A New ANS: the ANS Move as a Herculean Labor

by Ute Wartenberg Kagan

In early 2004 when the move of the ANS was imminent, a small committee of ANS members was formed to commission a medal to commemorate the move to downtown Manhattan. From the outset it was clear that the committee members wanted a medal that would both honor ANS President Donald Partrick and somehow depict the achievement of moving the enormous collections of the ANS. The committee members, which included ANS Fellows Scott Miller, Tony Terranova, Jonathan Kagan, Roger Siboni, Stephen Scher and ANS member Donald Scarinci, as well as Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan, settled on renowned sculptor Eugene Daub as the artist for the piece. The required elements for the medal were an image of Donald Partrick, the new ANS building and the ANS logo. All other aspects were left to the artist. Within a few weeks the committee received a set of drawing from the artist, which met with general approval from the committee. A few items were added, such as an oak tree shilling, Donald Partrick’s signature and some Latin inscriptions. The result was a medal that shows on the obverse an image of Donald Partrick, his signature at the truncation of the neck, an oak tree shilling and a view of the new building, with the inscription AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY. On the reverse, an older Hercules is seen rolling a round disc with the ANS seal, a representation of the ANS move as one of Hercules’ labors. DOMUS NOVA, “new home” and the inscription PERSEVERANTIA ET DEDICATIO.

Eugene Daub, who won the prestigious Saltus Award for distinguished achievement in the field of the art of the medal in 1991, is one America’s most successful sculptors. Recent commissions include a large-scale sculpture commemorating the Lewis and Clark passage in Kansas City, MO, and a medal of the two explorers issued by the Montana Historical Society. Mr. Daub was the artist of an ANS medal issued in 1986 to commemorate the centenary of the statue of Liberty. He is the first artist since Daniel Chester French in 1919 to have sculpted more than one medal for the ANS. The only other artists to do several commissions for the ANS were Lea Ahlborn, V. D. Brenner, J. E. Roine and Emil Fuchs.

During the Annual Meeting of the ANS on October 23, Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan presented ANS President Donald G. Partrick with a gold version of this medal. In her address she thanked Mr. Partrick for his service and generous contribution towards the move of the ANS. The medal, which was funded by generous donations from several donors, was issued in a limited edition of 50 silver medals and 250 bronze medals. Major donors to the ANS Capital Campaign will be given a set of a silver and a bronze medal. ANS members and the public will be able to purchase the bronze version at $200 (member’s price $175). All medals are issued as a numbered edition.