Sunday, August 10, 2008

Archer Huntington Coins to be Sold

Sebastian Heath has reported on the upcoming sale of Archer Huntington's coins that had been on long term loan to the American Numismatic Society from the Hispanic Society. See:

I'm sure some collectors and dealers will welcome the prospect of a large group of coins with old provenances onto the market, but as an ANS Trustee and collector that believes that deacession should be limited to sales of duplicates or items outside the interests of an institution, I find this sale to be troubling.

In particular, it's unclear to me whether the Hispanic Society really has taken all the necessary steps to get its own house in financial order before taking this precipitous step of selling off an important part of its collection.

One thing is for sure. Collections like these can't easily be purchased in today's market by institutions like the ANS. In that sense, selling off this collection is a real shame to anyone who loves museums and what they stand for.

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