From the Collections Manager (Spring 2005)

by Elena Stolyarik

The ANS Coin Cabinet has acquired by gifts and purchase over 257 various numismatic objects over the winter. A donation of historical importance came from one of the ANS Trustees, Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss: a group of 19 items comprising a fifth-century BC hoard from Egypt which includes a large silver cake ingot (fig. 1). The provenance of this group, which represents one of the few known examples in the United States, is a private collection (from Valais, Switzerland) purchased in the 1950s. An unusual silver coin (from India?) was donated by ANS member David L. Vagi (fig. 2). Our collection of imitation Athenian coins (of Babylonian Style) was enlarged by two new examples which, together with two silver coin-sized dumps (from the same hoard), were purchased from ANS Fellow David Hendin (Amphora Coins). Another Athenian imitation, of the late-4th century BC Egyptian “Artaxerxes” type, came as a gift from Martin Huth, a diplomat and numismatist from the German Embassy to Lebanon, in Beirut. Added to our collection of unusual numismatic artifacts was a remarkable object (purchased from B. & H. Kreindler), a rare box mirror (fig. 3) consisting of two separate bronze medallions from Smyrna in Ionia (2nd century AD), issued in honor of Antinous, the favorite of Hadrian. These coins had one side carved away, and were then fitted together with a highly polished sheet of silver inserted within the back side of one of them.

Fig. 1. Silver cake ingot (ANS 2005.12.1, gift of Arnold-Peter C. Weiss) 480 gm, 75 mm.

Fig. 2. Silver coin, India? (ANS 2005.15.1, gift of David L. Vagi) 21 mm.

Fig. 3. Roman AE medallion (ancient box mirror), Antinous, Ionia, Smyrna (ANS 2005.19.1, purchase) 38 mm.

Among the most interesting accessions in the Medals Department is a uniface American Medallion by Robert Tait McKenzie (fig. 4), a gift of ANS Fellow Scott H. Miller. Italian ANS member Giovanni Paoletti donated a commemorative medal dedicated to the world famous Irish novelist James Joyce, while another ANS member, Alan Harlan, a numismatist and bibliophile, kindly provided us with the medal produced on the occasion of his 50th Birthday—an issue designed by American medallic sculptor Eugene Daub (fig. 5) (the J. Sanford Saltus Award recipient of 1991). Two personal Tokens, struck by the Patrick Mint of Santa Rosa, CA, on the occasion of David T. Alexander’s inauguration as the New York Numismatic Club’s 43rd President, are the latest additions to our collection of NYNC-related objects. Charles J. Ricard has sent a set of seventeen medals in silver-proof. This gift contained an officially issued United Nations Peace Medals (1971-1987). A fine group of recent US Mint medals was generously donated by ANS member Dr. David Menchell, which included eight examples of the Congressional Series (Joe Lewis, 1981; Truman Historic Site, 1984; Gershwin Brothers, 1985; Aaron Copland, 1986; Jesse Owens, 1988; Norman Schwarzkopf, 1991; Theodore Hesburgh, 1999; John Wayne, n.d.); and four medals dedicated to the directors of the US Mint: (fig. 6) Robert J. Grant, 1932 by John Ray Sinnock; Mary Brooks, 1969; Stella B. Hackel, 1977; Donna Pope, 1981. Three medals of the Secretaries of the Treasury Series, those of Robert B. Anderson, 1958; Henry H. Fowler, 1965 and David M. Kennedy, 1969, were designed by Frank Gasparro and one medal of this Series, that of C. Douglas Dillon, 1961, was by Gilroy Roberts. Dr. Menchell also donated three Bicentennial medals of the US Army, Navy, and Marine Corps (1975) together with medals honoring Kenneth Taylor, Canadian Ambassador (1980) and Robert F. Kennedy (n.d.).

Fig.4: United States. AE medallion, uniface, by Robert Tait McKenzie (ANS 2005.7.1, gift of Scott Miller) 111 mm.

Fig. 5. United States. AE medal of Alan Harlan on occasion of his 50th birthday, by Eugene Daub (ANS 2005.22.1, gift of Alan Harlan) 77 mm.

Fig. 6. United States, Director of the Mint, Robert J. Grant, by John Ray Sinnock, 1932. (ANS 2005.5.83, Gift of David Menchell) 76 mm.

In addition to the medals, Dr. Menchell presented a splendid selection of 144 notes (all in crisp new condition) to fill some of the gap in our collection of US paper money (fig. 7). He donated complete district sets of Federal Reserve Notes, as well as an uncut sheet and an original wrapper from a “brick” of notes, along with the first and last notes of brick. This is a most important addition to the cabinet; we look forward to other continued donations of this kind for our holdings of contemporary United States paper currency. From Anthony Terranova, the US department received three early American Coins replicas and a Long Beach token. George S. Cuhaj presented two specimens of New York Transit tokens which we did not have in the collection.

Fig. 7. United States. $50 Federal Reserve Note, 1990. New York (B), “Radar Note”, serial number B 44333344A (ANS 2005.5.74, gift of David Menchell)

The Latin American cabinet was improved by the addition of a rare Mexican 4-reales of Charles and Johanna (fig. 8), received from Richard Ponterio, as well as 33 Bolivian and Peruvian notes from Emmett McDonald.

Fig. 8. Mexico. AR 4 reales, Charles & Johanna, 1540-1545. (ANS 2005.11.1, gift of Richard Ponterio) 31 mm.

The Islamic Department acquired seven Abbasid dirhams (from Madinat al-Salam, dated AH 163, 163, 189 and 192; and al-Muhammadiyya, of the years 182, 189 and 190) from Alan S. DeShazo and 4 false Umayyad dirhams from Stephen Album.

In the Modern Department, George S. Cuhaj donated a Canadian set of 12 commemorative quarter dollars, while Dr. William M. O’Keefe generously added an unusual Austrian gold coin (fig. 9) of 1695 (an apparent forgery?). The ANS also purchased for the modern collection a very unusual artifact — a Yap Island Stone Rai. It was originally presented to Doctor Perry Rowe, in appreciation for his medical services, by a chief in Yap and sold to the ANS by his grandson Damon Tucker.

Fig. 9. Austria. Gold coin, 1695 (forgery?) (ANS 2005.10.1, gift of William M. O’Keefe) 41 mm.


In February the ANS provided Greek coins to the Frick Collection for its winter exhibition “Renaissance and Baroque Bronze from the Fitzwilliam Museum,” Cambridge. Two of our silver staters of Tarsus in Cilicia, from the reign of Mazaeus (361-333 BC) with the images of a lion attacking a bull (fig. 10), illustrate the essential importance of classical numismatic sources for the Renaissance and Baroque understanding of both the formal composition and civic symbolism of fighting animal groups. In the exhibition at the Frick Collection, the ANS coins are shown along with Gamucci’s Le antichità della città di Roma and Cavalieri’s Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae, two Renaissance volumes that illustrate the other crucial antique source: the monumental marble sculpture of a lion attacking a horse from the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The exhibition is on display at the Frick collection till May 1, 2005.

Fig.10: Tarsus, Cilicia, Reign of Mazaeus, 361-333 BC, AR stater (ANS 1944.100.54414, gift of Edward Newell)

Several ANS objects, including a fragment of a clay master mold, dated to March 31, 63 BC, a secondary bronze coin mold with designs of a tiger and dragon from the Western Han dynasty, as well as three fragments of unfinished cast bronze coins of the daquan wushi denomination, and two terracotta casting molds of the Eastern Han dynasty, are incorporated into the exhibition Recarving China’s Past: The Art, Archaeology, and Architecture of the “Wu Family Shrines” at the Princeton University Art Museum. The exhibition focuses on an early set of rubbings of the Wu shrine pictorial stones in the collection of the Princeton University Museum. The rubbings are presented as a reconstruction of the architectural spaces of the Wu cemetery structures. Numerous works of art that are similar to those depicted in the rubbings are on display to convey a more vivid sense of the material culture and funeral practices of the Han dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). Coins were a common feature in Han burials and became a design motif found on many burial items and architectural decorations. The exhibition will be on display at PUAM till June 26, 2005, and then will travel to a second venue in July-October 2005.

Due to the success of the exhibition Alexander the Great: Treasures of the Epic Era of Hellenism, which is visited by hundreds every day, the Alexander S. Onassis Cultural Center, in New York, has decided to extend the show beyond the initial April 16 closing date; the exhibit will now close May 28, 2005. ANS members and guests have a great opportunity to see 24 coins of Alexander the Great and his successors from the ANS collection on display together with exquisite material from the various other museums and institutions from around the world.

