News (Summer 2005)

Olga Less Joins Curatorial Staff

Olga Less joined the curatorial staff full time in June as the Margaret Thompson Curatorial Assistant. Olga has an MA in the history of decorative arts and design with a European baroque specialty from the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum and Parsons School of Design joint program. In addition to her training in art history, Olga also did work in German literature and linguistics at Moscow State University before coming to the US where she received her BA in German area studies and art history from Cornell. No stranger to museum work or numismatics, Olga’s previous position was at the New York Historical Society, where she had received a grant to catalogue their collection of nearly 2000 medals.


Olga Less

Alex Caamaño Joins Library Staff

Alex Caamaño, who began his employment as the Library’s new Cataloger on May 9th, comes to the Society with varied experience in academic settings and a firm grasp of cataloging standards and procedures. Alex has worked as a cataloger at the Brooklyn Museum of Art where he was responsible for adaptive and copy-cataloging of artist monographs, exhibition catalogues, and reference materials. While employed as cataloger at Rutgers University Special Collections and Archives, he performed original, adaptive, and copy cataloging of primary sources, rare books, academic theses, and literature in Spanish, French, and Italian languages. He has also served as cataloger at CUNY’S Office of Library Services, where he processed general library holdings and searched the national bibliographic utility (OCLC) for MARC records and authority headings. Most recently, he was with the Department of Technical & Electronic Services at Touro College, where he served as Reference Librarian and was responsible for general maintenance of the library catalog. At Touro, he cataloged using LC and NLM classification and offered MARC format and OCLC training to library employees. Alex received a BA from Rutgers University and an MA from New York University in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on post-1950 American literature and Visual Arts. After working at the Fales Library at NYU, he developed an interest in Special Collections and went on to complete an MLIS degree at Rutgers University.


Alex Caamaño

Gabriela Bijovsky Helping with Sofaer Collection

In late April, Gabriela Bijovsky of the Israel Antiquities Authority arrived at the ANS to assist with the publication of the Abraham Sofaer collection of coins from the Holy Land. This two-volume book, which will be published by the ANS in the near future, was left unfinished by its author, Ya’akov Meshorer, at his untimely death this last year. During her three-month stay, Gabriela and ANS editor Muserref Yetim are working closely together to insure that this posthumous publication will be a fitting tribute to Israel’s foremost numismatist, and will become a standard reference for years to come.


Gabriela Bijovsky

The 52nd Summer Seminar

On June 6, the Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar commenced, the 52nd annual Summer Seminar the ANS has hosted. This year we received a record number of exceptional applications, which made deciding which six candidates to take quite difficult. This year’s students are: Dr. Sarah Bolmarcich of the University of Virginia; Evangelia Georgiou of the University of Ioannina in Greece; Robert Haug of the University of Michigan; Lisa Mignone of Columbia University; Matthew Notarian of SUNY Buffalo; and Christina Triantafillou of Tufts University. Our Visiting Scholar is Dr. Koray Konuk, a specialist in early Greek coinage, who holds a position at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Bordeaux, France.

This summer, many of the Seminar’s introductory lectures and talks are open to the membership; you can find the schedule on the front page of our website: www.numismatics.org. We hope that those of you in New York City or visiting will take advantage of the opportunity to sit in on these free sessions and perhaps learn something new from our esteemed visiting lecturers and curators. If you plan to attend one of the sessions please register with membership director Juliette Pelletier as space is limited. Juliette can be reached at (212) 571-4470 ext. 1311 or pelletier@numismatics.org. We hope to see you there!


The 52nd Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar. From left to right: Michael Bates, Francis Campbell, Rick Witschonke, Sebastian Heath, Sarah Bolmarcich, Peter van Alfen, Christina Triantafillou, Robert Haug, Koray Konuk, Matthew Notarian, Evangelia Georgiou, Robert Hoge, Elena Stolyarik, and Lisa Mignone.

The 2006 Annual ANS Dinner Gala and Auction

Plans are proceeding for the annual ANS Gala, to be held in conjunction with the New York International Coin Convention on Thursday, January 12, at the Sky Club on the 56th floor of the Met Life Building, 200 Park Avenue (just a short walk from the Waldorf). The Sky Club is a beautiful venue, with panoramic views of the city. We will have cocktails beginning at 6 pm, followed by a delicious sitdown dinner, and then dancing with the Lester Lanin Orchestra until midnight. This will be a perfect opportunity to catch your breath between the frenzy of the auctions and the grueling days on the bourse floor to follow. So grab your special lady (or gentleman), and spend an evening rubbing shoulders with all of those other collectors, dealers, and ANS Curators that you never take time to really get to know. Prices will be the same as last year ($250/seat, $2500-$10,000 for a table of 10), with all proceeds going to support the ANS. But, due to space limitations, the event will probably sell out, so get your reservation in to Juliette Pelletier (212) 571-4470 ext. 1311 or pelletier@numismatics.org.

In addition this year, we will have a separate Auction of numismatic books, manuscripts, and memoribilia to benefit the Frank Campbell Librarian Chair. The Auction will also be held at the Sky Club, beginning at 5pm. You can participate in the Auction without attending the dinner, but we need you to let us know you are coming for security reasons. George Kolbe will prepare a printed catalogue fot the sale and Herb Kreindler will call the sale. We have started to get some interesting donations for the sale, but need more. If you have anything to donate (approx. $400 or more in value), please contact event Chair Rick Witschonke (witschonke@numismatics.org). We look forward to seeing you at the event.

ANS Building on Audubon Terrace Sold

On March 11, 2005, the American Numismatic Society closed on a contract to sell its building on Audubon Terrace to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan and the President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Philip Pearlstein, signed the papers in the offices of ANS attorney Robert Kandel of Kaye Scholer in New York City. The ANS Trustees unanimously approved the sale at a special meeting in April. After advertising the building in the fall of 2004 the ANS received many enquiries and subsequent offers.


Philip Pearlstein, President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director, with a copy of an architectural drawing of the original ANS Building on Audubon Terrace.

Robert Kandel, ANS Trustee, and Ute Wartenberg Kagan

The successful bidder was the long-time neighbor of the ANS, the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Founded in 1904, the Academy is an organization composed of two hundred fifty writers, composers, painters, sculptors, and architects. Members are elected for life and pay no dues. As vacancies occur, the Academicians nominate and elect new members. The Academy fosters and sustains interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by identifying and encouraging individual artists. The primary way this is done is through awards and prizes, but the program also includes exhibitions of art and manuscripts, staged readings and performances of new works, the purchase of works of art and their distribution to museums. Some of the early members were ANS members Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Adolph A. Weinman. Nowadays Academicians include many famous writers, architects, composers and others figures in the art world in the United States.

“We are delighted that our old friends on the Terrace, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, purchased our building. It will be in excellent hands,” said ANS President Partrick. The Academy is planning to use the building for its continuously expanding collections of art work and books as well as for various public functions.

Chris Owens Leaves ANS

Long-time staff member Chris Owens left the ANS to work for the American Academy of Arts and Letters as supervisor of the former ANS building. Chris Owens followed the family tradition of working for the ANS, where previously his father and his uncle worked as superintendents of the ANS building on Audubon Terrace.