Ute Wartenberg Kagan
FY 2013 Annual Report
Trustees, Fellows, Members
What happened this year? Reports will be presented by our staff, who will cover the details. In short, the big picture is that it was a financially good year, although we faced some challenges within, largely as a few long-time staff members had left recently. Undoubtedly the most important event is the retirement of our beloved colleague, Robert Hoge, who has served since 2001 as Curator of North American Coins and Currency. I still remember the exact day that Robert was supposed to fly from his home in Colorado to the big Apple. It had not been exactly easy to persuade him to take a position in New York, which was so noisy, big, expensive and different from Colorado Springs where he worked for many years as curator at the American Numismatic Association. Looking back at it now, it was nothing short of a miracle that Robert came to New York: he left his Colorado apartment on the morning of 11 September 2001 and when handing in his keys, he saw on a television the images of the burning World Trade Center. But he did come, and New York and the ANS have become his home, where he would work for so many years and then meet his beautiful wife Immaculada!
Robert’s knowledge of numismatics is legendary among scholars and collectors, and he will be a hard act to follow. During his tenure, Robert oversaw almost all parts of the collection, arguably as there was no curatorial staff at the beginning, but as much for the reason that he loves all kinds of numismatics. “It was fortunate that he knew not only French, Spanish and Latin, but had studied Chinese, Arabic and Urdu as well”, as he put it recently himself. Robert has always focused on writing shorter, highly interesting pieces on individual coins, and his columns and articles in the ANS Magazine and elsewhere are gems of numismatic writing.
During his tenure at the ANS, Robert Hoge was able to work on some truly amazing gifts of American coins and medals: foremost, the Julius Korein collection of Gobrecht dollars, one of the largest and most generous gifts in decades; the many amazing coins and medals given by our Fellow Tony Terranova, our former President Roger Siboni, and the Colonial Newsletter Foundation, which donated 1241 Connecticut coppers.
Like several other staff members, Robert moved the enormous collections twice, first to William Street and then more recently here to Varick Street. None of this adequately captures what he has done for the Society, its members and his colleagues. Luckily we will be able to count on Bob, who continues to provide valuable help here at the Society. We all wish him much happiness, good health and fun in his retirement.
Pursuing the theme of great numismatists, it was a great honor this year to award two Huntington Award Medal in Athens to two outstanding scholars, Dr. Yannis Touratsoglou and Professor Olivier Picard. The latter was Director of the French School in Athens, has written many standard books on Greek numismatics and archaeology, while having produced a formidable school of numismatists who are following him in his footsteps. Yannis Touratsoglou has written extensively on coinage, art, history, and archaeology of Greece while being director of the Athens Numismatic Museum and Deputy Director of the National Museum in Athens. At a wonderful ceremony in the Cotsen Hall of the American School in Athens, Andrew Meadows and I were able to honor our colleagues on behalf of the Society in a circle of friends and members.
Closer to home, we have had a lot of work, and you will see that we have added staff to our small team. At the beginning of the year, the permanent ANS staff was smaller than it had ever been in recent decades; we have therefore added new staff, in particular in fundraising and development. I am happy to introduce our new Development Consultant, Ms. Eshel Kreiter, who comes to the ANS with a distinguished career in developing organizations in New York. She is working with Ms. Viviana Londono-Danailov, our new Membership and Development Assistant. We are also fortunate to have Ms. Georgine Paltzer with us, who is studying for a degree in not-for-profit management while working for the year as a Development Intern at the Society.
As Eshel will report later in more detail, we have had a good year for fundraising: almost $1 million were generously donated to the ANS, a sum that excludes the sales, publication, rental and other income. This is considerably higher than expected, and is largely due to a few benefactors. My main thanks are due to our Chairman, Kenneth Edlow for his generous gifts, which have helped greatly to fund some important curatorial research; to our Trustee Rick Beleson for a beautiful surprise gift of $100,000 in honor of Rick Witschonke during our gala celebration; and to a most generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous: he made a major donation of $100,000 to endow a lectureship in memory of Elvira and Valdimir Clain-Stefanelli. The Society’s Archives have acquired significant parts of the research archives of this famous numismatic husband and wife team. Arnold Peter Weiss very generously underwrote my ongoing research project on early electrum coinage.
Significant funding was also received from our former Trustee Emilio Ortiz, who generously underwrote the digitization of our coinage and currency of Cuba. We are also grateful to the Bibliomania Society for the continuous support of the ANS Library: their accumulative gifts are being honored today with the addition of a new library donor plaque. There have been very many generous gifts to the collections, which Elena Stolyarik and others will highlight in more detail, but I would like to recognize Marian Scheuer Sofaer and Abraham Sofaer for their continued donations of parts of their fabulous collection of Jewish coins; Tony Terranova, whose donation of his collection of counterfeit American Peace Medals is a great addition to our collection of this series. Last but not least there is our Trustee Larry Adams: for his donation of a most beautiful gold medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters awarded to Aaron Copeland. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all our donors and indeed our members for everything they do to shape the future of numismatics. Without everyone’s active support and interest in the Society, we would be unable to provide the services, activities and research that we undertake.
Other highlights of the year were our annual gala: we honored our former President Roger Siboni for his contributions to our organization; Rick Witschonke and Rosemary Lazenby also received awards during our event at the Waldorf Astoria in January. Rosemary Lazenby was honored in celebration of the closing of the exhibition Drachmas, Doubloons and Dollars, which closed after a most successful run of over 11 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, during which period an estimated 500,000 visitors saw many of the Society’s greatest coins and other objects.
As always, before handing over to my colleagues, I would like to express my gratitude to the entire staff, our volunteers, members and others, who help so much all year around. There are many people here today, and I shall not list them all now, but I would like to express my personal gratitude to our Chairman Kenneth Edlow for his support, which goes beyond far what is usually expected in this position. One other person who gets rarely mentioned is our Fellow Robert Leonard, who over the years has assisted me and the Society at many coin shows – an often unappreciated and difficult task. What he and so many others do year in year out for the Society is not always mentioned or praised in annual meetings, but none of us takes it for granted.