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RNS Medallist 2013: Michael Alram

Over the course of the next few weeks the RNS blog will revisit some of the more recent awardees of the RNS medal. Traditionally, the President’s address on the subject of the Medallist, and the Medallist’s response if they were not present to accept in person, were published in the Numismatic Chronicle. This record of the achievements of senior colleagues in the field is now migrating to the web, and these posts are also linked to the list of Medallists under ‘Society Honours and Awards‘. 

In awarding the medal at the Ordinary Meeting of the Society on 17 December 2013, the President, Andrew Burnett, said:

The Royal Numismatic Society’s Medal was instituted in 1883, and is awarded annually to ‘some person highly distinguished for services to Numismatic Science’. The current design for the medal was first presented in 1993, and is made from a design commissioned from Ian Rank-Broadley, the artist responsible, among many other things, for the Queen’s portrait on our coins today. It depicts Hercules struggling with the Nemean lion, a metaphor of the recipient’s long and arduous – but ultimately successful – struggle and achievement.

This year it is a great pleasure to award it to Michael Alram.

Michael Alram

Michael Alram, image used from Coins Weekly

Michael Alram was appointed as Curator for Byzantine, Medieval and Oriental Coins at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in 1986, and in 2008 became the Director of the Coin Cabinet. In that time he has made a significant contribution to scholarship, both with personal research and through teaching, collaboration, and public engagement. His principal interest is Iran and Central Asia; he has contributed articles on the Hunnic coinages of the fourth to eighth centuries, and is presently leading efforts to catalogue pre-Islamic Iranian coinages through the Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum (with Rika Gyselen) – for which he was awarded our own Gilljam Prize – , and Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum (with Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis). A complete list of his work on this field is extremely lengthy. He has actively encouraged new engagement with the neglected periods of Central Asia through the Coins, Art and Chronology International Conferences, both resulting in major edited volumes (in 1999 and 2011). He has established contacts with numismatists both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he has been involved in training Afghan numismatists in Kabul and Vienna. He enjoys a cordial relationship with colleagues at the National Museum of Iran.

His contribution is not limited to Central Asia and Iran. Dr Alram has also published major works on fields: an admirable incursion into Roman coinage (such as Die Münzprägung des Kaisers Maximinus I. Thrax (235/238) in 1989) and a number of studies on medieval coinage, especially that of Austria.

He has been actively involved in teaching, mostly in Vienna, and also at the American Numismatic Society, where he was Visiting Scholar in 1997, and the Institute of Advanced Studies in New Delhi. Alongside teaching there has been a strong engagement with the numismatic community, as Vice-President of ICOMON (1998-2004), Vice-Chair and then Chair of the Numismatic Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He recently became Vice-President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and is Secretary of the International Numismatic Commission, as well as a Senior Fellow of the prestigious ISAW in New York.

He has also shown a strong commitment to what would be called ‘impact’ nowadays in Britain, by organising many exhibitions including “Weihrauch und Seide – Alte Kulturen an der Seidenstrasse” (1996), “7000 Jahre Persische Kunst – Meisterwerke aus dem Iranischen Nationalmuseum Teheran” (2000), “Geld aus China” (2003), and, currently – a brave attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of the Huns – “Das Antlitz des Fremden (2012)” (The Face of a Stranger). Michael: you are no stranger, but among your friends, all of whom are delighted to congratulate on this award of the Society’s medal.

 

In accepting the medal, Michael Alram said:

Sehr geehrter Herr Präsident,

für die hohe Auszeichnung, die mir heute zuteil geworden ist, darf ich mich sehr herzlich bedanken! In den illustren Kreis der Medallists der Royal Numismatic Society aufgenommen worden zu sein, ist für jeden Numismatiker eine ganz besondere  Ehre, und ich habe mich außerordentlich darüber gefreut! 

Meine ersten Kontakte mit britischen Kollegen gehen in das Jahr 1980 zurück, als mich mein Lehrer, Robert Göbl, ans British Museum schickte, um einige Kushanmünzen für sein Corpuswerk zu fotografieren. Als kleiner Student erstmals das berühmte Department of Coins and Medals betreten zu dürfen, war für mich natürlich sehr aufregend, doch der überaus freundliche Empfang durch Robert Carson, der mich mit einer Tasse Tee beruhigte, nahm mir rasch die erste Scheu. Weitergereicht wurde ich an einen jungen Kollegen, Joe Cribb, der mich mit den gewünschten Münzen versorgte. Wir kamen dabei rasch ins Gespräch, und Joe zeigte mir einen Fund aus dem nordwestindischen Raum, in dem er Münzen eines bisher unbekannten indo-parthischen Königs namens Hybouzanes entdeckt hatte. Sprachlos  zeigte ich ihm daraufhin meine jüngste Entdeckung: auch ich war nämlich auf den Namen des Hybouzanes gestoßen, jedoch auf ostiransichen Drachmen aus Sistan. Das war meine erste „große“ numismatische Entdeckung, und Joe hatte mir dazu eine glänzende Bestätigung geliefert.

