The Joys of Collecting column from the June 27, 2016, Weekly issue
In 1920, the American Numismatic Society implemented cost-saving
measures. The American Journal of Numismatics was discontinued.
Today, back issues of the publication, started in May 1866, are
available to read on the Internet as a rich source for historical information.
In 1920, The Numismatic Notes and Monographs series was
launched in small format booklets published occasionally by the ANS.
In January of that year the United States Coin Committee of the ANS
issued a report stating that while prices of goods and services had
increased sharply during World War I, the values of coins, tokens and
medals had increased only slightly.
The society soldiered on. It did not hold conventions, report on the
marketplace, keep up to date on coin mintages, or otherwise engage in
the popular aspects of coin collecting. The American Numismatic
Association, the sister organization, took care of that. Ironically,
its magazine, The Numismatist, included news of the ANS as a regular
feature. ANS finances remained a large problem.
At the annual ANA convention held in Chicago in August 1920,
discussion was broached on the possibility of merging the two
organizations. The ANS had a large building on Audubon Terrace in New
York City, while the ANA had no such facility. ANA matters were
handled by correspondence by the various officers who worked from
their homes. Such a merger, if the ANS would agree, would seem to have
benefits for both organizations.
Moritz Wormser (who later would be elected as president of the ANA)
stood up and spoke:
“I have given that matter a great deal of thought and possibly can
answer very briefly and to the point. I think the functions of the two
societies are entirely different. The American Numismatic Society runs
its museum, and they don’t want to give up control of their large and
valuable collections, buildings, and everything they have. It is
really a society of art members. They are not a national organization
at all. Of course they want as many members as they can get, but I
have always looked on the American Numismatic Association as a
federation of local clubs and societies. I think, as such, it has a
good function if it stays just where it is.”
That settled the matter. More about the ANS next week.
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