Review: Eight-Reales Cobs of Potosi

Emilio Paoletti. Eight-Reales Cobs of Potosi. 2nd ed. Buenos Aires: n.p., 2006. Hb, 402 pp., with 453 individual coins listed and illustrated in the text, including numerous enlargements. ISBN 987-05-1267-4.

Much has been written of the massive coinage of Potosí, in what is now the province of that name in Bolivia, and deservedly so. The most important of the series, the Spanish colonial eight-reales denomination, made its mark in ways that scholars are still analyzing. This new reference book is unquestionably the premier study of the early “cob” issues—the very coins that tumbled their way into language, literature, folklore, and dreams of civilization—the renowned “pieces of eight,” the original “dollars” of the New World.

The famous “Red Mountain” of Potosí was surely the greatest discovery of silver in history. Accounts refer to raw ore so fine that it had to be alloyed to reduce it to the quality of money for imperial Spain. This stupendous find in 1544 was one of the many amazing circumstances of the conquistadors’ exploration and seizure of much of the Western Hemisphere and one of the leading causes of economic, social, and political change giving birth to the modern age. Located at 4,090 meters above sea level, the city of Potosí, founded at the foot of the Cerro Rico (“rich mountain”) in 1545, is said to be the world’s highest. It quickly grew from nothing to become the largest in the New World and, with a population reaching nearly 200,000, one of the largest cities on the planet. While Paoletti has made a review of the early mint’s production accessible to us today, going to Potosí in the sixteenth century must have been, for Europeans of the time, something like a trip to outer space. Difficult, dangerous, costly, time-consuming, and strange—full of the unknown. Situated on the Andean altiplano of the old Viceroyalty of el Perú, the mining town became a magnet for treasure seekers of every stripe. Among these were the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church of Spain, looking to convert and catechize the native peoples whose labor scraped the riches from the mountain and to look after the souls of the multitude of sinners who exploited these workers. By the 1570s, there were some eighty-six churches in the sprawling new metropolis. In just thirty years, the boomtown had grown from a nascent mining camp to an almost unrivaled commercial and cultural center that soon possessed the largest minting operation anywhere.

Silver extracted from the mines was refined nearby, then shipped—first in heavy bars or ingots—by llama. A mint was decreed for Lima, on the other side of the Andean cordillera, in 1565, and production began in 1568. Another ephemeral mint was established at La Plata (literally, “the silver”), closer to the actual mines, in 1573 and was moved to Potosí itself to begin production in 1574. All of these coins bore the mintmark “P,” indicating “Peru.” The wealth of the city became proverbial. The first known medals referring to the New World, made for King Philip II of Spain by Giampaolo Poggini in Madrid in 1562, depict llamas transporting silver bars as part of their design. Although quantities of large ingot bars continued to be fabricated in Potosí for years after, once minting commenced, presumably coins were produced at a rate as quickly and abundantly as could be sustained and transported to the rest of the world in the same manner.

Paoletti’s treatment of the coin descriptions is admirable. He shows a seasoned collector’s appreciation for organizing the material, with all pieces assigned consecutive numbers and arranged under pertinent categories and subheadings. The coin photographs illustrating each entry are excellent, and include many enlargements of details mentioned in the discussion of the dies. While not attempting to be a complete corpus (surely an unattainable prospect for such an enormous series) or a technical die study, Eight-Reales Cobs clearly delineates all known salient features and characteristics of the recorded varieties for every year of issue, with a detailed discussion of the progressions of stylistic changes and assayers’ tenures. That this book is based upon the author’s own personal collection is phenomenal. Incidentally, many of the images in this book were used in Sewall Menzel’s Cobs, Pieces of Eight, and Treasure Coins: The Early Spanish-American Mints and Their Coinages, published by the ANS.

The first edition of Paoletti’s work, written in Spanish, was immediately welcomed by all students and aficionados of the classic Potosí macuquinas, the Spanish name for all the rough and irregular hand-struck coins—often curiously called “cobs” in English—minted from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century). The second edition will be even more widely celebrated. It has been given updated and more comprehensive information and is entirely translated into English, with an equivalent Spanish text (pp. 267- 402). Between the English and Spanish sections are a bibliography that includes twenty-three titles and thirteen auction catalogs, a list of other numismatic “consultants” (the ANS, for one), six more complete reference citations to be related to some of the coins, and a concordance table for the numbering systems used in the first and second editions of the book. The bibliographical apparatus is rudimentary.

Unlike Menzel’s work, which synthesizes a systematic classification system for mintages organized by categories, Paoletti’s, which is also organized by the same basic structure of monarch, assayer (ensayador), and date, proceeds intensively through analysis of the variations of the 8-reales on a year-by-year basis, following the productions of successive assayers. As an example, for instance, under the Philip IV heading for assayer “T” (determined to be Juan Ximénez de Tapia), during his second period of work (following the interlude of his rival “P”—Martín de Palencia), we learn about a man who was to figure largely in the mint history of the period. Tapia’s first tenure had started in 1618 (under Philip III), with his assayer’s mark (ensayo) cut on an obverse die over the PARL mark of his predecessor (provisionally believed to have been one García Paredes Ulloa). This began a series of alternating, competing assayers’ tenures, culminating in the great mint scandal of 1647-1649. Tapia’s second tenure began in 1627 and ended in 1639; he held office again for a third period in 1644-1648.

Focusing on the standard “cobs,” Paoletti has not dwelt upon the well-made round coins (often referred to as the “royals”) minted at Potosí contemporaneously with the macuquinas, except in instances where they help elucidate his organization. An example is his inclusion of a “royal” of 1639, probably the last year of Tapia’s second tenure but a date represented by no surviving “cob” coin.

Paoletti has effectively achieved his goal “not simply to describe each coin, but rather to place a given piece within its historic period and to offer a comprehensive analysis that connects the cob to the larger socioeconomic and political framework of the times” (p. 9). His work will be of use to everyone who is interested in the prolific early Potosí coinages: collectors and dealers, students and scholars, treasure hunters and salvers, and anyone who enjoys contemplation of the wealth made famous by the fleets of heavily laden Spanish galleons and the pirates who preyed upon them. In their very crudeness and naïveté, their appearance has a charm with which to conjure.

—Robert W. Hoge

Review: The Coinage of Philistia of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BC

Haim Gitler and Oren Tal. The Coinage of Philistia of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BC. A Study of the Earliest Coins of Palestine. Milan and New York: Edizione Ennere and Amphora Books / B & H Kreindler, 2006. Hb, 411 pp., plates, charts, drawings, and maps. ISBN 88-87235-38-4, €120.

Although studied intensively by Sir George Francis Hill, Ernest Babelon, and, more recently, the late Leo Mildenberg, the coinage of the Philistines has remained somewhat of an uncharted region on the historical map. The Philistines are much better known as one of the savage Sea Peoples who battled the pharaoh Ramses III and the Judaean kings Saul and David than for their role as intermediaries at the ports serving the incense trade. The book reviewed here will surely change that. The coinage of the Philistines (or the Philistians, as Gitler and Tal prefer to call this Persian-era people) is revealed to be one of the most original branches of the field of ancient numismatics. It affords an insight into a magical world far from the rationalism to which we are accustomed with Greek coins. Along with other products typical of the Philistines, such as their Iron Age pottery and sarcophagi, the images of their coins might be one of the most vivid expressions of their culture. This coinage also provides valuable insight into the history of a remote area of the Persian Empire.

The Philistian coins belong to a stratum of autonomous municipal coinages that enabled daily trade without being noticed by the Persian administration. The Persian Empire did not care about the fiscal policy of its subjects so long as the taxes were paid. Obviously, the provincials were free to choose their own coin types. Like their Northern neighbors in Samaria and Jerusalem, the Philistians adopted the Attic coin standard, and a great many of their coins are imitations of the Attic coins circulating in the Levant. Along with these eastern owls, local types were developed. The Philistian coinage offers a plethora of charming and fanciful images, mostly of animals and peculiar composite figures. Unlike the Samarians, the Philistians were disdainful of Phoenician and Persian iconography. Persian imagery is confined to some depictions of bull-protome capitals, and a certain Eastern influence can be felt in the preference for composite figures (the so-called grylloi). It is true there are some images of a prince’s head wearing a jagged crown (i.e., the Great King), but there are no pictures of Persian dignitaries and soldiers and no legends of Persian governors, much less of a satrap, as are seen on Samarian coinage. Thus the Philistian coinage differs considerably from other local coinages of Palestine. However, there are intersections, mostly with the coins of Samaria; the two coinages share some cardinal features, such as the preference for dotted square frames and of the omission of helpful legends. Both coinages interfere with each other in hoards (Nablus IGCH 1504) and stray finds (Abu Shusheh IGCH 1507). Furthermore, one should reckon with similar local coinages from southern Jordan. Thus the term “Philisto-Arabian” coined by Sir George Hill in order to avoid jumping to conclusions may still be valid, although Gitler and Tal are absolutely right in asserting that the lion’s share of the coin types they deal with in this volume was minted by Philistian cities.

Following good numismatic tradition, the authors put the catalogue in the center of their study. At the time being, it would be difficult if not hazardous to arrange the issues in any chronological order, for as a rule the Philistian coins do not form chains of interlinked dies and there is no dense sequence of hoards that could give clues as to the relative chronology of the issues. Making a virtue of necessity, Gitler and Tal master the chaos by providing a well-reasoned typology. At first sight, their nomenclature looks rather abstract and hermetic, but after some time spent perusing the volume it proves to be easy to handle. The catalogue is divided into three main sections: (1) coins bearing the legend of the cities Ashdod, Ashkelon, or Gaza (123 types); (2) Athenian-style coins without a legend referring to a known mint (148 types); and (3) Philistian-style coins without a legend referring to a known mint (141 types). The main sections have several subdivisions, which help the reader quickly find the type he or she is seeking. Of course, one has to familiarize oneself with Gitler and Tal’s hierarchy. For example, coins with just a shade of an Athenian type are always in the second section (as they do not bear a city’s legend), and one has to know that the god Bes is to be found among the animals. However, the reader does not have to learn by heart 412 types, as he or she is compelled to do with the more than two hundred types of Samarian coinage. This alone is a great achievement.

The illustrations are lavish and magnificent. The authors provide not only images of each coin cited in the catalogue, but also enlargements and, in many cases, beautiful drawings to help elucidate the more puzzling coin types. At the end of the catalogue, plates displaying all of the 1:1 images allow for swift orientation.

The majority of the specimens drawn up in the catalogue was found in private collections by the authors. Perhaps only a third of these specimens were already known from auction-sale catalogues. Thus many types were unpublished until now, and a look into my records only produced a few types not recognized or acknowledged by Gitler and Tal. Among the public collections utilized for this volume, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, are the most important. However, it should be noted that not all the known Philistian coins in London, Paris, and New York are found within the catalogue. Furthermore, one may wonder why the coins published in SNG Copenhagen and SNG Fitzwilliam are omitted. Third, not a single catalogue of the auction-sale literature is cited, although many specimens are derived from public sales, among them several coins now kept by the Israel Museum. In some cases, missing weight and die-axis data could have easily been found just by browsing the Leu and Sternberg sales of the past twenty years. In other cases, the specimens figured by Gitler and Tal are much more worn than those published elsewhere—for one example, the obverse of the drachm of Ashkelon (III2D) is totally blurred. So why not cite the better preserved specimens in London (Kraay, Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, 293, fig. 1062), New York (SNG ANS 6, 32), or the Casden Collection (Wallack et al., The Numismatic Legacy of the Jews, no. 17)? No doubt Gitler and Tal are aware of these coins, since regarding the Gaza drachm (VI1D) they mention “dozens of exemplars of this specific coin type” (65), though they list but three specimens. After an intensive survey, I know of only sixteen, so I truly admire the authors’ records. Among these dozens omitted there is the specimen in Oxford allegedly derived from the Jordan Hoard IGCH 1482 (Kraay and Moorey, Revue Numismatique (1968), 191, no. 89). This coin provides a most important chronological clue, and Gitler and Tal duly discuss that (65, fig. 3.22). But then why does their catalogue conceal that piece of evidence?

The catalogue also fails to note that all the coins published by Lambert in 1933 were found at Abu Shusheh, a site near Gezer in the southern Judaean mountains. After Colin Kraay’s prudent reassessment of the evidence (Israel Exploration Journal 28 [1978], 190-192), no one can argue any longer that the coins from Abu Shusheh can be regarded as a hoard (IGCH 1507, cf. Robinson, Numismatic Chronicle [1937], 254-255). On the other hand, findspots provide valuable information for coins whose minting site is still a matter of debate. Gitler and Tal point out that according to Sir Stanley Robinson, several specimens not known to Lambert might come from that “hoard.” In the light of Kraay’s article, however, such presumptions are hard to maintain today. If there were no hoard, it might be risky to trace back single specimens found in the market during the early 1930s to the very same source as the parcel of stray finds studied by Lambert. Briefly, the catalogue lists specimens as coming from Abu Shusheh whose origin should be doubted, or, at any rate, should be doubted more than specimens whose origin from Abu Shusheh is attested by Lambert but not explicitly pointed out by the catalogue text.

However, let us turn from the odds and ends of the catalogue to the merits of the study: Although less than a third of the coin types dealt with in the book can be attributed to a Philistian mint by epigraphic means, it cannot be doubted that almost all these coins must have been minted within the Philistian region. Style and fabric are quite homogenous; only a few coins look irregular (XXV1DD, XXVII5D, and the incerta XXIX, while V10Db-c, VI1Db-c, and XIII16Da-b are contemporary forgeries). Despite considerable fluctuations, the standard may always be the same, slightly lowered Attic standard. It should be noted that the fractions (obols and hemiobols) are carefully made, while the drachms are often minted sloppily and badly centered. Gitler and Tal argue that a single officina (most probably situated at Gaza) could have been responsible for the whole coinage, i.e., operating under changing employers (318). A similar idea was already suggested by Leo Mildenberg, who divided the coinage into genuine Philistian issues and “desert issues” ordered by the chiefs of Arab tribes migrating in the Negev and Sinai. Mildenberg thought that Gaza served as a central mint for both the cities and the tribes, but he never explained how he would distinguish between urban and desert issues. Gitler and Tal are certainly right in dropping his hypothesis, but the problem remains: to whom to attribute all the anepigraphic issues. Even the old attribution to Gaza of the coins marked with a mem (the mem being an abbreviation of Marnas, a prominent deity of the city) cannot be corroborated yet. Gitler and Tal are cautious enough to separate an anepigraphic issue from a die-linked one that was minted by the Ashdod authorities (XVII2D and II10D, respectively). Obstinacy as to the typology is indeed the best way to arrive at firm conclusions here.

The area where Philistian currency was valid can probably be defined by the authors’ records. Single specimens found in Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian hoards would have come from merchants dealing with Philistians, but the specimens found in Samaria, Jerusalem, and the adjacent areas pose the question of whether Philistian coins were accepted there alongside the local coinages. The coin finds from controlled excavations corroborate the assumption that the area of circulation was confined to the Philistine plain and southern Judaea (the findings are meticulously listed on 49-61). Beth-Zur, a district capital in Persian times a few kilometers north of Hebron, might have been the northernmost outpost of that area. Had not the Palestinian conflicts of the past fifty years prevented comprehensive archaeological research in the Gaza Strip, the overall picture would be even clearer. It is worth mentioning the rumors that many of the specimens sold in auctions were brought from Raphia to the Jerusalem market.

