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ACE supporting the Numismatic Community
In ACE's six years of existence, we have put well over 50,000 genuine ancient coins in the hands of nearly 35,000 students and teachers in approximately 550 school classes and educational venues. Please read the following which was specially compiled for the State Department meeting on the CPAC Cyprus hearings, by ACE's Souzana Steverding, Mark Lehman and Kevin Ingleston.
Cyprus -KUPROS- KIBRIS
by its very location has since time immemorial been the crossroads of the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus has always been a place of trade and mingling, as well as invasion – the coins which are found in Cyprus reflect this meeting of a multiplicity of cultures. So, not only are we talking about regulations on the relatively smaller amount of coins which could be called “genuinely Cypriot” but about the coins of many other cultures and empires – Achaemenid, Ptolemaic, Seleukid, Roman, Persian, Byzantine, Crusader and Ottoman. This indisputable fact arising from Cyprus’ pivotal geographic position would render any ban on so called “Cypriot” coins not merely confusing but constricting and unclear.
ACE supports the free movement of legally obtained coins and therefore we raise the strongest possible protest against any inclusion of coins in trade restrictions. We are dedicated to using coins in supplementing education. To illustrate our work and to reinforce our opposition to the proposed restrictions we give below a summary of the wide variety of ways in which we use coins for educational purposes.
PART A - Summary
Ancient Coins for Education, Inc. - “ACE” – was founded as an all-volunteer, not-for-profit, charitable educational organization to receive donations of ancient coins from private collectors and dealers and distribute them along with scholastic materials, on-line help, and in-person visits from numismatists, to interested schools and educational venues of all types. From our very inception, ACE’s founding members and Directors chose to have our By Laws reflect the principle that no member should profit financially from its operation.
ACE offers its participants a variety of programs and special projects, tailored to the age and educational level of the participating students. The range of those for whom we provide support runs from elementary level, through middle and high schools ( our main focus) to college students. In addition we support special workshops and seminars as well as after school and summer programs. Our programs are not geared solely to wealthy private schools. Each year, over half our participating schools are public, including both those in inner city and remote rural settings. We are proud that every coin that we receive is used for an educational purpose. We have devised special projects to implement this during the 6 years we have been in operation in order to ensure that no donated coin is wasted.
Below is a quick Summary of the programs and projects in which Ancient Coins for Education is involved. At the end is Part B, a glossary with further details on each topic so as to expand on the simple line items of Part A.
1. Coin identification and history study -
The core program with which ACE started, teaching students to identify fairly common bronze coins and research their historic and cultural backgrounds.
FL student shown researching his coin online.
2. Contests - & our winners receive coin prizes!
We have run several Essay contests each year since our inception.
Here is one of our Essay winners receiving her prize in KY with her teacher and Principal
Last year we introduced Historical Image Contests - not just about coins but about ancient cultures
Shown is an 11 year old Mythology Contest winner receiving his coin prize from his teacher in Upper NY state
3. Ancient Coin “School Museums” Several years ago we started the “Museums” and Exhibits concept in order to use the donated coins we received which did not fit within our normal repertoire, as well as those which teachers chose to highlight. There are now 9 school-based “Museums” in existence including a couple “under construction” this year.
ACE provides the “seed” coins, along with the historical, geographical and cultural background placards. Varying Exhibitions are put on and in some cases the class students act as “docents” introducing other students, families and local visitors to the collection on display.
4. ACE’s veteran teachers want more !
ACE’s veteran teachers who have been taking part in our programs for several years, are now well versed in Roman Imperial coins and have begun to extend their interest to encompass other coins of the past. The ACCG (the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild) and PAN (the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists) are among those who have responded generously.
Mr Gaetano of PAN donated some less common ancient coins to the ACE School Ancient Coin Museum in Pittsburgh.
