Obituary: George Arthur Fisher, Jr. and William Frederick Spengler

by Robert Wilson Hoge

I write this note with a heavy heart, to eulogize two friends of mine who passed away. Both were contemporaries of my parents, part of that great “World War II Generation”; they were two men whom I think of as my mentors. Both were among the many, including my own father, who were able to advance their educations following the war by means of their military service, under the terms of the GI Bill of Rights. They were men of remarkable abilities and accomplishments, and they were right there, centered in this country’s way of life, while at the same time being exceptionally attuned to the outer world, quietly serving, studying, and collecting coins and enriching the life experiences of people like me. They were my friends and companions and colleagues in numismatics, and I grieve their loss.

George Arthur Fisher, Jr., 1926-2005

A Connecticut native partly of Hungarian descent, George Fisher began his professional life right out of high school when, in the middle of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and started studying Chinese under the auspices of the University of Connecticut. Later transferring to the Army’s University of Chicago language-training program, George continued after the war with the study of Japanese, and after graduation was subsequently stationed in Japan, where his interest in and knowledge of Far Eastern collectibles commenced. Following his return to the United States, George continued in government service, monitoring and translating communications and publications out of Communist China for the China Desk of the National Security Agency. With his encyclopedic knowledge, George knew the correct standard forms of all regularly used Chinese characters, as well as both their simplified forms and their telegraphic code number equivalents. He was able to write in Chinese and Japanese characters of such calligraphic perfection that natives could not tell his script had been composed by a Westerner.

To get away from Washington, George left the NSA and toured the country a bit, for a time working in a printing establishment, where he gained an understanding of typesetting and copy editing. Then George capitalized on his prior years of government service and his love of our country’s environmental heritage to go to work for the National Park Service, where he eventually became planning director for the West, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. He also obtained a further academic degree in International Relations. From a profound knowledge of Japanese philately (he served for many years as editor of the Journal of the Japanese Philatelic Society), George moved increasingly into the field of traditional Chinese coinage, and eventually became, virtually without question, the foremost living American authority in this complex field.

Among numismatists, George is best known today for his Fisher’s Ding, or, Ding Fubao’s Catalog of Old Chinese Cast Coinage, Selectively Translated and Annotated (self-published in Littleton, Colorado, in 1990). This was his fully edited version of the classic Chinese reference Quan Zhi Ching Hua Lu (“A Catalog of Ancient Chinese Coins,” Shanghai, 1936) by Ding Fubao (or “Ting Fu-Pao,” in the older Wade-Giles transliteration system). In this comprehensive work, which has become a standard reference for students and collectors worldwide, George shared much of his wealth of knowledge, providing for the first time a convenient numbering system for the pages and coins and a translation of Ding’s Chinese text, as well as helpful indices, cross-references, and a survey of the modern Pinyin Chinese transliteration system. His personal collection was outstanding, and his understanding of all traditional Chinese coinage and the local geography of China and Japan was profound. An ANS member since 1997, George was a serious and studious collector who obtained and read all the principal publications in his areas of interest, monitoring numismatic research in China as intensely as he had once analyzed political and economic issues for the NSA.

George was a participant in the Society’s memorable Chinese Cast Coinage Conference in February 1998, to which I had the pleasure of traveling with him. His cheerful, whimsical outlook and unpretentious scholarship accompanied an amazing memory for detail; I remember him once explaining to me how he formed a mental image of whatever he wished to store away for future recall, never to be forgotten. George and I were friends for years. He had been one of my first “recruits” when I started the volunteer program of the American Numismatic Association’s Museum, and when he was able to take an early retirement from the Park Service, he began making the trek to Colorado Springs to assist on a regular basis; he even helped recruit other fine numismatic volunteers to join my program, FANAM (the Friends of the American Numismatic Association Museum, which was given this acronym partly with my friend Bill Spengler in mind, since it is the name of a small Indian gold coin). Many a time we would go off to find an inexpensive place for lunch on those days (the 29-cent special at Hamburger Stand was great while it lasted!), eventually settling on a routine—normally dining Chinese—and joined by likeminded companions for perennially enjoyable discourse.

In addition to his Chinese specialization, George had also had a strong interest in several other areas of numismatics. He collected pieces pertaining to any “George,” items from the year of his birth, items displaying barbed wire, coins from places he had visited in his travels (such as ancient cities of Turkey), and especially coins of the Holy Land.

George A. Fisher, Jr., died after a relatively short illness on March 18, 2005, from complications of pancreatic cancer, leaving behind his wife, Joyce, two daughters, and a son. It is hard to realize that he and his constant enthusiasm for life, learning, and numismatics are gone.

William Frederick Spengler, 1923-2005

A man of charm and erudition, always with a twinkle in his eye, Bill Spengler was an extraordinary numismatist. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, in his home state, Bill had also attended Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts. His education was interrupted by World War II, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and eventually found himself in the Signal Corps’ Security Agency, working on breaking Japanese codes. Obtaining his B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) and M.A. degrees in political science and geography, as well as studying law, Bill went to work for the State Department, entering the U.S. Foreign Service, where he made his career.

Bill’s sagacity and considerable linguistic skills were put to good use in Thailand, Norway, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where he served in various capacities as ambassadorial secretary, political counselor, and consul. He taught as professor of South Asian studies for the Foreign Service Institute, served as director of the International Visitor Program for the State Department, and also as deputy special assistant for world population matters to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Bill’s principal work focused on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it was there that his historic connection with South Asian numismatics began.

The bazaars of Kabul and Peshawar in the 1960s were full of ancient and medieval coins, often being melted down for jewelry. Bill quickly began collecting and studying these relics, gaining a thorough mastery of the subject areas and building an outstanding, representative collection of numismatic materials relating to the entire subcontinent. In 1966, he joined the ANS, becoming a Fellow as well as a member of the Standing Committee on Oriental Coins in 1971. In 1976, he became a member of the new Standing Committee for Islamic and South Asian Coins and also for that of Greek Coins. Bill was the donor of 148 gifts to the ANS cabinet, including nearly two thousand specimens. His favorite series were probably the Indo-Bactrian and Indo-Greek and the early Muslim dynasties, but his deep knowledge extended to all the other time periods and regions.

As I recall, one time Bill modestly informed me that he thought his childhood dyslexia could have been a positive factor in his professional life, since it might have given him a certain predisposition for working with languages whose scripts read from right to left! I feel fortunate that Bill’s family maintained a home in Colorado Springs. This enabled me to get to know him through the American Numismatic Association, of which he was an active member. He also maintained his family’s connection to Wisconsin, and upon his retirement from government service, he returned to graduate school there to work on a doctorate in history, emphasizing his numismatic researches.

The author of many articles in his fields of interest, Bill is probably best known today as one of the coauthors of The Standard Guide to South Asian Coins and Paper Money Since 1556 AD, as well as for his work on the Turkoman Figural Bronze Coins and Their Iconography, coauthored with Wayne G. Sayles. But I shall always think of him as a friend, mentor, and gifted raconteur with a great sense of humor. He encouraged me in my participation in the International Partnerships Among Museums Program (sponsored by the American Association of Museums and the International Council of Museums), when I was selected to visit the National Museum of Pakistan as the first numismatic specialist to be involved with this professional exchange. I was the first IPAM designee to travel to that part of the world, and it was pleasant to encounter people in Pakistan who remembered Bill. In 1991, he and I roomed together when we attended the International Numismatic Congress in Brussels, and I looked forward to his company whenever we met. Bill had a way with words that was both sophisticated and clear.

As an occasional volunteer at the Museum of the American Numismatic Association, Bill often joined me and other numismatic helpers and friends for a weekly lunch filled with good fellowship, usually at a Chinese restaurant in honor of our long-distance commuter, the redoubtable George Fisher. Bill and George also taught classes on Oriental numismatics for us at the ANA’s annual Summer Seminars. William F. Spengler died of pancreatic cancer on November 8, 2005, leaving behind his wife of fifty-five years, Phyllis (“Phid”), two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren. A delightful and distinguished man, he will be missed by all.

Obituary: Philip Grierson 1911-2006

Philip Grierson, perhaps the preeminent medieval numismatist of the twentieth century, died January, 15, 2006, age 95. Grierson became interested in medieval history while a student at Cambridge (where he remained throughout his life), and first became fascinated by numismatics while trying to identify a coin his father had given him in 1945 (it turned out to be a Byzantine half follis of Phocas, a series for which he would subsequently write the standard reference work). His interest piqued, he visited Spink’s in London and began buying medieval coins to illustrate his lectures. This interest in numismatics led Grierson to use numismatic evidence extensively in his historical writings. It also led him to begin to assemble the foremost private collection of medieval coinage in the world (over 20,000 specimens), all on his academic salary. At Cambridge, Grierson was Assistant Lecturer in History (1938-45), Lecturer (1945-59), Reader in Medieval Numismatics (1959-71), Professor of Numismatics (1971-78), and Honorary Keeper of Coins at the Fitzwilliam Museum (1949-2006).

Grierson’s formal affiliation with the ANS began when he was 42. His 1951 publication “Numismatics and the Historian” caught the eye of ANS President Louis West, who was looking for a distinguished Visiting Scholar for the newly formed ANS Summer Seminar (see article in this issue). Grierson accepted West’s invitation, and became the first Visiting Scholar in 1953. This began a series of annual summer visits to the United States to participate in the Seminar as a lecturer, which continued for twenty-five years.

Through the ANS Seminar, Grierson was introduced to Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard’s Byzantine research institution in Washington, D.C. In 1955, he became their advisor on numismatics, donated his collection of Byzantine coins to them, and assisted them in building the finest Byzantine collection in the world. The collection was then published in a series of volumes edited by Grierson, Michael Hendy, and Alfred Bellinger.

