US Coins

‘Colonial Newsletter’ undergoes revisions

Excerpts illustrate pages from a 2017 issue of “The Colonial Coin Newsletter,” which will cease publication, and the soon-to-be-published “Journal of Early American Numismatics.”

Original images courtesy of American Numismatic Society.

After nearly six decades of continuous publication, The Colonial Newsletter is being folded and replaced with the Journal of Early American Numismatics, to be known as JEAN.

The American Numismatic Society, which assumed publication of The Colonial Newsletter, or CNL, in 1996, is executing the change to make it more recognizable as the numismatic research publication that it is.

The first issue of JEAN is planned for mid-June, with 230 pages, more than the entire cumulative number of pages for CNL during its first eight years of publication, from 1960 to 1968.

The physical format for JEAN is being changed from that used for CNL, to make it more compatible for libraries and other such educational institutions to handle. 

JEAN’s editorial focus will change to encompass numismatics of all the Americas for the same time period covered by CNL. 

JEAN is to be published twice per year, in June and December, as a bound scholarly journal. An annual subscription will be $65 postpaid.

Anyone wishing to obtain Volume 1 of JEAN can do so by going to the ANS website here.

CNL was founded in 1960 by Alfred D. Hoch, of Lexington, Massachusetts, founder of Quarterman Publications, to “provide in permanent form an exchange of information, opinions and discoveries concerning early American numismatics.” The editorship of CNL was assumed by James C. Spilman in 1963. Upon Spilman’s retirement in 1996, CNL was donated to the ANS.


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Adjunct ANS Curator Oliver Hoover has been editor of CNL under the ANS for several years. The editor’s reigns for JEAN are being assumed by numismatist Christopher R. McDowell, an attorney from Cincinnati.

“A name change was debated in the past,” McDowell said, adding, “but we have found this is not sufficient. Over its 56 years The Colonial Newsletter has become the leading scholarly journal in the area of Colonial numismatics, but the name has not changed to reflect this,” he said. 

“The physical size of The Colonial Newsletter in combination with the word ‘Newsletter’ has resulted in the publication being turned away from libraries and universities. In addition, some authors have chosen to send their work to other publications simply because the former name connoted something other than a scholarly journal; this is true despite CNL’s reputation and actual contents.

“We believe that by changing the name, we can increase circulation and maintain our outstanding content. All of the associate editors of CNL will be part of JEAN, plus we are adding two new associate editors, Ray Williams and Vicken Yegparian. The reason why two new editors have been added is because we will be greatly increasing the size of our publication. The previous binding kept the publication to under 75 pages, but JEAN’s new binding permits us to publish much more. The first issue of JEAN, which will be out around mid-June, will contain over 230 pages of articles on Colonial numismatics. By way of comparison, this one issue of JEAN will equal the output of CNL from 1960 to 1968,” McDowell said.

According to ANS Director of Publications Andrew Reinhard, JEAN will be the same size as the current series of the American Journal of Numismatics and will be issued in paperback instead of hardcover like the AJN.

JEAN will measure 6 inches by 9 inches with the body text in 10-point Minion Pro font. CNL measures 8.5 inches by 11 inches with text in 10-point Arial font.

JEAN’s editorial focus will also differ from that of CNL.

“We will also be explicitly expanding our coverage to focus on the New World and coins minted in the New World that circulated in the geographic territory that now includes the United States,” McDowell said. “Our focus will remain on American Colonial numismatics, but we acknowledge that the definition of that term includes coins that circulated not just in New England, but also coins that circulated in areas west of the Mississippi River, Texas, Florida, and California. This corresponds to what is included in the Red Book’s [A Guide Book of United States Coins] Colonial coin section. We strongly feel that all of these changes are positive and represent ANS’s commitment to the publication and desire to see it grow and prosper for the next 50 years. In the last issue of CNL, I informed our readers of the upcoming changes and sought their input. All of the comments I received were positive. The changes are universally supported by our subscribers, ANS, and editorial staff. 

“I have been saving articles to place in this first issue to make sure it is fantastic. There will be several ground-breaking discoveries present in the first issue of JEAN,” McDowell added.  

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