Friday, December 16, 2011

Hispanic Society Coins Put on the Auction Block

The Hispanic Society has put its collection of 38,000 historic Spanish coins up on the auction block in one lot with an estimated value of between $25-$38 million. See

Archer Huntington endowed both the Hispanic Society and the American Numismatic Society, where the coins were previously kept. See The fate of the group was the subject of litigation between the ANS and the Hispanic Society, which ended up with the Hispanic Society being awarded the coins they now want to sell.

If the collection could not stay intact, I'd rather it was broken up to allow American collectors and perhaps the ANS or ANA a chance at purchasing at least some of the coins. Given the estimated price, who will buy the group? The Smithsonian? Laughable. Cash strapped Spain? Doubtful. More likely the coins will go further East to the Persian Gulf or perhaps China.

Will the ANS be conducting a similar fire sale directed at foreign buyers sometime in the not too distant future? Let's hope not, but recognize such a possibility is becoming more likely given today's realities.

I've observed that both a prosperous numismatic trade and collector interest are essential to fund the ANS and the serious study of ancient numismatics in this country. See The fanatics at the AIA and the obdurate bureaucrats at the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs might want to consider how their efforts to suppress ancient coin collecting will impact numismatic study in this country before its too late.

1 comment:

Wayne G. Sayles said...

Has Peter Tompa been "brainwashed" by the coineys? I think not. More likely he is a modern day Paul Revere. Anyone who has followed Peter's blog since its inception cannot help but detect a change in rhetoric. Why? Perhaps out of frustration with a "democratic" system that fails to embrace alternative views. When a person like Peter, by nature amiable and trained to be stoic and objective, calls the bureaucrats "obdurate" and academic archaeologists "fanatical" it's time to wake up and take a look around.