News (Summer 2003)

Wilmington Coin Club Talk by Robert W. Hoge

On Tuesday, April 22, Curator of American Coins and Currency Robert Wilson Hoge went to Delaware to give a talk to the Wilmington Coin Club. Hoge’s presentation was on the resources of the ANS’ famous collection of regular-issue United States coinage. He went through the denominations, characterizing them and mentioning some examples, such as the half cent which was the Society’s first acquisition, from Augustus B. Sage in 1858, and the 1804 dollar, which was presented by the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1980. Part of the amazing strength and beauty of this portion of the cabinet lies in the marvelous Brock collection of silver and gold proof coins which was purchased and donated to the Society by the wealthy New York banker J. Pierpont Morgan.

ANS Executive Director Appointed Chairperson of Newly Created Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee

The US Mint announced that the Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow, appointed Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). Dr. Wartenberg Kagan had previously served on the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, which has been replaced by the new CCAC. The Secretary also named Dr. Wartenberg Kagan as chairperson of the new committee. On April 23, President Bush signed into law the “American 5-Cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003” (Public Law 108-15), which established the newly created CCAC.

It is composed of 11 members: one qualified in numismatic collection and curation; one qualified in the medallic arts or sculpture; one qualified in American history; one qualified in numismatics; three representing the interests of the general public, and four individuals recommended by the leadership of both the House and Senate. The CCAC advises the Secretary of the Treasury on themes and design proposals relating to circulating coinage and bullion coinage. The CCAC also makes commemorative coin and medal recommendations to the Secretary and advises on the events, persons, and places to be commemorated, as well as on the mintage levels and proposed designs. The CCAC submits an annual report to Congress and the Secretary describing its activities and providing recommendations.

So far the Secretary has appointed eight members of the CCAC. ANS Fellow David Enders Tripp of Stuyvesant, New York, a classical archeologist, art historian, writer and cartoonist, will bring to the CCAC his qualifications as a member of the numismatic community. Mr. Tripp has spent more than 30 years as a professional numismatist. Daniel Altshuler of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is specially qualified in medallic arts and sculpture. Currently, Mr. Altshuler’s numismatic commemorative works include Henry David Thoreau and Paul Revere. He worked with the sculptor, Walker Hancock, for 13 years. Mr. Hancock made presidential busts in the Capital and statuary throughout Washington. Constance B. Harriman of Los Angeles and Washington, and Ms. Connie Matsui of San Diego, California will serve as two of the Committee’s three members who represent the interest of the general public. Ms. Harriman has extensive legal, public policy and management experience in the federal government, working with Congress, media and special interest groups. Ms. Matsui is a senior vice president with IDEC Pharmaceuticals and served as national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Mr. Thomas W. Noe of Maumee, Ohio was recommended by Speaker Hastert of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Thomas W. Noe is the founder and president of Vintage Coins and Collectibles, and served as the Chairman of the Ohio Commemorative Quarter Committee. Mr. Richard W. Bratton of Gillette, Wyoming was recommended by United States Senate Majority Leader Frist for his enthusiasm and understanding of the importance of using our nation’s currency to celebrate the people, places and events that make America a rich and diverse nation. He is a former committee member of the Wyoming Heritage Foundation. Mr. Leon G. Billings of Kensington, Maryland was recommended by United States Senate Minority Leader Daschle. Mr. Billings served 12 years in the Maryland State Legislature, and is president of Leon G. Billings Inc., a consulting firm.

At its first meeting, on May 15, the committee, under its Chairperson, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan, reviewed proposed designs for the Texas and the Iowa state commemorative quarter due to be issued in 2004. Ms. Gloria Eskridge, Associate Director of Sales and Marketing of the United States Mint, was invited by the CCAC to present proposed design concepts for each quarter. For the Texas quarter, the CCAC favored a simple design of the state outline and the star, combined with the inscription “The Lone Star State”. The committee’s recommendation for Iowa is a design named “Feeding the World,” which includes a cow and a pig in profile view flanked by plants of soybeans and corn. An outline of the state is part of the design. Once these recommendations have been formalized, they will be submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury.

