Foundation, Charter and Mission
The American Numismatic Society, organized in 1858 and incorporated in 1865 in New York State, operates as a research museum under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is recognized as a publicly supported organization under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) as confirmed on November 1, 1970. The original objectives of the ANS, "the collection and preservation of coins and medals, the investigation of matters connected therewith, and the popularization of the science of Numismatics,” have evolved into the mission approved by the Society‘s Board of Trustees:
"The mission of The American Numismatic Society shall be to promote and advance the study, research, and appreciation of numismatics.”
On October 23, 2008, The American Numismatic Society officially opened its new headquarters at 75 Varick Street (and the corner of Canal Street) in lower Manhattan.
There are educational and research facilities now available to international scholars, students and the general public who are interested in studying coins, medals and other treasures in the Society‘s superb collection. The new premises also encompass the world‘s best numismatic library.
Membership and Organization
The membership of the ANS comprises, in the main, academics, serious collectors and professional numismatists, concentrated in the United States but with a substantial international component. Applicants for membership are proposed for election by the Society‘s Board of Trustees at its regular meetings. Membership classes and numbers as of October 2004 include:
Associates (open to all with a serious interest in numismatics) - 1875 individual, 112 institutional;
Fellows and Honorary Fellows (limited in number to 225 and empowered to vote on Society business) - 198 individual;
Corresponding Members (open to foreign scholars of distinction) - 54 individual.
The governing body of the ANS is its Board of Trustees, which currently numbers 24 Fellows or Associate Members, elected to three-year terms in classes of 3, and headed by a President, Sydney F. Martin. Other officer positions include: First Vice-President; Second Vice-President; Treasurer; and Secretary, all elected annually.
A list of past officers of the ANS is located in the archives section of the website.
The day-to-day operations of the Society are administered by its Executive Director, Gilles Bransbourg. The Society‘s full-time staff includes professional and support positions, augmented by part-time staff and several regular volunteers. Contact ANS.
The work of the Society is divided among seven departments: Curatorial; Library; Editorial; Archives; Photography; Development; and Administrative.
The numismatic collection, estimated at approximately 800,000 coins and related objects, is of international caliber, rivalled only by the largest state collections of Europe. Abounding in both large study collections and great rarities, the Society‘s cabinets are particularly strong in Ancient Greek coinage, where the Hellenistic section is particularly notable; Roman Republican period issues; Islamic, of exceptional breadth and depth; Far Eastern, particularly the Chinese material; Latin American, developed over the past 40 years; and United States, both the Colonial series and Federal issues, as well as private coinages.
The library houses more than 100,000 items, comprising bound volumes, pamphlets, manuscripts, auction catalogues, and microforms. Access to the fully catalogued collections is facilitated by a specially designed subject guide and authority file.
The ANS headquarters features revolving exhibits. The exhibits are generally open Monday-Friday 9:30am to 4:30pm except bank holidays. For more information about these rotating exhibits, please visit the Exhibits page.
The ANS facilities are open to the public five days each week. The exhibition and the ANS premises welcome over 45,000 visitors per year.
The Society‘s Graduate Seminar in Numismatics, conducted each summer since 1952, enjoys a reputation as the foremost training program in the discipline. In addition, the ANS administers museum, library, and archival internships and organizes public lectures, conferences, including the Coinage of the Americas Conference with a focus on the Western Hemisphere, and jointly sponsored symposia across the United States.
The ANS publishes in a variety of series, prominent among which are two journals, the American Journal of Numismatics and the Colonial Newsletter, the annual bibliography of the profession, Numismatic Literature, two monographic series, which have accounted for a total of 193 titles to date, as well as special series such as exhibit catalogues and conference proceedings volumes. In 2002 the ANS launched The American Numismatic Society Magazine which presents regular columns from the Society‘s various departments, including contributions from individual curators, feature length articles on numismatic or related topics, announcements about upcoming events, and highlights from conferences and functions. This full-color publication is issued three times a year.
The history of the ANS's publications program is located in the archives section of the website.
The ANS is a constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies, the International Numismatic Commission, the American Association of Museums, as well as a supporting member of the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.