Agnes Baldwin Brett

by Aviva Gray

The following biography of Agnes Baldwin Brett, the first female curator at the ANS, traces the path of her career from her education in the Classics and Archaeology and her travel and research abroad, to her later achievements as an internationally recognized scholar of classical numismatics. The images accompanying this article were discovered during the Society’s move downtown and represent only a small selection of highlights from Baldwin Brett’s collection now housed in the Society’s archives. Baldwin Brett’s photographs from Greece in 1900 are mainly featured here. However, the collection also includes glass plate negatives, research notes, casts from her numerous publications, as well as photographs of the cabinet and galleries at the ANS, and of her travels throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. While a larger study of the images is required, here we place them within the framework of Baldwin Brett’s life, travels and career as a scholar. A brief sketch of the life of Agnes Baldwin Brett and a full bibliography of her published works can also be found at the ANS Archives Website at:

Travel from Athens to Salamis by barouche.

Agnes Baldwin Brett was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1876, the daughter of Fredrick Wellington Baldwin, a wealthy leather merchant, and the Former Mary A. Wheeler. She completed her high school education in Newark, and in 1893 she began attending Barnard College. Baldwin Brett was a member of the fifth class of students at the College, which was founded in 1889. By 1900 only 2.8% of American women received a higher education, therefore at the time this opportunity was still very unusual and only available to women from well to do families. Baldwin Brett enrolled at Barnard as a pre-college student studying chemistry for the 1893-94 academic year; in her first semester she also began her studies of Greek, Latin, and German languages and literature. By mid-year, she was offered a special exam and admitted as a regular degree student in the second term. Having studied a broad range of topics including Classics, Sociology, Economics, and Rhetoric, she received her Bachelor of Arts in 1897.

Baldwin Brett with Ernest Babelon.

Athens, the Roman Agora.

It was at Barnard that Baldwin Brett began to study ancient Greek language and literature. During this early stage of her training, her interest in Classical Art and Archaeology also developed while studying under professors such as James Rignall Wheeler, who was later the Chairman of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens from 1901 to 1918. Wheeler’s course on Pausanias was an important source for her undergraduate thesis written on the location of the famed spring of Enneakrounos in Athens. This early research included careful study of the extant archaeological and art historical evidence, the topography of ancient sites, and philological analysis. At the turn of the last century the identity of the site of the spring, as well as of many other sites and monuments in Athens, was a topic of great debate, since it was during this period that many of the first formal excavations began in the city, and scholarship at that time relied heavily on ascertaining the accuracy of Pausanias’ description of Greece as well as the often conflicting accounts of Thucydides. The spring, according to Pausanias’ travel guide, written in the second century AD, was located in the Athenian Agora. In support of Pausanias’ account, the arguments put forth in Baldwin Brett’s thesis countered the view of contemporary scholarship which held that the spring was located elsewhere in Athens. Most notably, her discussion dismissed the findings from fieldwork currently taking place under the German archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld, one of the most preeminent archaeologists of the time. While some debate about the location of the spring still persists today, Pausanias’ description of the monument’s location is generally accepted and the alternative position proposed by Dörpfeld has long been disregarded. This broad based research showed a care and complexity that would be characteristic of Baldwin Brett’s work throughout her lifetime.

In 1898 Baldwin Brett was accepted into the masters program in Classics at Columbia where she specialized in archaeology. During her first year of graduate work at Columbia she was appointed Ella Weed Scholar at Barnard College where she taught courses in Greek and Latin, and conducted private tutoring sessions in the classical languages while completing her graduate work. Baldwin Brett received her AM from the University in 1900. In that year she was awarded a second fellowship that would shape the path of her future research significantly, a scholarship to attend the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Students from the American School at the Acropolis, Brett is the first woman seated to the left.

Baldwin Brett shipboard with her Kodak Box Brownie camera.

The scholarship to attend the school in Athens was the first fellowship ever offered to a woman by the University. This unique award was obtained through the support of Emily Putnam, the Dean of Barnard College, and wife of publishing mogul George Haven Putnam. In addition to being Dean, Putnam was a notable scholar and feminist who was also an Associate of History, Greek, and Latin at Columbia, and a strong advocate of equality for women within the university system. Her legacy to Barnard is best reflected in the changes she brought to the educational program there by improving the quality and quantity of advanced courses offered to students, particularly in the Classics, and by opening Columbia’s libraries and graduate courses to Barnard women. Putnam also demanded greater support of female students at Columbia through scholarships to the University. For Baldwin Brett, Putnam’s role as a mentor would prove invaluable. In an interview with the Barnard College Alumnae Monthly in 1937, Baldwin Brett recalled the experience saying, “There were at the time no fellowships for women, but upon investigation it was found that the relevant section of the Charter of the university actually provided such grants for Columbia students. This had always been interpreted to mean men, but it was found legal to include me, and so I was awarded a fellowship for a year’s study at Athens—with no “stipend” attached! However, an unnamed patron came forward with a “stipend”, and I borrowed the rest from my grandfather (to the horror of my family), and was off to Athens.”

In 1900 Baldwin Brett began the first of two fellowship years at the American School. Work at the School consisted of lectures and study under important classical scholars including Wilhelm Dörpfeld and other leading archaeologists of the time. Studies also consisted of travel and examination of ancient sites in Athens, mainland Greece and the islands. Baldwin Brett’s photographs from this time document their travel to the monuments and excavations, in addition to depicting the landscape, and local cultures of Greece. These include images of Athens and the Acropolis before its monuments were reconstructed; Delphi during the first stages of excavation at the site; Tiryns and Mycenae with monumental sculpture—now in the National Archaeological Museum—still in situ; and early images of sites such as Epidaurous and Eleusis among many others. Travel to the sites was done either on foot, by bicycle or a horse-drawn barouche.

Students from the American School bicycling to the sites.

Athens, Hadrian’s Gate.

It was through her work at the School that Baldwin Brett developed her interest in Greek and Roman numismatics. In her second year in Athens, Baldwin Brett received the Agnes Hoppin Memorial Fellowship, which was established at the American School by the Hoppin family to “lift the restrictions on women in the study of archaeology” (Thompson, 1971: 467-7). The American School had recently established large-scale excavations at Corinth. At the time female students were excluded from participating in excavations and were instead only allowed to catalog smaller artifacts unearthed at the site. In this case Baldwin Brett was responsible for cataloging the numismatic finds from the excavation. Many years later, in his preliminary report for the excavations at Corinth from 1925, published in the American Journal of Archaeology, T. Leslie Shear, the director of the School makes special mention of Baldwin Brett’s careful study and cataloging of the coins from the site. This work at the American School established Baldwin Brett’s interest in Numismatics and also demonstrated the thoroughness of her scholarship.

Professor Dörpfeld lecturing to students.

Corinth, 1900.

Having been denied the right to participate in the dig at Corinth, two of Baldwin Brett’s contemporaries at the American School, Lida Shaw King and Ida Thallon Hill sought to find a site where they themselves could excavate. In the spring of 1901 the School began work on the sacred cave at Vari in southern Attica. Shaw and Hill contributed to the cost of the excavation, and thus were permitted to join the men from the School in the actual excavation. This was the first project to allow women to excavate on mainland Greece. While Baldwin Brett did not herself excavate, she was a member of the team that worked on the site, and in 1903 she published the numismatic finds from this historic dig in the American Journal of Archaeology.

The Propylea, or monumental entrance to the Acropolis.

In 1908, upon the recommendation of Edward Newell during the early stage of his association with the ANS, Baldwin Brett was invited to become a member of the American Numismatic Society. Shortly after, in 1909, she was appointed Assistant Curator of the Museum’s collection, a newly created position, before being promoted to sole Curator of the ANS collection the next year. Her post at the Society was established and funded by support from Archer M. Huntington. Between 1912 and 1914 the ANS provided Baldwin Brett with funding to travel abroad and study the numismatic holdings of the European museums and private collections. Baldwin Brett consulted collections in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, and Belgium, and studied extensively with the French numismatist Ernest Babelon at the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris. At this point, her title was changed to Associate Curator of the Society. During her time abroad, her research focused on the preparation of two studies on the coins issued by city-states in Asia Minor from the 7th century BC through the imperial period. Her first two books, The Electrum Coinage of Lampsakos and The Electrum and Silver Coins of Chios, both published in 1914, were the result of this period of study.

Throughout her career, Baldwin Brett made many significant and lasting contributions to ancient numismatics and the broader study of the ancient world. In 1919 the ANS honored Baldwin Brett as the second recipient of the Archer M. Huntington Medal. She received this award in recognition of her outstanding work in the field of numismatics after the publication of her works on Lampsakos and Chios and a third monograph, Symbolism on Greek Coins, which analyzed the typology of Greek coins in relationship to parallel imagery on contemporary statuary, urns, and other sculpture. Her most well known work was the Catalog of Greek Coins, produced for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where she was appointed honorary curator of classical coins. This book detailing the Museum’s collection came to publication shortly after her death in 1955. Both this catalog and her study of facing heads on ancient Greek coins were republished twenty years after their initial publication, a testament to the lasting nature of her work. Baldwin Brett was an authority on Roman Medallions, publishing four books on this subject, and in 1938 she chaired the committee for an exhibition of Roman coins from period of Augustus. She also published many additional important numismatic monographs and scholarly articles on coins of the ancient world. The enduring quality of Baldwin Brett’s work and the accuracy of her analysis of artifacts are demonstrated by the continuing relevance of her standard reference works today.

Delphi prior to its full excavation.

The Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis in Athens.

Outside of her research Baldwin Brett was a visiting lecturer of Archaeology at Columbia from 1936 to 1937, where she conducted courses on Numismatics at the Society upon the request of William Bell Dinsmoor, a scholar of the Parthenon, and a founder of the University’s Department of Art History. Baldwin Brett also greatly enriched the Society’s academic resources. In 1915, she established the ANS’ photographic file of Greek and Roman coins sold at auction, which continues to serve as a valuable resource today. Among many other honors, Baldwin Brett was a fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society and the first American women to receive their medal recognizing scholars ‘highly distinguished for services to Numismatic Science’. She was also an honorary member of the Société Royale de Numismatique de Belgique.

However, Baldwin Brett’s achievements were not limited to classical studies. In the 1910s and 1920s she did considerable work on medallic art and modern American sculpture. As the Society’s Curator she arranged the catalogue for the International Medallic Exhibition of 1910. Then, in 1923, Archer M. Huntington requested that Baldwin Brett write a second catalog for the Exhibition of Modern Sculpture at the ANS, which was produced in conjunction with the National Sculpture Society. This was one of the most extensive exhibitions of modern sculpture at the time. Baldwin Brett was also an important collector of ancient Babylonian cylinder seals, and in 1936 the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute published a catalog of her collection. Edward Newell’s seal collection was published in the same series two years before.

The village of Delphi.

Baldwin Brett had an extensive knowledge of Islamic and modern numismatics, purchasing and donating a diverse selection of coins and medals to the society both during her appointment as Curator of the Society’s collection and throughout her time the Museum. Over the nearly half a century that Baldwin Brett was associated with the ANS she donated some five hundred coins to the collection including Greek and Roman examples, Islamic coins and glass weights, and modern European coins and medals. Baldwin Brett’s broad knowledge of numismatic studies is also demonstrated through her long tenure as the Chairman of the ANS publications committee from 1923 to 1946, and her continued work as a member of the committee up until the time of her death. Of her role as Chairman the ANS’ council noted that “her ability brought her appointment to the Committee on Publications where her insistence on high standards was especially potent” (American Numismatic Society Council Meeting Minutes: January 14, 1956).

Tiryns, 1900.

At the time when Baldwin Brett received her education most women had to choose between having a family and pursuing a career, and as a result many pioneering women scholars of the period never married. However, Baldwin Brett’s work was balanced with family life. Upon her return from Europe in 1914, she married George Monroe Brett, chairman of the Department of Accountancy at The City College of New York. He was also prominent for his work as Curator of the College’s collection. They had a daughter, Barbara, in 1925 who attended Wellesley College. Baldwin Brett divided her time between working in New York and living at a second home in Marblehead Massachusetts. Both her professional and private life included a great interest in travel, as she returned to Europe and the Mediterranean often throughout her lifetime. Baldwin Brett visited Greece again in 1924 in order to conduct numismatic research, and 1936 she embarked on a seven month trip with her husband and daughter during which they visited the leading archaeological sites of Egypt, Palestine, and Greece. This trip held particular significance, because it was an opportunity for her to revisit her professional beginnings with those who shared her private life (Richards, 1937: 13). Baldwin Brett studied Numismatics and Archaeology during a formative period for the field of classical studies in America. She also lived and worked in an age that did not encourage women to actively participate in scholarship. For these reasons her accomplishments both as an individual and a scholar are all the more impressive.


