Library News (Winter 2004)

by Francis Campbell

In what has thus far been a very eventful year for the Library, the Library Committee, under the direction of John W. Adams, has most recently held a benefit auction in support of the Library Chair. Held on August 19th, in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association Convention in Pittsburgh, the auction was a great success and, despite a rainy evening, was well attended. It took place at Tambellini’s Restaurant, just a few blocks distance from the Convention Center, where all registrants were treated to cocktails and dinner followed by the auction. Committee Chairman, John W. Adams, was a great Master of Ceremonies and Committee member, George F. Kolbe, donated his time and services in conducting the sale, to which he also contributed a number of lots. Committee member Wayne Homren was our host in Pittsburgh and guided us in securing the auction site. The auction itself was called by Denis Loring, who entertained all present while coaxing bidders to part with their money. The sale realized just under $90,000.00 for the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair.

Setting the tone for the auction with his bid on lot 1, was ANS President, Donald G. Partrick, who offered an anonymous bid of $10,000. This tone was continued throughout the sale and when the last lot was reached (i.e., No. 50) it was decided to add a 51st, a copy of the sale catalogue signed by the attendees. Enthusiastic bidding for this lot followed with Victor England offering the successful bid. Victor then decided that the most appropriate home for the catalogue would be the ANS Library and he graciously donated it. Several of the other bidders at the sale extended their generosity by donating to the ANS Library the lots that they acquired. George Kolbe donated a unique eight-volume manuscript on the coins of Europe and the New World, which represents the catalogue of the collection formed by Louis de Boissiere, Count of Chambors. Anthony Terranova matched the bid of John W. Adams, who successfully bid on an important photographic archive of Presidential Coin and Antique Company, which he then donated to the Library. Thanks are due to all those who donated items to the sale. These included, John W. Adams, John P. Donoghue, Dan Freidus, Alan and Maureen Grace, Chris Hoelzle, Wayne K. Homren, Jonathan H. Kagan, George F. Kolbe, Joseph Lasser, H. Joseph Levine, P. Scott Rubin, Anthony Terranova, David Enders Tripp, and Richard B. Witschonke.

Although primarily preoccupied this year with moving the library to the new building, the benefit auction is the latest of several important events. The dedication of our new Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library was held on December 2, with members of the Harry W. Bass Foundation present. On behalf of the Foundation, Doris Bass, President, presented the Society with a check in the amount of $400,000.00. This brought the Foundation’s total contributions to the Society to over $4,000,000.00. On May 13th, the 5th floor reading room of the new library was officially named the John J. Ford, Jr. Reading Room. John was for many years a partner at the New Netherlands Coin Company here in New York and was responsible for many of that firm’s finest auction catalogues. The dedication ceremony, which was well-attended by members of the Ford family and numerous guests, provided the opportunity for old friends to reminisce about John’s career and inspect the room that will bear his name. Since the official opening of the Society on June 18th, the library has received a number of visitors who have been favorably impressed with the Library’s new facilities.

Although the Library’s plans for a facsimile series have been delayed somewhat by problems associated with formatting and paper selection, Dan Hamelberg has resolved those problems and we will soon be offering two versions of the 1828 George Nichols auction broadside that are sure to please bibliophiles. The extremely rare Nichols sale, consisting of the Estate of Benjamin Watkins, is the first listing in E.J. Attinelli’s “Numisgraphics …,” published in 1876.

As reported in the last issue of the “Magazine,” long-time Assistant Librarian, Barbara Bonous-Smit has recently accepted an Assistant Professor position at Queensborough Community College, where she will work in The Kurt R. Schmeller Library as Interlibrary Loan Librarian. Barbara will be difficult to replace and she will be missed as a colleague.

Yeghia T. Nercessian, founder of the Armenian Numismatic Society, has recently donated to the Library a copy of “Selected Numismatic Studies II,” which contains some forty research papers written by Paul Z. Bedoukian in the two decades prior to his death on June 29, 2001. Together with the contents of an earlier first volume bearing the same title and published while Paul was still alive, this second volume provides a fitting tribute “to a scholar who became the modern architect of Armenian numismatics.” The autobiographical article with which the volume begins bears testimony to a lifetime of achievement in spite of extreme suffering and hardship during Paul’s early years. It should be read not only by numismatists but by all those who would have an example of the heights to which the human spirit can arise.

A tribute volume for Paul Z. Bedoukian