FY 2013 Report
“Supporting scholarly research and publications; and by sponsoring educational and interpretive programs for diverse audiences.”
These elements of the Society’s mission distinguish it from many other collections of similar stature. The ANS publishes, supports the research of others, and its staff travel the United States and, indeed, the World to further the understanding and appreciation of numismatic material. In the digital world of the early 21st century, these elements of the Society’s activities are more important, and can be more ambitious, than at any time in its history. 2012/3 has been a busy year.
Print publications remain a central part of our publication program. In the past year the Society has published more than 2,500 pages of scholarship across its journals and monograph series.
The quarterly ANS Magazine (under the editorship of Dr. van Alfen), the thrice yearly Colonial Newsletter (under Oliver Hoover) and the annual American Journal of Numismatics (edited by myslef and Mr. Hoover) continue to appear on schedule.
Two publications arrived from our printers in late 2012, Martin Beckmann’s Diva Faustina. Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces (Numismatic Studies 26) and Feel of Steel: The Art and History of Bank-Note Engraving in the United States by Mark D. Tomasko.
Spring 2013 saw the arrival of the long awaited, two-volume catalogue of the remarkable collection of Marian and Abraham Sofaer: Coins of the Holy Land: The Abraham and Marian Sofaer Collection at the American Numismatic Society and the Israel Museum (Ancient Coins in North American Collections 8). This multi-year and multi-author project has generated two large volumes of description of some 4,000 coins and related objects produced by the peoples who inhabited the Holy Land from the Persian period in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE through the Crusader Kingdom in the 13th century of the modern era. Assembled over more than 30 years, the collection contains gold, silver and bronze coins of the Persians, Greeks, Samarians, Hebrews, Nabataeans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Crusaders. The collection itself is in the process of being donated to the Society and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. We are particularly indebted to our Adjunct Curator David Hendin for his help in seeing this book through the press.
Over the summer, we co-published (jointly with J.-P. Wayenborgh Verlag) Ophthalmologia Optica et Visio in Nummis (Ophthalmology, Optics and Vision in Numismatics) Hirschberg History of Ophthalmology Supplement Series 13 by Jay M. Galst and Peter G. van Alfen. The volume catalogues roughly 1,700 objects in 14 chapters each of which focuses on a discrete topic, e.g., ophthalmologists, ophthalmological congresses, the blind (and their rehabilitation), optical instruments (including spectacles), and the eye as a symbol. Appearing as volume 13 in the supplemental series to Julius Hirschberg’s History of Ophthalmology, the book also serves to situate the objects within the larger historical context of the ophthalmological and optical disciplines.
The autumn also saw the publication of two major titles in Colonial numismatics. Roger Siboni, Jack Howes and Buell Ish’s New Jersey State Coppers will be the standard reference work on this series for years to come. Every known New Jersey die variety is presented in minute detail with lavish enlarged full-color illustrations, condition censuses, as well as commentary on die states and other notable features. The authors also include such supplementary material as the original documents related to the eighteenth- century coining venture, imitations created for the collector market in the nineteenth century, as well as suggestions for developing a personal collection. At 492 pages and full colour throughout, this has been a major publishing undertaking by the Society.
At the same time, we have also published Philip Mossman’s From Crime to Punishment: Counterfeit and Debased Currencies in Colonial and Pre-Federal America. This wide-ranging study takes as its focus not one coinage or currency, but rather the entire phenomenon of counterfeiting in the pre-Federal period. Drawing on a broad range of evidence, this volume also is illustrated in full colour.
Oliver Hoover has been instrumental in insuring the high quality of both of these Colonial books.
Digital Projects, 2012/3
Ethan Gruber, Ben Hiibner and Sebastian Heath have continued to develop and promote the Society’s place as a world-leader in the creation of scholarly numismatic web resources. In a number of areas, and in collaboration with partners on an international stage, we are setting the agenda for future work.
Work on digitizing the collections continues, now alongside that of digitizing the Huntingdon collection. Our online collection database MANTIS now contains images of 85,353 objects (15% of the collection). The major development in this area has been the launch, to coincide with the October 2013 meeting, of the new version of the online Database, MANTIS 2.0. With this version we have taken a huge step forward in the presentation of our collection on the principles of Linked Open Data. In particular, we are now able to harness work carried out to define numismatic concepts as stable URIs by the nomisma.org project (also based at the Society).
Work continues to enrich the cataloguing of our archives in ARCHER. Reasonably detailed collection-level descriptions now exist of 367 separate archives. We are working at the moment with a slightly higher emphasis on geographic tagging, to demonstrate the utility our mapping interface, and we are also about to begin the digitization of a specific archive at document level, with a view to linking archival records to records of objects in the collection and publications in the library. A start-up grant was awarded to us by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to begin work on the E.T. Newell papers. ARCHER has undergone some significant development to enable us to generate stable, persistent online identities for our records. The Society has registered for a Name Assigning Authority Number (NAAN) that will enable us to start creating Archival Resource Keys (ARKs). This in turn will allow us to contribute material to services such as OCLC’s ArchiveGrid.
Our Online Coins of the Roman Empire project, which was launched in June 2012, has continued to grow, and now provides records for all known Roman coin types through the emperor Commodus. Dr. Bransbourg is working with our current Frances Schwartz intern, Shannon Ness, to improve the cataloguing of our collection, select images for digitization and, also to analyse the Huntington collection for coins not represented in our collection. Development of the web platform has also continued, and a new version will be launched in November 2013 offering an interface in eleven different languages, and incorporating coins from the Berlin collection as well as our own.
Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic (CHRR)
On July 31st a new digital resource was launched jointly by the Society and Dr. Kris Lockyear of the Institute of Archaeology in London, devoted to Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic (CHRR). The database offers information on 694 coin hoards and the 115,000 coins they contain, along with analytical and mapping tools. In the descriptions it provides of individual specimens CHRR draws on nomisma.org identifiers, which have been created from cataloging supplied by the British Museum for the Roman Republic, and from the ANS’ Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) project for the Imperial. We have thus created a virtuous circle by which the resources of two major collections may be harnessed to the benefit of our own collection cataloguing, and also in the creation of new digital tools.
The result of the Society’s enhanced focus on digital output is clear to see in the changing nature of the visitors to our website. Year on year, the number of pages we have served up to visitors as increased from 1 to 1.2 million; our total visitor figure is up from 230,000 to 280,000 and the number of unique visitors from 160,000 to 200,000. Our virtual visitors come from all over the world, though American visits remain in the majority. The number of visitors coming to us on tablets (IPads and the like) is up 200% in the last year, and represents the fastest growing sector of our audience by device.
In the Real World
And ANS staff has also been active in communicating about the Society, our work and research across five continents in the past year. Lectures and talks have been given across the US, in Sweden, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Australia. We have attended the World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, the C4 meeting Baltimore, the Historical Coin Bourse in San Francisco (twice) and the Wall Street Collectors’ Bourse and International Coin show here in New York. We have co-organised a meeting of Roman numismatists in Carnuntum, participated in the First International Turkish Numismatic Congress in Antalya, attended the AIA/APA Convention in Seattle, given papers at the Compture Applications in Archaeology Conference in Perth, Australia, served as faculty on an NEH Institute in New Jersey, and given numerous invited lectures, from Harvard to Oxford, and from Alexandria to Jerusalem.