American Numismatic Society Council Meeting Minutes (January 14, 1956).

Agnes Baldwin. “The Cave at Vari: Coins,” American Journal of Archaeology, Second Series Vol. 7, (1903), pp. 335-337.

Dorothy Burr Thompson. (1971), “Edith Hayward Hall Dohan,” in T. James (ed.), Notable American Women 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Vol. I, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1971).

Ruth Richards. Barnard College Alumnae Monthly (January, 1937), pp. 12-13. Theodore Leslie Shear. “Excavations at Corinth in 1925,” American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Oct. – Dec., 1925), pp. 381-397.

See also: Correction

Obituary: Kenneth Malcolm Mackenzie

by Michael Bates

The ANS, and all who knew him, have lost a good friend: Kenneth Malcolm MacKenzie, who died on January 12, 2005, his 88th birthday. MacKenzie was generally considered to be one of the world’s great experts on the coinage of the Ottoman Empire. He put his knowledge, as well as his time and hands, generously in the service of the Society. His association with the ANS began in 1952, when he became a member. In 1974, he was elected a Fellow, recognizing his volunteer services to the Society and his already numerous publications. About that time he began to be recognized as our volunteer curator for Ottoman coins. He went through the entire Ottoman collection, some 4,000 coins at that time, identifying or verifying the identification of every coin, relabeling them all, and putting everything in good order. He then went backwards in numismatic history to do the same for the Beyliks, the various independent contemporaries of the Ottomans in Anatolia. His work made it easy to enter the descriptions in our computer database, but when that was finished by our student assistants, MacKenzie went over the mass of detail, checking and correcting the data himself at a computer terminal—his only contact with a computer, which otherwise he avoided. He continued to look after our Turkish coins up to the start of his final illness in 2004. He was a a frequent contributor of photocopies, offprints, and books to the ANS library and helped translate cataloging information for Turkish publications. From 1976 he was a member of the ANS Committee on Islamic Coins. His outstanding services were recognized in 1997 when he received the Society’s first Distinguished Volunteer Award. He was responsible for Olivia Lincoln’s decision in 1997 to donate the famed Jem Sultan collection of Ottoman coins, including all those in the two-volume catalogue and hundreds of additions, as well as her huge collection of South Asian coins.

MacKenzie was born in 1917. Although he was regarded by his friends as an archetypal Scot—and was proud of it—he was born in Plymouth, England, of a Scots father, a retired officer. He never lived in Scotland. At sixteen, he moved to London to continue his education and make a career. When World War II arrived, he was called to active service with The London Scottish Territorial Regiment and sent to officers’ school. He commanded an anti-aircraft battery during the Battle of Britain. Later he served in Britain and various places around the Indian Ocean, finishing the war as a Major in the East Africa Corps.

In 1948 he was sent to represent his employer, a London art book publisher, in New York. A short stay turned into a lifetime in America, although he never gave up his British passport. He finished his publishing career in 1987 as Contracts Manager at MacMillan of New York. He and his wife Jean were married in 1943. In 1953 they moved to the house they lived in together for more than half a century, where they raised two children.

MacKenzie’s second career, as numismatist, literally began when he received some Chinese cash coins from his father who had served in China, but it is said that he was introduced to Ottoman coinage by R. L. Protassowski of Seaby’s in London after the war. He came to enjoy excellent relations with all his fellow specialists in Turkish numismatics, including those in Turkey itself and in Europe. Combining his two careers, he established a very small book importing and vending business called Numismata Orientalia, which apparently never made much money, but enabled him and his friends in Turkey to exchange coins and publications. In 1971 his first article appeared. In the subsequent twenty-five years, up to the compilation of his bibliography in the Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter 150 (Autumn 1996), he produced more than 108 research articles and 54 book reviews; since then, there have been at least a dozen or so more. His speciality was short notes about new discoveries or insights, but he also co-authored two books, including the Catalogue of the Islamic coins Found at Sardis (Harvard University Press, 1981), and, with Samuel Lachman, the magisterial Countermarks of the Ottoman Empire, 1880-1922 (London: Hawkins Publications, 1974), which lists the stamps placed on coins by Greek and other Christian parishes and communities to ensure a supply of small change in their towns. He was a major contributor to the listing of Turkish issues in the Standard Catalogue of World Coins.

MacKenzie was also an active member of Numismatics International, the International Bank Note Society, the Oriental Numismatic Society, Türk Nümismatik Dernegi, the Hellenic Numismatic Society, and the New York Numismatic Club

MacKenzie was a man of great charm and courtesy, who was always correctly dressed in jacket and tie—or at home in an elegant turtleneck. His constant written communications, always by post, were famous (or notorious) among his colleagues. Every missive arrived typed on a different scrap of paper, often recycled from a previous use, with passages highlighted in different colors, taped-on drawings or photos, post-it notes, marginal comments linked to their proper place in the text by a circle and arrow, handwritten notes on the reverse, and all in an envelope obtained who knows where. Despite his soft-spoken manner and reluctance to argue, he was a man of adamant convictions on various matters, almost always well-taken and endearing even when not. His work and his attitude were enthusiastic, careful, conscientious, and invariably helpful. He is missed at the American Numismatic Society.

MacKenzie in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Jean and Kenneth MacKenzie

Obituary: Willie L. Harley, Jr.

Willie (“Apple Jack”) Harley, who retired from his position as guard at the ANS in 2000, died in New York City January 17, 2005. Born in 1940 in Florence, South Carolina, Willie moved to New York in 1962, where he began work at New York Presbyterian Hospital, a job he was to hold for 32 years. It was soon after his retirement from the hospital that Willie came to work for the ANS. Always dapper and quite the gentleman, Wille is remembered also for his wit and sardonic humor.

Willie Harley, Jr.

Obituary: John R. Mitchell

John R. Mitchell

It is with considerable sadness that the ANS announces the death of long-time guard and good friend John Mitchell, who died February 13, 2005. Almost anyone who has visited the ANS within the last three decades will certainly have met John, a man who quite exceptionally never missed a day of work at the ANS, and whose charm and good nature were hard to overlook.

John Mitchell

Born in 1938 and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, John joined the US Army in 1973 and rose to the rank of sergeant in the 618th Quartermaster Battalion, part of the 77th Readiness Company. Receiving an honorable discharge in 1976, John continued to serve in the Army Reserves well into the 1990s; he received full military honors at his funeral. His experiences in the Army, particularly his time spent on bases in Germany, were always a source of humorous anecdotes, and at times, fond recollection. It was shortly after his discharge that John came to work for the ANS. He never lost the discipline that he learned in the military: ever loyal, and always more than willing to undertake any task happily (even unasked), John was exceptionally hardworking. Despite such grit he was also a gracious and giving person, often presenting small gifts to staff members for no reason other than to see a smile, often stopping work for a moment to tell a joke. For those of us who worked with John every day, his presence is sorely missed.

Review: Coins of the Crusader States

Alexander G. Malloy, Irene Fraley Preston and Arthur J. Seltman. Coins of the Crusader States, Second Edition. Allen G. Berman, ed. Allen G. Berman Publications: Fairfield, Connecticut, 2004. 533 pp., line drawings throughout, 11 pls. Hb. ISBN 0-9708242-9-7. $85.00.

The announcement that an expanded second edition of the very popular Coins of the Crusader States, first published in 1994, was planned for 2004 sparked much excitement among students of Crusader coinages. The excitement was further heightened by the relatively recent memory of D.M. Metcalf’s masterfully revised second edition of Coinage of the Crusades and the Latin East (London, 1995), which has become a standard work on the subject. When the new edition of Malloy, Preston and Seltman’s opus came out, anticipation was increased even more by the dust jacket, which touted it as, “updated to reflect the discoveries of the past decade and expanded to include the Crusader Coinages of Chios, Corfu and Rhodes.” Unfortunately, the contents do not quite live up to the expectation and close inspection soon reveals to those familiar with the first edition that the updating and expansion found here is not of the same caliber as that undertaken for the second edition of Metcalf’s book.

Although the section on the Knights of St. John at Rhodes, written by A. Berman (pp. 522-533), responds to a longstanding request from readers of the first edition, its peculiar placement following the index, the statement that, “neither time nor space permits an in depth treatment of this series,” (p. 522) and the absence of any new plates to illustrate these coins makes it appear as an afterthought. Still, the catalogue is extensive, bringing together in one place types and variants from Metcalf’s catalogue of the Ashmolean collection, J.J. Slocum’s manuscript of A Checklist of the Coins of Medieval Cyprus (1192-1570), G. Schlumberger’s Numismatique de l’Orient latin (Paris, 1878) and an important sale of Crusader coins by A.H. Baldwin & Sons in 2000. Anyone interested in the coinage of the Hospitallers during their long sojourn on Rhodes will no doubt find Berman’s supplement very useful. Readers should be warned, however, that in this section the abbreviation “Met. Ash.” actually refers to the second edition of Metcalf’s Coinage of the Crusades, despite its use everywhere else in the book to refer to the first edition (p. 508).

The treatment of the coinages struck by the Genoese Lords of Chios (1304 – c.1380s) and Corfu under Philip of Taranto (1304-1314) also looks like an afterthought, squeezed as it is onto page 411, following the issues of the Catalan Duchy of Athens or uncertain issues of Frankish Greece, thanks to the use of a smaller type face. Here readers are left entirely on there own, for unlike in the section on Rhodes, neither the expected historical and numismatic introduction, nor even type drawings for any of the fifteen coins listed in the catalogue, have been included. Those desirous of illustrations must have access to the works of Metcalf or Schlumberger. It is also necessary to search out E. Oberländer-Tarnoveanu, “Les Hyperperes du Type Jean III Vatatzes—Classification, Chronologie et Evolution dut Titre,” in Istro-Pontica: Muzeul Tulcean à la 50-a Anniversaire 1950-2000 (Tulcea, 2000) if one would like to see an imitation hyperpyron of John III of Nicea inserted into the catalogue of uncertain pseudo-Byzantine issues as no. A32.

Luckily, two imitative copper deniers tournoises (nos. 144-145) of Frankish Greece are illustrated, but no attempt has been made to transcribe their badly blundered legends. The flanking annulets on the reverse of no. 145 suggest that it might have been made to imitate a denier of the Glarentza mint under Philip of Savoy (1301-1306), Ferdinand of Majorca (1315-1316), Maud of Hainaut (1316-1318), or perhaps most likely, John of Gravina (1318-1333). The regular billon coins of the latter (see nos. 54, 56, 58-59) are themselves noticeably poorer in execution than those of preceding Princes of Achaea. A star placed to the right of the castle tournois on no. 145 may perhaps suggest that a denier (no. 122) of John II Orsini as Despot of Epirus (1323-1335) served as a model. However, if a second star or a crescent secret mark was originally placed on the left (it is unclear from the line drawing), the typological model might have been deniers of William of Villeharduin (1245-1278) struck at Glarentza (see nos. 8a-10a with varieties GV 131-134, 202-211).

