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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 3, January 20, 2008, Article 29

NEWPAPER ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS PRINCETON GREEK COIN ACQUISITION

[On January 15, 2008 the Times of Trenton (NJ) published
a nice article on Princeton University's acquisition of
the Sarmas collection of Greek coins.  Thanks to John N.
Lupia III and Tom Fort for pointing it out. -Editor]

Princeton made the purchase of the more than 800 medieval
Greek coins to help researchers deepen their knowledge about
a period of Middle Age history that has been little understood
by scholars be cause of a dearth of primary historical
accounts from that time, Stahl said.

Until now, there has been no specialized collection of
the coins of the Greek lands of the later Middle Ages --
the 13th and 14th centuries -- available for study in a
public institution anywhere, he said.

The seller, London businessman Theo Sarmas, had assembled
the collection gradually as a hobby over the past 20 years
or so -- acquiring them mainly from English dealers and
through auctions, Stahl said. Most of the coins are silver
or a silver-copper alloy called billon.

The collection is rich in currency that imitates important
trade coins of Italian cities, especially those of Venice
and Naples.

Princeton's numismatic collection bought the coins with
matching funds from the university's program in Hellenic
studies, which contributed with money from the Stanley J.
Seeger Hellenic Fund, established at Princeton to promote
the understanding of Greek culture.

Princeton's numismatic collection was started in 1849 when
friends of the university bought and donated plaster casts
of Greek and Roman coins. Today, it has vast holdings of
ancient Chinese, Greek and Roman coins and includes others
from the Byzantine, Western medieval and U.S. Colonial eras.

Part of the collection is on display in the university's
Firestone Library as its "Numismatics in the Renaissance"
exhibition, which is on view for free to the public through
July 20 in the library's main exhibition hall. The Sarmas
coins are not part of that showcase because they are being
catalogued for the university.

But Princeton's numismatic collection is available for
research to the public and scholars at the university. To
view the online data base, visit
www.princeton.edu/rbsc/department/numismatics/ .

To make an appointment for viewing specific items from
the collection, including the Sarmas coins, contact Stahl
at astahl@princeton.edu.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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