by Andrew Burnett
It is the sad duty of the Society President each year to report on losses from our Society. This year we have lost, sadly, many prominent figures. In particular, four of our previous medallists have died, whom I would like to commemorate in the order of the year in which they were awarded the medal. This text is edited and excerpted from that given at the RNS AGM on 19th June 2018. A full text of the report as given to the AGM can be found here.
Ted Buttrey (1929-2018) was RNS Medallist as long ago as 1983, and served as the Society’s President from 1989 to 1993. He will be best remembered for his work on Roman Republican coins, the Roman Imperial Coinage of the Flavian period (2007) and his controversial views on modern attempts to reconstruct the size of ancient coinages. He also worked on modern coinages, publishing the guide book to Mexican coins, and, never shy of controversy, engaging in a long dispute over the authenticity of modern US gold bars. He has also been rsponsible for building up the rich collection of sales catalogues, housed in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Ian (Lord) Stewartby (1935-2018) was not only a Member of Parliament and a Minister of the Crown, especially so in those difficult years in Northern Ireland, but was a very distinguished student of the coinage of the British Isles, especially of Scotland. He was awarded the Medal in 1996, and he was also awarded the Society’s Parkes Weber prize as long ago as 1956. He donated his substantial collection of Scottish coins to the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow.
Jean-Baptiste Giard (1932-2018) was for many years curator of Roman coins at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. A somewhat shy and diffident, but generous, man, he produced three substantial volumes of the catalogue of the Roman coins in the French national collection, for which he was awarded our medal in 1998, as well as for his wide range articles on the minting and circulation of Roman coins. He was also interested in what would nowadays be called reception studies, again publishing many articles on the rediscovery of Roman coins played in the early Renaissance,
Peter Spufford (1934-2017) was the most distinguished medieval monetary historian of our times, his work ranging far beyond the coins themselves, and including many seminal books on the topic, not least, Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe (2002), since translated into a number of European languages, the book which triggered his award of the medal in 2005. We were pleased to publish only last year, and not so long before his death, a collection of essays to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of his ground-breaking Money and its Use in Medieval Europe (1988).