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Elvira Eliza Olinescu Clain-Stefanelli


Born in Bucharest, Rumania (Romania). Received a degree in history from Franz Josef University in 1936. She moved to Rome in 1939 and came to America in 1951. She spent 14 months in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Married to Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli December 29, 1938. They had one son.

She assisted her husband at Coin Galleries. She joined the Smithsonian staff in 1957. In 1973 she received the Smithsonian gold medal for exceptional service. Appointed Executive Director of the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution September 1983. In 1992 she received the ANA Medal of Merit and Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 1996. Retired July 1, 2000. She died in a hospital in Arlington, Virginia.

Author with Vladimir of The Beauty and Lore of Coins Currency and Medals issued in 1974 at $25. Also wrote with Vladimir Chartered for Progress, Two Centuries of American Banking issued in 1975 at $14.95. Author of Select Numismatic Bibliography in 1965 and Numismatic Bibliography in 1985. Her other books include Russian Gold Coins (1962), Italian Coin Engravers Since 1800 (1965) @ $.75, Numismatics, An Ancient Science (1965) @ $1.00, Artistic Evolution of Medals in the United States (1971), Medals Commemorating Battles of the American Revolution (1973) and The Medals of the United States (1973). 

profile: Legacy II/2; NN 11/15/94 obit: CW: 10/22/2001; NUM 12-01

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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