‘Found Money’ in Philadelphia?

by William van Ornum

The treasury is in arrears, but money will be treasured this week at the World’s Money Fair, held by the American Numismatic Association (ANA), August 7–11, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Admission is $6.

Numismatics is the study of coins, medals, and paper currency. Articles in The Numismatist frequently highlight a love of U.S. history. The August 2012 issue discusses “Coins as Wartime Art,” in which servicemen and servicewomen in World War II engraved phrases such as “12/7/41” on the back of silver coins, kept autographed dollar bills from comrades who later died in battle, or inscribed messages to a sweetheart on a coin sent home via snail mail. Another feature is on Teddy Roosevelt, who, in his desire for greater artistic beauty on coins, persuaded Augustus Saint-Gaudens to prepare designs for gold coin issues featuring a bust of Liberty adorned with a native American headdress — paired with an eagle perched atop bundles of arrows and olive branches.

Whitman Publishing will receive the ANA’s Exemplary Service Award for books merging American history with the coins themselves. An example here from A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, by Q. David Bowers: “Philadelphia, the ‘mother mint,’ is where all dies were made, sometimes not quite right, with punching mintmarks at crazy angles and more, perhaps technically reflecting the loss of quality control, but for the numismatist yielding a garden of delightful varieties. Philadelphia also turned out a brilliant cascade of sparkling silver dollars by the millions.”

ANA and the American Numismatic Society, working together,  present a museum showcase of the U.S.’s first coins: complete issues of these from 1792–1796, produced at the Philadelphia Mint.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit. This year’s event features an auction by Stack’s Bowers Galleries, more than 1,000 numismatic dealers, the ANA Museum Showcase exhibiting valuable and beautiful coins and paper money globally, a Mint Promenade with mints from all over the globe, the Collector Exhibits area, educational presentations, and special events including the ANA’s annual awards banquet.

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