On page 140 appears one further unassuming, yet interesting, addition to the catalogue in the form of a list of muled Christian Arabic dirhams and half-dirhams struck at Acre in 1251. These coins, all drawn from the 1997 Sotheby’s sale of the John J. Slocum collection, reveal die sharing between issues bearing crosses without circular border (nos. 15-16) and issues lacking crosses entirely (nos. 17-18). The fact that cross obverses are paired with reverses of the series without crosses may tend to undermine the notion (p. 131) that the crosses were dropped from Crusader dirhams in an effort to mollify Muslim trading partners who may have found the symbol offensive. If the crossless series was consciously introduced to appeal to the Islamic audience it would make little sense to share dies with the cross issues. Thus, it may be that the order of the series should be inverted to place the coins without crosses at the beginning of the Christian Arabic dirhams, with the mules representing the introduction of the cross type. If the crosses had been so problematic for the acceptance of the dirhams of 1251, it is difficult to understand why the Arabic Christian dinars bearing a cross continued to be produced as late as 1258 (see p. 119, no. 6)

The bibliographical addenda on page 508 seem somewhat smaller than one might expect for an entire decade of study. It consists only of two sale catalogues, the second edition of Coinage of the Crusades, and one article each by D.M. Metcalf, and E. Oberländer-Tarnoveanu. A cursory review of the ANS Library holdings and entries published in Numismatic Literature between 1997 and 2003 expands the number of new items by some 22 articles and 2 books, several of which would have added to the catalogue of hoards and expanded the coverage of secret marks for gold bezants of Jerusalem (D.M. Metcalf, “Crusader Gold Bezants of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem: Two Additional Sources of Information,” NC 160 (2000), 203-218) and of the early issues of Lusignan Cyprus (W. Schulze, “De Cipro, Spekulationen über einen seltenen zyprischen Kreuzfahrer-Denier,” Geldgeschichtliche Nachrichten 35 (2000), 57-62). Our review of the recent literature should not be considered at all exhaustive and therefore the number of additional works is likely to be greater still.

Nevertheless, despite some disappointment at the form and quality of the additions that appear in the second edition of Coins of the Crusader States, it is very good to see the book again easily available. The historical background and the introductions to the various mints of the Crusader States provided by the authors are still just as detailed and readable as they were in the 1994 edition. Likewise, the important metrological and metallurgical essay by A.A. Gordus and D.M. Metcalf on the “Gold Coinages of the Crusader States,” (pp. 90-114) still precedes the catalogue of imitative gold dinars and Christian Arabic dinars and half-dinars of the twelfth century, while Michael Bates and Irene F. Preston provide a valuable historical and numismatic introduction to the, “Crusader Imitations of Ayyubid Dirhams,” (pp. 127-133) struck in the thirteenth century. With the several new additions the catalogue now covers almost 800 types and variants, ranging from obscure series like the twelfth century cut gold coin and bar fragments of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to more well known issues like the helmeted head deniers of the Principality of Antioch and including just about everything in between.

A notable feature, which continues to make the volume of interest to financial and economic historians, as well as to numismatists, is the section on sources (pp. 412-425) documenting the use of coinage and rates of exchange in the Crusader States. To get the most out of these documents, readers generally require some familiarity with Medieval Latin, French and Italian, for only documents 1-3, 6 and 8 are provided with modern English translations. The final document (24) is in Middle English. Each is provided with commentary and remarks on various editions.

Coins of the Crusader States concludes with a list of 101 major hoards of Crusader coins (pp. 426-462) supplemented by five additional hoards (Antioch Subak I and II, Havardjian, and Paphos (ca. 1980)) drawn from Metcalf’s articles in the Fourth Oxford Symposium on Coinage and Monetary History (London, 1980) and the Numismatic Chronicle (142 (1982), pp. 84-100 and 143 (1983), pp. 177-201). Unfortunately, the addenda do not include any of the hoards published in the late 1980s and 90s, such as “Syria” 1993, Athlit (Pilgrim’s Castle) 1930-3, Mount Carmel 1895, “Tripoli” 1992, Lefkara 1990, etc. For a more extensive list of hoards up to the mid 1990s, readers should consult the “Check-List of Hoards” on pp. 308-355 of the second edition of Coinage of the Crusades and the Latin East, which provides data on some 216 hoards. However, part of this number is made up of hoards of medieval European coins brought east during the Crusader period and therefore fall outside the parameters of the present list.

Plentiful and high quality line drawn coin illustrations appear throughout the text, taken from earlier catalogues or in many cases newly drawn by Malloy, Preston and Berman. While these are all quite good, the drawing of the famous copper follis or medallion struck by Baldwin I (1100-1118) as King of Jerusalem (no. 1) is a little peculiar in that it does not seem to represent the same unique coin as that illustrated and described by Metcalf (Coinage of the Crusades and the Latin East (1995), p. 41) or Y. Meshorer (in J. Prawer and H. Ben-Shammai, eds., The History of Jerusalem: Crusaders and Ayyubids (1099-1250) (Jerusalem, 1991), pp. 395-396). The piece is illustrated and described in the present volume as having the reverse type of an expanding cross surrounded by the inscription +HIERVSALEM, but the other references agree that the type is the Dome of the Rock. Some clarification of the reasons for these differences would be most welcome.

In addition to the drawings, eleven photographic plates are also included, covering the issues of the main Crusader States. For the most part, the plates are taken from coin casts and in some cases appear rather dark, but are all still useful. Plates II and III, illustrating the development of Crusader imitations of Islamic gold dinars and silver dirhams, however, are taken from the coins themselves and are extremely well executed.

A separate 32 page price guide keyed to the type catalogue is expected to be available in the spring of this year.

The rather limited and somewhat quirky execution of the updates included in the second edition of Coins of the Crusader States make it unlikely that owners of the previous edition will immediately set their old copies aside and stampede to the nearest numismatic bookseller in order to replace them, unless perhaps they have a special interest in Hospitaller Rhodes. However, for those new to the history and coinages of the Crusader States it is difficult to recommend any other work as a more suitable and accessible introduction. A decade after its original publication, Coins of the Crusader States still stands up as an essential reference for anyone interested in the coinages produced by the Latin states in the Holy Land, Greece and Cyprus from the early twelfth to the early sixteenth centuries.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Novci dalmatinskih i sjevernoalbanskih gradova u srednjem vijeku

Julijan Dobrinić, Novci dalmatinskih i sjevernoalbanskih gradova u srednjem vijeku. Numizmaticki studio Dobrinic: Rijeka, 2003. 133 pp., line drawings throughout. Pb. ISBN 953-6603-04-7. 20 Euro.

The title, translated into English as Coinage of the Dalmatian and North Albanian Towns in the Middle Ages (here Albania refers to the medieval region by that name, rather than the modern state), immediately identifies Julijan Dobrinić’s new book as a specialist work, narrowly focused on the coins produced by the various medieval towns along the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea. However, Novci dalmatinskih i sjevernoalbanskih gradova should be appreciated also by the larger community of numismatists devoted to the coinage of the northern Balkans and northeastern Italy. The present catalogue includes not only the autonomous civic issues, but also the coins struck under the influence of Venetian, Hungarian, Bosnian, and Serbian rulers, who at various times claimed authority over the towns. Students of Venetian coinage are likely to find the catalogue to be an especially useful supplement to works like the Corpus nummorum Italicorum VI (Roma, 1922) and R. Paolucci’s La zecca di Venezia (Padova, 1991), since all of the towns except for Drivast (Drivasto), Svač (Sovacia), and Ulcinj (Dulcinum), produced coins as Venetian protectorates beginning in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Likewise, Ulcinj (2.1.1-2.1.4) and Kotor (Cattaro) (2.1.1-3.1.2) produced issues in the names of the Serbian tsars Stefan Uroš IV (Dušan) and Stefan Uroš V. Later, Kotor (5.1.1-5.4.1) and Zadar (Zara) (1.1.1-1.2.1) issued coins naming the Hungarian king Ludwig I. The former also struck coinage for the Bosnian king Stjepan Tvrtko I (6.1.1-6.2.2). Bar (Antivari) (2.1.1-3.1.3) and Skadar (Scutari) (2.1.1-4.1.2) produced money for the rulers of Zeta (Montenegro), while Split (Spalato) (5.1.1-5.4.2) did the same for the Bosnian duke Hrvoje Vukičić Hrvatini acting as a vassal of Hungary. In short, the coins catalogued by Dobrinić serve not only as material evidence for the prosperity of the individual towns, but also document the larger and extremely colorful pollitical history of the region in the middle ages.

It is somewhat unfortunate that the text is written entirely in Croatian without the addition of a translation or summary in English or another western European language, as is now often standard practice for works on Balkan numismatics. Since the volume is dedicated to the memory of Karl Stockert, the Austrian pioneer of medieval Dalmatian and Albanian numismatics, some commentary in German or Italian might have been appropriate, as these were the languages in which his important studies were originally published in the early twentieth century. While the decision to use a solely Croatian text is likely to limit the potential audience for Novci dalmatinskih i sjevernoalbanskih gradova, those without a working knowledge of Croatian should not despair of making use of the book. The actual discussion of the towns and their coinage is extremely brief, usually limited to a paragraph or two at the beginning of each catalogue section, while the organization of the catalogue is self explanatory and user-friendly regardless of one’s native tongue.

Students of the coinages produced in the medieval territories of Dalmatia and Albania will instantly appreciate Dobrinić’s work in producing the present catalogue, for he has brought together in one place material that previously would have required the consultation of numerous books and articles for proper study. Although all of the towns listed in the catalogue were interconnected by their sharing of the same coastal plain, their competition for trade with the interior, and their struggles for autonomy against the encroachments of larger states, they have traditionally been divided into two separate groups. The issues of towns like Kotor, Bar, Ulcinj, Skadar, Drivast, and Svaš, which often found themselves under the authority of the rulers of Zeta or Serbian tsars are normally included in works devoted to the numismatics of medieval Serbia, while those of Zadar, Šibenik (Sibenico), Trogir (Trau), Split, and Hvar (Lesina) are usually detailed in discussions of the coinages of medieval Croatia. Meanwhile, the coins struck by all of these towns as protectorates of Venice are also treated in catalogues of Venetian coins. In his seminal study of the coinage of Kotor, Stockert even found himself dealing with the issues of the Venetian protectorate in a separate article (“Die prägung der Gemeinde von Cattaro unter Venezianischen Protektorat,” NZ 9 (1916), 1-76) from those in which he covered the earlier periods. Thus Novci dalmatinskih i sjevernoalbanskih gradova represents a great step forward for the regional study of the coinages of medieval Dalmatia and Albania.

However, readers should be warned that while the catalogue is comprehensive for the eleven towns listed therein, the extensive coinage of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) has been omitted because of its great size. Likewise the late DALMATIA ET ALBANIA series normally attributed to Zadar under the Venetians from 1626-1797 is not treated in the catalogue, but the earlier MONETA DALMATIE soldi of 1410-1414 (2.1.1-2.1.7) do appear.

In addition to collecting material from disparate sources to create a unified type catalogue, the author also includes a few recent discoveries, such as a grosso of Balša III of Zeta attributed to Bar (, on which the name of St. George is written in Cyrillic, rather than in the Latin characters normally employed on coins of the Dalmatian and Albanian towns. Unfortunately, this interesting coin, as well as a new grosso of Balsa II struck at Skadar ( is only listed, but not illustrated by Dobrinić (see V. Ivanišević, Novcarsto srednjovekovne Srbije (Beograd, 2001), nos. 27.1 and 29.3). Several additional secret marks on the grossi of Kotor under Tsar Stefan Uros V of Serbia ( and the Venetian protectorate (, all unknown to Stockert, are also listed among the issues of Kotor. It is worth noting that Dobrinić is not dogmatic about identifying the Venetian provedores, whose names appear only as initials on the coins. When variant identifications are possible (i.e. A-D, which could represent Arsenio Duodo (1457-1459) or Antonio Dona (1459-1462) at Kotor) the author presents both interpretations.

As is traditional for most medieval coin catalogues, main types are illustrated by line drawings taken from publications of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some of the drawings used here have not reproduced as well as they might, but for the most part they are functional. Their usefulness would have been increased if they were accompanied by full type descriptions, but these have not been included. Only legend variants and secret marks are given in detail. The addition of a few photographic plates to supplement the line drawings might have been helpful as well, although they would no doubt have affected the surprisingly reasonable price of this specialist book.

