The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a pair of 1939 radio scripts by Eric Newman. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report.
A Pair of 1939 Radio Presentations
If someone talked about numismatics over the airwaves in 1939, what did they discuss? Remarkably, we can answer that question, at least in a couple cases. Recently located in the Eric P. Newman papers are scripts for two presentations delivered by Newman in 1939 over St. Louis radio station WIL (the call letters predated the standard K-format now used west of the Mississippi). The June 11, 1939 script provided an overview of colonial numismatics, while the August 13 presentation related to Newman's recently acquired 1861 St. Louis $10 demand note.
Newman purchased the 1861 demand note (then one of three known) from D.C. Wismer in July 1939 for $125. Wismer wrote to Newman on July 20:
I do not believe you will ever regret buying the note… A wealthy Banker was the owner, and he told me he did not need the money, I was over six months trying to get it before I could get him to name a price, and after he named the price and I sent him my check he said he was sorry he sold it as he had intended to give it to his son. This note later appeared in the Newman VIII sale (Heritage Auctions, November 2017), lot 28315, where it sold for $168,000. (For those scoring at home, the annual return was 9.7%.)
The Newman biographical papers, now at the Missouri History Museum Library in St. Louis, fill in the gaps leading up to the August 13 radio presentation. Newman, almost certainly referring to this $10 demand note, wrote to his then fiancée Evelyn Edison on August 2, 1939,
Got 2 new Missouri banknotes which pleases me very much. In further correspondence on August 4, Newman noted
I am going to make another radio talk on August 13 of the same kind I made before but shorter. So come home & help me write it.
Images: St. Louis $10 Demand note (front), St. Louis $10 Demand note (back)
Andy Newman adds:
"Fascinating in several ways:
Eric's making these 1939 broadcasts
the contemporaneous details he provided in his letter to his fiancee
the contemporaneous details Wismer provided in his note to Eric
Eric's saving of all these documents
Len's discovery of it all and putting the pieces together over 80 years later.
Such a fun example of the kind of numismatic research that would have made Eric proud."
Link to Eric P. Newman 1939 radio presentations:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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