Obituary: James H. Schwartz 1932-2006

by Peter van Alfen

Prof. James H. Schwartz

ANS Trustee Prof. James (‘Jimmy’) H. Schwartz passed away on March 13, 2006, due to complications from leukemia. A longtime member and supporter of the ANS, Jimmy, together with his first wife, Frances, always showed great concern about the future of the Society, serving on various committees, volunteering time, raising and donating funds, and voicing strong opinions about the future direction and management of the ANS. When Frances died of leukemia in 1984, Jimmy helped establish a memorial fellowship fund in her name, which has since allowed dozens of local graduate and undergraduate students to gain unparalleled experience working with the ANS collections. Jimmy’s main focus was the academic integrity of the institution. He cared about the entire staff, from the guards to the curators. When a few years ago the ANS encountered serious financial difficulties and had to severely cut its staff, it was Jimmy who stood up for the staff, fighting a hard battle. It was typical for him that he donated—right in the midst of this debate—a large endowment fund to the ANS. This fund now supports ANS curatorial activities. In recognition of his service to the ANS, Jimmy was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2002, where he showed a remarkable gift for fundraising while continuing his strong support of the academic activities of the ANS.

Jimmy’s numismatic interests were broad, as can be seen in the collection of material he donated to the ANS in 2004 (accession numbers 2004.14.1-238), but generally centered on the Greco-Roman periods. In recent years, he focused his collecting and research interests on North African Vandalic issues from the fifth century AD, hoping to continue his study of this little-appreciated coinage and following up on his 1982 article in ANS Museum Notes. His other numismatic publications reflect his broad interests as well as his service to the ANS. Having discovered a cache of unpublished gems in the Greek and Roman cabinets, Jimmy and Frances took it upon themselves to publish the collection in a series of articles in the ANS Museum Notes/American Journal of Numismatics, the first of which was completed in 1979. After Frances’ death, Jimmy continued the project with additional articles appearing in 1999 and 2002; his most recent article will appear posthumously in AJN 18 later this year.

His contributions to numismatics, however, pale in comparison to his greater contributions to the field of neurobiology. Following the completion of his medical degree at New York University (1959) and his PhD at Rockefeller University (1964), Jimmy served as professor of microbiology at NYU until joining the faculty at Columbia University (his undergraduate alma mater) in 1974, where he helped to establish the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. As part of an influential Columbia team studying the biochemical basis of leaning and memory, Jimmy, together with Dr. Eric R. Kandel (Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2000) and Thomas M. Jessel, edited the standard textbook Principles of Neural Science (1979), which is about to appear in its fifth edition. In addition, Jimmy was the author or coauthor of nearly three hundred articles, chapters, reviews, and abstracts.

The proximity of the ANS’s old home in Washington Heights to Jimmy’s office at Columbia meant that Jimmy was a frequent visitor and lunchtime companion for the ANS staff. With the move to Fulton Street making such meetings more difficult, Jimmy’s rarer visits were that much more appreciated. The realization that we can no longer enjoy his quiet charm and wit deeply saddens the ANS staff.

A lifelong resident of Manhattan, Jimmy’s love of the city was perhaps challenged only by his appreciation for the Hamptons, where he and his wife, Dr. Catherine Lipkin, spent most weekends. Jimmy is also survived by his two children Daisy Salzman and Peter, his stepson Jonathan Lipkin, and five grandchildren.

Review: Le Portrait d’Alexandre le Grand

Osmund Bopearachchi and Philippe Flandrin. Le Portrait d’Alexandre le Grand: Histoire d’une découverte pour l’humanité. Monaco: Éditions du Rocher, 2005. Pb., 270 pp., 8 pls., ISBN 2-268-05476-4, € 18.90

Amidst the chaos of the Afghanistan War, a massive coin hoard was found in 1992 at Mir Zakah, an area in eastern Afghanistan. Mir Zakah is situated some 50 km northeast of Gardez and is not far away from the Khyber Pass Highway leading from Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan. The hoard allegedly contained three to four tons of gold and silver coins and roughly 200 kg of jewelry, silver vessels, gemstones, and votive plaquettes. Another hoard had been found in 1947 at the very same site, which had been partly rescued by Afghani authorities and French archaeologists. Because both the Mir Zakah Hoards contained roughly the same range of coin issues, it is rather obvious that they were parts of one and the same deposit. The mixture of coins and objects most likely composing a temple treasure is reminiscent of the famous Oxus Hoard. The Mir Zakah Deposit, however, is much larger than the Oxus Hoard, and might have included several war chests, with Greek Bactria well represented and the Indo-Scythian king Azes II making up the lion’s share. The most recent coins are those of the Kushan rulers of the late second and early third century AD.

Osmund Bopearachchi, a renowned specialist of Bactrian and Indo-Scythian numismatics, was among the first drawing the public’s attention to this notable discovery. After coming across hoard specimens by the thousands in the Suq of Peshawar, he published his first report in the International Numismatic Newsletter 24 (Spring 1994). Subsequently, he kept his colleagues updated about his investigations. Almost all we know about the Mir Zakah Deposit we have learned from his writings. Indefatigably searching for the hoard’s specimens all over the world, he found many unedited types and varieties—some even of unknown rulers—and some overstrikes elucidating chronological issues. Furthermore, Bopearachchi traced the trail of the so-called Bactrian Treasure in the Miho Museum, Shigaraki. According to him, that collection of Persian and Bactrian gold and silver objects is the “temple’s share” of the Mir Zakah Deposit. Another view was held by the late Igor Pichikyan, the Russian excavator of the temple at Takht-i Sangin, who thought the Miho Treasure might belong to the Oxus Hoard rather than to the Mir Zakah Deposit. In order to prove his case once and for all, Bopearachchi courageously traveled abroad in Afghanistan last year. He was accompanied by the French war correspondent Philippe Flandrin, who is familiar with the countries, peoples, and customs of the Hindu Kush. Flandrin has already published several books on the lost cultural heritage caused by the Afghanistan conflicts of the past twenty-five years. Bopearachchi and Flandrin tried to meet and interview as many witnesses of the hoard’s dispersal as possible—villagers, officials, and military officers. Now, after only a few months, the report of their journey has appeared.

Though the purpose of the journey was to establish the provenance of the Miho Treasure from Mir Zakah, the scope of the book goes far beyond that. The authors have something to say about the political background not only of the Mir Zakah affair but also of the ransacking of the Kabul Museum in May 1993. The second main topic of the book, however, are the coins of the Mir Zakah Deposit. Bopearachchi’s hunt for new numismatic evidence fascinated his companion, and a spectacular gold coin (Fig. 1), the obverse of which figures on the front cover, plays the main role in the book. From my point of view, the authenticity of the coin (and of others dealt with in the book) is questionable. So I am afraid the authors’ merits in checking the provenances of many items kept by the Miho Museum will soon be superseded by a debate about whether these items are genuine or not. I cannot help entering into the matter.

Fig. 1. Gold double daric allegedly from the Mir Zakah Deposit.

The book has two parts. The first one, written by Flandrin, gives a colorful, sometimes dramatic description of his involvement in Bopearachchi’s investigation. All who loved reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four will enjoy it, and anyone who is interested in the provenance of the Miho items will have to read it as well. It must be said, however, that Flandrin does not know much about numismatics. He confuses darics with staters (43), he thinks the late Martin J. Price was an American (95), and he is serious in asserting that the famous “Poros Coinage” was minted the day after Alexander’s battle against the Indian king (15). More reliable in that respect is the second part, written by Bopearachchi, who gives a detailed account of what can be told about the Mir Zakah Deposit, both its numismatic contents and its historical consequences. Unfortunately, this over-view is blurred by Bopearachchi’s discussion of some novelties he adds to the hitherto known contents. The first one is the gold coin just mentioned, and the second and third ones are a tetradrachm and a gold stater of the Bactrian satrap (or ruler) Sophytes, whose authenticity should also be questioned. Still worse, Bopearachchi argues that some debates about authenticity are superfluous, for some specimens from the Mir Zakah Deposit (which have not yet been published) proved their types are genuine (219, 236). At this point at the latest, the reader wonders if Bopearachchi wants him to refrain from scientific principles and to put good faith in everything Bopearachchi tells him. Perhaps it would be easier to trust Bopearachi’s judgment were he more skeptical toward the coins he figures on the plates.

Turning to the problem of the authenticity of the coins, I begin with the gold coin (Fig. 1) that gives the book its title. It is a double daric (16.75 g) with a 6:00 die axis. Bearing a portrait of Alexander the Great in elephant headdress on the obverse and the image of a walking elephant on the reverse, the coin connects two hitherto separated points in early Hellenistic numismatics. Having a Xi above and the monogram AB beneath the elephant, the reverse seems to belong to the famous Poros Group of the Alexander Coinage. The obverse is related to Alexander’s earliest coin portraits issued by Ptolemy I and Seleucus I. The Alexander portrait on Ptolemy’s early tetradrachms is the closest parallel (Kraay and Hirmer, Greek Coins, pl. 217). Some darics and double darics that Seleucus minted at Babylon, Susa, and Ecbatana, respectively, show a similar but less detailed portrait (Houghton and Lorber, Seleucid Coins I, 1, 48ff., nos. 101, 183, 219). As far as the metal and the denomination are concerned, the Seleucid coins are closer to the new coin, but they were issued about a decade later than the Ptolemaic ones. However, from Bopearachchi’s point of view the new gold coin precedes its Ptolemaic and Seleucid analogues, thus being not only their model but the earliest coin portrait of Alexander and the only one minted in his lifetime. If so, the coin would revolutionize our knowledge of the Alexander portraits. However, before we engage in discussing chronological issues, we should ask: Is that hybrid coin ancient at all?

What troubled me first is its impeccable preservation. The coin is said to come from a hoard containing thousands and millions of coins ranging over five centuries, among which it is one of the earliest, but it looks as fresh as a coin that has left the anvil only a few days ago. There seems to be some wear at the feathers of Alexander’s aegis, but that part of the relief is not the highest one. At any rate, the questions of provenance and authenticity must be separated from each other.

Both the images of the coin have some unusual features, to say the least. Turning to the reverse, we see an elephant dancing ballet. Far from having the phlegma known from all other ancient depictions of pachyderms, this one’s toes are raised as if it were up on point. Obviously, the engraver knew little about the animal’s physique. Elephants are animalia unguligrada, which do not walk on their soles. In fact, elephants are always walking on their tiptoes, and thus cannot raise their feet any further. It is true that the engraver of the Poros double shekels did not know much about elephants either. As Barclay Head observed, he rendered the elephant’s hind legs incorrectly (Numismatic Chronicle [1906]: 8; Hill, British Museum Quarterly 1 [1926]: 36). However, the elephants of the Poros Coinage are well within the range of Greek realism, whereas the elephant of the new gold coin is nearly ridiculous.

Turning to the obverse, we have a portrait of Alexander which is surely a tour de force. Even considering the small size of the coin (1.9 cm), the portrait is rich with thrilling details. Everything protrudes: the forehead, the eye, the orbital, even the swelling lips. However, the parts do not harmonize. Comparing a specimen (Fig. 2) of Seleucus’s double darics side by side with the new coin, one observes at once that the Seleucid engraver designed the portrait as one throw, while the engraver of the new coin put pieces together. Consequently, there are gaps—places where one element of the face thrusts against another without organic transitions. Note the bow of the upper eyelid, which does not correspond to the heavy orbital; the hanging lower eyelid (Alexander’s look is entirely inexpressive); the lifeless surface of temple and cheek; and the clumsy engraving of the ear. This engraver is not a sculptor but merely a draftsman; his work is not plastic but graphic. In fact, he uses border lines, a feature entirely unknown in ancient coin engraving (note the outline of the elephant skin, and further, Alexander’s eyelids, lips, and auricle).

Fig. 2. Gold double daric of Seleucus I.

Numismatists are wise to place more weight on technical features than on stylistic impressions. Without having performed an autopsy, I should like to mention four technical anomalies, although none of them might be decisive. First, note the border of dots on the obverse, which is not attested among the Poros coins nor among the Seleucid gold coins mentioned above. Among the comparisons, it occurs on Ptolemy’s tetradrachms only. Second, observe the coupling of the Xi and the AB monogram on one side of the coin, whereas the Poros double shekels have them on two sides. Third, this coin has a 6:00 die axis, whereas the Poros Group, like the mass of the Alexander coinage, is random. Finally, it is hard to explain why the trunk of Alexander’s elephant headdress suddenly disappears before reaching the flan’s edge. There are indications of a double strike (note the shadow of the dotted border between 3:00 and 6:00), but they do not explain this.

I have a very bad feeling about this coin. My suspicion is not assuaged by the way the coin came to Bopearachchi’s attention. In collecting intelligence about the Mir Zakah Deposit, Bopearachchi relied upon an Pakistani informant. This homme de Peshawar who calls himself un pauvre journaliste pakistanais (but lives in the Marble Arch District) has in the past acted as an intermediary for a Peshawar dealer; today he seems to act in charge of the London Afghani dealers. According to him, he had seen the deposit before it left Mir Zakah. His recollection of details is astonishing: after a lapse of more than ten years he recognizes specimens from a hoard weighing three or four tons. Although he does not claim to have played the main role in the hoard’s dispersal, he was clever enough to single out the most spectacular coin of the whole deposit.

