We are saddened this month by the unexpected passing of our mentor and dear friend, Professor Warren G. Moon. Warren not only brought distinction to the University of Wisconsin, as a dual professor of Art History and of Classics, he did much to promote ancient coins as major works of art. Although his most notable accomplishments were in the field of classical Greek pottery, he maintained close contact with developments in the field of ancient numismatics. A former collector himself, Warren was a long-time member and supporter of the American Numismatic Society and the Archaeological Institute of America. He regularly used slides of Greek and Ro man coins as visual aids in his lectures and related the iconography of coin motifs to other classical media. Warren Moon was a teacher with a special gift and a remarkable flamboyance.
My enrollment at UW in 1984, following retirement from the U.S. Air Force, was a spontaneous act with little sense of direction. The only criteria was that I wanted to be involved somehow in the study of ancient coins. Little did I know that universities no longer specialize in such Humanistic pursuits. Fortunately, Warren Moon was one of the first people that I met on campus. I didn't hold an undergraduate degree in Art History, but a love of ancient coins was enough to induce the professor into taking a chance with another protege.
We hit it off famously, right from the start. Although his inferior in training and experience, and intellect as well, I was his elder by three years and never let him forget it! For a "mature" student, with no background in classical languages, we both knew that a specialization in ancient art would be a difficult undertaking. It was through Warren's indulgence and beneficent efforts that we built a program centered on connoisseurship and collecting. Enlisting the help and cooperation of his close friend and esteemed colleague, Professor Jane Hutchison, the three of us devised an approach that crossed disciplines in a most rewarding way. The result was an M.A. Thesis examining the influence of ancient coins in the life and work of Peter Paul Rubens. This crossing of disciplines allowed me to take all of the classes that an Art History major specializing in ancient art would take. These classes were, of course, taught by Professor Moon. I took them all, and our friendship grew into something very special.
It never occurred to mc that an opportunity for employment might spring out of this endeavor - the job market for Art Historians is dismal to say the least. Under Warren's tutelage I had developed a new understanding of the images on ancient coins, and an appreciation for their symbolism. It was this "enlightened" view that eventually led to the germination of The Celator.
Warren was certainly aware of his role in this chain of events, and I think he harbored some pride and pleasure in watching the publication grow. In November 1989, he co-authored an article with his colleague Professor Paul Plass which appeared exclusively in The Celator. The article was a masterful, and intensive, treatise on the influence of the philosopher Plotinus in late Ro man art.
We will miss Warren, as will literally thousands of students who enjoyed a class with him.
The summer seems to be slipping away at warp speed, and we will soon be basking (or baking) in Orlando. The ANA convention promises to be as ex citing as ever, with a strong lineup of educational events, displays and exhibits. Bill Spengler and I have been rescheduled to speak at the Numismatic Theater on Saturday instead of Sunday. This is bound to improve attendance, since everyone will be rushing over to Ormond Beach on Sunday for the Empire Coins shindig.
If you happen to be in the Minneapolis area on Thursday, July 23. yours truly will be presenting a slide show about Turkoman coins to the Twin City Ancient Coin Club. The club meets at 7:30 pm at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 104 S. Snelling Ave., in St. Paul.
There seems to be a lot of consternation lately about forgeries of ancient coins. The history of forgeries is prob ably as ancient as the coins themselves. Yes, I said "forgeries", not counterfeits, because some collector (human nature being what it is) was undoubtedly being deceived two thousand years ago. Although we responded rather defensively to a reader's comments last month, we do understand the fears and concerns of collectors. While we cannot turn col lectors into authenticators with the stroke of a pen, our next issue will focus specifically on forgeries. with some practical information for the typical collector.
Your questions, comments. concerns and criticisms are welcome and encouraged (we do reserve the right to respond), so take a moment this month to write and share your point of view.