Review: Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money

Adnan Djaroueh. Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money. Beirut: Dar al Mourad, 2005. Hb., 594pp., color illus. throughout. ISBN 9953-406-13-8. $160.00. Available from the author at http://www.syrianpapermoney.com.

While interest in the study of the world’s paper currency has grown steadily since the late twentieth century and continues to expand, the issues of the modern Middle East have sometimes failed to garner the same close attention as the traditionally more popular issues of Europe and East Asia. While there is no doubt that the current crises in Iraq and Palestine will make Middle Eastern notaphily a topical pursuit, to date there have been very few specialized catalogues published that offer detailed coverage of the notes issued by the various political and banking entities of the region. Adnan Djaroueh’s new work attempts to improve this situation by providing a thorough and stunningly produced look at the paper money of Syria from the time of the French mandate (1919-1942) down to 1998.

Before launching into the study of the notes, the author provides a historical overview of paper money in Syria from the issues of the Banque imperiale ottomane used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while the region still formed part of the dying Ottoman Empire, to the colonial paper money of the French mandate (1920-1942), to the various notes issued by Syrian banks after the state claimed its independence in 1942. Here Djaroueh does an admirable job of contextualizing Syrian currency not only from a historical perspective but also with respect to the several coinages and foreign paper money that circulated alongside—or in place of it—at various times.

The first chapter serves to introduce the design and political circumstances of paper money issued for use in Syria. Using an impressive array of printer’s proofs, primarily for the 1919 and 1920 Banque de Syrie issues and the Banque centrale de Syrie/Central Bank of Syria emissions of 1958 and 1966, as well as a sampling of specimen notes, the author charts the development of Syrian banknote designs prior to printing. A table of signatures appearing on Syrian paper money from 1919 to 1998 is also provided to aid in issue identification. Particularly valuable for the specialist is the inclusion of a large dossier of laws, decrees, and resolutions relating to Syrian currency of the French mandate period and the modern Syrian republic.

While this chapter provides much useful background information on the production and issue of paper money in Syria, we would have liked to have seen some detailed discussion of overprinting and the reissue of older emissions. The various political crises that afflicted Syria during the French mandate and the early independent period meant that the currency was frequently subject to revalidation through overprinting until the formation of the Central Bank of Syria in 1958.

In chapter 2, the author catalogues some two hundred individual issues of Syrian paper money, beginning with the 5 piastres of 1919 issued by the Banque de Syrie and concluding with the Central Bank of Syria’s 500 Syrian pounds of 1998. The currency of the late Ottoman period is excluded from the catalogue, since it was not issued specifically for use in Syria. Likewise, the Egyptian pound, initially used in Syria between the collapse of Ottoman authority in the region and the French mandate, is not listed, as its circulation in Syria was largely a stopgap measure. The 1949 Bon de Caisse provisional issues of 250 and 500 livres are also omitted because they were almost immediately withdrawn from circulation in accordance with the legislation of August 6, 1950. Besides, as these issues were really filled-out forms rather than the usual paper money, they belong somewhat more to the purview of the scripophile than the notaphile.

The face and back of each catalogued note are fully described and, perhaps most importantly, illustrated by beautiful color photographs in 1:1 scale, or more frequently, in enlargements. The quality of the photography is superlative and raises the bar of excellence for all future currency catalogues. After feasting on the vibrant colors and sharp definition of the notes illustrated in the Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money, it is very difficult to go back to looking at photographs in earlier works on paper money without some sense of disappointment and longing for images like those that Djaroueh has now provided. We hope that other cataloguers will take note.

Among the many highlights of the catalogue are the rare 500-piastres note issued by the Banque de Syrie in 1920 (SY 17), the 25 livres provisional issue of Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban of 1939 (SY 46), and an undenominated, unsigned, and undated specimen note of the Bon de Caisse branch of the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban (SY 103). Also of interest to specialists in monetary stamps is the full run of undated provisional timbres fiscals of the early Syrian Republic (c. 1942) (SY 89-93).

The third and final chapter is dedicated to the security features found on Syrian currency. Until the late 1990s, the primary security feature was the watermark, which frequently depicted the head of an Arabian horse but sometimes also various images of ancient Syrian artefacts or the portrait of President Hafez al-Assad (1971-2000), whose cult of personality dominated the Syrian political landscape in the late twentieth century. Here the author provides a table of all the watermarks with enlarged photographs of each type. The issues of 1997 and 1998 receive a special section of their own, because they included a number of additional modern safeguards such as microprinting, a foil security thread, and a see-through rendering of the Syrian coat-of-arms.

The book concludes with an index and table listing the various issues by year and denomination, as well as an index of architectural monuments and artefacts depicted in the vignettes and watermarks of Syrian currency. In keeping with the rest of the volume, even the indices are lavishly illustrated. Both issue indices include thumbnail images of the notes in question, while the index of monuments includes small sepia-toned photographs of the real buildings and objects illustrated on the money. The latter are especially helpful for those wishing to make comparison with their artistic rendering as vignettes.

The only real drawback to the present work is the fact that it is written almost entirely in Arabic, with English parallel text provided only for the foreword, prelude, and indices of emissions and denominations. This is somewhat unfortunate, because this subject is not only of interest to specialists in Middle Eastern currencies, who are likely to have Arabic reading knowledge, but also to students of the broader monetary history of the French colonial empire, who perhaps may not have such a solid grasp of Arabic. Thankfully, the author is presently working on a full English translation, which will do much to increase the accessibility of the Encyclopedia. Still, anyone with access to the second and third volumes of Pick’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money should have little difficulty navigating the present catalogue, but without Arabic they will miss out on the majority of Djaroueh’s introductory text, as well as the commentary on security features, vignette sources, and the dossier of documents relating to Syrian paper money.

Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that Adnan Djaroueh’s book is a monumental work that lays the foundation for future research on the money of modern Syria. While it is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of any notaphile, its large size (32 x 28 cm) and beautiful execution also make the Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money an appropriate book to grace the the coffee table. Because of its extremely high production values, it is not only a pleasure for one to read, but also for one to be seen reading it.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Archivist’s News (Winter 2006)

by Joseph Ciccone

The New York Numismatic Society and the Revival of the ANS

One of the more historically valuable groups of records that we have in the ANS Archives is our set of minute books. These books document the earliest meetings of the Society—and of the organization with which it merged in 1866, the New York Numismatic Society.

The New York Numismatic Society was formed in Manhattan in January 1864. The ANS itself had been founded several years before, in April 1858, becoming the first such organization in New York. In fact, it was only the second numismatic society in the United States, the Philadelphia Numismatic Society having been founded in December 1857.

Although the ANS initially met with great success, it entered a dormant period after 1859. There are a number of possible reasons for this—the lack of a permanent home and the hotly contested national election of 1860 being two. Regardless of the reason, however, the result was still the same: after October 1859, the ANS stopped holding meetings.


Robert Hewitt, Jr., undated. The new society initially met in Hewitt’s home. (ANS Archives)

This was still true in January 1864—almost five years later—when eleven individuals gathered at the home of Robert Hewitt, Jr., at 32 West Twenty-first Street, to form a new numismatic organization. The driving force in arranging this initial meeting was Joseph N. T. Levick, a collector of U.S. tokens and large cents, and, later, founder of the American Journal of Numismatics. In January 1864, however, Levick was twenty-nine years old and a veteran of the Union Army, in which he had served from 1861 until May 1863. A native Philadelphian, he had moved to New York City around 1860—thus he had not been involved with the ANS during its initial burst of activity in 1858 and 1859. Also at the at January meeting was Frank Norton. Unlike Levick, Norton had been very involved with the ANS during 1858 and 1859; he had succeeded Augustus Sage as Corresponding Secretary when the latter resigned from that position in November 1858.


Joseph N. T. Levick, undated. Levick was the driving force behind the creation of the New York Numismatic Society. (ANS Archives)

The minutes of the New York Numismatic Society indicate that Norton spoke briefly “concerning the past and present condition of the old American Numismatic Society.” After his speech (or despite it, perhaps), the attendees decided to proceed with forming their own group and agreed to meet again two weeks later, on February 6, to draft a constitution and take further action.

Before that February 6 meeting, Norton apparently was busy contacting colleagues: on February 5, he met with five other men at the home of Dr. George Perine for the first meeting of the American Numismatic Society in almost five years. Of those in attendance, only Edward Groh, in addition to Norton, had previously been involved with the ANS. According to the minutes, the main topic of conversation at that February 5 meeting was Norton’s report that he “had received an invitation and had attended a meeting for the purpose of forming a Society to be called the ‘New York Numismatic Society.’” By the end of the meeting, Norton had agreed to approach Levick and the others in the new society to see if the two groups could merge.

Based on the New York Numismatic Society minute books, it does not appear that Norton ever attended another meeting of that group. He is certainly not listed as a founder in its Constitution. Nonetheless, he does appear to have met with Levick or some other representative of the NYNS, because on February 18 he reported at another meeting of the ANS that he had approached members of the NYNS but that “no arrangement concerning a junction of the two Societies could be effected.”

From that point, the two organizations continued on separate paths. By March 1864, the revived ANS had met a number of times and was quickly reorganizing itself. Officers from the 1858-1859 period, like President Robert J. Dodge, were contacted to see if they wished to remain active in the reformed Society. For those, including Dodge, who could no longer participate, successors were chosen. Frank Norton was elected President. By April, the Society had completed work on a revised Constitution.

At the same time, the NYNS membership was busy drafting its own constitution and bylaws. Although Levick was the chief proponent of the NYNS, he did not run for office. Instead, the presidency was filled by William C. Prime, a professor of art history at Princeton University and editor of the New York Journal of Commerce. Both the governing structure and membership classes of the NYNS were similar to those of the ANS, although there was no overlap in membership, at least initially.