In addition to his Cambridge, ANS, and Dumbarton Oaks commitments, Grierson held the post of Professor of Numismatics at the University of Brussels, and spent two months of each year teaching there as well.

Grierson’s publications are extensive. He published over 250 articles and many major books. His 1954 Coins and Medals: A Select Bibliography was largely based on the ANS library. Also in 1954, he edited Ives’ “The Venetian Gold Ducat” (NNM 128). He contributed articles to ANSMN 6, 10, 12, and 13, as well as to the 1958 ANS Centennial Publication. In addition to editing the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine volumes, in 1958, he published the first volume in the Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles, a series for which he served as an editor throughout his life. And, after donating his wonderful collection of medieval European coins to Cambridge, he commenced the fourteen- (now seventeen-) volume Medieval European Coinage, a project still underway.

Grierson was awarded the Royal Numismatic Society’s medal in 1958, and served as President from 1961-66. He was awarded the ANS’ Huntington medal in 1963. He will long be remembered for his many contributions to the ANS and to the science of numismatics.

Obituary: James Charles Risk 1913-2005

by Robert La Rocca

James Charles Risk

James Charles Risk, an ANS Fellow and member for the last 66 years, died on October 23, 2005, in New York City. He was an active member of the Society and an important donor to many parts of the collections.

He was born in Manhattan on May 5, 1913, the only son of Frederick and Katherine (Grasmuk) Risk, and spent his childhood in Forest Hills, N.Y. and Upper Montclair, N.J. Mr. Risk graduated from Dartmouth College, cum laude, in 1937, with a BA in history, took postgraduate courses in European history at Harvard, and also taught history at MIT. When war clouds gathered, he enlisted in the active Naval Reserve and was commissioned as an Ensign. In January 1940, he was assigned to active duty on the destroyer USS Dahlgren, an experimental ship engaged in antisubmarine patrol off the east coast. Subsequently, he was reassigned to the USS Jeffers, performing antisubmarine and convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. In July 1943, he participated (aboard the Jeffers) in the invasion of Sicily. Eventually, he was transferred to the staff of the Commander, Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet at Casco Bay (Portland), Maine.

In the middle of 1945, he was ordered to report to Admiral Glassford, the second-in-command of the Atlantic Fleet at Palermo, Italy, for the purpose of writing the Administrative History of the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean. Later, he was sent to Rome, to serve on the Naval Subcommission of the Allied Commission on the Democratization of Italy. As Protocol Officer, he was the liaison with the Vatican as well as the Quirinal Palace. In connection with the latter services, the Lieutenant General of the Realm, later King Umberto II, granted him the title of Knight of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, and Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy. His lifelong association with the House of Savoy culminated in his being awarded the Grand Cross of Saints Maurice and Lazarus in 2001. He was the first American so honored since World War II. For services in regards to war relief, he was created a Knight of Grace of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and Commander of the Order of Merit of Malta with Swords.

He was discharged from the Navy with the rank of Lt. Commander, and then joined the U.S. State Department Foreign Service. He served in Vladivostok, USSR, and in Saigon, French Indochina (now Vietnam), as Vice Consul. After leaving the Foreign Service, Mr. Risk joined the staff of Coin Galleries in New York, where he worked for thirty-five years, writing many articles.

He had a lifelong interest in numismatics, which led to the study of Royal Orders and Decorations, on which subject he became a noted authority. He wrote a number of books and monographs, including British Orders and Decorations, originally written in 1943, while he was in the Navy, and reissued in 1973; The History of the Order of the Bath and Its Insignia, published by Spink’s (London) in 1972; The Yale University Brasher Doubloon (Stack’s, 1981); and others. Together with David Spink, he discovered an 1804 US silver dollar proof coin presented to the King of Siam (now Thailand) by President Andrew Jackson in 1834. Mr. Risk also continued his vocation as a teacher by mentoring many collectors to form world-class collections.

Mr. Risk was the only living American awarded the distinction of Commander (Honorary) of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for his work cataloguing the insignia of the orders and decorations in the Queen of England’s private collection. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA), a Knight of Justice of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (UK) and belonged to the Naval and Military Club, the Royal Over-Seas League—both in London—and the Harvard Club in New York City. Included among the many organizations and societies, he served as Chairman of the American Foundation of Savoy Orders, member of the Executive Committee of the Saint George’s Society of New York, and Life Fellow of the American Numismatic Society. He was a longtime communicant at Saint Thomas Church in Manhattan.

He is survived by two cousins, Marian E. (Mrs. James) V. V. Goodrich of Livermore, Colo., and Karl J. Van Valkenburgh of West Granby, Conn., many second cousins, and a number of dear friends, among whom are John T. Dunlap Esq., Jeffrey A. Ryan, and Dr. Robert LaRocca of New York City.

Obituary: Mark M. Salton 1914-2006

by Ira Rezak

Mark M. Salton

Mark M. Salton, a longtime friend and benefactor of the Society, passed away in Hartsdale, New York, on December 31, 2005, in his ninety-second year.

Mr. Salton was born Max Schlessinger on January 12, 1914, in Frankfurt/Main, the scion of a distinguished Jewish family long established as bankers in the Rhineland. Among his ancestors were several who, as the Rothschilds of Frankfurt had also done, combined banking activities with numismatic entrepreneurship. Leopold Hamburger, a paternal cousin, founded a numismatic house in Frankfurt in 1863, which was later joined and expanded by his son Joseph and by his cousin Leo. It was through this relationship that Mark’s father, Felix Schlessinger, who had initially trained as a banker, entered the numismatic world in Frankfurt and later, in 1928, founded his own establishment, moving it and his family to Berlin. Mark’s mother, Hedwig, was of the Feuchtwanger family of Munich, and hence related to Lion Feuchtwanger, the distinguished twentieth-century author, and to Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger, the nineteenth-century pharmacist who, as an immigrant to New York, developed the copper-nickel-zinc alloy known as German Silver or Feuchtwanger’s composition.

After commencing his education in Frankfurt, Mr. Salton moved to Berlin with his family and graduated there from the Siemens-Oberrealschule, emphasizing natural science, history, and Germanistik. He then matriculated at the Handels-Hochschule while also gaining practical experience at the Berlin banking house of E. G. Kaufman, in pursuit of the family’s long-established distinction in fiscal affairs. However, from an early age, encouraged by his father and uncles, he developed a keen enthusiasm for numismatics and determined to follow in his father’s footsteps as a professional in this field. Thus, as a teenager, he was already intimately involved in the richly matured numismatic trade characteristic of Germany, indeed, of all Europe at that time, and profited by coming in close contact with and learning from the many amateur collectors and curatorial experts who interacted with the Hamburger and Schlessinger firms. In later years, Mr. Salton often recalled with pleasure, and with the precision that revealed his extraordinary memory for numismatic detail, his engagement with such eminences as Leonard Forrer, the Grunthals, Henry Seligman, Dr. Richard Gaettens, Dr. Jakob Hirsch, Prof. Kurt Regling, Chief Curator of the Berlin Coin Cabinet, and many others in the prewar period.

The ascent to power of the Nazis in 1933 progressively constrained the operation of the Schlessinger firm in the Charlottenberg section of Berlin so that, when in 1935 Jewish proprietors were definitively excluded from the Reichskulturkammer, the family removed to Amsterdam. There, with the assistance of local numismatists and curators such as Maurits Schulman, W. K. F. Zwierzina, and O. Van Kerkwijk of the Royal Cabinet, as well as their widespread European clientele, the Schlessingers were able to reestablish their enterprise, issuing catalogs until February 1941, when the Nazi occupiers of Holland seized their business premises, blocked their bank accounts, looted their large stock of coins and medals, and confiscated their library and indeed the entire contents of the family apartment. Soon thereafter, Mark became a member of the underground resistance. In September 1942, he received a personal summons from the notorious Nazi chief, “Aus der Fuenten,” ordering him to report to the railway station for “transportation to the East.” At this point, Alexander Wellensiek, a pillar of the Dutch resistance movement who was later much decorated for his heroism, undertook to hide Mark and a friend in his office building at Reguliersgracht 18. Over the succeeding four months, while in hiding, Mark prepared his escape from Holland, with the goal of joining the Free Dutch Forces in England. After many close calls with the Nazi occupation forces, and with the help of courageous local resistance fighters, he made his way through occupied Belgium and France and eventually reached northern Spain where, together with other escapees, he was interned for many months in a concentration camp at Miranda de Ebro until July 1943, when he was able to reach neutral Portugal. Here he joined the Free Netherlands Forces and was assigned to the Dutch Embassy in Lisbon, serving there until 1946. He was awarded the Royal Military Cross of Merit by Queen Wilhelmina, and was offered a post in the restored Dutch diplomatic service. However, having learned that his parents had been deported by the Nazis to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz, where they were murdered, and that his younger brother Paul had emigrated to Palestine, serving during the war as a combatant in the British Legion, Mark chose instead to immigrate to the United States, arriving in Baltimore in July 1946. Shortly thereafter, at the urging of American relatives themselves refugees from Nazism who had likewise lost their families and who suggested that he should adopt a new name by way of separating himself from the past, Mark formally changed his name from Max Schlessinger to Mark M. Salton. This was an act that Mark came to regret for the remainder of his life.

In New York, Mark trained as a banker. Possessing a remarkable range of diplomatic and linguistic skills, including fluency in English, German, Dutch, French, and Italian, he secured a position with the International Division of the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, first as an analyst and later as an executive. He undertook night-school education at New York University, and was granted a Master’s Degree in International Banking after preparing a thesis on “The Financing of the Italian South” under the supervision of the distinguished Professor of Economics Henry Kaufman. In 1948, he met Lottie Aronstein, herself a refugee from Germany, and after a courtship of less than three months, they wed. Their marriage, enhanced by a mutual interest in numismatics, was fortunately destined to last happily for fifty-seven years, up until his final passing.

