Obituary: David Jen 1928-2002

by Michael Bates

David Jen, the Society’s hard-working volunteer for Chinese and East Asian material, died on September 7. His sudden death was a shock to his ANS colleagues and to all who knew him. David had been working at the ANS since 1997, and was named ANS Distinguished Volunteer for 2000. He was also a member of the Committee on East Asian Coins.

David, a native-born American, had a most interesting life. His father was a student of English literature, who graduated from Qingwha University and came to this country with a Boxer Indemnity fellowship. (After the foreign powers suppressed the so-called Boxer Rebellion in 1900, a heavy indemnity was imposed on the Chinese government. The U.S. returned its share of the indemnity to the Chinese people by setting up a program to bring students from Qingwha University to the United States.) David’s father was a student at Oberlin College in 1928, when David was born, and later received a M.A. in English poetry from Harvard. His final post in the U.S. was as Chinese secretary in the Orientalia department of the Library of Congress.

In 1936, however, David’s father returned to China. He became a professor of English literature and dean of Guizhou University. David himself began his university education there. But in 1949, when his father fled to Taiwan before the impending Communist revolution, leaving his family to be supported by his wife’s small teacher’s salary, David changed to Guiyang Teachers College, which was not only free but offered a small stipend to its students. Upon graduation, he went to Xichang, Sichuan, to teach high school. After the famine years 1959-61, David, along with many others, was exiled to the Sichuan countryside (this was before the Red Guards became active, but his exile continued during their regime). There he worked in the fields for a few cents a day, or went to the hills to cut firewood for extra money.

In 1975, when Deng Xiao-Ping took control of China, David was permitted to teach in the village school. In 1979 he was “rehabilitated” and began teaching at the Xichang Teachers College. From 1982 to 1990 he taught English at the Foreign Trade Institute in Guangzhou. When he retired, he began the process of obtaining an American passport. The first step was to find his brothers in Hong Kong, from whom he learned that his father had died. In 1993 he went to the U.S. Consulate General in Guangdong (Canton), and in three months he had his U.S. passport, for a fee of $65. He came to the U.S. in 1995.

David’s interest in numismatics started when he was twelve years old and in the hospital, where a friend of his mother brought him a few coins as a diversion. In the 1940s he built up a collection of stamps, and of Chinese silver dollars. His mother was paid in Guomintang paper money, which she immediately gave to David to take to the moneychangers to get silver dollars, which were then exchanged back into paper as needed for expenses. David’s silver dollar collection was built up by selecting from these coins. This collection became dormant when he entered the university, and was taken away in the Cultural Revolution. In the 1980s, David began collecting again, building his collection from purchases and exchanges in the Guangzhou gray market. He was able to bring this collection with him to the U.S. Among his special interests were Han wuzhu coins, Tang kaiyuan, and Silk Road coinage from Xinjiang.

In 1996, David presented himself at the American Numismatic Society to work as a volunteer. He stated that he wished to repay the U.S. for admitting him. Our immediate impression was favorable, but we could not have predicted how well he would turn out. In a little over a year, he completely re-arranged our collection of pre-20th century Chinese cast coinage, including knives, spades, the round coins with square holes, as well as sycee silver ingots, cowry shells, imitation cowry shells, ant money, and all the rest, as well as integrating several large gifts that had remained separate for years. Thanks to David, the entire Chinese cast coinage collection, from ancient times to the beginning of the 20th century, is in proper order by category, dynasty, and ruler, for the first time in the Society’s history. There remains a task for another volunteer, to update our computer catalogue with David’s attributions and to generate uniform labels for all the boxes. The other result of David’s work on our Chinese collection was a book, Chinese Cash Identification and Price Guide, published in 2000 by Krause Publications.

After finishing our Chinese cast coins, David re-attributed and re-arranged our Japanese collection, almost 4,500 coins, and our two Korean collections—our old main collection and the huge Mandel gift—another 7,700 coins. Just recently he got our 20th century Chinese coins in order, nearly 4,000 pieces, and he worked through our hundreds of Chinese charms, a series that has never been catalogued. He was preparing a book on charms that one hopes was practically ready for publication. In addition to his Krause catalogue, which is now well-known, David produced two articles for the Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter on rare coins in the ANS collection.

Meanwhile he also took a large role in organizing our 1998 Chinese Cast Coinage Conference, and gave two lively and authoritative presentations, including one on the detection of forgeries. He selected the coins, drafted captions, and helped design the conference exhibit, which remained on display for some months afterward, drawing many visitors who came especially to see it. He has helped with the cataloging and arrangement of Chinese books in the ANS library. Courteous, cheerful, and friendly, he was always genuinely happy to respond to inquiries from staff or outsiders, and he made several important donations of rare material. Encouraged by his success at the Society, David began buying and selling Chinese and East Asian coins and had, at the time of his death, built up a profitable business.

Review: Akches

Slobodan Srećković. Orhan Gazi-Murad II (699-848 AH). Belgrade, 1999. 190 pp., illus., 18 b/w pls. Pb. $65.00. ISBN 86-902045-1-2.
Slobodan Srećcković. Akches (Volume Two): Mehmed II Fatih-Selim I Yavuz (848-926 AH). Belgrade, 2000. 186 pp., illus., 22 b/w pls. Pb. $50.00. ISBN 86-902045-2-0.
Distributed in North America by Tom Clark, Box 290145, Davie, FL, 33329-0145.

In 1987, Slobodan Srećković (S. hereafter), a long-time collector and student of Ottoman coinage, published his first numismatic book, Osmanlijski novac kovan na tlu Jugoslavije (Belgrade, 1987), dedicated to the Ottoman coins issued in the environs of FSR Yugoslavia. The success of this work, along with the author’s strong desire to expand interest in Ottoman numismatics and to help save its study from the obscurity that has occasionally threatened to overwhelm it in the past, has led to the creation of the two present volumes (Akches 1, p. 6). They represent the first part of a projected five-volume catalogue that will chart the development and decline of the silver akche coin (roughly equivalent to the medieval European denier) from the origins of Ottoman coinage under Orhan Gazi (724-763 AH/AD 1324-1362) to the reign of Mehmed III (1003-1012 AH/AD 1595-1603). Despite the starting date of 699 AH on the cover of Akches 1 and the erroneous replacement of Orhan with his father, Osman Gazi, on the frontispiece, S. follows the convincing views of D. Schnadelbach and does not recognize the famous “Osman akche” in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum as a true issue of the Ottoman founder (Akches 1, pp. 11-13).

The arrangement of the material and type numbering system follows that of the author’s first book. Each ruler (including both recognized Sultans and usurpers) receives his own chapter, beginning with a history of the reign and commentary on the development of the types. The occasional problems with English grammar, which appear with greater frequency in Akches 2, are not overly serious and may perhaps be forgiven when we consider that English is not the author’s native language. A nice aesthetic touch in the historical introductions is the inclusion of royal portraits, most of which are taken from paintings by European artists.

Throughout both volumes S. frequently touches on two important themes in his discussion of Ottoman typology for akche issues: designs as a tool for legitimating the ruler, and the complex use of marks and ornaments as a preventive measure against illegal coin production within the Ottoman mint system. We are shown that despite the Ottoman custom of changing types every hijira decade political interests also frequently dictated changes or retention of types. During the Fetret (interregnum) period (805-825 AH/AD 1402-1422) brought on by the incursions of Tamerlane into Anatolia, Mehmed I was forced to change the design of his akches at Edirne in order to promote his claims to legitimacy in Rumelia (Ottoman Europe) against those of his brother Mustafa Çelebi (Akches 1, p. 110). Conversely, the reverse die that produced posthumous 886 AH/AD 1481 akches in the name of Mehmed II at Bursa was requisitioned by Jem as a sign of legitimacy during his failed bid for the throne against Bayezid II. In the aftermath of Jem’s defeat, Bayezid took care to destroy most of his coins, thereby blotting out the numismatic record of the usurper (Akches 2, p. 87). Nevertheless, S. is still able to provide a beautiful image of one of Jem’s extremely rare akches (Akches 2, pl. XI), the star coin depicted in either volume.

The interpretation of the numerous marks and ornaments that appear on the akches of various rulers is very complex and one suspects that there is still much to be learned before they can be said to be fully understood. For example, sometimes the marks and their location seem to be indicators of the issuing mint, such as the three points that can appear on either side of the date on akches of Bayezid I. When they appear on the left they are thought to represent the Edirne mint and when they are on the right, they represent Bursa (Akches 1, pp. 39-40). However, at other times, according to the author, symbols, such as the asterisks and shede on coins of Murad II are unrelated to mintmarks, but rather represent an attempt by the Ottoman authorities to prevent counterfeiting (Akches 1, p. 152). How this could be the case is not fully explained until the discussion of the new designs for the akches of Mehmed II in 865 AH (Akches 2, p. 28). Here S. points out that Ottoman custom required old coins and dies to be collected at the end of every hijira decade. The former were melted for reissue and the latter were destroyed. Anyone in the Ottoman mint system illegally producing coins from old dies could be easily discovered, since the old dies would not have the same symbols and inscriptional variants as the new dies issued by the central mint at Edirne. This anti-forgery system reached its height under Mehmed II and Bayezid II. The apparent Ottoman paranoia concerning the mints in the mid 9th/15th century AH/AD makes one wonder whether the marks on coins of Beyezid I, mentioned above, might not actually reflect similar concerns at the beginning of the century. The impressive variety of ornaments (S. counts 56 distinct styles [Akches 1, pp. 114-115]) used on the akches of his successor, Mehmed I, and which the author does not associate with different mints (Akches 1, p. 110) also give the impression of a possible security feature.

