Eric P. Newman (1911-2017)

Eric P. Newman honored on his 100th Birthday

It is with great sadness to report that an icon of numismatics, Eric P. Newman, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday at the age of 106. Even if you never met Newman your life in numismatics has been changed for the better by his work. He will be missed by everyone.

The following is the obituary scheduled to appear in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

ERIC PFEIFFER NEWMAN died Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at his home in Clayton at the age of 106. Devoted husband of the late Evelyn Edison Newman for 75 years, brother of the late Ivy Steele of Chicago, beloved father of Linda Newman Schapiro of New York and Andrew (Peggy) Newman of St. Louis, enthusiastic and inspiring “Opa” to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A life-long resident of Clayton, Eric attended John Burroughs School from the day the school opened in 1923 and obtained his engineering degree from MIT and his law degree from Washington University.

Eric was a great lawyer, inventor, and historian, but he was best known as a numismatic collector and scholar, generous philanthropist, and inveterate traveler. He was a member of The Explorer’s Club and, with Evelyn, pioneered travel to every corner of the globe. Over the years, they enjoyed hosting family and friends both in St. Louis and at their homes in Jamaica, Martha’s Vineyard, and the bluffs of Alton, Illinois. Eric established the Newman Money Museum in St. Louis and authored over 100 books and articles, principally in the field of numismatics.

Both directly and through his role in the Eric P. & Evelyn E. Newman Foundation, the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, the Harry Edison Foundation, and the Edison Family Foundation, he helped in the creation of St. Louis institutions such as the Butterfly House, The Magic House, the Eric P. Newman Education Center at Washington University, and many of the concepts and events dreamed up by his wife Evelyn. Their marriage was an enduring and remarkable model of love, partnership, effectiveness, and concern for others.

The family wants to express its heartfelt thanks to Eric’s many compassionate caregivers. Per Eric’s wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service. Any gift to your favorite charity would be a welcome tribute to his life. Messages of sympathy may be sent to EricNewmanFamily@gmail.com.

Special thanks to Wayne Homren, Editor of The E-Sylum, for the text of the obituary.

Weekly Numismatic World News for November 12, 2017

As I peruse the Interwebs for numismatic-related stories from non-numismatic sources, my searches are inundated with stories about Bitcoin, crypto-currencies, and blockchains. Most of the time, the stories are just noise given my objective to find information relevant to collectors including the issuance of circulating currencies and the impact of precious metals on the market.

While there is some use of the technologies as an indicator of a store of something resembling wealth or as a new method of providing electronic transactions, the concept of inventing a currency out of thin air—or electronic bits—is something that may be more dangerous than the stock market.

Bitcoin, which is a type of crypto-currency, is traded using a blockchain, a technology that provides a mechanism for secured transactions between parties. Like the Federal Reserve Note, it is an invented currency whose value is in the eye of the beholder. The only difference between the Federal Reserve Note and crypto-currency is that the worth of the paper currency is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Bitcoin has no backing, very little regulation, and could become as worthless as Enron stock as fast as it became worthless.

Although you may have issues with the way the federal government and the politicians have been conducting themselves, the government provides the backing to make sure that the currency you use has some representative value by law. It is called fiat money.

Crypto-currency not only has no intrinsic value, but it is not backed or supported by the government. It has no regulation and is worth what someone will provide in trade. The assignment of value to crypto-currency may be market driven but those who have seen the silver market of 1980, unregulated markets can cause significant problems.

The blockchains that protect the transactions are software creations. Software is what is used to provide the logic to the computer to do its job—or not do its job in the cases of Equifax, Target, Home Depot, the Office of Personnel Management, and any of the other servers you have heard attacked in the last few years.

Of course the most important thing to numismatists, crypto-currency has no presence in the physical world. You cannot create a collection of bitcoin since it really does not exist. And maybe that should be the question: if it does not have a physical form or a physical representation, is it really money?

