From the Collections Manager (Summer 2005)

by Elena Stolyarik

During the spring, the curatorial departments received several notable gifts. A remarkable donation came to the Greek department from ANS member, Mr. Dmitry Markov. This rare coin of the Scythian king Ailis (late 2nd-early 1st century BC), depicting laureated jugate busts of the Dioscuri on the obverse, and two horse heads on the reverse, is an issue of one of the six Scythian kings of the Scythia Minor Kingdom, in Dobrudja, known from numismatic and epigraphic evidence. The coin also bears two interesting countermarks: a thunderbolt and Hermes wearing a petasos. The coins of these rulers are rare; even major public museum collections posses only few examples. Most of the Scythian dynastic coins have been found between Callatis and Odessos, near Tomis, in the littoral zone of the Dobrudja and on the left bank of the lower Danube. Interestingly, these issues are similar to the types of the autonomous coinage of the west coast Greek cities of the Black Sea region, and even bear identical magistrates’ names. It seems that the Scythian kings received the right to strike their coins at civic mints, and the cities counted upon the support and protection of the Scyths against the numerous assaults of barbarian tribes. This new Scythian coin specimen is a significant addition to our Black Sea region coin collection.

Fig. 1. Scythia Minor. King Ailis, AE coin (ANS 2005.27.1, gift of Dmitry Markov) 25 mm.

The Roman department acquired a new example of a counterfeit from Dr. William M. O’Keefe: a silver siliqua of the Roman Empress Euphemia (c. AD 467).

ANS member Mr. David Feinstein kindly provided silver and bronze examples of the latest New York Numismatic Club Presidential medals of David Simpson, the 42nd President of the Club (2002-2004) and also a current ANS Trustee. Designed by the medallic sculptor Eugene Daub, this issue, like other Presidential medals minted in honor of each successive club president upon the end of his term, is an important addition to our collection of the NYNC’s medals.

Fig. 2. United States. New York Numismatic Club. AR Presidential medal, David Simpson (2002-2004), by Eugene Daub (ANS 2005.34.1, gift of David Feinstein) 38 mm.

A generous donation of 232 examples of English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Russian, and American lead bale seals, mostly excavated in Manhattan during large-scale construction works, came from local historian William Asadorian.

An exceptional set of three plaquettes designed by Georges Pierre Louis Beguet was acquired by purchase. This rare bronze triptych commemorating the centenary of the French protectorate of Algeria is an important artifact of twentieth-century colonialism and of French medallic art between the World Wars.

Fig. 3. France. The centenary of Algeria in 1930. Set of 3 plaquettes, AE, by Georges Pierre Louis Beguet (ANS 2005.29.1-3, purchase) 38 x 57 mm, 56 x 116mm, 36 x 57 mm.

Our collection of US tokens has had some unusual additions: two examples of one-dollar gambling tokens from the Paris Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, from Robert H. Gills; an octagonal military mess-token from Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, donated by Roger deWardt Lane; and a satirical token from executive director Dr. Wartenberg Kagan, referring to a very well known personage of recent American politics.

Fig. 4. United States. Las Vegas, Nevada. $1 Gambling Token, Plastic (ANS 2005.32.1, gift of Robert H. Gills) 39 mm.

Dr. Ira Rezak, ANS member and generous benefactor of our medals collection, contributed a medal commemorating 350 years of Jewish Life in America (1654-2004). In 1654 a small group of Jews from Recife, Brazil, fleeing persecution and seeking refuge, arrived in New Amsterdam (New York). Initially denied permission to stay by the colony’s Governor Peter Stuyvesant, the Jews appealed to the Dutch authorities, who reversed Stuyvesant’s order, allowing them to remain. Dr. Rezak and Mel Wacks decided to commemorate this event and organized a competition for the best-designed medal, which Dana Krinsky won. Her medal shows this journey of liberation, along with stars and horizontal stripes which refer to the American flag; it also features the famous statement of George Washington: “A Government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” This medal is a very small reflection of the history of the Jews in America, but in a real sense is the story of America itself.

Fig. 5. United States. 350 years of Jewish Life in America (1654-2004), AE commemorative medal, by Dana Krinsky (ANS 2005.36.1, gift of Dr. Ira M. Rezak) 77 mm.

