The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 22, May 25, 2014, Article 2


The elder statesman of American numismatics, Eric Newman, turns 103 today. Happy Birthday! Here's a collection of birthday wishes and photos compiled from longtime E-Sylum contributors and Friends of Eric (isn't everyone?) We start with a report from the Heritage sale of Part IV of Eric's collection last Friday night. -Editor

Mark Borckardt writes:

For those who didn't make the Newman sale, Heritage had cake and ice cream to celebrate Eric's 103rd birthday (a week early), and Eric responded with a witty poem that was read by his son Andy. For those who didn't see it in person, here is the cake -- fittingly it looks like a coin or medal, and it was a nice brown color so we know it was one of the coppers that Eric loved! It was a very touching moment.

Eric Newman 103rd birthday  cake
Len Augsburger provides the text of Eric's poem:

Eric Newman MIT_Technique_vol46_1931 Thanks, Heritage, for the ice cream and birthday cake.
We appreciate the bids you all may make.
Perhaps this will help you to stay awake
Even though there happens to be no fake.

And thanks for your singing and celebration
To a numismatist so long in circulation.

Len also provided this photo from the 1931 MIT yearbook, Eric's junior year. Thanks!

ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenberg writes:

Happy Birthday to our beloved Honorary Trustee Eric Newman from everyone at the American Numismatic Society!

Ute adds:

The most amazing thing is that Eric is supposedly still not our oldest member...

Dave Bowers writes:

It has been my privilege and honor to have known Eric Newman ever since I was a teenager. In the intervening years we have visited many times and interfaced on so many writing and research projects that they cannot be counted. He is truly a national numismatic treasure!

Ray Williams writes:

On behalf of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, I want to congratulate you on your 103rd Birthday. Thank you for the many decades you have dedicated to numismatic research and writing. We look forward to your future publications, but put research to the side today and enjoy the company of family and friends that gather to celebrate with you.

Ray adds:

On March 18th, 2001, I emailed Eric looking for a "donated lot" for the C4 Auction in November. I asked if he would be willing to sign a copy of The Early Paper Money of America on his actual 100th Birthday. His reply was:

Dear Ray:

Only you would think up an idea like signing something on a specific date in the future. I will be glad to cooperate if you will guarantee that I will live and be able to do so. I realize that I would mess it up if I did it in advance. Perhaps that after that date I would ask a congressman to certify that the book was signed on the date requested. Then there could be an argument about which signature was more worthless. There is no need to send me the book as I will be glad to furnish one. If I sign more than one on the proper date and send them to you would that give the matter more publicity.

What I need is the exact language you think would be most appropriate to raise the most for C 4.

Thanks for giving me something to look forward to. Looking forward to your 100th birthday and expect you to write me how you are doing, as still president of C-4.

I had replied to Eric that signing just one book on that date would make it very special. It was auctioned at our November C4 Convention in Boston, where a good friend obtained it with a generous donation. It now resides in a private library in Philadelphia where it is truly appreciated.

Ken Bressett writes:

Happy Birthday Eric. You have added immensely to our enjoyment and knowledge of numismatics. I have been blessed to have you as both friend and mentor for so many years.

Rittenhouse Society

Ken attached this Rittenhouse Society photo with Eric standing at left. It's undated. That's Ken in the white jacket at right next to Margo Russell of Coin World. Here's the full list, courtesy of Ken:

Top row, left to right: Eric Newman; Craig Whitford; Bob Julian; Mike Hodder; Grover Criswell.

Center left to right: Q .David Bowers; (his wife) Christie Bowers; Ken Bressett; Margo Russell.

Seated: Bert Bressett (my wife); Marilyn Fivaz (Bill Fivaz’s wife – he must have taken the picture); and of course the hairy one is Walter Breen.

John Dannreuther writes:

I know how much Eric likes the rhyme,
So I thought I would give it a shot this time.
Collecting some of the coolest coins was his quest
As Yoda would say, an opportune time, we know the rest.
So here's to you, ya young old man,
103 is in the can.
May there be many more, Happy Birthday!!

Dick Johnson writes:

Eric, your numismatic books will live forever, let's hope you can create many more.

A fond memory for me is your visits to my off-campus apartment an 1954 when I was attending Washington University in St. Louis. The furniture was sparse, but I had my complete numismatic library in the apartment. We spent hours poring over numismatic books together.. A delight then and a delight to now recall this 60 years later.

Your more than a dozen published numismatic books have made a great contribution to numismatic literature. Your name will live forever in numismatic journals.

David Sundman writes:

As famed numismatist Eric P. Newman turns 103 this month, it is nice to reflect on how he has helped so many people for so many years in our own numismatic pursuits. My first encounter with Eric P. Newman was in book form, acquiring and using the first edition (1967) of his groundbreaking work, The Early Paper Money of America as a reference. Now I use the 5th edition, and await the 6th that Eric is working on.

I had met Eric P. Newman once at a coin show sometime in the mid-1980s, but I was still surprised to receive a letter from him in late October of 1986: Your advertisement in Stereo World stunned me because I did not know anyone else was sincere in collecting stereo views of mints and the bureau. I knew others must collect that sort of material, but I am glad to know that you do…. I do have a duplicate or so which I would be delighted to trade for something I do not have….

I took him up on his offer to trade duplicate views. This shared interest led to a series of exchanges, usually by mail, to our mutual benefit. Eric and I traded numismatic themed stereoview duplicates back and forth. He also traded me some wonderful Harper’s Weekly, and Leslie’s political cartoons revolving around monetary issues, from the 1860s to early 1900s, as well as western mining wood cuts and articles from various periodicals. I could never buy anything from him, there always had to be a trade, as he was “non-commercial.” All of this was great fun, and reminiscent of my old baseball card trading days with school chums in my youth. Every time we’d meet at various numismatic events, he and I’d check to see if there were any duplicates available for a trade.

More recently I’ve corresponded with Eric usually by e-mail regarding Colonial U.S. currency, and New Hampshire colonial in particular. He has never hesitated to share his knowledge, and give encouragement.

Eric P. Newman is a national treasure, and continues to share his enthusiasm for all things numismatic with everyone he meets. He is an inspiration. Happy Birthday, Eric!

David enclosed a photo of himself with Eric taken at his newly opened Newman Money Museum, the occasion being a seminar on paper money that he sponsored that day.

Eric Newman with David Sundman 2008-05-22
Eric Newman and David Sundman, May 10, 2008

Andy Newman writes:

Eric and Evelyn enjoyed Eric’s 103rd birthday today, eating his favorite foods (and ice cream, of course) and opening a pile of thoughtful cards and packages, many from the numismatic community. We’re extending the celebration to tomorrow when we’ll go out to a big family buffet. Life is good.

Eric is the most gracious and genuine person I've ever met in numismatics, or anywhere else, for that matter. His interest is keen, his knowledge is deep, and his passion is evident to all. Of all the numismatists I've known, I'm proudest to have made Eric's acquaintance - he's a National Treasure. Happy Birthday, Eric! -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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