News (Spring 2004)

Trustees Meeting

At its most recent board meeting on March 9, 2004, the Trustees received the report of the auditors of the financial statements of the year 2002/3. In his report, ANS Treasurer Kenneth Edlow expressed his satisfaction that the financial situation of the ANS continues to improve. Due to donations and the improved stock market situation, the ANS’ assets continue to grow. Increased fundraising activities are underway to create endowments and secure ANS operations. The full financial statements can be viewed on the ANS’ website: http://numismatics.org. The Board of Trustees also agreed to formulize its collection policies. Under the chairmanship of Susan Tripp, newly appointed Trustee, a committee will consider the issues of acquisition, de-acquisition, provenance, and other related issues. The Advisory Committee, chaired by Charles Karukstis, was asked to consider appropriate ways of commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Society in 2008. One of the events that is being planned is the opening of the ANS exhibition hall with a major exhibition of members’ collections. An exhibition committee, under the chairmanship of Roger Siboni, is working on this project (see Development Report).

On behalf of the British Numismatic Society, Dr. Peter Gaspar presented to the ANS the centenary medal, which celebrated the BNS’ 100th anniversary in 2003. Dr. Gaspar, a corresponding member of the BNS Council, had represented the ANS at the recent festivities of the BNS in London.


Medal celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the BNS. AE (ANS 2004.17.1, gift of the British Numismatic Society) 44.8 mm.

Wartenberg at Bard Graduate Center

On May 21, 2004, Bard Graduate Center will be hosting a Study Day “Rare and Ancient Circles: Collecting Coins” in association with the American Numismatic Society. The event will start with a lecture by Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan entitled “The Art of Official Design: Coinage from Antiquity to the Renaissance,” in which she will examine the unique history of coinage design from ancient Greece to the Renaissance. The lecture will conclude with a viewing of a selection of coins and a discussion of collecting practices.

In the afternoon, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan will conduct a guided tour of the Society’s exhibition “Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars: The History of Money” at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as well as the special exhibition “Full Circle: The Olympic Heritage in Coins and Medals,” also at the Fed.

Advance registration is required for this program. For more information contact Bard Graduate Center at 212-501-3011 or Juliette Pelletier at the American Numismatic Society at 212-234-3130 x230.

Van Alfen Gives Talk at Princeton

On February 13, 2004, Margaret Thompson Assistant Curator of Greek Coins, Peter van Alfen, gave a talk at Princeton University entitled “Financing a late 6th-century BC Greek Fleet: A Reassessment of Polykrates and his Navy.” Using a combination of evidence including numismatics, textual sources and nautical archaeology, Dr. van Alfen argued that the late-6th c. BC tyrant of Samos, Polykrates, instigated a cooperative coinage minted at Samos, Klazomenai, Ialysos and possibly half a dozen other east Aegean communities to help finance his enormously expensive fleet of over 100 pentekonters. Dr. van Alfen plans to publish his research on this topic later this year.

The 51st Summer Seminar

On June 1, 2004, the 51st ANS Summer Seminar will commence at 140 William Street. The first class to grace our new building is comprised of seven students from universities in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. The students are: Teresa Bernheimer, Ph.D. student in Islamic studies at Oxford University; Lea Cline, Ph.D. student in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin; Nathan Elkins, Ph.D. student in Classics at the University of Missouri; Matthew Harrington, Ph.D. student in Classics at the University of Michigan; Tracene Harvey, Ph.D. student in Classics at the University of Alberta; Lauren Jacobi, Ph.D. student in Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; and Dr. Cristoph Rosenmüller, visiting professor at Brooklyn College. This year we are also pleased to have Dr. Michel Amandry, Director of the Cabinet des Médailles at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, return to the ANS as our visiting scholar.

Album To Be Awarded Huntington Medal

At its meeting on March 6, 2004, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to award last year’s 2003 Archer M. Huntington Medal Award to the Islamic scholar Stephen Album. The Trustees accepted the recommendation of the Huntington Committee, which had reviewed several other candidates. The committee received references from distinguished academics on behalf of Mr. Album. The Huntington Medal will be awarded at a later date this year. An invitation will be sent to all ANS members.

Steven Album is the most distinguished Islamic scholar of his generation. All of his works are characterized by the care he takes in identifying the coins, the clarity of the pictures and the breadth of references to literature in the field. From this carefully constructed base he offers interpretations of the data. It is both the breadth and depth of his contributions, which set him apart from his peers in the Islamic field.

