The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 31, August 1, 2004, Article 16


  Regarding last week's question about the disposition of the
  Chase Manhattan Money Museum collection,  Robert J.
  Galiette writes: "Gene Hessler may be a good source of
  information regarding the Chase Manhattan Bank Money
  Museum.  He used to be curator of it.  He's also an
  accomplished musician and he'd tell me that it was very
  convenient being in New York because he regularly had
  musical engagements in which he could participate during
  parts of the day.

  His former work as curator is noted in some of his books,
  such as on the dust jacket of "An Illustrated History of U.S.
  Loans, 1775-1898", BNR Press, 1988, a book for which
  Gene spent fifteen years gathering photographs of loan
  documents that in many cases existed only as unique proof,
  specimen or remainder examples.

  Thanks for your invaluable work with the E-Sylum.  It's a
  labor of great dedication on your part to have it come
  forward so regularly each week."

  Martin Gengerke writes: "Regarding your story on the
  whereabouts of the Chase Manhattan Money Museum
  holdings - I can fill you in a bit on the paper money.

  Some notes went to the American Numismatic Society,
  but the bulk of the federal notes and (I believe) the
  obsolete as well, went to the Smithsonian Institution.

  One notable exception is the 1862 $1 Legal Tender note
  with Serial Number 1, from the first series of the issue.
  This note, with a vignette of Salmon P. Chase, is the first
  Dollar Bill issued by the United States - it went to Chase,
  and eventually to the Chase Bank. The bank still has it today.

  The first $2 bill issued by the U.S. is also known, and
  was sold by R.M. Smythe a few years ago."

  Douglas Mudd, Curator/Director Money Museum,
  American Numismatic Association writes: "The bulk of the
  Chase Manhattan Money Museum collection went to the
  National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian -
  something like 26,000 objects, including the primitive money
  collection, the checks (as you mentioned), and a wide
  selection of paper money and coins of the U.S. and the

  Fred Reed gives this chronology:  "In 1967 Gene Hessler
  became curator of Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum.
  The Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum closed in 1977.
  David Rockefeller negotiated to give the Chase Money
  Museum Collection to the Smithsonian Institution's National
  Numismatic Collection.   On Jan. 16, 1978, the Smithsonian
  Institution acquired the Chase Manhattan Bank money
  collection. On Feb. 7, 1979, the Smithsonian Institution
  unveiled highlights from the Chase Manhattan Bank Collection
  to great fanfare."

  Pete Smith writes: "I believe the majority of the coins from
  the Chase Manhattan Money Museum were put on long term
  loan to the Smithsonian. I visited the Smithsonian around 1986
  and saw a special exhibit of the Chase coins. I recall that I
  bent over a case to get a close look at a "Jefferson Head"
  cent and set off a security alarm.  I believe those coins were
  later transferred permanently to the Smithsonian.

  The national museum's exhibit of coins was already old when
  I visited. I believe it was installed some 20 years previously
  and had not been updated to correct a few errors in the
  exhibit. I agree that it is time for the exhibit to close, but I
  wish it would be replaced with a new exhibit.

  Gene Hessler writes: "I was the last curator (1967-1975) of
  the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum.  I was
  completely against closing the museum, since it continued to
  draw numerous visitors every day, as many as 1500 per day
  during peak tourist seasons.

  When the bank decided to close the museum and donate the
  collection to the Smithsonian for a major tax deduction, I saw
  no need for the Smithsonian to have another 1804 silver dollar.
  I explained this to the PR Department, who was responsible
  for the museum. Therefore, I was responsible for and was
  successful in having the 1804 dollar and a few pieces of world
  paper money sent to the American Numismatic Society."

  [My info on Eric Newman's role in obtaining the 1804 dollar
  for the ANS was based on an item found on the ANS web
  site.  Thanks for setting the record straight.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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