Four armed men overpowered two guards at the American Numismatic Society’s museum at Broadway and 156th Street yesterday afternoon, and then, after smashing four display cases and scoping up as many as 300 rare coins, strolled out the front door, telling waiting visitors that the museum was closed.
The police valued the coins at between $50,000 and $100,000, but the museum employee said last night that their value might be even higher. The robbery began at 1pm, the museum’s opening time.
In their apparent haste to depart, the gunmen overlooked a fifth case containing gold coins. They also left untouched an even more valuable collection of paper money. Other major collections were locked in vaults and were not disturbed.
During most of the robbery, an employee reported, the doorbell was being repeatedly rung by an indignant party of three visitors who were upset that the four men who came out had been allowed in while they had been forced to wait outside.
excerpt from NYT 8/22/77