Following the introductory historical and numismatic discussions for each ruler is a set of line drawings and tables designed to provide the numismatist with the most detailed information possible for properly identifying akches. The first table illustrates the different calligraphical forms of the relevant mint names in various periods. This is especially important information to have because it became an Ottoman mint custom to change the coin designs every ten years. If one can identify the mint and match the calligraphy style of a mint name on a coin to one of the models provided by S., it becomes easy to identify the ruler and roughly date that coin.

Line drawings depicting the varieties of obverse and reverse types known for each period of issue appear after the section on mint names. These are also particularly valuable because Ottoman custom and concerns to strictly control the minting process dictated frequent changes in coin design. S. even provides special detail drawings to illustrate the often subtle inscriptional variants of sub-varieties. Recognizing these variants is key to understanding the order of large emissions, like those of Mehmed II and Bayezid II, for which numerous variations in the inscription (particularly in the title Han) were intended as a check against illegal die-cutting. Drawings are also used to focus attention on the different varieties of ornamentation used by the early Sultans, most notably Mehmed I.

The catalogue of coins for each ruler follows the general material on mint name calligraphy and typology, and consists of two main parts: a table indicating the die combinations with references and any special comments about the types, and a detailed listing of each coin with an accompanying line drawing. While this arrangement of the catalogue works, it is unclear to this reviewer why the information in each list and table was not reorganized into a single catalogue table for easier reference. As it stands, the information on die combinations and references that appears in the initial table is needlessly repeated again in the descriptive catalogue. Streamlining the catalogue layout would no doubt enhance its utility.

Greater attention to metrology might also be helpful for future volumes of Akches, since the gradual reduction of the denomination’s weight is an important feature of its history. In the present volumes, weight data is provided rather haphazardly, which is somewhat surprising since at least some of this information must have been available to the author. Particularly unfortunate is the total lack of any weight information for the 69 coins of Bayezid II (Akches 2, pp. 107-121), despite the fact that 16 (nos. 5, 7, 8, 12, 17-19, 23-24, 26-27, 31, 33, 35, 40, 46) are from the author’s personal collection and should have been easily available for weighing.

The line drawings found throughout each volume of Akches are probably one of the most valuable resources that S. supplies to the student of early Ottoman silver coinage. Because akches were often poorly struck on small flans, many of the drawings are actually composites derived from several examples of the same coin showing different features of the design. However, the author has wisely recognized that drawings are no substitute for images of the coins themselves and provides an ample number of photographs to illustrate the coins in the catalogue. The majority of the illustrations are taken from coins in the author’s collection, as well as from coins in several other private collections. A number of akches from important early Ottoman hoards (Sofia, Schinetea, and Buzću hoards), some of which are currently unpublished, also appear in the plates of Akches 2. For the most part the photographic plates are of good quality, although some of the images in the first volume are a little too dark.

In addition to the material described above, Akches 2 also includes tables listing the types and quantities of coins discovered in hoards for Mehmed II to Selim I. An additional table (pp. 9-10) lists eleven published and eight unpublished akche hoards including coins dating up to 926 AH/AD 1520 along with bibliographical information. While this information is valuable, particularly the unpublished data, the tables should not be considered an exhaustive listing of akche hoards for the period. The hoards listed are only from the Rumelian side of the Ottoman Empire and primarily from modern Romania. The author’s special interest in the latter is underscored by the occasional and somewhat odd use of pages from E. Nicolae’s 1997 thesis on Ottoman hoards from Romania for decorative illustrations. A more complete overview of the hoards, including the material from Anatolian Turkey, might have been more helpful. Likewise, it is unfortunate that hoard tables similar to those in volume 2 were not provided for the first volume. We hope that S. will continue to collect and publish the hoard evidence in future volumes of Akches.

The interest of the Akches series will be particularly obvious to North American students of Ottoman coinage who may not have easy access to the various Serbian, Bulgarian and Romanian language materials that the author frequently cites. However, it should also be of great interest to numismatists working at archaeological sites in Turkey or Eastern Europe that have Ottoman occupation levels. At such sites, the Ottoman coins have often received less detailed attention than they probably deserve, in large part because most of the major references are difficult to find, or, if they can be found, they are much too expensive to justify in the budget of the average dig. Now, thanks to S. almost any excavation that involves Ottoman period remains should be able to afford references to identify akches in the field. The detailed line drawings provided to illustrate each known type and variety allow numismatists with little or no knowledge of Arabic to make decent identifications. When used in conjunction with R. Plant, Arabic Coins and How to Read Them (London, 1973), the average field numismatist can be considered well armed to deal with most excavated akches. The present reviewer certainly found the current volumes in the Akches series to be useful during summer seasons at Aphrodisias, a Greco-Roman city of southwestern Turkey that had an Ottoman settlement built over it.

We hope that once the series is complete S. may turn his attention to the akche emissions of the Anatolian Beyliks, the autonomous principalities that avoided direct Ottoman domination until the 10th/16th century AH/AD, thereby providing a thorough reference for all akches that will benefit both archaeologists and collectors. Like their Ottoman brethren, the akches of the Beyliks are also frequently found, but often poorly catalogued, at sites in Turkey. In the present volumes the only Beylik issue (Akches 1, p. 179, no. 71) to be fully described is a coin of the Germiyan Han, Yakub bin Süleyman, which also bears the name of the Ottoman Sultan, Murad II. S. mentions the Beylik akches of Ishak Bey and Beylerbey Çelebi in the same volume (p. 16) because their dies are believed to have been produced together with those of Orhan Gazi, but unfortunately, neither is pictured.

According to Ottoman tradition, Osman Gazi once dreamed of a plane tree of prodigious strength and with many branches reaching into the sky. The Sufi mystic, Sheikh Edebali, interpreted this dream as a sign that one day Osman would found a vast empire of long endurance. This reviewer hopes that the author’s important work studying and publishing the coins scattered at the base of what was once Osman’s great tree will continue and gain a wider audience, particularly on this continent, which has never known the touch of either Ottoman root or branch.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Roman Coins and their Values. Volume II

David R. Sear. Roman Coins and their Values. Volume II. London: Spink, 2002. 696 pp., b/w illus. Hb. ISBN 1-902040-45-7. £65.00/$95.00.

The much anticipated second volume of Roman Coins and their Values, Millennium Edition (RCVM hereafter), dealing with the imperial coins issued from the accession of Nerva (AD 96) to the fall of the Severan dynasty (AD 235), is a worthy companion to the first volume (Republic to the end of the Flavians), that appeared two years ago. Sear has continued to maintain the high level of quality in text, catalogue, and illustration that he established in the first volume and causes us to look forward to the concluding third volume, projected for release in 2004.

As in the first volume, before plunging into the main catalogue, Sear offers several introductory sections to provide an overview of such topics as the evolution of Roman coin denominations (pp. 17-26), the various themes of reverse types (pp. 26-64), and the development of the imperial mint system (pp. 65-68). A glossary, much improved and expanded over that which appeared in the Fourth Edition (1988), a guide to imperial mintmarks, and a table of chronological criteria for dating Roman coins are also included. With the exception of the latter, which only deals with the period from AD 96 to AD 235, all of the introductory material is identical to that of the first volume. Although much of the introduction is clearly derived from the text of the Fourth Edition, the author has now fleshed-out what was once a somewhat skeletal text. For example, rather than stating the bald facts, as they are known, concerning the development of the denominations, Sear also includes additional insights gleaned from recent studies, such as the view that Julian the Apostate’s AE 1 issues were actually intended as an attempt to restore the Diocletianic follis (p. 24).

In addition to expanding the text, the author has also expanded the number and quality of photographs used in the introduction and throughout the catalogue. These are particularly helpful in the section describing allegorical personifications (pp. 37-42). A coin image now depicts almost every personification listed. Several of the line drawings used for illustrative purposes in the Fourth Edition have also been replaced by photographs, such as that of the stunning solidus of Crispus Caesar on p. 29 and the siliqua of Constantius II on p. 48. Nevertheless, a number of old and new line drawings still appear as illustrations for reasons that are somewhat unclear. For example, it is hard to know why a line drawing of an as of Antoninus Pius (p. 55) used to illustrate the Great Sow as a reverse type is preferred in this section to the excellent photograph of the same coin that appears in the catalogue under no. 4302. Similarly, if it was not possible to find a stellar example of the same emperor’s sestertius (no. 4224) depicting Aeneas for the illustration on p. 62, surely an attractive Caesarean denarius such as the one depicted under RCVM I, no. 1402, would have made an excellent replacement.

Despite the upgraded version of the introduction to Roman reverse types; an error has been carried over from previous editions of RCV into the description of the personification of Virtus. According to the text on p. 42, Virtus is normally depicted as an armed and armored male figure. However, in sculptural and numismatic depictions from the high Imperial period this personification is far more frequently shown as a helmeted and armed Amazonian woman with bared breast. All of these iconographical features are actually present in the image of Virtus that appears on the Hadrianic sestertius (no. 3652) used for the RCVM illustration.

