In his "Numismatic Bookie" column in the July 23, 2012 issue of Coin World, Joel Orosz reviews Eric P. Newman's 1959 book, The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling.
Here's an excerpt.
Sylvester Sage Crosby’s The Early Coins of America illustrates two varieties of the rarest American colonial coin: the Massachusetts Good Samaritan shilling.
Is the Good Samaritan shilling genuine? The answer — an emphatic “No” — was provided by the remarkable detective work of Eric P. Newman, in his The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling.
The shilling first surfaced in the United States when it appeared in the 1882 auction of the Charles Bushnell Collection, cataloged by brothers Henry and S.H. Chapman. Loren Parmelee of Boston bought it for $650 — the highest price of any coin in the auction, and also the approximate value of an 1804 dollar in 1882! Many collectors, however, smelled a rat.
One dealer, Ed Frossard, dismissed the Bushnell example as “bogus and modern.” Its reputation diminished, the Bushnell shilling next sold at auction, in 1890, for only $210. Yet, it was purchased by a respected numismatist, Hillyer Ryder, and was listed and illustrated in A Guide Book of United States Coins from 1947 to 1960 as a genuine Massachusetts silver coin pattern.
So was it real or bogus? Enter Mr. Newman, who in 1959 decided to solve the mystery.
I cannot do full justice, in a short column, to the brilliance of Eric’s investigations in exposing these two “shillings” as frauds (not “counterfeits” since there never had been such a thing as a genuine Good Samaritan shilling), but I can say that the impressive research is delivered with Eric’s signature dry wit that makes it a joy to read. For instance, he dismisses a struck copy of the Bushnell shilling as a “muled restrike of a reproduction of an erroneous drawing, copied from a conjured illustration of a genuine coin,” and concludes that all of this made it “the ‘fakest’ coin in history!” The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling is available from numismatic booksellers, and will be among the “bestest” numismatic books you’ll ever read!
To read the complete article, see:
Newman exposes 'fakest' coin:
The Good Samaritan 'shilling'
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster