Friday, February 7, 2014

Peace Through Coins

Well, since everyone else is jumping on the "Monuments Men" bandwagon, why not coin collectors?

Coin collections were very likcly seized along with all sorts of other artifacts by the Nazis.  Moreover, many historical coins were also destroyed in bombing or shelling.  And millions of others were most certainly melted to recover prescious or strategic metals deemed necessary for the war efforts of the combatants.

But CPO wants to focus on the positive: how numismatics helped bring people together during the dark days of WWII and its immediate aftermath.  First, there is the story of a loving couple that shared an interest for old coins through internment in a concentration camp and refugee status during and following the war.  Thereafter, in a true Hollywood ending, they achieved the American dream, eventually running the Smithsonian Institutions's coin cabinet together for decades.

Then, there is the International Association of Professional Numismatists, an organization CPO's writer represents as an attorney and lobbyist.   The IAPN was formed in 1951 to help restore relationships among professional numismatists that had been badly frayed during years of war.  Today, the IAPN has 114 members in 23 countries in 5 continents around the world.

Coin collecting has fostered people to people contacts and cultural understanding for generations.  Coin collectors might not be "Monuments Men," but their shared interest in studying, preserving and displaying these miniature "cultural ambassadors" serve the same goals celebrated by Hollywood in its well-publicized movie.

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