News (Spring 2007)

ANS Sells 101 Duplicates of U.S. Gold Coins

January 11, 2007—One hundred and one carefully selected die duplicates of U.S. gold coins from the holdings of the American Numismatic Society performed brilliantly at a public auction at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, as collectors and dealers gathered to compete for these long off-the-market prizes while supporting the ANS missions of education and scholarship for the future. Led by a 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition $50 round at $89,125, the funds raised will “go far in endowing the ANS Collections Fund, which will allow generations of ANS curators to expand the collections in poorly represented areas and to ensure that the collections are well maintained for the study and enjoyment of current and future generations of collectors and researchers,” said ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan.

Every denomination from gold dollar to $50 was represented among the 101 coins selected, with each issue still represented by a finer specimen that remains available for study at the ANS. The pedigrees of those coins sold were often a major inducement for bidders, with collectors as disparate as the Norwebs and Victor David Brenner having been the original owners of the pieces before their generous donation to the society. An 1804 quarter eagle, BD-2, from a donation by B. Peyton, realized $10,350, while a pair of Proof quarter eagles dated 1900 and 1902, acquired by the ANS through a bequest from the late A. J. Fecht, realized $36,800 and $18,400, respectively.

Among half eagles, the oldest was also the highest valued, as a 1798 BD-2 sold for $19,550. The following lot, a nice 1802/1 BD-1, realized $13,800, while an 1807 of the same type was bid to a final price of $10,350. An 1811 BD-2 half eagle, graded as Choice Brilliant Uncirculated-63, brought $14,950, and an 1813 BD-2 of the same grade found a new home at $20,700. An interesting Proof 1904 half eagle, pedigreed to a 1909 Thomas Elder sale and Archer M. Huntington, son of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, was pursued until the hammer fell at $18,400.

Larger-denomination pieces also saw active competition, including the 1838 eagle in Lot 2061 that opened for $3,000 yet sold for $17,250! An 1855 double eagle was chased from $4,500 to $20,700 in similar fashion, and that high price was surpassed by a special 1858-O $20 donated to the Society by R. Henry Norweb Jr., a member of the great collecting family whose Washingtoniana was recently sold in another Stack’s event. Opening at a modest $6,000, the quality of the coin’s surfaces and pedigree propelled it to $27,600. A choice 1876 $20 brought $10,925, and a 1908 With Motto Saint-Gaudens $20 sold for $16,100.

A trio of coins struck in San Francisco for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition also did very well. A quarter eagle, graded fully Gem Brilliant Uncirculated-65, realized $12,650. A quartet of $50 coins from the Exposition was led by a round specimen at $89,125 and a scarce octagonal at $54,625.

ANS Curator Lectures

On Friday, December 1, 2006, Robert Hoge, ANS curator of North American coins and currency, presented an illustrated lecture entitled “A Survey of Colonial-era Coins at the American Numismatic Society,” at the annual convention of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4), in the Educational Forum. The C4 convention was held as part of the Bay State Coin Show (November 30 to December 3, 2006) in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Radisson Hotel. Hoge’s talk reviewed some of the highlights of the Society’s extensive holdings of early American material.

On December 4, 2006, a Parsons School of Design class, “Critical Reading and Writing I,” taught by former curatorial assistant Olga Less, visited the ANS for a lecture by Curator Robert W. Hoge. Entitled “United States Symbolism in Coin Designs,” Hoge’s illustrated talk covered images of Liberty, eagles, Indians, national identity, and other representations from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. Ms. Less gave up her position in January to devote herself more fully to a teaching career. We wish her well.

We are happy to report that on December 5, 2006, Sylvia Tomczyk joined the ANS as a volunteer in the Curatorial Department. Sylvia was previously a 2004 Summer Intern and returned again to the ANS in December 2005 for a month of research for her Masters’ thesis on German emergency money.

ANS members may have had a difficult time, at first, finding the ANS booth at the New York International Numismatic Convention, held at the Waldorf-Astoria from January 11 through 14. On the first day, our booth was moved from our usual location because of a very crowded bourse floor. Bourse Chairman Kevin Foley found a prime space for us in front of the Starlight Roof, which we hope will become our regular spot at future NYINCs! Membership recruitment and ANS book order forms kept a constant stream of visitors to our booth. As always, we are grateful for the efforts by volunteers Rick Witschonke, Jerome Haggerty, Michael Bates, and Peter Sugar, who graciously assisted the staff at the NYINC. On January 13, Collections Manager Elena Stolyarik gave a well-attended lecture entitled “Denominations and Types: A Look at Byzantine Coins,” for the NYINC Association of Dedicated Byzantine Collectors (ADBC) meeting.

ANS Staff and Trustees at AIA Meeting

Sebastian Heath attended the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in San Diego from January 3 to January 7, 2007. On January 6, he was elected an academic trustee of the Institute by the Council, the AIA’s main governing body. On Sunday, Dr. Heath delivered the paper “Local Responses to Late Roman African Red Slip Tablewares” in a session devoted to Roman pottery.