5. Archaeological Simulation
Our worn and low quality coins are utilized to instruct; - and to simulate and to simulate both the thrill and the proper documentation of an actual archaeological dig. This is popular project offers a unique experience for those children who will never have a chance to see an actual archaeological site.
Grid set up in aquarium for classroom use
6. ACE’s growing involvement in educational workshops, etc
At the request of educational establishments, ACE has become ever more involved in Workshops and Seminars in addition to our normal school programs. At a time of tightened school budgets, the help provided by an organization like ACE at no cost to the taxpayer is increasingly appreciated and requested.
An ACE volunteer Bill Decker talking to Teachers in Ohio about the use of ancient coins to stimulate interest in history amongst their students.
7. Outreach means involving everyone –
Helping set up projects, providing coins, historical background, etc to a diverse group including after-school programs, “at risk” kids, a school for the Deaf, home schoolers and even disabled veterans is a part of ACE’s mission.
8. And that includes teachers who receive awards and also take part in special contests and receive prizes !
We would be lost without our amazing teachers – so ACE’s hard working teachers also receive coin awards and win prizes in ACE’s Teacher contests.
Memphis Teacher Dawn LaFon receives an ACE award from Prof. Tom Buggey after local TV showed her ACE students studying Roman coins and history.
In Summation :
We estimate that in 6 years of operation, we have enriched the scholastic experience of over thirty five thousand (35,000) students from earliest elementary through graduate- school level across the nation. We have enlisted the material support of hundreds of interested numismatists from raw “newbie” beginners through some of the most prestigious and world-renowned scholars and dealers. We have arranged in-person visits by numismatists – sometimes internationally known experts, often just local folks who happen to be enthusiastic collectors – whose personal experience and knowledge is instrumental in helping students and teachers never before exposed to this field to “connect-the-dots” in ways no one had previously imagined possible.
We have kindled an interest in the past in students who had never previously had any inkling of how fascinating history could be. We have high hopes that many participants in our programs may even go on to nurture a lifelong interest in history, ancient numismatics, classical studies or archaeology. Truly, through the help of those involved with the private ownership of coins and artifacts, we have placed ancient history, literally, in the hands of students nationwide.
Why we care about CPAC’s decisions
So why is this small volunteer organization, admittedly successful beyond its own wildest, early dreams, and managing minor miracles on a yearly budget that wouldn’t buy a decent used car, concerning itself with Cultural Property policies? It is because without the current, free-market access to the inexpensive coins upon which we depend, none of this would be possible. Material of the sort that we use is being discovered in large amounts with thousands of duplications. Instead of these common coins sitting, rotting in the basements of Museums, we believe that they can and should be used to teach the reachable general population about the wonder of the past, and the lessons history still holds for us today.
Some Teachers’ unsolicited comments about ACE
“The ACE Project is the most effective way I’ve found to motivate disinterested students in ancient civilization and to increase the enthusiasm of those students who excel in classical studies.”
Teacher Mark Byers of Southside HS, AR
For some students, the chance to touch something that actually comes from the Roman era gives the ancient world a reality it never had before. They touch, and they believe.”
Teacher Leslie Perkins of St John’s Country Day School, FL
“A couple of students have been revitalized by this project and actually have started doing more of their regular work.”
Teacher Pauline Demetri of the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, MA
“By working with ancient coins students can experience history not as a linear series of facts but as an organic whole. They imagine who last touched their coin, what it was able to purchase, who minted it and why, and how the coin came into their hands; they truly touch the past.”
Teacher Susan Bonvallet of The Wellington School, OH.
“I'm absolutely amazed that I found out about this program in a sort of off-handed way. It is so thrilling in concept, so much FUN for my students, so easy for me, and, in spite of all these pleasure-related characteristics, actually results in acquired knowledge! It suits all kinds of learning styles, interests and personalities. I really don't understand why so many people have still not heard of it. It is, bar none, the most exciting teaching tool I have ever acquired.”
Teacher Anne Pearson of Trinity Pawling School, NY