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    Sep 30 2022

    Newman Portal Adds U.S Coin Scales and Counterfeit Coin Detectors

    In 1999, Eric P. Newman and George Mallis teamed up to publish U.S Coin Scales and Counterfeit Coin Detectors. The authors begin with a history of scales for coins stretching back to the second millennium before Christ. The book comprehensively covers all scales and counterfeit coin detectors for which United States patents were issued, and many that never received patents. The authors focus on the experience of one inventor, John Allender, who, after many tries, was finally able to secure a patent for his machine, which combined high accuracy with a low price, and thus became successful in the marketplace. This work has recently been scanned by Newman Portal and is now available online.

    Unlike most other Newman publications, this title was self-published. Newman had four hundred copies of the book printed in early 1999 by Creative Printing Services in St. Louis; these were marketed at $39.50 per copy beginning in March of that year. Newman noted in correspondence to Mallis on September 29, 1998, “The pages will be printed on 2 sides because the bulk of the book if printed on one side would be too heavy and difficult to read. Illegal photocopying of our pages will be much more difficult if printed on two sides.” Sales were slow, with just over a hundred copies sold by the end of the following year. Newman’s remainders were ultimately distributed by numismatic booksellers Kolbe & Fanning.

    Link to U.S Coin Scales and Counterfeit Coin Detectors:
    Link to Eric P. Newman video “American Counterfeit Coin Detector Devices,” from the 1990 ANA convention:
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    Sep 25 2022

    Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society Archives

    Housed in five large bins, the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society (WPNS) archives are a treasure trove of numismatic history, reflecting the activities of this longstanding organization. Newman Portal has recently scanned one of the minute books, which covers the period 1912-1950. Well known names such as A. C. Gies and Ben Green appear in the early pages. The minutes are detailed as to who owned what, and anyone interested in the holdings of particular members during this period will find ample data. Newman Portal continues to process this important archive, which will appear piecemeal on the site as documents come through the scanning queue.

    Link to Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society minute book, 1912-1950:

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    Sep 17 2022

    Newman Portal Adds Food Stamp Change Newsletter

    With food stamps denominated in dollars, how did stores make change for odd amounts? Simple – they issued privately produced tokens.  The number of variants ran into the thousands, and the collector urge to create order from the disparate issues took root. Jerry Schimmel led the way and began producing the quarterly Food Stamp Change Newsletter in 1980. Collectors interest was not ultimately sufficient to sustain the publication, and Schimmel wrapped up the Newsletter in 1984, with the last two issues serving as an index to the series. Wikipedia notes that states began moving from paper stamps to debit cards in the late 1990s, and today this is a non-issue. Newman Portal acknowledges Michael Wehner for his assistance with this title.

    Link to Food Stamp Change Newsletter on Newman Portal:

    Image: Inaugural cover of the Food Stamp Change Newsletter
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    Sep 11 2022

    Self-Correction of Silver, Gold, and Currency

    A single-leaf circular recently loaned to us by Bill Shamhart reveals the complexity of mid-19th century monetary transactions in America. Issued by the Philadelphia house Cronise & Co in 1857, this brochure is addressed “40 (old style 28) South Third Street,” making reference to the Philadelphia Ordinance of 1856, which standardized street numbers in the City of Brotherly Love. 

    Various exchange rates are expressed for silver coin (prior to the weight reduction in 1853), gold coin, and paper money, with the one southern city (Richmond, VA) discounted the most, at 7 and 8 percent. Pre-1853 halves were worth more than pre-1853 quarters ($1.04 per dollar face value, vs. $1.02½), suggesting that quarters wore harder in circulation, or simply that it was more convenient to handle half dollars in bulk. The same idea is seen with California territorial gold pieces, for which the $50 and $20s were discounted at 0.5% to 1.0%, while $10s were exchanged into silver at a 2% discount. In any case, the clear message is that silver, gold, and paper money were not convertible at par, and that large conversions resulted in non-trivial brokerage fees.

    Link to “Banking House of Cronise & Co.” on Newman Portal:
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    Sep 03 2022

    Silver Coins from the SS Central America

    While gold grabs the public mindshare like nothing else, the recovery of silver coins from the most recent SS Central America salvage effort is remarkable in its own right. At the recent ANA convention, Bob Evans spoke to the Liberty Seated Collectors Club on the silver coins recovered from the SS Central America. These pieces survived in amazingly original condition (many were certified by CAC) in what is normally a harsh, corrosive environment for silver objects. Bob explains the science of this surprising preservation and enthusiastically conveys his continued fascination with this bit of American maritime history.

