From the Collections Manager

by Elena Stolyarik

New Acquisitions

From ancient Greek and Chinese proto-coinage objects to contemporary artistic and industrial medals, ANS members and others continue to fill gaps in our collections by providing us with interesting new acquisitions. Of particular importance, ANS Trustee Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss donated to the Society a Spanish Celtic “Hacksilber” hoard dating circa the fourth to third century BC. It consists of 135 pieces of coins and cut jewelry used as money (Fig. 1). This exceedingly rare donation continues Dr. Weiss’s interest in adding to the ANS cabinet items related to alternative money and bullion sources used in early trade.

Fig. 1. Spanish Celtic “Hacksilber” hoard, circa fourth- or third-century BC. Silver coins and cut jewelry. 135 pieces. (ANS 2007.1.1, gift of Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss)

A fine addition to our extensive Chinese numismatic holdings came from Dr. William M. O’Keefe: an example of Zhou-dynasty “bridge money” (or “Tingle-Dangle” money, also known as Qing money), dated perhaps to the sixth to fifth centuries BC (Fig. 2). This ancient bronze artifact was acquired during Dr. O’Keefe’s residence in São Paulo, Brazil, in the 1970s. Purchased from a Brazilian-born Japanese collector, it may have been found in Macao, one of the oldest European colonies (administered by Portugal until 1999) in China.

Fig. 2. China. AE “bridge money” (Qing money). Zhou Dynasty. Sixth century BC. (ANS 2007.2.1, gift of Dr. William M. O’Keefe) 106 x 45 mm.

The ANS collection of Islamic coins has acquired five new silver Abbasid dirhams (Figs. 3-4) (issues from Madinat al-Salam, of AH 189, AH 193, and AH 194; Madinat Nisabur, AH 194; and Samarqand, AH 195) from long-time ANS member and generous benefactor Alan S. DeShazo. During his visit to the ANS in November, Dr. Hicham Bissat, our new member from Beirut, kindly donated a group of interesting coins from his own Islamic collection, among them eleven silver dirhams of the Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Seljuks of Rum, Mongols of Persia, and Ottoman dynasties. He also presented eleven examples of Arab Byzantine, Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Artukid, and Zengid copper fulus (Figs. 5-8).

Fig. 3. Abbasids AR dirham, Madinat al-Salam, AH 189. (ANS 2007.4.2., gift of Alan S. DeShazo) 25 mm.

Fig. 4. Abbasids AR dirham, Madinat Nisabur, AH 194. (ANS 2007.4.5, gift of Alan S. DeShazo) 25 mm.

Fig. 5. Artukids of Mardin, Hussam al-Din Yuluk Arslan. AE fals. AH 569-577 (AD 1174-1181). (ANS 2007.5.8, gift of Dr. Hicham Bissat) 31 mm.

Fig. 6. Zengids, Atabegs of Al-Jazira. Muʿiz al-Din Sanjar Shah. AE fals. AH 576-605 (AD 1180-1209). (ANS 2007.5.9, gift of Dr. Hicham Bissat) 28 mm.

Fig. 7. Zengids, Atabeg of Sinjar. Qtubal-Din Muhammad b. Zengi. AE fals. AH 594-616 (AD 1197-1219). (ANS 2007.5.10, gift of Dr. Hicham Bissat) 27 mm.

Fig. 8. Seljuks of Rum. Kaykubad I. Silver dirham. Kaysari. AH 617. (ANS 2007.5.19, gift of Dr. Hicham Bissat) 23 mm.