The NYNS minute book ends after April 1864, with that organization having drafted a constitution and bylaws, elected officers, and begun work on a new seal. It is unclear whether the NYNS discontinued activities after that meeting or whether they continued to meet but just did not record subsequent meetings in the minute book. Regardless, even if the NYNS did exist for only four months, it had a significant influence on the future of the ANS. First and foremost, its very existence was the impetus for reviving the ANS from its long dormancy. The NYNS also eventually contributed its membership to the ANS. Most famously, Joseph N. T. Levick would join the ANS in December 1866 and within four months propose the creation of the American Journal of Numismatics. Levick subsequently served as ANS Treasurer from 1867 through 1874. Robert Hewitt, Jr., at whose house the first meeting of the NYNS was held, would join the ANS in February 1866 and serve as a vice president from 1880 through 1885. William C. Prime would serve as a vice president from 1867 to 1868.

As for the NYNS itself, that organization was formally dissolved in July 1886 and its assets merged with the ANS. Therein lies the final contribution of that entity to the ANS, because by the spring of the following year, the ANS had invested the monies it received from the sale of the NYNS’s assets and created the Society’s first permanent fund: the New York Numismatic Society Fund.


Minute book of the New York Numismatic Society. (ANS Archives)

Library News (Winter 2006)

by Francis Campbell

The Librarian is pleased to report that, in late July, the position of Cataloger was filled with the hiring of Oleg Medvedev. A description of Oleg’s background can be found in the “News” section of the Magazine.

As might be expected, the Library experienced a high level of activity during the summer months while the Graduate Seminar was in session. The eight students and visiting scholar, Andrew Meadows, Curator of Greek Coins at the British Museum, made full use of our open stacks, auction holdings, and rare-book holdings. Dr. Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, who also visited during the summer, spent almost two weeks in the Library researching the ancient coins of Greek Cyrenaica, the Libyans, and Salamis. He was preparing die-studies of these coinages and was pleased to find a number of references among the auction catalogues, many of which were not readily available elsewhere. Donald Ariel, of the Israel Antiquities Department, also spent a day doing research.


Samuel Thompson’s screw press (p. 27).

Library Manuscript to Provide Source of Publication

Fortunately, for those who cannot easily visit the Library, some of its rare holdings have been made more accessible through publication. A recent example is the Society’s publication of a library manuscript authored by Damon G. Douglas, which resulted in the volume entitled “The Copper Coinage of the State of New Jersey,” edited by Gary Trudgen. In the planning stages is another work to be published in connection with the fiftieth-year commemoration celebration of The Colonial Newsletter. The celebration will take place in the year 2010, so CNL editor Gary Trudgen and the editorial staff wish to publish a transcribed and annotated version of Samuel Thompson’s 1783 manuscript entitled An Essay on Coining (see title page photo). This unique manuscript, which now resides in the Library’s Rare Book Room, will thus become accessible to a much wider audience as a Society publication. The original is a holographic manuscript—entirely handwritten with hand-drawn sketches, by Samuel Thompson, Die-Sinker. It appears from the text that the manuscript was prepared in Dublin, Ireland.


Title page of Thompson’s “Essay” (p. 1).

Over the years, Thompson’s “Essay” has been a source of illustrations for several authors in their writings on minting techniques and technology during the second half of the eighteenth century. Don Taxay employed Thompson’s illustrations in his The U.S. Mint and Coinage (1966), and Richard Doty included a Thompson plate in his Money of the World (1978). Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents, 1793-1814 (2000), edited by Mark Borckardt, also included illustrations that originally appeared in Thompson’s “Essay.” However, it was Jim Spilman who drew most heavily from the manuscript in his four-part article entitled “An Overview of Early American Coinage Technology,” which ran from April 1982 to July 1983 in four consecutive issues of The Colonial Newsletter. In attempting to gather information that could be used in reconstructing an early American mint, Spilman found the Thompson manuscript most useful in that it was dated 1783, within the period in which he was interested, and it seemed to have been produced to serve as a technical supporting document to a coinage proposal of some sort. Among the illustrations discussed by Spilman are three major coining devices: the screw press, the planchet cutting press, and the rolling mill (see photos). In comparing the illustrations found in the Essay with similar illustrations from other sources, such as Denis Diderot’s L’Encyclopedie (c. 1770), wherein some nineteen plates are used to illustrate the topic “monnoyage,” Spilman was successful in gathering sufficient data to achieve his reconstruction of an Early American mint that included the experimental usage of tools and metals closely representing those available during the 1785 to 1788 time period. He concluded that “Samuel Thompson described such an undertaking to process not only copper coinage but gold and silver as well.” Spilman asks whether Thompson’s purpose was only to document the technology of the times, as was Diderot’s, or was he seeking to establish a working mint someplace in Ireland? He concludes: “Perhaps we may never find out, but nevertheless his manuscript serves us well today as we attempt to tie together all of the bits and pieces provided by others.” Some of Spilman’s questions may well be answered when the transcribed and annotated edition of Samuel Thompson’s An Essay on Coining is published.

One of those who contributed information to the Spilman article mentioned above was Richard Picker, of whom Spilman says: “He was continually searching, finding and sharing his discoveries with others and he never failed to provide assistance when it was requested.” Coincidentally, among our recent library acquisitions is a numismatic photo file that came from the estate of Richard Picker. This pictorial record of early American coins, donated to the Library by Anthony Terranova, should prove a valuable resource for the Colonial collector. Included in the file are photos that Picker exchanged with Eric P. Newman. Also acquired recently are a group of works that come from the auction sale of the Joel L. Malter Numismatic Library, conducted by Malter Galleries in June. Approximately half of the twelve lots acquired are devoted to metrology, and among these was a quite rare treatise on Roman weights by Anton Guse, published in 1782 (see photo). The purchase of these lots was made possible through a generous donation to the Bass Library Fund by ANS trustee Charles C. Anderson.


Samuel Thompson’s planchet press (p. 23).


Samuel Thompson’s rolling mill (p. 19).


Treatise on Roman weights by Anton Guse.

Technology News (Winter 2006)

by Bennett Hiibner

ANS Lectures Now Available Via Live Webcasts

Starting last July with a limited audience at the first Numismatic Conversation, the ANS began testing live webcasts of its lectures held in New York. After several successful tests, the ANS officially rolled out its webcast capability with the Archer M. Huntington Award, the Margaret Thompson Memorial Lecture, and the Stack Family Coinage of the America’s Conference (COAC). COAC webcast viewers were able to both see and hear more than six hours of talks, PowerPoint slides, and notes during the day-long event. Now ANS members who are unable to make it into the city can tune in to live ANS events from the comfort of their computer.

As can be seen in these screenshots taken at the recent COAC event, webcast viewers can simultaneously see live video of the presenter, a close-up view of the coin under discussion, and the same PowerPoint slideshow that the on-site audience is viewing, all while using text messaging to ask the presenter questions or chat with others logged on to the webcast (Figs. 1-3). To listen to the audio portion of the event, Web participants are given two options: telephone audio conference and VoIP. Although the telephone audio conference option requires using a separate telephone line for the audio portion of the conference, it guarantees that the audio will be real-time and allows users to participate with comments and questions during the presentations. The VoIP, which routes the audio through your computer speakers or headphones, may be slightly delayed, but it is more convenient for those who do not want to tie up a telephone line while watching the event.

We expect to announce the availability of these lectures on DVD soon, and in the future we hope to roll out a lecture-on-demand service via the Web. We plan on webcasting most of the future Numismatic Conversations and lectures that are held at the ANS. You can check the schedule of upcoming Web programs at http://numismatics.webex.com/.

Using WebEx as our webcast platform will enable us to reach a broad audience of users with a minimum of in-house technology infrastructure. WebEx also extends knowledgeable live technical support twenty-four hours a day to our webcast viewers and supports both Windows and Mac clients. In addition, WebEx is corporation friendly and is usually available to viewers behind corporate firewalls. The hardware requirements are fairly modest, so you don’t need a state-of-the-art PC in order to view the ANS webcasts, although a high-speed Internet connection is recommended.

Hardware Requirements for Windows Users

  • Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP
  • Intel x86 (Pentium 400MHZ+) or compatible processor
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or 6, Mozilla 1.6 or later, or Netscape 4.7, 7.x
  • JavaScript and cookies enabled

Hardware Requirements for Mac OS Users

  • Mac OS 10.2.x or later
  • Internet Explorer 5.2 or Safari 1.1 or later
  • JavaScript and cookies enabled

Users can test their systems prior to future ANS webcasts by logging in to the WebEx test meeting at http://developers.webex.com/api/jointest/index.php.


Fig. 1: Oliver Hoover’s presentation at COAC


Fig. 2: Roger Siboni’s presentation at COAC


Fig. 3: Vicken Yegparian’s presentation at COAC

Current Cabinet Activities (Winter 2006)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

Rambling South of the Border

We’ve seen much activity in the Coin Room this past year in connection with the American Numismatic Society’s fine collection of Hispanic-related coinages. For the cabinet as a whole, requests for information or for photographs of certain series are fairly routine (think “pieces of eight” or “doubloons”). But various other series are apparently becoming more popular all the time, as the world grows technologically closer—and as “Americans” become increasingly aware of the Spanish background and heritage that has infused the history of the United States. As I mentioned in the last edition of this column, we are obliged to the expertise of specialist dealer Mike Dunigan, of Fort Worth, Texas, for a suite of corrections and emendations concerning some of the Spanish-American colonial coins. These pieces had been added to the cabinet over many years, but had not yet benefited from more recent advances in knowledge or from such a discerning eye! As I worked on updating our records accordingly, I thought members might enjoy sharing in some of the resulting improvements. Other inquiries, research and photographic requests, and our own cataloguing efforts among the Hispanic and Latin American issues will complete our foray “South of the Border” in the great ANS cabinet!

A Singular Rarity

Undoubtedly the most important discovery made by Dunigan in the ANS trays is an odd silver 2-reales piece of Charles III (1759-1788), believed to be unique! (Fig. 1). Thanks to archival detective work conducted by Venezuelan numismatic researcher Tomás Stohr, it has been revealed that there was a special lightweight Mexican issue minted expressly for Venezuela and the neighboring islands in 1786 and 1787. The underweight issue was described in archival documentation as “la moneda Provincial que se está fabricando en esta Real Casa para Caracas, e Islas de Barlovento” (“Provincial coinage made in this royal mint for Caracas and the Barlovento Islands”; that is, the area at one time encompassing all the Spanish-occupied Windward Islands of the Caribbean) (Stohr, 61).


