ANS moves out of Audubon Terrace: Bowers
- Published: Jul 1, 2016, 4 AM
The Joys of Collecting column from the July 18, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:
Established in New York City in March 1858, the American Numismatic Society is now more dynamic than ever, with its current headquarters on the 11th floor at 75 Varick St. In 1908 the society dedicated its first “permanent” home in a two-story building paid for by Archer Huntington and built to order on Audubon Terrace, 155th Street and Broadway, a “society” section of the city.
Sadly, the general neighborhood, known as Morningside Heights, deteriorated. Buildings deteriorated, fashionable businesses closed or moved, and crime increased. Employees, members and visitors were often fearful as they went out to hail a cab or take a bus.
Enter Donald G. Partrick, a highly successful real estate developer on Long Island and long-time collector of American coins. His list of civic accomplishments is lengthy.
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In 1969, he joined the ANS. By the 1970s he was a fine friend and client, always carefully considering purchases, such as at our Garrett Collection series of auctions from 1979 to 1981. The market crashed in early 1980 precipitated by the fall of gold and silver. Not to worry — seasoned, experienced bidders were there in force, including Don Partrick, and many records were set.
I remember being one of the guests Don invited to a special dinner at Windows on the World at the World Trade Center in 1986 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.
Don became a fellow of the ANS in 1987 and in 1990 was named to the Board of Trustees, serving as president from 1999 to 2007.
What could be done about the deterioration of the neighborhood around Audubon Terrace?
An angel in the class of the late Archer Huntington, in 1997 Don largely financed for the ANS the purchase of a multistory office building at 140 William St. in the heart of the New York Financial District.
The first floor had been occupied by a bank. Extensive renovations were made, and spacious accommodations for the society were made on upper floors. In the meantime, Dr. Ute Wartenberg was hired as the new executive director. Finally, in 2003 the ANS relocated to there. A highlight was the new Harry W. Bass Jr. Library financed by the Bass family.
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