American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society



ADJUNCT CURATOR OF ROMAN COINS

Gilles Bransbourg

FY 2013 Annual Report

We have proceeded throughout the year with the further advancement of the Online Coinage of the Roman Empire (OCRE) project, which now provides access to the wider public to more than 14,000 Roman Imperial Coins’ types that have been manually input into a database and linked to the ANS collection. During 2012/13, we focused in increasing the covered time span, now incorporating Commodus, making sure all the records were consistent with the RIC catalogues, involving the creations of hundreds of new types, and creating the link with the Berlin Kabinett in order to bring the project to the next stage of its collaborative aspect. With the forthcoming launch of OCRE version 2 and Mantis version 2, new functionalities have been added, allowing the user to browse and search Imperial coins in a more effective and user-friendly manner. Basically, scholars, numismatists and collectors will now be able to conduct thorough online research on the Roman Imperial coinage with the help of a unique web-based resource, incorporating data as diverse as denominations, dates, images, mint, weights, diameters, metallic compositions, issuers, collection of origin, etc. Impressed by these achievements, the Leon Livy Foundation provided the project with a substantial financial grant in order to allow further photographing of the ANS coins.

Beyond the day-to-day curatorial activities, involving the improvement of the ANS data as well as addressing external queries and comments, we were involved in cataloguing the large loan of Roman coins (3,000) that originated from the former A. Huntington collection. They have now been photographed, allowing a significant increase in the range of available images and information that the ANS can make available to the public. Because of the Spanish interests that led to the constitution of that collection, Iberian, Celtiberian and Imperial coins from the ‘Spanish’ Antonine dynasty dominate the materials.

Another focus has been writing several pieces of academic research, to be published in several well known numismatic and ancient history journals or publications, including the Revue Numismatique, where no ANS curator had published for a while, obviously the AJN, the ANS Magazine, as well as in several forthcoming books, including the Witschonke Festschrift, co-edited between Michel Amandry, now retired director of the Cabinet des Médailles, Peter van Alfen and myself.

Lectures this year, beside the ANS Eric P. Newman summer seminar, led to Signs of Inflation: the Five Acts of Inflation, November 27, 2012, ISAW/NYU; participation to the International Colloquium in Brussels, 5-6 septembre 2013, Weights and Monetary Standards in Greece and Italy (2nd century BC - 1st century AD), with Le régime de change flexible dans la Rome de la fin de la République. Forthcoming, The Management of a Subprime Loan in Ancient Rome, October 8, 2013, 2013-2014 Columbia University Classics Colloquium, as well as a conference in Ghent, Belgium, in March 2014.

One of the most exciting projects we were involved with unexpectedly arose with the A la Recherche du Trésor d’Auriol project, a resurrection of the largest hoard of archaic Greek coins even found, back in 1867. With the active curatorial support of the ANS and the loan of several rare pieces from the original hoard (including some recently acquired former A. Huntington coins), a local museum team managed to gather about 70 coins from 4 major museums and collections, many descriptive panels and archeological artifacts, attracting as many as 2,500 visitors in this remote area east of Marseilles, taking advantage of a European Unions sponsored event featuring Marseilles as the European Capital of Culture 2013. The ANS was particularly well represented, with large panels, pictures of ANS coins, and a very nice cabinet displaying ANS coins as well as reproductions of ancient documents provided by the ANS archives with respect to the history of some of those coins. This led to an ANS magazine paper, co-written with Peter van Alfen, with ample considerations about the early Greek presence in the Western Mediterranean, their trade and their coinage. Many articles were published by French local, regional and national medias, with the ANS featuring as a very key partner of the project. The exhibition organizers did a great job at welcoming school children from the entire region, hopefully contributing to future numismatic vocations among the younger generation of Marseillais!