The Sophytes coins mentioned above have a different story but similar problems. Bopearachchi found them on the market (commencent à paraître dans les catalogues de vente, 196). Allegedly, they are derived from a hoard discovered at Aqtcha, near Balkh. The tetradrachm might be genuine, although its portrait has unexpected features: Sophytes’ helmet obviously copies that of Athena of the Eastern owls. Bopearachchi argues that Sophytes’ borrowing of it from Athena is a symptom of superhuman pretensions (199). That tetradrachm looks better than one that Bopearachchi had published earlier (Nomismatika Khronika 15 [1996]: 30, no. 1) and much better than the new gold stater (197). The gold stater repeats the image of Sophytes’ didrachms: his portrait wearing a Hellenistic helmet ornamented with an olive wreath on the bowl and a bird’s wing on the side flap. The engraving of the gold stater is very poor (note the failed ornaments on the cheekpiece) and does not deserve further discussion.

The Poros double shekel in the Hirayama Collection, however, is certainly genuine (180-181). In fact, it is one of the finest specimens of its group, for it is the first one showing the whole reverse image. According to Bopearachchi, it is one of fifteen specimens found in the Mir Zakah Deposit. Unfortunately, these wonderful coins might have stimulated the imagination of some crooks.

—Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert

Review: The Dassiers of Geneva: Eighteenth-​Century European Medallists

William Eisler. The Dassiers of Geneva: Eighteenth-Century European Medallists. Vol. 1, Jean Dassier, Medal Engraver: Geneva, Paris, and London, 1700-1733. Vol. 2, Dassier and Sons: An Artistic Enterprise in Geneva, Switzerland, and Europe, 1733-1759. Cahiers romands de numismatic 7 and 8. Lausanne: Association des amis du Cabinet des medailles du canton de Vaud et le Musee d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, 2002 and 2005. ISBN no. 2-940094-05-5 (vol. 1), 2-940094-06-3 (vol. 2).

The Dassiers of Geneva, especially Jean Dassier (1676-1763) and his son Jacques-Antoine (1715-1759), were among the most important and prolific medalists of the eighteenth century. Their contributions to medallic design and production have been marginalized in part due to our limited understanding of their careers and the paucity of published documents about them. The only extended essays to focus on Jean and Jacques-Antoine’s lives were written between 1772 and 1774, by Gottlieb Emanuel von Haller and Johann Füssli, based on a 1771 manuscript by Dassier’s sons Jean II and Antoine. Forrer’s skeletal description and checklist has remained the standard resource on them, but he freely admitted that “there is no complete catalogue of Dassier’s work” (1:513). Eisler’s two-volume, long-overdue study is the first monograph on the Dassiers and will be the standard reference on their work for the foreseeable future.

Jean Dassier initially trained under his father Domaine, chief engraver at the Geneva Mint, then in Paris under Jean Mauger and Joseph Roettiers. Returning to Geneva, Jean assisted Domaine at the mint for several years and, following his father’s death in 1719, he became chief engraver there until his death in 1763. More than numismatic engravers or designers, Domaine and Jean were quite wealthy and played key roles in the design, construction, implementation, and legislation of screw presses in Geneva. As mint-masters they held a virtual monopoly over that technology and thus over the Genevan luxury decorative-arts market of the early decades of the eighteenth century.

Eisler’s first volume and several chapters of the second examine Jean Dassier’s work in medals and related decorative arts: the artist’s association with the Genevan luxury-goods industry, the “Fabrique,” is documented here for the first time. Dassier produced at least twenty exquisitely cut dies—frequently allegorical compositions based on Roman mythology—for watch cases, watch faces, and snuff boxes early in his career. In 1717, he reissued Jérôme Roussel’s sixty medals on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Undeterred by the tepid success of that series, in 1723 and 1724 he designed and struck over seventy medals of illustrious men associated with the reign of King Louis XIV. These latter medals brought him international acclaim, and he followed that triumph with a series depicting religious reformers and theologians, totaling over thirty medals. Dassier sojourned to England in 1728 and was offered a position at the Royal Mint. He declined the offer, but three years later he produced an enormously successful series of thirty-five medals of British sovereigns from William I to George II in bronze, gold, and silver; these were complemented by a smaller series depicting British worthies including Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Isaac Newton. At various times in the 1720s, 1730s, and 1740s, Dassier executed medals of Bernese dignitaries and, following the example of Louis XIV’s Histoire Métallique, produced an analogous medallic history of Geneva between 1734 and 1749. Dassier also designed most of the coinage for Geneva between 1711 and 1763.

The second volume continues to explore the career of Jean Dassier, then focuses on the work of Jean Dassier’s son, Jacques-Antoine, and collaborative efforts between the two (and, to a lesser extent, Jean’s son Antoine). Jacques-Antoine received early tutelage from his father, but moved to Paris in 1732 to study under Thomas Germain. In 1737, he began unofficial studies at the French Academy in Rome (as a Protestant, he was ineligible for the Prix de Rome). His earliest known medal, depicting Pope Clement XII, resulted from an audience with the pontiff at that time. Upon returning to Geneva, Jacques-Antoine immediately set out for England, where he was assistant engraver at the Royal Mint in London from 1741 to 1745; he produced more than twenty medals of notable British personalities during that decade, including Alexander Pope, King George II, and various nobles. Also in the 1740s, Jacques-Antoine collaborated with his father on a series of more than sixty medals concerning the history and personalities of the Roman Republic. His best works come from the 1750s, and include the famous medal of Montesquieu from 1753. Beginning in 1756, he worked at the mint in St. Petersburg and also was employed at the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Art. Jacques-Antoine had been groomed to assume the mantle of his father’s atelier, and he enjoyed enormous success in the final years of his life. His untimely death in 1759 dealt a devastating blow to Jean’s hopes for a protracted Genevan dynasty.

The Dassier family was important to the diffusion and dissemination of style in eighteenth-century Europe. The Dassiers were not innovators, but they were savvy, efficient, ambitious, and prolific designers and die-cutters for hundreds of medals, coins, and other luxury items. Raised-rim borders, inevitably derived from Jean Warin, surround able, perfunctory portraits, with reverses that are often repetitive and simple. Their extended series rely formally (if not functionally) on the massively self-indulgent medals commissioned by the Sun King. With the possible exception of Jacques-Antoine’s later work, Dassier medals are not among the best in the history of medals (indeed, they are not even mentioned in Mark Jones’s survey The Art of the Medal). But perhaps more than any other medalists of the eighteenth century, the Dassier family integrated cutting-edge technologies and political acumen with a keen understanding of the market for medals and the decorative arts.

Eisler’s ambitious study redresses the rather surprising lacuna in our knowledge of the family and its artistic milieu. Both volumes are profusely illustrated with hundreds of reproductions, including the original dies and puncheons held in Geneva. Enlargements, exquisite color plates, and numerous illustrations of engravings, drawings, paintings, and related medals complement a well-documented text. Eisler cites a wide assortment of sources to confirm his findings and bolster his arguments: tax records, letters, notarial entries, inventories, contracts, excerpts from earlier biographies (Füssli, Haller), and contemporaneous commentaries. The author frequently includes the full texts of documents, such as Roussel’s 1711 description of the Metamorphoses (1:40-41) and Jacques-Antoine’s 1756 contract with the Russian Imperial court (2:368-369). When Eisler revises the date of a series or attribution, his reasons are delineated clearly and often are based on documentary evidence. Arranged chronologically, the material will prove invaluable to students of medals, portraiture, and eighteenth-century style, while Eisler’s fluid prose remains accessible to lay readers.

Each chapter is a discrete entity focused on a specific group of medals: a contextual essay precedes a catalogue of those medals followed by illustrations, and each chapter’s catalogue has its own numbering system (citations will have to include the volume number, page number, and item number). The plates do not include identifying information, nor do they follow the same pagination as the text, catalogue, or catalogue illustrations; a list at the beginning of each volume redirects the reader to the appropriate catalogue number. Several early objects are not illustrated, including nos. 1, 3, 6, and 25 in the first volume. At the very least, they should have been included as figures. Essays often begin as though they immediately follow the previous chapter, when in fact twenty or more pages of catalogue entries and illustrations separate them, and the absence of paragraph indentations complicates an otherwise clear text. And while the illustrations generally are quite good, especially the color plates, many black-and-white plates are blurry and indistinct (e.g., vol. 1, Plates 5-6).

The minor problems outlined above are primarily organizational and aesthetic in nature, and fortunately they do not obscure an exceptional publication. The Dassiers of Geneva is rich in primary and secondary sources, and sheds much-needed light on the atelier of a significant medal-making dynasty. Eisler is to be applauded for collecting such an impressive array of documents and visual materials to illuminate the family, its contributions, and the social context of their medals. Not only will these two volumes serve as the authoritative source on the Dassiers, they may well rescue the family from the purgatory of relative obscurity.

—Arne R. Flaten

Archivist’s News: An ANS Die-Cutting School

by Joseph Ciccone

Recently, I was arranging documents in the archives from the first decade of the twentieth century. As I sifted through these archival records, I came across correspondence and other documents related to an early, albeit unsuccessful, effort of the Society to promote medallic art in the United States—the creation of the Society’s School for Coin and Medal Designing and Die-Cutting.

Establishment of the School

The origins of the school date back to March 1900, when the Society’s membership gathered for their annual meeting in the Society’s rented room in the New York Academy of Medicine building. During the meeting, Andrew Zabriskie, president of the ANS since 1896, gave his annual address, in which he reviewed the accomplishments of the past year and made proposals for the upcoming one. Chief among the latter was the establishment of a school for die-cutting. In making this recommendation, Zabriskie first commented on the “lamentable backwardness” in the United States with regards to the medallic arts, opining, “the remedy to me seems plain: a school for die-cutting should be established, under the charge of this Society, conjointly, if deemed best, with one or other of the artistic bodies in this city. The beginning might, and doubtless would, be modest, but I fully believe there are to-day in this city youths and maidens—for this pursuit can be equally well engaged in by women—who would become equals of the Sharfs, the Rotys, and the Lea Ahlborns of the old world.”

Andrew Zabriskie, ca. 1903. Zabriskie was a leading proponent and financial backer of the school. (ANS Archives)

Zabriskie ended his address with a challenge to the Society’s membership: “Let us not, my friends, leave this room to-night until a Committee has been appointed to take up this great work, which cannot fail to be the most important ever undertaken by this Society.”

The membership agreed and authorized Zabriskie to appoint the committee. By May, an exploratory Committee on the School for Die-Cutting had been appointed. Its chair was Woodbury Langdon. A wealthy New York City banker and real-estate investor, Langdon had been a member of the ANS since 1885 and had served as the Society’s second vice president since 1897.

Even before this exploratory committee was formed, local New York City newspapers were commenting on the proposed school. By July, the press was even reporting that the ANS had joined forces with the National Academy of Design to cosponsor the new school as a branch of the Academy’s operations. (At the time, the Academy’s offices were located at 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.) There was one problem, however—the Society hadn’t yet officially agreed to participate in the collaborative venture.

Zabriskie, ever enthused by the project, nonetheless wrote to Bauman Belden, the Society’s recording secretary, and asked him to limit communications with the press for the time being—“no information should be given to the papers before the Die Cutting School has been authorized by the Soc.”—but stated his intent to hold a special meeting of the Executive Committee in September to quickly consider the matter. In any event, “if we decide to go ahead the school must be under way in Nov.” The anticipated September meeting, unfortunately, was delayed, so the exploratory committee was unable to issue its report until November, which, in turn, necessitated a delay in the start of school operations.

At that November meeting, Langdon, speaking for the exploratory committee, formally reported that the Academy had “offered a room for the use of the school during a part of each day.” Langdon recommended, on behalf of the exploratory committee, that the new school be started as soon as possible, with a target of eight to ten students initially attending classes three times a week. Langdon also recommended that two teachers be hired, one of whom would lecture on “the practical application of the art of drawing to designs for dies,” while the other would lecture on “the preliminary steps connected with the modeling of designs and the incising of metals.” In the second year, a third teacher could be hired to teach an unidentified “advanced course.” The committee estimated that the cost of operating such a school would be $800 per school year (about $18,500 in 2005 dollars, according to the Consumer Price Index). And while the school would be subject to the rules and regulations of the Academy, it would be managed by a joint committee of the Academy and the ANS.

The Society’s membership adopted the exploratory committee’s recommendations and, as a result, established two operating committees: one to solicit donations to fund the school and a second to manage the school once enough funds had been received. Both committees were to be chaired by Langdon, although the composition of the two differed. While the membership of the (temporary) solicitation committee included members from the exploratory committee, on the management committee Langdon would be joined only by the school’s chief supporter, Andrew Zabriskie, and another prominent supporter of the Society’s medallic program, J. Sanford Saltus.

Fundraising commenced almost immediately, and by the start of 1901 almost $1,250 had been pledged by fourteen members of the ANS. The leading contributor, not surprisingly, was Zabriskie, who pledged $300 (about $7,000 in current dollars).

The Abbreviated 1901 Session

The school opened in January of 1901, with one instructor, Charles Pike (who was identified as a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens), and two students. Its official title was the cumbersome “School for Coin and Medal Designing and Die-Cutting, under the joint direction of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society and the National Academy of Design.” By all accounts, this first, abbreviated session (lasting from January through May) was a success. By March, Zabriskie was able to speak of his “especial pride and satisfaction” in the success of the school. And the Society’s Executive Committee boasted that the school had “attracted much attention among those who feel an interest in the improvement of medallic art in this country.”

Proponents of the school had reason to be pleased. For instance, although only two students were in attendance when the session started, by the end of the session in May there were seven—close to the eight-to-ten-student range targeted in the exploratory committee’s report. In addition, costs for this first session were only $200—significantly less than anticipated. An enthusiastic Langdon even offered $100 as a prize for “the best work done in the school, to be awarded at the close of the school year” in May. Langdon would repeat this prize for each of the school’s four remaining years.

