Review: Greece and the Balkans Before the End of Antiquity

Iannis P. Touratsoglou. Η Ελλας και τα Βαλκανια πριν απο τα Τελη της Αρχαιοτητος / Greece and the Balkans Before the End of Antiquity. Bibliotheca of the Hellenic Numismatic Society 8. Athens: Hellenic Numismatic Society, 2006. Greek and English text. Pb. 238 pp., 23 b/w illus., 13 pull-out charts, 5 color pull-out maps. ISBN 978-960-87457-2-8. €55.00.

The present volume is an extended essay contextualizing the phenomenon of hoarding in the Balkan provinces of the Roman Empire within the historical milieu of the Crisis of the Third Century. Iannis Touratsoglou’s previous local and regional studies of hoards found in the Roman provinces of Macedonia and Crete-Cyrenaica are well known, but Greece and the Balkans Before the End of Antiquity represents a new attempt to develop an integrated picture of hoarding and the economies of all the Balkan provinces. The text is written in modern Greek but is made fully accessible to those lacking reading ability in this language by a complete English translation by Marion J. A. Tzamali.

The inspiration for this study came from the discovery of the Larisa 1992 hoard, which was composed primarily of Thessalian Koinon bronzes ending in the reign of Maximinus Thrax (AD 235-238), but also included denarii, sestertii, and an entirely unexpected component of gold jewelry and engraved rings. Thus, before launching into the main discussion, the author takes the opportunity to present the contents of the hoard and to suggest that it was probably buried out of fear of the emperor’s policy of wealth confiscation.

All of the jewelry and the imperial coins as well as selections of the provincial issues of the Thessalian Koinon are illustrated on fifteen black-and-white plates (104-118) following the Greek text. The photographs are all of very good quality, although in a few cases, they might have been better arranged on the plates. The upper edges of the top rows of coins on pages 108 and 114 almost fall off the page. While it could be argued that numbers are unnecessary for the author’s primary numismatic purpose—exposing the specific military causes of hoarding episodes in the Balkan provinces—the plates might have been made more useful for future research if each coin had been numbered, especially considering that this is the detailed editio princeps of the hoard.

The basis for suggesting that the engraved rings all probably came from the workshops of Antioch or from elsewhere in western Syria is somewhat unclear. While it is true that Antioch was a cosmopolitan center with gem engravers and a role in international trade, the styles of the bezels are disparate and the subjects are mostly generic representations of Graeco-Roman divinities, making it difficult to pin down their place(s) of origin. The apparent depiction of the Tyche of Antioch and the river Orontes on ring D is hardly a guarantee of Antiochene manufacture, since the famous Tyche of the Syrian capital had become a widely copied image by the Roman period. The numismatic evidence alone reveals the unequivocal use or adaptation of her image by cities in Roman Phrygia, Pamphylia, Cilicia, Phoenicia, and Mesopotamia (on the wide influence of the Tyche of Antioch, see M. Meyer, Die Personifikation der Stadt Antiocheia. Ein neues Bild für eine neue Gottheit [Berlin, 2006]).

Having presented the hoard that first piqued his interest in the question of hoarding and the economy in the third-century Balkans, the author provides a useful and heavily annotated overview of the crisis-wracked history of the region from the accession of Maximinus Thrax in AD 235 to the supremacy of Diocletian in 285. The Greek and English prose occasionally borders on the purple (e.g., “the invincible conqueror of lands…collector of nations and states under the umbrella of an iron-fisted, self-sufficient Pax Romana” [137], etc.) and is frequently interrupted by additional commentary (marked by double square brackets) that would have been more appropriate relegated to the footnotes. Nevertheless, Touratsoglou’s historical sketch of barbarian invasion, Roman military response, civil war, and related upheavals in the Balkans is dramatic if slightly depressing reading, while its synthesis of historical, archaeological, epigraphic, and numismatic source material make it a welcome introduction to the period. It should be noted that although the hastily erected fortifications of Macedonia and Achaea are mentioned only briefly here (24-25, 28-29, 142-143, and 146), excellent photographs of the spolia defense-works erected at Athens, Beroea, Dion, Edessa, Thessalonica, and Sparta appear on pages 119-126. Curiously, they are never referred to directly in either the Greek or the English text.

The author then moves on to look at hoarding in this period by region. Based on the frequent presence of gold and silver issues as well as jewelry in the hoards of the northern Balkan provinces (Thrace, Dalmatia, Dacia, the two Pannoniae, and the two Moesiae), the author reinforces the general view that vibrant economies developed along the border regions of the Empire by trade across the limes and the presence of the army. In contrast, the hoards of the southern Balkan provinces (Macedonia, Epirus, and Achaea) tend to be dominated by civic bronzes, imperial aes and debased antoniniani, indicating the “glorious poverty of the descendants of Alexander and Alkibiades” (166).

Breaking somewhat with the trends of recent scholarship, the author attempts to associate the majority of the Balkan hoards with specific barbarian incursions and the Roman defensive campaigns against the invaders. In this endeavor he is often convincing in large part thanks to the impressive table of hoards appended to the text (see below), which shows relationships between hoard closure dates in the various regions and barbarian attacks. Still, it must be remembered that other factors also must have driven people to hoard in this period, such as the insecurity concomitant upon the death of one military emperor and the accession of the next, and the relentless debasement of the antoninianus.

Of some special interest is the claim that the wealth of the northern Balkan provinces in the form of gold coins and jewelry was largely stripped away by the Gothic and Carpic invasions that took place under Gordian III, Philip I, and Trajan Decius (166), leaving dwindling numbers of denarii and increasingly debased antoniniani in the region’s later precious-metal hoards. However, this is somewhat of an overstatement. A review of the table of hoards reveals that while many hoards of the Gordian III-Trajan Decius period involved gold or jewelry (nos. 114, 139, 196, 198, 244-245, 259, 275, and 279), the invasions under these emperors seem not to have drained the wealth of the region as thoroughly as the author implies. Jewelry continued to be hoarded in Pannonia Superior and both Moesiae under Trebonianus Gallus (no. 349), Aemilian (no. 356), Valerian I (no. 362), Gallienus (nos. 418, 420, 427, and 436), Probus (no. 513), and Diocletian (no. 540), which may indicate the survival of some shadow of the earlier economic vibrancy of the region, despite frequent attack. The late aurei hoards deposited under Probus (no. 516), Carinus (no. 536), and Diocletian (no. 540) are almost certainly related to military donatives rather than to wealth accumulated through trade. Thus the true watershed for the impoverishment of the northern Balkans may actually fall during the reign of Gallienus—about a decade later than Touratsoglou suggests. This secondary peak in the hoarding of jewelry and coins under Gallienus actually matches rather than contrasts with the hoarding patterns in provinces along the western limes of modern Germany, Switzerland, and France mentioned in footnote 157.

Conversely, the hoards from the southern Balkan provinces, which had previously been dominated by civic and imperial bronze coins, change their character following the devastating Herulian and Gothic invasions of 268 and become primarily antoniniani hoards. However, one must be careful about overemphasizing the military impetus for this change. While there can be little doubt that much of this coinage entered the southern Balkans with the army, the change in hoard content was also dictated by the total collapse of civic coin production in the Balkans during the reign of Gallienus.

The hoard evidence is also used to map the primary invasion routes taken by the Goths and other barbarians into Moesia Inferior and Dacia, but this should be treated with a little caution. There is no way to know which hoards were deposited out of fear of marauders from the Barbaricum and which out of fear of the Roman armies sent to crush them. As the author rightly points out, legionaries could have an equally devastating effect on the inhabitants of the settlements through which they passed.

While the author’s review of regional differences in hoarding patterns is instructive and the association of hoarding with particular military events very interesting, the claim that foreign coins of Asia Minor (primarily from Bithynia) were “brought in by professional people from the east who had settled there [i.e., in the northern Balkan provinces] for one reason or another” (158) requires some qualification. There is certainly epigraphic evidence for the movement of some skilled workers from Asia Minor to the Balkans, but it seems at least as likely that eastern coins moved west as a result of trade. Many cities of Moesia Inferior and Thrace had ports and engaged in interprovincial trade. Indeed, Bithynia was an obvious trade partner for cities such as Tomis, Odessus, Anchialus, and Deultum, all of which had ports on the Black Sea littoral (for Deultum and foreign maritime trade, see D. Draganov, The Coinage of Deultum [Sofia, 2007], 34, 149-151).

Touratsoglou concludes with a discussion of the general collapse of monetized urban and agricultural economies in the Balkans (and elsewhere) as the Roman mints continued to produce high-value coins for payment to the armies and increasingly debased money for quotidian use that was difficult to spend easily. The reversion to barter and payment in kind as well as the creation of numerous landless peasants that the failure of the economy entailed helped to establish the power of great landowners and sow the seeds of the socio-economic relationships of the late antique and medieval periods.

The thirty-eight-page table listing some 546 third-century Balkan hoards is a monumental achievement and will certainly be a valuable tool for future studies. However, its arrangement is a little peculiar considering that the author’s interest is in showing the relationship between regional hoarding patterns and military events. For example, it is not at all clear why certain hoards with closure dates before and after 242 seem to be associated in the table with the Gothic campaign of Timistheus in 242. Surely those dated between AD 238 and 241 are more likely to have some connection to the wars of Maximinus Thrax and the barbarian invasions of the period while those dated c. 244 and primarily found in Moesia Inferior most probably have something to do with the Gothic invasion of that province in 244. Likewise, it is strange that the “Slovenia” 1925 hoard (no. 398) with a closure date of AD 260 is preceded by the Bakovici 1901 hoard (no. 397), buried in 268, and both follow the rubric “263 AD: Gallienus moves between Rome, Mediolanum and Siscia.” It would make much more sense for the “Slovenia” 1925 hoard to be related to the invasion of Pannonia Superior by the Rhoxolani and the defeat of Regalianus in AD 259-260, while the date of the Bakovici 1901 hoard tends to associate it with the great Gothic and Herulian incursions of 268. These are single examples of a problem that afflicts the entire table and makes it difficult to use in support of the author’s arguments, although all of the relevant data are actually present. Nevertheless, with some work it becomes very clear from the closure dates and findspots that Touratsoglou is right to associate the bulk of the hoarding episodes with barbarian invasions and defensive campaigns known from the historical record.

The table is supplemented by thirteen pull-out charts that graphically show the contents of each hoard by emperor. The presence or absence of Roman Republican issues is also indicated. There can be little doubt that these too will be of much use for further research, but they are also marred by the same eclectic arrangement as the table.

Five excellent full-color pull-out maps with the find locations marked for each hoard complete the volume. When the documented findspots are dubious or generalized, the hoard numbers are given in square brackets.

Despite our criticisms and some organizational shortcomings, Greece and the Balkans Before the End of Antiquity represents an important new synthesis of the historical, epigraphic, and numismatic evidence for the Crisis of the Third Century. It will surely be of great interest both to specialists in the regional economies of the later Roman Empire and those seeking the early roots of the medieval economy.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Las Primeras acuñaciones de la casa de moneda de Santiago de Chile

Carlos León Jara Moreno and Alan K. Luedeking. Las Primeras acuñaciones de la casa de moneda de Santiago de Chile, 1749-1772. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Medinensis, 2005. 694 pp.; b/w illus., including examples of all types and denominations, and every year of each issue described; facsimiles of original documents and period engravings, tables of the production data of the mint, a glossary of Spanish terminology, index, and bibliography (two color plates, showing period paintings of Charles III). ISBN: 956-299-845-2.

Carlos Jara’s reference work (with English translation and extensive research assistance and editing by Alan Luedeking) on the earliest coinages of the mint of Santiago is a scholarly production of the first magnitude, yet it is also a book that will be of great interest to all collectors and historians in the field of Early American numismatics. It effectively utilizes previously unpublished documentation to reconstruct the actual mintage figures of this important but little understood eighteenth-century colonial coinage. Completely bilingual, the book is organized into a Spanish section of an eighteen-page introduction followed by six chapters, beginning on page 19, and an English section, which includes corresponding introductory material and the same chapter organization, beginning on page 167 [clxvii]. Both the introductory portions of each section—​including a table of contents, acknowledgments, foreward [sic] by Prof. León Burstyn (mislabeled as the following), a prologue by Carlos Jara and one by Alan Luedeking, and a brief introduction to the methodology of presentation—​are paginated in Roman numerals. The English-language version of the six Spanish chapters and glossary extends from pp. 185 to 329.

The respective chapters of the English and Spanish sections cover (1) the historical antecedents, the origins, and establishment of the mint; (2) the mint under Philip V; (3) the mint under Ferdinand VI; (4) the mint under Charles III; (5) construction of the mintage tables of the mint of Santiago de Chile under the administration of Don Francisco García de Huidobro, 1749-1772 (including processing of the metal that entered the mint to be coined, documents and sources of information, construction of the mintage tables on the basis of the documentation, and correspondence between the quantities indicated and the coins themselves); and (6) coinage by date. The book is attractively (and apparently strongly) hardbound on glossy boards—important for its size and weight—and printed on heavy, coated stock. There is no dust jacket.

Bilingual mintage tables follow, and then the actual catalog—completely bilingual—from pages 343 to 373, including a listing of known forgeries at the end. On page 381 commences the amazing appendix of this work, a registry of all the important archival mint records for the coinage of the period, including photo-reproductions of actual documents with their transcriptions. To find this kind of information made available to the public is truly outstanding, and much appreciated! The bibliography starts on page 679 and the index—again, fully bilingual—on page 687.

Jara has made sure that the images of the coins used as illustrations are fully credited, unlike the unfortunate practice found in too many numismatic references. Most of these coins are sourced to the major dealers in the field: Calicó, Dunigan, Ponterio, Superior, etc. Others were derived from cited references, such as the great Las monedas coloniales de Chile, by José Toribio Medina. In-text images are acceptable, although they are more heavily effected by screening than one would wish to see, especially those drawn from some older works, which show a definite moiré pattern. Regrettably, images do not exist—or even extant coins, for that matter—of every recorded issue.

By means of his painstaking work, Jara has been able to present a substantial array of data, much of it for the first time, providing many important determinations. Foremost, of course, is his computation of the actual mintage figures on a year-by-year basis. By means of his extensive analyses, he has also made other valuable observations. As an example, he shows that the dating that appears on the coin dies actually corresponds to the mint’s methodology in handling shipments of silver. That is, that the year indicated was intended to correspond to that of the receipt of the metal, when the king’s royal tax (the quintado, or “fifth”) was paid, rather than to the date when the cons were actually struck for emission by the mint. For rare pieces, a listing of the recorded specimens and their pedigrees is provided. The coinage lists are followed by the glossary of terms.

Las Primeras Acuñaciones is satisfying both as an historical monograph and as a collectors’ guide. It is a magnificent tome and clearly a labor of love. While the output of the Chilean mint was not so large in comparison to that of contemporary Mexico, for instance, nevertheless its issues during this formative period played an important role on the world stage. All the Spanish colonial coins of the time—the silver columnarios (the 8-real “pillar dollar” pesos and their fractional denominations) of the famous “two worlds” (dos mundos) design, as well as the gold pieces (the 16-peso “doubloons” of 8 escudos denomination and their fractional divisions) known as peluconas (“bewigged ones”), due to the appearance of the portraits of the peruke-wearing Borbón kings of the era on their obverses—were among the best known and most popular coins in circulation. The 8-reales coins, familiarly called Spanish dollars, later lent their nickname to the official unit of value formally adopted by the government of the new United States of America in 1792.

The noted Spanish numismatist Adolfo Cayon has stated

Carlos Jara and Alan Luedeking have written…an extraordinary book, a superb work. Being a member of the academic world, I obtain utmost satisfaction in reading a work of such scientific rigor which abounds in data, historical accounts and even anecdotes related to the studied period.

If we add to this rigorous scientific and researching methodology the pure numismatic knowledge of someone who has seen coins…in public and private collections, dealers and conventions from all over the world, we obtain a result which is extraordinary in its quality and magnitude, since the work is almost 700 pages long and yet quite agreeable to read.

In his preparation of the book, Jara consulted the ANS cabinet and made use of the extensive holdings of the ANS library. He was able, as mentioned in a previous number of the ANS Magazine, to study the rare 1767-dated 8-reales piece in the collection and pronounce it authentic (the coin having been considered suspicious by previous examiners). It is in fact one of only four extant examples; through his research, Jara was able to die-link this piece to a known genuine 1765-date coin.

This reference is one that demonstrates the importance of archival work and the valuable discoveries that can still be accomplished in what some may regard as a relatively well-known series. Had this book been divided into two, the bilingual numismatic part (379 pages) in one and the appendix, the archival documents (293 pages), in another, the first would have undoubtedly been a popular numismatic reference and the latter would have sold very few copies. It was probably a brave decision to incorporate the two, but the second section will undoubtedly receive less use on the part of typical numismatists. One typographical error should here be noted: coins referenced as having come from the Ordoñez Pumarino collection are cited as emanating from the “ANA’s 1975 Auction,” when ANE (Asociación Numismática Española) would have been intended.

Las Primeras acuñaciones de la casa de moneda de Santiago de Chile, 1749-1772, by Carlos León Jara M. and Alan K. Luedeking, is a superb numismatic book, one that, it is to be hoped, may serve as a model for future publications along the same lines. While not everyone might want obtain a personal copy, it is certainly a work that should be recommended for libraries.

—Robert Wilson Hoge

Review: Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image and The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins

Carmen Arnold-Biucchi. Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Art Museums, 2006. Pb., 84 pp., b/w illus. throughout, 2 color maps, bibliography. ISBN 978-1-891771-41-5. $20.
Karsten Dahmen. The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins. London/New York: Routledge, 2007. Hb./Pb., 179 pp., b/w illus. throughout, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0-415-39452-9. $110 (Hb.)/$35.95 (Pb.).

