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RNS Lecture and Christmas Party, 18th December

Spink and Sons Ltd., 6pm, 18th December

On Tuesday 18th December the Society will hold its final meeting before Christmas. The Society Medal will be awarded, before an address by the medallist, John van Heesch. This will be followed by the annual Christmas party, with drinks and nibbles. The medallist will speak to the following topic:

A new representation of the Antwerp mint (AD 1625)

In the first quarter of the 17the century the mint at Antwerp (Brabant, Belgium) was one of the most productive ones in northern Europe. Millions of gold coins and large silver ‘thalers’ were struck during the reign of Albert & Isabella, to whom Philip II of Spain handed over the power over the Netherlands in 1598. In this talk, a new and exceptionally detailed image of the Antwerp mint, cast or embossed out of silver, will be presented. It shows the gift of a presentation piece (piedfort) to the sovereigns visiting the mint (1615) and possibly also a portrait of the famous painter Rubens, as well as the interior of the building with particular attention to the process of fabricating coin blanks. It illuminates the complexity of this process and shows a range of tools that are rarely –some even only here- represented. This object remained unknown in numismatic literature and its interpretation is facilitated using 17th century dictionaries as the one published by Furetière in 1690, that contains clear descriptions of tools used by the moneyers. As everywhere, also the minters of Brabant formed a privileged community exempt from taxes and with their own jurisdiction. Our silver guild representation of the Antwerp mint was made in honor of one of their leaders (the “provoost”), Balthasar van Nispen, who left money in his will to manufacture this wonderful and prestigious object.

RNS Grant Report: Roman Provincial Coinages under Gordian III (AD 238-244) and Philip the Arab (AD 244-249)

By Marguerite Spoerri Butcher, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Vienna, outside the Kunsthistorisches Museum

The Roman Provincial Coinage series, initiated by Dr Andrew Burnett (London) and Dr Michel Amandry (Paris), intends to provide an authoritative account of all the coins minted in the provinces of the Roman empire. These coins provide a unique insight into local politics, culture and religion of the eastern, Greek part of the empire. So far, five volumes have been published on paper since 1992 and a lot of the material is now available online at: http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk.

An international collaborative approach has been chosen in order to address coinages minted under Gordian III and Philip the Arab, covering the period between AD 238 and 249 and resulting in the publication, both online and on paper, of RPC volumes VII.2 and VIII. The team consists (in alphabetical order) of M. Amandry, R. Bland, K. Butcher, J. Mairat, J. Nollé, J. Nurpetlian, U. Peter and M. Spoerri Butcher. Together with J. Mairat, I am responsible for the editorial work on the dataset and the printed volumes.

Thanks to the generous support of the RNS (with funds provided by the CNG Roman and Byzantine Fund and the Martin Price Fund for Ancient Greek Numismatics), I was able to go to Vienna in October 2018 and record material for our team of researchers. The Münzkabinett at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is one of the 10 core collections of the RPC series and I received a very warm welcome by Dr Klaus Vondrovec, curator of the collection of ancient coins. During the week I worked there, I am extremely pleased to say that I was able to photograph and record all the coins needed for our research project, a whopping 1,981 specimens! Holdings for Thrace, Moesia Inferior, but also Lydia and Phrygia proved to be quite rich.

Vienna, Institut für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte

I also spent two days at the Institut für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte (University of Vienna). The institute, directed by Prof. R. Wolters, holds a very rich card index derived from sales catalogues. I could photograph all the cards pertaining to the reign of Philip the Arab, and half of the ones of the reign of Gordian III (3,700 in total). This will constitute an excellent documentation that we can easily complement with holdings from the Sackler library in Oxford.

Vienna is not only a beautiful and vibrant city, but also hosts a variety of numismatic talks and events throughout the year. While I was there, I was able to attend the public lecture that Dr W. Fischer-Bossert (Austrian Academy of Sciences) gave on ‘Hermeneutik griechischer Münzbilder’ as part of his habilitation examination. Congratulations to Dr Fischer-Bossert for the award of his new academic degree! 

Society Lecture, 20 November: Medals, Museums & the First World War – a case study from Leeds

Please note: this lecture will take place at 6pm at Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2TH

On 20th November the Society welcomes Lucy Moore, from Leeds to talk about medallic display in the commemoration of World War One.

Abstract:

Leeds Museums & Galleries is the UK’s largest local authority museum service. Planning for the delivery of the 1914-18 centenaries began in 2012 and in 2013 a Project Curator was appointed to work across all nine sites and across collections with a focus on public engagement. The medals as part of the wider numismatic collection is one of the strongest areas relating to the First World War that we have.

As part of our centenary activities we wanted to think about new ways we can engage people with our medal collection – inspiring people with the object as well as the story behind it. One of our largest projects was to create a new digital learning interactive enabling teachers and pupils to learn about both the medal and the awardee [www.mylearning.org/ww1medals]. In creating playful and informative online experiences, people from across the world have engaged with our Leeds-based, in secure storage, medals collection.

Our programme also included conservation volunteers, displaying medals to illustrate the global reach of the war, using medals in outreach with communities and research into our Leeds-built medal press. This paper highlights how we’ve worked with medals both on and off-site to get people excited about the centenary of the First World War.

Confirmation of New Council for 2018-19

The Royal Numismatic Society “is the UK’s foremost society for numismatics – the study of coins, medals and related currency items.” 

It promotes numismatics by:

  • publishing the Numismatic Chronicle and Special Publications
  • distributing grants for numismatic research and training
  • awarding prizes for publications on numismatics
  • awarding the RNS medal for exceptional contribution to numismatic scholarship
  • awarding Honorary Fellowship for exceptional contribution to numismatics
  • supporting the annual RNS/BNS conference on numismatics
  • providing a regular series of lectures on numismatics
  • encouraging young scholars (student lecture, Lhotka Prize)

All Council Members have specialist expertise and represent different groups of the broader numismatic community. Everyone serving on Council does so on a voluntary basis, and their contribution to the RNS is appreciated.

Following the first meeting of the Society in the academic year 2018/19, the new Council can be confirmed. Further information about the roles and duties of the Council can be found here. The new composition of the Council is as follows:

President: Roger Bland

Vice Presidents: Helen Wang and Martin Allen

Secretaries: Megan Gooch and Henry Flynn

Treasurer: Peter Knapton

Librarian: Brad Shepherd

Members of Council: 

Rebecca Darley

Tristan Hillgarth

Claire Rowan

Matthew Ball

Simon Glenn

Abigail Kenvyn

Richard Morel

Kris Lockyear (Editor, SPs)

Marcus Phillips (Editor NC)

New President

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-19,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

Roger Bland (left) and Andrew Burnett (right) – the incoming and retiring Presidents at the RNS end-of-year dinner, June 2018. Photograph by Sushma Jansari.

The new year brings not just a new programme of meetings but also bigger changes. After five years as President of the Society, Andrew Burnett has retired from this post and is replaced by Roger Bland. As a medallist of the Society, further information can be found about Roger’s career and numismatic interests here. The RNS is grateful to Andrew for his leadership and immense efforts on behalf of numismatics in the UK and beyond. His generosity towards and encouragement of junior scholars has been particularly appreciated, reflected not just in his personal interest but also in innovations such as the introduction of early career lectures in the RNS schedule of meetings, and changes to the deadline for submission of the Parkes Weber Prize (now December of each year) to fit better with assignment calendars of students in Higher Education. The Society, in turn, welcomes Roger to his Presidency and we all look forward to going forward under his leadership in the coming years.