Thus, as the school’s first session concluded, the officers of the ANS could correctly think that they might actually succeed in their attempt to create an “American school” of die-making.

Developing Problems

Despite the good feelings, however, there were problems that became increasingly evident, especially an inability to hire enough instructors and recruit enough students. For instance, a chronic problem with the school was the Society’s inability to locate enough qualified instructors, in particular ones trained in die-sinking. As originally envisioned, the school would commence operations with two instructors, but only one could be located. And while the management committee would later comment that Pike’s performance was “altogether satisfactory,” they lamented that “he does not profess to teach” die-sinking. As a result, during that first abbreviated session of 1901, coursework had been limited to modeling and designing in clay.

Victor D. Brenner, undated. Brenner taught at the school during its second year. (ANS Archives)

To correct this deficiency, after the abbreviated 1901 school year concluded, the ANS laid off Pike and hired the noted medalist Victor Brenner to begin teaching when classes resumed in the fall of 1901. As Langdon later explained: “Mr. Brenner’s appointment in Mr. Pike’s stead was due only to a desire on the part of our Committee to provide instruction in die-sinking, as well as in the preparation of designs in a proper form from which to cut dies, etc.” For unexplained reasons, however, Brenner only lasted one year—at the end of the 1901-1902 school year he resigned, effectively forcing the ANS to rehire the previously terminated Pike.

After Pike’s return, the Committee briefly had hopes of locating a second instructor (Pike thought he knew of a die-sinker who would be willing to serve), but, by January 1904, they acknowledged that their attempts had been in vain, “owing to the unwillingness of practical die-sinkers to teach their art, because of the fear of competition from graduated students of the School.” “The problem,” they continued, “is to find a man willing to teach and sufficiently elevated in mind to understand that the instructor of this class is founding an ‘American School’ which should eventually be an honor to the United States; not a simple ‘trade competition,’ dangerous to foreign-born workmen.”

A second problem was the persistent lack of students. Although the management committee had set a modest goal for the first year, presumably they expected the student population to increase substantially. As a result, the committee made additional modifications (in addition to hiring a new instructor) for the 1901-1902 session. For instance, in an effort to increase the popularity of the school when it reopened under Brenner’s instructorship in the fall of 1901, a new course was also added—Instruction in the Designing and Modelling of Ornamental Decoration and Artistic Jewelry—“as it was thought that this would tend to attract pupils who might, later, direct their attention to the Medallic branch.” In addition, courses that had previously been held in the day were now conducted in the evening, which the committee hoped would be more convenient for potential students. Their hope was not realized: only six students attended the 1901-1902 session, and only seven attended the 1903-1904 session. For the school’s final session, in 1904-1905, the number had risen to nine—slightly larger, but nothing substantial.

These two problems—an inability to locate enough qualified instructors and low attendance—would plague the school throughout the remainder of its brief existence and ultimately lead to its downfall.

Demise of the School

As 1905 began, Langdon reported at the Society’s annual meeting that classes had begun once again at the school, with nine students in attendance and “a most promising outlook.” Langdon’s assessment, unfortunately, proved to be overly optimistic. The school’s chief sponsor, Zabriskie, had resigned from the presidency in December 1904, after his ill-advised attempt to merge the ANS with the New-York Historical Society had been defeated. And by May 1905, Langdon himself would quit both the school’s management committee and the ANS. Thus, by the end of May, as the Society’s new president, Archer Huntington, was about to meet with the Society’s Executive Committee for the first time, the school’s two chief backers were nowhere to be seen.

“We had a delightful evening,” Bauman Belden later wrote of that first meeting between Huntington and the Executive Committee. “[Huntington] seemed much pleased with things.” Not surprisingly, the new administration had new priorities—locating suitable facilities and invigorating the Society’s limited publications program were high on the new president’s agenda. Maintaining the die-cutting school—a struggling initiative of his predecessor—was not. As a result, at that very first meeting the Executive Committee decided to discontinue the school. As the Executive Committee simply reported later, “it was felt that the results obtained were not sufficient to warrant the expense of keeping it up.” Unspent donations were applied to pay off the school’s existing expenses; the remainder was added to the Society’s permanent funds for the purchase of coins and medals.

The School for Medal Design and Die-Cutting was an honorable, albeit unsuccessful, effort to stimulate the medallic arts in the United States. In a way, it represents one of the last major projects of the ANS prior to the infusion of Huntington’s funds—funds upon which the Society would rely for the next five decades to support its major initiatives. The school was, however, only part of the Society’s efforts to support the medallic arts in America. In fact, J. Sanford Saltus, the one member of the school’s management committee who remained active with the ANS, would eventually become the leading proponent of the Society’s other efforts to support American medallic art in the coming decades.

Current Cabinet Activities (Summer 2006)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

Ongoing Researches and Inquiries

Many people travel considerable distances to study materials in the ANS cabinet. Other visitors have only to visit our Web site at or contact us by letter, telephone, or e-mail to satisfy their numismatic curiosities. Serving our membership and the public, the curatorial staff of the American Numismatic Society remains fully committed to (and thus very largely occupied with) providing access to the cabinet for all kinds of inquiries. We are always offering assistance concerning items in the collection, both on site and, via outreach consultation, to those unable to visit our facilities themselves, and we routinely answer all sorts of questions concerning not only specimens in the cabinet but any other numismatic materials to which ANS items might relate. Along with these activities, of course, the staff is always busy providing photographic services, whether for study, comparison, documentation, or publication—or just plain appreciation of these small but important pieces of civilization.

Those modest photo order and use fees enable us to continue adding images to our unsurpassed online database catalog; they also help cover a little bit of the cost of access and consultation, which are provided free of charge. One reason why I like to make mention of some of the people conducting their research with our collections and using images of pieces in the cabinet is so that readers may appreciate those who are contributing to make the collections available to you, “online.” I think it is very worthwhile, too, for you to catch a glimpse of how fascinating and informative so many of these items are.

In conjunction both with visitations by researchers and with our regular work to supply information and images, a constant effort is underway to expand and upgrade the catalog descriptions of items in the cabinet and improve their organization and arrangement. As I have sometimes pointed out previously, what we learn at the instigation of others can be very helpful and is sometimes particularly noteworthy. This month, I will review several typical, recent examples of activities involving the various departments and some of their respective photo orders. In terms of making additions and corrections to the existing records and descriptions of items, the greatest improvement recently has probably been in our Latin American department. But this section has seen so much progress—thanks to the expert knowledge and keen eye of Mike Dunigan, the prominent Spanish colonial specialist from Texas, who visited us along with Richard Tailleferd—that I must reserve my report for our next issue of the ANS Magazine. So for our Winter 2006 number, expect to go “south of the border” with me in the Society’s cabinet!

Ancient World

The ongoing popularity of classical studies in numismatics is reflected by the interest shown by many of our visitors and inquiries. Fabrice Delrieux requested an image of a fine and very rare hemidrachm of Hydisos, in Caria, for the article “Les monnaies hellénistiques et romaines d’Hydisos en Carie,” in Mélange en honneur de Pierre Debord (Fig. 1). For the Newseum, Karen Wyatt sought images of a gold stater of Philip II, of Macedon, from the mint of Amphipolis (Fig. 2); and Christine Buese ordered images of coins relating to ancient Athens for the second edition of the Pearson-Longman college textbook entitled The West: Encounters and Transformations (Fig. 3). John F. Cherry, of the Kelsey Museum at the University of Michigan, required images of a splendid tetradrachm of Ptolemy I, of Egypt, featuring a portrait of Alexander the Great as a god, for the chapter on “Classical Archaeology” in Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology (Fig. 4).

Fig. 1. Caria, Hydisos (ca. 100 BC). AR hemidrachm. Obv. Head of Zeus Areios r., wearing Corinthian helmet. Rev. fulmen. (ANS 1987.14.1, purchase) 14.6 mm.

Fig. 2. Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II (359-336 BC). AV stater, Amphipolis mint, cantharus symbol. Le Rider 254b. (ANS 1944.100.12210, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 19 mm+.

Fig. 3. Attica, Athens (ca. 449 BC). AR tetradrachm. (ANS 1944.100.24172, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 25 mm+.

Fig. 4. Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I (ca. 314-310 BC). AR tetradrachm, Attic weight. Obv. portrait of Alexander deified, r., wearing elephant’s scalp. Rev. Athena Alkidemos r. (ANS 1944.100.75470, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 27 mm+.

Among recent visiting researchers who specialize in studies involving specimens from ancient Greece and Rome was Christof Boehringer, of the Archaeologisches Institut der Universität, in Göttingen, Germany, who was studying Sicilian silver; he worked with and identified some pieces in the large ANS collection of plaster casts. Another visiting scholar with a large study project was Georges Aboudiwan, of the Sorbonne, who is developing a corpus of the ancient post-Seleucid coins of the city-state of Sidon, in Phoenicia (Fig. 5). Madhuvanti Ghose, of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, ordered images of an eastern Greek issue, a tetradrachm of the Indo-Greek king Plato, probably emanating from what is today Afghanistan or Pakistan (Fig. 6); her work concerns early Indian cult image iconography, focusing on that of Helios Surya. Valerie V. Sergeenkova, of the Harvard University Classics Department, ordered photos of an Amphipolis-mint distater of Alexander the Great for an article to appear in the Quaderni ticinesi di numismatica e antichitá (Fig. 7).

Fig. 5. Sidon, Phoenicia, autonomous issue (76-75 BC). AE. Obv. accolate heads of Tyche and Zeus r. Rev. Galley traveling l., with stem curving in volute, decorated with aplustrum; above, three-line Greek inscription; date, year 36 (of the Sidonian era). BMC 140; Rouvier 1412. (ANS 1944.100.71527]], bequest of Edward T. Newell) 22 mm.

Fig. 6. Indo-Greek Kingdom, Plato (ca. 150-149 BC). AR tetradrachm. Obv. helmeted head of king r. Rev. Helios in quadriga r., radiate, clad in chiton and chlamys. SNG-ANS 631. (ANS 1995.51.88, gift of Harry W. Fowler) 32.5 mm.

Fig. 7. Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III (ca. 330-320 BC). AV distater, Macedonian (Amphipolis?) mint, fulmen symbol. Price 163. (ANS 1977.158.101, bequest of Robert F. Kelley) 21.5 mm.

Our collection of Roman coins always attracts notice. Dr. Lea Stirling, Associate Professor in the Canada Research Chair in Roman Archaeology in the Department of Classics at the University of Winnipeg, requested several images, among them an issue of Tiberius and Livia (Fig. 8). Rachel Kousser, of the Art Department of Brooklyn College, New York, who was looking particularly at some Roman issues featuring representations of Victory while visiting and studying in the coin room recently, ordered a number of images, including several fetching examples representing the goddess draped only from the hips down, inscribing a victory shield (Figs. 9, 10). Karen Wyatt, of the Newseum, ordered images of an example of the famous Judaea Capta issue (Fig. 11), while Marchel Thibaut, from France, requested images of an unusual antoninianus of Philip “the Arab”—probably from the mint of Viminacium (Fig. 12).

Fig. 8. Roman Empire, Tiberius and Livia (AD 16-21). AE as, Thapsus mint, in Byzacene (North Africa). RPC 797 (ANS 1984.66.424, gift of Abraham A. Rosen) 28 mm.

Fig. 9. Roman Empire, M. Aurelius (AD 165-166). AV aureus, Rome mint. Obv. half-nude Victory inscribing VIC/AVG on shield supported by palm tree. RIC 88. (ANS 1944.100.49070, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 19 mm.

Fig. 10. Roman Empire, Maxentius (AD 309-312). AE ? nummus, Ostia mint, officina 2. Obv. head of emperor laureate l. Rev. Victory half-nude Victory, inscribing VOT XX/FEL on shield supported on cippus; bound captive std. l. RIC 62. (ANS 1948.79.208, accession information incomplete) 20.3 mm.

Fig. 11. Roman Empire, Vespasian (AD 71). AE sestertius, Rome mint. Rev. on l., emperor in military dress stg. r., holding spear and parazonium; Jewess std. r., in mourning, leaning against palm tree; IVDEA CAPTA; in ex., S C. RIC 427. (ANS 1967.153.218, bequest of Adra M. Newell, ex West-Church Coll., 1910) 31 mm.

Fig. 12. Roman Empire, Philip I (AD 248-249). AR antoninianus, Viminacium(?) mint, in Moesia. Cf. RIC 4. (ANS 1995.15.1, gift of Frank L. Kovacs, III) 20.5 mm.

Our splendid collection of Byzantine coinages has not been overlooked by researchers. Irving Lavin, of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University, requested images of a number of issues in connection with his interests (Figs. 13, 14, 15).

Fig. 13. Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, Heraclius (AD 610-613). AV solidus, Constantinople mint, officina 5. DOC 3b. (ANS 1905.57.78, gift of Daniel Parish, Jr.) 21.6 mm.

Fig. 14. Eastern Roman (Byzantine) or Persian (Sasanian) Empire, Heraclius or Khusru II (ca. AD 618-626). AE dodecanummium, Alexandria Mint. DOC 109. This issue, with an anepigraphic obv. bearing symbols of a star and crescent, is believed to have been struck around the time of the Persian occupation of Egypt, following the mighty Sasanian’s conquest of Syria and Palestine. Heraclius gained renown for the Romans’ eventual recovery, including the return of the “True Cross”; the Persians had captured this sacred Christian relic and brought it back with them to Ctesiphon, their capital, near modern Baghdad. (ANS 1944.100.16109, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 18.7 mm.

