Eric P. Newman

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Eric P. Newman
Eric P. Newman (2013).jpg
Born(1911-05-25)May 25, 1911
DiedNovember 15, 2017(2017-11-15) (aged 106)
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Washington University in St. Louis
Spouse(s)Evelyn (Edison) Newman (married 1939–2015; her death)
AwardsArcher M. Huntington Medal
Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society

Eric Pfeiffer Newman (May 25, 1911 – November 15, 2017) was an American numismatist. [1] [2] He wrote several "works about early American coins and paper money considered the standards on their subjects", as well as hundreds of articles. [3] Newman sold his coins over auctions in 2013–2014 for over $70 million and used most of that money to fund the Newman Numismatic Education Society and its Newman Numismatic Portal to "make the literature and images of numismatics, particularly American numismatics, available to everyone on a free and forever basis." [4] [5] [6]


Early life

Newman was born to Samuel Elijah and Rose (Pfeiffer) Newman in St. Louis, Missouri. His interest in coins began at the age of seven when his grandfather gave him an 1859 Indian Head cent. When he was ten years old, he would visit Burdette G. Johnson's coin store in downtown St. Louis every couple of weeks; Johnson became his friend and mentor. [2]

Education and career

Newman earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1932 and a Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis in 1935. [2] Three years later, Newman became vice president of the Missouri Numismatic Society. [7] In 1939, Newman was appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the Central States Numismatics Society. [8] He then practiced law until 1943. The following year, he was hired by Edison Brothers Stores, rising to executive vice president in 1968, before retiring in 1987.

While attending MIT, Newman became slightly acquainted with E. H. R. Green, himself a coin collector. Newman and other students were given the use of Green's private radio station at Round Hill, Massachusetts, to follow Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's first Antarctic expedition (1928-1930). [3] After Green died in 1936, Newman raised $600 from his family and purchased some currency notes from the estate. After he told Burdette Johnson about it, Johnson put up the money to buy most of Green's collection, including the only five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels. [3] Newman's favorite coin, however, was a unique 1792 pattern in gold that he believed was owned by George Washington. [3] [9]

Newman wrote over 13 numismatic books. He is known for his pioneering study The Early Paper Money of America (1967), which remains the standard work on the subject and has entered its fifth edition. Other written works include The 1776 Continental Currency Coinage: Varieties of the Fugio Cent (1952), The Fantastic 1804 Dollar (1962) and U.S. Coin Scales and Counterfeit Coin Detectors (2000). [10]

Personal life and legacy

Newman married Evelyn Edison on November 29, 1939. They had two children. The Newmans supported a variety of philanthropic efforts including medical research, academia, and St. Louis cultural affairs. [11] In 2003, the Newmans donated two million dollars to Washington University in St. Louis to establish the Newman Money Museum, housed in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. [3] It opened in 2006 and displayed part of Newman's collection on a rotating basis. They also established the Eric P. Newman Education Center at the Washington University School of Medicine and established numerous professorships and scholarships. [12]

Evelyn Newman died on September 1, 2015, at the age of 95. [13] Eric Newman died on November 15, 2017, at the age of 106. [14]

Awards and honors

Among his many honors are the Archer M. Huntington Medal (the highest award of the American Numismatic Society) [1] in 1978 [9] and the Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1991. [15] The American Numismatic Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1986 and named him Numismatist of the Year in 1996. [1] The American Numismatic Society commissioned a bas relief portrait that was presented to him at his 100th birthday celebration. [2] [16]

1955ANA, Heath Literary Awardhonorable mention"First Documentary Evidence on the American Colonial Pewter 1/24 Real"
1956ANA, Heath Literary Award3rd place"Poor Richard's Mottoes for Coins"
1957Missouri Numismatic Society"For Outstanding Service to the Missouri Numismatic Society"
1958ANA, Heath Literary Award3rd place"Counterfeit Continental Currency Goes to War"
1959ANA, Heath Literary Award1st place"The Continental Dollar of 1776 Meets its Maker"
1960ANA 25-year Membership Award
1962ANA, Heath Literary Awardhonorary"Diagnosing the Zerbe 1804 and 1805 Dollars"
1963ANA, Heath Literary Awardhonorary"A Dangerous Oak Tree Shilling Copy Appears"
1964ANA, Heath Literary Award1st place"Nature of Printing of Colonial and Continental Currency"
1964ANA Medal of Merit
1965Lecturer in Numismatics AwardRoosevelt University
1965ANA, Heath Literary Award2nd place"An Elephant Token Never Forgets — Forgery"
1966ANA, Heath Literary Award1st place"Sources of Emblems and Mottoes"
1966Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Award
1967ANA, Heath Literary Award4th placeAssay Commission Membership medal
1969ANA Farran Zerbe Memorial Award
1971"Recognition of Contribution to Numismatic Knowledge"Oklahoma-Kansas Numismatic Association
1972New Orleans ANA Honoris Causa Award
1973Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society Awardbronze medal
1974ANA, Heath Literary Awardcertificate of merit
1975ANA, Heath Literary Award2nd place"As Phony as a Three Dollar Bill"
1978ANS Archer Milton Huntington Award
1979ANA, Heath Literary Award2nd place"The Philadelphia Highway Coin Fund
1980ANA, Heath Literary Award"Super Numismatic Forgeries are Upon Us
1982Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) Clemy Award"For Numismatic Writing Ability, Sense of Humor, and Dedication to the Hobby"
1984ANA, Heath Literary AwardBronze medal"Benjamin Franklin and the Chain Design"
1985ANA 50 Year Membership Award
1989ANS Endowment Medal No. 4
1992House Joint Resolution No. 271 of the Commonwealth of Virginia"Commends Eric P. Newman for his valuable research on Colonial Virginia copper halfpenny and establishing that these were the first authorized legal coinage in Colonial America."
1993ANA Exemplary Service Award
1996ANA Numismatist of the Year
1996ANS Gold Membership medal for Distinguished Service
1997ANA Lifetime Achievement Award
1999C4 Lifetime Achievement Award
2001Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic WritingANA, ANS, NLG
2009NLG Award of Extraordinary Merit"The Fantastic 1804 Dollar: Tribute Edition"
2010ANA 75-year membership Award
2011ANA Wayte and Olga Raymond Memorial Award2nd place"for Distinguished Numismatic Achievement in United States Numismatics
2011Rittenhouse Society Gold Medal"honoring Newman's numismatic achievements on his 100th birthday"
2011ANS plaquette issued in honor of Newman's 100th birthday
2013PCGS Set Registry Hall of Fame
2014Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) Hall of Fame
ANA, Heath Literary Award1st place
2015Wayte and Olage Raymond Memorial Awardfor Distinguished Achievement in United States Numismatics
2015NLG Award"for best article in a large non-profit publication for '18th-Century Writings on the Continental Dollar Coin"

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