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Category: Museums and Exhibts

Dr. Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins on display at NYINC

Heritage Auctions has announced that we will be auctioning The Dr. Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins, the most important collection of its kind, from one of the most famous Asian numismatic experts to have lived. This collection will be featured in our September 2011 Long Beach Signature Auction.

The groups of coins from both nations individually represent possibly the most complete sets of Japanese and Korean coins and currency ever assembled, and most likely the most important numismatic offerings of both countries in the last half century.

Collectors will not have to wait 10 months to get a look at these amazing coins, however, as highlights will be on display at the New York International Numismatic Convention, at the Waldorf-Astoria, Jan. 6-9, 2011, in conjunction with our New York Signature World and Ancient Coin Auction. This appearance will be the beginning of a “world tour” for the coins, as they visit the Chicago International Coin Fair, April 13-16, 2011, heading to Tokyo in May and coming home for the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, Aug. 15-21, 2011.

“Collections such as Dr. Jacobs’ is what we live for here at Heritage,” said Cris Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “Handling the incredible Asian rarities that Dr. Jacobs dedicated his numismatic life to is a great honor to us. The World Coin department at Heritage, along with our entire company, will be working hard to produce a catalog and an auction that match the fantastic accomplishments of Dr. Jacobs in Korean and Japanese numismatics. The next 10 months are going to be a great ride.”

In 1953, Dr. Jacobs (along with Cornelius Vermeule) wrote the first English language book on Japanese numismatics that covered both ancient and modern coins. It was also the first publication (in any language) to catalog Japanese coins by date and type. That book opened up the world of Japanese (and modern Korean) coinage to western collectors.

The principle highlight of the auction comes from the Korean collection: a unique set of 1909 Korean gold in 5, 10 and 20 Won denominations — the only other set in existence is in the collection of the Bank of Japan.

“The vast majority of these coins, and the core of the collections, were purchased in the 1940s and 1950s,” said Bierrenbach, “during Dr. Jacobs’ time in Asia. He also added significantly to his collection when he worked with Robert Friedberg at Capital Coin of New York in the 1950s. So the vast majority of the ultra rarities have been in his collection for 50+ years.”

Cardinal Large Cent Collection To De Displayed Next Month At Whitman Coin Expo

The acclaimed Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation‘s large cents collection, the number one-ranked set of its kind in both the PGCS and NGC Set Registry listings, will be publicly displayed for the first time in the Baltimore-Washington area during the first two days of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo, November 4 and 5, 2010.

The exhibit, co-sponsored by Bowers and Merena Auctions (www.BowersAndMerena.com) and Collateral Finance Corporation (www.cfccoinloans.com), will be displayed at the Bowers and Merena booth, #1205, during the show.

“It is truly an amazing collection that includes some of the finest known examples of United States large cents struck from 1793 to 1857, said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena. “There are 77 large cents in the set, and many are the finest known for their respective date and type.”

This 1793 Chain Cent (S-2), graded PCGS MS65BN, is one of the highlights of the multi-million dollar Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation large cents collection that will be displayed August 10 – 13, 2010 by Bowers and Merena Auctions and Collateral Finance Corporation at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston.  (Photo by PCGS)

While supplies last, visitors to the exhibit can receive a free, 40-page illustrated booklet published by the foundation, “Portraits of Liberty,” that describes the history of U.S. large cents.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

  • 1793 Chain Cent (S-2) graded PCGS MS65BN that set a world’s record in 2005 as the most valuable U.S. cent at the time
  • 1793 Wreath Cent, PCGS MS69BN, the single highest-graded 18th century U.S. coin of any date of denomination
  • 1794 Liberty Cap “Head of 1793” Cent, PCGS MS64BN, described by Logies as “the single finest representative work of early Mint engraver, Joseph Wright”
  • 1803 Draped Bust Cent, PCGS MS66RB, acclaimed by the Early American Coppers society as tied for the finest known Draped Bust cent of any date or variety
  • the record-setting 1842 Braided Hair Cent from the Naftzger Collection, PCGS MS65RD, widely acknowledged as the finest existing “Petite Head” type
  • and another record-setting coin from the Naftzger Collection, an 1852 Braided Hair Cent, graded PCGS MS65RD, and acknowledged as the finest existing cent from its era.

“The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation is a non-profit educational organization that focuses on the study and publication of information about early coinage of the United States of America. With the valued assistance of Bowers and Merena and Collateral Finance Corporation, this will be the first opportunity for collectors to see these superb-quality, early American cents in person in the Washington-Baltimore area,” said Martin Logies, a director of the Sunnyvale, California-based foundation.

One of America’s leading rare coin auction houses, Bowers and Merena of Irvine, California holds three of the top seven world-record auction prices for U.S. coins. For additional information call (949) 253-0916 or visit online at www.BowersandMerena.com.

Collateral Finance Corporation of Santa Monica, California offers precious metals financing to dealers and collectors on a wide array of bullion and numismatics. For additional information, call (310) 587-1410 or visit www.CFCcoinloans.com.

The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo will be held in the Baltimore Convention Center, One Pratt Street, Baltimore. It will be open to the public on Thursday, November 4, from Noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, November 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, November 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Exhibitors Honored at Boston World’s Fair of Money

The American Numismatic Association presented 60 competitive exhibit awards at the 2010 World’s Fair of Money in Boston. Winners were announced at the Exhibit Awards Presentation and Reception on Aug. 14.

Forty-eight ANA members, showing 68 exhibits, competed in this year’s Collector Exhibits program. There also were 6 non-competitive exhibits.

Brett Irick received the Howland Wood Memorial Award for Best-in-Show for his exhibit, “Canadian Coins of 1947-1948.” The Radford Stearns Memorial Award for Excellence in Exhibiting, presented to the first and second runners-up, was awarded to John W. Jackson for “United States Interest-Bearing Proofs” and Simcha Laib Kuritzky for “The Jewish Lion,” respectively.

Richard Margolis won the Thos. H. Law Award for First-Time Exhibitors for “Benjamin Franklin: Early Medals and Medallions.” The Rodger E. Hershey Memorial People’s Choice Award, chosen by convention attendees, was given to Jeffrey Feuerman for “National Bank Notes of Massachusetts.” Feuerman’s exhibit also received the Ira & Larry Goldberg Award for Best Exhibit of Coins that Made History. Zachary Beier received the Derek Pobjoy Award for Best Exhibit of Modern Circulating Commemorative Coins for “Who Would Have Guessed? From a Log Cabin to the White House.”