One of the CCAC’s most immediate tasks is the selection and review of new themes and designs for the new 5-cent piece, which is commemorating the bicentenary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. As with the State Quarter Program, the nickel will show several different designs,which will be issued until the end of 2005. Themes that were suggested were the Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, many of which were taken on the expedition and given to American Indian leaders; the vessels they traveled in and the rivers they traversed the country on; the two explorers and the mountains they discovered; and a set of ancient, Native American rock carvings or petroglyphs. Committee members expressed the view that the series of coins should also include the theme of the Pacific Ocean. In 2006 the nickel will revert to a design similar to the present one, incorporating Jefferson’s portrait and Monticello. The US Mint will issue the first coins at the end of this year. Subsequent to this meeting, CCAC reviewed a set of preliminary designs for two nickel coins. The Committee expressed a preference for a peace medal design of a handshake, together with the inscription of Louisiana Purchase and its date 1803. For the second preliminary design the CCAC chose the boat seen from the side, without any further inscription. The Committee made a number of suggestions for changes to the preliminary designs. After some further changes, the designs were submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, who will make the final decision about the designs.

Dr. Wartenberg Kagan expressed her satisfaction with the first meeting of the committee. “This was a very productive first meeting. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the nation as a whole are facing exciting times with a changing look for American coins. We will work hard with the Secretary of the Treasury to create a beautiful new set of nickels”

2003 Graduate Seminar Marks a Milestone

On June 9th, with the opening of the 50th Graduate Summer Seminar, the Society’s role in graduate education marked a milestone. Established over half a century ago and funded by a generous endowment from Councilor Eric P. Newman, the ANS offers to give selectively chosen graduate students and junior professors the opportunity to study numismatics in the presence of a premier collection, library and noted specialists. Over 500 students have finished the program over the last five decades, many of whom have gone on to have illustrious research and teaching careers in history, archaeology and philology. The ANS therefore has made a substantial contribution to graduate, and indirectly undergraduate, education in the US and elsewhere. For more information on the Seminar, including useful bibliographies and handouts, please see our website: http://www.numismatics.org/Seminar/Seminar.


From left: Jeffrey Johnson, Philip Kiernan, Peter Lewis, Melissa Haynes, Fred Naiden, Michael Bates, Rachel Meyers, Elena Stolyarik, François de Callataÿ, Peter van Alfen, Dagmar Riedel, Sebastian Heath, Robert Hoge, and guest lecturer, Paul Keyser

This year Prof. François de Callataÿ, who occupies La chaire d’Histoire monétaire et financière du monde grec at the 4th section of l’École pratique des Hautes Études (Paris-Sorbonne) and is also the department head of the Cabinets muséologiques de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, returns to the ANS as this summer’s Visiting Scholar. The graduate students for the Seminar are: Dr. Fred Naiden, Assistant Professor of Classics at Tulane University, New Orleans; Dr. Peter Lewis, a former MD and now a seminary student at Brisbane College of Theology, Queensland, Australia; Rachel Meyers of Duke University; Jeffrey Johnson of Princeton Univeristy, Melissa Haynes of Harvard University; Philip Kiernan of the University of Cincinnati; and Dagmar Riedel of Indiana University-Bloomington.

ANS Staff Attend the 13th International Numismatic Congress in Madrid

Between September 15th and 19th the ANS’ curatorial staff and the executive director will be attending the 13th International Numismatic Congress hosted this year in Madrid. The largest convention of its type for numismatic researchers and scholars, the International Congress is held every five years in a different location throughout Europe or the US. The five-day program is lecture intensive with hundreds of participants presenting their latest research. Likewise the ANS staff will offer papers on their current research. Michael Bates, who has been invited as a Plenary Speaker, will present “Mining and Minting in the Islamic World and Elsewhere;” the other papers include: Ute Wartenberg Kagan, “An Early Hoard Revisited: The Coinage of Croesus?”; Elena Stolyarik, “The Silver Coinage of the Bosporan King Spartocus: The Problem of Attribution”; Robert W. Hoge, “The Coinage of Arausio: A Missing Link (Confirming a Roman Mint under Ocatavian)”; Peter van Alfen, “West Greek Plated Coins and the Question of ‘Official’ Production.” Also, Sebastian Heath and Andrew Meadows (of the British Museum) will be hosting a panel on numismatics and the internet.

