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Apr 21 2023

Don Taxay Correspondence on Newman Portal

The Newman papers seem endless, and the latest addition to the Newman Portal is the Don Taxay correspondence file, running over 200 pages. The file opens in 1961 as Taxay is working on Counterfeit Mis-Struck and Unofficial U.S. Coins (published in 1963) and the two numismatists get into it quickly, discussing the origin of the Continental dollar and the “sixth” 1913 Liberty nickel. Newman must have liked Taxay’s work, as he wrote an enthusiastic review of the book that appeared in the November 1963 Numismatist.

In 1964, Taxay moved from New Netherlands to the Curator position at the nearby Chase Manhattan Money Museum. The following year discussion turns toward Taxay’s magnum opus, The U.S. Mint and Coinage (1966) with Newman commenting on October 11, 1965 “What a pleasure it was to read….I enjoyed all the new material which you dug up.” Taxay delivered the work in sections to Newman, who clearly contributed edits to the project. It was no accident that Taxay dedicated the work to Newman. Attention then shifts to the Standard Catalogue (1970), and, although Newman reviewed the colonial portion of this work, his overall involvement with the project was less than for Taxay’s previous book.

Taxay’s later disappearance is one of the great mysteries of modern numismatics, and the file here does not shed much light on the subject. Newman’s last letter, September 17, 1975, notes that the two had recently spoken on the phone, and that Newman had apparently consulted his records of the Brand collection as a result of the call. Three letters from 1962 refer to Taxay’s travel to India, where it is thought he eventually moved.

Link to Newman/Taxay correspondence:
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