Rare hobby literature and research have found new homes at
America’s top two numismatic institutions and will now be accessible
to researchers and the public.
The American Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic
Association’s Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library are going to be the
recipients of multiple donations of items sold in Kolbe & Fanning
Numismatic Booksellers’ Jan. 12 auction in New York City.
The materials acquired on behalf of both institutions are several
important items once owned by Vladimir and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli,
who served as co-curators at the Smithsonian Institution of the
National Numismatic Collection from 1957 until 1982. Elvira
Clain-Stefanelli became curator upon her husband’s death and served in
that role until retiring in 2000.
Joining the ANS library are Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli’s extensive
manuscript and typescript materials, with photographs and additional
publications, on the coinage of Callatis in Greece.
According to the ANS, this largely unpublished body of work is a
valuable research tool for Greek numismatic scholars with particular
interest in Greek colonies of the Black Sea region. The lot sold for a
hammer price of $2,200.
In addition, joining the ANS library is a group of 77 binders and
scrapbooks containing thousands of pages of notes with coin photos or
drawings, including Elvira Clain-Stefanelli’s notebooks on Roman
Republican coins. Forty-one small binders hold thousands of pages of
handwritten notes, divided by region (from Acarnania to Zankle); 10
small binders highlight Roman Republican denarii. This lot sold for a
hammer price of $5,500.
The duo’s research on American medals and foreign medals relating
to America, particularly the Comitia Americana series, will also join
the ANS library; the research (which sold for $20,000 hammer) offers
hundreds of pages of photocopied articles, original photographs,
manuscript notes and other research.
The ANA Library will be receiving Clain-Stefanellis’ assemblage of
materials about the United States Assay Office gold controversy, which
includes copies of various expert reports about the Franklin Hoard of
USAO gold coins, purportedly found in Arizona in the 1950s but that
some experts claim are fake. The research sold for a hammer price of $9,500.
Elvira Clain-Stefanelli’s original typescript of Numismatics — An
Ancient Science (sold for a hammer price of $650), and the working
draft for the book Beauty and Lore of Coins, Currency and
Medals by both Clain-Stefanellis (hammer price, $250) are also
among the donations to the ANA.
Both institutions are receiving other research material from the sale.
The ANS collection will include 42 issues of Bicknell’s Reporter,
Counterfeit Detector, and General Prices Current, which were published
in Philadelphia. The periodicals in the acquisition were published
from April 20, 1847, to Feb. 15, 1848, and join only three other
examples in the ANS library, none of which were among the grouping in
the auction, which sold for $1,600 hammer.
Being donated to the ANA is William Sheldon’s personal copy of his
book Early American Cents, with condition census updates and other
annotations. Sheldon’s book will be placed into the ANA’s rare book
room, which includes a first edition copy of Early American Cents that
was annotated by Walter Breen and once was part of the John J. Ford
As of Jan. 23, neither museum had received the items, which were
The other items being donated to the ANA will join the library
archives. After being cataloged, the materials will be available for
researchers at the library and at some future time may be featured as
part of the mobile archives at ANA conventions and regional shows
around the country. Even later, the ANA may make the archives
available on its website.
ANS Librarian Elizabeth Hahn said the materials being donated to
the ANS will be made available to researchers as soon as they are
properly cataloged. The Clain-Stefanelli materials will all go into
the ANS archives and will be listed in the online archive catalog, ARCHER.
Both institutions offered thanks for donors that made the purchases.
Manley won and donated the items to the ANA library, according to
the ANA. Manley “has been a driving force behind adding historically
significant items to the library’s collection for the benefit of all
ANA members and collectors,” according to RyAnne Scott, marketing and
communications manager at the ANA.
The ANS acquisitions were made possible by ANS Fellows John W.
Adams, Dan Hamelberg, Anthony Terranova, George Kolbe and ANS Member
For information about the ANS, visit www.numismatics.org or telephone
the ANS at 212-571-4470.
For information about the ANA library, telephone the ANA at
719-482-9821 or visit its website, www.money.org. ■