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Portal opens, walk through it

You won’t find a real-time bullion price feed or the latest auction headline there, but numismatic scholarship has taken a giant leap forward with the opening of the Newman Numismatic Portal.

The research site has over 3,000 documents, representing more than 100,000 pages freely available to users. More will come.

Take a look at it. Poke around. Kick the tires.

The website is an incredible gift to all collectors. It is a gift that will keep growing.

Right now, the documents on the site are a mix of auction catalogs, periodicals, reference books, and archival material.

Most of this material is unique to the Newman Portal and has not been previously scanned.

“I have long wanted to make the literature and images of numismatics, particularly American numismatics, available to everyone on a free and forever basis,” said Eric P. Newman, the 104-yar-old president of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society in announcing the opening of the portal.

Where does an average collector start?

There are contributions from a number of other private collectors. Dan Hamelberg, Bill Burd and Joel Orosz lent material to the Newman Portal for scanning.

The scanning operation only just began at the Washington University Libararies in July 2015 and at the American Numismatic Society in November 2015.

Funding has come from the sale of some of the numismatic holdings of the EPNNES.

However, the effort is not just Newman’s alone.

While ongoing scanning operations continue to build the virtual library of the Newman Portal, its long-term goal is to increase collector collaboration and foster knowledge sharing through crowdsourcing and other initiatives.

The Newman Portal already has partnered with over a dozen specialty and regional organizations to provide access to back issues of their journals.

While you won’t find bullion prices, the portal aims to be as helpful as possible to all collectors.

Resources such as Pete Smith American Numismatic Biographies and Albert Frey’s dictionary from the American Journal of Numismatics have been broken down into separate entries and appear individually in search results.

And the marketplace is not ignored.

The U.S. coin encyclopedia contains over two million auctions prices realized.

While we owe Newman our thanks and the recognition that nobody else could possibly have gotten this started, the future of the Newman Portal is also in the hands of everyone in numismatics.

What we make of it, I hope, will honor Newman and be something that we all can be proud of.

The best way of showing our gratitude to him is using the site and contributing information to it where and when we can.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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