If there is any proof that the ghost of Alexander the Great still haunts the world, as certain Greek fishermen would have us believe, it is in the vast academic (and popular) industry of producing books and articles on the Macedonian king. There are very few years that have not seen at least one book or article on some facet of his life and impact, but 2007 has been extremely fortunate to see the almost simultaneous release of two valuable new books on Alexander’s numismatic image.

Carmen Arnold-Biucchi’s Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image was produced to accompany an exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum and to serve as an introductory numismatic text for Harvard undergraduates, while Karsten Dahmen’s The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins is essentially an updated and expanded version of the numismatic component of Theodor Schreiber, Studien über das Bildnis Alexanders des Grossen (Leipzig, 1903). Both look at similar material to pursue and achieve their goals, while remaining works that complement each other very well.

The two books make themselves accessible to the nonspecialist by providing introductory sections on the technology of ancient minting and numismatic terminology that might be unfamiliar to those outside the discipline. As Dahmen’s primary focus is on the development and perpetuation of Alexander’s personal iconography and it is well known that the king was never depicted on the regular coinage during his lifetime, only a brief overview of Alexander’s imperial coinage is provided in The Legend of Alexander the Great. This subject is treated more fully by Arnold-Biucchi, who charts the evolution of Alexander’s money from its roots in the coinage of his Argead predecessors Alexander I, Amyntas III, and his father Philip II. Throughout the discussion she stresses that the royal personages depicted on these early coins represent the king on a generic level and should not be considered portraiture, which she considers to have first appeared on Greek coinage with the posthumous images of Alexander and the Successors. There is, however, room for doubt in this assertion. Numismatic portraiture surely goes back to the early fourth century when the satrap Tissaphernes placed his own image on coins, while the clear differentiation of facial features (e.g., the royal horseman on issues of Alexander I is clean shaven while on issues of Philip II he is bearded, etc.) on the Macedonian coinages must certainly leave the question open as to whether individual kings might not be represented.

In addition to providing the background to Alexander’s coinage and a clear overview of its origins, Arnold-Biucchi also discusses the widespread dissemination and imitation of Philip’s and Alexander’s types. Imitative examples illustrated in the catalogue include an abstract stater of the Catuvellauni tribe of Celtic Britain and—not surprisingly—a northeastern Arabian tetradrachm of the native dynast Abyatha, as well as a posthumous Alexander tetradrachm produced by the Greek cities of Odessus.

Both works deal at some length with the formation of the two greatest Alexander types of the Hellenistic age: the portrait with horns of Zeus-Ammon as pioneered by Lysimachus of Thrace and the equally influential Alexander with elephant skin headdress type developed by Ptolemy I of Egypt. The latter is somewhat more complex than the former because it was developed in several phases, as Ptolemy slowly distanced himself from the Attic standard of Alexander’s imperial coinage and established a closed monetary system for his Egyptian and insular possessions. Although Dahmen (69 n. 26) is aware of the lowered dates recommended by Catharine Lorber, “A Revised Chronology for Ptolemy I’s Silver,” NC 165 (2005), 45-64, he still prefers the older chronology for his main text and catalogue. Arnold-Biucchi, on the other hand, has accepted Lorber’s chronology and employs the revised dates for the several series in question.

The impact of Alexander’s numismatic portraits on the development of portraiture (primarily Hellenistic) at large is an important theme of Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image and allows for the inclusion of coins with portraits of Demetrius Poliorcetes, Antiochus I, Seleucus I, Philetaerus, and Mithradates VI of Pontus, although only the latter consciously draws from Alexander’s personal iconography. This is of somewhat less interest to Dahmen, for whom it is a greater concern to identify and chart the courses of Alexander types through the Hellenistic and Roman periods, although he also touches upon the use of Alexandrine iconography for the portraits of Hellenistic monarchs such as Mithradates VI and Tryphon, and Roman emperors like Caracalla.

The Macedonian king’s image in the Roman period is hardly mentioned by Arnold-Biucchi, with the exception of some general remarks and the inclusion of an issue of the Macedonian Koinon depicting Alexander as well as a fabulous Aboukir medallion from the Walter’s Art Museum, Boston. Dahmen, however, provides a wealth of information. His discussion ranges from the manipulation of the king’s image by cities founded (or supposedly founded) by Alexander and by the Macedonian Koinon to its use on the gold medallions of Tarsus and Aboukir and its reuse on late Roman contorniates. However, while the author gives a good survey of the Roman images of Alexander, more material could have been taken into account. For example, the Republican issues depicting Pompey with his Alexandrine anastolé (i.e., Crawford, RRC 483/1-2 and 511/3) might have been included, as well as additional imperial and provincial issues showing the emperor armed for battle in the same manner as Alexander (i.e., Aurelian [RIC V, Siscia 219-225], Probus [RIC V, Siscia 634], Carinus [RIC V, Siscia 284], etc.). Caracalla and to a lesser extent Severus Alexander are used as the primary case studies for the “Alexandermania” of the Roman emperors, but the numismatic expression of this predilection seems far more frequent than the text would imply.

Particularly interesting here is the argument of dual purpose behind the use of Alexander’s image for the Koinon of the Macedonians and cities like Alexandria-Troas, Cilician Aegeae, and Alexandria near Issus. For them it is suggested that Alexander was not only a famous ktistes who could be invoked in intercity diplomacy and rivalry, but also a tool for flattering Alexandrophile emperors. In an excursus, the author brilliantly juxtaposes this usage with the resurrection of Alexander the Great for medals of Pope Paul III (1534-1549) and the coinage of the modern Greece. Just as in Hellenistic and Roman periods, in modern times the image of the world conqueror still serves as a vehicle for legitimizing national and religious aspirations—a theme that is also addressed in the treatment of the late Roman contorniates.

Following the monumental work of Andreas Alföldi, Dahmen essentially characterizes the presence of Alexander’s image (and that of his mother) on the contorniates as a late Roman elite expression of nostalgia for a noble pagan past while a triumphant Christianity battered down the gates. However, one wonders whether the greatness of Alexander even managed to transcend the Late Antique struggle between pagan and Christian. While the use of his image as a talisman was certainly criticized by such Christian authors as St. John Chrysostom, it seems probable that the Macedonian’s appearance among the emperors depicted on the contorniates was dictated more by his status as the archetype of world ruler than because of his pagan religious background. Otherwise, it is peculiar to find Constantine the Great adopting Alexander’s upward gaze for coins struck after his conversion to Christianity (e.g., RIC VII, Sirmium 56, etc.) as a means of illustrating his new faith. That Alexander was seen as the yardstick against which Roman emperors were measured is indicated by Julian the Apostate’s satirical Caesares, which features the Macedonian king as a judge of emperors at a symposium held at the Saturnalia—precisely when contorniates are thought to have been given as gifts. In any case, the fact that contorniates are known for such Christian emperors as Honorius, Theodosius II, and Anthemius tends to undercut the view that the medium—and Alexander’s frequent appearance on it—was strictly aimed at a pagan audience. The evidence provided by works like the Syriac Christian Legend, attributed to Jacob of Serug, suggests that Alexander’s character had already been thoroughly Christianized before the sixth or seventh century AD.

Dahmen’s concluding remarks will also be of some special interest to ancient art historians outside of numismatics proper, as he takes the time to discuss the probability of relationships between the numismatic representations of Alexander and sculptural representations. Nevertheless, some may possibly find his conclusions on which types might have derived from, or influenced, sculptural works overly conservative in spots.

While much of the same material is dealt with in both books, they would not be proper Alexander studies if there were not some disagreement with respect to interpretation. Even the Macedonian king’s contemporaries could not agree on whether he was the son of a god and the greatest thing that ever happened to the human race or the greatest tyrant in history, whose death in the East would be made known in Greece by a corpse-stench enveloping the world. Modern historians are similarly divided in their eulogies and condemnations of Alexander. The relatively few divergences of opinion between Arnold-Biucchi and Dahmen are not nearly so stark, but they are still worth looking at.

Both authors express their doubts—almost certainly rightly—about Frank Holt’s recent suggestion that the famous Porus medallions, featuring the earliest numismatic representation of Alexander, were struck in the immediate aftermath of the battle of the Hydaspes River (Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions [Berkeley, 2004], 139-165). However, Arnold-Biucchi tends to accept Holt’s interpretation of the typology as reflecting an issue celebrating Macedonian victory over the Indians, whereas Dahmen strongly critiques it. However, he offers little in the way of an alternate explanation. His remark that “the possible influence of Persian pictorial tradition should be examined in much greater depth” is infuriatingly tantalizing. We should like to know whether this means that the author sees the apparently undefeated Indian warriors who appear on issues connected to the Porus medallions as advertisements of the new exotic peoples added to Alexander’s empire after the manner of the tribute panels of the Persepolitan Apadana reliefs, or something else.

Arnold-Biucchi and Dahmen disagree somewhat more strongly in their views of the use of Alexander’s image by the early Seleucid dynasty. The former, following an influential line of reasoning initiated by R.A. Hadley (“Seleucus, Dionysus, or Alexander?” NC 14 [1974]: 9-13), identifies an enigmatic helmeted portrait on Susian tetradrachms of Seleucus I as that of Alexander the Great, whereas the latter accepts the more recent argument that this portrait actually represents Seleucus himself, as do Georges Le Rider and François de Callataÿ (Les Séleucides et les Ptolémées [Paris, 2006], 44 n. 1). It is perhaps unnecessary to point out that the present reviewer also tends to favor this interpretation. Neither author seems to be aware of the very latest thoughts on this problem of identification presented by Panagiotis Iossif (“Les monnaies de Suse frappées par Séleucos Ier.: Une nouvelle approche,” NAC 33 [2004]: 249-271). Although Alexander does appear on rare occasions on the coinage of Seleucus I, he is not commonly depicted on early Seleucid coinage. The influence of Alexander’s image is somewhat more visible on the eastern coinages of the later Seleucids, which tended to trot out his elephant and lion-skin headdresses for contemporary rulers whenever there was a new offensive against the Parthian menace. These Alexandrine attributes also feature prominently on issues of the two not-so-great Alexanders, who ruled the Seleucid Empire from 150-145 and 128-123 BC, as a means of presenting these pretenders in a better light (e.g., SNG Spaer 1448-1457, 2308-2309, and 2348-2353). Unfortunately, Dahmen treats none of these examples, although they provide good Hellenistic models for the imitatio Alexandri of the Roman emperors such as Caracalla and Severus Alexander, which he does discuss at some length. The nonexistent Seleucid Alexander VI mentioned on page 43 with respect to his windblown hairstyle is actually an error for Antiochus VI Dionysus and representative of the occasional typographical errors that mar the text (i.e., Françoise for François [67 n. 2], Mir Zadah for Mir Zakah [67 n. 13], etc.).

There is also some difference of opinion about the nature of Alexander’s image on the enigmatic Macedonian silver issues of Aesillas the quaestor. For Dahmen, this is a straight Alexander portrait based on the old prototype of Lysimachus used to appeal to the national pride of the Macedonians and perhaps as a foil to the Alexandrine iconography of Mithradates VI of Pontus. Arnold-Biucchi, while agreeing with the Macedonian and anti-Mithradatic appeals, goes on to boldly, but rather unconvincingly, argue that the portrait on the Aesillas issues was meant to represent the quaestor himself with the attributes of Alexander. The lack of any diadem is used as evidence that this is not the Macedonian king, but surely the presence of the horn of Zeus-Ammon is a strong hint that we should understand this image as an intended representation of Alexander. Although both authors focus on the Macedonian ramifications of the type, it is also worth considering that it was also intended to have an appeal in Thrace, a region that had long preferred Lysimachi and in which the bulk of Aesillas’ silver has been found.

Black-and-white photographs lavishly illustrate both works, but Arnold-Biucchi’s images are far superior in their tonal quality and detail. With the exception of the enlargements of the bronzes of Naucratis and Memphis, all of the coins in The Legend of Alexander the Great are in 1:1 scale, while all of the coins in the Harvard collection are shown at both their natural size and enlarged. In Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image, the gold and bronze specimens, such as a stater of Ptolemy I and a Severan issue of the Macedonian Koinon, are printed in sepia tone rather than black and white in a somewhat misguided attempt to mimic the natural color of the coins. Dahmen’s plates are also somewhat curious because they are not actually plates in the traditional sense at all, but commentaries on specific coins or groups of coins—often concluding with a quotation from a primary source—followed by an illustration of the coins in question. Despite the unorthodox use of the term “plate” to describe this sort of textual-illustrative arrangement, it is nice to have coin and commentary on the same page (in most cases), although the flow might have been better if the coins were illustrated at the head of each commentary rather than at the end. The two books also include up-to-date select bibliographies that will be of great use to students new to the discipline or veteran scholars of Alexander and his iconography. Arnold-Biucchi even lists the recent and very controversial Le portrait d’Alexandre le Grand. Histoire d’une découverte pour l’humanité (Paris, 2005) by O. Bopearachchi and P. Flandrin (see in ANS Magazine 5.2 [Summer 2006]), but points out that its arguments have not been taken into account in her text because of the dubious authenticity of the new gold double daric presented therein. It is probably for similar reasons that this work has been omitted from Dahmen’s extensive bibliography, although he also adds his voice to the growing chorus of doubt on page 9 and in note 13. It must be pointed out that his voluminous endnotes (taking up some forty-two pages), which often include important additional discussion as well as source citations, are alone worth the asking price of the softcover edition of The Legend of Alexander the Great (the hardcover price is almost beyond justification).

As mentioned above, Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image is not only the companion to a coin exhibit, but it was also written with an eye toward use in the undergraduate classroom. Indeed, the manuscript has already seen use in a course on “The Images of Alexander the Great” taught by David Mitten. We hope that in time this book may become the first in a series of similar thematic introductions to Greek coinage. Arnold-Biucchi’s broad knowledge is certainly up to such a task, and anyone who has ever tried to introduce numismatics to undergraduates knows that there is a dearth of scholarly resources designed for this important purpose. Indeed, it is really only in the last few years that similar attempts have been made to assist archaeology students through the publication of such unassuming but much-needed works as Kenneth Harl’s Roman and Byzantine Guides for Coins Commonly Found at Anatolian Excavations (Istanbul, 2001). Further examples of Arnold-Biucchi’s exhibition catalogue / introductory text genre would be most welcome.

Once Alexander’s Coins and Alexander’s Image has thoroughly hooked the student on the development of Alexander’s numismatic image through the Hellenistic period it is almost unavoidable that he or she will also seek out the deeper discussion in The Legend of Alexander the Great that continues the story through the Roman age and into modern times. No doubt both books will be partnered together frequently in course syllabi in the years to come, with each playing Hephaestion to the other. It is difficult to imagine a more appropriate relationship for these two useful new works on the Macedonian conqueror.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Current Cabinet Activities (Winter 2007)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

Researches and Reflections

It is always a pleasure for me to relate the variety of “close encounters of the coin kind” that have occupied us in the curatorial section of the American Numismatic Society as we endeavor to assist people with their inquiries and to make the collections available for scholarly research and publication. These materials—treasures, if you will—are here for the benefit of all those who share a fascination with these precious little mementoes of the human experience. So whenever someone shows an interest in a particular item or series, I take it as an indication that others, too, might want a glimpse at something that might otherwise remain undiscovered or underappreciated in the “vault”!

The Ancient World and Not-So-Ancient Questions

Preparing a presentation this summer on forensic numismatics (the detection of counterfeits and alterations) for the students in the annual ANS Summer Graduate Seminar, I briefly searched through some of the specimen trays of nongenuine coins in order to find items to illustrate various aspects. Such acquisitions in the collection are routinely set aside, in effect incarcerated in perpetual confinement, as they are removed from the collectors’ and dealers’ marketplace. But among these there are a good many interesting items and pieces with unusual stories to be told. And, alas, there are some that have been wrongfully “convicted” and deserve to be released back into the realm of the real.

Fig. 1. Roman Empire. Diocletian (AD 285-305). AE bimetallic medallion, Rome mint. ANS 1944.100.3161, gift of Edward T. Newell, ex [Vincenzo?] Capobianchi coll., Rome) 50 mm.

I was surprised to find among miscellaneous copies of Roman coins and medals an example of a rare, bimetallic medallion of the emperor Diocletian (AD 285-305) (Fig. 1). According to its accession record, this piece from the great collection of Edward T. Newell had been condemned as false in the summer of 1998, with a notation that the “coin is made of two halves joined.” This piece has certainly suffered at the hands of Father Time, but its peculiarities seem more worthy of close investigation and speculation than summary condemnation. The piece has been only partly described in publication: Fagerlie observed that it “appears to consist of two bronze halves with an iron core between; pierced before the medal was split,” while Gnecchi had merely remarked that the medal was in pessima conservazione (“very bad condition”), although he mentioned that it was bimetallic, which Fagerlie did not.

I think this unique specimen may deserve a new hearing, and with this occasion to reexamine it, we can also illustrate it for the first time in color. Although somewhat worn and disfigured by accretions, it nevertheless exhibits attractive features. When new, its planchet, consisting of a central rondule and a surrounding ring of different compositions, would have presented a two-toned aspect not unlike those of the modern world’s recent bimetallic coinages.