Dieses Erlebnis stand gleichsam am Beginn meiner wissenschaftlichen Karriere, die ohne die immer enger werdenden Verbindungen zu meinen britischen Kollegen und Freunden wohl anders verlaufen wäre. Sie alle haben somit auch Anteil an dieser Auszeichnung, für die ich noch einmal aufrichtig zu danken habe!

Medallists Remembered (2018)

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 in the Fitzwilliam Museum, image linked from Coins Weekly.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lord Stewartby (left) with Sir Kenneth Calman and Lady Stewartby, donating his collection of over 600 Scottish coins to the Hunterian Museum. Image linked from the Hunterian Museum website.

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, image linked from Coins Weekly.

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

Peter Spufford, pictured in Cambridge.

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).

President’s Report 2018

Andrew Burnett delivering the President's Annual Address, 19th June 2018 at Spink's. Image by Sushma Jansari.

Andrew Burnett delivering the President’s Annual Address, 19th June 2018 at Spink’s. Image by Sushma Jansari.

by Andrew Burnett, President

This report is modified 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.

I am glad to be able to report  that the Society in 2018 is in a good state, both in terms of its finances and its activities. As the annual accounts show, the Society has now received very substantial legacies from the late Marion Archibald and, in particular, John Casey.

I am very grateful to all the members of Council who give their time and expertise so freely to the Society. This year, three members are retiring – Graham Barker, Alex Magub and Max Tursi. In addition Sushma Jansari is stepping down as one of our Secretaries, after several years of cheerfully organising our grant programme and social media communication, among other things; Chris Howgego and Roger Bland are also completing their quinquennial term as Vice-Presidents, and I would thank them for all the support they has given me and the Society over that period. The officers of the Society take on the main burden of running the Society and they, as all members of Council, take on their functions voluntarily and in addition to their other activities; and they are not, of course, paid anything at all. I am especially grateful to the other Secretary Megan Gooch, who, together with Sushma and our new Treasurer, Peter Knapton, run the Society. They shoulder the administrative load (with the support of Henry Lythe), and I am grateful to them not just for their efficiency and effectiveness, but also for their seemingly endless patience and continuous geniality. Over the last year Peter has done a huge amount of work in improving the way our finances are organised and run. He has been replaced as Independent Examiner by Stefano Mazzola, and we are very grateful to him for taking on the role.

I would also like to thank the other members of the Finance and Investment sub-committee – Tristan Hillgarth, Eric McFadden and Chris Howgego, who so generously lend their expertise to ensuring the proper supervision of the Society’s funds. On their advice, Council have taken one major decision this year, to switch the Society’s investments from M&G to Smith and Williamson, a well-established and regarded investment manager, as this will allow the Society’s reserves to be actively managed.

I am also very grateful for Brad Shepherd who is taking on the role, with both Societies (the RNS and the BNS), of joint Hon. Librarian. Changes are being made to the way we run our library, and Brad is throwing himself into them with enormous energy. Our library is a priceless asset and for years access to it has been impaired by the absence of an online catalogue and by the very short opening hours. I reported last year on discussions with the Warburg Institute, and, though they were delayed by the appointment of a new Director of the Warburg, matters have now been almost finalised. Under the new arrangements the new catalogue of the books will appear online in the Warburg’s website and on COPAC, and the library will be run by the staff of the Warburg, allowing it to be open 6 days a week. All Fellows will be entitled to become readers of the Warburg library as a whole, with access to its whole stock of books and its many electronic resources. There will be a difficult transition period over the next year or so, and there will be one down side, inasmuch as the books will not be borrowable. But after the Warburg moves back into its refurbished premises in about two years, we hope that the new system will be up and running, and that the books will enjoy not only better premises and care, but also be available to a much wider range of readers, vastly increasing the availability of numismatic publications to both the academic and wider community.

The academic programme of lectures has, as usual, been a rich and varied diet, ranging from the classical period to the 21st century.  It would be invidious to single out any individual papers, but we have of course particularly enjoyed hearing our medallist, Professor Lutz Ilisch, from Tübingen. The recent initiative of having a student lecture was fulfilled with great accomplishment this year with a lecture by Denise Wilding. Applications for this slot continue at a very healthy level, a good sign for the future of the subject.

