Current Cabinet Activities (Spring 2006)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

“Cabinetry” Work

The heart of the American Numismatic Society is its splendid cabinet of items of all kinds, items donated over the years by many dedicated benefactors and sometimes supplemented by judicious purchases. The contributing collectors, scholars, dealers, and others can be justly proud of the extent and organization of this magnificent educational and cultural resource. In addition to curating the cabinet as it grows, the renown of the collection, which is recognized and appreciated worldwide for its magnificent holdings in many fields, means that our small professional staff and volunteers at the Society stay busy fulfilling requests for service. Members may or may not be surprised by some of the activities, but I think a brief review of the wealth and variety of items that have lately come under scrutiny may fascinate others as they do me.

Interest in Ancient Coins

Scholars universally recognize the great importance of the ANS collection of ancient coins of all series, and we receive constant requests regarding this portion of the cabinet. Former ANS Seminarian Melanie Grunow Sobocinski, for instance, had an article on the Ludi Saeculares (“saecular games”) accepted by the American Journal of Archaeology, for which we were able to provide images of a couple of pertinent Roman imperial coins. Saecular games—meaning games held, ostensibly, once in a hundred years—were staged by the emperor Domitian in AD 88 to commemorate the establishment of a public festival by Augustus in 17 BC. Considerable issues of coinage were minted as part of the observances of this spectacle. We know from classical sources where the specific functions of the celebration were held, but correlating these locations with the images of structures shown on the commemorative coins is not straightforward.


Fig. 1. Roman Empire: Domitian. AE sestertius, Rome mint, struck AD 88/9. The Ludi Saeculares commenced with preparation ceremonies, including the distribution of purifying elements (suffimenta) to the populace, as depicted here. On the reverse, Domitian is seated l., before the façade of a tetrastyle temple, on a platform inscribed SVF P D, while handing suffimenta to a male citizen; a child extends its arms upward toward him. RIC 376. (ANS 1001.1.22970, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 34 mm.


Fig. 2. Roman Empire: Domitian. AE dupondius, Rome mint, struck AD 88/9. This issue represents the sacrifice of ovines: a black sheep and goat were sacrificed to the Moirae on the first night of the ceremonies. On the reverse, Domitian stands l. in front of a hexastyle temple, sacrificing over an altar; to left is the victimarius, with a goat, distinguishable by its upright horns, on l., and a sheep; behind the altar are two musicians, the one on l. playing a double flute, that on r., a lyre. RIC 381. (ANS 1944.100.42606, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 29 mm.

As usual, specimens from the cabinet have continued to prove helpful in questions of authenticity. One such example is a case on behalf of the IBSCC (International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins), the authentication arm of the International Association of Professional Numismatists. A piece that had been referred for examination purported to be an example of a rare issue commemorating the deification of the emperor Pertinax under his eventual successor, Septimius Severus, in AD 193. Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how one might look at it—in the ANS reference collection of spurious items there was a match for the coin in question, although the ANS has no genuine specimen of this issue.


Fig. 3. Roman Empire: Pertinax deified (died AD 193). AE sestertius. Forgery. (ANS 1949.98.316, gift of H. Chapman) 31.8 mm.

Portrait iconography of the peculiar boy-emperor Elagabalus (AD 218-222) is the subject of the research of Clare Rowan, of Macquarie University, in New South Wales, Australia. While visiting the Society, she was able to examine the varieties of his effigy found on both metropolitan and provincial series, looking especially at the little extrusion sometimes found above his forehead and typically called a “horn,” as well as representations of the Baetyl of Emesa, the sacred stone for the cult of which he was the high priest.


Fig. 4. Roman Empire: Elagabalus. AR denarius, Rome mint, AD 221 RIC 49. (ANS 1944.100.52352, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 17.3 mm.

In preparing some information for a novel he is writing, Robert Adams had an inquiry about “royal warts” in antiquity. Many numismatists will realize that his question presumably refers to coinage issues of the ancient Kingdom of Parthia, among which there are royal effigies depicted as having a small dot (a wart?) somewhere on their faces. Some scholars believe this may have been an accurate rendition, and suggest it might reflect a genetic peculiarity of the ruling Arsacid dynasty. The presence and placement of the “wart” is in some cases utilized by researchers to help attribute certain issues to specific rulers. In any event, the “warts” are not consistently present, so may we also speculate that the Arsacids sometimes availed themselves of cosmetic surgery?


Fig. 5. Parthian Empire. Vonones II (ca. AD 51-52). AR drachm, Ecbatana mint. Sellwood 67.1. Note the spot above the king’s left eyebrow. (ANS 1944.100.83249, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 22 mm.

Medieval Issues

The ANS cabinet of European medieval coins, while weak in some areas, is nevertheless quite outstanding in others. Altogether, it presently includes 44,381 items catalogued in our database. The English section is spotty at best, but it has a major strength in the Lorin L. Kay collection of copper stycas from the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, dating from shortly prior to the time when this region fell to the Viking invaders. The Spanish section is excellent overall, thanks to the great collection of the Hispanic Society of America, developed and placed with the ANS by the great benefactor Archer M. Huntington. Past curators built up the collection of German bracteates, so that this section, too, is an important resource today. Our Russian/Lithuanian collection is uneven, perhaps in large measure because it has not received as much serious attention as the complex series of little wire-money pieces require. There are a number of provocative and attractive specimens in this section, however. In a recent instance involving it, Dr. Audrius V. Plioplys was interested in the medieval Russian (or Lithuanian) silver bars, known as grivna or grivanka, in the cabinet. We are fortunate to hold two nice examples of these, typically marked by a series of striations. Rare today, they were the original “rubles”—a coin term surviving to the present.


Fig. 6. Russia/Lithuania. Principality of Riazan, Ivan Fedorovitch (1429-1456). AR ruble bar or grivna. (ANS 1948.30.1345, gift of Alexandre Orlowski) 130 x 16.4 mm.

The earliest coins that can lay claim to being considered “modern” are the important specimens that the European Swiss scholar Fabrizio Rossini, working on a study of Italian Renaissance portrait coins, sought images of from the ANS cabinet. In this field, the Society is very fortunate to have been the beneficiary of Herbert Scoville’s generosity. His magnificent collection of very well-chosen pieces makes this area one of the great strengths of the medieval cabinet. The Scoville collection was complemented by pieces from the collection of ANS President Herbert Ives, providing a splendid run of Florentine fiorini d’oro in particular.


Fig. 7. Italian States: Mantua. Francesco II Gonzaga (1484-1519). AR testone. CNI 63. (ANS 1954.203.117, gift of Mrs. Herbert E. Ives)


Fig. 8. Italian States: Asti. Ludovico d’Orleans (1465-1498). AR testone. CNI 20. (ANS 1937.146.782, bequest of Herbert Scoville) 27.5 mm.

Issues of Charles I, the second Stuart monarch of Great Britain (1625-1648), constitute an area of notable strength and interest in the cabinet, particularly the famous obsidional pieces, of which the Society has a fine representative collection thanks to the generosity of Emery Mae Norweb. All of the siege coins except those from Newark, 1645-1646, are considered rarities today. Several visitors to the Society, including advanced collector Geoffrey Cope, have enjoyed studying them in recent months.


Fig. 9. Great Britain: England, Siege of Carlisle, October 1644-June 5, 1645. Charles I. AR 3 shillings, struck in May, 1645. (ANS 1977.207.16, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 31 mm.


Fig. 10. Great Britain: England, Siege of Pontefract, June 1648-March 1648 (1649, New Style). Charles II (struck after Charles I’s beheading on January 30). AR shilling. (ANS 1976.64.1, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 29.8 mm.


Fig. 11. Great Britain: England, Siege of Scarborough, July 1644-July 1645. Charles I. AR half crown, or 2 shillings 6 pence. (ANS 1977.207.19, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 30.2 x 41.8 mm.

Another issue of Charles I, the extremely rare pattern gold unite (or broad, of twenty shillings), which we had not long ago added to the collection of images accessible via the ANS website’s database, was brought to my attention through a question from Simon Widmer. Although this piece is a handsome, seemingly machine-struck issue, it is included in the Medieval section with hand-hammered pieces, to keep it with its contemporaries, before the regularization of milled coinage in Britain under Charles II in 1662.


Fig. 12. Great Britain: England. Charles I. Pattern AV unite, Tower mint, probably by Abraham Vanderdort. This rare piece was probably intended as a pattern for a unite, the gold 20-shilling piece, a pound or broad, but might have been intended for the one-shilling denomination. (ANS 1905.57.629, gift of Daniel Parish, Jr.) 29.5 mm.

Modern Material

The Modern section of the ANS cabinet includes three departments: (1) coins, tokens, and paper money of the United States (US); (2) all coins, tokens, and paper currency of Latin America (LA), including the hand-hammered series; and (3) the corresponding objects of all the rest of the world since the establishment of mechanization in the production process, with several notable exceptions mentioned below (MO). We will review the activities relating to the United States separately.

A question regarding the Austrian (Holy Roman Empire) 3-kreuzer issue of Leo “The Hogmouth” (the Habsburg emperor Leopold I, 1657-1705) was received from ANS donor and authority on small silver pieces Roger DeWardt Lane. Having found an example of the 1693 Vienna mintage, KM 1169 (formerly 1855), which is listed in the third edition of the Krause-Mishler seventeenth-century volume of the Standard Catalog of World Coins without valuation, DeWardt Lane wished to know whether it matched a specimen in the ANS cabinet, intending to donate his coin if it varied. Although from different dies, I determined that the ANS specimen did match the DeWardt Lane piece in all respects. How scarce may this coin be?


Fig. 13. Holy Roman Empire (Austria), Leopold I. AR 3 kreuzer, 1693 Vienna mint. (ANS 1934.93.17, acquired by exchange) 22 mm.

I was glad to have had this issue of Leopold brought to my attention, since it had been erroneously catalogued with one of our ubiquitous “provisional numbers” (ANS 1934.999.1439). From the indication still present on its individual box, it was easy for me to learn that this attractive coin was one of 57 small foreign silver issues that had been acquired “by exchange” in June/July 1934. Possibly buried somewhere in our archives there may be information about what would have been given in return for this Austrian coin and the other pieces acquired at the same time. Only 17 of the total of 84 pieces in this acquisition have now been accessioned with their proper record number; I perceived with satisfaction that several of the others are also noted as rarities!

To be included in publication of another forthcoming book, we were able to provide a number of images of the Franco-American coins and jetons for professional numismatist Jean Lecompte. French royal jetons at this time were minted basically as donatives for government bureaucrats or other favored sectors of society. The artists employed to create their dies were the same who engraved the effigies for the monarchy’s commemorative medals and prepared the master dies for the French mints. In addition to their place in the numismatic history of France, these pieces are also part of that of North America—both the United States and Canada, as well as the French Caribbean islands. These fascinating pieces provide us with a glimpse at the European perspective on North America during the period of the great contest between Britain and France in the 1750s.


Fig. 14. France, Louis XV. AE Franco-American jeton, 1752. The reverse features Mercury, the god of merchants (and thieves) flying over the seas, with the legend translating as “He makes commerce for both worlds,” and, in the exergue, “French colonies of America, 1752.” Breton 512; Betts 386. (ANS 1967.99.55, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 28 mm.


Fig. 15. France, Louis XV. AE Franco-American jeton, 1753. This jeton’s reverse depicts the sun shining on a map of both the eastern and western hemispheres, with the legend SATIS UNUS UTRIQUE (“one is enough for both”). Breton 513; Betts 388. (ANS 1967.99.56, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 28 mm.


Fig. 16. France, Louis XV. AE 12 deniers, 1717, Perpignan mint. This specimen is an example of one of the few coinages known to have been minted by law specifically to pass current in New France. The spread, flat fabric, strike irregularities, and flan cracking on this example are characteristic of the issue. Breton 504; Breen 258. (ANS 1966.252.2, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 31.2 mm.

While extensive, the Latin American series represented in the ANS cabinet are not truly as well-balanced as one would like. While there are a great many important coins present thanks to the generosity of a number of serious collectors, dealers, and other scholars, there are still enormous gaps in the holdings. Still, we are able to provide much material for researchers and for publication. As mentioned in the summer 2005 issue of the ANS Magazine, we were contacted over the past couple of semesters by Casiana Ionescu, research assistant for Dr. Marc Shell of Harvard University, in connection with a book he is doing on money in early America, with a focus on Indian wampum and its various potential exchange equivalents. Shell finally decided which images of specific kinds of coins he needed, and we were able to provide virtually all of them, including some Latin American pieces. Among other investigations in the LA department, Luis Ponte-Puigbo requested photos of certain additional pieces from the region of Colombia and Venezuela.


Fig. 17. Mexico. AV 8 escudos, 1823, Mo, J.M. (ANS 1941.134.1, purchase) 40.5 mm.


Fig. 18. Colombia: Spanish Colonial Nuevo Reino de Granada. Philip IV. AR 4 reales, 1664, Santa Fé de Bogotá mint, PoR. (ANS 1936.141.24, purchase) 30 mm.


Fig. 19. Chile. AR 8 reales, 1839, Santiago mint, I.S. (ANS 1934.1.453) 38.8 mm.

Brian Danforth was researching English and Irish homeland coins that circulated in British North America during the colonial period for an article in the Colonial Newsletter, while Oliver Hoover sought images of the Irish harp on coins for the same period, for our excellent sister publication on early Americana.


Fig. 20. Great Britain. Charles II. AR groat (4 pence), third issue. This piece of Maundy money, dating ca. 1662, is one of the last hand-hammered coins in the English series. Effectively, it is thus a part of the ANS medieval department cabinet. (ANS 1963.6.3, gift of R. Henry Norweb, Sr.) 22 mm.


Fig. 21. Great Britain. Anne. AR Crown, 1713, with plumes and roses. (ANS 1905.57.418, gift of Daniel parish, Jr.) 39 mm.


Fig. 22. Great Britain. George I. AR Crown, 1718/6. (ANS 1954.203.223, purchase) 39 mm.

Examples of coins that were part of the American mercantile world of the late eighteenth century are being investigated by Leo Shane in connection with his research on a period document, the Ready Reckoner or the Trader’s Sure Guide, of 1789, naming the various different issues with their comparative values in New York and Pennsylvania. We were able to assist in finding illustrative examples of the coins that must have been referenced, mostly of the ducat denomination, named for the traditional designation of the standard Venetian gold zecchino, on account of the last word found on that coin’s legend.


Fig. 23. German States: Brandenburg. Friedrich-Wilhelm I. AV ducat, 1740. (ANS 0000.999.30611]], gift of Daniel Parish, Jr.) 22.5 mm.


Fig. 24. Austria-Hungary. Maria-Theresia. AV ducat, 1765. (ANS 1930.164.21, purchase) 22.5 mm.


Fig. 25. Netherlands: Holland. AV ducat, 1776. Holed. (ANS 1924.69.45, gift of Columbia University, ex Eno collection) 21.9 mm.


Fig. 26. Sweden. Ulrika Eleanora. AV ducat, 1720. A very rare coin. (ANS 1930.62.8, purchase) 21.8 mm.

Fran Cackowski and Dave Bailey made an appointment to examine eighteenth-century British trade tokens in the cabinet, pieces sometimes referred to as “Conder tokens” out of respect for the early cataloguing effort of James Conder, An Arrangement of Provincial Coins, Tokens, and Medalets, Issued in Great Britain, Ireland, and the Colonies, within the Last Twenty Years … (1798). Although in comparison with the corpus of specimens, and in reference to the listings in Dalton and Hamer’s standard catalog of the series, the ANS cabinet is lacking in many rarities and other varieties, it nevertheless holds a very respectable run of these charming pieces. Thanks to the policies of the government in the 1780s and 1790s, the supply of official small change was wholly inadequate, giving rise to a vast host of imitations, counterfeits, and merchants’ or localities’ token issues. This was the period when the Machine Age was first beginning to make itself felt, and the plethora of tokens became a vanguard of industry. The detailed workmanship and high quality of production found on many of the “Conders” makes them highly attractive, historic collectors’ items today. While most were made in Birmingham or London, they represent a wide range of people and places around the British Isles.


Fig. 27. Great Britain. Mathew Young, Cu penny token, London, 1798. Young was an early-day coin dealer, as indicated by the reverse of his souvenir store card. The edge is inscribed in raised letters ** PROMISSORY PENNY TOKEN | PAYABLE ON DEMAND. D & H 41. (ANS 1966.147.127, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 36 mm.


Fig. 28. Great Britain. Robert Orchard, Cu half penny token, London, 1798. Orchard’s token showing Islington Old Church bears the incused edge lettering COVENTRY TOKEN, looking as though it has been partially ground away. D & H 403. (ANS 1919.71.9, purchase) 29.9 mm.

Peggy Dragon, from Trinity College, and Bruce Blumenthal viewed the Fugio coppers in the cabinet, the popular first issue of coins of the new United States, designed by Benjamin Franklin. While not complete, the collection includes a good number of the die varieties. And some of them are in an extraordinary state of preservation. The collection also includes interesting die states and brockages, as well as Betts’s “restrikes” and their dies.


Fig. 29. United States. AE “Fugio cent,” James Jarvis’ New Haven mint, 1787. This uncirculated example of the first official coin of the United States is from the famous Bank of New York hoard; die clash marks are very strong on both obverse and reverse. Newman 11-B. (ANS 1949.136.10, gift of the Bank of New York) 28 mm.

An inquiry about variety 21-I, one of the Fugios that we do not have represented in the cabinet, came from Greg Shane, who also wanted to investigate one of the interesting currency issues printed by Franklin under contract to the colonial governments. The cabinet is weak in a number of areas, and its representation of Franklin’s company’s products, epitomized by the ANS’s sole specimen of the 1746 issue, is surprisingly sparse. And our deficiency in Franklin notes brings to mind another area of singular weakness in the ANS collection: the field of the very earliest notes from the colonies. In hope of obtaining a photograph for publication, Paul Gilkes, senior staff writer for Coin World, recently inquired about the Massachusetts colonial emission of 1690—the first government-issued paper currency of the western world. Sadly, we have no representative. Even though the surviving exemplars of this production may all be contemporary counterfeits, it would be marvelous to have such a note in the cabinet. We could certainly use some donations in this field.


Fig. 30. United States: New Jersey. 12 shillings, July 2, 1746, printed by B. Franklin. Heavily circulated and eroded by wear, even during its time as currency, this note required repairs, becoming colonial “pin money”; evidence of sewn mending is also present. (ANS 0000.999.29765) roughly 89 x 49 mm.

While the cabinet may be deficient in early paper, the Society’s fine collection of early American coinage always receives its due measure of attention. Some months ago, we even hosted a little gathering of specialists who had a collective look at a number of the series. Dr. Roger Moore found several items of interest to him, including a St. Patrick “farthing” and American imitations of contemporary British half pennies. Other participants included Neil Rothschild, Roger Siboni, Ray Williams, and Dave Wnuck, specialists in various other areas of colonial and Confederate-period coins. To be sure, other correspondents and visitors have inquired in this area as well, Thanks to the genius and generosity of George Hubbard Clapp (1858-1949), the Society is well known for its essentially unsurpassed collection of United States large cents, which I have had occasion to feature previously in this column. Among those who have been studying examples of their favorite issues recently are Scott Barrett, Chuck Heck, and Jim Neiswinter, of the Early American Coppers group. Heck is working on a study of the die states of the multifarious and convoluted 1794 varieties, of which there are numerous examples among the Clapp coins (165, to be exact). Clapp was a remarkably astute collector, far ahead of his time in his comprehension of die varieties and die states. The backs of the individual boxes in which his coins are still housed at the ANS include extensive notations in his fine printing.


Fig. 31. United States: New Jersey. AE St. Patrick “farthing,” Mark Newby Irish issue (ca. 1679). Recently, students have made an increasingly detailed investigation of the die varieties, history, and manufacturing process of two St. Patrick series. (ANS 1931.58.400, gift of the New Jersey Historical Society, ex Canfield collection) 24.1 mm.


Fig. 32. United States. Contemporary imitation of British AE half penny, 1781. Vlack 42-81C. (ANS 0000.999.42267]], purchase) 28 mm.


Fig. 33. United States. Contemporary imitation of British AE half penny, 1785. Newman 51-85B. (ANS 0000.999.42268) 27.6 mm.


Fig. 34. United States. Cu cent, 1794. Sheldon 26. Clapp acquired this specimen, the only known example of this variety struck from perfect dies (die state I), from his brother C. E. Clapp in March, 1921. It was formerly in a “Phelps” collection (edge annotated “Phelps 15”). (ANS 1946.143.67, gift of George H. Clapp) 28.3 mm.


Fig. 35. United States. Cu cent, 1794. Sheldon 32. Of the six or seven recorded specimens of this die variety known that were struck from perfect dies (die state I), this specimen is the finest. (ANS 1946.143.86, gift of George H. Clapp) 28.2 mm.

The elusive United States half-disme issue of 1802 was the subject of an inquiry from Ginger Rapsus, who wanted to know if there was an example of one in the ANS cabinet. Generally speaking, any such coin will be found listed in our online catalog if there is a specimen in the collection, as long as it is part of a series that has been addressed in the course of our data entry. In the case of regular-issue U.S. coins, virtually everything but a smattering of relatively unimportant duplicate items and the bulk of the counterfeit collection has already been catalogued and entered. So alas, the fact that there is no listing for a 1802 half disme in the database does indeed mean that we have no example. Nor is there any example of the issues of 1803 or 1805. This is an area of serious deficiency. Are there any readers who could help fill this void? (Many other half-disme varieties are absent as well.)

For a new edition of Keith Davignon’s work on counterfeit United States bust-type half dollars, Mark Glazer ordered photos of three of the ANS specimens that had not been included originally in the catalog: 1826 D. 8-H, 1836 D. 2-B, and 1837 D. 6-F.


Fig. 36. United States. Contemporary counterfeit half dollar, 1826, Davignon 8-H.(ANS 1945.14.21, gift of J. F. LeBlanc) 32 mm.