The ANA presented competitive exhibit awards for Young Numismatists (YN) age 17 and under. The Charles H. Wolfe Sr. Memorial Award for YN Best-in-Show exhibit was presented to Benjamin Gastfriend for “Elongated Coins Featuring John F. Kennedy.”

Cindy Wibker received the Joseph E. Boling Award for Judging Excellence.

The following class exhibit awards were presented:

Class 1: United States Coins – Lelan G. Rogers Memorial

First Place – John M. Frost, “Rarities, Bargains and Neat Stuff”

Second Place – Carl B. Waltz Jr., “Matte Proof Lincoln Cents, 1909-1916”

Third Place – George B. Fitzgerald, “Rarest U. S. Silver Coin Issued for Circulation” (more…)

Money on Paper Exhibit at Firestone Library, Princeton University Opens August 30th

Bank Notes and Related Graphic Arts from the Collections of Vsevolod Onyshkevych and Princeton University – August 30, 2010, to January 2, 2011

Paper money as a form of art might seem the makings of a rather small exhibition, to judge from the modern bills of the United States and Europe. Bank notes, however, have constituted one of the dominant forms of visual communication for the past two centuries, and in many cases can be seen as works of art in their own right. Princeton University’s Numismatic Collection is featuring currency worth looking at in the exhibition “Money on Paper” on view in the August 30, 2010, through January 2, 2011.

New Jersey, 1 shilling, December 31, 1763.
Printed by James Parker, Woodbridge.

Because British colonial policies resulted in a dearth of circulating coins, the American colonies were the home of the earliest regular issues of paper money. Illustration was applied to colonial currency as an anti-counterfeiting device as well as for aesthetic purposes. Not surprisingly, the most inventive printer of paper money of the time was Benjamin Franklin, who devised a system of transferring the vein patterns of tree leaves to printing plates to foil counterfeiters. The Princeton exhibition includes a large selection of Franklin’s nature-print notes, as well as issues of Paul Revere and the South Carolina engraver Thomas Coram, who brought classical imagery to that colony’s bank notes.

One of the highlights of the exhibit will be the first public display of the recently discovered banknote engraving of a grouse by John James Audubon, the great wildlife illustrator’s first published work. On display with a sample sheet containing the vignette will be an original watercolor by Audubon, a steel printing plate from The Birds of America, and the Princeton first edition of the elephant folio book open to the page with Audubon’s drawing of the pinnated grouse.

Asher B. Durand, one of America’s greatest painters, was also a major figure in the development of bank note art in this country. Along with his brother Cyrus, who invented a highly decorative series of anti-counterfeiting devices, he developed a classical, patriotic approach to bank note design that dominated the medium for the first half of the nineteenth century.


Montgomery $1,000
Confederate States of America, $1,000, Montgomery, May 22, 1861.
Portraits of John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson
.

A section of the Princeton exhibit will explore the divergence of imagery on the bank notes of northern and southern issuers before and during the Civil War. Collectors of paper money will be especially interested by the complete set, in Extremely Fine condition, of six notes printed by the National Bank Note Company in New York and smuggled into the Confederacy in 1861 for distribution as notes of Montgomery, Alabama, and Richmond, Virginia. The American section of the exhibition ends with the high point of American bank note art, the Educational Series of 1896, designed and engraved by some of the most important illustrators of the day. (more…)

Gold Shipwreck Bar Valued at $550,00 Stolen from Mel Fisher Museum

One of the most iconic and best-known objects’ at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum was taken. The gold bar came from a 1622 shipwreck that Fisher discovered.

The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida holds the richest single collection of 17th-century maritime and shipwreck antiquities in the Western Hemisphere, including treasures and artifacts from the Atocha and Santa Margarita.

It was reported that two thieves entered a museum shortly after closing at 5PM and stole a 74.85-ounce, 11-inch (28-centimeter) gold bar which was inside a glass display case with a small opening where visitors could stick a hand inside and lift the bar to examine it.

Photo Credit: Miami Herald/Florida Keys News Bureau

Police and the FBI are working to identify the suspects who took the gold bar which had been on display for more than 20 years. Surveillance captures caught the faces of these two men, believed to be the suspects who walked off with the gold bar.

According to Alyson Crean, Key West Police spokeswoman, one suspect is described as a white male, about six feet tall with dark hair and a medium build. The second suspect is about five feet, six inches tall.

Anyone with information about these men should contact the Key West Police Department at (305) 809-1111.

The Gold bar has an estimated value of $550,000 and the Museums insurance company is offering a $10 thousand reward.

“Everybody who comes to the museum is encouraged to lift the gold bar and to have a firsthand experience with history,” said Melissa Kendrick, the museum’s executive director. “This is one of the most iconic and best-known objects in the museum.”

“The security systems worked because we knew the bar was stolen within 10 minutes, and we have usable video and photos for law enforcement,” Kendrick said. “The museum made a decision to designate this as a handling object, allowing people to touch the artifact, and this was part of the risk involved in granting public access.”

Official ANA World’s Fair Of Money Starts Today in Boston Featuring Amazing and Historically Significant Numismatic Exhibits

More than 1,100 of the nation’s best coin dealers with the best inventory of coins, paper money, medals, tokens and other numismatic items will gather in Boston August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center for the largest coin show in the world.

Sponsored by the nonprofit American Numismatic Association, the show will feature museum-quality exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution, the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum and private collectors. As many as 20 mints from around the world will give visitors an opportunity to collect coins from five continents, and a number of family activities and educational programs make this an attractive event for anyone with an interest in history and money.

The Bebee Collection of United States Paper Money. A spectacular and comprehensive view of United States paper money. The 904 notes in the complete collection include a remarkable series of high-grade large-size national bank notes from virtually every state and territory. A wide range of the premier specimens will be on display in Boston.

The 1874 Bickford $10 Patterns:From the Collection of Bob R. Simpson. This exhibit features a complete set of 1874 Bickford patterns struck at the Philadelphia Mint as part of a proposed plan for an international coinage. The exhibit includes seven Bickford patterns comprising Simpson’s signature set, as well as two duplicates to allow for side-by-side viewing of obverse and reverse.