Richard Ashton, Marcus Phillips and Susan Tyler-Smith continue as editors of the Numismatic Chronicle, which seems to get bigger and better every year.  Kris Lockyear and Susan Tyler-Smith edit the Special Publications, and several titles are in the pipeline, although none has actually been published this year.

Every year we award a medal and a number of prizes. This year the Society’s medal has been awarded to Johan van Heesch of the Royal Library of Belgium. The award ceremony will take place in December.

This year’s prizes have been awarded as follows:

The Lhotka Memorial Prize (for the best publication for the ‘elementary student of numismatics’) has had two winners: Dario Calomino, Defacing The Past – Damnation and Desecration in Imperial Rome (2016), and Peter Thonemann, The Hellenistic World: Using Coins as Sources (Guides to the Coinage of the Ancient World; 2016).

No award was made last year for the Parkes Weber Prize (for the best essay by a young author), but we had several applications this year and decided to make two awards, to George Green and Charlotte Mann.

The Shamma Prize for a publication on Islamic numismatics, awarded biennially, was shared between.Hassan al-Akra, L’histoire de Baalbek à l’époque médiévale d’après les monnaies (636-1516), (Beirut/Damascus, Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2016); and Arianna d’Ottone Rambach, La collezione di Vittorio Emanuele III – Monete arabe (Bollettino di Numismatica 35, 2015).

We have been able to make a number of financial grants, as usual, from the funds we hold which have been very generously donated to the Society to promote research, and we are very grateful to the donors. Next year we will add the new Casey and Archibald Funds, which will enable us, as a result of John’s generosity, to make more generous grants than has been hitherto possible.

RNS President’s Lecture and Annual Summer Party, 19 June

The final Society meeting of the year will take place on Tuesday 19th June at Tuesday 19th June 2018 at Spink & Son Ltd., 69 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4ET. The Society President, Andrew Burnett, will present on the title Coinage in Rome and the Roman Provinces V. This lecture accompanies the Annual Society Summer Party. Please join us for drinks, refreshments and a summary of the business of the Society in 2017/18, as well as ballots for Society posts in 2018/19.

RNS/BNS Joint Library Accessions: May 2018

Newly Accessioned books in May 2018

Tiles in Bold are part of the Robert Thompson bequest to the BNS

Roman

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

B1059

Bland, R

Coin Hoards and Hoarding in Roman Britain. AD43-c.498

2018

B1060

Bricault, L , Burnett, A (ed), Drost, V (ed) & Suspène, A (ed)

Rome et les Provinces: Monnayage et Histoire

2017

B1061

Burnett, A, Amandry, M & Carradice, I

Roman Provincial Coinage: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 B.C.-A.D.69) v. 1, Part 1

2006

B1062

Burnett, A, Amandry, M & Carradice, I

Roman Provincial Coinage: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 B.C.-A.D.69) v. 1, Part 2

2006

B1063

Burnett, A, Amandry, M & Carradice, I

Roman Provincial Coinage: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 B.C.-A.D.69) v. 2, Part 1

1999

B1064

Burnett, A, Amandry, M & Carradice, I

Roman Provincial Coinage: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 B.C.-A.D.69) v. 2, Part 1

1999

B1065

Nad, M

Kamenica: A Hoard of Roman silver coins from the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

2016

B1066

Bilic, T

Coins from the Roman Republic in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

2016

B1067

Calomino, D

Defacing the Past: Damnation and Desecration in Imperial Rome

2016

B1068

Bland, R

Early Roman and Byzantine Gold Coins found in Britain and Ireland

2010

B1069

Cloke, H.J.

The London Mint of Constantius & Constantine

2015

British

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

C1194

Pudill, R & Eyre, C

Tribes and Coins of Celtic Britain

2005

C1195

Moore, N.E.A.

The Decimalisation of Britain’s Currency

1973

C1196

Gould, J.D.

The Great Debasement. Currency and the Economy in Mid-Tudor England

1970

C1197

Withers, P & B

The Token Book. 17th Century, 18th Century and 19th Century Tokens and their Values

2010

C1198

Moorhead, S, Booth, A. & Bland, R

The Frome Hoard

2010

C1199

Adams, S.J.

The Essex Collection. Post 1820 Tokens, Tallies & Medallions

2014

C1200

Rice, G

Irish Tavern Tokens – John Sweeney Collection

2013

C1201

Rains, D.R.

Co-Operative Checks & Tokens

2014

C1202

Young, D

Tickets for Entertainment in 18th Century and 19th Century London

2014

C1203

Young, D

Tickets, Checks & Passes of Somerset. An Update.

