American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

Part of a letter from the collection

Robert F. Kelley correspondence and coin lists, 1943-1965
0.2 cubic feet (1 box)

Biographical note
Coin collector and State Department official Robert F. Kelley (1894-1976) was born in Somerville, Massachusetts. He received a B.A. (1915) and an M.A. (1917) from Harvard and then attended the Sorbonne in Paris. After serving in World War I, he joined the State Department in 1922 and became head of the new Division of Eastern European Affairs in 1926, a position he held until 1937. He later served as counselor of the U.S. embassy at Ankara, Turkey. He left the State Department in 1945 and was then associated with the anti-Soviet broadcasting service Radio Liberty. As a collector, Kelley was somewhat secretive. He had become an associate member of the American Numismatic Society in 1948, but by 1977, when his valuable collection of Roman and Byzantine coins were bequeathed to the Society, he and his collection were virtually unknown among the membership.

Correspondence (1943-1953) relates to Kelley’s purchasing of coins from coin dealers. Correspondents include Daisy Humphreys (American Legation, Beirut), New Netherlands Coin Company (New York City), Stack’s (New York City), Hans M. F. Schulman (New York City), Munzen Und Medaillen A.G. (Basel, Switzerland), Edward Gans (New York City), B.A. Seaby (London), Spink & Son (London), Georges Zacos & Petro Hanaz (Istanbul), and Nicolas Avgheris (Istanbul). Some of the correspondence include invoices and coin rubbings or photographs. Also included are annotated coin lists from catalogs (1954-1965).

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