|Should you go?
|Best thing I saw or learned
|In addition to coins, the Numismatic Society has some paper money, including this 1855 Bank of NY note. It’s been a while since I heard the phrase “queer as a three dollar bill” but I never thought I’d actually see one.
The American Numismatic Society is the center for all things related to the world of coins and coin collecting. Their offices in Tribeca are literally a vault, with a heavily secured air lock-style entry way. There’s a noticeable difference in air pressure when you go in, too.
As well it should be. They have a very large reference collection and heaven only knows what all that coinage might be worth.
And yet, for reasons I’m unclear on, they nonetheless have a small display area of about four cases open to the public. Any schmoe can wander in off the street, show a photo ID and sign in, and take a look.
There are definitely some interesting things, and everything is well-labeled and explained. They have commemorative medals as well as currency, and among the more exotic types of money on display are some examples of African iron currency, which tended to be very difficult to carry around in your pocket.
I think the Society’s exhibit is too small to strongly recommend a visit. But it does offer a brief-but-thorough overview of coinage through the ages, going all the way back to a cuneiform tablet. If you’re at all curious or you collected coins as a kid you might enjoy dropping by.
|75 Varick Street, 11th Floor, Manhattan
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