Fig. 1. Mexico (for Venezuela). Charles III. AR 2 reales, 1787, FM. Spanish colonial special issue, minted in Mexico City, the capital of the viceroyalty of New Spain, for provincial circulation in the Captaincy-general of Venezuela (Stohr, 46-66; cf. Cayon 10905). (ANS 1935.119.9, purchase) 26.2 mm.

In order to try to mitigate a dearth of circulating coinage in Caracas and its environs, toward the end of 1785 the governor of that city had petitioned for the minting of up to two million pesos-worth of coins to facilitate commercial transactions and to promote enterprise. So as to promote local circulation, however, he requested that the coins be intrinsically valued at about 40 percent below their notional denominations—in effect, that they be underweight replicas of the standard series, or, in other words, official counterfeits!

Initially, the idea seemed a feasible expedient, and the project progressed through the necessary stages of bureaucratic review and recommendation. Eventually, a Royal Ordinance of December 25, 1786, decreed the minting of 1/2-, 1-, and 2-reales pieces at 40 percent below standard weight, and a further ordinance of February 3, 1787, directed the immediate production of 200,000 pesos-worth of coins, which were reported shipped on April 16, 1787. Presumably to cut expenses and to protect their seigneurage profit margins, the Mexican mint appears to have utilized the same puncheons to cut the dies for these coins as employed for the regular series. Not surprisingly, some other royal officials, in particular Ignacio Peñalver y Cárdenas, the captain-general and governor of Cuba, became alarmed by the possibility of the damaging effects that this strange coinage could have on credit and commerce outside the immediate areas of concern. Upon further reflection, in an ordinance of August 20, 1787, the king commanded the cessation and refunding of the entire coinage, which was subsequently recalled and reported melted in 1788 (Stohr, 63-66).

Through painstaking research, Stohr identified forty-three official documents pertaining to this peculiar coinage while working in the archives of Seville, Mexico City, Bogotá, Popayán, and Caracas (56-57). But actual specimens of the Venezuelan provincial coinage remained unrecognized and thus unrepresented by surviving examples until only recently. After many years of searching, Stohr was able to find one example of a 1-real coin that matched the specifications of the Royal Ordinance of December 25, 1786. This piece, dated 1787 and weighing 2.02 g, was intermediate in diameter between the standard 1- and the half-real coins, which respectively weigh 3.38 and 1.01 g. A 40-percent-underweight 4-reales piece was mentioned in archival documentation, and a single 1786-dated 8-reales piece surfaced at auction not long ago—both evidently minted in contravention of the original authorization, which did not include these denominations—but no specimens of the medio-real or of the 2-reales have been reported heretofore.

At 4.063 g, the ANS coin, which is over two grams too light for the normal vice-regal series of 2-reales pieces (6.76 g.), perfectly demonstrates the nature of this enigmatic coinage. A note in the ANS database had recorded that this specimen “might be a contemporary counterfeit, but [is] more likely to be a mint error; the punches and the die work matches [sic]. The edge is excellent. The details are in very strong relief, as would happen when dies strike a thin planchet, e.g. a cliché.” In all respects save that of its weight, this coin equates with the standard issues minted under the supervision of Francisco Arance y Cobos (F) and Mariano Rodriquez (M), the two ensayadores (the official, die-signing “assayers”) responsible for both series. Stohr studied the collections in the museum cabinets in London, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Luxemburg, Rome, Vienna, Munich, Bogotá, and Caracas, but somehow overlooked the ANS holdings, so Dunigan’s identification of this piece constitutes a landmark discovery in Venezuelan numismatics.

Mexican Issues of Philip II

Philip II ruled from 1556 to 1598, at the height of the Spanish empire’s extent and glory. His coinage issues are large and interesting. In the ANS trays, Dunigan pointed out several reattributions and called my attention to some other pieces with noteworthy features minted during Philip’s reign over Mexico. Two pieces were 1-real issues, one of the assayer O (Bernardo de Oñate), who continued under Philip from the reign of Charles I, and the other of the joint assayers F and D (Francisco de Morales and Francisco de Quintana Dueñas), who may have been striking during the reign of Philip III. The first of these is of a seemingly unpublished variety, a coin struck from an obverse die that was perhaps recut with the intention of turning it into a die for 2-reales pieces; it is possible to discern, on the left of the royal arms on the obverse, o/M/o, while on the right, a “I” (or possibly a “II”) can be discerned as having been cut over an O, above which is a small o (Fig. 2). The second is a scarce issue that had not previously been noted as such (Fig. 3). An additional issue of Philip noted is another Oñate coin, a 4-reales that had lacked a full description (Fig. 4). A helpful reference for the identification and elucidation of early Spanish series and the varieties minted by the colonial assayers (ensayadores) is the new ANS publication Cobs, Pieces of Eight, and Treasure Coins: The Early Spanish-American Mints and Their Coinages, 1536-1773, by Sewall Menzel.


Fig. 2. Mexico. Philip II. AR real, assayer O, with recut I (or II) over O. (ANS 1938.26.25, purchase) 23.7 mm.


Fig. 3. Mexico. Philip II. AR real, assayers F and D. (ANS 0000.999.19767) 20.9 mm.


Fig. 4. Mexico. Philip II. AR 4 reales, assayer O. (ANS 1001.1.9580, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 32.2 mm.

Philip III and Early Dated Mexican Coins

With the reign of Philip III (1598-1622), we encounter coins of more unkempt appearance, the so-called cobs or macuquinas. But this decline in general technical quality was somewhat offset by the concomitant introduction of well-struck, fully round coins often referred to by collectors and students as “royals.” Dates first appeared on Mexican coins of Francisco de Morales under Philip III, in 1607, but are not commonly seen, especially on the smaller denominations. Attributions remain difficult, so help like Dunigan’s is most welcome. Among the various issues in the ANS trays, he noted a couple of half-real issues of Philip III that had been assigned to Philip V (1700-1746) and a 1-real of assayer F that had been assigned to Philip II (Figs. 5, 6, 7). He also questioned a 2-reales in a box designated assayer P, assigned to Philip IV (1622-1665), identifying it as an earlier issue, of assayer D, Diego de Godoy (who minted for Philip III through 1621, but worked from 1618 to 1634, thus continuing into the reign of Philip IV) (Fig. 8). We may note for later reference that “P” has been classified as an unidentified individual who seems to have served as a lieutenant for chief assayer Sebastián Carrillo Maldonado and perhaps others between 1634 and 1665 (Menzel, 96). Cataloguing improvements of these kinds may seem insignificant, but can be crucial for research (Figs. 5, 6, 7, 9).


Fig. 5. Mexico. Philip II. AR half real, assayer F. (ANS 1992.1.29, gift of Mark and Lottie Salton, in memory of Felix Schlessinger) 17.7 mm.


Fig. 6. Mexico. Philip III. AR half real. (ANS 1934.1.669, purchase, ex Julius Guttag) 17.8 mm.


Fig. 7. Mexico. Philip. III. AR real, assayer F (ca. 1615). (ANS 1938.26.24, purchase) 22.6 mm.


Fig. 8. Mexico. Philip III. AR real, 1621, assayer D. (ANS 1918.169.117, gift of Howland Wood) 20.3 mm.


Fig. 9. Mexico. Philip III. AR 2 reales, assayer D. (c. 1618-1621). (ANS 0000.999.19777) 29.4 mm.

Two other coins of Philip III may be mentioned here as well. They are, first, a 1-real of Diego de Godoy, upon which Dunigan identified the date 1621 (Fig. 8). The second piece is a particularly interesting 2-reales of D’s colleague F, Francisco de Morales. On this latter coin, the “2” (rendered as “Z”) indicating the denomination appears to be cut over a “1” (rendered as “I”), so as to have turned a die for the 1-real into one for minting the 2-reales pieces (Fig. 10). Whereas the date range for this issue is known to run from 1614 to 1617, the 2-reales denominational designation is only known on a 1615-dated coin of assayer F. Dunigan considers this coin one of the best in the cabinet.


Fig. 10. Mexico. Philip III. AR 2 reales, assayer F (ca. 1615). (ANS 1918.169.118, gift of Howland Wood) 26.6 mm.

Mexican Issues of Philip IV, Philip V, and Louis I

Many of the coins of Philip IV are very difficult to distinguish from those of Philip III—particularly when the dates are lacking, as is often the case. Dunigan reclassified a number of pieces in the trays and added clarification on others. Four of these are the small, rude half-real pieces: two issues of assayer P dating to the 1660s, one lacking indication of both date and assayer and the other a nice circular piece, comparable to the “royals,” but formerly assigned to Philip V (Figs. 11, 12, 13, 14). Dunigan dated a 1-real of assayer P to 1636-1654, and also attributed to this issue a 2-reales of the same assayer (Figs. 15, 16).


Fig. 11. Mexico. Philip IV. AR half real, 1662, assayer P. (ANS 1918.169.122, gift of Howland Wood) 17.5 mm.


Fig. 12. Mexico. Philip IV. AR half real, 1664, assayer P (the unclear date is probably actually an over-date, possibly 1664/2 or 1662/3/4). (ANS 1939.116.37, purchase) 19.3 mm.


Fig. 13. Mexico. Philip IV. AR half real, date and assayer not present. (ANS 1918.169.121, gift of Howland Wood) 14.4 mm.


Fig. 14. Mexico. Philip IV. AR half real, assayer D (1622-1634), round “cob.” (ANS 1949.131.25, gift of G. C. Martin) 17.0 mm.


Fig. 15. Mexico. Philip IV. AR real, assayer P (1636-1665). (ANS 1919.48.10, purchase, Avery Fund) 20.0 mm.