Fig. 15. Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, Nicephorus I, with Stauracius (AD 803-811). AV solidus, Constantinople mint, officina 5. This specimen was recovered from the great 1920 Lagbe hoard. DOC 2a. (ANS 1944.100.14632, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 21.6 mm.

Scholars from a number of museums made their way to the ANS coin room for consulting, research, arranging loans, or lecturing. Among our colleagues from other museums with whom we recently worked regarding classical coins were former ANS Curators Carmen Arnold-Biucchi, now at Harvard, and William E. Metcalf, now at Yale; Michel Amandry, from the Bibliothèque Nationale, in Paris, working on the next installment volume of Roman Provincial Coinage; and Sean Hemingway and Christopher Lightfoot, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. Of course, specialist dealers and collectors also visit the coin room. Among them recently were dealers John Aiello and Dmitry Markov. And as he regularly does, Alexander Naymark, of Hofstra College, brought a group of his students to the Society for a numismatic orientation. The ANS is also working on helping with an exhibit on Athenian coins for the Onassis Foundation, in New York City.

Medieval and Modern Europe

There was not much activity in the Medieval department, but Christopher Lightfoot, of the Metropolitan, did have an interesting question with which we were able to assist. In last summer’s archaeological excavations of the site of an early Christian church in the Lower City of Amorium, in Turkey, a curious coin (SF6598) was discovered. Its full provenance citation is AM05/A14-3/SF6598; from the Lower City Church, 21.07.05; AR denier; 19 mm, 1.35 g. The coin, which remains in Turkey, will be published in the report of Lightfoot’s work by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We do not have a photo to illustrate it; a plaster cast served for me to attribute this specimen and to conjecture that it might well have found its way to the site as a piece carried by an eleventh-century pilgrim. The Amorium denier bears the types, respectively, of a cross and a monogram, with the legends +S. MAVRICIVS on the obverse and +VRBS VIENNA on the reverse. These place it as an issue in the sequence of the Archbishops of Vienne. The monogram appearing on this issue would seem to have been a cause for confusion among numismatists of the past, having been read as representing either the Franconian emperor Conrad II “the Salian” (1024-1039) and/or Henry III “the Black” (1039-1056). While earlier authors favored the latter interpretation, reading the monogram as HE, the more probable of the two possibilities would seem to be a reading as CH—indicating Conrad (whose name would have been spelled contemporaneously as Chonradus). Henry’s connections with the archbishopric and the city are not documented, but Conrad subjugated Vienne in 1034, so the anonymous monogram coinage may well date from ca. 1034-1039. Specific published references for the issue found at Amorium (see bibliography) are: Boudeau 1041; Dieudonné 162; Engle and Serrure 1254; Poey d’Avant 4820, Pl. 106, 9; Roberts 3975; and Serrure 660.

New York City is always an active hub for international numismatics. We were able to help Edgar Munhall, of the Frick Collection Museum, by providing a recommendation of a coin and image for a forthcoming publication. Although our cabinet of eighteenth-century French gold coins is not very extensive, a Paris-mint Louis d’or of 1759 met his needs (Fig. 16). Colleagues Ian and Eva Wiséhn, from the Royal Coin Cabinet of the National Museum of Economy, in Stockholm, Sweden—one of the world’s great numismatic collections and exhibitions—stopped by for a visit while traveling in New York, and they will be returning again for the next Krause-Mishler Forum, which we will be hosting in October.

Fig. 16. France, Louis XV (1715-1775). AV louis d’or, 1759-A, Paris mint. KM 513.1 (ANS 1980.109.1059, bequest of Arthur J. Fecht) 24 mm.

East and South Asia and Islam

For a forthcoming sixth-grade social-studies textbook to be published by MacMillan/McGraw-Hill/School Division, we were able to provide Michelle Vitiello with an image of a nice Zhou-dynasty Chinese bronze spade coin. The ANS’s magnificent Chinese collection is underutilized, so we were especially pleased to help in such a context (Fig. 17).

Fig. 17. China: Zhou dynasty, period of the Warring States (ca. 340-250 BC). AE bu qian (“spade coin”), from Anyang, Shanxi Province. (ANS 1926.79.1, gift of S. W. Adler, part of a collection of Oriental materials brought to this country in 1893) 26 x 46 mm.

Curatorial Associate Peter Donovan has been making excellent progress in cataloguing Turkish and Indian coins in the cabinet, making it more user-friendly than ever. Robert Schaaf stopped by to review an issue of the Sasanian king of Persia Yazdgird I, and he also acquired some images of Parthian coins. Stuart D. Sears continued his study and recording of the extensive collection of early Muslim silver (Arab-Sasanian) drahms found in the ANS cabinet. The Society is also engaged in a publication project for the entire collection of Kushan coinage, which should bear fruition before long.


Activities in the American section involve all of the kinds of inquiries, searches, and research mentioned earlier. For upcoming articles in our specialized publication The Colonial Newsletter, we have been able to provide, for authors of a number of forthcoming articles, suitable materials for illustrations. These include counterfeit Virginia halfpenny items for Roger Moore (Fig. 18) and contemporary forgeries of Connecticut coppers for Mike Ringo (Fig. 19). Other scholars and authors have ordered images both for study and inclusion in books they are preparing, among them John Howes (Mould and Atlee Productions, etc.) (Fig. 20), and ANS Trustees Sydney Martin (Wood’s Hibernia issues) (Fig. 21) and Roger Siboni (“Confederatio” copper, etc.) (Fig. 22).

Fig. 18. United States, colonial Virginia. AE halfpenny, 1773. This issue is a modern reproduction by Peter Rosa, swedged from his dies, made with two sizes of flans. Wayne Sayles has donated a die used in the striking of this issue. (ANS 1989.99.174, gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. Byron White) 28 mm.

Fig. 19. United States, Connecticut. AE “copper,” 1786. Miller 2.3-T. This issue, one of the greatest rarities in the series, was a contemporary forgery. Although one other specimen has been photographed, and the issue was first reported by Wyllys Betts in 1886, these examples are presently untraced. This specimen, from the Colonial Newsletter Reference Collection, was incorrectly identified on the CNLF inventory as an example of the rather similar Miller 2.4-U, with BRITANNIA rev. (ANS 2005.37.421, gift of the Colonial Newsletter Foundation, ex Edward R. Barnsley coll.) 27.8 mm.

Fig. 20. United States, New York. AE“copper,” 1787, imitation of British halfpenny of George III, overstruck on a contemporary counterfeit of a Spanish 2 reales of the Habsburg pretender Charles III—a pistareen—attributed to the mint of Walter Mould and James Atlee. Breen 1008. (ANS 1935.74.18, purchase) 28 mm.

Fig. 21. United States. George I, colonial issue from Ireland. Pewter farthing, 1723. Apparently unpublished. (ANS 1943.151.1, gift of Henry Grunthal) 21 mm.

Fig. 22. United States. AE “Confederatio copper,” 1785. Starburst CONFEDERATIO obv. muled with heraldic eagle E. PLURIBUS UNUM rev. This curious piece seems, for unknown reasons, to have been overlooked by previous researchers. Cf. Breen 1132 (ANS 1942.24.1, purchase) 26 mm.

For Janet Miller, of the Yale University Department of Paintings and Sculpture, we were able to provide a nice image of a U.S. 10-dollar gold piece of 1795, to be used in a forthcoming catalog of a traveling exhibit called “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art 1660-1893 from the Yale University Art Gallery” (Fig. 23).

Fig. 23. United States. AV 10 dollars, 1795. (ANS 1908.93.60, gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, ex Brock coll.) 33 mm.

Roger Burdette ordered images of a couple of our Augustus Saint-Gaudens trial-strike galvanoes for use in an article in Coin World. Three colleagues from other American museums also visited, to confer regarding future exhibitions their institutions are planning: Elena Lioubimova, from the Yorktown-Jamestown Heritage Foundation, in Virginia, is preparing for the “World of 1607” feature for the 300th-anniversary celebration of the first English settlement in America next year; Leo Smith, from the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, is developing a presentation on the economic history of that city and state in 2009; and Joel Sweimler, from the American Museum of Natural History, our neighbor in New York City, is completing arrangements for an exhibit focused on gold in all its uses and ramifications. The ANS welcomes opportunities to work with other museums in our effort to broaden the appreciation of numismatics.

One aspect of Americana I have noticed is that, more and more, people seem to be appreciating, collecting, and inquiring about early American paper money. This subject has come up frequently in the past partly on account of the plethora of copies of old notes made by the Historical Documents Company, of Philadelphia—“Antiqued Parchment Replicas ‘That Look and Feel Old,’” according to their advertising—but I think students and collectors are increasingly recognizing the rarity and economic significance of the actual notes, poignant mementoes from the colonial era. Lisa Drazin sought information to help handle inherited materials including pre-Revolutionary Pennsylvania currency. Recent auction records have no doubt also helped bring attention and awareness to this still uncircumnavigated field.

Although not nearly as large as it could be (or as representative as one would hope), the ANS collection of pioneer gold—the so-called private and territorial gold pieces emanating from the days of the nineteenth-century gold rushes—includes a fine assortment of examples, original dies, and minting equipment. Young numismatist William Robins has made this field his special area of interest, and I was glad to show this material to him upon his visit (Figs. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28). Some of the premier specimens (such as the original Bechtler coining press) are on display at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in “Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars: The History of Money,” our long-term exhibit there, while others are in storage in the Donald Groves Building’s fine new vault facilities or in secure off-site locations. The ANS Magazine provides us with the opportunity to present some images of these items to you, printed for the first time in color!

Fig. 24. United States, Colorado. Clark, Gruber & Co. AV 5 dollars, 1861. (ANS 1895.22.1, gift of Andrew C. Zabriskie) 22 mm.

Fig. 25. United States, California. U.S. Assay Office for Gold, San Francisco, AV 50 dollars octagonal. (ANS 1906.198.1, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 41 mm.

Fig. 26. United States, California. Moffat & Co., AV 10 dollars, 1849. (ANS 1980.109.2362, bequest of Arthur J. Fecht) 27 mm.

Fig. 27. United States, California. Norris, Gregg & Norris, AV 5 dollars, 1849. (ANS 1980.109.2363, bequest of Arthur J. Fecht) 22 mm.

Fig. 28. United States, California. Wass Molitor & Co., AV 50 dollars, 1855. (ANS 1906.192.1, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 43 mm.


Although some specimens in the cabinet have not yet been catalogued in our database, the ANS collection of medals is a wonderful assemblage of numismatic art and history. It surely comes as no surprise to readers that a relatively high percentage of the cabinet’s inquiries regularly obliges me to work in this area. But since information on medals tends to be much less readily available than that on most coins, and since the pieces do not as easily lend themselves to tracking down identifications and references, assisting people in this field can be disproportionately time consuming. The study of medals can be regarded as one of the greatest components of numismatics. While some parts of the ANS collection, including many of our most popular pieces, have been previously published, much work awaits. We are always happy to have a chance to bring forward some pieces that might not otherwise be noticed.

The wonderful series of American Indian Peace medals in the ANS cabinet always receives a fair share of attention, and they have been mentioned various times in this column in the past. Since favorites like the Washington silver ovals and the Jefferson hollow medals have made recent appearances in these pages, we may safely gloss over other inquiries about them, as likewise with the famous Charleston Freed Slave badge, which is regularly imaged and requested on loan, or even the famous Sabine Pass medal of the Confederacy (recently requested once again for inclusion in an article in Civil War Times). But the beautiful Van Buren large silver medal, which with its original attachment ribbon once belonged to Chief Goes to War Often (Zwi-Ye-Sa) of the Yankton Dakotahs, has received less visibility, as has the “President” John Jacob Astor medal of the Upper Missouri Outfit, issued from Fort Union by the American Fur Company (Figs. 29, 30). Images of these medals were recently requested by Kendall Johnson, of the Department of English Literature at Swarthmore College, for use in a publication to be entitled Peace, Friendship, and Financial Panic: Reading the Mark of Black Hawk.

Fig. 29. United States. Martin Van Buren AR Indian Peace Medal, by Moritz Furst and John Reich, 1837. Belden 32; Prucha 44; Julian IP-17 (ANS 1923.52.14, purchase, ex Wyman Coll.) 75 mm.

Fig. 30. United States. John Jacob Astor, president of the American Fur Company, ca. 1832-1838. Belden 65; Prucha 61 (ANS 1933.105.4, purchase, ex Senter Coll.) 80 mm.

Harry Waterson studied the catalog entries for the outstanding Hungarian-American artist Julio Kilenyi (1885-1959) in our database and ordered images of several pieces (Fig. 31). Kilenyi was a master of modeling and design after the manner of Oscar Roty, as can be seen in his elegant works. He was well known in the 1920s, and he designed Calvin Coolidge’s Presidential inaugural medal (for which he received the less-than-princely sum of $150!). One elegant, uninscribed Kilenyi plaquette featuring a half-length portrayal of an austere, elegantly dressed gentleman surely depicts President Woodrow Wilson. The features resemble those of the unsigned Wilson inaugural medal by the Newark firm of Whitehead & Hoag, who employed Kilenyi to create their high-quality works.

Fig. 31. United States. President Woodrow Wilson. AE plaquette, ca. 1920, by Julio Kilenyi. A uniface portrait showing the president in formal attire, holding coat and dress hat. (ANS 0000.999.48577) 155 x 220 mm.