Album’s Checklist of Islamic Coins, soon out in its third edition, has become the basic guide for collectors, dealers and museums interested in Islamic coinage. His articles on issues involving the complex history of Iranian numismatics have been published in such peer reviewed journals as the British Institute’s Iran. It is however the publications of the Sylloge of Islamic Coins in the Ashmolean that have established a breadth and depth of scholarship not seen since George Miles, who received the Huntington Award in 1949. The first volume published was on the coinage of Arabia and East Africa (1999). No previous scholarship had systematically studied the coinage of both of these areas. Album had to research an extremely wide range of sources for both areas and bring together the findings of many scholars to present a coherent picture for the separate geographic zones. The next volume dealt with the coinage of Iran after the Mongol Invasion (2001), which contains the most scholarly overview of this confusing area of numismatics, which lasts over seven centuries. With his most recent book, Pre-reform Coinage of the Early Islamic Period (2002), he has brought greater order and understanding to this complex story than any previous scholar and his work will quickly become the new base line from which other scholarly contributions grow.

Stephen Album has a B.A. in Mathematics (1963) and a M.A. in Near East Studies (1971) from the University of California, Berkeley. He works as an independent researcher and coin dealer. In addition to his Islamic work, Mr. Album has also published two additional books California Trade Tokens and Tokens & Medals of the American Revolution Bicenntenial (with Duane H. Feisel).

NY International Numismatic Convention

The annual New York International Numismatic Convention was held January 15 through 18, 2004, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The Society was provided with a table, where ANS services, information and a sampling of publications were highlighted. The table was manned by staff members as well as volunteer-docents William Bischoff, Jerome Haggerty, Michael Parris and Peter Sugar, whose assistance is much appreciated.

ANS Curator of American Coins and Currency Robert Hoge presented a talk as part of the educational offerings at the Convention. This was a “PowerPoint” presentation on “The Byzantine (Eastern Roman Imperial) Collection of the American Numismatic Society: A Heterogeneous Selection,” for the Association of Dedicated Byzantine Collectors. (The ANS holds one of the world’s most outstanding collections of coins in this field, numbering well over 13,000 items.) Thanks are due to Kerry K. Wetterstrom, publisher of The Celator, and NYINC Educational Chairman, for his assistance and provision of the projection equipment to make this kind of presentation possible.

Hoge Lectures at Brooklyn Library

On Tuesday, March 9, 2004, Curator of American Coins and Currency Robert Wilson Hoge presented a talk for the 2004 series of educational programs at the Business Library of the Brooklyn Public Library, located at 280 Cadman Plaza West. His extended lecture sought to show how coins and other items of monetary significance provide important insights into our understanding of civilization.

In his talk entitled “The History of Money,” Hoge discussed monetary systems in history, the economics, production and circulation of coinage. He presented the items as artistic, social and technological creations, and explained how they have acquired aesthetic, interpretive and commercial value well beyond their original economic functions. The numismatic material discussed ranged from some of the earliest known pieces issued by the Lydians or Ionian Greeks, through ancient, medieval and oriental coinages, the origins of paper money, the concept of token coinages, to issues of the modern age of electronic media. A variety of materials from the collections of the American Numismatic Society were shown as slides, and questions were invited from the audience.

Witschonke Photographing Cistophori

Since January, 2004, Rick Witschonke has been making regular visits to the society to photograph the collection of cistophori, silver coins issued in Asia Minor in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. A former ANS Board Member now living in New Jersey, Witschonke is a collector of Roman coins issued prior to the battle of Actium in 31 BC.

Proconsular cistophori are a particular interest of his so that he is also updating the curatorial database. Both the images of the coins and any corrections to the database will be available on the web-site as this work continues.

Roman Workshops at Columbia University

Sebastian Heath gave two workshops on Roman coinage at the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean at Columbia University. The first, on March 4, 2004, and titled “Chronology, Denomination, and Use of Roman Coins,” covered early Roman coins from the late 4th century BC, through the introduction of the denarius system in 212/11 BC, and subsequent developments through the reforms of Augustus. Students were also introduced to primary sources, such as a list of food purchases from Pompeii, that give light on how coins were used in the daily lives of Roman citizens.

The second workshop, “Images and Empire on Roman Coins” on March 11, asked the audience to consider if coins were an effective medium for the communication of imperial propaganda.

The first half of the presentation looked at coins issued under Augustus, both before and after his victory at Actium in 31 BC, as well as at coins struck under Claudius and Nero and their role in defining the changing relationships between these two emperors and Agrippina Junior.