The obverse presents a powerful effigy of the emperor, his laureate and cuirassed bust to right as seen from the front, wearing an aegis on his left shoulder and holding, to the right, an eagle-tipped scepter. The obverse legend reads IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, although parts of some of the letters toward the end are somewhat obscured by the separation line between the two (bimetallic) planchet components, passing through their upper segments. The coin’s reverse depicts a sacrificial scene in front of a hexastyle temple of Jupiter, within the precinct of which is an enthroned image of the god facing, holding a fulmen and a vertical scepter. In the center of the pediment is an eagle facing, with wings spread. The sacrificial scene appears to consist of a central altar, to the left of which the emperor stands to right, togate, holding a patera; behind him stand two togate citizens, also facing right. To the right of the altar are two priests, raising between them a sacrificial bowl, and the victimarius. The reverse legend reads [IOVI CON] SER VAT ORI AVG. The letters are in some cases obscured by accretions or by the bimetallic separation line, which had evidently been planned to circumscribe the legends. It is, I think, possible that a second G might have been originally intended to end the abbreviation AVG[ustus]: there is space for it, but, if it was ever present on the die, it was subsequently thoroughly eradicated. Diocletian, of course, had identified himself with Jupiter, while his colleague Maximianus was identified with Hercules; the vignette on the reverse alludes to Diocletian’s piety toward his patron deity.

Stylistically, the medal exhibits normal lettering and other characteristics of the best of the Rome mint’s die-cutting work of the period. The legends on the dies were so placed as to correspond admirably to the positioning of the juncture line between the central and the outer ring components of the planchet. In the individual Newell collection box in which this piece is kept, along with its Newell tags there is another more recent one with the note “Probably modern fake (note signs of casting and unusual bimetallism)” on one side—with the word “probably” having been marked through—and “original in Rome” on the other. The note may explain part of what happened regarding this piece. Someone clearly misunderstood the minting technique and the subsequent damage displayed by the item, which in fact shows no indication of casting. They might have been confused by the nature of the bimetallism employed in the Rome mint and seem to have been unaware that this is the actual “original in Rome” to which Gnecchi’s reference pertained. Gnecchi was also improperly cited in the database record that had been subsequently prepared.

It is no doubt the condition of the piece that had led to confusion. Only the edge between 8:00 and 11:00 (in reference to the obverse) had not been sawn through in antiquity, leaving a large slot partly separated and filled, today, with oxidized ferrous metal. There is also a perforation about 3.5 mm in diameter, at 7:00 (again, as seen from the obverse), which passed completely through the planchet, leaving an “exit wound” slightly smaller in diameter on the reverse. This piercing is filled with the same sort of material (rust) as the slot. Due to the iron “core,” some corrosion has permeated the juncture of the two orichalcum components of the medal, leading to deposition of oxides on the surface. It seems clear to me that this rare and important medallion must have been misjudged for reasons that will not stand up to scrutiny.

In reality, the detrimental features of the medal might even favor its authenticity: the possibility occurs to me that it might have been modified in antiquity to serve as a phalera, an ornamental disk of the kind worn as military decorations on a harness over a soldier’s breast, atop his armor, or attached to a standard or some other piece of military equipage. The “slot” through its edge might have been cut to enable it to be fitted onto a strap, and the piercing might have helped secure it (although this would seem rather a wasteful use of a piece as sophisticated as a bimetallic Roman medallion).

Some Recent Researches in Islamic Coinage

Richard Accola was fortunate to acquire the Ghurid coins from the former collection of our late benefactor William F. Spengler. This was an area on which the Indian specialist Spengler had devoted much time and interest, having pursued a postgraduate thesis in the coinage of this important Turkic dynasty, which laid the foundations for the formation of the great Dehli Sultanate of India. Accola studied the ANS’s holdings of Ghurid coins, particularly those of Mu‘iz al-din (also named Shahab al-din) Muhammad bin Sam—“son of Sam”—Ghuri (1171-1206), the conqueror of the Rajputs and the central figure of the dynasty (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Ghurid Empire. Muhammad bin Sam. AV dinar, Firuzkuh mint (month of Ramadan) AH 599 (= AD 1203). (ANS 1971.160.5, purchase) 26 mm.

Ed Hohertz has for some years been working on a corpus of the square silver dirhams of the Muwahid (Almohad) dynasty of North Africa and Spain and the contemporary imitations of this prolific coinage (called millares). He visited the coin room to examine the Society’s fairly extensive holdings of such pieces and was able to make additional progress toward his publication. The Muwahids arrived in Spain in 1147, and within a few years their coinage had become one of the principal monetary forms of the western Mediterranean.

As part of his long-term study of coinage of the Mughal Empire, Robert Johnston came by the Coin Room again to work with coins of the emperor Shah ‘Alam I (1643-1712; reigned from 1707), particularly to investigate the weights of the series. One of these pieces stands out for me personally: a rupee from the mint of Tatta (Fig. 3), the ruins of which I had the pleasure of visiting while in Pakistan some years ago as a participant in the International Partnerships Among Museums program. Mu‘azzam Bahadur Shah (Fig. 4; usually called Bahadur Shah I as well as Shah ‘Alam) ascended the Peacock Throne in the power struggle following the death of his father Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir, overcoming his two younger brothers. Aurangzeb was a simple and pious man but a harsh Islamist, strictly imposing the Sharia law and killing hundreds of thousands of nonbelievers. Bahadur, much more tolerant and moderate than his father, inherited a chaotic state infused with bitterness and rebellion caused by his father’s wars and religious bigotry. He did what he could to hold the empire together, but soon died in the gardens of Shalimar, outside Lahore. As it happens, I was also able to visit this magical place while on my sojourn with the National Museum of Pakistan, so this is a coin that conjures for me an enjoyable recollection of my time there.

Fig. 3. Mughal Empire. Bahadur Shah I (Shah ʾAlam I). AR rupee, Tatta mint, AH 1120, year 2 (1708/9). (ANS 1973.20.1, gift of G. J. Verhulst) 20 mm.

Fig. 4. Mughal emperor Shah ʾAlam (Bahadur Shah) I, second son of Aurangzeb. Miniature painting, ca. 1675. Watercolor, ink, gold on paper. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 101.6 x 179.4 mm.

Medieval European Issues

Dr. William Monter, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, visited the cabinet in connection with his work on a book dealing with the sovereign European queens of the Middle Ages and early modern period. Naturally, a number of these historic women have left a numismatic legacy, and the ANS is fortunate to be able to represent them. Some are relatively well known today; others, scarcely at all. Among their coins are issues of the two regal sisters Maria of Hungary (Fig. 5) and Hedwig (Jadwiga) of Poland (Fig. 6), respectively the heirs to two portions of the realm of the great Angevin king of Hungary Louis I. Both were political pawns, child-brides married to major potentates who dominated them, but both exercised a brief period of real authority and issued coinage in their own names. In 1364, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV made a pact with Louis, pledging to join in marriage their future children. In consequence, Louis’ eldest daughter Maria was engaged to the prince imperial Sigismund of Luxemburg (1368-1437), the margrave of Brandenburg, who eventually became king of Bohemia and in 1433, Holy Roman emperor.

Fig. 5. Hungary. Maria of Anjou (1371-1395; wife of Sigismund of Luxemburg, the Margrave of Brandenburg). AV ducat, n.d. (1382-1386). On this coin, which more closely resembles a florin than a ducat, the standing figure of St. Ladislas replaces that of his Florentine precursor, St. John the Baptist. (ANS 1957.149.1) 20 mm.

Fig. 6. Poland. Jadwiga of Anjou (1374-1399), wife of Yogaila of Lithuania. AR denar, Cracow mint, n.d. (1384-1386). (ANS 1948.30.81, gift of A. Orlowski) 11.5 mm.

King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia, Sigismund’s older stepbrother, sent him to manage Poland following the death of their father, Charles IV, in 1378. There he proceeded to make himself unpopular with the gentry by his intrigues. In the meantime, Louis’ younger daughter Hedwig was originally promised in marriage to William of Austria, but this was not to be. Casimir III, the last of the Piast kings of Poland, had died without surviving children and bequeathed his kingdom to his sister Elizabeth and her son, his nephew. This was none other than Louis of Anjou, upon whose death Poland rejected the succession of Maria on account of opposition to her husband-to-be. As a fallback measure, then, when the Poles obstructed the Angevin inheritance, the princess’s astute mother, the dowager queen Elizabeth of Bosnia, arranged for the throne to pass to her younger daughter Hedwig (Jadwiga), who was consequently crowned “king” (not “queen”) of Poland, in 1384, in demonstration of her sovereignty. But the next year she was married to Grand Duke Jogaila (Jagiello, baptized Wladyslaw) of Lithuania, who probably held most of the power thereafter. Jadwiga became renowned over the years, however, for her cultural, charitable, and even diplomatic achievements—so much so that in 1997 she was officially designated a Catholic saint (the patroness of queens and of a united Europe). In the ANS cabinet we are fortunate to have several of Jadwiga’s Cracow denars, from the great donation of Polish material made by Alexandre Orlowski.

Each of the little Angevin queens enjoyed a brief period of rule, but these were desperate and bloody times. Marrying Maria in 1385, Sigismund staged a coup the next year to make himself king of Hungary, murdering the queen mother and having his bride imprisoned by rebels. Her freedom was obtained by Venetian intervention, but the couple then lived apart until she died, pregnant, under suspicious circumstances in 1395. In 1387, Yadwiga invaded Hungary to dispute the succession there, but settled matters peacefully. After she died in childbirth in 1399, her husband Jogaila was able to retain his wife’s Polish throne, which eventually passed in conflict to heirs of his second wife. Jadwiga, however, had become a legend during her lifetime, fabled for her good works.

Another evocative medieval coin of a female monarch coming under Monter’s purview is a Cypriot grosso of Caterina Cornaro (Fig. 7), who as a young girl was married by proxy to the Lusignan heir James II (James “the Bastard”). Caterina was a descendant of one of the most illustrious Venetian families, to whom the Lusignans had been turning for aid for several generations. Upon the death of her husband in 1473, Caterina, who had been officially entitled “Daughter of the Venetian Republic” by her countrymen, became the sovereign queen of Cyprus as part of her marriage contract. But by 1489, the Venetians were able to completely take over the kingdom and depose their puppet queen (she was immortalized in the eponymous 1844 lyric opera by Gaetano Donizetti). Caterina died in 1509 in Asolo, in the Veneto, where her court in exile gained fame as a Renaissance cultural enclave.

Fig. 7. Cyprus. Caterina Cornaro (1474-1489). AR grosso. The queen is portrayed in a manner consistent with the representations of the former Lusignan kings, only traces of her veil and a long robe revealing her robust effigy to be feminine. (ANS 1998.127.1, purchase) 25 mm.

Delving Into the German Reformation

Justin Hall, a Ph.D. candidate at the Kley Laboratory in the department of anatomical sciences of the Health Science Center, Stony Brook University, was looking for help for his mother to obtain information about an old coin found about twenty-five years ago. The American Museum of Natural History, with which Hall is affiliated, suggested he direct his inquiry to us. The coin turned out to be a taler (or thaler) of the Duke of Saxony Johann Friedrich I, der Grossmütige (John Frederick “the Magnanimous,” 1503-1554), a leading figure in the early Protestant Reformation in Germany. This particular issue, which precisely matched a coin in the ANS cabinet, features on its reverse Duke Moritz of Saxony (Maurice, 1521-1553), Johann Friedrich’s cousin and eventual successor, making it an example of a Gemeinschaftsprägung, a “collective/alliance coinage”—one with an improbable and complicated story behind it (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8. German States: Saxony. Ernestine-Albertine unification issue, Johann Friedrich, with Moritz. AR thaler, Annaberg mint, 1543. Davenport 9730 (ANS 1905.57.646, gift of Daniel Parish Jr.) 39.8 mm.

Struck in the mint of Annaberg in 1543, the coin bears on its obverse the portrait of Johann Friedrich, with the legend IOHAN F. ELE. DVX. SAX. BVR. MAG Z. Its reverse bears a likeness of Moritz, with his legend MAVRI. DVX. SAX. FI. IVS. 1543. ANB? (the mintmark). This issue marks a brief moment of concord between these two contentious kinsmen, brought about through the good offices of none other than the father of German Protestantism, Martin Luther, during the tumultuous period of the War of the Schmalkalden (the mutual-defense alliance of the princes who were also religious reformers, formed at Schmalkald in western Thuringia). Both of the potentates involved with this issue were members of the “Wettin” dynasty of Saxony, but Johann Friedrich I belonged to the senior “Ernestine” line, and Maurice, to the “Albertine”—two rival branches of the family, in competition with one another for lands, titles, and influence. Both of these characters are interesting and historically important figures—allies and enemies, transplanting each other as occasions and circumstances changed.

As a boy, Johann Friedrich was tutored by Georg Spalatin, a friend and advisor of Martin Luther. Johann I (called “the Steadfast” or “the Constant,” 1468-1532; Elector from 1525), Johann Friedrich’s father, had been one of Luther’s first converts to the reforming religion. In consequence, the Saxon electoral heir became devoted to the principles of the revolutionary monk, whose special protector he later became. In addition to his religious outlook, Spalatin provided Johann Friedrich with an outstanding education: the prince’s knowledge of history became comprehensive, and his personal library, which extended over all the sciences, was eventually one of the largest in Germany. In 1526, the zealous young scholar married fourteen-year-old Sybille of Julich-Cleves-Berg (the elder sister of Anne of Cleves, who was to become in 1540 the fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England). He soon joined his “Steadfast” father in conducting diplomacy. In 1527, Lutheranism was declared the state religion of Ernestine Saxony, with Johann I as the chief bishop of the church. Following the second diet of Speyer (1529), Johann Friedrich drew up a federal statute for the Lutheran Evangelicals to become the established religion, and in 1530 accompanied his father to the diet of Augsburg, where both became signatories to the famous Augsburg Confession, defining the beliefs of the Reformation (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9. German States: Saxony. Johann Friedrich (1532-1547). Gilt silver portrait medal, by Matthes Gebel (ca. 1500-1574). Habich 1080. (ANS 1946.54.3, gift of Wayte Raymond) 44 mm.

Succeeding his father as imperial elector of Saxony in 1532, Johann Friedrich assumed a major role in the theological politics of the day, strongly advocating the reforms of Martin Luther. He became a principal member of the Schmalkaldic League (the alliance of the Protestant princes) formed in 1530 for the protection of Protestants in opposition to the imperial government and its Catholicism in the great struggle that was developing. Many antagonisms arose among the various factions and personalities, however, in spite of efforts at concord and conciliation. In 1544, an accord seemed to have been reached at the fourth Diet of Speyer. The Habsburg Emperor Charles V (Fig. 10) needed allies against France.

Fig. 10. Holy Roman Empire. Charles V. Gilt silver portrait medal, with loop, by Hans Reinhart, Leipsig?, 1537. Bernhart 93; Domanig 33; Habich 1926. (ANS 1969.146.1, gift of Carroll Bayne) 64 mm; with loop, 71 mm.

In 1546, the Schmalkaldic War broke out. While Johann Friedrich was engaged in the south, his Albertine cousin Moritz invaded his territories, necessitating his return. The rascal Moritz had been nearly routed from the Ernestine fiefs when he was joined by Charles’s imperial forces, who defeated Johann Friedrich in the battle of Mühlberg, on April 24, 1547. Tensions among the Protestants had vitiated their command structure, and the emperor Charles’s landsknecht mercenaries and Spanish tercios cut the Schmalkaldic forces to pieces, inflicting a gruesome wound to Johann Friedrich’s face, taking him captive, and sentencing him to death. Meanwhile, the elector’s wife, Sybille, held out with his family, besieged in Wittenberg. Charles wanted a rapid settlement, and quickly an agreement was reached whereby Wittenberg would surrender and the Ernestine Wettins would be spared, but Johann Friedrich would give up his office of elector to his cousin Moritz and remain a prisoner for life.

It was during his time of imprisonment that Johann Friedrich earned his reputation as “the Magnanimous” (Fig. 11). His calm and benign behavior, unwavering faith, and steadfastness in misfortune—as shown by letters written to his intimates—revealed a man tempered in adversity. Although he was offered several opportunities to be released, he would not accept the religious compromises their acceptance would have entailed.

Fig. 11. German States: Hessen. Philip (“der grossmutige”). Silver-plated AE coin-like medal, 1537. Habich 1901 (ANS 0000.999.36131, gift of Daniel Parish Jr.) 38.3 mm.

Raised as a lax Catholic, during his early teenaged years Moritz had lived with his godfather, Albrecht, the cardinal and archbishop of Brandenburg. He was educated as a Catholic until his father, Duke Heinrich, converted to Protestantism in 1536. In 1539, the young man himself converted and was sent to live with his reform-minded cousin, the elector Johann Friedrich, whom he came to despise. On the other hand, during these years Moritz formed a close bond with another of his cousins, Philip, the landgrave of Hesse and cofounder of the League of Schmalkald (1509-1567; like Friedrich Johann, also known as der grossmütige, “the Magnanimous”). Moritz fell in love with Philip’s daughter Agnes and despite their consanguinal relationship and his parents’ disapproval, they married in 1541. Their daughter Anna eventually became the wife (later divorced) of William “the Silent” of Orange-Nassau, the Father of the Dutch Republic.

When Duke Heinrich died in 1541, Moritz became the Albertine contender as duke of Saxony. Although a Protestant, he allied himself with the interests of the emperor Charles V (Fig. 12), but then he proceeded to “nationalize” the properties of the Catholic Church in the manner of Henry VIII of England, using this wealth to establish a series of secular schools, the Fürstenschulen, in his territories. Moritz would not go so far as to join the Schmalkaldic League—even though his friend and father-in-law Philip was its leader—because of his dislike of Johann Friedrich, the league’s cofounder. During Holy Week of 1542, in fact, Moritz and Johann Friedrich nearly went to war in the “Easter Flatbread Incident,” restrained only by their cousin Philip and Martin Luther himself. Uneasily reconciled with his cousin (as indicated by the thaler we have examined above), in 1546 the crafty Moritz went over to the emperor again. Following the battle of Mühlberg and the defeat and capture of Johann Friedrich and the treacherous imprisonment of Philip by the emperor, Moritz was elevated to the electorate of Saxony, gaining extensive lands (as well as the opprobrium of the reformers: they gave him the epithet of the German “Judas”).

