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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

RNS/BNS Library

by Brad Shepherd, BNS/RNS Librarian

It’s an exciting time at the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library as we prepare for major changes at the Warburg Institute.  In case you have not heard, the Warburg is going to close for a period while the building undergoes a complete refurbishment. No firm date for this been set but we need to prepare for work to start in 2019.

When the Warburg Institute reopens, the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library will no longer be housed where it is now. Anyone who has visited our library in the Winter when it is near freezing will consider this an improvement.

The plan is that the books from the RNS/BNS Library will be kept together on open shelves within the main Warburg Institute Library. Once this transition is complete our members will be able to access the books any time the Warburg is open rather than just the Tuesday afternoons that the RNS/BNS Library is currently open. While the books will sit in the Warburg Institute Library, the books from the RNS/BNS Library will remain the property of their respective society.

The Warburg Library is a reference library (i.e. books cannot be taken out of the library or borrowed), so before our library moves we have a lot to do. The books need to be added to the same online catalogue as the rest of the Warburg (called COPAC) so that users can find them. COPAC is a free online merged library catalogue where you can search the catalogues of the UK national libraries, alongside many University libraries, and specialist libraries such as the Warburg Library and the National Art Library at the V&A. Once the RNS/BNS Library is on COPAC you can search our online library catalogue from anywhere in the world and also see other libraries that have numismatic books that we don’t hold.

The RNS/BNS Numismatic Library holds over 9,000 items. Our current electronic library catalogue is incomplete and is only accessible using an old computer in the RNS/BNS Library. So, over the past month I’ve been making sure that all books are catalogued and that we have as much information about each book as possible.

I have also been busy accessioning new publications and items from the Robert Thompson bequest of over 350 books to the BNS. Most of Robert’s books cover tokens and this addition makes the RNS/BNS Library one of the most important collections covering this topic. A full list of new accessions will be made available next week in the first of regular updates to the library holdings. 

Once our records are complete and up to date I will send our catalogue off to a specialist service who will enrich our records, with as much information as possible about each book, to create a “super catalogue.” Where books in the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library cannot be matched we will need to conduct a second round of work to manually add information to the “super catalogue.”

When complete, this “super catalogue” will then be used to add our library records to COPAC.

 

What are the next steps and how you can help

  1. The next step is to conduct a full stock take of all the books we hold.  To prepare for stock taking, please can members return all borrowed books to the RNS/BNS Numismatic library by 30 June 2018.

IMPORTANT: From the 01 June 2018 the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library will be a reference library only and it will not be possible to remove/borrow books from the library.

  1. We are looking for volunteers to help with the stock take, planned for Saturday 14 July 2018, between 10:00 and 16:00 at the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library.  If you can volunteer please email Librarian@britnumsoc.org by 30 June 2018.
  1. The library is a valuable resource for our members. We need some additional volunteers to help keep the library open every Tuesday from noon to 17:00. If you can volunteer one Tuesday afternoon every 6-8 weeks at the library please email Librarian@britnumsoc.org

I’ll keep you up to date on how the library work is progressing and regular lists of newly accessioned books.  If you would like to: donate books to the BNS/RNS Library; to recommend a book to the library; volunteer; or to ask any other RNS/BNS Numismatic Library question please email Librarian@britnumsoc.org

Society Lecture, 22 May: Sophytes: Reappraisal of an enigmatic ruler and the Sophytes coins

The final lecture of the Society series this year, before the summer party and the President’s annual lecture, will take place at 6pm at the Warburg Institute on Tuesday 22nd May. Dr Sushma Jansari of the British Museum will present on the title Sophytes: Reappraisal of an enigmatic ruler and the Sophytes coins. Society lectures are open to all and information about the full current lecture programme can be found here.

 

Paper Abstract:

A hemidrachm bearing the name ‘Sophytes’, linked through from Wikimedia Commons.

Classical sources mention Alexander the Great’s dealings with local rulers in the Punjab including one named Sophytes. Intriguingly, Greek coins minted with the non-Greek name ‘Sophytes’ are found in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. These coins belong to the period between Alexander’s departure from the Punjab in c.325 BC, and Seleucus’ arrival in the East and transfer of territory to Chandragupta following their encounter and treaty in c.305 BC. 19th and early 20th century scholars argued they were minted by the Sophytes associated with Alexander; while recent scholars seek to break this link and argue for a Bactrian provenance.

Yet all these numismatists share a common methodology: they study or publish individual Sophytes coins or small groups of them, meaning that such studies are inherently limited. Nor is a clear methodology employed to research the coins and the literary sources together: e.g., some scholars infer Sophytes’ age when some of the Sophytes coins were minted based purely on the appearance of the portrait on the coins.

My approach is different. I compile the largest group of Sophytes coins that has hitherto been brought together thereby enabling me to study them in detail and in comparison to other contemporary coins found in the northwest of the subcontinent through, for example: iconography; signatures on the coins; weight standards; and die analysis. The resulting identification of the Sophytes named on the coins is not conclusive, but it is based on a holistic and more methodologically sound approach to the source material and, therefore, yields a stronger conclusion than has been put together thus far.