Development News (Spring 2005)

by Pamala Plummer-Wright

In January 2005 we introduced the monthly ANS E-News letter on the internet, which has been well received by our membership. The purpose of the ANS E-News is to keep ANS members informed and involved in forthcoming ANS fundraising events, lectures, openings, etc. Additionally, we have in the E-News monthly “columns” by the librarian and curatorial staff which announce thier latest activities, research, and travels. To subscribe to the E-News letter contact

ANS Annual Gala a Huge Success

On January 13, 2005, the ANS hosted its Annual Gala at The Plaza Hotel, this time honoring George Kolbe. Both the Gala and the Auction brought in a total of $51,885, and both served as an appropriate way to thank George Kolbe for his ANS Benefit Book Auction in August which raised $90,000. The ANS remains deeply grateful to everyone who participated in the Gala and particularly to Harmer Johnson who did a fantastic job as auctioneer. A special thank you to those who gave items including Arnold-Peter Weiss, Victor England, and Ute Wartenberg Kagan. The Auction itself was quite successful this year bringing in $16,000. Also, as you will see in the News section of the magazine, the 2006 Annual ANS Gala has scheduled for January 12, at the Sky Club in New York City. Rick Witschonke is Auction and Dinner Chairman and may be reached directly at

City and Government Funding

The ANS received from the City of New York Cultural Affairs Department $40,000 for new customized cabinets in the main vault. This fulfills the commitment made to the ANS by Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President, and Alan Gerson, City Councilman for the ANS District.

The ANS Visits San Francisco

In mid-February Drs. Peter van Alfen and Ute Wartenberg Kagan were in San Francisco for the San Francisco Ancient Coin Club meeting where Peter van Alfen gave a presentation to the club members. The meeting was followed by a reception hosted at ANS Board member Roger Siboni’s home in San Francisco. The event was well attended with guests coming from as far as Seattle. This trip was the first of many we have planned in our new outreach program to gain support and to actively engage members who are located outside the New York Metropolitan area. Future events are being scheduled for Chicago, Miami, Houston/Dallas and Boston.

Total Contributions and Income

The total amount of income and contributions, from October 1, 2004 to the present, is $1,371,350.25. A breakdown of the specific categories of contributions can be found in the contributions section of the magazine.

ANS Library Chair Fund Has More Good News!

The Francis Campbell Library Fund campaign has had great success in recent months raising a total of $309,575.25. A special thank to the Ford Family whose donation of $200,000 contributed greatly to this recent effort. We remain particularly grateful to John Adams, Chairman of the Library Fund, without whom this initiative would not be possible.

Annual Appeal Results Up From Last Year

The 2004 Annual Appeal was quite successful raising $54,455. As always the Appeals are very important to the ANS since the contributions directly affect the ability of the ANS to provide services to the members, and support events and activities.

Library News (Spring 2005)

by Francis Campbell

During the past few months, there has been somewhat of a return to routine Library functions at our new quarters. Projects begun prior to the move are being resumed, as is regular reference service. Library visitation is returning to normal and even experienced a boost during the recently held New York International Show. New fund-raising efforts for the Library Chair are being planned in the form of benefit auctions and special events and a new approach to augmenting library holdings via solicitation in the Society’s electronic newsletter are proving very successful.

Kary Collado organizes Chapman Archive

Although much of the Librarian’s time over the past several months has been spent settling in at the new Fulton Street location, the Library has been able to move ahead with a project that was interrupted by the move to our new location; the organization of the Chapman correspondence that was received while we were still located on Audubon Terrace. Kary Collado, the Library’s part-time assistant has been removing these items from their original boxes and organizing the letters by name of correspondent. This gift originally came to the Library as a generous donation from the Estate of Mrs. Henrietta Chapman Judson and contains a substantial quantity of the correspondence and other papers of the coin auction firm run by Henry and Samuel Hudson Chapman, which began operations in 1879. As a partnership, the Chapman brothers conducted some 83 sales over a 24-year period. In 1906, they decided to dissolve the partnership. Samuel Hudson continued his proprietorship until retiring in 1929. Henry carried on until his death in 1935. Among the great collections sold by the Chapmans were those of Thomas Warner, John G. Mills, Thomas Cleneay, Edward Maris, Harlan P. Smith, William F. Gable, George H. Earle, W. H. Hunter, John Story Jenks, Charles I. Bushnell, Mathew A. Stickney, Andrew C. Zabriskie, Elisha Turner, and Allison W. Jackman. We fully expect to find many interesting exchanges between some of these collectors and the Chapmans when all of these materials are gone through.

This year’s Annual Dinner Gala proved more enjoyable than usual for the Librarian in that the honoree was Library Committee member George F. Kolbe. For more than a quarter of a century, the Kolbe firm has played an important part in the acquisition history of the ANS Library in that the library has been able to significantly enrich its collection with the quality items that George has made available in his sales. Through his catalogs, his advice, and his personal generosity, George has proved to be a major factor in the Library’s collection development. As Librarian, I am extremely proud to be able to occupy the George F. Kolbe Librarian’s Office.

On January 12, 2006, in conjunction with the Society’s Annual Dinner Gala, we plan to hold a book auction that will benefit the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair. Prior to that event, items to be auctioned off will be solicited so, if there are some attractive volumes among your personal library holdings that you think would generate income for this sale, please send them to us. You can send all such volumes to the Librarian’s attention here at the Society. Rick Witschonke of the Library Committee and Pamala Plummer-Wright, Director of Development and Public Relations, will be coordinating auction-related activities for this event as we move closer to the date.

I would like to thank those who have responded so enthusiastically to our solicitations, in the ANS electronic “Newsletter,” for items needed by the Library to complete certain periodical and auction holdings. Thus far, we have received issues of “Coinage” magazine, “The Asylum,” and “Essay-Proof Journal” that we lacked. In future issues of the “Newsletter” we will continue our attempts to make the Library as complete as possible.

Islamic Curator’s News (Spring 2005)

by Michael Bates

More than 40 years ago, the great ANS numismatist George C. Miles showed that the Roman Byzantine miliaresion, a silver coin introduced by Leo III (717-41), was not only a Greek Christian adaptation of the Islamic Arabic dirham, but often was, in physical origin, a dirham, overstruck with a cross and Greek inscriptions. The evidence for this phenomenon is the substantial proportion of miliaresia still showing traces of the Islamic design that was only partially obliterated by the Roman overstrike. The argument is generally known and accepted, but a recent photo order from Mr. Robert L. Quinn of Beál an Daingin, County Galway, for his book The Atlantean Irish brought about a re-examination of these coins in the ANS, including those acquired since Miles wrote. Mr. Quinn wanted images of three Islamic coins that influenced the monetary system of Europe in the middle ages. From a list of suggestions sent to him, he selected an Abbasid dinar of the eighth century typical of those copied by western Europeans such as the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia, Offa (757-96); a Samanid dirham of the tenth century, representative of the tons of silver coins exported from Muslim Central Asia to northern Europe; and a miliaresion showing traces of Arabic inscription (see page 153 of hisbook). Many miliaresia show vague traces of an undertype; some have letters or words from the standard religious inscriptions on dirhams; but very few display enough of the undertype to identify the mint city, date, or issuing official of the original coin. Miles, in his 1960 article, had only three such examples, all from other collections, among the 23 he knew.

Obverses of a Constantinople miliaresion with an Arab undertype and the corresponding Arab dirham (left, ANS 1980.5.3, purchase; right, ANS 1949.163.63, gift of Walter L. Wright). The Arabic mint name and date are at the bottom of both coins, reading from 7:00 to 4:00.

Since then, 100 miliaresia have been added to our collection, of which at least eight have some visible trace of Arab undertype. Among those, the last one examined turned out to be the real find, with a fully legible mint name and enough of the date inscription to restore the year of issue. Stephen Album came into my office just when I had first picked up the coin and was puzzling over it, and showed his 2003 ANS Huntington medallist stuff by reading the mint as al-Abbasiyya, a place in northwest Africa that is yet to be precisely located, and the last number of the date as 5. Since al-Abbasiyya’s main period of output was only some 35 years—nearly all our holdings are in a single tray, put in order by Dr. Sam Gellens when he was a Graduate Seminar student in 1980—it didn’t take long to find a match for the overstruck dirham in the ANS collection. It was minted in 165 (781-82) with the name of the governor Yazid (figure 1). Between that date and 797 (the end of the reign of Constantine VI and his mother Irene who are named in the Greek inscription of the overstrike) a dirham like ours made its way in circulation from hand to hand, from its north African birthplace to Constantinople, where someone took it to the mint, probably in a bag with thousands of other dirhams, to be turned into a miliaresion.