The Smithsonian Institution’s “Good as Gold: exhibit America’s Double Eagles” The exhibit tells the story of the $20 gold coin, the largest gold coin to circulate in the United States. Rarities on display include 20 coins from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection, including the first (1849 pattern) and last (1933) double eagles ever produced as well as a 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief pattern that President Theodore Roosevelt gave his daughter Ethel as a Christmas gift in 1907.

The Ship of Gold exhibit displaying Gold Rush-era sunken treasure from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America will be in Boston courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins. Highlights include a Kellogg & Humbert ingot – the largest surviving gold ingot of the California Gold Rush, 13 octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the U. S. Assay Office of San Francisco and remains of a wooden cargo box still containing approximately 110 double eagles.

Mexico, 1810 & 1910: Coins of the War of Independence & the Mexican Revolution An exhibit that celebrates the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican War for Independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. This marks the first time since the early 1970s that any part of Banco de México’s extensive historical collection has been displayed in the United States.

Coin Rarities, Paul Revere Silver & Rare Broadside of the Declaration of Independence. From the collection of Brian Hendelson, the first-ever display of a 1861 Philadelphia Mint Paquet reverse gold double eagle and 1921 Proof Roman Finish Saint-Gaudens double eagle. Each coin is one of two known specimens, and each is the finer-known specimen. The Paquet $20 was once owned by Egypt’s King Farouk and Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, while the 1921 proof was not known to exist until 2006. (more…)

Cardinal Collection of US Large Cents On Display in Boston

Bowers and Merena Sponsor display of this Multi-Million dollar collection ranked the Finest Registry Set

The number one-ranked collection of United States large cents in both the PGCS and NGC Set Registry listings will be publicly displayed for the first time in Boston, August 10 – 13, 2010, at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. The historic coins from the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation include some of the finest known examples of large cents struck from 1793 to 1857.

The foundation’s exhibit is co-sponsored by Bowers and Merena Auctions (www.BowersAndMerena.com) and Collateral Finance Corporation (www.cfccoinloans.com), and will be displayed at the Bowers and Merena booth, #1017, during the five-day show.

“This is a truly amazing collection, valued at millions of dollars. There are 77 large cents and each is among the very finest known for its respective date and type. Many of them are simply the finest known, period,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena.

This 1793 Chain Cent (S-2), graded PCGS MS65BN, is one of the highlights of the multi-million dollar Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation large cents collection that will be displayed August 10 – 13, 2010 by Bowers and Merena Auctions and Collateral Finance Corporation at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston.  (Photo by PCGS)

While supplies last, visitors to the exhibit can receive a free, 40-page illustrated booklet published by the foundation, “Portraits of Liberty,” that describes the history of U.S. large cents.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

1793 Chain Cent (S-2) graded PCGS MS65BN that set a world’s record in 2005 as the most valuable U.S. cent;

1793 Wreath Cent, PCGS MS69BN, the single highest-graded 18th century U.S. coin of any date of denomination;

1794 Liberty Cap “Head of 1793” Cent, PCGS MS64BN, described by Logies as “the single finest representative work of early Mint engraver, Joseph Wright;”

1803 Draped Bust Cent, PCGS MS66RB, acclaimed by the Early American Coppers society as tied for the finest known Draped Bust cent of any date or variety;

the record-setting 1842 Braided Hair Cent from the Naftzger Collection, PCGS MS65RD, widely acknowledged as the finest existing “Petite Head” type;

and another record-setting coin from the Naftzger Collection, an 1852 Braided Hair Cent, graded PCGS MS65RD, and acknowledged as the finest existing cent from its era.

“The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation is a non-profit educational organization that focuses on the study and publication of information about early coinage of the United States of America. The foundation is delighted at the opportunity for thousands of people to see these superb-quality, early American cents in person in Boston with the valued assistance of Bowers and Merena and Collateral Finance Corporation,” said Martin Logies, a director of the Sunnyvale, California-based foundation. (more…)

SS Central America Shipwreck “Ship of Gold” Exhibit Comes to ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston

Exhibit Includes Treasures from 1857 SS Central America Shipwreck

The incredible “Ship of Gold” exhibit, showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America, will make port in Boston at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center. The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach, Calif.

The SS Central America was recovered in 1988 from nearly 8,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857 while carrying California gold from Panama to New York City.

“There will be examples of historic assayers’ ingots as well as San Francisco Mint and California territorial gold coins with a combined value of over $10 million,” said Adam Crum, vice president of Monaco. “One of the highlights is a huge Kellogg & Humbert ingot. Weighing just over 55 troy pounds, it is the largest surviving gold ingot of the California Gold Rush.”

The exhibit also includes one of the 13 recovered octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the United States Assay Office of San Francisco, and the remains of a wooden cargo box that still contains approximately 110 Double Eagles as they were found on the ocean floor. Many appear to be 1857-S $20 gold pieces, apparently freshly struck at the San Francisco Mint when they were placed in the container for shipping.

Visitors will see the front pages of three 1857 newspapers that published stories about the shipwreck, the ordeal of survivors and the devastating economic effects created by the loss of the gold. Robert Evans, the chief scientist on the 1980s mission by the Columbus-America Discovery Group that located and recovered the magnificent sunken treasure, will be in Boston to meet visitors and discuss the SS Central America, her cargo, crew and passengers.

The Ship of Gold display was first publicly presented in February 2000. Over the years it has been seen by more than one million people in exhibitions at several venues and cities across the country.

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[Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins Gives a  Tour of the Exhibit – Originally Filmed on Long Beach
Video Courtesy of CoinTelevision.com]

The ANA World’s Fair of Money is the nation’s premiere money show. Show hours are 1-5:30 p.m. August 10, and 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. August 11-14. Dealer set-up is from 8 a.m.-
1 p.m. Tuesday, August 10. Admission is $6 for adults, and free for ANA members and children 12 and under. For more information on all of the show highlights, call 719-482-9857 or visit www.worldsfairofmoney.com.

Simpson Collection of Bickford $10 Pattern Coins to be displayed at Boston ANA

A complete set of 1874 Bickford $10 Pattern coins will be exhibited at the American Numismatic Associations Boston Money Show August 11-14th. 