The format of the catalogue will still be familiar to users of the Fourth Edition although all the coins have been renumbered and additional historical information, as well as many new coins, have been added. However, the short listings of Roman provincial coins that used to appear after the coins from the imperial mints have been dropped, as well as the listing for Galerius Antoninus (formerly no. 1375), the son of Antoninus Pius who was commemorated on coins only in the Greek East. The one exception is the cistophori of Asia Minor, which continue to appear in the catalogue immediately after gold issues. The decision to eliminate the provincial coins was probably wise, since the listings were often far too brief and lacking in illustrations to be much help in identifying issues from such a complex series. The author now advises readers to use his Greek Imperial Coins and their Values (London, 1982) as well as the volumes in the Roman Provincial Coinage series to identify the coins issued in the provinces of the Roman Empire. In place of general provincial listings, Sear now treats his readers to sections devoted to the issues of Roman Alexandria. Although normally catalogued as a provincial coinage, the inclusion of the Alexandrian series alongside the regular Roman coinage is quite complementary and makes sense when we consider that Egypt was not only an imperial province, like Spain, Gaul, and Syria, but also the personal property of the emperor. Just as the Roman coins, the Alexandrian pieces are thoroughly described with reference to major catalogues, most notably Dattari, Milne, BMC, and Cologne. It is somewhat unfortunate that at the time of writing, Keith Emmett’s Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001) was not yet available to the author (see ANS Magazine 2 [Summer 2002], pp. 50-53 for its review), since its combined cataloguing system is now used in many North American sale catalogues.

Coverage of most emperors in this volume of RCVM has increased by about twenty-five to thirty percent, which will no doubt please those interested in the coinages of the so-called Adoptive Emperors and the Severan dynasty. The historical introductions are much more detailed than those in the Fourth Edition and now also include minor members of the imperial family, including Matidia, the mother-in-law of Trajan, and Didia Clara, the daughter of Didius Julianus, emperor for 66 days in AD 193. Coins with special historical importance, such as the sestertius of Nerva (no. 3044) proclaiming an end to abuses in the collection of the Jewish tax, or the aureus of Caracalla (no. 6715) alluding to the emperor’s violent restoration of order in Alexandria in AD 215 are indicated by explanatory text within the body of the catalogue. Each coin is also identified as to year and mint of issue whenever such data is available. In addition to increasing the information included in each catalogue entry, Sear has also taken the helpful step of segregating a number of exceptional imperial series from the main catalogue. Thus, the copper quadrantes produced for use at the imperial mines under Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, the ‘restored’ coinages of Nerva, Trajan, and Marcus Aurelius, and the dynastic coin series of Septimius Severus all appear under their own headings. Similar treatment might also have been worthwhile for the popular Alexandrian series issued under Antoninus Pius, which depict the labours of Heracles and the signs of the Zodiac.

It almost goes without saying that many readers will also be interested in the second volume of RCVM for the updated values for each listed coin type. Whereas in the Fourth Edition values were only assigned for precious metal coins in Good Very Fine (gVF) condition and base metal pieces in Very Fine (VF) condition, several states of preservation are now addressed. Silver and gold are valued for both VF and Extra Fine (EF) conditions, while brass, bronze, and copper pieces receive values for Fine (F), VF and EF conditions. Of course, what these grades and the prices associated with them mean in real terms is extremely difficult to say, since scientific grading criteria, such as those currently used for United States coins, is non-existent for ancient coins. When we compare the prices assigned by another popular value guide, David Vagi, Coinage and History of the Roman Empire (Sidney, OH, 1999), to those that appear in the present volume of RCVM a number of discrepancies appear that should serve to underline the tenuous nature of the prices given in any value guide. Although Vagi and Sear are generally close in their assessment of values for precious metal coins, they often disagree where base metal issues are concerned. Sear provides values for brass, bronze and copper coins in EF condition, yet Vagi asserts that this condition is so rare for these coins that he only values them for the lesser grade of Choice Very Fine (ChVF). However, it is not infrequent for Sear to provide a price for a base metal coin in EF condition that is equal to or lower than the value given by Vagi for ChVF. A good example is RCVM 6472, a well-known P M TR P XVI COS III P P S C as (RIC 786a) of Septimius Severus, which Sear values at $2,500 in EF, but which Vagi (no. 1768) prices at $3,000-5,000 for ChVF. This sort of discrepancy may lead the reader to wonder whether the RCVM value is overly conservative, whether Vagi’s ChVF should be considered roughly equivalent to Sear’s EF, or whether there is some other unknown reason for the difference. As Sear and Vagi are both well respected and experienced professional numismatists specializing in ancient coins, it becomes very difficult to decide which value should be preferred. At the end of the day, it is probably wisest to use the values in RCVM and Vagi with caution and spend more time researching the hard evidence of final prices in sale catalogues.

While RCVM builds on the solid foundation lain by previous editions of RCV and is certainly a worthy successor to the Fourth Edition, one suspects that its new grand scope is intended to target a different audience than earlier versions. Previously, RCV had been the uncontested popular introduction to Roman coins, serving both the individual interested in aurei and high quality sestertii, as well as those with a fondness for low-end Constantinian bronzes. However, because of the vastly expanded coverage in the three-volume Millennium Edition the cost of owning a complete and up-to-date copy of RCV has now essentially tripled. Thus, we fear that the cost may put the complete set of RCVM out of the reach of many enthusiasts of lower value coins, although individuals may wish to purchase only the volume that includes the area of Roman coinage that interests them. This would be unfortunate, in the opinion of the present reviewer, because one of the strengths of earlier editions of RCV was that all periods of Roman coinage were easily available in one place. Although one might specialize in a narrow period, or a single emperor, it was not possible to avoid learning something about the coins of other emperors, described elsewhere in the book. The wide ranging, yet compact, survey of Roman coins provided by earlier editions was part of what made RCV a great introduction to the series and a springboard for diving into the important catalogues of Cohen, RIC and BMCRE. It served to whet the appetite for something more.

The new RCVM, however, is more of a tool for those already familiar with Roman coinage. The high quality of the catalogue allows it to be used as an abridgement of RIC and in this regard, RCVM also recommends itself to the archaeological community. Many excavation sites cannot afford the full run of RIC for the dig house library and therefore focus is placed on acquiring the volumes that contain the material most likely to appear in the course of digging. RCVM would make a useful and comparatively inexpensive reference for filling in the gaps in such partial RIC libraries. Nevertheless, whether it is viewed as part of a useful reference in its own right or as a distilled version of RIC with additional coverage of the Alexandrian material, the second volume of RCVM can rightfully stand next to its predecessor. All that remains now is to find space on the shelf for volume three.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: John Hull, The Mint and the Economics of Massachusetts Coinage

Louis Jordan. John Hull, the Mint and the Economics of Massachusetts Coinage. No place: C 4 Publications, the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, distributed by University Press of New England, 2002. xx + 348 pp., illus., 52 figs. (b/w engravings and photographs). ISBN 1-58465-292-6.

Students of early American social and economic history, and collectors of the related coinages, will welcome this important new work by Louis Jordan, Director of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of the University’s internet web sites “Coins of Colonial and Early America,” “Colonial currency” and “Washington tokens.” Jordan has also published before on the Boston mint, and on the Nova Constellatio coppers.

Following a brief foreword by editor Philip L. Mossman and introduction by Michael Hodder, the author’s six-page preface explains the book’s development as an exercise in chronology and content. The contents are arranged in five parts followed by two appendices, the figures with their extensive captions, a postscript on a recently discovered “Willow” Tree shilling overstruck on a New England piece, a ten-page bibliography of works cited and an index.

Part One (Chapters 1 and 2), “John Hull and the Massachusetts Mint,” is essentially biographical; of value, it establishes the identity between Hull’s shop and the minting establishment. It analyzes all that is known concerning Hull, the mint’s founder and principal operator, and his partner Robert Sanderson, who may have had a larger part in the actual coining. Part Two (Chapter 3), “The Massachusetts Mint and British Politics,” proposes a realistic revisionist perspective in place of the traditional anti-British colonialist view that has colored interpretation. Part Three (Chapters 4 through 6), “The Economics of Massachusetts Silver Coinage,” discusses Hull’s seigneurage, the weights, wastage and wastage allowance, and the relative value and fineness of the Boston and London mint coinages.

Part Four, “Production Issues,” comprises seven chapters and 74 pages—by far the most extensive section of the work. Chapter 7 covers minting procedures, drawing heavily upon contemporary and near contemporary sources for analogies, among these Lazarus Ercker’s (1574) Beschreibung aller fuernemsten mineralischen Erst- und Bergwercks Arten in its several and various editions and translations (incorrectly and clumsily cited in some instances). Jordan draws rather heavily in this section upon Denis R. Cooper’s The Art and Craft of Coinmaking, a History of Minting Technology (1988), and repeats Cooper’s misidentification of a Spanish 1682 cinquentín (p. 87; Cooper, p. 61-71). Again drawing upon Cooper, Jordan introduces the curious anomaly of relocating the great old imperial mint city of Kremnica into the Czech Republic (history changes things, particularly geo-political units; this is probably just an infelicitous redaction from Cooper’s passing reference to Czechoslovakia)—doubtless a surprise for its present-day Slovak residents!

