At its meeting on March 6, 2004, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to award the 2003 Archer M. Huntington Medal Award to the Islamic scholar Stephen Album.
Stephen 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 BA in Mathematics (1963) and a MA 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 andTokens & Medals of the American Revolution Bicentennial (with Duane H. Feisel).