The set is part of perhaps the most complete collection of US pattern coins ever assembled and include all seven of the  variations attributed according to Judd numbers (US Pattern Coins, Experimental & Trial Pieces by J. Hewitt Judd, Edited by Q. David Bowers), include Judd-1373, one of just two known examples struck in gold.

Texan Bob Simpson is the ultimate numismatic connoisseur, desiring only those coins that meet his exacting standards. He knows what he wants, and nothing less will do. Facilitating his efforts is his longtime numismatic consultant, Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics. The old saying, “Know your coins or know your dealer” is particularly apt, as Mr. Simpson knows both, and this relationship has paid off with an epic collection of coins that compares favorably with the great named collections of the past.

Mr. Simpson’s premier passion is United States pattern and trial coins, and his collection of these is unparalleled. Comprising most of the entries found in Dr. J. Hewitt Judd’s standard reference work, United States Pattern Coins, now in its 10th edition, the Simpson Collection is the greatest assemblage of such coins since Judd’s own collection was dispersed some 50 years ago.

The coins in the collection include the following:

The Bickford pattern ten dollar gold pieces, Judd-1373, were not known to numismatists of the 19th century. The design was struck in copper, aluminum, and nickel compositions, as well as gold, with both plain and reeded edges. Examples of the design in copper appeared in various auction catalogs of the period, but even the greatest pattern collections of the era did not include an example of Judd-1373. Robert Coulton Davis published the first important work on U.S. pattern coins in the Coin Collector’s Journal in 1885, where he described both plain and reeded edge varieties of the design in copper, but he was unaware of the strikings in other metals. (more…)

Exceptional Early Copper Coin Collection Exhibit To Highlight Long Beach Expo

The Cardinal Type Collection of Early Copper, a multi-million dollar display of over two dozen high-grade early American copper pieces including items from an all-time finest PCGS Set Registry collection, will be exhibited at the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, June 3 – 5, 2010. The show will be held in the Long Beach, California Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave.

1793 S-2 cent, PCGS MS65BN, Cardinal Collection:  This 1793 Chain "AMERICA" (Sheldon-2 variety) large cent, graded PCGS MS65BN, is one of the highlights of the Cardinal Collection of Early Copper that will be displayed at the Long Beach Expo, June 3 - 5, 2010. “This special exhibit is a superb collection of historic and rare private coinage from 1787 to 1792 and early items from the Philadelphia Mint from 1793 up to 1852. The collection was assembled by Martin Logies and will be exhibited courtesy of Bowers & Merena Auctions,” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman.

Highlights of the exhibit include the following coins that were part of the 2009 PCGS Best of Registry winner for Large Cents Basic Set:

1793 Chain AMERICA S-2 variety formerly in the Beckwith, Collins and Naftzger Collections and graded PCGS MS65BN;

1793 Wreath, Vine and Bars Edge formerly in the Naftzger Collection, PCGS MS69BN;

1794 Head of 1793 formerly in the Garrett Collection, PCGS MS64 BN;

and 1803 No Stems S-243, PCGS MS66RB, formerly in the Helfenstein and Naftzger Collections.

1794 Head of 1793 cent, PCGS MS64 BN, Cardinal Collection:  Formerly in the famous Garrett Collection, this 1794 "Head of 1793" variety large cent graded PCGS MS64BN is one of the highlights of the Cardinal Collection of Early Copper that will be displayed at the Long Beach Expo, June 3 - 5, 2010.During the three-day Long Beach Expo more than 1,000 dealers will be buying and selling rare coins, paper money, stamps, postcards, historic documents, antiques, estate jewelry and other collectibles. Some dealers will provide free, informal appraisals for visitors.

A free gold coin door prize will be awarded each day to a lucky, registered visitor, and a children’s treasure hunt will be held on Saturday, June 5. A half dozen educational programs and collectors’ clubs meetings will be conducted during the show and will be open to the public.

Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas (www.HA.com), the world’s largest collectibles auction house and the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Expo, will hold a public auction of U.S. coins in conjunction with the show.

(more…)

Adam Crum and the Ship of Gold Exhibit from the Long Beach Coin Expo – Video News

A decade after its first appearance, the precedent-setting “Ship of Gold” display showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America was again docked in Long Beach, California.

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The $10 million exhibit was publicly displayed during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo in February, marking its 10th anniversary.

“The ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit is out of dry dock” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman. “The eye-opening display on the convention center floor is housed in a specially-constructed 40-foot long representation of the famous ship’s hull. This will be the first public appearance of the ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit anywhere in the country in six years.”

The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach and involved months of work to coordinate the display with collectors who privately own and now have generously loaned many of the items for the exhibit, according to Adam Crum, Monaco Vice President.
(more…)

Possibly Unique “Ides Of March” Gold Coin to be Displayed at British Museum

A possibly unique gold coin celebrating the assassination of Julius Caesar will go on display at the British Museum today – the Ides of March, marking the 2,054th anniversary of his death.

The coin was struck in honour of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. The reverse shows the cap of liberty given to freed slaves flanked by two daggers. This indicates Brutus’ intention of freeing Rome from Caesar’s imperial ambitions and the murder weapons employed to do so. Below the daggers is the day of the deed; EID.MAR, the ides of March.

Few coins capture a moment in history with such stark and brutal imagery. Brutus had carried out the attack with some fellow Roman Senators in 44 BC when Caesar had come unarmed to address the Senate on 15 March. This day was known to the Romans as the ides, or the middle day of the month and was recognised on a new calendar system that Caesar himself had established just two years before.

The assassins, or ‘freedom party’ as they regarded themselves, fled Rome to Macedonia to raise an army. However, they were defeated by Caesar’s allies led by Mark Antony and Octavian at the Battle of Philippi (42 BC). Brutus subsequently committed suicide.

The decision to flee east was probably influenced by the richness of the provinces of the eastern Roman Empire – raising an army was a very costly business. Supplies needed to be bought and soldiers needed wages. Amongst the coins the conspirators briefly struck to this end was this one.

Although numerous surviving examples of the silver version are known, including several in the British Museum’s coins and medals collection, there were only believed to be two in gold.

Curiously, King George III (reigned 1760-1820) owned one of the two gold examples as part of his large chronological sequence of coins and medals followed a system common among eighteenth-century collectors to arrange their ancient Roman coin collections. Experts now believe that this coin is a fake.