One of the most refreshing novelties of the book is its approach to the chronological problems. It has become something of a common opinion that all the Palestinian small-change coinages date to the fourth century BC. Only Babelon and Mildenberg would put a few pieces into the last quarter of the fifth century. A sudden lack of Athenian money after Athens collapsed in 406/4 BC is said to be the reason for the striking of local imitations of Athenian coinage in Egypt and the Levant. Gitler and Tal, however, would like to date the first eastern owls to the middle of the fifth century. They believe Byblos and other Phoenician cities did not first mint local types (the oldest ones of which are now dated c. 450 BC), but rather imitations of Athenian money. The authors argue that the impact of those Phoenician owls prompted the Philistians to issue a supplementary series. Second, the authors rely upon hoard evidence. While the drachm of Gaza found within the Jordan Hoard IGCH 1482 was suspected to be intrusive right from the beginning, Gitler and Tal try to rule that out (65), and they could be right. Two Egyptian hoards from the early fourth century (IGCH 1649-1650) corroborate their view. Seyrig’s lost Syrian hoard (IGCH 1485 = Elayi no. LVII; not considered by the authors) would confirm this, if it is recovered some day. Third, Gitler and Tal draw the attention onto the bulk of Philistian imitations of the Athenian dekadrachms. Of course, this leads to a terminus post only, but it is true that according to hoard evidence the Athenian dekadrachms did not circulate for more than a few decades.

In general terms, I agree with the new chronological framework, and I would like to modify a minor point only. I am not familiar with the Athenian imitations from Phoenicia that the authors talk about, for they do not give references. According to Athenian chronology, those early eastern owls should imitate coins of the series studied by Starr in 1970. Among the eastern owls known to me, there is just one pre-450 issue that is considered here (Leu 83, 2002, 243; Gorny and Mosch 130, 2004, 1193). Although it has a weird legend (retrograde sigma instead of the alpha = Semitic shin?), it was originally interpreted as a “Western imitation” or even a genuine Athenian issue; today, it is called an imitation from Asia Minor or the Levant, particularly since one specimen was found in a Syrian hoard. However, the dumpy flans of this issue differ considerably from those of early Phoenician coinages. What kind of eastern owls Gitler and Tal are thinking of?

I do not understand, at any rate, why a Phoenician coinage must have prompted a related Philistian one. It is true the Philistian plain and its harbors were given to Sidon and Tyre in c. 500, but there is no Sidonian or Tyrian influence in the Philistian coinage. From my point of view, Gitler and Tal are right in rejecting the theory that the eastern owls were minted only to replacing the Athenian money from 406/4 onward. Among the eastern owls imitating the fifth-century coinage of Athens there are certainly some issues that were minted before Athens lost her empire. The Philistian imitations, however, cannot be regarded as typical eastern owls like those found in Egyptian and Syrian hoards. Among the Philistian owls, small denominations predominate; tetradrachms are quite rare. The small change cannot have replaced the Athenian money circulating in the Levant, for Athens and her trade exported the large denominations, not the small. I suppose the Philistian owls were struck to supplement the arriving Athenian tetradrachms. So I agree that the Philistians had reason enough to strike coins long before 406/4 BC.

Since Gitler and Tal do not single out the fifth-century coinage, I will try to give just a few hints. Beside the non-Athenian type (VI1D), one specimen of which was found in the Jordan hoard and therefore must be minted before c. 445, II10D might well have been struck during the fifth century. Turning to the pseudo-Athenian types, one will consider the imitations of the dekadrachms. First, III2D, III3D, and XIV33D are surely candidates for an early date. The tetradrachm III1T, however, has the dekadrachm owl in all its splendor, but it is an obverse copied from an owl belonging to Starr’s group IV (or an even later issue): it cannot have been minted before c. 440/30. There are still other coins connecting models of different ages, for instance, XV1T and V15D. Furthermore, we should keep in mind that Athenian coins of the old style were copied in the Sabaean and Qatabanian kingdoms for over two centuries. Even just copies of the dekadrachms could be tricky, for their valuable models might have been stored here and there for a long time. At any rate, XII23O is one of the latest coins in the book, because its reverse type (an owl standing beside a Panathenaic amphora) takes the pattern of early Hellenistic Athenian coins (cf. Kroll, The Greek Coins, Agora 26 [Princeton, 1993], 22, no. 28).

A real enigma in both geographical and chronological respects is XVI25Da, the famous British Museum drachm depicting a bearded deity in a wheeled chair. Gitler and Tal come back to Six and Hill’s Philistian attribution, although they cannot offer a definitive reading of the puzzling legend (70, 230, 305). Obviously the coin does not fit the yehud coinage, to which it has been attributed by Sukenik and Mildenberg, but it does not match the Philistian series either. Unlike Philistian coin images, both its types are Greek through and through, the syncretistic character of the reverse notwithstanding. The obverse is reminiscent of the so-called commander portraits of the late fifth century (such as the Perikles portrait). The three-quarters view is not as sophisticated as that of XXV3O; the eye and eyebrow look like they were added after the first cut. The reverse in particular has stylistic and iconographic features borrowed from Greek coins. Not even the coinage of Samaria has comparable types (cf. Y. Meshorer and Sh. Qedar, Samarian Coinage [Jerusalem, 1999], nos. 40, 71, 83). Among the Philistian coins, there are only a few adaptations of non-Athenian coin types: the janiform heads taken from the coins of Tenedos and XIII2D, a copy from a coin of the Lykian ruler Kuprrli (cf. Mørkholm and Zahle, Acta Archaeologica 43 [1972]: 66, no. 141) or even its Cyrenaican model. The British Museum drachm, however, does not copy specific coinages but puts together several elements of the Greek iconographic repertoire, thus producing an entirely new image. The Philistian way of transforming models and composing grylloi is different. Therefore I am not yet convinced that attributing the drachm to Philistia is the last word.

Gitler and Tal’s book is full of intriguing material and thought-provoking results. It will stand for many years to come as the main reference for the Philistian coinage, and it surely will stimulate further research. Hopefully the authors will continue their successful work in this field.

—Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert

Review: Proceedings of the Fourth International Numismatic Congress in Croatia

Julijan Dobrinic, ed. INC 2004: Zbornik rađova 4. medunarodnog numizmatickog kongresa u Hrvatskoj, 20.-25. rujna 2004. Stari Grad (Pharos), otok Hvar i M/B Marko Polo, Hrvatska / Proceedings of the Fourth International Numismatic Congress in Croatia, September 20-25, 2004, Stari Grad (Pharos), the Island of Hvar and M/S Marko Polo, Croatia. Rijeka: Dobrinic & Dobrinic, 2005. Pb. 262 pp., b/w illus. throughout. ISBN 953-98665-4-5.

The present volume collects together eighteen papers and five abstracts of papers presented at the Fourth International Numismatic Congress in Croatia, which was held in September 2004 and took as its primary subject the money of the Balkans from antiquity to modern times. However, only two of the articles deal with the modern period. The bulk of the papers relate to ancient numismatics (including three archaeological reports) and medieval coinage (primarily Serbian).

In the first paper, “The Finds of Coins in the La Tène Settlement at Židovar, Preliminary Report,” Ljiljana Bakic discusses and illustrates three denarii of the Roman Republic (one an imitation) and a countermarked (AVG) as of Augustus found at the Iron Age site in Vojvodina, Serbia. She points out that this small number of first-century BC finds is in keeping with the sparse numismatic material from other La Tène sites along the Danube and suggests that settlement at Židovar may have ended in the early first century AD, although survival into the period of Trajan’s Dacian wars is not entirely ruled out.

“Semanticko i likovno citanje novcanica ili znaci li novcanica samo materijalnu vrijednost / Semantic and Artistic Close Reading of Banknotes, or, Do Banknotes Imply Just a Material Value,” by Mirjana Benjak, Vesna Požaj-Hadži, and Jerica Ziherl, is quite thought provoking. Here the authors compare the compositional features of the inflationary Yugoslav dinar banknotes of the late 1980s, the Croatian kuna notes of the early 1990s, and current Euro notes, coming to the stark conclusion that the nature of money is such that its iconography cannot help but be enslaved by political considerations, even when it is attempting to be apolitical. Because of these constraints, it is suggested that the designs of paper money should not be considered art in the true (post)modern sense. This discussion, while centered on modern paper money and hinging on (post)modern artistic theory, is also worth reading for ancient numismatists, for it admirably illustrates the strong pull toward the politicization of money, at a time when there is a movement among ancient numismatists to emphasize the economic over the political aspects of coinage. The tension between the political and economic aspects is perhaps greater than is often admitted.

Elena Bonelou reviews the finds from excavations at Leucas in order to draw a picture of coin circulation in the city and its hinterland in “The Numismatic Circulation from the Private and Public Buildings of the Capital and the Port of Leucas.” Here she suggests that the foreign coins found at these sites resulted from either military activity in the region or trade. Hence the many Peloponnesian and Macedonian coins of the fourth century are thought to have come with armies during the Corinthian War and the Macedonian wars of expansion into central Greece, while those of Acarnanian cities in the third century are attributed to the new political and trade connections established by the city when it became the capital of the Acarnanian League. The generally sparse showing of coins of the Roman period at these sites is connected to the city’s decline after much of the population emigrated to the new foundation of Nicopolis in 29 BC. Still, the dearth of Roman material is odd, because Leucas certainly continued to be inhabited until the third century AD.

We shift gears again with “The Patriarchal Coins of Medieval Serbia: An Anomaly,” by Martin Dimik. Here the author convincingly argues, from the form of a helmet depicted upon it, that a rare dinar issued in the name of an anonymous Orthodox Patriarch was most likely struck under the Serbian Prince (later Despot) Stefan Lazarevic (1389-1427) and is connected to a second group of equally rare patriarchal dinars with the reverse type of Christ enthroned, which second group may have been struck in the time of his father, Prince Stefan Lazar (1371-1389). Dimik furthermore suggests that because the coins only bear the title Patriarh on the obverse, any or all of the three patriarchs of the 1380s and 1390s could have been responsible for striking them as a sign of his secular authority as well as to advertise the autocephalous status of the Serbian Orthodox Church (beginning in 1375) and its collaboration with the Lazarevic dynasty. While these arguments make good sense, the additional suggestion that the religious type of Christ enthroned was only used by the patriarchs who issued coins whereas the secular type of the helmet was used for coins produced by Lazarevic is somewhat less compelling. The Christ type appears on other issues of Stefan Lazar and Stefan Lazarevic, the latter often paired with the helmet, and most interestingly, on several fourteenth-century issues of towns (Prizen and Skopje) and local rulers of Raška, who also favored epigraphical obverse types. The contemporary Raška dinars offer a very close parallel for the patriarchal dinars and indicate that the enthroned Christ type was popular for coins issued by Serbian secular authorities in the region. The corrupt legend that surrounds Christ on the patriarchal pieces is virtually identical to that found on dinars of the local rulers of Raška, Jakov and Smil, which appears to derive from an issue of Vuk Brankovic, the Prince of Kosovo (1371-1395), or perhaps his homonymous brother-in-law Vuk Lazarevic (See M. Jovanovic, Serbien [sic] Medieval Coins [Belgrade, 2002], nos. 37.3-5). Since Serbian coins did not normally include a border legend with enthroned Christ types, the ultimate source for the corrupt legend is probably the TIBI LAVS 3 GLORIA inscription introduced on the Venetian grossi of Doge Antonio Venier (1382-1400). A typological connection to Brankovic would tend to confirm Dimnik’s historical chronology of the two types. The Christ type was probably produced first, possibly in the lifetime of Vuk Brankovic (and Stefan Lazar?), and then the helmet type second, after the Prince of Kosovo was imprisoned by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I and his lands were ceded to the Lazarevici in 1395. The worn letters NTE to the right of the helmet, which almost certainly belong to the full legend [CO]NTE [STEFAN], show that the patriarchal issue with this type must have been issued while Stefan Lazarevic was still only a prince (1389-1402).

In two notes, “Stockertovi klišeji kotorskih novaca / Stockert’s Seals for Cattaro’s Coins” and “Do sada nepoznati detalji o jednome Stockertovu radu / Einige bisher unpublizierte Detailen über einem Artikel von dr. K. Stockert,” Julijan Dobrinic continues the homage to Karl Stockert and his work on the medieval coinages of the Dalmatian and Albanian coast that was begun in Novci dalmatinskih sjevernoalbanskih gradova u srednjem vijeku (Rijeka, 2003) ( in ANS Magazine 4, no. 1 [Spring 2005]: 71-73). The first publishes a collection of the original woodcut stamps used to make the illustrations for Stockert’s 1916 article, “Die Prägungen der Gemeinde von Cattaro unter Venezianischem Protektorat” (Numismatische Zeitschrift 49: 1-76), while the second publishes the plate originals from Stockert’s Le monete del Comune di Spalato (Split, 1922) along with an original German manuscript on the medieval coinage of Split. Both of these papers will no doubt be of special interest to Balkan numismatic bibliophiles.

A third offering by Dobrinic, this time written in conjunction with Ljiljana Bakic and entitled “Matapani i njihove imitacije / Matapans and Their Imitations,” gives an excellent overview of the influence of the Venetian grosso on the typology of silver coins produced by various Balkan and Italian states. However, the coverage for Bulgaria may be a little too complete, for included alongside the obvious imitations produced under the tsars George Terter and Michael Šišman are the ubiquitous silver groshen of the Bulgarian tsars Ivan Alexander and Ivan Šišman (nos. 5.3-5.4). A close review of the types shows that the immediate model for these coins was actually the Byzantine basilikon denomination of the Palaeologan emperors Andronicus II and Michael IX rather than the Venetian grosso. While there can be little question that the types of the early basilikon, a denomination introduced to compete with the grosso, were influenced by those of the Venetian coin, it seems peculiar to include the Bulgarian issues of Ivan Alexander and Ivan Šišman in a catalogue of grosso imitations if the Byzantine intermediary is excluded.

Anne Destrooper-Georgiades provides an excellent review of the underlying methodology and the various means used by archaeologists to conserve and interpret coin finds in “Dealing with Coins to Extract All Possible Information.” This paper will be of special interest to those unfamiliar with the treatment of excavated coins and would serve as a useful text on the reading list for an introductory course on classical archaeology. The illustrations of find coins fused together by corrosion products and the preserved fragment of the textile that enclosed them are worthy of special mention.

“Medalja kao nakit,” by Mirjana Kos-Nialis, looks at the reuse of eighteenth-century medals as settings for jewelry in the environs of Rijeka, while in “Rukopis krivotvoritelja antickog novca / Handwriting of Ancient Coins [sic] Forgers,” Damir Kovac provides a brief overview of ancient coin forgeries from contemporary circulating counterfeits to modern fakes produced to deceive collectors. This discussion offers little new information to anyone already in possession of Wayne Sayles’ Classical Deception (Iola, 2001) ( in ANS Magazine 2, no. 3 [Winter 2003]: 62-65), but the article is useful for its publication of the author’s personal collection of modern forgeries. Not surprisingly, most are productions of Slavey or the Bulgarian school, but a number of Cavino, Becker, and Christodoulou pieces are also illustrated. Perhaps most interesting are the illustrations of the modern dies of the forger “D.C.,” used for producing tremisses of the empress Eudocia and aes of Vetranio.

Edith Lemburg-Ruppelt momentarily draws our attention away from the Balkans to look at the transmission of Bactrian heroic iconography from the Bactrian coinage of Eucratides I and Archebius to Macedonian and Roman cameos of the second and first centuries BC/AD in “Zur Ikonographie eines Münzportraits des Eukratides I. von Baktrien.” However, we soon return to the region with Branko Matic’s paper “Emisija suvremenog gotovinskog novca i nacionalna ekonomija / Modern Cash Money Issue and National Economy,” which discusses the political and economic importance of national paper money and coin production in modern Croatia.