Fig. 16. Mexico. Philip IV. AR 2 reales, assayer P; two holes. (ANS 0000.999.19778) 37.0 mm.

The coins of Philip V are generally easier to distinguish as long as the necessary details are visible. Specifically, a small escutcheon at the center of the Spanish coat of arms bears the three lilies—fleurs-de-lis—emblematic of the monarch’s descent from the Bourbon kings of France. Among the half-real pieces, Dunigan noted a coin of the assayer L (Martín López, 1702-1705) that had been erroneously attributed to Philip IV, and a 1701-dated issue on which the last “1” is seen to have been cut into the die over a “0” (Figs. 17, 18). He noted a “cob” 1-real with an unusually square-cut flan as well as an 8-reales of extraordinarily irregular shape, lacking both date and assayer’s mark, misattributed to Charles II (1665-1700) (Figs. 19, 20). Another issue of Philip, an 8-reales piece, might actually be a coin of his son Louis I (January-August 1724), although it had been misattributed as an issue of Philip IV; dated coins of this format range from 1724 to 1729, overlapping the brief reign of Louis (Fig. 21). Louis’ monogram was recut over that of Philip on the die used to strike a half-real piece on which the date and assayer are illegible, enabling us to identify it as a coin minted in 1724 (with the assayer having been either “J,” José Eustaquio de León y Losa (1705-1724), or “D,” Domingo García de Mendiola (1724-1729) (Fig. 22).


Fig. 17. Mexico. Philip V. AR half real, assayer L (1702-1705). (ANS 1949.131.11, gift of G. C. Martin) 16.7 mm.


Fig. 18. Mexico. Philip V. AR half real, 1731/0. (ANS 1949.131.23, gift of G. C. Martin) 13.9 mm.


Fig. 19. Mexico. Philip V. AR real, square flan. (ANS 1949.131.3, gift of G. C. Martin) 15.2 mm.


Fig. 20. Mexico. Philip V. AR 8 reales. (ANS 1964.198.2, purchase) 41.2 mm.


Fig. 21. Mexico. Philip V or Louis I. AR 8 reales, assayer D (1724-1729). (ANS 1969.222.1328, gift of P. K. Anderson) 43.5 mm.


Fig. 22. Mexico. Louis I. AR half real, monogram of Louis recut over monogram of Philip V (1724). (ANS 1951.135.3, gift of A. I. S. McNickle) 16 mm.

An outstanding example of a presentation strike of this era, a so-called royal, is a previously unpublished 1729-dated gold 8-escudos piece, which shows traces not only of an overdate, 1729 over 1727, but also a recut assayer’s initial, an “R” over a “D,” indicating Nicholas de Roxas (1729-1730) replacing Domingo García de Mendiola. This rare and impressive coin from the collection of the Hispanic Society was stolen in 1989 by ANS “benefactor” Dr. Juan B. Suros, but fortunately was recovered when the miscreant was apprehended! (Fig. 23). The first machine-made coins of Mexico appeared under Philip V, famously with the dos Mundos (or columnarios) issues of 1732, but earlier small silver issues were also minted by a “milling” process (called ingenio, in Spanish). A particularly noteworthy example is a half-real piece of 1714, produced by assayer J (José Eustaquio de León y Losa) (Fig. 24). Coins of this kind must presumably have been minted on some kind of small screw press. The dies are slightly out of alignment, with the axis at 11:00.


Fig. 23. Mexico. Philip V. AV 8 escudos “royal,” 1729/7, assayer R over D. (ANS 1001.1.25712, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 35 mm.


Fig. 24. Mexico. Philip V. AR half real, 1714, assayer J. (ANS 1934.93.4, exchange) 19.2 mm.

Plus Ultra: Other Regions and Later Time Periods

While examining the ANS Mexican collection, Dunigan noticed a number of coins that were really minted elsewhere in the Spanish Empire. Along with these, and the corrections now offered, we may make note of additional pieces that have been a part of recent cabinet activities as well. Dunigan pointed out a Spanish homeland half-real of Philip II from Madrid (Fig. 25). He also noted a Lima-mint half-real of Philip V or possibly of Ferdinand VI (1746-1759) and another Peruvian half-real he would attribute to Ferdinand although, here again, it might actually be a very similar issue of Philip V (Figs. 26, 27). Another useful observation made by Dunigan was his authentication of a Mexican Charles IV issue that had been donated by the infamous Dr. Juan B. Suros as a presumed fake. This felon had given to the ANS, among other items, what he believed to be a counterfeit 1760-dated Mexican 4-reales piece with the assayers’ initials MM (for Manuel de la Peña and Manuel Assorín). Happily, Dunigan is convinced that this specimen is in fact a genuine coin (Fig. 28).


Fig. 25. Spain. Philip II. AR half real, Madrid. (ANS 1001.1.27111, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 14.8 mm.


Fig. 26. Perú. Philip V. AR half real, Lima, 1720s? (possibly an issue of Ferdinand VI?) (ANS 1918.169.114, gift of Howland Wood) 16.5 mm.


Fig. 27. Perú. Ferdinand VI. AR half real, Lima (possibly an issue of Philip V?) (ANS 1918.169.116, gift of Howland Wood) 16.7 mm.


Fig. 28. Mexico. Charles III. AR 4 reales, 1760, MM. (ANS 1989.69.18, gift of Juan Suros) 32.9 mm.

For his ongoing research on counterfeiting in colonial and pre-federal British America, 2005 Archer M. Huntington Medal winner Dr. Philip L. Mossman requested images of a number of the contemporary forgeries in the cabinet, as well as images of some of the comparable genuine specimens. His archival investigations have revealed some very specific accounts of the counterfeiters’ products, which may well correspond to actual surviving specimens. Some of the contemporary counterfeits were quite deceptive, while others were rather crude and readily detectible. The ANS collection includes numerous examples of these interesting coins, largely of Mexican 8-reales and 2-reales imitations, but also of some other issues, such as Portuguese “Joes” that were commonly found in eighteenth-century commerce.


Fig. 29. Brazil. Joseph I. AV 6400 reis, 1767, Rio de Janeiro; contemporary counterfeit. Cf. KM 172.2. (ANS 1924.242.2, purchase) 31 mm.


Fig. 30. Perú (Bolivia). Charles III. AR 2 reales, 1773?, JR, Potosí; contemporary counterfeit. Unlisted in Kleeberg; cf. KM 53. (ANS 1947.47.459, purchase) 27.5 mm.


Fig. 31. Mexico. Charles III. AR 8 reales, 1771-FM. Cayon 11209; KM 105. (ANS 0000.999.434) 39.8 mm.

A handsome 1760 Peruvian silver proclamation medal of Charles III (1759-1789) rounds out our selection of some examples of the pieces I have enjoyed tracking down in recent months. Images of this splendid piece were requested by Barbara Salomane for use by Harcourt School Publishers in a forthcoming text. This specimen is part of the splendid series of Spanish medals often referenced by C. Wyllys Betts’s American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, which was the focus of the ANS Coinage of the Americas Conference in 2004. Along with other colonies, the Spanish viceroyalty of el Perú struck an extensive series of proclamations on the accession of Charles III, setting the stage for a considerable output—particularly from Potosí—of medallic issues thenceforward through the nineteenth century. At a weight of 13.846 g, this proclamation was in fact a version of a 4-reales piece or “commemorative half-dollar.” Its axis features the 12:00 “medal turn.” Its obverse bears the legend CAROLUS III HISPAN ET IND REX LIMA (in monogram) 1760 (“Charles III, king of Spain and the Indies”), with the bust of the king in a corded circle to right, wearing a peruke and a contemporary military uniform adorned with the order of the golden fleece. The reverse legend reads OPTIMO PRINC PUBL FIDELIT JURAM (“publicly we swear allegiance to the best prince”) around a double-headed eagle, crowned by a marquis’ coronet, with an oval shield on its breast bearing three crowns above a pomegranate flanked by K and I; to each side are the crowned pillars of Hercules garlanded with ribbons bearing the inscription PLUS VLTRA (“more beyond”); below, ocean waves (as on the contemporary colonial silver coins); just above the waves, below the eagle’s feet, are the words SUP VND (“over the waves”).


Fig. 32. Perú. Charles III. AR proclamation medal of broad 4-reales module, 1760, Lima mint. Betts 469; Fonrobert 8921. (ANS 1966.16.4, gift of R. Henry Norweb) 33 mm.

Bibliography for Further Reading

Betts, C. Wyllys. American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals. Glendale, N.Y.: Benchmark, 1970 (Repr., New York, 1894).

Cayón, Adolfo, et al. Las monedas españolas: del tremis al euro, del 411 a nuestros días. Madrid: Adolfo, Clemente and Juan Cayón Herrero, n.d.

Fonrobert, Jules. Die Jules Fonrobert’sche Sammlung überseeischer Münzen und Medaillen. Berlin: Adolph Weyl, 1878.

Grunthal, Henry, and Ernesto A. Sellschopp. The Coinage of Peru. Frankfurt: P. N. Schulten, 1978.

Kleeberg, John M. “Counterfeit 2-reales of the Bust Type: Charles III, Charles IV, Ferdinand VII, 1771-1821: A Survey and a Die Study.” In Coinage of the Americas Conference: Circulating Counterfeits of the Americas (COAC 14, 1998), edited by John M. Kleeberg, 137-191. New York: American Numismatic Society, 2000.

KM: Krause, Chester L., et al. Standard Catalog of World Coins: Spain, Portugal, and the New World. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 2002.

Menzel, Sewall. Cobs, Pieces of Eight, and Treasure Coins: The Early Spanish-American Mints and Their Coinages, 1536-1773. New York: American Numismatic Society, 2004.

Sedwick, Daniel, and Frank Sedwick. The Practical Book of Cobs: History, Identification, Shipwrecks, Values, Market, Coin Photos. Winter Park, Fla.: D. Sedwick and F. Sedwick, 1995.

Stohr, Tomás. El circulante en la Capitanía General de Venezuela. Caracas: Banco Central de Venezuela, 2000.