Fig. 37. United States. Contemporary counterfeit half dollar, 1836, Davignon 2-B. (ANS 0000.999.47978) 33 mm.


Fig. 38. United States. Contemporary counterfeit half dollar, 1837, Davignon 6-F. (ANS 1989.99.267, gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. Byron White) 32 mm.

Having had a number of inquiries in this area recently, I asked ANS Museum volunteer Bill Sudbrink to help with long-needed cataloguing of the U.S. counterfeit collections. Since our move to all-digital images several years ago, accession numbers are required for specimens in order to file and access their images, whereas in the past, sometimes staff members could simply shoot and send photographs of items (and even exhibit them) without their having been adequately recorded and numbered.

The famous Confederate half dollar is routinely the subject of various inquiries. In comparison with it, A. Spiropoulos was curious about the so-called restrikes created years after the Civil War, when the J. W. Scott company obtained the original A. H. M. Patterson Confederate die and used it to overstrike planed-down genuine struck examples of the federal-issue 1861-O half dollars, which would have still been available in circulation at that time (1879). Interestingly, at least one specimen is known for which the Confederate die was used to strike a coin initially impressed by the 1861 New Orleans obverse die—recognizable from its characteristic cracking—that was actually used to mint the original issue. Among other investigations of American anomalies, George Stish wanted to know about the varieties of the 1974-D Lincoln Memorial cent. This was of course the year when the United States Mint introduced a new master hub, producing two new master die varieties, the so-called small- and large-date issues. In checking the ANS holdings, I found to my surprise that there were no examples of 1974-D cents in the collection; nor were there many examples of other recent-issue American cents from 1973 onward, with the exception of a grouping of San Francisco proofs generously donated by Stack’s; a selection of Denver mint pieces, from 1986, 1987, and 1988; and Philadelphia pieces from 1973, 1975, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1999—a sad showing, to be sure.


Fig. 39. Confederate States of America. AR half dollar, 1861(-O), Scott “restrike.” One of 500 examples produced, the reeded edge of the original 1861 federal half dollar has been crushed as the result of the “restriking.” (ANS 1906.98.5, gift of J. Sanford Saltus) 30 mm.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Jay M. Galst is preparing a definitive catalog of numismatic materials relating to his profession. Among the many pertinent items in the ANS cabinet, we have been able to locate for him a considerable selection of illustrative pieces. One item, which had not yet been catalogued into our database before having been retrieved in connection with this project, is a nice example of an embossed merchant’s store card from 1868, issued by James Foster, Jr., of Cincinnati. I was happy to have been able to find this piece not only because Foster lists his business as “Optician,” but because the reverse design includes a fine representation of a pair of contemporary eye-glasses of the pince-nez type.


Fig. 40. United States: Ohio. James Foster, Jr., of Cincinnati, Optician. Brass embossed encasement store card token, 1868. (ANS 0000.999.55587) 33.9 mm.

“Oriental” Issues

Of course, calling much of the world’s principal landmass “oriental” implies a truly Eurocentric or even “Western-Hemispheric” point of view, but in the case of ANS holdings, the term can sometimes be useful as a kind of shorthand for describing what occasionally seems to me to be a rather unnecessarily complicated classification system. As mentioned above, the Modern section of the ANS cabinet includes virtually all world coins since roughly the seventeenth century, with three major categories of exceptions, the Islamic, South Asian, and East Asian departments (coded in our database as I, SA, and EA), headed until his recent retirement by Dr. Michael L. Bates. Department I includes Israeli and various other non-Muslim series (Sasanian Persian, Crusader imitative pieces, medieval Armenian coins, productions of European enclaves in North Africa, etc.) that happen to fall into closely related geographical areas and time periods (68,851 items are currently classified under this departmental heading in our database). SA basically encompasses the Indian subcontinent, including all issues, whether Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, colonialist, or what have you, as well as other “southern” regions such as Indonesia and the Philippines; all Kushan coins, for example, would come under the SA classification (39,714 pieces catalogued in the database currently). EA includes the northern Pacific Rim region of Asia: Korea, China, Mongolia, Japan, and Vietnam, but not Cambodia (49,743 EA items are currently in the database).

Despite the fact that the Society’s collections in the “Oriental” departments are truly outstanding, we were unable to help art historian Dr. Elizabeth Stone in her request for images of a particular gold issue of the Kushan Kingdom. We do, however, have a fine representative group of Kushan coins, including examples of most of the series.


Fig. 41. Kushan Empire. Wima Kadphises (ca. AD 105-130). AV double stater. (ANS 1967.154.4, bequest of Mrs. Edward T. Newell, ex R. B. Whitehead collection) 25 mm.

Dr. Wolfgang Schultze, updating a study of Arab-Byzantine pieces in the Society’s cabinet, ordered images of a coin from the former collection of the late ANS councilmember John J. Slocum. This piece is of the same type as another ANS specimen, which was featured in John Walkers’s classic British Museum catalog of Arab-Byzantine and postreform Umaiyad coins. These early Islamic coins are issues from the ancient mint city of Harran, the ancient Carrhae, which served as the capital of the province of Al-Jazira (the steppe region between the Euphrates and the Tigris, to the west of ancient Assyria) under the Umaiyads. Slocum was also the donor of a collection of 233 cut fragments of gold coins, some in imitation of Islamic issues, produced by the Crusaders—recently the subject of inquiries from Robert D. Leonard, Jr.


Fig. 42. Islam: Arab-Byzantine, Umaiyad Caliphate. AE fals, Harran mint, “standing caliph” type (ca. AD 694-697). BMC.ANS 7. (ANS 1998.25.75, gift of John J. Slocum, Jr.) 22.4 mm.


Fig. 43. Islam: Arab-Byzantine, Umaiyad Caliphate. AE fals, Harran mint, “standing caliph” type (ca. AD 694-697). BMC.ANS 7; this coin. (ANS 1917.215.3376, gift of Edward T. Newell) 18.5 mm.

Studying coins from the Marinid dynasty of Morocco is a project that Mohamed Elhadri, a graduate student the University of Lyon (2), in France, has undertaken as a thesis topic. The ANS has thirty-two coins classified in the database with this distinction, most of them from the collection of the Hispanic Society of America. While Elhadri hopes to reexamine them in detail, the coins were studied by Harry W. Hazard and incorporated in his classic work The Numismatic History of Late Medieval North Africa, published by the Society in 1952. Another photo order for coins in the Islamic department came from Sherif Boraie, who is working on a publication Coins from the First Caliphate to the Ottoman Empire, for which he requested images of a selection of important types, among them Umaiyad, ‘Abbasid, Muwahhid, Mamluk, Persian, and Turkish examples.


Fig. 44. Islam: Morocco, Marinid dynasty; Yusuf ibn Ya’qub? (1286-1307). AV dinar, mint and date lacking. (ANS 1969.222.1284, gift of P. K. Anderson) 31 mm.


Fig. 45. Islam: Arab Byzantine, Umaiyad Caliphat. AV dinar (Damascus mint), 75 AH (=AD 694/5). The famous “standing caliph” transitional issue. (ANS 1970.63.1, gift of R. W. Morris, ex Bustros collection) 20 mm.


Fig. 46. Islam: ‘Abbasid Caliphate. Al-Muta’sim. AV dinar, Madinat al-Salam (Baghdad) mint, 222 AH (= AD 836/7). This coin is a standard dinar of the double-margin obverse type introduced by the caliph’s predecessor, Al-Ma’mun. (ANS 1917.215.340, gift of Edward T. Newell, ex Luria collection) 21 mm.


Fig. 47. Islam: Ottoman Empire. Ahmad III. AV zer-I mahbub, Islambul (Istanbul) mint, 1115 AH (=1703/4). A typical Turkish tughra is shown on the obverse. (ANS 1938.148.22, purchase, ex V. D. Starosselsky Collection) 18 mm.

Medallic Issues

The ANS cabinet is rich in medals, although its specific strength in various areas of the field is uneven. Our holdings of Renaissance medals, for example, while including a good number of handsome examples, are not particularly extensive, while our collections of the twentieth-century works of Karl Goetz, examples of all medals relating to architects and architecture, Indian Peace medals, and medallic pieces relating to the French Revolution of 1848 are among the cabinet’s foremost collections, probably unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Early American medals of all kinds are always a popular area of interest, as are pieces in the ANS’s famous collection of American Indian friendship medals. Of all the medals of the colonial or early Federal period, a 1757-dated George II Indian Peace medal is probably the most commonly encountered issue, thanks to modern reproductions by the U.S. Mint. Commonly referred to as the “Quaker Medal,” an inquiry about this issue came from Jim Hunt. We are fortunate to have in the ANS cabinet three original silver examples and one evidently in lead (probably a pattern piece). Helpful sources of information on these can be found in “American Indian peace medals of the colonial period in the collection of the American Numismatic Society,” by Alan M. Stahl and William Scully, in Money of Pre-Federal America (Coinage of the Americas Conference Proceedings 7, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1992). Another important source for these pieces is Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century, by Robert W. Julian.


Fig. 48. British Colonial North America: Pennsylvania, George II. AR Quaker-Indian friendship medal, 1757. Stahl & Scully 13. (ANS 1966.16.8, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 43.7 mm.

Believed to have been engraved by Edward Duffield and minted by Joseph Richardson, Sr., these Indian Peace medals were issued by the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures (of Philadelphia). They were struck on Spanish colonial 8-reales pieces, of which surviving traces of the edge markings are an indication of authenticity. The medals are of slightly broader diameter than that of their host coins, since these were flattened and spread when they were overstruck (without a collar).

The Quaker dies of 1757 were saved and later presented to the U.S. Mint, possibly by 1800. Various silver and bronze restrikes were made to order for collectors thereafter. By 1861, when restrikes were offered for public sale, the dies may have already been cracked. In 1874, Mint Superintendent Pollack reported them as having been broken, and the last pieces struck from these cracked dies were minted in the second quarter of 1875 (last sold in the first quarter of 1878). Those original dies were replaced in fiscal year 1882 by copy dies, first used for striking in the end of 1885. While all mint restrikes have a plain edge, of which the thickness may vary, in the twentieth century, the medal has been extensively minted with a distinctively modern bronze finish. However, examples can sometimes be found silver-plated, holed, and/or otherwise artificially aged by modern-day “enthusiasts.”

In 1922, a handsome medal by the Medallic Art Company celebrated the fifty-year anniversary of the wedding of Emily Johnston (1851-1942) and Robert Weeks DeForest (1848-1931). It shows imagery symbolic of the couple’s families: the Walloon Huguenot de Forests, exiles from French-speaking Flanders who were among the first colonists from the Netherlands in what is now New York City; and the Johnstons, one of the renowned clans of Anglo-Scottish borderers. My attention was brought to their anniversary medal by one of our many correspondents seeking information. As sometimes happens to me when I am on a “data search” for someone’s inquiry, I digressed.


Fig. 49. United States. AE fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration medal of Robert Weeks and Emily Johnston DeForest, Medallic Art Company, 1922. (ANS 1940.200.1, gift of Herbert E. Winlock) 52 mm.

A prominent member of the bar for half a century, Robert DeForest is known for his philanthropy and as a patron of the arts rather than as a lawyer. His bride was the daughter of John Taylor Johnston, the founder and first president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. DeForest later served as president of the Metropolitan Museum himself, and he and Mrs. DeForest donated the American wing of the Met in 1924. The DeForests were outstanding, public-spirited donors, so it is not surprising to find that we have other pieces in the collection thanks to DeForest generosity. In particular, along with William H. Perkins and James B. Ford, Robert DeForest purchased for the Society one of the most important Indian Peace medals from Wayte Raymond’s 1925 sale of the great W. W. C. Wilson collection: the 1766-dated “Happy while United” silver medal of George III (ANS 1925.173.1).


Fig. 50. British Colonial America: New York, George III. AR 1766-dated “Happy while United” Indian Peace medal, 1766. (ANS 1925.173.1, gift of R. W. DeForest, W. H. Perkins and J. B. Ford) 59.6 mm.

This issue, which was unknown to C. Wyllys Betts in his survey of medals from the colonial period, is believed to be represented by only one other example: a specimen in the McCord Museum of Canadian History, in Montreal. Made in the form of a hollow shell of two cast plates joined by a ring, with a crossed pipe and wing forming a loop attachment, the medal took its reverse inspiration from the 1757 Quaker medal. The Wilson specimen was acquired in 1913 from A. G. Parker, of the Union Pacific Railroad Co., who reported that it had been found in 1840 near Niagara Falls by his grandfather, Ezekiel Jewett, who was a post trader at nearby Fort Niagara. Fort Niagara was the site of much negotiation between the Europeans and the Indian tribes of the era.

As well as being an ANS donor, Robert DeForest was a leader in the formation of the New York City Welfare Council, which represented 1,500 charitable societies. He was president of the Charity Organization Society for forty years, and served on the Board of the pioneering Life Extension Institute—one of the earliest efforts to promote preventive medicine—formed in 1913 in the Guaranty Trust Company, with former President William H. Taft as chairman. An 1870 graduate of Yale University, Robert DeForest died of a heart attack on May 7, 1931, survived by his widow, two sons, two daughters, and two brothers. Understandably, as one of the finest benefactors of New York City, his loss was greatly lamented.

Ivy T. Schweitzer, associate professor of English and women’s and gender studies and East Wheelock Faculty Associate at Dartmouth College, requested an image of the silver oval George Washington Indian Peace medal for a forthcoming book, Perfecting Friendship: Politics and Affiliation in Early America. Although the ANS holds what is probably the best and most complete publicly accessible collection of Indian Peace medals of all kinds, it is nevertheless sadly deficient in some important areas. One of these is the rare series of silver oval medallions ordered in three sizes by President Washington. Indeed, though they have appeared repeatedly in publications, the specimens in the ANS cabinet do not all, alas, appear to be original issues, and none of them bears a silversmith’s hallmark. Many years ago, under the direction of Bauman Belden, the Society and its boardmembers in particular made a concerted effort to acquire Indian Peace medals. The importance of the cabinet today is a testimony to their dedication and farsightedness but, lamentably, very few worthwhile pieces have been added in the past sixty years.


Fig. 51. United States. George Washington, AR hand-engraved oval Indian Peace medallion, with loop. (ANS 1921.23.1, gift of Howland Wood and Elliott Smith) 81 x 124 mm.

The outstanding collection of medals by the great twentieth-century German medallic sculptor Karl Goetz in the ANS cabinet invites frequent attention. Henry Scott Goodman, who holds the copyright on the standard reference on Goetz’s work, by Gunter Kienast, was seeking information on opus number 684—one of the pieces, unfortunately, that is not a part of the Society’s holdings. But our Goetz series, including some works by the master’s son, Guido, does contain over 1,200 pieces. Most of the items in this great collection were generously donated by Ira, Larry, and Mark Goldberg.

Not long ago, I had occasion to investigate the striking medal that celebrated the creation of Rockefeller Center in the mid-1930s. Not to be fully completed for several more years, John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s visionary effort was one of the world’s all-time greatest urban construction projects. I believe the official medal commemorating this achievement is worth discussing, since I have noticed that it has appeared for sale several times on the Internet accompanied by incorrect information.


Fig. 52. United States: New York. AE Rockefeller Center commemoration medal, International Silver Company, n.d. On this medal’s obverse is a stylized partial view of the Center’s core buildings, looking northwest, with sunburst rays of light extending from it outward, and the legend ROCKEFELLER CENTER. On the reverse is Lawrie’s imagery from above the main entrance door at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the sculpture “Wisdom” in clouds, holding dividers. Lawrie derived this concept from the imagery of William Blake’s engraving of Jehovah. The reverse inscription reads WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE THE STABILITY OF THY TIMES, based upon Isaiah 33:6. (ANS 0000.999.8282) 69 mm.

This handsome, high-relief issue, very “art deco” in style, was produced by the International Silver Company, apparently toward the end of 1935, and was first offered for sale in the January 1936 number of The Numismatist. The mintage was 500, available in two versions: the standard bronze, which sold for $1.25, and gilded bronze, for $1.50. Curiously, the engravers and sculptors of the medal are not indicated, although the reverse design was very clearly taken from the Rockefeller Center’s monumental sculpture by Lee Lawrie. Although the company’s anonymous staff artists might have executed the commission, possibly Lawrie himself sculpted the medal. He would have been fully capable; his medallic output was not large, but he was honored by the American Numismatic Society’s prestigious J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal in 1937—only the second recipient of the award that decade.

Dr. Norma Eliscu Banas, daughter of the prominent twentieth-century sculptor Frank Eliscu (designer of the ANS’s 1977 members’ medal), is in the process of preparing a website with a history of Eliscu’s work. In this connection, she inquired about the 1979 issue of the Leo Baeck Institute, which was designed by her father. The Society is fortunate to hold twelve examples of Eliscu’s small body of medallic sculptures, including this evocative portrait piece.


Fig. 53. United States: New York. AE Leo Baeck Institute commemorative medal, by Frank Eliscu, 1979. Obv. RABBI LEO BAECK./ LEADER OF GERMAN JEWRY. Head of Rabbi Baeck, r. Rev. LEO BAECK INSTITUTE/…SO THAT THE MEMORY/ OF A GREAT PAST/ MAY NOT PERISH; in field, logo of the Leo Baeck Institute. (ANS 2000.1.186, gift of Daniel Friedenberg) 60 mm.

Rabbi Leo Baeck (1873-1956), the author of The Essence of Judaism (1905), was a “great scholar and compassionate soul,” who is celebrated today through New York City’s Leo Baeck Institute, an exhibition and lecture center with a research “library and archives offering the most comprehensive documentation for the study of German Jewish history.” The son of a rabbi, Baeck was born in Lissa, Poland, and attended the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, followed by the Hochschüle für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. He studied philosophy at both the universities of Breslau and Berlin, and became an acclaimed authority on the Jewish origins of Christianity. Baeck hoped his work would better enable Christians and Jews to forge genuine and respectful relations.

Following the rise of Nazism in Germany, Baeck had numerous opportunities to escape, but chose not to leave his people. In 1943, he was interned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. There, he “worked tirelessly to teach, counsel, support, and inspire his fellow inmates.” Surviving the Holocaust, he moved to London, where he chaired the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Until his death, he taught intermittently there and at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio—one of the nation’s great sources of classical literary materials.

Our summer intern last year, Sylvia Tomczyk, who is a graduate student at the Freie Universität, became interested in post-World War I German notgeld while working with the ANS collections. Upon returning to Berlin, she received permission to make the anti-Semitic themes displayed by some of these notes the subject of her dissertation, and obtained a foreign-study fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutsches Akademisches Austauschdienst) enabling her to return to the ANS for her research. While here, conveniently, she was also able to take advantage of the unequaled resources of the Leo Baeck Institute.

Cabinet Review

We have reviewed a number of the activities that have been keeping my colleagues and me occupied in helping others over the past months. There are many other instances I would enjoy citing, but they will have to wait for another opportunity. I hope that the items we present here may give a glimpse of the riches of the ANS cabinet, and show something of the degree to which they provide information of many kinds and at many levels. In the effort to encourage use and appreciation of the Society’s superlative online database catalog, where more information may be found for any of the items cited, we always include both the accession number and enough other information to facilitate an online search. Remember that the items for which images are available are almost always pieces for which photos have been ordered and paid for by someone, enabling us to cover the cost of bringing them to you. We are working hard to serve you, and hope that as you enjoy the services of the ANS, you will support our many activities and programs, our “cabinetry at work.

For Further Reading

Betts, C. Wyllys. American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals. Edited by William T. R. Marvin and Lyman Haynes Low. New York: Scott Stamp and Coin Co., 1894.

BMC. Catalogue of Oriental Coins in the British Museum: Arab-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins (A Catalogue of the Muhammadan coins in the British Museum, Vol. 2), by John Walker. London: British Museum, 1956.

Breton, Pierre Napoléon. Popular Illustrated Guide to Canadian Coins, Medals, etc. Montreal: L’Imprimerie modèle, 1912.

CNI. Corpus Nummorum Italicorum (Rome, 1910-1943). Bologna: A. Forni, 1969-1971.

D & H. Dalton, Richard, and Samuel H. Hamer. The Provincial Token-coinage of the Eighteenth Century, Illustrated (Bristol, 1913). Stow, Mass.: A. D. Hoch, 1967.

Davignon, Keith R. Contemporary Counterfeit Capped Bust Half Dollars. Rocky River, Ohio: Money Tree, Inc., 1996.

Hazard, Harry W. Numismatic History of Late Medieval North Africa. New York: American Numismatic Society, 1952; and American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 12 (1966): 195-221, plates 53-55.

Kienast, Gunter. The Medals of Karl Goetz. Cleveland: Artus Co., 1967.

Krause, Chester, and Clifford Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 2002-2005.

Newman, Eric P. Early Paper Money of America. 4th ed. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 1997.

Newman, Eric P. “Varieties of the Fugio Cent,” The Coin Collector’s Journal 16, no. 1 (Jan.-Feb. 1949): 3-13; 19, no. 4 (July-Aug. 1952): 10-20.

RIC. Roman Imperial Coinage. Vol. 2, Vespasian to Hadrian, by Harold Mattingly and Edward A. Sydenham. Vol. 5, Pertinax to Elagabalus, by Harold Mattingly. London: Spink, 1968.

Sheldon, William H. Early American Cents, 1793-1814. New York: Harper, 1949.

Stahl, Alan M., and William Scully. “Indian Peace Medals of the Colonial Period in the Collection of the American Numismatic Society,” Coinage of the Americas Conference, Proceedings 7. New York: American Numismatic Society, 1992.

News (Spring 2006)

ANS to Sell Foreign Orders and Decorations to Benefit Its Acquisition Fund

On May 24 and October 25, 2006, in landmark sales to be conducted in London by auctioneers Morton & Eden, in association with Sotheby’s, a unique collection of historic military medals, orders, and decorations from a variety of nations will be made available to museums and the collecting community.