In “Character of the Numismatic Evidence from the Necropolis of Augusta Trajana (2-4 c.),” Mariana Minkova introduces the coins found during the Bulgarian rescue excavations of Augusta Traiana between 1976 and 2004. Not surprisingly, the vast majority are late Roman imperial issues, but a number of second- and third-century provincial bronzes of the city and other nearby Dacian cities are also present. Unfortunately, the finds are only described in minimalist terms by ruler, mint, and denomination. It would have been much more helpful, especially for the provincial issues, if the types had been described as well.

Saša Paškvan argues that the youthful heads found on the obverse of the bronze coinages of Hellenistic Pharos and Issa should be interpreted as depictions of Dionysus in “Elementi dionizijeva kulta na novcu grckih polisa Isse (Visa) i Pharosa (Hvar), te slicni primjeri iz antickog svijeta / Elements of Dionysus Cult on Greek Polis Issa (Vis) and Pharos (Hvar) Coinage with Similar Examples from the Ancient World.” However, while it is true that the reverse types of these coins (kantharos and bunch of grapes) are obvious Dionysiac attributes, the head on issues of Pharos has short hair and appears to wear a laurel wreath rather than the ivy normally worn by Dionysus. This is probably Apollo, possibly modeled after the image of the god on the Macedonian gold staters of Philip II. The head on the bronzes of Issa is normally bare, thereby making it unlikely that Dionysus was intended. On some specimens, the hairstyle is suggestive of numismatic portraits of the Illyrian king Ballaios (c. 167-135 BC).

“A New Interpretation of the ‘Aleuas’ Issue,” by Kostas Prentzas, resurrects the view first put forth by A. Dieudonné (“Une monnaie des Aleuades à Larissa,” Revue Numismatique [1906]: 10-11) that the fourth-century Larissa drachms marked ΑΛΕ Υ and Ε ΛΛΑ were struck by the Aleuadae of Larissa as a means of promoting their claim to the tageia of Thessaly against the competing claims of Alexander of Pharae. However, the argument of 1906 is somewhat modified by the interesting suggestion that the eagle on thunderbolt reverse was intentionally adopted for this issue in order to advertise the longstanding close relations between the Aleuadae and the Argead kings of Macedonia.

Vesna Radic provides an overview of the history of the Novo Brdo silver mine and the coins that were produced from its ore under the Serbian despots of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in “Kovnica Novo Brdo u vrijeme srpske despotovine.” Here special attention is given to the development of a heavier standard for the Serbian dinar and new typology for the issues of Stefan Lazarevic and Djurdje Brankovic.

A particularly important paper is Yannis Stoyas’ “Roman Victoriati in Perspective from the Other Side of the Adriatic.” Here the author reassesses the literary claim that the Roman victoriatus denomination was adopted from Illyria (i.e., the drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrachium), instead associating its introduction with the fall of Capua and rebellious Campania to the Romans in 211 BC on the grounds that the Jupiter/Victory iconography was appropriated from the civic coinages of the rebels and that the metrology was appropriate for use in southern Italy. The rare victoriati and quinarii of Corcyra bearing the monogram Γ-Α are identified as later issues based on metrology and convincingly associated with the consul P. Sulpicius Galba, whose fleet was based in Corcyra in 199 BC, during the opening salvoes of the Second Macedonian War.

The final article, “The Coinage of Corcyra Melaina,” is provided by Paolo Visonà, who analyzes the typology and fabric of four third-century BC bronze coins from Corcyra Melaina (Korcula) with the types of Apollo (?) / barley ear and an inscription naming the Corcyreans. By comparing the Corcyrean bronzes with the style and fabric of bronzes from Issa, he comes to the interesting conclusion that the former are so similar to the latter that there must have been a close connection between the two series, leading him to believe that the Corcyrean issues were probably struck by colonists from Issa.

While the diversity of subjects touched upon in the present volume is notable, the impact of the material is somewhat lessened by the quality of presentation. For example, little thought seems to have been put into organizing the papers in some logical fashion, either chronologically or by theme. Two papers on archaeological finds from sites in Serbia and Croatia frame an article on semiotic approaches to modern banknotes, while another discussing the profits of modern coin and paper-money production is placed between articles discussing the depiction of Eucratides I of Bactria and coin finds from a Dacian colonia, respectively. Likewise, the English translations that accompany the Croatian language papers are somewhat less than perfect and occasionally border on the incomprehensible. We hope that when the time comes to publish the proceedings of the fifth International Numismatic Congress in Croatia, the material will be similarly wide ranging in focus but that some greater attention will be paid to presentation. Nevertheless, despite these criticisms, the Proceedings of INCC 2004 contain a wide variety of papers that will certainly be of interest to those specializing in the coinage of the ancient or medieval Balkans.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: SNG Bulgaria: Bobokov, vol. 1: Deultum

Draganov, Dimitar. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Bulgaria. Bobokov Bros. Collection. Thrace & Moesia Inferior. Volume 1: Deultum. Ruse, 2005. Hb., 303pp., ISBN 954-9460-01-0.

Although it is somewhat ironic that this first Bulgarian SNG volume covers only Roman provincial coins from a private collection, the book is a welcome contribution to the corpus of these coinages. It covers the coinage of the Roman colony of Deultum in Thrace from the reign of Trajan to Phillip I.

The volume follows the standard (small) SNG format, with a short introduction and bibliography followed by the catalogue, with descriptions and plates on facing pages. The coins are arranged by emperor, denomination (large, small), and reverse type. All legend variants, including spacing, are catalogued. Even at this level of detail, many varieties are represented by six or more specimens. It would, perhaps, have been helpful to further sequence identical coins by weight, thereby facilitating metrological analysis. Except in the case of previously unpublished types, one or more references are given for each type, often correcting previous errors. The catalogue is followed by indices of emperors, obverse legends, reverse types, and countermarks, overstrikes, and so forth. The indices of legends and types are arranged by emperor, making it a bit more difficult to identify a coin where the emperor is uncertain. Overall, the book is handsomely produced: it is printed on heavy coated stock, sturdily bound, and the plates are of good quality, considering the unphotogenic nature of the coins.

The collection is wonderfully comprehensive for the mint of Deultum (2,010 coins are included, with 613 of Gordian III alone). This is the first in what is planned as a series of publications of the massive collection of the coins of Thrace and Moesia Inferior being formed by Plamen and Atanas Bobokov of Ruse. They are to be congratulated both for forming such a comprehensive collection and for underwriting its scholarly publication. And the author, Dr. Dimitar Draganov, deserves much credit as well for a meticulous job of researching and cataloguing the collection.

—Rick Witschonke

Review: Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces

C. Howgego, V. Heuchert, and A. Burnett, eds. Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Hb. 228 pp., 32 b/w pls. $150.00. ISBN 0-19-926526-7.

The present volume collects sixteen papers that were originally presented at the Seventeenth Oxford Symposium on Coinage and Monetary History held at Worcester College on September 19-22, 2002. Within its pages can be found some of the best new thought about Roman provincial coinage’s role as sociocultural evidence, which has received heightened attention since the inception of the Roman Provincial Coinage project in 1992. The first four essays serve as introductory chapters that deal with important themes in grappling with the problem of identity as presented on the coinage. These are followed by eleven studies focusing on specific regions of the empire and a concluding paper by Andrew Burnett.

The first paper, “Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces,” by Christopher Howgego, serves as an introduction to the entire book and looks at various forms of identity depicted on coinages struck throughout the empire. He touches on identity as expressed through religion, monuments, myth-history, time, geography, language, and “Romanness,” but points out that it is often difficult to determine precisely whose identity is being reflected in the types and legends of the coinage. Many of these areas are treated in greater detail in the papers that follow.

“Aspects of Identity,” by George Williamson, is a general and largely non-numismatic essay on the problems of interpreting identity in the Roman Empire, since the vast majority of individuals recognized themselves as having multiple identities (ethnic/tribal, civic, regional, provincial, Roman), though the evidence for these different identities has not always survived. While cautioning that Roman provincial coinage is heavily influenced by Roman values, the author argues that it also provides a wealth of otherwise unavailable evidence for local identities.

Volker Heuchert provides a survey of “The Chronological Development of Roman Provincial Coin Iconography” largely based on the data published in RPC I and II, as well as on the Antonine material for the forthcoming RPC IV. Notable themes discussed include the expansion in the size of coins and the increasing diversity of types over time, as well as the transmission of imperial images to the coinage (normally dominated by local images) through the vehicles of the imperial cult, important citizens with Roman connections, and centralized production facilities. Thanks to the breadth of the treatment and great accessibility of the discussion even to the nonspecialist, it would not be surprising if this paper became one of the classic introductory texts on Roman provincial coin iconography.

In “The Cities and Their Money,” Peter Weiss uses the evidence of honorific lapidary inscriptions and inscribed market weights (unfortunately not illustrated in the plates) to good effect as comparanda for the naming of city officials on the coinage and in support of the argument that there was no distinct magistracy in charge of coinage. Instead, individuals holding a variety of different offices took the responsibility of overseeing the city’s money supply as a means of self-promotion through euergetism. Thus the typology of the coinage should be considered to reflect the identity of the city elite. Also interesting here is the conclusion that the local coinages of the east were permitted to continue into the third century AD because they helped advertise and stabilize the friendly relationship between the cities and the emperor (for this theme, see also the paper by Price).

The regional studies are arranged following the traditional geographic order from west to east, moving clockwise around the Mediterranean Sea. Thus we begin with Jonathan Williams’s “Coinage and Identity in Pre-Conquest Britain: 50 BC-AD 50,” which attempts to find a place for coin evidence in the new strict archaeological approach to British prehistory. While the use of Latin inscriptions and Roman (most are actually Greek) derived types has often been taken as a sign of Romanization before the conquest, the author is rightly suspicious of this view and instead argues that despite these features, British coinage actually served to develop native dynastic identities. Williams cites the British coinages of Verica, Tincomarus, and Eppillus produced in the reign of Claudius, all of which advertise filiation from Commius, the famous king of the Belgic Atrebates. He suggests that any mention of Claudius was purposely omitted and that Commius appears out of a desire to return to an increasingly distant pre-Roman past. This is an interesting idea, but one wonders whether too much is being read into the filiation here. The COM FILI (and variants) legends seem to be part of the same phenomenon as the legends of Cunobelin and Epaticcus, which claim filiation from the obscure Tasciovanus (apparently their biological father) and employ imperial portrait types. The view of Roman forms adopted for local use is also supported by the archaeological evidence for ritual coin deposits, which seems to suggest that this old Celtic practice was unchanged after the Roman conquest and the introduction of Roman monetary ways.

While the editors should be applauded for their decision to include a paper that largely deals with numismatic identity in the west before the Roman conquest (Ripollès’ paper also touches on pre-Roman Spain), we might have expected to see another devoted to constructions of identity in the pre-Roman East, since the vast majority (nine) of the area studies in the present volume actually deal with the provincial coinages produced in the eastern provinces. For example, the development of local identities on the so-called quasi-municipal coinages of the Seleucid empire (mentioned very briefly by Heuchert) offer a variety of close parallels to what we find on some provincial coinages under the Romans (e.g., shared and local types, inscriptions naming both ruler and the city, legends expressing intercity rivalry).

“Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces: Spain” by Pere Pau Ripollès provides a general overview of the development of coinage in the Iberian Peninsula and the islands from before the arrival of the Romans during the Second Punic War until the closure of the last local mint during the reign of Claudius. He shows that despite the Roman presence, it was not until the mid-first century BC that the influence of Roman coinage had a significant impact on the appearance of Spanish money. However, by the first century AD, the native coinages (and peoples) of Spain had been extensively Romanized through the replacement of legends in Iberian scripts with Latin legends and the frequent adoption of Roman typology.

Sophia Kremydi-Sicilianou engages with the difficulties involved with dual identity in “‘Belonging’ to Rome, ‘Remaining’ Greek: Coinage and Identity in Roman Macedonia.” She shows that early provincial coinages of the old Macedonian cities (with the exception of Amphipolis) generally tended to repress local identity in deference to imperial or culturally neutral themes, in part because of the influence exerted by new Roman colonial foundations. However, by the mid-first century local identity began to be reasserted on the coinage of the reconstituted Macedonian Koinon, and it became widespread in the second century, thanks to the encouragement of Hadrian’s Panhellenion—an institution that prompted even non-Greek cities to “discover” their Hellenic roots. In contrast, the coinages produced by the coloniae of Macedonia generally continued to advertise their Roman origins.

The interpretation of numismatic depictions of local gods and foreign deities forms the basis for “Religious-Cultural Identity in Thrace and Moesia Inferior,” by Ulrike Peter. She argues that the coinage illustrates the preservation of some local religious traditions, whereas syncretism also served to associate local deities with the universally recognized pantheon of the imperial oikoumene. Thus the deities depicted on the coinages of Thrace and Moesia Inferior (as elsewhere) had a dual purpose in expressing local identities as well as relationships between cities and the Emperor. Peter’s paper is punctuated by a cry for the assembly of new corpora of the city coins of the region, so that more thorough studies can be conducted on religious acculturation as reflected on the coinage. Some response to her plea may be found in the recent publication of SNG Bulgaria. Ruse, Bobokov Brothers Collection 1: Deultum (Ruse, 2005). A second volume is forthcoming.

Simon Price’s “Local Mythologies in the Greek East” looks at the invention and reinvention of local myth-histories as a tool used by the cities for developing political relationships among themselves and with the central authority of the Roman Empire. Thus cities depicted multiple foundation myths on their coins as a means of creating pseudoconnections to other cities claiming the same founder (e.g., Heracles, Alexander the Great, Aphrodite/Venus) and employed religious syncretism in part to establish pseudorelationships with other cities where other supposed avatars of the same god were worshipped. This sort of political mythologizing was already well established in the intercity politics of the Hellenistic period, but Price points out that in the imperial period Rome also benefited from the practice, for at the same time that it legitimized the requests of the cities, it also lent legitimacy to the Roman imperial construct by clothing it in a venerable Greek mythological past.

In “Festivals and Games in the Cities of the Roman East During the Roman Empire,” Dietrich O. A. Klose discusses the development of agonistic depictions on Roman provincial coinages and the meaning of these depictions and the events they celebrated to the individual cities. Particularly notable here is the author’s illustration of the clear evolution of the wreath of the Actian games of Nicopolis into a large barrel-shaped prize-crown (the erroneous but ubiquitous “agonistic urn” of many catalogues) and his view that imperial references on the agonistic issues were primarily intended to advertise city status, which ultimately derived from the favor of the emperor, rather than to showcase the emperor in his own right.

“Pergamum as Paradigm,” by Bernhard Weisser, uses individual issues struck by the city of Pergamum as a means of discussing five major themes related to questions of identity that frequently recur on the Roman provincial coins of many cities: homonoia, imperial visits, elite mobility, neocorates, and games as a focus of intercity rivalry. In several of these areas, Weisser uses the examples of Pergamum’s favorite sons, M. Caerelius Attalus and especially Aulus Iulius Quadratus, to showcase the strong influence exerted on the coinage by powerful individuals drawn from the city elite. Thus the coinage serves to illustrate the relationship between city and (leading) citizen as well as between city and city or city and Emperor. However, it is argued that the influence of individuals does not undermine the view of city coinage as a vehicle for civic identity, since as citizens the elite individuals merely chose their types from an established repertoire of civic imagery. La citée, c’est moi.