A few other mint names and dates are legible as undertypes of miliaresia, enough to show that the eighth-century flow of Islamic silver did not all spring from one particular place or period. The dirhams that came to Constantinople are typical of the mixed varieties in any hoard containing eighth-century Islamic silver. The discovery of this mint name, however, is of some special interest to the present writer, in connection with his larger study of the close relationship between mining and minting throughout history. The output of the mint al-Abbasiyya, even though it is a place otherwise unknown to history, comprises about 14% of the total of any hoard sample of contemporary dirhams, no matter where the hoard is found–and Abbasid dirhams of these years, roughly 770 to 805, are one of the most abundant coinages of history. The explosion of dirham minting at al-Abbasiyya is to be explained by the discovery of productive silver mines in various parts of Morocco. The most explicit evidence for these mines is constituted by the silver dirham coinage of the Idrisid Alid imams and their contemporaries at a dozen or so mints in obscure places: a burst of silver coinage production not equalled at any other time in the long monetary history of the country. Al-Abbasiyya was the name given to another place fed by the output of the Moroccan mines.

The new overstrike shows that the outpouring of silver from Morocco also reached Constantinople. This is not surprising, considering that the abundant flow of Islamic silver to Constantinople would inevitably have included a substantial proportion of al-Abbasiyya issues, like the hoards. Silver mines were opened or further developed in several parts of the caliphate in the eighth century; in addition to those of Morocco, there were important mines north of Herat, in Armenia, and in Yemen. The contemporary Roman empire did not have silver mines, so it would be natural for silver coins to be transported from an economy where they were abundant to an economy that lacked intermediate specie between copper folles and gold solidi; in different words, from an economy where their purchasing power was relatively low to one where they had a higher real value. It is entirely possible that some of the cheap silver of North Africa also flowed into Muslim Spain and the Carolingian empire, helping to enable the establishment of the silver penny as medieval Europe’s standard coin, but Iberia and Gaul had productive silver mines of their own, perhaps making silver there as cheap as it was in the Muslim countries and commerce in that metal therefore unprofitable.

European Imitations of Abbasid Gold Coins in a New Article

The brief reference above to Abbasid dinars of 157 as the prototype for western European dinar imitations was inspired by earlier discussions with Lutz Ilisch, curator of the Islamic coin collection at Tübingen University, who was then assembling the material for a catalogue and survey of eighth-century dinar imitations. Robert Hoge and I were pleased a few days ago to receive offprints of the resulting article by Dr. Ilisch. The title translated into English is “The imitative solidi mancusi: ‘Arabic’ gold coins of Carolingian times.” Solidi mancusi are mentioned in western European documents and texts as early as 778. Ilisch assembles convincing evidence to confirm the long-held opinion that mancusus is derived from the Arabic word manqūsh, meaning “engraved.” There is evidence to suggest that the term mancusus was picked up from Arabophone use of manqūsh as a colloquial name for Islamic-type coins with engraved inscriptions only and no images.

An Abbasid dinar of 157 H. (773-74) and its Carolingian imitation (left, ANS 1917.215.28, gift of Edward T. Newell from the collection of Prof. Charles Torrey; right, ANS 1931.115.1, purchase).

Ilisch had written last year to request images of an ANS coin, 1931.115.1, that had long since been identified as an imitation. The original accession record describes it as “made by Offa of Mercia” (an idea correctly described by former ANS curator Jeremiah Brady in a note in the coin box as “wishful thinking”). Ilisch suggests plausibly that it had been in the collection of Prince Philipp von Sachsen-Coberg-Gotha put on auction in 1928. While I was working on my response to Ilisch, I mentioned the inquiry and showed the coin to Hoge, who exclaimed “I’ve got a coin that looks a lot like that one!” Sure enough, his small collection of Arabic gold coins included another example of the series, from different dies. We sent images of both coins to Ilisch, and Hoge measured their specific gravity. Both coins belong to Ilisch’s group I, including nine examples from eight different pairs of dies. Almost all the European imitations are characterized by a circle of dots around the outer edge of the obverse and reverse. The imitations of this group and group II are easy to identify by the representation of the word bism, “in the name of,” as a mere series of dots from about 2:30 back to 1:00 on the reverse (on the prototypes, it is four short vertical strokes followed by a circle). They are also somewhat alloyed, as Hoge’s measurements helped to show, and almost 20% underweight. All these dinars have substantially correct Arabic inscriptions and the false date 157. Doubtless readers of the ANS Magazine have more examples in their collection; they should notify me or Ilisch.

Ilisch regards these coins as examples from a rather large issue, probably from a single official mint in Charlemagne’s empire somewhere near its eastern frontier. He suggests the faint possibility that they were minted from a large treasure taken as booty from the Avars in 791-94, and at any rate, that this particular series of imitations was produced sometime after 774, the date of the prototype dinar, and before the end of the 790s, when they were followed by another series of imitations including the famous unique British Museum coin with normal Arabic inscriptions and the words OFFA REX written upside-down between the lines of the obverse.

A New Joyce Medal

Among the donations received at the New York International Coin Show this year was a medal commemorating the 100th anniversary of James Joyce’s arrival in Trieste, where he spent fifteen years and established himself as a major author. It was given by Giovanni Paoletti through the well-known Trieste coin dealer Giulio Bernardi who commissioned the issue. The obverse is a very fine depiction of Joyce’s prickly cantankerous personality, as well as a good portrait of the author as a young man. The dates 1882-1982 at the lower left seem out of place; he died in early 1941. The reverse is not artistic, except for an unusual background effect that makes the lettering seem to float above the surface when the light reflects at a certain angle. It has only inscriptions, including a statement of the occasion of the medal, “100 years since the arrival of James Joyce in Trieste, 20.X.1904.” At the time, Trieste was the great seaport of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was also the only place in Europe where Joyce, who had just run away from Ireland with his girlfriend, Nora Barnacle, could find a job with his sole marketable skill, teaching English as a foreign language. In Trieste, in the intervals of instructing private pupils for Berlitz, he wrote the largest part of Dubliners, rewrote Stephen Hero into Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and did about a third of Ulysses. The central reverse inscription of the medal is a line from a letter he wrote back to Nora in October 1909, during Joyce’s brief and last visit to Dublin: “My soul is in Trieste!” In 1915, his position made untenable as a British subject in a realm at war with the U.K., Joyce moved to Zurich. In October 1919 he tried to resume his old life in Trieste, but it was not the same after the war, and in June 1920 he moved permanently to Paris.

Medal commemorating 100th anniversary of the arrival of James Joyce in Trieste (ANS 2005.17.1, gift of Giulio Bernardi).

Further reading

Daniel Eustache, Corpus des dirhams idrisites et contemporains: Collection de la Banque du Maroc et autres collections mondiales, publiques et privées (Banque du Maroc. Études sur la numismatique et l’histoire monétaire du Maroc, I). Rabat, 1970-71.

George C. Miles, “Byzantine Miliaresion and Arab Dirhem: Some Notes on Their Relationship,” American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 9 (1960), 188-218.

Elizabeth Savage and Adon A. Gordus, “Dirhams for the Empire,” in Genèse de la ville islamique,” in: P. Gressier and M. García-Arenal, eds., Al-Andalus et au Maghreb occidental (ed. Madrid: Casa de Velázquez, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1998), 377-402.

Bob Quinn, The Atlantean Irish: Ireland’s Oriental and Maritime Heritage (Dublin: The Liliput Press, 2005).

Lutz Ilisch, “Die imitativen solidi mancusi: “Arabische” Goldmünzen der Karolingerzeit,” in: Reiner Cunz, ed. Fundamenta Historiae: Geschichte im Spiegel der Numismatik und ihrer Nachbarwissenschaften: Festschrift für Niklot Klüßendorf zum 60. Geburtstag am 10. Februar 2004 (Veröffentlichungen der urgeschichtlichen Sammlungen des Landesmuseums zu Hannover, 51; Neustadt an der Aisch: Verlagsdruckerei Schmidt, 2004), 91-106.

