Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Who wrote SNG Fitzwilliam?

(answer below... this isn't a real quiz)

I've been trying to write something about the gorgon/EEE fractions of Tegea. SNG Fitzwilliam, which I don't have, dates them to 370 - 300 BC. That date range is odd... it isn't the date range used by the Gardener (BMC), Head (Historia Numorum), Babelon (Traité), and nothing that I know of happened in Tegea in 370 BC.

I wanted to write “so-and-so assigns these to 370-300 BC” and cite SNG Fitzwilliam. I realized I didn't know who edited the six volumes (called parts) that make up SNG Fitzwilliam.

To get the author's name I went to the official SNG site,, which gave me the dates of publication but not the author.

I went to the American Numismatic Society library search, but couldn't find the entry! At all! I'm pretty sure I've read SNG Fitzwilliam at the library, but the online catalog is missing the entry or using an 'alternate spelling'.

Reid Goldsborough has a nice SNG page, but he doesn't list authors.

I am usually good with computers but this one stumped me! I switched to traditional sources, beginning with Clain-Stefanelli's massive 1848 page tome Numismatic Bibliography. Page 148 is devoted to British SNGs but authors are not listed for parts 1-5 of Fitzwilliam. (Authors are given for parts 6-8). No authors are they listed in Daehn Ancient Greek Numismatics: A Guide to Reading and Research. Kroh lists some SNG authors, but not for Fitzwilliam.

Back online, I checked some other large online catalogs (Harvard, NYU, NYPL) but couldn't even find entries for SNG Fitzwilliam. It isn't clear if these libraries lack it. It may merely be hard to find. The British Academy really threw a wrench at librarians by giving the whole series one title. The title includes the word 'Nummorum' which is often misspelled. The volumes have their own names (Fitzwilliam, British Museum, Lockett etc.) and each volume consists of multiple books which would be called volumes but are called 'parts'.

Eventually I thought of checking the numismatic library at the Fitzwilliam itself.

I found entries there for part 1 (or 1-5?), 6, 7, and 8. The author given for parts 1-5 is F. Heichelheim.

It's surprising that so many printed sources neglect to mention SNG author/editors. Is it part of the culture to pretend the volumes write themselves, or are done by loose supervision of anonymous graduate students? Even with the name Heichelheim I found little online.

(The ANS library catalog offered the article “Fritz Moritz Heichelheim and the Fitzwilliam Coin Cabinet” in Hekte volume 2 (1996). I'd never heard of Hekte. The title is hard to search for on Google because it is a common numismatic term (describing an electrum 1/6 stater). The Fitzwilliam library numismatic periodicals web page tells me it's a Canadian journal, and since they haven't received a copy in ten years it's probably defunct. Google Books says it was published by Aureus Investments Gallery. That name no longer appears in the Toronto phone book.)

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