And now the news…

 November 6, 2017

The Stellarton Legion is now the proud recipient of a Nova Scotia Highlanders ceremonial unit coin. And Stellarton Legion president Jack Chaisson was on hand to take personal delivery of the coin from Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Todd at Pictou Legion, after attending the county Remembrance Day ceremony in town Sunday. → Read more at ngnews.ca


 November 6, 2017

The Royal Mint has released its official Remembrance Day coin ahead of commemorations on Saturday. Stephen Taylor, a graphic designer at the Royal Mint, said his artwork was inspired by the world-famous war poem 'In Flanders Fields' by John McCrae. → Read more at standard.co.uk


 November 6, 2017

The Perth Mint has released a world-first silver coin in the shape of a figure eight. Likely to be a hit with Chinese coin collectors and buyers, only 8888 of the 2oz, 99.99 per cent silver coins will be released at a recommended retail price of $218. → Read more at thewest.com.au


 November 7, 2017

Bruderer UK, which has nearly 50 years’ experience creating world renown precision high speed presses, has installed a state-of-the-art machine into the Royal Mint’s Llantrisant facility, giving the world famous institution additional speed, capacity and flexibility. → Read more at expressandstar.com


 November 8, 2017

Gold isn’t so shiny anymore. Globally, demand for the precious metal has fallen to its lowest level since late 2009, according to the World Gold Council. In the third quarter of 2017, demand for the haven asset was 915 metric tons, 9% lower than a year earlier. → Read more at qz.com


 November 9, 2017

In January, 1999 Cassinelli Construction Co. was employed by Nevada State Public Works Department to remove a portion of Carolyn Street at the Nevada State Museum to construct a parking lot and build a small park facing Carson Street. → Read more at elkodaily.com


 November 9, 2017

Gold was once a common form of payment around the developed world, but after World War II the precious metal's influence began to wane. In 1971, when the United States finally put an end to the gold standard, the role of the yellow metal changed for good. → Read more at fool.com


 November 10, 2017

The Thank-A-Vet cenotaph memorial coin set, created for local veterans and their families as a keepsake, has been completed with the minting of the final two coins and creation of a pine display box. – Sean Allen/Metroland → Read more at brantnews.com


 November 11, 2017

The thing about money — we all need it. “Money bewitches people. They fret for it, and they sweat for it. → Read more at royalgazette.com

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Thoughts on this weekend’s Whitman Expo

Whitman Expo came to Baltimore this weekend to fill up three large halls in the Baltimore Convention Center. Like every Whitman Expo, dealers come from all over making it a must-attend east coast destination.

I was able to attend on Friday afternoon. It was not for long because I had to work half of the day. But it is always worth the trip.

Travelling to Baltimore on Friday is different than going on Saturday. First, the traffic between the Washington metro area and Baltimore is heavier. The traffic in Baltimore is also heavier especially on I-95 going through the city. And parking is a little more expensive because you compete with the business parking of downtown Baltimore. Someday, I will take the light rail that stops between the Convention Center and Camden Yards.

During a short visit to a show like Baltimore you either have to have a concise strategy or whatever objectives there are will not be fulfilled. This time I had no objectives and spent a lot of time talking with people.

Over the years I have met a lot of dealers and others while walking around I wanted to visit with some of these people. I also got to meet with one of the long-time readers of the blog. Bob is a frequent correspondent who came down from New Jersey on Amtrak to also visit the show. It was good to meet Bob and put a face on the real person behind the emails.

During the short time I spent on the bourse floor I learned a few things about the market:

  1. Sales are moderate but steady. Dealers are selling more online than in shows but see the shows as a valuable marketing tool. None of the dealers I spoke with are seeing the end of coin shows but can envision a reduction in the number of shows.
  2. Some dealers are diversifying their inventory from their core interests to other areas. One dealer noted that he was seeing more junk box searching than in the past. Although he thought that his sales were below average, he thought that the low-end sales would pick up on Saturday when younger people will attend.
  3. I thought there was a lot more silver than gold. One dealer that sells modern bullion coin such as American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and Chinese Pandas said that silver bullion was selling better than their gold counterparts. With silver trading under $17 per troy ounce, those interested in bullion are buying silver. He also attributed the interest in silver with some of the better silver issues like the Pandas and other non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins.
  4. Speaking of NCLT coins, I did not see a big selection. A dealer whose case included a few older issues said that the current NCLT issues may be too expensive for the market. It is one thing to issue themed coins that may be of interest but selling them has been a problem. Some people find it difficult to justify the selling of a one-ounce silver coin for more than four-times bullion value. This dealer thought that the licensing fees being paid for these images were probably driving up the price and driving their potential market away.