    Link to Bob Evans’ ANA presentation on NNP:
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    Aug 28 2022

    Bibliomania Reigns at the World’s Fair of Money

    Video from the Numismatic Bibliomania Society annual meeting, held August 19 at the ANA convention, is now posted on Newman Portal. This includes member introductions, President Tom Harrison’s award presentations, and a portion of the fundraiser auction conducted by David Fanning. Among the awards, Charles Davis was presented (and greeted with extended applause) the George F. Kolbe Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of numismatic literature. This meeting also included a video tour of the Joel Orosz library; for reasons of time this video was condensed. The full version is now posted and available for viewing.

    On Friday, August 19 at the ANA, NBS Vice-President Len Augsburger presented a Money Talks session on “Building a Numismatic Library for Pleasure & Profit.” This presentation covers aspects of building a numismatic library and suggests various approaches to literature collecting. Thanks to Lianna Spurrier of Numismatic Marketing for producing all three of these videos.

    Link to NBS 2022 Annual Meeting:
    Link to Orosz library video tour (extended version): (select “Full Streaming Version”)
    Link to ANA Money Talks (“Building a Numismatic Library”):
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    Aug 21 2022

    Numismatic Notables: Clifford Mishler

    Newman Portal is pleased to present an in-depth, two-part interview with Clifford Mishler, who, along with Chet Krause, led Krause Publications for many years. In the first episode, Cliff discusses how he got involved in numismatics and his early days at Krause Publications, leading up to the first edition of Krause's Standard Catalog of World Coins. In part two, Mishler discusses the IT behind the Standard Catalog, succession planning at Krause Publications, and the American Numismatic Association governance. Interviewed by Joel Orosz and Len Augsburger, this video was produced by Lianna Spurrier of Numismatic Marketing.

    Link to Clifford Mishler interviews on Newman Portal:
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    Aug 21 2022

    The Joel Orosz Library Tour

    On July 14, 2022, Len Augsburger and Lianna Spurrier visited the Joel Orosz library with the idea of presenting a video tour of the library highlights. Produced by Lianna Spurrier, this video premiered at the Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS) meeting at the ANA convention on August 19. Joel walks us through the library highlights, including antebellum literature related to numismatics, numismatic association items, the NBS archives, and more. Thanks to Joel Orosz for hosting this event and allowing us to share his library with a wider audience.

    Link to Joel Orosz Library Tour on Newman Portal:
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    Aug 07 2022

    Original Hobo Nickel Society Publications on Newman Portal

    A selection of publications from the Original Hobo Nickel Society are now available on Newman Portal, including issues of their newsletter (Bo Tales) and early auction catalogs of this specialty organization.  The Original Hobo Nickel Society was founded in 1992 and encourages the research, collecting, and creation of “hobo nickels,” which are post-Mint carved Buffalo nickels. Newman Portal acknowledges Ralph Winter, Bo Tales editor, for his assistance with this title.

    Link to Original Hobo Nickel Society home page:
    Link to Bo Tales on Newman Portal:
    Link to Original Hobo Nickel Society auction sale catalogs on NNP:
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    Jul 16 2022

    The Carnegie Library Copy of the First Six Volumes of The Numismatist

    Newman Portal recently processed a group of three photo albums, loaned by Wayne Homren, capturing Pittsburgh numismatic events, c. 1989-1990. Included were the “Invasion of Pittsburgh,” which was a visit to the Carnegie Library during the 1989 Pittsburgh ANA convention. Homren also photo-documented tours of the Frank & Laurese Katen and Dave Hirt libraries, and further captured numerous images related to the 1989 ANA convention. NNP Intern Kellen Hoard compiled metadata for these photo albums, which are now posted.

    The highlight of the Carnegie Library tour was the Carnegie copy of the first six volumes of The Numismatist. Ken Lowe mentioned this set in the Money Tree auction sale no. 7 (11/1989), noting “In our [March 1989] commentary, we accounted for 13 complete sets of The Numismatist….Another set has since surfaced. This August at the [Pittsburgh] ANA Convention, we were fortunate to be invited to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh to see George Clapp’s numismatic library which he bequeathed to them. In the museum holdings was another complete set from 1888 through 1950, which apparently had been forgotten by the collecting fraternity (but not by P. Scott Rubin).” Champa, apparently as a result of this tour, donated rebinding services to the Carnegie, as mentioned by Lowe in the Money Tree sale no. 23 (6/1995, lot 1), “…the George Clapp set, one leaf in photocopy, rebound by Alan Grace courtesy of Armand Champa.”

    Links to Wayne Homren Photo Albums:,
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