From the Collections Manager (Winter 2006)

by Elena Stolyarik

Since the previous issue of the ANS Magazine, the departments have acquired, and the Collections Committee approved, a number of impressive purchases and several generous gifts.

From the Classical Numismatic Group Auction 142, the ANS obtained a fascinating electrum coin (no. 39) of uncertain type (Fig. 1). The coin had been identified originally as an Ionian half stater, but was reattributed by William Bubelis as a rare issue of c. 500 BC, from the mint city of Eion, in Macedonia.


Fig. 1. Macedonia. Eion. EL half stater, c. 500-450 BC (ANS 2006.35.1, purchase). 8.0 mm, 1.19 g.

By private arrangement, the ANS purchased an exquisite and extremely rare large cast bronze medallion by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (Fig. 2). This relief of Victory is dated to c. 1905 and related to the head of Victory that Saint-Gaudens modeled in connection with the monument of General Sherman. Charged by President Theodore Roosevelt to improve the quality of United States coinage, Saint-Gaudens sculpted a number of designs. His head of the figure of Victory from the General Sherman monument became a combination of Victory with Peace (NIKH-EIPHNH) and was proposed for the cent. It is important to mention that Saint-Gaudens, the designer of the United States’ most beautiful coins, was closely connected with the ANS and officially represented the Society at the Paris International Exposition of 1900.


Fig. 2. United States. Victory-Peace (NIKH-EIPHNH). Cast bronze medallion, c. 1905, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) (ANS 2006.37.1, purchase). 35.5 x 39.4 cm.

A group of twelve beautifully preserved and framed gilt bronze medals by Anthony De Francisci (1887-1964) was also acquired by purchase (Fig. 3). In the center of the presentation panel is a large (160 mm) uniface medallion dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, THE GREAT EMANCIPATOR, showing the president’s bust to right and his facsimile signature. Below it is a uniface medal of 1962, with an image of a beautiful female profile to left with the slogan, A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOR EVER. Among the other masterworks of De Francisci in this set are a commemorative medal dedicated to the American Civil War, depicting a cavalryman and uniformed bust of General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870); a medal commemorating completion of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant in 1963; an official 1964 New York World’s Fair medal; an award medal for “XCELLENCE” in physical science; as well as the bronze shells of a medal commemorating the Hundredth Anniversary of Public Service by the one of the largest chains of grocery stores in the United States, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P), with images of famous members of the Hartford family dynasty: George H. Hartford, John A. Hartford, and George L. Hartford.



Fig. 3. United States. Group of twelve framed gilt bronze medallions, by Anthony De Francisci (1887-1964) (ANS 2006.38.1-12, purchase). 21 1/8 x 36 7/8 inches, framed.

A fine addition to our medal collection came from ANS Life Fellow Frank L. Kovacs. This is a medal bearing a handsome, realistic image of antiquarian Charles Roach Smith (1807-1890), coauthor of Stevenson’s well-known Dictionary of Roman Coins as well as an early student of lead commercial seals (Fig. 4). The Smith medal was designed by John Pinches (1825-1905), a prominent British die engraver and medalist who worked for the Birmingham and British Royal Mints and founded the famous Pinches Medallions firm. Several variants of Pinches’ famous “Opening of the Crystal Palace” medals are in the ANS collection. This latest piece is a nice adjunct to our previous holdings of Pinches’ medallic works.


Fig. 4. Great Britain. London. Charles Roach Smith (1807-1890), bronze medal, 1890, by John Pinches (1825-1905) (ANS 2006.39.1, gift of Frank L. Kovacs). 57.1 mm.

A bronze Argentine medal of 1968, commemorating the Eighth International Regatta in Buenos Aires, was received by the Society from Richard Burnes (Fig. 5), while the North-West Territorial Mint kindly provided two pieces for our U.S. Medals collection. The first of these was a silver issue of the Illinois Commemorative Medallion Program, bearing an image of Abraham Lincoln. Jeff Murray, a graphic artist with Northwest Territorial, used for this medal a famous image of the sixteenth president beautifully sculpted by Charles Vickers (Fig. 6). The second medal of this donation, designed by Chief Designer of the Northwest Territorial Mint Steven R. Lundberg, is a “merlin gold” alloy (brass) example issued in 2000 to celebrate the sesquicentennial of California’s admission to the union in 1850 as the thirty-first state (Fig. 7). Entitled “Destiny,” this medal was dedicated to the people, both past and present, whose vision and hard work have led to the great destiny California enjoys.


Fig. 5. Argentina. Buenos Aires. The Eighth International Regatta. Bronze medal, 1968 (ANS 2006.40.1, gift of Richard Burnes). 61 mm.


Fig. 6. United States. The North-West Territorial Mint. Abraham Lincoln. Commemorative medallion, 2001. Silver proof, by Jeff Murray (ANS 2006.41.1, gift of North-West Territorial Mint). 39.4 mm.


Fig. 7. United States. The North-West Territorial Mint. “Destiny.” Official California Sesquicentennial Medallion. “Merlin gold” alloy (brass), 2000, by Steven R. Lundberg (ANS 2006.41.2, gift of North-West Territorial Mint). 39.1 mm.

Our collection of modern U.S. tokens acquired new examples from ANS fellow Anthony Terranova, while a generous donation of the modern coins of 2006 came from Dr. David Menchell. Among these are individual commemorative silver issues and proof mint sets, including Euro coinages (nickel-brass; cupro-nickel)—productions of the mints of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Luxemburg, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Current Exhibition

In November, ninety-three electrum and gold objects from the ANS’s ancient Greek, Roman, Medieval, Islamic, Latin American, and United States coin collections became a part of an exhibition entitled “Gold” at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City. This major featured exhibit reveals the role that this rare metal has played in the daily lives and cultural beliefs of people from ancient to modern times. The ANS coins (Figs. 8, 9, 10, 11), together with natural gold, treasures from shipwrecks, and extraordinary objects from Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and Peru, will be on display through August 2007.


Fig. 8. Asia Minor. Uncertain mint. EL stater, c. 600-500 BC (ANS 1967.152.433, Mrs. Adra M. Newell bequest). 18 mm.


Fig. 9. Attica. Athens. AV stater, c. 296-294 BC (ANS 1967.152.274, bequest of Adra M. Newell).


Fig. 10. Roman Empire. Caligula (AD 37-41). AV aureus. Lugdunum mint (ANS 1944.100.39330, bequest of Edward T. Newell). 19 mm.



Fig. 11. Colonial Brazil (under Portugal). John I. 1810. Gold bar no. 5756, 23 1/4 carat, 7 oitaves 54 graos. Obv.: Crowned arms of Portugal. Rev.: Portuguese globe emblem (ANS 1960.166.281, gift of B. Peyton). 15 x 75 x 2 cm.

In December, the Alexander S. Onassis foundation organized, with the collaboration of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, an exhibit on the two most prominent city-states of ancient Greece: Athens and Sparta. The exhibition examines the development and flourishing of the two cities, starting from the eighth century BC, their joint efforts during the Persian War, and, finally, their confrontation during the Peloponnesian War. Among ancient artifacts, many of which will travel abroad for the first time, are such treasures as the fifth-century BC marble bust of the helmeted Spartan warrior known as Leonidas, a fifth-century BC marble Athenian Kore from the Acropolis Museum, bronze figurines of hoplites from Sparta from the eighth to the sixth century BC, arrowheads and spearheads from the famous battlefield of Thermopylae, and a black-figure Laconian kylix of the sixth century BC from the Vatican Museums. Legendary objects from the American Numismatic Society, such as the Athenian decadrachm (Fig. 12) and the Kimonean decadrachm of Syracuse (Fig. 13), were lent to accompany these specimens. Together with numerous pieces from American, Greek, and European cultural institutions, the ANS’s coins will be on display in the Onassis Cultural Center in New York until May 2007.


Fig. 12. Attica. Athens. AR decadrachm, ca. 465 BC (ANS 1949.119.1, gift of Wayte Raymond, ex J.P. Morgan coll.). 39.020 g.


Fig. 13. Sicily. Syracuse. AR decadrachm of Kimon, ca. 405-400 BC (ANS 1944.100.55820, bequest of Edward T. Newell). 35 mm, 42.3 g.

News (Winter 2006)


Oleg Medvedev

The Position of Cataloger Filled

The Librarian is pleased to announce that in late July the position of Cataloger was filled with the hiring of Oleg Medvedev. Oleg, who received a master’s degree from the State University for History and Archives (Moscow), also received an advanced degree in anthropology from the Professional School of Advanced Studies (Paris). While living in France, he also attended the University of Nanterre, where he began his professional training as a librarian, and he has most recently obtained a master’s degree in library science from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois (Urbana). Oleg has worked previously as a cataloger in the Library of Musée Guimet (Paris) and the Interuniversity Library of Oriental Languages (Paris), specializing in the cataloging of Tibetan materials. He has also performed cataloging and indexing at the Center for Research Libraries (Chicago) and the American Theological Library Association (Chicago). His languages include native Russian and French, as well as English, Spanish, and Italian.

Andrew Meadows to Join ANS Staff

In April 2007, Andrew Meadows, curator at the British Museum, will be joining the staff as the second Margaret Thompson Curator of Ancient Greek Coins. Meadows, who expects to receive his Ph.D. from Oxford University in the coming year, has a long and varied publication record, which includes editing three volumes of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum series and coediting the Royal Numismatic Society’s Coin Hoards, volume 9 and volume 10 (forthcoming). He has published or contributed to the publication of eleven Greek and Roman hoards and has published die-studies of the coinages of Thasos, Cyzicus, Alexandria Troas, a royal Achaemenid mint, Miletus, Samos, Cos, Myndos, Stratonikeia, and Side. He is now preparing similar studies of the early mints of Sidon and Tyre, as well as full study of the coinage of Alabanda. Meadows is currently responsible for the publication of excavation coins from three sites in Egypt, the east harbor of Alexandria, Canopus, and Herakleion, has edited and contributed to a collection of essays on the subject of money use in the ancient Greek world, and is also contributing to and editing a volume that seeks to combine the latest numismatic scholarship with new epigraphic research on the Athenian Standards Decree.