A regional map indicating the locations of the various towns would have been welcome also, especially for readers who might be new to the medieval coinages of the northern Adriatic coast and the places that produced them. Full appreciation of the “large G” obverse type shared by the towns of Bar (1.1.1-1.1.5) and Skadar (1.3.1) in the fourteenth century, and the episcopal types of Split (5.1.1-5.4.2) under Hrvoje Vuki (1403-1413) can only be had when one is aware that the first two towns were located close to one another on the opposite shores of Lake Skadar, and that Split was relatively near to the emporium of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), which produced an important silver coinage featuring the fourth century bishop St. Blaise. The latter had been imitated previously by Stefan II Kotromanić as Ban of Bosnia from 1322-1353 (see B. Mimica, Numizmatika na provijesnom tlu Hrvatske (Rijeka, 1994), nos. 56-76) and still influenced the typology of Bosnian coinage under King Stjepan Tomačević from 1461-1463 (see M. Jovanović Serbien [sic!] Medieval Coins (Belgrade, 2002), nos. 62.2-4)

The volume is completed by two indices of denominations and personal/geographical names, numismatic bibliography for each town, and a valuable set of concordances between Dobrinić catalogue numbers and other major references. In most cases, this means the works of Stockert, but also includes important earlier treatments of the nineteenth century, the Corpus nummorum Italicorum and Corpus nummorum Hungariae, and the somewhat more recent studies of I. Rengjeo, R. Paolucci, and V. Ivanisvić.

There can be little question that Novci dalmatinskih i sjevernoalbanskih gradova will be of great value to students of the coins of medieval Dalmatia and Albania, as well as the coinages of the surrounding states. It is hoped that problems of language inaccessibility will not prevent the book from finding its proper place on the shelves of western numismatists interested in Balkan coinage of the middle ages.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Not Kosher

Not Kosher

David Hendin. Not Kosher: Forgeries of Ancient Jewish and Biblical Coins. New York: Amphora, 2005. Hb. 224 pp., b/w illus, 81 b/w pls. ISBN 0-9654029-3-2. $50.00.

The last several years have seen an increase in new books and articles devoted to the identification of modern forgeries and replicas of ancient coins, no doubt partly sparked by the great success of Wayne Sayles’ Classical Deception (Iola, 2001), which offers a general overview of the subject (see ANS Magazine 2.3 (Winter 2003), pp. 62-65 for review). While many of these have tended to focus on the productions of particular individuals or groups and often include copies of coins from a variety of series ranging from Archaic Greek to Byzantine, David Hendin’s new book, Not Kosher, attempts to collect in one place all known forgeries based on coins of the ancient Jewish and Biblical series.

The main text (pp. 9-55) is written in Hendin’s usual friendly anecdotal style, which will be familiar to readers of his popular Guide to Biblical Coins or of his regular column on Biblical coins in The Celator. The two most useful features are the sections on “Differential Diagnosis of Forgeries” (pp. 20-26) and “Diagnostics for Jewish and Biblical Coins” (pp. 26-32). In the former, Hendin offers eleven features to look for when attempting to distinguish a forgery from an authentic ancient coin. These range from the study of style and edge treatment to the consultation of publications and consideration of the reputation of the coinís source. In the second section, the author gives stylistic and production diagnostics for the main series of Jewish coins from the Hasmonaean prutah to the sela of Bar Kochba. Here, special attention is paid to planchet form and edge treatment. Enlarged photographs of the edges of legitimate coins placed next to those of known forgeries make the differences between ancient and modern productions very clear.

The technical discussion is followed by a selection of personal stories of Hendin’s brushes with forgeries (pp. 37-53). These tales are simultaneously entertaining and serve to give some insight into the circumstances and human psychology that can allow even the most obvious forgeries to pass as authentic. Particularly remarkable is the bizarre story of the Bar Kochba forgery from Clay City, Kentucky that was declared authentic and worked into a theory of ancient Jews and other Semitic peoples reaching the Americas before Christopher Columbus. Readers should be aware that most of these anecdotes have been published previously in the author’s Celator column.

Hendin concludes with a discussion of the so-called “false shekels” made from the seventeenth to early twentieth centuries, a topic which he is almost apologetic about including in the book, on the grounds that they were not originally produced to deceive. However, many of the forgeries in his catalogue began their lives as replicas intended to educate before they were modified and repatinated so that they could be sold to the unwary as authentic. Thus the author is fully justified in including the “false shekels” since already in the eighteenth century Erasmus Frölich (Annales Regum et Rerum Syriae (Vienna, 1754), p. 92) was warning against them as modern fabrications.

The catalogue (pp. 56-227), listing some 600 forgeries and replicas of 125 separate types, is arranged in Sylloge style, with descriptions and excellent photographic plates appearing on facing pages. With the exception of the “false shekels” (F1.1-6) and imaginary fantasy pieces (F2-F15) that open the catalogue, as well as a few fake city coins of the Roman period (Fcc1-Fcc6), all entries are numbered according to the fourth edition of Hendin’s Guide to Biblical Coins (New York, 2001).

Those interested in Jewish coinage before the rise of the Hasmonaean dynasty will no doubt be pleased to discover that the author has found relatively few forgeries of the early coins. These include a Ptolemaic tetradrachm ostensibly from Gaza or Joppa (F409), five Philisto-Arabian drachms mainly based on Athenian prototypes (F420.1-422.1), seven Yehud drachms (F434-F446v), including a Peter Rosa reproduction of the unique British Museum coin depicting a deity seated on a winged wheel (F434). The small number of Yehud issues and the total absence of Samarian coins may be directly related to the difficulty of engraving dies or producing moulds for tiny denominations like the obol and hemiobol.

Although in his discussion of misconceptions about forgeries Hendin makes the important point that even inexpensive coins can be worth the forger’s time and effort, the catalogue shows that valuable coins are far more likely to inspire fakes. A mere six specimens (F451-F479) are listed for the common issues of the early Hasmonaeans, Alexander Jannaeus and John Hyrcanus II and the Seleucid coinage struck by John Hyrcanus I in the name of Antiochus VII, but for the rare and famous menorah/showbread table types of Mattathias Antigonus, the last Hasmonaean, the author has collected 22 examples (F845.1-15). Seven of these (F845.9-15) should be relocated to the fantasy piece section, since the only real connection to the Mattathias Antigonus coinage is their use of a menorah obverse type. The reverses of these pieces all feature the Star of David or a cross.

A similar focus on more valuable coins is also revealed for the issues of the Herodian kings. For example, two forgeries from the same dies (F500.1-1.1) are known for the relatively common anchor/cornucopiae issues of Herod the Great, but eight from five die sets are listed for his much-sought after large bronze of year 3 (F486.1-5). It is notable that the only forgeries listed for Herod Archelaus are of his common grapes/helmet type (F505.1.1-2.2), rather than his scarcer and more valuable issues featuring an anchor type. There are perhaps somewhat fewer forgeries of the coinage issued by Herod Antipas, Herod Philip, and Agrippa I, than one might expect, but those that do exist mainly copy their more valuable issues. However, seven different forgeries of the extremely common canopy/ears of barley prutah of Agrippa I (F553.1-7) are also listed. Forgeries of Agrippa II bronzes (F584-F631) and those of some of the earlier Herodians appear to have been extensively perpetrated by the so-called “Lebanon” forger, active in the 1960s and 1970s. They can be particularly difficult to catch since they are often struck over real ancient coins, thus giving them an authentic patina.

Forgeries are catalogued for all of the Roman prefects and procurators of Judaea who struck coins during their tenures in office. The number of different known dies and moulds used to fake the coins of each governor are fairly close (3-5), but just as one might expect, there are somewhat more for Pontius Pilate (F648.1-F649.3), perhaps indicative of the wider market for his coins. Especially notable in the procuratorial group is a bizarre mule (F652.3), featuring the crossed shields and spears type of an Antonius Felix prutah (issued between AD 52 and 59) paired with the obverse of an AE 3/4 of Constantine I (AD 309-337).

It should come as little surprise that within the ancient Jewish series the most frequently forged coins are the issues of the great Jewish War against Rome (AD 66-71), particularly the silver shekels and half shekels. Their symbolic, historical, and religious evocations for both modern Jews and Christians made them a prime subject for forgers and producers of replicas early on in the history of numismatics and continuing into the present day. Variously seen as artifacts of the last free Jewish state before the destruction of the Second Temple, misunderstood relics of the Maccabaean rebellion against the Seleucids and the infamous 30 pieces of silver (both of these associations were not fully repudiated by scholars until the first half of the twentieth century), or as precursors of tokens used in Masonic circles, the potential market for such coins has always been large. The vast number of known forgeries reflects the high degree of interest inspired by the real coins. Here, Hendin catalogues over 140 specimens of fake shekels and their fractions spanning the full five years of issue and including examples of the unique quarter shekel of year 4 (F667.1-3) and the extremely rare crude shekels produced at Gamla (F673.1). Forgeries of year 2 and year 4 Jewish War bronzes (F661.1-12, F668-F670a) are also catalogued, but these are greatly outnumbered by copies of the silver issues.

In 1984, Leo Mildenberg, listing a mere 11 forgeries, was pleased to report that, “Only a very few counterfeit Bar Kokhba coins are known to this author…. In this respect, hardly any other field of ancient numismatics can compete with the Bar Kokhba coinage.” (The Coinage of the Bar Kokhba War (Aarau, 1984), p. 348). Unfortunately, the catalogue of Not Kosher shows that in the years since this happy announcement was made, modern forgers have redoubled their efforts in an attempt to correct their earlier oversight. Hendin now lists and illustrates forgeries of some 36 individual types in all silver and bronze denominations. The Bar Kochba forgeries range in quality from the very poor to the extremely dangerous, with some (F685.1.1, F728.2.1-2, F739.2) even overstruck on Roman coins just like authentic issues. However, few should be deceived by the small bronze types of year 1 struck over a Byzantine half-follis (F681.3), probably issued by Justinian I (AD 527-565) from the mint of Thessalonica (cp. A.R. Bellinger, Catalogue of Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection I (Washington, 1966), nos. 103-106).

Following the listings of forged coins of the two Jewish rebellions against Rome, Hendin also catalogues numerous forgeries of the popular IVDAEA CAPTA issues struck to commemorate the Roman victory in the Jewish War and Roman coins relating to the Jews and Judaea issued in the years leading up to the Bar Kochba War. It is perhaps notable that with the sole exception of F746, a large bronze of Domitian, no other forgeries of commemorative issues struck at the Caesarea mint appear in the catalogue. For post-Flavian coins, Hendin includes 5 specimens (F797.1-4) of fake FISCI IVDAICI sestertii of Nerva (one of which is a nice Paduan) and 2 of Hadrianís ADVENTVI AVG IVDAEAE sestertius (F798.1-1.1).

Like the Jewish War issues with their heavy historical and religious significance, the denarius of Tiberius, thought by many to be the so-called “Tribute Penny” used by Jesus to make a point about the fulfillment of both divine and temporal obligations, as well as the Tyrian shekel, used in the Temple treasury and therefore possibly the coin of the 30 pieces of silver, can also be found in the catalogue. As both of these are famous coins, it was virtually guaranteed that someone would attempt to forge them. However, considering the premiums commanded by authentic specimens, there are fewer forgeries listed than what one might expect. Only eight examples of the denarius (F916.1-8) and 15 of the shekel (F917.1-F919.4) are catalogued. It is interesting that the majority of the shekel copies are based on the early autonomous coinage of Tyre, rather than the later issues with ìdumpyî flans, thought by some to have been struck at Jerusalem expressly for use in the Temple (see Y. Meshorer, A Treasury of Jewish Coins (New York, 2001), pp. 72-78. This view is now strongly refuted by H. Cotton and W. Weiser, “Neues zum ‘Tyrischen Silbergeld’ herodianischer und römischer Zeit,” ZPE 139 (2002), pp. 235-250). More of the latter might have been expected, and especially issues with dates in the early AD 30s, in an effort to cash in on the association with the crucifixion, but this does not seem to have been the case. Indeed, almost half of the early shekels listed were not originally produced as forgeries with the intent to deceive, but rather as replicas, as indicated by the word “COPY” stamped on their edges.

In addition to the Jewish and Biblical forgeries mentioned above, Hendin also describes and illustrates six examples of fake city coins from Aelia Capitolina, Gaza, Hippos, Neapolis, and Tiberias (Fcc1-Fcc6) as a warning that these bronzes have also attracted the attention of the modern forger. The catalogue concludes with three reproductions of the beautiful large bronze coins of Phrygian Apamea depicting Noah’s Ark on the reverse (F921v-F922.2).