The present example on display was offered for sale to the British Museum in 1932 but they couldn’t afford to buy it. Sold privately to a number of collectors , its present owner (anonymous) has loaned the coin to the museum, and it will be displayed publicly for the first time.

Princeton University Acquires Armenian Ancient and Medieval Heritage Coin Collection

The Princeton University Numismatic Collection has acquired the Armenian Heritage Collection of ancient and medieval coins, adding a new strength to the University’s extensive numismatic research holdings.

The Armenian Heritage Collection was assembled to represent the various periods in the pre-modern age when Armenia produced its own coinage or made substantial contributions to the coinage of other powers, according to Princeton Curator of Numismatics Alan Stahl.

Stahl said the acquisition will provide scholars with access to significant materials to study early Armenian civilization, as well as provide new opportunities at Princeton to research ancient and medieval societies.

The earliest coins in the collection are those of the Artaxiad dynasty, which became the largest political power east of Rome in the first century B.C. The coins of most relevance to Princeton’s existing holdings are those minted in the reign of Tigranes the Great, who ruled from the Seleucid capital of Antioch-on-the-Orontes from 95 to 55 B.C.

“The coins of Tigranes from Antioch hold special interest for Princeton because University scholars led the excavations of the site in the 20th century and the University holds more than 30,000 coins found there in our collection,” Stahl said. “One of the great mysteries of the coins from these excavations is the lack of any in the name of Tigranes and the dearth of local municipal coins for the period of his reign.”

“The collection includes coins of three distinct periods, all of interest to the academic concerns of the University,” Stahl said.

Included in the collection are two large silver pieces of Tigranes the Great and 19 bronze coins in his name, as well as examples of rare coins featuring his successors. All of these coins follow the models of the Hellenistic world, with the portrait of the ruler on the front of the coin and a local deity on the back. The writing on the coins is in Greek.
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Historic SS Central America “Ship of Gold” Exhibit Returns to Long Beach Expo Coin Show

ship_of_gold_exhibitA decade after its first appearance, the precedent-setting “Ship of Gold” display showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America again will dock in Long Beach, California.

The $10 million exhibit will be publicly displayed during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo in the Long Beach Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave., February 4 – 6, 2010.

The three-day show also will feature an exhibit of the all-time finest set of early U.S. half dollars in the PCGS Set RegistrySM.

“The ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit is coming out of dry dock and returning to its first port of call, the Long Beach Expo,” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman. “The eye-opening display on the convention center floor is housed in a specially-constructed 40-foot long representation of the famous ship’s hull. This will be the first public appearance of the ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit anywhere in the country in six years.”

ss_central_america_coin_block

The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach and involved months of work to coordinate the display with collectors who privately own and now have generously loaned many of the items for the exhibit, according to Adam Crum, Monaco Vice President.

“The ‘cargo’ on display will be examples of historic assayers’ ingots as well as San Francisco Mint and California territorial gold coins with a combined value today of over $10 million. One of the highlights is a huge, 662.28 ounce Kellogg & Humbert ingot. Weighing just over 55 troy pounds, it is the fourth largest gold bar recovered from nearly 8,000 feet blow the surface of the Atlantic Ocean where the Central America sank in a hurricane in September 1857 while carrying California gold from Panama to New York City,” said Crum.

There also will be one of the 13 recovered octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the United States Assay Office of San Francisco, and the remains of a wooden cargo box that still contains approximately 110 Double Eagles as they were found on the ocean floor. Many appear to be 1857-S $20 gold pieces, apparently freshly struck at the San Francisco Mint when they were placed in the container for shipping. (more…)

Princeton University Numismatic Collection Acquires 7th Century “Jesus” Coin

From The Times of Trenton, NJ

It’s not the kind of coin you’d want to plunk into a soda machine, nor is it the kind you’d find while digging around under your couch cushions.

pinceton_jesus_coinIt’s a Byzantine gold coin from the seventh century with an image of Jesus Christ on its face, issued by Emperor Justinian II. It’s the first known coin to have a Christ image, and it now has a new home in the Princeton University Numismatic Collection.

It’s a high quality specimen that Alan Stahl, the university’s curator of numismatics, said he had been seeking for several years, only to be outbid at auction again and again.

“Finally, a dealer with whom I’d placed a bid a couple of times found one in a private collection and offered it to us at a reasonable price.” The coin has been dated to the year 692.

According to Stahl, the Princeton University’s numismatic collection contains about 100,000 items and is reputed to be the oldest institutional collection in the country.

He said the gold coin was a specimen valuable not only in terms of the coinage of the eastern Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, but in the history of all coinage.

“The most important thing is that it’s the first time the image of Christ is used as the main image on the coin,” Alan Stahl – Curator of Numismatics

Until this time, most coins had only featured portraits of the period’s ruling emperor. In this case, Justinian II was cast on the reverse of the coin.

And while this may seem like a benign bit of imagery to us today, it sent shock waves across the region in its time.

“This was considered really shocking in its time, and it got reactions all over,” he said.

To read the complete article, see: Princeton acquires coin with an image of Jesus from the 7th century (www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-18/1259909134180700.xml&coll=5)

ANA Debuts Online Gallery of the Bebee Collection of Paper Money

The American Numismatic Association Bebee Collection of paper money, one of the finest collections of United States paper money ever assembled, is available to view in an exciting new online image gallery. The collection, consisting of more than 800 notes, was donated to the ANA by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee in 1988.

ana_bebee_collectionTo view the Bebee Collection online gallery, go to www.money.org (select “Visit the Money Museum,” then select “The ANA Bebee Collection of U.S. Paper Money/View the Collection”) or go to www.ana-museum.org. Additional educational information, including introductions explaining the cross-referenced components of the notes, will be added in the coming months.

The gallery is the work of longtime ANA members John Nebel and Susie Nulty. The collection was scanned seven years ago using the highest quality scanner, enabling minute details to be shown. The original files have been reduced to a practical size for web viewing, but small details are shown in high resolution through pop-up windows.

The notes are cross-referenced by portraits, Friedberg numbers, date, denomination, territory or state, and vignettes. There are special sections for error notes and outstanding specimens, and an introduction by Arthur L. Friedberg, renowned paper money expert and author of A Guide to United States Paper Money.

