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Category: American Numismatic Society

PCGS Certifies ANS’ Unique 1793 Wreath Large Cent

 unique 1793 Wreath U.S. large cent variety (Sheldon NC-5, Crosby 10-F) - Photos courtesy of James NeiswinterThe unique 1793 Wreath U.S. large cent variety (Sheldon NC-5, Crosby 10-F) in the collection of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) has been authenticated and graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as PCGS AU-58. The coin has a distinguished pedigree dating back to 1881, but this was the first time it has been formally certified by a third-party grading service.

“PCGS experts examined this amazing coin and encapsulated it at the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention in Orlando, Florida, on dealer set-up day, January 7, 2009. It was truly awe-inspiring to see it in person,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

After certification by PCGS, the coin was placed on display at the FUN convention booth of early American copper specialists, Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman, alongside selected highlights from the large cent collection of Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., an ANS Trustee. It was the first time the coin has been publicly seen outside New York City since it was donated to ANS 63 years ago.

“The Trustees of the Society have loaned this coin to fellow Trustee Dan Holmes. We are very excited to have for the first time a display of a complete set of all large cent varieties. We hope many people see this exceptional display,” said Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, ANS Executive Director.

The Holmes Collection will be offered in a series of auctions by McCawley and Grellman through Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectibles in Beverly Hills, California, beginning September 6, 2009.

“Many of the most important pieces in the Holmes collection have been certified and graded by PCGS, and are labeled with the Holmes pedigree on each holder,” said Larry Goldberg.

The 1793 Wreath cent with the vine and bars edge was delivered by armored car service from ANS in New York City to Orlando on Wednesday, January 7, where Grellman took possession and brought it to Willis for certification and grading by PCGS. (more…)

Elizabeth Hahn Names as ANS Librarian

Elizabeth HahnThe American Numismatic Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Hahn to the Francis D. Campbell Librarianship. She took up the position on July 1, 2008. Ms Hahn comes to the position during an exciting time as the ANS is currently in the process of moving to its new location at One Hudson Square.

Ms. Hahn is a trained librarian and completed a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Long Island University. Her interest in specialized libraries compelled her to pursue a concentration in rare books and special collections as well as a certificate in archives, and she is particularly delighted about the extensive rare book collection at the Harry W. Bass Jr. Library at the ANS. When asked about her goals for the library, Elizabeth said that she is interested in updating the catalogs and databases in order to increase the efficiency of access to the collections. We live in a world where technology is constantly evolving and we need to keep up with those changes, she said. This is an excellent collection and it is important to convey the message to our members and the public of what resources we have and how they can be used.

Ms Hahn trained as an archaeologist and numismatist and has extensive library and museum employment experience. She holds a Master of Arts degree in maritime archaeology and history from the University of Bristol and a Master of Arts degree in classical art and archaeology from the University of Virginia. She is fluent in Italian and has a reading knowledge of German, French, ancient Greek and Latin. Elizabeth has worked on various excavations both on land and underwater in Sicily, Israel, and North America and spent a summer working at the Numismatic Museum in Athens, Greece. The ANS has played a fundamental role in my graduate studies, Elizabeth said, commenting on the research she conducted for a Masters thesis on the Greek coinage of Sicily and southern Italy. I have used the collections and resources in the past and I am thrilled to have the opportunity now to be a part of how those resources develop. (more…)

Huntington Collection to be sold by Hispanic Society of America

Spanish Coins Face Stealth Sale by Secret Museum, Frank Lorenzo Is Said to Change Hispanic Society of America

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, in NYC: News Analysis

Inside the Hispanic Society of America on W. 155 St., (c) M. Lee 2008NEW YORK, August 6 — Under a leaking ceiling on 155th Street in West Harlem, paintings by Goya and Velasquez hang in near obscurity in the Hispanic Society of America. Surrounded by the vacant shells left by museums which have decamped to lower Manhattan, and with controversial airline investor Frank Lorenzo now taking a leading role on the board of trustees, the Hispanic Society has taken to selling off the treasures collected by its founder, Archer Milton Huntington. Last year a 13th century Koran was sold in London.

On August 6, Sotheby’s began cataloguing for immanent auction a collection of 38,000 coins which Huntington lent to the American Numismatic Society. The HSA’s board of trustees have assumed unfettered discretion to under-promote, under-protect and ultimately sell off Huntington’s collection, in a process some analogize to Lorenzo’s treatment of airlines during his heyday.

“This is to cry,” a Spanish art lover sighed during a recent visit. It didn’t have to be this way — and the coin sale could still be stopped. Potential bidders should be aware of the history, particularly how the sale may run counter to not only the spirit but also the letter of Huntington’s intent.

Archer M. HuntingtonDespite Huntington’s transfer of the coins to the American Numismatic Society being described as a “permanent” loan, the HSA has fought and litigated to regain the coins, but only for the purpose of selling them, not for display. In early 2007, the HSA drafted a Loan Agreement which gave it the right to cancel Huntington’s transfer. In response to persistent questions from the New York correspondent of the Madrid newspaper La Razon, HSA management denied the intent to sell the coins. But in a contemporaneous series of court filings and letters to the New York State Attorney General viewed by Inner City Press, the HSA refers to its board of trustee’s January 23, 2008 resolution to “deaccession” the collection — museum terminology for selling off. Then Sotheby’s today began cataloguing the coins for sale.

During an August 6 visit to the American Numismatic Society’s new location at 75 Varrick Street, Inner City Press observed a team from Sotheby’s and a spin-off company specializing in coin sales, Morton & Eden, preparing to catalogue the coins, which number 38,000. A sworn affidavit by Sotheby’s David Redden spells out the auction house’s demands during the cataloguing process: a separate, carpeted room to which they will have their own key, Internet access and, strangely, the right to bring in their own food. Once catalogued, the coins will be sold the highest bidders. Pending a legislative proposal in New York State, A995A, which would limit the uses of “deaccession” profits, the Lorenzo-led Hispanic Society of America could put the proceeds to any use whatsoever. (more…)

A Treasure Travels, Inconspicuously – The ANS Collection Relocated


Coins being packed - Photo by Todd Heisler / NYTThey didn’t exactly hire two guys with a truck to secretly move one of the world’s largest and most valuable coin collections over the weekend in Manhattan. But they did use five standard-issue moving vans.

No armored-car convoys. No helicopter gunships. No National Guard outriders flourishing automatic weapons. Just sweaty movers, in blue shirts with their names stitched at the front, schlepping 425 plastic packing crates that were filled with treasures trussed in humble bubble wrap and garden-variety vinyl packing tape.

On Guard at Move - Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York TimesYes, the New York Police Department provided an escort, but during more than eight hours on Saturday, one of the great hoards of coins and currency on the planet, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was utterly unalarmed as it was bumped through potholes, squeezed by double-parked cars and slowed by tunnel-bound traffic during the trip to its fortresslike new vault a mile to the north. In the end, the move did not become a caper movie.

“The idea was to make this as inconspicuous as possible,” said Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of the American Numismatic Society. “It had to resemble a totally ordinary office move.”

Dr. Wartenberg Kagan observed the move  - Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York TimesThe collection of 800,000 coins, bank notes, medals, commemorative badges, pins, historic advertising tokens, campaign buttons and other artifacts has been amassed during the 150-year existence of the nonprofit society.

It was transported from the society’s high-security headquarters at 96 Fulton Street, in the former Fidelity and Deposit Company building at the corner of William Street, to its future home, a secure $4 million vault and exhibition space 22 blocks away, on the 11th floor of One Hudson Square, at Varick and Canal Streets.

Read Full New York Times Article Here