“Sing a song of Sixpence” monetary melodies at Money Museum

June 13, 2002 By ekr

“Sing a song of Sixpence” monetary melodies at Money Museum

Money and music will rhapsodize in the new exhibit, “Sing a Song of Sixpence: A Harmony of Money and Music” at the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum, 818 N. Cascade Ave., beginning Sunday, June 23.

Opening for the summer in accompaniment with the Colorado College 2002 Summer Music Festival (June 19 to July 9), the exhibit will explore the relationship between music and numismatics. It will highlight money from ancient times to the latest pieces issued by the United States Mint; vintage sheet music with money-related titles; coins and medals honoring composers and performers; a hand-carved violin made in a World War I prisoner-of-war camp; and many other connections between money and music.

Museum Curator Lawrence J. Lee says, “While we cannot possibly bridge all the notes between money and music in this exhibit, and believe me there are thousands, this display will be as much a concerto of numismatics for music lovers as it will be a musical introduction for numismatists.”

The Money Museum at 818 N. Cascade Ave., is part of the American Numismatic Association and is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours are available; call for reservations 719/632-2646. Or visit the Money Museum online at www.money.org.

The show’s title comes from the famous nursery-rhyme that begins: “Sing a song of sixpence,” but the expression dates to at least 1614 . The sixpence was introduced as a silver coin by England’s King Edward VI and was equal to six pennies and half the value of a shilling. Production of the humble, yet wildly popular, sixpence ceased in 1970 when the United Kingdom’s monetary system prepared to go decimal the following year.

One of the musicians honored in this exhibit, Ferenc Molnar, not only earned his living as a world renowned concert violinist, but began his musical career by making an instrument that literally saved his life. As a 21-year-old Austro-Hungarian army officer captured by the Russians in World War I, Molnar maintained his sanity in a Siberian prison camp by fashioning a violin from bed slats, a meter stick, electrical wire, animal gut and a scroll. Once released in 1921, he played his violin for two years on street corners as he slowly earned his way across eastern Russia to reach what had been his home in Budapest, Hungary. Finding little there, the former soldier and trained engineer, performed in concerts across Europe and helped form the Roth String Quartet in Paris in 1926, before coming to America in 1939. He resumed his solo career in the United States, established the Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State College and was on the summer staff at Colorado College from 1944-56. His daughter, a retired English teacher from The Colorado Springs School, had Molnar’s prison-made violin restored in the early 1990s and has loaned it to the ANA for this exhibit.

“Sing a Song of Sixpence: A Harmony of Money and Music” will open with a special gala from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, June 23. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Aspen Quartet chamber group and Penny Farthing, a bluegrass band.

For more information, contact the ANA Money Museum at 719/632-2646; fax 719/634-4085; or E-mail museum@money.org; or visit the ANA web site at www.money.org.

Originally Release Date: June 13, 2002
ANA Contacts: Phone: 719-482-9872
                            Email: pr@money.org
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