In an earlier era, when organizations such as ANS took a very broad approach to collecting, the Society acquired an extensive and diverse collection of military medals, orders, and decorations, including numerous historically important European and Asian pieces (see article in this volume). Some of these medals come with specific histories that enhance their significance.

Among the British material are an Army Long Service and Good Conduct medal awarded in 1837 to a member of the Grenadier Guards who had taken part in the Battle of Waterloo, a Naval General Service medal awarded to a man who served on board Lord Collingwood’s flagship at Trafalgar, and a Polar medal awarded to the crew member who looked after the dogs on Captain Scott’s first expedition to the Antarctic.

From the late nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, the ANS accumulated more than five thousand British and world campaign and gallantry medals, orders, and decorations, but in recent decades, the Society has refocused its priorities, concentrating on its role as a museum of money and related artifacts, moving into new headquarters near Wall Street in Manhattan, and partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to create an exhibition on the history of coins and currency.

The medals and decorations have not been exhibited for over twenty years, and the Society has decided to deaccession the foreign materials—though it will retain its holdings in American medals and decorations, as they reflect aspects of the political and socioeconomic historical context of the American coins and currency collection. The sales of the non-American material will reintroduce many interesting and important medals for possible acquisition by museums, collectors, and organizations in Europe and Asia, which may have a direct connection to the histories of these objects. The proceeds of the auctions will be used by the ANS to finance new acquisitions in line with the Society’s mission to create the definitive collection of world coinage.

“This sale is an opportunity for these materials to be transferred into collections where there will be more likelihood that they will be studied and exhibited,” said ANS executive director Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan. “The Society’s goals have been redefined since these objects were obtained—while we still saw it as vital to retain all our American orders and decorations, we recognized that this group of non-American material was not being curated and had not been on display for twenty years or more. Money raised from the sale will go into our acquisition fund to improve our core collection of American and world coins.”

Auctioneer James Morton, who specializes in war medals and decorations, said his company was delighted to have been chosen by the ANS to conduct the sale. He added: “In the long history of collecting orders, medals, and decorations, I do not believe there has ever before been an auction in which so many individual pieces covering such a broad range of content has been dispersed at one time. This is a landmark event, and we anticipate worldwide interest from collectors and institutions, who will be able to participate at every price level.”

Van Alfen to Speak at San Francisco Bourse

On May 27, Dr. Peter van Alfen, the Margaret Thompson Associate Curator of Greek Coins, will present a talk entitled “Cooperative Coinage,” at the San Francisco Bourse, which will be held at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, 1500 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. Show hours are 10am to 6pm; van Alfen will speak from 7 to 8pm. For more information on the Bourse, please call John Jencek, Bourse chairman, at 650-804-4841, or online at http://www.ancient-coins.com/SFbourse. Jencek can also be e-mailed at: johnjencek@ancient-coins.com.

Anna Chang Joins ANS Staff

Anna Chang joined the staff of the ANS in February, as Director of Finance and Operations. Anna holds an MBA and has earned the Executive Level Program certificate from Columbia University Graduate School of Business’ Not-for-Profit Institute. With over fifteen years experience in financial planning in the entertainment industry, she transitioned into the nonprofit arena, spending the past ten years as a senior financial manager at institutions such as the American Symphony Orchestra League, Spence Chapin Services to Families & Children, and the Intrepid Museum.


Anna Chang

New Promotions at the ANS

Richard Witschonke and Peter Donovan have been promoted to Curatorial Associates. This is a new position, the creation of which the Trustees approved at its meeting on March 4. The Executive Director, at the recommendation of the Curatorial Staff, may promote volunteers or other staff to the position of Curatorial Associate. Mr. Witschonke has been assisting the curatorial staff on a variety of projects, including photography, the Summer Seminar, accessions, and the Roman Provincial Coinage project. Mr. Donovan is working on Islamic coins and has undertaken the registry of the Jem Sultan Collection of Ottoman coins.

The Trustees also announced that the search for a second Margaret Thompson Curator will be opened. The Society wishes to employ a scholar in the ancient Greek field who would be able to oversee other parts of the collections as well. An advertisement will be posted in early April.

From the Executive Director (Spring 2006)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

The American Numismatic Society began 2006 with a bang. On January 12, longtime Fellow, friend, and supporter Q. David Bowers received the ANS Trustees’ Award at our gala event, held in New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Over two hundred guests, among them some of the most distinguished numismatists in the United States and abroad, celebrated Dave’s achievements in numismatics. We are all extremely grateful to Whitman Publishing and American Numismatic Rarities, as well as many other generous donors, who made a truly fantastic evening possible. It raised significant money for the ANS. And many congratulations again to Q. David Bowers for this well-deserved honor!

The inaugural meeting of the newly founded Augustus B. Sage Society preceded the gala. ANS Fellow David Tripp gave a short talk about the 1933 Double Eagle and the most recent developments in this case. Almost ninety members and guests attended this event. This new donor circle of the ANS has already attracted over seventy members, and we are most grateful for their generous support. This year, the Sage Society is planning a trip to London, where members will get a behind-the-scenes look at various museums and private collections. It should be a fun trip, and a number of members have already signed up for it. An invitation to all Sage members will be sent out this spring.

At its meeting in October 2005, the ANS Trustees selected Morton & Eden, in association with Sotheby’s, to sell the Society’s holdings of foreign orders and decorations. The Collections Committee, which oversees the accession and deaccession of ANS materials, had recommended to the board at an earlier meeting to sell its collection of these materials as well as other items not related to the core mission of the Society. The more significant holdings in the American series, which contain many important rarities, will be retained. In this issue of the ANS Magazine, Geoff Giglierano gives a fascinating account of how Saltus and other key ANS members decided on assembling this interesting collection of primarily European military orders. Proceeds from the two sales, to be held in May and October of this year, will go into the restricted acquisitions funds of the ANS, and will allow the curatorial staff to improve our numismatic holdings.

On a sad note, we are mourning the loss of several distinguished ANS members and supporters. Just when going to print, we learned of the death of our Trustee Professor James Schwartz, who passed away on March 13. He will be greatly missed by members, staff, and Trustees alike. An obituary will appear in the summer issue of the Magazine. We are also sad to report the deaths of Mark Salton, William Spengler, George Fisher, James Risk, and our Huntington Medalist Philip Grierson. Their lives and achievements in numismatics and other fields are captured in the obituaries in this issue.

I wanted to end this letter by thanking all our members for their support of the Society. This year promises to be successful, and we have already received some large donations. One of our members donated the generous sum of $2,500 at the end of last year. He has been a member for twenty-five years, and he wanted to show his gratitude by donating $100 for each year of membership. Thank you, Tom! I hope you have many followers.

With best wishes,
Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Ted Withington: A Brief Biography

Ted Withington started working as a volunteer at the ANS in 1988, making him, by a wide margin, the longest-serving volunteer and one of the most senior members of the ANS Staff. As with most ANS people, however, there is more to Ted than coins.

Ted was born in 1931, in Long Beach, California, the son of a career naval officer. Naturally, the family moved around a lot, and Ted finished junior high school in Washington, D.C. Then, having been lazy, he was enrolled in Brooks School, in North Andover, Mass. Ted did well at Brooks and went on to Williams College, where he graduated with a degree in physics. During the summer following his junior year, Ted was on a St. Lawrence cruise with his parents, when he met the love of his life, Robin, who was then at Smith. They began dating, and were married in 1954.

When Ted graduated from Williams in 1952, Uncle Sam called, so Ted enlisted in the navy and was sent to Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. From there, Ted was sent to work at the National Security Agency in Washington, as a computer programmer, which led to a long and successful career in the computer industry. Upon completion of his military service, Ted took a job with Electrodata, a Pasadena firm that manufactured vacuum-tube computers—the cutting-edge technology of the day! Electrodata was subsequently acquired by Burroughs, which became Unisys. While living in Pasadena, Ted and Robin had their first child, named after her mother, in 1956. The younger Robin went to Smith, her mother’s alma mater, and now lives with her husband, a banker, in Bethesda, Md. One of her two sons went to William and Mary and is now a graduate student in computer science at Columbia, and the other attends the University of Vermont.


Robin and Ted Withington.

In 1960, Ted left Burroughs and joined Arthur D. Little, Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. ADL was, at the time, the premiere technology consulting firm in the country, and Ted worked there for twenty-six years. In 1962, Ted and Robin’s second daughter, Amy, was born. Amy is now a practicing psychiatrist, and lives near Philadelphia with her husband (an attorney), and their two young sons. In 1964, son Bill was born. Bill now works as a computer network engineer in Portland, Oregon, and also has two young sons (apparently a Withington family tradition).

While with ADL, Ted participated in hundreds of consulting engagements for the firm’s many clients. He was also responsible for ADL’s annual report on the state of the Data Processing Industry. Ted is still an active member of a committee that advises the Government Accountability Office on technology matters. At one point, GAO was reviewing automation efforts at the IRS, but was stymied in getting access to internal IRS documents. To resolve the roadblock, Ted was appointed as a page to a sympathetic senator, and this gave him the clout to get the IRS’s cooperation. Ted is the author of four books and over forty articles relating to his field. In addition, he has been an editor of several journals, a research fellow at New York University, and a visiting professor at Harvard Business School.

In 1986, Ted took early retirement from ADL and moved into the Manhattan apartment that Robin had inherited from her parents. The building, on the Upper East Side, dates from 1929, and still had three tiny bedrooms for servants! Ted and Robin used up most of the proceeds from the sale of their Massachusetts home on renovations, and were able to move into a lovely apartment in 1987.

In retirement, Ted is active on three boards of directors, including the Charles Babbage Foundation (a group devoted to the preservation of the history of the computer industry) and Civitas, a nonprofit that works on neighborhood issues such as East Harlem rezoning.

Ted’s numismatic career began early but progressed rather fitfully. When he was about ten years old, his father gave him a small collection of U.S. cents. After adding some circulated Lincolns, Ted sold these off a few years later for the grand sum of $16.00. Ted’s grandmother had a fascinating screen, which had various ancient coins glued around the edge. When she disposed of it, she pulled the coins off and gave them to Ted, now aged twelve. Ted put the coins in a box, and they lay forgotten for twenty-three years, until Robin ran across them in 1964. Intrigued, Ted bought a copy of Klawans’ book on ancient coins in an attempt to identify them… and the rest, as they say, is history. Ted became fascinated with first ancient Greek and then Roman coins, initially the twelve Caesars. He began to frequent the coin department at Jordan Marsh in Boston, and remembers a visit to Coin Galleries in New York in the 60s, where he bought an Athenian owl tetradrachm.

Ted’s numismatic scope is wide-ranging, driven primarily by his interests in art, portraiture, and history. He also enjoys underappreciated series, where interesting coins can be found at reasonable prices. From ancient Greece and Rome, Ted moved to Byzantine gold, art medals, and then to ancient Chinese coins, such as the spade, knife, and hoe money. He found large lots of these fascinating issues at Coin Galleries, and was encouraged by David Jen of the ANS, who was working on these series. One of Ted’s current passions is gold medals relating to the space program, which can often be purchased for only twice their bullion value, despite being quite scarce. He also collects the medals the U.S. astronauts have always designed and carried on their flights. And he is still collecting ancient coins, mainly the Roman provincial issues of Alexandria.

Ted, now a Life Fellow of the ANS, has been a member and volunteer since 1988. Ted was invited to a “collector’s luncheon” by James Lamb of Spink America. There he met Carmen Arnold-Biucchi, then ANS Curator of Greek Coins, who invited Ted to join and volunteer, which he did. He spent the first six months working on the photo file, while awaiting his “clearance” for access to the vault. At the time, the ANS was engaged in a massive project to get the entire collection catalogued and entered into the computerized database, and this project was Ted’s focus for the next decade. He started with the cataloging and entering of Seleucid coins, then moved to ancient North Africa, Egypt, Spain, and Parthia. By 1999, the effort was complete, and Ted turned his hand to the ANS’s large collection of medals, which was in need of reorganization. The problem with medals is that they can be organized in at least five different ways: by country of origin, by engraver (e.g., Goetz), by subject (e.g., Abraham Lincoln), by event (e.g., World’s Fair), or by collector (e.g., Eidlitz). The only real solution is to enter the medals in the database in such a way that one can view the collection along any of these dimensions, and this is the long-range goal of Ted’s work.

Then, in 2003, the ANS moved from Audubon Terrace to Fulton Street, and Ted was one of the stalwart helpers who safely moved the Society’s 700,000 objects to their new home. Even Robin pitched in, as she has occasionally over the years. After the move, Ted began cataloguing the many dies in the Society’s collection (see the last issue of the ANS Magazine for Ted’s description of this effort).

In 1999, Ted was awarded the ANS Distinguished Volunteer Medal, which he richly deserved. His unselfish commitment to the goals of the organization in helping to make the resources of the Society available to all serves as an inspiration to all those who follow.

The Summer Seminar: A Brief History

by Rick Witschonke and Joe Ciccone


Eric P. Newman speaking with Seminar students, 1983

Now known as the Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics, the Seminar began over fifty years ago, and has a rich and fascinating history. The actual commencement of the Seminar in 1952 grew out of efforts by ANS President Herbert Ives during World War II to publicize the availability of the Society’s collections to students and scholars, while most European collections were unavailable. In 1943, the Society distributed a circular to this effect, and in 1944 established the Edward T. Newell Fellowship, which provided a stipend of $300 for a student to spend time at the ANS, to help with the assimilation of the massive Newell bequest of ancient coins. In 1945, the ANA added a second $300 fellowship for work on coinages of the Americas, and the ANS began to hire graduate students to assist the curators in their work on the collections and the photo file. Throughout the late 1940s, there were typically two or three students working at the Society under these programs. In 1951, a prize of $100 was offered for the best numismatic paper, and it was awarded to Cornelius C. Vermeule III, who went on to become a distinguished numismatic scholar. Also in 1951, four students were brought into the ANS for the summer, and were provided some formal training by the staff while they were working. (One of the four was Howard Adelson, who subsequently lectured at and directed the Seminar, and wrote the 1958 history of the ANS, an important source for this article.) This session provided a prototype for the formal Seminar commencing the following year, as the Society finally recognized that the curatorial workload of the students over the brief summer session significantly interfered with their program of numismatic learning, and that the two would have to be separated. In his proposal to the Council for the Seminar in its present form, President Louis West wrote that “the original plan for these summer positions proved a failure.” He then went on:

We are interested in obtaining recognition of numismatics as a recognized field of humanistic studies—One that is at least as important as the study of epigraphy. One of the ways to accomplish this is to demonstrate to an ever widening group of students in the field(s) of history, economics, (and) art, the indispensable contributions that numismatics can make to these other fields.


First class of Graduate Summer Seminar, 1952. Pictured (clockwise around table from front): Dericksen Brinkerhoff, Brooks Emmons, Eva Brann, Theodore Buttrey, Jr., Roger Hornsby, Norman Cantor, Robert Benson, E. Marie Spence (standing), Jonathan Gell, Joachim Gaehde, Jean Davison. Not pictured: John Snyder.

Thus, in 1952, the ANS established the Summer Seminar in Numismatics, with West as the driving force behind it. Ten fellowships of $500 were approved for graduate students to spend ten weeks at the Society reading in numismatics, attending lectures and discussion sessions, and preparing and delivering a paper utilizing numismatic evidence, a formula that has proven successful and is followed to this day. There were so many qualified applicants that first year that thirteen fellowships were awarded. The first class included two returnees from the 1951 session: Brooks Emmons (now Levy), who went on to a distinguished curatorial career at Princeton and subsequently lectured at the Seminar, and Roger Hornsby, who became an ANS Council member and Chairman of the Classics Department at the University of Iowa. The 1952 class also included Theodore Buttrey, who went on to teach at Yale, Michigan, and Cambridge, and publish extensively on numismatics. Buttrey also returned to lecture at the Seminar twenty-one times, from 1956 to 1999, a record which still stands, and was awarded the Huntington Medal in 1996. The faculty of lecturers for the inaugural session was equally distinguished; it included Alfred Bellinger of Yale (who had won the Huntington in 1943 and lectured thirteen times through 1967), Glanville Downey of Harvard and Dumbarton Oaks, Albert Friend of Princeton, Harold Ingholt of Yale (lecturer, 1952-1966), Thomas Mabbott of Hunter College, Lily Ross Taylor of Bryn Mawr, William Wallace of Toronto (lecturer, 1952-1965), and ANS President Louis West of Princeton. Clearly, the Seminar was off to an excellent start.

However, West had in mind one more enhancement to the formula: the addition of a “Visiting Scholar,” an internationally recognized numismatist who would participate in the entire Seminar, giving lectures and advising students. So in the fall of 1952, West sent former ANS President Arthur S. Dewing to try and recruit either Philip Grierson of Cambridge (who died January 15 of this year at the age of 95; see obituary in this issue), or Humphrey Sutherland of Oxford to fill this role for the following summer. West preferred Grierson because he was a medievalist, an area of weakness for the Society, so Dewing approached him first, and he accepted. He was offered a stipend of $4,000 for a six-month stay, in order to allow time for training of the ANS staff as well as the summer students. Unfortunately, Grierson had a previous commitment to the Paris International Numismatic Congress through mid-July, so he missed the first half of the Seminar, but he more than made up for this in subsequent years. Grierson served as Visiting Scholar in 1953, 1954, and 1959, lectured at the Seminar fourteen times between 1957 and 1977, and was awarded the Huntington medal in 1962.

Grierson had never been to the United States before, so he took the opportunity to get to know American scholars. Having been introduced to Dumbarton Oaks by Glanville Downey and Bellinger, who was on the board, Grierson began a life-long affiliation with that institution, which allowed him to visit the United States nearly every summer, dividing his time between New York and Washington. The relationship came full circle in 1956, when Downey wrote to Sawyer Mosser of the ANS (who ably administered the Seminar for many years), asking for information so that Dumbarton Oaks could initiate its own Seminar along similar lines, which they subsequently did. In Downey’s words: “We are thinking of organizing a Byzantine summer seminar for propaganda purposes, and I am making a study of comparable undertakings.”


Louis West, 1954

The Visiting Scholar concept proved very successful, and, in the first decade of the Seminar, the list of Scholars included such distinguished numismatists as Henri Seyrig (Huntington medal, 1952), Andreas Alföldi (Huntington, 1965), Kenneth Jenkins (Huntington, 1976), Humphrey Sutherland (Huntington, 1950), Peter Berghaus (Huntington, 1984), Colin Kraay (Huntington, 1980), and Rudi Thompsen. Lecturers included Joseph Strayer, Joachim Gaehde, R. Ross Holloway, E. Baldwin Smith, William Wallace, Robert Lopez, and George Kustas. The invited lecturers were, of course, supplemented by the ANS curatorial staff. Initially, the students (and most of the lecturers) were from Ivy League schools, but this was gradually expanded to include other U.S. and Canadian students and, eventually, international participants. The number of students fluctuated between eight and twelve, depending upon the quality of applications, for many years. Recently, the number has been reduced to 6-8, so that each student can receive more individual attention.

The early success of the Seminar concept was summed up by Sutherland in his comments on his experience as the Visiting Scholar for 1957:

The seminar does not try to turn out embryo specialists, but seeks to integrate the numismatic with other historical disciplines and to suggest that what has often, and misguidedly, been left to “specialists” is in part at least the business of the historian. The fruit of this experiment (though now it is much more than that) will certainly be seen in a very few years, by which time an impressive number of young historians, mainly classical and medieval, will exist in whom some knowledge of numismatic criticism (directed towards political, economic or religious problems) takes its place alongside essential understanding of textual, epigraphical, papyrological and other documentary techniques.

In 1963, Howard Adelson, who had been a lecturer at the Seminar since 1954, took over for a three-year tenure as Director. In 1964, the Council appointed an ad hoc committee, including Ingholt, Bellinger, and Samuel Milbank, to “examine the future procedures of the Society’s Summer Seminar.” Then, in 1965, a committee, consisting of Buttrey, Adelson, Fagerlie, Miles, Thompson, and Mosser, was established to administer the program. Beginning in 1966, George Kustas served as program director. Kustas had been a Seminar student in 1956, and served as a lecturer since 1959. He also briefly served as the Society’s Curator of Roman and Byzantine Coins in the late 1950s. Kustas continued on as Director until 1969. Up to this point, the Seminar had been largely led by a group of academics on the Council, but this changed in 1970, when Chief Curator Margaret Thompson took over the Seminar Directorship. Under Thompson, the number of formal lectures was reduced from ten to five, and a series of twelve informal discussion sessions on particular topics was introduced. In 1973, the Seminar was not held, due to the conflict with the International Numismatic Congress, hosted jointly by the Smithsonian and the ANS. Beginning in 1975, the Society was faced with financial difficulties, and the Seminar was funded through grants from the Smithsonian (1975) and the Lilly Endowment (1976). Distinguished Visiting Scholars during this period included Otto Mørkholm (Huntington, 1981), Hansjorg Bloesch, Paul Naster (Huntington, 1986), Robert Carson (Huntington, 1977), Anne Robertson (Huntington, 1970), John Kent (Huntington, 1994), Paul Balog (Huntington, 1971), Martin Price, Peter Franke (Huntington, 1992), Herbert Cahn (Huntington, 1983), and Tony Hackens. Lecturers included Richard Brilliant, Speros Vryonis, Pierre MacKay, Richard Mitchell, Fred Kleiner, Richard Salomon, and Henry Boren.

Upon Margaret Thompson’s retirement in 1978, Curator William Metcalf took over the Seminar Directorship, and held the position for the next twenty years. In 1981, Councillor Eric Newman stepped forward in support of the Seminar by donating $10,000 and agreeing to make annual gifts of the same amount. Newman (Huntington, 1978) also participated as a lecturer nearly every year between 1969 and 1999, and, in 1996, fully endowed the Seminar with a major donation. It is entirely fitting that the Seminar was renamed in his honor, since its survival without his support would have been problematic.

