The “California” branch of the ANAS/ANRO put on a wonderful program and dinner. We must thank Aram Manasaryan, Sarkis Kilimjian, Armen Nercissiantz and Andranik Grihikian for their planning and hard work to put this meeting together. On August 11th, Armenian coin and antiquities collectors met to commemorate, learn and display a number of important milestones. The ANAS awarded Y. T. Nercessian their first “Lifetime Achievement Award” for 2016.
Unfortunately, due to a recent surgery, Y. T. was unable to make it. We did however mail to him the beautiful walnut plaque created in his honor. We are still collecting congratulatory responses from around the world and will mail them to him this week. By reading these responses, it is obvious this man is respected and dare I say loved by many throughout the world. ( you may continue to send notes to him via ANAS) Here is his response to the award:
Today (August 23, 2016), I received the plaque that A. Manasaryan mailed to my home address. I thank you Levon, Manasaryan, and particularly Dr. Ch. Hajinian for this recognition. I am greatly honored to receive the “Lifetime Achievement and Distinguished Service” award from the Armenian Numismatic and Antiquities Society. I feel bad that because of my surgery, I was unable to attend your ceremony to honor me at the American Numismatic Association convention held in Anaheim, California, on August 11, 2016.
Y. T. Nercessian
Y.T. has spent 50 years of his life learning, writing and sharing with others, his immense knowledge of Armenian coins, medals, paper money and other items of antiquity. His books are monumental in covering thousands of Armenian coins from he Ancient period thru the Medieval times all the way to current issues. He, along with Wartan Gewenian and George Marderosian, in February 1971, founded the Armenian Numismatic Society and for 40 years edited, wrote and published a 4 times per year journal that educated literally hundreds of collectors world wide. This author being one of them.
Y.T. has known, worked and developed a close friendship with the great Armenian Numismatists world wide, including those no longer with us: Paul Bedoukian, Asbed Donabedian, Jack Guevrekian and many more too numerous to list. We “stand on the shoulders of these numismatic giants”, simply because Y.T. took the time to expose their writings, take their works further with years of dedicated hard work.
It is my opinion that Y. T.’s greatness will be remembered for taking a “closet hobby” and making it a profession by sharing his collection and knowledge with the world. He dusted off and exposed people’s collections. His youthful energy must have been a driving force for those around him. He wrote Commemorative volumes and honored those who came before him. For example, a history of Father Sibilian, the father of Armenian Numismatics.
Now it was our turn to honor him.
Every Armenian family, whether collecting or not, should have his books. Someone, sometime, perhaps a granddaughter or a son in law, will pick up the books Y.T. has written and a light will be lit. Take a moment and show someone a book of his on Armenian coins. This is your inheritance, of greater value then, may I say, money?
His books are available from the Armenian Numismatic Society website: www.armnumsoc.org
These are my favorites:
Catalogue of Armenian coins collected by Y.T. Nercessian ( the largest ever fully published collection)
Armenian Coins and Their Values by Y.T. Nercessian (1995 revolutionized collecting lists all types, numbers in existence etc..)
Numismatic Studies Volume I and II by Y.T. Nercessian
Armenian coin Auctions 1981-2002 by Y.T. Nercessian ( a list of prices realized from most collections which made it to auction world wide. The ANS Journal published further auctions up to 2012)
I could continue on for pages describing Y.T.’s contribution. I also wish to acknowledge all of those who worked with him submitting articles, donating money, working as a team so that all of us now, a generation later, have a great foundation to spring this profession into the 21st century. We the board and membership of the ANAS congratulate you Y.T.
We were also able to convince Frank Kovacs, for the second year in a row, to be our guest speaker:
ARMENIAN COINS OF THE CLASSICAL PERIOD by Frank L. Kovacs (available thru ANAS, CNG)
We were also honored to be able to expose for the first time, Frank L. Kovacs’s book, “Armenian Coinage in the Classical Period”. I waited years for this book. The study of Armenian coins from this period was always incomplete. Great efforts were made, but seemed to fall short. Unidentified coins sat in coin holders. There was a story to be told, and Frank has boldly stepped forward with his story. Every Armenian king (from 400 BC to 250AD) coin is photoed, assigned a time period and written about. What more can be said.