Jordan accepts Richard Doty’s thesis (offered in “Making Money in Early Massachusetts,” Money of Pre-Federal America, Proceedings of the Coinage of the Americas Conference, No. 7, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1992) that the Willow, Oak and large-sized Pine Tree shilling series of coins, as well as the fractional issues, were minted by means of a lever-controlled “rocker” or “sway” press and the later, Pine Tree shilling series by means of a balancier, or screw press. Along with similar observations by Michael Hodder, this breakthrough has assisted our understanding of fabric and appearance of the Boston Mint issues. One still wonders, however, about the possibility of coins having been hand-hammered, as was the case for standard contemporary Tower mint issues of London until 1663.

The author has succeeded with a number of clever and rewarding approaches toward the evidence. We are fortunate that Hull’s ledger books for the years 1671-6, 1677-8 and 1679-80 have survived, since they have enabled Jordan to undertake thoughtful detective work analyzing the processing of Hull’s silver consignments in terms of their volume and turnaround time. By calculating backlogging intervals and periods of productivity, he has been able to estimate the Boston mint’s output over time, and postulate some of its procedures. For example, he has determined that Hull and Sanderson seem to have attempted, as far as possible, to conduct their melts in 25-pound troy increments, normally one or two in a single day.

Working out annual productivity on the basis of necessary full-capacity days (in relation to the actual recorded amounts of the silver consignments and the practice of breaking them down into installments), Jordan has been able to demonstrate the order of magnitude of the minting for those years for which the ledgers have survived: 1671, for example, yields a shilling face-value production of 4937 pieces; 1673 yields 1776 pieces; and 1677 yields 26,668. The total quantity of minted sterling silver, in troy ounces during the years of the surviving ledgers, comes to 11,161.925; the number of shilling face-value equivalents (that is to say, including an appropriate allowance for the fractional pieces) in coinage, 74,777. This figure would have been broken down, obviously, into some allocation by denomination: for example, it could have yielded a total of 54,777 shillings, 30,000 sixpences and 20,000 threepences. No information on actual coinage output is known, hence the significance of Jordan’s modeling techniques.

Part Five of the book, “The Eight Reales and its Value in Britain and Massachusetts Bay,” places the British, Spanish and American coinages into their international economic and commercial context. Somewhat surprisingly, it does not fully address the crisis which occurred at the great Potosí mint—source of much of the 17th century’s silver supply—just several years before the Massachusetts experiment. I would suspect the Potosí scandal, involving the adulteration of silver alloy, may have had serious repercussions in Boston.

The first appendix consists of a “Transcription and commentary of the Shop Account, 1671-1680” taken directly from John Hull’s ledgers. The second appendix marshals “A Chronological Listing of Documents and Events Relating to the Massachusetts Mint”—the original meat and approach of the project which developed into this book. The “figures” are mostly of coins from the great sale of the Hain Family Collection, by Stacks (January 15, 2002), but also feature some reproductions from Cooper, maps and a few additional relevant coins. This section includes a valuable concordance for the applicable years’ dates of the British/Julian calendar. Another attractive segment of “figures” consists of reduced-size photographic reproductions of pages from John Hull’s original ledgers. For most readers, it probably would have been helpful to have the various figures placed at their respective relative positions within the body of the work.

Some scholars may wince at, and have their confidence eroded by, this work’s shortcomings, unfortunately. It deserved to have been undertaken and published by a serious academic press, but has come out inadvertently, perhaps due to haste to have it appear at the time of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Boston mint. It is replete with typological and syntactical errors and stylistic problems (like “sometime between the time John was around the age [sic] of 18 and 21…”). Its text includes common modernisms such as the use of “their” as a singular possessive pronoun and misuse of the verb “impact;” further problems are found in disagreement between subjects and verbs, missing words, missing letters, inconsistent punctuation and other such minor points. As a further observation, one cannot help wondering why there would be a failure in simply alphabetizing the bibliography. These vagaries taken as a whole are regrettably noticeable and disconcerting. They are forms of carelessness which tend to undermine what I believe nevertheless to be the real value and authority of this work. We may lament that the publishers didn’t take a somewhat longer view of its technical aspects, since this is definitely a handsome and interesting book, printed on archival quality paper. It will surely be consulted by all those with an interest in its subject area for years to come.

—Robert Wilson Hoge

Numismatics​.org (Winter 2002)

by Sebastian Heath

This column will continue the tutorial on using the Society’s public database, as well as introduce the society’s archive of digital images. But first some news.

The conversion of the ANS databases to FileMaker Pro is largely complete. The greatest benefit of this for external users is more regular updating of the records on the web-site. Updates now happens every Friday evening, which means that the database is unavailable for approximately one hour while the data is reloaded. This is a great improvement over the previous situation in which the whole export and import process could take 4 to 5 hours and required close attention. One implication of this is that when typos and other errors are brought to our attention, the edits we make to the internal database are quickly available on the web version.

Another significant improvement has been the upgrading of the operating system and database software on the web-server. All the public search tools are implemented using PostgreSQL running on a Debian GNU/Linux server. This software is freely available on the Internet and has proved very reliable. Keeping current with the latest versions of both systems means that all but the most complex searches are now completed within seconds.

This week’s tutorial subject is searching by date. For many objects in the collection this is quite straightforward so long as you keep one simple convention in mind. Most objects have a start date and end date that indicates when the piece was manufactured. The only “trick” is that we use negative numbers to indicate dates BCE. This means that the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor, runs from “-27” to “14”. Also, searching by date is only available from the more advanced “Search by Fields” form. Figure 1 shows the results of a search for gold coins dating between 100 and 200 in the Roman department that have images available.

This search and its results bring up the topic of the Society’s growing archive of digital images. As announced in previous volumes of the magazine, the ANS owns a Nikon D1x digital camera. We use this to take pictures for our own research and to fill photo orders. All of the images that we take of objects are copied to the web-server and integrated into the database.

There are two keys to using the image archive. The first is very simple, if you want to restrict your search to objects for which an image is available, just click the “Image Available” check box on the search form. The second involves using the “Format” menu. You can see in figure 1 that the “Images Only” format was chosen. This means that your browser will show a grid of small thumb-nail images. If you want to see the information for each coin as well as an image, choose the “Full with Images” format. There are currently images for over 3000 coins, medals, notes, and other objects. While this is a tiny fraction of our objects, it already shows the great variety of the Society’s collection.

One note. The images are for personal use only and we ask that readers contact Dr. Elena Stolyarik to arrange permission to reproduce them in print or electronic form. The rates for digital photography and reproduction rights can be seen at

Library Acquires Chapman Archive

by Francis D. Campbell

Through a generous donation from the Estate of Mrs. Henrietta Chapman Judson, the Library has received a substantial quantity of the correspondence and other papers of the coin auction firm run by Henry and Samuel Hudson Chapman, which began operations in 1879. As a partnership, the Chapman brothers conducted some 83 sales over a 24-year period. In 1906, they decided to dissolve the partnership. Samuel Hudson continued his proprietorship until retiring in 1929. Henry carried on until his death in 1935. Among the great collections sold by the Chapmans were those of Thomas Warner, John G. Mills, Thomas Cleneay, Edward Maris, Harlan P. Smith, William F. Gable, George H. Earle, W. H. Hunter, John Story Jenks, Charles I. Bushnell, Mathew A. Stickney, Andrew C. Zabriskie, Elisha Turner, and Allison W. Jackman.

The Chapman brothers at the sale of the Lyman collection Henry Chapman (2nd from left) – Samuel H. Chapman

With very few exceptions, Chapman catalogs are renowned for the precision and reliability of their descriptions. Of the plated sales, the first twelve employ the artotype or phototype process. Examples are found in the catalogue of the Cleneay sale held in 1890. Beginning with the Mills sale in 1904, Samuel Hudson pioneered the use of photographic plates printed from glass negatives

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Although Edward Cogan was the first full-time coin dealer in the United States, Samuel Hudson and Henry Chapman are considered this country’s first career numismatists. The Library has had the good fortune to acquire a number of the firm’s bid books over the years. Henry’s bid books reveal the names of those for whom he was bidding and many other details of the business. By combining the information found in the bid books with that to be found in the recently acquired correspondence, one should be able to construct a fairly detailed history of the firm’s activity and the interaction between the Chapmans and the major collectors of the period.

Chapman correspondence donated by the Estate of Henrietta Chapman Judson.

