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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 39, September 26, 2010, Article 12

ANS MAGAZINE SUMMER 2010 ISSUE

My copy of the Summer 2010 issue of ANS Magazine from the American Numismatic Society arrived this week. As usual, the issue is chock-full with wonderful images and stories about numismatic items. For bibliophiles there's an article by Andrew Meadows on "Systematic Recording of Greek Coin Hoards and the ANS" (p38) which describes the many ANS publications on this important topic, beginning with Numismatic Notes and Monographs number 1 by Sidney Noe, "Coin Hoards".

ANS Magazine Summer 2010 Noe's preliminary thoughts on the subject were followed just five years later with a more practical aid to the study of hoard material. A Bibliography of Greek Coin Hoards, Numismatic Notes and Monographs 25, changed the face of the study of ancient Greek coinage by introducing a systematic attempt to record all the relevant hoard material in one place.

Collections Manager Elena Stolyarik presents a well-illustrated 13-page article (p43) on recent acquisitions running the gamut from ancient Greek coins to counterfeits, coin scales, and modern coins of Uzbekistan and the United States. The donors are to be commended - they include Tony Terranova, Ute Wartenberg-Kagin, David Gladfelter and David Menchell. The Society made a number of purchases as well, including medals of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Geographical Society.

The cover article by Oliver Hoover is "Baseball as Civilization: Indian Peace Medals Under James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln" (p56). The article discusses the scenes of children playing ballgames on the medals and is illustrated with several early images of versions of the national pastime.

Ute Wartenberg Kagan's article "Funny Money" (p14) is a companion to the Society's current exhibit on counterfeiting in the U.S., discussed in an earlier E-Sylum issue.

Robert Hoge's article on "Current Cabinet Activities" (p26) discusses an upcoming exhibit of which the ANS is one of many donor institutions. "War and Peace: Masterpieces of Patriotic Jewelry and Decorations" is planned to be displayed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid.

This extraordinary presentation ... was organized by the National Jewelry Institute and will include a selection of medallic pieces. Following its New York debut, War and Peace will relocate to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

20th Wisconsin Volunteers Peso Medal obverse 20th Wisconsin Volunteers Peso Medal reverse
20th Wisconsin Volunteers "Peso" medal (ANS collection)

Hoge kindly provided some images for The E-Sylum. Thanks! The exhibit was supposed to open on Veteran's Day, but there's been a snag. He writes:

Please note, however, that this entire exciting exhibit, scheduled to be shown on board the Intrepid and at the Pentagon, has been postponed!! We were so informed, unfortunately, after the ANS Magazine had already gone to press. I do not know if the new opening dates have been established as yet, but I think everything has been set back by perhaps one year. I don't know whose decision this was, or whether it was a financial, logistical or security matter. But I do know that all the wonderful loan items had already been "lined up," and the borrowers' fees paid. Meanwhile, some of our included specimens are so desirable and popular that we are considering honoring other loan requests during the interval.

Rex the Dog's Dickin Medal collar
Dog collar and lead, with Dickin Medal. Awarded to Rex the Dog in 1945.
Courtesy Imperial War Museum

I've saved a bibliophile treat for last. Librarian Elizabeth Hahn's "Library News" column features an interesting October 1859 broadside purchased from the January 9, 2010 Kolbe sale. Elizabeth forwarded the image and text, and here are some excerpts. Thanks! -Editor

(First printed in ANS Magazine, Summer 2010 issue. "Library News: Counterfeiting and Fraud Features in Rare Book Room Acquisitions."):

1859 Broadside: “Coin Collectors, to the Rescue!”

1859 Broadside: “Coin Collectors, to the Rescue!”

One interesting item acquired was a broadside (Figure) previously in the collection of J.N.T. Levick and discovered in the specially-printed personal copy of his famous 1865 coin sale (see lot 99 of the Kolbe sale). Measuring 24.5 x 15 cm and dated to October 1859, this broadside decries the counterfeiting of various early American pieces at that time.

As Kolbe best summarizes on p. 24 of his thorough catalog of the Stack Family Library sale, the signatories of this broadside may include members of the “eight founders of The Numismatic Society of Philadelphia, established December 28, 1857 and renamed The Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia in 1865…

Timothy Antiquary may be Edward Cogan, the principal Philadelphia coin dealer of the day and Dr. Timbercracks may be Mark W. Collet, a medical doctor who was intimately involved in the hotbed of numismatic activity then taking place in Philadelphia.

The villains in the piece were probably William Idler and Montroville Wilson Dickeson, both known to have made reproductions of the items noted. Viator, alias George H. Hickorynuts likely refers to Dickeson. In the 1850s, he toured the Country excavating Indian burial mounds and conducting illustrated lectures on the topic (Viator = a traveler; wayfarer).”

The broadside is extremely rare and in fine condition and makes an excellent addition to the Library collections.

The broadside appeared during a noteworthy year in the history of numismatics: 1859. It was the year after the formation of the ANS, the year before the outbreak of the American Civil War, and a formative year for numismatic auction catalogs, in large part due to one of the characters mentioned above, Edward Cogan. Described as “a gentleman of great conversational powers and amiable temper, besides being well-supplied with anecdotes and jokes” (AJN Nov. 1867), Cogan is easy to associate with the light humor and yet concern for the coin trade behind this broadside.

The year 1859 was also the year when the first comprehensive encyclopedia of American coins was issued. The book was written by one of the two villains mentioned in the broadside, Montroville Wilson Dickeson. William Idler was another coin dealer active in Philadelphia (where he settled in 1859) known to have created and sold restrikes, notably copies of the 1792 Washington half dollar. The Sommer Islands (now Bermuda) referenced in the broadside were also called the Hog Islands (or Hogge Islands)

The humorous undertone of the broadside is best seen in its call to replace the word “copy” with the word “Root, [Hog], or Die.” This expression was a common American phrase from the 19th century and an idiomatic expression for self-reliance. It comes from the early colonial practice of turning pigs loose in the woods to survive on their own.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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