Volume 17 • Issue 4 | June 18 - 24, 2004



Coin society opening Downtown

By David H. Elllis


The American Numismatic Society’s new home at 140 William St.

Financial moguls and hopeful entrepreneurs may find themselves disappointed to learn that there’s big money coming to the Wall Street area Monday that they can’t touch.

With an estimated $50 million in hard currency, the American Numismatic Society, which archives and curates one of the largest collections of coins, currency and medals from around the world, will open its new headquarters June 21 at 140 William St. in the Donald Groves Building.
After several months of painstakingly transporting their rare collection

from their previous home at 155th St. and Broadway in Audubon Terrace, the A.N.S. will celebrate with a ceremony June 18 at the new space that will include guest speakers Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields and City Councilmember Alan Gerson.

“We needed more space and we wanted it to be in the heart of things and to be on Wall Street was a natural move,” said Pamala Plummer-Wright, the director of development and public programs for A.N.S. “It’s just a much more suitable layout for us and it lends itself to more of a museum than Uptown.”

The opening, which marks the first stage of a two-part move, will include unveiling a library, a 2000 square-foot security vault and administrative offices for the organization’s 20 staff members. The library will be open to the public, but appointments are required. By 2007, A.N.S. is expected to complete the second half of their facility that will include an exhibition hall and a conference center, which will serve as a site for symposiums and other educational events.

A.N.S., whose collection includes a German penny from the 12th century, a Massachusetts shilling, and coins that date to as early as 375 B.C., purchased the building in 1998, but the move Downtown was delayed by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Kristin Aguilera, the communications director for the Museum of American Financial History in Lower Manhattan, said that the arrival of A.N.S. is great for business and finance history enthusiasts in light of the indefinite suspension of tours of the New York Stock Exchange.

“It’s great news for us since our visitors would definitely be interested in visiting,” said Aguilera. “The more quality institutions in Lower Manhattan the better as far as we’re concerned.”

The society currently has two exhibits on display at the Federal Reserve Bank at 33 Liberty St. including “Drachmas, Doubloons and Dollars: The History of Money” and “Full Circle: The Olympic Heritage,” which includes coins and medals that celebrate the return of the Olympic games to Athens, Greece this summer.

The American Numismatic Society museum library and collection at 140 William St. will be open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting June 21. Those individuals interested in studying or viewing the coins should contact the society in advance at (212) 234-3130.



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