“The Brazen Head”

James Joyce – Triestine Itineraries (a virtual walk through Joyce’s Trieste provided by Laboratorio Joyce of the Università degli Studi di Trieste),

The Greek Cabinet (Spring 2005)

by Peter Van Alfen

The last several years have seen a healthy amount of scholarly activity devoted to the origins of coinage and monetization in the western world, often, as to be expected, with differing conclusions. What is not disputed is that sometime around 600 BC (just how far back we should go into the 7th century is not known), the first coins appeared in the Lydian kingdom, with its capital at Sardis, in what is now western Turkey. Little more than roughly shaped and stamped electrum nuggets, these first coins signaled the beginnings of a sea-change in the concept of money in the ancient world. Within a couple of generations the Greeks living in various parts of the Aegean had picked up on this Lydian idea of coinage and quite literally ran with it, spreading their coins far and wide throughout the Mediterranean, inspiring other communities to mint, and refining the appearance of the coins to produce some of the finest examples of miniature art known from antiquity.

Lydia: Sardis EL “Croesid” 1/3 electrum stater, ca. 600 BC (ANS 1957.172.1735, gift of Hoyt Miller).

Partly because the Greeks were so voluminous with their writings and so prolific with their coinage, and so left a great deal of evidence to sift through, the effects of coinage on Greek society and economies has received the most attention to date. In 2004 two new major books on the subject appeared: Richard Seaford’s excellent Money and the Early Greek Mind: Homer, Philosophy, Tragedy (Cambridge University Press) and David Schaps’ The Invention of Coinage and the Monetization of Ancient Greece (University of Michigan Press). A number of years ago Leslie Kurke also addressed some of the social problems associated with early Greek coinage in her Coins, Bodies, Games and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece (Princeton University Press, 1999; see the review by John H. Kroll, Classical Journal 96 [2000], pp. 86-90). While Kurke elides over the problems of the earliest (non-Greek) coins, Seaford and Schaps tackle the issues head-on, devoting ample space in their books to the subject (see especially Seaford, chapter 7). But, since both of these studies are ultimately intent on illustrating the effects of monetization on (later) Greek thought and society, they are less concerned with probing the nuts and bolts of the earliest numismatic evidence. Both scholars, in fact, rely a great deal on Georges Le Rider’s La naissance de la monnie: pratiques monétaires de l’Orient ancien (Paris 2001), a highly important study by one of the world’s most pre-eminent numismatic scholars (also see the review by John H. Kroll, Revue Suisse Numismatique 80 [2001], 199-206), as well as Hacksilber to Coinage: New Insights into the Monetary History of the Near East and Greece, a volume of papers edited by the late Miriam Balmuth (see her obituary in the last ANS Magazine), which was published by the ANS in 2001.

Despite all the good work recently done on the topic by numismatists and philologists alike, some of the key issues surrounding the very first coins are far from resolved. The problems, simply put, have to do with the metal used to produce the first coins, namely electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver that was found in great abundance within the Lydian kingdom. Because then, as now, there was such a tremendous discrepancy between the value of gold and silver (in antiquity the ratio varied between roughly 1:10 to 1:14), no one using native electrum in exchange would have known exactly how much his nugget of the metal was worth. Although the electrum found around Sardis averaged about 70% gold and 30% silver, these percentages could vary a great deal, and therefore the intrinsic value of different nuggets of the metal could vary. In other words, two pieces of electrum that both weighed, say, 14.1 grams (the stater of the Lydo-Milesian standard), could have had wildly different intrinsic values. To solve this problem, and perhaps to quiet transactional disputes, the state seems to have stepped in and offered pre-weighed nuggets of electrum, stamped with a seal that enforced a certain value for that piece no matter what its intrinsic value might have actually been. But just what the state’s motives were is a matter of dispute. Did the state actively seek to exploit the situation by seriously overvaluing or even adulterating the electrum with more silver, as Le Rider argues, or was it simply offering a good faith solution to the electrum “crisis,” as Robert Wallace argued nearly twenty years ago (“The Origin of Electrum Coinage,” American Journal of Archaeology 91 [1987], pp. 385-97).

Since we can only answer these questions by knowing the exact composition of the earliest coins’ alloys, and since so few metallurgical tests have been conducted on these coins, ANS board member and University of Texas at Austin Classics professor John (“Jack”) Kroll is currently spearheading a project to test a large number of these coins from the ANS collection using non-destructive methods. Enlisting the aid of Robert Wallace, Professor of Classics at Northwestern University, Paul Keyser, an IBM scientist who holds two PhD’s, one in Classics and another in Physics, and myself, the Early Electrum Project came to life this last year. With Northwestern University providing the funding for the project, Kroll was able to arrange with Professor Gary Glass, director of the Louisiana Accelerator Laboratory at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, to have the coins tested in Glass’ lab using the Proton Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) method.

In late February, I flew down to Lafayette with 54 electrum coins from the collection and enjoyed the hospitality of Prof. Glass and his crew: Stacie Thomas, Nick Pastore, Dr. Bibhudutta Rout, and graduate assistant Richard Greco. In less than one week we finished the largest ever PIXE test on early electrum coins, an exciting step forward in numismatic studies and one that even caught the attention of the local media; in one day alone we conducted two television and three newspaper interviews! With the coins now safely back in New York, and the preliminary results from the analysis starting to come in, the next step will be to determine just what the results tell us about the issues at hand, and finally to bring it all to publication.

Richard Greco preparing a batch of coins to be loaded into the vacuum chamber

Metallurgical analysis is often key to answering important questions in the study of numismatics, and yet because of the specialized nature of the equipment, the necessary knowledge of physics and chemistry, and even the cost, only rarely are such tests ever conducted, and then usually only on a small handful of coins. While in Lafayette, Prof. Glass and I discussed creating a long-term analysis project, an idea that excites us both. With funding perhaps from the National Science Foundation, the state of Louisiana, or even private donors, we envision using the Louisiana lab to test hundreds, if not thousands of coins over a period of years. Initially we would like to continue testing early electrum pieces (and invite any members with early electrum to loan or donate the coins to the ANS to have tested), but we could soon open the tests to any series of coins the study of which would benefit from non-destructive metallurgical analysis. Such a long-term project would be truly groundbreaking, and might help put to rest once and for all unresolved disputes in numismatic studies, like those concerning the very origin of coinage.

Bibhudutta Rout and Richard Greco loading a batch of coins into the vacuum chamber

From the Executive Director (Spring 2005)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

I am happy to present another issue of the ANS Magazine. As always, I take great pleasure in recognizing the efforts of our staff, members and other friends, who contribute articles and columns, and the support of our advertisers, who make it possible for us to publish each issue. This spring edition is especially varied and I hope you find it as interesting as I do. We are particularly grateful to Mark Tomasko, not only for authoring our cover article, but also for loaning the material for the exhibition “New York on Steel” at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The selection of stocks and bonds on display at the Fed has been well-received, and his article allows all our members to appreciate his efforts. I think you’ll also enjoy ANS Fellow and former CNL editor Philip Mossman’s article on the ANS’ Numismatic Notes and Monographs series. Rick Witschonke has now joined the staff as a curatorial assistant but will continue his regular Impressions column, which in this issue deals with his recent work on the ANS’ collections of political buttons.

We also continue to enjoy our readers’ reactions to previous issues. Cornelius Vermeule, for example, curator emeritus at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, has pointed out that early twentieth-century ANS benefactor Archer Huntington—who was his wife Emily’s uncle—“is idealized four times by Aunt Anna as a Rodin-esque thinker at the base of El Cid.” Dr. Vermeule refers, of course, to the monument statue that Anna Hyatt Huntington had created for Audubon Terrace, which was discussed in a recent issue of the magazine (vol. 3.1, pp. 39-40), and which could hardly be overlooked by visitors to the old ANS. While Archer’s likenesses on the statue were easy to miss, his great work on behalf of the Society has received due recognition in recent issues as well (vol. 2.2, p. 37; vol. 3.2, pp. 23-24), prompting Dr. Vermeule’s interesting comments. The article in the last issue about our new medal featuring President Donald Partrick, which commemorated the move to Fulton Street, prompted member Alan Harlan to donate a beautiful new medal (see Elena Stolyarik’s “New Acquisitions” column). He had commissioned it for his 50th birthday from artist and ANS Saltus Award winner Eugene Daub, who also designed the Partrick medal. We are most grateful for such unexpected gifts to the collections, and for any comments on our features.

