By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek …..
Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, who has served as the executive director of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) since 1999, will be transitioning to a new research curator role at the numismatic non-profit organization headquartered in New York City on November 1. She announced her resignation from her post in the current issue of ANS Magazine.
“This is a refocus in my career,” Dr. Wartenberg Kagan tells CoinWeek. “Like a university professor might assume a background research role that helps the larger team, I’ll continue to support the ANS in everything I do,” she explains, clarifying that she is not retiring or taking an “emeritus” role.
“I’ll probably be even busier than I am now.”
Filling her shoes will be current ANS Deputy Director Dr. Gilles Bransbourg, who has a background in history, economics, and business management and administration. A Roman coin specialist, Bransbourg is, according to the outgoing executive director, “very well qualified.”
Dr. Wartenberg Kagan will indeed remain active in her professional numismatic pursuits, assisting the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF) Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force with the study and detection of counterfeit coinage and related matters.
“Counterfeit coins go hand in hand with smuggled coins,” she notes. “I’ll also be involved in other research areas, too, including numismatic archeology. I want to do work both here in the states and internationally.”
She also has other plans, which include completing more of the numerous books she has authored.
“Many are well on their way to being finished books.”
Among these is a book on the coinage of the Thessalian city of Pherae, a work that will cover the role of coinage in one of Greece’s most productive agricultural regions. She will also continue research and writing for the popular Coin Hoards series that examines hoards of ancient Greek coins.
Moreover, she will keep working on a major project she and her ANS team assumed in 2018: the settlement of more than 50,000 items from the Medallic Art Company (MACO). Founded in New York in 1907, MACO produced a variety of medals and awards, including the Pulitzer Price Medal, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, and many official medals for various presidential inaugurations. After the company went bankrupt in 2016, the future of the invaluable archival items from the MACO holdings was uncertain until Dr. Wartenberg Kagan and the ANS stepped into to ensure the items would be preserved for study and reference by current and future generations of numismatists.
“It’s a very large project and I intend to find space for everything we have acquired.”
Dr. Wartenberg Kagan has spent most of her career working in museums, having served as the curator of Greek coins in London’s British Museum from 1991 through 1998 before joining the ANS as executive director 20 years ago. She has overseen many successful numismatic exhibitions, including the popular Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars: The History of Money, which premiered at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2002 and attracted more than 30,000 visitors.
While an expert in ancient and world coinage, she is passionate about U.S. coinage. She was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (CCCAC) in 2002 and later the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), for which she serves as chairman from 2003 to 2004. She has additionally served since 2008 as a Trustee of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial to preserve and promote the work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose famous design for the $20 gold double eagle is widely considered one of the most beautiful coins ever created.
Dr. Wartenberg Kagan was educated in Saarbrücken, Germany, and earned a doctorate in papyrology from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
She regularly speaks on a variety of numismatic topics, covering a range of subjects from the joys of coin collecting to the controversial matter of conflict antiquities in war-torn nations such as Syria. She has written more than 50 books and articles, including After Marathon: War, Society, and Money in Fifth-Century Greece (1995). When she is not expanding the breadth of the world’s numisamtic knowledge, she enjoys working on her farm with her husband and daughter.