FY2013 Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library



FY 2013 Annual Report

The library continues to have a healthy stream of visitors working their way through the collections; from local members and residents to scholars from all over the world. Reference requests still remain one of our top activities, and as in previous years, the majority come through via email (from all over the world).

Library Cataloger

I would like to start by thanking a handful of individuals who stepped up this fiscal year to help with the library cataloger fund, including: Dan Hamelberg, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, Sydney Martin, Larry Schwimmer, William A. Burd, Len Augsburger, Tom Harrison, and John P. Huffman. As a result of this, coupled with the donations from last year, we were able to hire a new full-time library cataloger, Katie Rissetto. She has been excellent – efficient, quick, curious, and good-humored, and she has adapted quickly to working at the ANS. We do still need to raise funds to keep this position going so I hope we will be able to meet our goal again this year. We also had significant contributions to the library funds from John W. Adams, Rick Witschonke, George Kolbe, David Fanning, Joseph Foster, and David Andreas. We also have the honor of adding another name to our wall of library donors. This year, we honor the Numismatic Bibliomania Society!



Outside of the library funds, the library received income from the usual sources. We continue to receive moderate income from sales of duplicate items that were listed on Amazon and also through the ANS Library website, including Amazon sales and the Amazon Corporate program, admission fees, and library photocopy fee and reference services.

Auction catalogs and book acquisitions

We received nearly a THOUSAND auction catalogs in response to posting and circulating our lists of “missing” catalogs over the last year. We are particularly grateful to the following individuals for their outstanding support in this area: Rick Witschonke, Normand Pepin, John Keeberg, Rachel Lyubovitzky, Danil Fishteyn, Jere Bacharach, and Heritage and the Teich Family, who were all responsible for the largest groupings of these catalog donations. A significant number of book and catalog donations also came in from: Jonathan Wohl, Mark Tomasko, Tim Welo, Ray Williams, William A. Burd, and so many more; many of these came in from items I had listed on the ‘wish list’ portion of the library. We also received more than double the amount of book donations compared to last year (376 this year compared to 185 last year!). These numbers also do not reflect the numerous pamphlet file and offprint donations. So all told, it was an excellent year for the growth of the library collections.

New acquisitions

At the start of 2013, we acquired a number of exciting lots from the Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Literature sale at the New York International Numismatic Convention in January. The acquisition of these lots was made possible by the following individuals: John W. Adams, Dan Hamelberg, Anthony Terranova, George Kolbe and David Fanning. The lots included items from the Clain-Stefanelli Archives, such as several binders and scrapbooks with handwritten notes illustrated with clipped coin photos or drawings, a unique manuscript from 1720 on British and Saxon Coins, and archival materials on Washingtonia, among others.

In August of this year, we also purchased two notable items. The first is a rare fixed price list from 1790, titled: A catalogue of imperial gold coins : to be sold at the prices affixed to each, On Monday the 8th of March, 1790, at Mr. Edwards's, No. 102, Pall-Mall. The sale seems to be the only occasion where Edwards sold anything other than books or manuscripts and was the carried out by the Edwards’s family, which had a long history in bookbinding and bookselling. The other item we acquired is an Italian translation of Antonio Agustin’s popular Dialogos de Medallas inscriciones y otras antiguedades, which was originally published posthumously in 1587. This translation is one of two completed in Italian in the same year (1592) and printed by the firm of Ascanio and Girolamo in Rome. The other Italian version was translated by Dionigi Ottaviano Sada, a copy of which also exists in the ANS Library.


Preservation and grants

It was a great year for library preservation and we succeeded in securing some modest grants to aid in various preservation projects. The first came from the Bay and Paul Foundations, a private foundation that I mentioned in my last report and our final report for this award was submitted this past summer. In December 2012, I received notice that the library had been awarded an additional grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

This sum allowed us to more fully complete the initial project, which included re-housing a number of unbound auction catalogs that required new archival boxes and also compiling an inventory database which amounted to more than 700 items, and which composes a sample of the entire rare collections, so that we could better understand the priorities and care that are needed.

All of these projects were completed with the help of library intern Emily Dunlay, who was with us for a full year from Sept. 2012 – Sept. 2013. I will be able to report on the final products of these projects next year and you will no doubt hear more about this in future ANS Magazine library columns. We also received notable preservation support from Dan Hamelberg who has funded the creation of protective enclosures for several rare U.S. auction catalogs that were particularly brittle or delicate.

ARCHER digitization

In June 2013, we received an Archive grant to start digitization in ARCHER, from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The project will digitize pages from the notebooks of Edward T. Newell and will fund the staff needed to catalog the material at document level and prepare it for display in ARCHER (the online database of the ANS Archives). We have selected an initial sample of 3,000 pages, which have been chosen based on their variety of content and will allow us to test multiple levels and functions of the cataloging. Again, this project is currently underway and I look forward to reporting on it in more detail in the coming year.

Interns and volunteers

As in previous years, we had a number of hardworking interns and volunteers in the library this year, especially over the summer. These were all students who took time to volunteer in the library, learning how a library is maintained and helping to expand our call numbers and other projects. We also welcomed a new archive volunteer Arnie Tescher, who has been working with archivist David Hill to catalog additional archival collections and add detailed content, such as an index of our 1890s member questionnaires. We had 3 library interns over the summer who worked on various projects such as item creation and organizing sections of thousands of fixed price lists.

Our interns helped push the number of barcoded items above 28,500, which is more than double what it was this time last year, in half the time. As we work our way through the sections, we can more easily identify missing items as well as duplicate records, which will help us clean up the online library catalog and make it ever more useful and efficient.



This year the library also completed its first loan to the Frick Collection in New York City. The exhibit, titled: David d'Angers: Making the Modern Monument, opened on Sept. 17 and will run through Dec. 8 of this year.

Since the ANS Library does not actively participate in external loans, only through special request, it was a learning process for me. I would like to thank ANS Collections Manager Elena Stolyarik for her patience in helping me understand the loan procedure and answering my many questions along the way.


Facsimile project

And finally, a few years ago, Dan Hamelberg initiated a facsimile project, which resulted in a high quality facsimile of a Hart broadside, one of which was auctioned off at the ANS Gala. This year he led the project to create another facsimile of an extremely important item, the Watkins 1828 broadside, which is the earliest U.S. numismatic auction catalog. The only known original of this broadside is the one here within the ANS Library collections. Dan succeeded in finding a source to produce high quality facsimiles a few years ago, and commissioned the production of a number of these facsimiles from our original broadside. He also made sure that the original was properly housed flat and within a protected casing. Dan has donated the facsimiles to the ANS, and we now have a limited number of both the Watkins broadside and the Hart broadside facsimiles for sale.
To conclude, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of the library donors, volunteers, and staff that continue to help make the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library the outstanding resource that it is today!

With special thanks to:

John W. Adams
Len Augsburger
William A. Burd
David Fanning
Joseph Foster
Dan Hamelberg
Tom Harrison
John P. Huffman
John Kleeberg
George Kolbe
Herbert Kreindler
Sydney Martin
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society
Normand Pepin
Lawrence Schwimmer
Anthony Terranova
Mark Tomasko
Rick Witschonke
Jonathan Wohl

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