Welcome to the American Numismatic Society! The far-famed strength of the cabinet brings understandable attention, and we are always happy to show portions of the collection to our colleagues and to serious students, collectors, and dealers. For security reasons, we do ask that those who would like to visit to view items at the ANS make appointments in advance and provide us with references and introductions. Meanwhile, hundreds of the greatest specimens from the cabinet may be seen without appointment at other venues. Many are on view in our spectacular exhibit “Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars,” mentioned above. This numismatic blockbuster is at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, at 33 Liberty Street—only a few short blocks from the ANS headquarters, the Donald Groves Building, at the intersection of Fulton and William Streets, in Manhattan. Why not come spend some quality time in Old New York with the best numismatic collection in the country? Or if you can’t, let us share data with you and learn more together in cyberspace. We’re only a click away…!

Bibliography for Further Reading

Belden, Bauman. Indian Peace Medals Issued in the United States. Reprint ed. New Milford, Conn.: N. Flayderman & Co., 1966.

Boudeau, E. Catalogue général illustré, monnaies françaises provinciales. Paris: Cabinet de Numismatique E. Boudeau, 1907. Reprint, Maastricht: A.G. van der Dussen, 1970, [1986?].

Breen, Walter. Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. New York: F.C.I. Press/Doubleday, 1988.

BMC: British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals. Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Phoenicia, by George Francis Hill. London: The Trustees, 1910.

BMC: British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals. A Catalogue of the Muhammadan Coins in the British Museum. Vol. 1, A Catalogue of the Arab Sassanian Coins (Umaiyad Governors in the East, Arab-Ephthalites, ’Abbasid Governors in Tabaristan and Bukhara), by John Walker. London: British Museum, 1941.

Dieudonné, Alphonse. Manuel de numismatique française. Vol. 4. Paris: Librairie A. Picard et fils, 1936.

DOC: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, ed. by Alfred R. Bellinger, Philip Grierson, and Michael Hendy. 5 Vols. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1966-1999. (Vol. 2 covers Phocas to Theodosius III).

Engel, Arthur, and Raymond Serrure. Traité de numismatique du moyen age. Paris: E. Leroux, 1891-1905.

Julian, R. W. Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century, 1792-1892. El Cajon, Calif.: Token and Medal Society, Inc., 1977.

Kagin, Donald H. Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States. New York: Arco Pub., Inc., 1981.

KM: Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins, Eighteenth Century, 1701-1800. 3rd ed. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 2002.

Le Rider, Georges. Le monnayage d’argent et d’or de Philippe II, frappée en Macédoine de 359 à 294. Paris: E. Bourgey, 1977.

Newell, Edward Theodore. Numismatic Notes and Monographs No. 10, the Byzantine Hoard of Lagbe. New York: American Numismatic Society, 1945.

Poey d’Avant, Faustin. Monnaies féodales de France. Paris: Revue Numismatique Française, 1858.

Price, Martin Jessop. Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. Zurich: Swiss Numismatic Society; London: British Museum, 1991.

Prucha, Francis Paul. Indian Peace Medals in American History. Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1971.

Roberts, James N. Silver Coins of Medieval France (476-1610). South Salem, N.Y.: Attic Books, Ltd., 1996.

RIC: Roman Imperial Coinage. 10 vols. By Harold Mattingly, Edward A. Sydenham, Percy H. Webb, J. W. E. Pearce, C. H. V. Sutherland, Patrick M. Bruun, R. A. G. Carson, and J. P. C. Kent. London: Spink, 1923-1994.

RPC: Roman Provincial Coinage. Vol. 1, From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69), by Andrew Burnett, Michel Amandry, and Pere Pau Ripollès. 2nd ed. London: British Museum Press, 1998. Vol. 2, From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96), by Andrew Burnett, Michel Amandry, and Ian Carradice. London: British Museum Press, 1999.

Rouvier, Jules. “Numismatique des villes de la Phénecie,” in Journal International d’Archéologie Numis-matique 3-7 (1900-1904).

Sellwood, David. An Introduction to Sasanian Coins. London: Spink & Son, 1985.

Serrure, Raymond. Numismatique française, catalogue-guide illustré de l’amateur. Paris: Maison Serrure, 1912.

SNG-ANS: Sylloge Numorum Graecorum [United States]: The Collection of the American Numismatic Society. Pt. 9, Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Coins, introduction by Osmund Bopearachchi. New York: The American Numismatic Society, 1998.

Development News (Summer 2006)

by Geoff Giglierano

Augustus B. Sage Society

The Sage Society level of membership with the ANS continues to grow. One of the major benefits of participation at this level is the opportunity to take part in activities such as the upcoming Sage Society London Excursion. Scheduled for the week of October 22, 2006, the trip will include behind-the-scenes tours of the National Gallery and the numismatic collection at the British Museum, visits with leading collectors and dealers in the United Kingdom, alternative tours for spouses and significant others, and socializing with fellow Sage members at special receptions and dinners. The trip is open only to individuals in the Sage Society: for more information on becoming a member of the ANS at this level, or for details about the London excursion, please call (212) 571-4470, extension 1301.

Major Gifts for Multiple Purposes

Over the course of the last several months, various programs at the Society have benefited from the generous support of numerous foundations and individuals. Some notable examples of these gifts include a $25,000 contribution from the Siboni Family Foundation for the ANS publications program, $2,500 from Charles Anderson for the Bass Library Fund, and $5,000 from Daniel Friedenberg for the Mark M. Salton Lecture Series Fund. Major donations have also been received to help cover the organization’s general operating expenses: among these were $15,000 from Sydney Martin, $10,000 from Dr. Lawrence Adams, $10,000 from George Wyper, and $15,000 from Charles Anderson. The Society sincerely appreciates the support of all the donors and contributors who make it possible for the ANS to carry out its mission.

Supporting the Professional Staff

One of the primary development strategies that the ANS actively pursues is building endowments that will help the organization maintain and expand the professional staff that cares for the collections, carries out research, contributes to and manages the publications program, and works with outside scholars and academics. These endowments generate investment income that helps underwrite the salaries of these key individuals, which is important, as many foundations and government granting agencies will not provide funds that directly pay for permanent staff salaries. The creation of position endowments, or “Chairs,” is a viable alternative, especially as many of those same funding sources that will not underwrite personnel expenditures are more than happy to contribute, usually in the form of matching funds, to endowments, including those supporting staff development and retention.

Our ongoing effort to build these endowments has met with substantial success for positions such as Librarian and Curator of Greek Coins. In recent months, we also have taken steps to begin building an endowment for the benefit of the Archivist position. This spring, the Society’s staff took on the task of applying for a grant from the NEH, requesting a $300,000 challenge grant that would be used to help begin the work of creating this endowment. Completing an NEH application can be a daunting prospect, but the staff rose to the occasion and submitted a very strong proposal. Many of the Society’s administrative and curatorial staff members worked very hard on the project, and their efforts are greatly appreciated. It is currently in the hands of the NEH reviewers, and we should hear the results in November.

There are of course, no guarantees as to what the outcome will be. Submitting any grant application, however strong, is an uncertain process. Consequently, corporate and individual contributions to the various position endowments are also crucial. It is because of the generosity and commitment of our trustees and members that we have made real progress in these areas, and this remains true even as we apply for foundation and government grants.

Perhaps there is a particular aspect of the Society’s collections—such as Greek, Roman, or Islamic coins—that is of special interest to you. Or maybe there is an element of the Society’s operations—such as the library, the archives, or the publications—that you believe is especially important for the Society and the future of numismatic scholarship. If so, you can make a big difference through a contribution to a position endowment related to that subject or function. If you would like to speak to us about the possibilities for having a positive impact on professional staffing issues at the ANS, please e-mail or call the development office at (212) 571-4470, extension 1304.

From the Collections Manager (Summer 2006)

by Elena Stolyarik

To enhance its strength as an essential research center, the American Numismatic Society continues to purchase new items and to accept, with great satisfaction, all interesting donations.

During the past several months, the cabinet has acquired a fine group of lots from several sales. Through the Classical Numismatic Group Auction of the BCD collection of Boiotian coinage, the ANS obtained twelve extremely rare items, including a Federal tetartemorion (Fig. 1) and an unpublished variety of Orkhomenos hemiobol of the fifth century BC (Fig. 2), a silver obol of the fourth century BC from Plataiai (probably the third known example) (Fig. 3), and an exceptionally rare bronze piece struck after 387 BC in conjunction with the celebration of the Boiotian cities’ autonomy proclaimed by the Peace of Antalkidas (Fig. 4).

Fig. 1. Boiotia, federal coinage. AR tetartemorion (0.16 g), 475-450 BC. (AccNum:ANS 2006.20.1, purchase) 5 mm.

Fig. 2. Boiotia, Orkhomenos. AR hemiobol (0.34 g), 475-425 BC. (ANS 2006.20.6, purchase) 8.9 mm.

Fig. 3. Boiotia, Plataiai. AR obol (0.80 g), 387-372 BC. (ANS 2006.20.8, purchase) 9.8 mm.

Fig. 4. Boiotia, Plataiai. AE, 387-372 BC. (ANS 2006.20.9, purchase) 22 mm.

The spring auction of LHS Numismatics (May 8-9, 2006) of Zurich provided the ANS with another fine purchasing opportunity. Eighty new examples from the superb BCD collection of Peloponnesian coins were garnered from this sale. Among these are sixteen silver and bronze examples dating from the fifth to the first century BC. They include an exceptional obol of the late fourth or early third century from Epidauros (Fig. 5), an extremely rare—if not unique—tetartemorion of 460-420 BC from Kleonai (Fig. 6), and an extremely rare and apparently unpublished hemiobol of 420 BC from Kleitor, the leading member of the Arkadian Confederacy by the early fifth century BC (Fig. 7). Coins of Psophis, an important crossroads for trade between Arkadia and Elis, are represented by an extremely rare and apparently otherwise unpublished obol of the mid-fifth century BC (Fig. 8). Coins from other several areas of Akhaia, Argolis, and Arkadia were also added to our collection though this purchase.

Fig. 5. Argolis, Epidauros. AR obol (0.93 g), late fourth or early third century BC. (ANS 2006.31.4, purchase) 11 mm.

Fig. 6. Argolis, Kleonai. AR tetartemorion (0.22 g), 460-420 BC. (ANS 2006.31.6, purchase) 7 mm.

Fig. 7. Arkadia, Kleitor. AR hemiobol (0.29 g), c. 420 BC or later. (ANS 2006.31.7, purchase) 8 mm.

Fig. 8. Arkadia, Psophis. AR obol (1.00 g), c. mid-fifth century BC. (ANS 2006.31.8, purchase) 9 mm.

Also through purchases at this BCD auction of LHS Numismatics, the ANS collection of Roman provincial bronze coinage grew by sixty-seven examples dating from the first to the third centuries AD. Among these are an extremely rare issue of Septimius Severus that seems never to have been published (Fig. 9) and several rare bronzes of Geta Caesar, Julia Domna, and Caracalla—all from Phliasia. From the mint of Sicyon comes another very rare coin issued by the magistrate C. Iulius Polyaenus to commemorate Nero’s visit to Greece (Fig. 10).

Fig. 9. Septimius Severus (193-211 AD). Phlius. AE 2 assaria. (ANS 2006.31.14, purchase) 24 mm.

Fig. 10. Nero (54-68 AD). Sicyon. AE assarion, c. 67-68 AD. (ANS 2006.31.22, purchase) 19 mm.

Some marvelous additions to our collection of American medals were obtained from the latest sale of the famous John J. Ford, Jr., Collection (Stack’s Auction, May 23, 2006). These were medals drawn from the various series of works classified by C. Wyllys Betts (American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, New York, 1894), the subject of the ANS’s 2004 Coinage of the Americas Conference (COAC), though the Ford Collection also included some relevant pieces unrecognized by Betts.

Thanks to ANS benefactor and trustee Roger Siboni, our current treasurer, the society was able to acquire four of these highly interesting medals for the cabinet. Among these is a silver example, of extremely fine quality, of the German Safety at Sea medal of 1755. This medal, with its allegorical allusion to Britannia, along with an Indian and alligator personifying the New World holdings of France, hints at the perilous state of the colonies of the two nations. (Fig. 11). The medal’s obverse was signed by Peter Paul Werner, a prominent engraver and medalist from Nuremberg, who worked primarily in Germany for several princely courts. Another of the important new American historical medals we have acquired as part of Siboni’s gift is a near-mint-state example of the 1759 Guadalupe Surrenders medal in bronze (Fig. 12). The dies were cut by Lewis Pingo, a member of the prolific British medalist family of that name, from designs finished by Stuart under the direction of Thomas Hollis. Hollis’s Society Promoting Arts and Commerce, mentioned on the medal’s reverse, offered prizes for the best designs of medals commemorating British victories—intended to encourage young people in their search for fortune. We also received a copper 1759 Quebec Taken medal, with beautiful images of Britannia and Victory crowning a trophy of French arms (Fig. 13). This medal is in fact a rare muling of types, unlisted in Betts or the more recent work of Christopher Eimer (The Pingo Family and Medal Making in Eighteenth-Century Britain, London, 1998), and is an artistic work of John Pingo, another member of the talented Pingo family. A further excellent addition to the cabinet thanks to the Siboni gift is the quite rare silver Europe Hopes for Peace medal of 1762, signed by Johann George Holtzhey, the prolific Dutch medalist. This work is a tremendous example of faultless eighteenth-century neoclassicism (Fig. 14).

Fig. 11. Germany (American Historical Series). AR Safety at Sea medal, by Peter Paul Werner, 1755. (ANS 2006.34.1, gift of Roger Siboni) 35.1 mm.