In January 2005, the Society lost one of its dearest friends—and member for over fifty years—Kenneth M. MacKenzie. As an ANS volunteer, Kenneth identified and relabeled thousands of items, and he will always be remembered for his inestimable help in developing the ANS collection of Ottoman coins into what is probably the best such collection outside of Turkey. Several months ago, our friend made a figurative “return visit,” through a donation sent to the ANS by his widow, Mrs. Jean MacKenzie. This gift consisted of an Ottoman “rocker” die (Fig. 9) for a reverse of a silver beshlik (or beslik) or 5-para coin, with the accession date of the Sultan Mustafa III (AH 1171), the “regnal year” 81—in this case, actually indicating the abbreviated Hijra year of the minting, 1181—accompanied by an Ottoman silver Istanbul-mint beshlik of AH 1181, of the kind struck from such a die (Fig. 10). As Mrs. MacKenzie recalled to Dr. Michael Bates, ANS Curator Emeritus of Islamic Coins, her husband had always intended these items to go to the ANS.

Fig. 9. Turkey. Ottoman “rocker” die for a reverse of a silver beshlik (or beslik) or 5-para coin (AH 1181) of the Sultan Mustafa III. (ANS 2007.3.1, gift of Mrs. Jean MacKenzie) 39 x 49 x 18 mm.

Fig. 10. Turkey: Istanbul. Ottoman AR beshlik. AH 1181 (ANS 2007.3.2, gift of Mrs. Jean MacKenzie) 20 mm.

Through a donation from long-time member Emmett McDonald, the ANS modern paper money collection received a colorful group of Guatemalan and Honduran notes issued by the national banks of those countries (Fig. 11-12). This modern currency of 2001 through 2003 bears the images of past leaders, important national events, and heroic episodes in the Central American movement for independence. A timely supplement to this gift came from ANS Trustee Jere L. Bacharach, who presented several modern copper-alloy coins of Guatemala (Fig. 13) and Honduras (Fig. 14) that had been lacking from the cabinet.

Fig. 11. Guatemala. 20 quetzales, 2003 (Doctor Mariano Galvez), Banco de Guatemala. (ANS 2007.6.3, gift of Emmett McDonald) 155 x 68 mm.

Fig. 12. Honduras. 5 lempiras, 2003 (Morazan), Banco Central de Honduras. (ANS 2007.6.3, gift of Emmett McDonald) 157 x 68 mm.

Fig. 13. Guatemala. 25 centavos, 1987. (ANS 2007.7.2, gift of Jere L. Bacharach) 27 mm.

Fig. 14. Honduras. 50 centavos, 1999 (ANS 2007.7.11, gift of Jere L. Bacharach) 24 mm.

Professor Bacharach also donated an example of a bronze medal (Fig. 15) from the “Great American Restaurant” series, commemorating Delmonico’s, the eating establishment founded by the brothers Giovanni and Pietro Delmonico and opened in New York City in 1838. This famous restaurant earned the nickname “The Citadel,” and it at one time had the largest wine cellar (over 16,000 bottles) in New York. The medal bears an image of Delmonico’s Chef de Cuisine Charles Ranhoffer, one of America’s first celebrity chefs, who is remembered as the inventor of two classic American dishes: baked Alaska and lobster Newburg.

Fig. 15. United States. Delmonico’s, est. 1838, New York. AE commemorative medal, “Great American Restaurant” series. (ANS 2007.7.12, gift of Jere L. Bacharach) 40 mm.

We were pleased to enhance the ANS’s collection of New York Numismatic Club presidential medals with several new examples. These are the silver and bronze medals of Scott Miller (president, 2000-2001) (Fig. 16) and silver and bronze set of David T. Alexander (president, 2005-2006) (Fig. 17). These medals were designed by the famous medallic sculptor and Saltus Award-winner Eugene Daub.

Fig. 16. United States. New York Numismatic Club. AR Presidential medal, Scott Miller (2000-2001), by Eugene Daub (ANS 2007.11.5, gift of Scott Miller) 38 mm.

Fig. 17. United States. New York Numismatic Club. AR Presidential medal, David T. Alexander (2005-2006), by Eugene Daub. (ANS 2007.9.1, gift of David T. Alexander) 38 mm.