Some of our donors continue to look for gaps to fill in our collection. Among them is our long-time member Roger deWardt Lane, who donated unusual items to the ANS paper money collection: a part of two bricks of Atlanta Series 1977 first notes (package #12810 beginning serial # F51236001A; and package #12825 beginning serial #F512296001A) and plywood front blocks with labels showing the same serial numbers. Mr. DeWardt Lane also donated a group of miscellaneous medals. Among these 13 pieces is a French bronze medal designed by S. Cure devoted to Andre Campa (1660-1744), maitre de music of Notre Dame, a successful composer who enjoyed the royal protection of the Regent Philippe d’Orleans. Another is an Argentinean silver medal struck in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of General Bartolome Mitre, President of Argentina in 1863-1868, who created the national administrative structure, supported construction of the national railroad and encouraged immigration. Another Latin American medal from this group is dedicated to the father of Puerto Rican Independence, Dr. Ramon Emeterio Betances (1827-1898), a revolutionary leader of the Latin American Union; he was a famous writer, awarded the medal of the Legion of Honor for his literary contributions by the French government. A Hungarian medal of 1890, engraved by Joseph Muller, director of the Vienna mint, is an interesting example of the commemorative wedding issue. Another bronze medal produced in Vienna in 1899 and designed by Joseph Christian (Christlbauer) represents Andreas Hofer (1767-1810), leader of the Tyrolean rebellion, wearing a gold medal presented to him by Francis II . The medal also depicts images of the Court Chapel at Innsbruck and the Sandwirth Inn, the location where Hofer was executed on February 20, 1810.

Fig. 6. France. André Campra, AE portrait medal by S. Cure, 1730 (ANS 2005.30.16, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 53 mm.

Fig. 7. Argentina. General Bartolome Mitre. President of Argentina (1863-1868), AR commemorative medal, by Bellagamba Y Rossi (ANS 2005.30.15, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 56 mm.

Fig. 8. Puerto Rico. Dr. Ramon Emeterio Betances (1827-1898), AE commemorative medal, by Compostela, Medallic Art Co. (ANS 2005.30.5, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 50 mm.

Fig. 9. Austria. Andreas Hofer (1767-1810), AE commemorative medal, by Joseph Christian (Christlbauer), 1899 (ANS 2005.30.4, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 46 mm.

Another interesting piece from Roger deWardt Lane’s donation is a small bronze award páquette of the School Art League of New York, dated 1940, with an image of a seated female in classical dress facing right and holding a drawing of a vase; the artist’s signature — “VD Brenner” — is at the edge, near her seat. The original large plaque (110 x 162 mm) that served as a model for this medal was designed by Victor Brenner and issued in 1909; it is now preserved in the ANS collection. Initially, the plaquette was called the “School Art League of New York City Craftsmanship Medal.” After 1923, the name was changed to the “Haney Medal,” named after James Parton Haney (1869-1923), a prominent art educator associated with the School Art League. The League’s award medals were first struck by the firm of Robert Stroll, where Victor Brenner worked as an engraver from 1892. Then, prior to 1917, the Medallic Art Company started to produce them. Brenner was proud of this medal and showed it at the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals at the American Numismatic Society in 1910. This new acquisition is an important addition to the numerous examples of Victor Brenner’s work already housed in the ANS collection.

Fig. 10. United States. The School Art League of New York City Award AE plaquette, by Victor Brenner, 1940, Medallic Art Co. (ANS 2005.30.10, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 25 x 34 mm.

A group of US modern medals from the 1970s and 1980s, selected for the ANS by Mr. DeWardt Lane, is dedicated to different topics. One example represents a beautiful detailed image of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, a national historical site in Newark, New Jersey. A bronze medal in high relief, designed by sculptor Anneta Duveen, is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of service of John Merrill Olin (1973), a famous scientist, industrialist, inventor, and Chairman of the Board of Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation. An interesting coin-medal issued in 1987 by professor A. J. Galambos, a distinguished astrophysicist, mathematician, and educator, contains a quote from Winston Churchill: “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory! Victory at all cost, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival!” Churchill’s affirmation of the struggle for victory still resounds today.

Fig. 11. United States. Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Newark, New Jersey, AE commemorative medal, 1976 (ANS 2005.30.11, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 55 mm.

Fig. 12. United States. John Merrill Olin, AE commemorative medal, by Anneta Duveen, 1973, Medallic Art Co. (ANS 2005.30.9, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 65 x 75 mm.

Fig. 13. United States. “Victory”, AE medal, 1987, by A.J. Galambos (ANS 2005.30.8, gift of Roger deWardt Lane) 38 mm.