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333 records found.

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    Oct 14 2021

    Newman Portal Scans Glendining Auction Sale Catalog Series

    The Glendining numismatic sales form a near endless series, numbering at least 1,435 catalogs published since 1901. Newman Portal has been processing this group at the American Numismatic Society for several months and has now completed scanning of the comprehensive set held by that library. Many thanks are in order, to David Hill, ANS librarian, Lara Jacobs, Internet Archive scanning associate, Bonham’s, for granting permission to scan this series, and collector and author Eric Hodge for originally facilitating this project.

    One interesting catalog in this series is the March 12, 1958 sale featuring a collection of medals related to all aspects of the book – printing, booksellers, authors, even papermakers. This collection included several hundred such pieces, generally 18th and 19th century European, which are featured mostly in group lots. Examples such as 1836 Leipzig gold medal commemorating the opening of the Booksellers Exchange are found, or an 1823 Haarlem gold medal marking the fourth centenary of printing. Sadly none of these pieces are plated, but this catalog will still serve as a reference resource for the genre.

    Link to Glendining series on Newman Portal:
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    Oct 04 2021

    Mint Employee Does Double Duty

    With the explosion in remote work, there have been occasional reports of individuals holding two jobs simultaneously, unbeknownst to their employers. A similar situation appears to have taken place in the U.S. Mint in 1885. Chief Engineer John L. McGinnis wrote to the Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Daniel M. Fox on July 16, relating that one Edward J. Sterr, laborer, had reported sick to the Mint, while being seen working as a meter inspector at the Philadelphia Gas Office. Fox summarily fired Sterr, by mail, the same day, and a response from Sterr is recorded the following day, noting that he had “resigned.” Sterr is not listed in the 1883 or 1885 Official Register and seems to not have been a Mint employee of longstanding.

    Link to Official Register of the United States on Newman Portal:
    Link to July 16, 1885 correspondence from McGinnis to Fox:
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    Sep 30 2021

    Bramsen Series on Napoleonic Medals

    Collectors of Napoleonic medals immediately recognize “Bramsen” as referring to Ludvig Ernst Bramsen’s multi-volume series on Napoleonic medals published from 1904 to 1913. Bramsen divided the work into three parts, with the first (1799-1809) providing coverage up to the end of the Napoleonic Wars, which represented the peak of the French empire. The second period (1810-1815) covers its subsequent decline, from the ill-fated Russian invasion to the battle of Waterloo. The final installment (1815-1869) includes the Napoleonic exile period and posthumous medallic tributes. Although not illustrated, the text describes over 2,300 Napoleonic medals and remains the foundational guide for the series. 

    Link to Bramsen volumes on Napoleonic medals on NNP:
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    Sep 26 2021

    Vernon Sheldon on the 1913 Liberty Nickel

    Few collectors have time during a busy coin convention to take notes on the recollections of the day. Dealers have even less, and most are just happy to keep their accounting and inventory records up to date with the day’s trading. Eric Newman was an exception, recording his recollections of a discussion with Vernon Sheldon at the 1961 ANA convention in Atlanta. To set the scene, this memo was written the evening before Newman delivered one of the most anticipated speeches in ANA convention history, on a completely unrelated subject – the 1804 dollar. Newman and Ken Bressett’s work was groundbreaking, and much of what is considered common knowledge today was first revealed during this presentation. But Newman was ever in information collecting mode, as demonstrated by his notes from the Sheldon conversation.

    Vernon Sheldon (1901-1982) served as general secretary of the ANA form 1938-1944, and as president from 1949-1951. The first Farran Zerbe award, in 1951, went to Sheldon. His wife, Marcella Beck, had been a secretary to ANA president (1945-1947)  V. Leon Belt. Newman spoke with Sheldon on August 16, 1961 and later wrote the following, in part:

    “Sheldon saw case with 1913 Liberty Head nickels in 1920 at A.N.A. Convention in Chicago. Says Samuel Brown was not ANA member and was a mint employee – a janitor, this Vernon learned from Zerbe…[Alden Scott] Boyer [Chicago Coin Club founder and ANA general secretary] kept 1913 nickels in his safe deposit for over a year after the Chicago ANA convention & the ads [soliciting 1913 Liberty nickels] were to find out if there were any more outstanding…Vernon heard Brown say that showing of 1913 nickels in Chicago was off the record. Brown teased Boyer about buying them but would never offer them for sale.” 