Fig. 12. Holy Roman Empire. Charles V (1519-1556). AR (lightly gilt) cast rhomboid medal, Leipzig?, by Hans Reinhart, 1547. Bernhard 96; Habich 1929. (ANS 1988.60.1, gift of Catherine Bullowa-​Moore) 37.6 x 45.6 mm.

In 1552, the impetuous Moritz turned on his imperial benefactor and attacked. Stinging from his fellow Protestants’ disparagements and feeling betrayed and humiliated by the emperor’s treatment of Philip of Hesse, Moritz had just been waiting for his chance when, sent to capture the rebellious Lutheran city of Magdeburg, he used this appointment as imperial military commander to make a pact with the French and to realign himself with the Protestant princes. He thus enabled King Henry II of France (Fig. 13) to seize Cambrai, Metz, Toul, and Verdun, while he himself invaded Bavaria, forcing Charles to flee. The emperor then acceded to the Peace of Passau, whereby Lutheranism was recognized and the Schmalkaldic leaders Johann Friedrich and Philip were released. While some warfare extended until Charles’s abdication in 1556, by then both of the contentious Saxon dukes were gone. Moritz had been killed by a gunshot wound sustained in the battle of Sievershausen (July 8, 1553), against the turbulent Margrave Albrecht “Alcibiades” of Brandenburg-Beyreuth, his former friend and companion-in-arms. Perhaps surprisingly, in death Moritz was respected as a diplomat and successful strategist who had enlarged and enhanced his domains and fostered peace and education. Johann Friedrich, who had returned in triumph to his reduced territories, upholding his faith and endowing education, died within two years of having been set free; he was fondly mourned as a great soul and defender of early Protestantism (Figs. 14-15).

Fig. 13. France. Henri II. AR teston, Paris mint, 1558-A. (ANS 1942.23.853, Saltus fund/general fund purchase, ex Ferrari coll.) 28 mm.

Fig. 14. German States: Saxony. Johann Friedrich. AR medal, commemorating investiture as Elector of Saxony, by Hans Reinhart, 1535. Habich 1935; Tentzel 7, 1. (ANS 0000.999.37965, gift of Daniel Parish Jr.) 64.3 mm.

Fig. 15. German States: Saxony. Johann Friedrich. Wooden “checker” simulating the investiture commemoration medal by Reinhart, n.d., ca. 1532-1535). (ANS 1971.42.128, gift of Jay Donald Rogasner) 56 mm.

I have digressed into the historical background of the Saxon dukes because of their connection to significant items in the ANS cabinet. In the process of preparing our 2005 exhibit of German Renaissance portrait medals, I sought to improve their cataloging. Some pieces relate closely to the inquiry that we had from Justin Hall, while others are simply remarkable in their own right. One of the most outstanding specimens in the cabinet is the Trinity medallion (Fig. 16) by the great sixteenth-century medallist Hans Reinhart (ca. 1510-1581). It had been assigned a “dummy” (provisional) number without a record of its accession data, but while working with this material, I was able to determine its proper accession reference number and relate it to the article by former curator Henry Grunthal on its acquisition, as a purchase from Hans M. F. Schulman in 1972. This elaborate medal was a masterwork of the German Renaissance and is one of only fourteen specimens located by Grunthal.

Fig. 16. German States. Saxony. Moritz. AR (gilt) Holy Trinity medallion, by Hans Reinhart, 1544; mounted with later three-chain loop attachment and ornamental pendant with glass bead. Tentzel III, 85; Habich 1962; Domanig 758; Grunthal 109-112, pl. 18-19 (ANS 1972.17.1, purchase). Suspended length: 185 mm; diameter, 101 mm.

The Trinity medal was noteworthy in its time, and became so popular that it was reproduced on a number of occasions, in 1556, 1561, 1569, and 1574, and even after Reinhart’s death seven years later. Duke Moritz commissioned Reinhart to make the Trinity medal in the effort to strike a note of unification among the religious contenders in Germany during the Schmalkaldic War. Catholics and Protestants alike shared the dogma of the Athanasian Creed (the Quicunque vult or Symbolum quicunque), the Christian statement of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. By emphasizing the Creed at this time, including several of its passages on the medal, Moritz hoped to show the shared understanding upon which those of differing faith could base a common rapprochement. This may not be the place for a lengthy discussion of the various aspects of the Trinity medal, astonishing in its busy detail, but its design, technique and contextual implications have earned it such acclaim that it deserves to be illustrated in color. In Grunthal’s words, “the medal itself is of the finest craftsmanship. The thin cast planchet rises slowly toward the edge which carries the legend…. The main relief, the richly ornate throne and gorgeous dress of the Father as well as the foot rest, is not very high, hardly exceeding the height of the edge. All the other parts such as the Father’s crowned head, the hands with scepter and orb, the crucifix with the dove and the angel figures were separately cast and chased before being soldered to the medal” (Grunthal 1972, 111).

The “Virgin Queen” and the ANS Cabinet

We have had several requests for publication of images of coins of Queen Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603) (Fig. 18). A search like this provides me with another occasion to survey an area that holds particular appeal to me, and so I return to a curious parcel of English coins in the cabinet, hammered silver pieces that came to the ANS as a donation in 1961 from Weber de Vore. Although this group of 480 small-denomination silver coins still remains to be fully catalogued into the collection, it has been briefly published by Michael Dolley, in 1953, in the Numismatic Chronicle, while in the possession of the London dealer A. H. Baldwin & Sons, who later sold it to de Vore. Dolley stated that the coins “at one time had obviously formed part at least of a hoard. Inquiry established that the coins in question had always been kept together as coming from a single find, and also that there was a strong tradition to the effect that the 480 coins were substantially the whole hoard. The exact circumstances of their discovery cannot now be evoked, but it is believed that the coins were unearthed in the early part of the last century [the early 1800s] if not even earlier. Unfortunately there is no record of a find spot, but the provenance is believed to be the West Country, with a slight bias in favour of Somerset” (Dolley 1953, 153).

Fig. 17. England. Elizabeth I (1558-1603). AV ryal, mm. escallop. (ANS 1954.237.67, bequest of Herbert E. Ives) 35 mm.

Fig. 18. Queen Elizabeth I of England, the “Ermine Portrait” attributed to William Segar (formerly, to Nicholas Hilliard), 1585. Oil painting for William Cecil, Lord Burghley. (Hatfield House, collection of the Marquess of Salisbury)

The salient features of this hoard (ANS accession registration number 1961.8), evidently deposited ca. 1646, may be outlined as follows (after Dolley):

Great Britain, Mary to James I, minor AR (West Country Hoard).

A. England

  • Mary: 31 groats (heavily worn)
  • Philip & Mary: 8 groats (heavily worn)
  • Elizabeth: 34 shillings, 246 sixpences, 16 groats, 2 threepences
  • James I: (first coinage) 10 shillings, 22 sixpences; (second coinage) 10 shillings, 15 six pences; (third coinage) 1 shilling, 3 sixpences
  • Charles I: (Tower mint) 7 halfcrowns, 68 shillings

B. Scotland

  • Charles I: (fourth coinage) 1 4- penny piece

C. Ireland

  • James I: (first coinage) 1 shilling; (second coinage) 1 shilling, 1 sixpence

D. Also included in the find were two contemporary forgeries of English James I shillings (one each of the second and third coinages).

Dolley regarded the hoard as noteworthy “for its unusually complete run of Elizabethan sixpences which account for more than half of the total” and also for “its comparatively late date.” He observed “two details perhaps worth remarking”: (1) “that certain coins with mint-mark ermine may well be ermine over castle—the coins are generally in too worn a condition for superimposition of mint-mark always to be established”; and (2) “that in the case of Charles I shillings with mint-mark altered from star the triangle in circle is in each case inverted.” The mintmarks referred to on the coins of this era are markings of administrative control in the Tower of London, often called “initial marks” or even “privy marks.” Although not normally designated in the literature, it is possible to distinguish different varieties of some of the markings, including two forms of the “ermine” mark of Elizabeth, used from 1572 to 1573. Heraldically speaking, the “ermine”—the European stoat in its winter coat—is a cluster of the little weasels’ tails that, in full-color version, would have shown black tips against the white of the rest of the fur: a pattern of dots. In the abbreviated form employed for the English moneyers’ punches, ermine is depicted as a bunch either of three or seven tails bound together at the top (Fig. 17).

One cannot help but be struck by the odd fact that of the 298 coins of Elizabeth I present in the de Vore hoard, not a single one was minted by Eloye Mestrelle’s “mill.” This seems surprising in view of the presence of a number of the scarcer hammered issues and the relative frequency of the milled pieces today. One might wonder whether there was a contemporary tendency for the attractive machine-made coins of Mestrelle to enjoy a differential pattern of circulation or withdrawal, or whether any milled coins present had been removed from the hoard after its discovery. Their absence would seem unlikely to be completely coincidental. For the denominations on which the year is not shown, it is possible to date the Elizabethan coinage approximately by means of the mintmarks, although these, as noted, can have been subject to modification.

Coins and Medals in American History

While visiting the Coin Room during a trip to New York City, David Sundman examined pieces from several series, including the early Massachusetts silver. He noted particularly the ANS’s Noe 1 example of the New England shilling—probably the first coinage minted in what is now the United States (Fig. 19). For his work on the ANS Magazine and for illustrations to include in our forthcoming volume of the Coinage of the American Conference Proceedings covering last year’s event, as well as for other articles, Oliver Hoover busied us locating and selecting a variety of items for illustration. Richard Kjellgren, curator of the Tumba Museum section of the Royal Numismatic Collection Museum in Sweden, paid a visit to our cabinet to become acquainted with some of the materials here.

Fig. 19. United States: Massachusetts Bay Colony. AR shilling, Boston (Hull and Sanderson) mint, n.d. [1652]. Noe 1. (ANS 1911.85.2, gift of William Bradhurst Osgood Field) 30 mm.

ANS Trustee Syd Martin, came to the Coin Room to study the William Wood Rosa Americana series in the cabinet for the book on these pieces he is completing (Fig. 20). Tammy Vaught found an example of the 1776 Massachusetts “Pine Tree” copper replica and wished to know when it had been made. Typically, such pieces seem to have been mass produced as tourist souvenirs in the 1950s or 1960s—not to fool anyone, but who ever sees the genuine coins with which to compare these kinds of copies? Another early American copy, the “Washington the Great” satirical copper of ca. 1784, was researched by another of our Trustees, Roger Siboni, who ordered photos of the forged examples in the cabinet (Fig. 21).

Fig. 20. United States. William Wood’s Rosa Americana “Bath metal” (latten) twopence, 1722. Breen 90. (ANS 1886.1.2, gift of J. Evans) 31 mm.

Fig. 21. United States. “G. Washington the Great” satirical copper, ca. 1784 (modern forgery). Baker 8. (ANS 1989.99.232, gift of R. Byron White) 27.2 mm.

John Kleeberg visited the Coin Room to examine pieces for several investigations. He noted the IB countermarked Spanish Colonial gold piece, an example of an America-regulated issue (Fig. 22), as well as the contemporary counterfeit of a 1775 British halfpenny bearing the incused counterstamp GW in cursive script within a sunken ring with the raised legend *LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT (Fig. 23). Presumably dating to around the time of Washington’s inauguration as president in 1789, the mark has been attributed to the Philadelphia pewterer George Will. The image of King George III that appeared on the obverse of the host coin has been all but obliterated by the counterstamp, and the seated figure of Britannia on the reverse has been likewise severely flattened, but no matter: this piece is a splendid example of very early American numismatic political memorabilia.

Fig. 22. United States. IB counterstamped Spanish colonial AV 2 escudos. (ANS 1934.92.3, purchase) 17 mm.

Fig. 23. United States. George Washington political token struck on contemporary counterfeit of British 1775 AE halfpenny. Brunk 15480; Baker 1030; Thorn p. 284. (ANS 1957.27.2, gift of Damon G. Douglas) 25 mm.

Robert Apuzzo has been working steadily on a book of the relatively well-known yet still very mysterious shipwreck of the HMS Hussar, which sank in New York’s East River off the southern shore of the Bronx in 1780. This British vessel was reputed to have been carrying a cargo of coins for a military payroll, and many have been the attempts to recover the gold guineas believed to be lying in the great waterway’s mucky bottom. To feature in his study of what is known of the salvage effort and its public record, Apuzzo ordered images of a contemporary issue of the kind that might have been recovered (or might still remain to be found!): the typical British gold from the Revolutionary era (Figs. 24-25). Several such coins are in the ANS cabinet; what is their imaginary history?

Fig. 24. Great Britain. George III. AV guinea, 1776/5. (ANS 1909.269.11, gift of J. Sanford Saltus) 25 mm.

Fig. 25. Great Britain. George III. AV guinea, 1776. (ANS 1944.49.121, gift of H. E. Gillingham) 25 mm.

Indefatigable researcher and ANS Honorary Trustee Eric P. Newman ordered images of the “New Haven restrike” dies of the famous Fugio coppers housed in our cabinet for a new study he is conducting. Curiously, there are two dies of the reverse (Figs. 26-28).

Fig. 26. United States. Steel “Restrike” die for 1787 congress copper (“Fugio” or “Franklin cent”). Obverse. (ANS 1894.6.1, gift of Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Ltd.) 34 mm.

Fig. 27. United States. Steel “Restrike” die for 1787 congress copper (“Fugio” or “Franklin cent”). Reverse. (ANS 1894.6.2, gift of Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Ltd.) 34 mm.

Fig. 28. United States. Steel “Restrike” die for 1787 congress copper (“Fugio” or “Franklin cent”). Reverse. (ANS 1895.19.1, gift of Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Ltd.) 34 mm.

In a collection she inherited, Margie Jenkins discovered a coin/token that it was possible to identify, from her images sent to us, as one of the interesting American game counters of the mid-nineteenth century (Fig. 29). Matching a nicer specimen in the ANS cabinet, the item is classified as part of the California Gold Rush-era series known as the “Gold Miner counters.” The obverse presents a head of Liberty derived from the contemporary American gold coinage with the date 1849 below and surrounded by thirteen stars. The attractive reverse depicts a gold prospector kneeling to left, with a pick, spade, and “ore sack,” and with the word CALIFORNIA above and the date 1849 in the exergue; in the background is a horizon line with two palm trees. Believed to have been minted about 1852, the token was probably struck by the Scovill Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut.

Fig. 29. United States: “California” (Connecticut). Gilt brass counter, 1849 (by Scoville, struck ca. 1852). Rulau and Fuld 1 var.; Kurth 3. (ANS 1973.179.3, a suspicious number, probably purchased from the American Philosophical Society) 22 mm.

Putting together an article for The Numismatist, Neil Berman contacted us to examine one of the few known examples of the 1921 “Zerbe proof” Morgan silver dollar (Fig. 30). This peculiar coin is certainly worthy of fuller examination. The story goes that numismatic showman Farran Zerbe was able to convince the U.S. mint in Philadelphia to produce for him a special striking of the revised Morgan dollar, reintroduced in 1921, when delays thwarted his efforts on behalf of initiating the new Peace Dollar coinage (Breen 1989, 220). Why the mint, or at least someone there, allowed itself to be compromised for the sake of the promoter remains obscure. It had moved away from the scandalous fabrications minted in the nineteenth century, but then the nefarious 1913 Liberty-head nickels had been struck and spirited out of the mint only a few years earlier. Properly speaking, the Zerbe coins may be considered as “presentation pieces.”

Fig. 30. United States. AR dollar, 1921 “Zerbe proof.” Breen 5704 (ANS 1921.80.1, gift of Farran Zerbe) 38.1 mm.

But the so-called Zerbe proof (somewhere between twenty and two hundred are believed to have been minted) definitely displays characteristics of proof coinage, including a relatively high polish on the fields and excellent sharpness (Van Allen 1991, 388). The coins can be recognized by a slight die-polish mark from the left serif of left upright of the second U in UNUM and through the upper loop of the S in PLURIBUS on the obverse. There are other faint die-polish marks visible as well, such as an arc from the dentils above the B, through the upper part of the U, and ending at the dentils above the S of PLURIBUS. On the reverse, the area around the bow of the wreath is virtually unpolished, but there are other slight diagnostics as well. Overall, there are considerable numbers of hairline polish marks, “lint marks,” and other “strikethroughs.” The ANS specimen shows a couple of small planchet imperfections, which one might not expect to be found on a true “normal” proof.

The World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, in 1893, was a watershed event in the United States’ cultural history. Numismatically, it provided Americans with a rich, if occasionally overlooked, heritage. Jonathan Farr made an inquiry about one of the many medals issued upon this occasion, a piece represented by a couple of examples in the ANS cabinet. This is the attractive New York City issue designed by Charles Frederick Naegele and engraved and produced by the Gorham (silver) Manufacturing Company (Fig. 31). Its obverse features a central roundel bearing a three-fourths left-facing head of Columbus wearing his familiar cap with upturned earflaps, surrounded by stylized but detailed renditions of the three ships of his first voyage bordered by a scroll representing waves of the ocean. The reverse, presenting the crowned arms of Spain (Castile-Leon quartered with Aragon, as used by Ferdinand and Isabella) at top and the arms of the United States (the “Shield of Union,” with stars in four rows across in chief) at bottom, carries a dedicatory inscription in Renaissance-style capitals reminiscent of the work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The Society is fortunate to hold a substantial collection of the exposition’s “Columbiana,” some of which was in fact published at the time of its issue, in the first series of our American Journal of Numismatics.