In the early 1950s, Mark renewed his numismatic activity as a collector and for several years as a part-time dealer, specializing in ancient and foreign coins and medals. Both Mark and Lottie were particularly fond of renaissance and baroque medals and plaquettes. In 1965, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art exhibited 186 objects from their collection; the accompanying excellent catalog soon sold out; a second edition was issued in 1969. Over the following thirty years, Mark made medals from his collection readily available for extended loans to other exhibitions. Generous donations, chiefly of ancient coins and related numismatic literature, carefully selected after his personal site visits and research and invariably chosen to complement existing institutional holdings and fill specific gaps in important collections, were made over the same time period. Among the beneficiaries were the American Numismatic Society, in addition to museums, colleges and, universities including Bowdoin, Mt. Holyoke, Newark, Worcester, Cornell, Princeton, and Harvard.

In 1966, the Saltons commenced a nine-year residence in Rome, where Mark was head of Manufacturers Hanover’s representative office. This assignment, which entailed considerable travel in Europe and the Mediterranean, presented him with the opportunity to renew prewar numismatic acquaintances. Though Mark retired from his position with the bank at age 67 he was not one to treasure leisure time and in tandem with is wife actively pursued his numismatic interests at home and abroad until his final illness.

Mark was a Life Fellow of the ANS where he served on the Society’s Sanford Saltus Medal Committee, charged with the task of identifying outstanding contemporary medalists for this prestigious award. He also chaired the Archer M Huntington Medal Committee, responsible for the annual identification and invitation to the Society of the preeminent numismatists of the day. Additionally, Mark was a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society, a life member of the American Numismatic Association, a member of the New York Numismatic Club and of several other related organizations.

Mark M. Salton will be remembered as an exemplary “numismatist of the old school” who, having been brought up in a family and in an international European environment which emphasized ongoing study, attention to detail and tradition and, above all, probity and discretion in personal and professional dealings, remained committed to these ideals for his entire life. He was a man moreover whose extensive knowledge, sharp wit, and readiness to assist colleagues and acquaintances made him a trusted adviser and valued friend to all fortunate enough to have known him. He will be missed by members of the American Numismatic Society, of the international numismatic fraternity, and by all of us who were touched by his presence. Of him one may truly say that the “memory of the righteous is a blessing”.

Lottie and Mark Salton

Mark Salton and Harvey Stack at the old ANS building

Review: Die Münzen der Hasmonäer

Siegfried Ostermann. Die Münzen der Hasmonäer. Ein kritischer Bericht zur Systematik und Chronologie. Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 55. Fribourg: Academic Press / Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005. 89 pp., 15 figs., many tables. ISBN 3-7278-1499-3 (Fribourg) / 3-525-53956-8 (Göttingen). €19.

A little book, written in German, filled up with numeric tables and some beautiful drawings of bronze coins, but without any plates or photographs: Does it have anything to tell the non-German reader? Actually, not much, for it does not claim to provide new results. However, after having read it, I had some insights worth communicating.

Unlike the silver coinages of both the Jewish Wars, the bronze coinage of the Hasmonaean rulers is plain, sometimes ugly, and always difficult to decipher. Nevertheless, the numismatic research in that field has been intensive in the last fifty years, because besides the books of the Maccabees and Flavius Josephus’ writings, Hasmonaean coinage is one of the most important sources on Hellenistic Palestine. The main problem is how to correlate the rulers’ Hebrew names found on the coins with the rulers’ Greek names, used by Flavius Josephus. The books of the Maccabees are not of much help when dealing with the uprising against the Seleucids, for Simon Maccabeus does not seem to have issued coins, although a decree by Antiochus VII Sidetes ceded the right to coin to him (1 Macc. 15.6).

There are just three fixpoints: The bilingual coinages of (a) Jehonatan/Alexander Jannaeus and (b) Mattatiah/Antigonus; and (c) the sample of coins of Jehochanan found on Mount Garizim near Samaria, which can be dated to the late second century BC by the Seleucid coins found with it. For that reason, numismatists agree today Jehochanan is John Hyrcan I, and thus the first Hasmonaean ruler to issue coins.

Besides these issues, there are coins of rulers named Jonatan and Jehuda, whose identities are a matter of a long debate. Furthermore, there are some coins of Jehonatan without a Greek legend, and still worse: their Hebrew legends differ from those of the bilingual coins as to their titles. Therefore, it is questionable whether all coins of Jehonatan were issued by Alexander Jannaeus or whether there was a second Hasmonaean ruler named Jehonatan in Hebrew.

Over the last forty years, the late Meshorer was the most prominent researcher in ancient Jewish numismatics and in Hasmonaean coinage in particular. His well-known monographs and catalogues are the main reference works for any numismatist dealing with Hasmonaean coins. However, Meshorer never tried to give a pure typological nomenclature of the issues; he numbered them according to his actual opinion as to their chronology and attribution. Since he changed his mind several times, he left four or five systems of numbering. To archaeologists and theologians who are unfamiliar with the minutiae of numismatic research, these systems are bewildering, particularly since Meshorer used to alter not only the chronological arrangement but also his numbering method—from Hebrew to Latin letters, from single to double letters, from putting the cipher after the letter(s) to putting it first, and so on. It is easy to understand how a non-numismatist can lose all enthusiasm for Hasmonaean coinage by following the trail of a certain type through Meshorer’s books. It comes as no surprise that the clearly arranged list of these coin types given by David Hendin in his Guide to Biblical Coins appeals to collectors much more than Meshorer’s works.

Thus this little German book is a child of despair, written by an outsider who needs more clarity and, more important, knows that others need it, too. A theologian, the author Siegfried Ostermann is attached to the department of biblical studies at Fribourg University, Switzerland. In working on a study of Hasmonaean coin types and their meanings, he became familiar with numismatic problems. His aim is to give a summary of the chronological theories proposed by Meshorer and his critics (mainly Uriel Rappaport, Dan Barag, and Shraga Qedar), and—more important to those who do not read German—a concordance of all the systems of numbering, which can be found on pages 72-89. There is also an useful overview of the typological alterations in Meshorer’s books (on page 51), and a table showing the subsequent changes of attribution (starting on page 52). All of this is well arranged and easy to handle. Those who read German will find the text to be a tidy introduction to Hasmonaean numismatics, especially as it is supplemented with tables and exact drawings of specimens in the Fribourg University Collection.

There are two additions from Ostermann’s own desk that should be mentioned. First, he deals briefly with the Jaffa Hoard IGCH 1611 (note 34 on page 11), which has earlier been claimed crucial for the dating of the first Hasmonaean issues. Ostermann draws our attention to coin 851. On this coin, he says, the ruler’s name is off flan, but the last preserved line could be read chever (community), a term occurring not only in the legends of Jehonatan (Alexander Jannaeus), who issued the other 850 specimens of the hoard, but of Jehochanan and Jehuda, too. It is obvious that only a die study will settle this matter.

Secondly, Ostermann gives his own list of the Hasmonaean coin types (pages 55-59). Strangely enough, he makes the same mistake that he notes Meshorer has made. Again the coin types are counted but not named. “Ostermann R” belongs to Alexander Jannaeus, “Ostermann S” to Jonatan—one cannot see at first if these types were issued by the same ruler or not. Still worse, Ostermann switches horses midstream, counting using letters rather than numbers to sequence the coins of Mattatiah from no. 36 onward, as the alphabet does not have enough letters for all the coin types recorded. It would have been so very easy to draw a typology by giving a letter to each ruler (that is, to their Hebrew names) and a number to each of his coin types. The numismatic debate can easily deal with terms like A 2.3 and C 3.4, even if it turns out that ruler A is later than ruler C. Furthermore, a typology can be supplemented with new, future types, whereas a numbering system is closed forever; a new type calls for a new system.

Ostermann’s book is a good companion to all who do not deal with coins every day. The numismatists, however, must elaborate produce a better nomenclature soon.

—Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert

Review: Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon à l’époque perse

J. Elayi and A. G. Elayi. Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon à l’époque perse (Ve-IVe s. av. J.-C.). Supplément no 11 à Transeuphratène. Paris: Gabalda, 2004. Sb. 2 vols. 855 pp., 68 figs., 77 b/w pls. ISBN 2-85021-158-8. € 140.

At Iliad 23.740-749, Homer tells of a beautiful silver mixing bowl, well-wrought with the cunning workmanship of Sidonian artisans, which was first given as a gift to Thoas, later given to Patroclus to buy the freedom of Lycaon, and finally offered by Achilles as first prize in the footrace at the funeral games of Patroclus. The present two-volume work by J. Elayi and A. G. Elayi also takes as its primary subject the well-wrought silver (and bronze) of Sidon, but in a form that would have been alien to Homer. Here the authors offer a detailed look at the coinage struck by the ancient Phoenician city under Achaemenid Persian rule, carefully considering the various levels of its workmanship and what can be understood from it in the larger context of Sidonian socioeconomic and political history.

The first chapter is an extensive corpus and die study of Sidonian coins produced in silver and bronze during the period of Achaemenid Persian dominance, involving a total of 2,614 individual specimens ranging in denomination from the double shekel to the 1/64 shekel. Two gold “hemistaters” with the galley/chariot types of silver half shekels, which appeared on the market in 1990, are not included in the corpus, but are relegated to an appendix, where arguments are presented for their condemnation as modern forgeries.

Just as Homer’s mixing bowl serves as a touchstone for the memory of the various heroes who successively owned it and gave it away, so too does Sidonian coinage preserve some memory of the kings who struck them, whether through their weight standards, artistic and epigraphic style, die sharing, or overstriking. Lacking an epic poet or other individual who could reveal their history, in chapter 2, the Elayis have undertaken the task of scouring the coins for the clues that might compel the often taciturn Muse to sing the names of the proper issuing authorities and the sequence of the coinage. In this task they are largely successful, rearranging the material into four new major chronological groups and associating the coins with kings named in the genealogy of the ’Esmun‘azor dynasty and later rulers. The traditional identification of the inscription ‘‘, as the abbreviated Phoenician name for the Cypriot dynast Evagoras, is retained with some hesitation, although we agree that this seems rather more likely than Betlyon’s ‘Abd‘astart III.