The news sections will let you know of all our happenings, but I would like to take this time to thank the San Francisco Ancient Coin Club and Roger Siboni for the hospitality they extended to Peter van Alfen and me on our trip to the west coast in February. And I would also like to highlight the recent publication of American Journal of Numismatics 15, Numismatic Literature 145, and Sewall Menzel’s Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins: The Early Spanish American Mints and Their Coinages, 1536-1773.

Finally, it is with great sadness that I report the deaths of John Mitchell and Willie Harley, Jr., who worked with us as guards for many years. The ANS is a close-knit community and these losses are keenly felt.

Yours truly,
Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Obituary for the Belgian Franc

by Andrew Schloss

In the summer 2004 issue of the ANS Magazine (vol. 3, no. 2, pp.40-43) we looked at the modern numismatic history of Belgium within the context of a major crisis that nearly deposed the royal family in the smoldering aftermath of the Second World War. Reacting with disgust to the collaborationist policies of King Leopold III, the Belgians dropped virtually all references to the monarchy from their coinage and replaced the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas with a series of classically inspired designs. As the monarchy regained the trust of the Belgian people, so too was the monarch slowly reinstated on their coins. In this part, we will look at another crucial political development of the post-War era; the fallout resulting from an invisible line that splits the country into two equal spheres of influence.

Belgium is composed of two historical regions — Flanders in the north and Wallonia in the south. Straddling the border between the Romance and Germanic language families, Belgium is a multi-lingual state akin to Canada and Switzerland. Since medieval times the people of the southern areas of Belgium have spoken Romance dialects of French while residents northern areas have spoken variants of Low German. Today about sixty percent of the population speaks Dutch and forty percent speak French, with virtually all of the speakers living in his or her own language region. There is also a small German speaking region ceded to Belgium after World War I, and German speakers comprise less than 1 percent of Belgium’s population. Although this split in language has been present since prior to the creation of a sovereign Belgian state, it is only in the twentieth century when these linguistic differences have been politicized and has led to the devolution of the unitary state along linguistic lines.

Growing Tensions

During the first half century of Belgian independence French speakers dominated political, cultural, and economic power. French was the language of the government, courts, military, and education.

The first coins of modern Belgium were struck in French only, indicative of the political, economic, and social hegemony French speakers had over the new nation. 10 centimes – Proof 1832 (ANS 1940.196.114).

The dominant economic region of the time, the Sambre-Meuse Valley, is situated in the French speaking part of the country. Flemish political movements made significant headway during the nineteenth century toward language parity, but this was more out of a desire to have the right to speak one’s own language in public institutions rather than out of any sense of cultural or territorial unity. By the time the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914, Flanders and Wallonia were both almost entirely uni-lingual and this fact was confirmed by the 1932 Territoriality Principle calling for complete territorial uni-linguism except for matters of national importance, which would be bi-lingual. By associating physical territory with language for the first time, the 1932 language law had the important consequence of allowing politicians to use linguistic concerns as a means to assert and enforce territorial control for political, economic, and cultural ends.

For much of its history, Belgium has struck two versions of every coin, identical in all respects except for language. 5 Francs 1965 French legend (ANS 1965.219.4).

5 Francs, 1965 Dutch legend (ANS 1970.156.433).

It was not until after WWII that conflict over language differences began to accelerate rapidly. The German occupiers had been keenly aware of Belgium’s language differences, exploiting the situation by freeing Flemish prisoners of war while keeping their Walloon counterparts in captivity. The Flemish movement, which had leaned heavily on fascist ideology and Nazi collaboration, emerged from the war humiliated and vilified by the francophones. Meanwhile, the first Walloon Congress in 1945 rejected the continuation of the unitary Belgian state and unanimously demanded an autonomous Wallonia. A majority of the delegates even considered annexation by France to be the preferable outcome. Polarization between the Flemings and Walloons continued in the 1950s through the crisis in the monarchy and a heated debate in the government concerning education in public schools.

An essential component in the growing separation between Flanders and Wallonia was a dramatic shift in Belgium’s economic center-of-gravity. The industrial areas of the of the Sambre-Meuse Valley suffered from a decaying infrastructure, rapid depletion of key natural resources, and a growing inability to attract substantial new investment because of the high cost of labor. Flanders, with its excellent and unharmed port at Antwerp, began to catch up with the traditionally more prosperous south and eventually overtook Wallonia’s historical economic dominance. To many, the construction of the Sidmar Steel plant outside Ghent in 1962 was allegorical for Flanders’ rise and Wallonia’s decline.

Contributing to widening gap between Wallonia and Flanders was the maturation of a Flemish political class that had been educated entirely in Dutch. Free from the collaborationist connotations of their predecessors and with confidence boosted by economic success, these young Flemings formed the nationalist Volksunie party in 1954. Seeing Wallonia as an economic burden, they unanimously demanded a permanent regional separation along language lines. The Walloon regional movement formed parallel to the Flemish movement as a response to the rise of the new Flemish political class and what they saw as the antagonizing and humiliating behavior of the Flemish politicians announcing the advent of a “new Flanders.”

Linguistic Frontier

The first major language laws of the post-WWII era were passed in 1962. These laws, in conjunction with the language laws of August 3, 1963, divided Belgium into four language zones: the Dutch region, the French region, the German region, and a bilingual region for Brussels. The creation of a formal “linguistic frontier” started a domino effect that irrevocably separated Wallonia and Flanders. Even before the language laws in 1960, the single state broadcasting authority had split into Dutch and French branches. The Ministry of Culture was divided similarly in 1966 and in 1968 all the major political parties in Belgium were divided into French and Dutch speaking components. A planned expansion of the mostly French speaking Catholic University of Leuven into Flemish Brabant sparked massive protests and ultimately resulted in the French part of the university moving to a new campus in Wallonia while the Flemish part stayed. After this precedent, the Flemings demanded a full-fledged Dutch institution in Brussels to counter the French Universite Libre de Bruxelles and in 1969 the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was founded. The events of the 1960’s proved to defenders of the central, unitary Belgian state that constitutional reform was unavoidable. Constitutional reform in 1970 essentially ended the Belgian unitary state and laid the foundations for a federal government. Three “regions” were created, Brussels, Wallonia, and Flanders, and three cultural “communities” were defined as well: French, Dutch, and German. The vague relationship between these “regions” and “communities” was updated and clarified in the constitutional reforms of 1980 that granted substantial cultural and financially autonomy to each of the regions and communities. This autonomy was extended to the German community in 1983.

Further solidification of the sub-national levels of government in Belgium came about in 1988 as a direct result of a small town on the country’s fringes. The rural French-speaking hamlet of Les Fourons was in 1962 caught on the wrong side of the language frontier and was forcibly incorporated into the Dutch speaking region. Renamed Voeren, the town continued to be a symbol of the need to reform the 1962 language laws. In 1982 the people of Voeren elected Jose Happart mayor. Happart, a Walloon nationalist, refused to speak or demonstrate that he knew Dutch, flagrantly violating the 1962 law stipulating that the public proceedings must occur in the language of the region. The issue turned sleepy Voeren into a national media-circus, with Happart being praised as a Robin Hood in Wallonia and denounced as a “terrorist” in Flanders. He has subsequently been elected a member of the European Parliament. The government’s failure to solve the Voeren issue led to its resignation in 1987 and further federal reform in 1988. The 1988 reform left national defense, foreign affairs, agriculture, justice, and monetary issues in the hands of a central state government while passing authority over control of the economy, education, transport and the environment to the regions. Further reforms between 1992 and 1994 solidified the Federal State as well as the Lambermont Agreement of 2000.

One Nation, Two Coinages

The influence of linguistic difficulties in Belgium is immediately noticeable on the nation’s numismatics. The first Belgian coins at the time of independence were inscribed entirely in French reflecting that language’s dominant position over all aspects of the state at that time. Coins with Dutch (or “Flemish”) legends were struck beginning in 1882 and since that date there have been two versions of almost every Belgian coin minted, one in French and one in Dutch. The two coins are minted in approximately equal amounts and are completely interchangeable. They circulate side by side and differ only in the language of inscriptions.

In the 1930s the government attempted to create a unified coinage with the Dutch Belgie and the French Belgique side by side. The king was identified as Leopold III, the same in both languages. This solution never worked because on each coin either Belgie or Belgique must come first and neither side could acquiesce to being second billed. In exasperation the government minted two versions of these coins as well, one version with Belgie-Belgique, the other with Belgique-Belgie.

