American Numismatic Society launches extensive web-based catalog featuring World War I medals, tokens

‘Art of Devastation’ helps identify and tie pieces to places, events
By , Coin World
Published : 08/22/14
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To mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the American Numismatic Society launched a new web-based research catalog Aug. 12 comprising thousands of art medals, commemorative medals and tokens produced in response to this major conflict. 

“Art of Devastation,” online, is being directed by Peter van Alfen, the ANS’s Margaret Thompson Associate Curator of Greek Coins, with help from curatorial assistant Sylvia Karges.

The creation of this new web tool is the work of ANS database developer Ethan Gruber.

At launch, Art of Devastation incorporates the roughly 1,400 relevant items in the ANS’s collection. In collaboration with other institutions, such as the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Royal Library of Belgium, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the catalog will continue to expand. 

A comprehensive catalog

“ ‘Art of Devastation’ aims to be the first comprehensive catalogue of this abundant and varied material, one that takes full advantage of the web environment and linked open data,” according to ANS officials. 

“Intended to help identify medals and tokens in users’ hands, ‘Art of Devastation’ offers unique catalogue numbers for types and variants for future referencing, and illustrates, where possible, multiple examples for comparison.”

Users of the “Art of Devastation” catalog will encounter mapping tools to assist identifying where the item was created, and where the events associated with it took place.

The online catalog incorporates links to other websites that include information about the individual medallic artists, as well as the people, events, and things, like weapons or symbols, that a medal depicts.

“Art of Devastation,” according to ANS officials, also serves as an invaluable tool for non-numismatists.

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