For anyone familiar with the earlier works of the Elayis, it almost goes without saying that chapter 3, which analyzes the Sidonian coin inscriptions in connection with the relatively few known Semitic lapidary inscriptions of that ancient city, is extremely well done. Particularly interesting is the suggestion that Aramaic rather than Phoenician letter forms were employed on the issues of Mazday, as an expression of the replacement of local royal authority with Persian satrapal authority at Sidon in the aftermath of Tennes’ revolt of 346 BC. It may be even more noteworthy when we consider a similar use of inscriptions to express foreign imperial power on the coins of Sidon and other cities of Phoenicia bearing local reverse types in the Seleucid period (see O. Hoover, “Ceci n’est pas l’autonomie: The Coinage of Seleucid Phoenicia as Royal and Civic Power Discourse,” Topoi Suppl. 6 [2004]: 485-507). Thus Mazday’s epigraphic manipulation may perhaps be taken as a precursor of later Hellenistic practice, thereby providing yet another example of an Achaemenid-period model for Seleucid policy.

Also refreshing is the authors’ use of the remarkably varied palaeographic evidence to challenge the widespread view that die engravers were mostly illiterates or at best semiliterates who slavishly copied the letters of inscriptions in the same way that they copied the images of the main types. If this were so, there should not be so many different hands represented in the Sidonian coin inscriptions, all of which can be reviewed in Figs. 26-41. Semitic numismatic inscriptions can be especially revealing from the palaeographic perspective, because they were usually engraved into the dies in freehand, as opposed to many Greek coin inscriptions, which often appear to have been blocked in on the dies with guidelines and dots before cutting.

Not only will the Elayis’ excellent coverage of the Sidonian coin inscriptions be a boon to both Semitic epigraphers and numismatists, but it should also serve as a valuable reminder that numismatists focused more closely on the Greek world might also do well to look at their coins more frequently with the eye of the epigrapher. Proper epigraphic treatments of the legends on most Greek coins are stunningly rare, while they tend to be relatively standard in major modern studies of Semitic coinages. See, for example, the letter-form tables and commentary in Y. Meshorer, Nabataean Coins, Qedem 3 (Jerusalem, 1975); Y. Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage (Dix Hills, N.Y., 1982); and H. Gitler and O. Tal, The Coinage of Philistia of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BC: A Study of the Earliest Coins of Palestine, Collezioni Numismatiche 6 (Milan, 2006).

In chapter 4, the authors provide a thorough discussion of the various silver and bronze types used for the coinage of Sidon in the fifth and fourth centuries. The commentary is extremely thorough in all cases. It is no overstatement to say that readers will be hard pressed to find a more detailed analysis of warships as depicted on an ancient coin series than that offered by the Elayis for Sidon, although there may be some question as to how much can really be read into the number of oars and shields depicted by die engravers. Particularly notable is the suggestion that all the types are linked thematically to the concept of divine and physical protection for the Sidonians and their city. While this argument is easily made with respect to the representations of warships and city walls, it requires a typological reinterpretation that distances the chariot scene (double shekels), as well as the archer (half, quarter, and 1/16 shekels) and the figure confronting a lion (half and 1/16 shekels), from Achaemenid imperial iconography. Unfortunately, despite an impeccable review of the evidence and dissection of earlier interpretations, the attempt to divorce these Sidonian types from their apparent Persian models ultimately remains somewhat unsatisfying.

The centerpiece here is the commentary on the much-discussed chariot scene of the double shekels, which attempts to reinvigorate and expand upon the authors’ earlier arguments that it should be interpreted as a type of religious procession in which the city or dynastic god, wearing Elamito-Persian clothing and a crown or polos, rides in the chariot, followed by the king of Sidon on foot (most recently “La scène du char sur les monnaies de Sidon d’époque perse,” Transeuphratène 27 [2004]: 89-108). While modern commentators now generally agree that the individual following the chariot is likely the king of Sidon, the chariot rider is most frequently interpreted in the literature as the Persian King of Kings, because of similar scenes in Achaemenid sculpture and his mode of dress. The authors attack this interpretation in part by pointing out that the Sidonians themselves are known to have adopted Elamito-Persian clothing, that the form of the chariot does not precisely match that found in official Persian representations, and that ‘Abd‘astart I and Tennes are not likely to have struck coins depicting the Great King during their respective revolts against his authority. While the first two arguments seem relatively flimsy, the last is an important point and well worth considering. On the other hand, by the time of the Sidonian uprisings the double shekels with the chariot scene had been in production for almost a century. The sudden replacement of longstanding recognized types with new ones during a period of crisis might have had an adverse affect on the perceived value of the coins. Likewise, if the scene represented a purely Sidonian religious procession, we must ask ourselves why it was not repressed by the Persian satrap Mazday in the aftermath of Tennes’ revolt. In short, while we admit that it is not entirely impossible that the scene might have local cultic meaning, the arguments against an imperial Persian reading are less than fully convincing, especially in light of the other apparent borrowings of Achaemenid themes for the coinage.

The form of the Sidonian archer, who has the same general appearance as the figure in the chariot, varies, and it cannot always be directly connected to specific Persian prototypes, as the Elayis point out. However, the idea that the archer should really be understood as the representation of a city or dynastic god is difficult to accept when we consider that the later series (IV.2.5, IV.7.7) clearly copy the archaic running/kneeling pose and spear with characteristic round butt-end typical of that carried by the so-called melophoroi of the Persian army (cp. their depiction on the glazed brick reliefs of Susa) from the contemporary sigloi struck by the Achaemenid administration in Lydia. Even the early Sidonian types (Groups II.2-II.3, III.3) that eschew the kneeling/running pose seem to borrow the form of the bow with curled ends, the position of the arms, the quiver slung over the shoulder, and the headdress from Carradice Type II sigloi (but see Groups II.4 and III.4, where the running/kneeling pose is used).

Because of the close iconographic connection between the archer of the sigloi and the archer of the Sidonian fractions, we would suggest, as have others, that the Persian type was probably adopted at Sidon in large part because of its recognition value as a type associated with a well-known international coinage. If the archer derived from Persian sigloi really should be understood as a cipher for a local god, what should be made of the parallel phenomenon of borrowed and manipulated Athenian owls and heads of Athena, as well as Sidonian and other foreign types, on the fractional issues of nearby Samaria, Yehud (Judaea), and the so-called Philisto-Arabian series? On the adoption of the types of important international and regional economic centers as a means of legitimizing these local coinages, see for example, Gitler and Tal, The Coinage of Philistia, 72; Y. Meshorer, A Treasury of Jewish Coinage (Jerusalem/New York, 2001), 7-8; and Y. Meshorer and S. Qedar, Samarian Coinage (Jerusalem, 1999), 32.

In a similar vein, the authors suggest that the figure confronting a lion found on Sidonian half and 1/16 shekels was probably derived from Neo-Assyrian glyptic art and that therefore it was already part of the Sidonian iconographic repertoire before the period of Persian domination. Hence, this figure should be seen as a representation of a local god or perhaps the king, rather than as the Achaemenid “royal hero confronting a lion.” While this may possibly be true, it is not supported by the evidence. It is claimed that the Achaemenid royal hero is always depicted in the act of stabbing the lion, whereas on the coins of Sidon (as well as Samaria) and Neo-Assyrian cylinder seals, this figure is shown about to strike. Evidently the authors have overlooked some of the seal impressions from the Persepolis, which clearly show the Achaemenid royal hero about to strike the lion (i.e., P 57601, PS 169). Other slight differences in the figure’s attire, hairstyle, and the Egyptianizing treatment of his eye are hardly strong evidence against a Persian model. Egyptian artistic influence was strong in Phoenicia, and we should not be surprised if a local die engraver introduced elements of Egyptian style when copying a Persian motif.

Ultimately, it is very difficult to escape the conclusion that the several types mentioned above are indeed based on Achaemenid iconographic models. As such, the pairing of these imperial types with the undeniably Sidonian civic types of the galley alone, or next to the city fortifications, comes close to giving the coinage the flavor of the later quasi-municipal issues of the Seleucids or the provincial coinages of the Romans, in which an imperial image, usually the portrait of the reigning king or emperor, was paired with a local type honoring the issuing city and its gods.

The enigmatic reverse type of an eye found on a rare 1/64 (?) shekel of Group I (no. 18) is interpreted in reductionist terms as representing either the eye of the archer of the larger fractions or the apotropaic eye that regularly adorns the ship obverse type of most Sidonian coinage. Nevertheless, it might also have had some other purpose and meaning that is now lost to us. We note that in the early fifth century, an eye was employed as the reverse type for silver fractions of the Macedonian city of Scione (SNG ANS 7, nos. 706-710). Likewise, one cannot help but wonder whether a similar cultural milieu to that which made a disembodied eye an appropriate reverse type at Sidon might also have made a disembodied ear suitable for the obverse of a silver obol (=1/16 shekel?) from the Persian province of Yehud (Judaea) (Meshorer, Treasury, no. 18).

Chapter 5 provides an exceptionally detailed look at the process of producing the dies and flans as well as the finished coins at the mint. However, when dealing with the question of output it is a little perplexing that despite having full command of the literature on statistical die estimation (as indicated in note 144 on page 578), the authors base much of their commentary on numbers of observed obverse dies alone. Estimates are only made for some double shekels of Ba‘alsillem II, ‘Abd‘astart I, Tennes, and ‘Abd‘astart II, as well as a series of 1/32 shekels. While it is very true that die estimation must always be used with caution and that the Sidonian coin samples are rarely as large as one would like for a statistical approach, still it might have been useful to provide the estimates for all of the series with an appropriate caveat. Because many of the smaller module issues come from hoards, dependence on observed dies alone poses some risk of skewing the die data.

