FY 2014 Annual Report
During the fiscal year 2014 the Society acquired over 2,256 objects through gift and purchase:
Several notable acquisitions must be singled out for special mention.
At the beginning of our fiscal year 2014 we received an anonymous gift. This donation includes a group of 70 coins, issued by the Visigoths and Burgundians, all from the collection of our early 20th century benefactor Archer Huntington (former HSA collection). Many of the coins in this donation can be traced to the famous La Capilla hoard, found near Seville in 1891. This collection is of incalculable value for our knowledge of Visigothic Spain, and the ANS is extremely fortunate to have received these coins.
Our benefactors Abraham D. and Marian Scheuer Sofaer continue to enrich our collection of ancient Judaean coins. Their most recent donation consists of 447 coins of the Hasmonean dynasty of the ancient Holy Land.
The ANS continues to add new examples from the former Huntington collection to the cabinet. This fiscal year from the Jesús Vico Auction 136 (7.xi.2013); CNG e-sale (12.iv.2013) and CNG 96 auction (14.v.2014) our coin department obtained 23 rare coins not represented in the collection.
From our fellow, William A. Burd, the Society received a group of interesting medals issued in memory of famous European composers, such as a silver uniface medal commemorating Austrian-Slovenian composer Hugo Wolf, designed by Franz Kounitzky; and a commemorative bronze medal dedicated to another Austrian composer, Anton Bruckner, known for his symphonies and masses. William Burd’s gift also includes an attractive bronze medallion dedicated to Gustav Mahler, one of the leading musicians and conductors of his generation. This medal was adopted by the Mahler Society as its annual award.
Another interesting donation was obtained from the Society’s longtime member Robert W. Schaaf. This group also consists of medals commemorating world-famous composers, such as a bronze medal of 1870 issued for the Vienna Beethoven Festival, designed by Karl Radnitzky; a bronze plaquette with an image of the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, widely regarded for the world-famous symphonic cycle Má Vlast ("My Homeland"). Another attractive example is a bronze medal commemorating the Armenian composer known as Komitas. He is regarded as a founder of Armenian classical music and his most important work, Badarak, is still used today in the Armenian Church liturgy.
From Kent Ponterio, the ANS cabinet received an interesting group of eleven Japanese medals not represented in our collection. Among these is a gold medal of 1903 dedicated to the Osaka Industrial Exhibition with a uniformed bust of Prince Kotohito and a silver medal commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Meiji emperor. We also received a medal of 1921, issued in conjunction with the Crown Prince Hirohito’s visit to England. He was the first Japanese crown prince to travel abroad. The image on the reverse shows one of the last Japanese warships designed and built overseas in England.
In August, ANS Trustee Dr. Lawrence A. Adams enriched our medal collection with a donation of two remarkable examples. The first is a 14k cast gold medal depicting John F. Kennedy on the obverse and on the reverse the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, marking its dedication by President Richard M. Nixon on September 8, 1971. This medal was designed by C. Paul Jennewein, the prominent American sculptor. The other example from the Adams gift is a gold medal that Phineas Taylor Barnum presented to his assistant manager, W. F. Sommerfield, in 1871. Barnum was a legendary man. He is remembered as a successful entertainment promoter who gave his name to one of the most renowned circuses of nineteenth-century America.
Last spring, while traveling in China, ANS member Mark Tomasko visited the Shanghai Mint. During this visit, mint officials presented him with numerous gifts, which were then generously donated to the ANS. Among these is a set of two brass medals produced to commemorate the official opening of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Museum; an example issued to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the opening of China Numismatic Museum in Beijing; and a brass medal commemorating the 20th anniversary of the China Numismatic Society.
Also in the Tomasko donation are banknotes with a portrait of Mao Zedong and images of national monuments or landmarks. Among them is an image of the famous Potala Palace in Tibet, the former palace of the Dalai Lamas, shown on the 50-yuan banknote. Another is an interesting series of national banknotes dedicated to the Chinese ethnic groups. China has 56 officially recognized nationalities, most of which traditionally have their own languages. A selection of these nationalities was portrayed as stereotypical individuals on Chinese paper money, which were also included in Mark Tomasko's gift.