Fig. 12. Great Britain (American Historical Series). AE Guadalupe Surrenders medal, by Lewis Pingo, 1759. (ANS 2006.34.2, gift of Roger Siboni) 39.8 mm.

Fig. 13. Great Britain (American Historical Series). AE Quebec Taken medal, by Thomas Pingo, 1759. (ANS 2006.34.3, gift of Roger Siboni) 40 mm.

Fig. 14. Netherlands (American Historical Series). AR Europe Hopes for Peace medal, by Johann Georg Holtzhey, 1762. (ANS 2006.34.4, gift of Roger Siboni) 44 mm.

Seventeen other medals of early American historical importance that were not yet represented in the cabinet were also acquired by purchase from the Ford Collection sale. Some of these “Betts” medals thus added are a bronze version of The Spanish Plate Fleet Captured medal of 1745 signed by John Kirk (a pupil of the Genevan master James Anthony Dassier), and a rare unsigned silver Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle medal of 1748, with a magnificent allegorical composition of Piety at an altar (Fig. 15). Several medals from this acquisition are dedicated to North American battles and campaigns. One of these is a bronze Louisbourg Taken medal, made and signed by John Kirk, with an image of Britannia designed by Giovanni Battista Cipriani at the request of Thomas Hollis (Fig. 16). Jean Dassier cut an extremely fine example of a 1760 issue from the series of Triumphs Everywhere (Fig. 17). Three attractive new silver medals acquired were dedicated to the series of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the pact signed on February 15, 1763, by Prussia, Austria, and Saxony, sealing the cessation of European hostilities. Together with the contemporaneous Treaty of Paris, this marked the end of the French and Indian War, also called the Seven Years’ War. The medals from this series are signed by the famous German medalist and gem engraver Johann Leonhard Oexlein (Fig. 18) and by Daniel Friedrich Loos, the well-known chief engraver and medallic artist of the Prussian court’s mint at Berlin. The valuable purchases from the John J. Ford, Jr., medal collection, mentioned above, fill several gaps in the cabinet and will be a great contribution to the ANS’s holdings of items related to early American history.

Fig. 15. Netherlands (American Historical Series). AR Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle medal, 1748. (ANS 2006.33.2, purchase) 43 mm.

Fig. 16. Great Britain (American Historical Series). AE Louisbourg Taken medal, designed by Giovanni Battista Cipriani, signed by John Kirk, 1758. (ANS 2006.33.7, purchase) 40 mm.

Fig. 17. Great Britain (American Historical Series). AE Triumphs Everywhere medal, by Jean Dassier, 1760. (ANS 2006.33.10, purchase) 40.5 mm.

Fig. 18. Germany (American Historical Series). AR Treaty of Hubertusburg medal, signed by Johann Leonhard Oexlein, 1763. (ANS 2006.33.15, purchase) 44 mm.

ANS Fellow Jonathan Kagan kindly added to our collection of French medals a new example of a bronze galvano shell of 1831, designed by Pierre-Jean David d’Angers (1788-1856) (Fig. 19). This famous French sculptor is generally credited as the prime mover in the revival of medallic art in the early nineteenth century. Among the numerous luminaries featured in David’s “historical gallery,” this new ANS example celebrates the Abbé de la Mennais (1780-1860), known as one of the founders of the Brothers of Christian Instruction (or “De la Mennais Brothers”), a group with the principal purpose of educating the youth of Brittany.

Fig. 19. France. Abbot de la Mennais, AE galvano shell medal, by Pierre-Jean David d’Angers, 1831. (ANS 2006.24.1, gift of Jonathan Kagan) 159 x 148 mm.

Scott Miller, another generous benefactor of our medals collection, donated a bronze medal with an image of Eleanor Roosevelt (Fig. 20). This realistic portrait of America’s most influential First Lady represents the work of the talented Marika Somogyi, from California. She is a member of AMSA and a recipient of several awards, including the American Numismatic Association’s Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture and the U.S. Mint’s commemorative silver dollar competition.

Fig. 20. United States. Eleanor Roosevelt, AE portrait medal, by Marika Somogyi. (ANS 2006.25.1, gift of Scott Miller) 108 mm.

The ANS received from Ms. Delores Scott a group of unusual objects: ceramic “medals-coins” (Fig. 21). New York artist Beriah Wall, who has designed and produced over 500,000 plaster and ceramic “tokens” with different inscriptions on each side, made these curiosities some years ago. The artist believed that the messages on his “numismatic” artifacts could reach a wide audience, and they should be seen as enigmatic samples of an already passing culture.

Fig. 21. United States. Ceramic “medal-coins,” by Beriah Wall, 1980s. (ANS 2006.29.1-8, gift of Delores Scott) 30-48 mm.

Our collection of modern U.S. tokens acquired new samples from Dr. Sebastian Heath and ANS Fellow Anthony Terranova. Mr. Terranova also presented to the ANS’s United States cabinet a dangerous counterfeit of a Massachusetts Bay Colony “Oak Tree” sixpence (Noe 17) and a latex mold for a counterfeit U.S. 1882 5-dollar gold piece (Fig. 22).

Fig. 22. United States. Latex mold for a counterfeit U.S. 1882 AV five dollars.(ANS 2006.30.2, gift of Anthony Terranova) 60 x 35 x 17.5 mm.

ANS member Leonard Mazzone donated two silver Austrian coins—a 5 shilling of 1968 and a 10 shilling of 1973—which were lacking in our collection. Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan contributed a 1997 Royal Canadian Mint proof set of four high-quality sterling silver 50-cent pieces (with frosted relief on a brilliant background).

The ANS received a particularly generous gift from the Stack family: a splendid selection of more than 322 uncirculated commemorative issues, which greatly improves our collection of recent U.S. coins. Among these issues lacking from the collection are gold five dollars and silver dollars of the 1983-1984 proof sets, dedicated to the 23rd Summer Olympic games in Los Angeles (Fig. 23). These were the first Olympic commemorative coins ever issued by the United States; this was also the first time since 1933 that the United States had issued a gold coin at all, and these coins also included the first in U.S. history to bear the West Point mint mark. The greatly respected American artist Jamie Wyeth and U.S. Mint engraver Thomas D. Rogers, Sr., created and designed the proof silver dollar dedicated to the 1995 Special Olympic World Games, with the portrait of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and an image of the special Olympic medal and a rose, with Shriver’s quote: “As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us” (Fig. 24).

Fig. 23. United States, Philadelphia. AR one dollar, 1984. Los Angeles XXIII Olympiad commemorative. This proof specimen is part of a six-coin cased set in presentation box. (ANS 2006.32.3, gift of the Stack family) 27 mm.

Fig. 24. United States, Philadelphia. AR one dollar, 1995. Special Olympics World Games commemorative. (ANS 2006.32.11, gift of the Stack family) 38.1 mm.

Also among the Stacks’ gifts is the proof set of the gold five dollars, silver dollar, and clad half dollar commemorating Civil War battlefields and issued by the U.S. Mint to help fund preservation efforts for Civil War landmarks. Their realistic images, designed by the well-known historical artist Don Troiani and executed by the prolific sculptors and engravers Alfred Maletsky, John Mercanti, and James Ferrell, evoke memorable episodes of this epic struggle (Fig. 25). The bicentennial proof gold five dollars of George Washington, issued in 1999 in commemoration of his death, was created to help supplement the Mount Vernon Ladies Association’s endowment to provide permanent support for the preservation of Washington’s home at Mount Vernon (Fig. 26). The obverse bears the outstanding portrait originally designed by leading American sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser (1899-1966) in 1931 to commemorate the bicentennial of Washington’s birth (in 1732). The Fine Arts Commission unanimously voted her design the winner of the government’s coinage competition, but Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon declined this decision and awarded the commission to John Flanagan, whose design still appears on American quarter dollars. With its 1999 issue, the U.S. Mint not only commemorated the “Father of His Country,” but finally paid an overdue tribute to an illustrious American artist.

Fig. 25. United States, West Point. AV five dollars, 1995. Civil War Battlefield commemorative. This proof specimen is part of a six-coin set in presentation case. (ANS 2006.32.14, gift of the Stack family) 21.6 mm.

Fig. 26. United States, West Point. AV five dollars, proof, 1999. George Washington Bicentennial commemorative. (ANS 2006.32.22, gift of the Stack family) 21.6 mm.

Overlapping portraits of Orville and Wilbur Wright and the 1903 “Wright’s Flyer” are the images shown on the proof gold ten-dollar coin issued by the Treasury Department in 2003 (Fig. 27). This issue sought to commemorate the centennial of the Wright brothers’ historic first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. The proof silver dollar produced in 2004 in recognition of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition featured a vignette of the explorers standing on the bank of a stream, planning another day of travel, and an image of the Jefferson Indian Peace medal, which the captains were to present to Native Americans during their exploration, on behalf of their “Great White Father” (Fig. 28). The ANS’s examples of the actual Jefferson Indian Peace medal, along with the “Washington Seasons medals”—also carried by Lewis and Clark for distribution to tribesmen of lower rank—have continued to travel around the country with the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Exhibition, organized by the Missouri Historical Society. From May to September of this year, they will be on view at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Fig. 27. United States, West Point. AV ten dollars, proof, 2003. Orville and Wilbur Wright, First Flight Centennial commemorative. (ANS 2006.32.23, gift of the Stack family) 27 mm.

Fig. 28. United States, Philadelphia. AR one dollar, proof, 2004. Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemorative. (ANS 2006.32.24, gift of the Stack family) 38.1 mm.

News (Summer 2006)

Staff News

On May 1, Mr. Philip Miano joined the ANS Business Office as Senior Accountant. He graduated from St. John’s University (Queens, NY) in 1985, with a BS in accounting. He has over twenty years of accounting experience in nonprofits and health care, working for companies located in the New York City area.

Philip Miano

Ms. Aadya Bedi has returned to the ANS as a curatorial assistant with special responsibility for the collections on permanent loan. Ms. Bedi has a BA in anthropology from Bennington College and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She has previously worked for the ANS as a summer intern on two occasions.

Aadya Bedi

The Numismatic Community and ANS Honor John H. Kroll

On October 20, the ANS will host an evening honoring its long-term Trustee and Second Vice-President John (“Jack”) H. Kroll. The event, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Society’s headquarters, will feature contributions by several scholars and numismatists. Kroll will also be formally presented with a Festschrift in his honor, which was edited by the Society’s Margaret Thompson Associate Curator Peter van Alfen. The volume, Agoranomia: Studies in Money and Exchange Presented to John H. Kroll, contains articles by the following scholars: Hélène Nicolet-Pierre, Raymond Descat, Robert W. Wallace, Jonathan H. Kagan, Selene Psoma, Edward E. Cohen, Catherine Grandjean, Graham J. Oliver, Richard Ashton and Gary Reger, Andrew R. Meadows, François de Callataÿ, and Emily Mackil and Peter G. van Alfen. Members of the Society will receive an invitation to this event. The book is available through David Brown Books, at

Obituary: Ed Owens

It is with great sadness that the ANS learned of the death on June 22, 2006, of longtime ANS building superintendent Ed Owens. Born in South Carolina in 1949, Ed moved to New York City in the late 1960s and almost immediately found work at the ANS, where he was employed for thirty-two years. His only son, Chris, was also employed at the ANS for many years; most visitors will certainly recall the good cheer and helpfulness of the father-and-son team. Ed retired from the ANS shortly before the move to Fulton Street and returned to South Carolina. Chris has remained as building superintendent at the old 155th Street location, now under the ownership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

COAC 2006: Mark Newby’s St. Patrick Coinage

The ANS, in association with Stack’s Rare Coins, is pleased to announce that the 2006 Coinage of the Americas Conference will take place on November 11. This year’s topic is the enigmatic St. Patrick coinage produced for use in Ireland and carried to West Jersey by Mark Newby in the seventeenth century.

The program (see below) has been divided into two parts in order to allow for discussion of the coinage in relation both to its primary circulating context in Ireland and the Isle of Man, as well as its secondary use as a token coinage in West Jersey.

Part I: The Mother Country
1. “Overview of Circulating Coinage and Tokens in Seventeenth-Century Ireland,” Robert Heslip, Culture and Arts Unit, Belfast City Council
2. “Denominations,” Philip Mossman
3. “Iconography,” Oliver Hoover, American Numismatic Society
4. “Dating the St. Patrick Coinage: Early Dating and the Ford Connection,” William Nipper
5. “Dating the St. Patrick Coinage: Later Dating and the Ormonde/Blondeau Connection,” Brian Danforth

Part II: The New World
1. “Overview of Circulating Coinage of the American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century,” Louis Jordan, University of Notre Dame
2. “Mark Newby and West Jersey,” Roger Siboni, American Numismatic Society; and Vicken Yegparian, Stack’s Rare Coins

For more information, please contact Juliette Pelletier at

Conference at Yale: The Romans in Asia

A conference entitled “The Romans in Asia” will celebrate the revival of numismatics at Yale and the 2004 acquisition of the Peter R. and Leonore Franke collection of Greek coins. The conference is sponsored by the Office of the Provost; the Departments of Classics, Art History, and History; and the Yale University Art Gallery. Nine speakers are on the program, headed by Franke himself. In addition, the program will feature presentations by Michel Amandry, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; François de Callataÿ, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1ér, Brussels; C. P. Jones, Harvard; Dietrich A. O. Klose, Staatliche Münzasammlung, Munich; Bernhard Weisser, Staatliche Museen, Berlin; Katherine Welch, Institute of Fine Arts; Greg Woolf, University of St. Andrews; and William E. Metcalf, Yale.

