From the Executive Director (Spring 2006)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

The American Numismatic Society began 2006 with a bang. On January 12, longtime Fellow, friend, and supporter Q. David Bowers received the ANS Trustees’ Award at our gala event, held in New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Over two hundred guests, among them some of the most distinguished numismatists in the United States and abroad, celebrated Dave’s achievements in numismatics. We are all extremely grateful to Whitman Publishing and American Numismatic Rarities, as well as many other generous donors, who made a truly fantastic evening possible. It raised significant money for the ANS. And many congratulations again to Q. David Bowers for this well-deserved honor!

The inaugural meeting of the newly founded Augustus B. Sage Society preceded the gala. ANS Fellow David Tripp gave a short talk about the 1933 Double Eagle and the most recent developments in this case. Almost ninety members and guests attended this event. This new donor circle of the ANS has already attracted over seventy members, and we are most grateful for their generous support. This year, the Sage Society is planning a trip to London, where members will get a behind-the-scenes look at various museums and private collections. It should be a fun trip, and a number of members have already signed up for it. An invitation to all Sage members will be sent out this spring.

At its meeting in October 2005, the ANS Trustees selected Morton & Eden, in association with Sotheby’s, to sell the Society’s holdings of foreign orders and decorations. The Collections Committee, which oversees the accession and deaccession of ANS materials, had recommended to the board at an earlier meeting to sell its collection of these materials as well as other items not related to the core mission of the Society. The more significant holdings in the American series, which contain many important rarities, will be retained. In this issue of the ANS Magazine, Geoff Giglierano gives a fascinating account of how Saltus and other key ANS members decided on assembling this interesting collection of primarily European military orders. Proceeds from the two sales, to be held in May and October of this year, will go into the restricted acquisitions funds of the ANS, and will allow the curatorial staff to improve our numismatic holdings.

On a sad note, we are mourning the loss of several distinguished ANS members and supporters. Just when going to print, we learned of the death of our Trustee Professor James Schwartz, who passed away on March 13. He will be greatly missed by members, staff, and Trustees alike. An obituary will appear in the summer issue of the Magazine. We are also sad to report the deaths of Mark Salton, William Spengler, George Fisher, James Risk, and our Huntington Medalist Philip Grierson. Their lives and achievements in numismatics and other fields are captured in the obituaries in this issue.

I wanted to end this letter by thanking all our members for their support of the Society. This year promises to be successful, and we have already received some large donations. One of our members donated the generous sum of $2,500 at the end of last year. He has been a member for twenty-five years, and he wanted to show his gratitude by donating $100 for each year of membership. Thank you, Tom! I hope you have many followers.

With best wishes,
Ute Wartenberg Kagan