    Newman’s memoranda on the 1913 Liberty nickels include other tidbits, such as Newman’s discussion with Samuel Brown’s daughter in 1962. While Newman never uncovered the precise details surrounding their origins, his records add additional color to this most famous of American numismatic issues.

    Link to Eric Newman memoranda on the 1913 Liberty nickel: 
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    Sep 15 2021

    Dick Doty and Eric Newman Dress Down for Numismatic Research

    The renewal of the ANS Coinage of Americas Conference, with this week’s conference focusing on Victor D. Brenner, brings to mind the forerunner of the COAC series, the 1976 volume Studies on Money in Early America. This work, edited by Richard Doty and Eric Newman, gathered scholarly papers on American numismatics. At an ANS tribute dinner for Newman held in 1996, Doty contributed the following anecdote surrounding production of the 1976 volume:

    “It took place over twenty years ago, in Los Angeles, during the summer of 1975. Eric and I were both at the convention of the American Numismatic Association, held that August. Eric was there to give several lectures and receive an award. I was there to set up and oversee an ANS exhibit, my first, and we were both there to work on the editing of the Society's upcoming publication for the American Bicentennial, Studies on Money in Early America. 

    We agreed to assemble in Eric's hotel room one day about noon. Most of the articles gave us few difficulties, but there was one... It was by an elderly gentleman who knew an immense amount about his subject, but had no idea of how to render its telling into understandable prose. Eric and I worked on that article, and worked, and worked - and made absolutely no progress. Then the air-conditioning in Eric's room abruptly went on strike, and our workplace rapidly heated up; within an hour or so, it was ninety-five. 

    I asked Eric whether we should simply give up, abandon the attempt to edit the recalcitrant article - or at least defer it until the air-conditioner was repaired. But Eric was a stubborn man: he knew that article was worth saving because of its scholarly value, because of the fact that the writer was a friend of many years' standing. He suggested that we make ourselves as comfortable as we could, and keep on working. And so an impartial observer would have seen two gentlemen in their underwear, fortified with luke-warm beer [this must have been Doty only, because Newman did not drink], taking apart an article and putting it back together again, word by word. I have never had a more arduous editing task, nor, I imagine, has Eric. But as I worked with him through the afternoon and into the evening, I gained an admiration of tonight's honoree which has never left me. This man would expose the best, would bring to light the work his friend wanted to write - and would do it in such a way that the latter would believe he had written it himself. 

    And that act of scholarship and humanity sums up my friend, Eric P. Newman.”

    Link to ANS Coinage of Americas Conference proceedings on Newman Portal:
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    Sep 11 2021

    Christian Gobrecht Engraving of Washington Acquired at ANA Convention

    Christian Gobrecht (1785-1844),  U.S. Mint Engraver from 1840-1844, worked in a variety of media, as did many of the early Mint engravers. Gobrecht, for example, created three different copperplate engravings of George Washington, one print of which appeared in the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC) fundraiser auction held during their annual meeting at the recent ANA convention. This version of Washington appeared in J. Kingston’s New American Biographical Dictionary (Baltimore, 1810). This author previously catalogued the copperplate engravings of Christian Gobrecht in Gobrecht Journal #101 (March 2008), available on Newman Portal. 

    Only one other copy of this engraving has been located and resides in the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. The present example is slightly different, with the text beneath the portrait off center. Apparently this text block was loosely attached to the printing plate and shifted in position. The Pratt Library example is correctly aligned. This print sold for $400.25, an odd amount ensured only by the ever-enthusiastic auctioneer Brad Karoleff. Having received a bid of $400, Mr. Karoleff then asked the same bidder for $425. “Four hundred dollars and twenty-five cents” was offered, and, there being no further bids, completed the competition. 

    Link to Gobrecht catalog in The Gobrecht Journal, #101:
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    Sep 03 2021

    Walter Breen’s Bookmark – A Continental Dollar Test Note?