Japanese TV Crew Films ANS

A video crew from NHK, the national network of Japan, descended on the ANS one recent Thursday to film coins for a forthcoming documentary, “Eurasian Odyssey,” which will include, among other subjects, one-hour episodes on the Islamic caliphate and the Mongols. Three technicians and a translator/facilitator brought a mass of heavy trunks and cases four flights up our narrow back stairs to the small room outside the main vault known as the “laboratory,” or more realistically as the “kitchen.”

The crew shot ten coins in all, or rather nine coins and a pile of some three hundred silver dirhams from a hoard. To set the coins in motion, they were fixed one, two, or three at a time on an electric turntable, lit by an elaborate array of lamps. The coins chosen were mostly Abbasid, with a few from the Mongol era, selected as typical issues, not rarities. The most interesting of the lot was a Baghdad dirham of Harun al-Rashid, with his name written in tiny elongated letters around the reverse central field. The work took a full working day, and a few minutes overtime.


”Silver dirham, Madinat al-Salam, Baghdad mint, dated 172=CE 788/9, (1999.57.1)

Our Curator of Islamic Coins, Michael Bates, was the subject of several takes showing him opening the antique vault door, walking down to the Islamic section, opening a cabinet and pulling out a drawer of dirhams of Harun or another caliph. He commented ad libidem on the materials shown. The director promised to mention the ANS prominently in the film credits as well as in the voice-over narrative. The documentary is probably at least a year away from airing. If any of our members in Japan happens to see it, we would be glad to learn how it all turns out.

IAPN Book of the Year Award

The Internation Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) has awarded the ANS publication “Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalogue, Part I: Seleucus I to Antiochus III” by Arthur A. Houghton III and Catharine C. Lorber, their Book of the Year Award. A presentation will take place later this year.

Arthur Houghton served as President of the ANS from 1995-1999. A member and contributor since 1963, Houghton, a student of Hellenistic coinages for more than 40 years, has been writing on the subject since 1979.

Catharine Lorber, an ANS member and contributor since 1994, has been a cataloguer in the numismatic trade for over 20 years. As a numismatic researcher, her specialty is in the coinages of the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, the Northern Greeks and of Larissa in Thessaly.

2003 Summer Interns

We are glad to have a fine group of interns with us this summer. Sophia Gofman is a graduate of Hofstra University and is in her second year at City College in the Museum Studies program. Daniel Isaac will be a senior in high-school, and class vice-president next fall. Daniel looks forward to studying archeology on the college level after he graduates in 2004. Andrew Schloss is a sophomore history student at the University of Rochester. He is a numismatic enthusiast, received the Wilton (CT) Historical Society Award, and came to us recommended by Rochester faculty. He has written an article on Belgian numismatics which we may wish to publish, and has an interest in the coinages of British India, in particular. Jonathan H.G. Torn is pursuing undergraduate studies at McGill University, majoring in archeology and religion. Jihan Varisco, a recent high-school graduate, studied Latin and Greek. He looks forward to matriculating in the Classics Program at the University of Chicago this fall.

Film on Dora de Pédery-Hunt, Saltus Award Winner

On June 4, a Canadian film crew visited the ANS galleries to shoot footage of our temporary exhibit of the works of Dora de Pédery-Hunt. This feature, which opened March 8, was prepared in honor of the occasion of the artist’s receipt of the J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal. De Pédery-Hunt, designer of the portrait of Queen Elizabeth which graces Canada’s coinage, is of course one of the most famous medallic artists of the Western Hemisphere. The producer and photographer of the forthcoming film on Ms. Hunt by Canarian Pictures, of Toronto, is Laszlo Siki; the director is Anna Szakaly. It will be a one-hour documentary of the life and works of the artist from her childhood in Hungary onward, and is tentatively entitled “Dora de Pédery-Hunt: A Life in Art.”