Attempting to save resources, Belgium experimented in the 1930s with coins that included both the Dutch and French name for the country on the same coin. 5 Francs, 1939 (ANS 1982.46.27).

In 1960, one of the last years of relative unity, Belgium minted a coin commemorating the marriage of King Baudouin. Following the example of Switzerland, a nation that solves the monetary problems associated with being a multi-lingual society by using Latin as a neutral language, the coin was inscribed completely in Latin. Belgium is identified as “Belgica” and even the royal name Baudouin is Latinized to “Baldvinus.” Apparently this didn’t work either because the Latin solution was never extended to any other coins. In 1987, at the height of language hyper-sensitivity, Belgium started to add German legends to commemorative coins although only 0.7 percent of Belgians claimed German as their first language. A 1990 coin commemorating the 60th birthday of King Albert II was minted in three different versions, French, Dutch, and German.

Taking a cue from Switzerland, another multi-lingual European nation, Belgium toyed with using Latin on its coins as a neutral language. It must be inferred that this too proved unpopular, considering that only one coin was minted with Latin. 50 Francs, 1960 Wedding of King Baudoin and Princess Fabiola of Spain (ANS 1961.97.1).

Belgium’s official motto is “La Union fait la Force” or “Strength in Unity,” yet the political situation of the past fifty years has proven to be reflective of anything other than feelings of solidarity. Belgium’s troubled relationship with its monarch and the ongoing schism its language groups is reflected in the nation’s coinage from the end of World War II until the introduction of the Euro.

Roman Provincial Coins and Imperial Chronology

by Sebastian Heath

While dates are commonplace, and even expected, on modern coins, relatively few cities and states of the Ancient Mediterranean world marked their coins with the year they were issued. And of course, when ancient authorities did use dates, these were based on their own systems of annual reckoning, not on the Christian era in widespread use today. But dates are welcome when they do appear on ancient coins, and this article will look at a few examples of dated coins struck for the subject cities, or in one case a province, of the Roman Empire during the third century AD. In each case, the date provides an extra piece of chronological information that helps establish a fuller historical context for these coins. There is no doubt that history and numismatics have always been complementary disciplines, this article explores just how close that relationship can be.

Caesarea ad Libanum

Our first example (fig. 1) was struck for the city of Caesarea ad Libanum in Phoenicia during the reign of the emperor Elagabalus but in the name of his adopted son Severus Alexander, who was born in the city in 208. Neither Elagabalus nor Severus Alexander, both members of the family of Septimius Severus’ Syrian wife Julia Domna, has been judged particularly kindly by modern historians. Elagabalus, whose official name was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, is well-known as the emperor who tried to introduce the worship of the stone Elagabal into Rome, just one example of his extreme behavior. Alexander Severus’ reign is often faulted for failing to confront the looming military threats that would grab the attention of subsequent emperors over the course of the third century.

Fig. 1. Phoenicia: Caesarea ad Libanum, Severus Alexander, AE, AD 221-222. Rougier 738var. (ANS 2002.21.8, anonymous gift) 24 mm.

The obverse of the ANS specimen is barely legible, but Alexander’s name can be made out on close inspection, and the portrait type matches better preserved examples. The reverse type is a temple façade from which two flanking stairways descend on the left and right. A river-god swims between the stairs, and within the temple a male figure is crowned by a goddess standing to his left. This is one of the standard types of the city, and while the identities of the figures in the temple are not certain, it may be that statues of the goddess Astarte and Alexander the Great are depicted in this composition.

Below this scene is a date consisting of the Greek letters “Gamma-Lambda-Phi.” These represent a number in the Greek system and are equivalent to our number 533. A brief explanation of how the ancient Greeks wrote out numbers is available on-line at Readers who own a copy of David Sear’s Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values will find a good introduction to the topic in that work as well. For the coin under discussion, what matters is that 533 is a year in the Seleucid era, which was initiated by Seleucus I in 312 BC, after he took control of the eastern parts of Alexander the Great’s empire. Although details of ancient calendars are often obscure, it is generally thought that, under the Roman Empire, Seleucid Era years began in the fall, perhaps during our month of October. Accordingly, a coin showing the Greek numeral for 533 would have been struck between the autumn of AD 221 and the autumn of AD 222. This range is interesting when compared to the date of Alexander Severus’ elevation from Caesar under Elagabalus to Augustus in his own right.

By late 221, Elagabalus’ eccentricities were becoming unbearable to his subjects. The historians Cassius Dio and Herodian, along with the anonymous author of the Historia Augusta, report many salacious details of his time in Rome, and it seems that Elagabalus’ marriage to the vestal virgin Aquilia Severa was particularly offensive to the Roman public. Worse than this civilian displeasure, in 221 legions began to revolt, and, in the aftermath of this threat to his power, Elagabalus was forced to adopt his cousin Alexianus, who was given the name Alexander, and appoint him Caesar. Loyalty was shifting so that when he plotted to have Alexander assassinated, Elagabalus was instead himself killed on March 12, 222, along with his mother Julia Soaemias. Their bodies were then thrown into the river Tiber. Just a few days later, on March 22, Severus Alexander was elevated to the imperial office by acclamation of the Senate.

This turn of events helps shorten the timeframe during which a coin struck in the name of the Caesar Alexander and dated to Seleucid year 533 was likely to have been produced. Using the framework established above, strict logic would say that the earliest this example went on the anvil was late October of 221. The latest possible date is March 22, 222, only six months after the beginning of the Seleucid year.

There are many qualifications that can weaken this straightforward logic. Elagabalus was killed in Rome, and our coin was struck in Phoenicia, some 1200 miles to the east. The mint would not have heard this news right away, leaving an opportunity for a coin to be minted in the name of the Caesar Alexander after he had already become Augustus. It is also not impossible that the coin was struck before the year 533 had actually begun. Despite these uncertainties, which come with the territory when studying the ancient Mediterranean, the opportunity to narrow down the likely period in which this coin was struck is a welcome one.

Diva Paulina

The Emperor Maximinus Thrax ruled from AD 235 to 238, and the limited record of his reign suggests that he was not well-liked by the senatorial elites, who looked down on his military career and Balkan origins. Little is known of his career prior to his becoming emperor, though the fourth century historian Ammianus Marcellinus does indicate that he was married (14.1.8). Our second example of a dated coin (fig. 2) helps answer the question “who was the emperor Maximinus Thrax’s wife?”

Fig. 2. Cilicia: Anazarbus, Diva Paulina. AE, AD 236. Ziegler 651. (ANS 1973.191.110, purchase) 26 mm.

The city of Anazarbus in Cilicia, now part of southeastern Turkey, struck this coin in the name of “Thea Paulina,” the Greek equivalent of the Latin “Diva Paulina,” and dated it to the year “Delta-Nu-Sigma,” or 254, of that city’s era. This is not a Seleucid era date, and, in fact, Anazarbus began its civic era from the year of Augustus’ refounding of the city in 19 BC. The correspondence between civic years and imperial reigns can be seen in Anazarbus year 235, when the city struck coins for the short-lived emperor Macrinus. He ruled from April 217 to June 218. The end of Anazarbos year 235, which stretched from our year 216 into 217, would therefore have overlapped with the early part of Macrinus’ reign. Returning to the coin of Diva Paulina, year 254 in the civic era of Anazarbos equals 235/236 in our modern calendar. While that could possibly overlap with the reign of Severus Alexander, there were no known female members of his family who went by that name.

“Diva Paulina” is, furthermore, the contracted form of a full name that appears on an inscription from Italy as “divae Caeciliae Paulinae piae augustae” (ILS 492), which can be translated as “to the divine Caecilia Paulina pious Augusta.” It indicates that there was an imperial wife named Paulina. Additionaly, the coin of Anazarbus struck in this woman’s name in AD 235/36 is compelling evidence that she was the wife of Maximinus. That in both instances Paulina is called divine means that she was dead when the coin and inscription were produced. Later Christian authors held that Maximinus was responsible for the death of his wife, but that accusation is unproven. It is more likely that the coin and inscription were part of an effort to promote Maximinus’ dynastic ambitions, which are also seen in the appointment of his son, Maximus, as Caesar. That Anazarbus struck a coin for the Maximinus’ deceased wife shows that the cities of the Roman Empire were often willing to repeat whatever propaganda the current emperor and his officials were promoting at the time.

