How Do You Move $100 Million In Coins in Daylight Through NY? Quietly, and With Heavy Weapons
News this week in the world of rare coins & notes is the relocation of the ANA (American Numismatic Association) from one part of New York to another.
The society apaprently bought a building in NY in 1998 for US$6.5 million, and reopened its doors to scholars in 2004. Significant renovations were required, and their cost proved too great for an exhibition space to be provided as well, hence the decision to relocate.
The value of the collection is of course priceless (many items are irreplacable), however the figure of US$100,000,000 has been mentioned. The interesting thing about the story is that it wasn't done via armoured cars, but in standard moving vans!
“The idea was to make this as inconspicuous as possible,” said Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of the American Numismatic Society. “It had to resemble a totally ordinary office move.”
Before you think Mr Kagan and his advisors have completely lost their marbles, keep this quote in mind - from one of the police officers seconded to supervising the move:
“It’s our first coin collection,” said a New York police detective, Gregory Welch, of Emergency Service Unit Truck One, which shadowed the move with hidden heavy weapons “just in case,” along with patrol cars from the First Precinct. He said his unit was accustomed to protecting Federal Reserve gold transfers and gem shipments in the Midtown diamond district.
Heavy weapons - now that's what I'm talkin' about! I can just picture a bazooka going off when a few Italian movers are arguing with a Sudanese taxi driver about getting the hell out of their way - a scene right out of the popular Die Hard movie series. Or a few Eastern European terrorists throwing gas cannisters when an aged numismatic librarian is just about to put a priceless antiquity into it's new home.
The full story can be read on the excellent NY Times website here, strangely enough the journo that covered the story didn't raise the Bruce WIllis analogy.
In the words of Tony Soprano - fuhgettaboutit!