The November auction of more coins from the collection of Eric P. Newman promises to offer both top rarities and more affordable pieces.
The majority of the coins to be offered in the Nov. 15 and 16 Newman sale in New York City have been off the market for more than half a century.
“Many of these historic treasures have been in Newman’s possession since he obtained them directly from the estate of another legendary collector, Colonel E.H.R. Green, more than 70 years ago,” said Jim Halperin, co-chairman of Heritage Auctions, which will conduct the auction, the firm’s second offering of Newman coins.
Newman, 102, amassed his collection over more than 90 years.
Newman is a retired St. Louis lawyer and business executive who is well-known in numismatics as a collector, researcher and award-winning author. Newman began his numismatic collecting at 7 years of age.
Today, Newman is the only surviving person to have owned all five examples of the fabled 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin.
Newman acquired 1,030 of the items to be offered in the November sale from the Green estate in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
While many of the former Green coins to be offered in November are big ticket items, the auction also offers quite a few inexpensive coins that collectors can chase that still carry the Newman legacy, and some the Green pedigree as well, Halperin said.
The 1,827 Newman lots in the auction have an overall estimated value of more than $15 million.
All of the coins to be offered have been certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and encapsulated with a special grading label identifying the Newman Collection pedigree.
The Green coins represent more than half of the overall total number of lots to be offered, but 90 percent of the highlights, according to Halperin.
The overall lots represent U.S. coins from 2-cent pieces through Peace dollars, and include Barber, Walking Liberty and Franklin half dollars, Trade dollars, and classic silver and gold commemorative half dollars from 1893 to 1949.
1797 Draped Bust dollar, BB-72
The 1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle, 9 by 7 Stars, Small Letters dollar, Bowers-Borckardt 72 (Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia by Q. David Bowers, with Mark Borckardt), in the Newman Collection is certified Mint State 64.
The obverse features nine six-pointed stars to Liberty’s left, seven to the right.
On the reverse, a short but pronounced die scratch extends up to the left of the right inside leaf below the eagle’s right wing, on the viewer’s left.
A quick way to identify the reverse is the berry on the wreath under the A of STATES.
The Small Letters reverse die is noted to have been paired with obverses dated 1795, 1796, 1797 and 1798.
BB-72 is considered the rarest variety of 1797 silver dollar; the reported mintage for all 1797 varieties combined is 7,776 coins.
Bowers and Borckardt suggest as many as 200 to 300 examples of the BB-72 variety exist, while others, according to the authors, have indicated as few as only 20 survive in collections today.
According to the authors, nearly all known examples of the 1797 BB-72 variety are found in grades from Very Good to Extremely Fine, with Very Fine examples most often encountered.
1796 Draped Bust, 16 Stars half dollar
Certified Mint State 63 by NGC, the former Green example of a 1796 Draped Bust, 16 Stars half dollar, the variety cataloged as Overton 102 in Early Half Dollar Varieties: 1794-1836 by Al C. Overton and Donald Parsley, is among the half dollars struck in 1796 after Tennessee became the 16th state.
According to the Overton reference, all of the 1796 Draped Bust half dollars were struck from the pairings of two obverse dies and a single reverse die.
The first obverse, used to strike the O-101 variety, features 15 stars.
Sometime after June 1, 1796, when Tennessee was admitted to the Union, a second obverse die, bearing 16 stars, was created and paired with the reverse die to create the O-102 variety.
The 1796 Draped Bust half dollar production is reported at a mere 934 coins combined for both varieties.
1796 Draped Bust, 15 Stars half dollar
The O-101 variety of 1796 Draped Bust half dollar in the Newman Collection was certified MS-62 by NGC.
According to the Overton reference, no 1796-dated Draped Bust half dollars were delivered in 1796, but all were actually delivered early in 1797, according to Mint production records.
“Mint production of silver coinage during 1796 was primarily limited to half dimes, dimes, quarters and dollar production,” according to the Overton reference. “All 1796 half dollars are rare or very rare.”
1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar
The 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle quarter dollar is a one-year type coin, represented by a reported mintage of 6,146 coins.
The Newman coin purchased from the Green estate, attributed as the Browning 2 variety (The Early Quarter Dollars of the United States 1796-1838 by A.W. Browning, 1925), is now certified by NGC as MS-67+★ (the star signifies exceptional eye appeal).
Walter Breen revised Browning’s quarter dollar reference, publishing The Early Quarter Dollars of the United States 1796-1838 in 1992. Since that publication, three subsequent quarter dollar references, all building on the Browning book, have employed the Browning attribution numbers — The Early Quarter Dollars of the United States by R. Duphorne (1975); Early United States Quarters 1796-1838 by Steven M. Tompkins (2008); and Early Quarter Dollars of the United States Mint: 1796-1838 by Rory R. Rea, Glenn Peterson, Bradley S. Karoleff and John J. Kovach Jr. (2011).
Only two die marriages are known for the 1796 quarter dollar — B-1 and B-2.
The reverse used for both varieties is the same, with the letters AME of AMERICA connected.
According to Rea and his co-authors, the common reverse was used first on the B-2 variety, an example of which is in the November 2013 Newman auction.
The differences between the two varieties are in the different obverses.
On the B-2 variety, the 6 digit in the date is high, almost touching the bust of Liberty. On B-1, the numeral 6 is almost centered between the bust of Liberty and the dentils.
1828 Capped Bust quarter dollar, B-3
Certified NGC MS-67★, Newman’s 1828 Capped Bust, 25/50 C. quarter dollar, the Browning 3 variety, also formerly in the Green holdings, is an example of one of four die marriages found among the 102,000 quarter dollars struck during the 1828 calendar year. Another 4,000 1828-dated quarter dollars are believed to have been struck during calendar year 1827.
