Ute Wartenberg-Kagan has been leading the American Numismatic Society as executive director since 1999. In the current issue of the ANS Magazine, she officially announced that she will resign from her office on 1 November 2019. Her successor will be the current deputy director of the ANS, Gilles Bransbourg. In addition to his in-depth knowledge of numismatics, he has a background in business management and administration; these skills will come in handy in the position of executive director of such a huge society with so many employees.
Ute Wartenberg will remain with the ANS. She will take on a position as research curator in order to devote her time entirely to research, especially in the field of Greek numismatics.
20 Years as Executive Director of the ANS
Dr. Ute Wartenberg-Kagan comes from Saarland in Germany where she obtained her first training. She studied ancient history with a focus on numismatics, Greek philology and classical archaeology at the University of Saarbrücken. In 1987, she went as a Rhodes Scholar to the University of Oxford, where she earned her doctorate with a dissertation on a subject from the field of Papyrology in 1990.
In 1991, after the sudden death of Martin Price, she had the opportunity to take on the position as curator for Greek coins at the British Museum. In this position, she distinguished herself not only among scholars but also in the international world of auction houses and coin dealers. The reason was that the British Museum’s extensive collection was the ideal opportunity to compare questionable coins with pieces that can be clearly identified as originals. It did not take long for Ute Wartenberg to make a name for herself as a competent consultant that had no hesitation when it came to expressing an unpopular truth and advocating it eloquently.
Exactly this ability caused the board and the leading supporters of the ANS to ask her if she was willing to take over the leadership of the ANS in the position of executive director. Back then, the traditional society experienced a sharp decline in memberships. The costs consumed the money raised with donations. Economic consequences were foreseeable. Ute Wartenberg’s first task was to rehabilitate the society, to find new sources of income and to make the old structures fit for the 21th century.
Even though she was controversial when she took over the office, Ute Wartenberg managed to open up the society and to secure its future. In order to do so, she had to make several brave decisions. But she never lacked courage, imagination or foresight.
It is thanks to Ute Wartenberg that the ANS no longer owns a permanent museum but has an online presence instead, that there is hardly any large exhibition taking place in the US without loans from the ANS, that the ANS is not only home for the research on ancient coins but also on US and modern coins.
Ute Wartenberg will remain an active member of the numismatic world. She just assumed the position of Chair of the ICOMON. She looks forward to having more time for her research, especially with regard to the field of early Greek coinage and the detection of counterfeits.
If you would like to read Bernhard Weißer’s German eulogy in honour of Ute Wartenberg on the occasion of her being awarded the GIG prize of honour, take a look at this article.
In 2014, CoinsWeekly visited the ANS.
Ute Wartenberg also promotes the idea of giving more room to modern medals. Therefore, she initiated the acquisition of the archives of the Medallic Art Company.