Background on Eric P. Newman

Eric P. Newman of St. Louis is one of America’s foremost numismatists. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS 1932) and Washington University in St. Louis (JD 1935), his storied career began more than eight decades ago when his grandfather gave him an 1859 one-cent piece. In the years since, he has solved such scholarly riddles as the mystery of the 1804 dollar; owned all five enigmatic 1913 Liberty Head Nickels; and built one of the finest private collections of United States and Colonial America coins and paper money.

Newman has written scores of articles as well as several books that have become standards in the field. These include The Fantastic 1804 Dollar (1962), with Kenneth Bressett, as well as The 1776 Continental Currency Coinage: Varieties of the Fugio Cent (1952); The Early Paper Money of America (1967, now in its fourth edition); Coinage for Colonial Virginia (1957); and most recently U.S. Coin Scales and Counterfeit Coin Detectors (2000), with A. George Mallis. In addition, Newman edited a survey of Studies on Money in Early America (1976); and has hosted a number of videos for the American Numismatic Association, including The Puzzling Origin of the $ Sign (1991) and The Promotion and Suppression of Hard Times Tokens (1995).

Newman, who has served as president of the Harry Edison Foundation since 1988, is a longtime member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the American Numismatic Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Explorer’s Club and other learned and collectors organizations.

He has taught numismatics at the Graduate Student Summer Seminar at ANS for more than 25 years. In 1958, he founded the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society to support numismatic study and research. He also served in 1976 as Chairman of the Coins and Medals Advisory Panel of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. In 1992, he was awarded a special commendation by the Virginia General Assembly honoring his exhaustive research.

Other honors include the Huntington Medal (the highest honor of ANS) in 1978; the Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society of England; and many honors from ANA, including the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award (1969), the highest ANA tribute. In 1986, he was inducted into the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame and in 1996 was named Numismatist of the Year. In 2001, he received the Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic Writing.