Greek Acquisitions (Winter 2002)

by Peter van Alfen

While Haim Gitler of the Israel Museum was our visiting scholar during the Summer Seminar, Dr. Jay Galst invited the two of us to spend a morning viewing portions of his extensive collection of ancient Judean and Near Eastern coins. As a further token of his hospitality, Dr. Galst presented us both with three Samarian obols each to add to the cabinets of the ANS and Israel Museum. As part of the hoard of Samarian coins that came to light a number of years ago, the coins have been well published, notably in Y. Meshorer and S. Qedar’s Samarian Coinage (Jerusalem 1999), and are an important gift to the collection. These small, crudely produced imitations of the famous Athenian owl are significant not only because they were among the very first coins minted in the Levant, but also for what they can tell us about fourth century B.C. Levantine societies and economies. It has long been argued that the reason the Athenian owl was so widely imitated in the east was because of the reputation the coins had acquired there as “good money.” But as the Samarian coins and many of the related Philisto-Arabian types show, the owl was not always faithfully copied. New indigenous elements and legends were added to the basic design, or the design itself was rearranged and recomposed. In some cases, for example, an Athenian owl reverse might be mated to a Sidonian galley obverse, an Egyptianizing Bes, or the facing head Apollo types (which in turn were imitating those from Tarsus, which were imitating those of Kimon’s Arethusa from Syracuse in Sicily). Is it possible to detect in some of these Samarian and Philisto-Arabian combinations, manipulations, and imitations of imitations a playful response to the overly serious business of monetary design? The Semitic textual evidence that we possess from the Persian period Levant (6-4th c. B.C.), mostly a handful of Old Testament books and ostraca, are almost all quite serious in nature. Perhaps these coins provide the only clues to the more light-hearted side of the cultures in ancient Samaria and Philistia, clues that are lacking in our other sources.

It is also significant, from an economic prospective, that far more small denominations of these types of coins have been found than large denominations. The evidence would seem to suggest that from the outset there was greater concern for providing coinage that was geared more towards small daily transactions than large budget purchases. Generally, this seems to have been the case in Samaria, Judea, and to a lesser extent in Philistia, a situation which stands in stark contrast to that in neighboring Phoenicia and satrapal Egypt, where monetary systems employing a broad range of silver and even bronze denominations were used. An easy explanation for this is not to be found; but it does, nevertheless, signal a degree of administrative and monetary sophistication which the coins themselves, because of their sometimes rough stylistic appearance, do not immediately reveal.

Current Cabinet Activities (Winter 2002)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

Fulfilling the requests and inquiries of visitors and other researchers involves the Society’s cabinets in a constant hum of curatorial activity. The fame and extent of the collections assure that we are asked and are able to offer a great deal of aid and illustrative material. We may note a few of the areas which have been under investigation, and those who are pursuing them. Columbia Art History student and former ANS Curatorial Assistant Sabina de Cavi sought information on some of the Renaissance architectural medals of Domenico Fontana. Ray Czahor, studying Philippines coinage and medals in connection with updating the Standard Catalog, noted quite a number of pieces of importance, while Pete Carrigan examined part of the extensive Canadian collection.

Naples, Bronze 40 mm struck medal of Domenico Fontana, architect for Philip II of Spain, 1598. Gift and Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Eidlitz.

Emilio Ortiz, working on Cuban coinage, made a discovery while examining some of the tokens: a specimen of what may be the first coinage of Cuba, a mid-18th century bracteate 1-maravedi copper issue of the municipality of Bayamo. Eric M. Krauss pursued his study of the die varieties of Classic Head United States gold, as Edward Kasinec, Jim Risk and Scot Ruby examined Russian coins, medals and decorations on behalf of the New York Public Library in preparation for an upcoming exhibition.

Cuba. Copper 1-maravedi Spanish Colonial emergency issue struck (embossed) by the municipality of Bayamo, ca. 1740 Donated by E. W. May.

Manuel Castro Priego, recipient of a study grant from the International Numismatic Commission, made an extensive survey of the Society’s outstanding collection of Visigothic gold as part of the work on his doctoral thesis in Spain. Our colleague at the British Royal Mint, Curator Graham Dyer, made inquiry on 18th century Irish coppers. Jerry King inquired about the Duncan Ingraham medal, while Christian Teulings asked about Netherlands guild tokens and the work on them by the late Wittop Koening. Garo Kurkman, working on a study of Ottoman weights, came to check items in the Society’s outstanding holdings in this area. David Vagi sought information about Roman medallion in the Society’s famous photo files.

Spain, Visigothic Kingdom. Gold tremissis of Ervig, 680-687, Emerita mint. Purchase: former W. Reinhart Collection.

Spain, Visigothic Kingdom. Gold tremissis of Wittiza, 698-710, Toleto mint. Purchase: former W. Reinhart Collection.

Young sinologist Jay Feldman examined some of the items in the Society’s magnificent cabinet of Far Eastern materials. Mrs. Mary A. Mitchell checked parts of the collection in relation to her biographical work on Archer M. Huntington, the great benefactor of the ANS and the Hispanic Society of America. Al and Jill Flyr looked at the various anti-slavery medals in the cabinet, undoubtedly one of the best in existence. Professor A. K. Narain studied several Indian series in relation to a major project he has underway. Sharon Rodgers examined American colonial 17th century issues in connection with the preparation of her doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. Jim Tippett continued his examination of the die varieties among the Society’s outstanding cabinet of American Civil War tokens.

Merely to recapitulate some of the items which have been recently withdrawn from their storage locations for various research projects may serve to offer a smorgasbord of a few pieces from the magnificent range of materials in the collection. I have selected several examples of these items to bring to your attention in the hope that the contemplation of them they may please you as it has me. Surely, every one of the hundreds of thousands of coins, paper currencies, medals, decorations, tokens, weights, seals, bars, tools, models, studies and sketches, barter items and other pieces in the collection could tell us a story if we had but the patience and the knowledge to let it. But we must probably admit that some pieces are indeed more evocative than others.

A Coronation Medal Of The Holy Roman Empire, 1711

A photo request from Marvin Finnley brought to my attention a splendid coronation medal in the Society’s cabinet. The obverse of this product of the Frankfurt mint features medallic portraits of the emperor and, around him, the six imperial electors in ovals, each with its own legend. The reverse bears the Habsburg imperial double-headed eagle; on its breast is a heart, inscribed CAESARI/ ET/ IMPERIO, beneath the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen; in the field above is VNA CORONA COR VNVM (“one crown, one heart”); in the exergue, CORONATIO/ OPT. PRINC./ MDCCXI. Unfortunately, over the years this specimen has become separated from its documentation, and has had to be entered onto the ANS’ data base with a “dummy” accession number.

Holy Roman Empire. Silver coronation medal of Charles VI, 1711, Frankfurt mint

An Early Feminist?

The Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) occupies an interesting position in history. Through much of his reign, he was concerned with warfare, registering some early successes which were for the most part eventually transmuted into failures. But rather than as a militarist, in certain respects he may be recognized today as a precursor to the feminist movement by virtue of his promulgation of the “Pragmatic Sanction” of 1713. In it he decreed that, contrary to established law and custom, his realm was to be bequeathed undivided to his female progeny. It was thus that his famous eldest daughter, the Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780), came to the Habsburg throne upon his death (though long and bitterly opposed by other European states).

As second son of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (“Leo The Hogmouth”) of Austria, Prince Charles became heir to the Habsburg empire of Spain upon the death without issue of his kinsman, King Charles II, in 1700. His accession to the Spanish throne was strongly opposed, however, by Louis XIV of France, the traditional enemy of the Habsburgs, who put forward his own grandson Philip as the Borbón claimant. Charles’ English, Dutch, German and Portuguese allies helped him win a number of important victories (such as Marlborough’s triumph at Blenheim, in 1704) in the ensuing War of the Spanish Succession, known in British North America as Queen Anne’s War. In Spain itself, however, the Habsburg supporters succeeded in holding only the region of Catalonia.

How Much Power Is Too Much?

Upon the death of his elder brother, the Emperor Joseph, in 1711, Charles became heir to all of the Austrian Habsburg possessions and was elected Emperor as Charles VI. His coronation as emperor was held at Frankfurt that same year—an event of magnificent splendor and powerful auspices celebrated by a variety of High Baroque medallic commemorations including the ANS piece. Paradoxically, the resplendent imperial grandeur and potency of this accession may have been more than his allies could bear, and the event really marks the high point of Charles’ political career. Fearing a return to the Habsburg mega-power of his ancestor, the Emperor Charles V, the allies turned against the new emperor and, by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, recognized Philip as King of Spain.

A Testone Of Modena, 1505-1510

Italian researcher Ing. Franco Saetti requested a photograph of a silver testone of Alphonso I d’Este, the famous Duke of Ferrara, from the mint of Modena. Our coin is a bequest of Herbert Scoville, from the Ribotti Collection—a rare and evocative reminder of the time when portraiture was first reappearing on coinage (this specimen is of the type of Corpus Nummorum Italicorum IX, 5). The testone, of course, was the new portrait coin par excellence of the Renaissance potentates.

Modena, Italy. Silver testone of Alphonso I d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, 1505-1510 Bequest of Herbert Scoville.

Lucrezia Borgia’s (Surviving) Husband

Alphonso d’Este (1476-1534) was a Renaissance man. He is perhaps best remembered today as the third husband of the celebrated Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519), daughter of Pope Alexander VI (the Spanish Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, 1431-1502). Although her public persona may be that of a libertine and poisoner, Lucrezia was a patron of Renaissance artists and scholars and a seemingly devoted wife and mother. Alphonso’s father, Ercole I (1431-1505), and sister Isabella (1474-1539), wife of the powerful the Prince of Mantua, are both also important figures in the history, politics and art of their time. All of these figures helped lay a foundation for Ferrara’s reputation of greatness in sponsoring the arts and letters of the era.