Aemilian Aemilianus and Balkan Eras

Our first two examples of dated coins have shown the utility of closely correlating civic calendars and historical context to look at single coins from single cities. Our third example addresses the dates of the Roman Emperor Aemilian, whose chronology was unclear until Martin Jessop Price, late Keeper of Greek Coins at the British Museum, brought convincing numismatic evidence to bear on the problem. The next paragraphs of this article lean heavily on the chronological framework that Price established in a 1973 article in the Numismatic Chronicle.

The family origins of Aemilian Aemilianus are obscure, though it is likely that he and his wife, C. Cornelia Supera, were natives of Rome’s African provinces. He pursued a successful military career that found him in command of Roman legions in the province of Moesia, along the Danube river, in the early 250’s, when Trebonianus Gallus held the imperial office. During this time, Aemilian earned the loyalty of his troops by leading them against Gothic marauders. Following this military success, his troops proclaimed Aemilian emperor, and the next step was to lead his army into Italy where he defeated the legions of Trebonianus Gallus and his son Volusian. The Senate at Rome then recognized Aemelian as legitimate emperor, but he soon had to deal with a rebellion himself when Valerian, who had been put in command of the Gallic legions by Trebonianus Gallus, marched into Italy intent on seizing the purple for himself. Valerian was quickly successful when the prospect of fighting his superior legions caused Aemilian’s troops to desert, kill their commander, and recognize Valerian as emperor.

When, and over what length of time, did this series of events take place? The standard historical sources are somewhat vague, but do help establish greater precision when combined with numismatic evidence. Looking first at two Balkan mints shows that Aemilian’s hold on the imperial office was brief in the extreme. One of these, Viminacium in Moesia, first began issuing coins with Latin legends when it was refounded as a colony in AD 239, during the reign of Gordian III (d. 244). These coins bear dates according to a civic era in which year 1 equals AD 239 (fig. 3). Year 14 at Viminacium was a busy one for the city’s mint in that it struck coins for four imperial individuals. The coins shown in figures 4 and 5 have obverse portraits of Trebonianus Gallus and Aemilian. One can see from their reverses that these coins were both dated to year 14, as shown by the ‘AN XIV’ in the exurgue. Although the ANS does not have an example, there are also coins of Aemilian’s successor Valerian struck in this year. The fourth person for whom year 14 coins were struck at Viminacium was Trebonianus’ son Volusian. These clearly dated coins mean that Aemilian’s time as emperor fell entirely within civic year 14 at Viminacium.

Fig. 3. Moesia Superior: Viminacium, Gordian III, AE, AD 239, AMNG 78. (ANS 1944.100.15180, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 20 mm.

Fig. 4. Moesia Superior: Viminacium, Trebonianus Gallus, AD 253, AMNG 168. (ANS 1944.100.15221, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 25 mm.

Fig. 5. Moesia Superior: Viminacium, Aemilian Aemilianus, AD 253, AMNG 179v. (ANS 1944.100.15224, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 24 mm.

The dated coins issued for Roman province of Dacia, which bear the reverse legend “PROVINCIA DACIA,” tell a similar story. This series was initiated under Philip the Arab (d. 249) after his re-assertion of Roman control of the territory north of the Danube, a process that was complete by 248. For this mint, the specific location of which is not certain, Aemilian’s time in office fell into its civic years VII and VIII. An interesting point to make is that, while Viminacium’s civic year entirely encompassed Aemilian’s reign, for the provincial era of Dacia, the change between years occurred during his reign.

We can narrow down the beginning of Provincia Dacia’s year by considering a feature of the way Alexandria, the principle city of Roman Egypt, dated its coins. The Alexandrian fiscal year began in what we would call late August. Coins were dated by the regnal years of the current emperor as calculated according to the Alexandrian fiscal year. This means that if an emperor was elevated in July, coins struck after the next August would bear the Greek letter “Beta,” equal to the number two. The reason for this is that the coin was struck during the second Alexandrian fiscal year during which that emperor served.

This seems to have been what happened in the case of Aemilian. There are no known Alexandrian coins of Aemilian struck in year “Alpha,” or one. There are Alexandrian coins struck for Aemilian in year “Beta,” or two (fig. 6). This helps prove that Aemilian was in power in August of 253 when the Alexandrian fiscal year changed over. When one adds to this puzzle the observation by the ancient historian Aurelius Victor (31.2) that Aemilian died only four months into his reign, one gains increasing confidence that his time in power was short and took place late in the year. To complete this logical circle, we can further suggest that the provincial year of Provincia Dacia also changed over in late summer or fall.

Fig. 6. Egypt: Alexandria, Aemilius Aemilianus, AD 253, Dattari 5141. (ANS 1944.100.67207, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 21mm.


Discussions of ancient chronology can be both lengthy and detailed. This is particularly true of the Roman Empire in the third century. So as to keep this article from becoming too long, I have not traced every thread of possible logic, and it may seem that some of the arguments here are circular. That is, in part, also a consequence of the relative scarcity of hard information for the events being examined. Readers who do want to pursue these matters further are encouraged to read Prices’ 1973 Numismatic Chronicle article. M. Peachin’s 1990 work Roman Imperial Titulature and Chronology, AD 235-284 will also interest anyone wanting to learn more about how the details of Roman history at this time are established.

Pre-Federal America Numismatic Notes and Monographs

by Philip L. Mossman, MD

Among his many generous donations to the American Numismatic Society, the New York philanthropist and former Society president, Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955), established an endowment for the support of the Numismatic Notes and Monographs series (NNM). The subjects of the 166 issues published between 1920 and 1996 covered multiple aspects of ancient and modern numismatics (editor’s note: titles for all ANS series can be found online at: During the ten years I spent doing research for my book, Money of The American Colonies and Confederation (Numismatic Studies, no. 20), I collected and read all the issues of the NNM series pertaining to my area of interest, namely the coinages of pre-Federal America. I was so impressed with the content of those eleven specific publications that I conceived of the idea of someday writing an annotated synopsis of these works to share them with other colonial enthusiasts who may not be as familiar with them as I have become. I have finally completed this project and present my thoughts in this brief thematic outline.

By reading only the titles, I gathered that the most frequent subject in the entire NNM series dealt with the classification and history of specific coinages, both ancient and modern (60 monographs), while the next most common topic (44 instances) reported the content of recovered coin hoards. In fact, booklet no. 1 entitled Coins Hoards (1920) was by Sydney P. Noe, the editor of the series and a versatile numismatic scholar of both classic and modern coinages. In addition to many other professional articles, he contributed 15 titles to the NNM series and is particularly well known to students of colonial American numismatics for his monographs on the Castine Hoard and the three on Massachusetts silver, all four of which will be described next. Noe first served as Society Librarian (1915-38), next as Chief Curator (1938-53), and was Secretary from 1917-47.

As part of a 1942 ANS exhibit of early coinages that circulated in America, Noe contacted the Maine Historical Society, the repository of 26 residual coins from the famous Castine Hoard discovered in 1840, and secured their loan for the exhibition in New York. Noe, who had a great interest in hoards, having already written five monographs on the subject, was so inspired by the numismatic implications of this find that he asked permission to conduct further research and the result of his efforts were published in NNM no. 100 (1942), The Castine Deposit: An American Hoard. This book presents a detailed numismatic description of the available survivors together with a discussion of the speculation surrounding the putative deposition of this cache in 1704.

Early twentieth century newspaper clipping about the Castine hoard.

Included in this 1942 ANS exhibition of early American money were nearly 500 examples of Massachusetts silver borrowed from several large private and institutional collections, including those four specimens from the Maine Historical Society. In reference to this event, Noe wrote,“[a]lthough the representation of the Spanish American pieces was of high order, it was surpassed in importance, for most of those who saw the exhibition, by the display of pieces usually grouped as ‘Pine Tree Shillings.’” The popularity of the coins from the Massachusetts Bay Colony Mint seemed to be a natural stimulus for Noe to expand upon the work of Sylvester P. Crosby by adding information that was not available to that author in 1873-75. As a result, over the next ten-year period, Noe produced three of the most famous numismatic studies and standard references relating to classical Americana: The New England and Willow Tree Coinages of Massachusetts, NNM no. 102 (1943); The Oak Tree Coinage of Massachusetts, NNM no. 110 (1947); and The Pine Tree Coinage of Massachusetts, NNM no. 125 (1952). These monographs are so chock-full of material on this popular series that any meaningful summarization of their content is not practical. More biographical information about Mr. Noe, together with photographic plates of Massachusetts Bay coinage can be found in another ANS publication, “Appendix 1: A Catalogue of an Exhibition of Massachusetts Silver at the American Numismatic Society,” by John M. Kleeberg, which appeared in the Proceedings of the Coinage of the Americas Conference, May 4, 1991, no.7, pp. 181-214. I should further refer to the 1976 American Numismatic Society publication, Studies on Money in Early America (edited by Eric P. Newman, with Richard G. Doty, associate editor), for the article by Richard Picker, “Variations of the Die Varieties of the Massachusetts Oak and Pine Tree Coinage” which supplements Noe’s original work by listing several more recently identified examples of coins with earlier and later die states. Also see below the comments regarding the The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling for the report of other additions to the series. (One might parenthetically insert here that the original 4” by 6” format of the booklets [1920-47] was discontinued in favor of a larger 6” by 9” design starting with The Oak Tree Coinage of Massachusetts).