Another recently acquired medallic work by Eugene Daub is the medal honoring “Baseball’s Man of Mystery,” Moe Berg (Fig. 18). This gift of Mel Wacks, director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, features a jigsaw-puzzle portrait of Berg (1902-1972), with one piece missing—indicating something of the mystery surrounding the life of this astonishing man. Born to a family of poor Ukrainian Jews in New York City, Berg made his mark not only as an outstanding major league baseball catcher and scholar (a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University Law School, he became a brilliant linguist, was fluent in twelve languages, and was an expert in Egyptian hieroglyphics), but also as one of the most effective undercover agents for the OSS (the United States Office of Strategic Services—the predecessor of the CIA) during World War II. In 1944, he was sent to impede a German scientist overseeing Nazi efforts to build an atomic bomb—a service for which Berg was afterward awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Following the war, he continued to do some intelligence work. While he never returned to professional baseball, his love for the game remained strong, and when he died in 1972 at the age of seventy, his last words were: “How did the Mets do today?” For those contemplating Daub’s evocative medal, Berg’s life suggests how far a single individual can go by believing in himself and daring to dream.

Fig. 18. United States. Jewish-American Hall of Fame. “Baseball’s Man of Mystery” Moe Berg, AE commemorative medal, by Eugene Daub (ANS 2007.8.1, gift of Mel Wacks) 49 x 47 mm.

Of interest among new medallic accessions is a silver commemorative medal issued in 2004 by the mint bureau of the New Bank of Japan, in Osaka (Fig. 19). The medal’s obverse bears the images of three Japanese celebrities: Ichiyo Higuchi, a famous novelist (left); Yukichi Fukuzawa, one of the founders of Keio University (center); and Hideyo Noguchi, a distinguished bacteriologist known for his research work on yellow fever (right). The other side represents traditional Japanese symbols: Mt. Fuji, Lake Motosuko, and the legendary Phoenix. This medal is a gift of Takashi Uemura, managing director of the Insatsu Choyokai Foundation, curator of its numismatic collections, and member of the Board of ICOMON—the International Committee of Museums of Money and Banking.

Fig. 19. Japan. AR commemorative medal. 2004. Mint bureau of the New Bank of Japan, Osaka. (ANS 2007.10.1, gift of Takashi Uemura) 55 mm.

A generous donation to the medals portion of the cabinet came from ANS Fellow Scott Miller, including a plaque of 1886 bearing a realistic image of the French philosopher Pierre Laffitte (1823-1903) (Fig. 20). Laffitte was a close friend and pupil of Auguste Comte (1796-1857), founder of the secular religious system of positivism. After Comte’s death in 1857, Lafitte became the head of the Comité Positiviste. In 1893, he was appointed to the new chair founded at the Collège de France for the exposition of the general history of science, and it was largely due to his inspiration that a statue to Comte was erected in the Place de la Sorbonne in 1902. In his general works, such as Course philosophique sur l’histoire générale de l’humanité (1859), Considérations générales sur l’ensemble de la civilisation chinoise (1861), Les Grands types de l’humanité (1874), De la morale positive (1880), and Le “Faust” de Goethe (1899), Laffitte developed the main principles of positivism: that only knowledge verifiable by the methods of the empirical sciences is valid. He also proposed the transformation of society through scientific methods. The plaque, designed by the fine French medalist Seraphin Emile Vernier, is an excellent addition to our collection of realist medallic art of the nineteenth century.

Fig. 20. France. Pierre Laffitte (1823-1903). AE plaque, by Seraphin Emile Vernier, 1886. (ANS 2007.11.3, gift of Scott Miller) 29.3 x 19.2 cm.

Another French medal, bearing an allegorical allusion to the town of Paris and four figures representing Art and Technology on one side and the image of the nave of Nôtre Dame de Paris on the other, is a further interesting component of Scott Miller’s donation (Fig. 21). This bronze, struck at the Monnaie de Paris, commemorates the thirty-seventh International Exhibition (1937). That exposition, held in Paris and dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life, was quite remarkable, given that the event took place during the Great Depression. This ANS bronze, designed and signed on the obverse by the renowned French medalist Paul Marcel Dammann (1885-1939), is a great addition to our holdings relating to international exhibitions.