After this cursory review of the catalogue it is perhaps obvious that Not Kosher will be an indispensable reference for anyone who works closely with ancient Jewish coinage. Not only does the book reveal the identities of many false coins, but it also serves to uncover and chronicle the very long tradition of copying ancient Jewish coinage. Understanding the history of forgery and replication, which is not always simply reducible to a history of greed, can only deepen the appreciation of the authentic coins and the feelings that they have stirred in so many over the centuries. Still, one suspects that it would be heartbreaking to learn just how many of the very same thoughts and dreams of ancient wonders were conjured by the objects in David Hendin’s catalogue before they were identified as products of the modern age.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Volunteer Impressions (Spring 2005)

by Rick Witschonke

Since my update in the last issue of the ANS Magazine, I have continued work on a variety of interesting projects. There is one in particular, however, that caught my fancy, so I thought I would share it with you.

Even though they are not, strictly speaking, numismatic, the ANS has a large collection of political campaign buttons dating from the late nineteenth century to the present. Many of these have never been properly catalogued, so I was asked to undertake the task. Collections Manager Elena Stolyarik took me into the vault, and pulled out a large tray overflowing with about 500 unattributed buttons, pins, and other items relating to the 1940 presidential campaign of Republican candidate Wendell Willkie against incumbent Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. An interesting challenge!

My next stop was the ANS Library, where Librarian Frank Campbell quickly retrieved a variety of books on the subject, including the standard catalogues by Ted Hake, which proved very useful. In the references, the buttons were organized by size (there were four basic sizes), and then alphabetically by the legend on the button. By the end of the first day, I had the group (which had now expanded to six trays) in reasonable order, and I had found most of the buttons in Hake.

The next day, I went to the vault again, only to discover a second tray with yet another 500 Willkie items. So much for my previous neat lines of buttons. Fortunately, our 2005 Schwartz Fellow, Lauren Jacobi, was available to help me, and between us we managed to get most of the items reasonably well-organized.

As I worked with the material, I became fascinated by the slogans on the buttons. The 1940 Campaign was a bit before my time, so I knew very little about the issues involved, but before long I could see patterns emerging. And, by the time I was done, I felt a tangible connection to that time 65 years ago, and the strong feelings of the participants, all evoked by these little bits of metal which connected us.

One major theme related to F.D.R.’s economic and social policies over his previous two terms (1933-1940), and in particular “The New Deal.” For example: “NEW DEAL A MIS-DEAL” (Hake 2178); “NO NEW DEAL. WE WANT A SQUARE DEAL:” (H. 2189); and “FLASH! YOU CAN’T HAVE ROOSEVELT AND PROSPERITY TOO” (H. 2146). Employment vs. public relief was another sub-theme: “JOBS, NOT RELIEF WITH WILLKIE” (H. 2166); “NEW DEAL CONSOLATION: 9,000,000 UNEMPLOYED” (H. 93); “WITH WILLKIE WE DON’T NEED RELIEF” (H. 2233); “ROOSEVELT AND RELIEF, WILLKIE AND WORK” (H. 2202), and “LET’S GIVE FRANKLIN UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE” (H. 2168). The W.P.A. came in for criticism as the “WORST PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION” (H. 2235). And Roosevelt’s deficit spending was a major target, as his initials were reinterpreted as “FRANKLIN DEFICIT ROOSEVELT” (H. 2137); and “FINANCIAL DEBAUCHERY RUN-RIOT” (H. 126). And then we have “60 BILLION BUCKS. WHEE” (H. 2093). Many of these slogans are rather ironic, since Willkie actually supported many of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, and was, in fact, a Democrat himself until 1939.

Another major issue at the time was, of course, the war. France had already fallen to the Nazis in early 1940, but the United States remained neutral. Here again, the candidates’ respective positions on the issue were somewhat ambiguous. Initially, Willkie criticized Roosevelt for the lack of military preparedness. But, when Roosevelt responded by increasing military contracts and instituting a draft, Willkie changed tactics and started accusing Roosevelt of war-mongering. This engendered: “PEACE! WILLKIE. IT’S WONDERFUL” (H. 2198); and “WALLACE AND ROOSEVELT” (H. 95. Wallace was Roosevelt’s running mate, and the three initials spelled WAR).

It is interesting that neither of these major issues (the economy nor the war) was the primary focus of the Willkie campaign. Instead, it was Roosevelt’s unprecedented bid for a third term that sparked the most criticism, at least as measured by the buttons. George Washington had set the precedent of a two term limit, and his lead had been followed up to this point. Among the many critical slogans are: “LINCOLN DIDN’T, WASHINGTON WOULDN’T, ROOSEVELT SHOULDN’T” (H.2171); “NO THIRD TERM” (H. 2190); “DON’T BE A THIRD TERMITE” (H. 2128. The sloganeers couldn’t resist a pun: good, bad, or indifferent); “NO THIRD TERMITES” (H. 2187): “8 YEARS IS ENOUGH” (H. 2133); “I’M BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL” (H. 75); “THIRD TERM GRAB? IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE” (H. 2217); “THIRD TERM TABOO. 23 SKIDOO” (H. 2218); “TWO GOOD TERMS DESERVE A REST” (H.2200); and “1ST TERM GOOD. 2ND TERM GOOD ENOUGH. 3RD TERM GOOD FOR NOTHING” (H. 2139).

Then, there are a number of amusing references to potential erectile dysfunction: “NO MAN IS GOOD THREE TIMES” (H. 86); “TWO TIMES IS ENOUGH FOR ANY MAN” (H. 91); and “CONFUCIUS SAY. . . MAN WHO STAND UP TWICE, NO GOOD THIRD TIME” (H. 90). There are even a few prescient allusions to a possible fourth term: “NO FOURTH TERM” (H. 2181); “NO FOURTH TERM EITHER” (H. 98); and “HE WILL BE HARDER TO BEAT THE FOURTH TIME THAN THE THIRD. DO YOUR DUTY NOW”. And several buttons equate a third term with the Nazi Third Reich, and the Communist Third International: “NO THIRD INTERNATIONAL, THIRD REICH, THIRD TERM” (H. 96); “THIRD INTERNATIONAL. THIRD REICH., THIRD TERM???” (H. 2216); and “RUSSIA, 3RD INTERNATIONAL. GERMANY, 3RD REICH. U.S.A., 3RD TERM???” (H. 2210).

A related theme portrays Roosevelt as a regal figure, attempting to establish a dynasty: “NO CROWN FOR FRANKLIN” (H. 2179); “NO FRANKLIN THE FIRST” (H. 2182); “NO ROYAL FAMILY” (H. 2186); “NO ROOSEVELT DYNASTY” (H. 2083): “MY FRIENDS, BUT NOT MY SUBJECTS” (H. 2176); “WE WANT ROOSEVELT TO ABDICATE” (H. 2224); “WILLKIE. LOYAL NOT ROYAL” (H. 2230); “DE-THRONEMENT DAY, NOV 5TH” (H. 2123); and “VOTE FOR WILLKIE IF YOU WANT TO VOTE AGAIN” (H. Unlisted). Some saw Roosevelt as a dictator rather than a king: “DICTATOR? NOT FOR US” (H. 2125); “CAUTION. WE NEED WILLKIE, NOT DICTATORSHIP” (H. 82); “NO DICTATOR LATER!” (H. 2180); “DICTATORS DON’T DEBATE” (H. 2124); and “NAPOLEON MET HIS WATERLOO, FRANK. YOU WILL TOO” (H. 103).

Apparently, at some point Roosevelt injudiciously referred to himself as an “indispensable man”. This provided fodder for several Willkie buttons: “THERE IS NO INDISPENSABLE MAN” (H. 2215); and “ADAM WAS THE ONLY INDISPENSABLE MAN” (H. Unlisted).

Roosevelt’s family also came under fire, especially his wife Eleanor: “WE DON’T WANT ELEANOR EITHER” (H. 2223); “ELEANOR START PACKING. THE WILLKIES ARE COMING” (H. 2135); “ELEANOR? NO SOAP!” (H. 2134); and “RATHER AN HOUR WITH EDITH THAN ‘A DAY’ WITH ELEANOR” (H. 2200, Edith was Willkie’s wife; Eleanor wrote a newspaper column called “A day with Eleanor.”). And then there is an enigmatic button with the legend: “ROOSEVELT IS BUYING AQUACADE TO KEEP ELEANOR HO(L)ME” (H. 105). I did some research, and discovered that Aquacade was Billy Rose’s attraction at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, starring Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, and Eleanor Holm. So I concluded that Eleanor Roosevelt must have enjoyed the Aquacade, and that the button was an indirect criticism of her active involvement in the Washington political scene, rather than spending time at Hyde Park. But that did not explain the small “L” inserted into the word “HOME”. So I did a bit of research on Eleanor Holm. I discovered that she was a talented swimmer who had competed in the 1928 Olympics at the age of 15, and then won a gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the 1932 Olympics. She then married band leader Art Jarrett, and became a singer in his band. She made the team for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but on the ship over, she insisted on partying with the celebrities in 1st Class, rather than follwing team rules. As a result, Avery Brundage disqualified her from competing. She had her revenge, however, spending the Olympics as a correspondent, and attending parties with Goebbels, Goring, and Hitler, all of whom she found charming. Upon returning, she had a short career as a Hollywood actress, and then joined Rose (who she later married) in Aquacade. In 1939 she would have been 26, and it occurred to me that, given F.D.R.’s known marital indiscretions, the button might be a sly allusion to an actual or alleged affair between Holm and the President. Holm died in 2004 at age 91.

Roosevelt’s eldest son James (1907-1991) served as a secretary to F.D.R. in 1937-38, and was awarded a Captain’s commission in the Marine Corps in 1940. This sparked a number of protests: “I WANNA BE A CAPTAIN TOO” (H. 2158), “PAPA: I WANNA BE A CAPTAIN TOO” (H. 2195); and “MY SON IS NOT A CAPTAIN” (H. Unlisted). There were also concerns that James would eventually succeed his father:” “NO CROWN PRINCE JIMMY” (H. 2078); “PAPA: I DON’T WANT TO RESIGN” (H. 2087); and “PAPA: THEY WON’T LET ME RESIGN” (H. 2197). Even Roosevelt’s “black sheep” son Elliott (1910-1990) was not spared. Apparently, he was given a government job, which provoked: “ELLIOTT. 316.00 A MONTH, ME TOO” (H. Unlisted). And Roosevelt’s family home at Hyde Park was also a target: “DR. JECKYLL OF HYDE PARK” (H. 2129); and “‘ROOSEVELT’ HIDE AT HYDE!” (H. 2206).

On a lighter note, there were a number of baseball allusions: “FORCE FRANKLIN OUT AT THIRD” (H. 2147); “OUT! STEALING THIRD” (H. 2194); “STRIKE THREE. F.D. YOU’RE OUT” (H. 109); and “WENDELL PITCHING. FRANKLIN OUT” (H. Unlisted).

In addition to buttons, there were a wide variety of pins, ribbons and other memorabilia. For example: a fabric shirt-shaped pin inscribed “I’D GIVE MY SHIRT FOR WILLKIE” (H. 182); a button with the legend “FOR PRESIDENT WILL-” with a key attached (H. Unlisted); and a key-shaped pin with the letters “WILL” on it (H.2366).

In all, it took us a week to organize and catalogue the buttons (we ended up with 14 trays of Willkies alone). For me, it was an enjoyable experience which once again demonstrated how small, commonplace objects can teach us about the history of a period, and give us a sense of connection to those times past. Thank goodness there are organizations like the ANS to accumulate these objects, and make them available for study.

For Further Reading:

Ted Hake, Encyclopedia of Political Buttons: United States 1896-1972. York, PA: Hake’s Americana and Collectibles, 2004.

Current Cabinet Activities (Spring 2005)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

Ancient and Medieval Coins

Our great collections of ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins are so well known world-wide that they are the subjects of constant inquiries and research projects.

Because of the significant depth of the cabinet in terms of die varieties, we can often provide exact die matches for comparative purposes in questions of authentication. A recent example is the Syracusan tetradrachm no. 264 in the ANS volume on this section in the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum (Tudeer 33). Ancient coins specialist Herb Kreindler made use of this coin, which was part of the wonderful bequest from Edward T. Newell, in an authentication undertaken for the International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coinage (operated by the International Association of Professional Numismatists—the IAPN).

