The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 22, May 29, 2011, Article 6


Congratulations once again to numismatic collector, researcher and author Eric P. Newman, who turned 100 years old on May 25. To honor Eric on this milestone, our fellow Rittenhouse Society members pitched in to create and present a gold medal honoring the occasion. Dick Johnson was one of the organizers who made it happen, and below is his account. Great job! -Editor

Eric P. Newman Centenary medal reverse Eric P. Newman Centenary medal obverse

At the last Rittenhouse Society meeting at the 2010 Boston ANA Convention, Joel Orsoz proposed a medal be issued by the Society to member Eric Newman on his 100th anniversary. The proposal was met with unanimous approval by all in attendance. Dave Bowers stated it should be a gold medal and that I should oversee having the medal made.

Since the organization has no treasury the members assessed themselves an amount to pay for the sculptor's models and having the dies made. Medallic Art Company cut the dies and struck the medal.

The medal bears the portrait of Eric on the obverse between symbols of a quill pen and a lamp of knowledge, symbolic of the numismatic knowledge he has provided to the numismatic field. The reverse bears the names on the spines of the 13 books Eric has written. These are shown on two shelves with a tiny bust of David Rittenhouse on the top shelf and an image of Rittenhouse on an open book in the medal's exergue. The Rittenhouse Society, an informal group of numismatists created fifty years ago, was named after Rittenhouse, the first director of the U.S. Mint.

The medal is the creation of sculptor Luigi Badia, among whose work is the Carnegie Hero Fund Medal bearing the portrait of Andrew Carnegie. The reverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz, an artist of more than a dozen coins and medals, both for the U.S. Mint and private commissions.

The Newman family chose the reverse theme of Eric's 13 books. After a frantic search for someone among Rittenhouse Society members who could furnish all 13 books by Newman, the search ended with your editor, Wayne Homren, who sent all 13 to the artist to be modeled for the reverse design.

In names of books on the reverse there is a dollar sign in "Dollar $ign History" -- adding a touch of charm -- and the name "Early Paper Money of America" is in script like on the spine of the actual book. The details in the face of David Rittenhouse in the small statue on the top shelf reverse are distinctive even in such small size.

The presentation of the gold medal to Eric Newman took place at the Pierre Hotel in New York City at 1pm today, Sunday May 29th. In attendance were his wife, Evelyn, his daughter Linda Schapiro and son Andy Newman, and several of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom had assembled in New York City for a weekend of celebrations of Eric's centennial day. John Kraljevich, Scott Rubin and Dick Johnson represented the Rittenhouse Society. In making the presentation Johnson stated:

"Eric, you have left an astounding legacy of your writing -- your numismatic books and articles -- that will last for decades, perhaps, centuries for the benefit of future numismatists. The medal we present to you today on your centennial year will last for centuries, perhaps millenniums or eons. You will long be remembered for the great numismatist you are. On behalf of the Rittenhouse Society I present to you this gold medal bearing your portrait and the 13 books that bear your name. Congratulations and continued long life."

Eric Newman 100th Birthday Medal Presentation

Description of the medal:

Size 2 3/8-inch (60.75 millimeters)
Composition: gold vermeil
Finish: uniform satin finish
Weight: 5.01 troy ounces

Obverse designed and modeled by Luigi Badia
Reverse designed by Joel Iskowitz, modeled by Luigi Badia
Mounting: Cherry wood window top case.

It was a pleasure to be involved. Thanks to Joel Orosz for the inspiration, and to the entire Rittenhouse Society for making it happen. Dick took my copy of Eric's Fugio Cent book to the presentation ceremony and Eric kindly inscribed it to me. Wow!

Dick adds:

We are making available silver and bronze examples of the Newman medal at cost for those who would like their own permanent memento honoring one of America's greatest numismatists. For more information contact:

Dick Johnson
Rittenhouse Medal Chairman

Wayne Homren, Editor

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