2017 at 106 years of age, the ANS received word that per his request the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society was donating an additional $50,000 to the Seminar’s endowment fund to be used to enhance the stipend of the Visiting Scholar, always a renowned numismatic scholar invited to assist in teaching the Seminar.
To further acknowledge Mr. Newman’s contributions to the ANS’s premiere educational program, the ANS has renamed the Scholar’s title in his honor. The first Eric P. Newman Visiting Scholar is Prof. Mariangela Puglisi of the University of Messina in Sicily, who is also the first recipient of the Newman Visiting Scholar medal. The presentation of the medal to Prof. Puglisi took place during a special ceremony at the ANS on July 27, 2018. Executive Director Ute Wartenberg remarked, “We are so grateful to Eric’s children, Andy Newman and Linda N. Schapiro, for their continued generosity for the Summer Seminar and numismatics in general.”
Eric P. Newman Inventory Copy of Early Paper Money of America
Link to Early Paper Money of America (inventory copy) on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/552738
Newman Portal Adds The Virginia Numismatist
Link to Virginia Numismatist on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/527595
San Francisco Committee of Vigilance Medals
The three examples of the 1856 medals in the Ford sale sold at the $25k-$30k level. Is this hand-engraved 1851 piece an early, crude, prototype for the later struck medals? We checked with a California expert on 19th century American medals, who believes the piece to be an outright fantasy.
Link to Ford XX sale (Stack’s, 10/2007) on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=3&AuctionId=515272&page=211
World Cup Gold Medal Pawned in Panama
The Newman Portal can be used to locate numismatic items of most any genre, and the news of the day, from Moscow, is the World Cup finals championship. A gold medal (from the NASCA July 1979 sale, lot 1350), weighing in at a hefty three ounces, was struck in commemoration of the Brazil World Cup victory in 1970. The catalog description tells the story:
“Presented on the occasion of becoming the first - and thus far only - nation to win the World Cup three times. As such, probably as important a sports medal as has yet been struck. Of additional interest, several countries have now struck commemorative coins with soccer themes. Although perhaps 20 such medals would have been issued, it is unlikely that most of the players and coaches will ever part with their medals (Brazilian soccer superstars are well-paid). We were told that the player who received this piece "blew a wad in Panama", and pawned it for bullion. We don’t expect additional examples to appear soon on the market. Indeed, the sale of this piece may strain Brazilian-Panamanian relationships!”
We suspect there is much more to the story here, perhaps a Brazilian soccer historian can fill us in. The Newman Portal acknowledges John Herzog and Robin Majlak of Herzog & Co. for their assistance with auction sale catalogs of NASCA and R. M. Smythe.
Link to NASCA July 1979 catalog on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=511370&AuctionId=521427.
Walter Breen Authentication Certificates on Newman Portal
Link to Breen authentication certificates on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/547337
Scientific American on Newman Portal
Link to Scientific American on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/525611
Eric P. Newman's 1792 Washington President Gold Piece To Be Sold
From a collection numbering many thousands of coins assembled over a period of nine decades, one coin stood head and shoulders above all others for Eric P. Newman: the 1792 Washington President $10 gold eagle pattern. Eric Newman (1911-2017) was the nation's foremost American numismatic researcher and author. His books and articles explored numerous and wide-ranging topics, but Colonial coinage and currency were his principal numismatic interests.
How could anyone with such a vast collection, and such a long history of numismatic scholarship, point to a single specimen and call it his favorite coin? For Eric, it was obvious, for no other numismatic artifact of early America connects present day collectors and historians to our country's most foundational statesman more closely than the unique 1792 Washington President $10 gold eagle pattern. Eric acquired the Washington piece from the famed "Colonel" E.H.R. Green Collection in 1942. This piece, now graded Extremely Fine 45 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, displays glowing original greenish-gold surfaces that show the gentle wear consistent with a pocket piece that has seen no actual circulation.
(Read more at http://ha.com/1792gold).