As part of its 1983 125th anniversary celebration, the Society published a Directory of Alumni of the Seminar. And, in January 1991, the first Graduate Seminar Alumni Conference was held, where three students from the 1990 Seminar presented expanded versions of their summer papers. This Conference was continued through 1999, and was renamed the David M. Bullowa Memorial Conference in recognition of the financial support provided by Catherine Bullowa. In response to a decline in applications, the student stipend was raised from $1,200 to $2,000 for the 1992 Seminar. The effect was immediate, and thirty-two applications were received. Since then, the stipend has been increased several times to the current $4,000, in order to keep up with inflation, and ensure that the Seminar remains accessible to the best students, regardless of their means. In December 1997, a Graduate Seminar Alumni Group was formed, and it issued several newsletters. Unfortunately, this group has become inactive.


Andrew Burnett, 1982

Visiting Scholars over this period included Bernhard Overbeck, Andrew Burnett (who replaced the ailing Colin Kraay in 1982), Michel Amandry (Huntington, 2004), P. J. Casey, Ian Carradice, Christof Boehringer, Guenther Dembski, Georges Depeyrot, Roger Bland, Georges LeRider (Huntington, 1968), Harold B. Mattingly, Giovanni Gorini, Francoise de Callataÿ, Andrea Saccocci, Michael Alram, Christopher Howgego, and Olivier Picard. Some of the non-ANS lecturers were Pierre Bastien (Huntington, 1975), Peter Gaspar, Nicholas Lowick, Giles Carter, Leo Mildenberg (Huntington, 1985), J. P. Northover, Jere Bacharach, Pere Pau Ripolles, Michael Hendy, Jennifer Sheridan, G. Michael Woloch, Jane De Rose Evans, Brooks Emmons Levy, Warren Schultz, Stuart Sears, and Ben Damsky.

In 1999, President Arthur Houghton appointed a committee to “review the program in its entirety.” And, in light of the impending relocation to William Street, the Seminar for 2000 was not held. In 2001, Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan and Kenneth Harl took over the Seminar on an interim basis, when the curatorial staff was radically cut down due a severe financial crisis. They were succeeded in 2002 by Curator Peter van Alfen, the current Director. Visiting Scholars for this period were Kenneth Harl, Haim Gitler, François de Callataÿ, Michel Amandry, and Koray Konuk. These scholars were supplemented by lecturers Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, Paul Keyser, Christopher Lightfoot, John Kroll, Kenneth Sheedy, Donald Scarinci, and Roger Bagnall. In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on numismatic methodology, and several enhancements are planned for 2006, including a session on legal and ethical issues. The Visiting Scholar this year will be Andrew Meadows, Curator of Greek Coins at the British Museum. A large number of excellent applications were received before the February 15 deadline, and out of these nine students have been selected; the Seminar begins this year on June 5 and will run through July 28.

So how well has the Seminar succeeded in fulfilling the objectives that President West set out over fifty years ago? Anyone who is familiar with numismatic scholarship, particularly ancient and medieval, cannot help but be impressed by the list of students, lecturers, and visiting scholars who have participated in the Seminar. And the impact of the Seminar has been very broad. The 549 students who have attended since 1952 represent ninety-six different universities and include students from thirty foreign countries. Not only have these students received a basic education in numismatic methodology, they have been connected to important numismatic scholars and to one of the major numismatic organizations in the world. Based on the questionnaires completed by attendees for the 1983 Directory of Alumni, 47 percent of the graduates have published at least one numismatic work, and 18 percent have gone on to become recognized numismatic scholars. But perhaps more important, 63 percent have gone on to university teaching or curatorial positions, where they regularly employ numismatics as a discipline in support of the teaching of their subject. In fact, the list of Seminar graduates, from 1952 to the present, reads like an honor roll of distinguished historians, classicists, archeologists, and numismatists. So, as West put it so well:

These students and their successors help to ensure the continuing usefulness of the efforts of those collectors whose former possessions are now in our vaults or on our shelves . . . We are not now, and I hope we never shall be, merely a storehouse for the preservation of inanimate objects. Rather, we are striving to have our possessions and facilities used for serious study, for the increase of knowledge, and particularly for the stimulation and encouragement of real scholarship that is equipped to interpret fully the coinages of the past.

The Society can be justly proud of the contribution the Seminar has made to the spread of numismatics as a discipline in its first fifty years, and look forward to building on that accomplishment in the future.

To learn more about the Summer Seminar, visit the Society’s website at: http://www.numismatics.org/archives/GraduateSeminar.html.

For Valor and Service

by Geoff Giglierano


John Sanford Saltus

At the meeting on Saturday I gave a sort of a brief history of the Society’s collection of decorations, war medals &c, and as it would be impossible to give a history of the collection without mentioning the name of a certain man by the name of Saltus quite frequently… and there was various things said regarding the fact that he was the donor of nearly all the collection.
—letter from Bauman Belden to John Sanford Saltus, December 21, 1914

Over time, historical societies and museums gradually change their collecting and exhibition priorities. It is the rare institution that does not, at some point, reevaluate what it will accept and what it will retain for its collections. And to a great extent, it is the interests and energies of a few individuals within the organization that drive the process. This certainly was the case with the American Numismatic Society with regard to its collection of orders, decorations, and war medals, which was created and developed largely through the efforts of a few officers and members of the Society, particularly John Sanford Saltus.

Saltus first became a member of the ANS in 1892, and, in 1893, he made his first donations of coins to the Society’s collections. While his donations of coins were numerous, he soon showed an even greater interest in building the Society’s collection of decorations. By the time of his death in 1922, Saltus had given the ANS 1,705 coins, but by comparison, his donations of medals, decorations, and orders totaled 3,336. In a relatively short time, the Society had assembled a significant array of medals and decorations.


ANS East Exhibit Hall, ca. 1945. The majority of the decorations and medals were exhibited in wall cases or these “swing” cases purchased in the 1910s and 1920s. Note how most of the medals were mounted on small labeled cards that slid into brackets for display; many of the medals stored in the coin cabinet today are still attached to these same cards, which have important data such as dates and donor information on their backs.

A major boost for the medal collection came in 1900, when the Society had the opportunity to send a display to the Paris Exposition. The Society’s Secretary, Bauman Belden, aggressively promoted the project. Despite the misgivings of some members and officers, the Society went ahead and did the display, which was very well received. A grouping of insignia, badges, and medals from the U.S. military and a variety of American fraternal and social organizations proved to be an especially popular element of the ANS presentation at the Paris Exposition. Encouraged by this success, the Society’s leadership decided to create a committee on insignia, which eventually evolved into the ANS Committee on Decorations, Insignia, and War Medals.


France, Légion d’Honneur, Louis Philippe issue (1830-48), Grand Cross Sash Badge, in gold and enamels. The Légion d’Honneur was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, as an award to French and foreign citizens foroutstanding civil and military services. It came in five classes: Grand Cross, Grand Commander, Commander, Officer, and Knight. When the monarchy was restored in 1814, the Order was held in such high esteem that Louis XVIII dared not suppress it. Instead, he altered the design, replacing the portrait of Napoleon with that of Henry IV, the first French king of the Bourbon dynasty, and the Imperial eagle with three fleurs-de-lis. Following the revolution of 1830, the new monarch, Louis Philippe, as a sign that his rule was constitutional, replaced the fleurs-de-lis with two tricolors. The Order is still awarded by the French government and remains held in high esteem. Some of the more recent awards of the Order were to the few surviving veterans of the Great War, including some British recipients.

Two of the most enthusiastic members of this committee were Belden and Saltus. They formed a dynamic team, with Saltus searching out interesting specimens on his travels around the country and to Europe, and Belden regularly scouring the sales and dealers shops in New York. When funds were required for an acquisition, Saltus was extremely accommodating. For example, in a letter to Belden dated December 31, 1905, Saltus wrote, “I think we ought to have a badge, ribbon and button of the ‘Military Order of the Carabao.’ If you can get one, do so, let me know how much it costs (if it has to be paid for) and I will give it to the Society.”


Great Britain, a magnificent 19th century sash badge of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (Lesser George), in gold and enamels. The Order of the Garter was founded in 1348 by Edward III and is the premier British Order of Knighthood as well as the oldest. Membership is limited to the reigning sovereign and twenty-five Christian Knights. Selected Royal Heads of State are admitted as Extra Knights or Ladies of the Garter

This particular letter also serves as an indication of how Belden and Saltus applied their wide-ranging interests to expand the scope of the ANS medals collection. Initially, the Society seemed to focus on collecting standard American military insignia and decorations. Although it would continue to do so, adding new examples as the uniform regulations changed and new decorations were issued, Saltus and Belden increasingly did not limit their search to officially issued material. The previously mentioned “Military Order of the Carabao” was a thoroughly unofficial organization of U.S. Army and Navy officers who had served in the Philippines around the turn of the century.


Order of the Carabao, USA. Veterans’ organization medal, ca. 1909. Bronze and gilt medal, with attached ribbon and lapel button. An example of the early twentieth-century American military and veterans’ medals and insignia, representing America’s early growth as a world power, which Belden and Saltus actively collected for the ANS.

The ANS Decorations, Insignia and War Medals committee—which by 1914 included Saltus as chairman and Bauman Belden and Stephen Pell as committee members—also had moved into collecting historic medals from earlier periods, as well as collecting many non-American examples. A great deal of their collecting activities were driven by current events and, on July 22, 1914, Belden wrote to Saltus, who was in France at the time, “I see by the morning papers that there is a very good prospect of a scrap between Servia [sic] and Austria, with a possibility of some of us taking a hand, which will, no doubt, bring out a new crop of medals.”

As the “scrap” of which Belden spoke developed into WWI, an event that ultimately killed millions of people and shattered empires, the ANS decorations committee members gradually came to expand their collecting activities to reflect the unfolding significance of the historic events of those times. In the spring of 1914, they had still been looking primarily backward, with Saltus asking if they had all examples of U.S. medals “relating to the Spanish War” and Belden informing him that they did in fact have everything except for the “Sampson medal for Santiago.” But by the end of that year, when Belden was notifying Saltus that he had located a source for the Sampson medals they needed for the collection and was proceeding with purchasing them, they also were seriously discussing the availability of “imitation iron crosses.” By June 1915, Saltus and Belden were reviewing what the Society had and did not have in terms of the “standard” military medals of both the combatant nations and their neutral neighbors.


Germany, Saxony, Order of Sidonia, Sash Badge, in gold and enamels. Saxony’s first female order, the Order of Sidonia, was founded by King John in 1871, in honor of Sidonia of Münsterberg, wife of Duke Albert, founder of the ruling Albertine line. It came in one class and was reserved for exceptional works of charity. It was normally worn from the breast on a bow, but when it was awarded to royalty, it was suspended from a full-length sash. It is one of the scarcest female orders. From its institution in 1871 until the end of the Kingdom in 1918, it was only awarded ninety-seven times.

One neutral nation of particular interest was of course the United States. The committee actively collected decorations connected with the growth of America’s military power and larger role in international affairs. They pursued badges of American veterans of foreign wars—such as the campaigns in Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and China—and in August 1915, Belden informed Saltus that he was working on researching a piece on U.S. war medals for the next issue of the journal. The result was a very thorough summary, with descriptions and histories of America’s war medals and decorations. He continually kept Saltus updated through 1915-16, as he made purchases ranging from a Romanian Military Commander’s Cross to a U.S. Army expert rifleman’s badge.

After the United States entered the war in 1917, the ANS was presented with the chance to make a contribution to the national effort, and that contribution was greatly facilitated by the collecting work that Saltus and his committee had done. On November 23, ANS President Edward Newell wrote to Saltus and Belden:

An unusual opportunity for service to our country has just come to our society. A campaign has been begun for establishing valor medals for our Country which shall bear comparison with those of our Allies. Dr. William T. Hornaday, Director of the Bronx Zoological park, whom you may know, has taken the initiative, and a request for the help of our Society has been made. Dr. Horanady has had considerable experience in securing legislation for the protection of wild animal life, and is well equipped for directing the steps for securing a proper appeal in Congress…. This appeal comes to us as a logical organization for supporting the plan. Personally I feel that this is one of the few directions in which we, as a numismatic Society, can serve our country at this time. A few of our members have already expressed their warm sympathy for the movement, and we all felt it would bring great credit to the Society if we should take the lead…. We have been asked to prepare reproductions in color of the medals of our Allies for distribution to Congressmen and for an educational programme in the newspapers. Our members may also be asked to write to their representatives urging cooperation. Perhaps it may be necessary for a representative of our Society to appear before the Congressional Committee, in which case we would, of course, have to bear the expense of that representative. For properly conducting the campaign would be required.

Saltus, not surprisingly, donated the funds necessary for this project. The collection he and Belden had built was used in creating the promotional images for the campaign, and in 1918, President Wilson and Congress authorized new valor and service decorations for the American military, including the Distinguished Service Cross and the decoration that would eventually become known as the Silver Star. The usefulness of the ANS decorations collection was further demonstrated in that last year of the Great War, when three sculptors who had been commissioned to work on designing new decorations for the U.S. Navy came to the Society to study its many examples of both American and foreign awards.


Russia, Order of St Andrew, Sash Badge, in gold and enamel, made in 1865, by Julius Keibel of St. Petersburg. The Order of St. Andrew was founded by Peter the Great in 1698 and was the premier Imperial Order. It came in one class and was named in honor of the Apostle. Julius Keibel was the official manufacturer of Russian Orders from when he succeeded his father in 1862 until his death twenty years later, at which point his son Albert took over the business. When Albert died in 1910, the firm ceased to exist. They had been the official manufacturer of Russian orders for over seventy years.

The Society also used the collection to create a popular exhibit of American insignia and decorations at its headquarters. According to the Society’s official history, this exhaustive assemblage of “the distinguishing marks on the uniforms and men of the Army and Navy of the United States,” including caps, collar ornaments, shoulder straps, chevrons, insignia, badges, decorations etc.,” was useful and instructive not only for the public, but also for “many Army and navy personnel who visited the museum on that occasion.” The nation’s military was expanding rapidly at that point, and many new recruits were bewildered by the wide variety of insignia used by the different units and branches of service. The exhibit was quite a success, contributing to a sizable increase in attendance at the ANS museum in 1918. Almost 13,000 visitors came to the Society that year, approximately double the previous year’s total attendance. Once the armistice was signed, however, the public’s interest in military subjects quickly waned, and the exhibit was dismantled a month later.


Serbia, Order of Milosh the Great, Breast Star, by Karl Fischmeister of Vienna, in silver with gilt and enamelled center and crown. This short-lived order was founded in December 1898 by King Alexander I Obrenovich in honor of his great-great uncle Milosh Obrenovich. Milosh had fought alongside Kara (Black) George in the rebellion against the Turks in 1804. In 1813, the Turks regained control of the rebellious province and Kara George was forced to flee to Austria. Two years later, in 1815, Milosh lead a new and successful insurrection. When Kara George returned from exile in 1817, he claimed leadership of the Serbian people, but shortly afterward, he was assassinated, probably at the instigation of Milosh. Milosh’s great-great nephew Alexander succeeded to the throne in 1889, following the abdication of his father Milan IV. As Alexander I was only 13 at the time, the country was governed by regency. In April 1893, not yet 17, he proclaimed himself of age, dismissing the council of three Regents, and ultimately replacing the country’s liberal constitution with a conservative version. On June 10, 1903, a group of military officers entered the royal palace and murdered the king and queen, thus bringing an end to the Obrenovich family.

The end of the war did not end the Society’s efforts to continue building its decorations and medals collection. But within a few years, those efforts would be diminished through the loss of their greatest proponent. John Sanford Saltus died at the Hotel Metropole in London on June 24, 1922, apparently having poisoned himself by accidentally ingesting potassium cyanide he was using to clean ancient silver coins in his hotel room. While colleagues like Bauman Belden had been important for the growth of the decorations collection, Saltus had been the driving force behind the process.

Saltus was the only son of the family that owned Saltus Steel and so was quite well off. His estate was estimated to be worth around $2,000,000 at his death. It was his generosity as well as his enthusiasm for the subject matter that fueled the building of the medal and decorations collections. He also had the opportunity to connect with dealers and collectors in many different locations—following the death of his wife, he had spent the last fifteen years of his life traveling extensively. His correspondence with Belden is frequently on the stationary of places such as Le Grande Hotel in Nice, the Hotel Continental in Paris, the New Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, or the Hotel Telegrafo in Havana. What motivated Saltus to work so hard on the subject is a matter for conjecture; an article in the New York Times Book Review and Magazine on July 23, 1922, suggested that Saltus was a “romantic” who was moved to collect orders and decorations “…with all their memories of battles and of courts, of deeds of valor, and of mighty kings.”


Russia, Order of St Alexander Nevsky, Paste Set Breast Star with Imperial Crown, St. Petersburg, second half of the nineteenth century. The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was founded by Catherine I on her accession in 1725. It was awarded in one class to high-ranking officials in either a military or civil capacity, and it could be awarded with diamonds in exceptional circumstances. The Order was named in honor of Alexander Nevsky (1220-63), a Russian saint and hero. He routed the Swedes near the present site of St. Petersburg in 1240, subsequently defeating the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Lake Pepius two years later. The Order ceased to exist following the end of the monarchy, but in 1942, when Russia was facing the German invasion, the Soviet government created a new order of Alexander Nevsky for military bravery.

Yet Saltus also demonstrated an ongoing interest in the everyday insignia and decorations of the American soldiers, sailors and marines who were on the front line of the United States’ transformation into a modern world power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was a patron of the arts who sponsored the creation and installation of heroic statues of Jeanne D’Arc on Riverside Drive in New York City and in cities in France, and he helped restore the great library at Louvain, among many other projects that could be interpreted as being the product of a “romantic spirit.” He also had an interest in modern art. Regardless of what mixture of ideas and images inspired him, without his involvement, the collecting of medals and decorations was not as high a priority at the ANS after his death.

Even so, other members, officers, and staff at the ANS continued the process of building the decorations collection. In the 1920s and 1930s, Harrold Gillingham, Curator Howland Wood, and Colonel (later General) Dewitt Clinton Falls continued to expand the collection, acquiring foreign orders when possible and pursuing new U.S. medals as they became aware of them. The members of the Decorations Committee, for example, discussed the desirability of acquiring pieces such as a decoration that the Daughters of the Confederacy issued in 1925 for men of “Rebellion Descent” who served in WWI, and Spanish decorations from around the time of the Spanish American War. Additions to the collection, however, were much less common than they had been in earlier years: in the “Report of the Committee on Decorations, Insignia, and War Medals” published in 1934, Gillingham noted that “the accessions to your Society’s cases during the year 1933 have not been as numerous or as varied as your committee would have liked; but owning to the peaceful condition of the world, fewer such awards have been inaugurated, and friends of the Society have not been as generous in their gifts as might be expected, owing to the financial conditions just past through.” Clearly, Saltus’s enthusiasm and deep pockets were missed.


The Group of Four British Campaign Medals and the extremely rare and impressive Burmese Order of the Tsalwe awarded to Colonel Albert Fytche, 70th Bengal Native Infantry and later Chief Commissioner of British Burma, comprising
1. Ghuznee, 1839, silver medal, unnamed as issued
2. Gwalior Campaign, 1843, Maharajpoor Star, engraved naming (Lieutenant)
3. Punjab Campaign, 1848-9, silver medal with two clasps for Chilianwala and Goojerat, officially impressed naming (Lieutenant)
4. India General Service, medal with single clasp for Pegu, 1852-53, engraved naming (Brevet-Major)
5. Burmese Order of the Tsalwe, First Class, in gold, as personally presented to Colonel Fytche by the King of Burma in 1867

There was a certain amount of growth to be sure: Gillingham, who had taken over as Chairman of the Committee on Decorations and War Medals in 1920, had a special interest in Napoleonic-era European orders and donated or obtained a variety of pieces for the ANS. In addition to serving as ANS Treasurer from 1924 to 1939, and as second Vice President in the late 1940s, he wrote four monographs on the subject of decorations between 1928 and 1940. And the Society still responded to current events in collecting and utilizing additions to the decorations collections, as it did in 1940, when the ANS presented an exhibit of decorations and insignia of the French and Polish forces that faced the German Blitzkrieg. And at the end of WWII and into the early 1950s, more additions were brought in by Major General Edgar Erskine Hume, who helped obtain both current materials—such as Soviet decorations he obtained while in Austria during the occupation—as well as older decorations that could be found in the various places where he was stationed.

General Hume commented in a letter to ANS Curator Sydney Noe, dated March 6, 1950, “I have tried to be constantly on the lookout for material for your collection and it sometimes turns up in unexpected places, as in the case of this Korean collection that I sent you…. I was informed only today that the Korean parliament is about to create something corresponding to a national order for award to both Koreans and foreigners. If this bill goes through, I will try to obtain specimens for you.”


A silver Polar medal with “Antarctic 1902-04” clasp, awarded to Isaac Weller, the crewmember responsible for the Expedition’s dogs on Captain Scott’s first voyage to the Antarctic aboard H.M.S. Discovery.

Despite the efforts of individuals such as Hume, who frequently commented on the difficulty he experienced in gaining possession of certain artifacts on behalf of the Society, such as a “complete set of existing Korean decorations” he purchased during an official visit to that country, the collecting priorities of the organization were again shifting. By the mid 1950s, the collection was receiving less attention, although in 1967, a major addition came in the form of the J. Coolidge Hills collection, which was transferred to the ANS from the Wadsworth Athenaeum. From the 1970s on, the orders and decorations—especially the non-American portions of the collection—were exhibited less frequently. While the fine collection of American decorations, which included early examples of the Congressional Medal of Honor and rare Confederate awards, were still occasional subjects for study, the European and Asian orders and decorations were largely ignored by researchers. Consequently, the Society ultimately made the difficult decision to deaccession the non-American portions of the collection and to make them available for the benefit of other museums, collectors, and scholars.


Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805-14), Order of the Iron Crown, Grand Dignitary’s Neck Badge, in gold and enamels. The Order of the Iron Crown was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805. The original crown, set with gold and precious stones, was allegedly forged from a nail of the Holy Cross. It was first used for the coronation of Agilulph, King of the Lombards, in AD 591. The Order was awarded in two classes, Grand Dignitary and Knight. The Order was abolished in 1814, following the end of the Napoleonic Kingdom. It was revived in a different form by the Emperor Francis I on the annexation of Lombardy in February 1816, and was subsequently absorbed in to the mainstream of Austrian Orders. It continued to be awarded until the end of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918.

The 2006 Annual Dinner Gala

by Juliette Pelletier

The 2006 Annual Dinner Gala

The 2006 Annual Dinner Gala in honor of Q. David Bowers was a stellar success, with total proceeds for the evening bringing in over $400,000. The event took place at the elegant Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on January 12 of this year. The dinner was generously sponsored by American Numismatic Rarities and Whitman Publishing; and the cocktail hour sponsored by Bowers and Merena Auctions, Spectrum Numismatics, and Teletrade.

During the evening, remarks in honor of Q. David Bowers were made by Beth Deisher, Editor of Coin World; Mary Counts, President of Whitman Publishing; and Christine Karstedt, President of American Numismatic Rarities. After their remarks, Mary and Christine surprised David with a touching and at times humorous short film depicting images of his life. Roger Siboni presented the honoree with the ANS Trustee’s Award and a medal in honor of Q. David Bowers designed by Alex Shagin.

The dessert auction included donated items such as the beautiful handmade jewelry created by Dr. Yvonne Stuy Weiss; couture dresses by Soren & Derrick, Inc., historical figurines by Sideshow Collectibles, an original photographic print by Alan Roche, as well as Bowers Memorabilia and items from the ANS. Mr. Harmer Johnson called the auction with his usual flair and humor, and the multiple bidders made this auction both exciting and fun. The evening ended with dancing to the Lester Lanin Orchestra. The ANS is extremely grateful to all the sponsors, attendees, and bidders who made for such an enjoyable and successful event.

The Honoree Q. David Bowers

The American Numismatic Society was pleased to have Q. David Bowers as its special guest and honoree at the 2006 ANS Gala. Mr. Bowers is one of the most prolific authors in the field of numismatics, having produced over forty books, hundreds of auction catalogues, and numerous articles. His publications include such popular titles as United States Gold Coins: An Illustrated History; The History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection; Abe Kosoff: Dean of Numismatics; Virgil Brand: The Man and His Era; The Harry W. Bass Jr. Museum Sylloge; The Harry Bass Jr. Collection; The Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Collection; American Numismatics Before the Civil War, 1760-1860; United States Copper Coins; A Buyers Guide to the Rare Coin Market; The Numismatist’s Lakeside Companion; and United States Coins by Design Types. Perhaps no other individual in numismatics today is as widely known among the general public or has done more to expand awareness and appreciation of the subject to a growing audience than Q. David Bowers.

Over the course of his long career, Mr. Bowers has earned the respect of his friends and colleagues in the numismatic community, and served as president of the American Numismatic Association (1983-1985) and president of the Professional Numismatists Guild (1977-1979). He was a recipient of the Farran Zerbe Award, the highest honor bestowed by the ANA, and has been inducted into the Numismatic Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs. Mr. Bowers also has received the Founder’s Award from the Professional Numismatists Guild, and has been awarded more Book of the Year Award and Best Columnist honors from the Numismatic Literary Guild than any other writer. His body of work—based on extensive scholarship as well as his more than fifty years as a collector and dealer—has served to inspire and inform both novice and veteran coin collectors alike.


Peter Weiss, Donald Partrick, and George Wyper

Charles Anderson, Loretta Cummings Shramm, Lawrence Stack

Ashley Billingsley, Christine Karstedt

Beth Deisher and David Bowers

Ashley Billingsley, Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Q. David Bowers, and Christie Bowers

Peter Tompa, Jonathan Kagan, Doug Rohrman

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley DeForest Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Withington

Elena Stolyarik, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence Adams

Richard Witschonke, Gala Chairman, greets guests

Richard Perricelli, Chet Krause, Normand Pepin

Seated L to R: Mr. and Mrs. Emilio Ortiz, Greg Rohan, John Albanese. Standing L to R: Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Deforest Scott, Beth Deisher, Mr. and Mrs. Steven Ivy

Mary Counts, David Bowers, and Christine Karstedt

David Bowers

Christine Karstedt and Mary Counts surprise David Bowers with a short movie tribute

Seated L to R: Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Jonathan Kagan, John Cahill, Mrs. Harmer Johnson. Standing L to R: Doug Rohrman, David Redden, Hadrian Rombach, Harmer Johnson, Robert Kandel

Seated L to R: Bill Metcalf, Olga Less, Gabriella Russo, Roberto Russo. Standing L to R: Mrs. Connie Hamelberg, David Vagi, Christine Becker, David Alexander, Heidi Becker, Rick Witschonke

Seated L to R: Shirley Jenks, Jasmine Cowin, Kenneth and Mary Edlow. Standing L to R: Bill Jenks, Kenneth Cowin, Edward Waddell, Robert Kaufmann, Eddie Dowling and guest

Dwight Manley and David Bowers with life-size cutout of David Bowers

Anthony Terranova bidding in charity auction

Model in couture dress by Soren & Derrick; one of the lots donated to the charity auction

Alain Baron bidding in charity auction

Seated L to R: Pat Merena, David Bowers, Christie Bowers, Andrew Bowers. Standing L to R: Melissa Karstedt, Rick Bagg, Christine Karstedt, Wynn Bowers, Donald Partrick, John Kraljevich, Mary Counts

Seated L to R: Pam Berk, Roxana Prieh, Shanna Schmidt. Standing L to R: Tori and Rob Freeman, Harlan Berk, Pablo Saban, Aaron Berk

Seated L to R: Roger and Joan Siboni, Donald Scarinci, George Wyper, Alan Walker, Yvonne Weiss, Demitri Hachzimichealis. Standing L to R: Peter Weiss, Mrs. George Wyper, Arturo Russo, Sydney Martin

Seated L to R: Eric McFadden, Peggy Fox, Meredith Adams, Jennifer Vecchi, Cindy Wetterstrom, Italo Vecchi. Standing L to R: Arthur Houghton, Richard Miller, Kerry Wetterstrom

Harmer Johnson calling the auction

Jean Lecompte, Jonathan Kagan, Alain Baron, and Juliette Pelletier with Napoleon Bonaparte figure won by Mr. Baron in the charity auction

Sebastian Heath displaying the David Bowers life-size cutout at the charity auction

The Meaning of a Memory

by Peter van Alfen

In 1919, the Commission de l’Ecole belge d’infirmières diplômées commissioned the sculptor Armand Bonnetain to produce a medal (Fig. 1) commemorating its former director and treasurer, the Englishwoman Edith Cavell and Belgian Marie Depage, respectively. Bonnetain’s jugate busts of the two nurses remains one of his most accomplished works, balancing portrait realism with idealism and evoking through their taut faces an elevated sense of emotion that finds its expression in a simple imperative on the reverse: “1915 / Remember!” For us, the timeless reader, now nearly ninety years removed from the events, the voice of the imperative has weakened; it stirs only a sense that the memory is, in fact, lost, and that the medal has become unmemorable except for its artistic qualities.


Fig. 1. Belgium. AE medal by Armand Bonnetain of Edith Cavell and Marie Depage, 1919. (ANS 0000.999.52161) 60 mm.

To the viewer in 1919, however, living within the context of immediate post-World War I Belgium, the reaction there to the Versailles Treaty negotiations, and having the modes of Allied propaganda still fresh in one’s mind, this medal would stir a host of forceful memories and thoughts. What the medal commanded the viewer to remember went far beyond the two nurses and the acts of the Germans who caused their deaths; it included the contemporary claim to this memory and its use as a political tool.

Edith Cavell and Marie Depage

When the Germans invaded Belgium in the opening days of World War I, Cavell and Depage were heading the medical school that Depage’s husband, the famed Dr. Antoine Depage, had founded in Brussels in 1907. With the war came the growing medical crisis of attending to wounded soldiers, which pressed Dr. Depage to leave his wife to go south beyond the eventual front lines in order to establish a hospital in the Ocean Hotel at La Panne. Marie joined him there two months later, while Cavell willingly stayed on in occupied Brussels to run the Berkendael Medical Institute for the Red Cross. Once in La Panne, and aware of the critically short supply of money and provisions for their hospital, Marie volunteered to go to the United States on a fundraising tour. Throughout the winter and early spring of 1914-15, she traveled west to San Francisco and up and down the east coast, eventually netting over $100,000 and many donated supplies for Belgian Red Cross hospitals (cf. Fig. 25). Encouraged by this fundraising success, she had no immediate plans to return, until, in late April, she received word that her younger son was to be sent to the battlefields to join his brother. Anxious to see her son before he faced near-certain death, she booked a passage from New York to Liverpool on the swiftest liner afloat, Cunard’s famed Lusitania. On May 7, a week after leaving New York, the ship was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20, a dozen miles off the southern Irish coast. Marie Depage drowned along with nearly 1,200 other passengers.

The worldwide response to the sinking was so loud that there can be no question that Cavell, still in Brussels, heard of the Lusitania’s fate, but whether she ever learned that her colleague and friend Marie was a passenger is not known. Three months later, on August 5, the Germans arrested Cavell for treason and a subsequent court martial sentenced her to death for assisting in the escape of nearly two hundred Allied prisoners of war, a crime to which she confessed. Despite protests from the Spanish and American ambassadors in Brussels, the fifty-year-old nurse faced the firing squad the morning of October 12, 1915. What exactly transpired has been lost in legend: one soldier protested and refused to shoot the woman, and so was executed for insubordination; moments before the final shots were fired, Cavell fainted and lay unscathed on the ground until the officer present dispatched her with his pistol (Fig. 3). Whatever the actual events, by break of dawn Cavell was dead, and by evening her body was wrapped in newspaper and buried alongside other victims of the firing squad.

There is little debate today that the Germans were technically justified in executing Cavell for treason and in sinking the Lusitania as a belligerent blockade runner. In the case of the Lusitania, the Germans had countered the British blockade of their ports with a submarine blockade of British ports; the British in turn responded by arming several merchant ships (sometimes deceptively under neutral flags such as the United States’) and issuing orders to all merchant captains to ram submarines when possible, all in violation of the received law of the sea. Thus there was little incentive for German U-boat captains to be chivalrous or spare British liners. Moreover, the Lusitania, like many blockade runners, was ferrying military contraband: 4.2 million Remington .303 rifle cartridges, 1,250 cases of (empty) shrapnel shells, and eighteen cases of fuses. Although technically justified in their actions, the captain of U-20, Walther Schwieger, and the Brussels court martial blundered horribly by sinking the Lusitania and ordering Cavell’s execution, since the events became two of the most successful focal points for Allied anti-German propaganda, and as such were often linked with each other to further enhance the effect (see Figs. 2, 2021, 23). There was little the Germans could do to counter this; in the propaganda wars, they remained decisively on the defensive.


Fig. 2. France. Gilt AE plaque by Victor Peter depicting the French cock defeating the German snake, which has pinned down the Lamb of Innocence. (David Simpson collection) 164 x 230 mm.


Fig. 3. British postcard, c. 1916, depicting the execution of Edith Cavell.

Atrocity Propaganda

Part of the reason why the Cavell-Lusitania propaganda was so effective was due to the emotional groundwork laid by reports of German atrocities filtering out of Belgium shortly after the August 1914 invasion began. The Germans invaded Belgium fully expecting to encounter a franc-tireur (literally, “free-shooter”) People’s Army, as they had in France over forty years earlier. The obsession with the idea of a civilian resistance meant that advancing and occupying troops believed that old men and young girls everywhere were taking potshots at them from rooftops and from behind walls. The German response to unexplained shots (which often as it turned out were fired by nearby Allied or even German troops) was swift and brutal: scores of villagers would be executed for the purported actions of a few and their houses looted and burned. In Louvain, on August 25, 1914, drunk German soldiers touched off a raging reprisal against such unexplained shots, which resulted in the near destruction of the city, including the killing of 248 citizens and the burning of the university’s library, with its esteemed collection of medieval manuscripts.

The actual deeds of the troops were bad enough, but as the stories circulated, reality merged with invention: The Germans became more and more dehumanized, their actions more and more revolting, with particular emphasis on acts committed against women and children. Stories of troops raping and mutilating women and girls in front of their families were sickening, but even those paled in comparison to ones describing the fates of young children: laughing Germans skewered babes with bayonets or maliciously let them live after chopping off their hands. There were documented cases of rape, but none has ever surfaced regarding the reported abuse of children.

Seizing on these stories, Allied propagandists soon began depicting the invasion of Belgium in a pointedly gendered fashion: the violation of women and Belgium were elided. This use of highly sexualized—at times almost pornographic (Fig. 4)—images and words was intended to create moral imperatives, to elicit from British, French, and, eventually, American men an unquestioning desire to join the fight in order to protect their own women, children, and by extension, country from the monstrous Hun. The atrocity stories also made it that much easier for propagandists to reduce the Germans to caricatures of German-ness. Propagandists not only resurrected images of Germanic barbarians from a long-dead age but also parodied the more recent concept of Kultur (culture), which, as a nation-building tool following the creation of the German state in 1870, emphasized the linguistic and cultural particularity of the German people. A personified “Kultur,” the embodiment of perceived Prussian ferocity, was a frequent character in Allied propaganda, as was Kaiser Wilhelm II remade as Attila (see Fig. 10). Paul Manship’s medal (Fig. 5) is a typical example of these efforts, combining a gendered perspective and marauding Kultur on the one side with a Hun-like Wilhelm on the other.


Fig. 4. France. AE medal by Raoul Lamourdedieu, 1917. The inscription on the obverse translates: “The barbarians have passed through here.” (ANS 1941.123.4, gift of S. H. P. Pell) 55 x 70 mm.


Fig. 5. USA. AE medal by Paul Manship, 1918. (ANS 1929.54.10) 66.5 mm.

Allied propagandists wasted no time in capitalizing on the sinking of the Lusitania, presenting that event in a highly gendered fashion, by focusing more on the women (and children) who lost their lives than on the men (Figs. 6 and 7). As these gendered images of the conflict began to sway to the Allied cause the war-leery citizens of the United States, the most powerful country remaining neutral, the worst thing the Germans could have done was execute a woman in such a highly publicized case. Not just any woman, moreover, but a spinster nurse who had selflessly stayed behind in occupied territory to tend to the wounded, both Allied and German. Edith Cavell became an instant martyr and the clearest, most personal example of Kultur’s violence against women and thus against all civilization (Figs. 811). Her image and name were soon appearing everywhere, even on medals (Figs. 2324).


Fig. 6. Enlistment poster by Fred Spear, published in June 1915 by the Boston Committee of Public Safety, depicting victims of the Lusitania sinking.


Fig. 7. France. AE medal by René Baudichon, 1918. This medal suggests a direct link between the sinking of the Lusitania and the United States’ entry into the war on the Allied side in 1917. This was not the case. (ANS 0000.999.52098) 54 mm.

Figs. 8-11: Postcards from a series of six by Tito Corbella on the execution of Edith Cavell; the series was published in French, Italian, and English.


Fig. 8. Cavell rendering aid to a wounded German soldier while Kultur hovers above


Fig. 9. The dead Cavell wrapped in the Belgian and British flags “inspiring” Kultur at the piano


Fig. 10. Kultur serving up Cavell’s head on a platter to Wilhelm II as Attila


Fig. 11. The resurrected Cavell over the vanquished Kultur


Fig. 12. France. AE medal by Pierre-Marie Poisson, c. 1916. (ANS 1985.81.238, gift of D. M. Friedenberg) 48 x 50 mm.


Fig. 13. France, AE uniface medal by André-Pierre Schwab, c. 1915. (ANS 1996.999.238, anonymous donor) 83 mm.


Fig. 14. France. AE medal by A. Schinar, 1916. The inscription translates, “The only good Kraut is a dead Kraut.” (ANS 1996.999.271, anonymous donor) 28 mm.

The Medal as Messenger

World War I was the last conflict in which the medal as a medium of propaganda and commemoration served a viable and far-ranging function. The total number of medals, both in individual types and volume, produced by the Allies and Central Powers during the war has never been calculated, nor are such figures likely attainable, since the output was enormous, both in private and state production. While many of these medals can be seen continuing the types and themes developed in medallic art in the decades before the war, such as portraits of noteworthy individuals (Fig. 22) and the role of women as mourners of men (Fig. 12-13), the war unquestionably introduced new subject matter to the medium, much of it lifted from general propaganda, like the dehumanization of the Germans (Fig. 14) and women as victims (Fig. 4, 16). The war also encouraged an intense discourse, as it were, between medals, not only at the level of artistic allusion, while the piece was still in control of the artist, but also over the proper interpretation of individual pieces once they had left the artist’s workshop and fallen into the hands of the public. As to be expected, this discourse often occurred between opposing forces wrangling for their propaganda’s supremacy. But medallic discourses also took place among friendly forces seeking to make sense of the war’s more unsavory episodes.


Fig. 15. Germany. Iron medal by Walther Eberbach depicting the sinking of the Lusitania, 1916. (ANS 1919.6.10, purchase) 70 mm.


Fig. 16. France. AE medal (obv. only) by Marcelle Croce-Lancelot, 1914, entitled “The Work of the Barbarians.” (ANS 1940.110.11, gift of Mrs. Hosmer) 60 mm.

Walther Eberbach’s 1916 Lusitania medal (Fig. 15), for example, broadcasts the Germans’ justifications for sinking the ship and offers a warning—to the U.S. president particularly—of the heavy price to be paid for running contraband against the blockade. Eberbach’s sarcasm was in line with a traditional Germanic mode of medallic expression that found its most effective or at least most prolific voice in the works of Karl Goetz. Goetz’s Lusitania medal (Fig. 17), issued within days of the sinking, likewise focused on the munitions contraband, but also took the Cunard company to task for risking the safety of innocent passengers for the sake of profit. This medal gained such widespread notoriety (see below) that there can be no question that Eberbach was aware of it and so perhaps sought to offer further support to the themes introduced by Goetz the previous year, particularly in the wake of the international criticism following the sinking. Eberbach’s medal, in fact, may allude to Goetz’s work, as it too wrongly shows the ship going down by the stern (the Lusitania, in fact, sunk by the bow; see Fig. 7, 21). In the same way, Ludwig Gies’s Lusitania medal (Fig. 19) also engages Goetz’s work, but here dispenses with the political commentary, offering instead a more sympathetic view of the tragedy by focusing on the (ungendered) plight of the victims.


Fig. 17. Great Britain. Iron copy of medal by Karl Goetz depicting the sinking of the Lusitania in box of issue, 1915. (ANS 1990.26.15, gift of George M. Golden)


Fig. 18. Germany. Iron satirical medal by Karl Goetz, 1916. (ANS 1978.38.226, gift of Ira, Lawrence, and Mark Goldberg) 59 mm.


Fig. 19. Germany. AE plaque by Ludwig Gies depicting the sinking of the Lusitania, 1915. (ANS 1934.145.55, gift of Wayte Raymond) 95 mm.


Figs. 20 and 21. Two poster stamps of a series of four produced by Winox Ltd, England, 1915, depicting the sinking of the Lusitania and victims of Kultur. The other two stamps in the series depicted the execution of Edith Cavell (using the same image as in Fig. 3) and victims of Zeppelin bombings.

Such medallic discourse was far less subtle in the case of German-Allied interaction. The reverse of a portrait medal of General Alexander von Kluck (Fig. 22), commander of the German First Army, for example, was appropriated, modified, and reinterpreted by the British for propaganda purposes (Fig. 23; note the burning city below the horse). The most notorious example, however, of this type of appropriation was the British reinterpretation of Goetz’s Lusitania medal, which was extensively copied in Britain, with slight modifications, and distributed with a special box and pamphlet (Fig. 17). In 1916, Goetz responded to this symbolic hijacking with another medal (Fig. 18), this one depicting Arthur Balfour, first lord of the British Admiralty, using the misconstrued Lusitania medal to make a case against Germany in the presence of neutral Sweden (the Latin inscription above Balfour is from the Roman satirist Juvenal [1.30] and is translated as “It is hard not to write satire”).


Fig. 22. Germany. AR medal depicting General Alexander von Kluck, 1915. (ANS 1916.187.19, purchase) 34 mm.


Fig. 23. Great Britain. Silvered AE satirical medal, 1916. (ANS 0000.999.42643) 36 mm.

Not only the overall volume of medals produced but also discourses such as these attest to the real importance of medals during the war as vehicles of private artistic expression and more importantly as instruments of state propaganda. At times, of course, the line between the two blurred.

Belgium Deserted

After the Germans’ surrender in November 1918, those Belgians who had lived in exile in Britain, France, and the Netherlands returned home to find their country utterly devastated. Besides the destruction that the fighting itself had wrought, the Germans had systematically picked the country clean, thoroughly dismantling factories, tearing up railroad tracks, and shipping it all, along with any livestock, back to Germany. The intent was to deny Belgium an economic future, and, at least for the immediate future, they succeeded. Unemployment in Belgium was at 80 percent in 1919, and food, clothing, and housing were scarce. As was the case throughout the war, mostly through the Commission for Relief in Belgium organized by the future U.S. President Herbert Hoover (Fig. 25), the United States provided substantial relief through donations and aid, but even this continued kindness was not nearly enough.

