A Numismatic Summer Road Trip #5

Now some of you may be saying, "Hey, this is a NUMISMATIC road trip. Where are the coins?" Well, this week’s attraction in New York City is all about numismatics. And, no, your destination in the Big Apple is not the Stack’s flagship store at 123 W. 57th Street, although we do encourage you to stop by whenever you are in the city (notice how I worked that in, even though it isn’t the focus?).

Perhaps it is a no-brainer, but our destination in New York City is 75 Varick Street, the headquarters of the United States’ oldest numismatic organization: The American Numismatic Society ( The Society was founded in 1858 in New York City by a group of collectors, and has grown to be a major international center for numismatic research. Museum Administrator Joanne Isaac provided the following information (making my blog writing really easy this week):

"The American Numismatic Society has one of the foremost collections of coins, medals and currency.  Visitors can see – by appointment – any of these over 800,000 objects. The ANS Library, which is a non-lending collection, contains the most comprehensive numismatic library in North America.  While the ANS has only a few cases with a limited number of coins and medals on view, the public can see many wonderful ANS coins and medals that are on loan to museum exhibitions around the country and the world. Most notably in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visitors can see almost 300 examples from the ANS’s collection in their Archaic, Classical Greek, Cypriot, Hellenistic, Byzantine, and Roman Galleries. 

"The ANS welcomes members, researchers, students, and visitors to our renowned Harry W. Bass Jr. Library, which houses one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of numismatic literature. The library presently numbers some 100,000 items, including books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, auction catalogs, and microforms, all of which are cataloged.  The Library also features a strong reference collection and a wide selection of non-numismatic periodicals in the areas of archaeology, art history, economic history and other disciplines.  

Calling ahead to set an appointment would be appreciated.

Members: Free (Government photo ID required)

Non-members: US $20/ day (Government photo ID required)

Students with valid student ID: free 

"We have educational and research facilities available to members, international scholars, students and the general public who are interested in studying coins, medals and other treasures in the Society’s superb collection.  For those who wish to see specific examples or conduct research we require an appointment with a curator or the collections manager. 

Members: Free (Government photo ID required)

Non-members: US $50/day (Letter of reference and photo ID required)

Students with valid student ID, and letter of reference from University supervisor: free."

So, we are going to make three suggestions:

  1. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and check out the ANS coins that are currently on display there. Feel free to enjoy the rest of the exhibits as well, you won’t be disappointed. (
  2. Make an appointment and visit the American Numismatic Society Headquarters and the Harry W. Bass Library.
  3. Become a member of the ANS. Who wouldn’t want to support the important work being done there. (Maybe this should be #2, since membership also gains you free access to the library.)

Additional attractions near New York City

Like Boston, New York City offers more attractions than can be listed here, but if you want to do something with a connection to numismatics and have $1,000+ burning a hole in your pocket you can go see Hamilton: An American Musical. If you do, you will be the envy of every teenage girl I know, including my own (and of me, if truth be told). Or, you can always do what we did on our last trip to NYC and just take your picture outside the Richard Rodgers Theater, and keep your eyes peeled in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of the stars.


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