A metrological study for all silver and bronze denominations of the Persian period appears in chapter 6, where the Elayis chart an early increase in the weight of the Sidonian shekel perhaps to match that of Tyre, followed by a weight reduction in 365 BC. The authors also cautiously but convincingly argue for the value equivalency of the new bronze coins introduced by ‘Abd‘astart I to the tiny silver 1/32 and 1/128 shekels that ceased production under this king. If they are correct in this interpretation of the bronze, it would place Sidon in the company of some of the earliest Greek cities to take the major psychological and fiscal leap from treating bronze coins only as fractions of the smallest silver denominations to accepting them as a fully token currency with the value of fractional silver.

In the final chapter, the authors place the coins into a broader socioeconomic and historical context. Here the authors emphasize a link between coin production and the expenses of operating the Sidonian fleet to pursue Persian military objectives in the many naval conflicts of the period, as well as to support Sidon’s several revolts against Achaemenid authority. They also raise the very interesting possibility that the introduction of coined silver at Sidon and other Phoenician cities in the mid-fifth century, despite the long tradition of Hacksilber in the region, might have been a fiscal expedient at a time when the Phoenicians were restoring their fleets after the great damage done to them in the battles of Salamis (480), Mycale (479), Eurymedon (466), and Cypriot Salamis (450). The value of coined money could be manipulated by the state in a way that cut bullion could not.

The second volume of Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon contains a supporting bibliography, indices, and numerous illustrative tables and figures, as well as seventy-seven high-quality photographic plates. The latter often include enlargements as well as the usual 1:1 images, which is especially helpful, considering the small module of many of the coins.

Despite our reservations about some of the authors’ conclusions regarding iconography, we have none about praising the general cunning handiwork of the Elayis as exhibited in the present volumes. Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon is an important work of scholarship no less well-wrought than the Sidonian mixing bowl laid out by Achilles as the prize for the funerary footrace. We hope that like this famous bowl, it too will serve to inspire others to take further and greater strides in the study of Sidonian coins and Phoenician numismatics in general.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Spanish Colonial Silver Coins in the Florida Collection

Alan K. Craig. Spanish Colonial Silver Coins in the Florida Collection. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000. 217pp., b/w illus. throughout. ISBN 0-8130-1748-3. $49.95.

Spanish colonial cob coins have always had a special allure through their connection to a romanticized age when pirates infested the seas and control of the American continents and the Caribbean islands was contested by rival European powers. Recently, these coins have been attracting even more attention, particularly in North America, through the publication of Sewall Menzel’s award-winning survey, Cobs, Pieces of Eight, and Treasure Coins (New York, 2004). In light of the current interest in the series and the apparent unavailability of Alan Craig’s Spanish Colonial Silver Coins in the Florida Collection to Menzel, it seems worthwhile to offer a review of Craig’s work, despite the fact that the book has been in print now for over half a decade.

The present volume, originally published alongside and as a supplement to Craig’s other millennial numismatic work, Spanish Colonial Gold Coins in the Florida Collection (a revised version of Gold Coins of the 1715 Spanish Fleet), provides an interesting and sometimes entertaining overview of the Spanish silver coins belonging to the state of Florida. The vast majority of these coins came into the state collection through divisions of material salvaged from the wrecks of the 1715 and 1733 Plate Fleets lost to bad weather off the eastern coast of Florida as they sailed for Spain, although coins from some earlier and later wrecks are also listed and discussed.

Before plunging into his commentary on the Florida holdings, the author dedicates the first three chapters of Spanish Colonial Silver Coins to providing the reader with some historical, political, and economic background to the production of cob coins in the New World. Here special attention is given to the major mints of Mexico and Potosí. The recounting, in chapter 3, of the sordid tale of the Potosí’s decline into debasement and scandal with its aftermath of executions and mint reorganization is especially well done. Even those intimately familiar with the many problems of this mint in the mid-seventeenth century will not fail to be entertained by Craig’s lively prose.

Chapter 4 offers an overview of the steps involved in producing a Spanish silver coin from the mining of the ore to the striking of the finished planchet, and chapter 5 provides an introduction to the general characteristics and varieties of cob coins. The author is especially keen to dispel several persistent myths about cob coinage that were not entirely filtered out by Menzel. He first takes issue with the frequent claim that the term “cob” is derived from the Spanish al cabo de barra, meaning “from the end of the bar” and implying a belief that the planchets were cut from a silver bar. Not only is there no evidence for planchets cut from bars, but Craig points out that al cabo de barra is really a financial term meaning “the last payment due on an account,” and therefore has little to tell us about Spanish colonial coin production. Perhaps more importantly, the author also resumes his longstanding crusade against the modern use of the term “royal” to refer to redondos (round and unusually well-centered and well-struck cobs) in the mistaken belief that these well-made cobs were struck as presentation pieces for the king of Spain. Instead, he shows from contemporary documents that the proper name for these coins was galanos (“handsome, fine-looking”) and convincingly argues that they were more likely to have been specially produced for transactions in which the usual rough appearance of regular cob coins would have been unacceptable.

The chapters that follow, which discuss the Florida holdings by mint, include lists of the known assayers for the mints at Mexico, Potosí, and Lima. However, readers should be warned that Craig’s assayers do not match those given by Menzel, and therefore may be a source of some confusion. In most cases when there is disagreement, Menzel’s arrangement is probably to be preferred, because while the archival evidence is often lacking to securely identify and order some assayers, his organization, based on typology and recut assayer marks, is generally convincing. The differences are especially glaring for the mints of Lima and Potosí, where, for example, Craig seems to have transposed the M/B/L sequence of assayer’s marks from the latter to the former, identifying them as the initials of the Lima assayers Xinés Martínez (1568-1570), Juan de Bruselas (1574), and possibly Baltazar de Leceta (1575-1577). Menzel, on the other hand, rightly attributes the coins of this sequence to Potosí, making Miguel García (1576-1577), Juan de Ballestros Narváez (1577-1586), and Gerónimo Leto (1578-1582) the likely assayers.

It is a well-known fact that the study of die states and varieties is one of the staple pursuits of the serious colonial-period numismatist, and Craig does not disappoint in this area: he illustrates and comments on a number of interesting die varieties from each of the mints whose products appear in the Florida collection. He should also be congratulated for drawing special attention to distinct planchet varieties, a subject that is not often treated in much detail. The commentary mainly involves the cobs of the Mexican mint, which seems to have been especially fond of innovations in planchet form.

Particularly interesting is the “wristwatch” planchet variety, so called because of its roughly circular central area flanked by two tabs. It is suggested that this odd shape might have given added stability to stacks when the coins were being counted, but this seems rather implausible. Perhaps a more likely explanation is that the wristwatch form was a relic of the flan production process rather than an intended feature of the coins. Wristwatch cobs look as if they may have been made from a strip (cast?) of rough circular shapes, each connected to the other by a rectangular runner. When the circular blanks were cut apart, a tab would have remained on either side, thereby creating the distinctive wristwatch form. Such tabs probably could not have been removed to create a more pleasingly round coin without lowering its weight beyond acceptable allowances.

The frequent occurrence of faceted edges on Mexican cobs created by heavy hammer blows is also discussed in some detail, but the explanation of this feature is a little difficult to accept. The author suggests that the hammering was done in order to dull the sharp, jagged edges of cut planchets, thereby preventing them from damaging the sacks in which they were carried or jabbing the people who carried them. Unfortunately, this theory becomes implausible when we consider that mints of Spanish America normally shipped cobs in chests, not sacks, and it is clear from the examples provided (Figs. 7.6-7.7) that numerous sharp edges were left on “spur” variety cobs and other planchet forms despite hammering. Clearly some other purpose must lie behind the faceting.

As Potosí is of great personal interest to the author, the coins of this mint in the Florida collection are prefaced by a well-illustrated history of the mint and its peculiar production problems, from the early days of the ephemeral mint operation at La Plata to its removal to Potosí in the high Andes. Here Craig makes the compelling argument that the added expenses of production created by the high-altitude mint facility may have partially lain behind the recurrent temptation to adulterate the coinage at Potosí, a temptation that does not seem to have plagued the other, more cost-effective Spanish colonial mints.

It is notable that unlike the Mexican cobs, which dominate the salvaged coins from the coast of Florida and increase in number in the years prior to the sailing of the 1715 Fleet, the author indicates a decrease in numbers of Potosí cobs between 1704 and 1711. Craig attributes this to delays in transporting the coins from Potosí to meet the fleet at Lima and to the general decline of the mines at Potosí. While the problem of slow transportation is a possible explanation, the growing exhaustion of the mines seems somewhat less likely, considering the evidence for Potosí’s continued production of about two million pesos per year in this period (see C. Lazo Gárcia, Economia Colonial y Regimen Monetario, Peru: Siglos XVI-XIX. 3 vols. [Lima, 1992], 199-203). Perhaps the lower showing for 1704-1715 issues is only the result of the chance of discovery, and future salvage operations will alter the picture. Conclusions from statistical analysis of the Potosí material as well as the other coins in the Florida collection must be drawn with great caution. Not only is the data skewed by the chance of discovery by salvers and the inability to know whether the full numismatic contents of a wreck have been recovered, but also by the acquisition policy of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. Before 1975, divisions between salvers and the Bureau were often made by weight, while from 1975 to the present, the focus has been on filling holes in the collection with salvaged coins.