As the Versailles Treaty negotiations got underway in early 1919, it soon became clear that the British and French had no intentions of allowing the Belgians to sit at the table with the grown-ups. As Sally Marks observed (1981: 119), “It was taken for granted that small states would be treated like small children and that great issues should be settled by great powers.” At stake were the substantial claims of reparations that Belgium had made against Germany, which were desperately needed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and economy. The fiercely nationalistic British premier, David Lloyd George, however, fought hard to keep the negotiations closed to small countries, particularly Belgium, and quite openly sought to gain more reparations for his own country at Belgium’s expense. Interventions by the Belgian king, the only royal to visit the negotiations, and by U.S. ambassadors eventually helped to win for the Belgians most of what they wanted, but not before the Belgian public had grown righteously indignant.

Lloyd George’s actions were particularly offensive to the Belgians because the British and French had used the rape of Belgium as a “central metaphor for the War” (Gullace 2002: 24), using it also to set the high moral tone for the Allied cause. It was frequently repeated that the invasion of neutral Belgium was not only an unprovoked act of aggression, so typical of Kultur, but also a gross violation of internationally sanctioned treaty law, and thus a barbarian affront to civilization. The atrocities that followed only generated further sympathies for the country, and the Allies assured Belgium that the avenging and restoration of that country was a primary objective of the fight. All of this, apparently, was now forgotten. A headline from the newspaper De Standaard summed up the resentment in Brussels: “Belgium Deserted and Humiliated by Its Allies” (quoted from Marks 1981: 198).


Fig. 24. France. Nickel galvano of Edith Cavell by Georges-Henri Prud’homme, 1915. (Jonathan Kagan collection) 200 mm.

The Meaning of a Memory

It was within this political, social, and economic context that Bonnetain produced his medal of Edith Cavell and Marie Depage. While on the surface a straightforward commemorative piece for two lost colleagues, the medal’s greater context meant that it carried an embedded symbolic load. The inscription “1915/ Remember!” sought to steer this symbolism toward narrow(er) interpretations.

Taken as a whole, the medal immediately recalled the martyrdom of Cavell and the sinking of the Lusitania, but from a decidedly Belgian perspective (much as the Victor Peter plaque, Fig. 2, offered a French perspective on the two events). While Cavell was a universal symbol of martyrdom, albeit with deep Belgian ties, Depage was far from being a universal symbol for the Lusitania. As the wife of a high-profile doctor who turned politician after the war, Depage likely achieved notoriety as the most important Belgian to die on the ship. Thus using her to represent the Lusitania tragedy would obviously have greater significance for Belgians than it would for others.


Fig. 25. Belgium. AE medal commemorating the Commission for Relief in Belgium by George Petit, 1916. (ANS 0000.999.75868) 37 mm.

Working at the tail end of World War I medallic production, Bonnetain would certainly have been aware of propaganda medals portraying female victims of Kultur, and was likely aware of other works dealing directly with his subject. This awareness would have had influence on his own work and would therefore place his medal in discourse with others. While we cannot be entirely sure that Bonnetain was aware of Prud’homme’s 1915 portrait of Cavell (Fig. 24), it seems almost certain, given the close similarities in dress, general style, and lettering between the two works. Bonnetain’s response was to develop a portrait far less optimistic and more idealized than Prud’homme’s, but still following his use of the traditional format of profile portraiture, which offered a dignified, less sensationalist way of dealing with the subject, compared to what could be expected on more typical propaganda medals. This raised the level of discourse above the obvious and unsophisticated; the emotional content would be less evident and more controlled. But whereas one can picture Prud’homme’s confident, almost smiling Cavell voicing her famous pre-execution words of forgiveness (“I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone”), this is not the case for Bonnetain’s stern lady, who looks far less forgiving. Moreover, while Prud’homme’s portrait appears quite faithful to photographs of the matronly Cavell, Bonnetain has softened her features, making her appear younger (cp. Fig. 26, the same would be the case for Depage too), thus aligning Cavell (and Depage) with the typically younger female victims in Allied propaganda (see, for example, the treatment of Cavell in Figs. 3, 811). In subtle ways, Bonnetain has responded to Prud’homme’s rather dispassionate work by introducing greater emotional tension, and, by leveraging general familiarity with Cavell and Depage’s fates, he has infused the neutral territory of medallic portraiture with the political bias and purpose of the propaganda medal. This politicized reading of the image finds support in the simple inscription on the reverse.


Fig. 26. Portrait of Edith Cavell c. 1890, around age 25.

During the course of the war, remembering became a collective, not private, act, and one that was not left to the whimsy of individual choice. It was an imperative to all. In France, state-endorsed societies were organized at both local and national levels to foster the memory of German atrocities and sustain the “sacred hatred” for the enemy. The catch phrase (not to mention name) of the national Ligue Souvenez-Vous!, for example, “ne l’oubliez jamais!” (“never forget!”), commanded the pamphlet reader or poster viewer to maintain the level of anger/hatred necessary to achieve total victory. Similar imperatives to remember and sustain hatred were found in England and the United States as well. The imperative on Bonnetain’s medal clearly derives from this public and politically oriented function of remembering, not from the solemn and private realm of remembering the dead. But with the war over and victory in hand, the imperative on the medal would serve a diminished political purpose if it was intended to sustain anti-German feelings among the Belgians; their daily lives served that purpose well enough. What was meant to be remembered, and the function of that memory, is therefore less than clear. A clue, however, is provided by the inscription itself: it is in English, rather than Flemish or French, which indicates that the intended audience was not necessarily the Belgians but the British (or less likely the Americans), suggesting a new realm of political function.

On one level, we can certainly interpret the medal as a simple plea to remember the dead; plenty of medals were produced during and after the war to mourn the death of soldiers as a group (see Fig. 1213). Rarely, however, were individuals singled out, and even then only those considered in some fashion heroes. Cavell and Depage were not heroes, but carefully defined feminine victims of Kultur, and their remembrance served less to inspire by example than to instill moral outrage, the outward expression of which seems frozen on the faces of Bonnetain’s nurses. But where, in 1919, was this outrage directed? A suggestion offered here is that in their commemoration, the Commission de l’Ecole belge d’infirmières diplômées commissioned a medal that also admonished the British for their disloyalty toward a one-time ally. By re-presenting the martyrdom of Cavell and the Lusitania tragedy from the Belgian perspective, the Commission (and Bonnetain) claimed these highly symbolic memories for Belgium, which the British and others had freely used for their own purposes during the war. In the mode of Allied medallic propaganda, they retooled and redirected the appropriated memories back toward the British, demanding both recognition and recollection of Belgium’s current and previous suffering. Their claim to the memories meant that the Belgians could now determine their meaning: the imperative to remember commanded the viewer not only to remember the nurses but to remember the rape of Belgium, and, perhaps most importantly, to remember the many broken promises.

I thank François de Callataÿ, Jonathan Kagan, and David Simpson for their assistance with this article.

Primary Sources

Bailey, T. A., and P. B. Ryan. 1975. The Lusitania disaster: an episode in modern warfare and diplomacy. New York: Free Press.

Gullace, N. F. 2002. “The blood of our sons”: men, women, and the renegotiation of British citizenship during the Great War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Horne, J., and A. Kramer. 2001. German atrocities, 1914. A history of denial. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.

Marks, S. 1981. Innocent abroad. Belgium at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

http://firstworldwar.com/

http://rmslusitania.info/pages/index.html

Until the Iron Resurfaces: The Phocaeans in the West

Until the Iron Resurfaces: The Phocaeans in the West

Peter van Alfen and Gilles Bransbourg

In 2012 and 2013, the ANS purchased two important lots of archaic Greek silver fractions. From the Auriol hoard (IGCH 2352) we obtained 75 coins, which most recently had been in the Archer Huntington collection of the Hispanic Society of America; the second lot con- sisted of 25 Ionische Damen(“Ionian Ladies”) formerly in Herbert Cahn’s (1915–2002) collection, which in his 1998 publication he attributed to Phocaea. With these additions, the ANS now holds one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of archaic Phocaean coinage, a subject that continues to perplex. In part, this is due to the great variety of coinage that the Phocaeans produced both in their Ionian homeland and in their settlements in the western Mediterranean. But this is also due to the Phocaeans’ experience of metoikēsis, or “urban relocation,” an act that split the metropolis in half further complicating how we approach their later sixth century coinage. Among the questions yet to be fully addressed is how the coinages of the various wide- spread Phocaean settlements related to one another politically and economically, if they did at all.

Fig. 1: Map of the Phocaean world, c. 530 BC.

At the same time that the ANS purchased these two lots, we were invited to participate in an exhibit of the Auriol hoard now on display near where the coins were found in southern France nearly 150 years ago. This exhibit presents us with an opportunity to revisit the hoard and its significance. Thus, in light of our recent focus on the archaic Phocaeans, we examine here their (monetary) world and where this world intersects with our own. In Part I, Peter van Alfen reviews our current understanding of archaic Phocaean coinage both east and west; in Part II, Gilles Bransbourg discusses the Auriol hoard and the exhibit.

Fig. 3: Overview of the modern Turkish town Foça, ancient Phocaea. Note the city’s exceptional harbor.

Fig. 2: Kybele, a replica Phocaean penteconter, underway from Foça (ancient Phocaea) to Marseille (ancient Massalia). Photograph © by Piero Castellano.

Fig. 4: Section of the Phocaean city walls, c. 575 BC. Photograph by Ahmet Tolga Tek.

Part I: The Phocaeans and Their Coinage

In the immediate aftermath of the defeat of Croesus the Lydian king and the capture of his imperial capital at Sardis c. 547 BC, the Persians turned their attention to conquering the Greek cities of western Asia Minor: Phocaea was first on their list (fig. 1)1. Once besieged,
the Phocaeans resolved not to fight or surrender, but instead to abandon their city en masse and search for a new home beyond the reach of the Persians. When they took to their ships (fig. 2), taking with them their families, moveable goods, and cult objects, the Phocaeans left in their wake one of the largest, most impressively built cities on the Aegean coast (fig. 3). In the early sixth century they had built walls over 5 km long
which rivaled in workmanship those at Sardis, as excavations under the direction of Ömer Özyigit over the last few years have shown (fig. 4). These walls Herodotus (1.163) tells us were paid for by Arganthonios, king of Tartessos (Biblical Tarshish; cf. Ezekiel 27:12) in Iberia. As the walls went up, they also built a stone temple for Athena, the cella of which was decorated with man-sized griffin and horse protomes, a display of the city’s power, wealth, and prestige. A good portion of the Phocaeans’ wealth no doubt came from
their voyages to the far western Mediterranean, to Iberia and Gaul, as Arganthonios’ gift illustrates; they were, the historian also tells us, the first Greeks to venture towards the Atlantic. There they followed the Phoenicians, who had long since been making even
longer voyages to trade Levantine goods for Iberian silver, as demonstrated by a recently excavated Phoenician shipwreck found near Cartagena, dated c. 625 BC.Within just a few years after that ship sank, the Phocaeans themselves began to establish outposts in the far west. Their Massalia, today’s Marseille in southern France, soon became the most important Greek settlement west of Sicily (fig. 5). Elsewhere along the Iberian and Gallic coasts smaller Phocaean settlements were set up as well, with some like Emporion (Ampurias in Spain) probably secondary colonies of Massalia.

By the time the Persians arrived at their gates c. 546 BC the Phocaeans’ network stretched across the Mediter- ranean, offering abundant retreat to those fleeing the besiegers. Even so, the Phocaeans’ relocation got off to a slow start. After their offer to buy the Oinoussai islands from the Chians closer to home was rejected— the Chians feared the commercial competition in their backwaters—the Phocaeans made plans to abandon the Aegean altogether and head west to Corsica, where a group of their compatriots had settled Alalia twenty years earlier. But before heading west the refugees first sailed back to abandoned Phocaea, overcame the Persian garrison, and there called down mighty curses on anyone who would stay behind and, to make the point more dramatic still, sank a mass of iron into the sea, swearing never to return until the iron resurfaced. Despite the theatrics, half of the Phocaeans stayed anyway, already homesick and willing at last to submit to Persian suzerainty. The other half took to their ships, arriving at Alalia not long after. There they proved to be opportunists and preyed on the rich seaborne trade in the region until both their usual victims, the Etruscans and Phoenicians, joined forces and engaged the Phocaeans in an epic sea battle near Alalia. Despite the odds, the Phocaeans won, but suffered heavy losses, and for reasons unclear quickly abandoned Alalia, once again setting off in their ships in search of yet another new home. This they eventually found on the western Italian coast at Hyele (Velia). And there the story, at least for Herodotus, ends.

But it continues. We know from other historical sources, including coins, that the Phocaeans in both Ionia and the West flourished after 530 BC. And while these later sources also demonstrate continued cohesion between Massalia, Emporion, and Velia, scholars, like Jean-Paul Morel (2002: 31), have argued that the ties between these western Phocaeans and those in Asia Minor quickly dissipated, that the similarities we observe in eastern and western Phocaean cultural practices in the late archaic and early classical period had more to do with the knock-on effects of shared origins than direct communication. Similarly, most interpretations of western Phocaean coinage tend to disassociate it po- litically and economically from its Ionian counterparts. Keith Rutter (2002: 171–72), for example, sees in the similarities generally between eastern and western Pho- caean coinage a “transplantation,” part of the cultural baggage of migration. For her part, Renata Cantilena (2006: 426) ascribes the similarities to “an intense bond with the traditions of the homeland.” These ideas of tradition and transplantation are predicated on notions of distance and separation, both temporal and geo- graphic, implying a clean break between the Phocaeans who went west, and the other half who stayed behind. The considerable distances between Ionia and the West would make this a fair assessment. But even so, as we now turn to look at the coins, we should be alive to the question: Where do we draw the line in our interpreta- tions between continuing ties and enduring traditions?

Fig. 5: Overview of Marseille (ancient Massalia). This 16th-century map illustrates the city’s fine harbor and defenses, a layout rather similar to that found in Phocaea. From Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg, Civitates Orbis Terrarum, 1584.


Fig. 6: Ionia. Phocaea? Circa 575 BC. Electrum stater, 16.5 g (ANS 1977.158.970, Robert F. Kelley bequest) 20.5 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 8: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 530 BC. Electrum 1/6 stater, 2.58 g (ANS 1977.158.69, Robert F. Kelley bequest) 10.8 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 10: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 520 BC. Electrum 1/6 stater, 2.56 g (ANS 1967.152.449, Adra M. Newell bequest) 10.3 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 12: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 530 BC. Silver drachm, 3.93 g (ANS 1944.100.46729, E.T. Newell bequest) 14.5 mm. From the Taranto hoard (IGCH 1874) (images enlarged).

Fig. 7: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 575 BC. Electrum 1/48 stater, 0.37 g (ANS 1944.100.46731, E.T. Newell bequest) 5.1 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 9: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 520 BC. Electrum 1/6 stater, 2.57 g (ANS 2002.18.17, gift of Jonathan H. Kagan) 10 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 11: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 520 BC. Electrum 1/6 stater, 2.57 g (ANS 1977.158.32, Robert F. Kelley bequest) 10.4 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 13: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 530 BC. Silver 1/12 stater, 1.58 g (ANS 1977.158.362, Robert F. Kelley bequest) 9 mm (images enlarged).

At some point around 600 BC, the Phocaeans, like many of their Ionian neighbors, began minting elec- trum coins in a variety of denominations, but unlike the others they minted on their own standard with the larg- est coin, the stater, weighing c. 16.45 g rather than the Lydo-Milesian stater of c. 14.10 g used by the other Ioni- ans. A number of Phocaean-weight electrum coins with various obverse types, like figs. 6–8, have been attribut- ed to Phocaea, reflecting perhaps a number of different series lasting a generation or two. Electrum production was revamped towards the end of the sixth century, as it began to fade out elsewhere, when the Phocaeans con- cluded an agreement with the Lesbian polis of Mytilene 80 km to the north to produce a cooperative series of electrum hektai, a hugely successful arrangement that lasted for nearly two centuries, producing a considerable amount of this single-denomination currency. With its constantly changing obverse types, the purpose of this cooperative coinage still eludes us, however, although some sort of commercial function seems likely (figs. 9–11).3 In addition to their electrum coinages the Pho- caeans also began to produce silver coinage from about 535 BC onward. At least three separate silver series have been attributed to them:

1) Those with the phokē (seal) as a punning type, used also on some early electrum coins (fig. 12). The de- nominations of this series are mostly small—obols and hemiobols—but there are as well “drachms” weighing c. 3.95 g. Findspots for this series include the western Mediterranean Taranto (IGCH 1874) and Auriol hoards; 2) A series with a griffin head as a type, some of which like fig. 13 have a small phokē behind the griffin’s head securing the attribution.4 As the griffin protomes on the Phocaeans’ temple to Athena suggest, this creature must have had special significance for the commu- nity. More problematic, however, are similar left-facing griffin coins without the phokē minted not, it would seem, on the Phocaean standard, but on the Aegine- tan, in six denominations, from staters to tartemoria (fig. 14). Similar griffin types, but facing right, are also known from contemporary Teos, which also minted on the Aeginetan standard, thus creating problems for this attribution. The findspots of the griffin coins include hoards found in Asia Minor (IGCH 1165, Asia Minor; 1183, Colophon), and the Auriol hoard. And, finally, 3) Herbert Cahn’s Ionische Damen, a series of fractions with a young helmeted woman (Athena?) on the obverse minted on the Phocaean standard in three denominations: 1/12, 1/24, and 1/96 staters (figs. 15–16). These have been found in hoards in Asia Minor, Egypt, and in the western Mediterranean, again including the Auriol hoard.

Polis: denomination Obverse Type Weight

Massalia (M); Volterra (V) Emporion (E);

Red = shared type east-west

Emporion : “pentobol” Figure not identified ( E) 4.42 g Goat head, r. ( E) 4.24 g Satyr mask ( E) 4.20 g

Velia: “drachm” Lion tearing prey ( Velia) c. 3.95 g

Phokaia: “drachm” Phoke (seal) ( P) c. 3.95 g

Emporion : “tetrobol” Pegasus, l. ( E) 3.44 g Uncertain object ( E) 3.2 g Lion walking, l. ( E) 3.17 g Horse head, r.? ( E) 3.57 g

Massalia: “hemidrachm” Satyr mask ( E) 2.86 g

Emporion :“hemidrachm” Pegasus, r ( E) c. 2.52 g Pegasus, l. ( E, M ) c. 2.6 g Ram head, r. ( E) c. 2.71 g Lion head, r. ( E) c. 2.75 g Lion head, l. ( M ) c. 2.7 g Horse head, r. ( E) 2.37 g Herakles head ( E) 2.28 g

Phokaia: EL hekte ( Various) c. 2.55 g

Massalia: “diobol” Pegasus, r. ( E) c. 1.8 g

Emporion : “diobol” Pegasus, l. ( E, M ) c. 1.8 g Ram head, r. ( E) 1.8 g Lion head, l. ( M ) 1.84 g

Phokaia: 1/12 stater “Ionische Dame” ( P) c. 1.38 g Massalia: “trihemiobol” Phoke (seal) ( P, V ) 1.25 g Emporion : “trihemiobol” Ram head, r. ( E) 1.25 g Volterra Pegasus, l. ( M, V ) c. 1.38 g

Hippalektryon ( V ) c. 1.20 g

Massalia: “Milesian obol” Male head (Apollo?), r. ( M ) c. 1.20 g Head of Herakles, r. ( M ) c. 1.20 g Ram head, l. ( M ) c. 1.20 g Lion head, r. ( M ) c. 1.20 g Lion tearing prey ( M ) c. 1.20 g

Massalia: “obol” Ram head, l. ( M ) 0.90-1.00 g

Lion tearing prey ( M ) 0.90-1.00 g

Phokaia: 1/24 stater “Ionische Dame” ( P, M ) c. 0.70 g Massalia: “tritetartemorion” Ram head, r. or l. ( E, V ) c. 0.70 g Emporion: “tritetartemorion” Helmeted head of Athena, r. ( M ) 0.75 g Volterra Phoke head (seal) ( P, V ) c. 0.70 g

Goat head, r. ( V ) c. 0.70 g

Massalia: “hemiobol” Eagle head ( E) 0.52 g Emporion : “hemiobol” Pegasus, l. ( M ) c. 0.55 g Volterra Griffin head, l. ( M ) c. 0.50 g

Male head (Apollo?), r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Female head , l. ( V ) c. 0.65 g Head of Herakles, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Helmeted head of Athena, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g “Ionische Dame” ( M ) c. 0.65 g Bearded male head, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Head of satyr, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Facing stayr mask ( M ) c. 0.65 g Head of negro, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Facing head mask ( M ) c. 0.65 g Gorgoneion ( M, V ) c. 0.65 g Ionian helmet ( M, V ) c. 0.65 g Bird head, r. ( V ) 0.65 g Head of dog, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Ram head, l. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Cow head, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Lion head, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Lion tearing prey ( M ) c. 0.65 g Boar protome, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g Winged boar protome, r. ( M ) c. 0.65 g

Emporion : “1/32 stater” Lion head, front ( E) 0.34 g

Ram head, r. or l. ( E) c. 0.35 g

Phokaia: “1/96 stater” “Ionische Dame” ( P) 0.18 g Massalia: “tetartemorion” Female? head, r ( E) 0.19 g Emporion : “1/64 stater” Ram head, r. or l. ( E) c. 0.14 g

Cuttlefish ( M ) 0.28 g Eye ( M ) c. 0.28 g Bird standing r. ( M ) c. 0.28 g Bird head, l. ( M ) c. 0.28 g Dolphin head, r. ( M ) c. 0.15 g Amphora ( M ) c. 0.15 g Facing cow head ( M ) c. 0.28 g

The Phocaeans in the West 1

11 The Phocaeans in the West


Fig. 15: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 530 BC. Silver 1/12 stater, 1.22 g (ANS 2013.10.2) 11.8 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 17: Lucania. Velia. Circa 530 BC. Silver drachm, 3.84 g (ANS 1941.153.154, W. Gedney Beatty bequest) 14.5 mm. From the Taranto hoard (IGCH 1874) (images enlarged).


Fig. 19: Gaul. Massalia. Circa 510 BC. Silver “ hemiobol,” 0.57 g (ANS 1944.100.17591, E.T. Newell bequest) 8 mm. From the Auriol hoard (IGCH 2352) (images enlarged).