Another aspect of our curatorial department activities is the ANS Museum Loan Program. At present, around 356 objects are out on loan to 14 permanent, 2 temporary and 4 traveling exhibitions. The curatorial staff continues to provide back-up and consultation services, for the borrowing institutions. Here are some highlights of our loans.
Five objects from the our Medals collection were included in an exhibition entitled Cleopatra’s Needle, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and were on display during Spring-Summer season. This exhibition celebrated the achievement of an extensive program to conserve the Egyptian obelisk in Central Park. The ANS medals became an important part of this presentation, which demonstrated the significant influence of this ancient architectural form on Western culture.
In June 2014, eighteen gold and silver coins from the ANS ancient Greek and Roman collection formed an important part of an exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida. The exhibit entitled Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life explores the realm of the Greek God of the Sea, which included almost every aspect of life in the ancient Mediterranean world. The coins from the ANS, with their beautiful images of Poseidon and other sea creatures provide a rich picture of mythological iconography in the currency of the ancient world.
An exciting new exhibition entitled When the Greek Ruled Egypt was opened at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) at New York University on October 7, 2014. The exhibit explores the artistic and cultural tradition that developed in Egypt between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC. ISAW has borrowed a large group of ANS coins for this exhibition, including a decadrachm with the image of Arsinoe II; a beautiful silver tetradrachm of Ptolemy IV, with images of Zeus Sarapis and Isis; a didrachm of Ptolemy VIII wearing a radiate diadem; and a beautiful decadrachm with the head of Berenice II, struck during the reign of her husband Ptolemy III. One of the finest issues of this selection is a gold octadrachm produced under Ptolemy II with the portraits of his parents- Ptolemy I and his queen Berenice I, on the obverse and his own image and an image of his sister and wife Arsinoe II on the reverse.
Another impressive museum event of this fall season was the opening in September of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The main galleries of this spectacular museum are dedicated to the mistreatment of aboriginal peoples in Canada, the Nazi Holocaust, and several episodes of genocide recognized by the Canadian government, including the Holodomor, a man-made starvation at the hands of the Soviet regime of Stali
In that led to the deaths of millions in Ukraine. As part of a historical retrospective of the concepts of law and justice, the museum borrowed a beautiful ANS bronze dupondius of Tiberius. This coin, which circulated almost 2,000 years ago, features a beautiful image of Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice. Our coin is a small but a valuable part of this project.
In conclusion, we would like to express our deep appreciation to our volunteers-- William Sudbrink, Whitney Senzel, and a special thanks to Ted Withington, for his tremendous help with the registration of our new acquisitions.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. The Society has one of the most comprehensive collections of WWI medals anywhere, all of which made available for viewing on an innovative new website hosted by the Society. This site entitled “Art of Devastation” (www.numismatics.org/aod) was organized and prepared by Peter van Alfen, Margaret Thompson Associate Curator of Ancient Greek Coins, with assistance from former curatorial assistant Sylvia Karges, and technologies specialist Ethan Gruber.
The ANS new Assistant Curator of American Coins and Currency, Matthew Wittmann, concentrated his early efforts on reorganizing the paper money collection at the ANS. At the most basic level, this involved ensuring that all the materials were properly housed and stored. A new and more specific set of categories was also created to better order the US paper money, which will facilitate research moving forward. Additionally, all of the oversize materials were sorted and relocated into the file cabinets, which consolidated all of the paper materials into one place.
The curatorial staff continued to plug away at creating, revising, and standardizing records for items in the database (MANTIS). Notable updates include the inclusion of over 200 previously unaccessioned Byzantine glass weights, thousands of updates and new photographs of the c. 12,000 Alexander-type coins in the collection, and the completed cataloguing of the Society’s c. 1,500 WWI medals.
In general, the Society’s collections continue to provide an important resource for scholars and publishers. Photo orders, reproduction rights and exhibition fees resulted in over $17,000 income this fiscal year.
This year the ANS’s photographer, Alan Roche, added over 10,556 object images to our database. In addition to digitizing our collection, he also is responsible for creating and/or fine tuning all illustrations in ANS publications and social media, including the ‘’ANS Magazine’’, our show piece for high quality images, and our new series of lecture and other videos available to ANS members on Vimeo. Currently our collection database (MANTIS) has over 98,849 objects with high-resolution images available.