Kevin Butcher wrestles with the thorny problem of getting at the meaning of images and legends in “Information, Legitimation, or Self-Legitimation? Popular and Elite Designs on the Coin Types of Syria.” The bulk of the paper, which raises problematic questions about the audience for and intention(s) underlying Syrian coin types, borders on the morose in its stark exposure of our inability to properly interpret the images and legends, because we do not really know enough about the issuers or the target audience. However, rather than wallowing in the apparent hopelessness of the situation, Butcher invokes Umberto Eco’s theory of intentio operis as a potential means of bypassing our ignorance and the risk of overinterpretation that comes from it, while allowing for productive discussion of typological choices and what they can reveal about the sociocultural milieu in which they were made. This proposed semiotic approach to interpreting coin types makes Butcher’s essay an important contribution not only to the study of the Syrian material in particular but also to both the world of Roman provincial coinage at large as well as to the study of the Hellenistic and Classical coinages that came before. Even if the paper were not nearly as provocative as it is, we would still be compelled to admire it as the rare example of a theory-driven essay on ancient identity that can skillfully use the British science-fiction pop-culture icon of the Dalek as its point of departure.

In “City Eras on Palestinian Coinage,” Alla Kushnir-Stein reviews the dated coinages of the region, making the convincing argument that the eras from which the dates count were based on events of local importance and were usually connected to grants of autonomy or restoration. Thus it is incorrect to use the customary terms “Pompeian” and “Caesarean” to denote eras inaugurated in the second half of the 60s and the first half of the 40s BC respectively. She makes the further point that the eras of the early Roman period simply follow a pattern that was already established in the waning years of the Seleucid empire and that dating by local “eras of autonomy” was a feature of civic identity in Palestine rather than a symptom of Romanization. We would add that the author is supported in her view by two notable instances in which cities found it necessary to abandon their civic eras. When Antioch on the Orontes (admittedly outside of Palestine but still germane here) briefly became subject to Q. Labienus and the Parthians in 41/0 BC, the civic-era date was dropped from the coinage and replaced by a date based on the old Seleucid era (K. Butcher, Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC-AD 253 [London, 2004], 307). Likewise, Gaza appears to have abandoned its era and returned to Seleucid dating in the obscure period between the destruction of the city by Alexander Jannaeus in c. 95/4 and its restoration by Aulus Gabinius in 61/0 BC (O. Hoover, “A Late Hellenistic Lead Coinage at Gaza,” Israel Numismatic Research 1 [2006]: 25-36). In both cases, the cities lost a part of their identities as autonomous political entities (although Antioch was still described as “autonomous” in the reverse legends) and therefore gave up the dating eras that had previously identified them as such.

Briefly stepping away from Roman provincial coinage in its strictest sense, Martin Goodman deals with “Coinage and Identity: The Jewish Evidence.” Here he argues that even if we lacked all other sources for the First Jewish Revolt, the complete iconographic and epigraphic break of the rebel coinage with contemporary provincial coins would allow us to deduce the importance of separateness from the Roman Empire to the coin issuers. They are in fact a link in a longer chain of a separate Jewish numismatic identity, which goes back to the Hasmonaean bronze coinage. It too was inscribed in paleo-Hebrew script and eschewed the depiction of living things. Likewise, when coins were later produced for the Bar Kochba Revolt (AD 132-135), the new generation of Jewish rebels looked back to the issues of the First Revolt as their model.

“The Nome Coins of Roman Egypt,” by Angelo Giessen, completes the regional studies with a concise review of the cultic types found on issues produced for the Heracleopolite and Hermopolite nomes as well as the city of Thebes. Because of the minute knowledge of the local cults, some of which were imported from outside of the country (as in the case of Thracian Heron at Thebes), it is suggested that no less a figure than the High Priest of Alexandria and Egypt might have been involved in the choice of appropriate types.

Andrew Burnett concludes the collection with an important summation on “The Roman West and the Roman East,” which makes broad comparisons between both ends of the empire in terms of local coinage. Here it is cogently argued that the complete cessation of provincial coinage in the West during the reign of Claudius, while the cities of the Greek East continued to produce it well into the third century, should be attributed to basic differences in cultural outlooks and aspirations between the two regions.

The thirty-two black-and-white plates that serve to illustrate the text are very well produced and accompanied by a detailed key that describes the types and the location of each coin. An extensive bibliography and two indices (geographical and general) are also provided.

In many ways, the present volume can be counted among the first intellectual fruits to be harvested from the tree of the Roman Provincial Coinage project, originally planted by Andrew Burnett, Michel Amandry, and Pere Pau Ripollès in 1992 (RPC I) and which grew additional limbs in 1999, 2005, and 2006 under the care of Burnett, Amandry, and Ian Carradice (RPC II), Christopher Howgego and Volker Heuchert (RPC IV [see]), and Marguerrite Spoerri Butcher (RPC VII.1). We hope that as the project grows in the years ahead, it will continue to yield the high caliber of scholarly fruit that is found within the pages of Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East

Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East

David Hendin. Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East. New York: Amphora, 2007. 237pp., b/w illus. throughout. ISBN 978-0-9654029-4-1. $65.00.

David Hendin’s longstanding interest in ancient weights is well known—indeed, it is one of the most poorly kept secrets in popular ancient numismatics. This is partly because every time he issues a new edition of his Guide to Biblical Coins (currently in its fourth edition, with a fifth under way), the section on weights and “a time before coinage” expands, and more space is devoted to their illustration in the plates. His interest in things metrological is obvious, especially when we consider that virtually no other popular handbook of ancient coinage includes weights. Thus the only thing surprising about the arrival of Hendin’s new book, Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East, is that it took until now to appear.

In the author’s usual style, the work begins with a lively anecdotal account of his first introduction to ancient weights in the markets of Israel in the 1970s and the interest this early exposure spawned. This is followed by a good general introduction to the use of scales and weights in the Near East from the third millennium BC to the twelfth century AD, with special attention paid to the development of weight systems used by Judah and neighboring states during the First Temple period. Weight tables are appended to most sections to show the various weight denominations, their probable official mass in grams, and to illustrate their relationship to one another.

While the tables for most of the weights are very helpful, those for the “Phoenician standard” of the third century BC to the third century AD and the “light standard” of the first century BC, which are drawn from Shraga Qedar’s introduction to Gewichte aus drei Jahrtausend IV (Münz Zentrum Auktion 49, 1983), give pause. Their monolithic nature makes them questionable, since it can be clearly demonstrated from the evidence of inscribed weights that standards in the Hellenistic and even the early Roman period could vary by city and region as well as over time (e.g., for the long survival of local standards at Gaza and Ascalon, see A. Kushnir-Stein, “The City-Goddess on the Weights of Ascalon,” Israel Numismatic Research 1 [2006]: 120-121), a feature that Hendin notes for the First Temple period. There is also very little reason to believe that native inhabitants of the Hellenistic and early Roman Near East used the vast majority of the denominational names given. Terms like “sicilicius,” “sextula,” and “scripulum” are all Latin and therefore are unlikely to have been regularly used until the Roman standard was widely adopted in the late second and third centuries AD. Instead, the inscribed weights of the Hellenistic and early Roman periods normally refer to the mina or the litra (e.g., no. 279) and their fractions (e.g., nos. 288-289, 296). The foreign nature of some denominations is well illustrated by weight no. 303 in the collection, which specifies its value as that of an “Italian uncia.” Because the somewhat dubious standards and terms used by Qedar are also applied throughout the catalogue of Hellenistic and Early Roman weights, readers are advised to draw their own conclusions regarding the validity of the denominational standards. Hendin himself describes the weight denominations given in the catalogue as only “suggested.”

The fully illustrated catalogue of 460 weights and precoinage currency is a trove of interesting material and is worthy of more detailed study. Indeed, the author has been generous in sharing the material in his collection with scholars and therefore a number of pieces have already received discussion in academic articles, most recently including a weight of Ascalon (no. 290; Kushnir-Stein 2006, no. 4). Other specimens in the collection serve to expand the data furnished by earlier published studies, such as a new Macedonian shield weight of Marisa (no. 293), which adds to the specimens presented by Gérald Finkielsztejn (“Evidence on John Hyrcanus I’s Conquests: Lead Weights and Rhodian Amphora Stamps,” Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 16 [1998]: 33-63), and a remarkable Iron Age bronze cupcake weight inscribed “shekel of Hamat” in Phoenician script (no. 182), which brings the number of known and published Hamat shekel weights up to four.

The seven examples of precoinage currency (nos. 1-7) that open the catalogue include bronze “tongue” and bracelet ingots as well as silver and gold earrings, but the most important is no. 5, an apparently complete Hacksilber hoard from the environs of Jericho. Hendin rightly laments that the terracotta jug in which the hoard was hidden was discarded by the original finders rather than kept together with its contents.

The remainder of the catalogue is devoted entirely to weights produced and used from the Late Bronze Age to the early Islamic period. Of the early material, the Hendin collection provides an excellent sampling of all the primary weight forms, including Syrian and Babylonian sphendonoid weights (nos. 8-52), Mesopotamian ducks (nos. 53-81) and other zoomorphic weights (nos. 82-95, 142-181), and a wide selection of other Syro-Phoenician and “Canaanite” weights (nos. 96-123). Ten of the sphendonoid specimens (listed together in appendix B) are especially notable, because they were found hoarded together with Middle Bronze Age pottery. Readers are referred to an appendix C with respect to many of the other weights of this series, but in actuality, this appendix deals with inscribed Phoenician cubical weights. The missing appendix originally reported the weights of a group of more than one hundred sphendonoid weights that appeared together in 1980 and to which group many of the other Hendin pieces belong (this information is now available in an addenda/errata sheet from the author). Even those who are not of a particularly metrological bent will appreciate many of the early weights simply for their artistic quality. For example, several of the hematite ducks (nos. 66, 69-74) are exquisite in the simplification of their forms and the smoothness of their lines, while a naturalistic 1-shekel bronze frog (no. 166) looks as if it might leap right out of the scale’s pan!

As we might expect, the collection of Judaean stone and bronze dome weights (nos. 188-227) is extensive, covering almost all of the known denominations and including examples of the rare 40-, 24-, 12-, and 5-shekel (nos. 188-190, 193) as well as the 10- and 2-gerah (nos. 205, 215) denominations. However, only the 10-gerah is inscribed with its value. The astragalos (nos. 229-231), shell (nos. 332-334, 271-276), and cubical weights (nos. 235-270) of Judaea’s northern coastal neighbor Phoenicia are also very well represented here. The Hendin collection contains examples (in most cases multiple) of every denomination known to Josette and A. G. Elayi (Recherches sur les poids phéniciens [Paris, 1997], nos. 19-121).

Notable among the Hellenistic and early Roman material (nos. 277-316), which primarily comes from the regions of ancient Phoenicia and Coele Syria, are the weights of Marisa and Ascalon mentioned above, two weights of Gaza (nos. 288, 295), and a group of four weights of Tyre (nos. 286-287, 294, 302). Of these, only nos. 286 and 294 are clearly identified as Tyrian in the descriptive text. This identification is assured by the use of the Tanit symbol on the former and the city’s monogram on the latter. However, nos. 287 and 302 are also clearly linked to these two by their use of the same egg-and-dart border. They are further linked by their reported Lebanese provenances and their appearance on the London market in 1988. Their maritime types of a ship’s prow (cp. Elayi and Elayi 1997, no. 396) and the pilei of the Dioscuri further support a Tyrian attribution. It is tempting to think that these weights may have been found together originally, just like the group of sphendonoid weights in appendix B. Nos. 286 and 287, with masses of 114.8 g and 106.8 g, respectively, may represent 1/4 minae, whereas no. 294 (53.86 g) may be a 1/8 mina and no. 302 (27.57 g) a 1/16 mina.

Two weights in the collection come from cities in the territory of Syria proper. No. 281 is from Antioch on the Orontes and no. 289 is from Laodicea by the Sea. The first is a remarkable Seleucid-period weight with a dynastic anchor type and an abbreviated city ethnic. This piece is particularly interesting because it has a second anchor engraved into the right field, which might suggest a form of revalidation similar to that known for some Seleucid bronze coinages (see A. Houghton and C. Lorber, Coins of the Seleucid Empire [New York/Lancaster, 2002], part 1, vol. 2, pp. 37, 45). As no. 281 has a mass of 265.6 g and employs an identical typology to a 2-mina weight of the third century BC published by Henri Seyrig (“Poids antiques de la Syrie et de la Phénice sous la domination grecque et romain,” Bulletin du Musée de Beyrouth 8 [1949]: 40), it is somewhat unclear why this weight is thought to be based upon a light Roman standard of the first century BC. No. 289 is identifiable as a Laodicean weight by its characteristic triangular shape (cp. Seyrig 1949, 53-54). The legend, which is poorly preserved and misinterpreted in the text, reads EKK(ai)DEKATON, thereby assuring us that we are dealing with a 1/16 mina. The central letters AI date the weight to year 11 of the city’s “Caesarean” era (38/7 BC).

The question of dating eras also comes up with respect to nos. 248 and 292, which bear Greek alphabetic numerals prefixed by the sign L, normally understood to signal a date. However, in the case of the former, marked only L Vp (96), the number V(6) is taken to represent the value of 6 uncia and p (90) alone is understood as the date. This interpretation seems somewhat unlikely, since Greek weights of the Hellenistic and Roman periods are most commonly denominated in terms of fractions rather than multiples and the L-sign has been thought to derive from a corruption of the initial E of e[toi (“year”). It seems more likely that the weight in question was produced in a year 96 (perhaps c. AD 32-37, based on one of the “Pompeian” eras, or c. AD 47-50, based on one of the “Caesarean” eras).

In the treatment of no. 292, a wonderful example from a weight series naming a Herod as agoranomos, it is suggested that the reverse inscription LKB represents a denomination of 22 drachms, while LDIS on the obverse gives the date as year 214. Since one would expect the L-sign to indicate a date on both sides of the weight, it would be tempting to think that the weight is actually dated according to two different eras. While relatively rare, double-dating is not unknown on coins of the Roman Near East (e.g., the civic and epidemia dates on Hadrianic issues of Ascalon and Gaza), and a series of weights from Laodicea shows that even triple-dating (by imperial regnal year, “Caesarean,” and Actian eras) was possible (Seyrig 1949, 55-57). On the other hand, double dating seems to be ruled out by the existence of other weights in the series that share the year 214 date but give different numbers on the reverse (18, 36, 42, 72). Nevertheless, these are like very peculiar drachm multiples (most are not easily reduced to an even number of tetradrachms), although the denomination may be supported by the evidence of mass (77.2 g for the LKB specimen). We also have some reservations about the view that the year 214 is based on a “Pompeian” era, which would date the weight to c. AD 149/50-154/5. The well-executed lettering of the inscription, which includes no lunate or cursive forms (cp. the letter forms of no. 290, a weight securely dated to the middle of the second century AD), gives the impression that the weight might be earlier in date. When the date is calculated according to the Seleucid era (counting from autumn of 312 BC), year 214 is equivalent to 99/8 BC, a somewhat more comfortable date from an epigraphic perspective. If this is really a weight of the early first century BC, perhaps the Herod in question is related to the grandfather of Herod the Great, who is variously named Herod and Antipas/Antipater in the primary sources (Jos. AJ 14.10; Eus. Hist. Eccl. 1.7.11) and who became strategos of Idumaea under Alexander Jannaeus (104-76 BC). Clearly, there is room for further study of this series.