Once he is settled, Meadows and Dr. Peter van Alfen plan to establish the Center for Hellenic Numismatic Studies at the ANS, which is intended to be the foremost research center for Greek numismatics and the ancient economy.

Van Alfen and Yetim Teaching at New York-Area Universities

For the spring 2007 semester, Dr. Peter van Alfen will be teaching a course at New York University entitled “Approaches to the Ancient Economy,” which will explore the theoretical and material bases for the study of ancient economic thought and action. Part of the course will introduce students to numismatics and offer them the opportunity to visit the ANS and see its holdings.

ANS Editor Dr. Müserref Yetim, who recently received her Ph.D. in government from the University of Texas at Austin, will be teaching “Introduction to International Relations” at the City University of New York (CUNY), Queens.

Heath and Wartenberg Kagan at Digital Coins Network Forum

On October 27 and 28, Drs. Sebastian Heath and Ute Wartenberg Kagan attended a workshop at the British Museum focused on the creation of shared standards for numismatic databases, hosted by Andrew Meadows, curator of Greek coins, and Charlotte Roueché, professor at Kings College, University of London. Curators and academics from British and continental institutions were in attendance and agreed to establish the “Digital Coins Network” as a forum for continuing discussion and action. Further information on the DCN is available at http://www.finds.org.uk/DCN. Funding for the workshop and for ongoing activities has been provided by the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Stack’s Chosen to Sell 101 Die Duplicates of United States Gold Coins from the ANS Collection

Stack’s has been chosen by the ANS Board of Trustees at its meeting on October 21, 2006, to be the auctioneer of selections of United States Gold Coins from the ANS Collection. Featured will be 101 carefully selected die duplicates representing all circulation-issue denominations, from the tiny Gold Dollar to the Double Eagle ($20 Gold), as well as commemorative gold coins, including four “slugs” or $50 gold pieces.

Stack’s CEO Lawrence R. Stack stated: “We were elated that the ANS has entrusted us with the sale of these coins. Having auctioned numismatic items from the collections of countless museums, historical societies, and other institutions similar to the ANS, we know that such decisions to sell are heart-wrenching for the institutions involved. Stack’s will ensure that the ANS coins get the treatment and exposure they deserve so as to maximize the benefit to the Society. This auction will be a significant event for all involved and represents Stack’s dedication to the continued success of the ANS.”

ANS members will have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: to add important specimens to their collections while supporting the growth and maintenance of the ANS’s core collections. ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan stated: “When making the selection of coins to deaccession, we chose only die duplicates of other coins in the collection. The sale of these duplicates will go far in endowing the ANS Collections Fund, which will allow generations of ANS administrations to expand the collections in poorly represented areas and to ensure that the collections are well maintained for the study and enjoyment of current and future generations of collectors and researchers.”

The auction is slated for the afternoon of January 11, 2007, before the annual ANS Gala Dinner honoring Chet Krause at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The coins will be available for viewing in Stack’s offices by appointment or during the scheduled exhibition times in January. Printed and online versions of the catalogue will be available in mid-December. For more information about this auction, please contact Lawrence R. Stack, Christine Karstedt, or Vicken Yegparian at Stack’s (800-566-2580), or Ute Wartenberg Kagan or Juliette Pelletier at the ANS (212-571-4470 x1311).


ANS annual meeting

ANS Annual Meeting

The 149th Annual Meeting of the American Numismatic Society was held at the Society at 140 William Street, New York, NY, on Saturday, October 21, 2006, with Mr. Donald G. Partrick, President, presiding. Approximately fifty members including Fellows and Trustees attended the meeting, which was followed by a reception in the ground-floor hall. The President, Treasurer, Executive Director, and ANS staff reported on the activities of the past year.

Officers:

Mr. David Simpson stood in for the Chairman of the 2006 Nominating and Governance Committee, Mr. Douglass F. Rohrman. Mr. Simpson announced the names of the newly elected Officers of the Board of Trustees: Mr. Donald G. Partrick, President; Mr. Roger Siboni, First Vice President; Prof. John H. Kroll, Second Vice President; Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss, Treasurer.

Standing Committees:

Mr. Simpson stated the names of the newly organized Standing Committees of the Board:

Executive Committee: Mr. Donald G. Partrick (Chairman), Mr. John W. Adams, Mr. Robert Kandel, Prof. John H. Kroll, Mr. Douglass F. Rohrman, Mr. Roger Siboni, Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss, and Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan (Ex-Officio).

Nominating and Governance Committee: Mr. Peter P. Gaspar, Mr. Sydney Martin, Mr. Clifford L. Mishler, Mr. Donald G. Partrick, Mr. Douglass F. Rohrman (Chairman), Mr. Peter K. Tompa, Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan (Ex-Officio).

Fellows

Mr. Simpson reported that pursuant to Article III Section I and Article V Section 12 (b) of the ANS Bylaws, the Nominating and Governance Committee approved the nomination of Fellows of the Society to:

Dr. John Cunnally, expert on Renaissance and antiquarian books, Summer Graduate Seminar participant in 1978, and member since 1993.

Mr. Ira Goldberg, a major benefactor and dealer in coins, ANS member since 2004, contributor to the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair, and member of the Augustus B. Sage Society.

Mr. Lawrence Goldberg, ANS member since 1969 and donor to the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair, the 125th Anniversary Fund, and toward ANS Development.

Mrs. Lottie Salton, member since 2006. She and her late husband Mark Salton have been benefactors of the ANS and its collection for many years.

Mr. David Sear, a leading expert on ancient coinage, member since 1990, Bronze Circle member, and contributor to the Mid-Year Appeal, Annual Appeal, and New Century Fund. Prof. Neel Smith, archaeologist, Web site expert, former member of the IT committee, and member since 1985.

Mr. Ed Snible, ANS volunteer, member since 2001, and general and Bronze Circle contributor. Most recently he has been working toward creating an online version of the ANS Magazine.

Dr. Robert W. Wallace, a leading authority on ancient coinage, contributor to ANS publications, and member since 1993.

Board of Trustees:

Pursuant to Article IV Section 1 and Article V Section 2 of the ANS Bylaws, the Fellows present at the meeting raised their hands in favor of the nominations, and sixty-eight proxies by mail were counted, electing the following Trustees to serve in varying classes (2008-2009):

Class of 2009

Mr. Joel R. Anderson is Chairman of Anderson Media. Raised in Florence, Alabama, he attended the University of North Alabama and spent most of his life involved in the family-owned business established by his late father, Clyde W. Anderson. He has served his community as director and chairman of several boards, including as founder, chairman, and director of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory. He currently serves on a number of committees and boards and is a major supporter of many organizations, including the New York City Police Athletic League and the Children’s Museum of the Shoals. His philanthropic, civic, and humanitarian endeavors have been recognized by the Anti-Defamation League, which honored him with their Distinguished Service Award on behalf of human rights, and by Brandies University, which awarded him its National Distinguished Community Service Award. In 2003, he was the first recipient of The 25 Year Club Frank Herrera Award, the prestigious national magazine industry award. Joel currently serves as Chairman and Director in the Anderson Companies. Today, the principal Anderson Companies include Anderson Media Corporation, the country’s largest distributor and merchandiser of consumer magazines and prerecorded music and a major distributor of books; TNT Fireworks, the country’s largest importer and distributor of consumer fireworks; Anderson Press, a major publisher of children’s books and associated children’s products; Whitman Publishing Company, the leading publisher of books and related products for coin collections; H. E. Harris Company, the leading publisher of albums and catalogs for stamp collectors; C. R. Gibson, the nation’s premier publisher of inspirational and gift books and related products; Books-A-Million, the country’s third-largest book retailer; and the Clark Group, a principal magazines logistics and transportation provider. Joel Anderson is a member of the ANS Augustus B. Sage Society since 2005 and is a major donor to the Society.

Prof. Jere L. Bacharach is a Professor in the Dept. of History, University of Washington, Seattle. He joined the Society in 1966 and became a fellow in 1981. First elected to the Council in 1993, he served until 2000 and was re-elected to the Board in 2004. Currently the Chair of the Huntington Medal Committee, Professor Bacharach’s interests lie in medieval Middle Eastern Muslim political and economic history, monetary and numismatic history, and Islamic art history and archaeology. He has edited and authored numerous scholarly books and articles, lectured at and organized conferences, and curated exhibitions. His professional activities both are extensive, and he has sat on numerous committees and boards, including serving as President of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) and President of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). In 2006, the American University in Cairo Press published his book Islamic History Through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth-Century Ikhshidid Coinage.

Prof. Roger Bagnall is a papyrologist and historian of the Hellenistic, Roman, and late antique eastern Mediterranean, specializing in Graeco-Roman Egypt. He was educated at Yale and the University of Toronto and came to Columbia in 1974 as an assistant professor. His appointment is shared equally between the Classics and History departments. He served as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1989 to 1993, and from 1994 to 2000 served as chair of the Department of Classics. He is also curator of the papyrus collection in the Columbia University Libraries. Bagnall has been an ANS member since 1974. He is a Life Fellow of the Society. Bagnall’s publications include both historical studies and many editions of Greek papyri and ostraka. A principal area of interest has been the social, economic, and administrative history of Egypt in late antiquity. Current projects include a collection of letters on papyrus written by women, the documents from the excavations at Berenike on the Red Sea coast of Egypt, and a Columbia excavation and archaeological field school in the Dakhleh Oasis of Egypt.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis Edlow was born in Washington, D.C., in 1941, the son of Ellis Edlow, former general counsel of the ANA. A Graduate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1963, he moved to New York City and joined Bear Stearns & Co. in 1969, becoming Corporate Secretary of Bear Stearns in 1987, a position he still holds. Ken joined the ANS in 1972, was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1993, and is a member of the ANS Augustus B. Sage Society. A Benefactor and contributor to the Society, Ken has served on a variety of ANS Committees, including serving as Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee. He is a collector of U.S. coins. Ken also serves on the Board and Investment Committee of Temple Emanu-El of NYC. He is married, has two children, and lives in Manhattan.