Fig. 31. United States. World’s Columbian Exposition AE commemorative medal, Gorham Manufacturing Co., designed by C. F. Naegele, 1891. Eglit 98 (ANS 0000.999.26300) 57 mm.

Perhaps, like me, some of you will allow these various items, pieces that have in one way or another brought themselves to our attention, to transport your imagination to some distant time or place. The ease with which one can do this with numismatics is part of the great charm and beauty of this pastime. And by the same token (if you will forgive me), study of these materials cannot help but provide us with larger and deeper insights into mankind’s heritage. Let’s face it, insights are in short supply today: I think numismatics may even have a potential role to play in international understanding.


Baker, W. S. 1885. Medallic portraits of Washington with historical and critical notes and a descriptive catalog of the coins, medals, tokens and cards. Philadelphia.

Bernhart, M. 1919. Die Bildnismedaillen Karls des Fünften. München.

Breen, W. 1989. Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins, 1722-1989: With Additions and Corrections to the 1977 Volume. Wolfeboro, N.H.: Bowers and Merena.

—. 1988. Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. New York: Doubleday.

Brunk, G. 1987. American and Canadian Countermarked Coins. Rockford, Ill.: World Exonumia Press.

Davenport, J. S. 1979. German Talers, 1500-1600. Frankfurt.

Dolley, R. H. M. 1953. “An Unrecorded Civil War Hoard.” Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, 6th series, vol. 13: 153-155.

Domanig, K. 1907. Die deutsche Medaille in kunst- und kulturhistorischer Hinsicht. Vienna.

Eglit, N. [1965]. Columbiana, the Medallic History of Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Chicago.

Fagerlie, J. M. 1969. “Roman and Byzantine Medallions in the Collection of the American Numismatic Society.” American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 15.

Gnecchi, F. 1912. I medaglioni Romani, descritti ed illustrati. Milano: Ulrico Hoepli.

Grunthal, H. 1972. “A Trinity Medal by Hans Reinhart.” ANSMN 18.

Habich, G. 1929-1933. Die deutschen Schaumünzen des XVI Jahrhunderts. München: F. Bruckmann.

Kurth, H. 1952. A Revised List of American Game Counters. From articles first published in the Numismatic Scrapbook magazine.

Rulau, R., and G. J. Fuld. 1972. “American Game Counters, ‘Spiel Marken.’” TAMS Journal 12, no. 6.

Tentzel, W. E. 1981. Saxonia numismatica lineae Ernestinae et Albertinae, (etc.). Berlin: transpress VEB Verlag für Verkehrswesen. Repr. of Dresden 1705 and Frankfurt, Leipsig, and Gotha eds. of 1712-1713.

Thorn, C. J. 1949. Handbook of American Silver and Pewter Marks. New York.

Van Allen, L. C., and G. Mallis. 1991. The Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan and Peace dollars, 3rd ed. Virginia Beach, Va.: DLRC Press.

Archivist’s News: Preserving the Del Bland Collection (Winter 2007)

by Joseph Ciccone

In October 2006, the ANS acquired through purchase at auction the personal papers of the renowned U.S. large cent authority Del Bland. By December 2006, archival staff had begun the time-consuming process of arranging and preserving the collection. As advertised by the auction house, the collection contains more than two thousand letters Bland received from circa 1970 through 2005. When this collection is fully processed, it will encompass about nine cubic feet in length—the equivalent of nine standard storage boxes.

For those unfamiliar with Bland, he is one of the foremost authorities on U.S. large cents and has been collecting specimens in this area since the 1950s. In the early 1970s (when the correspondence in the collection begins in earnest) Bland began working as a coin dealer. As such, Bland was in a key position to communicate with the leading collectors and organizations in this area of interest. As evidenced from the collection, Bland was in near-constant communication with them during the past thirty-five years regarding everything from sales and purchases to pedigrees and policy. (The policy is contained in Bland’s correspondence with leaders of the Early American Coppers on grading standards and other issues.)

Of particular significance for the ANS—and one of the main reasons the Society acquired this collection—is the correspondence regarding the Society’s Clapp collection of large cents. Readers will recall that in the early 1990s the ANS announced publicly that 129 specimens from its collection of large cents had been replaced with lesser-grade coins. It was through Bland’s research that the ANS was able to confirm that the coins had been switched and, after the theft was disclosed, Bland subsequently played a vital role in the Society’s efforts to recover the lost coins. Throughout this period Bland maintained a steady stream of correspondence with ANS staff and others. None of this correspondence has been previously available to the ANS and it provides us with fascinating details of this important episode in the Society’s history.

One of the things that is so surprising about the collection is that the ANS-related content is so much greater than we had previously thought. While it is true that there is a lot of terrific material related to the Society’s large cent collection, there are also numerous letters about other aspects of the Society’s activities, including the creation of the COAC in the early 1980s and the Society’s changing attitude toward American numismatics. Altogether the letters paint an interesting picture of the ANS in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Arrangement and Preservation

The materials in the collection arrived from the auction house disorganized in four large boxes. Since its receipt, archival staff have been arranging and preserving the collection according to standards established by the U.S. National Archives and Library of Congress. Initially, we divided all correspondence by year. Then, within each year, we further subdivided the letters by correspondent, placing all of the letters from an individual correspondent in a single file. Thus, for instance, all letters Bland received from Roy E. “Ted” Naftzger in 1985 would be in one file folder, followed by all letters he received from Eric Newman in 1985 in the subsequent folder. The logic of this organizational schema is that it allows researchers to search easily all letters in a given year or to follow Bland’s correspondence with a single individual over the course of several years. Of course, both the file folders and storage boxes are acid free, in accordance with National Archives’ standards.

So far, we have arranged all correspondence based on the above schema. Because Bland conscientiously saved almost all of the original envelopes the letters came in, this has been a relatively straightforward process. A small percentage of the letters, however, are either without signatures or have signatures that are illegible. To help rectify this problem, Bland himself has been of great assistance. In fact, Bland visited the ANS in early May, in part to review the progress we have made so far, and spent an afternoon helping us correctly identify letters that were either unsigned or lacked legible signatures.

Del Bland discusses the contents of his collection with ANS Archivist Joe Ciccone

Future Plans

We anticipate completing the arrangement of the rest of Bland’s correspondence by the end of 2006. When this is done, the next step would be to develop a series of indexes to the collection. These indexes would then be included in a finding aid and placed online. Initially, the finding aid would include indexes to correspondents and some subject matter, although there has been discussion about the viability of developing a subject index that would track coins referenced in the letters. That index, however, would come after the main finding aid is available to researchers.

From the Collections Manager (Winter 2007)

by Elena Stolyarik

New Acquisitions

During the summer and fall of 2007, the ANS obtained several interesting purchases and gifts. From LHS Auction 100, our Greek department acquired a bronze chalkous (1.02 g) of the mid-fourth century BC issued in Idyma, Caria (Fig. 1). This rare example came from the collection of R. Maly (ex Kress 152, 5 July 1971, lot 396). The Society’s holdings of Roman provincial coins was augmented by an issue of Domitian (AD 81-96), of the Macedonian Koinon (Fig. 2), donated by ANS volunteer William Sudbrink.

Fig. 1. Caria. Idyma. Silver chalkous (1.02g). Circa 350 BC. (ANS 2007.29.1 purchase) 0.89 mm.

Fig. 2. Roman Empire. Domitian (81-96 AD). Bronze fraction. Macedonia, Koinon mint. (ANS 2007.30.1, gift of William Sudbrink) 24 mm.

ANS Associate Member James H. Blind donated to the U.S. department thirteen uncirculated and sealed Eisenhower dollars (Fig. 3) and one Barber quarter dollar (Fig. 4). His gift also included four commemorative medals, via Bowers & Merena Galleries limited editions, designed by United States Mint engraver Frank Gasparo (Fig. 5).

Fig. 3. United States. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Silver dollar, uncirculated, 1972, San Francisco mint. (ANS 2007.31.1, gift of James H. Blind) 38.1 mm.

Fig. 4. United States. Barber silver quarter dollar, 1899, San Francisco mint. (ANS 2007.31.14, gift of James H. Blind) 24 mm.

Fig. 5. United States. Silver commemorative medal, by Frank Gasparo, U.S. Mint engraver. (ANS 2007.31.18, gift of James H. Blind) 40.1 mm.

The Society also received, from Ronald Asadorian, an interesting group of material related to the history of the City of New York. Among these items are seventeen miscellaneous tokens, medalets, and badges, as well as U.S. large cents of 1828 (Fig. 6) and 1847; a U.S. Indian cent of 1861 (Fig. 7); a counterfeit U.S. half dollar of 1918; and an unidentified token/button/tag/badge (Fig. 8). All this material had been found in sewage sludge removed from drains by contractors in Midtown and lower Manhattan.

Fig. 6. United States. Copper. Large cent, 1828. (ANS 2007.42.19, gift of Ronald Asadorian) 27 mm.

Fig. 7. United States. Copper-nickel cent, 1861. (ANS 2007.42.20, gift of Ronald Asadorian) 19 mm.

Fig. 8. United States. Unidentified badge. ca. 1810 Found at John St. and Water St., New York City, 1984. (ANS 2007.42.22, gift of Ronald Asadorian)

Anthony Terranova continued to expand the ANS collection with a gift consisting of tokens from California, Pennsylvania, and New York dealer’s galleries (Figs. 9-10). A one-dollar gaming token from the Sho-Ka-Wah Casino of the Band of Pomo Indians, Hopland Reservation, California, was donated by Glean Risdon, of San Francisco (Fig. 11). An interesting artifact, a lifesaving badge of Thomas J. Stephens (Harlem River, New York City, Aug. 11, 1912), came from ANS Fellow Ray Williams (Fig. 12).

Fig. 9. United States. Coin dealer’s token. Kevin Lipton Rare Coins Inc. California. (ANS 2007.39.1, gift of Anthony Terranova) 27 mm.

Fig. 10. United States. Coin dealer’s token. David & Shirley Litrenta, Del Numismatics. York, Pennsylvania. (ANS 2007.39.6, gift of Anthony Terranova) 27 mm.

Fig. 11. United States. California, Sho-Ka-Wah Casino. $1 gaming token. (ANS 2007.36.1, gift of Glean Risdon) 47 mm.

Fig. 12. United States. Bronze lifesaving badge of Thomas J. Stephens. Harlem River, New York City, Aug. 11, 1912. (ANS 2007.33.1, gift of Ray Williams)

Sergio Pimente presented to the ANS a fine selection of fifty modern centimos and bolivares of Venezuela issued between 1970 and 2004, filling some gaps in the cabinet (Fig. 13). Several Israeli coins were received from Yoav Farhi, an ANS 2007 summer seminar student from Hebrew University, in Israel (Fig. 14).

Fig. 13. Venezuela. Iron/nickel clad 100 bolivares, Caracas mint, 2001. (ANS 2007.37.45, of Sergio Pimentel) 24.8 mm.

Fig. 14. Israel. Bimetallic 10 sheqalim, 2002. (ANS 2007.41.7, gift of Yoav Farhi) 22.5 mm.

A fine addition to our extensive medal collection was a purchase of forty-eight white metal medallions from Classical Numismatic Group (Auction 75 23.V.2007, Lot 1491). This issue was struck to commemorate the presentation of various fragments of the Parthenon and Acropolis statuary—the famed Elgin Marbles—to the British Museum. This large collection of marble sculptures was removed from Greece to Great Britain in 1806 by Thomas Bruce, earl of Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, who used his position to obtain permission from the sultan to remove various sculptures and inscriptions. These were deposited in the British Museum in 1816. This beautiful medallic set, with Britain’s royal coat of arms on the reverse and the various fragments of the Acropolis marbles on the obverse, is a great addition to the ANS medal collection (Figs. 15-18).

Fig. 15. Great Britain. George IV (1820-1830). White metal medallion by Edward Thomason. Elgin Marbles dedication medal. “THE LAPITHA SUBDUED BY THE CENTAUR.” (ANS 2007.35.1, purchase) 47 mm.

Fig. 16. Great Britain. George IV (1820-1830). White metal medallion by Edward Thomason. Elgin Marbles dedication medal. “SACRIFICE.” (ANS 2007.35.8, purchase) 47 mm.

Fig. 17. Great Britain. George IV (1820-1830). White metal medallion by Edward Thomason. Elgin Marbles dedication medal. “HYPERION.” (ANS 2007.35.12, purchase) 47 mm.

Fig. 18. Great Britain. George IV (1820-1830). White metal medallion by Edward Thomason. Elgin Marbles dedication medal. (ANS 2007.35.29, purchase) 47 mm.

Among the most remarkable purchases in 2007 was a bronze portrait of Paul Wayland Bartlett (1865-1925) done by John Flanagan (1865-1952)—one of the famed studio assistants of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who is also known as the designer of the Washington twenty-five-cent piece of 1932 (Fig. 19). This artistic work paid tribute to one of the most prominent of America’s sculptors. World renowned, Bartlett began his study in Paris under Emmanuel Fremiét, the famous French artist who modeled the remarkable statue of Joan of Arc erected in the Place des Pyramides in Paris. In 1887, Bartlett won a medal at the “Salon” (the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the greatest annual or biannual art event in the world between 1748 and 1890). Closely connected with the French art scene, Bartlett was honored by the French government and named a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1895, and a Commander in the Legion d’Honneur in 1924. He also acquired American honors, being named a member of the National Sculpture Society, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The best known of Bartlett’s monuments are the equestrian statue of Lafayette, in Paris; the statue of Michelangelo in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and the façade of the New York Public Library in New York City.

Fig. 19. United States. Bronze portrait relief of Paul Wayland Bartlett (1865-1925) by John Flanagan (1865-1952), mounted on an oak panel. (ANS 2007.32.1, purchase) 305 mm.

The ANS also obtained through purchase two Art Deco bronze medals. The first, with a loop in the form of an airplane, commemorates the Salmson Aircraft Company. Their Salmson-2A2 was a well-regarded observation plane during the First World War and was flown extensively by the French and Americans and by many other countries after the war. (Fig. 20). The second medal, with images of a lion’s head and an allegoric Victory carrying a sword on the obverse and a monument to the children of Nice who were killed in the First World War on the reverse, is a magnificent masterwork of André Lavrillier and Alfred Janniot (1930) (Fig. 21).

Fig. 20. France. The Salmson Aircraft Company. Bronze commemorative medal. (ANS 2007.40.1, purchase) 41 x 30 mm.

Fig. 21. France. Bronze commemorative medal by André Lavrillier and Alfred Janniot, 1930. Monument to the children of Nice killed in World War I. (ANS 2007.40.2, purchase) 71 mm.

A very interesting commemorative bronze medal of the Federation Nationale de la Quincaillerie Fers Metaux is a gift from ANS Fellow and benefactor Jonathan Kagan (Fig. 22). This medal was struck in France at the Monnaie de Paris and signed by the renowned French medalist Robert Cochet (1903-1988). On the obverse is an image of Saint Eligius (or in French, Eloi; ca. AD 588-660). Eligius was a chief counselor to the Merovingian king of France Dagobert I. Appointed bishop of Noyon-Tournai three years after the king’s death in 642, he worked for twenty years to convert the druidic population of Flanders to Christianity. At this point, we should pause to mention that Eligius is not only the patron saint of the goldsmiths, metalworkers, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and a corps of the British Army, but also of coin collectors and numismatics, because prior to his ecclesiastical career, he served as a moneyer.

Fig. 22. France. Bronze commemorative medal with the image of St. Eligius (the patron of metalworkers and coin collectors) by Robert Cochet (1903-1988). (ANS 2007.34.1, gift of Jonathan Kagan) 58.5 mm.

Another student in this year’s ANS summer seminar, Dr. Trinity Jackman, from Columbia University, donated an interesting bronze medal: America’s Promise (Fig. 23). This piece is dedicated to the tenth anniversary celebration of the Alliance for Youth and was issued in honor of its founder, Colin Powell, and his wife, Alma.

Fig. 23. United States. Bronze. America’s Promise commemorative medal dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the Alliance for Youth, 2007. (ANS 2007.38.1, gift of Trinity Jackman) 75.8 mm.

Through a donation from long-time member Roger de Wardt Lane, the ANS collections received an interesting group of another twenty-five objects. Among these is a medal dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe (V-E Day, May 7 and May 8, 1945—the dates when the Allies formally accepted the end of Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich) (Fig. 24). Designed by Carl Paul Jennewein (1890-1978), a German-born American sculptor, this work features images of the Allied commander of World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower, the head of the European Theatre of Operations; the British General Harold R. L. G. Alexander, Supreme Allied Commander in Italy; and Marie-Pierre-Joseph-François Koenig of the French army, leading commander of General Charles de Gaulle’s Free French Forces.

Fig. 24. United States. Bronze commemorative medal by Carl Paul Jennewein (1890-1978). Twentieth anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe (1965). (ANS 2007.28.1, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 76 mm.