2014

C1204

Breingan, R

Scottish Transport Tokens

2009

C1205

Burnett, A & Simpson, R

Roman Coins, Money, and Society in Elizabethan England: Sir Thomas Smith’s On the Wages of the Roman Footsoldier (Numismatic Studies)

2017

C1206

Abramson, T

Sceatta List – Second Edition

2017

C1207

Naismith, R

Medieval European Coinage: Volume 8. Britain and Ireland c.400-1066.

2017

C1208

Screen, E

Norwegian Collections Part II: Anglo-Saxon and Later British Coins, 1016-1279 (Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles: 66)

2015

C1209

Williams, G

Early Anglo-Saxon Coins

2008

C1210

Graham-Campbell, J

The Cuerdale Hoard and Related Viking-Age Silver & Gold from Britain & Ireland in the British

2011

C1211

Edge, B

Tokens and Commemorative Medals of Cheshire Since 1820

2008

C1212

Mason, S

Matthew Boulton: Selling what all the World desires

2009

C1213

Owens, T

Good for One Pennyworth of Refreshment: Tokens of Coffee Taverns, Cocoa Houses & Coffee Palaces

2016

C1214

Farthing, C.R.S.

Illustrated Catalogue of the Tokens, Medallions and Banknotes of Cumbria

2013

European

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

D1185

Bogucki, M (ed)

Fruhmittelalterliche Munzfunde Aus Polen II: Pommern

2016

D1186

Lane, P

The Coin Cabinet: A Cultural History of the Numismatic Collection in the Art Gallery of South Australia

2017

D1187

Depeyrot, G

Le Numéraire Carolingien : Corpus des Monnaies

2017

D1188

Bogucki, M (ed)

Fruhmittelalterliche Munzfunde Aus Polen V

2016

D1189

Day, W, Matzke, M & Saccocci, A

Medieval European Coinage, Vol. 12. Italy (I) (Northern Italy)

2016

D1190

Talvio, T.

Coins and Banknotes of Finland

1987

D1191

Frynas, J.G.

Medieval Coins of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland

2015

D1192

Dimnik, M

Medieval Slavic Coinages in the Balkans

2008

D1193

Leroy, B

Les Monnayages Merovingiens Armoricains

2008

D1194

Svensson, R

Renovatio Monetae: Bracteates and Coinage Policies in Medieval Europe

2013

D1195

Winter, H

Numismatik und Geldgeschichte Im Zeitalter der Aufklarung

2015

Asia

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

E600

Goodwin, T

The Standing Caliph Coinage

2018

Periodicals

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

F2403

British Numismatic Journal: Vol 87

2017

F2404

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 48

2000

F2405

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 53

2007

F2406

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 52

2006

F2407

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 56

2014

F2408

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 51

2003

F2409

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 49-50

2001

F2410

Folia Archaeologica, Vol. 55

2013

F2411

The Numismatic Chronicle, Vol. 177, 2017

2017

General

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

G0669

Cunnally, J

Images of the Illustrious. The Numismatic Presence in the Renaissance

1999

G0700

Dekesel, C

A Bibliography of 18th Century Numismatic Books, Vol. I, A-B

2009

G0701

Dekesel, C

A Bibliography of 18th Century Numismatic Books, Vol. II, C-GN

2011

G0702

Dekesel, C

A Bibliography of 18th Century Numismatic Books, Vol. III, GO-K

2013

G0703

Dekesel, C

A Bibliography of 18th Century Numismatic Books, Vol. III, L-N

2015

G0704

MacGregor, A

Sir John Evans, 1823-1908: Antiquity, Commerce and Natural Science in the Age

2008

Medals

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

H0388

Platt, J.J.

British Historical Medals of the 17th Century: Medallists, Books, Authors, Collectors, Book-Sellers

2017

H0389

Attwood, P

Medals of Dishonour

2009

H0390

Platt, J.J.

The English Civil Wars: Medals, Historical Commentary & Personalities, Vol. II

2013

H0391

Platt, J.J

The English Civil Wars: Medals, Historical Commentary & Personalities, Vol. I

2013

H0392

Eimer, C

British Commemorative Medals and Their Values

2010

H0393

Whittlestone, A

Royal Commemorative Medals 1837-1977, Vol. 8

2012

Celtic

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

M0055

de Jersey, P

Coin Hoards in Iron Age Britain

2014

Paper

Ref. No.

Author(s)

Title

Published

P0050

Linardakis, A

Greek Banknotes, A Journey 1822-2002

2005

P0051

Depeyrot, G

Les Assignats (1790-1795)

2009