ANA honors Gene Hessler with its 2014 Lifetime Achievement honoree
- Published: Jul 31, 2014, 10 AM
Gene Hessler will be the recipient of the American Numismatic Association’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.
He will be honored Aug. 8 during the ANA World’s Fair of Money banquet in Rosemont, Ill.
Longtime numismatist, researcher and author Hessler has been a member of the ANA since 1967. He also has held memberships with the American Numismatic Society, the Cincinnati Numismatic Association, International Bank Note Society, and Society of Paper Money Collectors.
Hessler also served as editor of the SPMC’s journal Paper Money for a number of years.
Hessler’s many numismatic accomplishments include being curator of the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum and curator of the Mercantile Bank Money Museum, which once housed the Eric P. Newman Collection.
Researcher, writer, musician
Hessler discovered and published several previously unknown designs for U.S. paper currency through research at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Smithsonian Institution.
He is the author of The Comprehensive Catalog of United States Paper Money; An Illustrated History of U.S. Loans, 1775-1898; U.S. Essays, Proof & Specimen Notes; The Engraver’s Line – An Encyclopedia of Paper Money and Postage Stamp Art; The International Engraver’s Line, as well as numerous articles for numismatic publications.
In 2009 he published a memoir about his life as a musician and numismatist titled, Hey, Mr. Horn Blower.
During the “Big Band” era Hessler was a trombonist with various bands including Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Billy May and Les Elgart.
Hessler had his own band in the Cincinnati area for three years after college before moving to New York City in the late 1950s.
As a freelance trombonist he played for Music Man, Camelot and other Broadway musicals. He played in Radio City Music Hall performances, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. He played with famed musicians including Robert Preston, Julie Andrews and Barbra Streisand, and under the batons of Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein and other world-famous conductors.
Hessler also traveled with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra when it made a world tour in 1966.
A teacher at the ANA Summer Seminar from 2000 to 2004, Hessler was a part of the Money Talks series on National Public Radio. One of his scripts was selected to represent the ANA’s nomination for a Peabody Broadcasting Award in 1993.
Throughout his numismatic career, Hessler has won numerous ANA awards, including the 2008 Farran Zerbe Memorial Award. He was also an active exhibitor at coin and paper money show, and was presented with the Howland Wood Award in 1991 for his exhibit of the complete works of Czech bank note designer Max Svabinsky.
In 2001 he received the IBNS Silver Medal for Service and was named Numismatist of the Year by the Middle Atlantic Numismatic Association. In 2007 he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild’s Clemy Award.
He was inducted into the International Bank Note Society’s Hall of Fame in 2011, and into the Society of Paper Money Collectors’ Hall of Fame in 2014.
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