Another bronze medal from deWardt Lane’s donation was produced in 1970 by the Royal Mint in London to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Mayflower, the famous ship that transported the “pilgrims” from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 (Fig. 25). Another excellent addition to the ANS collection of American contemporary medallic art is a silver Spirit of America medal by Mico Kaufman, 1992 recipient of the ANS’s J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal (Fig. 26). The Medallic Art Company, then situated in Danbury, Connecticut, issued a curious medal in 1985 dedicated to the centennial celebration of the Coca-Cola Company (1886-1986) (Fig. 27); “Coke” was first served at Jacob’s Pharmacy, in Atlanta, Georgia, and several years later became the best-known trademark in the history of commerce. Also from Mr. deWardt Lane are two bronze medals with images of the Virgin Islands National Park and Isle Royale National Park, in Michigan; they are commemorative issues of the American National Parks Centennial series (1872-1972) (Fig. 28). Other pieces in the same gift include a commemorative medal for the 450th anniversary (1521-1971) of the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico (Fig. 29), and a medal dedicated to the Soviet Union’s Summer Sports Competition in 1980 (Fig. 30).

Fig. 25. Great Britain. Bronze. Mayflower 350th anniversary commemorative medal, 1970. (ANS 2007.28.4, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 38 mm.

Fig. 26. United States. Silver. Spirit of America medal by Mico Kaufman. (ANS 2007.28.5, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 51 mm.

Fig. 27. United States. Bronze. Coca-Cola Company centennial medal. The Medallic Art Company, Danbury, Conn. (ANS 2007.28.3, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 76 mm.

Fig. 28. United States. Bronze. Virgin Islands National Park centennial medal. (ANS 2007.28.9, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 36.5 mm.

Fig. 29. United States: Puerto Rico. Bronze. 450th anniversary of San Juan commemorative medal, 1971. (ANS 2007.28.10, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 38.5 mm.

Fig. 30. Soviet Union. Bronze. Ninth Summer Sports Competition of the people of the USSR commemorative medal, 1980. (ANS 2007.28.15, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 50 mm.

An additional collection of material donated to the ANS by Mr. deWardt Lane included an international postal money order between the United States and Mexico (Fig. 31) and a colorful one-pound sterling note of 1991 (Fig. 32), issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland (still legal tender in the United Kingdom). A provocative part of this selection is a group of political-satirical notes, featuring images of Ross Perot, Bob Dole, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, a one-million dollar “Gottrocks” banknote of Las Vegas, and a satirical “Ezeemunny” certificate, “One Thursday Buck,” issued in 1930 in defiance of money-spending California politicians (Fig. 33).

Fig. 31. Mexico. International postal money order between the United States and Mexico. $11, February 24, 1904. (ANS 2007.28.17, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 20.9 x 11.1 mm.

Fig. 32. Great Britain: Scotland. One pound sterling, the Royal Bank of Scotland, 1991. (ANS 2007.28.19, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 12.8 x 6.5 mm.

Fig. 33. United States: California. “Ezeemunny” satirical certificate. 1930. (ANS 2007.28.18, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 14.7 x 5.9 mm.

Current Exhibitions

In September 2007, masterworks from the ANS collection became part of our new temporary exhibition at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This display is dedicated to the centennial of the minting of the most eminent of U.S. gold coins, commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt and designed by the American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907). The exhibition includes impressive and rarely seen material from the collections of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in Cornish, New Hampshire (Fig. 34-36).

Fig. 34. United States. Bronze. Columbian Exposition award medal by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Charles Barber, 1892. (ANS 1933.64.12, estate of Dr. George F. Kunz) 72 mm.

Fig. 35. United States. Die of Pan-American Exposition Medal of Honor by James Earle Fraser, 1901. (ANS 2001.42.1, gift of Mr. Paul Franklin, Jr.) 44 mm.

Fig. 36. United States. Bronze. George Washington inaugural centennial medal, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Philip Martigny, 1889. (ANS 1987.147.171, gift of Mr. David R. Lit) 115 mm.

In October 2007, ninety-three ANS items (Fig. 37-39), along with thousands of other objects, traveled to the Louisiana State Museum. These pieces had been previously on display at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, in the successful exhibition entitled “Gold!” (see ANS Magazine 6, no. 2). The material was chosen for the reopening of the U.S. Mint in New Orleans. There, in the oldest existing American mint (which, after restoration, became a national landmark), thousands of visitors currently have a great opportunity to see a significant selection of brilliant precious-metal objects. The exhibition is on display in New Orleans until January 2008, and will travel thereafter to a second venue, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, in February 2008.

Fig. 37. Mysia. Cyzicus. Electrum stater, c. 550-475 BC. (ANS 1944.100.42705, Edward T. Newell bequest) 20 mm.

Fig. 38. Persia. Gold double daric. 332-330 BC. (ANS 1977.158.1290, Robert F. Kelley bequest) 19.1 mm.

Fig. 39. Roman Empire. Augustus (27 BC-AD 14). Gold aureus, Spain. 18 BC. (ANS 1944.100.39070, Edward T. Newell bequest) 18.8 mm.

Nine ANS objects from the Society’s collection—Judean shekels (Fig. 40) of the First Revolt of the Jews against Rome (years two and three); tetradrachms and drachms of the Bar Kokhba War, or Second Jewish Revolt (Fig. 41); and two examples of the Roman emperor Magnentius’s large bronzes with the chi-rho early Christian monogram (Fig. 42)—along with a very rare carnelian gem engraved with a menorah and grapes (Fig. 43)—were incorporated into the exhibition “Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art,” at the Kimbell Art Museum, in Fort Worth, Texas. This show represents an extremely important assemblage of early Christian art and highlights early Christianity in its theological, historical, and artistic context. In the exhibition, visitors have an opportunity to see extraordinary objects from world-famous museums, including those of the Vatican. The exhibition will remain on view until March 30, 2008.

Fig. 40. Judaea. First Revolt, Silver shekel, Jerusalem Mint, AD 67. (ANS 1944.100.62978, Edward T. Newell bequest) 23.8 mm.

Fig. 41. Judaea. Bar Cochba War. Silver sela, Jerusalem Mint, AD 132. (ANS 1944.100.63042, Edward T. Newell bequest) 27.9 mm.

Fig. 42. Roman Empire. Magnentius, AD 350-353. Bronze double maiorina with chi-rho, Lugdunum mint. (ANS 1984.146.2203, purchase) 28 mm.

Fig. 43. Judaea. Engraved gem. Carnelian. (ANS 0000.999.36807) 12.5 x 15 mm.

News (Winter 2007)

The American Numismatic Society’s 150th Anniversary Gala Thursday, January 10, 2008 at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York

In October 2007, the Society sent a Save the Date card for its 150th Anniversary Gala. Many people called or e-mailed because they were curious about the identity of those pictured. Who’s who on the card?

Top Row, L to R:
Harry W. Fowler, ANS President (1984-1990)
Augustus B. Sage, one of the founding members of the ANS (1858)
J. Sanford Saltus, ANS Corresponding Secretary (1900-1905), Second Vice-President (1907-1909)
Edward T. Newell, ANS President (1916-1941)

Bottom Row, L to R:
Archer M. Huntington, ANS President (1905-1910), Honorary ANS President (1910-1955)
Donald G. Partrick, ANS President (1999-2007), Chairman of the Board (2007-present)
Margaret Thompson, ANS Greek Curator (1949-1976), Chief Curator (1969-1979)
Harry W. Bass Jr., ANS President (1978-1984)

ANS 150th Annual Meeting

The 150th Annual Meeting of the American Numismatic Society was held at the Society at 140 William Street, New York, NY, on Saturday, October 20, 2006. Mr. Donald G. Partrick spoke eloquently about the Society’s bright future, its esteemed Trustees and dedicated membership, and announced his retirement as President of the Board of Trustees, a position he has held since 1999.

On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, Mr. Roger S. Siboni, newly elected President of the Board of Trustees, thanked Mr. Partrick for his venerable accomplishments during his tenure as President of the Society. He announced that Mr. Partrick would be the honoree at the January 10, 2008, Gala, and that he had been elected to the new position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees, to be instituted upon the Fellows’ ratification of the amendments to the bylaws that evening. Mr. Siboni reflected on the struggles and accomplishments of the Society’s past 150 years and spoke of an outlook of prosperity, continued scholarship, varied exhibitions, programs, and publications. On behalf of Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss, ANS Trustee and Treasurer of the Society, Mr. Siboni described the Society’s financial situation. He praised those that manage the Society’s endowment portfolio, explained that the Society had a strong surplus for FY2007, and that the Trustees had adopted a strict 6 percent spending cap on the net assets to ensure a positive and self-sufficient future.

Dr. Wartenberg Kagan spoke about the major developments of the past year, including staff changes. She announced the upcoming retirement at the end of March 2008, of Librarian Francis D. Campbell and extolled his exceptional half-century service to the Society—an extraordinary record in the annals of the ANS’s history. Mr. Campbell received a standing ovation. She spoke about the programs, exhibitions, and lectures as well as the significant changes ahead, including the pending sale of the building and the Society’s relocation in 2008. She reflected on the activities and celebrations surrounding the Society’s 150th anniversary, including the upcoming Gala in honor of Mr. Donald Partrick, and an exhibition and two-volume book on the Society’s hundred greatest treasures. Dr. Wartenberg Kagan thanked the entire staff, Board of Trustees, and donors for their commitment and support to the Society. She concluded her remarks with an ardent plea to the Board to consider raising staff salaries, within the 6 percent spending cap, to current museum standards.

Francis Campbell, Librarian, reported on the events of the library over the past year. Elena Stolyarik, Collections Manager, reported on the cabinet activities, acquisitions, exhibitions, and loans. Peter van Alfen, Margaret Thompson Associate Curator of Greek Coins, and Robert Wilson Hoge, Curator of North American Coins and Currency, reported on the past year’s donations. Joe Ciccone gave a report on the ANS Archives, and Müşerref Yetim, Editor, reported on recent and upcoming publications. A reception for the Members, Trustees, and Staff followed.



Pursuant to Article VI Sections 1 and 2, and upon the personal recommendation of the President and the Nominating and Governance Committee, the following nominees were elected to serve as Officers of the of the Board of Trustees as follows:

Chairman of the Board: Donald G. Partrick
President: Roger S. Siboni
First Vice President: Douglass F. Rohrman
Second Vice President: Roger S. Bagnall, PhD
Treasurer: Arnold-Peter C. Weiss, MD
Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director, shall remain as Secretary to the Board

Board of Trustees

Pursuant to Article IV Section 1, and Article V Section 12 (b) of the ANS Bylaws, fourteen Fellows present at the meeting raised their hands in favor of the nominations, and seventy-six proxies were counted, electing the following Trustees to serve in the class of 2010:

Dr. Lawrence A. Adams of Studio City, California, has been a member since 1982, a Fellow since 1997, and a Trustee since 2001. A dermatologic oncology surgeon, Dr. Adams is a consultant on Greek and Islamic gold and the publisher of the Journal of Ancient Numismatics. Dr. Adams serves on the Finance Committee, is a member of the Augustus B. Sage Society, and is a donor to the Society.

Mr. Charles C. Anderson of Florence, Alabama, has been a member since 1999, a life member since 2003, and was elected to the Board in 2004. He is Chairman of the Executive Committee and sits on the Board of Directors of each of his family’s companies, including Anderson Press, Inc., of which Whitman Publishing is a subsidiary. Mr. Anderson is the former director of two banks, a member of a number of boards, and is the former president of the Alabama Numismatic Association. He has served on the ANS Finance and Development committees, is a member of the Augustus B. Sage Society. Mr. Anderson has been married since 1953 to the former Hilda Claire Barbour. They have four sons and eleven grandchildren.

Mr. Jeffrey D. Benjamin is an ANS Life Member and collector of ancient coins. Currently with Apollo Management LP, he has also worked for Salomon Brothers, Inc., UBS Securities LLC, and Libra Securities, and has served on the board committees of several companies. Married with three children, Mr. Benjamin and his family reside in New York.

Prof. Jane M. Cody of Studio City, California, has been a member since 1968, a Fellow since 1987, and was elected to the Board in 2003. She has served on the Personnel Committee. Prof. Cody is the Associate Dean of Academic Programs in the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at the University of Southern California. An ANS summer seminar student in 1965, she held an ANS dissertation fellowship in 1966-1967. She is the recipient of numerous academic awards and honors, has held several editorial and advisory positions, served as a panelist for the selection of Fulbright Fellowships in classics and the NEH selection of summer stipend holders, and has been a reviewer for the American Journal of Ancient History and the American Journal of Philology. Dr. Cody has also published various papers on coins, the classics, and philology.

Prof. Peter P. Gaspar of St. Louis, Missouri, was born in Belgium and raised in California. He earned his PhD in chemistry at Yale University and is a professor of chemistry at Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Prof. Gaspar has been a member since 1970, a Fellow since 1975, and a Board member since 2000. Dr. Gaspar has served on the numerous committees. He collects pennies of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman kings and has written on the evolution of coining and die-making techniques. He has lectured at past ANS Summer Graduate Seminars and delivered a Stack Memorial lecture. He is Corresponding Member of Council for the USA of the British Numismatic Society and has conducted research at the Royal Mint.

Prof. Kenneth W. Harl, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was a 1975 Summer Seminar Student and joined the Society that same year. A Fellow since 1991 and a Trustee since 2001, he was also the 2001 visiting lecturer of the ANS Graduate Seminar. Dr. Harl earned a Ph.D. from Yale University and is currently a professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans. This year he was also a visiting professor at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina. A donor to the Society, including the Roman Provincial Coins Photography Project, he has written about Roman provincial coins.

Mr. Daniel W. Holmes Jr. is an ANS Life Member and member of the Augustus B. Sage Society. He is also the president of Early American Coppers, Inc. Formerly with Ford Motor Company and Banker’s Trust Company, Mr. Holmes became chairman of Morrison Products, Inc., in 2002. He and his wife reside in Pepper Pike, near Cleveland, Ohio. They have two grown children.

Mr. Charles Paul Karukstis of Claremont, California, has been a member since 1978, a Life Associate since 1994, a fellow since 2003, and was elected to the Board in 2005. He is the Director of the Project Management Office for Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., in Burbank, CA. Mr. Karukstis has co-chaired the ANS Arab-Byzantine Forums from 1995 through 2000, served on and was Chairman of the ANS Advisory Committee (2002-2005), and is at present the North American Secretary for the Oriental Numismatic Society. His research has been the imitative or “Arab-Byzantine” coinages of greater Syria in the first century of the Islamic Empire.He is preparing a corpus of this material from major public and private collections.

Prof. John H. Kroll was born in Washington, D.C. He attended the Society’s Graduate Seminar in 1963 and earned his PhD at Harvard in 1968. A Fellow and Trustee of the ANS since 1984, Prof. Kroll held the position of Second Vice-President. In 2006, Professor Kroll retired from the University of Texas in Austin after having joined the faculty of their classics department in 1973. A contributor and author to a number of numismatic publications, he also served as Secretary of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Having contributed to the study of Athenian and other coinages, his current focus is on the beginnings of coinage in general. Prof. Kroll resides with his wife in Oxford, England.


Pursuant to Article XVI of the Bylaws, fifteen Fellows in attendance, with the seventy-six counted proxies, vote unanimously to adopt the proposed amendments to the Bylaws as follows:

First, an amendment to Article V, Section 11:
Add “Chairman of the Board of Trustees,” to line one, before the word “president.”

Second, an amendment to Article VI, Section 1:
Add “Chairman of the Board of Trustees,” to line one, before the word “President.”

Third, an amendment to Article VI, create a new Section 5:
“5. Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall elect annually from its members a Chairman who shall preside at all board meetings, and who shall, when so directed by the Board of Trustees, represent the Society in such matters as the Board shall from time to time designate.”

Fourth, an amendment to Article VI, new sequenced section 6:
Delete the word “executive” and make the first line read: “The President shall be the principal executive and operations officer…”

Fifth, an amendment changing all numbers in sequence in Article VI, accordingly.

Year in Review

Contributions for ANS Fiscal Year 2007 (October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007)
TOTAL $1,005,350.99

GENERAL FUND 2006 Year End Appeal
Mid-Year Appeal 2007
General Contribution
Gala Dinner 2007
Gala Auction 2007
Gala Program/Preview Booklet 2007
Gala Gift Bag Donation
Gala Total


RESTRICTED FUNDS Francis D. Campbell Library Chair
Harry W. Bass Library Fund
Newell Publications Fund
Mark M. Salton Lecture Series
Harry Fowler Lecture Series
Islamic Chair Fund
U.S. Chair Fund
Summer Seminar Fund
Margaret Thompson Greek Curator Fund
General/Newell Coin Purchase Fund
Colonial Newsletter Fund


From the Executive Director (Winter 2007)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

In March 1858, a group of collectors in New York came together to organize an antiquarian society. From its inception, the creation of collections was important to the members that supported this new organization. Most if not all of them were collectors themselves, and they wanted to create an institution in which objects could be housed, preserved, and made available to members and the public. In Europe, numismatic institutions had a long and distinguished history; many kings and aristocrats were avid collectors of coins and numismatic books, which over time helped create the coin cabinets as we know them today. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the cabinets of the British Museum and Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris had grown into enormous reference collections. The ANS, on the other hand, was still in its infancy, without a building to house its small collections and library, nor a staff. However, it had ambitions. Today, the ANS has one of the world’s largest numismatic collections, its library serves numismatists throughout the globe, and its publications both in print and on the Web are very popular. There is, however, more work to do to ensure that the ANS will exist for another century and beyond. The intellectual and financial support of our members will be crucial to the Society’s development.

