Pattern coinage collected by Eric P. Newman, legendary numismatic researcher and founding member of the Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS), will be sold April 25 at the CSNS Annual Convention's Official Auction, presented by Heritage Auctions in Schaumburg, IL.
Items being sold are from the extensive collection of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (a Missouri not-for-profit corporation) and have been assembled over a period of 90 years. Proceeds of the sale of all items will be used exclusively for the benefit of other not-for-profit institutions selected by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society for public purposes and also for supplementing the Society's own museum operations and scholarly research efforts.
"It is a great honor for us to offer this collection," said Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage. "Eric P. Newman is a titan of numismatics and one of the hobby's greatest treasures. This sale will help many worthy causes, including Eric's tradition of adding to our knowledge about the history of money. The Newman family's generosity is nothing short of inspiring."
Newman co-authored The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, the first comprehensive work on the mysterious and much-loved coin, and was the last person to own all five examples of another famous rarity, the 1913 Liberty nickel.
Through books and countless articles for numismatic periodicals, he has shared his knowledge with several generations of collectors. The centenarian Newman remains active in numismatic research, personally and as a founder of his eponymous society. He and his wife of more than 70 years, Evelyn, established the Newman Money Museum on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; Newman attended Washington University's School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1935, and practiced law for more than a half century.
Though Newman is most famous for his work with early American coins and currency, he also assembled an extensive pattern collection. One of the rarest offerings is a 1915 Panama-Pacific half dollar without "S" mintmark, the Judd-1961 variety struck in silver, graded PR65 by NGC. A companion piece, the Judd-1962, is identical save that it was struck in copper and is graded PR66+ é by NGC.
"Pattern coins of the twentieth century are rare, and opportunities to own them rarer still," said Halperin. "The 1915 Panama-Pacific half dollars without mintmarks were struck in gold, silver, and copper, but for each metal, fewer than four examples are known."
An 1879 "quintuple stella" or twenty dollar pattern has the proposed coin's weight and composition spelled out between stars on the obverse in the style of the four dollar, or "stella," patterns of the same year. The Newman example of the very rare Judd-1644 variety, struck in copper, is graded PR64+ Red and Brown by NGC.
An intriguing 1877 pattern, Judd-1506 in silver, has the portrait of the famous Morgan dollar on a half-dollar-size coin, while the reverse has an eagle framed by a seven-sided shield and a wreath around. The Newman coin, PR67 NGC, is the single finest certified example of its extremely rare type.
In addition to the pattern coins, a handful of other selections from The Eric P. Newman Collection will appear in the auction. Among these is a complete copper and silver 1845 proof set, which will introduce new examples of several early Seated proof rarities to the numismatic marketplace.
Also included in the sale is an 1852 Augustus Humbert ten dollar gold piece graded MS68 by NGC and approved by CAC. Struck by Augustus Humbert as his own keepsake, and perfectly preserved since, it far outclasses any other specimen of its kind ever certified.
The importance of the Newman specimen cannot be overstated. Since all United States Assay Office gold coins were official issues of the U.S. government, they should be collected alongside regular issue U.S. gold coins struck at Philadelphia and the branch mints.
"The Newman specimen of the 1852 Humbert ten dollar is one-of-a-kind," said Halperin. "We expect fierce bidding from collectors who will know that not only will they be getting the single finest Territorial gold coin known, but the money the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society receives will be used to benefit the public and support further research into the history of coins."