US Coins

Museum of American Finance founder donates $5M

Museum of American Finance founder John E. Herzog will be feted May 17 for his contributions to the Smithsonian Institution-affiliated facility and his recent donation of $5 million to carry on the finance museum's mission.

Images by Alan Barnett, courtesy of Museum of American Finance.

John E. Herzog, founder of the Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Museum of American Finance, will be feted May 17 for his recent $5 million contribution to carry on the finance museum’s mission.

Herzog is to be recognized from 6 to 8 p.m. at a reception at the museum, located at 48 Wall St. in New York City.

Herzog founded the museum in response to the stock market crash of 1987.  Since its founding, Herzog has been the museum’s largest benefactor. He stepped down in 2010 as the finance museum’s chairman of the board to become trustee emeritus.

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Herzog is chairman emeritus of Spink/Smythe, an auction house specializing in antique stocks and bonds, bank notes, coins, autographs and photographs. Formerly he was chairman and chief executive officer of Herzog Heine Geduld Inc. He is a member of the board of overseers at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Although the $5 million is the amount of the bequest in his will, Herzog is making the donation incrementally now, culminating with the final donation payment on May 17.

Herzog’s contribution mimics the advice of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who advocated philanthropy during one’s lifetime and being able to see the good it can do.

“This final gift is a display of my confidence in the ability of the museum’s leadership to successfully carry it into the future and sustain it as a permanent institution,” Herzog said.

Since Herzog stepped down as chairman in 2010, the museum has added 28 new trustees and has greatly expanded its individual and corporate donor bases.

Many of its educational initiatives now focus on promoting personal financial literacy, which is lacking in both children and adults across nearly every segment of the population, according to the museum.

The museum continues to seek increased participation from financial firms — both as donors and as programmatic partners — while serving as a neutral public forum for addressing topical financial issues and events.

In the past two years, the museum has presented more than 50 programs on a wide variety of current — and often forward-looking — topics, ranging from Bitcoin to IPOs to electronic trading. 

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