Fig. 21: Gaul. Massalia. Circa 510 BC. Silver 1/6 stater, 2.76 g (ANS 1944.100.17591, E.T. Newell bequest) 12.5 mm. From the Auriol hoard (IGCH 2352) (images enlarged).


Fig. 14: Ionia. Phocaea? Circa 530 BC. Silver 1/12 stater, 1.44 g (ANS 1944.100.47104, E.T. Newell bequest) 9.5 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 16: Ionia. Phocaea. Circa 530 BC. Silver 1/24 stater, 0.65 g (ANS 2013.10.24) 7.7 mm (images enlarged).


Fig. 18: Gaul. Massalia. Circa 510 BC. Silver “obol,” 1.14 g (ANS 2012.49.72) 11.5 mm. From the Auriol hoard (IGCH 2352) (images enlarged).


Fig. 20: Gaul. Massalia. Circa 510 BC. Silver “ hemiobol,” 0.55 g (ANS 2012.49.100) 7 mm. From the Auriol hoard (IGCH 2352) (images enlarged).

Fig. 22: Iberia. Emporion. Circa 515 BC. Silver penteobol, 4.2 g (Ripollès 2013, no. 2) 15.2 mm. Image courtesy of Pere Pau Ripollès (images enlarged).

Beyond Ionia, those who settled in Velia were the first western Phocaeans to produce coins. Beginning c. 535 BC they minted there a series of “drachms” weighing c. 3.95 g along with diobols and obols all featuring a forepart of lion tearing at its prey (fig. 17). Soon there- after their kin in Massalia were producing a series of small silver coins, the so-called Auriol types named after the hoard that produced most known examples. Like the cooperative electrum hektai of Mytilene- Phocaea, these were minted with constantly changing types; nearly forty obverse types are known to date (figs. 18–21).5 The weight standard appears to be Phocaean, although the weights of the coins vary considerably; the denominational structure is oriented towards fractions weighing between c. 0.15 g and 1.20 g.

A third series of small silver coins, like those found in the Etrurian Volterra hoard (IGCH 1875, c. 475 BC), were minted using nearly a dozen obverse types similar to the Auriol types and have long been attributed to yet another group of Phocaeans who purportedly settled in Etruria. More recently, however, this Greek-Etruscan origin has been brought into question by the large number of these coins found in the south of France, suggesting that these are rather Greek-Provençal issues, probably early issues of Massalia. The denominations are again on the small side and the weight standard is thought to be Phocaean (see Table 1).6

In a forthcoming article in Numismatic Chronicle, Pere Pau Ripollès argues that Emporion, the Iberian settlement, began producing coinage c. 515 BC. Like the coinage of Massalia, the earliest coins of Emporion were minted using a variety of obverse types in nine de- nominations, the smallest being a 1/64th stater of c. 0.17 g, while the largest is what Ripollès calls a pentobol of c. 4.2 g (fig. 22). Again like some of the coinage of Massa- lia, the weights vary considerably suggesting to Ripollès that this far western colony was not able to obtain mint workers of great skill.

The archaic coinage of the Phocaeans scattered about their various settlements, then, does not appear to be as tightly aligned or centrally organized as was, for example, the coinage of Corinth and many of its colonies. Although some series like the Ionische Damen main- tained a single obverse type throughout, the Phocaeans both east and west also used multiple obverse types within series, thereby diluting the symbolic or associa- tive significance of any single type. Moreover, variations in the weights of the silver coins minted both in Ionia and in the west frequently make it difficult to discern if in fact it was the Phocaean weight standard that was always being used, and what precisely the denominational structures were. These incongruities aside, there is nevertheless considerable overlap in the weights, denominations, and even the obverse types of coins pro- duced in the east and the West (see Table 1). What then do we make of this overlap? What does the Velian lion, for example, appearing also on coins minted in Massalia and Phocaea, symbolize (cp. figs. 11, 17, 18)? How hard we can press this and other parallels (see Table 1) as evi- dence for live connections and open-eyed cooperation rather than tradition working in blind isolation?

In his most recent book, A Small Greek World, which looks at the archaic Phocaean world through the lens of network theory, Irad Malkin challenges many of the assumptions of severed or weak ties at long range, once again underscoring the intense connectivity of the Mediterranean across short, middle and long distances. Clear evidence for this connectivity within an econom- ic context can be found, for example, in business letters written on lead, such as one found in the excavations of Emporion (fig. 23).7 This fragmentary letter, dated to c. 530 BC, was written by an Ionian (Phocaean?) merchant to his agent in Emporion about business with another merchant named Basped[. . .], an Iberian trading between Massalia, Emporion, and Saigantha (Saguntum?). Like
this letter, the Auriol hoard is suggestive of economic connections across shorter and longer distances within the Phocaean network, producing as it did coins not only
from Massalia and possibly Emporion, but also a few from Phocaea itself. Thus we can be assured that on some level the east-west ties remained alive at the time the Phocaeans began to mint silver coins, but were these ever of sufficient strength and character to support monetary cooperation or coordination?
It is hard to say, but one group of coins deserves special consideration in this regard: the drachms of Velia, and the phokē drachms of Phocaea. As can be seen in Table 1, the weight of both the Velian and phokē drachms stands apart from all other Phocaean coin weights,
and indeed from many other archaic denominations. Commentators remain uncertain what the c. 3.95 g weight represents: is it an Aeginetan tetrobol, a Lesbian drachm, a Chian drachm, a Phoenician ½-stater, or simply a Phocaean ¼-stater? Whatever the denomination, the weight, fabric, and reverse punches of these two series are so similar that George Hill (1902: 2, no. 13) suggested over a century ago that the Velian drachms were minted in Phocaea for use in the West, a suggestion that has long been ignored due to the large number of finds of the Velian type in Italy, including the famed western Taranto hoard of c. 500 BC (IGCH 1874). Significantly, the only findspot recorded for the half-dozen or so known examples of the phokē drachms is also the Taranto hoard, which produced three of the six known coins. While there is the possibility that the phokē drachms were also produced in the West—smaller denominations with a phokē were produced in Massalia—the fact that one drachm from the Taranto hoard has a clear phi for Phocaea on the obverse, and the fact of the Taranto hoard findspot itself, which included a large number of coins from Greek mainland and Asia Minor mints, weakens any such arguments. If we consider that both drachm series appeared shortly after the Phocae- ans split and half relocated, when the bonds—not just cultural, but also political and economic—between the two halves must still have been fresh and strong, a Phocaean-Velian monetary cooperation, much like the near-contemporary Phocaean-Mytilenean arrangement, does not seem entirely improbable. But, even if this were the case, we are still far from explaining how the rest of archaic western Phocaean coinage fits into this picture.

Fig. 23: Business letter, c. 530 BC, written on lead, found in the excavations of Emporion (SEG 37.838). Image courtesy of Pere Pau Ripollès.

Part II: The Auriol Hoard (IGCH 2352)

In 1867, in a field near the town of Auriol in southern France, a jar came to light containing 2,137 silver Greek coins weighing all told about 1,500 g. Although they
recognized the coins as archaic, for a number of years after the discovery numismatists and scholars argued about the attribution of the coins, all of which initially were believed to have been struck in Asia Minor. It was Ernest Babelon (1907) who first advocated a western origin for bulk of the hoard coins after careful consideration of their fabric and types and the areas where single examples continued to be found. Since this attribution to Massalia, decades would pass before the coins received thorough study at the hands of Andreas Furtwängler (1978), who catalogued all known types and engaged with the problems of their circulation, me- trology, chronology, and minting organization. While the Auriol hoard is one of the largest and most important discoveries of archaic Greek coins to date, the exact circumstances of its discovery remain veiled behind two conflicting accounts.

A medium-sized town located about 15 km east of Marseilles, Auriol is where farmers have grown olive trees and vines for centuries. One of the stories of the find relates that a farmer hit a large stone while plow- ing his field. Calling upon his son to help remove the “stone”, they discovered the jar and its content. He tried to bargain away his discovery for a gold watch, but was offered only a silver watch instead and so broke off the negotiations with the watchmaker. Thus the coins were saved from being melted. The second story recounts that the jar and the coins were stuck in the roots of a dead olive tree. A young man, André Aubert, and his uncle, unearthed the hoard while uprooting the tree and called upon the Abbot of Bargès for advice, who then wrote a report of the find in a Parisian newspaper. Subsequently, the Aubert family received several offers, finally selling all of the coins for about 10,000 francs. (since the franc at the time represented 0.29 g pure gold, 2,900 g gold was effectively exchanged against 1,500 g of numismatic silver. The unskilled daily wage at that time was about 2 francs a day, thus the amount of
money they received was equivalent to almost 14 years of income!) Soon after the sale the hoard was dispersed, with portions going as purchases or bequests to several French museums including the Cabinet des Médailles of Marseilles, its counterparts in Lyons and Paris, and the Archaeological Museum of Saint-Germain. The Abbot of Bargès later tried to track down the hoard coins, noting that the main buyer, the Senator de Saulcy,
purchased 1,184 coins. His collection was mostly bequeathed to the Saint-Germain Museum. About 200 coins were purchased by the Marseilles Museum, 40 by Lyons, and about 100 by various collectors. Other hoard coins ended up in various foreign institutions, including the ANS.

The ANS now owns 119 coins from the Auriol hoard. A large proportion of these, 37 coins, were part of the estate of Edward T. Newell, who bequeathed c. 87,000 coins to the ANS in 1944. Although it is quite impos- sible to fully trace the chain of owners from the original buyers at Auriol to Newell, our archives suggest that he bought them from collectors with proximity to the original transactions. Among the previous collections or public auctions, Newell’s notes mention Stroehlin 1910, Sotheby’s 1909, Merzbacher 1914, L. Platt 1922, and Spink 1925; other sources include the collection de Nanteuil and the Jameson collection.

The most recent addition to our Auriol holdings, how- ever, came by way of the Archer Huntington collec- tion, formerly kept at the ANS (see ANS Magazine vol. 7, no.3, winter 2008), which was sold by the Hispanic Society of America in early 2012. Our Auriol purchase, made possible through NGSA Geneva with the help of ANS Fellow Dr. Alain Baron, was completed some months later. With 75 coins acquired in this lot, our holdings of Auriol coins were nearly tripled, making the ANS’s now one of the largest collections of Auriol hoard coins outside of France.

Already aware of our holdings, the Museum Martin- Duby in Auriol contacted us in early 2012 wanting to borrow a small number of the coins for an exhibit on the hoard. The success of this exhibit is one of those cases where the synergies between enthusiastic benefac- tors and local authorities, including the curator, Mr. Jean-Claude Hérau, create a unique blend of dynamism and ideas leading to results way beyond expectations,
all being achieved with little to no funding. A team of people in Auriol have donated their time and energy to bring the hoard and its history back to life, taking advantage of Marseilles being the European Capital of Culture for 2013 to ensure their success. Having secured the proper official authorizations, and some very limited public funding, they contacted prominent museums around the world, including the ANS, hoping to borrow coins and other material related to the hoard.

The Society’s Roman curator Dr. Gilles Bransbourg, a French national, paid his first visit to Auriol in the fall of 2012 (see ANS Magazine, vol. 11, no. 4, 2012, p.64), where he spent time viewing the site where the coins were discovered (fig. 24), assessing the museum, and meeting with local authorities, including the town’s dynamic mayor, Ms. Danièle Garcia. As a result of his report, we decided to respond favorably to the Auriol museum’s request, providing material, coins, as well as expertise in mounting the exhibit. In this we also had the active collaboration of Mr. Jean Lecompte, an ANS member, recognized numismatist, and author who lives in the region and took a great interest in the overall project.

On May 16 of this year the exhibit opened with great fanfare. Along with Dr. Michel Amandry, director of the Cabinet des Médailles of Paris, Ms. Joëlle Bovery, curator of the Marseilles Cabinet from the Museum of the Vieille Charité, and Mr. François Planet, curator from the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyons, Dr. Brans- bourg took part in the event and press conference. More than a thousand visitors, including many children from neighboring schools, have thus far visited the exhibit (fig. 25–26). Local media and newspapers have dedicat- ed a significant amount of coverage to the event, ensur- ing that the Auriol hoard has by now been fully resur- rected from the past and made available to the public.

In light of this modern homecoming, it is worth taking a moment to consider the economic and social meaning of the hoard and its contents to the ancient, rather than modern inhabitants of Auriol. The hoard was probably buried in the middle of the fifth century BC; most of the coins had been struck at nearby Massalia over the course of the preceding five or six decades. A hoard of this size, its rural findspot, and its contents raise many questions. Among these we might ask: is this hoard reflective of Massaliot long-distance trade in the fifth century, or does it testify instead to the local circulation
of small change? Also, how much money would 1,500 g of silver, the total weight of the coins, represent at the time the hoard was buried?

The first question is easier to answer. The geographic area of distribution of Auriol-type coins is essentially restricted to the lower Rhône valley, where Massalia was the recognized political heavyweight; finds from northern Italy and northeastern Spain seem also to confirm that western Phocaean coinage was mostly restricted to local use. The answer to the second ques- tion, on the other hand, requires that we look further afield in the Greek world, to Athens. The Attic drachm weighed 4.37 g. The overall value of the hoard is thus equivalent to c. 350 Attic drachms. An unskilled worker earned about 1 drachm a day in Athens, which was by that time probably the most expensive city in the ancient Mediterranean world. If prices in Athens were roughly double what they were in the West, we could then assume that 350 drachms was equivalent to about two years of earnings in the Auriol region dur- ing the same period. In today’s money, this would be the equivalent of someone hoarding around $50,000. As such, this is neither a negligible nor a huge amount of money with respect to the available (hoarded) wealth of the ancient world. A truly large deposit like the Rajantsi hoard (IGCH 411) from western Bulgaria, for instance, incorporated about 6,000 coins from the time of Alexander the Great, which weighed close to 80 kg, many times what our hoard weighed. The man or woman who buried the 2,137 small coins in Auriol had wealth, but not on a major scale when compared, for example, to the fourth-century Athenian banker Pasion, whose share in a factory generated an annual income of 6,000 drachms, and whose bank provided 10,000 drachms annually (Dem. 36.4–5, 11). The latter figure represents about 30 times the value of the Auriol hoard.

The savings that the owner of our hoard managed to ac- cumulate was also, significantly, not in large denomina- tions. These 2,137 coins weighing c. 1,500 g give us an average weight of 1.42 g of silver, within a denomina- tional range of 0.14–2.72 g. In Athens, the food rations provided to slaves working for the city averaged an equivalent of 2 g of silver per day. Estimating again that the prices would have been on average two times lower in southern Gaul than in Athens, the heavier coins would have provided enough food for three days, while the smallest would have purchased a little over 10% of a daily food budget. With the Auriol hoard we are there- fore dealing with a fractional coinage rather well suited for daily transactions at the local level.

In that sense, the Auriol hoard provides unique tes- timony for monetary circulation in southern Gaul in the early fifth century. Composed of local coins with limited purchasing power, it shows how coinage, a little over a hundred years after its first appearance in Asia Minor in the late seventh century, had managed to permeate the life of a relative backwater outside of the metropolis of Massalia. Here, the prevalent coins were not the heavy pieces of silver used by Athenian gran- dees or Sicilian rulers, for example, but tiny fractions that supported local trade and transactions among the people of the countryside.

Endnotes

1 Herodotus (1.163–167) is our primary source for archaic Phocaea.

2 Excavated between 2007 and 2011 by a joint Spanish-American team, the ship was carrying among other things Levantine ceram- ics, bronze furniture, raw and worked ivory, and Iberian galena (silver ore); see Polzer and Pinedo Reyes 2011.

3 A late fifth century inscription found on Lesbos, IG XII 2, 1, pro- vides insight into this arrangement; see Bodenstedt 1981, especially pp. 29–31; Mackil and van Alfen 2006: 210–213.

4 Balcer (1970) explained the Teos-Phokaia griffin conundrum by proposing that the two cities had a monetary alliance; few have fol- lowed Balcer’s suggestion.

5 Picard (1981) argues that the multiple types correspond to individual magistrates, not to a civic program of commemorating the colonization and foundation of Messalia as Furtwängler (1978) proposed. Cf. Cantlinea 2006: 428–29.

6 Cristofani-Martelli (1975) proposed a Greek-Etruscan origin for the coins; more recently Orsini and Mescle (2002) have argued that they are Greek-Provençal issues.

7 For the most recent commentary and translation see Santiago 2003.

Fig. 24: Gilles Bransbourg, Jean-Claude Hérau, the curator of Musée Martin-Duby, and a museum volunteer inspect the site where the Auriol hoard was found.

Fig. 26: School children visiting the Auriol hoard exhibit.

Bibliography

Babelon, E. 1907. Traité des monnaies grecques et romaines, II, 1, Paris.

Balcer, J.M. 1970. “Phokaia and Teos: a monetary alliance.” RSN 49: 25–33.

Bodenstedt, F. 1981. Die Elektronmünzen von Phokaia und Mytilene. Tübingen: Verlag Ernst Wasmuth.

Cahn, H.A. 1998. “Ionische Damen.” In R. Ashton and S. Hurter, eds. Studies in Greek numismatics in memory of Martin J. Price, pp. 59–63. London: Spink.

Cantilena, R. 2006. La monetazione di Elea e le vicende storiche della città: limiti e contributi della documentazione numismatica. Atti del XLV convegno di studi sulla Magna Grecia (Taranto-Marina di Ascea, 21–25 settembre 2005) vol. I, pp. 423–460. Napoli.

Cristofani-Martelli, M. 1975. “Il ripostiglio di Volterra.” AIIN Suppl. 22: 87–104.

Furtwängler, A. 1978. Monnaies grecques en Gaule. Le trésor d’Auriol et le monnayage de Massalia 525/520–460 av. J.–C., Fribourg.

Hill, G.F. 1902. Descriptive catalogue of ancient Greek coins belong- ing to John Ward. London.

Mackil, E. and P. van Alfen. 2006. “Cooperative coinage.” In Peter van Alfen, ed. Agoranomia: Studies in money and exchange presented to John H. Kroll, 201–247. New York: American Numismatic Society.

Fig. 25: The ANS panel from the Auriol hoard exhibit.

Malkin, I. 2011. A small Greek world: networks in the ancient Mediterranean. Oxford.

Morel, J.-P. 2002. “Archeologie phoceenne et monnayage phoceen: quelques elements pour une confrontation.” In A. Mele and J.-P. Morel, eds. La monetazione dei Focei in Occidente. Atti dell’XI con- vengo del centro internazionale di studi numismatici—Napoli 25–27 Ottobre 1996: pp. 27–42. Instituto Italiano di Numismatica: Rome.

Orsini, P. and T. Mescle. 2002. “Nouvelles monnaies archaiques aux du trésor de Volterra découvertes en Provence: une hypothése sur l’origine de ce monnayage.” Cahiers Numismatiques 153: 5–13.

Picard, O. 1981. “Les monnaies marseillaises aux types d’Auriol et les monnaies a à types multiples.” BSFN 53–55.

Polzer, M. and J. Pinedo Reyes. 2011. “The final season of the Claude and Barbara Duthuit Expedition to Bajo de la Campana, Spain. Excavation of a late seventh-century B.C.E. Phoenician shipwreck.” The INA Annual, pp. 6–17.

Ripollès, P.P. (forthcoming). “The archaic coinage of Emporion.” Numismatic Chronicle.

Rutter, K. 2002. “La monetazione di Velia.” In A. Mele and J.-P. Morel, eds. La monetazione dei Focei in Occidente. Atti dell’XI con- vengo del centro internazionale di studi numismatici—Napoli 25–27 ottobre 1996, pp. 167–185. Instituto Italiano di Numismatica. Rome.

Santiago, R.A. 2003. “Las láminas de plomo de Ampurias y Pech Maho revisitadas.” ZPE 144: 167–172.

 

The Renaissance of the Cast Medal in 19th Century France

by David and Constance Yates

The medal as we know it today had its origins in the Italian Renaissance with the circular bronze commemorative portraits produced by Pisanello (c. 1395-1455) during the mid-15th century. Medals are often viewed in a numismatic context because they share certain obvious characteristics with coins. However, as a dealer in European sculpture and drawings for over twenty years, my interest in medals, especially cast medals, is not so much based on their numismatic characteristics, as on their aesthetic appeal. As intimate sculpture in relief format, medals are something to hold and turn in the hand; they are personal objects of great beauty, which provoke and reward intellectual contemplation.


Louis-Oscar Roty, Mes parents, 1886, silver plaque.

Techniques Of Medal Making

A medal can either be struck or cast, both techniques that were developed in the classical world and perfected during the Italian Renaissance. The process of striking consists first of the preparation of the desired images on two dies followed by the impression by force of these dies onto a prepared metal blank. In antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages this force was provided by the simple act of hammering. The invention of the screw press in early 16th-century Italy enabled medals to be struck with greater speed and control. The result is an object sharply and precisely defined, but often rather dry and lacking in sculptural elegance. Not surprisingly, striking was, and is today, the method utilized for mass production of both coins and medals. Casting requires the preparation of two original uniface models—the obverse and reverse—in wax, plaster, or less commonly, wood or stone. These models are utilized to create negative molds in a soft material such as terracotta or gesso. Once the molds have dried, they are fitted together leaving channels into which the molten metal is poured. After cooling, the medal in its raw state is removed from the mold. At this stage a careful hand finishing is required which includes filing, chasing, and often the application of chemically based patinations and thin coats of lacquer. The final result is a unique work of art, with examples of the same medal exhibiting subtle variations in color and surface detail.