Sicily: Syracuse, AR tetradrachm, ca. 400 BC. ANS SNG 264; Tudeer 33. (ANS 1944.100.55775, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 26.4 mm.

Research inquiries often relate to pieces that are not in the collection, for we can frequently elucidate them by other means. Andrew McIntyre contacted us regarding a royal Seleucid coin of Alexander Balas from the mint of Sidon of the year 163 (150 BC). His available documentation indicated no other known examples. As the foremost such resource in the world, he sought to check the ANS Library for any possible published references to a similar piece. Likewise, Gar Travis purchased an interesting large bronze of Commodus (AD 175-192) from Mytilene, on Lesbos, and applied to us for some corroborating data. Here, the ANS card file was able to help: a specimen of this issue appeared twice at auction early in the last century (Santamaria, 1910, no. 255f; Egger 46, 1914, no. 215), matching another in the collection of the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow.

Panagiotis Takis Antonopoulos, Assistant Professor of Byzantine/Mediaeval History at the University of Ioannina, in Greece, contacted us to inquire whether we had any examples of the coinage of the Lombard King Cunincpert for a survey he is conducting. Although the Society does have a somewhat representative collection of the Lombardic series, I found that there are no issues of Cunincpert in the cabinet. Any donors out there?

Svein H. Gullbekk, Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, made an inquiry from the University Museum of Cultural Heritage’s Coin Cabinet relative to the famous 11th-century Norwegian penny reputedly found in Maine at the Goddard site. The puzzle over this piece, reportedly found by amateur archaeologist Guy Mellgren in 1957, was recently addressed by Edmund Carpenter, who had also contacted us due to the coins of identical type in the ANS collection. These coins have been attributed to Magnus I “the Good,” his powerful uncle Harald III Hardrada, or more recently to Harald’s son, Olav Kyrre (Olaf III, “the Peaceful”; 1067-1093). Although a couple of examples came in earlier (in 1921), most of the ANS’ specimens were part of an acquisition (lot 663) from the Grunthal-NFA sale of June 1, 1948. It seems probable that all of the ANS’ coins (and the Goddard piece?) came from the important Gressli (Graeslid) Hoard, found in 1878; the 13 ANS Magnus/Harald/Olaf coins from lot 663 coins were part of a group of 118 pieces with this provenance. Over the years before the ANS acquired its specimens, hundreds of other Graeslid coins had been dispersed. There is no reliable confirmation on the documentation of the Goddard coin, and much circumstantial evidence suggests that someone was deliberately trying to manipulate or obfuscate the situation. The Norse coin from Maine should probably be considered a hoax.

Norway: Olaf III “the Peaceful” (1066-1093), AR Penny, blundered. (ANS 1948.79.188, purchase) 17 mm.

Quite a few requests come in from people who are hoping we can help them identify mysterious numismatic pieces they have encountered. This is even part of the unlikely story attached to the Goddard coin. Usually we are able to attribute the items, provided we are given a good, clear description of the item and are sent images. Sometimes, we are able to assist with even less data. One correspondent from Long Island found what we can easily classify as a silver teston of Jeanne d’Albret, the mid-16th century queen of Navarre. Little known today, she was the Protestant ruler of the tiny monarchy surrounded by Catholic Spain, with Catholic France to the north, and was reputed to have been poisoned by the notorious queen Catherine de Medici, widow of Henri II of France. The marriage of Jeanne’s son Henri de Bourbon to Catherine’s daughter, Princess Marguerite (“La Reine Margot”), culminated in the horrific St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Henri lived to establish the Bourbon dynasty on the French throne, as King Henry IV, and declared religious toleration. Navarre, the old bastion of the Basques, was incorporated into France at this time.

Navarre: Jeanne d’Albret (1562-1572). AR teston, Pau mint, 1565 (ANS 1969.222.2591, gift of P. K. Anderson) 30 mm.

Latin America

M. Garry Saint, Esq., a member of the Société Haïtienne de Numismatque (Haitian Numismatic Society) was wondering about digital images of any Haitian coins we might provide for use on their website. Unfortunately, to date only a small number of Haitian items are catalogued onto our on-line data base but several have images shown, offering an idea of what we can provide. Another member of the Haitian Numismatic Society, Joseph Guerdy Lissade, visited the coin room to examine pieces for his research on early Haitian cut and countermarked coins. His findings suggests that the palm tree mark heretofore believed possibly to have been applied in Barbados was more likely employed in Haiti during the period 1811-1814.

Haiti. Cut and countermarked (Palm), Spanish Colonial Mexico. AR 2 Reales, 1784 FF. Pridmore 9. (ANS 1923.51.2, purchase) 27.7 mm.

It seems there are always a number of inquiries having to do with Latin American topics. Tom Natale, Sr., sought information on Peruvian proclamation medals, dating from 1834 to the mid 1920’s, wanting to know about their mintage, scarcity or value. This is a library research project in itself, with more questions than we can answer. Jerry Shupe asked for advice on identifying a Spanish Colonial 8 piece which turned out to be a silver 1763-M 2-reales piece minted by King Charles III of Spain (ruled 1759-1789) from the mint of Mexico (City). (KM# 87 in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 18th Century Edition.) The M mintmark indicates the assayer (ensayador) or another official in charge, either Manuel de la Peña or Manuel Assorín.

Mexico. Charles III (1759-1788). AR 2 reales, 1763/2, M. (ANS 1933.126.8, purchase) 26.3 mm.

Our Summer Graduate Seminar student from last year, Christoph Rosenmüller (now at the Department of History at Middle Tennessee State University), has been pursuing exactly this question: how the assayers’ marks can be attributed to specific individuals in the Mexican mint administration and what this can tell us about policy and management. He was back in touch for information relating to the introduction of machinery in Spain and in Mexico. By 1732, when the screw-press was introduced there (the first in the New World), the Spanish peninsular mints had all adopted machine technology. The first was Segovia, in the 1580s, where Austrian roller-presses were set up through cooperation between Philip II and his Imperial Habsburg connections. The old mint of Segovia (Casa Vieja) continued for some time hand-striking coins, but the new, mechanized mint (Ingenio) eventually superceded it. The other Spanish metropolitan mints were much slower to mechanize. Through the 17th century there were certain hand-struck issues still appearing, and during the usurpation of the Habsburg Charles III, there were even some irregular hand-struck issues in the early 18th century.

In Mexico (and elsewhere?), the fabric of planchets suggests that roller mills for preparing the strip were introduced before the use of the screw press. Then there are also those well-made, enigmatic round coins of the 17th and early 18th that emanated from the New World mints which were otherwise normally striking crude “cob” coinages. Many questions still perplex scholars of the Colonial Spanish series.

United States, the Strawberry Leaf/Wreath Cent 1793 Workshop

American large cent specialist Dan Holmes brought in his two examples of the famous 1793 “Strawberry Leaf” issue as well as other varieties from his collection, permitting us to hold a small workshop on the Wreath cent. Not only were we then able to compare three of the four known Strawberry Leaf coins (including both reverses, D and E), it was also possible to compare the dies and edge markings of every variety in the series. Our thanks go to Dan and to Jim Neiswinter for bringing in specimens for study, and to participants Bob Grellman and John Kleeberg for their contributions in making this a rewarding session for us all.

United States. AE cent, 1793 “Strawberry Leaf” variety, Sheldon NC.2 (the unique Crosby 5-D; Courtesy of Dan Holmes); Sheldon NC.3 (two of the three known examples of Crosby 5-E; courtesy of Dan Holmes and ANS 1906.99.52, gift of J. Sanford Saltus) 28 mm each.

Close examination and comparison of all the specimens then available revealed that, contrary to what has been stated and believed heretofore, the Wreath cent varieties Sheldon 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11a, as well as the Strawberry Leaf coins NC.2 and NC.3, all shared the same “Vine and Bars” edge marking, while the varieties Sheldon 8 and 9 share edges marked by a different “Vine and Bars” die. The large cent fraternity will now hope to learn whether this observation may hold true for all other specimens of the wreath cents. Jim Neiswinter followed our study by examination of the edges of 1793 Chain cents, and reported that the Vine and Bars edge markings that he was able to verify matched the variety found on the S.8 and 9.

Dan Holmes holding three 1793 “Vine and Bar” edge wreath cents to compare the markings applied by the Philadelphia Mint’s Castaing machine.

Other United States Activities

Jamie J. Cimino contacted us to research a grandmother’s Colonial New Jersey Note, a 3-Pound issue from Woodridge, New Jersey, dated April 1762, with a signature of one Thomas Rodman. This issue is listed in both Krause-Mishler’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (S1798), and Eric P. Newman’s Early Paper Money of America. Our collection includes a representative example from the former H. P. Beach collection.

United States: New Jersey Colonial. Issue of April 8, 1762: 3-pound promissory note, printed by James Parker. (ANS 1945.42.796, purchase) 100.6 x 55.6 mm.

On our website, at, our archivist, Joe Ciccone, is presenting background information on past ANS officers, one of whom is pioneer historic preservationist Stephen Hyatt Pelham Pell, a great collector of American Colonial materials and also of Civil War tokens. Upon reading about Pell, alert Early American specialist Ray Williams thought to inquire about Colonial period donations from Pell, who was a great enthusiast of that era. But regrettably, Pell apparently only gave us items of other kinds, as well as his services. We do have one 18th century coin with a Pell provenance, however: a 1787 Connecticut cent of the “Horned” variety from an H. Pell. Thanks to the request to check on the possible Pell acquisitions, though, I was able to correct the accession data on this piece, which had been catalogued with an incorrect, provisional number (ANS 1936.999.189).

United States. Connecticut, AE penny or cent, 1787. Miller 4-L, the “horned” variety, early die state. (ANS 1936.115.1, gift of H. Pell) 28.3 mm.

Probably the largest numbers of our inquiries involve miscellaneous United States coins and currency, as represented by these few examples. C. Herbert Gilliland contacted us regarding a Fugio cent counterstamped twice with appears to read either “BSO” or possibly “BSC.” The piece in question is somewhat worn and the counterstamp is worn about as much as the coin, suggesting that it could have been added early in the time of the coin’s circulation. There is no example of an issue marked in this manner in the ANS cabinet. Working on a study of 1794 cents, Al Boka contacted us in an effort to track down 18th-century minting images. Jesse Sheidlower, Editor-at-Large for the Oxford English Dictionary (American Edition), inquired about some technical points on the “penny” in American usage. He was seeking the earliest example we have of the term “penny” being used specifically in reference to a US one-cent coin (in contrast to an actual British coin being used as currency in the US during the early Federal period), about the “official” use of the term “penny” in the US, and whether it has ever been discouraged—not the easiest questions to answer. Carlisle Lee Morgan visited to examine early $5 and $10 gold pieces (as well as some ancient Roman and Russian Imperial coins).

Nancy Griffin asked about the origin of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Maybe others would care to have a brief summary of this aspect of our money as well, so here is a note on my reply. This motto, which was not called for by earlier official coinage acts, was added to US coinage as a result of religious fervor arising out of the horrors of the Civil War. Actually, we know that several variants were initially considered: “God our Trust,” “Trust in God.” Patterns for new coins were prepared in 1863 by order of US Mint director James Pollock, designed by Mint Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre. The new two-cent piece, introduced in 1864, was the first coin to carry the motto. Its design and inscriptions were selected by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, who may have adopted the idea of the motto from that of his alma mater, Brown University, which is “In Deo Speramus” (“in God we hope”).

The copper-nickel three-cent piece introduced in 1865 was the second coin to bear the new motto. As numismatists will recall, the story goes on, with the motto being added to the other denominations after the war, until, with the introduction of the Lincoln cent in 1909, it was to be found on each denomination then being minted. This practice did not proceed without controversy, however; President Theodore Roosevelt tried to have the motto removed, on religious grounds, when the new $10 and $20 gold coin designs by Augustus Saint-Gaudens were introduced in 1907. He believed that it was sacrilegious to invoke the name of the Deity on something commercial, like money, which would fall into the hands of the sinful. But the Congress, taking an opposite view which members probably thought would go over better with a less-sophisticated public, had the motto added back onto these denominations. For whatever reasons, no one seems to have seriously considered adding the religious motto to paper money until the 1950s when, headed by American Numismatic Association President Matt Rothert, a movement sought to place it there as well. It appeared on the 1957 series, and has been used since that time.