ANS Hires New Business Office Manager

As of March 14, Mr. Nadav Silberstein has been employed as Business Office Manager/ Accountant of the American Numismatic Society. He is a native of Tel Aviv Israel, and has over 20 years of accounting experience. He has a degree in accounting from The American University, Washington D.C. He is running the business office and is undertaking the task of transferring our entire accounting system to Quickbooks.


Nadav Silberstein

ANS Council Meeting

At its meeting on June 21, the Council of the American Numismatic Society decided to close the Society as of July 6, 2003 to allow staff to prepare the move to 140 William Street. After that date staff members will deal only with paid photographic orders. An exact date for the move has not yet been scheduled, but the staff was told to expect the move some time after September 30.

Over the last few months, the renovation project has made rapid progress. Under the leadership of John Whitney Walter, First Vice President, the ANS finalized its plans and selected a general contractor. At the meeting, Whitney proposed a total budget for renovation and moving costs of $3,484,809 which the Council approved. Over the summer, the building will be prepared to house the vaults, coin cabinets and bookshelves. In this first phase offices and collections will be housed on four floors. The ground floor and second floor will be used for events but will not yet be built out. The ANS intends to start a major fundraising campaign to fund the building of a Museum of Money on the ground floor and the mezzanine of the new building.

The Council also approved the budget for the year 2003/4. The expenses in the unrestricted fund, which pays for most of the ANS’s operations and salary, was estimated at $1,190,600. Thanks to some commitments from some generous councilors, the deficit is estimated at only $233,600. The Council expects to revise the budget after the move to the new building, as running costs of 140 William Street are not certain yet.

At its meeting the Council elected the following six new Fellows:

John J. Ford Jr. of Phoenix, Arizona began his membership at the ANS in 1950. He has been a contributor to the ANS Library. Mr. Ford has been a researcher and coin dealer since the 1930s. His interests include Colonial coinage, Hard Times tokens, Merchant tokens, Indian Peace medals, Territorial gold, Fractional currency, Colonial currency, and Confederate bonds.

Paul T. Keyser of Mount Kisko, NY is a contributor and member of the ANS since 1987. He studied physics and classics at St. Andrew’s School, Duke University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He spent time researching at the Center for Hellenic Studies, and has also taught classics. His publications include work on gravitational physics, and on science in the ancient world. He is currently crafting Java for IBM’s Watson Research Center, in Hawthorne, NY.

Robert Knapp of Oakland, CA is a Professor of Classics at the University of Berkeley, where he is chair of the Classics Department. His areas of interests are Roman history, epigraphy and numismatics. His publication of the excavation coins of Nemea is expected this year. He has been an ANS member since 1995.

Stanley De Forest Scott of New York City is a real estate developer. Much of his business is in downtown Manhattan. His collecting interests are in the areas of US Medals and Greek coins. A member since 1993, he is a contributor to the ANS and a member of the Silver Circle.

Roger Siboni of San Francisco, CA is the CEO of Epiphany.com. Previously he was Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of KPMG Peat Marwick LLP. He is a graduate of the University California at Berkeley. He has served on many boards, including several not-for-profits in New York City. He became a member in 1995 and is currently a Bronze Circle member. He has been funding annual expenses of CNL and has contributed to other projects on US coins.

David Vagi, a contributor to the ANS, has been a member since 1995. He is a specialist in ancient Greek and Roman coins. Mr. Vagi became a staff writer for Coin World newspaper. He worked as vice president of Spink America, NY and at Superior Galleries in Beverly Hills, CA.

In 1996 Vagi founded his own company, Delphi International Ancient Art. He has published extensively and has written numerous scripts for the NPR program Moneytalks. Mr. Vagi has received several awards for his writing and is building an ancient coin department at R.M. Smythe & Co., NYC.