New exhibit: Selections from NNP

The Newman Numismatic Portal is an online research portal dedicated to becoming the primary and most comprehensive resource for numismatics. Work on NNP began two years ago, with ongoing digitization of numismatic research and reference materials from the library of Eric P. Newman, numismatic organizations, and private collectors. NNP now features a range of materials and media types with over 800,000 pages of material available as of December 2016. Because NNP is such a vast resource, Scholarly Publishing has recently created a digital exhibit featuring objects from NNP and will continue to develop these curated exhibits as the project goes on.

The first exhibit features materials towards the creation of the Kennedy Half Dollar. Within days of the Kennedy assassination, Congressional and Mint officials developed consensus on the design of the new half dollar coin, which would feature a portrait of Kennedy, as well as the Presidential seal. In parallel, Congress was working to enact the legislation necessary for the design change. The law mandated that coinage designs be unchanged for 25 years, and, as the Benjamin Franklin half dollar had been introduced in 1948, congressional action was required to authorize the use of the Kennedy portrait. Within days of the assassination, Congressional and Mint officials developed consensus on the design of the new half dollar coin, which would feature a portrait of Kennedy, as well as the Presidential seal. Both of these concepts were adapted from the 1961 U.S. Mint medal commemorating Kennedy’s inauguration. The inauguration medal is thus an important precursor, from a design standpoint, of the Kennedy half dollar. In parallel, Congress was working to enact the legislation necessary for the design change. The law mandated that coinage designs be unchanged for 25 years, and, as the Benjamin Franklin half dollar had been introduced in 1948, congressional action was required to authorize the use of the Kennedy portrait.

In this digital exhibit, you will find the Director of the U.S. Mint’s working papers on the Kennedy half dollar from the National Archives an an audio recording from the engraver of Kennedy’s portrait on the coin, among other materials. View the exhibit.

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Please contact Shannon Davis at: ssdavis@wustl.edu