Sheridan Downey, Numismatist
4100-10 Redwood Rd. #398 • Oakland, CA 94619
BALTIMORE, THE NEWMAN SALE AND F.U.N
On Tap Now
Whitman’s fall extravaganza opens Thursday November 7 at 10 AM at the Convention Center in Baltimore, 1 West Pratt St. You will find me at my usual bourse table no. 305. Lots of new goodies will be on display.
Summary of Links
MB 38 Lot List
MB 38 Photos
MB 37 Catalogue
MB 37 Photos
MB 37 Prices Realized
Photos, Hilgard Major Error Collection
Descriptions, Hilgard Major Error Collection
The Newman Sale
The following week is highlighted by Heritage’s two-day sale of early type coins from the collection of Eric P. Newman. The sale will occur in New York City. Mr. Newman is alive, well and alert at age 102. He donated his collection to the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, a not-for-profit charitable foundation. For the past many years Mr. Newman and EPNNES displayed portions of the collection at The Newman Money Museum on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
Much of the collection is traced to the estate of “Col” (an honorific title) Edward Howland Robinson Green, son of Hetty Robinson Green, quaintly known as the Witch of Wall Street. In the early days of the 20th Century Hetty Green was the richest woman in America. Her son “Ned” did not share Hetty’s miserly ways. He collected stamps, coins, cars and women. He did so with a no-holds-barred attitude. His numismatic sources included the legendary holdings of Virgil M. Brand. Brand died in 1926. Col Green died in June 1936. A few years later Mr. Newman and his mentor, St. Louis dealer Burdette G. Johnson, negotiated as partners with administrators of the Green estate. They purchased most of Col Green’s numismatic holdings. (Mr. Newman may have had a “leg up” in the negotiations. Before his 1932 graduation from MIT he had become friendly with “Ned” Green, sharing numismatic interests and adventures.) Some items from the Green estate were sold, including the 5 known 1913 Liberty nickels. Mr. Newman, however, stayed a collector at heart and was able to keep much of the Green collection intact, later acquiring Johnson’s interest in the coins.
Heritage kindly invited me to assist in the cataloguing of the “EPNNES” bust half-dollars. It was a fascinating if hurried exercise in Dallas and Beverly Hills. I’m anxious to examine the coins again in NYC. I will do so at Heritage’s offices, beginning Tuesday Nov. 12. The 3-session floor auction commences Friday Nov. 16 at noon; the Platinum Night session follows at 6:00 PM. A noon Saturday floor session is followed by the 4:00 PM CST commencement of an Internet only session.
Collectors must be forewarned that the Newman coins are unlike anything coming to market in the 21st Century. For the most part they were stored either in National Coin Albums (aka Wayte Raymond holders) or in brown paper envelopes. Forget any worries about “questionable color.” You will undoubtedly be drawn to the coins stored in albums. Rings of iridescent rainbow toning atop lustrous surfaces are irresistible. Coins stored in envelopes may be another matter. I loved their originality. The deep toning, of course, tempers otherwise flamboyant luster. The practiced eye, however, will note the depth of luster, as shown by the NGC grades. At bottom the coins are what they are – extraordinary remnants of a time gone by, when grading services did not rule the day and collectors relied upon their own judgment and experience to gauge the desirability of a rare coin.
PCGS recently toyed with the idea of previewing and “pre-grading” the Newman coins (for a fee) but chose not to. If you are not attending the sale and think it useful to retain an agent to examine and evaluate the Newman coins you may b e headed in the right direction. Printed catalogues and Internet photos are excellent, far better than they were 15 years ago. Still, they do not capture overall eye appeal, surface texture, hairlines or depth of luster, key factors to professional coin graders. Email or call me if you’d like me to guide you through the Newman sale. I know that my friends and colleagues Brad Karoleff and Julian Leidman are offering similar services. Perhaps your favorite dealer will attend the sale and offer you his or her help. Don’t be afraid to ask. This is an important sale. You should try to capture a few pieces – and be happy with your acquisitions! NB … I examined but did not catalogue the Internet only session. It is especially important that the coins in that session be examined before you enter bids.
Looking ahead to the FUN Show, January 9-12, 2014, I’m pleased to confirm that Mail Bid Sale No. 38 will feature 95 high grade capped bust half-dollars. Most are from Keith Davignon’s wonderful collection. A lot list is available here. Photos of the coins may be viewed here. The catalogue should be available in mid to late December. It will be posted on this web site. Hard copies will go to my regular bidders as well as those who intend to bid and request that one be mailed to them. The auction lots will be available for preview during the upcoming Baltimore show as will as via overnight U.S Express Mail or FedEx.
HOW ABOUT A BOOK OR TWO?
In the meantime you may want to order the latest edition of Steve Herrman’s AMBPR. This invaluable pricing tool is yours for $30. (Postpaid, media mail; add $5 for Priority Mail.) I have a few copies of the Fall 2013 Edition in stock. First come, first served. Other books in stock include Edgar Souders Bust Half Fever, the 2nd edition of Davignon’s book on Contemporary Counterfeits, Dick Graham’s recent reference work on die varieties of Reeded Edge Capped Bust Half Dollars and (just uncovered in the dungeon of my garage) Steve Herrman’s 2010 “AMBPR Complete Edition” on CD. Call or write for current pricing on these items.
WEB SITES YOU MUST VISIT