Wealth and Warfare: The Archaeology of Money in Ancient Syria

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(Numismatic Studies 34)

by Frédérique Duyrat

List price: $200 plus shipping & handling
Member price: $140 plus shipping & handling
ISSN 0517-404-x
ISBN 978-0-89722-346-1
Hardcover, 600 text pages with tables, b/w figures

This volume is the first comprehensive look at Syrian coin hoards and excavation finds. It contains full catalogues of every coin hoard and a selection of published excavation finds from the area covered by modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories through 2010. Duyrat explores the definitions of “hoard” and “treasure”, examines the circulation of currency in the ancient Levant, and considers how excavation coins as well as the phenomenon of coin hoard discoveries are affected by political choices and warfare in modern states in conflict. The book focusses on the monetary effects of the military upheavals of the Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods but also on what coins can tell us of the form and distribution of private wealth in ancient Syrian society. It offers a bold new methodology for the examination of the monetary history of an entire region. This is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in the origin of coin hoards in Syria, how war effects the archaeological record, and how to reconstitute the history of ancient societies through the lens of numismatics.

Frédérique Duyrat is director of the Department of Coins, Medals, and Antiques of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and is associated with the research team Orient et Méditerranée—Mondes sémitiques (University of Paris–Sorbonne) and the Ecole doctorale Archéologie of the University of Paris I–Panthéon Sorbonne. Prior to this she spent two years as a researcher at the Institut français d’archéologie du Proche-Orient in Damascus, eight years as assistant professor of Greek history at the University of Orléans, and three years as Curator of Greek coins at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. She is editor of Trésors Monétaires, a director of the Revue Numismatique, and a member of the board of the Société française de numismatique. She has written and edited more than 50 books and articles on the coinage, history, and archaeology of ancient Syria and Phoenicia.

Irritamenta: Numismatic Treasures of a Renaissance Collector

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(Numismatic Studies 31)

by John Cunnally

List price: $200 plus shipping & handling
Member price: $140 plus shipping & handling
ISSN 0517-404-x
ISBN 978-0-89722-342-3
Hardcover, slipcased 2-vol. set, 414 text pages with b/w figures, 330 color plates

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Handsomely bound in red leather, MS Typ 411 is one of thousands of rare editions, manuscripts, and documents in the Houghton Library’s Printing and Graphic Arts section at Harvard University. Resembling an old fashioned family Bible at 10 × 8 inches and some 300 pages, when opened this book reveals no text but a series of fine pen-and-ink drawings, 1,220 illustrations of ancient coins. These are the records of a coin collection owned by Andrea Loredan, a Venetian patrician well known in the 1550s and ‘60s as a passionate connoisseur of antiquities. Silver tetradrachms of Athens and Alexander the Great, aurei of Philip and Augustus, denarii of Caesar and his assassins, large Imperial sestertii of Nero and Hadrian, the numismatic images were intended to delight the eye, stir the curiosity, and enflame the acquisitive instincts of prospective buyers, at a time when the cash-strapped patrician was seeking to liquidate the ancient treasures of his private museum. The volume was, in essence, a sales catalogue, a species of book not often sought out and admired for artistic or literary merit. Yet Loredan and his unknown draftsman, unaware of how they were benefiting future scholars, produced a graphic masterpiece of elegance and charm, a document of the highest importance for the study of Renaissance antiquarianism, humanism, and archaeology.

The author first encountered MS Typ 411 while working on his survey of Renaissance numismatic literature, Images of the Illustrious: the manuscript is mentioned in a footnote by Ruth Mortimer in one of her catalogues of 16th century printed books at the Harvard Library. The drawings at that time were attributed to the Mantuan goldsmith and antiquary Jacopo Strada (ca. 1515–1588), one of the numismatic authors in whose career Cunnally was interested, and a prolific producer of albums depicting ancient coins. Cunnally’s initial reaction on first examining MS Typ 411 in person was to doubt not only the attribution to Strada, but the 16th century date itself. Surely these careful drawings, so attentive to nuances of inscription and detail such as mint-marks and magistrates’ initials, were the product of a much later, more sophisticated period of numismatic research, no earlier than the time of Eckhel and Mionnet in the late 18th or early 19th century. Particularly modern was the draftsman’s practice of varying the size of the coin drawings to replicate the actual dimensions of the pieces, which vary from tiny fractional silver to large bronze medallions. The usual routine in 16th century numismatic books was to show the coins as uniform in size, sometimes accompanied by a Greek letter keyed to a scale of concentric or nested circles printed at the front or back of the book. But the physical evidence of the watermarks and binding, as well as contemporary documents reporting the contents of Loredan’s collection and his creation of an album of drawings to help him sell it, quickly dispelled any skepticism, and we can safely assign the origin of the manuscript to Venice, and its date to around 1560.

