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A letter from Michael Bates, Curator of the Islamic and South Asian collections at the ANS

       December 21, 1999

       You may have heard that the financial crisis at the American Numismatic Society has led to proposed reductions in the curatorial staff. Arthur Houghton, who just finished his term as our President, is leading a campaign to maintain the Society's long and distinguished service in Islamic numismatics.

       The Society acquired its first Islamic coin in the first year of its existence, 1858. Since 1917, when Edward T. Newell and Howland Wood put their collections and their expertise at the service of the Society, the ANS has been one of the world's leading institutions for Islamic coinage. Howland Wood was succeeded by George C. Miles, Miles by myself, and I have been here 29 years. In all the world, only the American Numismatic Society brings together a great Islamic numismatic collection, a great library for numismatics and for history, and a series of curators who join coin expertise to thorough knowledge of the languages, history and culture of the Muslim world.

       To continue this proud tradition, we need to raise $100,000 in the next thirty days, $500,000 by the end of 2000, and $2,000,000 in the long term, as Arthur Houghton explains in his enclosed letter. With $2,000,000 the position would be permanently endowed as a named chair. If we fail to reach these immediate goals, the future is very uncertain. The good news is that we are already making rapid progress toward our first $100,000 and expect to reach it easily.

       There are two separate funds, one to support current expenses, including salary, and one to endow the position permanently, as indicated on the enclosed form. You may choose to donate to either fund, or both. All gifts are of course deductible. Your help in reaching other supporters is also greatly needed. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or criticisms, we would be glad to hear them. You can contact me as shown above, or Arthur as on his letter, or Dr. Ute Wartenberg, Executive Director of the Society (wartenberg@amnumsoc.org).

       Sincerely yours,

Michael Bates

The On-line Donation Form

       There are two Islamic department funds:

       Fund A is for current expenses, including my salary and departmental expenses. The current fund will continue my position for another year or two while we try to raise additional money.

       Fund B is the endowment fund. Only the interest from this fund can be used to support the department. The principal is restricted and cannot be spent. This fund will help support the Islamic curator position in a few years, when it has grown to $1,000,000 or more.

       I hope that Fund A will be sufficient to allow me to continue working at the ANS, and to continue raising funds to bring the endowment fund to its full level. Please choose carefully whether you want your gift to go to fund A, which will keep me working at the Society, or fund B, which, in a few years, might be sufficient to find a part-time or even full-time curator if the Council is still interested in hiring an Islamic curator at that time.

       Even a small donation, of whatever kind, is a vote in favor of continuing Islamic numismatics at the ANS.

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