Also in attendance at the meeting was ANS Trustee Dr. Kenneth Harl, who delivered a paper on the coinage of Gordion in Turkey. Dr. Harl also chaired a session on Roman coins, at which former ANS Summer Seminar student Nathan Elkins (2004) spoke on “Political Ideology and Roman Architectural Coin Types of the Republic and Empire” and former student Marsha McCoy (1982) spoke on “Cistophori and Identity in Roman Asia Minor.” Former student Matthew Notarian (2005) organized a colloquium titled “The Function of Numismatic Iconography: Authority or Message?” in which he gave the paper “Symbolic Rivalry on the Imperial Coinage of the Island of Lesbos.” Other 2005 seminar students participating in this session were Sarah Bolmarcich, who spoke on “The Philaïd Coinage of the Thracian Chersonesus,” and Envengelia Georgiou, whose paper was entitled “Icaria: History and Coins.” Dr. Harl was again the discussant of this session. The abstracts of all these papers are available on the AIA Web site at http://www.archaeological.org.

ANS Archives Hosts Guests

On October 11, 2006, the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc., held its annual awards ceremony at the American Numismatic Society. ANS Archivist Joseph Ciccone attended the meeting—at the time holding an ART board position. Honorees included the American Museum of Natural History. ART is the largest professional association of archivists, records managers, and librarians in the New York City area, with more than 160 repositories represented.

Dinner Auction Highlights

The Dinner Auction was wildly successful, with the bidding realizing an impressive total of $123,000. Some of the items ignited exciting bidding wars that were masterfully encouraged by auctioneer Harmer Johnson. His exuberant and humorous descriptions and jovial coaxing spurred Gala attendees to have fun with the unique objects up for bid. Dr. Alain Baron started the bidding craze with lot 1, which realized $1,300 for a perfectly preserved glass clip tray with a $50 Pan Pacific Gold coin embossed inside its base, from Chet Krause’s personal collection and one of only fifty made. Larry Stack kept the momentum going when he bid $1,700 on behalf of Stack’s for lot 2, a one-of-a-kind 1950s small clip tray displaying Chester Krause’s life membership number in the ANA and CNA. Mr. Anthony Terranova made sure to have the final bid for lot 3—$2,500 for an ornate Krause Publications serving tray—and Mr. Joel Anderson refused to give up on lot 4, a plastic twelve-inch Krause Publication ruler from the 1960s, still in its original wrapping. This lot realized $833—per inch! Mr. Donald Partrick won the opportunity for a special day of research and lunch with ANS Librarian Frank Campbell (lot 5) as well as the set of keys to a mystery briefcase (lot 6), on a keychain with a 1962D cent embedded in plastic—together totaling $7,000. Stack’s can now offer sweets in a decadent bonbon dish decorated with coins and with “Krause Publications” emblazoned on the bottom (lot 7), which went for $2,000. Mr. Charles Anderson keenly bid to win lots 8 and 9, a collection of two early ANS gift acknowledgement letters with two 8.5 x 11 prints of the ANS building at Audubon Terrace as well as ANS letterpress print die cuts of the old and new ANS logo—together realizing an incredible $7,000. Dr. Alain Baron came back with a quick but mighty $500 bid for lot 10, for a 1960s white-on-black glass tray inscribed “Coin Collectors Capitol.” Not willing to give up, Mr. Joel Anderson forced the bidding to $5,500 for lot 11, a Gala Dinner program signed by honoree Chester L. Krause. Mr. Eric McFadden of CNG held strong for lot 12, bringing in $11,000 for the opportunity for four guests to have a glorious weekend in the country with Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan and her husband Jonathan Kagan at their Uphill Farm in Duchess County, New York. Jonathan Kagan kept his eye on lot 13, winning with the high bid of $5,000 the couture gown by Jane Wilson Marquis, one of New York City’s hottest designers. Anderson & Anderson bid hard and won lot 14 at $11,000, a first edition of the Standard Catalogue of World Coins (1972) signed by Chet Krause. Baron Lorne von Thyssen was the high bidder on lot 15, an 1918 invitation to a lecture given by Albert R. Frey from the ANS archives, realizing $4,000. Mr. Joel Anderson was again the winner with an astounding $20,000 bid for lot 16, an opportunity for six guests to spend a day with Q. David Bowers in New Hampshire. For lot 17, Ms. Christine Karstedt fought hard for Stack’s and won, at $3,500, two framed pictures: one of Chet Krause on his famous Sherman tank “Battling Bitch,” and the other of ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan with former ANA president Robert Campbell in the tank during a trip to Iola, Wisconsin. But then Mr. Joel Anderson topped the evening when he was the highest bidder on lot 18: $31,000 for a SilverTowne strike of a unique Chester L. Krause portrait round in gold, housed in a wooden box. The portrait for the piece was executed for use in conjunction with the 2002 Krause Publications Fiftieth Anniversary commemorative issues program by Thomas D. Rogers Sr. The silver mate to this unique medal was presented, at the top of the evening, by Clifford Mishler to Chester L. Krause, the evening’s honoree and 2007 ANS Trustees’ Award recipient.

—Joanne Isaac