The collection is also very strong on the somewhat less enigmatic weights of the late Roman and Byzantine periods (nos. 327-410). Notable examples are a 3-uncia barrel weight (no. 329) inscribed with the name PATRICIV(s), an extremely well-engraved square weight (no. 378) of 3 unciae marked as 6 unciae (perhaps for fraudulent use), and a previously published uncia weight depicting and naming St. Paul of Tarsus (no. 390). Among the numerous square and circular nomisma weights, Hendin also includes an AE 2 coin (no. 357) of Valentinian III (mislabeled as Theodosius I) that has had its edges serrated by its ancient owner, thereby giving it a weight of 3.94 g (roughly that of a nomisma), apparently to convert it into a makeshift nomisma weight. If this was the purpose of the serration, then a serrated AE 3/4 of Constantine weighing 2.25 g should probably be considered a semissis weight (see O. Hoover, “A Reused GLORIA EXERCITUS AE 3/4 of Constantine the Great,” The Celator 18, no. 5 [May 2004]: 38-39, 60, where the serration is considered a mere decorative embellishment).

Although the title of the book only refers to the ancient weights that make up the bulk of the Hendin collection, in the interest of completeness, the medieval period is also touched upon by the inclusion of almost fifty weights of the Islamic period (down to the twelfth century AD). The majority of these are multifaceted, barrel, and square bronze weights that look to the model of Byzantine weights for their forms. A few are stamped with Arabic personal names, including a 2-mitqal weight (no. 432) that may possibly name the Abbasid or (perhaps more likely) the Fatimid caliph Al-Mustansir and a 1/2 dinar weight (no. 437) that may name ‘Ubayd Allah b. al-Habhab, the finance minister of al-Misr (Egypt) from AD 730 to 734. A remarkable 1/3-dinar weight (no. 438) attests to the fullness of its weight “in the name of Allah,” while a 2-dirham weight (no. 445) proclaims the takbir. The collection concludes with three glass weights (nos. 458-460) stamped with a hexagram, which should be attributed to the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt (for similar weights, see inv. nos. 3467.058, 3467.060, 3467.063 in A Complete Catalog [Sylloge] of the Glass Weights, Vessel Stamps & Ring Weights in the Gayer-Anderson Museum, Cairo [Mathaf Bayt al-Kritiliyya], hosted by the American Numismatic Society at​dpubs/islamic/ga/).

Despite our questions regarding the identification of some weight denominations and our alternate readings of several of the inscribed Hellenistic and early Roman weights, there can be no question that by publishing this wonderful collection, David Hendin has served both the layman and the scholar well. For the former, he has provided a liberal taste of the world of metrological objects beyond the realm of the strictly numismatic, and for the latter, he has provided much new material greatly deserving of further research. No doubt many will be pleased that Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East, which has been on the horizon for years, has at last come into port for the benefit of readers.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Current Cabinet Activities (Summer 2007)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

Researchers and Researches

As always, research work at the ANS on behalf of the numismatists (and the curious) of the world presents many challenges as well as much that is of considerable interest to the staff as we assist their endeavors and fulfill their inquiries. Time and again, the ANS’s outstanding resources are utilized in many different ways. In this column, I give readers a taste of the fascinating items that have been under investigation.

The Ancient and Classical World

Pierre-Yves Boillet, from France, studied the ANS collection of Seleucid and Parthian coins from the mint of Ecbatana for a broad study he is conducting (Fig. 1). An assistant at the Université Michel de Montaigne in Bordeaux, Boillet is working on a doctoral thesis on Ecbatana and Media from the time of Alexander III (“the Great”) to that of the Arsacids. His work is being conducted under the direction of Alain Bresson and in collaboration with Koray Konuk, the 2005 Visiting Scholar for the ANS Summer Graduate Seminar. Ecbatana, the great ancient city located where Hamadan, in western Iran, is situated today, was one of the principal mints of the East for centuries. It was plundered a number of times—including by both Alexander and Seleucus—but kept rising again to importance. Sharing the site of a large modern city, the town has never been thoroughly excavated but has yielded many archaeological treasures.

Fig. 1. Seleucid Empire. Seleucus I (312-281 BC). AR tetradrachm, Ecbatana Mint, c. 293-280 BC. Obv.: head of young Herakles (as Alexander), wearing the scalp of the Nemean lion. Rev.: Zeus aetophoros enthroned l., holding long scepter in l. hand; on l., Seleucid anchor symbol above tau-alpha monogram; below throne, alpha-pi monogram. ESM (Newell) 506. (ANS 1982.175.4, gift of William F. Spengler) 25.3 mm.

One particularly attractive example of Hellenistic coinage, struck by Seleucus in his own name but with the types of Alexander, was acquired by the late ANS benefactor William F. Spengler while he was employed by the United States Foreign Office of the State Department, in Kabul, Afghanistan, probably around forty years ago. He reported that, at the time, jewelers were routinely melting such items in their shops to satisfy the popular demand for adornment, which was greater than that for old coins. Finding he could routinely purchase such pieces for essentially their melt value, Spengler fell in love with the numismatics of the region and devoted much of the rest of his life to elucidation of South Asia’s complex coinages.

Correspondent Robert Adams inquired about an ancient Parthian coin he had seen advertised, one he had found to be peculiarly designated “AR 19 Drachm.” He wondered why such a piece might be so described. Since it would be highly implausible to think that this could refer to a nonexistent enneakaidekadrachm, presumably the 19 would have been intended by someone to stand for the coin’s diameter. This sort of convention is more commonly encountered, of course, in reference to ancient bronzes of an unknown denominational name: something like “AE 19”—meaning that a nineteen-millimeter coin is of a copper alloy. It is surely somewhat unusual for a coin to be so described in silver, particularly when one knows the denomination. Any bits of data are potentially informative, however, and it may be noted that in the ANS Magazine’s figure captions we always endeavor to include the millimeter size of the illustrated specimens for reference purposes (Fig. 2). But I “die-gress”…

Fig. 2. Arsacid Parthian Empire. Parthamaspates (c. AD 116). AR drachm, Ecbatana Mint. Sellwood 81.1. (ANS 1944.100.83265, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 18.8 mm.

Roman Republican coinage is a focal interest for Dr. Scott Rottinghaus, who visited the cabinet recently while traveling through New York. He particularly appreciated having a chance to examine some of the very earliest of these issues, the aes signatum (“signed” or “marked” bronze) and early aes grave (“heavy” bronze) series of cast pieces and the “Romano” silver nummi (generally known also as didrachms or staters) (Fig. 3). An important Republican bronze specimen that is currently on display in the nearby ANS exhibit “Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars,” at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is an outstanding example of the ramo secco issue. Reportedly found in or near Fabbri, Italy, and formerly in the collection of the great New York financier J. Pierpont Morgan, this important specimen from the former Strozzi collection was acquired by Morgan from the Sangiorgio sale of April 15, 1907. The fishbone or “branch” pattern on the obverse and reverse of this early piece give it the rubric ramo secco (“dry branch”), by which the type is usually described. At 1,111 g—slightly more than 3.3 Roman pounds—this piece of aes signatum must have passed by weight in the early northern Italian monetary system.

Fig. 3. Roman Republic. Aes signatum series, northern Italy, anonymous, c. 310-280 BC. Haeberlin p. 20, 10; Raymond p. 33, 1; Thurlow-Vecchi AS-1. (ANS 1949.100.2, purchase from Wayte Raymond, ex J. P. Morgan coll.) 83 x 78 mm.

In Roman Imperial numismatics, an inquiry for research suggestions came from ANS member and donor Dr. William O’Keefe regarding a coin that purports to be a version in silver of a bronze coin of the fourth-century usurper Magnus Maximus, from Aquileia. Appearing to approximate a half-siliqua piece, this odd coin looks a bit barbaric. Presumably just a forgery, one might wonder whether it could have been an “unofficial” striking for which the dies had been, somewhat unaccountably, copied from a bronze issue (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4. Roman Empire. Magnus Maximus (AD 383-388). AR half-siliqua, Aquileia, c. 387/8. Obv.: DN MAG MAXIMVS PF AVG; diademed and draped bust right. Rev.: SPES ROMANORVM; gate or fortress with two towers, star above; in ex., SMKOP. Cf. RIC 55(a)1. Collection of William O’Keefe. 15 mm; 1.439 g; axis 6:00 (190°).

Medieval and Modern Numismatics

Images of Spanish Visigothic gold tremisses issued by the kings Leovigild, Recared, Sisebut, Suinthila, Reccesvinth, and Egica, from the important mint of Tarragona (Tarracona), were requested by Huntington medalist Leandre Villalonga Garriga on behalf of Jaume Benages Olivé, who is preparing a corpus of the Tarragona mintages to be presented for the centenary program of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (Figs. 5-15). Working with these coins in preparation for their photography, I noticed that there was an attribution error on one of them (Fig. 8), which I was pleased to be able to identify and correct: it had been misdescribed as an M. 177(a) and on its box was further misdescribed as an example of Miles 177(e)2 (ex Ferreira). Note the Visigoths’ conservatism in their use of letter punches. The letter R in TARRACO, for instance, is rendered as an A with an annulet added at the upper right to provide the necessary curvilinear stroke. Also note Fig. 10. I include this piece here so as to show something of the remarkable depth of the ANS cabinet in this field; seldom is it possible to examine two such pieces as this and Fig. 9 from the same dies—and here we also have the comparison with the reverse die of Fig. 7, as well.

Fig. 5. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Leovigild (AD 575-586). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 21. (ANS 1001.57.538, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 15 mm.

Fig. 6. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Reccared (AD 586-601). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 69(c). (ANS 1001.57.543, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 19.2 mm.

Fig. 7. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Sisebut (AD 612-621). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 177(a). Same rev. die as ANS 1001.1.16115. (ANS 1001.1.16128, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 18.7 mm.

Fig. 8. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Sisebut (AD 612-621). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 177(b). (ANS 1001.57.560, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 19.3 mm.

Fig. 9. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Sisebut (AD 612-621). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 177(c). (ANS 1001.57.561, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 18.6 mm.

Fig. 10. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Sisebut (AD 612-621). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 177(c). (ANS 1001.1.16115, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 19.3 mm.

Fig. 11. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Sisebut (AD 612-621). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 178(d). (ANS 1001.57.562, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 18.8 mm.

Fig. 12. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Suinthila (AD 621-631). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 214(b). (ANS 1001.1.16278, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 19.2 mm.

Fig. 13. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Reccesvinth (AD 649-672). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 356(c). (ANS 1001.1.16513, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 19.2 mm.

Fig. 14. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Reccesvinth (AD 649-672). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 357(e). (ANS 1001.57.582, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 17.8 mm.

Fig. 15. Spain: Visigothic Kingdom. Egica (AD 687-702). AV tremissis, Tarracona mint. Miles 427(b). (ANS 1001.57.604, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 19.9 mm.

Another Iberian request came from Javier Salgado, who was researching the gold morabitinos of the Portuguese kings Sancho I (1185-1211) and Alfonso II (1211-1223). Fortunately, we do have in the cabinet two nice examples of the former’s issues (Figs. 16-17). In addition, there is in the collection a curious copper specimen that had been carelessly assigned an incorrect accession number (Fig. 18). Apparently, this coin had been miscatalogued years ago as having come from a group of Daniel Parish’s medieval English silver pennies; it was probably a part of another 1893 donation from him (ANS 1893.14). The Salgado request has thus provided an opportunity and an impetus to make a correction in our online database.

Fig. 16. Portugal. Sancho I (1185-1211). AV morabitino, Coimbra mint. (ANS 1001.1.25822, collection of the Hispanic Society of America, gift of Archer M. Huntington) 28 mm.

Fig. 17. Portugal. Sancho I (1185-1211). AV morabitino, Coimbra mint. (ANS 1983.154.1, gift of John J. Slocum) 27 mm.

Fig. 18. Portugal. Sancho I (1185-1211). AE morabitino imitation. (ANS 1893.11.67, gift of Daniel Parish Jr.) 28 mm.

Morabitinos played an important role in perpetuating gold coinage in the West during the period of the Middle Ages when the rest of Europe minted virtually none. The morabitino (its name originating in reference to the Arabic gold dinars of the Almorabids), after evolving etymologically into the name maravedi, became a characteristic denomination for hundreds of years, losing its value and cachet as a gold coin and ending up as a low-valued copper-currency accounting unit.

Famed American numismatist Eric P. Newman, Honorary Trustee of the ANS Board and a Life Fellow, sent a clear pencil rubbing of a curious coin that I was able to attribute for him: a scarce Carolingian obol of Pepin II (or Pepin I) of Aquitaine (840-852) from the mint of Melle-sur-Béronne. Located in a mining region of Poitou, in Aquitaine, Melle was the source of much of the silver in France during that time period (Fig. 19). Scholars have pondered how to identify whether this coinage was minted in the name of Pepin I, the son of Louis the Pious (whom he predeceased in 838) and grandson of Charlemagne, or of his son, Pepin II. Grierson (MEC, p. 218) was confident that the coins were issued under the latter. He felt that the fact that there were a few Aquitanian pieces struck in the name of Louis’ imperial successor, Lothar, demonstrated that an imperial monopoly had been in effect while Louis was alive, and that initially its continuation was anticipated upon his death in 840; instead, however, in Aquitaine the actual succession passed to Pepin II. While not nearly as extensive as we would wish, the ANS cabinet provides a splendid resource for medieval numismatics and is frequently consulted. The collection of Carolingian coins, in particular, helped form the basis for the work of the late former ANS curator Henry Grunthal in Carolingian Coinage, which he coauthored with University of Chicago medievalist Karl Morrison, and the strength of the series is due in part to the close and careful attention Grunthal devoted to it.

Fig. 19. France: Carolingian Kingdom of Aquitaine. Pepin II (AD 840-852). AR obol, Melle mint. M & G 608; MEC 815. (ANS 1961.68.5, purchase: ex Bourgey) 21 mm.

Swedish visitor Anders Frösell made an appointment for studying the bracteate and other medieval Swedish coins in the ANS cabinet emanating from the fine collection purchased in 1929 from ANS Assistant Curator Robert Robertson. Frösell, who is in the process of developing a census, noted the rarity of a number of the pieces, and also the especially high quality of many of the examples in the Society’s cabinet (Fig. 20). One especially noteworthy piece is a bracteate issue of Albert of Mecklenburg (Swedish: Albrekt af Meklenborg), bearing a crowned A between two annulets as its type—one of only four specimens known.

Fig. 20. Sweden. AR bracteate penning, attributed to Albert of Mecklenburg (1363-1389), Vesteras mint. (ANS 1929.103.2052, purchase, ex Robertson Coll.) 13.5 mm.

ANS Life Member Howard A. Minners visited the coin room in connection with his researches on the Aachen Jungheitsgroschen dated 1372-1430. His intention was to attribute these coins to their Menadier numbers, but since the attribution had already been done he was able simply to record the references and check and confirm several attributions (Fig. 21). The ANS cabinet holds some two dozen such coins. On one exceptional piece, the date is rendered using the letter M for the thousands figure, as on earlier dated coins of Aachen. Nearly all other known specimens of this year use the word “millesimo” for one thousand, as on the succeeding coins of 1403 and later. Minners also studied the important undated Pfundner, 1484 Dickguldiner, and 1486-dated Guldiner (guldengroschen) of the Archduke Sigismund of Tyrol—the world’s first precursors of what was to become the “silver dollar” denomination (Fig. 22).

Fig. 21. German States: Aachen. AR “Tournos” groschen, dated 1402. Unpublished. Levinson I-5 (I-5b, with the spelling error SECVDO in the date; and I-5c, with the error CCC instead of CCCC in the date); cf. Menadier 98B; Frey 8; Saurma 2803. (ANS 1970.156.325, gift of Jay Donald Rogasner) 26 mm.