The Este-Borgia marriage came about as a matter of politics. One of the leading potentates of Northern Italy, Alphonso was a principal opponent of Venice, and a key power broker. All of Lucrezia’s notorious engagements and marriages were arranged (and, in all but that to Alphonso d’Este, terminated) in accordance with the machinations of her father and brother, who sought to ensconce her in Ferrara. Alphonso took Modena in 1505 and occupied it until 1510, the period during which our rare coin was minted. He was excommunicated by Pope Julius II in 1509, but in 1512 was able to seize Ravenna upon defeating the pontifical army. Late in his reign, Alphonso made a triumphal return to Modena. The famous portrait issues of the Renaissance are as much a significant reflection of the rulers’ aspirations of glory as were their politically-motivated marriages and other alliances.

Boston’s Columbia And Washington Medal, 1787

Peter Lane, President of the Numismatic Association of Australia, inquired about the Columbia and Washington medal for an article he is planning for the journal of the NAA. This piece commemorates the voyage of the first American vessels to trade in the Northwest (later, under Commander Robert Gray, Columbia was to become the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe). The medal was commissioned by the prominent and visionary Boston merchants who had outfitted the ships. The formal description of this rarity is as follows:

Obverse: within a rope border, a three-masted ship on the left, a sloop on the right, both at full sail to l.; legend: (above) COLUMBIA. AND WASHINGTON., (below) COMMANDED BY J. KENDRICK. Reverse: within a rope border, BY/ J.BARREL,/ S.BROWN, G. BULFINCH,/ J.DARBY, C. HATCH,/ J. M. PINTARD,/1787.; legend: starting at the top, FITTED AT BOSTON. N. AMERICA FOR THE PACIFIC OCEAN. Size: 40mm.

United States, Massachusetts. White Metal 40 mm medal, Columbia and Washington, 1787.

The ANS specimen of this important piece of Americana is one of the great rarities in the cabinet. It is a white metal example in essentially uncirculated condition, it was purchased from the former Chase Manhattan Bank Collection in 1932. Unfortunately, it has suffered corrosion damage as a result of “tin pest”—perhaps as a result of cool, humid climatic conditions in the region of the great river valley which bears the name of the stalwart vessel Columbia. Although it is believed that possibly hundreds of the copper and pewter pieces were taken on the voyage and distributed to the native Indians of the Northwest Coast, very few have survived. In the ANS cabinet there is also an example of the piece in lead (cast?), a copy mislabeled as “pewter.” The Columbia and Washington issue is one of the earliest and most important in United States history, so the Society is fortunate to have any examples at all.

Perhaps the best-known reference on this medal is Malcolm Storer’s “Numismatics of Massachusetts” originally published as volume 76 of the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1923 (republished by Quarterman Publications, 1981). Storer included the claim that the piece was by famed early American silversmith Paul Revere, and noted examples struck in silver and copper; evidently the pewter examples may have been unknown to him. Lot 1960 in the great Garrett Collection Sales, by Bowers and Ruddy Galleries (Part 4, March 25-6, 1981), included about as much as is known on this issue.

A Penny Of Carlisle, England, ca. 1136-1143

Another scarce and interesting specimen in the ANS’ cabinet of Medieval coins required attention when a photograph was ordered by Peter J. Cherry. This was a silver penny struck at Carlisle, England, during the period of the civil wars under Stephen (1135-1154). Its moneyer, Erebald, had been the last to strike for Henry I (1100-1135). In 1136, Carlisle was captured by David I of Scotland (1124-1153), who there proceeded to strike the first recorded coinage of the Scottish kingdom. The moneyer Erebald continued minting under David and his son Henry, Earl of Northumberland.

England, Scottish Border. Silver penny of Stephen (or David I of Scotland) minted at Carlisle by the moneyer Erebald, ca. 1136-1143. Bequest of L. Cabot Briggs.

Our penny, although struck in the name of Stephen, may well be one of the earliest Scottish issues. This “Watford Type” penny (named after the 1818 English hoard in which a large number of pieces of this kind was found), having a reverse of a cross moline with a fleur in each angle and representing Stephen’s first issue, was a bequest of Dr. L. Cabot Briggs. It was published by former ANS Curator of Medieval Coins Jeremiah D. Brady in Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles 30, as No. 807 (Scotch Border Coinage). The Erebald coinages in the names of David and Henry of Northumberland continued Stephen’s type.

The 1943 Cent

Some questions come again and again. With roughly one billion 1943 steel cents out there to confuse people, questions about that issue and its elusive copper-alloy errors have little chance of abating. We receive many contacts from those who have “found” one of these “rarities” and want to know what it could be worth, and how they might “market” it. This is frustrating, since this is something I cannot highlight in this column as I would like: the Society has no genuine examples of the copper pieces, nor of their 1944 zinc-coated steel counterparts. (For those of you who could use a nice income tax deduction, please do take this as a hint for what would be a wonderful gift to the Society!) We are here for everyone, a resource to be tapped.

United States of America. Copper-coated, zinc-plated steel cent, 1943—alteration. Donated by R. Byron White.

The Decoration For The Battle of Sabine Pass, Texas, 1863

Working on a book on the battle of Sabine Pass, September 8, 1863, Ed Cotham contacted us to verify and obtain a photograph of this exceedingly rare decoration. The Civil War engagement, in recognition of which this popular rarity was issued, was fought at the mouth of the Sabine River near Port Arthur, Texas. It was a result of the Union efforts to blockade southern shipping, disrupt the ports and waterways and begin an invasion of Texas. In the face of overwhelming superiority, the battle turned out to be a memorable Confederate victory. This was very important at the time because it occurred not long after the disappointments of Gettysburg and Vicksburg—and thus served as a morale-booster—even though its long-term effects on the outcome of the war were negligible.

Confederate States of America, Texas. Silver 27 mm decoration for the Battle of Sabine Pass, 1863. Donation of J. Coolidge Hills, via the Wadsworth Atheneum.

A Surprising Confederate Victory

A flotilla of four gunboats and seven troop transports steamed from the Gulf of Mexico up the Sabine River the morning of September 8. Sabine Pass, the narrows leading into Lake Sabine, was defended by a small Confederate earthwork called Fort Griffin, with a garrison of less than fifty artillerists. They were the “Davis Guards,” Company F of the 1st Heavy Artillery, Spaight’s Texas Battalion. Under the command of Lt. Richard W. “Dick” Dowling, this troop was made up almost entirely of immigrant Irish longshoremen, or “dockwallopers,” from Houston and Galveston. As it approached Fort Griffin, the Union task force and its 4000 troops came under their devastating fire.

Dowling’s gunners had been practicing with their six cannon, four 6-inch 32-pounders and two 5-inch 24-pounders, by training them on range markers and a sunken schooner on the river. They laid low in the fort’s “bombproof” dugout until the Federals were in perfect position. In a bravura demonstration, the fort’s small force managed immediately to destroy or disable the first two gunboats. Some 350 prisoners quickly surrendered, and the Union forces were obliged to withdraw. This was a cause for great celebration in Texas, and Dowling and his Company were each awarded a medal in essentially the form of a large “Love Token.” These decorations were made from smoothed-down and engraved Mexican 8-reales pieces, to which a curved and twisted wire was soldered to the edge for mounting; the edges were apparently hand-cut with diagonal reeding.

The ANS has the specimen stated to be that actually issued to Lt. Dowling himself. It is listed in Bauman Belden’s War Medals of the Confederacy and was once part of the J. Coolidge Hills Collection, formerly belonging to the famous Wadsworth Athenaeum. Dowling’s name, if it was ever present on the piece, has evidently been eradicated by wear; only the slightest traces remain of any engraved lines on that part of the surface. Interestingly, the impressive Hills collection had been given to the Wadsworth many years earlier with the stipulation—not so unusual in the past, in some museums—that it be exhibited. The WA determined that it could not comply with this stricture, and turned the collection over to the ANS in accordance with the donor’s specified wish.


It is a pleasure for me to assist the researchers who bring these items my attention and also feature them here for many others to appreciate. People need to remember that when an item sits in a museum collection it is not so much “impounded” (as I have seen this fact occasionally expressed) as made readily available in a way it would not be if it were lost in the limbo of private collections. If it were not for the great institutional collections, numismatic identification and cataloguing would probably have made very little progress over the past few centuries. But as might well be expected, large institutional cabinets can accumulate embarrassing backlogs of items requiring attention. The “dummy numbers” applied to specimens for entry onto our data base, which I have mentioned previously, represent this sort of failing. Our effort to rectify this situation is a constant one, a project which has to be made to fit between fulfillment of our various researchers’ requests. As a final note, I offer an example of a coin I just happened upon as I was working to continue the “catch-up” work of my predecessors.

An English Silver Penny Of Henry II, ca. 1170 Tagging a “Tealby”

One day, while searching through trays of as-yet-unprocessed items that had accumulated over years past, I recognized a Medieval coin lying amongst miscellaneous unidentified acquisitions; this unhappy specimen was unaccompanied by any accessioning or attribution data, or even a little storage holder (the ANS cabinet’s standard box, or small tray) of its own. It was clearly a “Tealby” penny of Henry II of England (1154-1189), the Plantagenet great-grandson of William the Conqueror. (Henry is possibly best known to us as the husband of the redoubtable Eleanor of Aquitaine—mother of Richard “The Lionheart” and John “Lackland,” and the only woman to have been married to both a king of France and a king of England; remember Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn in Lion in Winter?)

