From the Executive Director (Summer 2006)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

Robert Hoge, Curator of North American Coins and Currency, recently suggested that we initiate a new monthly event called Numismatic Conversations. The idea was to offer an after-hours meeting on a given numismatic topic where members would have the opportunity to spend time informally with a curator while discussing and looking over a part of the collection. I quite liked this idea, particularly since members rarely have an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the collection and time with the curators, and so I asked Robert to arrange to have the first “Conversation” toward the end of July. The topic he chose, “Connecticut Coppers,” is one dear to the heart of ANS Trustee Roger Siboni, who felt that with the help of our new systems manager, Bennet Hiibner, we could expand the conversation to include not just those individuals present in the room, but people elsewhere in the country. After a frantic week of setting up and troubleshooting equipment, Ben, working with Ray Williams, who donated his time, technical expertise, and equipment to the endeavor, had our “studio” ready for the ANS’s first attempt at broadcasting over the World Wide Web. The inaugural Numismatic Conversation on July 26 was a truly great success; dozens of people attended, and many more tuned in on their computers for a simultaneous webcast and telephone conference call. They could see what was going on and ask live questions as if they were there in the room. (For those who missed the event, a DVD of the webcast will soon be available.) This successful foray into webcasting has opened our eyes to new possibilities for reaching out to members who are not in New York City or who cannot visit our facilities. In the coming months we hope to make greater use of this technology, not only for the continuing Numismatic Conversation series, but also for the annual meeting in October. Stay tuned!

In addition to the annual meeting, we have a number of important events coming up in October. One is an evening honoring Prof. John (“Jack”) H. Kroll, ANS Trustee and highly regarded scholar of ancient coinage, on October 20. The evening will include talks and a formal presentation of the ANS-produced Festschrift entitled Agoranomia: Studies in Money and Exchange Presented to John H. Kroll, which is available through our distributor, David Brown Books. Another event, on October 25-26, is the continuing auction of the Society’s foreign orders and decorations (see the feature on p. 39). And finally, for Sage Society members, there is the excursion to London (see p. 56), which promises to be a fun, memorable experience.

Many of you will recall from the last issue of the ANS Magazine the sad news of the death of Mark Salton, ANS Fellow and generous donor. I am pleased to announce that we have established an annual lecture in his name, which will focus on the importance of coins and medals as evidence for history. Already we have raised more than half of the $50,000 needed to endow this annual lecture. If you are interested in helping us with this fund in honor of Mark, please let us know.

With best wishes,
Ute Wartenberg Kagan