Many people wonder how to proceed to obtain valuation information, or how to obtain grading opinions, and we receive constant inquiries along these lines regarding all sorts of items. We always try to emphasize to our correspondents that it is advisable for them to educate themselves as much as possible, then contact reputable dealers in their area or beyond, and consider utilizing the services of a third party grading service. These matters may seem basic to any numismatist, but to an inexperienced new collector or heir to one, the prospects may seem baffling or overwhelming. There can be no end to the variety of questions that arise. Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Wells inquired in connection with a recently inherited a small collection of coins, among which is a 1908 Indian Head $10 dollar gold piece. Edward S. Hess hazarded a question about an apparent 1997-D with a gold coloration (no doubt some sort of oddity perpetrated outside the mint, since all the cents issued since 1982 should be made of copper-coated zinc; what is going on?). Do the weight and specific gravity check out? Could the coin be a mint error or rare variety?

Andy Lustig and Seth Chandler visited the coin room to study some pioneer gold pieces, while Rob Moore inquired about a recently acquired Parson’s & Co. gold ingot. This latter would be an example of the relatively well-known forgeries that have plagued the world of numismatics since the 1950s, but which have only lately been conclusively demonstrated to be counterfeit. Another of our inquiries involved the 1891 pattern variety of the Barber dime (Judd 1760; Pollock 1974). While there are two examples of this variety believed to be extant today, the ANS does not have one in its cabinet (both are in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution).

Modern World Coins and Paper Money

At the ANS, there is no single truly clear line of demarcation between Medieval and Early Modern numismatics, just as sometimes there are not clear delineations between what constitutes a coin, a non-circulating coin, a bullion coin, a commemorative coin, a token or a medal (not to mention the difficulties in defining what is a medal, anyway?). We merely work with the collections as they occur, as do other scholars and researchers. Alan Walker visited and took the time to help try to identify some of the various accumulated hand-hammered materials that have entered the collection over the years wholly or partly lacking attributions. James Ricks studied examples of the siege pieces from Pontefract, during the English Civil War, when he visited the coin room. Some of the hand-struck coins are, of course, from the 17th century and even later although we may have them grouped for departmental purposes as being in the “Medieval” cabinet.

Michael Nelson inquired about our specimens of Danzig (Gdansk) donative (medallic) gold pieces of the period 1582-1685. In the cabinet, we have only a couple of examples, plus one other related one from Thorn, but these are important and handsome issues from the great age of Polish power, and worth being brought to your attention. A splendid 12-ducat piece of Wladislaus IV (1632-1648) shows the king as embattled Hercules overcoming the three-headed monster Cerberus, and bears the inscriptions (on the obverse) VLADISLAO IV POLONIAE ET SVECIAE REGI HERCULI PACIFICO / CIVIT. GEDAN / F.F. (“To Wladislas, the Peace-making Hercules, King of Poland and Sweden, made in the city of Gdansk”) and (on the reverse) DUM / MOSCHUM BELLO,/ TURCAM TERRORE/ SUECUMQUE/ OSTENSO AD PACIS FOE/ DERA MARTE TRAHIS/ VLADISLAE, / TIBI DEBETUR GLORIA/ TRIPLEX,/ HERCULES ET MERITO/ DICERE PACIFICUS (“Since you brought the Muscovite by war, the Turk by terror and the Swede by martial display to the alliances of peace, Wladislas, triple glory is due to you, and [you are] Hercules the Peace-maker, truly said”). It dates to 1637.

Poland. Wladislaus IV (1632-1648). AV medallic 12 ducats, Gdansk, 1637. (ANS 1905.57.85, gift of Daniel Parish, Jr.) 46 mm.

Sylvia Tomczyk, our graduate student intern this past summer, reports that her experience in cataloguing German currency from the period of the First World War and the Weimar Republic is proving very useful. She decided to write her thesis about the emergency money of the Weimar Republic, especially considering and analyzing anti-semitic motifs. She was able to obtain an appointment with Prof. Wippermann of the Freie Universität of Berlin, who is a specialist in the field of Anti-semitism and Totalitarism, and is starting by comparing Notgeld collections in Germany, specifically the ones with anti-semitic motifs. Her University offers scholarships for thesis research, which may bring her back to the ANS for further work with the collections here.

American Medals

Lenny Vaccaro contacted us for photos of the early US Mint’s Captain Thomas Truxton medal (Julian NA-2), celebrating America’s victorious engagement at sea during the so-called Undeclared War with France. This important issue, one of the first medals actually produced by the fledgling US Mint, is attributed to Robert Scot, but was probably actually engraved by John Reich. It celebrated the victory by the 38-gun frigate USS Constellation over our former ally’s 54-gun La Vengeance. There are five examples in the cabinet, none of them part of the initial production, sad to say. One is copper, without marginal inscription; one is a copper-plated lead piece, used as the illustration by Julian in his Medals of the United States Mint: the First Century, 1792-1892. Another is also lead, with obverse and reverse impressions more deeply sunken below the borders and with the border legends added with slightly different punches. Later restrikes are a bronze and a recent silver specimen.

United States. Naval Series, Cu-coated PB Thomas Truxton medal, 1800. (ANS 0000.999.38389) 57 mm.

The ever-popular Thomas Jefferson Indian Peace Medal was again a subject of inquiry for a couple of individuals. One wanted to know about size variation and authentication; another, the whereabouts of examples with a known provenance documented to the events of the actual expedition of the “Corps of Discovery.” He reported one was supposed to have been found in an Indian grave on a tributary of the Columbia River, and wondered whether this was in the ANS cabinet; he also wondered where other such pieces might be located. While one of our non-original examples was supposedly found “up the Missouri,” documentation of this kind is very rare. There was a partial example (reverse shell only, of the middle-sized medal), formerly in the collection of the State Historical Museum of Nebraska, which had reportedly been found in a Pawnee grave site. This piece was repatriated to the Pawnee Nation, and consequently reburied under poured concrete. Without authentic documentation, we can never know that such pieces were medals actually carried and presented by Lewis and Clark.

One of the many medals quests was for an 1893 Columbian Exposition medal (Eglit 101); another, for the Boston Common Tercentenary medal. Tom Natale was referred to us by Melanie Bower of the Museum of the City of New York in relation to a medal he recently acquired. This was an example of the New York City Hall counter, a product of the Lauer Company mint in Nuremberg, Germany, struck circa 1856 and imported in large numbers by Theodore Bolenhagen, who operated his large mercantile store a couple of blocks from where the ANS is now located. The medal is copper, 36mm in diameter, with a reeded edge. The obverse bears a head of Liberty facing left surrounded by a ring of stars. The reverse bears a radiant sun at twelve o’clock above the City Hall accompanied by the legend CITY HALL/ NEW YORK, below. Such a piece, normally made out of a brassy alloy of copper, is classified as Cit-10 (Kurth 61; Bushnell 111) in American Game Counters, by Russell Rulau and George J. Fuld, TAMS (Token and Medal Society) Journal, V. 12, N. 6, Pt. 2 (1972), where it is estimated that less than 500 are known.

Marilyn Lutzker, researching a struck bronze struck medal for the New-York Historical Society, wondered whether a piece with the inscription J./SANFORD/SALTUS and an image of a clothed male bust facing right on the obverse and a reverse showing a “shoulder-length portrait of a youth holding a torch and looking at a medal” (with the legend around the border: NEW YORK NUMISMATIC CLUB./ ORGANIZED 1908) was an example of the actual J. Sanford Saltus medal awarded for excellence in medallic art. This piece is, of course, one of the familiar New York Numismatic Club annual presidential medals, minted in honor of each of the successive club presidents upon the completion of their terms in office (J. Sanford Saltus’ medal dates from 1923, immediately following his untimely death in 1922). These medals were designed by John M. Swanson, whose initials JMS appear on them.

United States: New York. New York Numismatic Club AR Presidential medal, J. Sanford Saltus, 1923, by J.M. Swanson (1908), Medallic Art Co. (ANS 1985.67.549, bequest of Charles Heaton) 37.1 mm.

From our sister organization the American Numismatic Association (ANA), Assistant Editor Cathy Clark inquired about obtaining images of medals by Paul Manship for an article in the Numismatist. Fortunately, our collection holds many dozens of works by this premier artist, including pieces which he himself donated to us to hold for posterity. Also, Erik J. Heikkenen, Registrar at the ANA, was in the process of preparing an exhibit on the US Mint engravers John R. Sinnock, Gilroy Roberts and Adam Pietz and their sketches, designs and art work for various medals—in particular, Assay Medals they designed. He contacted us seeking 1929, 1930, 1932, 1937 and 1940 Assay Commission medals specifically but, unfortunately, the ANS cabinet is lacking in later Assay medals and does not have any of these. We do have, however, Pietz’ own personal example of the 1928 medal, struck in gold, which he executed with his US Mint Chief Engraver colleague Sinnock. This was a charming issue, with one of Sinnock’s beautiful portraits (here, of President Calvin Coolidge) on the obverse and Pietz’ commemoration of the coining of the first US Mint, with its 18th-century vignette, on the reverse.

United States. Annual Assay Commission, U.S. Mint, AV Medal, by John Ray Sinnock and Adam Pietz, 1928 (ANS 1953.144.2, gift of Wayte Raymond) 50 mm.

Calendar medals cataloguer Jim Sweeney reports that he is coming along well with his work on American calendar medals. He contacted us in connection with working on a listing of the Anderson & Sons issues (of the period 1948-1988). We have several pieces of interest in the cabinet, as well as examples by other makers. Several items that he noted are as follow. One is by John Davey, for James Daley of Philadelphia, “Maker of Fine Segars” (ca. 1850s-’60s?); this is a shell advertising card with a paper label. Two were by Andersons, a Girl Scouts of America issue and one for Vahan Mozian, Philatelist; both of these two pieces are marked “Anderson & Sons, Inc./ Westfield, Mass.” Another was Walter Lampl, for Robert Walters, 1938-1943, and a last example was a fairly crude aluminum piece from the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, with no maker’s name indicated.

United States. Anderson & Sons Steel Calendar medal, Girl Scouts of America 1957-1984. (ANS 1965.13.4, gift of Melvin Fuld) 42 mm.

Kelly Holbert, the Exhibition Coordinator for the Smith College Museum of Art, contacted us while in the process of writing a label for the “Cornish Celebration Presentation Plaquette” (1905-06) made by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a lovely item from the ANS collection included in the touring exhibition “Augustus Saint-Gaudens: American Sculptor of the Gilded Age,” which is being circulated by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions, with Smith as one of its venues. Curiously, there was no information on this piece in the exhibition catalogue so she asked about the event is being commemorated on the date given, June 23, 1905. Saint-Gaudens is known to have executed this work in appreciation for those who presented the masque (or were, perhaps, there in attendance) on the date stated in celebration of his 20-years residency at his Cornish, NH, home and studio Aspet. They were his beloved friends and family. The design portrays a temple with a fire on an altar, a Cupid with lyre to r., with the legend IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF THE CELEBRATION OF JUNE XXIII MCMV. The ANS specimen is accompanied by three printed letters, with hand corrections and the artist’s signature, to relatives of Saint-Gaudens who attended the masque.

United States: New Hampshire. Aspet Masque AR plaquette, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1905, (ANS 1961.137.3, purchase) 47 x 81 mm.

Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, of the Department of Art and Music at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, contacted us concerning a planned exhibition focusing on the imaging of Joan of Arc. Dr. ten-Doesschate Chu is the Academic Director MA Program of Museum Professions and Managing Editor of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. She sent two of the museology students to work with us in surveying and selecting medals for a display they are organizing at Seton Hall in the fall of 2005. They studied our on-line inventory, and described it as “very impressive! Your holdings of Joan of Arc materials…” Alia Noor-Elsayed and Betsy Malinsky visited the coin room to examine the Joan of Arc collection and select candidates for exhibition and photography.

United States. Joan of Arc Commemorative AE medal, by Paul Manship, 1915. (ANS 1920.173.4, gift of Paul Manship) 75 mm.

