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Newcomb, Howard

Born in Detroit, Michigan. Served in the navy during the Spanish-American War. Married to Mabel Ruth with two children. Managed Newcomb, Endicott & Co. Retired in 1927.

He joined the ANA in 1893 and attended their conventions as early as 1894. Although his fame would come from his interest in cents, he made extensive studies of other series as well. He contributed articles to The Numismatist on die varieties of silver dollars. When the ANA held their convention in Detroit in 1913, Newcomb was host. He exhibited his collection of cents and half cents but also many other series including 117 varieties of quarter eagles. In 1914 he exhibited a full set of 3 cent silver, half dimes of 1794 to 1873 including all mints, extensive dimes, Quarter dollars 1796 to 1840 all in proof. In 1914 he exhibited half dimes and dimes at the ANS.

Author of The United States Cents of the Years 1801-1802-1803 in 1925. One hundred copies were printed and sold for $7.50. He wrote the standard reference for large cents, United States Copper Cents 1816-1857. It was ready for publication in 1938 but was delayed because of the war until 1944. The standard edition sold for $5.00. A deluxe limited edition sold for $15.00. The book has been reprinted in 1956, 1963 and 1981. Newcomb had been collaborating with George Clapp. This book, The United States Cents of the Years 1795-1796-1797-1800 was published in 1947 after Newcomb's death. The Newcomb collection of half cents was sold to B. Max Mehl in 1935. The 1796 variety with pole was described at the time as proof.

He was a member of the Masons and a Shriner. He died at home in Los Angeles. At the time of his death his collection of large cents was believed to be the most complete and finest known. It was sold in two auctions February 7-8, 1945, and May 16, 1945. The 487 lots in the first sale realized $21,704.50. The second sale was conducted with bidding on individual lots. Then $500 was added and the collection was offered as a group. Floyd Starr bought the group for $5,350.

Newcomb appears on a medal struck for the California Coin Club on their first anniversary in 1929. It was struck to honor his work on the cents of 1801-1802- 1803. In 1974 he was elected to the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame.

bio: NUM/NIN 12/94

obit: NUM 58 Feb 1945 p. 139-140


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    The United States cents of the years 1801-1802-1803 1925

    The United States cents of the years 1801-1802-1803

    The annual ANA convention is always a good platform for a book launch, and so Newcomb debuted this effort at the 1925 event in Detroit. The Numismatist took care to point out that halftones were eschewed in favor of photographic plates, and that Newcomb had identified thirty per cent more varieties than were previously known for these three dates. The work was further characterized as a labor of love and a “loss leader,” the author losing money on every copy sold. While a valiant effort, Newcomb stopped short. “If sufficient interest is shown… he may be induced to take up the die varieties of other dates in the cent series,” wrote The Numismatist, and so the crown of the early large cent kingdom was left upon the shelf for Mr. Sheldon to claim some years later.

    United States copper cents, 1816-1857 1944

    United States copper cents, 1816-1857

    The standard guide to United States large cent varieties for the years covered.

    United States copper cents 1816-1857. 1944

    United States copper cents 1816-1857.

    284 p. : 31 cm. American Numismatic Society rare book room copy.

    The United States cents of the years 1795, 1796, 1797 and 1800 1947

    The United States cents of the years 1795, 1796, 1797 and 1800

    Clapp and Newcomb's thorough study on large cent varieties of the years 1795, 1796, 1797, and 1800 (Clapp's work on the 1798 and 1799 cents had appeared in 1931).

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