Massachusetts: Boston, AR “pine tree” shilling, 1652 (ANS 1939.99.2).

Chronologically speaking, Counterfeiting in Colonial Pennsylvania, NNM no. 86, was the first actual booklet to appear dealing with a colonial American subject. This was written in 1939 by Harrold Edgar Gillingham, a Philadelphia collector of Americana, who also published several other monographs on war medals and decorations within the NNM series. In his introduction, Gillingham mentioned that he never detected much collector interest in either counterfeit colonial paper or coins; he further acknowledged that the minor differences between the genuine and imitation items were so subtle that they could not be demonstrated by photographic comparison and thus he illustrated only two paper bills. This monograph, covering Pennsylvania from the earliest times to 1788, was the pioneering opus dealing with the problem of colonial counterfeiting.

In 1955, as part of his own ongoing series on colonial counterfeiting, Kenneth Scott published Counterfeiting in Colonial Pennsylvania as NNM no. 132. Although this new volume extended only to 1776, it was a far more inclusive study than NNM no. 86 — perhaps five times the size — since Scott drew heavily on both published and unpublished court records and utilized other resources untapped by Gillingham. Scott published two other monographs in the NNM series: Counterfeiting in Colonial New York, NNM No. 127, in 1953; and Counterfeiting in Colonial Connecticut, NNM no. 140, in 1957. These four NNM monographs follow the same general format relating in a lively“true detective” fashion, from“crime to punishment,” the activities of unscrupulous individuals and organized rings engaged in the nefarious practice of counterfeiting coins and paper money. (Professor Scott has published in other journals and books several more studies on counterfeiting in colonies of Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, and North Carolina.)

A very interesting account of early New England paper money was written by George L. McKay, Early American Currency, NNM no. 104 (1944). This was a unique edition in that it was the combined publication of two organizations, the ANS and The Typophiles, an informal association of persons working in the printing trades, book arts, and libraries who shared a love of typography. This “chapbook,” as McKay called it, focused on how colonial paper money was printed; the author expanded his discussion beyond the typographic techniques used in the printing of type-set notes to include other graphic designs available from the use of copperplates and woodcuts. Since he dealt solely with New England, some were disappointed that he could not include the creative genius of Benjamin Franklin. The anti-counterfeiting measures incorporated into the physical structure of this early paper currency were his prime focus. For additional and more recent information on paper money typography, I recommend the profusely illustrated ANS publication by Eric P. Newman, “Unusual Printing Features on Early American Paper Money” which expands upon the subject of the printing eccentricities employed in colonial currency (In: Money of Pre-Federal America, edited by John Kleeberg, COAC, May 4, 1991, pp. 59-83).

Massachusetts, paper shilling, 1779 (ANS 0000.999.29713).

The last two monographs concerning colonial numismatics are those by Eric P. Newman, who needs no introduction to students of the colonial period. Coinage for Colonial Virginia, NNM no. 135, (1956) outlines the history of these 1773 halfpence together with a descriptive classification of 22 die varieties. As expected with the introduction of any new series, more hitherto unreported die combinations were bound to surface. Newman requested readers to contact him if they had any new discoveries in their cabinets and thus five new varieties were added in 1962 in “Additions to Coinage for Colonial Virginia,” appearing in The American Numismatic Society Museum Notes X, pp. 137-43, with plates XXVII-XXIX.

Virginia, AE penny (electrotype), 1773 (ANS 1989.99.174, gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. Byron White).

The last NNM publication, no. 142 (1959), is a virtual numismatic “who-done-it.” For the years the origin of a single elusive silver coin defied definition but thanks to the persistence of Eric P. Newman The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling is no longer a secret! As the author examines the evidence leading to the unraveling of this mystery, the connection of the Good Samaritan shilling with both genuine and fabricated Massachusetts silver coins is skillfully unfurled. The monograph concludes with the addition of three major new die varieties and four other subvarieties of Massachusetts silver as distinct transitional states.

Massachusetts: Boston, AR “Good Samaritan” 6 pence (counterfeit), 1652 (ANS 1959.101.3, gift of Catherine E. Bullowa).

From among the 166 issues of the Numismatic Notes and Monographs series, I have elected to report briefly upon those eleven issues which continue as prime resources for those devoted to the collection and study of early American numismatics. I am obviously speaking for myself but I am sure that I reflect the attitude of those others who constantly refer to these monographs. Apart from these actual monographs being collectors’ items in and of themselves for numismatic bibliophiles, these volumes contain a treasure trove of valuable, timeless information which is as applicable today as it was some 65 years ago when the first one was published.

The 2005 Annual Dinner Gala

by Juliette Pelletier

The 2005 Annual Dinner Gala in honor of George F. Kolbe took place on January 13 in the Baroque Room of the Plaza Hotel, with over 100 guests in attendance. The evening included cocktails at 6:30, followed by a sumptuous dinner and remarks made by Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, the Executive Director of the ANS, followed by ANS President Mr. Donald Partrick who introduced Mr. John Adams, Chairman of the ANS Library Committee. Mr. Adams honored Mr. George F. Kolbe for his commitment to and support of the ANS in both a memorable tribute and the presentation of the 2004 ANS medal commemorating the move. Following desert, a spirited and lively auction was held by Mr. Harmer Johnson, whose skills as an auctioneer helped us raised $16,300. Dinner was followed by dancing to the live music of the dynamic Lester Lanin Band. Again, this annual gala event was not only great fun but a great success, raising a total of $51,885.

Mr. John Adams and honoree Mr. Frederick F. Kolbe.

Mr. Stanley DeForest Scott and ANS President Mr. Donald Partrick.

Mr. Stanley DeForest Scott, Mr. Jonathan Kagan, ANS Executive Director Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Partrick.

Auctioneer Mr. Harmer Johnson.

Mr. Alain Baron bidding at the auction.

Ms. Christine Karstedt and Mr. Lawrence Stack.

Front (L-R): Mr. and Mrs. John Adams, Mr. George F. Kolbe, Mr. Frank Campbell. Back (L-R): Mr. and Mrs. Dan Hamelberg, Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Mr. Robert Kandel.

Mr. and Mrs. John Herzog dancing to the Lester Lanin Band

Front (L-R): Mrs. Kenneth Edlow, Mrs. Jasmin Cowin, Mr. Stanley DeForest Scott. Back (L-R): Mr. Kenneth Edlow, Mr. Scott Miller, Mrs. Stanley DeForest Scott.

Front (L-R): Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Miniman, Mr. Richard Perricelli. Back (L-R): Dr. Elena Stolyarik, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Bates, Ms. Aviva Gray, Mr. William Hourigan.

Front (L-R): Mrs. Roger Siboni, Mrs. David Redden, Mrs. Donald Partrick, Mr. Jonathan Kagan. Back (L-R): Mr. Roger Siboni, Mr. Hadrian Rombach, Mr. David Redden, Mr. Donald Partrick.

Front (L-R): Mr. and Mrs. David Menchell, Mrs. And Mr. Robert Leonard. Back (L-R): Mr. Scott Rubin, Dr. Peter van Alfen, Ms. Müserref Yetim, Dr. Jay Galst.

Front (L-R): Ms. Jessica Laubereau, Ms. Heidi Becker, Mr. Richard Witschonke, Mrs. Italo Vecchi, Ms. Elizabeth Pendelton. Back (L-R): Mr. Marco Mignucci, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Tompa, Mr. Italo Vecchi.

Front (L-R): Mrs. And Mr. Colin Pitchfork, Mrs. Brashand Kulkarni. Back (L-R): Dr. Steven Mulligan, Mr. Dieter Gorney, Mr. Brashand Kulkarni.

The Lester Lanin Band