American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society


Mr. Roger Siboni

FY 2012 Annual Report

Today, the voting membership, the Fellows of the Society, will be voting on a new slate of Trustees. And I, after five years as President, have decided to pass the baton on. It has been my pleasure to have been working with an incredible group of individuals - a team of Trustees, and former Trustees, that contribute so much of their time and expertise, all of whom can say they had/have a hand in the successes, vitality and future of the ANS.

You have seen the Nominating and Governance Report of the nominees for Trustees and Officers. And I am thrilled that my good friend, our Treasurer, Syd Martin, will be stepping into the role of President. I cannot think of a better choice to take on the challenges going forward. Although Syd could not be here today – he is ready for the challenge. And I, and the entire Board of Trustees, will do everything in our power to make the next five years even better by building on our accomplishments.

I will remain on the Board (should you re-elect me of course), and will continue to participate in helping the ANS meet its mission to be the “…preeminent…” institution that it is.

It has been my goal since I was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2003, to make sure that the ANS would get on secure financial footing. It has been an incredible journey. We all build on the achievements of our predecessors. And we, with the hard work of the Trustees, Staff, and Membership, have been through some turbulent, challenging times. But here we are. Is it not incredible? Many of you will remember the ANS’s struggles to overcome financial woes of the 1990’s, and the early 2000’s, the move from Audubon Terrace to Fulton Street, and of course the sale of the Fulton Street Building, which was so brilliantly purchased in 1998 by our friend Don Partrick.

One of my goals was to make sure the ANS would improve its outreach to Members and the numismatic community. Now we have the incredible on-line research tools DONUM, MANTIS and ARCHER. You will hear more about the progress of these tools from Dr. Meadows this afternoon. And our outreach, both on line and at conferences and programs around the country – around the world is growing.

With hard work, some lucky, serendipitous events, with determination, we are getting through the financial miasma that has affected so many other culture institutions. The Trustees and staff of the ANS are all extraordinary people to work with. I want to acknowledge the great work of all the Trustees, and thank those who are stepping down from the Board this year—you will be missed: Jane Cody, always a calm presence; Stanley DeForest Scott, real estate wise counsel; Dan Holmes, actively helping generously with every effort; Walter Husak a great member of the Large Cent group, from the Sheldon affair to collecting. On staff, let me point Elizabeth Hahn, Elena Stolyarik, Peter van Alfen, Robert Hoge, Joanne Isaac, Anna Chang – to name just the key players.

You have gone with me through some of the best and worst times. Worst times were few: the disposal of the Huntington collection, its loss for our field, was probably the worst, but even here we have a success in the end: I am so grateful that our generous anonymous donor stepped forward and rescued such a large part of this collection. The ANS success though, depends on the contributions and support of its friends and Members. Last night the Trustees, and Augustus B. Sage Society members held a dinner to thank those who, in 2012 we are proud to recognize as Benefactors and Donors to the Society and Library.

Our Wall of Benefactors, at our front entrance – the displaying of which dates to the ANS beginnings, is a place of the highest esteem for those whose names we enshrine upon it. And we are very pleased to add today, the names of:
John W. Adams, and Abraham Sofaer & Marion Scheuer Sofaer.

John Adams: few members of the American Numismatic Society are more committed to our institution than John Adams. He exemplifies simply everything the Society wishes to promote: as one of the world’s greatest collectors of American coins and medals, he has written many important articles about a variety of medals. He is a scholar of first rank, which reviews of his books on the Comitia Americana Series, Indian Peace Medals, Admiral Vernon medals or the fascinating series of John Law medals show. He is a member of many numismatic organizations where he has taken leadership positions to advance for what he really and truly cares.
John holds a BA from Princeton, an MBA from Harvard, and is the Chairman of Adams, Harkness and Hill, a Boston-based investment firm.\\ The American Numismatic Society has benefitted for decades from his engagement. He has been a member since 1973, was elected a Fellow in 2000, served as a Councilor/Trustee from 2000-2008. During this period, his leadership of the Library Committee was instrumental in raising an endowment for the Frank Campbell Librarianship. With his typical charm and persistence, he persuaded many members and outsiders to contribute to this important position. It goes without saying that he was a lead contributor in this enterprise. His long-standing relationship with the Harry W. Bass Library at the ANS and Frank Campbell continues to this day, when he stays keenly involved in all aspects of the Society.

And we add the names of:
Abraham D. Sofaer and Marian Scheuer Sofaer,
In Abraham Sofaer we are honoring another exemplary collector and individual. One of this country’s great intellectuals, Abe is well known for his many contributions on issues about war, diplomacy, international law and terrorism. He holds the position of first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. From 1985-90, he served as a legal adviser to the US Department of State, where he resolved several interstate matters, including the dispute between Egypt and Israel over Taba, the claim against Iraq for its attack on the USS Stark, and the claims against Chile for the assassination of Orlando Letelier. Prior to that he served US district judge in the Southern District Court of New York. He is an accomplished Jazz singer.
Luckily for our field, he finds enough time for coins. Inspired many years ago by our Huntington winner, Yaakov Meshorer, Abe Sofaer has put together a fascinating collection of coins of the Near East – the Holy Land- which shows the many complexities of this area from the Persian period into the Medieval period.
Abe’s collection of over 5000 coins is about to be published by the American Numismatic Society. The project, which has been in preparation for over ten years, has been very generously supported by Abe Sofaer and his wife Marian Scheuer Sofaer. We are most grateful for Abe’s and Marian’s decision to donate their extraordinary Jewish collection to the ANS. Their generosity in giving their wonderful holdings to museums show their dedication to making their coins for research, exhibitions and the general public. With their gifts, which continue to come to the ANS, their names have joined the great donors of Edward Newell, Archer Huntington, and so many others who have made the ANS one of the greatest coin cabinets in the world. We will do everything to care for these coins, which were given into our care.

On the Wall of Library Donors, new name plaques, a feature we started in the Library with our move here in 2008 we have add:
William A. Burd
D. Brent Pogue. We are most grateful for their generosity.

There is a lot of ground to cover today, you will hear about the triumphs of the year and goals of the staff going forward.
Before we move on I will briefly review the 2012 and 2013 fiscal reality.

The financial news for the year 2011/12 is all good. Staff have ensured that we once again operated within our budget. The move to the new premises has allowed us to stabilize our operating costs, as the Deputy Director will be reporting later. And on the other side our Trustees, Fellows and Sage and Regular Members continue to show their generosity through payment of their dues. Many have made additional contributions in addition.
We are very pleased that contributions were $332,758;
the Sage Society of members donating $2,500 brought $112,500;
membership dues, perhaps because of some life members joining, were at $122,815.\\ Our gala raised $73,294 after all expenses.

At the same time the Society’s investments have shown a strong return of 12.2%, which considerably exceeds the 5% that we budget to draw down every year. Our preliminary figures for the year suggest that the immediate result for the Society is that our Net Asset figure will rise by slightly over $2M from $43.7M to $45.7M. I would like to congratulate staff on having once again stuck to a tight operating budget, and to thank my fellow Trustees on the Finance and Investment Committees for their careful stewardship of the Society’s endowment.