The PNAS was founded 80 years ago by Dr. Jose P. Bantug and Dr. Gilbert S. Perez. Their primary aim was to help preserve the vestiges of our rich cultural heritage and thereby show the world that the Filipinos had an indigenous culture of their own long before the coming of the Spaniards.
At the inception of PNAS, it had 18 charter members, mostly Filipinos, one Chinese, and three Americans. One member was a woman. The society met religiously every month until December 1941, when the 2nd world War broke out. Dr. Bantug had been at the helm of the organizations for the first eleven years, after which he was made an honorary member.
During the war years, Judge Simeon Garcia Roxas was elected president. Despite the turmoil during the Japanese occupation, the society continued meeting, although sporadically. When liberation came, the PNAS resumed its activities, and held meetings with renewed vigor. But continued to be a small exclusive club until 1967.
Former Senator Manuel Manahan, who was then PNAS vice-president automatically, became the president upon the death of the incumbent president, Jesus M. Cacho in 1967. Cacho’s achievement was the incorporation of the society with the following objectives:
To promote the science of numismatics and antiquary through the study and collection of coins and antiques;
To encourage the preservation of existing historical monuments and tablets in different parts of the country;
To urge government and private corporations to commemorate transcendent and memorable events in their history by issuing suitable medals, plaques or tablets;
To hold exhibitions and contest for dissemination of the knowledge of, and for awakening the interest in, numismatic and history;
To subscribe to papers, journals and publications dealings with the subjects of interest of the Society;
To build a special library on numismatics, antiquaries and Philippine history; and
To cultivate fraternal relationships among the members and other collectors.
Eighty years ago, on March 16, 1929, to be exact, The Philippine Numismatic Society was born. The idea to form it came when Dr. Gilbert S. perez, then Director of Vocational Education, visited Dr. Jose P. Bantug in his office one day. Dr. Bantug asked Dr. Perez what he thought of the idea of forming a group of collectors and antiquaries. Both of them, even then, had quite a collection of coins, artifacts, medals and stamps. Dr. Bantug had a passion for collecting coins, artifacts, medals and stamps. He also had a passion for collecting pieces of colonial art. During their conversation, they mentioned a few other friends whose interests were similar to theirs. (To be continued)