The second part focussed on archaeological evidence for the re-use of coins as decoration for eating vessels, in jewelry, and other similar contexts.

This material suggests that ancient viewers did pay attention to the images on Roman coins, though they were probably most drawn to their imperial portraits.

Ciccone ANS’ New Archivist

Joseph Ciccone was recently hired to serve as the ANS Archivist. Joe is a certified archivist and former Corporate Archivist for Merck & Co., Inc., a position he held from 1998 through 2003. He began working as an archivist after a legal career in both the public and private sectors. He received his B.A. in history and political science from Southern Methodist University and his J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law. He is also a graduate of Rutgers University School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, where he received his M.L.S. in May 2000. Joe is a member of the Society of American Archivists (museum archives section) and Oral History Association. He also serves on the board of the Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York.

Aviva Gray Joins Staff

Aviva Gray has joined the staff of the ANS as the Museum’s Curatorial Assistant. Ms. Gray, who recently received her M.A. from the department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia, has studied a broad range of topics relating to the Classical world, and has conducted extensive research on diverse subjects as such Roman provincialization in Britain and Northwest Africa, and Archaic Greek art. She has studied in Rome and has previously worked at various arts organizations in New York, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked at the Thomas J. Watson Library and also interned in the department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

At the ANS, her time is divided between assisting Sebastian Heath in the development of the web-site and working under the direction of Ute Wartenberg Kagan to prepare for the move to 140 William Street. Ms. Gray’s first task for the web-site has been to prepare a complete web-based version of the ANS’ exhibit at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This should be available by the end of April, 2004. In preparation for the move, she has also been re-organizing the storage of the Society’s publications. The first step in this process has involved re-housing original plates and other editorial material for the American Journal of Numismatics, Numismatic Notes and Monographs, Numismatic Studies, and other Society publications, and scanning original images from these publications for the ANS’ digital archive.

Long Time Members 2004

The ANS acknowledges its long time members

25 Years

Mr. William J. Bareford
Mr. John West Dannreuther
Prof. John J. Dobbins
Mr. Ira Forman
Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian
Mr. Robert L. Harwell, II
Mr. Axel Jurging
Mr. Michael D. Kelley
Mr. Michel Klat
Dr. Rodolfo Martini
Mr. Scott H. Miller
Mr. David W. C. Putnam
Mr. David L. Reynolds
Dr. Joseph D. Robinson
Mr. Waldo Salazar
Mr. John R. Saunders
Dr. Seymour A. Siegal
Mr. Howard William Simmons
Hon. Abraham D. Sofaer
Mr. Robert Stocking
Universität Heidelberg
Mr. Joseph Uphoff
Dr. Frances Van Keuren
Prof. Richard D. Weigel
Mr. Kerry K. Wetterstrom
Mrs. Karen Worth

30 Years

Prof. Roger S. Bagnall
Dr. Michael L. Bates
Mr. Harlan J. Berk
Mr. Yannis S. Costopoulos
Mr. Robert E. Darley-Doran
Prof. Thomas Drew-Bear
Florida State University Library
Mr. Youssef Gaafar
Dr. Istvan Gedai
Dr. Murray Gell-Mann
Dr. Jean-Baptiste Giard
Mr. Reed Hawn
Mr. Steven S. Hoth
Dr. Ryszard Kiersnowski
Mr. Roger deWardt Lane
Mr. James A. Lock
Mr. Raymond N. Merena
Dr. Bucur Mitrea
Col. William Bain Murray
Pacific Coast Numismatic Society
Mr. Andreas G. Pitsillides
Dr. Dimitris G. Portolos
Mr. Bernhard Schulte
Mr. Klaus K. Selinheimo
Dr. Attilio Stazio
Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, University of Düsseldorf
Université de Neuchâtel
University of Maryland

40 Years

Prof. Jack Martin Balcer
Mr. Charles R. Carlson
Prof. Giles F. Carter
Coin World
Prof. James A. Dengate
Duke University
Mr. C. Herbert Gilliland
Institut für Klassische Archäologie, University of Tübingen
Mr. James D. King
Dr. Walter James Koss
Dr. Henry Clay Lindgren
Mr. Paul V. Lundy, Jr.
Dr. Henry F. Marasse
Prof. John R. Melville-Jones
Dr. Ira Rezak
Mr. Gerald Alfred Schmidt
Mr. Thomas Tesoriero

50 Years

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Mr. Kenneth E. Bressett
Narodni Muzej