I wasn't able to get this flurry of responses in the last issue - several readers responded to Bob Cassling's question about a box accompanying his purchase of a Bechtler $5 coin. Ron Guth suspected that it came from the collection of Waldo Newcomer via Colonel Green. Robert asked:
If Ron is correct, this box likely belonged to either Green or Newcomer. If true, this would solidify the coin's provenance.
Is there an Eric Newman expert out there who might have information?
Do you know anyone familiar with these boxes in reference to Newcomer or Green?
Do you know anyone familiar with the handwriting of Newman, Green or Newcomer?
Some of the comments focused on the manufacturer of the box rather than the collector who owned and wrote on it.
Mark Borckardt writes:
"Those are definitely T. James Clarke produced boxes. The Territorials where in those boxes and went to buyers. There were multiple sizes."
Mark provided a link to John Lupia's article on Clarke (link below).
Tony Terranova agrees:
"T. James Clark made those boxes. He was in the box business."
..as does George Cuhaj, who writes:
"Yes. the box with the white label pad on the front is a TJ Clarke box.
"They were used by the ANS and Smithsonian well into the 1980s when they stopped production. Most of the labels on the back were plain, the lined ones were probably an option as they were also making boxes for pills, and the lined options would be nice for identification and dosage information. Most coin folks did not get covers, but the pill box option must have had covers."
Len Augsburger of the Newman Numismatic Portal writes:
"It looks like a Newcomer coin box to me. Per my notes these boxes were produced by T. James Clarke. These boxes did pass through Eric's hands and just because Eric had the boxes doesn't mean he had all the coins.
"The handwriting looks like Newman's to me but I am not 100% sure.
"We photocopied the colonial boxes --
Pete Smith submitted a letter from E.H.R. Green with examples of his handwriting. Closeups follow.
Pete also kindly provided images of another great piece of numismatic ephemera - a brochure from the T. J. Clarke Box Company.
The capital "B" and "C" are different and I would rule out E.H.R. Green as the writer on Bob's box. The circumstantial evidence seems to point to Newcomer.
Here's Bob Cassling's response and follow-up.
Thanks to all who responded to my question, especially Pete Smith who submitted the all important Clarke brochure and the Green letter.
I was able to send the Green letter and Clarke box electronically to a handwriting expert who was pretty certain that they did not match, though the sample size was too small to be definitive. She was quite insistent on the need of a much larger sample. I even tried to contact his alma mater, Fordham University, for any of his writings, but have yet to hear back.
I pulled this Eric Newman envelope from the Newman Portal and it doesn't seem to match very well to the box handwriting, though I haven't had it professionally analyzed. If there is a better handwritten note out there, that might be helpful.
Another knowledgeable collector speculated that Eric Newman's secretary may have written on the boxes as well. Any information or writing of hers would be appreciated as well.
Though the style of the Newcomer cardboard boxes appears quite similar, these colonial boxes are all typewritten making me wonder if he typed all of his coin boxes. In addition, I have not been able to find any example of Newcomers handwriting, making this connection very difficult. If there is a handwritten Newcomer letter or a written coin box out there, I would love to see it.
So, if anyone out there has any copies of Green's, Newman's, Newcomer's or Newman's secretary handwriting it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you everyone for your input. With your help, this mystery might just be solved.
My Box, Eric Newman I Lot #4058
"Holy cow! That is the Eric Newman handwriting mother lode for sure. Thank you Len for pointing me in the right direction.
"Lot # 4058 from the Newman I sale looks to be a match to my eye (especially the $ sign and the "5").
"Still interested in handwriting samples for EHR Green and Waldo
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
THOMAS JAMES CLARKE (1875-1952)
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 28, 2023 : Bechtler $5 Wooden Box Owner Sought
Wayne Homren, Editor
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