|by Elena Stolyarik|
During the fall of 2005, the ANS Coin Cabinet received several notable additions through generous gifts of our Trustees and other members, and through a number of purchases. One of the ANS Trustees, Dr. Arnold-Peter C. Weiss, donated a group of five items from Egypt, composing a hoard of the mid-fifth century BC. This is part of the find purchased in the 1950s from a private collection in Valais, Switzerland. It consists of one of the largest known intact massive cake-type silver ingots, weighing 1,462.98 grams (Fig. 1); an intact silver ingot of 330.05 grams; a cleaned thick disc-like ingot of 24.35 grams; and two Athenian tetradrachms, one of which is partially melted. With this gift also came two unique silver fifth-century BC coins from Boeotia and Thrace.
Fig. 1: Egypt. AR cake ingot. (ANS 2006.1.1, gift of Arnold-Peter C. Weiss), 142.98 g., 115 mm.
The ANS collection of Roman provincial coinage acquired eighteen new examples of the bronze coins of Philip I, Otacilia Severa, Trajan Decius (Fig. 2), Herennia Etruscilla, Volusianus, Aemilianus, Valerian I, and Gallienus from the Provincia Dacia.
Fig. 2: Dacia, Trajan Decius, AE, AD 249-250. (ANS 2005.45.4, anonymous gift), 28 mm.
Among the most important 2005 acquisitions was the collection of mostly late eighteenth-century Connecticut coppers formed by Edward R. Barnsley (Fig. 3; Fig. 4). These 1,241 objects received under the terms of our contractual agreement with the Colonial Newsletter Foundation (CNLF) were safely delivered from Huntsville, Alabama. They were checked against the CNLF inventory, counted, and individually weighed. Then the coins were placed in archival storage boxes with their respective accession numbers (ANS 2005.37.1-1238) and catalogued into the curatorial database, with appropriate cross-reference numbers added. It is now widely believed that the Society holds not only the most complete collection of the surviving varieties of Connecticut “coppers” but the largest as well.
Fig. 3: USA, Connecticut. 1787, Miller 33.14-Z.2, Unique. (ANS 2005.37.780, CNLF-5292 ex Barnsley), 28.1 mm.
Fig. 4: USA, New Jersey. 1787, Maris.73-aa (overstruck on Connecticut Copper, Miller.33.29-gg.1, Breen.828). (ANS 2005.37.268, CNLF # 2191 ex Barnsley), 29.4 mm.
Among the items from the Barnsley collection is a beautifully struck medal commemorating Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), designed by James Mudie (Fig. 5), along with the reverse steel hub punch for this medal, with the engraver’s name “J.P.DROZ” stamped to the left of the goddess’s image (Fig. 6). The medal is a part of the British National medals series, which commemorated heroes, events, and victories of the Napoleonic wars.
Fig. 5: United Kingdom. AE commemorative mdeal, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), 1820 (ANS 2005.37.1240), 40.7mm.
Fig. 6: United Kingdom. Reverse steel hub punch for Vice-Admiral Nelson commemorative medal, signed by engraver J.P.DROZ, 1820 (ANS 2005.37.1239), 73 mm.
A significant donation to our collection of American coins and medals came from Board member Stanley DeForest Scott. It includes a fine group of U.S. uncirculated Carson City mint silver dollars of the 1880s (Fig. 7) and a series of beautiful and rare platinum proof medals of the “Sons of the Revolution” bicentennial commemoration: the Fraunces Tavern Museum issue (Fig. 8) and George Washington’s Farewell medals in platinum, gold, bronze, and silver (Fig. 9).
Fig. 7: USA. Uncirculated Silver Dollar, Carson City Mint, 1884 (ANS 2005.48.15, gift of Stanley DeForest Scott).
Fig. 8: USA. Platinum (proof) The Fraunces Tavern Museum “Sons of the Revolution” commemorative medal, Medallic Art Company, 1976 (ANS 2005.48.23, gift of Stanley DeForest Scott).
Fig. 9: USA. AE medal. George Washington’s Farewell/Sons of the Revolution commemorative bicentennial, Medallic Art Company, 1976 (ANS 2005.48.27, gift of Stanley DeForest Scott).
Three uncirculated specimens of the Morgan dollar (1901-O, 1902-O, 1904-O) were donated by ANS member Dr. Michael S. Fey, to upgrade our holdings in this area. The nickel of new design issued in 2005 (Fig. 10) entered our collection of modern American money. For the first time in sixty-seven years, new images of Thomas Jefferson—based on his marble bust by the French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon (1789)—appeared on our coins. The reverse features a scene of the Pacific Ocean and an inscription reflecting an excited entry in the journal of Captain William Clark on November 7, 1805. Joe Fitzgerald, of Silver Spring, Maryland, the United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist, created the designs for both the obverse and reverse. This summer, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald visited the ANS and donated the new nickel to our collection.
