“An Inside Look at Newman Part IX” by Jack Topping.
[20 October 2017]
On October 11th, 2017, the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) announced that the certification of more than 400 coins was complete in preparation for Part IX of the Eric P. Newman collection auction on November 1-3, 2017. This remarkable collection, including Colonial American period coins, territorial gold, fractional gold, and more, will be sold directly by Heritage Auctions.
The feature of the auction is an 1861 Confederate States of America half dollar, minted in New Orleans, Louisiana. Occupied by the Confederates during the American Civil War, this Union mint became an important part of the very short lived Confederate economy. Although only four of these Confederate half dollars were minted, bullion coins, other Confederate coins, as well as regular Seated Liberty half dollars were minted during the Confederate occupation. However, no major minting of Confederate half dollars ever occurred there, even though the Confederates did continue to keep the mint operational from “April 1 until the bullion ran out later that month”, as the Union liberated the mint nearly a year later in 1862 (Lambousy 42).
The excitement at the world’s largest numismatic auctioneer over Part IX was described in detail by Heritage’s Senior Numismatist and Cataloger, Mr. Mark Borckardt, in an exclusive interview with JET Numismatics. Regarding the overall feeling at Heritage Auctions, Borckardt said, “Anytime an important rarity is offered, we are thrilled to handle all of the research for the catalog description.” Borckardt also discussed how impressive the sale of the 1861 Confederate half dollar is, saying, “No other rarities that I can think of that have appeared for sale so few times, with the exception of certain unique coins known only in museums.” As for the origin of this specific Confederate half dollar, Borckardt said, “The Eric P. Newman coin that we are currently offering has been in his collection since the early 1940s.”
In addition to the large quantity of coins offered in Newman’s Part IX auction, a separate auction held only days before Part IX is dedicated to Newman’s vast paper currency collection. Named the “Eric P. Newman VIII Currency” auction, this collection of over 1,200 lots will also be sold directly by Heritage Auctions. Among the roughly 1,200 lots, 488 banknotes of different denominations and dates will be offered, all originating from the State of Missouri. Many, if not all of these notes have an incredible history attached to them. “Included in the sale are unique and fascinating hand-accomplished notes from the frontier period, with one payable to famed explorer General William Clark as agent of the Missouri Fur Company” said Maureen Levine, an advisor to the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, according to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Levine, who spoke directly to JET Numismatics, also discussed American Civil War era notes from “both sides of the divided state of Missouri.”
As Newman’s collection will be auctioned and distributed to different collectors throughout the world, the proceeds will stay within the numismatic community, according to Eric Bradley, Director of Public Relations at Heritage Auctions. It is truly remarkable how this one specific auction affects the numismatic community as a whole. Unlike other auctions, this one is especially unique, due to the history and legacy of a top numismatist attached with each individual coin or paper currency note. The community as a whole looks forward to how the Eric P. Newman Part IX collection will affect both present day numismatists, but future numismatists inspired by the legacy of Mr. Eric P. Newman, especially because of this auction.
Special thanks to the Heritage Auctions team, Mr. Eric Bradley, Mr. Mark Borckardt, and Ms. Maureen Levine for contributing.
Lambousy, Greg, “The Mint At New Orleans.” The Numismatist (March, 2003), 42-3
NGC Certifies Eric P. Newman Part IX. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, 11 Oct. 2017. http://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/6176/newman-part-ix/.