One of the key components of the ANS’s identity is its New York City location, and this generates a lot of comments. In a recent letter from a Fellow, who kindly sent a donation in the mid-year appeal, he complained that nothing was ever done for those members outside New York. New York is too expensive to visit, and thus what was the point of supporting this institution? Although it is hard to disagree with the fact that the ANS collections are kept in New York, the Web site and the print publications are available to everyone, at the exactly the same cost. Over the years, the ANS has put a tremendous amount of effort into its Web site and online databases. When we first started the ANS Magazine, it was primarily intended for members outside New York who had little contact with the institution. We will continue to provide more print and online resources for members outside of New York and we will also try to cover a wider variety of topics. In addition, at any given time, numerous items from the ANS cabinet are “on the road”—on display or in museum exhibits throughout the United States and beyond its borders.

Here at the ANS we are greatly looking forward to the various celebrations we have scheduled for 2008. The Gala in January will be in honor of our former President and current Chairman Donald G. Partrick. His efforts and contributions over the last decade have moved the ANS forward profoundly. We are looking forward to a joyous celebration of his presidency. A number of publications will mark the sesquicentenary of the Society. I have been working on a book that will highlight the 150 Greatest Treasures of the ANS. Many hitherto unknown pieces with great stories will be published in this book, which Whitman Publishing has generously taken on. Our archivist Joe Ciccone and our editor David Yoon are working on a new history of the ANS. Other activities will include an exhibition of the ANS’s 150 years as the preeminent American numismatic institution.

I would like to express my gratitude to all our members for their continued support and their enthusiasm and ideas, which make it possible for the ANS to carry out its important work.


Ute Wartenberg Kagan
Executive Director, ANS

2007 Graduate Seminar

by Rick Witschonke

Photography by Alan Roche

L to R: Noah Kaye, Eleonora Giampiccolo, Chris Cloke, Clare Rowan, Tom Landvatter, Lyra Monteiro, Richard Buxton, Trinity Jackman, Yoav Fahri

Friday, July 27 was a busy day at the ANS as the last of this summer’s nine budding numismatic scholars presented the fruits of their eight weeks of study, wrapping up a very successful 54th Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics. The Seminar had begun on June 4 with a welcome to the ANS (and, for most of the students, to New York), and proceeded through a series of forty-four lectures on the many facets of numismatics given by ANS staff and visiting speakers. These guest lecturers included William Metcalf (former ANS Chief Curator, now at Yale) on Roman Imperial coinage; Ben Damsky on an aureus of Trajan; Stephen Scher on the portrait medal; Paul Keyser on metalurgical analysis of coins; Elizabeth Jones (former U.S. Mint Chief Engraver) on her experiences in that capacity; Jane Evans of Temple University, on excavation coins; and Liv Yarrow of CUNY Brooklyn, on Roman Republican issues. We also enjoyed lectures by Roger Bland of the British Museum, on the UK Portable Antiquities Scheme, and Shailendra Bhandare of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, on South Asian coinage. This year’s Visiting Scholar, Bernhard Weisser, of the Berlin Staatliche Museen, spoke several times on Roman Imperial and Provincial coinages, and Co-Directors Peter van Alfen and Rick Witschonke gave many of the core lectures. The lecture program was rounded out by excellent talks by each of the ANS Curators in their areas of expertise.

L to R: Rick Witschonke, Peter van Alfen, Bernhard Weisser, Andy Meadows

But the Seminar is not just a series of lectures. One popular feature is the “Mystery Coin Exercise,” where each student is presented with an image of a coin in the ANS trays and given a week to identify the coin and prepare a brief report on it. Another ever-popular event is a numismatic walking tour of lower Manhattan, narrated by Peter van Alfen. You would be surprised at how many buildings incorporate coins into their decoration. In addition, each student selects a research topic and spends much of their time using the ANS trays, library, and photo file to prepare a presentation and paper on their chosen topic. Students are typically working on their doctorate in fields such as classics, archeology, art history, and ancient history. This year, from a very competitive field, we selected six American students, plus one each from Italy, Israel, and Australia.

Clare Rowan is working on her doctoral dissertation on the religious policies of the Severan Emperors at Macquarie University in New South Wales, Australia. She has been a Junior Fellow and Research Officer for the Australian Center for Ancient Numismatic Studies, and plans a career in academia or as a museum curator. During the Seminar she studied the coinage of Severus Alexander, and clearly found her experience valuable: “What really struck me about the Seminar was the amount of time the staff had for the students—any questions or help needed at any time was available, which really made work a lot easier. The Seminar dealt with a wide variety of topics and some topics in depth, which meant that though I had some numismatic experience, I learnt an enormous amount that will benefit my doctoral thesis and my future career. The access to the vault and the coin collection was invaluable; I think it would be very difficult to have such a hands-on experience with such a diverse range of coinage anywhere else. The series of guest lectures also meant that we were able to access a diverse range of topics and opinions.”

Richard Buxton is a classics major at the University of Washington, studying Greek tragedy. His undergraduate degree is from Vassar, and he has spent some time at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. For the Seminar, he studied a fifth-century BC hoard of Athenian owls from the Near East. He comments that “one of the most valuable opportunities I had while at the ANS was to have the chance to read scholarship by leading numismatists working on my time period whose acute observations derived from their specialized evidence would otherwise have escaped my attention. In particular, while doing background research for my project on fifth-century Athenian coinage I had the pleasure of reading T. Buttrey’s two articles on the Athenian silver coinage law, where the author gives a virtuoso demonstration of how specialized numismatic knowledge can be combined with a broader understanding of classics to produce intriguing and valuable insights of importance for a broad range of specialists. Concretely, he showed how even a brilliant epigrapher like Ron Stroud could completely miss the point of an Athenian law because he hadn’t fully appreciated basic aspects of the behavior of coinage and the correlative force of the men and de particles in the Greek text. The articles were an inspiring reminder that great scholarship comes in judiciously combining the specialized and the too easily forgotten obvious, and in doing so making one fully appreciate the broader importance of subfields like numismatics.”

Chris Cloke is a Ph.D. candidate in archeology at the University of Cincinnati who also holds degrees in archeology from Brown and Cambridge. He has a particular interest in ancient Petra and has written a book on its water system. During the Seminar he worked on the Cistophori of Augustus, and clearly benefited from the experience: “The ANS Seminar was an excellent use of my time this summer—I learned an immense amount about a wide variety of coinage and was put on the right path for thinking about some of the big issues in numismatics, such as why coinage was developed in the first place, why it has continued, what forms it has taken, and why its study is meaningful and important. Before the Seminar I’d had some firsthand experience with coins on excavations and in museums, but the ANS Seminar has focused my thinking about numismatics, taught me to ask a wide variety of questions about coins, and encouraged me to apply numerous strategies in evaluating and studying them. I now feel well-prepared to approach an array of numismatic problems and data sets and hope to use the skills and knowledge I’ve honed at the ANS in future numismatic research. The Seminar was extremely well-run, and the students benefited equally from the staff’s expertise, enthusiasm, and availability. I plan to recommend this seminar to other students in my graduate department!”

Eleonora Giampiccolo is pursuing a doctorate in Greek and Latin philology at the University of Catania in Sicily. She had worked previously at the ANS as an Assistant Archivist, and spent her time at the Seminar studying Greek monetary circulation patterns in ancient Sicily by looking at the coin hoards. She found the Seminar to be “one of the finest experiences of all my life. Since the first day the Seminar made me curious about coins, especially the Greek and Roman ones. Numismatics is not so far from my field of study. I often found similarities between the language of the coins and the language of my written texts. Especially during some lectures I discovered that ancient literature and ancient numismatics have the same language, the language of the people they want to talk about to us. Naturally my favorite lectures were those on Roman, Greek, and Byzantine coins. One activity I remember with a lot of pleasure was the roundtable discussion on legal and ethical issues in numismatics, because six different countries met around the same table to talk about the problem of illegal importation of archeological material. I think we were lucky to have very good teachers, a fantastic coin vault, and a very nice library available for our research projects. The Seminar was helpful because we could associate the theory to the practice, and this is not a thing to undervalue.”

Lyra Monteiro is studying for her Ph.D. at the Joukowsky Institute at Brown. She has also studied at the University of Michigan and NYU, and has a particular interest in Roman Spain. For her Seminar project, she studied images of slavery on banknotes in the ANS collection. As she says: “My Summer Seminar experience has been fantastic, overall. I especially appreciated the flexibility of the ANS in accommodating and even encouraging my shifting interests. When I originally applied to the program, I planned to analyze the third- to first-century BCE coins of the Phoenician cities of southern Spain, in connection with my broader interest in culture change during this period. However, during my first day of exploring in the ANS vault, I was captivated by the wealth of slavery imagery on pre-Civil War banknotes from the South and on Confederate issues during the war. The challenge of studying these notes, which have received very little previous study, felt possible thanks to the time and resources available to me as a Seminar student. I was able to scan images of all notes with images of slaves represented in the ANS collection and to catalog additional notes from other collections. My database has already revealed interesting patterns in the creation, use, and distribution of these images, contradicting previously held ideas. In particular, it shows overwhelmingly that the imagery of slavery was in fact created in the North, by engravers in New York and Philadelphia, who were the first to develop the images that were later used by banks throughout the South. Aside from access to the coin vault, the most valuable aspects of the Seminar were the lectures at the beginning. The topics were varied and interesting, and the guests were knowledgeable and generally even great speakers! They provided an excellent introduction to various aspects of numismatic research. I also enjoyed the mystery coin exercises which we did at the beginning to familiarize ourselves with the vault, and with numismatic reference tools.”

Noah Kaye is presently a Ph.D. candidate in ancient history at U.C. Berkeley, and he holds undergraduate degrees from Princeton and Cambridge. He has a particular interest in the Hellenistic period, and at the ANS he completed a die study of the tetradrachms of Prusias II of Bithynia. He found that “the seminar provided me with a broad familiarity with coins and numismatic practice and method. We were treated to a whirlwind tour of the history of coinage that was nevertheless anything but superficial. I came to the seminar with only an outsider’s knowledge of the field; I knew some of the basics. But those earlier classroom lessons were not only reinforced and elaborated at the ANS, they were also brought to life by the hands-on experience in the seminar room and in the coin cabinet. I took on the task of a die study, one of Prusias II, a second-century BCE king of Hellenistic Bithynia. The ANS Seminar provided me with a unique opportunity to launch such a project. I hope to return soon, to continue working on the silver and the interesting bronze coinage of Prusias II, and to visit great friends.”

Trinity Jackman holds a Ph.D. in classical archeology and ancient history from Stanford, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities. Her primary interests lie in Archaic and Classical Greek history, and during the Seminar she worked on the coinage and economics of southern Italy in the late Archaic period. She found that “the ANS summer session provided a unique opportunity to rapidly gain the methodological tools and general knowledge to undertake scholarly research in numismatics. The excellent library, the helpful and knowledgeable curators, as well as direct contact with the coins greatly facilitated my research. I would recommend the summer program to any ancient historian or archaeologist: the wealth of information that coins can provide was truly eye-opening!”

Yoav Farhi is working on a Ph.D. in numismatics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is also a field archeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Service, and has published ten articles, mainly on numismatic topics. During the Seminar he worked on the Society’s coins of Gaza and Syria-Palestina. Yoav found that his “time at the ANS was not only informative, but a great deal of fun. The curators and staff—Elena, Sylvia, Bob, Andy, Sebastian, Alan, and Ben—were always willing to help at any time. I was especially impressed by the remarkable collections in the library and the vault. It is surely the dream of every numismatist to have access to these and I am pleased and honored to be the first Israeli student to take part in the program. I owe my special thanks to Peter and Rick for inviting me to the program and sharing their knowledge with me and to the entire staff, especially Müserref and Frank, for their assistance with my research. My fantasy was to get locked into the library for the weekend. It never happened… perhaps the next time I visit. I also wish to thank my classmates and Bernard Weisser, who were great about helping me to formulate and refine ideas. My classmates were as great in the ANS as they were outside the classroom and I appreciated the opportunities to interact with them in various environments.”

Tom Landvatter is in the doctoral program at the University of Michigan, where he is studying Greco-Roman Egypt and the Near East. His undergraduate work was done at Penn State, and at the ANS he worked on a die study of the Isis and Sarapis coinage of Ptolemy IV of Egypt. His impressions of the Seminar: “As a student of archaeology, I really only considered coins useful in two ways: dating and iconography. This seminar, however, has greatly expanded my knowledge of the discipline of numismatics, beyond something which—to many in ancient studies—exists as an area of study solely unto itself. Particularly this applies to the tracing of political and economic relationships between cities, as well as their administrative practices. Though my interests were within traditional Greek and Roman coinage, I greatly appreciated that I received exposure to the entirety of numismatic history, finding Islamic and Indian coinage most fascinating. Of course, the experience was made all the better by the staff, who were constantly available and helpful—and were good enough to have a few beers with the students. This seminar stands out most of all, perhaps, as one of the few places where a student has near unrestricted access to a world-class coin collection—a rarity among collections of ANY type of antiquities.”

A Tale of Two Conquests

by Oliver D. Hoover

Benjamin West, The Death of Wolfe (1771)

When discussing the incompatibility of philosophy with faith, the third-century Christian apologist Tertullian posed the rhetorical question, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” Almost two thousand years later, when faced with a remarkable series of Betts medals (nos. 421 and 429-430), we are prompted to paraphrase Tertullian and ask, “What does Québec have to do with Jerusalem?” The medals, which celebrate the fall of New France to Great Britain, were produced in two varieties in 1760 by the Society for Promoting Arts and Commerce, an English organization that struck medals to commemorate British military victories and which later became the Royal Society of Arts. The types are probably based on designs by Giovanni Battista Cipriani and are notable for their close imitation of Roman coins issued to celebrate the end of the First Jewish Revolt in AD 70. The dies were cut by John Pingo, or possibly John Kirk in the case of Betts 429.

Types and Models

The three medals are described as follows: Betts 421 (Eimer 14; Hawkins 421; Stack’s 43 and 70-80) (Fig. 1) Obv.: a) BRITANNIA. Filleted bust of Britannia l.; below, crossed trident and standard with laurel wreath; to l., SAVNDERS; to r., WOLFE; dotted border. b) O·FAIR·BRITANNIA·HAIL. Filleted bust of Britannia l., trident over shoulder. Rev.: QVEBEC·TAKEN·MDCCLIX. Victory standing l., holding palm branch and crowning trophy of French arms below which sits a bound and nude male captive (New France); in ex., SOC·P·A·C; dotted border. Betts 429 (Eimer 236; Hawkins 447; Stack’s 97-100) (Fig. 2) Obv.: THE CONQUEST OF CANADA COMPLEATED. Laureate and draped male figure (the St. Lawrence River) reclining r. on the prow of a galley and holding oar (canoe paddle?); on knee, beaver advancing l.; behind, British standard with AMHERST in laurel wreath; in ex., bow and quiver, axe (tomahawk?), and oblong shield (scutum) blazoned with two fleurs-de-lis; dotted border. Rev.: MONTREAL TAKEN MDCCLX. Seminude female figure (New France) seated r. below coniferous tree; to l., eagle with wings outstretched standing on rock; to r., behind, oblong shield blazoned with two fleurs-de-lis and a dolphin (?) with a club and axe (tomahawk?); in ex., SOC. PROMOTING ARTS / AND COMMERCE.; dotted border. Betts 430 (Eimer 15; Hawkins 448; Stack’s 101-105) (Fig. 3) Obv.: GEORGE·II·KING. Laureate bust of King George II l.; dotted border. Rev.: CANADA SUBDUED. Seminude female figure (New France) seated r. below coniferous tree; to l., beaver advancing r.; in ex., MDCCLX / S·P·A·C; dotted border.

Fig. 1. Great Britain. Capture of Québec CU commemorative medal, 1759, issued by the Society for Promoting Art and Commerce. Mule of Betts 413 and 421 (ANS 2006.34.3, ex John J. Ford coll.) 40 mm.

Fig. 2. Great Britain. Capture of Montreal CU commemorative medal, 1760, issued by the Society for Promoting Art and Commerce. Betts 429. (ANS 2006.33.11, ex John J. Ford coll.) 40.5 mm.

Fig. 3. Great Britain. Conquest of Canada CU commemorative medal, 1760, issued by the Society for Promoting Art and Commerce. Betts 430. (ANS 2006.33.12, ex John J. Ford coll.) 38.5 mm.

A brief review of the coinage of the Roman Republic and Empire reveals that the image of the seated female or male figure with a trophy or pile of arms, as on the reverse of Betts 421 and 429, was a standard type used to depict conquered peoples and pacified provinces. These run the gamut from a well-known denarius series of Julius Caesar featuring the defeated Gauls (Fig. 4; Crawford, nos. 452/4-5) to issues of Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117) celebrating his conquests in Dacia (Fig. 5; RIC II, no. 98), to coins of the house of Constantine advertising successes against the Germans and Sarmatians (Fig. 6; RIC VII, nos. 138-190 [London], 101-124 [Lyons], 249-302 [Trier], 202-207 [Arles], 114-129 [Ticinum], 39-57A [Aquileia], 109-139 [Siscia], 66-83 [Thessalonica]) with many others in between. However, out of the many possible Roman models to choose from, it is clear that the ultimate source for all three medals is the so-called IVDAEA CAPTA coinage issued by the Emperor Vespasian (AD 69-79) to celebrate the capture of Jerusalem.

Fig. 4. Roman Republic, Julius Caesar. AR denarius, mobile mint, 48-47 BC. Crawford 452/4. Triton IX, January 10, 2006, lot 1331.

Fig. 5. Roman Empire, Trajan. AE sestertius, Rome mint, AD 104-111. RIC II, no. 561 (ANS 1001.1.23047, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 32 mm.

Fig. 6. Roman Empire, Constantine I. AE nummus, Aquileia mint, AD 320. RIC VII, no. 48. (ANS 1933.999.357) 19 mm.