Among the more remarkable Potosí coins in the collection are a group of transitional cobs produced in 1650 to 1656 and an eight-reales with the assayer mark VR apparently dated [16]98 (Fig. 8.9g). The latter will no doubt be a source of some controversy, as VR (identified as Pedro de Villar by Menzel) is not otherwise known to have worked later than the first part of 1697. A 1698 date is made problematic by the existence of 1697 cobs signed by the assayers CH (Sebastián de Chavarría) and CH overcut by F (Tomás Fernández de Ocaña). To make sense of this, we would have to assume that VR ended his tenure in 1697 and was replaced by two other assayers in succession, only to reappear for a single issue in 1698, when F was also working. This seems a little implausible, and one wonders whether the less than perfectly preserved 8 of [16]98 might not really be a 3, which would create a known date for VR.

The Florida holdings of coins from the Spanish mint operations at Lima, Cartagena de Indias, Santa Fé de Bogotá, and Guatemala are detailed in chapter 9. In addition to the long run of Lima cobs dated 1696 to 1711 from the 1715 Fleet, thanks to the continuing salvage from the Jupiter Wreck(s?), the collection is also fairly strong on the popular “Lima star” types, apparently produced on local initiative from 1659 to 1660. The later Lima issues dated 1703, 1706, 1708, 1710, and 1711 are all outstanding for their virtually as-struck appearance, a condition that Craig attributes to a conscious treasury policy of keeping some coins out of circulation in expectation of the command to assemble the Plate Fleet.

The mint of Cartagena de Indias is represented by three rare 1655 specimens (an eight-, a four-, and a two-reales). Issues of Santa Fé de Bogotá appear in similarly low numbers. Here the author draws attention to the ninety-degree reverse die orientation of the Cartagena eight-reales (mistakenly describing it as “medallic”), which makes this coin stand out from the other Florida coins. However, while it is generally unusual, this orientation is not entirely anomalous for the Cartagena mint. Several cobs illustrated by Menzel (440, Type II and Iia; and 445, Type I) also appear to have this characteristic, perhaps suggesting the inconsistent use of fixed dies at Cartagena de Indias.

Because the author’s primary interest is in cobs, the eleven milled coins from Guatemala in the collection are only mentioned in passing, because one of them is a rare 1779 eight-reales of Carlos II. An 1821 milled half-real of Zacatecas is also listed in the Florida catalogue, but no additional commentary is provided.

The book concludes with three appendices. The first of these provides contemporary as well as modern metric and imperial equivalences for early modern Spanish weights and distances, while the last is a table listing the coins in the Florida collection used for illustration. Those interested in cob coinage but unable to read Spanish will especially appreciate the second appendix, which for the first time translates into English a documentary report, first published by Carlos Lazo Gárcia in 1992, on the operation of the Potosí mint in 1700.

Spanish Colonial Silver Coins is lavishly illustrated with many black-and-white photographs depicting not only the coins but also the remains of the Potosí mines and mint, as well as woodcuts showing various production processes. While the images are all of excellent quality, it is a little disappointing that the coins are not always illustrated in proper numismatic fashion, with both obverse and reverse shown. While this omission is understandable in the case of some of the figures illustrating Mexican planchet varieties, where the focus is on a particular feature rather than on the coin as a whole, it is unfortunate that both sides are not illustrated in a number of figures depicting cobs from Potosí and Lima, as well as the 1779 eight-reales from the Guatemala mint. We might have liked to see plates of the more outstanding silver coins from the Florida collection, similar to those published in Spanish Colonial Gold Coins, but perhaps this would have made the present larger volume overly expensive for a book that attempts to walk the fine line between serving as an introduction for the interested layman and providing the data to feed future numismatic, archaeological, and historical enquiry.

Florida is indeed fortunate, not only for the vagaries of weather that have made its coastline a graveyard of treasure ships and a rich porthole into the Spanish colonial past, but also for the wisdom and foresight that the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research has shown in actively publishing its coin holdings. Despite our criticisms of Spanish Colonial Silver Coins, we earnestly hope that other curators of state collections will take notice of it and its sister volume and see them as a challenge to publish their own numismatic material from both nautical and land finds. Colonial-period coins with both archaeological and numismatic relevance held in the state collections of North America are in their own way buried treasures waiting to be uncovered and revealed to the interested public.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Development News (Spring 2006)

by Geoff Giglierano

The ANS Gala and Fundraising Auctions: A Collective Effort

Through the collective efforts of a great many individuals, organizations, and firms, the Society achieved significant results with its annual fundraising dinner and benefit auctions, held on January 12, 2006, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City (please see separate article). The results could not have been achieved without the support of numerous people, who helped in many different ways. We are extremely grateful to our friends and supporters, who contributed to this success either by coming to the event—this year’s dinner attendance was more than double that of the previous year—or through sponsorships and donations: fifty-one individuals and firms served as sponsors or contributors to the gala and after-dinner auction.

Among these were the dinner co-sponsors Whitman Publishing and American Numismatic Rarities, and reception and auction sponsors Bowers and Merena Auctions and Stack’s Coins. The major sponsorships were obtained primarily through the efforts and encouragement of ANS board member Charles Anderson. Other friends of the ANS who volunteered their time to make the events possible included Gala Chairman Rick Witschonke, Gala Auction caller Harmer Johnson, Book Auction caller Herb Kreindler, and Book Auction volunteer Normand Pepin. We are looking forward to working with even more of our friends and supporters to make next year’s event a success. It is not too early to think about how you or your firm could partner with the ANS in making the Gala happen. Please call the ANS development office at 212 571-4470, ext. 1304 if you would like to discuss the possibilities with us.

Roger Siboni greets Sage Society members

The Augustus B. Sage Society

Our newest level of ANS membership—the Augustus B. Sage Society—is well underway. As of February 2006, the ABSS has over seventy members. The Development committee’s goal is to have one hundred Sage members in 2006. The Sage Society held its first official meeting before the Gala on January 12. About fifty ABSS members and guests attended the reception, which included remarks by Roger Siboni and an entertaining talk by author David Tripp. A major focus of ABSS activities is for collectors and experts to socialize in a collegial atmosphere—currently we are planning a trip in the fall to London for ABSS members, with opportunities to view both public and private numismatic collections. Other regional get-togethers are being considered, to coincide with certain important numismatic events around the country.

The first guest book signed by Sage Society members

David Tripp gives a presentation on his book Illegal Tender

ANS Membership

Member recruitment became the primary focus of ANS activities at our table at the New York International Numismatic Convention. Volunteers Mike Bates, Mike Parris, Ed Snible, and Bob Leonard, as well as a number of ANS staff members worked at the Society’s table during the NYINC. As a result of their efforts, twenty-nine new members were recruited from among those who were attending the show. We plan to have a similar ANS presence at other major coin shows, such as the World’s Fair of Money in Denver this August. We look forward to connecting with both old and new friends of the ANS at these events.

Caring for Our “Institutional Memory”

For most nonprofit organizations, memberships and other sources of earned income can provide only a limited portion of the funds they need to cover operational costs. The ANS has been working for many years to deal with this fact by building endowments to support the professional staff essential to the Society’s mission. Substantial progress has been made in several areas, such as endowing the positions of Librarian and Curator of American Coins. Now, in recent months, we also have begun developing grant proposals for submission to major foundations and federal agencies to underwrite our archival operations.

The ANS archives are remarkably complete, and include unique materials, such as the records of one of the first American women to work in the field of archaeology and serve as a professional museum curator in the early twentieth century. Unfortunately, the availability of these materials to scholars was limited by their lack of organization, deteriorating condition, and incomplete finding aids. Archivist Joe Ciccone has made significant progress with the archives, but more must be done. The purpose of the grants we are working on is to fund expansion of the Society’s archival staff, to continue the processing and conservation of the records using archival quality storage materials, and to create a digital record of the collections with an online finding aid. This improved accessibility would enhance the usefulness of the ANS archives—approximately 600 linear feet of meeting records, research notebooks, correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, and photographic collections—for curators, researchers, and scholars both in the United States and abroad. If you are interested in helping the ANS look after its “institutional memory,” please contact the development office.

Library News (Spring 2006)

by Francis Campbell

Siegfried von Schuckman settles accounts.

It took place on January 12, in the Waldorf-Astoria’s Louis XVI Suite. The parties involved pursued the objects offered with a fervor driven by the urge to have sole possession. At the end of the affair, the satisfied parties, those who had held their arms erect the longest, were able to claim the prizes. Of course, the affair to which I refer is the book auction held in conjunction with this year’s ANS Gala Dinner and the New York International for the benefit of the Library Chair Endowment. The room was filled with eager attendees from four continents, enticed by sixty-four lots of rare and important numismatic works. Making it all possible were the sale’s donors, who included Dr. Lawrence A. Adams, John W. Adams, William A. Burd, Dan Hamelberg, David Hendin, John R. Melville Jones, Jonathan H. Kagan, George F. Kolbe, Herbert Kreindler, David R. Sear, Roger Siboni, Spink & Son Ltd., Anthony Terranova, Lev Tsitrin, Alan Walker (LHS Numismatik), Andrew Washton, Arnold-Peter Weiss, and Rick B. Witschonke.

Among the items offered were two gems of the sixteenth century. The first, “one of the most attractive early illustrated numismatic books,” according to George Kolbe, was Jacob de Strada’s “Epitome Thesauri Antiquitatum,…” (Tiguri [Zurich]: apud Andream Gesnerum, 1557). The second work was the “Augustarum imagines … quae in posteriori parte numismatum efficta sunt…” (Venetis: Paulus Manutius, 1558), by Aeneas Vico, who, in the words of Ferdinando Bassoli, “united an uncommon talent as an artist and engraver in bronze with literary expertise.” Our thirty-ninth lot consisted of three beautifully bound folio volumes by Frans van Mieris entitled “Histori der Nederlandsche Vorsten,…” (Gravenhaage, 1732-1735), a history illustrated with Dutch medals up to the year 1555. The allegorical frontispiece to the first volume, by Bernard Picart, one of many he prepared for booksellers during his career, was chosen to adorn the cover of our Gala auction catalogue. Picart, who in 1724 had prepared the drawings of engraved gems for Philip von Stosch’s “Gemmae Antiqua,” also prepared the plates for Banier’s French translation of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” in 1732, just a year before his death. Also offered was the “Descripcion general de las monedas Hispano-Cristianas desde la invasion de los Arabes” (Madrid, 1865-1869), by Aloiss Heiss. As the sale catalogue indicates, this three-volume set, “in spite of its age… remains a standard reference on the coins of the Spanish possessions in Italy and the Low Countries, as well as in Latin America.”

