Paper Money

MPC Fest returns, with a new 'National Champion' award

The organizers of the MPC Fest honored paper money expert Neil Shafer with a contest award that carries his name.

Image courtesy of the American Numismatic Association.

In celebration of its return as an in-person event after a three-year hiatus, MPC Fest, an annual (pre-pandemic) meeting for collectors of military currency and related objects, is honoring  Neil Shafer, the internationally well-known currency expert and the organization’s “senior knowledge-bearer and sharer,” by naming an award after him.

The “Neil Shafer Military Numismatics National Champion Award” will be presented to the winner of the annual MPCFest contest, in which participants vie against each other in a brackets-style competition testing their knowledge of military numismatics. Shafer himself won the competition three times and is now honorably “retired” to give others a chance at winning.

A statement from MPC Fest describes Shafer as a beloved and respected member of the fest community and the wider numismatic world, whose “influence on the hobby cannot be overstated.” His biography would fill pages. He has been an active collector and numismatist since the 1940s. He is a recipient of the American Numismatic Association’s Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service in 2014, and the Numismatic Literary Guild’s Clemy Award in 2004. He is a life member of many numismatic organizations including ANA, International Bank Note Society (he is in its Hall of Fame), Society of Paper Money Collectors, Philippine Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, many local and state clubs, and of MPC for over 20 years.

He has written for every major publication and many smaller and local publications, and has taught at the ANA Summer Seminar. He served in the United States Air Force from 1955 to 1959 as a violist in its symphony orchestra. Within the MPC he is famous for his “little black bag,” which always accompanies him, from which, MPC claims, he “extracts just exactly the one collectible that you had not realized you needed, had not budgeted for, but which you absolutely HAD to acquire before he could offer it to someone else!”

This year’s MPC Fest was held at the Port Clinton-Catawba Island, Ohio, Holiday Inn Express, from March 16 to 19. The keynote speaker was Thomas J. Sparks, speaking on “The Short Snorter of Major General Clayton Lawrence Bissell, U.S. Army Air Service.”

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