Building a World Class Numismatic Gold Coin Collection The Josiah K. Lilly Collection Part 35

National Numismatic Collection was greatly enhanced by the addition of
the J.K. Lilly gold coin collection when the Smithsonian received it,
making it the finest and most complete ever assembled in the world. How
beneficial that this incredible cabinet resides in our National Capital,
available for all to see and enjoy,

first exhibited in 1968 in a larger hall than the collection had previously
been in, the Josiah K. Lilly Collection was the highlight. It was a wonder to
look at — to see how many different gold coins a collector could

the United States and abroad, there had never been such an array of gold coins of
the world, as those featured in the J.K. Lilly Gold Coin Collection. Scholars and
collectors, historians and government high official made it a point to visit
the exhibit and marvel at its contents. The Lilly Gold Coin Collection was
further enhanced by many thousands of silver, copper, and gold coins of the
United States and the rest of the world, from ancient times until the present. This
magnificent accumulation of money of the world showed the wealth that each country
had and the coinage styles and designs each used. It was a superb display of
coins and documents that illustrated the world’s financial development through
the ages.

National Numismatic Collection remained an important exhibit for the
Smithsonian through the years. About a decade ago the Smithsonian underwent an
extensive renovation. As the exhibits in other parts of the Smithsonian
expanded, it was decided to dismantle the numismatic exhibit, put it away in
the vaults, and when the renovations were complete, take it out and redo it.
As other collections of Americana became larger, the room for the coin exhibit
became smaller. After numismatists made their disappointment known, the
Smithsonian decided to take a medium size room and set it aside for the
numismatic exhibit. To attract people to the exhibit, they made a huge entranceway,
with a giant round steel door, as in a large bank vault, and then decorated the
numismatic exhibit with large showcases, and trays.  The display is
extremely impressive and worth the time and effort to see.

J.K. Lilly Collection provided many of the highlights of the exhibit, including
ancient coins and world coins from a small 1/4 ducat to the largest gold coins of
the emperors of Poland and Transylvania. It also brought to the Smithsonian a
virtually complete set of United States gold coins, and extensive collections
of pioneer, territorial, and pattern coin. It was a great accomplishment for
Josiah K. Lilly to assemble his world-class gold coin collection, and the Stack
family was pleased to have assisted him in this endeavor. For me, and of course
my family, it was an honor and privilege to have been so closely connected with
the formation of the Lilly Collection and its special place in numismatics.

urge you to go to see this outstanding exhibit when you are in Washington D.C.
and set enough time aside to appreciate how this display adds to the
understanding of the history of money through the ages.

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