“It’s rewarding to work on such an interesting and worthwhile project,” said Nulty. “John and I tried to design a site that is easy to navigate and includes several cross-referencing options. Our hope is that fellow ANA members enjoy the gallery and it becomes a great research tool for anyone interested in U.S. paper money.”

Aubrey (ANA Life Member 110) and Adeline (Life Member 4570) Bebee were among the most prominent numismatic collectors of the 20th century, and were ardent supporters of the ANA. Aubrey began assembling his world-class collection of U.S. paper money in 1941. The Bebees also donated an 1804 dollar (Idler/Bebee specimen) and 1913 Liberty Head nickel (McDermott/Bebee specimen) to the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, along with several other prominent pieces. The Beebes received the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 1988 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992; Aubrey received the Medal of Merit in 1968. Aubrey Bebee passed away in 1992 and Adeline passed away in 1998.

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Second Largest Gold Nugget in the World On Display at Perth Mint

One of the largest gold nuggets ever discovered has gone on display at The Perth Mint.

perth_mint_normandy_nuggetNewmont Mining Corporation’s Normandy Nugget, which was found in a dry stream bed near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia in 1995, can now be seen up close in the Mint’s fascinating Gold Exhibition. Weighing in at 25.5 kilograms, it is the second largest nugget in the world today having escaped being melted down, and is the 26th largest gold nugget ever discovered.

Information published by the University of Southern California, where the 40 million year-old nugget was examined in 1999, showed it to be 80 to 90% highpurity gold. That gives the nugget an intrinsic value of approximately AU$800,000 at today’s gold price, but its uniqueness and historical significance means it would doubtless fetch much more.

Perth Mint Chief Executive Officer Ed Harbuz said the Mint was delighted to be able to put Newmont’s Normandy Nugget on display. “It is a coup for the 100,000- plus people who visit our Gold Exhibition annually to be able to see this important cultural and heritage asset symbolising almost 160 years of gold discoveries in Australia,” he said.

Normandy Mining, now part of Newmont Australia, purchased the nugget in 2000 after the Commonwealth Government objected to attempts by its finder to sell the culturally significant object overseas. It was brought home with the aim of ensuring it remained in Australia for all to see and admire.

Since then, it has been displayed at museums around the world including Denver and Tokyo before Newmont agreed to a long-term loan to the historic Perth Mint. Newmont Mining Corporation (www.newmont.com) was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. It has operations in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia and Ghana, and in 2007, it became the first gold company selected to be part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In Australia, Newmont owns the Tanami gold mine in the Northern Territory, the Boddington and Jundee gold mines in Western Australia, and is also a joint owner of the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie.
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United States Mint and Smithsonian Institution Announce Plans for Traveling Numismatic Exhibition

The United States Mint announced today that it is working with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to develop a traveling numismatic exhibition. United States Mint Director Ed Moy and Brent Glass, director of the museum, discussed plans for the exhibition during a press conference at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money® in Los Angeles.

“We are excited about this new endeavor and believe that many Americans would be educated and inspired by such a traveling exhibition,” Director Moy said.

“The partnership with the United States Mint supports the museum’s mission to explore American history,” said Dr. Glass, director of the museum. “The study of coins and currency provides a window into American identity and what it means to be an American.”

The display is intended to inform and educate the American public about coins and the government’s role in minting and issuing coinage. It would also serve as a forum to display and interpret our Nation’s history and heritage of coinage and numismatics, while instilling excitement for collecting among audiences of all ages. The United States Mint and the Smithsonian intend to seek out public venues for exhibiting our Nation’s coins that will bridge the gap between history and the present with interactive and dynamic exhibits about our Nation’s coinage with the goal of sharing the experience throughout the country.

Details about the traveling exhibition are currently being developed and will be announced at a later date. It is anticipated that the exhibition will be approximately 2,500 square feet and will be displayed in several museums across the country over a two-to-three year time span. It will feature coins, medals and other treasured objects from both the museum’s National Numismatic Collection and the United States Mint’s Heritage Assets. The exhibition may also include interactive exhibits and discussion of the cutting-edge technology used at the United States Mint to design and produce new coins and medals. (more…)

Money Talks at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History: New Display of Numismatic Rarities

A new exhibition at the National Museum of American History invites visitors to explore the development and meaning behind American coinage and currency. “Stories on Money” demonstrates the interplay among people, money and history, from the earliest times to the present day. The display of coins and other related objects will open June 12 in a new first-floor gallery.

“Stories on Money” explores the museum’s vast numismatic collections from seven vantage points. The main section shows what money looked like in Colonial America and at pivotal times, including the Gold Rush, Great Depression and in the current era. Visitors will compare the coin designs of the 19th century with those produced during the renaissance of American coinage in the early 20th century. The section called “The Power of Liberty,” presents an array of coins from the United States and the world depicting Liberty, the feminine personification of freedom; coins with real and mythological women are also featured.

“American currency is a reflection and a record of our history,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “This display illuminates history in fresh and unexpected ways and will allow visitors to think of how money tells stories about different historical periods.”

“Stories on Money” was made possible through the generosity of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, Numismatic Conservation Services and Monaco Rare Coins.

“Having this wonderful space at the museum is very meaningful to the entire community of numismatists, and we are very proud to be a part of it. ‘Stories on Money’ is an especially fitting exhibition since it illustrates the close interplay between coins as objects and the personal history of their use,” said Mark Salzberg, chairman of sponsoring organizations Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and Numismatic Conservation Services. (more…)

Money Talks at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History: New Display of Numismatic Rarities

A new exhibition at the National Museum of American History invites visitors to explore the development and meaning behind American coinage and currency. “Stories on Money” demonstrates the interplay among people, money and history, from the earliest times to the present day. The display of coins and other related objects will open June 12 in a new first-floor gallery.

1907 US Liberty Ultra High Releif Pattern“Stories on Money” explores the museum’s vast numismatic collections from seven vantage points. The main section shows what money looked like in Colonial America and at pivotal times, including the Gold Rush, Great Depression and in the current era. Visitors will compare the coin designs of the 19th century with those produced during the renaissance of American coinage in the early 20th century. The section called “The Power of Liberty,” presents an array of coins from the United States and the world depicting Liberty, the feminine personification of freedom; coins with real and mythological women are also featured.

“American currency is a reflection and a record of our history,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “This display illuminates history in fresh and unexpected ways and will allow visitors to think of how money tells stories about different historical periods.”

