Report of Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director
October 29, 2016
Dear Members and Friends of the Society, welcome to our Annual Meeting! I would like to greet in particular those members for whom this is their first annual meeting.
At this occasion, we look back at the last year and take stock. You have heard from our President and Treasurer about the overall direction of the Society and its finances. The staff will present their own reports, and you will get an idea about the extraordinary breadth of expertise in our small group of curators and librarians.
I shall give you some ideas how you as members have helped with our work. Helping can take many different forms, from volunteering, to researching and reviewing to donating money, which is probably the most common way how members get involved and show their support.
Here our most important support comes from our Sage Society, and I encourage anyone to join.
Every year, we organize a trip of members to a country, and this year we went to Poland. Most of the group had never been to this beautiful country, and we were enchanted by the splendor of the towns we visited. Our hosts, among them Professor Aleksander Bursche, Jaroslaw Bodzek, Adam Degler, and very many wonderful young students, guided us with great pride and knowledge. The history of Poland, a country which was often divided up, governed by other nations, and war-torn, came alive during our nine days. As often during our Sage trip, we were able to meet coin curators and view collections first-hand, but this time, our Polish hosts had also arranged for us to meet with a variety of museum and university leaders as well as the Vice President of the National Bank of Poland. A particular highlight of the trip was our stay at Nieborów Palace and its romantic gardens Arkadia, which for most people remain just a museum visit. We were able to stay overnight in the historic building, where we dined and wined in original 18th century surroundings. We are now planning our next trip, and we are open to suggestions.
For our regular members, we will be introducing a program of monthly seminars at the Society, which will provide introductions to a wide variety of numismatic areas. It will give participants the opportunity to learn about some subjects while actually handling ANS coins and discussing issues with the staff. By popular demand, we will also try to open the ANS on a few selected Saturdays to allow members to come in to view coins and use the library.
Over the last year, several prominent members of the Society passed away, and I would like to take a little time to remember them and their contribution to the Society and our field.
In early January, our former Trustee Daniel Holmes passed away at the age of 77. Dan, who was one of the great collectors of early large cents, was a much beloved member of our community. Despite suffering for many years from ASL (Lou Gehrig Disease), he kept in touch with the Society. His regular phone calls would always start with his cheerful, “here is Holmes, Cleveland”, and he will be fondly remembered for his support of the ANS and the Early American collectors.
In June, Chester Krause, one of the most famous American numismatists passed away, at the age of 92. Chet’s influence on the field of collecting, in particular of foreign modern coins, tokens and other objects, is immense, and his many obituaries pointed out his impact on our field. He was a most generous donor to the Society, and in recognition of his contributions, he was added to our donor wall of major contributors. His name also graces our vault, something that he enjoyed considerably; once his famous business Krause Publications was sold, his name was not so visible, he complained, but to this day, most people refer to the famous catalogues by his name. In recent years, he came for regular visits to New York, during which he would tell me about his fascinating, long life, his time in the US Army in World War II in Germany, and so much else. Like so many other people, I miss him but he will not be forgotten.
Léon Lacroix, our oldest living member passed away on 1 August. Born before World War I, in 1909 in Belgium, he is best remembered for his work on Greek numismatics. His work “Les reproductions de statues sur les monnaies grecques: la statuaire archaïque et classique”, published in Liège in 1949 is still frequently cited by scholars working on Greek statues and coinage. Another European member that passed this summer is the eminent collector of Greek coins, in particular of Athens, Harold Salvesen from Norway.
Two of our members died tragically early and are a great loss to our community. One is Geoffrey Stevens, a member of the colonial collector community, was killed by a drunk-driver on Interstate 95, at the age of 45. Tom Cederlind died on 16 December 2015. His knowledge and love of ancient coins started many a collector, and with his unexpected death the coin community lost a wonderful member.
Frederick Armstrong, one of our long-standing members from Canada, passed away. Born in 1926 in Toronto, Professor Armstrong taught and researched 19th century history at the University of Western Ontario. He joined the Society in 1947 and over the many years, he donated generously to the Society. On his death, Professor Armstrong left the Society as legacy from his estate, and we are so very grateful to him for his dedication to our institution. We have been very fortunate that many of our members, many like Professor Armstrong academics, have put the ANS in their estate plan and are leaving something to the Society. We encourage all our members to help the ANS, and we are so pleased that several of our Trustees and a significant number of members have told us of their intentions. I would like to use this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to those for the dedication and support of the Society.
As I would like to end my short presentation on a happy note, I would like to congratulate two of our retired staff members on reaching special birthday in the last month: Dr. Michael Bates celebrated his 75th birthday, and Dr. Peter Donovan turned 80. I wish both of them a happy birthday and many healthy years to come.
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