American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

The Beginning of Coinage

New Discoveries and Research on Early Electrum Coinage

15-16 November 2013

American Numismatic Society
75 Varick Street, floor 11
New York NY 10013

Coinage made of electrum, the alloy of gold and silver, stands at the very beginning of the numismatic history of the western world. The earliest electrum coins have long puzzled historians and numismatists alike. What are they made of, and how? When were they made, and why? What can they tell us about the economy and society of the people who produced them? Recent work by archaeologists, numismatists, scientists, historians and economists has thrown remarkable new light on these old problems.

This symposium offered members and others interested in early electrum coinage to learn more about some of these new discoveries. Papers by international experts in the field covered a variety of aspects. These included a discussion by the excavator of the Archaic Artemisium at Ephesus of the archaeological finds and their impact on the dating of electrum coinage; a presentation on the chemical analysis of over 100 coins from the cabinet of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and the American Numismatic Society. These analyses, carried out at Centre Ernest-Babelon in Orléans and at the Field Museum in Chicago using microsampling by laser ablation, have enabled us to see more accurately than ever before the composition of the first coins. The question of why, how and when electrum was used for the first known coins was at the center of the discussion by a series of eminent historians economists and numismatists. The symposium concluded with discussion to which all attendees were invited to contribute.

The symposium was accompanied by a display of electrum coins from the ANS cabinet. Coins from the ANS collection were also available for examination.

There were 35 spaces available for this event
ANS Members who did not have the opportunity to join us for the Symposium, can view a Members Only Vimeo link, where videos of the presentations can be viewed.

  • Symposium participants fee for ANS Members was US$250.
  • Symposium participants fee for for Non-Members was US$300.
  • Fee included full participation for both days with coffee, lunch and afternoon tea included on Saturday.
  • Dinner on Friday, 15 November was available for an optional additional fee of US$95.

Hotel room-blocks for participants were available at the nearby Hampton Inn Manhattan-Soho and the Washington Square Hotel. Please enquire early, as hotel room availability is limited.
Payment Options, Hotel details and group codes are listed below


Friday, 15th November, 2013

  • 1:30 - 2:00
    • Registration and Introduction

  • 2:00 - 3:00
    • The Archaeological Aspects of Electrum Coins: Chronology, Function and Cultural Background. The Case of the Artemision of Ephesus.
      • Dr. Michael Kerschner, Austrian Archaeological Institute, Vienna, Second director of the Ephesos Excavations

  • 3:00 - 4:00
    • Economic Patterns in the Late Archaic Period: The Evidence of Hoards of Electrum Coins
      • Dr. Ute Wartenberg, ANS

  • 4:00 - 4:30
    • Coffee

  • 4:30 - 5:30
    • The Role of 'The State' and Early Electrum Coinage
      • Dr. Peter van Alfen, ANS

  • 5:30 - 7:00
    • Reception

  • 7:30 - 9:30
    • Optional Dinner at a local restaurant (cost $95)

Saturday, 16th November 2013

  • 9:30 - 10:30
    • White Gold in Paris, Analysis and Value.
      • Dr. Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, Centre Ernest-Babelon, Orléans
      • Dr. Frédérique Duyrat, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

  • 10:30 - 11:00
    • Coffee

  • 11:00 - 12:00
    • Preliminary Analyses of Electrum Coins and Natural Gold from Sardis. (title to be confirmed)
      • Prof. Nicholas Cahill, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Field director, Sardis Expedition

  • 12:00 - 1:00
    • More than Meets the Eye: XRF Analyses of 262 Electrum Coins
      • Dr. Haim Gitler, Tamar and Teddy Kollek Chief Curator of Archaeology
        and Curator of Numismatics, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and President of the Israel Numismatic Society. (Presenting)
      • Prof. Yuval Goren, Chair, Graduate Program in Archaeomaterials, Department of Archaeology and ANE Cultures, Tel Aviv University
      • Prof. Oren Tal, Chairperson, Dept. of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University
      • Dr. Koray Konuk, Institut Ausonius, CNRS - Université de Bordeaux

  • 1:00 - 2:00
    • Lunch

  • 2:00 - 3:00
    • Some Thoughts About the Internal Spread of Early Electrum Standards:
 Local Rather Than Chronological Patterns?
      • Dr. Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, Berlin

  • 3:00 - 4:00
    • The Choice for Electrum Monometallism: When and Why
      • Prof. Alain Bresson, University of Chicago

  • 4:00 - 4:30
    • Tea

  • 4:30 - 5:30
    • The Beginning of Coinage: an Economist's View
      • Dr. François R. Velde, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

  • 5:30 - 6:30
    • Summary and Discussion
      • Dr. Andrew Meadows, ANS

Symposium Fee - choose one

November 15 - Dinner Fee: Price $95.00 USD

Questions or to make payment arrangement via telephone call Membership at 212-571-4470 ext. 117. Email inquiries to

Hotel Booking Information
Hampton Inn Manhattan-Soho
54 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013
Telephone: +1-212-226-6288
To book your reservation on-line
Room-blocks from Nov. 11-17, 2013
Room-block booking cut off date is October 14, 2013
Cancellation policy: on or before October 14, 2013: no penalty fees.
After October 14, 2013 will be the full charge of the entire length stay.
This room block has expired - but use the ANS corporate Account:
Please check rates on-line at Hampton Inn Manhattan-Soho before entering the ANS corporate account no. (2703382) when making a reservation. Rates may actually be less on-line than with our account no.. The corporate rate is an averaged rate and offered dependent on availability and may be higher than the on-line posted rate at any given time.

Washington Square Hotel
103 Waverly Place, New York, New York 10011
Telephone: +1-212-777-9515, US Toll Free 1-800-222-0418 or Email:
To book your reservation on-line
This room block has expired - but check availability

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