Another interesting aspect of the show is the number of non-numismatic items for sale. There were two dealers whose cases contained only jewelry. Most of the jewelry were quality items and estate pieces but I was surprised there were two dealers whose inventory was exclusively jewelry. A few dealers I have seen in the past also had cases of jewelry. One said that the rings he was selling were an accumulation of many years and found that the market was more receptive to the jewelry.

In addition to the jewelry, a dealer was selling used music compact discs (CD) and another had African artifacts including a beautiful silver necklace. Some of the currency dealers also had historical papers, letters, ledgers, and other ephemera that only has a tangential tie to numismatics.

Last week I asked how dealers would respond to the market. It looks like some dealers have turned to inventory diversity and including non-numismatic collectibles. If it helps bring in more collectors, it might be a good move.

Weekly Numismatic World News for Noveber 5, 2017 (one day late)

What are the future of large coin shows like Whitman Expo?

I missed posting the Weekly Numismatic World News on Sunday because I was working. As part of my collectibles business, I work a show at least once per month. These shows allow me to interact with people and find out what interests them. Even if they do not buy from my inventory, I am able to learn about the market and try to predict trends.

Sometimes, I wonder if the numismatic industry does the same thing.

Next weekend will be the Whitman Baltimore Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. I am curious as to what I will find.

Since Whitman took over the show, they have improved the experience and what I have been told, they improved the experience for the dealers. They have made it a destination for many east coast dealers and collectors.

But it looks like the show has plateaued.

This is not Whitman’s fault. Whitman provides the venue. What are the dealers doing to meet the new demands of the market? What are the new trends? Based on my last few visits to Baltimore, you would never know that the hobby is changing. New collectors are not collecting the same coins as their parents and grandparents. New collectors are not buying in the same way as their parents and grandparents. Yet, when I go to Baltimore I will find an environment that may have been more comfortable 10 years ago than it is today.

I am not sure what needs to be changed. I will think about it when I am walking the bourse floor next weekend. But for now, the industry needs think about how to evolve. Otherwise, we could be looking for the downfall of these shows and that would be a shame.

And now the news…

 November 2, 2017

Australia’s new Remembrance Day $2 coin is racist and a national disgrace, Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell says. The coin, featuring rosemary leaves and purple flowers, is to honour Australians killed and wounded in military conflicts. → Read more at theadvocate.com.au


 November 2, 2017

Rare coins, mostly Roman, are believed to have been collected by the Kent castle’s owner, Edward Hussey, and his son → Read more at theguardian.com


 November 3, 2017

“There’s just a wide variety of things,” Rust said. “Money was issued by Mormons before they made it to Salt Lake, and then things that were issued once they were in Salt Lake.” → Read more at sltrib.com


 November 3, 2017

Founding father saved first issue $5 with untold historical value → Read more at tetonvalleynews.net

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Ryder Nomination Moves Forward

David J. Ryder

The Nomination of David J. Ryder to become the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint moves forward as the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs ordered that his appointment to be reported favorably.

Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) reported the committee’s recommendation without a printed report. His nomination was added to the Senate Executive Calendar for a vote by the full Senate.

With Ryder’s addition, there are 126 nominations pending for a vote in the Senate. The Senate has not approved a presidential nomination since June 8, 2017.

PN1082: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: October 5, 2017
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Oct 5, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held. — Oct 24, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Nov 1, 2017
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Nov 1, 2017
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 458. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Nov 1, 2017
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1082.

Eric P. Newman (1911-2017)

It is with great sadness to report that an icon of numismatics, Eric P. Newman, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday at the age of 106. Even if you never met Newman your life in numismatics has been changed for the better by his work. He will be missed by...

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