Registration will begin Friday, October 6, at 12:00, with presentations at 1:30; a full day is scheduled for Saturday beginning at 9:00. The conference is free and open to the public. Online registration will be available after September 7 at; in the meantime, information can be obtained by writing to

The Fifty-Third Eric P. Newman Summer Seminar

The fifty-third Eric P. Newman Summer Graduate Seminar began on June 5 and ran through July 28. As in recent years past, the number of applications to the Seminar has grown substantially, reflecting both the importance of the Seminar within U.S. higher education and the continuing recognition of the importance of coins among historians and others as historical source material. A number of substantial changes and improvements were made to this year’s Seminar to better streamline the course in some areas and strengthen the quality of the educational program. This year’s students were Lisa Anderson, Brown University; William Bubelis, University of Chicago; Craig Caldwell, Princeton University; Emily Haug, University of California, Berkeley; Pangiotis Iossif, University of Liege, Belgium; Matthew Polk, Harvard University; Anna Zawadzka, University of Warsaw, Poland; and Ben Zurawel, Oxford University, England. The Visiting Scholar was Andrew Meadows, Curator of Greek Coins at the British Museum, London.

53rd Eric P. Newman Summer Seminar. Front: Ben Zurawel, Anna Zawadzka, Emily Haug, Lisa Anderson, Craig Caldwell; Back: William Bubelis, Matthew Polk, Pangiotis Iossif

Numismatic Conversations Continues

Our second in this series of informal discussions will take place on the evening of September 13, at 6:30 p.m., at the ANS headquarters on Fulton Street. The topic will be “Evolving Honors: Military Decorations During America’s Growth as a World Power,” presented by Geoff Giglierano, ANS Development Director and former Chief Curator of Military History for the State of New York. Utilizing examples from the Society’s extensive collection of United States war medals, orders, and decorations, Giglierano will explore the expanding range of medals and awards that were presented to American servicemen and women from the time of the Civil War to World War II.

As the United States became a major player on the world stage, the Federal and state governments and various organizations created different service, campaign, and valor medals, many of which are still in use today. Participants in this roundtable session will be able to get a close look at a variety of pieces ranging from rare Civil War-era bravery medals, to lesser-known service medals issued by soldiers’ organizations following the Boxer Uprising, to new awards that were established after the United States had become involved in World War I.

There is no charge for participation, but pre-registration is encouraged. To reserve a seat at the table, please call 212-571-1311, or e-mail

Britannica to Feature “Coin Collecting” Article on Web Site

Over the past two decades, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of coin collecting as a recreational activity. Recognizing this trend, the editorial department of Encyclopaedia Britannica, one of the world’s best-known and trusted educational resources, determined that a new article on “Coin Collecting” should be added to its editorial content and that its existing comprehensive article “Coins” should be updated. To meet the strict requirements for editorial copy, Britannica solicits contributions from “scholars, writers, artists, public servants, and activists who are at the top of their fields.” Selected for the new task was ancient-coin specialist, author, and publisher Wayne G. Sayles, who is known primarily among ancient-coin collectors as the founder of The Celator and the author of the six-volume series Ancient Coin Collecting. Each week, a selection of Encyclopaedia Britannica articles is featured on their Web site’s front page at

The Sayles article on “Coin Collecting,” which has now been added to the encyclopedia, is scheduled to be featured, free and in its entirety, on that site during the week of September 10, 2006.

From the Executive Director (Summer 2006)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

Robert Hoge, Curator of North American Coins and Currency, recently suggested that we initiate a new monthly event called Numismatic Conversations. The idea was to offer an after-hours meeting on a given numismatic topic where members would have the opportunity to spend time informally with a curator while discussing and looking over a part of the collection. I quite liked this idea, particularly since members rarely have an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the collection and time with the curators, and so I asked Robert to arrange to have the first “Conversation” toward the end of July. The topic he chose, “Connecticut Coppers,” is one dear to the heart of ANS Trustee Roger Siboni, who felt that with the help of our new systems manager, Bennet Hiibner, we could expand the conversation to include not just those individuals present in the room, but people elsewhere in the country. After a frantic week of setting up and troubleshooting equipment, Ben, working with Ray Williams, who donated his time, technical expertise, and equipment to the endeavor, had our “studio” ready for the ANS’s first attempt at broadcasting over the World Wide Web. The inaugural Numismatic Conversation on July 26 was a truly great success; dozens of people attended, and many more tuned in on their computers for a simultaneous webcast and telephone conference call. They could see what was going on and ask live questions as if they were there in the room. (For those who missed the event, a DVD of the webcast will soon be available.) This successful foray into webcasting has opened our eyes to new possibilities for reaching out to members who are not in New York City or who cannot visit our facilities. In the coming months we hope to make greater use of this technology, not only for the continuing Numismatic Conversation series, but also for the annual meeting in October. Stay tuned!

In addition to the annual meeting, we have a number of important events coming up in October. One is an evening honoring Prof. John (“Jack”) H. Kroll, ANS Trustee and highly regarded scholar of ancient coinage, on October 20. The evening will include talks and a formal presentation of the ANS-produced Festschrift entitled Agoranomia: Studies in Money and Exchange Presented to John H. Kroll, which is available through our distributor, David Brown Books. Another event, on October 25-26, is the continuing auction of the Society’s foreign orders and decorations (see the feature on p. 39). And finally, for Sage Society members, there is the excursion to London (see p. 56), which promises to be a fun, memorable experience.

Many of you will recall from the last issue of the ANS Magazine the sad news of the death of Mark Salton, ANS Fellow and generous donor. I am pleased to announce that we have established an annual lecture in his name, which will focus on the importance of coins and medals as evidence for history. Already we have raised more than half of the $50,000 needed to endow this annual lecture. If you are interested in helping us with this fund in honor of Mark, please let us know.

With best wishes,
Ute Wartenberg Kagan

A Treasure Worthy to Be Known

by Donatien Grau

Translated from the French and edited by Oliver D. Hoover

Fig. 1. Medal of Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, by J.C. Chaplain, 1887. © André Pelle, Musée Condé

Who can deny that Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale (1822-1897) (Fig. 1) was a great collector? Or that in his choice of each object, he had exquisite taste? No one. If one thinks that the masterpieces preserved at the château de Chantilly (Figs. 2-3) are the drawings, paintings (Fig. 4), books (Fig. 5), and even the antiques, one could not disagree. However, the numismatic collection of the Musée Condé is often forgotten. The vast majority of this collection was assembled by the duc d’Aumale himself, and, as such, can offer a profound insight into the character of the man and his preferences. The collection is unjustly underrated, in part because in comparison with other forms of art and archaeological material, numismatic objects are not as popular and seem less interesting to the general public. There are no fewer than 4,000 coins in the collection: 251 gold, 2,324 silver, and 1,425 bronzes. Several studies have been made of the contents of the coin cabinet, not the least of which resulted in the catalogue produced in the 1960s by the French numismatist M. Jean Babelon, while serving as Conservateur en Chef du Cabinet des Monnaie et Médailles de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This work is remarkable in many ways, but some attributions have changed in the meantime. In 1991, the Conservateurs du Cabinet de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Cécile Morrisson, Sylvie de Turckeim-Pey, Michel Amandry, Michel Dhénin, and François Thierry, at the instigation of Turckheim-Pey and Robert Etienne (Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux III), produced a catalogue of sixty-three coins and sixty-eight medals in gold for Le Musée Condé 40 (May 1991). However, the Cabinet numismatique du Musée Condé still is not known in its entirety. It is poorly known to the general public, which is more easily attracted by unique works of art than by reproducible objects created through the use of technology. It is also poorly known to researchers, who do not realize that it is one of the most important numismatic collections in France. Lastly, it is poorly known to those interested in and intrigued by the character of the duc d’Aumale. Unfortunately, we have very few contemporary documents that mention the coins. It is our hope that in the following pages we will help to expand the knowledge of this important collection and show that it offers many points of interest from both the historical perspective and concerning the duc d’Aumale himself.

Fig. 2. Aerial view of the Château de Chantilly. © Olivier Roux, Musée Condé

Fig. 3. The Château de Chantilly. © André Pelle, Musée Condé

Fig. 4. The Galerie de Peinture of the Musée Condé, Château de Chantilly. © Giraudon

Fig. 5. The Cabinet des Livres of the Musée Condé, Château de Chantilly © Giraudon.

The history of the collection is very enigmatic, and the determination of its origins can only be made through conjecture. Some specimens appear to be connected to known finds. For example, among the Roman coins, a group of six gold aurei of Tiberius (AD 14-37) of the same type, and five aurei of Vespasian (AD 69-79) and his son Titus (AD 79-81) (Fig. 6) have a probable hoard provenance (Lefébure et al. 1991, 8). Likewise, a brass sestertius of Marcus Aurelius (Babelon, 1143; RIC 977) remains encrusted with earth. It is tempting to think that the gold coins may have come from the excavations organized at an ancient tavern in Pompeii by Ferdinand II, king of Naples and the Two Sicilies, for the duc d’Aumale in November 1843 (Cazelles 1998, 96-97). The twelve coins are dated from AD 14 to 75 and were in circulation before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, AD 79. The coins of Tiberius are worn, whereas those of Vespasian and Titus are in better condition, although they too appear to have seen some circulation. Origine des antiques (NA 40-2) cites several pieces—but no coins—in its report on the expedition, but goes on to say that “all of the other objects, bronzes, glass, pottery and diverse objects were found in a house excavated at Pompeii by the duc d’Aumale, with the possible exception of some small finds from the old excavation of Herculaneum.” One wonders whether the “other objects” of Pompeii or the “small finds” of Herculaneum might have had a numismatic character. According to an inventory of 1897, some much later pieces were found at the site of Chantilly, including seven silver coins and an écu d’or of Henri III of France (1574-1589), relating to the period when the site was owned by François and then by Henri de Montmorency (see Lefébure et al. 1991, 3).

Fig. 6. Gold aureus of Titus Caesar, Rome, AD 74.

Another possibility is that the coins were given as gifts to the duc d’Aumale. Perhaps some ancient coins found in excavations were given to him in order to obtain his support. The foreign coins (principally of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as some earlier issues of Germany, Saxony, the Palatinate, the German ecclesiastical and lay princes [Fig. 7], Bavaria, Westphalia, Hungary, the Free Cities, Prussia, Württemberg, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Russia, Poland, Italy including the Papal States, and England) were, according to A. Lefébure, offered to Henri de Bourbon-Orléans by the allies of his family (Lefébure et al. 1991, 3). However, while this explanation is reasonable for a large number of the coins, it cannot explain them all. Forty-five out of 563 foreign coins have origins outside of Europe. Some are from Columbia, Mexico, and the United States, while still others come from Turkey and Arabia.

Fig. 7. Gold two ducats of Johann Jacob Khün von Belasi, Archbishop of Salzburg, 1570.

A third explanation is also possible, namely that the duc d’Aumale purchased the coins that make up his collection. A. Lefébure thought that the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins, as well as the old foreign coins, came from the collection of his father-in-law, the prince of Salerno, which he had purchased in 1854, and that the duc himself assembled the medals preserved at Chantilly (Lefébure et al. 1991, 3). Some specimens do not belong to this group and appear to have been acquired through other means. Some of the Greek coins, like a gold stater of Philip III Arrhidaeus (Fig. 9), may have been purchased individually. Other evidence seems to corroborate the hypothesis of separate acquisitions. There is a receipt for payment to Rollin and Feuardent, dated May 30, 1882. The architect Daumet, who was inter alia an agent of the duc, bought for the collection three Greek vases in bronze. The evidence for this sale permits us to suspect that there may have been other purchases (Cazelles 1998, 193-195). Rollin and Feuardent were the two principal coin dealers of the period, operating their “House of Antiquities.” They are chiefly remembered for selling prestigious coin collections such as that of the vicomte de Ponton d’Amécourt in 1887 or that of Henri Montagu in 1896, but not for their antiquarian activities. That the duc d’Aumale bought coins from them either directly or indirectly seems neither impossible nor improbable. The absence of a paper trail for any coins purchased from Rollin and Feuaredent may be explained by their lesser value. The Greek vases, for which we have the receipt, sold for 20,000 francs (in the period, a little less than 4,000 U.S. dollars).

The origins of the coin cabinet of Chantilly are very complex. Doubtless all three possibilities presented here were in operation to produce the collection of the duc d’Aumale as we know it. As for the coins, there are many reasons why they should be considered a treasure worthy to be known. First of all, there are a number of exceptional specimens present. For example, an antoninianus (a Roman denomination of the third century AD) of Probus (AD 276-282) has a rare obverse type of extraordinary artistic quality (Babelon, 1345; RIC 811). The left facing imperial bust is nude, wears a helmet, and carries a spear in the right hand and a shield with the left. Probus has been cast as a hero and made into a ruler with superhuman qualities. This type of representation, designed to express the power of the emperor, was particularly suited to the period of troubles in which it was produced, as it gave the impression of security. A sestertius of Titus struck to commemorate the apotheosis of his father Vespasian (Babelon, 992; RIC 144) also stands out among the Roman coins. This piece is remarkable for its excellent preservation, rarity, and the typology of the divinized emperor (or a statue representing him) holding Victory and riding in a quadriga of elephants. This image was only used for this series and for a coinage struck by Tiberius to commemorate the consecration of Augustus (see RIC 56, 62, 68).

