The New York Times published an article on the latest development in the travels of the ANS/ Hispanic Society coins.
When the financially struggling Hispanic Society of America decided to sell its collection of nearly 38,000 rare coins last year, that Upper Manhattan museum sought to allay fears that its cultural treasure would become inaccessible to scholars and the public by striving to find a public institution to buy it. None, however, was found to purchase the collection, valued at more than $25 million; the coins landed in private hands; and some of those scholars' concerns are now being realized.
About 1,000 of the coins will be auctioned in Madrid next week, likely to scatter them even more. But an unidentified American coin buff who bought 10,000 pieces from the collection recently arranged a long-term loan with the American Numismatic Society, making them publicly available, said Ute Wartenberg Kagan, the executive director of the Numismatic Society, whose headquarters are at Hudson Square in the South Village.
Though Ms. Wartenberg Kagan said she was saddened by the dismantling of the collection, the loan softens the blow.
"The Hispanic Society got the money, and we got 10,000 of the really good coins," she said. "It's good for New York, having this material back, because who knows where it will end up. This type of collection disappears and is never seen again."
Nine thousand of the coins arrived at the Numismatic Society late last week, joining 1,000 that had arrived earlier. Ms. Wartenberg Kagan said the batch included more than 1,000 coins of the Visigoths ("arguably the most important Visigothic collection in the world," she said); other early-medieval coins; more than 3,000 bronze and silver Roman coins; and about 4,000 Spanish coins of medieval and later periods.
"The greatest concern about any dispersal of the collection focused largely on the coins now back at the Numismatic Society," Mitchell A. Codding, the Hispanic Society's executive director, said. "They have been heavily researched, and there is constant utilization by scholars. It's good they'll be available to scholars."
Despite the current easing of tension between the Numismatic Society and the Hispanic Society, scholars are concerned that the collection has been split. Alan Stahl, the curator of numismatics at Princeton University, said he hoped that at least the coins lent to the Numismatic Society would eventually be donated outright.
"I want it all," Mr. Stahl said, "with all the information possible, with the history of each piece to be available for study, for exhibition, for illustrations."
To read the complete article, see:
Coin Collection Is Partly Saved by a Loan
Counting the Money: More Details on Hispanic Coin Trove Returned to the American Numismatic Society
Coins resale expected to bring millions
Wayne Homren, Editor
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