Fig. 22. Austria: Tyrol. Archduke Sigismund (1477-1490). AR guldengroshen, 1486, Hall mint. Moeser 97. (ANS 1960.111.455, purchase, ex Jay Donald Rogasner) 42 mm.

A particularly interesting and unusual portion of the ANS medals cabinet is that of the so-called guild tokens of the Netherlands, mentioned previously in this column in the Spring 2004 issue of the ANS Magazine. This time, the request for a photograph came from Anneloes Burggraaf-Moerman, a descendant of an original owner. Through online research, she had located from our database the 1757 Mason’s Guild piece with the name of Bruyn Moerman hand engraved on its reverse (Fig. 23). The magnificent collection of the prominent New York architect Robert James Eidlitz, which came to the Society in 1940 following his death, included what is probably the foremost array ever assembled of medals relating to architects, architecture, and the construction trades. Among these many items (5,395 pieces) are a number of the individualistic old Dutch guild tokens.

Fig. 23. Netherlands: Amsterdam (Weesp). Obv. within circular line, crown above trowel pointing l.; below, I (a trussel)/ Rev. within circular line, Bruijn/ Moerman/ -:1757:-; below, within rectangular punch marks, (1) crown above column of four Xes (reading inward from 8:00), (2) THM (upside down). Holed and plugged at 12:00. (ANS 1940.100.2331, bequest of Robert James Eidlitz and gift of Mrs. Robert J. Eidlitz) 38 mm.

East and South Asian Sequels

The major project to publish the Society’s extensive collection of coinages of the Kushans has continued to progress thanks to the efforts of Curatorial Associate Peter Donovan (Figs. 24-25). The already large and significant ANS cabinet of Kushan coins was considerably augmented in the late 1990s by the acquisition of the Olivia Lincoln collection, which is only now being fully catalogued thanks to Donovan’s work. The records are being thoroughly updated in light of modern scholarship and recent advances in understanding of the Kushan coinages, as achieved by the authors Joe Cribb and David Jungward. A noteworthy example is the reattribution of the coinages formerly assigned to a ruler speciously called “Heraios” or “Heraus.” Cribb (1993), having marshaled persuasive evidence that this had been an erroneous classification all along, prefers to read the wording that appears on the coin as an allusion to a native term for “ruler.” As a result, the ANS Sylloge will undoubtedly become the most complete and authoritative work in the field.

Fig. 24. Central Asia-India. Kushan Empire, Kujula Kadphises, c. AD 10-55. AE unit (imitating the issues of the late Indo-Greek Hermaios). SNG-ANS (Bopearachchi) 1510. (ANS 1944.100.74930, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 19 mm.

Fig. 25. Central Asia-India. Kushan empire, Kujula Kadphises (formerly attributed as an imitative issue of “Heraus”) c. AD 10-55. AR tetradrachm, Tokharistan. Mitchiner 514. (ANS 1995.51.328, gift of Harry W. Fowler) 29 mm.

Some months ago I had occasion to address an inquiry that had been submitted by Bob Feiler to the Chicago Coin Club regarding a curious Islamic piece. This item was identified for him by ANS members Robert D. Leonard Jr. and Warren Schultz as what is referred to as an Indian temple token or “Rama-tanka.” The author of the standard reference on these (A Guide to the Temple Tokens of India) is Irwin Brotman, who has turned over to the ANS his research notes and collections developed in preparation for a future new edition, so it seemed advisable to me to make mention of this interesting series and explicate the piece a bit further. Although Islamic in context, this example was part of a rather extensive tradition—mostly Hindu in character and relating to the Indian cultural epic, the Ramayana. These tokens were probably mostly on the order of pilgrim’s souvenirs, obtained and cherished as amulets or charms. Many surviving pieces show traces of having been mounted.

The earliest of the Rama-tanka tokens may date back to the sixteenth century (some are imitations of rupees of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, 1556-1605), but Brotman observed that some were still being produced at the time of the publication of his work. Brotman’s type T, obv. 19 and rev. 16, seemed closest to the Feiler piece variety (Figs. 26-27). Its obverse inscription reads Madina sharif (“noble city”). The reverse was standard for many Muslim coins, although rendered in rather crude Perso-Arabic script. Within its central panel, referred to by Islamic specialists as the “area,” appears the abbreviated first part of the Muslim declaration of faith, the Shahada or Kalima: “There is no God but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God” (La ila illah ullahu, Muhammad rasul Allahu). In the four marginal segments around the area are the names of the first four (orthodox) caliphs: top, Abu Bakr; bottom, ʿUmar; left, ʿUthman; and right, ʿAli (written backward).

Fig. 26. India. Islamic “temple token,” n.m., n.d. Brotman T-16. (ANS 2002.2.84, gift of Irwin F. Brotman) 27.8 mm.

Fig. 27. India. Islamic “temple token,” n.m., n.d. Brotman T-19. (ANS 2002.2.87, gift of Irwin F. Brotman) 29.3 mm.

Latin American Meanderings

After visiting our coin room and studying the coins featured in this column in the Winter 2006 issue of the ANS Magazine, Mexican coinage expert Clyde Hubbard sent me some detailed notes on pieces in the collection in order to upgrade our database. Meanwhile, Roger Lima Calera inquired about coins and banknotes of Cuba from the colonial era, the period ending with the Spanish-American War of 1898. Like many individuals, he was looking for Web pages and valuations helpful to a collector. Author Carlos León Jara Moreno visited the cabinet to examine issues from early Honduras and Haiti (Figs. 28-29). Interestingly, early Tegucigalpa issues replicated the obsolete designs derived from the hand-struck macuquinas coinages of the eighteenth century from the Lima mint. Luis Roberto Ponte Puigbo returned for further study of early Venezuelan coins and tokens housed in the Society’s extensive Latin American collection, in connection with his participation in the New York International Numismatic Convention. Dr. Minners availed himself of his opportunity, while studying other ANS items in the cabinet, to examine the scarce 1732- and 1733-dated machine-made coins of Mexico (Fig. 30).

Fig. 28. Honduras: Tegucigalpa (under Mexican authority). AR 2 reales, 1823. (ANS 1915.12.1, gift of Howland Wood) 26 mm.

Fig. 29. Haiti. Henri Christophe. AR medal, 1801, commemorating the establishment of religion and law. (ANS 0000.999.32065) 38.6 mm.

Fig. 30. Spanish Colonial Mexico. Philip V (1700-1746). AR 8 reales, 1732-F. KM 103. (ANS 1947.135.1, gift of Robert I. Nesmith) 40 mm.

United States: Appreciating Americana

Regarding U.S. coinage, we receive almost constant inquiries concerning new issues and possible “discoveries” of one kind or another on the part of individuals. Often these turn out to be merely “two-headed” quarters (or other denominations) fabricated by joining two carefully machined coins as novelties or for “magic” acts—or perhaps dishonest gambling. Other frequent “finds” consist of different kinds of conjectured mint errors as well as various forgeries, like the perverse “Blake & Co.” and “Parsons & Co.” pioneer gold pieces.

There are, of course, also serious inquiries from serious numismatists. Following my presentation on the collection of American colonial coins in the Society’s cabinet, given at the C4 (Colonial Coin Collectors Club) Convention at the Bay State Coin show toward the end of last year, Jacques St-Arnaud responded by requesting a listing of pieces in the French colonial series (Fig. 31). Our collection of such items is impressively extensive. The coins have all been catalogued, and their records, including their mintmarks, are available to researchers via our online database. Of course, we are always happy to bring awareness of the ANS collection and our available services to a wider audience.

Fig. 31. France (for French Colonial Canada). Louis XIV (1643-1715), AR 5 sols, 1670-A (Paris). (ANS 1967.99.4, gift of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb) 21.2 mm.

An attorney at law in Liechtenstein, one Dr. Hannes Mähr, contacted me claiming that one of his clients charged him with the disposition of his Panama-Pacific San Francisco International Exposition commemorative coin set of 1915. Sending an image showing what appeared to be one of the rare, original double sets of this famous issue, he wanted to know whether it might have substantial value and what sort of “procedure” I might “consider the most appropriate to sell a coin set of that kind.” Recalling that a renowned American firm had handled two of these sets not long before, fetching record prices, and that they had the knowledge and expertise to advise him appropriately, I suggested the possibility that they might be able to help him. Then I heard nothing more. One always wonders at the seeming naïveté of such inquiries… are they some sort of “scam,” like the notorious Internet Nigerian bank account confidence scheme, or are there really such hidden treasures still “hiding out” all over the world? We routinely refer correspondents to professional dealers in the numismatic community around the country and almost never receive feedback from the original inquirer. I am always curious about the outcome of these questions.

Our guest, 2006 Krause-Mishler Forum speaker Dr. Ian Wiséhn, director of the Royal Coin Cabinet at the National Museum of Economy in Stockholm, Sweden, made a significant discovery in the collections under his care. He reported back to me, following his visit here, the details of one of the foremost American Indian Peace medals, one that somehow found its way into the Swedish national collection (Fig. 32). Because this is one of the very rare, middle-sized Thomas Jefferson hollow silver medals—of the kind of which Lewis and Clark carried a few specimens on their great expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory—in outstanding condition, it seems a worthy adjunct to our own collection items presented for the members in the ANS Magazine.

Fig. 32. United States. Thomas Jefferson, AR Indian Peace medal, 1801, by John Reich or Robert Scot; hollow, three-part construction. Julian IP-3. (Collection of the Royal Coin Cabinet, the National Museum of Economy, Stockholm, Sweden) 76 mm (with loop and ring attachment, 93 mm).

Another of the great items in the medals cabinet that was recently requested as an additional subject for publication was a later example of the rare and popular series of Indian Peace Medals (Fig. 33). This was the ANS’s important original silver example of the rare Andrew Johnson medal, presented by Rachel Barrington and Robert Eidlitz in 1915—a very handsome representative of this issue. Ninety of the medals in this large (76 mm) size, as well as another ninety in the smaller (63 mm) size, were minted from December 1865 to January 1866. It is estimated that around thirty of the former are extant today, and more of the latter.

Fig. 33. United States. Andrew Johnson, AR Indian Peace medal, by Anthony C. Paquet. Julian IP-40. (ANS 1915.160.1, gift of Rachel T. Barrington and Robert James Eidlitz) 75.2 mm (excluding the loop clamped onto the rim).

Other Medallic Series

A considerable amount of my routine work could be said to fall into the category of curating the Medals Department. There are cases where it transpires that I cannot be of much help to investigators, but there are others where, using the resources of the ANS Cabinet and Library, we are able to provide information or images. Work with the medals can occasionally seem to be somehow more difficult and time consuming, but it is invariably interesting in terms of what kind of items can come to our attention.

From Pine Pienaar came an inquiry concerning a medal that matched a specimen in the ANS cabinet, located via our database catalog. This is a handsome memento of the Anglo-Boer War, an issue honoring Marthinus Theunis Steijn (or Steyn, 1857-1916), the last president of the Orange Free State and one of the leaders against the British invasion (Fig. 34). A popular lawyer who was born in the state but studied abroad, Steijn was appointed as his country’s equivalent of Attorney General in 1889, and in 1893, as first puisne judge of the high court (the common-law South African equivalent to associate justice of the United States Supreme Court). Steijn’s decisions as a judge won him a high reputation, and he was decisively elected president of the Free State in 1896. Following a series of provocations, he joined with the Transvaal in declaring a state of war against the British Empire. Many are the leaders of times past who have dropped out of the conscious memory of today’s world. It is fortunate that some have been honored by medals.

Fig. 34. South Africa. AR commemorative medal, 1902. Obv.: portrait bust of Marthinus Steijn, facing; M.T. STEIJN STAATSPRES. VAN DEN ORANJE-VRIJSTAAT. Rev.: a wounded lion; VERWOND MAAR NIET VERWONNEN (“more wounded than wounding”); artist’s initials B.U. (ANS 0000.999.53449, gift of Robert J. Eidlitz; probably part of ANS 1927.192) 60 mm.

Steijn ran a government in hiding while playing a key role in the resistance and guerrilla tactics that made up most of the conflict of the Boer War. Although the imperial war machine may have been cumbersome and inefficient, the rebellious Boer territories were methodically overrun and large numbers of the noncombatant population put into lethally severe concentration camps. Steijn was regarded as one of the most irreconcilable of the Boer leaders, but he steadily preferred and sought peace, attempting to pursue diplomatic solutions. By mid-1902, a victim of the great wartime stresses placed upon him and of the surrender of the Boers, he was stricken by the autoimmune neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis. Steijn took the oath of allegiance to the British crown in 1904, his health partly restored, and returned to South African politics. Serving as vice president of the Closer Union Convention (1908-1909), he was distinguished for his statesmanlike and conciliatory attitude while maintaining the rights of the Dutch community. He collapsed and died while making a speech in 1916.

An example of the popular Society of Medalists second issue medal, by Paul Manship (1930), was one of a group of nice twentieth-century American items that Damyanna Mendoza “ran across” not long ago, leading her to make an inquiry when she “googled” the parallel specimen in the ANS cabinet (Fig. 35). Information on medals generally seems to be less readily accessible than that for coins, no doubt because there are fewer and less comprehensive reference works available. The ANS’s searchable database can help significantly in tracking down information and is becoming more and more frequently consulted. Manship’s is undoubtedly the most desirable single issue in the delightful Society of Medalists series. In its context, this whimsical creation may be considered a social harbinger in terms of its “antiprohibitionist” subject matter—a tribute to drinking and wine!

Fig. 35. United States. Society of Medalists, silvered-bronze semiannual subscribers’ medal, second issue, 1930, by Paul Manship, Medallic Art Co. Obv.: Dionysus, 3/4 l.; below, a kalyx (an ancient Greek wine cup); HAIL/ TO/ DIONYSUS/ WHO/ FIRST/ DISCOVERED/ THE/ MAGIC/ OF/ THE/ GRAPE. Rev.: two satyrs crushing grapes in a vat. On edge: THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS SECOND ISSUE. P.MANSHIP 1930. Noble.223ff. (ANS 1988.124.2, gift of Stack’s) 71 mm.

The Director of the Finnish National Coin Cabinet, Dr. Tuukka Talvio, and his wife, Anja, recently visited the cabinet during a trip to New York. While here, they were able to examine a selection of medals from Finland that were presented to the Society (and some purchased) in the 1920s and 1930s, including a fine group of original pieces by the remarkable Gerda Qvist. Since this part of the collection has been largely uncatalogued, the occasion was a stimulus to work on this important material. I found that the splendid 1923 Qvist medal honoring the great Finnish national composer Johan Julius Christian Sibelius was in fact a 1924 gift to the collection from the indefatigable ANS Librarian Sidney P. Noe, and have thus been able to add it to our database with an accurate accession number (Fig. 36). On this attractive piece, the great Finnish national composer has been depicted with a highly unusual collar and truncation, giving the work a striking distinction. Qvist’s devotion to the original Renaissance medal forms of Pisanello are clearly evident, while her modernist taste brings an inventive feel to the work.

Fig. 36. Finland. AE Jean Sibelius commemorative medal, by Gerda Qvist, 1923. Boström 1, p. 156, 2. (ANS 1924.123.1, gift of Sidney P. Noe) 90 mm.

May 20 to 21 of this year marks the eightieth anniversary of the redoubtable Charles A. Lindbergh’s pioneering solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, so it is unsurprising to have received inquiries regarding numismatic memorial representations of this significant event. “Lucky Lindy,” the “lone eagle,” was subsequently honored by many medallic commemorations, of which none is perhaps more majestic than the Lindbergh Congressional medal by Laura Gardin Fraser (Fig. 37). It features a strikingly accurate and lifelike Renaissance-style bust of the aviator, horizontally truncated and wearing his flying gear, on the obverse, with an almost breathtaking, somewhat stylized eagle soaring above clouds and sunbeams over the horizon of the world on its reverse.