However, the Roman imperial period is not the only one illustrated by remarkable specimens. For the Byzantine period, the collection includes, among others, a gold solidus of Phocas (602-610) that is one of only four examples known (Lefébure et al. 1991, 12-13, no. 72). It bears a facing bust of the emperor wearing consular robes, holding in his left hand a cross and in his right a mappa (a piece of cloth used to signal the beginning of chariot races in the circus). The representation of the emperor as consul can be traced directly to ancient Rome, which Constantinople superseded. Also notable in the Byzantine collection is a tremissis (a third of a gold solidus) of Justinian II (705-711), which carries a portrait of the emperor wearing a chlamys and on the reverse a cross-potent. This is only the second specimen known (Lefébure et al. 1991, 13, no. 76). Two gold augustales of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen (1197-1250) struck at Brindisi after 1231 (Fig. 8) represent important rare coins of the medieval period (Lefébure et al. 1991, 21, nos. 146-147). The prestigious augustale series was struck in part to illustrate the sensitivity of the Emperor to the ancient Roman past.

Fig 8. Gold augustale of the Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich II von Hohenstaufen, Brindisi, 1231-1250.

The greatest pride of the collection is neither Roman, nor Byzantine, nor even medieval, but rather Greek (Lefébure et al. 1991, 7, no. 28). The coin in question (Fig. 9) is a part of a series of Macedonian gold staters with the types of Philip II, the adversary of Demosthenes and the friend of Aeschines. The coin was struck posthumously at Colophon in Lydia between 323 and 316 BC, during the reign of Philip III Arrhidaeus, the brother of Alexander the Great. It bears on the obverse a right-facing laureate head of Apollo and on the reverse a galloping biga with the inscription FILIPPOU (“[money] of Philip”). A spearhead appears in the exergue and a caduceus and a star of eight rays in the field. Until now, this stater has been unpublished. It is the only specimen known with this combination of control marks. The combination is particularly interesting, as it associates divine symbols with military emblems. The star and caduceus are attributes of Hermes, while the spearhead may vaguely allude to the Macedonian empire in Asia, which was considered to be the possession of the Macedonian king through right of conquest. Literally speaking, it was “spear-won land.” This coin represents the achievement of the primordial dream of Hellas: the establishment of Greek civilization in Asia, which resulted in a double acculturation and a double enrichment of Asia through Greece and of Greece through Asia. The stater is also of great interest for its aesthetic order. The head of Apollo that appears on the obverse is very finely engraved and expresses a great serenity. It is a perfect example of Greek art in the greatness of its purity and splendor, representing a bridge between the Classical and Hellenistic styles, between hieratism and expressivity. The god is shown here in all his magnificence, like the Apollonian form defined by Friedrich Nietzsche in Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik as comprising measure, completion, and majestic plasticism. Thus certain coins are exceptional for their historical interest, rarity, and aesthetics.

Fig. 9. Gold stater of Philip III Arrhidaeus, ca. 320 BC.

Historically speaking, the coin cabinet of Chantilly is immensely valuable. It constitutes a unique example of the collection of a nineteenth-century humanist that has remained complete. Many areas of the collection express the humanist tendency, like the impassioned interest brought to the Greek coins (numbering 849) and to the Roman coins (1,448). With respect to the latter, certain groups are typical of the humanist spirit. The duc d’Aumale possessed sixteen bronzes of Nero (see Babelon, 941, 942, 945, 946, 947, 948, 949, 952, 953, 954, 956; RIC 264, 269, 284, 289, 300, 306), representing all of the most important emissions (with the types of Roma, the temple of Janus, Victoria, etc.). The duc’s interest in Neronian coinage stemmed from his erudite reading of the works of Tacitus and Suetonius and his fascination with the fact that the man depicted as a depraved monster by these authors could also be an aesthete responsible for some of the most beautiful coins in numismatic history. Another Tacitean and Suetonian bête noire, Caligula, also has a place in the collection in a bronze as (Babelon, 921; RIC 38), the artistic quality of which is equal to its stellar state of preservation. It seems reasonable to think that this coin was chosen largely because of its attractive appearance. Another feature of the collection is the relative disregard for the state of preservation of individual coins, except for a few notable exceptions. This is in keeping with the spirit of the age, which considered the assembly of a “portrait gallery” to be the paramount goal of coin collecting. The state of preservation was of only secondary importance. Nevertheless, as we have seen, there are several examples of impressively well-preserved coins in the collection, such as the Philip III stater.

The true richness of the coin cabinet of the Musée Condé lies in the fact that while it approaches the humanist model, it also breaks with custom to some degree. The duc d’Aumale collected the coins and medals of his family (Lefébure et al. 1991, nos. 1-52, 58-64, 67-69, 77-78), the Habsburgs (Fig. 10) and Bourbons of Spain and Naples, back to Saint Louis, his ancestor through Robert de Clermont, and at last through his father, Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, French king from 1830 to 1848. Other collectors lacked such ancestors, and therefore did not take this approach to collecting. But it is something else that greatly differentiates the well-known treasures of Chantilly from the numismatic collection assembled by the duc d’Aumale. The latter also included coins of the late Roman Empire (generally the third and fourth centuries), including issues from Probus to Aurelian, a few of Elagabalus, as well as the Empress Helena and Constantine the Great. In the nineteenth century, few collectors paid much attention to the issues of these rulers except for their aurei, solidi, and gold medallions. In the duc’s day, this period was often referred to by the pejorative term “Low Empire,” in contrast to the “High Empire,” with its connotations of the political, economic, and cultural glories of Rome. However, today we know that this is a false understanding created through the distortion of certain texts. More than a fourth of the Roman collection is formed from coins of the “Low Empire,” including only a single specimen (a 20-solidi multiple of Constantine I) in gold (Lefébure et al. 1991, no. 43; RIC 164). (Fig. 11.) The remainder is made up of coins struck in bronze or billon. The duc d’Aumale was a visionary in his time, for he was one of the first collectors to recognize the importance of these unassuming coins, which today are common elements in public and private collections.

Fig. 10. Silver medal of Friedrich von Habsburg, Archduke of Austria, by Saidau, 1840.

Fig 11. Gold 20-solidi medallion of Constantine the Great, Treveri, AD 315.

The numismatic collection of the Musée Condé is truly a treasure worthy to be known in itself and for itself, for its historicity, its particularity, and especially for its coins. It is also a treasure worthy to be known for those who wish a deeper insight into the man, the warlike prince, the humanist warrior, and writer who assembled the collection. What can we learn of the character of Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, from the coins he collected?

First of all, it is clear that the love of his family mattered very much to him and that this translated into the coins and medals that he acquired. The Bourbons always had a strong sense of family and dynastic relationships, and the feelings of the duc were terribly tested. His elder son, the prince de Condé, died on May 24, 1866; his daughter, Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Naples, on December 6, 1869; and his younger son, the duc de Guise, on July 25, 1872 (Cazelles 1998, 278-281, 341-343). These personal tragedies inspired in the duc d’Aumale a passion for collecting anything connected to his family, from the closest (sixty-five Spanish coins) to the most distant (seven coins of Wittelsbach in the duchy, later the kingdom, of Bavaria). Somewhat obliquely, he also commemorated the great deeds of his father, Louis-Philippe, by collecting coins and medals of Napoleon Bonaparte and his family. He even possessed a medal of Jerome Napoleon as king of Westphalia. It was Louis-Philippe who repatriated the remains of Napoleon and had them interred in the Hôtel des Invalides. He was the first French monarch to recognize the importance of the Napoleonic heritage of his country. Among the gold medals in the collection there is a specimen of Louis-Philippe bearing on the obverse a statue of Bonaparte between two military attributes, and on the reverse the inscription: LA STATUE DE NAPOLEON RETABLIE SUR LA COLONNE DE LA GRANDE ARME PAR LOUIS PHILIPPE I 28 JULLIETT 1833 in eight lines (Lefébure et al. 1991, no. 63). Honor is explicitly given to Napoleon, but implicitly to the duc’s father Louis-Philippe, who accepted the imperial past of France. It is as a member of the family that the gold medals (Lefébure et al. 1991, nos. 55-57) in the cabinet of the duc d’Aumale render homage to Napoleon. All three relate to Napoleon’s marriage to Marie-Louise von Habsburg, the archduchess of Austria, in 1810, and were struck to commemorate this occasion. It is the connection of the Bonaparte dynasty to the family of hereditary European sovereigns that was celebrated on the medals, and it was because of this integration that the duc d’Aumale saw fit to include medals of Napoleon Bonaparte. As diverse branches of the same great family, he collected marriage and coronation medals, in particular those commemorating the union of Franz I of Austria and Caroline Charlotte of Wittelsbach in 1816 (Lefébure et al. 1991, nos. 23-26). Whether these medals and coins were given to the duc d’Aumale, as has been suggested, and he carefully preserved them, or whether he sought them out on his own makes no difference to the familial motive that underlies their inclusion in the collection.

The numismatic collection also illustrates the remarkable eclecticism of the duc d’Aumale, because the coins expand the whole of the fields explored by the Condé museum. The drawings are enjoyed, the pages of the books are turned, paintings are admired. But what of the coins? With respect to art, the aristocrat of Chantilly had a taste for the works of Raphael, Delacroix, Poussin, Sassetta, Fra Angelico, and the Limbourg brothers. (Fig. 12.) But what of Apollo? What of the numerous talented artists who produced the medals in the collection, such as Nicholas-Pierre Tiolier or Friedrich Wilhelm Loos (Lefébure et al. 1991, no. 43), famous sculptors and engravers of the nineteenth century? They also form part of the eclecticism of the duc d’Aumale, which is present in the collection at large. Instead of centering interest on antiquity, as was then the custom among the esthetes, the collection cultivates multiplicity: a multiplicity of antiquities from Greece and from Rome, a multiplicity of Renaissance and early Modern artworks by Italian, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish, and German masters, and a multiplicity of coins in gold and silver. A multiplicity of cultures is also represented, including nine Islamic gold coins (Lefébure et al. 1991, nos. 165-173) of the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt, the Aghlabids of North Africa, and the Ottoman Empire. The eclecticism of periods ranges from the fifth century BC for certain coins of Sicily (Fig. 13) to AD 1887 for a medal (Lefébure et al. 1991, no. 66). The eclecticism is that of a man who had a taste for Fromentin as much as for Memling, for Giorgione as much as for Daubigny, and for Apollo as much as for Tiolier.

Fig. 12. Miniature from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry by the Limbourg Brothers, ca. 1410.

Fig. 13. Silver tetradrachm of Leontini (Sicily), ca. 465 BC.

The duc d’Aumale had a multiplicity of collecting areas, ranging from books to drawings, antiquities, and coins. He turned toward Greek and Roman culture by means of the coins (more than half of the collection), choosing beautiful pieces (the Philip III stater), representatives of a period (issues of the late Roman Empire), as well as material with appeal to his humanistic studies (the homogeneous group of Neronian bronzes). However, even if these were part of the collection of Salerno, the eclecticism must still be attributed to the collection of the duc, since he retained them for his own collection when he could have resold them, as he did other objects from the Salerno collection in 1857 (Cazelles 1998, 195). The fact that he kept these pieces for himself indicates that he attached a certain importance to them. This is supported by their prominent display among the objets d’art in cabinets of gems and antiquities. The taste for numismatics was typical of Renaissance humanists. Their “cabinets of curiosities” were also coin cabinets, and each prince had his coins in the cabinet, continuing the renewed taste for antiquity. The house of Este in Ferrara even went so far as to carefully mark its specimens with the heraldic alérion blazon, while Cosimo de’ Medici included a Cabinet of Curiosities in the Palazzo Vecchio of Florence. The number of examples of this phenomenon may be multiplied. Originally, the study of numismatics was a prerogative of humanist princes and therefore it is fitting that the duc d’Aumale, a latter-day humanist prince in his own right, also should have had an interest in coins.

The coin cabinet of the duc d’Aumale in the Musée Condé is truly a treasure worthy to be known, although developing general interest in its contents seems a difficult task, for few are the individuals who care about such objects. The coins that make it up are in themselves representatives of history and art, the sensitivities of human beings who have fulfilled the spans of their lives, the traces and almost intangible marks that remain of a great man, an esthete, a prince, a writer, and a warrior, who entered into eternity through the gate of combat and went out through that of knowledge, the knowledge of humanism and numismatics. Marcel Proust, in Sodome et Gomorrhe (II, 2) mentioned the collections, writing, “M. Degas agrees that he knows nothing more beautiful than the paintings by Poussin at Chantilly. —I don’t know the ones at Chantilly, Mme de Cambremer said to me.” The works of Poussin were worthy to be known, and they are known. The coins and medals are equally worthy to be known. We hope that they will become known.


We wish to thank here Nicole Garnier, Chief Conservator at the Musée Condé, who generously and kindly opened the Cabinet to us, as well as her colleagues Lynda Frénois and Florent Picouleau, and Michel Amandry, Director of the Cabinet de Monnaies et Médailles de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, who aided our research on the collections of the Cabinet.


Babelon, J. Catalogue des monnaies du Musée Condé. Unpublished manuscript in the Musée Condé. (abbreviated as Babelon).

Cazelles R. Le duc d’Aumale, prince aux dix visages. Paris: Tallandier, 1998.

Lefébure, A., et al. Le Musée Condé 40 (May 1991).

Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham, and C. H. V. Sutherland, eds. Roman Imperial Coinage. London: Spink, 1923-1994 (abbreviated as RIC).

Proust, M. A la recherche du temps perdu. Vol. 4, Sodome et Gomorrhe. Paris: Edition de la Pléiade, 1988.