Fig. 10: USA. CN 5 cent, Denver Mint, 2005 (ANS 2005.51.1, gift of Mr. & Ms. Joe Fitzgerald), 21.1 mm.
A noteworthy gift of a U.S. Mint steel coin die came from an anonymous donor. This proof obverse (Fig. 11) was used in the West Point mint for the $10 gold commemorative coin of the XXIII Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles in 1984.
Fig. 11: USA. Steel obverse die for AV $10 Olympic commemorative coin proof, West Point mint, 1984 (ANS 2005.41.1, anonymous gift).
An important addition to our collection of modern coinage came from Dr. David Menchell. He donated a great selection of the current issues, including new euro coins, from Andorra, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as a mint set of the European Union candidate countries’ circulation coins (from Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, and Slovenia). Three commemorative mint sets of the Romanian National Bank of 2004 and 2005 were a gift from ANS member from Germany Mr. Erwin Schaeffer.
ANS fellow Dr. Jay M. Galst donated a modern proof coin from Ukraine (2 grivna) (Fig. 12). This commemorative issue was dedicated to the outstanding ophthalmologist, clinician, scientist, and academician Vladimir Filatov (1875-1956). Born into a doctors’ family in Russia, Filatov completed his medical education at Moscow University in 1897 and moved to Odessa, where he became the head of the eye clinic in the department of medicine of the Novorossiiskii (Odessa) University. From 1936 until his death in 1956, he was the director of the Experimental Research Institute of Ophthalmology that now carries his name. One of Filatov’s most important scientific achievements was the introduction of the tube flap method of plastic surgery, which he developed around the time of World War I. Another scientific contribution of Filatov-corneal transplantation-takes a special place in the history of modern science.
Fig. 12: Ukraine. 2 grivna, 2005 (ANS 2005.39.1, gift of Dr. Jay M. Galst).
A fine group of modern Cuban notes, issued by the Banco Nacional de Cuba, was generously donated by Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan. The national currency of Cuba bears portraits of politicians-the founders of the Cuban National Revolutionary Movement of the Nineteenth century-Jose Marti (Fig. 13), Maximo Gomez (Fig. 14), and Antonio Maceo. They also show images of the Marxist revolutionary leaders of the 1950s and 1960s—the Castro brothers, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Fig. 15)—and reflect important political events in the recent history of the Cuban state.
Fig. 13: Cuba. 1 Peso, 1986 (Jose Marti), Banco Nacional de Cuba (ANS 2006.5.1, gift of Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan), 150 x 70 mm.
Fig. 14: Cuba. 10 Peso, 1989 (Maximo Gomez), Banco Nacional de Cuba (ANS 2006.5.4, gift of Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan), 150 x 70 mm.
Fig. 15: Cuba. 3 Peso, 1995 (Ernesto “Che” Guevara), Banco Nacional de Cuba (ANS 2006.5.7, gift of Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan), 150 x 70 mm.
One of the most engaging purchases of this year is a collection of forty-one aviation medals of the pre-WWII period. These handsome artifacts bear the images of aviators from Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and the United States. They serve both as witnesses and commemorations of the tumultuous and heroic history of early modern aviation (Fig. 16).
Fig. 16: France. AE medal commemorating the world flight of Captain Dieudonne Costes and Lieutenant Commander Le Brix, October 1927 by Anie Mouroux (ANS 2005.42.26, purchase), 68 mm.
The award medal “There is light behind the shadows” of the Canadian Institute for the Blind, with the image of a blind eye on the obverse and an open eye in the shape of a foliate tree against a background of a rising sun and water on the reverse, is a gift of Canadian artist Dora de Pedery-Hunt, the 2003 recipient of the J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal (Fig. 17). She also donated a uniface plaque dedicated to one of the greatest ballet dancers of the twentieth century, Rudolf Nureyev (Fig. 18). Brilliant and eccentric, Nureyev started his vertiginous career as a fifteen-year-old boy in Ufa (Bashkortostan) and ended his magnificent “flying step” in Paris, where he served as artistic director of the Opera Garnier until his untimely death from AIDS in 1993. The Netherlandish sculptor Theo van de Vathorst (the 2005 J. Sanford Saltus Award recipient) donated one of his medals from the “Theatre” series (Fig. 19).
Fig. 17: Canada. AE award medal of the Canadian Institute for the Blind by Dora de Pedery-Hunt (ANS 2005.49.1, gift of Dora de Pedery-Hunt), 92.7 mm.
Fig. 18: Canada. AE uniface plaque “Rudolf Nureyev,” by Dora de Pedery-Hunt (ANS 2005.49.2, gift of Dora de Pedery-Hunt), 93.6 x 120.6 mm.
Fig. 19: Netherlands. AE medal “Theater,” 1981, by Theo van de Vathorst (ANS 2005.50.1, gift of Theo van de Vathorst), 77 mm.
