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Post Remembering a Heist at the American Numismatic Society
Created by John Eipper on 09/20/20 12:14 PM

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Remembering a Heist at the American Numismatic Society (Patrick Mears, -Germany, 09/20/20 12:14 pm)

This is in response to John E's question about a heist at the American Numismatic Society, New York.

Being a former coin collector too, I perked up when my father-in-law mentioned the heist, which at the time was located in the famous Audubon Terrace complex on Broadway between West 155th and 156th Streets in the Washington Heights neighbourhood of uptown Manhattan. My memory of our conversation back then has dulled quite a bit, but I will tell you what I do remember about it--or at least, what I think I remember about it.

Apparently, the "perp" was a master thief who had made important robberies before this job, and the Robbery Squad had not been able to take take him down. This particular theft was successful and one of the treasures obtained was, if I recall correctly, an 1804 US Silver Dollar. The Squad eventually caught the mastermind of the heist, but he was at first unwilling to talk and the Society sought to quash all attempts at news coverage of the crime. My father-in-law said that the gang leader finally gave in and told the Squad where to find the loot, which had been buried in Central Park under a large tree. The coins were successfully recovered and the criminal gang served time.

That is the best of my recollection. I hope that there are no "false memory" shards within my story. I did a quick Internet search just now for some record of this crime, but couldn't find any. It must have occurred sometime either in the 1960s or 70s, before my father-in-law retired from the force.

JE comments:  Pat Mears included this excellent essay on the Audobon Terrace Cultural Center, in Washington Heights, which originally housed the American Numismatic Society museum.  The Hispanic Society of America remains.  This stuff is right up my alley!  How is it I've never visited?  Rarely does the tourist make it as far north as 155th Street, Manhattan.


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