Category Archives: Front Page News

The 161st Annual Meeting

Saturday, 20 October 2018 | 3:00 pm The event is open to ANS members and the public. Officers of the Board of Trustees and staff will make remarks and presentations. Election of Trustees and a vote on proposed amendments to the By-laws will occur. New acquisitions will be on display. There will be a reception…
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Cheyenne

September 28, 2018
New York
for immediate release

The American Numismatic Society has announced the acquisition of the archives of the Medallic Art Company, one of America’s oldest and most important private mints.

The archive, which consists of more than 50,000 individual items such as medals, dies, galvanos, plaques, and paper and digital archives, was sold to the Society for $420,000 in bankruptcy proceedings of the Northwest Territorial Mint (NWTM) in a Seattle court. NWTM, which also operated a bullion business from its facilities in Dayton, Nevada, went bankrupt in 2016.  The Society’s interest was initially focused on recovering MACO’s dies, which had been used for decades to manufacture famous award and art medals, but once the ANS realized the full extent of the holdings for sale, the main aim became to rescue everything that would allow the Society to reconstruct the history of this important company.

The Medallic Art Company was founded in New York City around 1907, and for more than a century it produced the work of America’s finest artists, as well as served countless non-profit and for-profit institutions in their desires to produce commemorative, award, and other medals.  Until its demise, many of the most famous awards in the United States—including the Pulitzer Prize Medal, the Randolph Caldecott medal, and many of the official medals of Presidential inaugurations—were produced at the Medallic Art Company. Scores of notable portraits were also made there, commissioned from many of the most famous artists of their day. The beautiful medals and larger galvanos they left represent an almost complete Who’s-Who of 20th-century America.  In addition, many major companies had logos turned into medallic or sculptural plaques by MACO.

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The moving and storage of this mass of material, much of it made of steel, copper, or other metals, proved a major challenge.  The ANS was fortunate to have a partner in Medalcraft Inc. and its CEO, Jerry Moran, who had purchased the more recent dies (of medals created after 1998). The roughly 20,000 older dies were shipped to the headquarters of Medalcraft in Wisconsin, and ANS will discuss with Medalcraft the future of these dies over the coming months.

An equally demanding task will be the selection of galvanos and die-shells for the Society’s permanent collection.  The approximately 15,000 such items, made from copper, epoxy, plaster and other materials, are among the most intriguing and beautiful materials acquired by the ANS.  Thanks to the organizational talent of Rob Vugteveen, a former employee of Northwest Territorial Mint now working for Holabird Americana, a team of a dozen students were able to help pack and move some of these items to an off-site storage location. At the same time, a team of photographers, led by Lou Manna, bar-coded and photographed a large proportion of these objects, all in a warehouse in Nevada without air conditioning in the middle of the summer.  Executive Director Ute Wartenberg, who herself traveled to Nevada to help pack the collection, praised the efforts of this team: “Without the help of Rob Vugteveen, the ANS would have not been able to achieve this Herculean task. The ANS also owes an enormous gratitude to Fred Holabird, whose local connections made all this possible and who was instrumental in finding an affordable warehouse near Dayton where the material could be stored.”

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The Society’s Board of Trustees has set up a committee of Trustees, staff, and expert members, who will review ways of dealing with the sheer mass of material, which currently resides in three separate locations.  Taylor Hartley, a full-time ANS staff member and a specialist in early 20th century sculpture, has begun to catalog the archive of sample medals and compare them with the extensive holdings already in the Society’s collection.  Part of what the ANS purchased were also extensive catalogs, which were compiled over many years by NWTM staff members Cathy Swinburg and Rob Vugteveen, who were able to rely on former MACO Historian and ANS member Dick Johnson for assistance. ANS President Syd Martin stated, “Our number one goal is to catalog all the different pieces and publish them in a separate database online and write a history of this extraordinary company, but it is clear that the Society will not be able to retain the entire collection that it acquired.  Over the next years, we will have to decide on a plan how to sell and market a portion of the galvanos and die-shells.” In due course, the ANS will set up a dedicated website that will keep members and the public informed about discoveries and further plans.

The American Numismatic Society, organized in 1858 and incorporated in 1865 in New York State, operates as a research museum under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is recognized as a publicly supported organization under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) as confirmed on November 1, 1970.

 

IMAGES

  1. A selection of MACO medals.

  2. Rob Vugteveen in front of the shelves of dies and galvanos at NWTM, Dayton, Nevada.

  3. Galvano for one of Edward Warren Sawyer’s portrait medals of Native American leaders. This portrait of Esh-Sha-A-Nish-Is of the Cheyenne Nation was made in 1912.

The ANS Announces 2019 Gala Honoree

September 19, 2018 New York for immediate release The American Numismatic Society Announces 2019 Gala Honoree The American Numismatic Society (ANS) is pleased to announce that on Thursday, January 10, 2019, it will honor its esteemed former First Vice President Mike Gasvoda with the Trustees’ Award at the Annual Gala Dinner at the Harvard Club…
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Money Talks | ANS History

May the Little Things Not Perish: The History of the ANS with David Hill, ANS Librarian and Archivist Saturday, October 13, 2018 1:00 $30 members/$50 for non-members Almost from the beginning, the motto of the ANS has been parva ne pereant (may the little things not perish), symbolically represented by an acorn growing into a…
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2017 Saltus Award to Bogomil Nikolov

September 11, 2018 New York, NY for immediate release 2017 J. Sanford Saltus Award to Bogomil Nikolov Bulgarian artist Bogomil Nikolov is the recipient of the 2017 J. Sanford Saltus Award for excellence in medallic art, which will be awarded to him at an event held in Sofia, Bulgaria. The ceremony will take place at…
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Money Talks | David Hendin

Judean Coinage and Early Christianity with David Hendin September 20, 2018 5:00 $30 for members/$50 for nonmembers David Hendin will discuss Jewish and ancient Christian coins in the context of archaeology and the experience of 50 years studying the coins and weights of the southern levant. He will discuss ancient scale weights, coins of Hasmoneans,…
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2018 Nomination and Governance

The Nominating and Governance Committee, pursuant to Art. V Sec. 12 of the ANS By-Laws approved for publication all of the nominees as follows:   The following Trustee candidates have been nominated for a three-year term (until the relevant annual meeting of Fellows in 2021, and until his or her successor shall have been elected…
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Press Release | Newman Visiting Scholar

July 30, 2018 New York for immediate release American Numismatic Society announces gift from Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society For over sixty years the American Numismatic Society (ANS) has offered an intense eight week long summer course in numismatics to select graduate students. Always interested in numismatic education, Eric P. Newman’s generous lifetime endowment…
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Press Release | Summer Book Sale

July 18, 2018 New York for immediate release Massive Two-Week Summer Book Sale We have so many books and journals on the horizon (and from the past few years) that we need to make space for this bumper crop of new arrivals! We are offering a special midsummer sale, so if you missed out on…
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2018 Mid-Year Appeal

Dear Friends, In the past month, as much-delayed spring warmth finally settled over New York, we have been witnessing a sudden increase in the number of friends visiting us here at our headquarters. So much activity adds to the excitement of this time of year and fills us with hope, especially when we anticipate your…
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