In September, the officers of the Naval Command College (founded in 1956) visited the ANS exhibition “Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars: The History of Money,” which is on display at the Federal Reserve. The students expressed their great interest in the exhibition and donated a commemorative medal of their college as a token of appreciation for an interesting tour led by one of our former staff members.
Longtime ANS member Roger DeWardt Lane selected several recent acquisitions for donation to the cabinet. His most recent gift consists of satirical items, simulating numismatic specimens, ridiculing contemporaneous U.S. government leaders and aspiring “wannabes,” which include several “Promissory Notes” of 1972 Presidential candidate George McGovern ($1,000) and Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton large-size satirical “dollars.” Mr. DeWardt Lane also donated two food coupons issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (series 1978B, 1990A).
Another group selected for the ANS by Mr. DeWardt Lane consists of several travelers check specimens from Citicorp and the Bank of Tokyo. These checks were issued for Japanese tourists who visited Hawaii and California, and with the opening of Disney World in Orlando, Florida, they also appeared on the east coast of the United States. The design of these items is usually connected to Japanese cultural and religious traditions. Several specimens bear the image of the Buddhist statue of a “Good Omen” on one side and a three-storied pagoda of the famous “Joruri-Ji” temple in Kyoto on the other side (Fig. 20).
Fig. 20: Japan. 10,000 yen specimen of the Bank of Tokyo travelers check, Bank of Tokyo, Ltd. (ANS 2006.3.2, gift of Roger deWardt Lane), 160 x 71 mm.
Mr. DeWardt Lane also donated a group of three other “exonumia” items. One is a Belgian Congo fifty-franc lottery ticket of December 1936 (Fig. 21), with the image of an African female with an infant within a star-shaped cartouche, surrounded by palm trees. Its inscriptions are in both French and Flemish. The odds of winning are printed on the reverse. Usually, the majority of these lottery tickets would have been sold in Belgium. The instructions on the reverse explain how the winner could collect the prize in Brussels as well as in the Congo.
|Fig. 21: Belgian Congo. Colonial Lottery ticket, 29 May 1934 (ANS 2006.3.7, gift of Roger deWardt Lane).|
Another curious item from this group is a $1 receipt issued by the Original Louisiana Lottery Company (Fig. 22). Opened for business in 1868 in New Orleans, the company eventually became the largest in the country, but because of corruption charges, it was shut down twenty-two years later and subsequently moved to Santiago, Honduras. In 1892, the United States legislation prohibited such lottery operations, but the company continued its illegal activities, as indicated by our new item, dated 1926.
Fig. 22: United States. 1 dollar Original Louisiana Lottery Ticket, 1926 (ANS 2006.3.9, gift of Roger deWardt Lane), 152 x 50 mm.
A Chinese $1 dog-race coupon of 1930, issued in Shanghai, is the third piece in this group from DeWardt Lane (Fig. 23). It shows three racing greyhounds within an oval cartouche at the upper center and bears an inscription which promises to pay “the sum of $1 in presentation of the note within one year from date of issue (April 1, 1930) to the holder at the Shanghai courses on racing day at the company’s office.” Although dog racing was not allowed by international resolution, it was very popular in the French Concession of Shanghai where, in 1928, a greyhound racetrack (a Canidrome) opened its doors for 50,000 visitors and quickly became a popular local pastime.
Fig. 23: China. 1 dollar dog-race coupon, Shanghai, 1930 (ANS 2006.3.6, gift of Roger deWardt Lane), 140 x 80 mm.
The ANS’s famous set of “Washington Seasons Medals” and a Thomas Jefferson Indian Peace Medal have continued to travel around the country with the “National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Exhibition,” organized by the Missouri Historical Society. From November 2005 to March 2006, the ANS objects will be on view at the Oregon Historical Society, in Portland.
Masterworks from the ANS collection—the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural bronze medal of 1905 and a silver Cornish Masque Plaquette of 1905—along with two examples of the gold US$20 of 1907 (high and low relief) and two US$10 gold pieces of 1907 (one in standard low relief and the other, a proof strike with the knife rim), were included in the traveling exhibit dedicated to the work of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions. During the fall season, the visitors at the Munson-Williams Proctor Museum of Art, in Utica, New York, saw these famous items in the exhibition entitled “August Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture.”
Three ancient silver coins—an Athenian tetradrachm, an imitation Athenian drachm (from Arabia Felix), and a Phoenician 1/4th shekel—are on display at the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, in an exhibit entitled “Owls in Art and Nature.” This presentation explores the connection between people and owls in different parts of the world. The ANS’s ancient Greek coins are intended to serve as a partial illustration of this relationship, based on ancient cults and myths from early stages of humankind’s development. The exhibition will be on view from September 2005 to November 2006.
A selection of fourteen ANS medals and plaquettes with images of the historic and charismatic French heroine Joan of Arc is now on display at the Walsh Library Gallery, at Seton Hall University. Entitled “Joan of Arc in the Modern Imagination,” the exhibit is accompanied by a conference and a handsome catalogue; it will remain on view until December 16, 2006.