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NNP Blog

Nov 21 2017

The Portal Opens #3 (John Kraljevich)

The Newman Numismatic Portal has followed Eric Newman’s lead down the back roads of numismatics. Banking history, obscure auction houses, letters written to numismatists now shrouded by the fog of obscurity: it all finds equal footing here with the classic periodicals, catalogues, and reference works we all know and love. While Eric collected U.S. Federal coins, and was a pioneering researcher in fields as diverse as colonial coins and obsolete bank notes, his fields of study were not solely limited to the North American continent.

And thus, neither is the Newman Numismatic Portal.

Eric was among the first American numismatists to champion the importance of world coins that circulated in early America, from the counterfeit halfpence he researched so avidly to the Latin American coins that set the stage for our dollars and dimes. His membership in the Royal Numismatic Society remains an unusual honor for an American, even as his abiding love of British numismatics has become more common among his American countrymen.

Fortunately, researchers in wildly diverse fields of world numismatics will find abundant resources here. For now, most of the texts included on the Portal are written in English. We imagine that will not always be the case, and would love assistance identifying and sourcing important works in other languages. But even with the language restriction, NNP can help just about any research project.

Among the great treasures of the NNP’s collection of periodicals is the publication of Numismatics International, listed as the NI Bulletin. Founded in 1964, the organization is devoted solely to non-US coins. A perusal of the Bulletin’s pages yields original research on coins from every inhabited continent. Much of John S. Davenport’s research on European crowns appeared here first. Latin American specialists will find original research by Jorge Proctor, Herman Blanton, Frank Sedwick, and others, from technical treatises on die varieties to mint history. Aspects of Islamic and ancient numismatics are covered with depth and excellence. The NNP collection includes every issue from 1966 to 2015. If any field of world numismatics tempts your interest, you will find research relevant to your specialty. 

Though short-lived, Stack’s Numismatic Review (filed under N) also included original research from some of the brightest minds in the field. From 1943 to 1947, the Numismatic Review rivaled the old AJN for scholarship. Ancient coins, modern issues, world medals, and Latin American numismatics are all covered with excellent brief articles on subjects that stretch from the fascinating (“An Abortive Attempt to Establish a Mexican Mint in San Francisco” by A.F. Pradeau, December 1943) to the, well, relatively obscure (“The Bread Tokens of Hildesheim”).

 Then again, maybe you’re really into bread tokens. A search for “bread token” yields 184 hits on the NNP. Of those, 58 hits are among periodicals. Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly reveals that David Proskey exhibited a bread token of Elberfeld at the March 1917 meeting of the New York Numismatic Club. In a similar vein, Mr. Lionel L. Fletcher displayed “a break token of 1729, with reverse ‘POORE’” at the January 1930 meeting of the British Numismatic Society, as recounted in the British Numismatic Journal. Fletcher also kindly shared his “Dingle Penny of 1679.” The “Dingle Penny” was referenced by John Kleeberg in his 1992 Coinage of the Americas Conference paper on the New Yorke in America token, brought up for its similar and contemporaneous depiction of Cupid shooting an arrow at two young lovers beneath a tree.

Whether you’re into Dingle tokens, or the eight escudos of Ecuador (check out the musings and auction catalogue descriptions of Henry and William Christensen, if so), or the coins of the procurators of Judea (covered regularly in The Augur, published by the Biblical Numismatic Society from 1977 to 1983), the NNP covers much more than the coins, medals, and paper money of the United States. Go explore. You might learn something.

Link to previous edition of The Portal Opens:

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