The year 1828 represents the final one for the large diameter (approximately 27 millimeters) quarter dollars featuring John Reich’s classic design. In 1831, when coinage of the denomination was resumed, the diameter was reduced to 24.26 millimeters.
The B-3 variety’s blundered reverse is the result of the numerals in the denomination, 25, being punched over a wrongly used 50 punch for a half dollar.
1797 Draped Bust dollar, BB-71
The former Green example of 1797 Draped Bust, 10 by 6 Stars, Large Letters dollar, BB-71, is certified NGC-64+.
One of a number of early dollar rarities in the Newman auction, the BB-71 variety, according to the Bowers-Borckardt book, is usually encountered in lower circulated condition.
No other silver dollars bear the BB-71 variety’s arrangement of 10 six-pointed stars to the left of Liberty’s portrait and six stars to the right.
The second 7 in the date is higher than the other three numerals on this variety.
The reverse inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA on the BB-71 variety is executed with large letters.
The left branch of the reverse wreath has eight berries. The top outer leaf ends under the middle of the E in STATES. The lowest berry near the ribbon bow appears on the outside of the wreath.
Three leaves appear below the eagle’s right wing (to the viewer’s left).
This reverse die was used to strike only the 1797 BB-71 variety.
Proof 1841 Seated Liberty, No Drapery dime
In his 1977 reference, Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Dimes 1837-1891, author Kamal Ahwash suggests that the Proof 1841 Seated Liberty, No Drapery dime, was struck from the regular hub for the With Drapery design, but with excessive polishing that removed the drapery and made the obverse stars appear smaller than they were when the die was new.
In The Gobrecht Journal of March 2001, Issue 80, published by the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, researcher John McCloskey offers a different explanation after examining a high-quality image of the obverse of the Proof 1841 Seated Liberty, No Drapery dime in Newman’s collection. The photo accompanied McCloskey’s article.
The coin is now certified NGC Proof 67+ for the November 2013 auction.
McCloskey writes that the No Drapery Obverse was an intermediate design for the With Drapery obverse.
McCloskey explained that engraver Robert Ball Hughes prepared a new obverse hub in 1840 that showed discernible changes from the design employed the previous three years.
“The shield was moved to an upright position, the hand was moved up the pole toward the cap and the rock was reduced in size,” McCloskey wrote.
“Other changes in the shape of Liberty’s head, in the shape of the drapery folds in the gown, in the shape and location of the cap and pole and in the shape of the rock base indicate that the obverse device was completely revised.
“The number of denticles was also reduced to 132 and these denticles added to the new obverse design. I believe that the first die made from the new hub was used to strike the 1841 No Drapery Proof dime. ...
“This design is bold and sharp and this obverse shows more detail than other coins of this period. There is clear separation between the bare arm and the leg on the right. The field areas under each arm are bold and clear and I believe represent the complete design intended for this coin.”
1921 Peace, High Relief dollars
In the “more affordable” category of coins in the auction, the Newman Collection will offer four examples of the 1921 Peace, High Relief dollar in Mint State. Pieces in the grades listed normally retail for well below $1,000, and even below $500.
Three of the four examples — one MS-61, one MS-64 and one MS-64+ — are former Green coins. The remaining 1921 Peace dollar — another example graded MS-64 — was never part of Green’s numismatic holdings.
The entire production of 1921 Peace dollars at the Philadelphia Mint — 1,006,473 coins — is reported to have been accomplished between Dec. 26 and 31, 1921.
The 1921 Peace dollars were first placed into circulation on Jan. 3, 1922.
With its high relief design, the 1921 Peace dollar actually represents a different and distinctive one-year type.
Elements of the obverse and reverse were high enough above the coin’s rim to make the coins difficult to properly stack. The relief was lowered in early 1922 to alleviate the problem, but not before a quantity of the 1922 Peace, High Relief dollars were struck.
According to Bowers and Borckardt, the obverse field is significantly more concave when compared to production in later years; rays on Liberty’s head are thick, and the design is “without three short rays between the first four long rays.”
On the reverse: “Eagle and other features in slightly higher relief than used on later years; hook on eagle’s beak less pronounced than on later issues; branch to right of eagle’s feet splits closer to eagle than on later issues; mountain ranges at lower right are differently configured; four rays below ONE instead of three as seen on later issues; eight rays below eagle’s tail instead of six; 21 rays to right of eagle instead of 19-1/2.”
Heritage Auctions has designated the week of Nov. 11 to 16 as “Newman Week in New York City” to honor Newman’s numismatic legacy.
The “Selections from The Eric P. Newman Collection Part II” auction will be conducted by Heritage, live and online, at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (2 E. 79th St., at Fifth Avenue) in Manhattan on Nov. 15 and 16.
Lot viewing of the collection will take place from Monday, Nov. 11 to Thursday, Nov. 14, at Heritage’s 445 Park Ave. offices, on the 15th floor.
In April, the first part of the selections from the Newman Collection, 159 pattern coins, brought total prices realized of more than $4 million.
Items being sold are from the extensive collection of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (a Missouri not-for-profit corporation).
Proceeds of the sale of all items will be used exclusively for supplementing the society’s museum operations and scholarly research efforts and for the benefit of other not-for-profit institutions selected by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society for public purposes.
For more information about the Newman sale in November, visit Heritage Auctions online at www.ha.com
; write the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941; or telephone Heritage either at 800-872-6467 or 214-528-3500.