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    Description

    Eric P. Newman Correspondence Files:
    John J. Ford, Jr.

    Newman, Eric P. Correspondence with John J. Ford, Jr. Approximately 660 pages, consisting of original letters to Eric P. Newman from Ford and carbon copies of Newman's letters in return, 1949-1966, as well as various additional printed items. Materials are generally well-preserved.

    The correspondence between Eric P. Newman and John J. Ford, Jr. begins with various research queries, with Wayte Raymond bringing the two together as Ford studies the Inimica Tyrannis America pieces. On the surface, the two men might seem a perfect match. They each possessed a seemingly boundless energy and curiosity for early American numismatics. They were both unusually intelligent and gifted with the ability to bring together disparate pieces of information to solve mysteries that had resisted solution for generations. They had no interest in the more popular areas of the hobby. But as much as they had in common, there were serious differences between the two that went well beyond quirks of personality or the fact that Newman was uninvolved with commercial numismatics while Ford was a dealer. Newman was judicious and cautious in both his words and actions; Ford was brash and impulsive, with a tendency to be erratic. Newman was fiercely determined to live an ethical and principled life; Ford had a more "devil may care" attitude. It was hard to dislike Ford, though--he was charming, funny, and charismatic--and Newman considered him a friend for nearly two decades, as their letters make apparent.

    Their letters from the 1950s share similarities with the correspondence between Newman and other Colonial specialists of the day, including Bob Vlack, Ken Bressett, and Walter Breen. It is difficult for us today to comprehend just how ignored Colonial coins were at this time. Having this common passion that was shared by so few others helps explain how this varied group of people could sustain one another's interest and talent. The early Newman-Ford letters relate information on their various research projects, negotiate trades, and discuss events and people in the hobby. The death of Wayte Raymond in September 1956 came as a blow (if not a surprise) to both men, as well as to their friend F.C.C. Boyd, who would himself die two years later. Newman's discomfort with some aspects of the Ford's handling of the Raymond Estate would be amplified in the case of the Boyd Estate.

    Boyd and Newman had a close collecting relationship that often resembled a partnership, with one allowing the other to acquire an item that both wanted on the understanding that they would be granted right of first refusal in the event that the item was no longer wanted or the other party died. Newman felt that his agreements with Boyd should have been met by the Estate, and it became increasingly clear that Ford was selling many of Boyd's coins to others and keeping some pieces for himself. In addition, Ford was using the valuations given by Boyd in the decades-old "Col." Green inventory as a basis for paying Boyd's widow, Helen. Newman made strong efforts to remain friends with Ford during this period, but their relationship suffered and Newman clearly felt he had to exercise increased caution with Ford. Toward the end of the period covered in this lot, the correspondence has a resigned and occasionally caustic tone. On May 16, 1966, Ford wrote to Newman that "as much as you annoy me, I still consider you one of the best in the business, if not the best, and to me, there is nothing more important than a crackerjack numismatist!" Newman responded a few days later: "You were nice to say that you still respect my numismatic work even though you state that I annoy you. Did it ever occur to you that you might annoy some people too? If we were all perfect it would be dull." The present lot of correspondence from the files of Eric P. Newman is never dull.
    Estimate $10,000.
    Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2018
    7th-10th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 225

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    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman (softcover)
    A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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