Fig. 37. United States. AE Charles Lindbergh Congressional medal, 1928, by Laura Gardin Fraser. (ANS 0000.999.3274) 70 mm.

Truly, interest in the ANS cabinet runs a gamut of subject matter and requires the staff to address many areas of numismatics, only a few of which can be encapsulated here. We do welcome inquiries and encourage everyone to utilize the Society’s remarkable online database, available at We are also pleased to host visits from serious researchers from around the world. Contact us. Come visit us. Learn and enjoy!


Boström, H. J. 1932. Suomen muistorahat. Vol. 1, Henkilömitalit ja-plaketit. Helsinki.

Brotman, I. F. 1970. A guide to the temple tokens of India. Los Angeles.

Cribb, J. 1993. The “Heraus” coins: their attribution to the Kushan king Kujula Kadphises, c. AD 30-80. In Essays in honour of Robert Carson and Kenneth Jenkins. London.

ESM = Newell, E. T. 1938. The coinage of the eastern Seleucid mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III. New York: ANS.

Frey, A. R. 1914. The dated European coinage prior to 1501. New York.

Grierson, P., and M. Blackburn. 1986. Medieval European coinage. Vol. 1, The early Middle Ages (5th-10th centuries), with a catalogue of the coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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

KM = Krause, C. L., and C. Mishler. 2002. Standard catalog of world coins: Eighteenth century, 1701-1800. 3rd ed. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications.

Levinson, R. A. 2007. The early dated coins of Europe, 1234-1500. Clifton, N.J.: Coin and Currency Institute.

M & G = Morrison, K. F., and H. Grunthal. 1967. Carolingian coinage. Numismatic Notes and Monographs 158. New York: American Numismatic Society.

Menadier, J. 1913. Aachener münzen. Zeitschrift für Numismatik: 321 (Extracts bound together into one vol. as Aachener münzgeschichte).

Mitchiner, M. 1975. Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian coinage. Vol. 4, Contemporaries of the Indo-Greeks. London: Hawkins Publications.

Moeser, K., and F. Dworschak. 1936. Die grosse Münzreform unter Erzherzog Sigmund von Tirol (Die ersten grossen Silberund deutschen Bildnismünzen aus der Münzstätte Hall im Inntal). In Oesterreichisches Münz- und Geldwesen im Mittelalter, vol. 7. Vienna.

Noble, J. V. 1988. The Society of Medalists. Coinage of the Americas Conference, Proceedings No. 4: The medal in America, 223-247. New York: ANS.

Raymond, W. 1953. The J. Pierpont Morgan collection: Catalogue of the Greek and Roman coins, Abukir medallions [and] Roman gold bar. New York: W. Raymond.

Saurma = [Saurma-Jeltsch, Hugo, Freiherr von]. 1892. Die Saurmasche Münzsammlung deutscher, schweizerischer und polnischer Gepräge von etwa dem beginn der Groschenzeit bis zu Kipperperiode. Berlin: Adolph Weyl.

Sellwood, D. 1980. An introduction to the coinage of Parthia. 2nd ed. London: Spink and Son.

SNG-ANS = Bopearachchi, Osmund. 1998. Sylloge nummorum graecorum. The collection of the American Numismatic Society: Part 9, Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins. New York: ANS.

Thurlow-Vecchi = Thurlow, B. K., and I. Vecchi. 1979. Italian cast coinage: A descriptive catalogue of the primitive cast bronze money of ancient Rome and her dependencies. London: V. C. Vecchi & Sons; Dix Hills, N.Y.: B. & H. Kreindler.

From the Collections Manager (Summer 2007)

by Elena Stolyarik

New Acquisitions

The ANS continues to build collections through purchases and gifts. From Auction 131 (Nov. 27, 2006) of Numismatik Lanz, of Munich, our Greek department acquired a group of thirty-one significant Carian coins. Among these are a very rare fifth-century BC silver obol of Halicarnassus (Fig. 1), two rare fourth-century BC bronzes of Ceramus (Fig. 2), and an exceptionally rare double siglos of an unknown satrap (Fig. 3). The mint city of Orthosia is represented by a very rare bronze coin with the image of Poseidon, from the second to first century BC (Fig. 4). Dating to the first century BC are a rare issue of Euromos bearing an image of a statue of Zeus Labraundos (Fig. 5) and a Bargylian hemidrachm with a beautiful image of Artemis Kindyas (Fig. 6). The ANS collection of Roman provincial coins gained a rare issue of Hadrian (Fig. 7) from Mylasa; several very rare bronzes of Domitia (Fig. 8), all from the mint of Tabae; and an attractive example of an issue of Julia Domna, from Trapezopolis (Fig. 9).

Fig. 1. Caria. Halicarnassus. AR obol (0.67 g), fifth century BC. (ANS 2007.15.10, purchase) 7.9 mm.

Fig. 2. Caria. Ceramus. AE coin, fourth century BC. (ANS 2007.15.16, purchase) 11.2 mm.

Fig. 3. Satrap of Caria. AR double siglos (14.77 g). (ANS 2007.15.1, purchase) 22.5 mm.

Fig. 4. Caria. Orthosia. AE coin, second to first century BC. (ANS 2007.15.25, purchase) 11 mm.

Fig. 5. Caria. Euromos. AE coin. First century BC. (ANS 2007.15.9, purchase) 22 mm.

Fig. 6. Caria. Bargylia. AR hemidrachm (2.11 g). First century BC. (ANS 2007.15.4, purchase) 15.9 mm.

Fig. 7. Hadrian (AD 117-138). AE coin. Caria. Mylasa. (ANS 2007.15.21, purchase) 18 mm.

Fig. 8. Domitia (AD 81-96). AE coin. Caria. Tabae. (ANS 2007.15.27, purchase) 18.2 mm.

Fig. 9. Julia Domna (AD 173-217). AE coin. Caria. Trapezopolis. (ANS 2007.15.31, purchase) 28.2 mm.

Another interesting accession to the Roman department came from ANS member and good friend David L. Vagi. This is an unusual billon didrachm of Elagabalus (AD 218-222) from a Syrian mint, a rare and intriguing issue heretofore lacking in the cabinet (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. Elagabalus (AD 218-222). Billon didrachm. Syria. (ANS 2007.16.1, gift of David Vagi) 21.2 mm.

Through purchase, the Society was able to acquire a gold stater of Kipunadha (AD 355-360), a notable addition to our magnificent collection of Kushan coins (Fig. 11). Another significant acquisition in the South Asian department is an extremely fine-quality silver rupee of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658-1707) struck at the mint of Akbarabad in AH 1102, year 34 (Fig. 12). This gift is one of among numerous generous donations from Mr. Alan S. DeShazo.

Fig. 11. Kushan Empire. “Kapinada,” gold stater, c. AD 330-360. (ANS 2007.17.1, purchase) 20 mm.

Fig. 12. India. Mughal dynasty. Aurangzeb (1658-1707). Akbarabad, AH 1102, regnal year 34. Silver rupee. (ANS 2007.25.1, gift of Alan S. DeShazo) 37 mm.

A fine group of historically important coins were received from Mr. Sydney Rothstein, who at the end of the World War II served in the U.S. forces occupying Japan. At that time, Army officials were preparing to melt down the Osaka Mint‘s collection, and Mr. Rothstein obtained permission to save some coins from this group by purchasing them for their bullion exchange value (except gold). As a result, seven rare examples of Japanese (Fig. 13) and Korean (Fig. 14) coins of the late nineteenth century, rescued more than sixty years ago, have now become a very valuable part of the East Asian section of the ANS cabinet.

Fig. 13. Japan. Silver 1-yen coin, Meiji 7 (1874). Brilliant proof. (ANS 2007.22.1, gift of Sydney Rothstein) 38.5 mm.

Fig. 14. Korea. Silver half-won coin, year 9 (1905). Proof (almost uncirculated). (ANS 2007.22.6, gift of Sydney Rothstein) 30.6 mm.

From long-time friend and benefactor Mr. George S. Cuhaj, our United States department received a generous and welcome gift of 112 examples of American transit tokens not represented in the ANS collection (Fig. 15). Mr. Cuhaj has for years been working diligently to build this vecturist aspect of the collection.

Fig. 15. United States. The American Vecturist Association. Transit token, 2005. (ANS 2007.18.74, gift of George S. Cuhaj) 38.5 mm.

The Society‘s collection of Americana received a new presidential dollar coin from Dr. Peter Donovan. With its large image of President Washington on the obverse and a reverse design of the Statue of Liberty, this is of course the first issue of the U.S. Mint‘s National Presidential program. Unlike some unusual and desirable examples that have been noted, the incused edge inscriptions E PLURIBUS UNUM, IN GOD WE TRUST and the date and mintmark are discernible on this piece. (During 2007, the U.S. Mint will issue the next three circulating one-dollar coins—those with the images of the presidents John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.)

An impressive donation came from long-time ANS member and summer seminar alumnus Mr. Dana Linett. His gift of 243 pairs of Guatemalan dies of national coinage, pesos and reales (Fig. 16), as well as medals (Fig. 17)—all dating from the end of the nineteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century—are an impressive addition to the ANS collection and a valuable resource for those researching Latin American history.

Fig. 16. Guatemala. 2-reales master die (hub) pair, 1890s (ANS 2007.14.38-39, gift of Dana Linett) 25 mm.

Fig. 17. Guatemala. Commemorative medal. Die pair, June 30, 1894. (ANS 2007.14.269-270, gift of Dana Linett) 29 mm.

Dr. David Menchell continued to enrich the ANS collection of U.S. Mint congressional medals. His latest gift consisted of issues honoring President Gerald R. and Betty Ford (Act of Congress, 1998), President Ronald W. and Nancy Reagan (Act of Congress 2000), and several famous religious leaders and educators: His Holiness Pope John Paul II (Act of Congress, 2000); the founder of Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Fig. 18) (Act of Congress, 1997); the Rev. Billy & Ruth Graham (Act of Congress, 1996); Father Theodore Hesburgh (Act of Congress, 1999); and Archbishop of New York John Cardinal O‘Connor (Act of Congress, 2000). Another interesting group of medals represents activists of the civil rights movement: the “Little Rock Nine” (Act of Congress, 1998); Rosa Parks (Act of Congress, 1999); Jackie Robinson (Act of Congress, 2003) (Fig. 19); the hero of the Olympic Games of 1936, Jesse Owens (Act of Congress 1988); and the South African civil rights leader President Nelson Mandela (Act of Congress, 1998). Dr. Menchell also donated mint medals dedicated to distinguished U.S. Armed Forces commanders: the “Father of the Nuclear Navy,” Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (Act of Congress, 1982); veteran of World War II and Korean War general Matthew B. Ridgway (Act of Congress, 1999); commander-in-chief of the United States Central Command and of the allied forces in the Persian Gulf during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Act of Congress, 1991); and General H. Hugh Shelton (Fig. 20), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and counsel to the president (Act of Congress, 2002).

Fig. 18. United States. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997). Commemorative medal. U.S. Mint. Act of Congress, 1997. (ANS 2007.20.9, gift of David L. Menchell) 76 mm.

Fig. 19. United States. Jackie Robinson (1919-1972). Commemorative medal. U.S. Mint. Act of Congress, 2003. (ANS 2007.26.16, gift of David L. Menchell) 75.5 mm.

Fig. 20. United States. General H. Hugh Shelton. Commemorative medal. U.S. Mint. Act of Congress, 2002. (ANS 2007.26.14, gift of David L. Menchell) 76 mm.

Among interesting purchases for the medals department is a group (Figs. 21-23) of three well-preserved galvanos from the original, beautiful models of medals designed by the prominent female artist Anie Mouroux (1887-1978), the first woman to win the Grand Prix de Rome for Sculpture, in 1919.

Fig. 21. France. “Mimi Pinson.” AE galvano from the original model, by Annie Mouroux (1887-1978). (ANS 2007.24.1, purchase) 72 mm.

Fig. 22. France. “To save Humanity/Dedicated to the American Soldiers,” AE galvano from the original model, by Annie Mouroux (1887-1978). (ANS 2007.24.2, purchase) 136 mm.

Fig. 23. France. “The Hour has come/America Enters the war/April, 6, 1917/Justice Liberty.” AE galvano from the original model, by Annie Mouroux (1887-1978). (ANS 2007.24.3, purchase) 133 mm.

The collection of modern European currency has been expanded by a new sample of the German 2-euro piece, minted in 2006. This coin, donated by Mr. Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, bears a beautiful image of the “Holstein Gate” of the town of Lübeck in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The modern holdings have also been expanded by two sets of recent Russian coins, generously donated by Mr. Robert W. Schaaf. One group in this donation is a set of commemorative coins of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, dedicated to the two-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the principal governmental agencies of Russia (Fig. 24). On September 8, 1802, Tsar Alexander I issued a manifesto according to which new state organs—ministries—were created to replace the collegiums of Peter the Great. Thus, in 2002 the Russian Federation‘s ministries of defense, foreign affairs, justice, internal affairs, finance, economic development and trade, and education—all successors of Alexander I‘s ministries—were able to celebrate their two hundredth anniversary. The Central Bank of Russia issued into circulation a series of commemorative 10 rubles (brass/copper-nickel alloy) bearing images of the modern emblems and symbols of the Russian ministries in honor of the event.

Fig. 24. Russian Federation. “To the 200th anniversary of establishment of ministries in Russia 1802-2002.” Set of commemorative coins of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, 2002. Seven coins (10 rubles) and one jeton. (ANS 2007.27.1-8, gift of Robert W. Schaaf).

Another fine group in Mr. Schaaf‘s donation is a set of 10-ruble bimetallic pieces issued in 2005 by the St. Petersburg Mint of the Russian Federation (Fig. 25). Among these are examples with beautiful images of ancient towns of Russia: Kazan (founded in the first part of the eleventh century, now capital of the Tatarstan Republic), Mcensk (first mentioned in Russian histories in 1147), Kaliningrad (founded in 1255; known as Königsberg until July 4, 1946), and Borovsk (founded in the thirteenth century).

Fig. 25. Russian Federation. Ancient towns of Russia. Set of commemorative coins of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, 2005. Four coins (10 rubles) and one jeton. (ANS 2007.27.9-13, gift of Robert W. Schaaf)


The ANS continues to be a principal lender of numismatic objects to various museum venues. As always, we provide support and help in the preparation of loan material for installation and labeling. We participated significantly in the April 16 opening of the newly remodeled Hellenistic, Etruscan, and Roman galleries in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a truly spectacular event. Over 5,300 objects—in the more than thirty-thousand-square-foot complex of permanent galleries—were reinstalled by the Department of Greek and Roman Art. The material included stunning collections of the art of Hellenistic Greece, southern Italy, and Etruria, culminating in the world of Republican Rome, the golden age of Augustus‘ principate, and the Roman Empire up to the “conversion” of Constantine the Great in 312 AD. Now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are 112 ANS coins from the newly opened exhibit, which join 179 numismatic objects from the prehistoric and early Greek art galleries, the classical Greek galleries, the suite of Cypriot galleries, and the Byzantine art galleries, which opened between 1996 and 2000. The ANS‘s collection of the legendary images of Alexander the Great and his successors (Fig. 26), as well as the Roman emperors (Fig. 27) and members of the imperial families—in heroic and realistic portrait styles—are an integral part of these prominent displays.

Fig. 26. Seleucus I Nikator (312-280 BC). AR tetradrachm. Susa. After 305/304 BC. (ANS 1977.158.636, bequest of Robert F. Kelley) 27 mm.