Fig. 21. France. Paris. The thirty-seventh International Exhibition. 1937. AE commemorative medal by Paul Marcel Dammann. (ANS 2007.11.1, gift of Scott Miller) 77 mm.

An example of the bronze U.S. Mint medal dedicated to Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Wood Robert Jr. (1933-1936) was also given to the Society by Scott Miller (Fig. 22). This medal was designed by the famous John R. Sinnock, chief engraver for the U.S. Mint from 1925 to 1947, and was engraved by Adam Pietz, Sinnock’s colleague, an assistant engraver at the mint.

Fig. 22. United States Mint. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Wood Robert Jr. (1933-1936). AE commemorative medal, by John. R. Sinnock and Adam Pietz. (ANS 2007.11.2, gift of Scott Miller) 75 mm.

The ANS continues to expand and improve its collection through new purchases. One of the most interesting examples, bought by private arrangement, is a beautiful Art Deco plaque of Hungarian-born French artist Gustave Miklos (1888-1967) (Fig. 23). This piece celebrates the Standard franco-américaine de raffinage company and reflects the development of the French petroleum economy between the two world wars. Miklos’s artistic works have become popular on the art market today but have been lacking in our collection. This new purchase enriches the ANS’s collection of Art Deco medals.

Fig. 23. France. The Standard franco-américaine de raffinage company. 1933-1934. AE plaque, by Gustave Miklos. (ANS 2007.12.1, purchase) 105 x 63 mm.

Toward the end of 2006, the ANS had the good fortune to obtain some of its most exciting acquisitions: three medals from a World Exonumia Mail Bid sale. These are United States silver Indian Peace medal issues of the twenty-first, twenty-second, and twenty-third presidents, Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) (Fig. 24), Grover Cleveland (1885-1889) (Fig. 25), and Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) (Fig. 26). While these particular examples are believed to be “novodel” strikings from the Philadelphia mint, such medals are extremely rare and are not to be confused with the more contemporary mint restrikes. These three silver oval issues were the only ones lacking from the Society’s extensive and famous collection! Executed by the prominent U.S. Mint designers Charles Barber and George Morgan, their obverses bear handsome realistic images of the presidents while the reverses of all three medals, struck by the same die, display the image of a farmer showing an Indian chief the benefits of civilization, together with a crossed pipe and tomahawk in the exergue and the word “PEACE” arrayed above.

Fig. 24. United States. President Chester A. Arthur. 1881. Oval AR Indian Peace Medal, by Charles Barber and George Morgan. (ANS 2007.13.1, purchase) 60 x 76 mm.

Fig. 25. United States. President Grover Cleveland. 1885. Oval AR Indian Peace Medal, by Charles Barber and George Morgan. (ANS 2007.13.2, purchase) 60 x 76 mm.

Fig. 26. United States. President Benjamin Harrison. 1889. Oval AR Indian Peace Medal, by Charles Barber and George Morgan. (ANS 2007.13.3, purchase) 60 x 76 mm.

Silver medals played an important role in American Indian policy for more than a century. The United States government presented “Peace and Friendship” medals to important chiefs and warriors as symbols of attachment to the new nation. Gifted as such, these medals became highly prized possessions and marks of rank within the tribes. They are also important in the history of American art. Designed by the best artists of the day, they form a gallery of the presidents. Interestingly, all the presidents from Thomas Jefferson though Ulysses S. Grant issued round Indian Peace medals, while the oval medals with “PEACE” reverses issued by the last presidents to so honor the Indians—Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, and Harrison—hearken back to the original shape introduced by Washington from 1789 to 1795. The reverses of all these medals, with their symbolic representations of peace and friendship and of the Indians’ advance toward civilization, are of great historical interest.

The ANS cabinet contains numerous examples of original Indian Peace medals, including a number of the bronze modern mint versions as well as silver-plated pieces, forgeries, and various other “concoctions.” Our new purchase is a splendid addition the Society’s collection of historical United States artifacts.