“Stories on Money” was made possible through the generosity of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, Numismatic Conservation Services and Monaco Rare Coins.

“Having this wonderful space at the museum is very meaningful to the entire community of numismatists, and we are very proud to be a part of it. ‘Stories on Money’ is an especially fitting exhibition since it illustrates the close interplay between coins as objects and the personal history of their use,” said Mark Salzberg, chairman of sponsoring organizations Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and Numismatic Conservation Services. (more…)

The Smithsonian’s Buffaloes

By Len Ratzman from The California Numismatist Spring 2009 Vol.6 No. 1

1920-S Bullalo NickelLike so many rewarding discoveries, this one started out with a simple search on the Internet for the Smithsonian Institute’s Web site: info@si.edu. In all probability, I was never going to make it the 3,000 miles from LA to Washington, DC to visit the Smithsonian’s coin collections, so I decided that the next best thing was viewing my favorite buffalo nickels on the institution’s Web site.

The first mild surprise came when I learned that the coin collections weren’t housed at the Smithsonian proper at all, but rather in the National Museum of American History’s Kenneth E. Behring Center.

The second surprise/disappointment came when I first started surfing the Web in 2007 only to learn that the building housing the collections was closed from 2006 to November, 2008, for renovation.

Right on schedule the opening occurred, and keying in http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections in December of last year brought me to the starting point that had been unavailable for two years.

Once the page is displayed, there are two boxes you need to fill out before you finally get to the “goodies.” The first box entitled Keyword I filled with (no surprise) “buffalo nickels”. The box below it (defaulting to “All Subjects”) has to be modified by clicking on the pull-down arrow which displays a menu containing our ultimate goal – “Coins and Currency.” By clicking on Go, the next screen will finally display various photographs of some of the collection’s coins.

It was probably naive to hope that every coin in the collection would be registered and available for viewing. When only the 1913 raised-mound buffalo was displayed, the crusader in me predictably triggered the motivation to try to determine why the entire collection wasn’t displayed, coin-by-coin. Was the collection even complete?

After a series of forwarded e-mails, I finally heard from the senior curator of numismatics at the National Museum of Natural History, Mr. Richard Doty. It should be noted here that without Mr. Doty’s informative e-mail responses over the next few weeks, none of this article’s contents would have been possible. His perseverance and patience with my flood of questions should be recognized and gratefully noted. (more…)

The Most Important New Orleans Gold Coin

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Unique 1844-O EagleAfter a probable absence of over a century, perhaps the most important New Orleans gold coin in existence is coming back to its ancestral home. My friend Paul Hollis, a coin dealer from Metairie (a suburb of New Orleans), has arranged for the unique Proof 1844-O eagle to be placed on exhibit at the New Orleans mint. This coin, with an estimated value of $2.5 million, goes on public display November 1 and will also be taken around Louisiana on tour by Hollis.

The New Orleans Mint began producing coins in 1838. The very first issue struck by this mint was a group of 20 half dollars to inaugurate coinage and a small group of Proof half dollars were made in 1839 (plus at least one Dime dated 1839-O is known that has been designated a “Specimen” by NGC). So, we know that the New Orleans mint had experience with making Proof coins and that the quality of these was comparable to that seen at the Philadelphia mint.

In 1844, the New Orleans mint produced at least one example of a Proof half eagle and eagle. Remarkably, both still exist and, even more remarkably, both are superbly preserved. Why were they produced and who were they struck for?

Unfortunately, contemporary documentation does not exist that gives the definitive answer to these questions, so we have to make some assumptions. I think it’s safe to say that the Proof 1844-O gold set was struck in commemoration of either a special event or, more likely, a visit to the Mint by some special VIP or dignitary. My guess would be that they were made for personal presentation to President John Tyler.

What is interesting about these 1844-O Proofs is that there were no other Proof gold issues produced at the branch mints until 1854 when San Francisco struck a double eagle in this format. But in the case of the 1854-S double eagle, the reason for producing the coin is obvious as it was made to commemorate the opening of the new mint. One would think that if New Orleans were to have made gold Proofs, they would have struck a small number of Proof quarter eagles in 1839 or half eagles in 1840. But if these were ever made, they have disappeared without a trace. (more…)

New Money Museum Exhibit, “A House Divided: Money of the Civil War,” to Open Oct. 9

ANA Exhibit Money of the Civil WarThe American Civil War evokes many strong thoughts and emotions to this day – the end of slavery in our country, the great and terrible battles that saw more that 600,000 men perish, and the secession – and eventual reunion – of 11 states. Amid brilliant and incompetent generals, vast military campaigns and political turmoil, the impact of money on the war often gets overlooked.

A House Divided: Money of the Civil War,” a new exhibit opening Oct. 9 at the American Numismatic Association’s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, takes a unique look at this epic, bloody time in United States history, while showcasing the era’s coins, paper money, medals, and new ideas in war financing that helped lead to the North’s victory. Visitors will be immersed in the sights and sounds of the war and the era.

The Civil War changed the country forever, including its monetary and economic system: a system based on bullion coinage and privately issued paper money was replaced by a central system based on National Bank notes, and coins and paper money produced and backed by the federal government.

Grenn BacksTo pay for the war, the North and South were forced to issue huge amounts of money not backed by gold or silver – a fragile concept in the 1860s. Union “greenbacks” (Legal Tender notes and Demand notes, printed with green ink on one side) were instead backed by bonds; an investor could purchase bonds with greenbacks, and then redeem the bonds for gold. The emergence of “war bonds” helped create a more solid economy for the Union; in the Confederacy, where financial systems were underdeveloped, inflation ran rampant and made it impossible to continue the war effort. Because of the success of “war bonds,” they were used by the U.S. to control inflation again during both world wars.

Civil War soldiers were supposed to be paid every two months, but were fortunate if they got their pay at four-month intervals. Payment in the Confederate Army was even slower and less regular. Union privates were paid $13 per month at the start of the war.

“With pay as irregular as it was for soldiers, especially for Confederates, you can imagine how important financial support from family could be,” said Money Museum Curator Doug Mudd. “Many soldiers relied on ingenuity – or desperation – to get what they needed to survive. Half-starved men with weapons can make life very hard on civilians.” (more…)

FIDEM Medallic Sculpture Exhibit to Close Sept. 15

“The Medal Is the Message: Global Ideas in Handheld Sculpture,” an innovative exhibit at the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, is closing on Sept. 15, and will be replaced by “A House Divided: Money of the Civil War,” opening on Oct. 9.