Mr. Sydney Martin, of Doylestown, Penn., was elected to the ANS Board in 2005. A member since 1997, Life Associate since 2000, and one of the founding members of the Augustus B. Sage Society, he is a generous donor to the Society. Sydney is President of The SYTEX Group, Inc. (TSGI), a nationally recognized group of information technology companies. A speaker at the 2003 COAC on the subject of “The ‘Georgius Triumpho’/Danish West Indies Mule”, he has authored and coauthored articles on colonial coinage in the CNL and C-4 newsletters.

Mr. Donald G. Partrick has been an ANS member since 1969. He became a Fellow of the Society in 1987, a Life Fellow in 1992, was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1990, and has served as President of the Board since 1999. A Collector of early North American coinage, tokens, and medals, he is a major benefactor and contributor to the Society and one of the charter members of the ANS’s Augustus B. Sage Society. He is a real-estate investor, builder, and manager, and has served as Lifetime Director, President, and Chairman of the Board of the Long Island Builders Institute. He has served as a member of the Suffolk County Board of Health, Director of Suffolk County Executive’s Task Force for Affordable Housing, Director of Suffolk County’s Executive Committee for New Business, Director of the Long Island Housing Coalition, Director of the Long Island Coalition for Sensible Growth, and Commissioner on the Suffolk County Bicentennial Commission. The owner of a 3,500-acre wildlife preserve, he is also an author and lecturer on wildlife management.

Mr. Stanley DeForest Scott is a real-estate executive and developer. He was born in Hudson County, N.J., in 1926 and resides in New York City. An ANS member since 1993 and Life member since 2001, Mr. Scott was elected to Fellow as well as the ANS Board of Trustees in 2003 and is a generous donor to the Society. He has a BA from the University of Southern California. He served with the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1944 to 1946. A past General Manager of Alfred Scott Publishers, NYC, and Chairman and President of S. D. Scott Printing Co., Inc., NYC, Mr. Scott is presently General Partner of 145 Hudson Street Associates and President of Hudson Square Mgt. Corp. Mr. Scott is the cochairman of the Fraunces Tavern Museum. Other associations in which Mr. Scott has been involved include: the J. Carter Brown Library; the Mayor’s Industry Advisory Committee; the Board of Directors of the Business Relocation Committee; the Frick Collection; the Society of Mayflower Descendents; Society of Colonial Wars, Pilgrims U.S.; the Friends of the British Museum; the American Museum in Britain (Councilmember from 1986 to the present); the New-York Historical Society; and the Grolier Club. His collecting interests are in the areas of Washington medals and Greek coins, as well as books on travel and exploration.

Mr. Roger Siboni became a member of the ANS in 1995, a fellow in 2003, Life Fellow in 2004, and currently serves as First Vice President of the ANS, having been elected to the Board of Trustees in 2003. A generous donor to the Society, Roger is a charter member of the ANS’s Augustus B. Sage Society, and serves/chairs on the ANS Finance and Development Committees. He is the past Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chairman of KPMG, as well as past Chairman and CEO of Epiphany Software. He has served on the boards of Macromedia, Active Software, Corio Systems, and Pivotal Software, and currently serves on the boards of Cadence Design Systems, Dolby Laboratories, and FileNet Corporation. Roger is also a Trustee of the Rhode Island School of Design and has served as a past Trustee of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Exploratorium, the Walter Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley (where he was also Chair), and has served on the Development Committee of the Central Park Conservancy. His numismatics collection focuses on coins, medals, and currency of the American colonial period. He also collects literature, documents, and ephemera related to this area of numismatics. Roger is the Associate Editor of the C-4 Newsletter and a regular contributor to that journal. Currently he is writing a book on New Jersey coinage, the first on that topic since 1881.

Mr. John Whitney Walter, born in 1934, is a specialist in “early” U.S. coins, error coins, and federal and national currency; in world numismatics, he specializes in ancient Greek, Roman imperial, English hammered, and medieval siege coinage. An active philanthropist, in 1998 he donated to the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection the only known complete five-coin type set of Greek coins by the Demareteion Master engraver. He received a BS from Norwich University and an MBA from Columbia. John works in the construction industry, designing and implementing security, telephone, TV, audio, computer, and building management systems. John joined the ANS in 1996, becoming a Fellow and member of the Council in April 2000, and Life Fellow in 2001, and has served as First Vice President to the Board from 2000 to 2005.

Mr. George U. Wyper is a collector of early American proofs and patterns. Born in 1955 and educated at the Wharton School and Yale University, he is the founder and managing member of Wyper Capital Management, L.P. George has previously worked at the First Boston Corporation, was previously Senior Managing Director and Member of the Operating Committee of Warburg Pincus Counselors, Inc.; Chief Investment Officer of White River Corporation; President and Chief Executive Officer of Hanover Advisors; Chief Investment Officer of Fund American Enterprises; and Director of fixed-income investments for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. He is also president of the Darien Library and serves on the boards of the Yale School of Management and the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as the on the Board of Directors of Financial Security Assurance Holdings, Ltd. Mr. Wyper has been involved with the ANS since 1995, was elected to the ANS Board of Trustees in 1997, serves on the Finance Committee, and is a donor to the Society and member of the Augustus B. Sage Society. He also manages a part of the ANS endowment portfolio.

Class of 2008

Prof. Thomas Martin is Jeremiah W. O’Connor Professor of Classics and Chair of the Classics Department at the College of the Holy Cross. His Ph.D. thesis on coinage and sovereignty in the Greek world is one of the leading works on Greek coinage. Martin has been a member of the ANS since 1978. He has previously served as Councilor of the ANS from 1992 to 2001.

A full list of ANS officers, committees, and fellows, as well as the ANS bylaws can be found on the Governance page of the ANS Web site, at http://www.numismatics.org/governance/.

From the Executive Director (Winter 2006)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

I am writing to you at the end of another successful year at the ANS. It started off with the most successful gala event the ANS has ever hosted. We honored ANS Fellow Dave Bowers, whose many friends and acquaintances celebrated with him at a great evening at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The event raised over $300,000, which has greatly helped to support our programs and activities. Our upcoming gala is in January, at which Chet Krause will be honored. I am particularly delighted that the Trustees of the ANS chose Chet Krause, whose publications have been of such value to so many people all over the world. I remember vividly how relieved I once was in the British Museum to find that there was a Krause Standard Catalogue of World Coins, when I was confronted with some completely unfamiliar coins that had been handed in by some visitor for identification. And little did I realize that one day I would meet Mr. Krause himself. We are delighted to formally acknowledge at our gala event his contribution to the pursuits of coin collecting and numismatic scholarship. I hope many of you will join us at this happy event.

Further good news for the ANS is the appointment of Andrew Meadows to the position of a second Margaret Thompson Curator of Greek Coins. He will be taking up his appointment on April 1. He has been working as Greek Curator at the British Museum for the last eleven years, and his experience with exhibition, administration, and publication will be an invaluable asset to the ANS. With this appointment, the ANS is continuing to build a creative team of scholars who make the collections of the ANS available to a wider audience. We are continuing our search for more funding in the Roman and Islamic field.

In the last three months we have been hosting a number of successful events, which were all made available to members via the Internet. We hope that more people will take these opportunities to participate in ANS events. We are also pleased to announce two new publications, both of which have just appeared. One is the long-awaited COAC on Caribbean coins, which covers, in over three hundred pages, several articles by specialists in this field. The other is a volume in honor of our Vice President Jack Kroll, which presents cutting-edge research by some of the leading scholars in ancient Greek numismatics and economics.

This issue of the ANS Magazine has a fascinating piece by ANS Fellow Ira Rezak, which “stars” the famous 1906 fire and earthquake in San Francisco. As regular readers will notice, we are receiving more submissions from members and the general public. I am also most grateful to Susan and David Tripp for their kind assistance with the article on the Garrett archives and collections. The fascinating photo on the front cover is a rare period image of the famous Sphinx at Giza, with the Garrett brothers standing on her back! This is a historic photo with an unusual view, and we are very proud to open this issue of the ANS Magazine with it.

I wish all our readers a very Happy New Year.

Yours truly,
Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Profile: Rick Witschonke

by Olga Less


With numismatic friends in Gallarate, Italy, June 1995. Clockwise from top left: Guiseppe Polisseni, Rick Witschonke, Charles Hersh, and Renzo Riva.

Many of us here at the ANS would agree that Rick Witschonke is not only a successful businessman and a world-class collector of Roman Republican coins, but also a wonderful colleague, good friend, and a generous benefactor of the Society. The ANS was fortunate to have had Rick join its curatorial staff in 2003, first as a curatorial assistant and, from March 2006, as a curatorial associate.

Richard B. Witschonke was born in 1945 in Washington, D.C., the second oldest of five Witschonke siblings (Karl, Rick, Kathy, Barbara, and Alan). Rick’s father, a Ph.D. chemist (Brown University), worked as a research scientist for the American Cyanamid Company. The family moved around a lot: first to Scarsdale, New York, then to New Jersey, and finally to Darien, Connecticut, where Rick went to high school. After graduating in 1963, Rick enrolled at Bowdoin College in Maine, with a major in English. However, extracurricular activities distracted Rick from his studies and, as a result, the college suggested he “take time off and mature.” Rick started a full-time job in computer programming with a small pharmaceutical market research company. At the same time, he enrolled at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he studied part-time for three years until his graduation with a BA in English magna cum laude. In the meantime, the company where Rick worked was acquired and subsequently relocated. Rick then took a job at Perkin-Elmer, where he worked on a project involving lenses for spy satellites.