Our St. Joan series numbers some 260 items, including handsome pieces by important artists such as the plaque by Emile Dropsy illustrated in my previous column and a striking work by outstanding American sculptor Paul Manship. On this large medal, with the simple obverse legend JEANNE D’ARC, Joan is shown advancing into battle on horseback r., holding aloft a banner; above her, an angel flies r., holding aloft a sword. On the reverse, with the legend LA VIERGE HEROIQVE ET MARTYRE MCCCCXXXI (“The heroic virgin and martyr, 1431”), Joan appears tied to a stake, being burned alive with flames around her, a hand from the sky offering a wreath to her. The artist personally presented this medal to the society in 1920.

Joan of Arc afficionadoes will surely also recognize the name of the artist Anna Hyatt Huntington, who sculpted the well-known statue of the Saint in New York City. A volunteer with the Friends of Huntington Beach State Park, Patricia C. Lyons, contacted us regarding her work with this organization formed about two years ago. The project was initially to check for information in connection with the medal which Anna Hyatt, wife of the ANS’ great benefactor Archer Milton Huntington, designed for the Hispanic Society of America.

The Park is looking for relevant information or materials. Anna Hyatt Huntington was a prominent American artist, and her medal for the HSA—her husband’s protegé institution—is a handsome piece. It was an octagonal 1926 work commemorating the visit of the Hispanic American Press to the Hispanic Society of America, featuring the image of Pegasus with Bellerophon and the inscription LA PRENSA. The ANS has a large uniface cast of this issue.

United States: New York City, Hispanic Society of America, AE “La Prensa” plaque, by Anna Hyatt Huntington, 1926 (ANS 1990.54.1, purchase) 140 x 180 mm.

One of the special features of this State Park is Atalaya, the winter home of the Huntingtons—a Moorish-style structure designed by Archer and built in the early 1930s. The Friends hope to help preserve Atalaya and to develop an exhibit there featuring some of the Huntingtons’ interests. A. M.’s focus was on the history of Spain, the Iberian peninsula and the Hispanic overseas colonies, as epitomized by his foundation of the Hispanic Society of America. He was, of course, a great numismatist, and our Society is blessed to have in its cabinet his many thousands of Hispanic and related coins and medals on permanent loan from the HSA. This is indeed in some respects the finest Iberian and related collection in of numismatic material in existence. Huntington’s Visigothic and Islamic collections, which were largely published in the 1950s by ANS Curator George C. Miles, are possibly the best known, but the ancient Celt-Iberian, Roman and medieval collections are also very impressive. So numismatics is high on the list of interest for the Friends.

The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair US Mint Medal in silver was the subject of an inquiry from S. Walden. These were issued in two versions: the smaller (approximately 35 mm or 1.5 in.) was sold by the mint; the larger (approximately 64 mm or 2.5 in.) was intended to be given in actual presentations in connection with the fair. This Seattle Exposition official US Mint medal “Man in the Space Age” was designed by George Tsutakawa.

Other Medals and Decorations

The ANS always serves as an important resource for information about many foreign medals. One curious issue concerning which we had an inquiry from Belinda Loosen was the “Attila the Hun” medal. Now this famous barbarian, the quintessential marauding nomad of the steppes, is not known to have had any contemporary connection to medallic sculpture, but a strange group of medals, depicting him as a horned, pointed-eared satyr in a Roman cuirass, recalls his devastation of the Classical World. The medals are believed to date from the Italian Renaissance onward, more than 1,100 years after the barbarian king’s destruction of Aquileia in 452. Mrs. Loosen’s father had acquired an example many years ago in the region of Alsace.

Italy: Aquileia, AR Attila “the Hun” medal, ca. 1600? (ANS 1940.100.2782, bequest of Robert J. Eidlitz and gift of Mrs. Robert J. Eidlitz) 49.2 mm.

Hermann Maué, curator of the coin cabinet of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Münzkabinett, in Nürnberg, reported that his institution was able to buy an important collection of the works of the great 17th-century medallic artist Sebastian Dadler. Maué is now working on a catalog of the medals. In consequence, he reviewed the sixteen Dadler medals in our cabinet via our on-line data base, and inquired about an apparent discrepancy in what should have been duplicate issues of John George I of Saxony, the centennial commemoration of the Confession of Augsburg. We showed this issue, seemingly, as having two different legends (was one a hitherto unnoticed variety?). I went to locate and study these items in the collection. The problem was simply in our faulty cataloguing: two medals are essentially identical, ANS 0000.999.37995 being merely a cast copy of the medal exemplified by ANS 0000.999.37993 (Tentzel.46.IV). The actual spelling reads AETERNUM on the obverse and IOHANNS on the reverse on both pieces, but before Dr. Maué called this to my attention, and I was able to correct it, our entry for the former showed “ETERNVM” on the obverse and “IOHANNES” on the reverse. This observation underscores the on-going nature of our attempts to upgrade and correct the data base catalog, a monumental task.

Germany: Saxony, Albertine line, Johan Georg I, AR portrait medal by Sebastian Dadler, 1630 (ANS 0000.999.37993, gift of Daniel Parish Jr.) 57 mm.

Betty Wainwright sent images for identification of what appeared to be a copy of a coronation medal of the empress Catherine II “The Great” of Russia (1762-1796), dating from 1762. Original medals of the St. Petersburg mint commemorating this event are not uncommon. They were evidently signed by several different artists who used each others’ designs. The primary reference listing for this series (in Russian, by Smirnov) is S.246a. An attractive silver example in the ANS collection is of a slightly smaller size.

Russia. Catherine II “the Great,” AR Coronation medal, St. Petersburg mint, 1762. (ANS 0000.999.53485) 52 mm.

Marvin Finnley inquired about the rare “Upper Canada Preserved” medal, originally struck in 1815 to celebrate the defense of Canada against the American invasion during the War of 1812. Since records indicate that this production was destroyed without having been issued, surviving specimens are presumably later restrikes.

Canada. Upper Canada Preserved, AE commemorative medal, 1814. (ANS 1967.225.697, gift of the Wadsworth Atheneum, J. Coolidge Hills Collection) 50 mm.

The Victoria Cross is the foremost British military decoration for personal heroism, typically demonstrated in saving the life of another at risk of one’s own life (a considerable number have been, consequently and not surprisingly, awarded posthumously). In all but two cases, the VC has been awarded under combat situations. One of our recent inquiries, from Australian Peter Quinlivian, concerned a renowned example in the Society’s marvelous international collection of orders and decorations. This piece was awarded in 1867 to Timothy O’Hea “for conspicuous courage under circumstances of great danger.” It is one of only two VCs ever given for action outside of wartime, and the only one ever granted for action taking place in Canada. Dated June 19, 1866, our example is currently attributed as an old replacement copy.

British Empire. Victoria Cross, Military Decoration, June 19, 1866, named to Pvt. Timothy O’Hea. (ANS 0000.999.55053, gift of J. Sanford Saltus) height 41.2 mm (to fold of ribbon, 100 mm.

The young Irishman Private O’Hea, of the Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion (Prince Consort’s Own), was accompanying a shipment of ammunition in Quebec, during the immediate aftermath of the abortive invasion of Canada by Irish-Americans of the Fenian Brotherhood, when a fire broke out in the railway car carrying the explosives. He seized keys from a bewildered sergeant as the other soldiers ran for cover, and rushed to the car where he single-handedly hurled out burning munitions-box boards and proceeded to put out the fire, thus avoiding a major explosion (which would no doubt have taken the lives, among others, of some hundreds of German immigrants waiting locked in adjacent boxcars).

The medal, presented to him the following January, is inscribed on the back of its suspension bar PRIVATE TIMOTHY O’HEA/ 1ST. BN. RIFLE BRIGADE, and on the back of the cross itself, 19TH JUNE/ 1866. The date looks rather as though it may have been added to the central circle after this was ground down somewhat. Like all VCs, the decoration is in the form of a double-outlined Maltese cross, in the center of the obverse of which is a crowned lion passant l., head facing, over a crown; below is a ribbon on which are the words FOR VALOUR.

We have documentation which adds some additional information regarding the specimen. Our medal was purchased at auction in 1900 for 57 pounds by Spink’s on behalf of ANS benefactor J. Sanford Saltus; it came to the ANS with his extensive collection of decorations. In our records, it is noted that in 1950 another medal named to O’Hea surfaced in Sydney, Australia. This piece came from a relative of a Major Crummer, to whom it is said that O’Hea was known to have given his medal before he set off into the Australian Bush in 1874 to look for a long-lost German explorer, never to return alive. This same medal was sent to Timothy O’Hea’s home regiment, the Winchester Rifle Brigade, in Winchester, England.

An inquest was held in 1953 at the offices of Spink & Sons, Numismatists, which included representatives of the War Office, the Winchester Rifle Brigade and the Military History Society, and evidently a representative of the manufacturer, Hancocks & Co. They compared our medal with the Sydney piece, and although the Hancocks representative considered ours the better cross and probably genuine, the inquest decided on the basis of the engraving and provenance that the Australian piece was the one personally given to O’Hea. Perhaps it is; perhaps not… The Australian specimen can be seen today at the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester.

Ranging from detection of forgeries and authentication to sociological research and military history, from archaeology and linguistics to celebrations and saints, our numismatic collections and activities provide a tremendous resource for understanding the human condition. Your support of the Society as a member and donor makes all of this possible. We thank you. Please continue helping us to serve you, and let us know what interests you.

Archivist’s News (Spring 2005)

by Joseph Ciccone

As many of you know, the ANS will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2008. One of the ways we plan to commemorate this is by writing an updated history of the ANS, the last having been written in 1958. To help with this, the ANS Archives has initiated an oral history program. This column will explain what is involved and how you can help.

What Is“Oral History”?

An oral history is sometimes referred to as an orchestrated biography. In it, an interviewer asks an interviewee a series of questions about a topic. The interview is recorded and transcribed. The transcription is then revised and deposited in a repository, where it is made available for researchers. In our case, the completed oral histories will be deposited in the ANS Archives.

Why Are Oral Histories Important?

Everyone knows that a primary source of historical information in the written record. However, existing written records do not always provide a complete picture of the past, for a number of reasons. First, decisions or events may not have been memorialized in writing. Secondly, even where the decisions or events were originally written down, the writings may have been lost. Such situations are particularly true in our modern society, with its reliance on non-permanent communication tools like the telephone and email.

As a result, oral history interviews can serve as important supplements to the existing written record and provide researchers with a more complete picture of what occurred and why.

How Will We Conduct Our Program?

In our program, we will invite potential candidates to participate. Assuming they will, we would schedule individual interviews. Prior to each interview, we will provide the candidate with a proposed agenda in which we list topics and questions we would like to discuss. Before the recording begins we will ensure that the candidate is comfortable discussing the topics on the agenda. Only after we have agreed on the topics to be discussed will the recording begin.

We have given great consideration as to whether we would record the interviews in video or audio-only formats. Video recording interviews is tempting because it is possible to use the footage in a variety of ways (e.g., documentaries) which audio-only recording does not permit. However, there are a number of significant limitations to video recording, which include:

  • Increased Cost: The interview would cost more since proper videotaping would require additional staff to monitor the video equipment during the interview.
  • Interviewee Discomfort: Many people do not feel comfortable speaking on camera, so the interviewee may be less likely to speak candidly.
  • Preservation Complications: With video formats rapidly changing, obtaining equipment to maintain the tapes after the interview can be more difficult.

Because of these limitations, we will record the interviews on audiotape.

After the interview is completed, we plan to transcribe the tapes. Transcribing the tapes makes it significantly easier for researchers to access the subject matter contained in the interview. In addition, it will help to ensure the preservation of the original recordings, since repeated use of the audio tapes can damage or ultimately destroy the primary record of the interview.

Once the tapes have been transcribed, we will send a copy of the verbatim transcript to the interviewee. At that time, the interviewee can make whatever emendations he deems necessary for accuracy. It is this revised version — the one revised and approved of by the interviewee — which will be bound and ultimately made available to historians writing the history of the ANS.

Who Will Be Interviewed?

With a limitless budget, we could interview everyone “with a story.” To focus our efforts, we initially hope to interview former staff, Councilors and Fellows who either were in leadership positions or had significant tenures. We have already approached several individuals and are scheduling the first round of interviews for later this spring. If, however, you know of someone you think would make a good candidate, please do not hesitate to contact me (212-571-4470, x1312 /