The reverse of Betts 421 is based on Roman gold aurei and silver denarii of Vespasian depicting a bound Jew seated beneath a trophy of arms (Fig. 7; RIC II, nos. 15-16) and silver denarii and quinarii that display Victory crowning a standard or erecting a trophy (Figs. 8-9; RIC II, no. 52). The reverse of Betts 429 also appears to be a composite type involving elements drawn from denarii struck at Rome and Antioch and bronze asses produced by the mint of Rome. The basic type of the seated female figure in an attitude of mourning with a pile of arms beneath a tree comes directly from Vespasian’s bronze asses (Fig. 10; RIC II, nos. 489-491, 762), although the palm tree of the Roman coin has been transformed into a more appropriate coniferous tree on the medal. The eagle who surveys the scene appears to stand in for the emperor, who also looks over the tree and captive on the denarii and brass sestertii of Rome and Antioch (Fig. 11; RIC II, nos. 41a, 363, 427). On the other hand, the reverse of Betts 430 is somewhat plainer and may be based on the similarly stark image of defeat found on some of Vespasian’s aurei and denarii (Fig. 12; RIC II, nos. 287, 289, 393) from Rome.

Fig. 7. Roman Empire, Vespasian. AR denarius, Rome mint, AD 70-71. RIC II, no. 15. (ANS 1944.100.39904, E.T. Newell bequest) 15.5 mm.

Fig. 8. Roman Empire, Vespasian. AV aureus, Rome mint, AD 79. RIC II, no. 114. (ANS 1001.57.4817, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 16.75 mm.

Fig. 9. Roman Empire, Vespasian. AR denarius, Rome mint, AD 72-73. RIC II, no. 52 (ANS 1995.11.644, gift of Charlene Schosser and Lisa Loret) 19 mm.

Fig. 10. Roman Empire, Vespasian. AE as, Lugdunum mint, AD 77-78. RIC II, no. 762. (ANS 1944.100.41612, E.T. Newell bequest) 28 mm.

Fig. 11. Roman Empire, Vespasian. AE sestertius, Rome mint, AD 71. RIC II, 427. (ANS 1944.100.39981, E.T. Newell bequest) 33 mm.

Fig. 12. Roman Empire, Vespasian. AV aureus, Lugdunum mint, AD 70-71(?). RIC II, 287. (ANS 1944.100.39957, E.T. Newell bequest) 18 mm.

The very act of modifying the ancient coin models to fit the North American context of the medals also follows Roman custom very closely. On the Roman issues, the palm tree was included as a means of clearly identifying the geographical region that had been conquered. Judaea had long been associated with the palm tree, probably because of its connection with the coastal region of Phoenicia (derived from phoinix [“palm”] in Greek). Palm trees had been featured on earlier issues of the Roman governors of Judaea (Meshorer 2001, nos. 311-315 and 340-341) as well as on coins struck by the Jewish rebels (Fig. 13; Meshorer 2001, nos. 211-212). In a similar vein, Canada, with its harsh winter climate, was naturally associated with coniferous trees.

Fig. 13. Judaea, First Jewish Revolt. AE half, Jerusalem mint, AD 69/70. SNG ANS 6, no. 451. (ANS 1944.100.63001, E.T. Newell bequest) 26 mm.

It was common on Roman triumphal coinage, such as that of Vespasian, to carefully depict the national weaponry of the defeated in order to identify the ethnicity of the seated captive. Thus, on coins related to Julius Caesar’s victories in Gaul, the Celtic shield and carnyx (trumpet) accompanies the captive(s) (Fig. 4), while the distinctive falx (curved sword) and bows in bowcases serve to identify the Dacians and Parthians defeated by Trajan and Lucius Verus (AD 161-169), respectively (Figs. 5 and 14). Betts 429 also follows this custom by including a shield blazoned with the arms of France (and the Dauphin?) with an axe (tomahawk?) and club. The shield, which is based on the oblong type found on the Roman models, clearly identifies the seated figure as a personification of conquered New France, while the weapons represent the Indian allies who had been crucial to earlier French successes in North America. This theme is repeated on the obverse, where the deadly Indian bow and arrow has been added for further clarity.

Fig. 14. Roman Empire, Lucius Verus. AE sestertius, Rome mint, AD 165. RIC III, no. 1432. (ANS 1978.64.445, gift of A.I. Appleton) 33 mm.

While the obverse of Betts 430 follows the model of contemporary British coinage, the obverse of Betts 429 is also based on Roman imperial coin types depicting the personifications of major rivers. Here the ultimate source is probably a coin series struck at Rome under the Emperor Hadrian and featuring Nilus (the Nile) on the reverse. Nilus frequently appears reclining and holding a cornucopia while a crocodile or a hippopotamus advances at his knee (Fig. 15; RIC II, nos. 310, 313, and 861-862). The cornucopia symbolizes the fertility of the great Egyptian river, while the animals are its most distinctive inhabitants. This iconography has been altered to create a personification of the St. Lawrence River on the Betts medal. The replacement of the cornucopia with an oar (canoe paddle?) and the addition of the galley’s prow represent the importance of the St. Lawrence as the primary artery of communication and transportation in New France. The transformation of Nilus’s animals into a beaver—a staple of the fur trade and still a prominent emblem of Canada (Fig. 16)—was almost unavoidable. This animal also appears for symbolic clarity on Betts 430.

Fig. 15. Roman Empire, Hadrian. AV aureus, Rome mint, AD 134-138. RIC II, 308j. (ANS 1967.153.144, A.M. Newell bequest) 21.5mm.

Fig. 16. Canada. Ni 5 cents, Ottawa mint, 1959. (ANS 1961.2.64, gift of Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, Sr.) 21mm.

In order to illustrate that the St. Lawrence was now a conquered river no longer belonging to France, the arms of the French and Indians lie discarded in the exergue and a British standard naming General Jeffrey Amherst (commander-in-chief of British forces in North America from 1758 to 1763) is erected in the background (a similar standard appears on Betts 417 and 421). The use of the standard here also derives from general Roman models (Fig. 17), but the lion finial is a distinctly British touch. Indeed, this may be a notable early depiction of the lion finial (derived from the royal crest) on a British standard. Such finials were not required by British regulations before 1858 and do not appear to have been popular as nonregulation elements of military standards before the beginning of the nineteenth century (Sumner 2001, 11, 53).

Fig. 17. Roman Empire, Trajan. AR denarius, Rome mint, AD 112-114. RIC II, no. 294. (ANS 1944.100.43597, E.T. Newell bequest) 20 mm.

The Two Wars

Having shown the great indebtedness of the two Betts medal reverse types to the coinage of Vespasian’s Jewish triumph, we must return to the original question: Why? The events of the Seven Years’ War, fought in North America as the French and Indian War from 1754-1760 and which resulted in the complete loss of New France to Great Britain, are not very similar to those of the First Jewish Revolt of 66-70, which resulted in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. The French and Indian War broke out in large part as a result of the expansion of Anglo-American colonists into the Ohio Valley, which was also claimed as a possession of the French crown, and animosities among the European states that had been simmering since the conclusion of the War of the Austrian Succession (1741-1748). The Jewish Revolt, on the other hand, was not a struggle of competing sovereign states, but an attempt by several Jewish factions to throw off Roman rule in Judaea, which had become increasingly onerous through a string of inept and frequently inflammatory governors, including the infamous Pontius Pilate.

The Jewish Revolt ended in the complete destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, the devastation of vast areas of the Judaean countryside, the slaughter of thousands, and the exile of many of the Jews who survived the war. The French and Indian War, however, did not encompass such large-scale destruction, nor was the fall of Québec in 1759 occasioned by horrors such as those suffered by Jerusalem in 70. The French inhabitants of the city were mostly left unmolested, and even the Catholic churches and convents—anathema to “papist”-fearing English Protestants—remained unharmed. The capitulation of Montréal in the following year, signifying the end of the French régime in North America, was bloodless. The only real burning was done by the Chevalier de Lévis, who set fire to the French military flags in order to prevent them from becoming British trophies. This is not to underestimate the suffering caused by General James Wolfe’s policy of total war in the countryside around Québec during the 1759 campaign, but to show that the scale of violence was very different in each of the wars.

Only the Great Expulsion (le Grand Dérangement) of 1754, which saw the British deportation of three-quarters of the Acadian French population of Nova Scotia and the destruction or confiscation of their property, has much resemblance to events in the Jewish Revolt. Just as the crushing of the revolt greatly expanded the preexisting Jewish diaspora in Europe and the Near East, the Great Expulsion created a French diaspora in North America that still survives today in the form of the Cajun (corrupted from “Acadian”) populations of present Louisiana and southeastern Texas. In any case, this catastrophic event was actually a precursor to, rather than a result of, the French and Indian War and therefore can have had little to do with the decision to use the triumphal coinage of Vespasian as the iconographic model for Betts 429 and 430.

The Meaning of the Medals

Because there is no obvious historical parallelism that would make logical the pairing of the fall of New France and the fall of Judaea, it seems likely that there is some ideological agenda behind the typology of the medals if they do not merely reflect the general taste for the antique engendered by the neoclassical art movement of the eighteenth century. The latter seems somewhat unlikely since just about any other issue of Roman triumphal coinage featuring captives might have served as well for a model, and yet the IVDAEA CAPTA series seems to have been consciously chosen as the archetype. The stark message of British triumph and total French defeat on Betts 429 and 430 is remarkable in light of another medal struck by the Society for the Promoting of Arts and Commerce in 1759 to commemorate the capitulation of French Guadeloupe to British forces in that year (Betts 417; Eimer 22; Hawkins 427; Stack’s 113-120). For this medal (Fig. 18), the Roman model appears to have been a coin in the RESTITVTOR series of the Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138), which featured images of the emperor raising up kneeling personifications of Roman provinces (RIC II, nos. 321-329 and 938-966). The most likely source for the reverse of Betts 417 is a particular issue honoring Hadrian as the restorer of Hispania (Fig. 19; RIC II, nos. 326-327, 388, and 952-955). The kneeling personification of Guadeloupe is very similar to the figure of Hispania on the Hadrianic coin but instead of Hispania’s branch, Guadeloupe is identifiable by the sugar cane she holds. The appeal to the RESTITVTOR series gives this medal a much more benevolent tone. The emphasis here is on the restoration (more properly liberation) of Guadeloupe from French rule, rather than on the crushing of French forces on the island.

Fig. 18. Great Britain. Capture of Guadeloupe CU commemorative medal, 1759, issued by the Society for Promoting Art and Commerce. Betts 417. (ANS 2006.34.2, ex John J. Ford coll) 39.8 mm.

Fig. 19. Roman Empire, Hadrian. AE sestertius, Rome mint, AD 134-138. RIC II, 952c. (ANS 1001.1.11994, collection of the Hispanic Society of America) 32 mm.

By following models from Vespasian’s IVDAEA CAPTA series, the designer invites us to recognize Great Britain as a true imperial power (a claim that had been made by English political apologists since the time of Queen Elizabeth I) brooking no rivals. More importantly, the placement of the personification of New France in the role of the defeated Judaea on the Roman coinage serves to invalidate French claims in North America, for the Jews of Judaea had been no foreign enemy to the Romans as were the Gauls, Dacians, and Parthians, but rather the longtime inhabitants of a province that had revolted against the empire. That is, from the Roman perspective, the doom of Judaea was ultimately encompassed by the failure of its people to recognize the legitimate ruling authority. The French, like the ancient Jews, are cast as rebels who have brought disaster upon themselves through their insolence.

The theme of the French rebellion against ostensibly legitimate British rule in North America appears in English literature and documents throughout the eighteenth century and probably lies behind the IVDAEA CAPTA iconography of Betts 429 and 430. For example, the French are succinctly called “Rebels” in an announcement of new scalp bounties in the August 19, 1706, edition of the Boston News-Letter, and “the Rebel French” in The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal of June 28, 1756, and the New-York Mercury of August 16, 1756, as well as in Richard Rolt’s contemporary history of the Seven Years’ War. This view is also expressed on a British medal commemorating the victories of 1758 (Fig. 20; Betts 418; Hawkins 445), which describes the triumphs over French forces in North America and Europe as PERFIDIA EVERSA (“the overthrow of treachery”).

Fig. 20. Great Britain. Victories of 1758 CU commemorative medal. Betts 418. (ANS 0000.999.22542) 43 mm.

The early rebellious character attributed to the French by the English was no doubt heavily colored by the longstanding conflict between Protestants and Catholics. Not only were the Catholic French rebels against true religion from the perspective of many English Protestants (especially those of the Puritan and Presbyterian stripe), but the frequent support of the French crown for Irish uprisings against English rule constantly placed the French in the company of other rebels.

The supposed rebellious nature of the French was further underscored for the British and Anglo-Americans by their behavior in North America, where they seemed to rebel against civilized European military and legal custom at every turn. From the very outset of the struggle for control of North America, English colonists routinely cursed the French for their adoption of the stealthy Indian mode of warfare, which was completely contrary to the European style of fighting in open fields. They also appeared to rebel against the European laws of war during the French and Indian War when in 1756 and 1757, captured British troops and noncombatants were killed by Indians at Forts Oswego and William Henry while officially under the protection of the French general Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. The diaries of Montcalm show that in reality these infamous “massacres” resulted from Indian frustration at the general’s policy of preventing them from pillage and scalping during the sieges of the forts, rather than from disregard for European custom.

On the eve of the French and Indian War, French military officials also gave the impression of rebelling against the rule of (English) law in the Ohio Country. For example, when faced with Pennsylvanian and Virginian settlers and traders who could show that their lands in the region were legally—if not always ethically—obtained through direct purchase from the native inhabitants, in 1749, the French Commandant Pierre-Joseph Céloron de Blainville drove the Anglo-American settlers out and claimed the region for France by affixing bronze plaques to the trees and burying lead plaques in the ground. Later, in 1754, the French also seemed to conform to their rebellious stereotype following the disastrous attempts of Major George Washington to press Virginia’s claims and his defeat at Fort Necessity. Washington was supposedly deceived into signing articles of surrender that included an admission that he had murdered the French Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. The latter had actually been killed by Washington’s unrestrained Indian allies, and the articles of surrender were signed without dispute because the major could not read French. This piece of supposed French perfidy ultimately became a casus belli for French actions in the North American and European theatres of the Seven Years’ War.

Indeed, the English stereotype of the French rebel was so deeply ingrained that it still retained its potency in the later nineteenth century. It was frighteningly easy for English Canadians to label the entire French Canadian population as rebels when the Red River Rebellion of Francophone Métis (descendants of French fur traders and Indian women) broke out in 1869.

In light of the history of English characterizations of the French as rebels against God, civilization, and British imperial claims, which was already very long and nuanced by 1760, the decision to use Vespasian’s coins celebrating the triumph over Jewish rebels as models for the three Betts medals must have been an easy one. By so doing, the medals created a glorious place for the British conquest of New France within the framework of the ancient and seemingly endless epic of empire and those who would dare to resist its crushing advance. The greatness of imperial Rome had returned in the guise of Britannia, proving once again that there is truly nothing new under the sun—even one incapable of setting on territories as vast and disparate as those of the British Empire.


Although we have seen that the iconographic connection made on these medals between the fall of Judaea and the fall of New France was motivated by ideological concerns rather than history, the sequels to both conquests are worthy of brief mention. In both cases, despite the totality of the victories advertised by Great Britain and Rome, the respective situations in New France (renamed Québec in 1763 and Lower Canada in 1791) and in Judaea remained volatile after the conclusions of the wars. In Judaea, corrupt administration and the appearance of the messianic figure Shim’on Bar Kokhba led to renewed revolt against Rome from 132 to 135. Likewise, political and economic grievances against the English-dominated provincial government, along with the revolutionary rhetoric of Louis-Joseph Papineau and his Patriote party, resulted in armed rebellion among the French Québecois in November 1837, but it was crushed by the end of February in the following year.

It is notable that in both the Bar-Kokhba Revolt and the Rebellion of 1837, the rebels used coinage to define themselves. The Jews under Bar Kokhba issued several series of silver (Fig. 21) and bronze coins depicting religious symbols and slogans (e.g., “of the Freedom of Israel”) written in paleo-Hebrew script, an archaic but politically charged form of writing. The bulk of these coins were produced by overstriking Roman and pagan civic coins, which not only provided the rebels with ready-made planchets, but also effaced symbols of the hated Roman regime. In a similar vein, the supporters of the Patriote movement in Lower Canada refused to accept English money in commerce and instead did their business with the limited supply of coins left over from the time of the French régime and copper tokens with French inscriptions, the most popular of which were the so-called bouquet sous (Fig. 22; Cross 2000, 107). Neither of these coinages survived the respective revolts associated with them. The Bar Kokhba coinage was no longer negotiable once Roman order was restored to Judaea in 135, and even the later Jewish authorities condemned it (Meshorer 2001, 162). In contrast, the politically motivated popularity of the bouquet sous led to its ultimate undoing. Counterfeiting of the series became so widespread that by the end of 1837 there were so many in circulation that the banks began to refuse them.

Fig. 21. Judaea, Bar Kokhba War. AR tetradrachm (sela), uncertain mint, AD 132. SNG ANS 6, no. 501. (ANS 1944.100.63042, E. T. Newell bequest) 27 mm.

Fig. 22. Province of Lower Canada. CU bouquet sou, Montreal mint, 1835-1837. Courteau 24. (ANS 1949.65.25, Alfred Z. Reed bequest) 27 mm.


Special thanks are due to Louis Jordan of the Department of Special Collections at the University of Notre Dame for his generous assistance in locating several of the contemporary sources used in this article.


Anderson, F. 2001. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York.

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