From the Executive Director (Winter 2005)

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

Dear Members and Friends,

2005 is drawing to its close, and we are looking back at a very successful year at the American Numismatic Society. In the early summer, we sold our uptown building to our long-term neighbor on Audubon Terrace, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for $5,000,000. This welcome addition to our general fund came just at the right time for our investment manager and Trustee George Wyper. Thanks to his prudent investments, the ANS portfolio went up by 30 percent for the financial year since October 1, 2004. In addition, we raised over $1,500,000 for the ANS during that year, while our operating expenses have only slightly increased. Roger Siboni, who was just elected First Vice President by the Trustees, reported about the good financial news at the Annual Meeting in October.

Another step towards improving our finances further was the creation of a new membership circle. In August, the ANS launched the Augustus B. Sage Society, which gives members of this group special access to ANS services, separate events, and room rental. Thanks to the efforts of our development team, now headed by our new Director of Development, Geoff Giglerano, we have already recruited over fifty members at press time. Special thanks to our Trustees Roger Siboni and Charles Anderson, as well as a number of auction houses, who have helped with this important initiative.

Although I always receive a lot of positive but rather general feedback about the ANS Magazine, I was particularly pleased by an e-mail from former summer seminar student and member Michael Ierardi, in response to Aviva Gray’s article about Agnes Baldwin Brett (see page 17). It has raised new questions about the provenance of Ms. Brett’s photos and her travels, as Dr. Ierardi pointed out that two of the sites she photographed were in Turkey, not Greece. We are in the process of raising money for cataloguing and publishing this very important resource of photographs of ancient sites, which the ANS holds.

I am also very pleased to announce that the Trustees approved the promotion of Dr. Peter van Alfen to Margaret Thompson Associate Curator of Greek Coins. Congratulations to Dr. van Alfen, who is an extraordinarily productive staff member.

In addition, Dr. Michael Bates, who has worked at the ANS for thirty-five years as Curator of Islamic Coins, retired on the first of October. As Curator Emeritus, he will continue to help the ANS’s Islamic department and our curatorial team. Dr. Bates is one of the most distinguished Islamic numismatists alive, and the ANS is very fortunate to be able to rely on his vast expertise in the future. We are hoping to raise more money for the Islamic Chair endowment as part of our Fundraising Campaign, in order to be able to hire another Islamic specialist soon.

We are all now looking forward to our annual dinner gala, which is promising to be our best ever. Our honoree for this event will be ANS Fellow Q. David Bowers, whose work on American coins is unparalleled. We are looking forward to thanking him for everything that he has done to promote numismatics and the joy of collecting. Even before the invitations were sent out, we raised over $120,000, and are expecting over two hundred people at the event. My very special thanks go to American Numismatic Rarities and Whitman Publishing for underwriting what promises to be a wonderful evening of celebration, dancing, auctions and fun.

In closing, I wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Yours truly,

Ute Wartenberg Kagan