I love this book. I know as Armenians we must always have a critical edge. That is why in ancient times there were three Armenian kingdoms!. However, sometimes it is best to “understand then to be understood”. This book answers many questions if the reader takes the time to study and read what is being subtly explained. Frank is an accomplished and internationally recognized numismatist. He has co-authored many books and articles. He recently had one of the largest and complete reference Numismatic Libraries named after him at Stanford University . The fact that he took the time and amazing effort to produce this book shows a passion for Armenian Numismatics. We had the opportunity at the Anaheim meeting to spend time with him as he signed books, answered questions and explained his approach to the Classical Period: ” Let the coins speak for themselves. The coins will show us the order in which they are to be arranged.” Frank has changed King attributions, added new unknown kings and discovered new, unique coins. Over 300 coins are arranged in a logical order. Armenian Kingdoms of Commagene, Sophene, Armenia Major and Minor, mint marks, dating coins, counter marks etc..
(The book is a must for every Armenian family, again, whether a collector or not. How much of our time is wasted on American trivia. Now is the time to expose your kids and grandkids– they have the curiosity, to Frank’s book.)
Frank acknowledges those whose work he relied upon, Bedoukian, Nercessian, Kim, Vardanyan, Burnett, Dowler, Kagan, and many others. Researching museums and collections worldwide, he had the latest and the best examples of coins.
For myself, I have to say that the finest discovery and highlight in Frank’s book is the first Armenian Satrap/King Gold coin from 401-340 BC. The Persian Satrap of Armenian descent, Orontes lived a wild, political chess game life. The Orontes gold Hekte first attributed by Frank, will help raise a “star” for Armenian Classical coins for the following reasons:
The Orontes dynasty goes back before 700 BC. This Orontes name is famous throughout Armenian history. To have a gold coin attributed to him, is quite an accomplishment.
There are no known Armenian gold coins issued by Armenian kings until the 12th century AD! (There are Roman gold coins with Armenian standards- these sell for $25,000-55,000 in gem condition.)
There are approximately 13 known examples. These should set future auction records for an Armenian coin- perhaps gaining the “respect” of the dealers and ancient coin community. Once the word is out on this coin, I believe a $20,000+ price could be achieved.
Finally, what makes a person an Armenian? Are their Armenian letters on our chest? Or is it because we eat Armenian food and grandma spoke Armenian? I propose that someone who has a passion for things Armenian, truly has the heart of an Armenian. Frank, thru his work has shown this passion. So, at the event we bestowed upon Frank, a new Armenian last name: Frank L. Kovachian!
Also on display at the meeting was a Haymyil from 1673. Haymyil were personalized manuscripts placed next to a sick person while the prayers and gospel readings were read. More about this Haymyil will be published in the Manuscripts section of the ANAS.
The figure on the left represents St. Nerses, what follows is his 12th century prayer, “In faith I confess”. What an encouragement to see our ancestors express their faith in these simple yet profound paintings. Our faith Is the evidence for things unseen. The next image is Christ on the cross with the Virgin Mary. Below the cross is the head of Adam. It shows that as death came through Adam, Christ has brought life to those who believe in Him. The Blood of Christ trickles down on the head of Adam, bringing a cleansing of even his sins.The forgiving power of His Blood knows no limitation of time.
Later that night we celebrated with Armenian and Napa Valley wine and a gourmet dinner at Mortons Steak House. New friends were made: Aram Manasaryan Sarkis Kilimjian, Andranik Grishikian, Armen, Heather and Avery Moloian. Armen Nercissiantz. Others from last year Dr. Dan Pelc, Bob Leonard, Frank Kovacs, Levon Saryan, Chuck Hajinian.
The next day we were able to view the Armen Nercissiantz collection of fine antiquities. Including Urartu medal protective plates with animal gods on them. The Urartians, a conglomeration of independent tribes whose capital was Tushpa in the lake Van area. Some consider them, “early Armenians and have a history that is recorded starting with Assyrian texts of the 12th century BC. By the 7th-8th century, the Armenians would rise up, conquer and assimilate those many tribes. Holding these thin breast plates with their inscribed animals was simply amazing. They were more ceremonial then protective. A Talisman so to speak. The Urartians gods would protect the warrior that wore this.
Levon Saryan found information about this hand written religious commentary book within a partially torn Colophon. The date was determined to be 1699! These are amazingly rare items few have seen or know about. The book showed holes where a silver binding proudly displayed the book. Those who separated the silver from the book, kept the wrong valuable piece.
Also, a 19th century silver decorative belt with Niello style engraving
This is your inheritance, this is the art of your people. They are sending you a message. Is it a greeting? A warning? Playful wisdom? you can decide.
Enjoy! Chuck Hajinian