Frontispiece illustration apearing on auction catalogue. Original by Bernard Picart.

Among the American rarities offered were Henry Chapman’s sale of the Clarence S. Bement collection, May 29, 1916, and the sale catalogue of the Charles I. Bushnell collection, sold by Henry and Samuel Hudson Chapman, June 20-24, 1882, the sale that “established the Chapman brothers as the dominant force in American numismatics.” As a tribute to Q. David Bowers, the Society’s 2006 Annual Gala honoree, lot 10 of the sale bore the description “Bowersiana” and included “five key works on American numismatics” written by Dave.

Herbert Kreindler spots a bidder.

Eager bidders from four continents.

What is often forgotten in the wake of a successful event such as the Gala Book Auction are the people whose time and effort went into its planning, execution, and follow-up. George Kolbe, whose lot descriptions I have drawn upon herein, prepared a most attractive and informative catalogue and, as mentioned, was also a donor to the sale. John W. Adams, Chairman of the Library Committee, prepared the sale catalogue’s introductory comments and offered support and encouragement throughout. Herbert Kreindler, despite a busy schedule at the New York International Show, gave of his time in calling the auction. Gala Chairman Rick Witschonke was not only a donor to the auction but was also present at the Waldorf to maintain the bid book during the sale and assist with pre- and post-sale handling of the books to be auctioned.’

Harold Salvesen examines the offerings.

Charles Davis has found something.

Victor England’s firm, Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., and Ponterio & Associates, Inc., were kind enough to let us use their viewing rooms for pre-sale display of the books to be auctioned. Victor England was also the successful bidder for lot 64, a copy of the sale catalogue autographed by all of the attendees, which he then graciously donated to the ANS Library. He did the same two years ago at an earlier benefit auction held for the ANS Library at the 2004 ANA Convention in Pittsburgh. In addition, the Librarian would like to thank all those who submitted bids, as well as ANS staff members Juliette Pelletier, Joanne Isaac, Bill Hourigan, Alex Caamaño, and volunteer Normand Pepin, for their efforts in assuring that the Gala was truly an Affair to Remember.

Colin Pitchfork claims his prize.

Rick Witschonke and Herb Kreindler reconcile accounts.

All’s well that ends well. Frank Campbell, Librarian.

From the Collections Manager (Spring 2006)

by Elena Stolyarik

Over the winter, ANS cabinet holdings were enhanced through several notable donations and purchases. In February, a group of sixty-six Eastern European Celtic coins was generously donated by one the ANS Trustees, Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss (Fig. 1). It is a great addition to our own holdings of these significant cultural artifacts. Another interesting and welcome specimen is a gift of an Athenian tetradrachm of c. 425-404 B.C. with a test cut mark, which came from Mr. David Vagi (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1: Eastern Celts. Imitation of Thasos tetradrachm. AR. (ANS 2006.19.62, gift of Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss) 32 mm.

Fig. 2: Athens. AR tetradrachm, c. 425-404 BC. (ANS 2006.14.1, gift of David L. Vagi) 22.9 mm.

In December, a truly unusual artifact entered the ANS collections. It is a red earthenware dish (Fig. 3) with the yellow slip-trailed message, MONEY WANTED, which could have been produced during the Panic of 1837. This ceramic vessel, donated by New York historian William R. Asadorian, was found by Scott Jordan in 1996, during excavation works in Manhattan at 202 Bowery Street, at the site of a privy well.

Fig. 3: United States. Red earthenware dish “MONEY WANTED”, early 19th century. (ANS 2006.11.1, gift of William R. Asadorian) 335 mm.

The ANS holdings of U.S. paper money received a one-dollar silver certificate of 1899 (T83870887A- Friedberg.236), from Mr. Mitchell Davis (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: United States. One-dollar silver certificate, series of 1899, with signatures of Frank White, Treasurer of the United States, and H. Speelman, Register of the Treasury. Serial number T 83870887A. (ANS 2006.10.1, gift of Mitchell Davis) 187 x 78 mm.

We are grateful to have been given another example of a Mexican four-real coin of Charles and Johanna by longtime donor Richard Ponterio (Fig. 5). This rare coin, dating from approximately 1538, shows images of the crowned arms of Castile and Leon on one side and crowned Pillars of Hercules on the other, marked by the assayer Francisco Rincon (R). This example is not referenced in the major publication on these coins by Robert Nesmith, and will be an excellent addition to the ANS holdings. The Latin American cabinet has also been expanded by a new donation of the modern coins of Costa Rica. A gift consisting of 25 centimos of 1972 and 1989, 50 centimos of 1948 and 1984, 1 colones of 1978 and 1998, a 5 colones of 2001, a 10 colones of 1999, a 100 colones of 2000, and a 500 colones of 2003 was presented by Robert W. Hoge, the Society’s Curator of Northern American Coins and Currency, following a trip to San Jose, where he had been representing the ANS and presenting a paper at the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the International Committee of Money and Banking Museums (ICOMON). In addition to these coins, Mr. Hoge also donated two commemorative medals issued by the Bank of the Republic of Colombia, showing the image of the entrance to the Mint of Colombia at Bogotá (Casa de Moneda) on the obverse. One features on the reverse a Colombian “cob” coin with the symbolic Cross of Jerusalem (Fig. 6), and the other depicts an early locomotive in a landscape (Fig. 7).

Fig. 5: Mexico. Charles and Johanna (1516-1556). AR 4 reals. Assayer R (P/R?), c.1538. (ANS 2006.13.1, gift of Richard Ponterio) 33 mm.

Fig. 6: Colombia. NI commemorative medal of Casa de Moneda series issued by the Banco Central de Colombia. Bogota mint, n.d. (ANS 2006.8.12, gift of Robert W. Hoge) 23.1 mm.

Fig. 7: Colombia. NI commemorative medal of Casa de Moneda series issued by the Banco Central de Colombia. Bogota mint, n.d. (ANS 2006.8.11, gift of Robert W. Hoge) 23.1 mm.

The Islamic collection was enlarged by the purchase of a group of three rare coins: a silver dirham, with the name of the `Alid imam al-Da`i ila Allah al-Hasan b. Zayd, issued by the Jurjan mint in 269 AH (Fig. 8); a silver dirham, with the names of the Kakwayhid amir `Adud al-Din `Ala al-Dawla Abu Ja`far and the Abbasid caliph al-Qadir Billah, issued in Hamadan in [42]1 AH (Fig. 9); and a bronze fals of 1041 AH from Tripoli (Tarablus Gharb), with the name of the Ottoman Sultan Murad Khan (Fig. 10).

Fig. 8: Iran. Tabaristan, Jurjan. AR dirham with the name of the `Alid imam al-Da `i ila Allah al-Hasan b. Zayd, 269 AH. (ANS 2006.18.1, purchase) 20.7 mm.

Fig. 9: Iran. Jibal, Hamadan. AR dirham with the names of the Kakwayhid amir `Adud al-Din `Ala al-Dawla Abu Ja`far and the Abbasid caliph al-Qadir billah, [42]1 AH. (ANS 2006.18.2, purchase) 27.6 mm.

Fig. 10: Ifriqiya (modern Libya), Tarablus (Tripoli). AE fals with the name of the Ottoman sultan Murad Khan, 1041 AH. (ANS 2006.18.3, purchase) 17 mm.

The collection material of our Modern Department was enriched by a gift from our Russian colleague Olga Chizhevskaya, Research Associate in the Numismatic Department of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. These copper-nickel specimens represent part of a series of commemorative coins issued by the State Bank of the Soviet Union up until 1991, when the USSR ceased to exist, as well as later issues. The Soviet obverses invariably feature the state symbol, a world globe with a hammer and sickle emblem at the center, flanked by ears of wheat. The iconography of Russian commemorative coin reverses covers a wide range of historic topics, including World War II events (Figs. 11, 12), recent developments in the space program (Fig. 13), Soviet sports, literature (Fig. 14), culture (Fig. 15), and science (Fig. 16), all reflected in a variety of interesting designs.

Fig. 11: USSR. CN one ruble. Leningrad Mint. 1975, issued in 1975 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Rev.: Monument of Victory in Stalingrad (Volgograd). (ANS 2006.9.6, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 30.9 mm.

Fig. 12: USSR. CN one ruble. Moscow Mint. 1990, honoring Georgy K. Zhukov (1896-1974), Marshal of the Soviet Union. (ANS 2006.9.1, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 31.0 mm. Zhukov was involved in the most important battles during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, such as the defense of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Battle of Kursk-Orel; he also led the final attack on Berlin.

Fig. 13: USSR. CN-Zinc one ruble. Moscow Mint. 1979, dedicated to the XXII Olympic Games in Moscow, 1980. Rev.: Monument to the first Soviet space flight, Sputnik, and Soyuz, with Olympic symbol in the field. (ANS 2006.9.2, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 31.1 mm.

Fig. 14: USSR. CN one ruble. Moscow Mint. 1988, commemorating the 160th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy’s birth (1828-1910). (ANS 2006.9.4, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 30.9 mm. Tolstoy, one of the most widely known Russian novelists of the 19th century, is the author of War and Peace (1863-1869) and Anna Karenina (1875-1877).