France During The Renaissance

The earliest medals in 16th-century France were produced by goldsmiths working in a style which combined the native Gothic heraldic tradition with an obvious awareness of Italian Renaissance portraiture. From the outset, the production of medals in France was highly dependent on the patronage of the crown. This may be viewed in comparison to the early history of the medal in Italy, where artists relied more on the commissions of private patrons, resulting in the possibility of greater artistic freedom. The invitations extended by François I (1494-1547) to Italian artists and craftsmen, among them Benvenuto Cellini and the aged Leonardo, to help embellish his court at Fontainebleau demonstrate the lure that Italian aesthetic innovation had in France.


Germain Pilon, Portrait of René de Birague, gilt bronze. Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Centralization Of French Medal Production: Tools Of Political Propaganda

In 1572, during the reign of Charles IX, Germain Pilon (c. 1525-1590), the greatest sculptor of the French Renaissance was named to the newly created post of Contrôleur général des effigies. Pilon created some of the most beautiful cast medallic portraits of this period, as is clearly evident in a superb cast and gilt portrait of René de Birague, which is in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. As Contrôleur général des effigies, Pilon was given the responsibility for producing the models from which coins and officially commissioned medals were struck. This beginning of centralized control over the striking of coins and medals was further reinforced when, during the reign of Henri IV, Guillaume Dupré (c. 1576-1643) was appointed Contrôleur des poinçons et effigies pour les monnaies and allowed to establish his foundry and presses under royal protection in the Gallery of the Louvre. Dupré created some sixty cast medals during his career, aesthetically comparable to the finest works of the Italian Renaissance, as is indicated by a striking portrait of 1612 of Marc Antonio Memmo, the Doge of Venice. It is most significant to note that Dupré produced the last important corpus of cast medals in France until the 19th century. While Dupré elevated the status of the French medal, it was Jean Warin (1596-1672) who transformed this art form into one devoted almost entirely to the glory of the state. Warin, named Contrôleur général in 1647, had accumulated by mid-century sufficient political authority to effectively monopolize the striking of coins and medals at the French mint. In 1663 Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), the secretary of state for Louis XIV, formed the Académies des inscriptions et belles lettres to impose centralized control over the arts as a way of increasing the power of government. Under Warin’s influence, the concerns of the Academy rapidly evolved into the supervision and production of the The Medallic Histories of Louis XIV; that is to say, to the creation of what was, in effect, medallic propaganda celebrating the glories of the reign of Louis XIV and the superiority of French culture and technology. This process was so strictly controlled that medallists lost the right to execute their own designs and instead, were reduced to copying Academy-approved drawings produced by artists, such as Antoine Coypel and Sebastian Le Clerc. The Medallic Histories of Louis XIV was responsible for eighty-five separate obverse portraits of the Sun King and some three hundred allegorical reverses celebrating the achievements of his reign.


Guillaume Dupré, Portrait of Marc Antonio Memmo, Doge of Venice


Jean Warin, Portraits of the future king Louis XIV and his mother Anne of Austria

By the beginning of the 18th century, French medals had been exported throughout Europe and were enormously influential. These precisely struck images were not only extremely effective in promoting the glories of the French state, but also provided artistic models which were appropriated and altered for local consumption from Portugal to Russia. As Mark Jones has pointed out, the great transformation which Warin set in motion at the end of the 17th century changed the very meaning of the medal “both to those who made them and those who received them.” This evolution from artist-cast and finished celebrations of the individual to mechanically-struck objects of political and cultural propaganda remained the norm in France until the Revolution of 1789 brought an end to the ancien régime.

The French Revolution And Napoleon

With the Revolution came new artistic possibilities. Napoleon viewed the continuation of the state controlled medal as important, even to the extent of having designs sent from Paris for his approval during foreign campaigns. Vivant Dominique, Baron Denon, called Vivant Denon (1747-1825) was named Directeur général des musées français in 1804, and, as Bonaparte’s advisor on all artistic affairs, was responsible for including medallists in the Prix de Rome competition. The medal thus officially took its place alongside painting, sculpture and architecture, occupying two seats at the French Academy in Rome. Denon, undoubtedly influenced by the earlier example of Colbert, supervised a comprehensive medallic production of Napoleon and the Empire period which was rigidly neoclassical in style. Denon’s portrait, executed in 1812 by Louis-François Jeannest (French, active late 18th-early 19th century), captures the lively intelligence of this important figure in a manner which is realistic rather than classicizing. Although artistic freedom became a possibility as a result of the revolution, not all artists chose to break with the style of the ancien régime. Indeed, the artistic vocabulary of most official medallic commissions remained neoclassical until just after the reign of Napoleon III. Artists inspired by the creative explosion of the Romantic movement during the 1820’s and 30’s, however, began searching for new modes of expression.


Louis-François Jeannest, Portrait of Dominique Vivant Denon, 1812. Cast bronze. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

David d’Angers: The Genius Of French Medallic Art

Pierre-Jean David d’Angers (1788-1856), arguably the most important sculptor France was to produce at the beginning of the 19th century, won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1811. In 1815 he modeled his first portrait medallion, which depicted Ferdinand Hérold (1791-1833), the composer and fellow pensionnaire at the French Academy in Rome. David brought to the medal the full force of his power in three-dimensional form. During the remaining forty years of his life his complex moral vision of the world, politics and human nature drove David to create a personal pantheon of great men in medallic form. In 1827 he began working in earnest on his Galerie des contemporains which eventually numbered over 500 portraits. All of the medals created by David in this series are uniface, i.e., one-sided, and cast in bronze. Virtually all of these portraits are modeled in profile, with a very few drawn in three-quarters view. As quoted by the critic Charles Blanc, David said: “I have always been profoundly stirred by a profile. The [full] face looks at us; the profile is in relation with other beings. The [full] face shows you several characteristics, and is more difficult to analyze. The profile is unity.” His Galerie portrayed famous artists, writers, musicians and politicians both contemporary and historical, including many figures involved in the Romantic movement. David’s interest was not limited to French subjects; in 1829 and again in 1834 he travelled to Weimar, where he met Goethe, Schiller, Humboldt, and Caspar David Friedrich. His portraits of such diverse figures as Lord Byron, Simon Bolivar, Samuel Hahnemann, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Adam Mickiewicz and James Fenimore Cooper only begin to illustrate the intellectual breadth of David’s interests.


Pierre-Jean David D’Angers, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

In executing the original models for his portrait medallions David worked primarily in wax on slate and, less frequently, in terracotta. Due to the fragile nature of the materials, few wax models have survived. One of these remarkable images depicts Pierre-François, Comte de Réal (1757-1834), who was a member during the Revolution of Les amis de la constitution and of the Jacobin movement, and the chief accuser at the tribunal of the 17th of August. Imprisoned after the death of Georges Jacques Danton, Réal managed to survive the Reign of Terror. A counsel of state under Napoleon I, he was forced into exile in 1816. Finally at the age of seventy-three, he became politically active once again during the Revolution of 1830. Réal’s face, lines deeply etched, reflects the experience of this cunning political survivor and the coiffure, freely drawn and modeled, is typical of David’s Romantic sculptural style. David was a lifelong republican who strongly felt his art had, first and foremost, the moral obligation to “glorify great men, noble causes and inspiring accomplishments.”


Pierre-Jean David D’Angers, Pierre-François, Comte de Réal. Original wax relief on slate. 135 x 122 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

His medal Les quatre sargents de la Rochelle memorializes common soldiers, condemned to death for conspiring against the Restoration government of Louis XVIII. David had initially planned to execute a monument in their memory, but was forced to abandon his politically risky plans for lack of financial support. The obverse of this medal depicts the four sergeants in profile flanking the fasces, or emblem of state authority since Roman times, which has been crowned by the symbolic bonnet de la liberté. On the reverse, La Liberté herself places four laurel wreaths on the executioner’s block. For David, it was une dette sacrée (“a sacred debt”) to commemorate these martyrs for the cause of liberty.


Pierre-Jean David D’Angers, Les quatres sargents de la Rochelle. Cast bronze. Diam.: 88 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

In 1833 David immortalized Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840) in a bust that is considered to be one of the finest sculpted portraits of the Romantic period, and his medal of 1834 is one of the icons of the Galerie. For David, this musician was a man of unparalleled force and genius. The strong brow ridges and exaggerated cranial dome reflect David’s interest in the expressive possibilities of the phrenological theories current in the early 19th century. In his journal David writes of the experience of depicting Paganini, “it seems to me that the soul has a tyrannical power over this too weak body—he never laughs, he has too much genius…When I told him that I wanted to depict him…with his head leaning forward, and to the side, like a man playing the violin, he told me, yes, because I take from my interior to impress my exterior.” This medal is a prime example of David’s ability to concretize the psychological characteristics of his subjects by subtly exaggerating their physiognomy. David was a friend of virtually every important writer and poet of the Romantic age. Indeed, poems in praise of his sculpture were written by Victor Hugo and Charles Nodier, among many others. The poet Alfred de Musset (1810-1857), the handsome, dissolute lover of George Sand and author of the autobiographical Confessions d’un enfant du siècle was modeled by David in 1831. The meticulously sculpted coiffure frames the face of this elegant and sensitive young man, barely out of his teens. Depicted in three-quarter view and high relief, the Musset medallion shares its unusual frontal composition with David’s portraits of Balzac, Géricault and the young Bonaparte. Though rare in his medallic œuvre, these frontal depictions have the impact and monumentality of David’s portrait busts in intimate form. In a very real sense David d’Angers reinvigorated, almost single-handedly, the Renaissance tradition of the artist cast medal in 19th century France.


Pierre-Jean David D’Angers, Niccolò Paganini, 1834. Cast bronze. Diam.: 150 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.


Pierre-Jean David D’Angers, Alfred de Musset, 1831. Cast bronze. Diam.: 172 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

Influence Of David On Younger Artists

The strong three-​dimensionality of David d’Angers’ medals and the personal heroic nature of their subject matter were enormously influential on a whole generation of young artists. This was especially so when viewed in contrast to the increasingly conservative nature of the official medal. The conservative program geared to the glorification of king and state set in motion by Warin and Colbert in the 17th century had become increasingly irrelevant. The Prix de Rome, originally conceived by Vivant Denon to produce a steady supply of classically-grounded young medallic propagandists, instead insured that youthful medallists had the opportunity to broaden their sculptural horizons while working in the fertile environment of the Villa Medici in Rome. In fact, it became something of a tradition for young sculptors and medallists at the French Academy to cast portraits of their fellow pensionnaires. Distinguished sculptors such as Antoine Preault, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Emmanuel Frémiet and Henri Chapu all produced and exhibited cast medallions, and the stylistic innovations of official medallists, especially those of Hubert Ponscarme (1827-1903), gradually incorporated these aesthetic advances. Ponscarme became, in 1862, the official medallic portraitist of Napoleon III, who, on a beautifully detailed cast medal, is depicted on horseback being greeted by Baron Hausmann at the 1866 inauguration of the Boulevard de Strasbourg in Paris. In 1871, Ponscarme was named professor at the École des Beaux Art where he continued to teach and influence young medallists until the turn of the century. Louis-Oscar Roty (1846-1911), trained initially as a painter, became a student of Ponscarme at the École des Beaux Arts and won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1875. In 1880, after his return from the Villa Medici, and, undoubtedly influenced by Italian Renaissance plaquettes, Roty revived the tradition of working in a rectangular format, as is illustrated by a moving memorial of 1894 to the assassinated French President Sadi Carnot.


Hubert Ponscarme, Napoleon III at the inauguration of Boulevard Haussmann in 1866


Louis-Oscar Roty, Memorial to the assassinated French President Sadi Carnot in 1894; ANS Collection.

The result of this creative ferment was a kind of “Golden Age” of the French medal during the last quarter of the 19th century. Not only did the French state continue to supply medalists with important commissions, but it became fashionable in France for private patrons to mark significant events in their lives with medals. One of the most important of these patrons was the connoisseur and critic Claude Roger-Marx. A tireless advocate on behalf of the medal as art form, Roger-Marx authored numerous articles and catalogues on the subject, was instrumental in the hiring of contemporary artists to design new coinage for the French Mint, and at the Exposition Universelle of 1900, organized a special exhibition devoted to the art of the medal. As founder of Les amis de la médaille française, he was responsible for commissioning some of the most beautiful medallic images created at the end of the 19th century.

Jules Clement Chaplain

The career of Jules Clement Chaplain (1839-1909) is emblematic of this “Golden Age.” A winner of the Prix de Rome in 1863, Chaplain returned to Paris in 1869 where he found official success almost immediately, winning notice in the Salons of 1870 and 1872. In rapid succession, Chaplain was named in 1877 the official medallist of the French government, in 1878 a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1881 to the seat at the Académie des Beaux Arts left vacant by the death of Jacques-Edouard Gatteaux. In a striking self-portrait Chaplain depicts himself as the obviously proud recipient of the many rewards showered upon him by the French artistic and political establishment. Indeed, he was responsible for the official portraits of every president of the French Republic from Edme Patrice Mac-Mahon in 1877 to Émile Loubet in 1899. Chaplain received the commission for engraving the gold coinage of France at the urging of Roger-Marx, and his official gold medal commemorating the visit of Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra of Russia to Paris in 1896 was called, by no less a critic than Forrer “a masterpiece and one of the finest ever struck.”


Jules Clement Chaplain, self-portrait of the artist.

The success and longevity of Chaplain’s career as official medallist of the French government alone would be sufficient to secure him a place of historical importance. It is, however, his series of cast portrait medals that constitutes his great achievement as an artist. Chaplain, by the late 1870’s, had developed an intimate and realistic style of portraiture. Less concerned with the three-dimensionality of David’s style, Chaplain allows his portraits to emerge from and interact with the surrounding field. He depicts his subjects in a manner vigorous yet refined, establishing his compositions with a series of free and sweeping lines. The politician Jules Simon commissioned Chaplain to model two relief portraits of his wife Sarah Gustave Simon in 1889. This classically beautiful woman is portrayed in everyday dress, her hair pulled back in a chignon, with several wisps falling free along her neck. The folds in the sleeve of her blouse crinkle along the shoulder and arm drawing attention to her long neck and aquiline nose. Sarah’s beautifully modeled face is accentuated by the coiffure which appears to be drawn into the bronze.


Jules Clement Chaplain, Sarah Gustave Simon, 1890. Cast bronze. 215 x 160 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

Beginning with his portrait of the medallist Auguste Barre in 1879, Chaplain executed a marvelous series of some twenty cast medals representing prominent artists and architects of his day. This series, obviously inspired by the Romantic vision of David, ranges from the great academic painter Ernest Meissonier to the visionary architect of the Paris Opera Charles Garnier. His portrait of the great orientalist Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) at the age of sixty is a tour-de-force example of Chaplain’s technique in its depiction of the chiselled bone structure of the artist’s face, and the freely drawn hair, extending in short wavy lines almost to the edge of the medal. The reverse, “Pittura”, surrounds the muse of painting with images drawn from Gérôme’s celebrated works: the sphinx, the Blue Mosque and the gladiator’s helmet. Chaplain, in fact, created some of the most masterful reverse designs in the history of the medal.


Jules Clement Chaplain, Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1885. Cast bronze. Diam.: 100 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A. || Jules Clement Chaplain, Reverse, Jean-Léon Gérôme: Pittura, 1885. Cast bronze. Diam.: 100 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

Another beautiful example is the reverse of a medal that he created to celebrate the gift of Chantilly and its extensive art collections in 1886 to the French Institute by Henri d’Orléans, Duc d’Aumale. Chaplain, in this elegant depiction of pure architecture, modeled the château, its walled gardens and celebrated stables, in low relief against the landscape of the surrounding countryside. The Musée Condé, as the collection became known, flanks the Duke’s coat of arms at the top of the composition while the date of the gift crops it horizontally at the bottom of the field.


Jules Clement Chaplain, Reverse, Musée Condé and its gardens; Private Collection.

His reverse celebrating the composer Charles Gounod (1818-1893) is both elegant and complex. The figure of Inspiration sits deep in thought, her quill pen in hand, at a Gothic-Revival organ whose vertical elements extend and disappear into the upper left margin of the medal. The musical forms favored by the composer—Drames Lyriques Messes Oratorios Symphonies—are superimposed over a branch, the leaves of which entwine the letters and reach toward Inspiration’s long and elegant braid. As was his custom, Chaplain lavishes particular attention on the coiffure, which is drawn in sinuous lines and crowned by a jewel-like floral wreath. Inspiration rests her hands on the edge of a composition book whose cover lists Gounod’s most celebrated work, the opera Faust. Her delicately slippered foot rests on a stool, while the strap of her purse subtly reveals the form of her leg by gathering the material of her gown.


Jules Clement Chaplain, Reverse Charles Gounod. Silvered galvanotype. Diam.: 230 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

Chaplain was one of the first artists to produce models for cast medals which were equally effective when reduced in size and struck. This had the effect of blurring the traditional distinctions between these two techniques and opening, by the end of the 19th century, the field of medallic art to increased experimentation by artists who did not necessarily follow the conventional career path of Chaplain’s generation.

The End Of The 19th Century And A New Beginning: Charpentier

Alexandre Charpentier (1856-1909) was perhaps the most significant figure of this late-century artistic vanguard. Apprenticed to an engraver as a young man, he became a studio assistant to the innovative medallist Hubert Ponscarme and began exhibiting in 1874 at the annual Paris Salons. In the late 1880’s Charpentier, like David and Chaplain, began a series of portraits of the notable personalities in his avant-garde circle. He developed his loosely composed low-relief style while attending performances at the Théatre Libre in Paris, where he rapidly modeled the actors in damp terracotta. These impressions were later transformed into medals and plaquettes which were essentially spontaneous drawings in metal. The Hommage à Émile Zola is an excellent example of Charpentier’s skill at capturing the essential elements of an individual’s features and personality in a rapid and impressionistic style. Cast in pewter, this portrait was an act of homage by Charpentier to the moral leadership exercised by Zola during the Dreyfus affair. Drawn in sober profile, the wrinkled brow and swept-back coiffure, the pince-nez with its curvilinear chain dropping down to the cowl of the monk-like cloak, all combine to present a dignified – even grave – portrait of the great novelist and critic. Charpentier portrays the painters Pierre-Puvis de Chavannes and Ernest Meissonier in double-profile in celebration of their efforts in establishing the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1890. The inscription, partially tangled in Meissoner’s luxuriant beard and blocked by Puvis’s balding dome, is cleverly integrated into the composition, resulting in a virtual poster design in bronze.


Alexandre Charpentier, Hommage à Émile Zola. Cast pewter. Diam.: 195 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.


Alexandre Charpentier, Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, 1890. Cast bronze. 252 x 165 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

Because of his friendship with Auguste Rodin and Constantin Meunier, Charpentier had an intimate understanding of the Realist sculptural idiom of his day, as the gilt bronze relief of a young man operating a printing press amply demonstrates. The straining muscular beauty of the young laborer, at a time when the industrial revolution was in full swing, is juxtaposed to the precisionist lines of the press; man and machine are locked in a dance that anticipates the modernist vocabulary of the 1920’s.


Alexandre Charpentier, L’Imprimeur. Cast gilt bronze. 220 x 207 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

After failing in his only attempt at the Prix de Rome, Charpentier became increasingly involved in the decorative arts, often collaborating with other artists in the production of furniture, elements of boiserie, boxes, and other objects ornamented with finely cast bronze reliefs. Experimenting widely with materials and techniques, he created decorative objects in silver, pewter, ceramic and even molded paper. In 1892, Charpentier was instrumental in founding Les Cinq, a group of like-minded artists dedicated to the integration of the fine and applied arts.

In his projects as a member of Les Cinq, Charpentier modeled plaquettes and reliefs which he meant to be integrated into furniture and other decorative objects. Most of these works have, naturally, since been separated from their intended contexts. The elegant series of plaquettes—La sculpture, La peinture, Le chant, and La musique—were originally conceived by Charpentier as furniture mounts. All four images are emblematic of Charpentier’s skill at capturing his impression of a fleeting moment in time. In fact, Le bain is a sculptural equivalent to the famous Degas etching Sortie du bain, c. 1882. Charpentier captures the model in the fleeting instant that she steps into the bath and his indication of the tiles behind the tub, to which he has applied a painterly patina, gives a subtle surface texture to the background.


Alexandre Charpentier, Le bain. Cast bronze. 153 x 132 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.

The 20th century was celebrated in France with great optimism at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, at which the major theme was the idea that the arts and sciences together would unleash the Genius of Progress. The exhibition and catalogue Les médailleurs modernes, prepared by Roger-Marx for this event, recapitulated the achievements of the French medal during the 19th century and predicted a glorious future. The first decade of the 20th century, however, brought the deaths of many of the leaders of the French School, including Chaplain, Charpentier, Ponscarme and Roty. As with the 19th century and its neoclassical style, Art Nouveau forms became the entrenched stylistic status-quo in the early 20th century. Le cri, one of Charpentier’s most moving and disturbing images, blends the prevailing Art Nouveau style with the emerging expressionist motifs of the eastern European avant-garde. It also eerily foreshadows the approaching crisis in Europe. All too quickly political nightmares became reality. The gentle symbolist Ovide Yencesse (1869-1947), whose favored themes had been motherhood and the family, eloquently expresses the horrors of the events of 1914-1918 in Serbia, cast after a design by Théophile Steinlen. As was the case in all walks of life, many talented young medallic artists never returned from the Great War. Paris retained its position as the vital center of modern painting and sculpture after the war, and although the French medal enjoyed a moment of renown during the Art Deco movement, this moment was brief. European culture had changed irrevocably, and the artistic achievements of the French medallic renaissance had become history.


Alexandre Charpentier, Le cri, c. 1900. Cast gilt bronze. Diam.: 60 mm. Private Collection, U.S.A.


Ovide Yencesse, Serbia, c. 1916. Cast bronze. Diam.: 195 mm. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The authors wish to express their thanks to the late Mr. David Daniels, Mr. James David Draper Ms. Willow Johnson and Ms. Roberta Olson for their generous assistance in the preparation of this article, to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and to the anonymous private collectors for their gracious permission to reproduce the medals which they acquired from us. They are also grateful to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris for their permission to reproduce the medal of Germain Pilon.