“Global Ideas in Handheld Sculpture,” which opened in Sept. 2007, features more than 1,400 works of art created by artists from 32 countries. The exhibit was created for the International Art Medal Federation (FIDEM) Art Medal World Congress, which was hosted by the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs. It was the first time in 20 years the prestigious event took place in the United States.

The theme of the Congress, Passages to Reconstruction, conveyed a message of hope following Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Many artists incorporated themes of tragedy and renewal in their work.

The Money Museum will celebrate the opening of “A House Divided: Money of the Civil War,” with a gala public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 9. For more information, call 719- 482-9814 or e-mail museum@money.org

Contursi to display Kellogg $20 at Baltimore ANA

By Scott Purvis for CoinLink
Contursi $20 1854 KelloggA 154-year-old $20 gold piece known as the Kellogg Twenty will return to Baltimore next month for the first time in nearly 30 years.

This  one-of-a-kind California Gold Rush coin was once owned by Baltimore resident and diplomat John Work Garrett, and is considered by most collectors to be one of the finest American coins from the mid-19th century.

John W. Garrett (1872 – 1942) was the grandson of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad executive and one-time president, John Work Garrett (1820 – 1884), and the eldest son of T. Harrison Garrett (1849 – 1888), who began collecting coins as a student at Princeton. The coin collection grew extensively under T. Harrison’s sons, John and Robert (1875 – 1961).

Garrett donated the coin, along with his home, Evergreen House, to the Johns Hopkins University on his death in 1942. Hopkins sold the coin at the Bowers and Ruddy auction in 1980 for $230,000.

Subsequently the coin changed hands several times. Contursi has owned it twice; from 2002 to 2005, and since 2006, it is now valued at $3 million. The coin is graded Specimen-69 by Professional Coin Grading Service

“When you pick up this coin, you’re literally holding Gold Rush history in your hands,” said Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers of Dana Point, Calif., the coin’s owner. “This is a homecoming. It’s the first time it will be publicly seen in Baltimore in 28 years.”

The coin was manufactured on February 9, 1854 by John Glover Kellogg, a former employee of the San Francisco U.S. Assay Office. He gave it to his friend and future business partner, New York City watchmaker, August Humbert, the former U.S. Assayer in San Francisco.

During most of the 20th century, the historic coin was part of the legendary Garrett Collection at Johns Hopkins University and kept in a vault in Baltimore, Maryland. (more…)

Smithsonian to Display Rare Proof Coins at Numismatic Convention in Baltimore

United States, Twenty Dollars, Pattern, 1860 (Paquet Reverse)The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will showcase 21 numismatic rarities from its National Numismatic Collection at the World’s Fair of Money convention hosted by the American Numismatic Association from July 30 to Aug. 3 at the Baltimore Convention Center. “Historic Rarities: Early United States Proof Coins,” will include the 1860 double eagle proof pattern with the Paquet reverse, a special design made by its engraver, Anthony Paquet, and a previously unknown variety of an 1818 proof half dollar as part of the traveling display.

Initially, the Philadelphia Mint made proof coins as showpieces to demonstrate American talent and innovation. These early proofs are recognized by their mirror finish and feature sharper relief than found on coins made for circulation. The coins in the “Historic Rarities” display are part of a larger collection transferred to the Smithsonian by the U.S. Mint in the 1920s.

“This traveling display provides an opportunity to showcase extraordinary and rare proof coins, including an 1818 silver half-dollar proof which our curator recently reclassified as unique as it is the only one made at the time,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the National Museum of American History. This display represents the museum’s second appearance at the Baltimore convention.

“NGC and NCS are immensely proud to be presenting sponsors of this exhibition; proof coinage and Paquet’s pattern demonstrate first hand the beauty of coinage and the active human role of designers and engravers. Showcasing these rarities is a wonderful opportunity for the numismatic community,” said Mark Salzberg, chairman of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

The display is divided into four sections: Early Proofs, 1843 Proofs, the Anthony Paquet double eagle pattern and Baltimore national currency proofs.The objects in the group of early proofs include coins of several denominations dating from 1818 to 1821. The coins were minted in several different metals, including copper, silver and gold. The group dated 1821 is likely the only such grouping in existence. (more…)

Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round

Anglo-Saxon silver penny, 8th century, from the De Wit CollectionEarly Anglo-Saxon coins from the De Wit collection to be displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum

The period of the Conversion in the 7th-8th centuries was a vibrant time artistically, inspiring such treasurers as the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Franks Casket and the famous High Crosses. Yet these give mere glimpses of a much larger body of lost art. New finds of coinage and ornamental metalwork of this period have provided us with an alternative source of images which are artistically and intellectually outstanding.

This exhibition will show for the first time early Anglo-Saxon coins from the De Wit collection, recently purchased by the Fitzwilliam Museum with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund. These gold shillings and silver pennies display the most innovative range of pictorial and geometric designs drawn from Classical and Germanic sources.

Despite the small scale, their bold images of people, animals, plants and geometric motifs are both rich in detail and sophisticated in concept. The exhibition will juxtapose them with contemporary ornamental metalwork drawn from other museums in the region.

Fri 23 May 2008 to Sun 7 September 2008
Octagon Gallery (Gallery 10) (more…)

When Strings Are Attached, Quirky Gifts Can Limit Universities

Princeton University Numismatic CollectionBy KAREN W. ARENSON for the NY Times

When Stanley J. Seeger gave Princeton $2 million for Hellenic studies nearly three decades ago, the gift’s income paid for two courses in modern Greek and trips to Greece for five.

But the Seeger money, which must be spent only on matters Greek, is now worth $33 million, multiplying through aggressive investing like the rest of Princeton’s endowment. So the university offers Greek, Greek and more Greek — 13 courses this semester, including “The Image of Greece in European Cinema” and “Problems in Greek History: Greek Democracy,” as well as trips to Greece and nearby areas for more than 90 students and faculty members last year. The history department recently hired its second Byzantine specialist. And the fund paid half the cost of a collection of 800 rare coins from medieval Greece.

“Institutions do get shaped by the interests of donors,” said Robert K. Durkee, vice president and secretary of Princeton.

Read Full NY Times Article