England. Silver penny of Henry II minted at Ipswich by the moneyer Robert, ca. 1170.

For nearly two hundred years, this series has been named, familiarly, after the site where the greatest known hoard of this class of coinage was found, in 1807, near Tealby, in Lincolnshire. Generally known to numismatists today as the “Cross-crosslet” type after its principal reverse features, the “Tealby penny” marked a significant change in English monetary practices. With it, Henry became the first English monarch to introduce the continental concept of an “immobilized type.” It was struck, with only slight changes, from about 1158 until the introduction of the even more obdurate type fixé called the “short cross” coinage, in 1180.

The coin is a rather nice example from the mint of Ipswich by the moneyer Robert, with the relatively late bust type “F.” The “Tealby” series is infamous for the poor quality of its die-sinking and strike, with many examples having had to be relegated to remain without attribution. Ipswich cross-crosslet coins are among the least scarce, and Robert was the principal office-holder there for many years. Our Medieval English collection is weak in many respects, so this single penny, now attributed and catalogued, makes a nice addition to the cabinet!

News (Winter 2002)

Report on the ANS Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the American Numismatic Society was held on October 19 at Audubon Terrace. About 40 members attended the meeting, which was followed by a dinner at Keen’s Steakhouse. The President, Treasurer and ANS staff were present and reported on the activities of the past year.

Donald Partrick, President of the Society, opened the meeting. In his short report, he reported on the progress of the new building renovation. Although he did not want to give a date for the move, he told the audience that the renovation was moving ahead and is the main agenda for next year.

ANS Treasurer Kenneth Edlow reported on the financial situation of the Society. The Society, along with the rest of the United States, has been adversely affected by the stock market, the world wide economy and political events. However, due to especially generous contributions to the Society’s general operating fund, he estimated ending fiscal year 2002 with a small operating surplus.

A special concern remains the balances in several of the funds, which need the continued support of the Society’s membership, Council and the public to increase contributions. The Unrestricted General Operating fund, which funds the day-to-day activities of the Society; the U. S. Curator Fund, which provides funding for the U. S. Curator, and the Bass Computer Fund which pays for two staff positions, the ANS web-site, and general computer and information technology systems. He encouraged the membership to contribute generously to these funds and to the activities of the Society.

Regarding the New Century Fund, which covers the operations and renovations of the Society’s New Building at 140 William Street, the fund balance is not as large as the Society would like, but it is expected that additional contributions will be forthcoming which will allow the Society to move forward with the renovation work and subsequent move.

The audited, detailed financial statements for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2002, will be available in about a month. The statements will be posted on the Society’s website and hard copies are available upon request from the ANS Business Manager.

We are distributing a report from Wyper Capital Management covering our portfolio investments.

Regarding the operations for this current fiscal year, which began October 1, 2002, assuming that the contributions at least remain the same as fiscal 2002, we expect to operate with a balanced budget in this current year.

Peter Tompa, Chairman of the Governance Committee, and Douglass Rohrman, Chairman of the Advisory Committee, presented an outline of the proposed Amended and Restated By-Laws, which would preserve the special character of the ANS while reflecting modern business practices for a not-for-profit organization (see New By-Laws for the ANS).

Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director, reported on the various events of last year. She thanked members for their contributions, which allowed the staff to carry out their work and fulfill the mission of the Society.

The curators (Peter van Alfen, Michael Bates, Elena Stolyarik, Sebastian Heath, and Robert Wilson Hoge) and the Librarian Francis Campbell gave accounts of last year’s donations in illustrated slide talks.

At the meeting, the Nominating Committee for Councilors also reported its recommendation that five sitting councilors and one new candidate be elected to the Council. The following members of Council were duly elected:

New Member:

Emilio Ortiz was born in Havana, Cuba and became a naturalized USA citizen in 1965. He became a coin collector at an early age when a roommate gave him, as a gift, his first coin while attending school in Pennington, N.J. During the early 1960’s Mr. Ortiz pursued a banking career in New York and Texas, this experience lead him into the International Trading of Commercial Paper and in the late 1960’s he was fully engaged in the steel arena as an International Steel Trader. Mr. Ortiz is President and CEO of Servimetal Inc., the largest steel processing service center in the Caribbean, based in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Mr. Ortiz is a Board Member of the American Red Cross and Committee member of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association. An avid researcher, he is a Life Member of the ANS, ANA, FUN and belongs to several other numismatic organizations. Mr. Ortiz has published and lectured on Cuban coinage and is presently working on a catalog of Colonial and Republican Latin American Cuartillas, as well as writing what could be the first comprehensive book on Cuban numismatics.

Sitting Members Confirmed Until 2005:

John Adams is Chairman/CEO of Adams, Harkness & Hill, Inc., an investment bank located in Boston specializing in emerging growth companies. He is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, a Fellow of the American Antiquarian Society, and a member of ANA, EAC, C4, NBS. His publications include US Numismatic Literature (2 vols.), Indian Peace Medals of George III and numerous articles. His numismatic specialties are historical medals and literature. He holds a BA from Princeton University (1957) and a MBA from Harvard Business School (1960).

Robert A. Kandel is of counsel to the firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, LLP in New York City. His areas of experience include legislative and regulatory matters, real estate and general business matters. Having served as Commissioner of Economic Development for the City of New York, and other governmental posts, he is knowledgeable about governmental affairs. Mr. Kandel has counseled and represented many not-for-profit institutions including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Cooper Union for Arts and Science, The Sisters of Charity – Bayley Seton Hospital, The Hospital for Joint Diseases, Yale University and St. John’s University among others. Mr. Kandel is interested in US coins, particularly the Lincoln cent. Mr. Kandel received his B.A. degree with honors in history from Williams College and his law degree from Columbia University School of Law.

Clifford Mishler served as President of Krause Publications from 1991-2000. He joined that company as associate editor of Numismatic News in 1963. A serious coin collector since 1950, Mishler is the co-author of the Standard Catalog of World Coins, which is now out in its 30th annual edition. As a founding member of the Token and Medal Society, he served as Journal Editor (1964-68) and President (1976-78). He is also involved in the Numismatists of Wisconsin organization in numerous capacities. He is the recipient of many awards in the numismatic field, including the ANA Medal of Merit (1983), the Farran Zerbe Memorial Distinguished Service Award (1984), the Life Time Achievement Award (1997) and the Numismatist of the Year (2002). He serves as a board member of the William R. Higgins, Jr. Foundation, which operates the Higgins Museum in Okoboji, Iowa. Mr. Mishler is a Life Fellow of the ANS, which he joined in 1958. He has served as a Councilor since 1997 and is a member of the Personnel Committee and the Governance Committee.

Peter Weiss is a hand surgeon and Professor at Brown Medical School. He serves on the Board of Directors of the RISD Museum of Art, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and Kinetikos Medical, Inc. and is an advisor to the Corporation Committee for Biomedical Affairs at Brown University and to DePuy, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. He is an active collector of ancient Greek coins and has authored several articles on various numismatic aspects.

Peter Tompa is a partner with the international law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery in Washington D.C., where he specializes in complex environmental insurance coverage litigation. He has represented numismatic trade associations before the U.S. Department of State Cultural Property Advisory Committee and has conducted lobbying activities related to the free trade of ancient coins. He frequently reports on these issues in numismatic publications. As a collector, he is primarily interested in ancient Greek and Roman coins. He holds a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from Washington College of Law, American University. He has been a member of the ANS Council since 1999 and is Chairman of the ANS Governance Committee.

Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee Welcomes Two New Members

Washington — The United States Mint is pleased to announce that Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill has appointed two new members to the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (CCCAC)

The Secretary has selected Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan as being specially qualified to serve on the CCAC by reason of her experience in numismatic collection curation and numismatics. Dr. Wartenberg will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Committee. Dr. Wartenberg, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the American Numismatic Society, was previously Assistant Director of the American Numismatic Society, and Assistant Keeper at the British Museum (Curator of Greek Coins). A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Wartenberg earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. (Classical Greek Literature) at Oxford University.

The Secretary also has selected Ms. Connie Matsui to serve as on of the Committee’s three members who represent the interest of the general public.

In addition to currently serving as National President of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Ms. Matsui is Senior Vice President of IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation, located in San Diego, California. Prior to her position with IDEC, Ms. Matsui served as Vice President and Manager of Employee Relations and Communications at Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco, California. Ms Matsui, who received her M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from Stanford University, possesses the broad and varied experience and knowledge to serve as one of the American public’s voices on the CCCAC.

“I congratulate the newest members of the CCCAC on their important appointments,” said United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore. “We look forward to working with this new group whose combined experience can bring a fresh perspective to the Nation’s commemorative coin programs.”

Established in 1993, the CCCAC identifies and designates events, persons, or places the Committee recommends be commemorated by the issuance of commemorative coins, and makes recommendations with respect to the mintage level for any commemorative coin recommended. The Committee also reviews and comments on proposed designs for commemorative coins and quarter-dollar coins issued under the 50 State Quarters Program.

