Coins and Other Treasurers from America's Attic

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Summary

Provides a somewhat detailed but very readable history of the National Numismatic Collection. Begun in 1816 as part of the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences, the collection was small and largely non-American. It was transferred in 1836 to the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, and then to the Smithsonian after its founding in 1846. Growth of the collection was slow until acquisition of the U.S. Mint Collection in 1923; rapid expansion began in the late 1950's under co-directors Elvira and Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli, (Elvira is the author's present co-curator). The collection now holds nearly one million items and has the best U.S. coin collection in the world, including the Josiah K. Lilly Collection of gold coins. The author describes a number of the holdings, such as the only two British gold sovereigns remaining from those brought to the U.S. in 1838 as part of James Smithsons' bequest.

Subject

  • Clain-Stefanelli, Elvira E (Elvira Eliza)
  • Clain-Stefanelli, Vladimir
  • Josiah K. Lilly Collection
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.) Division of Postal History
  • National Institution for the Promotion of Science
  • National Institute
  • Columbian Institute
  • National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.)
  • National Numismatic Collection
  • United States Mint Collection

Category

Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

Notes

The author is co-curator of the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection. Ten photographs of items from the collection are included.

Contained within

The Numismatist Vol. 109, No. 8 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

August 1996

Topic

  • Smithson Bequest
  • Money
  • Coins
  • Gold coins
  • Museums
  • National Collections
  • Museum curators

Place

Washington (D.C.)

Physical description

p. 934-940

Full Record

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