Fig. 27. Constantius I/Galerius. AV medallion. Rome. AD 293. (ANS 1944.100.63131, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 38 mm.

Eight medals and plaquettes were selected by Dr. Nora Heimann, associate professor of art history and chair of the department of art at the Catholic University of America, for inclusion in an exhibition entitled “Joan of Arc: Medieval Maiden to Modern Saint,” which will be on display at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, from May through September 2007. ANS artifacts illustrate the essential importance of numismatic sources in understanding the canonized image of the epic French peasant girl. Among these objects are such treasures as a gold medal with a magnificent profile image of Joan, produced in 1823 by the leading French medalist Joseph-François Domard (Fig. 28). Another is a beautiful silver-plated plaquette with a depiction of the well-known episode in which Joan is interrupted by the inspiration of an angelic voice; this medal was executed by the well-known French medalist Jean-Baptiste Daniel-Dupuis, winner of the prestigious 1872 Prix de Rome. An Italian souvenir silver plaquette produced in 1920 by the “staff artists” of Stabilimento Stefano Johnson honors the canonization of Joan and portrays her in the likeness of Ingres‘ Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII (1855). Pope Benedict XV, the pontiff who canonized Joan, appears in profile in the left foreground surrounded by lilies—a symbol of purity and the symbolic flower of France (Fig. 29). Another silver-plated and gilded plaquette—one bearing an armored bust of Joan in profile, with a gilt halo and the d‘Arc heraldic blazon of two lilies and a raised sword with a crown on its tip—is a beautiful production of Emile Dropsy, the famous French artist whose works of religious inspiration display both simplicity and ingenuity (Fig. 30).

Fig. 28. France. Joan of Arc (1412-1431). AV medal, by Joseph-François Domard (1792-1858), 1823. (ANS 0000.999.71251) 41 mm.

Fig. 29. Italy. Canonization of Joan of Arc. Souvenir AR plaquette, by the “staff artists” of Stabilimento Stefano Johnson, 1920. (ANS 1920.142.6, gift of J. Sanford Saltus) 56 x 37 mm.

Fig. 30. France. Joan of Arc (1412-1431). AR plated and gilded plaquette, by Emile Dropsy (1843-1923), 1893. (ANS 0000.999.53888) 85 x 111.2 mm.

The ANS is an important lender to the feature entitled “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids,” on temporary exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Numismatic depictions of these creatures from the ANS collection will be on display through January 2008. Among them are images of the winged horse Pegasus, on ancient Greek coins from Corinth dating to the sixth century BC (Fig. 31), and of the monstrous griffin, on a silver tetradrachm of Abdera (in Thrace) (Fig. 32), a golden stater (Fig. 33) from Panticapaeum (in the Crimea), and a silver stater of Teos (in Ionia), all dating from the fifth to fourth centuries BC. A coin of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius from the mint of Alexandria in Egypt (dating from 138-139 AD) shows the sacred firebird, the Phoenix. An image of the mystical unicorn (Fig. 34) appears on an ANS gold coin of Scotland‘s King James III (1460-1488), and the dragon, a popular beast of medieval heraldry, is represented by an image on an early Anglo-Saxon silver sceatta. The images of the Archangel Michael (Fig. 35) and Saint George slaying a dragon are portrayed, respectively, as a subject on a gold coin of England‘s notorious King Henry VIII (1509-1547) and on a Russian silver medal of Peter the Great (minted in 1709). Objects from the American Numismatic Society join artifacts from Chicago‘s Field Museum, the Fernbank Museum (Atlanta), the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Ottawa), and the Australian National Maritime Museum (Sydney) and are an important part of the American Museum of Natural History‘s wonderful display of these fantastic creatures, which for thousands of years have captivated our imaginations!

Fig. 31. Corinthia. Corinth. AR stater. 584-550 BC. (ANS 1968.34.130, gift of Burton Y. Berry) 21.8 mm.

Fig. 32. Thrace. Abdera. AR tetradrachm. 411-386 BC. (ANS 2002.18.9, gift of Jonathan H. Kagan) 24 mm.

Fig. 33. Tauric Chersonesus. AV stater. Panticapaeum. 370-350 BC. (ANS 1944.100.26248, bequest of Edward T. Newell) 20 mm.

Fig. 34. Scotland. James III (1460-1488). AV coin (Unicorn). (ANS 1966.163.27, gift of A. Carson Simpson) 25 mm.

Fig. 35. England. Henry VIII (1509-1547). AV coin (Angel). (ANS 1966.163.21, gift of A. Carson Simpson) 27 mm.

Archivist’s News (Summer 2007)

by Joseph Ciccone

The ANS and the Paris Exposition of 1900

In 1900, Paris hosted one of the most successful world expositions ever (Fig. 1). More than fifty million people attended the Exposition universelle et internationale de Paris, 1900, as it was officially known, which ran from April 14 through November 12. At a cost of almost 120 million francs, the exposition was also one of the most expensive.

Fig. 1. Forrestry [sic] Building and the globe from Point Passay, Paris Exposition, 1900. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, reproduction number LC-USZ62-123456)

The scope of the Paris Exposition of 1900 (as the event is more commonly known) was immense: forty-three countries participated, mounting more than 83,000 exhibits. In addition to the exhibitions, the Exposition hosted meetings by numerous groups with common international interests. These congresses discussed and debated such diverse topics as publishing, copyrights, photography, public health, and international postal regulations. One congress also dealt with numismatic issues, making it the second international numismatic congress ever, the first being one held in Brussels in 1891. The Exposition also hosted a “motley competition in sports” now commonly considered the second modern Olympiad.

Planning for the Paris Exposition of 1900 had begun almost seven years earlier in 1893, in part due to a rumor that the German government was planning to host a similar event in 1900. Discussions regarding the participation of the ANS began only in February 1899, when George Kunz (Fig. 2) suggested that the ANS provide an exhibit. Kunz, of course, was the wunderkind of Tiffany & Co., having served as that jeweler’s gem expert since he was twenty-three years old, and he had been designated an honorary special agent to the U.S. Commissioner General for the Exposition. Kunz had also been a member of the ANS since 1893 and had held the post of corresponding secretary in 1899.

Fig. 2. George F. Kunz, undated. (Copyright Tiffany & Co. Archives 2007)

The Society’s Executive Committee agreed with Kunz’s proposal and appointed ANS First Vice President Henry Russell Drowne (Fig. 3) to lead an organizing committee. Also on the committee were Edward Groh, the Society’s curator, and Bauman Belden, its recording secretary. Eventually, Andrew Zabriskie, the Society’s president, and Herbert Valentine, its librarian, also participated.

Fig. 3. Henry Russell Drowne, undated. (ANS Archives)

Despite their initial decision, the Executive Committee took no further action until November 1899, partially because of concerns over whether the ANS could afford to finance such a display. However, in November the Executive Committee reemphasized the Society’s commitment to producing a display for the exposition. In December, they decided that the display should consist of American colonial coins, medals relating to U.S. history, medals issued by the ANS, decorations and insignia of “American Military and Patriotic Societies,” copies of the Society’s proceedings, and plates of the Society’s medals. Also at the meeting, the Executive Committee appointed Kunz as the ANS’s official representative to the Exposition, along with J. Sanford Saltus and Augustus St. Gaudens. Eventually, another renowned ANS member, Victor D. Brenner, would also serve as an official representative. Kunz was also appointed the Society’s official delegate to the International Numismatic Congress, which was scheduled to be held that summer in Paris.

Preparations for the Society’s exhibit began in earnest in January 1900. At that time, the planning committee decided to purchase an exhibition case in the United States and ship it to France in time for the Exposition’s April opening. By the end of the month, President Zabriskie obtained from a New York City merchant a “beautiful glass case” measuring six feet high by five feet long, in which the Society could house its display. The case cost $160—about $4,000 in today’s dollars. After purchasing the case, Zabriskie advised Drowne of his desire that the ANS “have our exhibition [in New York City] about March 1st, and ship soon after to Paris.”

While Zabriskie was acquiring the case, Groh and Drowne were compiling specimens for inclusion in the display. Groh focused on gathering the coins and medals from the Society’s cabinet; Drowne began soliciting orders and decorations from outside the ANS, as the ANS had not yet begun its own collection of orders and decorations.

There was some initial concern about whether the Society had the materials to mount an adequate display, with Drowne opining to Belden, “We shall make a very poor exhibit of American Coins unless we can get some one who has a good collection to help us out with some decent specimens of the earlier dates. We do not need many pieces but we should have good ones. Who can help us?” In the end, “nearly all the coins and medals” were from the Society’s own cabinet, according to the planning committee’s final report. Coins from the Society’s collection included American colonial coins, American cents from 1783 through 1795, U.S. Civil War tokens, Confederate coins, Mormon coins, and gold coins of California, Oregon, and North Carolina. Medals included ANS subscription medals, American colonial medals, and medals of American wars, including the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. Orders and insignia came from more than thirty organizations, including the Society of the Cincinnati, the Aztec Club of 1847, the Huguenot Society, and the Sons of the American Revolution.

By the end of February 1900, the ANS had assembled sufficient materials to mount its display, and on March 1, the ANS exhibited its display to members in a one-evening-only showing in New York City (Fig. 4). According to contemporaneous records, a photograph of the display was taken to commemorate the event; unfortunately, its current whereabouts are unknown.

Fig. 4. Invitation to the March 1, 1900, viewing of the Society’s display for the Paris Exposition of 1900. (ANS Archives)

After its New York debut, the display was disassembled, packed, and shipped to Paris, where it arrived in time for the Exposition’s April 14 opening. It remained on view to the public throughout the summer months. Expectations at the ANS were high: would the Society receive an award for its display?

On October 1, 1900, Brenner cabled Zabriskie with the news: “Collection received silver medal” (Fig. 5). The reaction was mixed. Zabriskie would later write to Belden, “I am distinctly disappointed but ‘half a loaf is better than none’ I suppose.” In contrast, Drowne wrote to Belden later that same month: “I feel that the Society was remarkably fortunate in receiving the recognition of a silver medal, for I certainly thought we were not apt to get more than a diploma of honorable mention, for of course it was hardly a collection that would represent individual work of the designer or manufacturer.”

Fig. 5. Award medal received by the ANS for its exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900. (ANS 1996.999.213)

The Exposition officially closed on November 10, 1900. By the end of 1900, all of the Society’s coins and medals had been returned to the Society’s cabinet and the borrowed orders and decorations returned to their owners. The display case itself was sold by Brenner in Paris on instructions from the ANS so that the Society could recoup some of its losses.

The Paris Exposition of 1900 marked a major success for the ANS. As it had not participated in either the previous Paris Exposition of 1889 or the 1891 numismatic congress in Brussels, this was the Society’s first major international exposition. It also provided the impetus for Belden and Saltus’s efforts over the first two decades of the twentieth century to develop the Society’s collection of orders and decorations.

News (Summer 2007)

Bacharach Wins Award

The Royal Numismatic Society has awarded ANS Trustee Jere Bacharach the 2007 Shamma Prize for the publication of his book Islamic History Through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth-Century Ikhshidid Coinage. The prize was awarded jointly with Aman Ur-Rahman‘s Zahir-uddin Muhammad Babur: A Numismatic Study.

ANS Coins on Exhibit

We are pleased to announce that our exhibition “Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars: The History of Money,” hosted in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has been extended through March 2012. Located at 33 Liberty Street in downtown Manhattan, the exhibition is open to the public weekdays 10-4, except bank holidays. For more information on this spectacular exhibition, visit our Web site at

Visitors to New York can now find additional ANS coins on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has just completed a multi-year reinstallation of its Greek and Roman Galleries. The most recent loans make available a spectacular selection of Hellenistic and Roman coins, which in turn join a superb group of Greek, Cypriot, and Byzantine pieces already at the museum. For further information, please visit, and see the article in this issue by Peter van Alfen.

Saint-Gaudens Centenary Celebration

This year marks the centenary of the Saint-Gaudens‘ ten- and twenty-dollar gold coins. The Saint-Gaudens Memorial and National Historic Site are planning an exciting program to celebrate this anniversary, including a retrospective, symposium, and film about Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the first sculptor to design an American coin. In tandem with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the ANS and the Saint-Gaudens Memorial and Historic Site will mount an exhibition, due to open later this year, featuring Saint-Gaudens‘ gold coinage and related objects. Exhibit curator David Tripp, author of Illegal Tender: Gold, Greed, and the Mystery of the 1933 Double Eagle (2004), is writing an accompanying catalogue.

Money Museum Gallery Opened

On April 27, at a special reception held in conjunction with the convention of the Early American Coppers Club, ANS Honorary Trustee Eric P. Newman celebrated the opening of his new Money Museum gallery in the Kemper Art Museum, at Washington University of St. Louis, Missouri.

New Staff Members and Fond Farewells

On April 9, Andrew Meadows joined the ANS curatorial staff as the second Margaret Thompson Curator of Greek Coins, with Peter van Alfen. Meadows was previously Curator of Greek Coins at the British Museum.

As of March 1, Sylvia Karges (formerly Tomczyk) joined the ANS staff as a full-time Curatorial Assistant. Sylvia was a 2004 Summer Intern and returned again to the ANS in December 2005 for two months of research for her master‘s thesis on German emergency money.

On April 16, Jonathan Torn joined the ANS staff to assist in the Administration, Curatorial, and Publication departments. A recent graduate of McGill University, Montreal, with a BA in history, Jonathan had previously interned at the ANS in 2003.

A. Meadows S. Karges J. Torn

Juliette Pelletier left her position as Membership, Development, and Events Manager in order to pursue her work in the art world full time. It is with gratitude for her years of service that the current staff wishes her success in her new endeavors. Membership and events inquiries should be directed to, or call Joanne Isaac at 212-571-4470, ext. 1306.

Staff Activities, Lectures, and Events

Dr. Peter van Alfen, Margaret Thompson Curator of Greek Coins, is organizing the session “Eastern Mediterranean Diasporas: Cultural and Economic Implications” at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research to be held November 14-17 in San Diego. For further information, please contact Dr. van Alfen at

On February 21, Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan spoke about her research on early electrum coinage as part of the Seminar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University. A natural alloy of gold and silver, electrum was used to produce the earliest Western coins, from the seventh century BC on. By popular demand, she also spoke on the topic at the March 21 meeting of our “Numismatic Conversations” series. The ANS‘s collection of early and later electrum coinage was on view for the talk.

The ANS had a booth at the 32nd Annual Chicago International Coin Fair, held April 26-29, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O‘Hare, Rosemont, Illinois. It was a great success, thanks to the efforts of ANS Fellow Robert Leonard, who kindly manned the booth. We are also grateful to those assisting Robert at the booth: Andrew Michyeta, ANS Fellow Robert Wallace, and ANS Trustee Dr. Lawrence Adams.

Curator of North American Coins and Currency Robert Wilson Hoge presented a program entitled “St. Patrick Token Coinage in the American Numismatic Society Cabinet,” at the convention of the Early American Coppers Club (EAC), held in St. Louis, Missouri, April 27-29. This survey will later be appearing as an addendum to the publication of the Proceedings of the Coinage of the Americas Conference, held at the ANS in November. As part of a special exhibition organized for the EAC by Jon Alan Boka, the ANS participated by displaying two examples of the United States 1794 large cent known as the Steigerwalt variety (Sheldon 37), considered to be the rarest of the “collectible” die combinations of that year. First identified by Charles Steigerwalt in 1900, the ANS possesses two important examples of this issue, both from the famous collection formed by George Hubbard Clapp and donated in 1946: the finest known specimen and the initial discovery piece.