When the time came to think about graduate school, the Vietnam War was in full swing, and inductions were determined by a lottery system. In 1968, Rick applied to business schools and was accepted at Harvard. He deferred his admission to Harvard for one year while waiting to see if he would be drafted. Rick’s draft lottery number was barely high enough to avoid army service. In 1972, Rick graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA with high honors and took a position with American Management Systems, a technology consulting firm based in Washington, D. C., where he would end up working for most of his successful career in technology consulting. Before leaving the company, Rick was a vice president and manager of the North American Financial Institutions Practice for AMS, with five hundred people working under his leadership. Rick’s division was responsible for building financial systems for corporate clients such as Citicorp, American Express, and other large corporations. After leaving the firm, Rick continued to work in technology consulting in California before deciding to retire.

In 1999, Rick was elected a member of the American Numismatic Society’s governing Council and served one term as an ANS trustee. A Life Fellow of the ANS, Rick is also a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society and a member of the French, Italian, and Swiss Numismatic Societies. Rick’s affiliation with the ANS, however, began much earlier. After his first visit to the ANS in the late 1960s, Rick became a member. By then, the young man had his mind firmly set on collecting Roman Republican coins.

Rick’s passion for numismatics was indirectly prompted by his paternal grandmother’s gifts of the Whitman penny boards (and coins to fill the holes) that he and his siblings received from her every Christmas. Rick was indifferent to this board-filling activity until one of his fifth-grade classmates offered to buy some of Rick’s coins for five dollars. Coin collecting did not seem so dull anymore! Excited by the profitability of this simple transaction, Rick bought his older brother’s coins for three dollars and made a handsome profit selling them to the same classmate for ten. Rick then attempted to buy his sister’s coins, but was rebuked by Kathy for selling Grandma’s gifts. Then, a few days later, it dawned on Rick that it might be fun to continue collecting, so he offered to buy back the coins he had sold to his classmate. They had, predictably, already been sold, but Rick had been bitten by the bug. The first coins Rick collected were U.S.-type coins and dollar-size world coins. By the time he turned sixteen, Rick already had a few Roman Republican denarii in his collection, but his interest in these coins was intensified by the book by Rev. Edward A. Sydenham, The Coinage of the Roman Republic. The best source of information on Roman Republican coinage at the time, the book inspired Rick to learn more about the coins he decided to collect. Republican denarii, beautiful coins of uniform size, were affordable for a young collector, and there were so many rare and interesting types that one could never hope to complete the full series. What more could a true numismatist want?

Another important event that influenced Rick as a coin collector was his meeting with Charles Hersh, a prominent banker and numismatist who, on a Fulbright scholarship in London, helped G. C. Haines and L. Forrer edit Sydenham’s volume. Rick’s meeting with Hersh happened at the coin auction of the Thomas Olive Mabbott collection (sold by Hans Schulman) at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel in 1969. They struck up a conversation that resulted in a long and productive friendship. In 1998, Rick sponsored a Festschrift in honor of Charles Hersh’s seventy-fifth birthday. The volume was edited by Andrew Burnett and Ute Wartenberg and presented to Charles in June 1998, just six months before his untimely death. Rick numbers among his friends many prominent coin collectors, dealers, scholars, and curators: Bill Metcalf, Alan Walker, Basil Demetriadi, Michel Amandry, and Andrew Burnett, among many others. Rick has always made his collection available for study by serious scholars of numismatics and by fellow collectors. For example, a number of provincial coins from his collection were published in RPC I. Rick thoroughly enjoys meeting the many numismatic scholars who visit the ANS each year.

Currently, Rick resides in rural New Jersey with his lovely companion, Heidi Becker, whom he met in 1997 through a mutual friend and colleague of his, Steve. When Heidi’s husband died of cancer in the winter of 1997, leaving her and their three daughters (Erin, Chrissy, and Katie) behind, Rick and Steve decided to invite Heidi and her daughters on a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. They sailed around Tortola for a week, enough time for Rick to fall in love with Heidi. For several years, the couple had a long-distance relationship while Rick was still working in Palo Alto, California. In 2001, he retired and moved to New Jersey. Rick has two sons: Nathaniel, who was born in 1970 and now lives with his wife and two daughters in New Hampshire; and Andrew, born in 1986, who is a junior at the California Polytechnic University at Pomona, majoring in landscape architecture.

In addition to his curatorial duties at the ANS, Rick serves as a member of the Library Committee and is co-director (with Peter van Alfen) of the ANS Summer Seminar. In January, 2006 he served as Chairperson for the annual ANS Gala and the Library Chair book auction. Rick recently coauthored an article on the Fimbria cistophorus with Michel Amandry, which article was published in the American Journal of Numismatics 16-17. He plans to continue his research and publications on the coinage of the Roman Republic and to remain actively involved with the ANS where his experience, talent, and dedication are greatly appreciated.


Heidi Becker and Rick with son Andy Witschonke in Venice, Gritti Palace, July 1999.

Rick and Heidi. Maui, July 2000.

Morton and Eden Set World Auction Record

by James Morton


Sold! A spirited afternoon of bidding at the Morton & Eden auction house.

Russian buyers fight to repatriate their country’s heroic past

On Thursday, October 26, 2006, London specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden established a new world-record auction for a single-owner collection of orders, medals, and decorations, when a sale on behalf of the American Numismatic Society raised a total of £2,062,531. This two-day sale was the second part of a sale of portions of the ANS collection. When added to the £1,033,459 raised by part 1 of the sale, held by Morton & Eden in May of this year, the total swells to £3,095,990, which represents an auction world record for medal properties from a single source. A third sale from the same collection on behalf of the ANS will take place in the spring of 2007, raising the benchmark yet further.

“This week’s sale was astonishing, with collectors prepared to pay amazing prices,” said auctioneer James Morton. “Never before has such quality and quantity been brought to auction or with such splendid provenance as the ANS collection. That, coupled with the incredible rarity of many of the pieces on offer, meant buyers had the utmost confidence in bidding. The result was the most valuable single-owner collection that has ever been sold at auction—with more to come.”

The sales are being conducted on behalf of the American Numismatic Society, which, from the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, accumulated a large collection of world campaign and gallantry medals, orders, and decorations. In recent decades, the Society has gradually refocused its priorities, concentrating on its role as a museum of money and related artifacts, moving into new headquarters near Wall Street in Manhattan, and partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to create a major exhibition about the history of coins and currency.

Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director of the New York-based ANS, attended the sale and was delighted by the outcome. “The results achieved both this week and in the previous sales will greatly enhance our buying power in the future and we are grateful for the support shown by collectors and dealers.”

It was the Russian section, sold on the afternoon of the first day, Wednesday, October 25, that produced most of the highest prices. Buyers were mostly Russian collectors or dealers buying on behalf of collectors, and they often bid up to ten times the estimated value in order to repatriate examples of the orders, medals, and decorations awarded to citizens during historic and heroic events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

A very fine and rare gold and enamel sash badge by Julius Kebel of St. Petersburg and dated 1865, one of the few surviving examples of the Order of St. Andrew, was purchased by a Russian private buyer for a record £109,250 after a lengthy bidding battle with other collectors in the crowded saleroom. It had been expected to fetch £12,000 to £15,000. The first and highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire, the order was one of only one thousand awarded before its abolition following the Russian Revolution in 1917. It had been established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great in honor of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Russia, and was awarded only for the most eminent civilian or military merit.

Recipients of the Order of St. Andrew also automatically received the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, and another Russian buyer paid £69,000 for a very fine and equally rare example. The order was established in Russia by Catherine I in 1725 in memory of the deeds of Alexander Nevsky, who rose to legendary status on account of his military victories over Western aggressors. The silver-gilt breast star had been estimated at £8,000 to £12,000.

The same buyer paid the same amount for a Grand Cross breast star in gold and enamel from the Order of St. Anne, Civil Division, which had been estimated at £4,000 to £5,000. The order was established by Duke Charles Frederick in 1735 and named for his wife, the Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia, daughter of Peter the Great.

An example of the Order of the White Eagle of exceptional quality, which was expected to sell for £12,000 to £15,000, also sold to a Russian buyer for £59,800. Of reduced size, intended to be worn at the neck, the order was instituted by Augustus the Strong of Poland in 1705 and become a Russian Imperial Order following the absorption of Poland into Russia in 1831.

The Russian section alone raised a total of £1,285,475.

The highest price among a strong selection of British orders, medals, and decorations was the £55,200 paid by an English private collector for a “blue ribbon” Naval-issue Victoria Cross awarded in 1858 to George Bell Chicken for his valor during the Indian Mutiny. A volunteer with the Indian Naval Brigade, Chicken was one of only five civilians ever to be honored with Britain’s premier gallantry award. The medal has the unusual status of being an original but unawarded VC, while a duplicate but official Cross was duly presented to Chicken’s father, after his son was lost at sea in 1860.

A rare Naval General Service medal with two clasps—“Indefatigable 20 April 1796” and “Indefatigable 13 Jany 1797”—awarded to Volunteer 1st Class John Harry sold for £48,300 against an estimate of £20,000 to £25,000. Only approximately eight of each clasp to the medal were awarded. In C. S. Forester’s novels, Mr. Harry has the famous fictional shipmate Midshipman Hornblower. Forester’s hero joins the HMS Indefatigable at exactly the same period as Harry, becoming embroiled in adventures at least partially based on fact.

An Army Gold Medal awarded to Captain Francis Scott, a casualty at the Battle of San Sebastian in 1813, sold to a private collector for £25,300, against an estimate of £8,000 to £12,000.

New York dealer Stack paid £21,850 for a very rare gold and enamel Principal King of Arms Badge, circa 1820, with Hanoverian shield.

Sales from the British section of the auction raised £477,836.

Turkish orders, medals, and decorations were also highly sought after, eighty lots adding £60,950 to the total where just £20,000 was anticipated, while the entire morning of the first day’s sale was devoted to Germany, which raised £220,420. Here, a particularly fine example of the Prussian Pour Le Mérite gallantry medal, better known by its nickname, the “Blue Max,” sold to a private lady collector for £14,950. It had been estimated at £6,000 to £8,000.