FY2015 Collections Report

Public Annual Report, October 24, 2015

Collections Manager - Elena Stolyarik

During this fiscal year, the ANS coin cabinet continued to receive interesting new donations for our collections.

Over 6,058 objects were acquired through generous gifts as well as through purchase. We would like to express our deep appreciation to all of our donors.

However, I would like to start by mentioning our staff member and dear friend Rick Witschonke, who passed away on February 24, 2015. We pay our tribute to a man who was so well respected and beloved by friends and colleagues. We will all always miss his knowledge, support, and kindness.

Interestingly, the ANS received the last coin that Rick bid on, but he was outbid the day after he passed away. It is a Roman Provincial bronze coin of the Amisos mint in Pontus, struck by the praetor C. Caecilius Cornutus. This coin was purchased and donated to the ANS by and ANS Trustee, in memory of Rick Witschonke.Other notable acquisitions must be singled out for special mention:

The ANS continues to acquire more examples from the former Archer M. Huntington collection of the Hispanic Society of America, which was on loan to the ANS from 1946 to 2008. At the beginning of our fiscal year 2015 we received a major gift from ANS Chairman of the Board Kenneth Edlow of 163 rare gold coins from the 5th and 6th centuries. Most of them are pseudoimperial tremisses of the Visigoths; others include Burgundian, Suevian, Merovingian, and Byzantine coins.
In July Mr. Edlow donated another important group of 1073 medieval and modern Spanish coins from Aragon, Catalonia, Barcelona, Mallorca, Valencia and Spanish and French Navarre, which also came from the former Huntington Collection. These coins greatly increase the completeness, and quality of the ANS holdings in the regional coinages of the Iberian Peninsula and we are very pleased to have them back.

In 2011 the Brooklyn Museum donated a marvelous collection of 283 medals and dies, to the ANS, from the estate of Emil Fuchs. This year ANS Fellow Scott Miller has made a fine addition to this group with the gift of two steel dies for the Audrey and Noel Hollander medal, by Emil Fuchs, issued in 1921.

Another great addition to our die collection is a gift from Anthony Terranova — these two steel dies for a Chilean medal of 1884 were produced by Rudolph P. Laubenheimer, a well-known die engraver.

An important addition to our U.S. collection is a group of 545 checks, donated by honorary life fellow Dr. Ira I. Rezak. They offer a wide variety of information about banking and financial exchange in the 19th century and reflect the printing and iconographic traditions of fiscal paper of the period. Among these interesting financial documents is a promissory note dated January 11, 1849, from the City of Boston, for the sum of $1600 plus interest, signed by John P. Bigelow, twelfth Mayor of Boston (from 1849 to 1851).

It was heartwarming to the staff when our long-time volunteer, Fellow, and devoted friend, David Feinstein, donated to the Society some of the decorations that he received for his service in the Korean War. We were impressed to discover among these items was a Purple Heart and a Silver Star awarded to David for his courage and heroism.

ANS Museum Loan Program

At present, 473 objects are out on loan to 24 permanent, temporary, or traveling exhibitions. As usual the ANS has provided consultation services for the borrowing institutions.

Some of these exhibits should be singled out for special mention:

In March 2015, the Jewish Museum of New York opened a new exhibition called Repetition and Difference. This exhibit explores how slight differences within repetition can reveal significant meaning. A group of 98 Tyrian shekels from the ANS provided an opportunity to examine the contrast between the remarkable consistency in imagery over time and their variations due to human involvement in the minting process.

At the end of April 2015, the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, opened an exhibition entitled From Rubens to the Grand Tour. This show focused on two paintings Agrippina and Germanicus, by the legendary Peter Paul
Rubens. A group of twelve ANS coins featuring members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, connected to Agrippina and Germanicus, were displayed alongside the Rubens paintings in this show.

From June to September 2015, the Boston Athenæum presented an exhibition dedicated to the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, a young French officer whom came to America to support the rebellious colonists during the Revolutionary War. The exhibit told the story of how this French aristocrat became an American hero. Items from the ANS collection featured in the exhibition include medals struck on the occasion of Lafayette’s 1824 return tour of the United States, as well as later numismatic representations such as the 1900 commemorative dollar, and a 1936 medal by John Flanagan.

At the beginning of October 2015, ten gold and silver coins from the Society’s Greek and Roman departments were part of an exhibition entitled Hair in the Classical World at Fairfield University's Bellarmine Museum of Art. This exhibit examines how hair and its treatment were important socio-cultural signifiers in ancient society. The ANS items selected for the exhibit show images of the Sicilian nymph Arethusa and the Olympian god Apollo from different Greek mints. The Roman imperial coins make an attractive portrait gallery reflecting the emperor's natural hairstyle and the sophisticated elegance of empresses' coiffures.

In October, 2015 the ANS also participated in a remarkable exhibit entitled BVLGARI and Rome: Eternal Inspiration, which was organized by Bvlgari, the world-famous firm known for its glamorous jewelry and other luxury products. The show features jewelry from the company’s archives and a selection of extraordinary objects from the ANS Roman collection. These include a portrait coin of Julius Caesar and the denarius associated with his assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BC, as well as a rare gold aureus of Sextus Pompey, the youngest son of Pompey the Great, who spent most of his military life in opposition to Caesar and his followers, including Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. Also in the exhibit was a silver tetradrachm of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, known for their romantic alliance. A gold medallion with portraits of the four emperors of the Tetrarchy, struck in Trier around AD 293, and a number of gold solidi, represent the later Empire in the Bvlgari show.

In recognition of their gift of service we would like to express our sincere thanks to our Curatorial Assistants and Interns: Kristin Newby, Sylvia Czander , Syntia Cheng, Jesse Kraft and Yoorim Choi, as well as Lauren Tomanelli, Doug Wong, Emma Pratte and Elena Ferraro who helped Curatorial staff in our numerous projects. We hope that one day this young team will be a new generation of scholars and maybe even numismatists.

In conclusion, I want to express our sincere and special thanks to the ANS's priceless, experienced team of very valuable volunteers: Ted Withington, Ken Edlow, David Hendin and Bill Sudbrink for sharing their time, expertise, and knowledge and generously helping with many of our curatorial functions.\\