A Treasure Travels, Inconspicuously
They didn’t exactly hire two guys with a truck to secretly move one of the world’s largest and most valuable coin collections over the weekend in Manhattan. But they did use five standard-issue moving vans.
No armored-car convoys. No helicopter gunships. No National Guard outriders flourishing automatic weapons. Just sweaty movers, in blue shirts with their names stitched at the front, schlepping 425 plastic packing crates that were filled with treasures trussed in humble bubble wrap and garden-variety vinyl packing tape.
Yes, the New York Police Department provided an escort, but during more than eight hours on Saturday, one of the great hoards of coins and currency on the planet, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was utterly unalarmed as it was bumped through potholes, squeezed by double-parked cars and slowed by tunnel-bound traffic during the trip to its fortresslike new vault a mile to the north.
In the end, the move did not become a caper movie.
“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.”
The collection of 800,000 coins, bank notes, medals, commemorative badges, pins, historic advertising tokens, campaign buttons and other artifacts has been amassed during the 150-year existence of the nonprofit society. . . .
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