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Dave

Newton and the Counterfeiter

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Whether you're into coins, banknotes or both, you're destined to have a good read with this book. And if you're also a fan of Sir Isaac Newton, well, all the better! I'm about half way through this book and I have to say that it's been quite fascinating. This book takes you into the lives of Newton and his eventual adversary William Chaloner, a master counterfeiter. It delves into their histories, but it also gives a great account of the banking system of England when it went from hammered coinage to milled coinage, then on to banknotes. It gives a good insight into the lives of ordinary people at the time, and the reasons behind the changes in the monetary system - more than you might know.

 

Here's a link to Barnes and Nobel's website on this book: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Newton-an...51012787/?itm=1

 

I had to order it online as my local stores didn't have them in, but it only took a couple days to deliver it.

 

Hope those of you who read this enjoy it!

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Thanks for the review, Dave. I think I heard about this book on NPR's Science Friday. I'm looking for a new book to read. I'll check this one out.

 

On a side note, if you're interested in counterfeiters , read "The Forger's Spell" about how a failed artist duped Goerring and made millions with his Dutch Golden Age forgeries! Fascinating read!

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I agree 100%. Prof. Thomas Levenson teaches science journalism and reporting at MIT. He has won several awards for his television productions for Nova. This book takes you to 17th century London. You experience it. He also draws careful character studies of Newton and Chaloner; and he ties the history of the hammered coins to the (coming) future of paper money: Chaloner counterfeited everything, including the new paper of the new Bank of England. Chaloner's mistake was thinking himself so clever -- and he apparently was -- that he was in Newton's league -- which he was not and which few (if any) ever were.

 

Levenson apparently traveled to little known archives of Newtonia. The National University in Jerusalem archives Newton's Biblical tracts, for instance. Another little library in California acquired many empheral documents with a larger collection. Ultimately, as rich as the details are, the over-arching story is the one known to numismatists from the unsurpassed research of Craig who wrote about Newton at the Mint 50 years ago in a set of two papers and a short book. What Craig could not do was bring the videographer's eye to the narrative.

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I just ordered the book from Barnes & Noble. $2.10 plus shipping $3.99 for a new book. Should be a good read.

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