With this date and locale established, the significance of MS Typ 411 for students of Renaissance antiquarianism cannot be overstated. While written descriptions and even partial catalogues of some Renaissance coin collections have come down to us—for example, the Greek and Roman silver of Cardinal Pietro Barbo, the future Pope Paul II, inventoried in 1457, and the 800 gold coins owned by Duke Ercole II of Ferrara, recorded by his courtier Celio Calcagnini around 1540—the Houghton manuscript is unique in offering an album of pictures of a complete Renaissance collection. And whereas the written catalogues are often informative enough to allow us to identify the type of coin described in the text, in the Loredan manuscript the abundance of detail permits a modern numismatist to pinpoint an item more precisely to a particular issue, and sometimes to a particular die, based on subsidiary symbols and variations of the portrait that are overlooked in written descriptions. In a few cases, such as that of Loredan’s tetradrachm of the First Region of Macedon bearing monograms of two magistrates, or a bronze of Bostra showing the head of Elagabalus, the unique markings or surviving letters displayed in the drawing can be matched with a high degree of probability to only a single coin existing in a modern collection. The importance of this information for numismatists interested in the provenance of the objects they study, and intrigued by evidence of rare coins known to earlier collectors but no longer extant, is obvious.

For art historians such as Cunnally who specialize in tracing the survival and revival of antiquity during the Renaissance, continually asking the “Watergate” questions—what did they know and when did they know it?—the Loredan manuscript is a precious witness to the abundance and variety of ancient numismatic material available to the artists, as well as their patrons and public, during that period. Art historians searching for the antique sources available to Titian, Palladio, Sansovino, and other Venetian masters of the Cinquecento should find the drawings of MS Typ 411 particularly interesting.

John Cunnally is an associate professor of Art and Visual Culture specializing in Renaissance art history at Iowa State University.

Reviewed in Coins Weekly (March 2, 2017)

Limited-Edition Levick Plate

LevickPlateImage1ANS member James A. Neiswinter has recreated the plate from Joseph N.T. Levick’s 1869 article, “Types and Varieties of the U.S. Cent, 1793” (see page 69 of ANS Magazine, Volume 7 Number 2). A limited edition (100) of these plates will be available through the ANS for $100. The plate reproductions are in color, mounted on ivory paper, and feature all twenty-two known 1793 varieties, issued in the same format as the original. They are numbered and will come with a key showing both Sheldon and Breen numbers, as well as rarity ratings.

Price: $100

Membership Medal

The ANS Member’s Medal has been a feature of our Society since 1875. Early Member’s Medals were designed by George H. Lovett, Victor D. Brenner and Gutzon Borglum. The current medal is the 1977 creation of sculptor Frank Eliscu. The 2 1/2 inch bronze medal features a high relief owl on the obverse and the Society’s emblem of an oak leaf cluster on the reverse. The Member’s Medal is available to ANS members only.

Price: $50 BRONZE (ANS members only)

ANS Endowment Medal

The design of this two-piece medal by Janos Kalmar of Budapest was selected from over 40 entries in an international competition. This 3 x 3 inch medal is the first ANS cast medal in over 70 years. It was produced at the C. A. Brown Foundry, Cranston, RI and has been given a custom patina by Hugo Greco of Danbury, CT. The medal is available for purchase in bronze. Silver medals were given to donors of $5000 or more in the Society’s 1988 Endowment campaign.

Price: $100 (no member discount)

Columbus Quincentennial Medal

This highly sculptural medal is the work of Magdalena Dobrucka of Warsaw, Poland. The design was selected in an international competition which elicited more than 100 designs from 16 countries. The medal has been struck by the J. Jenkins Sons Company of Baltimore, MD. Serially numbered medals are available in bronze with a special dark patina and in sterling silver.

Bronze Price: $60 plus shipping

Silver Price: $150 plus shipping

(no member discounts)


Medal Material




Donald Groves Medal

Donald Groves Medal

This medal commemorates the Society’s move from its former home at Audubon Terrace to downtown Manhattan. Designed by Eugene Daub, it was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company.

Available in bronze.
Regular price: $200.00
Members price: $175.00

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Wampum and the Origins of American Money

wampumby Marc Shell
(co-published with the University of Illinois Press)

List price: $75 plus shipping & handling
Member price: $52.50 plus shipping & handling
ISBN 978-0-252-03366-7 Hardcover, 138 pp., 101 b/w figs., 18 color pls.

Wampum has become a synonym for money, and it is widely assumed that it served the same purposes as money among the Native Algonquians even after coming into contact with European colonists’ money. But to equate wampum with money only matches one slippery term with another, as money itself was quite ill-defined in North America for decades during its colonization. Fledgling colonial currencies assimilated much more from Native American trading practices than they imposed on the locals, so much so that colonists regularly expressed fears of “becoming Indians” in their widespread use of paper money, a novel economic innovation adapted from wampum. In this stimulating and intriguing book, Marc Shell illuminates the context in which wampum was used by describing how money circulated in the colonial period and the early history of the United States.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marc Shell is Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature and professor of English at Harvard University.

Ordering questions? Email Emma Pratte, or call 212.571.4470 x117.