    Newman Portal contributor Bruce Vogel forwarded images of this January 14, 1779 $30 Continental Currency note, along with the following story: “At the 1996 Denver ANA I met with Eric Newman at the base of an escalator. We spoke of several early Colonial & U.S. coin subjects. In 1990, Walter Breen had given me a chemistry textbook. As a page marker, Breen used a January 14, 1779 $30 note with no signatures or serial numbers. I knew what it was but asked EPN ‘What is this?’ Newman asked ‘Where did you get this? This is a test note, treat this as a test note.’ You probably knew Newman, his body language: as his left shoulder dropped & his head moved to the left & downward. ‘I wish I would have known about this, I have never seen one. Where?’ Me: ‘WB used it as a bookmark.’ I was afraid I was going to have to pick EPN up off the floor. ‘He had it?’ That look of disbelief in his eyes. He asked for a photo, I said yes. I never sent one.”

    During the ANA convention, a noted authority on colonial paper viewed these images and wondered if in fact the signature had simply worn off the front of the note. The note currently resides in a PCGS About New 50 Apparent holder, with no mentioned of the test note attribution. We invite further opinions. 

    Link to NNP Edition of Early Paper Money of America:

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    Aug 26 2021

    Newman Portal Posts ANA Convention Video Recap

    The recent 2021 ANA convention in Rosemont, IL was just as busy as usual, if not as highly attended. Visitors seem determined to pack the last two years of missed conventions into a single event, and largely succeeded. This writer enjoyed six dinners in five nights (it could have been even more) and was thoroughly tired out by Saturday, but it was a good kind of tired. Lianna Spurrier has compiled a video report on behalf of Newman Portal, which features the unparalleled Tyrant collection exhibit, in addition to show attendees John Brush, John Dannreuther, Jeff Garrett, Bob Evans, Jesse Kraft, and Ian Russell. 

    Link to 2021 World’s Fair of Money Recap:

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    Aug 20 2021

    Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum Inventory on Newman Portal

    The Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum collection was formed in the early 20th century by Farran Zerbe, a president of the American Numismatic Association. The Chase bank acquired the collection from Zerbe in 1928 and most notably mounted an exhibit near Rockefeller Center, a mecca for tourists visiting New York City. Similar bank museums throughout the country were popular during this period of the 20th century, but over time their contribution to the bottom line was questioned by bank executives. The Chase Museum was closed in 1977 and much of the material was donated to the Smithsonian. Among the U.S. coins from the Chase collection, the Smithsonian acquired a high-grade 1794 dollar and an 1852 $50 gold “slug.” 

    Smithsonian curators Vladimir and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli were justly proud of the Chase acquisition, and wrote in an internal memo “Its contents…were…highly coveted by the American Numismatic Society in New York, and by the American Numismatic Association, the powerful national organization of numismatists from Colorado Springs. The fact that we and not they were chosen as depository for this Collection increases our obligation to make the exhibit and the official presentation ceremony….a worthwhile event.” The American Numismatic Society was not completely left out, and received two important pieces from Chase, a Judd-13 eagle-on-globe 1792 pattern in white metal, and a class III 1804 dollar. 

    Link to Chase Manhattan Museum inventory on Newman Portal:
    Link to Chase Manhattan pieces at the National Numismatic Collection:

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    Jul 01 2021

    Numismatic Notables: Ken Bressett

    In honor of July 4, one of Ken Bressett’s favorite holidays, Newman Portal announces the second installment in its Numismatic Notables series. Bressett was interviewed by Len Augsburger and Joel Orosz on March 19, 2021 and this video is now available on Newman Portal. Bressett covers his early days as a collector, his extensive photo archive that he started in the 1940s, and his first contacts with Richard Yeoman, Guide Book of United States Coins founder. Bressett began submitting edits to the Guide Book in the 1950s and was soon hired by Whitman Publishing on a full-time basis. Later, Bressett worked for the American Numismatic Association in a variety of capacities. He continues today as Guide Book Editor Emeritus. This interview covers little-known aspects of Bressett’s career, including a number of important coins he handled from the Anderson DuPont collection. Bressett further summarizes important changes in the coin industry since his beginnings as a collector in the 1930s. With video production by Lianna Spurrier, this is a pleasant hour well-spent.

    Link to Numismatic Notables: Ken Bressett on Newman Portal:
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