Thursday 18 March 2010

The American Numismatic Society Code of Ethics

The American Numismatic Society is a museum and research institute devoted to the study of coins from all periods and cultures. It is a privately funded 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supported by membership fees and contributions, sales of publications, and foundation, corporate and government support. It has a number of activities and an educational programme, and a coin collection:
The ANS' numismatic collection, estimated at approximately 800,000 coins and related objects, is of international caliber, rivalled only by the largest state collections of Europe. Abounding in both large study collections and great rarities, the Society's cabinets are particularly strong in Ancient Greek, where the Hellenistic section is particularly notable; Roman Republican period issues; Islamic, of exceptional breadth and depth; Far Eastern, particularly the Chinese material; Latin American, developed over the past 40 years; and United States, both the Colonial series and Federal issues, as well as private coinages. The Collection Database is available online.
What however it does not seem to have is any kind of code of ethics by which its members agree to adhere (at least I could not find one on their website). Perhaps they feel there is no need for ethics in collection of coins?


John Muccigrosso said...


An ANS-supplied Google search for "ethics" on their website reveals


"The ANS supports the spirit and intent of the UNESCO convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illegal Import, Export, and Transfer of Cultural Property of November 14, 1970. The Society will not purchase or exhibit numismatic objects or other items that the Society reasonably suspects to have been unlawfully removed from archeological sites, stolen from public or private collections, removed from their country of origin in contravention of that country's laws declaring them state property or otherwise imported in contravention of the laws of the United States."

Paul Barford said...

yes John you are right (I cannot think why that did not pop up when was looking). I was more interested in a Code which obliges members to a particular manner of doing things. I wonder what happens then if somebody has built up a spiffing collection of Greek coins all bought from Messers Grabbet and Runn or Blackhawks Ltd the two dodgiest dealers in town. Do the ANS really (really) turn down an offer from his heirs to donate it? How do they know who bought what from whom? But thanks anyway. Are you a member John of the ANS?

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