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    Nov 29 2021

    Collecting Jefferson Nickels From Circulation in 2019

    Recently added to Newman Portal is the October 2021 issue of the Central Ohio Numismatic Association (CONA) newsletter. CONA member Bill Kamb contributed an article on collecting Jefferson nickels from pocket change. Kamb sets the scene, “I was pleasantly surprised in the summer of 2019 when our daughter, who lives in Atlanta with her family, announced that our grandson, Easton, might be interested in coin collecting. He was 6 years old at the time. When we went there for Thanksgiving, I brought some Whitman penny and nickel books and got a few rolls of each from a bank for us to search. We had a great time and it brought back memories of when Istarted collecting as a kid in the late ‘50s.” 

    Kamb goes on to describe a search from bank rolls and change jars, and, over a period of 15 months, he was able to complete a full set after searching through $21,100 of nickels, or nearly half a million coins. The stopper was the 1943-D (not the  1950-D, as one might expect), of which only one example was found. The article includes a related image, which we are guessing is not the actual coin found!

    Link to Central Ohio Numismatic Association (CONA) newsletters on Newman Portal:

    Link to Central Ohio Numismatic Association (CONA) presentation slide decks on Newman Portal:

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    Nov 28 2021

    Anthony Paquet Dies

    Anthony C. Paquet was Assistant Engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1857 to 1864 and engraved approximately 30 medals in the U.S. Mint medal series (catalogued by Julian), in addition to working on federal coinage. Paquet’s 1861 $20 double eagle is a legendary U.S. rarity, with an example recently sold by Heritage at this year’s ANA Convention for $7.2 million. 

    The Paquet family evidently left certain dies behind, and Charles Barber wrote to Philadelphia Mint Superintendent A. Loudon Snowden on August 27, 1883, “I have examined the dies left here by the Paquet family, and respectfully report that I consider them valueless. In the case of the Trade Dollar, we have the hubs made from these dies. Therefore can make any number required. The others are old experimental dies and therefore of no value now.”

    Whether the “old experimental dies” included the famous “tall letters” 1861 $20 reverse die is a matter for conjecture, but what is certain is that today’s collectors would place for more value on the Paquet dies than did the engraver Charles Barber.

    Link to Charles Barber letter on Newman Portal:
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    Nov 22 2021

    A Thanksgiving That Wasn’t

    An 1872 UK “National Thanksgiving” medal by Wyon actually commemorated a March 1872 service in St. Paul’s Cathedral, attended by Queen Victoria, that celebrated the recovery of the Prince of Wales from typhoid. This piece from the Goldberg’s January 2014 sale, lot 3238, is described as “Great Britain Medal, 1872 BHM-2928; Eimer-1618. Bronze. 77 mm. By J.S. & A.B. Wyon. Victoria. Prince of Wales, National Thanksgiving. Londonia inviting Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales to enter St. Paul's Cathedral, Britannia standing nght. Reverse. A view of the interior of St. Paul’s with congregation, royal arms to left and those of the City of London to right.” The medal realized $588 on a $200 to $250 estimate. 

    Link to Goldberg auction sale catalogs on Newman Portal:

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    Nov 13 2021

    American Numismatic Society Member Circulars Digitized

    Scanning of ANS library materials, sponsored by Newman Portal, continues at a brisk pace. Recently scanned were a set of about a hundred ANS member questionnaires, c. 1890. These circulars include rich biographical information and will be useful to students of ANS and numismatic history. The entry for Emmanuel  J. Attinelli will be of special interest to bibliophiles, as he wrote the first substantive bibliography of American numismatic literature, Numisgraphics, in 1875. Attinelli, a physician, was clearly proud of his American-Italian heritage and Old World noble roots. The document is signed by Attinelli’s wife, who wonders if the Society might take some relics off her hands, said to have originated from catacombs in Italy.

    Link to Attinelli member questionnaire on Internet Archive:
    Link to ANS member surveys on Newman Portal:
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    Nov 03 2021

    Mint Master Covers Vintage Publications of Q. David Bowers

    The November 2021 issue of The Mint Master, issued by the Utah Numismatic Society, includes a feature article on vintage house publications of Q. David Bowers. Doug Nyholm writes, “Q. David Bowers began his numismatic career in the early 1950’s and in April of 1958 his Bowers Coin Company merged with the Triple Cities Coin Exchange to form the Empire Coin Company. Shortly thereafter the 1st edition of Empire Topics was published with the date of May-June 1958.” Empire Topics was continued by The Bowers Review and Empire Review. Later Bowers house organs include the long running Rare Coin Review, Numismatic Sun, and the little known Paper Money Review (2006), of which two issues were published. Nyholm recently asked Bowers if he might ever issue another hardcopy newsletter. Bowers felt not, as the Internet has completely changed the landscape for such dealer publications. 

    Link to The Mint Master on Newman Portal:
    Link to Rare Coin Review on Newman Portal:
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    Oct 26 2021

    Numismatic Superstition

    Bent coins convey various meanings throughout history, with one idea being that ruining a coin symbolizes a sacrifice intended to win favor with fate. Sydney Noe wrote in The Pine Tree Coinage of Massachusetts (1952) “We are told that it was the superstitious belief of the time that wearing a bent coin afforded protection against the power of ‘witches.’ Some of our Pine Tree coins show evidence of having once been bent even though as we see them now they have again been flattened.” Superstition seems to run in inverse proportion to valuation, and it’s a safe bet that no one today is deliberately bending Massachusetts silver coins.

    Link to The Pine Tree Coinage of Massachusetts on Newman Portal:

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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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