Fig. 15: USSR. CN-Zinc one ruble. Moscow Mint. 1983, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of the first Russian book-printer, Ivan Fedorov (1510-1583). (ANS 2006.9.3, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 31.0 mm.

Fig. 16: USSR. CN-Zinc one ruble. Moscow Mint. 1991, honoring Russian physicist Peter Lebedev (1866-1912). (ANS 2006.9.5, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 31.0 mm. Lebedev was widely known for his research of the effects of electromagnetic, acoustic, and hydrodynamic waves on resonators.

On December 20, 1991, the State Bank of the USSR was dissolved, and all its assets, liabilities, and property were transferred to the Central Bank of the new Russian Federation. In its own issues, this new bank has followed traditional coin designs, although the hammer and sickle emblem was replaced by the denomination sign, decorated with a stylized floral motif. Images of coin reverses continued to reflect important events of Russian history. Our new acquisitions of Russian Federation coins consist of copper-nickel alloy two-ruble issues of 2000, and represent part of the commemorative series dedicated to the fifty-fifth anniversary of the victory in World War II. This series features major battles and commemorates the contribution to the war effort by the citizens of major Russian cities, such as the defense of Moscow (Fig. 17), cannon manufacturing in Tula (Fig. 18), and a convoy of trucks relieving the siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) (Fig. 19).

Fig. 17: Russian Federation. CN two rubles. Moscow mint. 2000, dedicated to the defense of Moscow during World War II (October 1941-January 1942). (ANS 2006.9.8, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 22.9 mm. Moscow was proclaimed a “Hero City” and awarded the order of V. I. Lenin and the medal of the Gold Star, by the Soviet government on May 8, 1965.

Fig. 18: Russian Federation. CN two rubles. Moscow mint, 2000, dedicated to cannon manufacturing in Tula during the WWII. (ANS 2006.9.7, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 22.8mm. The city of Tula was proclaimed a “Hero City” and awarded the medal of the Gold Star and the order of V. I. Lenin by the Soviet government in 1976.

Fig. 19: Russian Federation. CN two rubles. Moscow mint, 2000, commemorating a convoy of truck relieving the siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg). (ANS 2006.9.9, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 22.8 mm. The city was proclaimed a “Hero City” and awarded the order of V. I. Lenin and the medal of the Gold Star for heroism, on May 1, 1945, after a 900-day siege by Nazi troops.

On April 12, 1961, the Russian spacecraft Vostok, carrying a single young pilot, blasted into Earth orbit, making Yuri Gagarin the first man in space. In 2001, the Bank of Russia commemorated the fortieth anniversary of this first manned space flight with a new issue of copper-nickel two-ruble coins (Fig. 20). The reverse of these coins bears a portrait of the first Soviet cosmonaut in a military uniform and a facsimile of his signature, GAGARIN. This specimen, also the gift of Ms. Chizhevskaya, is not only a fine addition to our Russian cabinet but also to our collection of numismatic objects relating to the history of aviation and space exploration.

Fig. 20: Russian Federation. CN two rubles. Moscow mint, 2002, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s space flight (April 12, 1961). (ANS 2006.9.10, gift of Olga Chizhevskaya) 22.9 mm.

Several handsome additions have been made to the ANS Department of Medals. As a tribute to Admiral Horatio, Lord Nelson (1758-1805) and his triumphant victory over Napoleon’s finest fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, British artist Malcolm Appleby designed the exquisite silver Bicentenary Trafalgar Medal, which is as special and dramatic as the event it celebrates (Fig. 21). The shape of the medal reproduced the Nelson profile from the famous oil sketch of the Admiral painted on board HMS Victory on December 21, 1805, by Arthur William Devis (Fig. 22). The specimen was generously donated to the ANS by Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan.

Fig. 21: Great Britain. AR bicentennial commemorative medal dedicated to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), by Malcolm Appleby, 2005. (ANS 2006.15.1, gift of Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan) 63.6 x 74 mm.

Fig. 22: Portrait of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). Oil. By Arthur William Devis. Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth. 1805.

ANS Fellow Scott H. Miller contributed brass electrotype shells of the obverse and reverse of the New York Zoological Society’s Madison Grant commemorative medal of 1931 (Fig. 23), designed by John Ray Sinnock, chief engraver of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia at the time. Madison Grant (1865-1937), known primarily for his work as a eugenicist, was responsible for The Passing of the Great Race (1916), one of the most well-known works of scientific racism. This book contains Grant’s interpretation of contemporary anthropology and history as revolving chiefly around the idea of “race”—specifically the idea of the Nordic race. It was published by the Nazi government when it first took power in Germany, and due to the strong associations of Grant’s eugenic thinking with Nazi German politics and ideology, his work as a conservationist has been somewhat ignored and obscured; many organizations with which he was once associated prefer to play down their connections with him.

Fig. 23: United States. AE electrotype shells of the New York Zoological Society’s Madison Grant (1865-1937) commemorative medal, by John Ray Sinnock, 1931. (ANS 2006.7.1-2, gift of Scott H. Miller) 149.4 mm.

As a conservationist, Grant was credited with the saving of many different animal species, founding many different environmental and philanthropic organizations, and developing much of the discipline of wildlife management. He helped develop the first deer-hunting laws in New York State, founded the Bronx Zoo, built the Bronx River Parkway, helped save the American bison by organizing the American Bison Society, and helped create Glacier and Denali National Parks. He was the head of the New York Zoological Society from 1925 until his death in 1937. The original 1931 medal, of which the ANS now has the galvanos, was presented to Grant by the Board of the New York Zoological Society in recognition of his achievement as an administrator and conservationist. It is an interesting and important artifact, reflecting positive features of Grant’s contradictory accomplishments.

Among other new accessions in the Medals Department is a gift from our 1995 J. Sanford Saltus Award recipient, medallic artist Alex Shagin, who sculpted and generously donated examples of the Society’s new honorific medal dedicated to famed numismatist and benefactor Q. David Bowers. The gift included medals in silver (Fig. 24) and bronze, as well as the steel obverse hub and a 230 mm plaster model of the same work. (On January 12, 2006, the original silver award medal was presented to Mr. Bowers in the festive atmosphere of this year’s extremely successful ANS Annual Dinner Gala.) Shagin also donated a fascinating and peculiar silver medal (Fig. 25). One side of the medal, bearing the legend INTELLIGENT DESIGN, shows a drawing of a robot on an easel and Auguste Rodin’s Thinker, with an ape in the same posture seated at right. On the reverse is the image of human and robot hands joined by handcuffs; around, a legend reads AND THE MISSING LINK?

Fig. 24: United States. The American Numismatic Society. AR honorific medal dedicated to Q. David Bowers, by Alex Shagin, 2006. (ANS 2006.16.1, gift of Alex Shagin) 47 mm.

Fig. 25: United States. AR medal “Intelligent Design,” by Alex Shagin, 2005. (ANS 2006.17.1, gift of Alex Shagin) 47 mm.

Watching with great interest ongoing discussions on the subject of intelligent design, the artist could not resist the temptation to contribute to this hot debate, to make a comment and flesh it out in the laconic format of a small medallion. His goal was not to answer any of the multitudes of questions this debate has engendered, but simply to visualize them within the context of our cultural system of values and put the problem in historical perspective. Art and Science! Fact and Opinions! Faith and Knowledge! For Shagin, Rodin’s Thinker was created as a tribute to the genius of Michelangelo, whose frescoes in the Sistine Chapel sent a message of humanism and compassion that still enlightens our troubled world. The artist hopes that the human race will not continue its unchecked acceleration of the “rat race,” which may ultimately render us obsolete. As Shagin mentioned in his letter to the ANS, “We need to remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”


In January, the ANS provided eleven objects to the Bruce Museum of Art and Science in Greenwich, Connecticut, for an exhibition entitled Ben Franklin’s Curious Mind. Among the ANS items are examples of the bronze, 1776-dated Libertas Americana French medal by Augustin Dupré, struck in commemoration of the American Revolution and subsequent independence; the bronze medal of 1784, with Franklin’s image—another composition by Dupré (Fig. 26); the 1777 French terracotta uniface medallion with Franklin’s fur-capped portrait, by Jean-Baptiste Nini; the “Fugio” or “Franklin” copper of 1787; and colonial Pennsylvania and Delaware currency issues of 1759-1760. Along with Franklin-related objects from other museums and institutions, the ANS items will be on display at the Bruce Museum until April 23, 2006.

Fig. 26: France. AE portrait medal of Benjamin Franklin, by Augustin Dupré, 1784. (ANS 1940.100.188, gift of Mrs. Robert James Eidlitz. Bequest of Robert James Eidlitz) 46 mm.

Several ANS objects are featured in the exhibition “The Fur Trade of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in North America,” at the Wenham Museum, in Wenham, Massachusetts. These include a Franco-American jeton of Louis XV, bearing an image of beavers building a dam; the British colonial Indian Friendship medal of George I, depicting an Indian hunting a deer; the British Colonial (Pennsylvania) Indian Friendship medal of George II, with the image of a Quaker offering a pipe to an Indian; and the British Colonial “Hungry Wolf” Indian Friendship medal of George III, with its portrayal of a lion (the British government) looking at a hungry, skulking wolf, which perhaps represents the rebellious American colonists (Fig. 27). This exhibition focuses on the effect European fashion had on the American continent as traders came to get pelts for hats back home and interacted with American Indians, who were eager to trap beaver in exchange for European goods. The exhibit addresses the wars the fur trade caused between Europeans and different northeastern tribes, and shows the effects that European trade had on the life of American Indians. It will remain on view at the Wenham Museum until July 2006.

Fig. 27: Great Britain (American Colonial), George III (1760-1820). AR Indian Friendship “Hungry Wolf” Medal, Royal Mint, ca. 1776. (ANS 0000.999.32901) 61.75 mm.