Membership consists of seven voting members appointed to 4-year terms by the Secretary of the Treasury. Three members are appointed from among individuals specially qualified to serve by reason of their education, training or experience in art, art history, museum or numismatic collection curation, or numismatics. Three members are appointed from among individuals who will represent the interest of the general public. One member is appointed from officers or employees of the United States Mint to represent the interest of the general public. One member is appointed from officers or employees of the United States Mint to represent the interest of the Mint.

The Committee is subject to the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury.

The United States Mint is responsible for providing the necessary support services for the Committee. Committee members are not paid for their time or services but, consistent with Federal Travel Regulations, members are reimbursed for their travel and lodging expenses to attend approximately two meetings each year.

ANS Awarded City Funding

For the first time in the history of the ANS, the Society has been included in the City of New York’s art budget to receive funds in the amount of $85,000. This is an extraordinary accomplishment for the Society. The allocation was determined after extensive meetings and hearings with the City, in a year of vast budget cuts. The allocation exemplifies the interest and goodwill the City has towards the ANS and to the establishment of the Museum of Money on Wall Street. The funds are to be used specifically for the ANS library in the new building located at 140 William Street in Manhattan. This is very exciting for the ANS as we are now officially included in the Annual Capital Budget.

COAC Planned: “Our Nation’s Coinages: Varied Origins”

The next Coinage of the Americas Conference (COAC) is currently being planned for late Spring, 2003. It will be held at the building on Audubon Terrace in New York City. Members will receive announcements once the program has been finalized. Potential contributors and participants are still invited to contact this event’s coordinator, Robert Wilson Hoge, the Society’s Curator of American Coins and Currency, for information and to schedule presentations at or 212 234-3130 x 226.

Each presentation should be capable of being given as a lecture of roughly one half hour in length. It should also be prepared as a formal, publishable article suitable for inclusion in the COAC Proceedings series volume which will follow the conference. The present working title for the conference is “Our Nation’s Coinages: Varied Origins.” Its concept is to take a generic look at the coinages of the Colonial period made both in and for the Americas—British, Spanish, French, Dutch—as well as other homeland issues , which circulated in the colonies or influenced their economies. An interdisciplinary approach may draw together scholars and enthusiasts from different specializations in a fruitful manner. Some possible topics could include the following:

  • American Archaeological finds and reports.
  • Discoveries and observations in Spanish mint productions, México, El Perú, etc.
  • Colonial varieties recently identified.
  • Documentation of colonial commercial activities.
  • Numismatic interpretation of shipwrecks.

The previous COAC on the Caribbean Coins and Currency is now being prepared for printing. The ANS hopes to make it available some time in 2003.

The American Numismatic Society 2003 Graduate Seminar

The ANS will be holding its Fiftieth Graduate Seminar in Numismatics at the Audubon Terrace. Visiting professor will be Dr. François de Callataÿ, Curator at the Bibliothèque Royale Albert in Brussels. The seven week seminar will run from June 9 through July 25. The purpose of the seminar is to familiarize its students with numismatic methodology and scholarship and to provide them with an understanding of the contributions made by numismatics to other fields of study. Students will also gain extensive practical experience working with coins and other objects and will have use of the Society’s comprehensive library resources.

The seminar is an intensive program of study including lectures and seminars conducted by specialists in various fields, preparation and oral delivery of a research paper on a topic, and handling of the ANS coins relating to that topic. Curatorial staff and other experts from this country and abroad will participate in the seminar.

Applications are accepted from students of demonstrated competence who will have completed at least one year of graduate work in history, classical studies, economic history, or other related fields. Applications are also encouraged from junior faculty members with an advanced degree in one of these fields.

The Society will be accepting six seminar students. Stipends of $2,500 are available to qualified applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada. The Society will also provide round-trip travel fare from each student’s home institution.

Applications are also accepted from outstanding students from foreign institutions who have completed at least one year of graduate work and are able to demonstrate fluency in English. No financial aid is offered.

Information and application forms may be obtained from the American Numismatic Society, Graduate Seminar, 155th Street and Broadway, New York, NY 10032 or via email from Applications can also be downloaded from our website at

The deadline for all applications is March 1, 2003

Michael Crawford Receives The 2002 Huntington Medal

Michael Crawford, the distinguished ancient historian and numismatist, will receive the Huntington Medal for the year 2002. The medal will be awarded to Professor Crawford at the Annual Gala Dinner in New York on January 14. The night before, on Monday, January 13 at the Harvard Club Professor Crawford will present his new research on the Diocletian price edict in a paper entitled “Diocletian and the Wages of Sin.” The Huntington Committee, under Chairman Jere Bacharach, selected Crawford from a pool of distinguished scholars. The members of the committee particularly commented on Crawford’s outstanding achievements in the field of Roman Republican Coinage.

Crawford is a professor of ancient history in the Department of History at University College, London in England. His works on numismatics include one of the foremost standard works in numismatics, Roman Republican Coinage, published in 1974. Other works in this area are his Roman Republican Coin Hoards (1969) and Coinage and Money under the Roman Republic : Italy and the Mediterranean Economy (1989) as well as numerous articles.

In recent years his research has moved into other areas of ancient history. He now works on the history of ancient Italy and Roman law, as well as the Renaissance, where his interests lie in the beginnings of epigraphy and archaeology as sciences. Currently he is working on a book on the relations between Italy and Rome from the fourth century B.C. to Augustus. Another recent work, his Roman Statutes, a corpus of legislation passed through the Roman assemblies, “will underlie all future work in Roman legal history” as a reviewer in the Journal of Roman Studies portents.

Crawford is currently the Director of the Projet Volterra, a collaborative project with the Ecole Française de Rome on late Roman law, and he is also collaborating in the publication of the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo in the Royal Collections in England. As a field archaeologist, Crawford has excavated at Fregellae, in Liguria, and at Veleia, and currently directs the San Martino Project in Piedmont.

ANS Conference on The Heritage of Sasanian Iran: Dinars, Drahms and Coppers of the Sasanian and early Muslim Periods

Sasanian coins and their subsequent Muslim, Dabuyid and Hunnic imitations formed an important part of the monetary systems of late antique and early medieval Iran. Late Sasanian coins became the pre-eminent silver coinage in the Near East during this period. The early Muslims in Iran and dynasts of northern and eastern Iran later copied the main outlines of these coins while creating distinct provincial and regional coinages. The coins today represent documents of social, political and economic life at a time of great cultural efflorescence as well as social and political change.

The conference invites papers treating any aspect of Sasanian and early Muslim coins of Iran as artifacts of civilization and culture. The topics of papers may be numismatic, historical or art historical. They may examine problems in the reading and interpretation of the Pahlavi and Arabic legends or the iconography, the representation of sovereignty, Zoroastrianism and Islam, or the production, use and regulation of these coinages.

The conference will also feature a workshop in reading the Pahlavi legends on these coins and a roundtable for the discussion of issues of common interest and coins if anyone wishes to bring them in.

The conference will take place June 19-20, 2003 and is co-sponsored by The Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University and the ANS. Queries and abstracts should be sent by e-mail to Dr. Stuart D. Sears at or Dr. Michael L. Bates at or by mail to: Dr. Stuart D. Sears, The American University in Cairo, Department of Arabic Studies, Box 2511, Cairo, Egypt 11511. Communications by e-mail are preferred. Abstracts must be submitted by March 1, 2003.

From the Executive Director (Winter 2002)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

We at the ANS are proud to present to your our third issue of the ANS Magazine. Our cover story features the largest-ever gold hoard found in Israel, which will also be showcased as the first of a series of new short-term displays at our Federal Reserve Bank exhibition Drachmas, Doubloons and Dollars: A History of Money. The opening date of the gold hoard display, a joint ANS-Israel Antiquities Authority project, is January 14th. I hope that you will have a chance to see this amazing hoard of over 700 gold coins, as well as some of the other artifacts that were found along with it.

It is with the generous help of the Bank, that we now have three separate cases for special, short-term displays. We hope that this space can be used to show ANS curators’ research in progress, new acquisitions, travel exhibitions from other museums or ANS members’ collections. If you have any ideas for future exhibits, please let us know. Since the opening in January 2002, our exhibition at the Fed has become quite popular, not only with those visiting New York City, but also with local schools and even childrens’ birthday parties!

Another item sure to make the bank exhibit still more popular is the long-term loan of the 1933 Double Eagle, which sold at Sotheby’s last July for a record sum of $7,590,020. It will join the other extraordinary coins and objects on view, many of which, like this coin, are the centerpieces of great stories. We are most grateful to the anonymous owner of the 1933 Double Eagle for placing it on exhibition and thus making it available for everyone to enjoy and study.

This issue of the magazine contains a draft of the new ANS By-Laws proposed by the Governance Committee and the Advisory Committee. Over the last few years, it has become apparent that the existing By-Laws needed to be updated and brought in line with similar institutions. As editor of the ANS Magazine I felt that it was important to print this rather long document, which should reach as many members as possible. Please take this opportunity to read through it and send your comments and suggestions to us.

We also welcome any other comments or letters, which we will publish. The next ANS Magazine will appear in the spring.

The ANS staff and I wish all of you all the best for the holidays and the New Year!

Yours truly
Ute Wartenberg Kagan